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294 Princess Emerald Princess Family Cruise Reviews

I enjoyed this cruise - it was my first cruise ever and while I did get seasick sometimes - it wasn't terrible the entire time. The gym on the ship is large and gorgeous and I ran quite a few times while we were sailing on the ... Read More
I enjoyed this cruise - it was my first cruise ever and while I did get seasick sometimes - it wasn't terrible the entire time. The gym on the ship is large and gorgeous and I ran quite a few times while we were sailing on the treadmills and did a workout. Food was pretty good but only if you went to the more fancy dining room at your specific dinner time - otherwise the cheaper and faster food was not my favorite. We had a suite so we had the option for a private breakfast in the steakhouse which consisted of a lot of the same food but much less crowded and more quiet so that was nice. The ship itself is gigantic and it takes a full 10-15 minutes to walk from one end to the next. Elevators are REALLY slow and take forever to get to the floors because they stop on each one and pick people so your best bet is stairs if you are fit enough. Onboard entertainment was awesome - we loved Bingo and I loved Voice of the Ocean which was based on the hit TV series "The Voice" where they had folks volunteer onboard the ship to compete and had 3-4 different sessions narrowing it down to a final group and picking a final winner with judges from the crew. So much fun. The shore excursions were awesome and we did a number of things - we were busy and tired most days - but it was worth it! We road a float plane over the Misty Fjords, we rode with sled dogs, we crossed a suspension bridge over the Yukon valley, we road the White Pass Train... you name it - we tried it! Service was excellent and everything went fairly smooth. I have no complaints other than crowds and crowds and more crowds. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
This was a cruise to take the family on a first time Alaskan trip. My wife and I are long time Princess cruisers and both of us were disappointed in the overall cruise. The dinning room needs to speed up the process. We dinned with ... Read More
This was a cruise to take the family on a first time Alaskan trip. My wife and I are long time Princess cruisers and both of us were disappointed in the overall cruise. The dinning room needs to speed up the process. We dinned with different waiters each night and we don't blame the staff as they were trying very hard to keep up with their tables. However, when you enter the dinning room at 5:30 and it is 7:45 when you receive your last course that is taking a little to long. The food was far below Princess standard. The beef was tough and over seasoned and the fish was bland. Breakfast in the buffet was not much better eggs were cold, biscuits and gravy cold, bacon half raw, coffee weak, fresh fruit not ripe. And it was not just us complaining other tables were making the same comments. Another item, the handle on the balcony door came off the first day, our room steward was notified and he immediately put in a call to have it fixed. It was still broken at the end of the cruise. My wife and I will still cruise with Princess when the itinerary is of interest but we are also looking at other cruise lines with the same itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
First time with Princess (the Emerald Princess). Cruised Alaska June 4, 2017. The ship was fine and the food and bars were great, but the entertainment was a bit lacking; focusing too much on passenger participation, like game shows and ... Read More
First time with Princess (the Emerald Princess). Cruised Alaska June 4, 2017. The ship was fine and the food and bars were great, but the entertainment was a bit lacking; focusing too much on passenger participation, like game shows and singing competitions. For the money we pay, there ought to be more performances by paid professionals and less by passenger wannabes. Also, I have a major complaint about the excursion involving scenic cruising of the Tracy Arm Fjord. A small boat transports the passengers from the cruise ship to within a quarter mile or so of the glacier. The trip from the ship to the glacier is a comfortable 10 minutes. However, the cruise ship then leaves for Juneau and - after viewing the glacier for approximately an hour - the small excursion craft transports the passengers all the way to Juneau, which takes in excess of 3 hours. The return trip is excruciating. The transport boat is uncomfortable for such a long return trip. It would have been much more comfortable during the trip to Juneau to have been on the cruise ship. The viewing of the glacier should be shortened to allow for a return to the cruise ship before it leaves for Juneau. Not to mention that the return trip was made all the more unpleasant by the fact that the excursion boat arrived in Juneau 45 minutes late, making it extremely difficult and uncomfortable for people (like me) who had a second excursion planned for that afternoon. A lot of wasted and uncomfortably spent time on the "Cruising Tracy Arm" excursion. In addition, the excursion in Ketchikan that involves walking through the rainforest and ending with an all you can eat crab feast is a bit of a misnomer. Its all you can eat - in the short time provided. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
The staff was friendly- mini suite was good. The adventures offered through Princess were disappointing. The orca watching we booked through Princess was supposed to be a 3 hour trip. We sailed out to the lighthouse and then circled back ... Read More
The staff was friendly- mini suite was good. The adventures offered through Princess were disappointing. The orca watching we booked through Princess was supposed to be a 3 hour trip. We sailed out to the lighthouse and then circled back to the harbor, took about an hour. Then we spent an hour puttering around the harbor. Should have been sold as a lighthouse and harbor tour....but then again they wouldn't get the high price they charge by calling it an orca excursion. We had better luck with excursions we booked on our own. Too many gimmic sales offered by the staff-they like their add on sales. Also Medical advice on a cruise ship is probably not the most reliable source especially when the "expert" is selling the remedy to all that ails you. No I don't want an upgraded coffee or orthotics for my shoe or wine tasting or .....at least at home I don't have to open the door. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
I chose Princess on other people's recommendation, but I was not impressed and don't plan to use Princess again. I had been on two other cruises on Carnival and found them much more fun, well-planned, and friendly. First of ... Read More
I chose Princess on other people's recommendation, but I was not impressed and don't plan to use Princess again. I had been on two other cruises on Carnival and found them much more fun, well-planned, and friendly. First of all, our room was too hot and we had no way to control that. Then we asked a women at guest services about our excursion for the next day. She gave us completely erroneous information and we almost missed our excursion. The excursions were great but finding where to meet them was a real guessing game every day and no one onboard the ship seemed to know where to go for them either as we were constantly given wrong information. Also, the staff sometimes seemed to resent our questions. They didn't like to be bothered. We had no tv guide in our room. We wanted to be able to see the ship announcements but never did find them. Also the menu button didn't work on the T and the weather button didn't work on our phone. We couldn't hear the announcements in our room. Some other guests (several) said there was a switch we had to throw but we scoured our room for that switch and never found one. What entertainment there was was good, but it wasn't organized well by time. Many of the activities were focused on older people--knitting, bingo, etc. On the Carnival cruises, those were offered but there were also plenty of other activities for those who wanted something more appealing to a younger crowd. We wanted to see some of the movies they were showing but they were always outside at 10-11 at night at we were in Alaska! The disembarkation process was total chaos. No one knew where to go and again, when we asked questions at customer service, we felt like gnats being shooed away. Utter confusion about the luggage tags. The food was excellent no matter where we ate, but when we went through the breakfast buffet, no drinks were available. We had to wait for a waiter to see that we had just gone through the buffet, come to our table to take our drink order, and then they would return with the tiniest glasses of orange juice I had ever seen....and God forbid we ask for orange juice and water! We often got our juice after we were done eating. The quality of the photos taken were much inferior to the ones I had seen before on Carnival and the prices were extremely inflated. When they came around at dinner to take pictures, they would only take individual pictures. Couples were asked the photographers to take pictures of both of them together and they said they weren't allowed to. They could only take individual pictures. I guess another way to get your money because you would have to buy two pictures instead of one. We didn't have enough plug ins in our room and there were only two of us. We didn't receive the Canadian customs forms and so had trouble getting those filled out to stop in Victoria. It was utter chaos getting off there also. My main complaint was that there was too much selling. As we would walk around the ship, we were constantly bombarded with staff wanting to sell us stuff--face lotion, massages, alcohol cards--the list was never-ending. I won't be going on a Princess cruise again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
Just wanted a nice weekend getaway. Arrived at time and place indicated on boarding paperwork. Extremely long walk to first boarding area to get a number to be called to the check in area which was in another part of the convention ... Read More
