1. Home
  2. Cruise Lines
  3. Princess Cruises
  4. Emerald Princess Review
  5. Emerald Princess Cruise Reviews

28 Princess Emerald Princess Family Cruise Reviews

This was supposed to be a Canada/New England cruise, with a repositioning at the end to Ft. Lauderdale, where Emerald Princess will spend the winter season. We are from Atlantic Canada and took this cruise for the US ports we were supposed ... Read More
This was supposed to be a Canada/New England cruise, with a repositioning at the end to Ft. Lauderdale, where Emerald Princess will spend the winter season. We are from Atlantic Canada and took this cruise for the US ports we were supposed to visit - Bar Harbor, Boston, Newport, New York and Charleston. Charleston turned out to be the only port we actually made it to, other than a service call in Boston, when no one was allowed off the ship except for the 90 passengers who had originally planned to end the cruise in New York. On the second day in Quebec City, we were informed that they were monitoring Hurricane Sandy and were going to stay in calm Canadian waters until the danger from the Hurricane was past. So we entered the "Magical Mystery Tour" segment of the cruise (so named by the Cruise Director), where we visited unexpected ports such as Saguenay, (Quebec), Cornerbrook, (Newfoundland) and Saint John, (New Brunswick). Since we already live in this part of the world, these were of little interest. And I suspect most of the other 590 or so Canadians on board felt the same way. It became obvious after awhile that, aside from avoiding the storm, which certainly cannot be criticized, Princess's main concern was to limit their extra costs in dropping off the 90 New York departing passengers, leaving the 2900 other passengers with very disappointing substitutions for the US ports missed. Magically, we arrived in Boston on the day we had originally planned to be in New York, and the 90 departing passengers were put on buses headed to the three NY area airports, thus minimizing the cost to Princess. We could have easily sailed out around the storm and gone to Nassau, Bermuda, or Princess Cays and still arrived in Ft. Lauderdale on time. In fact, there appeared to be no reason we could not have made full day stops in Bar Harbour and/or Boston, if they had not wasted so much time stalling in Atlantic Canada. So the itinerary turned out to be a complete disappointment. No compensation was offered, and the Captain, who early on acknowledged he was getting plenty of suggestions from passengers on where we could go as alternatives to New York, disappeared from view completely from Boston onwards and was never seen or heard from again. I suspect he left the ship in Boston. It was disgraceful that he did not have the courage to face the passengers, especially at the Captains Circle party for Elite and Platinum members, where he had earlier committed to attend. Added to my frustration was the fact that when he did speak over the public address system early in the cruise, he had such a heavy Italian accent he was barely understandable. Aside the from the itinerary disaster, onboard it was a fairly good cruise. Emerald Princess seems to be in fairly good condition, although apparently is heading to drydock next April. My only serious complaint was that the bed in our cabin was the most uncomfortable I have ever encountered in 20 cruises. The mattress was in desperate shape. A couple of maintenance problems in the bathroom when we boarded were quickly fixed. Our room steward did a competent job, although he completely ignored the "Make Up Our Room" card we placed outside by 8 am in the mornings and it was often noon before our room was done. We have not cruised on Princess for almost 4 years, due to a major disappointment with our last cruise on Star Princess in 2009. The food at that time in the Dining Room was very tasteless, and frankly I was expecting the same this time. To my surprise, the flavor of the food has improved tremendously, at least on this ship, and we were very satisfied with the evening meal. We were on fixed seating in the Da Vinci dining room. Our waiter Johnson was great, ably assisted by Tony. However, breakfast and lunch in the Da Vinci was another matter. Service was incredibly slow and the food often luke warm and fairly bland. Horizon Court food was mixed, but it was never overly congested when we were there. The entertainment was also a mixed bag. Except for the final show, the production shows were poor. Maybe we have just seen too many. The other acts brought on the ship were mostly good, especially the hypnotist, which is something I had never encountered previously on a cruise. The Cruise Director Peter and his staff did a competent job. I really enjoyed the personality of Deputy Cruise Director Frenchie, as well as Ryan, who is crazy. But my main criticism of the entertainment is the impact from having a extra deck added to the latest Princess ships like the Emerald without increasing the public space,especially the theatre. As a result, they now have to do three shows a night instead of two, and they have shortened the shows to about 30 minutes - hardly worth showing up for. And if you go to the first show, as we did, the congestion outside the theatre after the show from people waiting to get into the second show is terrible, all the way back to the mid-ship elevators (which were also terribly slow at peak periods). So, the cruise was a major disappointment. Even with the surprise new ports added to replace the missed ones, we were cheated out of one port day. Absolutely no apology or compensation offered by Princess. Will I cruise on Princess again any time soon? NO! Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
