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3 Copenhagen to Baltic Sea Princess Emerald Princess Cruise Reviews

The land tour by Globus thru Princess was exceptional. We started in Budapest, Hungary for two nights and toured Vienna, Austria, Prague, Czech Republic, Dresden and Berlin, Germany. We then took a ferry across from Rostock, Germany to ... Read More
The land tour by Globus thru Princess was exceptional. We started in Budapest, Hungary for two nights and toured Vienna, Austria, Prague, Czech Republic, Dresden and Berlin, Germany. We then took a ferry across from Rostock, Germany to Copenhagen, Denmark. The whole trip was fun, enlightening, met new friends on the tour and enjoyed everywhere we stayed. We boarded the Emerald Princess and was overwhelmed with its size. When we opened the door to our mini-suite it was very worn and not so clean. Old soap was left in the tub and the bed dipped in the middle. I had paid extra to surprise my husband. I can say the room was large and had a nice balcony. We had arrived late from our tour and did the muster station then went back to our room to freshen up for dinner. We had the 6:00 seating and were late by 15 minutes. The head waiter said we couldn't come in even though we had a set table. He sent us to the anytime dinning and they said we had to wait 40 minutes. We were so hungry that we went up to the cafe and everything was picked over. We ate a few bites and went to our room. One morning my husband got up to brush his teeth and brown water came out of the faucet. We called the desk and they said they cleaned the tanks and it was okay to drink. My husband went down to the desk to talk to them after it didn't clear up. When he left I went out side my stateroom and several of the people were out asking what happened to the water and they were not happy. We bought a bottle of water for $3.50 to use. We were clearly disappointed with Princess. The next day I cancelled all but 1 Princess tour (Russia for 2 days). In each port we either hired a taxi to take us to all the places for the day or walked to all the places the tours would have taken us. We enjoyed talking to the locals and having coffee or lunch with them. Back to the Emerald Princess....food was inconsistent with meat being tough or no flavor, entertainment wasn't that great, port/shore excursions were very expensive. Our 2 day Russian tour cost $600/each but it was really worth it! The ports that we visited we would gladly revisit. All in all, we had a terrific trip with the exception of things that happened on the ship. We will not take another cruise with Princess and we will not recommend them to our friends. To us it is a step above Carnival. I know others on this trip thought the same thing about the food, service and entertainment and they had been on other Princess ships. Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
In July we embarked on a much-anticipated cruise of the Baltic on the Emerald Princess. We had done considerable research on the ship, the specific cabin, the ports of call and Princess cruises itself and were confident we had chosen ... Read More
In July we embarked on a much-anticipated cruise of the Baltic on the Emerald Princess. We had done considerable research on the ship, the specific cabin, the ports of call and Princess cruises itself and were confident we had chosen the best 'product' for our needs. We were wrong. In the late sixties I was an employee of Princess cruises which was then known as an innovator with excellent service. Things have changed. What follows are our impressions of the ship and of Princess cruises, and we'll start with the 'positives'. Positives: Embarkation in Copenhagen was extremely well organised and we were on the ship in no time. Once on the ship our cabin was immediately ready ... which is not the norm on most cruise ships. Our cabin was FABULOUS. It was at the stern of the ship and on the side. It had a simply enormous wrap-around balcony giving us a 270degree view. The sound of the wake was like a soothing waterfall, but if you wanted to shut this out all you had to do was go inside and shut the sliding door, at which point the cabin was silent. Vibration was virtually non-existent. The cabin was spacious and the amenities well thought out. We had to ask for the 'egg crate' for the bed as the bed was VERY hard with no 'give', but once that was arranged it was perfect. Our cabin steward was a joy ... always friendly, always willing to assist and always available. As a matter of fact, we encountered many instances of brilliant service from individual employees. As to dining (more on that later) Sabatini's was excellent ... great service and wonderful food. Disembarkation in Copenhagen could also not have been easier - extremely well organised. Negatives: After embarkation and dropping our hand luggage in the cabin, we proceeded to the MDR where we had learned from CC you could enjoy a leisurely lunch. We were shown to our table (the dining room was empty) and immediately approached by a waiter who showed us sparkling and still water and asked which we preferred. We are savvy travellers and asked if they were chargeable, which of course they were. We asked for and received tap water. He then returned with a bottle of red and white wine and said these were his recommended wines for lunch today. We asked for a wine list and discovered his recommendations were $50 bottles of wine. We now asked for a menu which we still had not received. Before the menu was brought we were shown and offered 'coffee cards'; finally, the menu was brought. So, all in all, three 'revenue opportunities' were realised before any service was offered. Our choices were made and the food was delivered. It was inedible and also looked dreadful (I know that sounds harsh, but it truly was). We ate it anyway, not knowing this was going to be the norm for our cruise. Next we explored the ship. Confusing is probably a good word. Staircases on the outside upper decks lead nowhere and to go from one dining room to another you have to go up one deck and then back down. There is only one