Just wanted a nice weekend getaway. Arrived at time and place indicated on boarding paperwork. Extremely long walk to first boarding area to get a number to be called to the check in area which was in another part of the convention center. It was again another long walk. Once receiving your room key was directed out side and back towards the first room then down stair to a larger room. No signage to where to go. ( three different ships in port and three lines ) After finding proper line had to stand in line for about 20 minutes to clear security check point. After check point stood line 15 minutes to clear US Customs ( in Canada ) Total time to check in 75 minutes. Total steps according to fit-bit 5,200. If your in shape not a problem. There was no where for the older people we saw with mobility problems to sit. Had purchased transfers from ship to airport. Did not receive them as normally done. Went to tour desk who issues them and was told they did not offer transfers on this trip and that we should go to customer service at front desk for refund. Contacted front desk and was told that we should have already gotten or transfers from our room attendant. Was told they where to busy to assist us and to come back after 8pm. Went back and stood in line for approximately 30 minutes. Staff didn't understand what we needed after another 10 minutes they went in the back for about 10 minutes and returned with our transfers. ( missed out on several activities ) Ship was schedules to leave port at 5pm. Was informed at 5 pm they were not leaving until after 8pm because they were conducting routine maintinace. Left at about 8:15 pm pm. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
This was a 'mother & daughter" get away. Just one day from Vancouver to Seattle then returning on the Quick Shuttle back to Vancouver. Boarding took a long time but the problem was the US customs trying to clear a ... Read More
This was a 'mother & daughter" get away. Just one day from Vancouver to Seattle then returning on the Quick Shuttle back to Vancouver. Boarding took a long time but the problem was the US customs trying to clear a 'gazillion' people. Princess did their best. Once on the ship our stateroom was waiting for us, it was a surprise upgrade and we loved the mini suite. Just didn't get enough time in one day to really make it worth while. Food was good, staff was friendly and the entertainment was great too. We explored the ship from top to bottom tasting many a treat along the way. We didn't leave port until 8:30 pm due to the replacing of a couple of life rafts. The Emerald had just come in from Australia. The food in the buffet was well presented, plentiful and was good, not the weird and poorly presented food that had been served on the Ruby a couple of weeks prior when we'd been on there for 6 days. This ship seemed to have a fun vibe. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
We have traveled on both the Allure and Oasis of the Seas with RCI and Solstice and Millennium with Celebrity. Compared to them Princess is unfortunately a way way distant last. First and foremost the quality of the cooking in the main ... Read More
We have traveled on both the Allure and Oasis of the Seas with RCI and Solstice and Millennium with Celebrity. Compared to them Princess is unfortunately a way way distant last. First and foremost the quality of the cooking in the main dining room and even the Crown Grill is poor at best and downright disappointing. They had excellent produce in the freshest seafood and quality meats and sadly in the hands of a rank amateur cook - totally wasted. Everything was way way overcooked and dry. As I mentioned we even tried the Crown Grill one night to get away from the Main Dining room but that didn't really fair much better - what a sorry waste of $29 per head. We always chose Anytime Dining so we could sit by ourselves and not have to share. With Princess Anytime dining simply means you don't have to arrive at the designated times of 530 and 745pm. They don't really allow you to book - so you turn up when you want and get treated like a second class citizen when you politely (and this was every single sitting for dinner and several lunches and even afternoon tea) decline to share - which is the first question that gets asked. Best of all every time we were eventually allowed to enter the dining room, half the place was empty and I could always see a whole row of empty two person tables so I'm not sure what the fuss was all about. We also specifically chose Princess even though we have never sailed with them based on the information provided regarding their expert talks and knowledge about Alaska otherwise we were going to try Holland America. Sadly this really didn't eventuate either. On the second day after leaving Vancouver at the crack of 9am they had an expert Alaskan lecture followed by how to raise a family in Alaska around noon which I wasn't particularly interested in. They had the much advertised Iditarod champion on one of the port days at 3pm which we missed as we didn't make it back from the shore excursion in time. Lastly they was a total distinct lack of activities (or poor timing during the afternoons) when nothing was really on offer other than the obligatory art auctions or shopping promotions. Compared to RCI and X they had much better timed activities during the dull afternoon periods whereas Princess piles on the interesting stuff during the night so you cant get to them or they overlap one another during the peak times. Why couldn't they simply move some of them to the afternoon? So in summary this will be our first and only Princess cruise and back to RCI or X for us. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
Apologies for the delay in writing this review. We cruised as a family of 4, myself and husband, mid 40s and two children, an 11yo and 15yo. We chose and booked this cruise about 1.5 years before sailing, as we found a fantastic deal ... Read More
Apologies for the delay in writing this review. We cruised as a family of 4, myself and husband, mid 40s and two children, an 11yo and 15yo. We chose and booked this cruise about 1.5 years before sailing, as we found a fantastic deal with good OBC. It was our 2nd cruise, and first with Princess Cruises. Our first was with Royal Caribbean. We chose Princess as we just wanted to compare and they seemed to have better prices on things like drinks etc. Also, no gratuities required if departing and returning to Australia (although of course we tipped those that stood out anyway in cash) and it just seemed to work for us. So even though we've only done 2 cruises, we were all in agreement that we preferred Princess over RC, for many different reasons. The good: The dining room. Whilst breakfast and lunch in the dining room was a bit hit and miss, the dinners were always fantastic. We chose traditional dining as we had Anytime dining before and we just wanted to see what we liked better. Traditional for us! Loved getting to know our waiters and them getting to know our preferences, we were always served promptly (it does get dull taking two hours for dinner, esp with kids who just want to get to the after dinner activities.) The food was mostly fantastic, and we are pretty fussy diners. We were very happy with the dining room. General service was very friendly and attentive , in the bars, the buffet, pretty much everywhere. Be friendly to those that serve you and they will be friendly back. No problem. There were lots of choices of food at different venues at all hours. A big difference to our first cruise on RC. The public areas were beautiful and well maintained. (although sometimes there was a smell of bleach/chlorine which was noticeable...but we felt that this was good as we knew it had been cleaned) Public restrooms were very clean and well maintained. Drinks packages were good value and drinks were well priced in comparison to RC. The soda and more package was fantastic value...kids drank mocktails often! The pizza was EXCELLENT. Italian style, very very good. International Cafe was very good even at 5.30am with a great barista and nice pastries. Kids club (shockwaves) was good, the 11yo enjoyed going most days and evenings. Staff were friendly but my only gripe was the upselling of the Junior Masterchef. Good cultural enrichment (Maori show, Maori language and park ranger at Fiordlands) but would have liked more of it. Princess@sea was a great little service...when it worked. We often used the messenger service but unfortunately it dropped out often. Would love them to enhance it so we get notifications when we get a message. Was good to have on a big ship when you can't find each other! As stated above, we thought the drinks were good value. The unlimited soda and more package was very well used by the kids and was EXCELLENT value. No gratuities are charged on cruises leaving and returning to Australia and there was no push to give them unlike our previous cruise where we had prepaid gratuities but were pressured to give even more. This didn't happen on this cruise but we still tipped some of our excellent crew. This did not affect service at all. All crew were friendly and gave great service. The bad: No consistency in informing us about the various ports. We were actually misled at Auckland where the info given out was that you could get to the Glowworm tunnel from Auckland but when we got off the ship and we asked the local tourism people, we were informed that it was a 3hr drive, better accessed by the next day's port. Not such great/accurate info by Princess. We missed two ports. We had pretty poor weather for about half the cruise thanks to the tail end of a cyclone that followed us to New Zealand! They were both tender ports and it was very disappointing to miss them both. Cabins got very noisy in high seas...they creaked and groaned a LOT with the rough seas..even in moderate swells. Bring your earplugs! Loads of passengers that didn't sleep much. It really was very noisy. Photo pricing was annoying. Small photo for $15, large $25 but the "large" photo was just larger paper. The photo itself could be smaller than the small, you just had to put up with other junk (itinerary, maps etc) That drove me insane. Hard sell on jewellery and loads of other promotional junk (art shows etc) No interest in that junk. Would love to see a "recycling" bin so we can dispose of the millions of pieces of paper we got that were were not interested in at all! Captain/officers not visible amongst us plebs. Rarely saw them in the common areas. I don't think I ever saw the captain. He made one announcement at midday which sounded scripted. He did brief us if the weather was going to be severe (often ,as it happened!) Horizon court layout/setup was just confusing until you work out that they alternate the sides they open. Peak times were difficult in securing a table but we always found one outside. Selling "wine tasting" on our first day. The wine tasting was just a bit silly, don't think they even sold those wines on board. Odd smells on our deck (Dolphin) on the odd occasion. Ship vibrations. Some spots were way too cold and some too shaky. Cabin was clean but starting to show its age in carpet, some ding marks on wall and furniture and especially the sofa which I think is due for replacement. The ugly: Disembarkation day. Service was completely non existent in the buffet at breakfast. Public toilets that I tried were blocked up/overflowing, no toilet paper and absolutely filthy. Once we had to leave our rooms to disembark it was impossible to find a public toilet that was usable. We felt like we had overstayed our welcome. It was like we were no longer "valued passengers", and it left a really terrible last impression on us after a fabulous 12 days. Bad, sad and downright ugly. Indifferent: Shows. We cruise to travel so were not so impressed with the entertainment. We went to a few, mostly comedy. Some fantastic, others not so much. Not much to do on sea days (of which we got more than we expected with our poor weather!) Just trivia, bingo, art auctions and shopping. Some "activities" were just sales demos such as the GoPro lecture. Movies not to our taste. Would have liked to have seen the Lord of the Rings movies or Whale Rider as they were filmed at the locations/ports we were visiting. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
