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113 Princess Emerald Princess Family Cruise Reviews

We stayed two nights in Copenhagen, prior to our cruise and we were able to get a taste of this remarkable city. The combination of our hotel base on the Nyhavn canal, and the great public transportation system allowed us to visit many of ... Read More
We stayed two nights in Copenhagen, prior to our cruise and we were able to get a taste of this remarkable city. The combination of our hotel base on the Nyhavn canal, and the great public transportation system allowed us to visit many of the key sites including Tivoli, National Museum, Rosenberg castle, and the Mermaid. Our final day we took the canal tour.Our room on the Emerald princess was on the back of the ship; it included a double sized balcony since we were on the corner. The ship was fantastic with great dining, (we picked the Michangelo Dining Room), and we picked our dining time. Most nights we sat with other couples and had great conversation. The lounges had good entertainment and every night at 5:00 a small venue would occur in the atrium. We thoroughly enjoyed the Princess dancers and singers, but did not catch the comedian or magic shows. We were too busy on shore to enjoy what looked like a great pool area. Our room attendant and morning room service coffee were both perfect. Love those laundry rooms.The crew handled shore departures very well and we were blessed with fantastic weather. Each port was unique and enjoyable, our Alla-Tour of Berlinand Saint Petersburg made them unforgettable. Currency exchange machine was excellent as was daily narration of ports. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
We are a Swedish family of four who went on this cruise to celebrate my husband´s 40th birthday. We went on a Princess cruise for or honeymoon ten years ago and liked it so much, we wanted to bring our children on a cruise as well. They ... Read More
We are a Swedish family of four who went on this cruise to celebrate my husband´s 40th birthday. We went on a Princess cruise for or honeymoon ten years ago and liked it so much, we wanted to bring our children on a cruise as well. They are 8 (boy) and 6 (girl).For us, cruising with Princess in the Caribbean has a certain "American" feel to it, even though the passengers are international to a certain degree, and the crew most definitely is international. So you may view this review as a "(Northern) European view on American cruising" if you will!Last time, we booked a cabin with a balcony, but didn´t actually use the balcony very much. So this time, we decided to book an oceanview cabin instead, and spend the money on shore excursions instead. This turned out to be a good decision, since the children were more interested in swimming than in sunbathing, and sun chairs in fairly close proximity to a pool was much more appreciated than looking out over the ocean! Our cabin was located on deck 5, Plaza, which we at first felt was i little "off", away from the pools and the restaurants, etc. But after a day or two, we realized that this was actually a great location. Only passengers staying in the cabins ahead of ours ever passed through the corridor and after all the noise and people in other parts of the ship, it felt nice and calm coming back to "our" quiet little corner of the ship. The fact that we got to walk through the art gallery several times a day was very nice, the children loved looking at the paintings. We were also very close to the International cafe and the atrium, which was very convenient. We often sat in the atrium reading (the adults) and playing DS (the children) when we felt we needed to be indoors for a while.The cabin itself was a good size, with two regular beds and "wall-beds" that our cabin steward Gaetano would fold down and prepare every night while we were at dinner and fold up again every morning when we had breakfast. The bathroom was quite nice and we didn't find the shower small at all (as we had read in other reviews). The closet and the drawers were sufficient for four people, that is, they were quite large. The mattresses were in our opinion extremely comfortable, not at all hard, as I had read many complaints about. However, we found the mattresses at the hotels we stayed in before and after the cruise a little too soft for our liking, so maybe mattresses are just generally softer in the US than in Europe....We didn't spend much time in the cabin except for sleeping and changing clothes. We also did not have any special demands for our cabin steward, as I have seen in other reviews many have (regarding ice, extra towels, robes, fruit and what not.....) We saw him quite often during the first two days, but being Italian, I would think that he has encountered Scandinavian guests before, and acted accordingly. He was almost invisible but took care of our cabin quite nicely. Scandinavians are generally not very demanding guests, but we are also lousy tippers...... I could get into a philosophical discussion about this, but I wont because there is not enough space. Let me just say that I think it has something to do with our Lutheran, Social Democratic upbringing.....Our children only speak Swedish, and only a few words in English, so we were wondering what to do about the children's´ clubs, since of course no one in there spoke Swedish (and we didn´t expect them to either, of course!). It turned out, that each child was allowed to bring one parent with them. So I went with our daughter to the 3-7 year old´s club a couple of times. I sat in a corner and translated when it was necessary. She liked doing the arts and crafts that they did, but then she didn´ get much out of it, since all the other kids spoke English and Spanish to each other, which of course left her out. But had she spoken the language, I´m sure she would have liked it. It seemed like they were very well organized with a friendly staff. Our 8-year old was placed in the 8-12 year age group and found it so embarrassing to have to bring a parent, he just refused to go there. The staff said he was welcome to join his sister in the 3-7 group, but that was an even worse alternative, so no kids´club for him...He is a very verbal person in Swedish, who will talk to anyone about anything, so he really felt at a disadvantage when he couldn't communicate. The good thing is, he is very motivated to start studying English in school this fall!We had anytime dining, which worked out very well for us. We ate in the dining rooms most evenings. Twice, we ate at the buffet, and once at Sabatinis (on my husband´s birthday). The first night , we had our one and only encounter with a less than friendly staff member. It was one of the waiters in the Michelangelo dining room, who was very rushed and wouldn't give us time to translate and explain the menu to the children. He just kept telling us to take the alphabet soup over and over again (and they did NOT want alphabet soup, the was the only thing they knew for certain!). It was unfortunate that this happened the very first night. After that , we didn't go to the Michelangelo Dining Room again, but went instead to Da Vinci, in order to avoid this gentleman. Plus, we only encountered super nice crew members during the rest of the cruise. Sabatinis was a wonderful experience with excellent food (but way too much!). And they only charged half the cover charge for the children. We liked the pizzas, ice creams and hamburgers on lido deck a lot. The buffet had some items that we found strange sometimes, but being a buffet, we always found something we liked.Entertainment: We saw all the productions shows, since this was something the children could enjoy without understanding English. We felt they were all quite good. Did not see the comedians or the movies because of language difficulties for the children.My husband used the gym once, and I went to a quite good zumba-class. I checked out two books from the library and finished 1,5 of them.In all, it was a great cruise. We had a wonderful time and I really have to think hard in order to remember things thet were less than perfect. If we go on a cruise again (and I hope it won´t be ten years again until next time!), we will most likely choose Princess again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
Pre/post cruise: We stayed at the Sheraton Airport/Cruiseport Hotel in Dania, just a few minutes from the airport. We got a good price and the hotel provides free shuttle to/from the airport and charges $10 pp for a shuttle to/from the ... Read More
Pre/post cruise: We stayed at the Sheraton Airport/Cruiseport Hotel in Dania, just a few minutes from the airport. We got a good price and the hotel provides free shuttle to/from the airport and charges $10 pp for a shuttle to/from the cruiseport...good deal. And since our flight home was at 7:30 pm the next day, this hotel allows guests to pay $10/hr. beyond the normal late check-out time to stay through 5 pm—which we did and lounged by the beautiful pool. Only problem with this Sheraton is that there are no restaurants within easy walking distance, and the Sheraton's restaurant can be a bit expensive--as are taxis in the Ft. Lauderdale area. Problem solved: there are several near-by places that will deliver food to the hotel...much cheaper (hotel staff can give you brochures).The Emerald Princess and staff were great! We were in a forward balcony cabin (R-210) which was very nice...size about average for similar cruise ships (though being as far forward as we were was a bit bumpy a few days). Our room stewart, Shirley, really exceeded our expectations. She was very attentive and made sure that we had everything we needed. Our dining room waiter Izzy, and asst., Gerry, were wonderful...efficient, friendly, and had great senses of humor. We thought that the dining room offerings were very diverse and quite tasty. We did try both specialty restaurants as well...well worth the added cost. The movies under the stars was a wonderful option for us...we watched three of these movies wrapped in our deck chair blankets and eating the fresh warm cookies and milk that were served. As on most cruises, getting deck chairs on "at sea" days was somewhat problematic, but not to the point of ruining the day. On Princess Cays, lack of lounge chairs was even more problematic...we went back to the ship and sat at the pool (which was just as fine for us). Finding seating in Horizons for the morning breakfast was also a bit problematic, but not too bad if you were willing to sit with fellow passengers and share a table...which we willingly did. Dominica was a very surprising and interesting island...we took a 2+ hour rain forest/waterfalls tour, which we arranged on our own right at the dock with a local tour guide (Ask for Lennox--half the price of the official ship excursion). On Bonaire, another self-initiated internet snorkeling tour on a 42-foot sailboat...great fun (look up Compass Sailing Bonaire with Wim and Marianne...www.compassbonaire.com). Aruba's Palm Beach was perfect (as usual).Relative to entertainment onboad, we really didn't take advantage of much. We had the late (8:15pm) seating. We did go to the Bealtes' tribute band show-- very entertaining and enjoyable. The late-night "blue" comedian's performance was really not worth staying up that late (though some people did enjoy his show).All-in-all a terrific ship, wonderful staff, and a nice itinerary (can't fault Princess for the 2-3 days of rain that uncharacteristically befell us...oh well, no beach, just port shopping). My wife and I met some wonderful people, and really enjoyed our 40th anniversary cruise. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
We flew British airways to Miami and were met by Princess and taken to the west Miami Intercontinental for the night. This was ll stress free. the hotel is in the business district, but we really like it. There is a nice pool and a fitness ... Read More
We flew British airways to Miami and were met by Princess and taken to the west Miami Intercontinental for the night. This was ll stress free. the hotel is in the business district, but we really like it. There is a nice pool and a fitness room. We had to pay for breakfast, but it was very good. The next morning we had a little time to ourselves ( there is a Walmart just down the road). the coaches took us to the boat. Great experience sailing on the Emerald Princess. Boarding was fairly uncomplicated and our balcony state room was ready and waiting. We were on Dolphin deck uncovered balcony--and had a wonderful, pleasant Room Steward, Ionel. He was always available; seemed to be in the hallway almost every time we left the room. Our room was always cleaned thoroughly. Sometimes our room was cleaned 3 -4 times a day, he was always replacing our towels when they were needing it. We just loved the boat so much to do or nothing if you wanted it that way. It is beautiful, so clean and the staff were all wonderful. The only possible thing i could complain about was the smoking on balcony's and in some public areas, but i knew this before I sailed. My 10 year old hardly went to the kids club as there were so few children her age there. However the provision when she went was excellent. I thoroughly recommend joining your cruise critic roll call, I met some really super people through it, and they were very kind to us first timers. it was lovely to already feel you knew someone before you sailed. A big thank you to Marybeth, Julie and Caroline for all their organising and hosting. Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
This was our first cruise on Princess since 2002, and our first cruise on a HUGE ship, 3000+ passengers. Over all, it was a very nice ship. The public spaces were clean and attractive, and the piazza often had entertainment going on, most ... Read More
This was our first cruise on Princess since 2002, and our first cruise on a HUGE ship, 3000+ passengers. Over all, it was a very nice ship. The public spaces were clean and attractive, and the piazza often had entertainment going on, most of which was silly, like napkin folding, or some bimbette with hula hoops, but always nice to pause and see what was going on. We didn't spend much time in the main pool area because the big screen always had something on, and it was too loud and too noisy for us. We preferred the adults-only area aft of the ship for lounging. Our stateroom was a mini-suite, very spacious and it had balcony twice as large as normal, due to the location as the last stateroom aft on the port side. The stateroom below ours, and the two corresponding staterooms on the starboard side have the same configuration, so, if you're looking for a roomy balcony, those are the ones to pick. Our steward was efficient and unobtrusive and took great care of us. The bed was tolerable, but just barely. Every night, it would part like the Red Sea, so there was always a gap between the two twins pushed together. First time we've ever encountered that situation. The food was mixed. We ate at the buffet most mornings. On HAL, we always had breakfast delivered, but the Princess choices were limited and only a true continental breakfast. The coffee was wretched. I heard that it was not brewed, but a concentrate? Anyhow, I'm sure this was to push people to buy coffee cards for the cafe, the only place you could get a real cup of brewed coffee. The choices on the breakfast buffet were the same, every single day, which got old pretty quickly. We visited the dining room one morning only to find that they had the exact same choices, just served to you instead of self-service. Lunch was pretty much the same at the buffet, though we did have an excellent lunch in the dining room, and we also enjoyed the fish and chips and curry at the English pub. We had an early dining option with the rest of our party, and the food in the main dining room was very nice and our servers were outstanding, with the exception of them forgetting my father-in-law's milk every evening unless reminded once or twice. We visited both Sabatini's and the Crown Royal, the specialty Italian and chop house restaurants. Both were well-worth the fees. A very civilized dining experience in both places had some superb food. You must make your reservations right away upon boarding the ship, otherwise, you can't get in. On one last note, the pizza was outstanding! The shops on board were OK, though I didn't buy anything, I definitely looked. We did some shopping for high-end watches, and the sales lady was most helpful and patient, even though we didn't buy anything from her. We really enjoyed the Adagio piano bar. That became our special place after dinner each evening. There was hardly anyone there, so there was always a nice couch and table to sit at. It was quiet, the service was outstanding, and they had some excellent and reasonable specialty drinks that we enjoyed sampling. Sometimes they brought us things to try (I guess as the regulars?). Most nights there was a pianist, and some nights a jazz group would come in later. My biggest complaint was that there were 5 ports in a row. I could have used a sea day in the middle to recover a little. Otherwise, it was a very nice itinerary, visiting several islands we had never been to. Just a note on Princess Cays, the private island: OUTSTANDING. We rate it a 5. We rented a cabana, which I highly recommend. We also got an upgrade for an extra $25 per person, which meant that we supposedly got priority tender, but no one told us where it was. Also, they waited on us with special meals. TOO MUCH FOOD, but it was fantastic, and the lobster salad was worth the $25 upgrade on its own. We snorkeled, and it was probably the best underwater viewing we had all cruise. There were cuttlefish, which I'd never seen in the wild, and a very vibrant fish population. My husband saw crabs, lobsters, and one lion fish, which he notified the lifeguard about, since they are not native to the Caribbean and are spreading like wildfire. Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