deck of public rooms and they are all bars (except the Crown Grill and its 'causeway' outside, and the Princess Theatre) and all DARK. As a matter of fact, the curtains are drawn throughout the ship including in the MDR. Why? There is a tiny library and no 'quiet place' to read or play cards. The solution to this offered in Princess Patters is to use the dining room. We tried, 5 times, it was always locked closed. In any case, with 43 cases of crew swine flu onboard (confirmed privately by the ship's doctor), is it really wise to be using the dining room as a 'lounge'? The top decks have 5 swimming pools ... but this was a Baltic cruise and they were certainly 'underused' except by children. On that top deck day in day out the MUTS screen proclaimed how much we should be tipping and where we could spend our money onboard ... followed by an occasional movie with no-one watching during the day (much better attended at night, even though it was cold at night). The 'customer service desk' was overwhelmed at certain times during the cruise. Towards the end they simply gave up being 'nice' and were less than perfunctory in their attitude towards 'guests'. Many errors occurred on bills and people were trying to correct them, they were being met by an 'I don't care' attitude which we observed more than once. Now to the food. Let's be honest, most of us cruise (at least partially) because it's like going out to eat for three meals a day at a great restaurant. We have certain expectations as to quality. I realise they cannot be met on every occasion, but to have a 'batting average' of 30% is not what I expected. I know one reads on CC constantly that 'everyone else thought the same' ... I cannot speak for others. I can cook, I eat out occasionally at home and I know what I like, but the food on the Emerald was consistently 'below par'. An example: one morning Eggs Benedict were 'touted' as the specialty. When they appeared, it was obvious they had been prepared many hours before. The hollandaise sauce was crisp from having been under the warmers. EVERY person at the tables around us either returned them or didn't eat them. So it was with almost every main course. The starters were better, but still not acceptable. Everything was obviously done to a budget and to 'mass catering' standards. We did not pay 'mass catering' fares and expected better (like on every other cruise ship we have been on .... bar none!). We tried Crown Grill, great ambience, but, the food was served cold and had to be returned and when it re-appeared our steaks were well done! We also were selected for Chef's Table (at $75 per person extra).. We were excited. The 'briefing' was excellent, we donned our white coats, went to the kitchen and washed our hands and were shown the 'working kitchen'. There was absolutely no activity. Everything had been pre-cooked and was simply being dished up 'as and when', having been kept warm under warming lights. We were shown to our table and it had candles and a great atmosphere. The 'starting course' arrived and it was a sea of risotto (honestly, it could have fed a family of 4). When the main course arrived (lamb, veal and beef piled 2 inches high on the plate) we were simply disgusted by the quantity and couldn't eat. Everyone at the table felt the same. That is not to say the food wasn't delicious, just that 'more is not always better'! As to the buffet, what a disaster. We attempted to eat there on two occasions (and went to look on 4 others). Even when it opened the food was already congealed and beyond its 'sell by date'. The taste was like nothing I can describe (and that was each item). We tried sandwiches and they were hard, we tried meat dishes and they were old and overcooked. Not acceptable. I have to say, the staff in all restaurants were very good, and were 'dab hands' at apologising for the food and the presentation. There were, however, more people selling water than there were to clear the tables and assist you in the restaurant. Now to the worst part of the cruise. Two days before St. Petersburg we were informed via Princess Patters and via a special letter in our mailboxes that the Russian authorities had informed the ship that Princess Cruises tour passengers MUST be allowed to disembark first. All other tours were to meet in the lounge and receive a 'disembarkation number'. Princess Tours passengers could disembark at 7:30 ... all others at 8:30 at the earliest. We had read on CC that this was a 'ruse' and designed only to promote 'revenue', so we proceeded to line up at one of the two gangways. The lower one turned out to be for Princess Cruises tours and the upper one for 'others'. There was a line of roughly 130 people at the upper one. When the security guards realised we were not Princess Tours passengers (we had no sticker on our shirts), we were first threatened, then shown a fax from the 'Russian Authorities' (it had, in fact come from their own tour company in St. Petersburg, which was established the next day), then the guards physically blocked us with their bodies to keep us back. Utterly unacceptable in civilized society. We deserted this line and went downstairs and disembarked with the Princess Tours passengers unchallenged. However, this incident was so violent and left such a sour taste in our mouths that I venture to guess that there are 130 passengers who will never set foot on a Princess cruises vessel again. So, how has this served their purposes? There was constantly a wait for elevators (lifts), in fact, many passengers went up just to go down (eventually). The Princess Theater holds only 1/3rd of all the passengers onboard. There were always people sitting on the stairs and there were always people turned away. The restaurants constantly had lines of people and on 5 occasions we were given a 'beeper' because the restaurant was full. Are there enough tables for all the guests? In our opinion there were simply too many passengers for the facilities available. This might have worked in the Caribbean where everyone can be out of doors, but in the Baltic, this was quite simply the wrong ship. As to