"Whilst the Emerald Princess is a beautiful ship, the ladies and myself in our party preferred the Voyager of the Sea we experienced last year.This year I had booked twin beds in our Stateroom but there was a double bed. Our cruise ... Read More
"Whilst the Emerald Princess is a beautiful ship, the ladies and myself in our party preferred the Voyager of the Sea we experienced last year.This year I had booked twin beds in our Stateroom but there was a double bed. Our cruise document stipulated twin beds. The crew were friendly and pleasant at all times. We also found that there were only hand disinfecting dispensers in the dinning area. On the Voyager they were present at almost every corner, especially outside the public toilets. Our toilet in our stateroom was blocked several times and the sink also blocked up once, in saying that it was fixed almost immediately. I found the entertainment a little dated. We ladies were very disappointed that the Spa was so expensive, we were all hoping for a facial, as we had on the Voyager at a very reasonable price, on a par with land prices. The food was very repetitious every day for all three main meals. Also all four couples in our party had our room card deactivated several times, which meant waiting in line at the Customer Service desk. The other issue we had was that the best bar on the ship, the one with ocean view and floor to ceiling windows did not open until after 5pm and then it seemed to be restricted to 18 - 25 year olds and the gay crowd. Last year we would meet at a similar bar on the Voyager at midday for a cocktail before lunch. Despite the above we all enjoyed the cruise immensely. The destinations were magnificent although we did our own thing as the ship's prices were over the top. We paid $50 per head for the same trip others who had booked on the cruise paid $90 for." We also found that there were very few hands on activities during the day eg cake decorating. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
Good cruise, ship of high quality appointments, entertainment good, weather a bit average, food good, service ok. Did this cruiser at a special price, half price deal, to celebrate Wedding anaversary, have been to the islands before, very ... Read More
Good cruise, ship of high quality appointments, entertainment good, weather a bit average, food good, service ok. Did this cruiser at a special price, half price deal, to celebrate Wedding anaversary, have been to the islands before, very humid weather, ok on the ship. Enjoyed overall cruise, stage shows and dancers were very good, entertainment staff were very good, all venues were good, art auctions were very average, very little room to sit in the Explorers Lounge, too many painting on show, could have been done in other venues on the ship, hosts very poor also. The Medical staff / Doctor save an elderly woman's life, with a blood transfusion during the night, 1 day out from Sydney, thanks from a call for help, for blood donors, from passengers, on the cruise. Amazing result from all concerned, along with a very great full husband, who was overwhelmed with the response, All ended well with the woman, delivered to Hospital in Sydney, when the ship docked. Now that's a great result, hope she recovers well. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
We first cruised the Emerald in 2008 and found it to be a lovely ship. We have since sailed with Princess many times and have logged over 100 days at sea. We weren't after waterslides and dodgems, just a lovely seat by a quiet ... Read More
We first cruised the Emerald in 2008 and found it to be a lovely ship. We have since sailed with Princess many times and have logged over 100 days at sea. We weren't after waterslides and dodgems, just a lovely seat by a quiet pool, a comfortable balcony room, and some great destinations. It was still NSW school holidays (just), and rather than limit children to one of the four pools they were everywhere and six children virtually incapacitated a pool for adults as you would get jumped on and screamed at. One of the pools was closed most of the time, as it tends to flood the spa (what a shame...) Bar service at the pool was almost non existant - if you have a soda card they dont want to know you. Deck chairs were at a premium - it was virtually impossible to find one in the shade on days that were incredibly hot. They were also at a premium at night - not once did I get to see a movie on deck as all seats were taken. Our room was similarly disappointing - same furnishings at in 2008 (carpet and all) and it smelled of urine. No matter how many times the steward cleaned the bathroom it was the same. We had the manager of housekeeping come to visit and she agreed it was not up to scratch and this was not what we had paid for. After some carpet shampooing and rigorous cleaning it was marginally better, but not good enough. The beds are new as are the pillows - we even requested new pillows as they were smelly. I assume they may have a wool filling that made them offensive smelling because the new ones smelled the same - just giving them the benefit of the doubt. The food was okay and the only real thumbs up I could give it was for the International Cafe with fabulous pastries and good coffee. Their Captains Circle cocktail party is a joke - the worst beer and vinegar-like sparkling wine and nothing interesting happening. Also, make sure your insurance covers missed ports. Princess reimbursed us $4 for missing Mystery Island due to strong winds. One out of 5 ports lost. And their prices have gone up while everyone else's has gone down. My advice - don't bother with Princess - they have definitely lost their sparkle and would have to try much harder for my dollar in future. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
I had a good cruise but it was not as relaxing as other Princess cruises I have done due to it being in the school holidays and the fact that they had unruly feral children aboard that were allowed to disrupt and spoil other peoples cruise ... Read More
I had a good cruise but it was not as relaxing as other Princess cruises I have done due to it being in the school holidays and the fact that they had unruly feral children aboard that were allowed to disrupt and spoil other peoples cruise experience by running, jumping, somersaulting and bombing into the swimming pools. As an adult the only time you could swim without children hassling you was in the early hours until 10:00am when the little terrors were still fast asleep. Even worst the aft stairwell was littered with empty plates, empty glasses, food scraps and garbage. The worst part about this cruise was that Princess did not attempt to control the behaviour of the children and as a result it tipped the balance from what could have been relaxing when they neglected to care about the cruise experience of guests not travelling with children. Other bad examples were wet seats in the atrium and in particular Crooners Bar where some absolute pig of a passenger(s) had come with wet swimmers from the pools and sat in the lounge chairs. Absolutely disgusting! Further more at time when I was on my balcony many bottles appear to have been thrown from the side of the ship which I began to suspect that children had placed notes in hoping that they will one day wash ashore. My word of warning is in Australia avoid cruising with Princess in the school holidays. Entertainment: This was exactly the same standard as every other Princess cruise I have done. I was very satisfied with the entertainment and shows and could not fault them in anyway. The structure was however frustrating that most shows were at 7pm and 9pm instead of 8pm and 9:45pm like every other Princess cruise I have been on. This was annoying because anytime dining did not start until 7:30pm and meant that if dining service was slow then you would miss out on the 9pm show if you like to see entertainment after dinner. I can only fathom that the change was done do appease little children and their bed time during the school holidays despite the fact that the vast majority of passengers were grown adults. Scheduling was very bad for this ship. Food: Excellent quality of food on the upper decks, buffet and Crown Grill. I absolutely loved the hamburgers and pizzas from near the Neptune Reef and Pool. Main Dining Rooms had good food but when the ship is based in Australia all the Princess favourites are removed and replaced with "crappy Australianised" menus of food that Australians do not eat. One example is that delicious "Baked New York Cheesecake" that is an all time favourite dessert is not available ever if the ship is based in Australia. It is replaced by a rather crappy and underwhelming pavlova that Australians despise. Deck Access: Very poor connection to outdoors and flow with the aft decks from 15 to 19. On the port side of deck 17 from the MUTs it was impossible to walk aft due to barricades however on the starboard side it was possible. Unlike the Diamond and Sapphire Princess, the rear of Skywalker’s nightclub had a rear veranda and open deck access with stairs to the levels below. On Emerald Princess, this area existed but was barricaded off and labelled as an emergency exit. One cannot fathom the difference in rules given the ships share the exact design feature. Open deck access is important for scenic cruising and being on deck during port entrance and departure. Internet: Extremely poor bandwidth and access issues. Continual intranet dropouts during peak times as the wireless connection for the local network was not powerful enough to maintain demand. At quiet times, like during the early hours of the morning the internet worked brilliantly so this proves that when excess passengers were awake that the internet had a problem. This issue does not exist on the Diamond Princess or Golden Princess. Lastly in comparison to the Golden Princess, Sapphire Princess, Diamond Princess I found the Emerald Princess to be overcrowded and had insufficient staff to cater to all passengers. The other ships I have been on are much more relaxing and have less passengers than the Emerald Princess and in my opinion are much better ships. The Diamond Princess which is my current favourite appears to be in much better condition. My next cruise with Princess will be Diamond Princess based in Japan. I have always been happy with these cruises and unfortunately Emerald Princess in Australia has disappointed me. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