This Jewel did NOT Sparkle Serious disappointment after months of excitement. I have cruised prior with Celebrity, and I know every line is a little different. I had hoped I would be wowed in the same way by Princess that I had been ... Read More
This Jewel did NOT Sparkle Serious disappointment after months of excitement. I have cruised prior with Celebrity, and I know every line is a little different. I had hoped I would be wowed in the same way by Princess that I had been by Celebrity. I am sorry to say, that was not the case. Having never done the Southern Caribbean sailing, I was excited to see new islands and enjoy all that the Caribbean has to offer. I had visited Puerto Rico previously and Hawaii and it seemed like a great way to see the islands. Our cruise was off to a good start as we breezed through the check-in process with helpful and happy agents. Then we arrived on the ship. We were "greeted" if you can call it that by the individual charged with scanning our entry cards and taking our pictures. I assume he was with security. No one greeted us to take us to our room. No one asked if we needed assistance. We were left to our own devices and did eventually find our room. The room itself felt dated and worn. Linens had holes, bed coverings were ratty and worn. The sink would not drain upon our arrival, but that was corrected reasonably quickly. Other than an occasional rattle, the room was surprisingly quiet, and the HVAC worked pretty well. Our first dining experience was less than exemplary. We were shown to our table to find many folks were in tee-shirts and VERY casual pants. Nowhere do I expect to find tee-shirts at dinner. I'm sorry, I didn't pay what I did in order to dine with folks who think they are at Chili's or Applebee's. The menu was lackluster and honestly it didn't get better throughout the cruise. Don't expect to be wowed by cuisine on this ship. It lacks seasoning, often wanting for a pinch more salt, or something that would imbue some sense of flavor. The exception to this is Sabatini's or the Crown Grill. Though these are premium dining options, they are well worth the effort if your taste buds need to be woken up after days of bland fig and prune compote. The menu feels as if it was borrowed from a nursing home. Our first day ashore in Princess Cay was pretty much what I expected of it. Thank you to those who posted about the shops just outside the Princess area, great prices, friendly, and authentic products without "made in china" stickers. Next day was a formal night and we chose to be seated at the Crown Grill rather than risk being the only people in the dining room in formal attire. Dinner was great, service somewhat hit and miss. Drink refills were slow and the timing of the meal felt awkward. Our next stop was in St Thomas and we had an amazing time doing the Dolphin Tour! If you can, do it. Great time spent with the animals in the water. A warning though, be prepared to shell out quite a bit for photos. They do send a photographer along with you who takes on average about 50 photos of each person as they interact with the dolphins. They offer a package where you get two prints and a cd of all your photos for $110. Expensive yes, but worth it if you can pull it off. Next day, Dominica. Have to say, this is where things really got bad. The island was hit by a tropical storm about a month ago, and many roads are not up to par. The island's infrastructure is crippled and Princess made no mention of it. The tour we selected was the Emerald Pool and Black sand beach. In all honesty, the Emerald pool is not to be missed, absolutely beautiful. The unfortunate part is that it's on the island of Dominica. I feel somewhat bad about writing this because it is truly not the people of Dominica's fault and I hate to see the cruise line pull away support from the island as they truly seem to need it, BUT, I can't ignore the fact that this was a horrible tour after we left the natural falls and pool. Sitting in traffic on a bus, having a near miss with a construction vehicle, being driven through what at best is an unsavory area and learning all about the interaction between the Chinese and the native populations left us feeling uneasy and somewhat unsafe. To sum it up, Dominica is gorgeous from the ship. We wanted to share our experience on the island with the shore excursions desk, so we did so that evening. The associate we spoke with took down no information, acted as if we were insane, and then informed us that the line was well aware of the problem and had notified us. Well, no warnings were issued. She was convinced it was in the Princess Patter, she poured through them to no avail. To get rid of us we were handed a form to fill out and assured that somebody would be in contact shortly. We took our "please go away now" form, and after a few minutes returned and asked to speak with the manager. He was on the phone, and unavailable, yet when he did make an appearance he was no more help. He simply asking if we had