I have traveled with Princess many times before, but this cruise was the best one. Although I loved the Alaska scenery, the Emerald Princess outshone every previous Princess ship on which I have cruised. Whoever is responsible for managing ... Read More
I have traveled with Princess many times before, but this cruise was the best one. Although I loved the Alaska scenery, the Emerald Princess outshone every previous Princess ship on which I have cruised. Whoever is responsible for managing this ship deserves a major bonus. The employees really impressed me above and beyond the norm. They were all very pleasant and friendly. I felt like they were having as much fun as we were. Our room steward, Christian, was perfect, always prompt and took care of all our needs. The most fun, however, was in the Crooners Martini Bar where the waiters took service to new high. When you ordered a martini, they served it with a "shaker" dance and defied gravity on many occasions. They also had many magic tricks to entertain and puzzle us, many of which we are still trying to master. We looked forward to seeing Richie and Ramil every evening. Besides the employees' great performance, the ship itself was immaculate and beautifully decorated for Christmas. The decor of the ship is elegant, yet not stuffy--truly comfortable. One of the most unique experiences we've every done was to take part in the Chef's Table. You need to sign up for this the second you get on the ship because they only do it 2 nights for a very limited number of diners. We started the evening in the Piazza where the Maitre d'Hotel, Nicola Furlan, met us, told us what to expect, and fitted us in white lab-type coats. We then paraded through the dining room to the kitchen, attracting the attention of the diners at their tables. We toured the kitchen, then stopped at a service area covered with white linens and decorated with ice sculptures and flowers. The Executive Chef, David Whelehan, joined us for champagne and amazing appetizers. My favorite was a crab martini. He told us about his experiences and described our meal. He was from Scotland, and we all enjoyed his stories. While enjoying our appetizers, the Sommelier described our wines of the evening and what his job entailed. He also came around during dinner to describe each one. Our table in the dining room was beautifully decorated with flowers and a bouquet of bread sticks of varying sizes--very clever. The first course was a pasta with clams. I am not a clam eater, but this was amazing. I had to force myself not to eat it all since I know more was coming. Then, they brought us a sorbet to cleanse our pallets and added a generous amount of Grey Goose to it. No one left any in their dish. After the sorbet, they brought our main course consisting of beef fillet, large lobster tail, lamb chop and scallops. Huge!!! We had a cheese course next, then the dessert which was a work of art. Besides the wonderful food and commentary, we all received a photo and a personally signed cookbook of Princess menus. Definitely, a night to remember. We enjoyed all the ports, but I think Dominica was one of the most beautiful and unique islands. They even had a Christmas parade that day which marched in front of our ship. On Dominica, we saw a Santa Claus with many helpers unloading boxes of toys. Princess delivered toys with Santa to orphanages on every island we visited. We were all impressed with their Christmas spirit. Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
This was my fifth cruise and the fourth with Princess. I have never been to the Caribbean and was looking forward to seeing the sites. Since I live on the west coast and my sister in the south we arrived on Saturday and stayed at the ... Read More
This was my fifth cruise and the fourth with Princess. I have never been to the Caribbean and was looking forward to seeing the sites. Since I live on the west coast and my sister in the south we arrived on Saturday and stayed at the Hilton that night - enjoyed the happy hour menu and the views of the marina. The trip to the terminal from the Hilton was about 5-8 minute ride and about $10 with tip. Boarding the Emerald Princess was quick and easy; they have this down to a fine science. The staff helped direct everyone to their cabins, which made finding our way around the ship much easier and staff were very welcoming. The ship wasn't full in fact it was only about 2,000 people. On this trip I was cruising with my sister and we were celebrating our birthdays aboard the Emerald. We booked a mini-suite and it was fabulous. Our room steward, Eric, was great and very attentive. Loved the additional space - great closet, bathroom and seating areas - the balcony was also spacious and we enjoyed the balcony every day. We were welcomed aboard with a glass of champagne. The welcome aboard and kick off event at the main pool was lively as usual and helped set the pace for a great experience. Our evening dining was in the Botticelli second seating and we enjoyed a table with two other couples. Our dining experience was fabulous and routinely we were the last ones to leave the dining room each night. Our table steward and his assistant were very attentive. We enjoyed dining in the dining room and missed only two nights. A fairly extensive wine list was provided and we did enjoy several bottles of wine. Food in the buffet was good, sometimes a little spotty but overall good. We did enjoy the International Cafe several times, having just a snack for lunch was all we needed and to go by and grab a cookie late in the late afternoon yumm they bake them right there and were warm. I purchased the coffee card and enjoyed a latte (or two) each day. I would recommend that you take a moment (at least once) and enjoy tea in the dining room, it's another way to meet some new friends and it's a very pleasant experience. We also enjoyed the English Pub lunch once and that too was great, along with a glass of good beer or two. We purchased the thermal room package in the spa. We used it only three times and when we did it was very relaxing. The difficulty with this is two points: they over sold the packages and it because of this it was overcrowded and in fact I believe many people by-passed the mandatory check in and entered in off the Sanctuary and secondly we were frustrated that people were "camping out" on the beds and placing towels (holding their spots). All of this could be abated if they had more staff over site of that room. We enjoyed the pools in the back and front of the ship, pool attendants were great and kept people happy. We did take in a few shows, which were good. The entertainment throughout the ship was pretty good. I stepped into the presentation by the shopping gal who explains and sells to the crowd the stores to go to when in port. Was very disappointed in the over selling and fast talking strategy of this. It seems pretty consistent throughout the ships with this kind of presentation. Oh well, I just know not to go to this again. Disembarking the ships was flawless. Had breakfast prior to leaving and we were processed quickly off the ship. I did note that Southwest has luggage assistance and for $10.00 you can have your luggage taken to the airport and boarding passes printed - a service I would use. Again, I took a taxi back to the Hilton to spend the night and took off early the next day to return to reality. Signed up for future cruise while on board and look forward to another trip on board Princess. Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
We flew all the way from Los Angeles to board the Emerald Princess on September 5, 2010. The check in process at the cruise terminal in Fort Lauderdale was so easy! We were on the ship by 12:15pm. This gave us a chance to run around the ... Read More
We flew all the way from Los Angeles to board the Emerald Princess on September 5, 2010. The check in process at the cruise terminal in Fort Lauderdale was so easy! We were on the ship by 12:15pm. This gave us a chance to run around the ship and wait for our luggage to be delivered to the room, in fact, it didn't take long for the luggage to come! Our Room was E619 which was a fully obstructed view. I was kind of dreading this room but actually, even though it was the worst obstructed view with a lovely tender sitting outside, it was nice. The natural light always came in. It was quiet too when they pulled the tenders down for Princess Cays. Once or twice, I did see a crew member working on the tender, so if you have this room, be cautious, you might have a surprise visitor outside your window :) Every dinner was fantastic, the service from the waiters was incredible. Speaking of service, ALL the crew on the ship were so sweet, always said Hello, Good Morning, Good Night, etc. We went to Princess Cays, St. Maarten, St. Thomas, Grand Turk...each place we berthed in was so clean and the locals were super nice. We did a shore excursion in St. Thomas, and would HIGHLY recommend it! CATAMARAN SAIL AND SNORKEL to TURTLE COVE was unbelievably the highlight of my vacation. Not only did we snorkel with tons of endangered sea turtles, but we also saw many stingrays and beautiful fish. The crew aboard the CAT (catamaran's name) were hilarious, great, and supportive as someone in my party was not a good swimmer or snorkeler. All the activities aboard ship were pretty neat too. At sea they had a Rum Tasting, it was free...fun to try different types of Rum. I enjoyed the daily trivia! THE PIZZA aboard ship is sooo delicious!!!!! It's a must try..every day! This vacation was simply wonderful and would recommend it to anyone with families, couples, etc. The Emerald Princess is a beautiful ship, and I miss her already. Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
We are a family of four with two young children 3 and 5. This is only our second cruise the first being with Royal Caribbean about 8 years ago. So we were really looking forward to this vacation! We flew in the day before the cruise left ... Read More
We are a family of four with two young children 3 and 5. This is only our second cruise the first being with Royal Caribbean about 8 years ago. So we were really looking forward to this vacation! We flew in the day before the cruise left from Colorado. We had booked the Crowne Plaza Airport/Cruise Port Hotel, due to the fact that it offered a free shuttle pick up at the airport and also a free shuttle to the cruise port. The shuttle was great! This hotel is new and I would highly recommend it to anyone going on a cruise! We arrived at embarkation at approximately 12:30 we made it through all the initial check-in easily. The lady who gave us our room cards and checked our documents was really slow, however all the lines around us were moving quickly. It was just our line! When we boarded the ship we were blow away. The ship is spectacular, so beautiful and classy. We had booked a category (I) inside stateroom on the Aloha deck mid-ship (A335). All of the crew that we initially met were warm and helpful we were in our room by 1:15. Our luggage arrived by 2:00. We were actually surprised by how roomy the room felt even for the four of us. Our kids got a kick out of the beds that folded down out of the wall. The cabin closet and bathroom were awesome! Plenty of room for all four of our stuff and a stroller. The bathroom was large compared to our last cruise. We also noted during our cruise how quiet the cabin was. We never heard any noise from other cabins or the hallway. Our room steward was HORRIBLE! The first day right after getting into our room we asked if she could configure the two twins into a queen and remove the ladders from the bunk beds (they take up too much room). She said yes. After dinner that night the beds and ladders were still not moved so I finally did it myself, and I just put the ladders in the closet. When we moved the beds there was about a 1/4 inch of dust and debris under the bed, this was never vacuumed or clean the entire week. We had also told our children about the towel animals prior to the cruise. Well Elizabeth never left one towel animal in the room. Not a big deal for us but the kids were disappointed. On the last night of the cruise my son had made a clay snake in the kids club that was drying on our shelf. We had also booked a post cruise shore excursion and had the instructions on the same shelf. When we came back for dinner she had thrown the instructions and the snake away. Needless to say our child was upset as were we. I don't think this is indicative of this ship or Princess I think we just had a lazy steward. Next we registered our children at the kids club (Princess Pelicans) we didn't plan on using the service much but after the first day our kids loved it so much that all they wanted to do was go to the kids club. The staff was wonderful! Everyday they had new activites and each day the kids left with some sort of "treasure" that they loved. And they looked forward to going there everyday. The food in the main dining room was fantastic! We loved everything we had there, far superior to the food we had on RCCL. We choose to do anytime dinning, which worked out great for us, we could go anytime the kids were ready. We never had to wait longer than 3-5 minutes. The hostess always helped keep the kids entertained while we were waiting. The waitstaff was wonderful! They were always very quick with everything and very attentive. They even made animals and such out of napkins etc. to entertain the kids. We had worried about taking the kids to dinner but the waitstaff were so wonderful with them that they enjoyed going to dinner and were very well behaved. Food at the Horizon Court was good I would say above average buffet food same at the Cafe Carribe. The only complaint that I have with Cafe Carribe was that they have theme buffets each night but the information as to what the "theme" would be was never publicized unless you went up and looked in the restuarant. One night we were lucky enough to catch Bavarian night and it was wonderful. The pizza was great, as were the hamburgers and hot dogs. We also had room service a couple of times and it was very good as well. We loved the International Cafe for a quick bite. Everything we tried there was delicious. I must say that the food on Princess Cays was mediocre at best. MUTS seemed like a cool idea, except that they really didn't play anything that good. We went to see Ironman 2 one night but the wind was blowing so hard we couldn't enjoy it. Also they never served popcorn or snacks. We used the fitness center everyday and it was nice and had eveything we needed. We even signed up for the thermal suite, which was something we had not planned on, nor was really in our budget, but we were so impressed with the facility we went ahead and did it. We considered it a treat for ourselves! Throughout the week we tried to use the facility every day. I say tried because the "gentle sauna" never worked the entire week, it was always ice cold. Several nights we used the other steam rooms and were only able to use the steam rooms for a couple of minutes because the temperature was so extremely high. On all of those occasions the front desk asked us why we were in there for such a short period of time. We explained about the temperature and were told that they were having trouble regulating the temperature. This was very frustrating to us that we paid extra for a service that we were unable to really enjoy or use. But the most unbelievable thing that happened to us was the last night of our cruise. We had spent the day at sea and my wife and I worked out and then went to the front desk to get a robe and a locker and check in. It was around 8:45 PM. When we approached the desk the gentleman setting behind the desk informed us that the spa was closed. We were shocked! When we bought the package we were told that the spa was open until 10:00 PM every night! But they neglected to tell us or post it anywhere that on the night before "turn around day" the spa closes early. The thing that was most shocking to me was the attitude this gentleman had. He was actually very nasty when telling us the spa was closed. When my wife and I showed our surprise and asked why they closed early he said, and I quote, "We close everything early, tomorrow is turnaround day, face it your vacation is over!" I was completely floored I have never had anyone be so nasty and condescending to me anywhere. We played BINGO one time and saw several of the shows and enjoyed all of them. I do think that Princess should have more activites on sea days. One afternoon we dressed up and took our almost four year old daughter to afternoon tea and had a great time. She loved every minute of it! The "Kids and Family Deck" at the back of the ship was a very nice area, a great idea. My only complaint were the non-kids or families (usually elderly) people who hung out back there and then acted all put out when our kids would get in the pool and splash around. Apparently they didn't realize that there are two other adult only pools on the ship. Overall this ship and cruise were wonderful! We would definatly do it again. We were able to overlook the small snafus and have a wonderful time! Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