Yes, there were long queues at embarkation but it's a world wide issue as port authorities ignore the need to rethink the embarkation process/facilities. All cruise lines are limited by the design of the terminals. Port authorities ... Read More
Yes, there were long queues at embarkation but it's a world wide issue as port authorities ignore the need to rethink the embarkation process/facilities. All cruise lines are limited by the design of the terminals. Port authorities need to allow for multiple entry points to the ships instead of funnelling thousands of passengers into one entry point. Enough said. Once on board, the Princess crew were all over the place providing assistance to locate our cabins. Food was already being served and it never stopped for the eleven days we were on board. The decor on the Emerald Princess is tasteful and subdued with a mix of many shades of blues and browns but lacking a little pizzazz. Nonetheless all areas and venues are clean and comfortable. Our mini-suite (D526) was immaculately clean and our cabin steward couldn't have been more helpful and responsive to our requests. As cabins go our mini-suite was very spacious and comfortable. When selecting the cabin, we didn't realise the balcony was open/visible to the decks above but worse, there was no relief from the sun. We did change the pillows for smaller ones as the standard ones were so big and luxurious we were almost smothered as our heads descended into pillow overload. The air-con all over the ship was on the cold side for my liking so make sure you take some longer sleeved items and a cardi/jacket. Of course you can buy on board! We didn't bother with the specialty dining venues (at additional cost) as the food in the main dining rooms was perfectly fine. A few misses but in the main, the options were many and varied and well cooked and presented. Still amazed at the precision and quality considering the number of passengers. We chose "anytime dining" and shared tables at lunch and dinner and we met many delightful people, some of whom we will keep in touch with. Great staff in the dining rooms too. We are not fans of buffets but when in port, it's the main eating venue on board. Food was fine. A tip for coffee lovers... there is often a long queue to order lattes etc. in the International Cafe (deck 5) despite having to purchase them. Just sit down at a table and flag a waiter who will order for you and deliver it to your table (even if you want takeaway). There is a variety of entertainment from musical stage productions, to comedy, mood music, ballroom dance lessons, line dancing, Zumba, a full gym, in cabin TV/movies, a giant screen for movies under the stars, a kids club, games on deck, art auctions, shopping sales, spa services, competitions, giveaways and if that's not enough you can attend churches services too! Excursions are not always good value for money but if you do your own thing you really need to do a lot of research beforehand and be aware if you don't get back to the ship on time, it doesn't wait for you! Some South Pacific Islands are really beautiful like Isle of PInes (not visited this trip) and Champagne Bay but Noumea is very tired looking and the locals not particularly friendly. Port Vila is run down and dirty but the people are all very friendly and chatty. Of course there is no need to go ashore as the entertainment just keeps going on board. We met many people who have cruised on Princess ships many times and some debatable incentives are offered for loyalty. There are still other cruise lines I wouldn't mind trying but I have no hesitation in recommending the Emerald Princess and may well cruise on her again. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
We chose this cruise because it was during school holidays and the departure from Sydney was easy for us. Last January we cruised with Princess out of Singapore and enjoyed it so much decided to go again. The 11 night South Pacific ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it was during school holidays and the departure from Sydney was easy for us. Last January we cruised with Princess out of Singapore and enjoyed it so much decided to go again. The 11 night South Pacific Islands Cruise was great and we were blessed with great weather. We enjoyed having relaxing beach days on a couple of stops and also enjoyed a couple of busy days in port on organised tours. Everything from the food to entertainment to the amazingly comfortable beds to the very friendly staff was all fantastic. As I read some other peoples reviews, I actually wonder if they were on the same ship, as I couldn't find faulty with anything but I guess there are people that see the world differently. Don't worry too much about negative reviews...the ship was fantastic. I would certainly cruise on the Emerald Princess again. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
Prefacing this with the fact that this was our first ever cruise experience so don't have any other ships to compare to yet. Embarkation in Sydney went a lot more smoothly than I expected and was generally well run. We cruised ... Read More
Prefacing this with the fact that this was our first ever cruise experience so don't have any other ships to compare to yet. Embarkation in Sydney went a lot more smoothly than I expected and was generally well run. We cruised on the Emerald Princess and generally found the ship in overall good condition and well maintained, we stayed adjoining in a typical Deck 11 outside balcony rooms. On our cruise we found that the ship was fairly full and mostly Australians with a smaller percentage of tourists from NZ, SE Asia (China, Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia) and a smattering of US and Canadians. Demographics were still dominated by the 50-55year age group despite this being school holidays although some families were present. We went for anytime dining and found that even as a group of 8 we were nearly always seated in Michelangelos or the Da Vinci dining room very quickly and I was pleasantly surprised by the very high quality and variation of food and good service in these dining rooms. We also tried the Curtiss Stone Share restaraunt one night and can highly recommend this. We also found that the Horizon Court Buffet and Cafe Caribe buffet were quite popular and often very crowded, the food was fine but it just felt a bit busy and tired compared to the other parts of the ship. Seating was the main issue here. Didn't try the Crown Grill but heard good reports, the pizza bar and Trident Grill were popular with the Pizza in particular being surprisingly nice. We found the Central Piazza quite a nice space but a little small and inadequate amount of seating and space considering how popular it was. I would recommend increasing the footprints of the more popular things such as The International Cafe and decreasing some of the things such as the future cruise sales. It was interesting seeing how some of the spaces on the ship were underutilized and nearly always empty such as the Cigar Lounge and The Sanctuary for instance wheras others seemed a little busy, popular and crowded a lot of the time. Night life was fairly lively and we found that the shows in the Princess Theatre were unexpectadly good, in our case the violinist show was quite well done. Activities during the day were possibly a bit repetative and relied on too many gameshow and quiz themed events. The pace of life on board was really controlled by the weather, with very nice days at sea put to good use with lots of activities by the pools and out on deck spreading the crowds out throughout the entir ship wheras some of the less pleasant days resulted in interior parts of the ship inevitably becoming more popular and crowded. A few other random observations were the difficulty of finding a decent cup of coffee, probably related to the use of UHT milk and the more "american style" of coffee than some may be used to. We aren't huge drinkers so didn't avail ourselves of the 'all you can drink packages' but did have the occasional beer or wine on some nights or with dinner and found the drinks prices to be quite reasonable. Same goes for the unlimited soft drink packages, don't bother unless you have a massive apatite for soft drinks! BYO laundry powder to save time. The staff seemed very hard working but always very freindly and tried to help in nearly all situations despite many of them obviosly having english as a second language, overall I thought they were a credit to the company and very patient with a variety of passengers whom varied from being fairly quiet and polite through to the thankfully rare noisy boorish bogan or "prima-donna". The staff of the ship certainly had a much higher "care factor" and were more motivated than most of the hospitality and tourism staff in Australia. The teenagers found their own freinds mostly and seemed to enjoy (or at least adapt) to life on board better than some of the adults. We were mostly lucky with the shore excursions and would highly recommend the Arkaroa Nature Cruise at Arkaroa (especially the early morning as you bypass at least one crowd for the tender service to shore and get the best weather and the most animals to view). The shore excursions seemed a bit expensive but well run and we quite often went off and did our own thing which was often cheaper and less crowded than some of the planned tour excursions, this was NZ after all and obviously would have been different depending on the shore destination. The disembarkation proccess went fairly smoothly - except for some jockeying and last minute crowding of busses to different airport terminals, but would be churlish to pin the blame for that on Pricess Cruises. As you can tell - we are not big fans of crowds of people but we only felt uncomfortably crowded in rare situations so found ways to avoid the crowds when we could on the ship. I would certainly consider cruising again in a more "exotic" destination with less Australians onboard and more people from different backgrounds now that I know what to expect. This ship is really well set up for good/hot weather so try to plan your cruise with the maximum chance of nice weather as you possibly can. 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Sail Date January 2017