filled out the form. I tried to explain the situation to him and our dissatisfaction with the fact if the line knew there was a problem on the island, they certainly should have notified customers. He then said they were not aware. The associate who had shared with us that they knew then lied and said she had never told us that. Horrible, Horrible, Horrible customer service. What truly bothers me is she had no idea who we were, not that I'm all that important, I can only imagine if a guest in a suite had a similar experience, and was treated this way? I drafted an email to Princess, and received back a form letter indicating how important my opinion is, and they would get back to me in approximately 3 weeks. Must not be that important? We moved on to Grenada, another lovely island, would have rather spent more time there and no time in Dominica. Great tour though when they say "active" tour, they mean it. Took an incredible hike through the rainforest and visited the 7 sisters waterfall. Next up we had Bonaire, another beautiful island and we had reserved the 4x4 journey. Looking forward to a day of fun off road we piled into our Range Rovers only to find out our guide spoke very limited English and handed off the narration duties to another guest on the ship. She did the best she could, but I really don't like paying for a guided tour and having another guest tell me "oh look, there are animals to the right." Another fail. Finally Aruba, absolutely beautiful island, crystal clear waters, everything you could ask for. We had opted for the Mi Dushi cruise and lunch with snorkeling. Don't think you are saving yourself a few bucks by booking the other snorkel trip. These folks do it right and served a fantastic meal of rice, bbq chicken, fish, fresh fruit, and a roll. After the snorkeling they open the bar. This was an amazing and welcome treat after a week of overpriced cocktails on the ship. Do this one if you can, the crew is a lot of fun. We had given up on standard dining by now and had started doing the specialty restaurants. Sabatini's is well worth it, and if you can get him, ask for Daniel. I hear he's going to the Caribbean Princess sometime soon, but if you get lucky he's amazing. Knowledgeable and a bright star in an otherwise challenged cruise. We ate there for the last three nights, so that should say something! All in all, our Emerald Princess experience was less than magical. The itinerary is a great mix of the islands in the region and you get a good feel for the area. The ship itself though is showing a good amount of wear after only 4-5 years of service and leaves a lot to be desired. Beds are uncomfortable, carpeting is well worn and fading or stained. Her crew with the exception of a few shining stars seems to be suffering from the same fate as the ship they sail. The menu was bland and even when something appeared to be "exciting" when it arrived on the plate it was less than notable. I'm doubtful I'll ever sail Princess again. Save your money up and go on a different line. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
As veterans of many, many cruises, we were sorely disappointed in our latest journey aboard the Emerald Princess. The dining was the biggest disappointment- nowhere near worthy of a 5 star rating. Princess has taken to cutting it's ... Read More
As veterans of many, many cruises, we were sorely disappointed in our latest journey aboard the Emerald Princess. The dining was the biggest disappointment- nowhere near worthy of a 5 star rating. Princess has taken to cutting it's busboy wait staff in half- so service has become painfully slow. They've cut the number of courses by two (combining such offerings as soup & salad)- portions are small & tasteless. The specialty dining (Sabatinis, at $20 per) was little better. I've never been on a cruise where I heard the staff tell passengers "NO" so much- even for simple requests. Nearly all of the staff seemed depressed & unhappy. The ship was jam packed- & unfortunately like some other cruise lines, particularly Carnival, they've taken to designing ships with very small & nondescript dining rooms and surprisingly small public areas, buried in the inards of the ship. The gym, vines winebar & the pub are enjoyable & well done, though crowded. But little else will impress. The entertainment was absolutely embarassing. The production shows (2) had one or two quality staff, the rest were rank amateurs. They had the same comedian entertain for 3 of the remaining nights- he was funny the first night, & the crowd pretty much looked at each other the second two. It was almost like they had an entertainer cancel at the last minute & decided to just have the same comedian stand up there for three nights. Worthless! The beds could hardly be called beds- more like a slab of wood with a thin pad on top- very hard & uncomfortable, & of course, small. This cruise ship reminded us of flailing airlines with service problems- as if they enjoy endlessly finding ways to cut this & that to save a few pennies. Though we've previously had good experiences on them, they've clearly changed their experience for the worse- we'll never sail on Princess ever again- Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
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

Find an Emerald Princess Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click