Boarding was a qualified fast and easy - as Elite and Platinum members, respectively, my wife and I enjoyed preferred boarding that hastened our embarkation. The cruise terminal in Fort Lauderdale is not the most accommodating I've ... Read More
Boarding was a qualified fast and easy - as Elite and Platinum members, respectively, my wife and I enjoyed preferred boarding that hastened our embarkation. The cruise terminal in Fort Lauderdale is not the most accommodating I've seen. It is little more than a glorified airplane hangar - concrete floors, portable chairs, little to no air conditioning. The weather in Florida was hot and humid, so getting on the ship expeditiously was a relief. We had difficulty with our stateroom safe right off the bat, but it was repaired quickly ( Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
Our August 22 Eastern Caribbean cruise on the Emerald Princess was wonderful. As background, this was my 19th cruise, 3rd on Princess. My daughter and I have also cruised on NCL, Celebrity, HAL, Costa, and RCL. We met many great people on ... Read More
Our August 22 Eastern Caribbean cruise on the Emerald Princess was wonderful. As background, this was my 19th cruise, 3rd on Princess. My daughter and I have also cruised on NCL, Celebrity, HAL, Costa, and RCL. We met many great people on this cruise, many from Cruise Critic. We arrived the day before and stayed in the Marriott Courtyard Ft. Lauderdale Beach Hotel. Both the hotel and the location were perfect. It was a $20 taxi ride from the airport as they did not have a free shuttle. We wanted to stay at the beach this time and made a good choice. We ended up leaving the hotel earlier then expected and arrived at the pier around 10:00. We were not the first ones there and joined others with #1 cards in a lounge with chairs. The main door (by the soda machine) was receiving early and elite passengers - the door that would be used as the main entrance later was not yet open. At exactly 12 Noon they opened the doors and we went immediately to the desk. Check-in took less than 60 seconds. We walked past the photographer, used our cruise card for the first time to check on the ship, and went straight to our cabin. We were there by 12:10. This could not have been easier. It was rumored that the ship was not quite sold out, and there did not seem to be as many children as earlier summer cruises we have been on. For this cruise we chose a mini-suite on Dolphin Deck. This was a great choice! A bathtub - yippee! The room was comfortable, with a large closet, safe, and full size couch. Three suitcases can fit under each bed. The balcony was smaller than those on Caribe deck, but bigger than the balcony cabins on the higher decks. On this deck the balconies are uncovered. Honestly, this did not bother us at all, except when it rained. Our cabin steward, Thomas, was excellent and always in the hall. He got us extra hangers and more pillows, and added the egg crate pad to the beds the second night. He also brought us four beach towels every day and filled the ice bucket frequently. Dining Room: We chose Traditional Early Seating on this cruise, having done Anytime Dining on our two previous Princess cruises. I like having the same wait staff and tablemates every night - and our tablemates were great! Service was ok, but not as attentive as past cruises. We did have to ask for our drinks (always soda and tea) every night and they did not stop back after serving us to see if our selections were to our liking. Food was fine, some nights better than others. The choices on Caribbean Night were not appealing to any of us so we chose from the alternate, always available, side of the menu. The Princess Dream dessert continues to be my favorite! Horizon Court: I found that I had completely forgotten how crowded this area is. Certainly not big enough to hold 3000+ passengers for breakfast or lunch. Finding a table was an art, but the wait staff was always at the exit to the line asking if they could help you find a seat. Once seated the waiters brought you your choice of drink and would stop by the table often to see if you needed anything. Navigating the crowded buffet area is difficult at crowded times. The food choices were similar everyday and we chose to do the Trident Grill (cheese burgers, hotdogs, chicken sandwiches, and veggie burgers) and the Pizzeria several days. The pizza is absolutely delicious, with cheese, pepperoni, and one daily special available everyday from 11:00 a.m. until 1:00 a.m. every day!!! Crown Grille: We made reservations as soon as we boarded on Sunday for two nights at the Crown Grille. Once again, we were not disappointed by the food or the service. We had NY strip steak, filet mignon, lobster tails and the giant prawns over the two nights. On our second visit our tablemates from the dining room joined us and between the four of us we ordered all the available side dishes. The corn casserole and the scalloped potatoes were my favorites. Our table by the window looked like a buffet!!! On the second night our server had them make me a special dish with the prawns and it was perfect. For dessert we had the lava cake (very chocolaty), the dessert sampler, and a very light and fluffy cheesecake. All were delicious. Sanctuary: We had read a great deal about the Sanctuary and how the chairs sell out quickly, so we went directly there after dropping off our carry-ons in the cabin. We were the first people to select our two chairs for the week. This was the best money I have ever spent on a cruise! The staff was very attentive all week, bringing us cold water and cool, wet towels throughout the day. We were greeted by name every morning and they made our chairs up while we waited. I was even able to change my chair at the end of the week to one in the shade - I had had enough sun! You need to be careful where you select your chair, as you are not allowed to move them. The area was very quiet and the adults only Lotus Spa pool was just a short walk away. The first several days the pool was empty, but then it was "discovered" and we were joined by many others! Having a chair at the Sanctuary allowed me to actually leave and do other onboard activities and then come back - something you can't do at the pool or you will be labeled a "chair hog." We really loved the Sanctuary and would recommend it to anyone who really wants to relax. Wine Tasting: We chose to do the Maitre d' Wine Tasting session for $25 each on the first day at sea. I have to say we were disappointed in this. The dining room seating made seeing and hearing the presentation very difficult. It didn't help that all the passengers were talking throughout the entire tasting session. There were six wines to taste with canapEs to pair with each. Entertainment: We only saw two shows, the comedian in the Princess Theater and a magician/comedian in the Explorer Lounge. Troy Thirdgill, who performed in the theater, was hysterical; he kept us laughing from beginning to end. James Michael in the Explorer lounge was labeled as PG13 in the Princess Patter and his comedy was certainly very adult in nature. Unfortunately, at 8:30 there were many young children in the audience. Some of his show was funny, but we were, in fact, offended when he "mooned" the entire room at the end of his show. We saw also the hula hoop lady and another comedian in the Piazza and both were very entertaining. We only saw Oceans (a documentary) on MUTS this trip. Most of the other MUTS choices did not interest us or the show times were not convenient. The Ports: As always, floating on a raft in the beautiful sea at Princess Cays was very relaxing. We decided not to stay for lunch on the island and returned to the ship for a quiet lunch and an afternoon at the Sanctuary. St. Maartin was hot, as always, so we took the excursion to Orient Bay and thoroughly enjoyed this day. Our guide, Toni, was delightful, pointing out interesting things as our bus drove to and from the beach. We paid an extra $3 for an umbrella and enjoyed the waves and lunch. Although this worked out to be a little more expensive then doing it on our own, we agreed that we liked taking the bus instead of the usual hot taxi. In St. Thomas we spent the morning shopping and then returned to the ship for lunch and the pool. We have been to St. Thomas many times and this was a perfect day for us. Finally, we had our first visit to Grand Turk. We rented a golf cart and along with our dinner tablemates we spent the afternoon touring the island (and getting lost) on our own. The island is beautiful and the people were all very friendly, always waving as we went by. We ended the day at the Margaritaville pool and beach. Weather: Cruising during hurricane season is always a risk, and this week there were two hurricanes, Danielle and Earl, out there with us. Danielle was ahead of us and Earl was just getting organized off of Africa. In spite of that the cruise was very smooth, no rocking, and sunny everyday except one. Overall Impressions: The entire staff on this ship was friendly and helpful. Everyone greeted you as you passed them, no matter where you were. The ship was spotless, with cleaning taking place constantly. Yes, you can still see workers polishing the railings every morning! We purchased the soda card ($34.00, including tip) and definitely got our money's worth. We took advantage of the reduced price drinks between 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. while at the Explorers Lounge. The International Cafe is the place to go for delicious breakfast treats and warm cookies at night. I still haven't tried the gelato, which is said to be fabulous. The Cruise Director was new to the ship and we only saw him on TV. Our only disappointment was the Passenger Services' Desk being unable to answer questions about the duty free guidelines for St. Thomas. There was no information on this topic in any onboard literature and three trips to the desk resulted in three different answers. The result was a trip to the "duty room" on the pier after we went through customs. Overall, this was a wonderful, very relaxing cruise and we can't wait to cruise on Princess again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2010
Pre-Cruise: This was our 5th cruise, 3rd on Princess. Our family of four (Dad, Mom, and two adult daughters) arrived in Ft. Lauderdale on Southwest from Providence on Saturday afternoon and spent the pre-cruise day at the Best Western ... Read More
Pre-Cruise: This was our 5th cruise, 3rd on Princess. Our family of four (Dad, Mom, and two adult daughters) arrived in Ft. Lauderdale on Southwest from Providence on Saturday afternoon and spent the pre-cruise day at the Best Western Oceanside. We utilized the Sun Trolley (free on Saturday) to shop for wine, soda and a stop for lunch. The hotel itself is old, and the rooms are small but clean. The dEcor is probably the same as the day it opened under its previous owner back in the 60's or 70's, or whenever it was. The rooms could use a serious makeover. The pool and breakfast room areas, however, are clean and modern, and the staff was very pleasant. The big reason for booking this hotel were location (just a short walk to the beach) and price (Hotwire). Would I book it again? Sure, but only at a Hotwire or Priceline rate, and never with four people to a room. Embarkation: After waking in the wee early hours to watch the arrival of the Emerald from Ft. Lauderdale beach, we went to breakfast and met up with Olga & Pavel, our new Cruise Critic friends from Russia, who were to be married on the first Emerald sea day. How romantic is that! We then packed up and used the shuttle that was outside waiting for passengers who were willing to pay the $7/pp for transportation to the pier. A taxi would have been cheaper, but we had a lot of luggage, so this was easier than trying to cram all our stuff into a cab. We arrived at the port at about 11:30 a.m. and were in our room by 12:15, a very quick and efficient process on the part of Princess. Stateroom: After reading about those much-talked-about Aft cabins, we decided to go for one and booked C752. The good: the ever-so-slight rocking of the ship and the sound of the wake was very calming, the view is awesome, and the privacy from cabins above was a definite plus. The not-so-great: (1) the hike. While we appreciated the benefit of exercise, the long walk to the cabin was a pain after a long day in port. (2) lack of a real breeze on the balcony; we missed the ocean breeze felt on the port & starboard side cabins. Also, due to the lack of moving air, the tobacco smoke coming from our neighbors was a little annoying at times. For those wondering about balcony odors some have mentioned, there were some food odors, usually late in the day around meal times, but nothing foul or bothersome. Having said that, there was one day early in the cruise, where several cabins in our area were having some plumbing issues (toilets wouldn't flush), and as a result there was a pretty awful sewage smell in the hallway. However, to the credit of the crew, this was taken care of right away, and by that evening, all the odors were gone and all plumbing once again in good order. Our cabin steward, Saul, from Mexico, attended to our every need with a friendly smile and willingness to please. We had his services until Friday, when he disembarked in Cozumel to head home, as his contract was up. Speaking of crew, we did not encounter any rude or unfriendly crew members in our 7 days on board. Everyone was always ready with a smile and a friendly "hello". Beds: We found the beds to be perfectly fine and comfortable for us. We did not ask for or need an egg crate, and we were provided with four comfy pillows. However, we do like a very firm mattress (and I could sleep anywhere when tired enough!) A/C: I was anticipating inefficient A/C, so I packed a fan, but never had to use it because the A/C was fine, and we even had to lower it a few times. The A/C around the ship was comfortable for the most part, and I only found myself needing a sweater once at dinner in the dining room. The Emerald: She is a gorgeous ship, very clean and elegant. We found the staff regularly walking around tidying up, polishing, sweeping and otherwise keeping her ship-shape. Navigation around the ship decks is fairly easy, once you figure out the "can't get there from here" hot spots. The mid-ship Piazza is particularly spectacular, with featured entertainment, the International Cafe, Vines wine bar, and retail shops, making for a great gathering place. By the way, good deals can be found in the ship's stores. I got a great price on a Citizens watch as a birthday gift for DH. Meet & Greet: We did not plan any formal meeting through the ship, but met at the Outrigger Bar at 5:00 on embarkation day. It was great to meet you, Olga & Pavel, Band Mom & family, Mr. & Mrs. Elisabetta, Mr. & Mrs. Mett (sorry, names are escaping me), and anyone else I'm forgetting. To our roll call members who couldn't make it, I hope you all had a fun and relaxing cruise, and wish you more great future sailings! Before I comment further on the different aspects of the cruise, I'd like to say that my favorite experience on the ship the entire week was the wedding of our friends from Russia, Olga & Pavel. It was such an honor to be invited and so exciting to experience a wedding at sea. The wedding was enchanting, the couple looked beautiful, and the wedding cake and champagne were delicious! Dining: We had Anytime Dining, and never had to wait for a table. One evening, we just showed up around 7 pm, offered to sit with others, and were seated immediately. For the other nights, we made a reservation in the morning, arrived at the dining room at the appointed time and, again, were seated immediately. Food and service were both great, and even our picky daughters were able to find something they liked on the menu. Some of the delicious apps and dishes were escargot, fettucini alfredo, shrimp newburg, prime rib, Hawaian Luau Pork, and lobster tail, of course. Crown Grill: This is where we celebrated our 33rd anniversary. The steak and filet were both great, and the service as well. DH showered me with gifts and the waiters brought a cake and sang "Happy Anniversary". Awwww! Interestingly, the restaurant was not crowded at all, perhaps because it was a port day and the passengers were exhausted from the long day in port (the ship was only scheduled to leave Cozumel at 7 p.m.). Horizon Court: Standard buffet fare. The staff members were helpful in finding