We chose this cruise because it was in the school holidays and we had not been to New Zealand before. Whilst this cruise was perfectly fine and we enjoyed it, it was not up to the standards we have come to expect from cruising. For ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it was in the school holidays and we had not been to New Zealand before. Whilst this cruise was perfectly fine and we enjoyed it, it was not up to the standards we have come to expect from cruising. For example, the service in the dining room was poor compared to all our other cruises. On a number of occasions we had to wait a long time before we even got our menus and then there were also considerable waits for our food to arrive. We had set dining which is our favourite as you get to know your wait staff and they get to know you. On past cruises, by the second night, the wait staff have your drinks ready and waiting by the time you arrive for your meal. This happened once. We had to order our drinks every night (the exact same drinks). Also my mum liked to have a glass of ice each night and she had to always prompt the wait staff for it. The other issue I had was with the menu. There was an over abundance of fish and seafood choices which is great if you like that but not being a fish or seafood eater I found it a poor menu for me. There was never much in the way of a choice for chicken or vegetarian. A number of nights I ended up not eating in the dining room while my family ate and then went up to the buffet (Horizon court) to find something. The buffet was excellent. I do like the set out of it. You have to sanitise your hands before you enter the buffet area. I liked that it was separate from those looking for tables. We often found it hard to find a table to sit at though. Not the fault of anyone, just an observation. I did really like who the Horizon court was set out. The food was really good for the most part with lots of choice. Room service was fabulous and it always arrived really quickly and hot. I could not fault this at all. The cabin was great. We had ice in our room every day/night. We only had one cabin steward on this ship and usually we have two. It wasn't unusual for us to go out in the morning for breakfast and trivia and come back and find our room had not been cleaned yet. Not a problem for us but not the same as other cruises. The balcony was huge but a little old looking and rusty. We didn't end up using it too much because the weather was rainy and it was quite cold out there. I did often open the door and just lie on the bed at night listening to the waves which was lovely at night. Entertainment was ok. Most of the shows in the theatre were the Princess dancers and singers. They were good but I like a bit of a mix up there. The entertainers that they had come on board mostly performed in one of the bars and I thought this was a bad idea. The bar area was never big enough for the amount of people wanting to attend and there were always people standing. One show we didn't get to see because we couldn't be bothered trying to see past those standing at the back. Also the number of kids attending late late shows and not being controlled by their parents was shameful. At one show they were interrupting the magician the whole show and being a nuisance and their parents were nowhere to be seen. I don't understand why the ships staff don't step in. The ports of call were fabulous and we had wonderful weather for those. We did not do any ship tours as we find them quite expensive. The tours we did were ones that we found through Tripadviser. They were all fantastic, especially the seals in Akaroa. We were within metres of the babies and it was quite breathtaking. Just the seven of us on a tour with a guide. The only hiccup we had was the weather started off being bad on that day and they cancelled the tenders off the ship. We thought we were not going to be able to get off but that ended up changing, just like the weather and we just made it off on time for the tour. Embarkation and disembarkation was well organised. We were with my parents who are platinum so we had priority boarding which was fantastic. Although I think that the boarding without it would have been fine, just would have taken a little longer. Hint, don't take on a powerboard as my mum got caught and it delayed getting her bag onboard until quite late on the first evening. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
my first and last cruise had to battle through crowds everytime I left my room, had to line up for elevators and stop at every deck, unusually did not have to line up at restaurants, food selection was not as good as I had expected after ... Read More
my first and last cruise had to battle through crowds everytime I left my room, had to line up for elevators and stop at every deck, unusually did not have to line up at restaurants, food selection was not as good as I had expected after watching on you tube, cabin was missed getting refreshed 2 days out of 8, overall not my idea of restful holiday, a lot of the entertainment I was looking at doubled up or was on too late, they probably could of put more on during the day, The room size was adequate with ample storage good size wardrobe, however the bathroom was tiny, would hate to be a larger person trying to shower, the piaza area is too small without enough seating to accomodate the people wanting to participate in activities and unfortunately that is where I had the problem accesssing the lifts with the large number of guests. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
I must admit to being sceptical and very stressed on boarding our first ever family cruise. We chose Princess from recommendations by others, and chose this itinerary as was wholly within Australia and didn't require passports. I ... Read More
I must admit to being sceptical and very stressed on boarding our first ever family cruise. We chose Princess from recommendations by others, and chose this itinerary as was wholly within Australia and didn't require passports. I travelled without my husband - and took my 16 yo intellectually handicapped daughter, plus my other 12yo daughter - so my circumstances were no doubt vastly different to the many relaxed retirees we found onboard. Embarkation was just 'ok' as we suffered an initial 'rookie' hiccup - in that we weren't given a plastic 'boarding card'. These were issued on check in to seemingly every other passenger - except us (ugh!!). But this was quickly resolved by a kindly Princess staff member and we were ushered onboard at the allocated deck boarding time of midday. The ship is incredibly impressive, and the service we received from staff on board was excellent. Highlights for us included:- 1) The Pizza and Ice Cream bar. Delicious woodfired pizza, and soft served ice cream (with sprinkles and toppings if you desired!) were definitely a hit with my girls - and me!! 2) Movies Under the Stars - fantastic, as they screened all day long with good quality, new release features 3) Botticelli Dining Room. We opted for Fixed Dining at 5.45 each night and for me, this was the best part of our cruise. Food quality was exceptional, and they had a fabulous kids menu. Service was impeccable and we were seated, fed, and gone - before 6.30 in most cases!! This was great with 2 impatient kids who detest long waits. 4) Room Service Breakfasts - OH MY GOD - once I discovered I could order brekky for free (and beat the huge crowds at the brekky buffet) - I was hooked. Croissants, coffee, fresh OJ delivered straight to my room to be enjoyed on the balcony without seeing a single other passenger?? I think YES. 5) International Café - best coffee ever. Loved this place. Delicious cakes. Miss it already. 6) The in cabin TV!! I have to admit that this was the biggest shock for me - as I'd heard the TV at sea was 'crap', with re-runs of the Love Boat and Princess Merchandise channels only. I can say - proudly - that my family spent an EMBARRASSING amount of time in our cabin because they had 4 dedicated new release movie channels, two dog and cat channels, and comedy channel, and a beautiful vacation channel showing all my future dream cruise destinations. My girls were completely obsessed with the 24 hour bridge cam and ship location channel!! We loved it!!!!! 7) Port Arthur - what a fantastic, eerie, picturesque, surreal little place it is! Tenders were organised expertly with very little waiting time. A fantastic first port. Lowlights for us: 1) Horizon Buffet. To be fair - the choice of food at brekky and lunch was awesome - if you are an adult like me who eats anything. But I can honestly say my girls went in there for lunch on the first 3 days and came out with a breadroll - as they had no 'plain' foods on offer for kids. Thank GOD for the pizza bar and the Trident Grill - which served burgers and chips - and was basically where the kids had lunch every day thereafter. Also with the buffet - there is just not enough seating. In 8 days, we were never once seated inside - at any meal. On some days, even sitting outside was a challenge. We heard from other experienced travelleres that the Emerald was bulging with passengers for this trip - and had too many on board. But - ever positive - we opted for room-service brekky, pizza for lunch, and Botticelli for dinner. 2) The cabin bunk configuration (see comments re cabin below) 3) No Aussie power points - make sure you take US adapters!!! 4) Disembarkation problem at Melbourne. Passengers were informed that we would be able to get off the ship at 10am - but it was closer to 11am due to a problem at the Port of Melbourne- and this caused a great deal of stress and anger as all passengers were made wait in claustrophic, hot queues for almost an hour. My daughter was having a meltdown and I felt nauseous and light headed from lack of oxygen in the cramped waiting lines. Once the line started slowly moving - it led to some of the more entitled passengers thinking they could outrank us first timers and jump queues - and it was just ugly scenes. This then flowed on to the 1km line up for non-existent taxis (and more well dressed entitled queue jumpers) - and all in all it was a disastrous day in Melbourne that I wished I'd just stayed on board for!!! 5) The decision to drain one of the 2 main swimming pools on day 5 of an 8 day cruise - in 38 degree heat - in school holidays - was ridiculous. To make it worse - they never refilled it. This forced basically every child on board to flock to the one remaining pool/deck area. It was a nightmare and we preferred to stay in our air conditioned cabin, away from the crowds. Overall, the experience of not having to prepare a single meal for 8 days - and ship life in general - was definitely a 'yes' from me, and although I'd love to go on another cruise very soon - I think I may lean towards a smaller boat with less crowds! Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