the ports of call, they were wonderful, with the exception of Gdynia, where we docked on a Sunday. This is not the first cruise we have taken where the port is some distance from the city of interest (in this case Gdansk), however, on all other occasions transport was provided at a minimal (or no) cost. Here, Princess Cruises decided we were on our own. If we wanted transport to Gdansk, we could either take a tour, or pay a taxi driver $100 round trip. This was an industrial port. Again unacceptable. This is not 'par for the course' . other 'quality cruise lines' simply don't do this. Bottom line, on other cruise lines we have always felt like a 'valued guest' .... on Princess Cruises (well, at least on the Emerald Princess), we felt like nothing more than 'revenue opportunities'. On top of that we were being served substandard food. If this cruise had been cheap, this might have been acceptable. It was not. Enough said. Read Less
Sail Date July 2009
After cruising the Baltic on the Emerald, I could not help but wonder what has happened to Princess. What used to be an innovator and absolute industry leader has no doubt been shaken by the current economic situation. Princess, however ... Read More
After cruising the Baltic on the Emerald, I could not help but wonder what has happened to Princess. What used to be an innovator and absolute industry leader has no doubt been shaken by the current economic situation. Princess, however has taken completely the wrong approach to try and weather the storm. Slashing prices also means slashing quality of product and experience.  Our June sailing was completely full. So full, we had difficulty changing staterooms after our travel agent booked us into a room at the back of the ship. DO NOT BOOK A ROOM NEAR THE AFT! We lasted one long, sleepless night as the roar of the engines and very strong vibration throughout the cabin rattled our nerves. Thankfully (for us), someone missed the boat and we were told after almost nine hours of 'negotiations' with Passenger Services that there happened to be only one other cabin available. This was located mid-ship on Aloha deck. We could still feel a strong vibration (as everywhere on the ship), but it overall was a better located cabin. The Balcony Staterooms, are, however, poorly designed and extremely uninspired in design. The bathroom is the smallest we've ever seen. The beds were not great but the foam-chip pillows were even worse. The only thing you'll have enough room for is your clothing, as there is a spacious open closet area adjacent to the bathroom. Balconies are also tiny. Do yourself a favor and book at least a Mini Suite if you want any level of comfort in your room. Ours was so tight, we had to sit facing opposite directions to eat breakfast. We had major problems with the food. The nicest thing I can say is that most of it is edible. The assigned-time Dining Room is perhaps a bit better than the "anytime Dining" option, which we heard many complaints about. Food throughout is of very low quality. Especially awful were both the Specialty restaurants, both of which charge a cover fee. Sabatini's is just okay, and we were both very ill the day after dining here. The affair drags on and on, with tiny portions of so-so food coming to your table much too slowly. Crown Grill is a complete joke. Our very odd waiter went on describing how each delicious course would be carefully prepared just for us....how innovative for a steak house!!! Our meal was indescribably ordinary.....the kitchen cannot even bake a potato properly, let alone grill a decent steak. When servers asked how the meal was, I told them it was average and their jaws dropped in amazement. To make up for it, they brought over huge martini glasses filled to the brim with the cheapest Limoncello possible. Desserts were dreadful, here and everywhere. The safest bet is to stick with the buffet, where at least you can pick and choose and are bound to find something you like (menus are the same throughout the entire ship except for the Specialty places). We found the itinerary to be much too busy and intensive. If you can, pick a different ship which offers a 12 to 14 day cruise. We had neither time to enjoy the ports nor the ship, and were up 6 days in a row at 5 a.m., cramming down an average Continental Breakfast in the room while scurrying around trying to get ready for 7 a.m. tours. We were told by several Tour Operators that Princess just does not allow time to properly see the various sights. In St. Petersburg, for example, we were very late coming back to the ship from our morning tour of Peterhof Palace (which we hurried through). Our afternoon tour to the Hermitage allowed us exactly ONE HOUR in the museum (a 4 hour excursion).  Don't even get me started about the chaos and disorganization of meeting for tours on the ship. It was an utter disaster, and woefully understaffed for the throngs trying to cram into a much-too-small meeting venue. The Emerald itself is not a pretty ship. In fact, we thought it looked much older than it is. The decor is cheap and somewhat tacky, and the art is inexcusable (including the embarrassingly awful stuff up for auction). It also rides like an old tug, especially at higher speed. The shimmy and above-mentioned ever-present vibration made us think there is really something wrong with the propulsion system. The good news is that the crew tried VERY hard to make us happy, and we liked the service very much. We also loved the ports, but pretty much every ship in the area covers them. We decided that if this is the best Princess can do, we will not be sailing with them in the future. Our advice is to spend a bit more, and cruise on a smaller ship. The Emerald is not up to snuff. Read Less
Sail Date June 2009
Emerald Princess Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 4.5 3.8
Entertainment 4.0 3.5
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.9
Family 4.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 5.0 3.7
Enrichment 4.0 3.4
Service 4.0 4.2
Value For Money 4.5 3.8
Rates 4.0 4.0

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