seating and serving drinks. The buffet gets crazy at prime times, so we avoided it on a couple of occasions by having breakfast in the dining room, light lunch at the International Cafe, or even room service. Caribe Cafe: We dined here one evening because we didn't like the Caribbean menu in the dining room. This was a nice alternative to the dining room - informal, but with more class than Horizon Court. The atmosphere was nice, with real napkins and tablecloths. The food was good, but the desserts were great! International Cafe: I have to say, of all the food on the ship, this was our favorite. They serve light lunch fare, perfect for a light snack after a morning excursion, or even a continental breakfast. Great sandwiches, quiche, salads, pastries, and even cookies & milk in the afternoon. I never got around to the gelato - I'll save that for next time around. The addition of entertainment - whether pianist or string quartet - makes for a relaxing mid-day break. Coffee: One of several hot topics, I thought I'd mention that although we purchased a few specialty coffees with the coffee card, the regular stuff in the dining room and buffet was just fine for us. Then again, we're more Dunkin Donuts people, rather than Starbucks, so that may have something to do with it. Wheelhouse Bar: You'll find a pub lunch served on Tuesday and Thursday. Some of the best fish & chips you'll find anywhere. Also tried the cottage pie, which was good, but seemed to have more potato than meat & veggie. Note: If you are celebrating a special occasion, call for your dining reservation, tell them you are celebrating, and a card will appear in your mailbox. Give this card to the maitre d, and a cake and singing waiters will appear at the end of the meal. I was surprised to see the Baked Alaska parade done in the anytime dining rooms. This was a special treat on the last night, which also happened to be DH's birthday. So not only was there Baked Alaska, there was also cake and singing waiters for the birthday boy. Pizza: Delicious and always a favorite for us, though it's still a mystery to me why they charge $3.00 to deliver it to your room. Trident Grill: Hotdogs were memorable, burgers were just okay (comments from the family - I never made it to the grill). Entertainment: Time got away from us, and we missed some events. Here's what we did see: "Grand Adventure Showtime": We could have skipped this. It was just really a run-down of the week's happenings by cruise director, Tim Donovan, with a little music, dancing, and comedy. "Princess Pop Star": A favorite of ours, as our younger daughter was a contestant and proud to say, a Finalist (with her rendition of "Natural Woman")! She didn't win on the final night of the contest, but we were still proud as peacocks! Noteworthy musicians we heard included the band "Evolution" (daughter did the "live" karaoke with them), the Polonia String Quartet, the pianist in the Piazza, and for you loyal Bert Stratton fans, he was in residence, as well. We did not catch the big production shows, but found comedian, Troy Thirdgill, to be hysterically funny! Casino: Sucked up our money like a vacuum. Need I say more. There were a couple of smoke-free nights in the casino. Nice, though all it did was make us want to stay longer and lose more. MUTS: Get out there early for a good seat. I like MUTS, but always fall asleep during the movie - it's that relaxing. Some movies shown were Shrek 4, Ironman 2, How to Train Your Dragon, Letters to Juliet, When in Rome, Invictus, Sherlock Homes. Pools: Yes, on sea days, the chair hogs are everywhere. For instance, when we arrived at the MUTS pool at 9 am of the second sea day, we saw 6 chairs in a row saved with the owner's own assortment of brightly colored towels. These folks didn't show up to actually use these chairs until after 12:00 pm. Maybe they figured their own pretty towels would be off limits to anyone who would be thinking of removing them? I don't know. Personally, we plan our pool & sun time for early morning, before 9:00, stay until lunch and leave when it gets really hot and crowded. We love the fresh water pools, and on a hot day, they are very refreshing. Aft Pool: On the Caribbean Princess back in 2005, this was my favorite area of the ship - it was quiet, with some sun, some shade. The Emerald - not so much. With the design of the Emerald, Skywalker's was moved, Sabatini's placed in the back upper decks, thus eliminating the shaded area over the pool, as well as deck space for chairs. We miss the shade back there. Princess Cays: Again, we're morning people, so we tendered over early, got a chair in the shade, snorkled and swam for a while, and went back to the ship. We skipped the barbecue this time around, so no comments there. The water was warm and beautiful, and we saw a ton of fish. For snorkeling enthusiasts, go to the left of the pier, down to the second outcropping of rocks, for the best fish. Jamaica: Jamaica has gotten some bad press lately, and I didn't know what to expect. I decided to book a tour with a reputable guide, so went with Mark Morris, who took us on his Dunn's River Falls/Highlights tour. Mark was friendly and his love of Jamaica was very obvious. He took the time to call everyone by name, and especially remembered that I wanted to go to his dad's pottery studio and try some authentic jerk chicken at Scotchies. Mark took us around in his clean, modern van, giving a little history along the way, providing an attractive picture of Jamaica that those who don't leave the port could never experience. The chicken at Scotchies was delicious, and his dad sold us some beautiful pottery. Dunn's River Falls was a thrill, but not an easy climb. I am happy to say that we made it out with only a few scrapes. The girls finished the trek to the top. However, when I saw the final steep slope of rocky ledge ahead of me, I decided I had enough and got off at the second "escape" route. Not a bad feat, since I only decided to make the attempt at the last minute. The only real casualty to come out of Jamaica was DH's expensive new camera. He was photographing us climbing the falls, and his expensive new camera got drenched - not from the falls (he didn't climb), but because of a heavy downpour. Grand Cayman: We did the ship's Catamaran Stingray City tour. This was a great experience. There were maybe 60 people or so on the boat, with a friendly, experienced crew of 2. However, due to the number of ships in port (4), the sandbar was packed. While we had a good number of rays to play with when we arrived, the appearance of more fully-packed boats, made the rays scatter off to find new food sources. The catamaran's sails were then raised, and we had a pleasant, relaxing ride back to port. Cozumel: We went to Tulum with the ship's excursion. I have been before - once, back in 2002. The girls' main reason for coming on this cruise was to see ruins, so this was one we couldn't miss. A lot has changed in 8 years. The little roadside pit stop has turned into a large brick & mortar building with restrooms, snacks, drinks, and every sort of tourist trinket you can imagine. The stop has gone from 15 minutes to about 35. No more box lunch on the bus, either, because Tulum has now become a bit of a tourist trap, with restaurants, a Subway (are you kidding?!!!), and a whole bunch of vendors. The ruins at Tulum are still spectacular, but this time around I have to say it was really overrun with cruise passengers. That fact, combined with the oppressive heat and humidity, meant that once the narrated tour was done, we took a few photos and headed back to one of the restaurants for lunch, drinks, and then the bus. Fair warning: the margaritas in Mexico are lethal! Maybe it was the combination of the heat, dehydration, and an empty stomach, but after a few sips, that potent potion went right to my head. My girls found me to be very amusing. I find the history of the Mayans fascinating, and the next time we do ruins, it probably won't be on a cruise. Disembarkation: Princess has an amazing procedure for this - very efficient. We were given colored tags for the luggage, which we left out the night before and given a time and place to wait to disembark. We left the cabin, as instructed at 8 am, went for a leisurely breakfast in the dining room, arrived at 9:30 to wait for our tags to be called, which was about 10 minutes. We proceeded off, collected out luggage (which was easy to find due to our own easy-to-find IDs on each piece), and headed out for a taxi to our post-cruise hotel. Note: Be sure to follow the signs for taxi, and don't do what we did, which was to follow the guy who said he had transportation for us. Once we realized he wanted $11/pp (!!), we said no thanks and headed back to the taxis. It was a quick ride to the hotel - from ship to hotel, less than 20 minutes. Post-Cruise Hotel: I am writing this from the Hyatt Summerfield Suites in Dania Beach. We originally had a late flight, so decided to spend the day and fly out tomorrow morning. This is a nice, new, modern hotel, which I got through Hotwire for $68. We have a suite with separate king bedroom, pull out sofa, full kitchen and 2 flat screen TVs. There is a free shuttle to the airport and anywhere within a 3-mile radius, which was great because we took it across the street to TGIF to have lunch with my niece who lives in the Hollywood area. The only negative I see to this room is the bathroom. It's in the bedroom portion of the room, so anyone sleeping on the sofa needs to come into the bedroom to use it. There is no normal locking door to the bathroom, only a sliding door which doesn't latch shut - very odd. The bathroom shower has a clear glass door as well as clear glass wall half way down the side of the shower stall - also very strange. This is not doable for the family member who might want to use the sink while another is in the shower. There is no privacy. Other than that, it's a very comfortable room to hang out in if you want to just chill. There is a pool, although it's been raining all day, so we didn't use it. Finally, breakfast is provided from 6:00 am until 10:00. Great hotel deal at $68! In summary, this was an awesome cruise. We purchased future cruise credits, and will be planning our next cruise in two years for the big 35th anniversary. We just have to decide where we will go next. Read Less
Sail Date August 2010
My husband and I are avid cruisers. We are Platinum on Carnival and have been on most other cruise lines. We sail approx. twice yearly. This was our first time on Princess. I was very happy with Princess. The service, cleanliness of the ... Read More
My husband and I are avid cruisers. We are Platinum on Carnival and have been on most other cruise lines. We sail approx. twice yearly. This was our first time on Princess. I was very happy with Princess. The service, cleanliness of the ship, quality of the food and entertainment was A+!! Our cabin was very roomy, lots of closet and drawer space and a big roomy balcony! Departures to the ports were very well organized. The tours were excellent. Princess Cay was beautiful. We were on an "out" island on Holland America and you had to "hike" to get your lunch. The beach was long and narrow and there were two other ships in port. No place to sit and no shade. Princess has it set up that there are two food stations both conveniently located. Music played, bar staff worked the beach taking drink orders all day. It was great. Beautiful palm tress and plenty of seating. Tenders were running constantly. The only thing I have to say about Princess is for someone who does not eat meat of any kind or fish, there weren't too many selections. One can only eat a grilled chicken breast once or twice. Even the plasta had either cream sauces or meat in it. The buffet on Lido was very nice. Placemats adorned the tables and the waitstaff brought your drinks to you. Food was fresh, salad bar plentiful and the breads/rolls/desserts were absolutley the best!!! Disembarkation was the smoothest I have ever had. You were told to please vacate your cabin by a certain time (schedules were slipped under your doors the night before) and assigned a "waiting area". Ours was the casino. We decided not to drag our carry on pieces up to the dining area (we live in Ft. Lauderdale and can eat as soon as we get home!)so we proceeded to the casino. There we had hot coffee and teas waiting. Once our number was called we were escorted down to the gangway by a ship crew member. We were so pleased with Princess, we put a deposit down for another cruise! Read Less
Sail Date August 2010
I'll try to keep this brief. Most aspects of the cruise were great, we are still fans and will cruise again. Best Parts: Efficient embarkation, quick and painless, even with a full (3400 pax) ship. Food in dining rooms well ... Read More
I'll try to keep this brief. Most aspects of the cruise were great, we are still fans and will cruise again. Best Parts: Efficient embarkation, quick and painless, even with a full (3400 pax) ship. Food in dining rooms well prepared, tasty, enough choices. Dining room service was good to excellent, even using Anytime Dining. Anytime Dining worked for us, had no waits, mostly ate early by choice. Flexibility of Anytime Dining is wonderful. Pools were refreshing and used a lot. Loungers were available even on sea days, but perhaps not in the location you might want (sun vs. shade or deck level). Ship was in great shape. MUTS was fun, even in the light sprinkle rain. Self-disembarkation was a breeze. We will certainly choose this option again. Surprisingly disappointing parts: Clothing rules were not anywhere close to followed or enforced, seemingly anywhere. Shorts and short-sleeved aloha shirts in the dining room on formal nights. Bare-chested and shoeless men inside the buffet (not just walking past, I mean serving themselves food and then sitting down and eating.) Girls and women using wet pool towels as 'clothing' sarong-style, also in the buffet areas. Dining room and buffet staff saw all this every day and did not even blink. It made us wonder if we should re-think even trying to take the appropriate clothes on our next cruise or if we should just take tee-shirts and shorts for everything. Maybe it was the itinerary, maybe it was the passenger mix, maybe it was something else. I will say the line-up at the past passengers party (on formal night) was 100% appropriately dressed, so maybe it is a lack of experience. Chair Hogs were about 30% of the lounge chair 'users', which is actually less than what I expected, but the Deck Staff did nothing to enforce the 30 minute rule OR to help passengers looking for a spot. "Go somewhere else" was their advice and assistance. Princess should either have the Deck Staff DO something or assign them to some other job. I saw four men standing by the bathrooms doing absolutely nothing to assist passengers on the last sea day. Good, nothing extra special, but certainly adequate parts: Shore excursions were OK, I think we will go back to booking our own and get more time 'doing' and less time 'getting organized and talking'. Entertainment was plentiful, although seating space is at the usual premium. Many small venues + full ship means that only about half the passengers can see the lounge shows even when they are performed four times per cruise. Photo Ops were available, but not terribly pushy if you did not want to participate. Did not use the Spa or Sanctuary, did not see anyone using Sanctuary when we went to the Lotus pool. Treadmills were plentiful in the gym, many people ran on deck, too. Princess is trying to up the ante on their enrichment options, but it still needs some work. We had a guest island history lecturer onboard, who while qualified on paper, was an utter bore and not a very good public speaker. I attempted to go to ceramics the first day, but so did twice as many people as they had space for. I chose not to sit directly in the broiling sun for two hours without a fan or a cooling breeze just to paint a dish. Instead, I went back to my covered balcony and read for a while before taking a nap. Read Less
Sail Date July 2010
Where to begin...well after quite a number of cruises on RCCL, I can honestly say I have been won over by Princess! This was the best cruise we have ever been on For our transportation to the ship and from the ship to the airport, the ... Read More