We are a family of 5, with a 16 and 14 year old daughters and 5 year old son. My wife and I are seasoned cruisers, including P&O, Princess, RCI, Carnival and Cunard. Cruise departed Sydney, Port Arthur, Hobart, overnight ... Read More
We are a family of 5, with a 16 and 14 year old daughters and 5 year old son. My wife and I are seasoned cruisers, including P&O, Princess, RCI, Carnival and Cunard. Cruise departed Sydney, Port Arthur, Hobart, overnight Melbourne and Sydney return. This cruised suited us for the dates and ship rather than the ports visited. Embarkation went very quickly, we would have been on the ship within half an hour. Even though we were Platinum members, we didn't really get on any quicker than anyone else as we had no real major queues. Before I continue, 3 weeks earlier, we cruised on Ovation of the Seas. This was a last minute decision based on a great price. Our Emerald Princess cruise was booked over 12 months in advance and was our Family Christmas Holiday. It's hard not to compare the 2 ships since it's so fresh in my mind, but I will! We decided on 2 inside cabins with interconecting door. Worked well for us although the interconectiong door itself that was recently installed at its last dry dock wasn't the best fit and seemed twisted. It was hard to close it without making it slam. This was real loud at night.... The cabins were clean and in good order but felt dated in design and colour in comparison to Ovation. TV had many channels to choose from, played all the latest releases for free. Every 24 hour period it swapped to a new movie, from memory 3 or for different channels offered this from Kids movies, Action etc. On Ovation you had to pay $12 each per movie! The new mattress, to soft for me but my wife loved it. Room steward, who I think are the hardest working people on a ship did a great job of keeping our 2 rooms clean and fresh. After the first 24 hours on being onboard, the comment I made to my wife regarding the ship in comparison to Ovation was " This is one very well oiled Machine! " Chalk and Cheese in regards to service a food. The wife agreed. The dining experience in the Botticelli dining room was excellent. No queues on arrival, you pretty much just walk to your assigned table. We had early seating @5:45 pm. Fantastic waiters, service was very quick (in some cases too fast!) and the food was very impressive. Did not have any repetition of Dinner menu over the 8 days other then the every day menu. Horizon buffet on the other had was the usual....nothing exciting, but OK. I did find the buffet extremely dated in design a colour, also very cramped. This needs to be redesigned and updated. Check out the Ovation buffet area, it's great. We did do afternoon Tea, it was very good. I recommend the scones and chicken sandwich! We did visit the alternate Restaurant, SHARE. It is a 6 course menu. It was OK, but it did leave me a little dissapointed. I did expect MORE from it in quality and taste. I thought the dining room was as equal. Kids feedback said they loved the ice-cream, pizza and trident grill and all for free too! I didn't even make it to these. To be honest we didn't really see a great deal of the girls on sea days other than dinner when we would all catch up. They both enjoyed the Teen club, and as they are a little older make there own friends . It's funny how they find you on the ship when they want something from you, usually money! Our 5 year old also enjoyed the kids club, and it also gave us respite as a couple. We did all the usual activities including bingo and trivia. I always enjoy watching Karaoke, even though I can't sing! Kory the pianist is quite entertaining, you either love him or hate him. The major production shows in my opinion were of a poor quality in comparison to Ovation. Being Platinum member gave us the opportunity to enjoy the offerings ( nibbles etc and discount drinks) at Skywalkers every evening between 5pm and 7pm. We really enjoyed this part of the evening. It was a time to reflect on the day, relax in great venue with a great view and service. I remember being mesmerized while at Melbourne overnight watching the sunset with the city in the background as it all lights up. Lucky the ship was in this position. Just on Drinks, they were a reasonable price and pours compared to Ovation. We had the drinks package @$59 a day compared to Ovation @$79 American, this equated to almost $100 ($97) We did our own thing at each port. It really helps that your cruising in your own backyard. One thing to mention was that when we tendered to Port Arthur, we actually arrived within the Port Arthur complex, therefore you didn't have to pay to get in as you where already "there" if that makes sense. Saved heaps on entry. We joined a complimentary (free) tour for 25 minutes , and noticed others paid for a similar tour at great expense thru the ship.... We did the hop on and off Red Bus in Hobart. 1.5 hour round trip was well worth the $$$ Day 1 at Melbourne I got a far as the end of the Pier with my 5 year old Son and turned straight back on to the Ship! It was like 38C that day. Had a relaxing day on board with the pool all to myself with my drinks card. Managed to sneak Harry into the kind club! The wife and 2 daughters couldn't get to the discount factory retail outlets quick enough. This is all I heard from the 3 of them for almost 12 months, half the reason we chose this particular trip. Living with 3 females, they can shop and was more than happy to withdraw on this occasion. Day 2 at Melbourne we went to the Zoo. Caught the tram and had a better day than expected. The ship is nice, but after coming from Ovation the ship felt vey old. Emerald was built in 2007 and Ovation 2016. 10 years difference in age certainly shows how far we have come in such a short period of time. I did notice areas of the ship that when launched were popular, but now deserted. Internet cafe, deserted. Smartphones killed this area. Future cruise sales? Why have such a huge area? No one in there. Speakeasy Cigar lounge, didn't see a soul in it. The Sanctuary. great place but no one used it. But after a couple of days, I didn't care. I like the Grand class ship, has a great layout and flow. The Piazza is a great people watching spot and the International cafe a great concept. All in All I had a really great cruise, better than my expectations. Princess offer a great product, and a reason I will cruise with them in the future . Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
Did this cruise on the Diamond in 2016 . Had such a great experience with that , me & the missus wanted to do it again . Emerald Princess is a magnificent ship with fantastic crew and staff made us feel like VIPs wherever we were . ... Read More
Did this cruise on the Diamond in 2016 . Had such a great experience with that , me & the missus wanted to do it again . Emerald Princess is a magnificent ship with fantastic crew and staff made us feel like VIPs wherever we were . Clean & comfortable staterooms , good variety of food in the buffet . Great menus in the specialty restaurants . The atmosphere in the bars ( Crooners & wheelhouse in particular ) had us come back time & again . Getting on and off the ship was made easy by the very helpful staff at each port of call . My wife travelled with a wheelchair this trip and I thought it would be a struggle . I have nothing but praise for the support given us by the Princess team , from embarkation to debarkation & beyond , thank you all for a memorable cruise . We are considering a 3rd trip next year on the Diamond again . Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
As seasoned cruisers (11th cruise with Princess and 17th overall), we enjoy the Princess experiences: traditional cruising, many dining experiences (ranging from casual to Michelin), personal and expertise service, cleanliness, familiarity ... Read More
As seasoned cruisers (11th cruise with Princess and 17th overall), we enjoy the Princess experiences: traditional cruising, many dining experiences (ranging from casual to Michelin), personal and expertise service, cleanliness, familiarity and excellent itineraries. Hence, we are enormously loyal to Princess and chose this cruise merely for the joint holiday itinerary to one of our favourite countries to cruise to – New Zealand – from hometown of Sydney. The itinerary included a new port, Picton, which was a lovely surprise, otherwise the itinerary was all familiar. This was our first time on the Emerald Princess and we enjoyed the ship very much; it is fairly new and well arranged. Hotel Information: The mini suite stateroom was spacious for two people, though we have sailed before with 3 and even 4 passengers. Not a complaint about the room. Customer services officer, Steven Ross, was a credit to the cruise line and one of the senior shining staff members on-board. I strongly recommend pre-organising credit card info for the cruise prior to embarkation, to avoid purser's desks queues. A big stateroom qualm was the fact my parents, vacating in the stateroom next to mine, had significant difficulties with their cruise card, being unable to enter their cabin. Pursers desk staff tried to be helpful with remagnetising the cards but this issue continued for the entire duration of the cruise! Their advice offerings were considerate e.g. separate cards from one another or keep away from phones, never even applied. The technician who came to inspect the cabin door tossed the blame to another department and it buck was continually passed along so the easiest way my parents found to deal with it was queuing up for re-magnestiisng on a daily basis. International Café: As huge fans of the International Café concept, we love time spent there! Sadly, the lack of seating was a perpetual problem. We were often scrambling to find space or seats in the café. Unfortunately, it’s just one of those things but I do believe adding additional space in the atrium