Where to begin...well after quite a number of cruises on RCCL, I can honestly say I have been won over by Princess! This was the best cruise we have ever been on For our transportation to the ship and from the ship to the airport, the hotel (Gallery One) recommended a gentleman by the name of Tony. He charged $25 to go to the pier and $25 from the ship to the airport. That was the same as the cab fare and he had a very nice comfy SUV that had great air conditioning! His company is T J Shuttles and he offers transportation in Ft. Lauderdale and to Miami. He is very prompt and professional and I recommend him highly! We were in an aft suite, which we just loved! Now I never want anything but an aft cabin. We were very impressed with Princess and the way everything is handled, from embarkation to disembarkation. It took us just about 15 minutes to check in and we were escorted right onboard. We were led to our cabin immediately upon boarding. While our cabin was different than those we have had on RCCL, I quickly fell in love with it. We were very pleased with all the perks that came with booking a suite. Unlimited free internet, free laundry, free mini bar set up, corsage and boutonniere on the first formal night, very nice toiletries (I love the eucalyptus products!) Our balcony was wonderful as well! The muster drill was a very pleasant surprise! Meeting in one of the lounges was so much better than standing out in the hot sun! Also, since we were on B2B, the second week, we did not have to attend! On RCCL, we always had to attend the second week. The use of the Piazza on this ship was just wonderful! A delightful departure from the large Voyager and Freedom class ships. We enjoyed various entertainers there on a number of occasions. The International Cafe was great and we would often stop by for a goodie(or two!) when we went for coffee. We did purchase a coffee card and I will do that again. I can tell a difference in the coffees! My DH tried to trick me one day and got coffee from the Horizon Court and tried to make me think it was the real stuff...hmmpf! The coffe card was good for regular brewed coffee, specialty coffees and iced/frozen coffee drinks. We ate in the dining room a few times and the food and service were wonderful. This time though, we changed things up a bit and did primarily casual dining. The casual dining areas offered the same items in the evening that the main dining room had. That was a surprise to us. Also, I never knew they offered SO much shrimp!! It was just great to get all one cared to eat several time during the cruise! We never had this experience on RCCL, ever. The cruise director's staff was awesome! Though not so much the actual cruise director. A young lady by the name of Jess, was very diligent in trying to provide activities for the 18-20 year old passengers (our son is 19) and she did a wonderful job!! This age group is often over-looked, as they are too old for the teen center and too young to drink in the bars. Besides, we don't want to give the impression that the only way to have fun and meet people is to go to a bar. There were several activities daily that were organized for this group and this allowed them to meet other people their age and do things around the ship together in smaller groups I hope they pursue this program as I am unaware of any other cruise line doing this. Kudos to Jess for initiating this, I do hope she receives the recognition she so deserves! MUTS was a delightful experience! Nice cozy blankets, popcorn and even warm chocolate chip cookies! Wow! It was almost like going to a drive-in years ago. It didn't matter what was showing, it was just fun! The pizza was very good, but again, all the food was good to us. If one thing didn't seem to appeal to us, there were many other things available. I am sure nobody went hungry. Breakfast in Sabatini's was a very nice treat that I would highly suggest. There were many things that we did not get around to doing, I guess that means we'll have to go again! We missed Afternoon Tea, which was quite good I hear. Once again, I could not stay up late enough for the adult comedy show at midnight (fun in the sun does make one tired!) We did not try any of the alternative dining for our evening meals, such as Chops, the Chef's table, etc. I had planned on trying The Sanctuary, but the aft pool turned out to be my favorite place to go, close to the bar and food! Again, this was our favorite cruise to date. We had grown tired of RCCL and the predictability that had come with our cruises and also when they began taking perks away from the various loyalty levels we found ourselves looking for a change. I am so glad things turned out as they did, or we may never have had the wonderful experience we did. I am just saddened by the fact that Princess has decided not to have a ship out of Florida for the Caribbean next summer. I know this has been discussed at length though. I am suffering from post cruise depression now, as I don't have a cruise booked for next year. I'll be scouring the Princess site for ideas as we are definitely hooked on Princess! Tami Read Less
Sail Date July 2010
We booked this cruise less than 3 weeks prior to departure on a last minute whimsical idea (need) to get away. This was our second princess cruise - my wife and I did an Alaskan cruise on the Coral Princess 4 years ago for our 20Thu ... Read More
We booked this cruise less than 3 weeks prior to departure on a last minute whimsical idea (need) to get away. This was our second princess cruise - my wife and I did an Alaskan cruise on the Coral Princess 4 years ago for our 20Thu wedding anniversary and it was fabulous. We had no problems going back to Princess and were fortunate to be able to secure 2 adjacent balcony cabins on an upper deck. Since we were bringing our two youngest children (15 & 9), we knew this cruise was going to be different than our Alaska cruise. We flew into FLL the day before and stayed at the Hampton Inn & Suites. This was done for the sole purpose of making our transfer to the cruise ship less hectic. We got to the cruise terminal early (~ 11:15 AM) and had to wait in the waiting area for about 30-45 minutes. The AC had broken and it was quite hot. Once they got the okay to start boarding, the process went very smoothly. We got into our cabin on deck 12) about 12:30 PM and were quickly greeted by our cabin steward, Zeus (from Philippines). He was great throughout the cruise. I was particularly impressed that they had a queen bed set-up in my cabin and two twins in my kid's cabin as we had requested. Also, Zeus had opened the partition on the balconies so we could easily pass from one cabin to the other (the cabins were not adjoining from the inside). since our bags had not made it to our cabins, e decided to do a "walk around" and have lunch. The ship was big, clean and beautiful. I will spare details and just say the buffet lunch in Horizon Court was beyond expectations in both quantity and quality. On day 1, the crew tries very hard to sell passengers the drink packages - particularly soda and kids drinks. The soda package ($28) is a good deal because every soda costs $2 plus tip, but you only need one per party as anyone in the party can use the cup or card. DO NOT BUY MORE THAN ONE!! DINING - because we booked so late we had to get the early seating for the traditional dining format. We wanted the 8 PM seating, but that was not available. Princess now offers "anytime dining" which is also a good option, but may may require some wait time depending on what time and what dining room you choose. We really liked the idea of having the same table at the same time. One of the big attractions for us on this option was that we knew we would also be getting the same waitstaff every dinner. The dining room waitstaff are usually more personable than the buffet waitstaff (especially if you have them every night) - they want to please you because they know they may get an extra tip at the end. As it turned out, we started with the 6 PM seating in the DaVinci dining Room and after two nights switched to the 8 PM seating since there was a table available in the same section - we kept the same waitstaff. Our 2 waiters (Giwell & Ruwell) were awesome throughout the entire cruise. After the first night, they knew what we all liked to drink and would bring milk, sprite, and a bottle of our favorite Mondavi Merlot to our table right after we sat down. You don't get that from the buffet waitstaff or with anytime dining. BREAKFAST - we opted for the Horizon court buffet breakfast every morning....FANTASTIC. So many options, I cannot imagine anyone could complain. My favorite was the omelet station. They would custom cook omelets for you and they were great. I had egg white omelets almost every morning. LUNCH - most of the time, myself and the kids would hit the pizza bar by the pool and then go through the buffet. My wife tended to use just the buffet. One day I got a hot dog and fries to change the pace. The pools, buffet, pizza, and grill are all on the same deck (15), so there was really no inconvenience. The food was excellent. Of course, one can always do the sit down lunches in one of the main dining rooms. On a scale 1 to 10, I would give the food an overall rating of 8.5 - 9. It is not "over the top", but it is very,very good, and plentiful. ENTERTAINMENT - The cruise director and staff are energetic and a little corny. That is their job, so I guess they have to be. Nonetheless, they work hard at promoting the events and engaging the passengers at the various venues. The entertainers were very good, not spectacular. You are on a cruise ship, not Broadway and you need to remember that. I was particularly impressed with the energy of the dancers and one of the comedians (Rodney Johnson). One of the most entertaining events did not involve any professional entertainers. The Princess Pop Star Contest was addicting. It was the cruise ship's version of "America's Got Talent". This was a karaoke contest that involved three preliminary rounds and a final. Good fun for all four of us! FITNESS ROOM - great location; well equipped, and gets plenty of use. RECREATION - the 2 main pools at mid ship on deck 15 are small and get extremely crowded on "at sea days". There is plenty of seating around the pools and on the decks surrounding the pools. TIP - you are not supposed to reserve deck chairs ...baloney; everyone does. If you do not reserve/claim a deck chair by 9AM on an "at sea day", you will not get one or be forced to take one on a higher deck, a mile away from the pool, and with no potential for shade relief. Please keep in mind that there are two other pools - 1 in the Sanctuary (forward) which is an adults only, extra charge facility and the Terrace Pool (aft) which is also adults only, but no charge. If we did not have our kids with us, we would have lived at the Terrace pool. We tried to get our kids involved with the kids programs (which seemed to be well run), but they did not enjoy it. Many families used the kids program as a babysitting service. We did not go on a cruise with our kids to put them under someone else's care, so this was not a big deal for us - we thoroughly enjoyed having them with us throughout. CASINO - not a gambler CABIN - great location (deck 12). Having had a balcony on both this cruise and our Alaskan cruise, I do not think I could do a cruise in the future without a balcony. It is true, you do not spend a ton of time in the cabin, but when you do it is nice to be able to slide a door open and step out into some fresh air with some privacy amid 3000+ passengers. It also lessens the confinement component and makes the cabin feel bigger (because they are small). PORTS OF CALL - see below. I am not a big fan of tendering (Princess Cays and Grand Cayman), but Princess does a good job with it. In Grand Cayman it was pleasing to see minimal waits at the Princess lines on shore while both the RC and Carnival lines were extremely long. It was also a nice touch for the Princess crew to hand out cold cloths and cold drinking water to passengers coming back to the ship. The other cruise lines did not do this. EXCURSIONS - Beware - this is where your cruise bill can go through the roof. Most of the excursions that are worth anything are not cheap. If you have the time, do your homework. You can often do the same trips/excursions independently for far less than what Princess charges. For example, on Princess Cays, the fee for renting snorkeling gear was $24 per person. On Grand Cayman, we rented snorkeling gear on our own (Eden Rock Dive Center) for $10 per person. The advantage to using Princess is that it is all coordinated for you and all you have to do is sign. Also, if you book with Princess and something happens on the trip (car or bus breakdown), the ship will not leave port without you. We did book 2 excursions through Princess - the tubing trip in Ocho Rios and a catamaran trip (Fury) in Cozumel. On Grand Cayman, we rented a car and did our own thing - rented snorkel gear and went to Cemetery Beach - great spot!!! DISEMBARKATION - smooth as silk. Read Less
Sail Date July 2010
Embarkation was painless as we used the VIP lounge area. Our non-stop flight from Boston on the day of embarkation arrived about 10AM. This is our 4th cruise in just 7 months! This one was not planned but we needed to be room mates for our ... Read More
Embarkation was painless as we used the VIP lounge area. Our non-stop flight from Boston on the day of embarkation arrived about 10AM. This is our 4th cruise in just 7 months! This one was not planned but we needed to be room mates for our Grandson age 11 yrs. Old. It was great to cruise again with family and to experience things from their eyes. Our family arrived about 10 minutes after we started the boarding process and had no wait to check-in the normal lines. We went directly to our cabin before noon and they met us there shortly after noon time. Since I have written a full review about the Emerald Princess (June 2007 Med.), I will skip repeating the ship review portion. We were in an Inside cabin across the hall from my daughter who was in a balcony. Roger was our steward but only just OK. He offered to bring cookies each evening for the boy but never delivered them (thank goodness Ty did not know about that!) We had to ask for Pool/Beach towels every morning, as they weren't refreshed each evening. This was basically a first for us in an inside, but we survived. Grampy only hit his head once on the bunk bed. We had Anytime dining as Main was waitlisted and never cleared. We tried to make reservations each day for 7PM, but were declined. We then choose 6PM and were accommodated most evenings at the same table. Kashmir was a great waiter and very attentive to our Jr. Chef, who ate almost as many varieties of appetizers and entrEe's as his father! Since this is my 2nd Princess cruise in a row, I must commend the quality of the food. It was very good. No one sent a dish back and all had no complaints about selections. Often the waiter would bring a surprise desert dish for us all to share. Our 11 yr. old took part in the Jr. Chef Program on the last sea day. He did not want to participate in the Kid's Camp but hung out with the adults each day. I think he thought he would miss something. It took 3 days to get the proper documentation for him to participate in the Jr. Chef program as the entire Purser's desk staff had no idea of where and when it was available and the proper forms for registration. Hope they know now! The cake that was made was excellent. It was served at dinner on our last evening on board. Our waiter came back to the table stating there were 9 cakes for the Michelangelo dining room and asked Ty if he recalled what his looked like. Ty pulled out his new digital camera and showed the waiter a picture he took during the session. Our Riviera deck cabin was convenient to the Adult Terrace Pool and bar. It was only one short flight of stairs up to the Caribe Cafe and the buffet. The buffet food was found to be warm and with a great variety to choose from. We had breakfast and lunch once in the Main dining room. We enjoyed lunch in the main dining room on embarkation day, with a very limited menu. The International Cafe was great including the 3 scoops of Gelato for $1.50...umm good. We spent some time at Crooners and the Wheelhouse bar; both had decent entertainment; Brett Stratton and the Evolution Band respectively. Shows were good but we had just seen two of them. The Magician/comedian was just OK but he did draw a good crowd. Tim Donovan did a good job as CD. Our Meet & Mingle in Skywalkers' arranged by cruise critics for the 1st sea day had at least half of the roll call group. It was nice to meet even more folks that we did not meet at Sail Away. No Princess staff attended. Princess Cays: First day at the beach. We got our tender tickets in the dining room and only had to wait a few minutes before boarding. We walked to the Right across the little bridge and found lounge chairs for all of us. Our daughter had tried to reserve a Cabana but was on a waiting list that never cleared. There were lots of Clam Shells, but I am sure those would have been pretty hot as there was limited breeze on the beach. The guys had brought their own snorkeling gear. They loved the snorkeling and we all enjoyed the relaxing day on the beach. The BBQ lunch was great. Lines weren't too bad about 12:30. Hamburgers, Hot Dogs, Ribs & Chicken were available plus salad fixings, pickles, corn on the cob, potato salad, beans, fruit salad & pineapple wedges where on the Left line only, rolls, sliced cheese and brownies & cookies for desert. Water and Iced Tea were available to drink. St. Martin; Bernrard's Tour: We did the regular tour @ $35 per person Circle around the Island with JR; Princess doesn't arrive until 10AM, so he starts the tour after 10:30AM. People can still book with him at the yellow terminal building where everyone meets. Our tour went towards Oyster Bay with the first stop for 1 1/2 hours at Orient Beach. Because we had an 11 yr. old with us, we requested a "not so nude" beach, which he did take us and several other couples to. Topless is on all beaches Dutch or French side, per JR. Our SIL did rent a double Jet Ski there last week @ $60 for a half hour. My grandson had a blast but bounced up and down as dad hit the surf! We then headed to Marigot for only 1/2 hour; not enough time to do much there. We walked to Sarafina's bakery as it was lunch time and the grandson was getting hungry. French Pastry and soda was a nice treat. Our Bus broke down (which was discovered at Marigot). JR had called for a back-up bus which arrived within 5 minutes. We were able to sit in the air-conditioned bus as it was running. We were a little late getting to Maho but we saw one large Delta plane and a few small planes land. Ty had ribs at the Sunshine bar but had to eat them quickly. Adults had drinks from the van with them. Most folks got off the bus to walk down Front St. to downtown. This is where we paid for the tour. John came by with the Credit Card machine for those who preferred using a CC. Folks could either walk back to the ship or take a water or regular taxi; $3 per person for either method of transportation. It was very warm and walking, although possible, would be very tiring and hot. My family used the water taxi. Jr. did offer unlimited Beer, Coke & Diet Coke, Water and Rum Punch. Watch out for the Rum Punch! Wow, it packs a punch. He made sure the 2 coolers were transferred to the new bus. He joked we had to finish all the beverages! We really enjoyed the variety of the Island tour. It was well worth the $35pp. We did rent 4 chairs and 2 umbrellas at Orient Bay. It might have been $20 per couple but I really don't recall. It wasn't any more than that. St. Thomas: Papa Bear of Air Force One is very accommodating: He actually came off his vacation to drive us and pick us up from Crown Bay to Coki Beach ($18pp round trip). He or one of his drivers will drop you at the beach of your choice and pick you up at the time you designate. I can't recommend him highly enough. He dropped all of his personal plans to take care of Nanatravel and my family & Friends. We even brought more folks back with us (as they were on a Scuba tour which provided early AM taxi transportation). He just charged half the round trip fare for the one-way passengers. I have had him stop at Kmart (for a quick stop for OTC med's and drinks) once. He will make sure you get back to the ship in plenty of time, too. Air Force One is the best. Grand Turk: At Grand Turk we pre-reserved a Golf Cart from Nathan at $80 for up to 4 people. The cart really won't hold any more unless they are very small. I gave him my credit card number on the telephone. You walk out of the Cruise Port area past the parking lot and turn left at the Road. You walk a short distance on the road and you will see the Carts on the right just after the Guard shack. I did not see any type of van for transfer and it was very HOT. We were given a Map, so you could see what highlights of the island were where. You do have to drive on the Left and there are Round-Abouts. Once we passed the Hospital the road turned to dirt. It was very bumpy, so we turned around and back on the tar. Even a tarred road was bumpy from time to time. Not good for someone with a bad back! We drove all the way to the Lighthouse. The view was fabulous. On our return we ventured off the main road to try to find beaches. If your back can handle it, there are dirt roads where you will see tire paths, so you can go down them. The Beach sand is very soft and "spongy". I don't think it's a good idea to plan to drive right on a beach as you will probably get stuck. We ended up at Governor's Beach for a few hours, which was beautiful. They wanted $10 per lounge but I got 3 for $20. They have snorkeling equipment for rent, too. This beach is only about 5-10 minutes from the port. Cruise Ship Scuba Diving tours: My Son-in-law and grandson went on two dives with Princess tours. They saw sharks, barracuda and many fabulous fish. It was the highlight of their week. Only downfall was that my 11 yr. old is certified for 70 ft. below the ocean surface through SSI and the tour group was PADI and would not let him dive any lower than 40 FT. They did have their own equipment with them accept for the tanks. Days at sea were very relaxing but lounge chairs were very difficult to find, especially if you needed more than one together. The Pool staff is not visable very often at the Aft Terrace adult pool. Chairs were reserved by 9AM with only towels for hours on end without anyone returning to claim them. The sun was HOT and the pools were refreshing. We enjoyed MUTS, especially for the NBA Celtics vs. Lakers final and family movies. Read Less
Sail Date June 2010
Our group of 18 had a wonderful vacation onboard the Emerald Princess. Day 1: Embarkation was a breeze and we were all onboard by 12:15. I was immediately impressed by the understated elegance of the ship. I knew it was only a few years ... Read More
Our group of 18 had a wonderful vacation onboard the Emerald Princess. Day 1: Embarkation was a breeze and we were all onboard by 12:15. I was immediately impressed by the understated elegance of the ship. I knew it was only a few years old (built in 2007)and it felt very clean and fresh. Our cabin was in the back of the ship and had a large balcony. It was also spotless and our Cabin Steward Nonito from the Phillipines introduced himself to us immediately to offer his services. Dinner: Our entire group (except 2 people) were one 1st Dining. We were told we had to speak to the maitre d' in order to add them to our seating. He was very accommodating and moved us to a dining room with 3 tables for all 18 of us. The service at dinner (with Jovannie and Vincenzo) was amazing! They spoiled our little girls and treated us all very special. It was very sad to say goodbye to them at the end! Day 2: Princess Cays: Beautiful island. We all had a great day relaxing on the beach and in the water. Day 3: At Sea Day 4: Ocho Rios Jamaica: Big group..different excursions. I went with my family and a few others to climb Dunn's River Falls and tubing. It was a great and challenging experience and we were very glad we did it! Day 4: Grand Cayman: Snorkeling and Swimming with the Stingrays..the Water was choppy but so beautiful and blue (makes you feel even worse about the oil in the Gulf!) The stingrays were very friendly..another great day! Day 5: Cozumel: Some went Deep Sea Fishing (no luck unfortunately) and some of us went to the Intercontinental Resort & Spa for a day pass. Although very nice, it was very expensive and we were a bit disappointed. Not really a 5* hotel in our minds. Day 6: Sea: A beautiful sunny day to relax by the pool, watch the World Cup on the big screen. Pros: Service, Beauty of Ship, Food, Spa, exercise room Cons: Entertainment (very dull, could be a lot better..ship was boring many nights ), No kid's medicine (my daughter got a fever the last night and it took forever for me to find some children's medicine for her) Overall..a great ship and wonderful vacation! Read Less
Sail Date June 2010
This was our 5th cruise on Princess. 4 times on the CB and our 1st on the Emerald. What a difference. We drove to Ft Lauderdale and parked at the port garage. $15 per day. No having to wait on a shuttle. Arrived at the port at 1:30 and ... Read More
This was our 5th cruise on Princess. 4 times on the CB and our 1st on the Emerald. What a difference. We drove to Ft Lauderdale and parked at the port garage. $15 per day. No having to wait on a shuttle. Arrived at the port at 1:30 and walked through with no delays! In our rooms by 2:00. Had all our bags by 4:00. We had two rooms, inside cabin for 4 girls across from a Caribe deck balcony. We Love the extended balcony! Had the balcony champagne breakfast. Plenty of food and drink! We have always liked Princess cruises and the CB, but you could tell the Emerald was newer. Even the service was better. From the breakfast buffet to the dinning room to the deck, everyone was great and wanted to make you happy. 1st stop Princess Cays. Always a blast. The girls and I loved the Banana boat ride. Don't miss the buffet! Great BBQ. 2nd stop St Martin. We have been there several times and love to just walk around downtown checking out the shoppes after getting a Guavaberry colada. 3rd stop St Thomas. Did the downtown/Magens Bay excursion. Got downtown before any of the shops were open. Even the open air market was just setting up. Had to leave downtown at 10:45 to go back to the ship and then to the beach. Loved Magens Bay. Truly a beautiful beach. 4th stop Grand Turk. Beautiful island with a beach with plenty of chairs right off the pier. No more than two ships could port there. Not much shopping but a great beach day!Beautiful clear water. Not a great selection of movies on MUTS. Too many concerts and they had a baseball game on the 2nd night? The 12 and 14 year olds loved the kids centers. Plenty of games and other activities. !2 year old missed most of dinners to go play with her friends in the play center. The girls also loved the room service. We missed the main shows but did see two comedians: Steve Moris and James Michael. We had seen them both before and they were still entertaining. Cruise Director Tim did a great job! He was everywhere and always had a quick joke. Food in the dinning room was great. Service was top notch. The decor of the ship was very nice. A definite upgrade from CB. Nice artwork in the dining rooms. Always some nice entertainment in the piazza. Overall a great cruise. Can't wait to sail her again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
We just got back from a week on the Emerald Princess. We had a great trip. 2 Grandparents, 1 Daughter, 2 Grandsons, 13 and 10. This is our 4th cruise, 3rd with Princess. Our daughter and her two boys were on their 2nd. Embarkation - We ... Read More
We just got back from a week on the Emerald Princess. We had a great trip. 2 Grandparents, 1 Daughter, 2 Grandsons, 13 and 10. This is our 4th cruise, 3rd with Princess. Our daughter and her two boys were on their 2nd. Embarkation - We arrived at the terminal about 10.30, expecting to get on the ship around 11.15 but were delayed due to extra cleaning. One of the staff on board told us they a Virus on the sailing just completed. If you are familiar with the boarding procedure then you know they board by group #. We were group 1. Once they called us it took about 5 minutes to get signed up and on board. Lunch on deck, a few drinks, Listened to some music and the sailaway party. The main band was called Evolution and they were great. Played a huge variety of music throughout the day. Cabins - Checked out the cabins right as we got on board. We had a balcony Cabin, C 259 and they had an inside, C 257). The cabins were as advertised and the steward, Jonathan was great. Cabins were always cleaned in a very timely manner. The showers are in fact tiny. The bed was terrible. Had I been a prisoner in a state prison, I think I could have sued the state and won for cruel and unusual punishment. We even had the extra pad put down. Having said that, it did not keep up from sleeping pretty well every night. Food - We at dinner in DaVinci 6 nights. We did have to wait about 10 minutes on the first night to get a beeper and then came back in 30 minutes and sat right down. The service was great everywhere all week. Without exception the staff was friendly and courteous and well versed at taking our money!! My wife and I took this same cruise in Jan, 2009 and the food this trip was way better. With few exceptions it was very well prepared. We ate all of our breakfasts at the buffet and it was easy to find things that were to our liking. Yes, the buffet was crowded at times, but no problem. Lunch was usually pizza, hamburgers or hot dogs which are always good. Of the 6 nights we ate in Davinci, we only had to wait 2 nights. The last 4 nights of the cruise, there was no wait more than 5 or ten minutes and not a problem. We also had a few snacks from international cafe which was very good. Food and beverage service was very good, everyone friendly and helpful. There are $2.99 drink specials after 8 which is worth looking at. Martinis at Crooners were pretty tasty!! The ladies had tea which they said was great. Kids Club - The boys went to the Kids/Teen Club right away. The younger one stayed with us most of the week. The 13 year old found a group of like minded kids and hung out with them most of the week. Except for meals and couple of shows, we hardly saw him at all. On board activities - Mostly, we sat in the sun during the day. Watched a few movies had a few boat drinks and enjoyed the sunshine. Most of the music we heard was very good and great variety. We saw the comedian in Explorers one night, he was hysterical. Delta had lost his bags and it really got him going. We also saw the magician/comedian, thought he was funny as well. Did not see any productions. Everyone is correct about saving chairs. It does seem a bit overdone. We always were up early had breakfast and hit the deck so never had any problem. But the chairs did seem to be gone by 9, at least close to the pools on any of the levels. I did not see the Princess staff move any towels or clear off any chairs all week. Not sure of the fix to this but it must be a problem if you sleep late. Someone else mentioned that the cruise director and staff were not that visible and I think I would agree with that. The Cruise director we had last year seemed to be everywhere, enjoying himself as well as the passengers. We used the gym a few times. There were available tread mills and ellipticals when we were there, but the other equipment could use an update. Good experience. Ports Blown out of Princess Cays. One of the staff said that had happened twice in the past 8 weeks. Bad luck for us. St Marteen - We did the Segway tour in St. Marteen and if you are interested I would not book it through the ship. It was $89 and was supposed to last two hours As it turned out, it lasted 70 minutes, including the ride from the ship to town. There was also supposed to be a stop for "refreshments" but no time. I talked to the tour operator and she said that they had been trying to get the ship to change the description. She also told me they charge $45 for the same thing. You ride slowly up and down the boardwalk with the "guide" and that is it. If you want to do this, I recommend that you walk up to them and negotiate directly. The guides were very friendly and helpful. Also, there were 5 ships in port including the Oasis of the Sea, with Princess coming in last. I was amazed how "un-crowded" things felt considering how crowded it was. Hung on out on the beach for a few hours, rented 2 chairs, 1 umbrella and 5 beers for $20. Seemed like a deal to me! St. Thomas - Booked the ½ day Champagne snorkel cruise to St. John through Princess. Had a delightful time, although it is a 20 minute ride to get to the boat. The crew of the Adventuress was energetic, friendly and interested in making sure everyone had a good time. Seemed like everyone did. Reasonably good snorkeling but saw several Rays and Turtles pretty close that was great. Grand Turk - Rainy, cloudy day. Stayed close to the ship at Margaritaville. In the pool with the kids, then back to the ship as it was going to rain harder. OK, so here is my only complaint of the whole trip. We signed up for Express Check for our bags. On the form they tell you that if the airlines says to charge you baggage fees, they then will charge you. I told them we should not be charged because we were Frequent Flyers. In fact I told them that twice. Of course they charged us the baggage fees of $45. My big problem is that they cannot give you any evidence that the airlines actually charged them. I was told the information came over in a "file" from the airlines and that they could not give me a copy. Princess says that they are "sure" the airline will take care of it but I'm betting I'm out $45. Having said that, the $20 Princess charges to check your bags for you seems worth it to me. They took them away Saturday night and we picked them up at home. Check out - We opted for Walk off. Since we were packing pretty light at that time, we walked down the stairs. The line did seem stupidly long, but honestly we were off the ship and through customs in less than 20 minutes at about 7.30 in the morning. Overall, we had a great trip, lots of fun and time to be together. I'd definitely sail Princess again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
My husband and myself and teenage son cruised on the Princess March 29-April 4 2010. We drove to the port and waited in line approximately 30 minutes and we were on the ship by 12:00. The embarkation was seamless. Everyone of the staff ... Read More