or including additional chairs would help the situation. Fellow passengers shoving aside others to snab a table, of which I was once already sitting at with a family member, is a lowly reflection of fellow cruisers etiquette. Embarkation/Disembarkation: No major complaints, Princess usually do a seamless job especially at the Overseas Passengers Terminal in Circular Quay, Sydney making the whole process even smoother, however disembarkation was the most unclear we have experienced in a little while - staff were completely lost in directing passengers to exit and there was no signage or indication of the disembarkation portal. Dining/Club Class: Biggest highlight for our cruising experience was the introduction of Club Class for platinum, elite and suite passengers. With additional dining privileges for breakfast and dinner (and sea day lunches) this suited us superbly. Dining times can be allocated for the same time, to the same table and waiters, if passengers prefer (which we did!). The service was out of this world incredible! Our waiters Mylosh and Matt, and head waiter Razvan went above and beyond their call of duty to satisfy our dining wishes. Their service was a notch above. We certainly support CC's introduction. We never have major complaints about the dining experience on-board Princess. Food is generally tasty, well cooked and there's plenty of variety at the dining facilities. My biggest issue was the overspicing of dishes, Princess seems to be going overboard with that. We enjoy the Princess style of certain dishes like the orzo salad (International café), salmon bagel for breakfast, pancakes, escargot and chocolate chip cookies - in my humble opinion, most places I dine at can't beat Princesses standard for these food items. I definitely recommend Share, the new speciality restaurant by Curtis Stone. The Michelin style menu was faultless - the pork ravioli and sea scallops are to die for! The view up there is also spectacular so I suggest booking for a 7pm or 8pm seating to watch the sunset. Gym/Spa: Plentiful and diverse gym equipment with operational TV screens attached. Morning stretch classes and ab workouts were enjoyable but a tad short; Georgi was excellent with diversifying the routines each day. Yoga (paid class) was pleasant but a little too easy. Had an amazing facial by Lyndsay; she knew exactly what to do to make my complexion glow and I am so glad to have met her. Natalia the hairdresser was also great with her work. Alfie the manager seems to be doing a brilliant job! Tender: Tendering services seemed to have improved from previous cruisers which had countless issues with immobile passengers attempting to get on-board lifeboat vessels, causing accidents and MAJOR delays. Glad Princess are sticking to their policy for whatever reason! Captain: Must add that Captain Bill Kent did an excellent job steering the Emerald Princess. Despite rapidly changing weather, gusty winds, listing, uncooperative propellers and the silly season, Captain Kent kept the ship well informed. He was very personable, engaging in ship activities like the Christmas mass service, judging the gingerbread house competition, tender operations and partaking in tours. Christmas Vibe/Entertainment & Activities: A wide array of Christmas activities and entertainment was available this cruise, providing a lot of fun, such as gingerbread house decorating, cookie decorating, Christmas card making, Christmas movies, carolling and mass. This left a very homely and warm feeling. Some of the activities were poorly timed, either clashing with meal times or other major events but overall very enjoyable and had a ball choosing what to do! Atmosphere and decoration on-board was amazing, even stunning! We often cruise over the holidays and this cruise exceeded all expectations - the ambience by décor and staff's friendliness was amazing. Otherwise entertainment was a massive anti-climax! The MUTS was a flop; we attended it twice to have the audio not working from the start. This has also happened on previous cruisers. . It also makes a lot of sense to simultaneously screen the film on one of the stateroom TV channels, so that the movie can be watched with appropriate audio in the cabin yet this has sadly not been the case. As an extension to the in room entertainment, the TV and film selections are repetitive, being shown again and again all day. Shows lacked luster though some of the on-board games were pretty fun. Tours: The two tours we chose were great - perfect length/duration, engaging sights and itinerary and well priced considering how much Princess OVERCHAGRES with their tours. Recommend the Waka experience in Bay of Islands if city highlights is not your thing and the Moa Brewery and Aviation Museum in Picton. Unfortunately, we could not attend the chocolate factory in the latter destination's tour, yet our company was still fully charged and not reimbursed for that expedition. Money making scheme... General: Musty Smell – The ship had quite a strange musty smell at times; often vacuum like air dryers were used to manage it and took a few hours to dissipate. Boutiques – Lacked lustre. Either shopping was based for amenities – knick knacks, souvenirs, toiletries or basic fashion – or was high end duty free. Stock was dated, uninspiring or limited. Art Auction – Incredibly annoying. Not that we/I partake in this experience, but the staff involved are pushy and loud. The concept itself occupies way too much time, advertising and space around the ship and I think less could possibly be more in the case of Princess amending its art facility. Devoting a whole stateroom television channel to art history and documentaries is a bit much too… As always, the service cannot be faulted. Staff try their absolute hardest to accommodate and please. Cannot say I met one staff member who was impolite or unhelpful! The atmosphere this cruise was amazing and so festive, especially celebrating NYE and Christmas onboard! Thoroughly enjoyed it and left misty eyed which we haven’t done in a while! Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
Departure city was Syndey. This trip was on my bucket list. 6 of us in our group. Son, grandson, new daughter in law, 2 new granddaughters and myself! Stayed 3 nights at Four Seasons at the port. Arrival day was rainy; spent afternoon ... Read More
Departure city was Syndey. This trip was on my bucket list. 6 of us in our group. Son, grandson, new daughter in law, 2 new granddaughters and myself! Stayed 3 nights at Four Seasons at the port. Arrival day was rainy; spent afternoon in the Opera House. Early to bed as wedding in the park the following day. Hair and makeup done; beautiful sunny and warm day---perfect. Manley Beach, zoo and botanical gardens were also has ghlights. Embarkation and disembarkation was simple. We walked from hotel to the ship and took shuttle from the ship to the airport. Thank goodness for cruise critic's helpful hints about how to survive with 4 persons in a cabin. The over the door shoe bag from the container store was soooo useful. The wall magnets were used for jackets and handbags. The kids and teen programs were a hit with the grandchildren. They were eager to participate every evening after dinner and no sea days. I needed gluten free foods. The dining room staff in Michaelanglo were so attentive and kept me 'in line' when I was tempted to cheat. They then provided me with a wonderful substitute. We did some of the shows in Princess theatre, art lectures and spent time in Crooners with Cory when children were in their programs. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
Wow so much to say. came into Sydney harbour by river ferry coming around the back and side of this amazing ship. Boarding was a breeze a few rather long queues but that was to be expected as the ship had to board three and a half thousand ... Read More
Wow so much to say. came into Sydney harbour by river ferry coming around the back and side of this amazing ship. Boarding was a breeze a few rather long queues but that was to be expected as the ship had to board three and a half thousand people. once we were finally through the Embarkation process walking across the gangway was so nerve racking wondering what is the ship going to be like? what awaits us just around the corner? when we got around that corner and set foot on-board the truly amazing M/S Emerald Princess we certainly were not disappointed it was beautiful as it was a Christmas cruise there was tinsel Christmas trees and all sorts of other decorations everywhere which was a lovely touch. Now to the cabin my first time in an interior cabin so didn't really know what to expect but was pleasantly surprised the cabin was roomy well designed and actually quite a pleasant room although the bathroom as always with cruise ships was tiny. The Dining OMG the choices for dining on-board was incredible, three dining rooms, three specialty restaurants plus the buffet, Café Caribe, the grill, a pizza place/ ice-cream place and a fantastic little café in the Atrium called the International Café a tip book early for Crab Shack, Share and Crown Grill all of which are very popular this can be achieved through the stateroom phone by pressing the dining reservations button or by calling 6219 from any phone on-board (only the stateroom phones have the speed dial function). entertainment and activities the night-time shows is unfortunately where Princess fell short personally I found some of them to be rather amateurish I personally quite enjoyed the Princess signature show Magic To Do although they could have done more to hide the wires, the activities were quite enjoyable especially the trivia which my family spent a lot of time at all in all the entertainment and activities were abit of a let down (the Trivia was fun though). The service WOW each and every crew member was pleasant smiling happy to help you in anyway possible always with a huge smile (especially in the case of Kefang who worked at the international café as a buffet steward she was always smiling) the cruise director Duke and the assistant cruise director Matt were hilarious always cracking jokes and making fun of each other a true delight to be around. The ports and shore excursions WOW WOW WOW New Zealand is an incredible place a truly breathtaking country starting off in the Bay of Islands right up the top of the North Island we did the Waitangi Estuary by sea kayak shore excursion kayaking up to a small waterfall and back with a short break a 2 hour shore excursion truly amazing next was Auckland an unfortunate let-down very much like Sydney not really anything truly exciting there this was followed by the best port of the entire cruise Tauranga where we