My husband and myself and teenage son cruised on the Princess March 29-April 4 2010. We drove to the port and waited in line approximately 30 minutes and we were on the ship by 12:00. The embarkation was seamless. Everyone of the staff greeted us with a smile. The ship was clean and shiny. I expected the cabin to be smaller than what it was and was pleasantly surprized. This is my 4th cruise 1st with Princess. The ship was beautiful. I really liked the fact you can immediately go to your cabin upon boarding. The bathroom was very tiny but there was a nice selection of shampoo and soaps in the bathroom. We dropped our luggage off and went to eat at the buffet. I also liked the fact that there were not many announcements made throughout the cruise. There were alot of kids but we expected that due to the spring break time and we did have our teenager with us as well. CC was correct you can feel the ship move quite a bit. I had a seasick patch on which helped. The first port was Princess Cays. We were not impressed and wished we had stayed on the ship. There was not enough chairs for all of the guests to sit on and we ended up sitting on our towels on the beach. The weather wasnt that great and the water was cold so we ended up leaving early and returning to the ship. We had fixed seating and had received excellent service from Douglas and Marianna every night. The menu was overall good with the exception of a couple of entrees we didnt care for. We went to the comedian Kevin Hughes and didnt think he was funny. The entertainment needs improvement Carnival had better shows and selection of shows as well. We did watch the MUTS which was nice (current movies) also popcorn and blankets. Make sure and bring a sweatshirt it gets cold watching the movies. The food at the buffet had variety each day. Also there is an area near the pool where you can get hamburgers fries chicken sandwiches. My favorite place for food was the International Cafe. They had an excellent chicken salad also shrimp salad and tiramasu to die for!! That is also where you can buy cappachino. The coffee in the dining room was horrible. My son loved the chocolate croissanats at the International cafe. Everyone morning they had different assortment of pastries. St Marten was a blast. I arranged a tour with Bernard tours. There were 7 other ships at port that day so traffic was heavy. Luckily he knew shortcuts and drove us to Sunset beach where we watched the planes fly over the beach and also Orient Beach where we also enjoyed some more beach time. We had the option of getting dropped off to shop and either walking back to the ship or taking a taxi but we choose to return to the ship. We really enjoyed our time at St Marten and would definetly like to return and spend some more time there. Bernard charged us 35.00 per person which I felt was a fair price. We had already been to St Thomas and wanted to go back to St John. We had been there before and loved it. It was very easy to catch a cab to Red Hook jump on the ferry and get off in St John. We got up early and we were lucky to get the 8:00 ferry. We were only in port 7-4 We took a taxi to Trunk Bay. It is still beautiful and we were there with 1 other couple. It got a little more crowded but not bad. We ate lunch at Waterfront Bistro and took the 2:00 ferry back to Crown bay. We wished we had more time at this port our favorite!! This is a must see!!!!! They have an underwater snorkel trail which is very cool. Turks and Caicos I had arranged to rent a golf cart and cruise around the island. I reserved a golf cart for 80.00 with Nathan. He met us where he said he would be and handed us a map and the keys. Margaritaville was a resort like atmosphere with chairs and a nice pool but we were glad we rented the golf cart. The island is small and it was very interesting to see where the locals live and hang out. It was quite a poor area and not very developed. We visited the lighthouse and a few museums. The water was beautiful. We also went to Governors beach and swam and had a couple of drinks and even played volleyball with the locals. We didn't regret renting the golf cart. It was a nice day but I probably would not return to Turks and Caicos. The only negative of the cruise for me would be the coffee. It wasn't a big deal because I went to the International cafe and bought a cappachino. Everything else was top notch. We had a great time and would definitely book again with Princess!! Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
We had a fantastic time - here's my long winded review! Preface - We are a 40"s couple travelling with our 11 year old daughter. This was our 4th cruise - but 1st with Princess. DH is a dentist, I'm the office manager in his ... Read More
We had a fantastic time - here's my long winded review! Preface - We are a 40"s couple travelling with our 11 year old daughter. This was our 4th cruise - but 1st with Princess. DH is a dentist, I'm the office manager in his office. We are just middle of the road people - not too fancy, fairly easy to please. (just giving this info so you can base my opinions on food and quality by "who" we are....) My opinions are only that - opinions! :) We like nice things, but don't require a certain 'caliber' to be happy! Ft Lauderdale - Arrived early - on Friday! Had reservations at the Hyatt Place/Plantation, so we picked up our rental car (Budget through hotwire $42 for 2 full days!), set our GPS with the address and off we went. Check in went smoothly - we were offered a choice of rooms - We chose what they said would be a quiet room on floor 5 - they were right! We were given a quick tour of the facilities. Got to our room - it was fantastic - King sized bed with a pull out couch for our DD, HUGE big screened TV (which my husband loved for NCAA March Madness). The room was clean, roomy, the bed comfy. Some more notes about hotel: *Pool - it is heated - but just a bit - it was fine for us, but there were a few people discussing it amongst themselves that it should have been warmer - it could have been, but it was definitely heated. It was unseasonably cool for FL this past week, too - I guess which may have added to the chill! *exercise room - it's small, but mighty! No weights, but for cardio machines - they were top notch! One elliptical, 2 (or was it 3) Treadmills, and a bike. These were new high quality machines that you could watch TV on, listen to FM radio, or just watch your progress on a picturesque screen. *Breakfast - this may have been the only downfall of the hotel. Keep in mind - this was spring break. It was chaotic in the breakfast room every day. We learned quickly to try and avoid the prime times - and our second day was definitely better than the first. They do have a nice selection of bagel, english muffin, fruits, cereals, yogurt, juices. If you wanted hot foods - they were available for order at a nominal fee (eggs, waffle, omelet) they also served a small selection of food for any time of the day. *Dining - we ate the most fantastic pizza ever at a wood fired pizza restaurant very close to the hotel. It was called Anthony's Coal Fired Pizza http://www.anthonyscoalfiredpizza.com/ The best pizza - bar none - that I've had since I was in Italy - and the salad (its HUGE! They say enough for 2, but probably enough for 4 - we all three ate on it and had loads left over) was the BOMB! We also ate at Smoky Bones BBQ on University (again, only a couple of miles from the hotel) for dinner and it was good food - typical to what you'd expect from a chain BBQ joint. Good service. We did eat Ole Ole Mexican for lunch one day - it was good food - but want to mention that it was a bit pricy - we could have eated at anthony's again for cheaper and been just as happy! Good food tho! *Mall - just want to mention that there is a nice big mall within walking distance of this hotel, as well as a Walgreens, a liquor store, and a grocery store all within a mile or two of this location. *Beach - there is a beach about 20 minutes or so from this hotel - straight down broward - nice clean area - parking is easy if you get there early - but later in the day good luck! :) Sunday - we checked out of hotel, dropped rental car back at the airport, and grabbed a taxi to the cruise dock. We'd been told we could probably get on the ship about 10:30 or so, and arrived about then to the cruise terminal. (cab was $13). We were about the 4th person there! :) We were given a #1, and sent to wait. *friendly staff everywhere *Pictures are NOT allowed in the area - it wasn't really posted well, and many people were getting in 'trouble' by the security. *Staff told us they don't hardly EVER board by 10:30! LOL People began filliing up the seats, and at noon, group one was called to go through registration. I'd say it took us 5 minutes TOPS to get on the boat. And that was only because our guy checking us in was chatting up our daughter about how excited she was, and because we stopped to get a picture! It was a BREEZE! *If you are early boarding - you do not have to go to your designated check in gate for your floor - you can go to whoever is open *If there is a line - migrate towards the right of the lines - it's closest to your embarkation route! We went straight to our room - Minisuite D715 on the Dolphin Deck. Completely uncovered balcony. I literally DUMPED my bags and dashed to the Sanctuary to get a seat for the week! (more later in bullet points) Once seat secured - I flew downstairs one level and then signed up for the thermal spa for both DH and I. Then back to the room to actually look at it! LOL Minisuite was great - LOVED the layout compared to Carnival's suite - I like the longer, narrower layout a lot! The bathroom is smaller than what we were used to a little bit - and darker?....but who's spending the week in the bathroom! I loved the big closet - and then the wall of shelves to organize your clothes on!. Two TVs - nice added bonus (I think we only had one one once the whole trip tho!) Dinner that night in the Anytime Dining was great - Prime rib for DH, Barramundi fish for me, and Spaghetti and Meatballs for the Daughter. We picked the Michelangelo dining room and had Ralph from the Phillipines (side note - he was awesome, and inadventently - we sat in his section 4 times! It was funny! The final time we did request him, and gave him a tip, he'd been such a nice guy all the times we had him!) *Sanctuary - Okay - it was fantastic - don't get me wrong - but I'm not sure I'd spend the money again. I don't think I personally utilized it enough to make up for the cost for the week $105.00 I used it for a couple hours every day - and on one day I was there for about 4 hours. I figured it cost me about $8/hour. It's so nice and swank up there - those chairs are so comfy - and they treat you like royalty - bringing you cold clothes, special snacks, turning your chair for you, covering it each day with a super nice towel! The spa pool was a level down from here and although some people say no one was ever in that pool, this week it was fairly crowded all week. And - to get there from the sanctuary - you had to go all the way out of the sanctuary, down a level into that area. Too bad it couldn't have been a little different layout maybe? Anyway - really really nice - probably worth every penny - but for me, I'd probably take that money for something else next time. *Thermal Spa - first day special $149 for two people for the week. This facility is awesome also - ceramic hotbeads, rainhead showers, steam rooms with different scents, very private! We loved, loved, loved this. But again - we didn't utilize it as much as I thought we might - I'd say one of us used it every day - and maybe twice we both went on the same day. That being said - it made it about $17 a visit for us - not terrible really - it was so relaxing. I only shared the room a couple of times with anyone. I'd probably spend the $$$$ on this again - before I'd do the sanctuary again - although after typing all this, I think the sanctuary might be worth it again! LOL We rented a bungalow at Princess Cay - Had we not - it would have been sunny and 100*. Since we spent the $199 on the BB, it was 70 and rainy! LOL Such is life! We made the best of it - Some people love princess cay, and some don't - we liked it - would we pick a cruise because of it - never! HOwever, if the weather had been nicer we'd have enjoyed the beach day loads (We are beach and ocean junkies!). The bungalows are awesome - roomy with a table for four - an airconditioner, shelves to put your stuff on. Lots of towels to use - the outside shower head would be nice on a hot, sandy beach day! We swam - YES - we were a few of the idiots that actually made it into that cold water! LOL *DD got her hair braided - $30 for half a head. Cheaper than some of the places we've had it done before. *If you like to shop - don't come in with an expectation of it here - you'll be disappointed as there isn't a lot of shopping here - there were several little kiosks - but many had the same or similar items. *The BBQ is okay - burgers, hotdogs, baked beans and potato salad. Pretty much it - again - had it been a hot sunny day, we might not have been searching for 'snacks' so much! LOL *music - there was some live music - which I love! It was relaxing to sit and listen to him while shivering from the rain We made the best of our day - and headed back to the ship towards the end of the day. While it certainly didn't compare to the other stops, it was an adequate stop - I think we'd have liked it towards the end of our trip better. I think people are so in anticipation of shopping and restaurants, and tours, and whatnot - they are disappointed with Princess Cay - where if you were doing at the end of the trip - you could use it for a relaxation and unwind day from all the go go going of your trip - I think it would be better received that way! Sea Day! We had a great day - lots of activities! *Bingo - $20 for a three card pack that gets you 4 games. These are cards that you mark - unlike carnival. We bought dabbers - but you could have used just an inkpen if you wanted. I think it was offered twice this day - special note - the time posted is the time that the game Begins - get there before that time so that you are ready and not missing out! *cruise director staff is loads of fun - first time I really witnessed them around the ship, involving people all the time. For example, I was sitting in the explorer lounge watching Evolution (one of the ships bands) and here come some of the crew - one of the guys got my DD up dancing, one of the girls sat down by me and chatted me up some. The rest of the trip when they saw us, they spoke and remembered us. Nice touch that we hadn't really witnessed on carnival! *casino - won a little $$$ in the casino - started the week with $20 and by today was up to about $178 in my casino account. The cruise card system is so easy - not sure what all the hub bub is about it - put your card in - it asks you to set up account - pick a pin number, enter it again and voila - you are in business! St. Maarten - We went into port - not a lot to do at this dock that we were at, and since we had a tour scheduled in a short time, we didn't have time to do much else, as far as taking the water taxi to shopping, etc. - bought a hat (good parenting = sunburnt daughter! LOL), bought a couple cute trinket stuff, and headed off on our excursion! *Golden Eagle Sail - This was a good trip - efficient crew. We were supposed to have gone to tintarre beach (that isn't right, but if you've been on here you know which beach I mean) Because of the roughness of the water, we went first to a snorkel location that was okay, then to mullett beach. The snorkelling we saw was not the greatest I've done, but it really wasn't the crews fault. The water was a bit choppy, and it was a good distance away from the boat before you could see anything. We did see some fish, and a little bit of coral, but had more fun just floating around in the ocean by the boat. Next stop mullet beach - where my daughter was traumatized by the lack of clothing! LOL (side note - HILARIOUS day at the pool after - listening to all the kids talk about their experiences at the clothing optional beaches - really was one of my more entertaining afternoons/evenings by the pool! LOL) We saw a pod of dolphin as we were leaving - which was really really neat - a baby and several others - and I understand that seeing them in that area is fairly rare! We watched them for about 15 minutes swim right around our boat - great ending to a nice day! My all time faves of the trip - both of these days were amazing! We'd been to St Thomas before - love love love the shopping there, but since DH drop a jackload of money on a gold Rolex the last time we were there, I opted for an all day cruise to avoid him spending more than a used car of something stupid again! We picked the Full Day Sail with lunch. This excursion might well be the highlight of our trip! I honestly did it to keep my husband out of the shops, and couldn't believe the day we had! We were on a catamaran - the Dancing Dolphin http://www.thedancingdolphin.com/index.html The crew was Ian, Lilly and....