went to the Tamaki Maori Village just outside Rotorua what a day we were on a bus for about 90 minutes from the berth at Mount Maunganui to Tamaki both the guide and the driver were always cracking jokes and telling us about the areas we were passing which made the bus trip quite enjoyable then we arrived at Tamaki we were met by a traditional Maori welcome ceremony where the Maori warriors made sure that we came in peace and weren't going to attack them which was quite a show we then went into the village and were split up into small groups at which point we went to different huts to learn different things about Maori culture and history which was rather interesting and fun we then went to learn about a traditional hangi which is a Maori way of cooking after this we moved the meeting house where we were entertained through a number of Maori performances including the famous haka and a performance of a Maori love song called Pokarekare Ana after this it was meal time where we enjoyed a traditional Maori hangi feast which was delicious once this was over we had a bit of time to browse the gift shop and take some photos of the village before it was time to head back to the ship we said goodbye to Tamaki and headed out to the bus we then commenced the 90 minute return journey to Mount Maunganui berth where our ship was docked during this trip we were given a bit of a private performance with our guide singing some Maori songs until we reached Rotorua and she was dropped off we then went for a drive through the nearby gardens and had a look at a rather large building within the gardens before continuing our journey back. next was Christmas Day which was a sea day transiting between the north and south islands Christmas day was quiet and relaxing which was nice it was also a formal night there was Santa's arrival Christmas carols and much more our next port was Picton where we went on a hike and scenic cruise up the queen charlotte track and sound which was beautiful after this relatively easy hike and scenic cruise we were dropped off in the Picton township and had a bit of a look around a market and the town which was quite a nice quaint little rural New Zealand town right on the water which was lovely. Our next port was Wellington which is of course New Zealand's national capital and an awesome city first thing we did was get the famous cable car up the hill and walked back down through the botanical gardens which were really pretty after this we walked around the great city and had very necessary retail therapy we also enjoyed some on NZ's famous fush and chups as they would say we returned to the ship happy and content after a great day looking around an awesome city. next was Akaroa a quaint little French town quite a nice place actually at this port we did the double decker bus tour which was quite enjoyable during this tour we travelled form Akaroa to the famous hilltop hotel for a photo opportunity and pit stop we travelled through a number of quaint little towns the view from the hilltop hotel was breathtaking right over the many bays. Next was our final port of the cruise Dunedin a lovely small Scottish city with quite a lot to see including a Cadbury chocolate factory (the obvious highlight) as well as a great little Scottish shop quite a nice little southern New Zealand city. our final day in New Zealand was spent on a scenic cruise through the absolutely amazing Fiordland National Park through the dusky doubtful and breathtaking Milford sounds a truly breathtaking part of an amazing country. The next day was New Years Eve and of course it was party time and also the cruises third and final formal night they had three different on-board venues with parties celebrating New Years they were the Piazza, the Wheelhouse bar and the Explorers Lounge the Piazza had a live performance form the Emerald Princess party band (Liquid Blue) and a gold and silver balloon drop at the stroke of midnight a great night all in all. Our final night on-board was when my family went to the Share by Curtis Stone specialty restaurant located on deck 16 aft a truly amazing restaurant the six course meal was exquisite and the service was impeccable and the restaurant itself was beautifully designed. all in all a very very enjoyable cruise would definitely recommend Princess Cruises to anyone who wishes to have a relaxing luxurious and enriching cruise. Disembarkation was a breeze as well in and out of the terminal in less than half an hour. Would I travel with Princess Cruises again in short yes definitely although it is not my kind of line as I prefer to have activities galore, water parks, water slides heaps of pools a young persons fun cruise I would definitely go with princess again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
Our travelling party consisted of two families - our friends one adult and three daughters 16, 14 and 10 and us 2 adults and four boys 15, 11, 9 and 6. Nine year old had his bday on the ship. We arrived at Sydney Domestic airport early ... Read More
Our travelling party consisted of two families - our friends one adult and three daughters 16, 14 and 10 and us 2 adults and four boys 15, 11, 9 and 6. Nine year old had his bday on the ship. We arrived at Sydney Domestic airport early thinking of taking a maxi taxi if possible to the port, however once we picked up our bags we saw a guy with Princess cruises ask him a question and he introduced us to another shuttle driver who took all of us for $10 per person, which we would have probably paid anyhow as I doubt a maxi in Sydney will seat 10 pax. We arrived at circular key at 9:30, dropped of our bags and went for a walk around Sydney along the foreshore to darling Harbour and then via the CBD to the ship. We arrived at our allocated boarding time at 12:30 and were on the ship within 45 minutes. Went to our cabins on deck 8 (emerald) forward). We had two inside quads and an obstructed view twin. Cabins were fine. The ship was well decorated with Christmas things and it truly made you feel within the festive season. Music played was often also Christmas themed and overall they built it up nicely through the cruise, from lighting the Christmas tree in the Atrium to ginger house making competition with the three winners being added to the ginger town display. Christmas dinner was fine and all children received a present from Santa in the Atrium. On this cruise I also purchased the photo package for 199. We probably did not make full use of it but obtained sufficient photos to consider the expense worth while. We tried the various dining venues on board and had an evening at share and the food was very delicious it costs $39 pp but is worth the expense (we only took the older children here) . We also spent one night at the gastro pub $19 per adult and $9 per child. The burger was a delight and so were most of the others. I suggest that all other something different so you can try. Entertainment and activities were very good. The cruise Director 'Duke" and his sidekick ''Matt" were great, so where the shows and entertainers. We watched all the shows. We actually missed out on some of the venues which I realised at the end of the cruise so I will have to repeat :). Apparently Crooners was a place to be, but we did not frequent it, the piano player engaged well with a musical family and they put on some adhoc shows. The voice was a great show too, some very good talent, made it worthwhile. The top three were excellent singers. We attended several trivia and other things and involved ourselves whenever we felt like it. Carols with the crew was great and the Captain of the ship read out a Christmas story and was throughout the voyage informative and humorous. I also want to make mention of Dukes assistance a ships officer from France (nickname Frenchy) she was engaging with passengers of all ages, I observed her once having a great conversation with my 11 year old, and she did not know I was observing as I was quietly enjoying my drink. New Years eve was a great party, many venues had activities and they had a countdown in the Atrium. Party hats and noisemakers where handed out during dinner at the MDR and you could really get into the spirit. Fellow passengers on this ship was also a mix of all ages. There were a substantial amount of children on board - especially for a Princess cruise. In the two younger clubs there would have been about 150 and then probably another 150-250 teens. This made it therefore a varied demographic which was great. We also enjoyed Vines, they had a knowledgeable waiter there Ryan from Canada who was very helpful. Tasty Tapas and Sushi was avail too with your wine order. Our family also extensively made use of the coffee cards, several of the children had one, as they love hot chocolate, which was free and tea. So we now have two coffee cards left over that we can use for our next Princess cruise. The sweets in the Plazza caffee were delightful, Donuts, best ever, I will not eat any other donuts after tasting these. Food overall was very good and so many choices, you can not go hungry on this ship. Loved the Pizzas, the Burger bar was great food, Horizon court good too, although getting a table was not always easy. We ate there at various times, same as the MDR and felt the food and preparation and presentation at all venues could not be criticised. This was our first longer cruise with Princess and because we have cruised sufficient times with the company now we had reached Elite level. So we had the mini bar set up etc, but best of all was the free laundry. (by the way, if you think being Elite on board is special, just remember approx. 10% of the passengers will be at that level). Our cabin steward was great, very attentive and I made special mention of him on our survey. The ports we visited have so much variety that it is too much to list it all, let's just say, NZ is an adventure of its own, we found it easy booking a lot of things ourselves and only did one ship shore excursion. We will certainly cruise around NZ again and we were also very fortunate that we had excellent weather doing the Fjordlands. All the children travelling with us had a great time too and want to go again. The Emerald Princess is a great ship, very seaworthy, we had some high swell but the ship handled it very well. Disembarkation was the sad point of the cruise as it is time to say goodbye, fortunately we were already planning our next cruise, but the process was smooth, no issue and we took a shuttle back to the airport again costing $100 even though it was a public holiday. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
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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