(gawd, I've forgotten his name! LOL) We started out of St Thomas on the boat - only about 19 people on the boat to Turtle Cove. This is in the wild - out in the ocean, where you can snorkel above sea turtles swimming - they would come up right beside you for air - it was awesome! Even more so - they did a guided snorkel tour for the first half hour or so, where Lilly would explain about what kind of fish we were seeing, bring sea urchins up for us to see and handle, all the while explaining how to protect them and treat them, and how to help the ocean. Lots of interesting different facts about the ocean, where sand comes from, etc. Best snorkeling tour ever that we'd taken - lots of info -lots of free time to do our own thing! Then, with the rum punch flowing after the snorkeling - the second half of our day was spent at honeymoon beach, with BBQ ribs and chicken, salad, etc. More rum punch, soda, beach volleyball, more snorkeling if you like. This crew was the perfect combination of fun and professionalism. We ended up tipping them $50 at the end of the day - the most fun 6 hour excursion we've done! I cant' say enough about this day - its an expensive excursion, but well worth the $$$! Grand Turk - WOW. We loved it here. It was just beautiful! The prettiest water and sand of the cruise! We did the 'ultimate snorkeling tour' and loved it. This was a shorter, inexpensive tour - but had lots of bang for your buck. Fun crew, LOTS of people on the boat tho! We went to two different snorkeling stops - the first there were tons of the huge stingray like Grand Cayman - that the guides would go down and grab so you could touch them. Lots of coral, wonderful visibility. Tons of conch shells - many of them empty and there for the taking! The second stop was near the surf break - so a bit more choppy, but nothing even my 11 year old couldn't handle - TONS of sealife and fish here - and a resident 'PET' barracuda that swam with us. a little creepy, but so cool - saw some very amazing and unique fish here that I've never seen on the 15 or so snorkeling tours I've taken! We spent a short time at margaritaville, and did a little bit of shopping - and then it was way too soon time to leave this GEM of an island! I cannot believe people say they don't want to get off of the ship here - its a small island - but it packs a mighty mighty punch as far as beaches, sea life, and beauty! We were out of the cabin by 7:45 - off to the zoo of the buffet. Then on to the Wheelhouse - our appointed 'waiting' spot! Within about 5 minutes they called us to leave - We did the EZ Check - let me tell you - IF YOU HAVE A LATER IN THE DAY FLIGHT - the is the ONLY way to go - and the BEST $20 you'll spend per person on your trip! People with an earlier flight, it'll make it easier for you - but not like the people who have to wait several hours for your flight. Our flight didn't leave until 4:17. Because we did EZ Check - we were first off the boat after self carry. We walked directly off the boat! Here's where EZ Check made the difference in our day - the airport was a ZOO. The airlines have a policy that you cannot check your bags until 3 hours prior to your flight. This means, you can't go through security and down where there's food, lots more chairs, etc, until you've checked your bags. because people couldn't check their bags, they were stuck in the area by check in that has very little sitting which means in every direction you looked - the floor was covered with loads of tired people and all of their bags :( We only had our carry ons - and were able to roam about, go through security and get seats etc. Looking back, I wished I had rented a car for the day to meander around, but now I know for next time! Some notes about Princess difference: *I thought the food was better than carnival - DH thought food was better, but that carnival had more choices geared towards his likes. By the way - sidenote! The Sea Bass on Grand Turk night (captains night) was the BEST I've had - it was fantastic! Also the fish on the first sea night (monday) was delicious! *anytime dining - I've read some negatives about it - we didn't experience that at all. Only one night were we asked to share a table - and ended up meeting a lively crew that we enjoyed seeing the rest of the week. We did have to wait in line to be seated for maybe 10 minutes every night, but the hostess was very friendly and kept everyone entertained. We never got a beeper - in fact - only saw one person with one the whole time. We found the michelangelo was faster, and a shorter line, so aside from one night we ate there. We ate at all different times - the line was about the same all the time. Early early, and late late seemed a smidge less crowded, but we were pleased with our dining on all nights. *I noticed what I'd call a 'quiet elegance' about the staff. My DH kept saying - they don't seem quite as attentive as carnival, and I'd say, well - what is it that you need, and he'd respond - well, nothing, it's all taken care of. I liked that not 'in your face' sort of attentiveness. I don't think DH didn't like it - it just wasn't what he was used to. If you needed help with anything - they were all more than willing to help. *I really, really loved the way Princess utilizes all of their public areas for different things. Instead of doing 'everything' in the theatre. It made me more acclimated to the ship, and I felt like I'd seen the whole ship, not just the pool, theatre and dining room! *Embarassed to admit I saw very little entertainment on this cruise! We fell in love with Evolution on first day - and like someone on here mentioned, sort of stalked them around the ship! They had such an eclectic range of what they could do and were loads of fun, too. *Don't bring books - HUGE library!! Save the room in your suitcase and check something out there - very handy! *MUTS - lots of fun, love that they bring you blankets, popcorn, and cover the chairs with comfy covers! We had a great cruise - One of our best so far - definitely will travel with Princess again as we took advantage of the $100 deposit and onboard credit for booking while we were on the ship. I also booked a European cruise for a friend and I to get the deposit discount and onboard credit for it! I have all the patters! Didn't get home until late - so no pics up yet, but I'm happy to answer questions you might have or scan those patters and email them to you - as well as the list of Muts Movies, Spa Specials, etc. My email is addygirl216@sbcglobal.net Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
This was our 6Th Princess cruise, the third on the Emerald. It is a beautiful ship. The Emerald just had a two week overhaul before our cruise. We have never been disappointed with the service or staff in general. It was the first time on ... Read More
This was our 6Th Princess cruise, the third on the Emerald. It is a beautiful ship. The Emerald just had a two week overhaul before our cruise. We have never been disappointed with the service or staff in general. It was the first time on this ship for our two teenagers. Hardly saw them, except for excursions and dinner. They loved it. We only wish they would change the shows more often. We have seen the same shows two or three times. Our teenagers had a blast. We sailed over Christmas week and there were a ton of kids of all ages. No disappointments there. We did the Stingrays in Grand Turk, great trip. My husband had been apprehensive for years about this excursion, the tour guides were great and the stingrays were very happy to play with us. Took the Turtle Cove excursion on St. Thomas, this was our second time on this one. We loved it again, lots of turtles, saw a stingray, squid, fun for all. St. Maarten we took an Island tour with a stop at Orient Beach. Did this two years ago, the kids loved it. Huge waves for body surfing, gorgeous, warm water. Just a wonderful trip. Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
Eight of our group of 10 flew into Ft. Lauderdale on Friday night. We stayed at Hollywood Beach. 4 of us stayed at the Marriott while the other 4 of us stayed at Riptide. If you need a 4 or 5 star, stay at the Marriott. I enjoyed the ... Read More
Eight of our group of 10 flew into Ft. Lauderdale on Friday night. We stayed at Hollywood Beach. 4 of us stayed at the Marriott while the other 4 of us stayed at Riptide. If you need a 4 or 5 star, stay at the Marriott. I enjoyed the Riptide, but it is a 2 story motel with 12 rooms and may not be for everyone. Everyone there was great and we will be back there again. Both places are right on the Broadwalk, the beach is only a few steps away. There were lots of restaurants and shops within walking distance. I was concerned about the time change as St Thomas and St Martin did not move their clocks back. The ship had us change our clocks forward to be in sync with our ports. We moved them back the evening before we made it to Grand Turk as they are Eastern Standard Time. Sunday embarkation - went ahead to the port at Noon. Were on the ship about 1:00pm or so. There was a line, but it moved very quickly. I was really expecting to wait longer. Our room was ready so we dropped off our bags. We had 4 side by side mini-suites with balconies. There is no way I could bring enough stuff to fill all the storage space in this room. My uncle and aunt were on the other side of the ship on the same floor. Sticky notes and phone messages kept everyone apprised of the group's whereabouts. The ship - It was great. Our 2nd time to cruise Princess with our 1st trip being on the Grand. I liked already knowing where things were. We walked around a little and did sail away above the main pool area. The forward, "secret" door on the Lido deck was closed that day. The employees: I had read negative reviews on the general attitude of the employees, but I did not experience any of that. I always say hello, good morning, etc to everyone I see on the ship and almost every employee I met in the hallway, elevator, or on deck beat me to it. Every time I sat down in the buffet, I usually would get my own drink, but they were quick to get it for me also. The food: I am not a picky eater and have always thought if someone didn't like some of the food, just get something else. There are many, many choices. I did not like everything I tried, but I never left hungry! We ate the buffet mainly. Of course we had pizza, burgers, chicken sandwiches, and hot dogs at the grill areas by the pools also. The soft serve ice cream by the pizza area was very rich and thick. We did anytime dining one night with our full group of 10. There were lines of about 10 - 15 people at each anytime dining venue, so I went up for our group, gave our name and the number in our party and was given the "pager". The hostess told me it would be about 45 minutes. It was only about 30 minutes. There were some people complaining about the pager system, but I thought it worked very well. We went 2 floors up to the Crooners bar and it worked fine there. The food was excellent and the service was great. Bars - We do like to party a little and hit every bar except Adiagos. We went in, but with the piano player and dark lighting, our casual clothes seemed a little under dressed for the evening time. Every bar had great service and there was no skimping on the alcohol content! Casino - Spent quite a bit of time there. Won some, lost some, ended up a little ahead for the week. I love the new system where you use your card to put money on instead of cashing out coins. You simply set up a pin for access. For example: You put $100 in a machine and after playing down to $80 you want to change machines. You "cash out" to your card and the money is transferred to your players account on your card. You then put your card in the new machine and get funds from your card. You choose how much to put in that machine. You can also get money from your "Cruise Account" directly to your slot machine which can be a little tempting!! Ports of call: Princess Cays - We were going to wait until the general announcement that you could board the tenders at your leisure instead of going down and getting a number. It rained most of the morning anyway, so after the rain we went over and stayed maybe 2 hours. The whole tendering process was painless. The snorkeling was good, but I would have used a float if I was going to be there longer. I did not do any shopping here. There were plenty of chairs everywhere. The cabanas looked very cute, but with 10, we just would not have fit. Glad I did not spend the money due to the weather. The beach was very clean and the water was great. Sea Day: Did the pub lunch at The Wheelhouse. There was a line but as we were willing to share with others, we did not have to wait long. The food was good, my husband and I had the fish & chips. It was a nice alternative. St. Martin. Decided to go to Orient Beach and just lay around. Getting a taxi was easy, he came back to get us as promised. We asked him to take us to Orange Fever which is towards the Orient Beach club. It looks like there are only a few places to access the area behind the beach for the taxis. While driving in looks it like you are going no where until you get to the beach. We rented chairs for the day - $7 each included 1 drink, chair with a nice thick cushion and an umbrella. We stayed for about 3 hours. The water was nice, the food was good. St. Thomas Wished we had more time here. The ship docked at 7am and left port at 3:30pm. We booked a catamaran for the day just for our group. It was awesome! We went on the Scubadu with Capt. Joe Mellen and had a wonderful sail/snorkeling trip which included lunch and drinks. We had 2 snorkels of about 45 minutes each and sailing in between. We used his taxi driver Rachal who was a great tour guide there and back! We were back to the cruise terminal in time to do a little shopping. We didn't get to see much of the town, but I am sure we will be back. Grand Turk Beautiful water. Some of our group enjoyed the snorkeling right off the beach here. Some of us went straight to Margaritaville, picked out a table and chairs, and stayed for the duration. Everyone had a great time. Disembarkation: My husband and I did the self disembarkation. I had booked a 3pm flight back to Houston and we wanted to be home earlier if possible. We were off the ship by 8am and decided to try to do standby on an earlier flight back to Houston. We made it to the airport and on a 9:05am flight. I would not recommend booking this early of a flight because we were just lucky we made it. If there had been any small delay it would not have happened. I will book an 11:00am or after next time. We did have rough seas a few days, but we are not prone to seasickness. We were rocked to sleep almost every night. If you are, I would suggest to start taking a preventative medicine and keep on it through the trip. If you have any questions, I will do my best to answer them. 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Sail Date November 2009
We arrived at the port at 11am, they started boarding at 12. We stopped to sign up for UST and in our cabin by 12:30. Patter said Lunch was being served in the dinning room but when we went they would not let us in, said it was only ... Read More
We arrived at the port at 11am, they started boarding at 12. We stopped to sign up for UST and in our cabin by 12:30. Patter said Lunch was being served in the dinning room but when we went they would not let us in, said it was only for passengers who stayed on the ship from last cruise? I showed her the patter and she just kept saying no. So off to the buffet, explore the ship and then some beer and pool time. Food: I enjoyed all the food except one night and they brought me something else. I ordered fish, shrimp, lobster always with a side of pasta of the day. Breakfast was always pastries and coffee at the international cafe. We also ate at Sabatini's it was excellent. The best drink by far Tiramisu martini-- go on the cruise just for this drink! Pizza, Fries, burgers all good and the chocolate chip cookies always hit the spot. Ports: We had VERY rough seas, but it stayed warm and sunny. We didnt think we were going to be able to get off at Princess Cays, had to wait extra hour but were able to get off. The beach was great, ok snorkeling, and ok BBQ. Just a nice relaxing day. St. Martin we took Bernards tour, our guide was Joe it was a GREAT tour, he stopped at a rocky area and someone brought up out of the water star fish and other sea creatures for us to hold DH did the holding I took the pictures! Then off to orient beach for couple of hours, tour of the island and last stop at sunset bar by the airport to watch the planes fly in over our heads. It was great. St. Thomas decided to do the shopping thing got some great Christmas presents, had to be back at the boat by 3 would have liked some more time there. Grand Turk: beach was really nice, pool was fun nothing seemed crowded. Margarita ville pool was fun. We ordered 4 drinks and 1 appetizer $70 it was good but not that good. The ship is beautiful, clean and in good shape. We had plenty of room in our cabin. We had anytime dinning, got Rado in the Da Vinci dinning room on the first night and requested him for the rest of the cruise. We went to the dinning room between 6 and 6:30 always had a small line wait was 5 minuets we never had to get a pager. Every time we saw any crew they always said hello, all crew were very helpful and polite, other then the first day dinning room. We loved the UST it was definitely worth the money. After months of planning and anticipation everything was really great. Cant ask for more then that! I think i read every review posted before this trip, this is my first time writing one--hope it was helpful. Enjoy Read Less
Sail Date November 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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