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57 Princess Emerald Princess Family Cruise Reviews

Just back from the Emerald Princess, July 25, Eastern Caribbean trip. We have been on Princess 3 x before and although we enjoyed our trip very much, this was not our favorite cruise. We are a family of 4 consisting of 2 teens, age 16 and ... Read More
Just back from the Emerald Princess, July 25, Eastern Caribbean trip. We have been on Princess 3 x before and although we enjoyed our trip very much, this was not our favorite cruise. We are a family of 4 consisting of 2 teens, age 16 and 19. We did sail with other family members totally 11 people in all. We stayed overnight in Dania at the Springhill Suites and took a free shuttle to the port at 10am and left our car at the hotel for free for the week. The hotel was lovely and there were no problems at all. We paid for return shuttle on Aug.1 to get back to the hotel to retrieve our car. $8pp was the fee for this service. We arrived at 10am at the port and the ship was still handling departing passengers from the week before. So, we sat outside on benches and waited to be invited in to go through security. Then we were put in group 2 and sat in the waiting area until almost noon. Our group was called quickly and we then went through the lines to register, get key cards and board the ship. When group 2 was called to boarding took all of 15 minutes. Very efficient. We were allowed to go straight to our rooms on Aloha. We had two inside cabins next to each other and they were ready to go, clean, and ready for luggage with a luggage pad waiting on the bed. Our room steward was Jules and he greeted us promptly and throughout the week, supplied us with what we needed. I had faxed 4 weeks ahead for egg crates for the beds and he had not gotten the message, so he quickly remade the beds on Monday after we re-requested them! It was not his fault that he had not gotten the message and he even offered to show us his "list" of special requests, but we did not take him up on it, as we totally believed that it was a Princess error and not his. Not an issue anyway. Our group was quickly off to the DaVinci diningroom for a nice relaxing lunch. Our group of 11 was accommodated with no questions and it was a nice sendoff. 9 of us looked at our key tags and made sure that we all were assigned to dinner together. The other 2 did not check, assuming they would be with us, and this caused an issue later, as by the time they realized that they were not at our table, the maitre'd had made all changes and could not do anything. So, for the week we had to call each morning and make a reservation at 6pm for dinner each night for our large party. We ended up getting the same table each night with the same servers, just not in the traditional dining room, but in the anytime dining room which was fine. We toured the ship, received luggage, unpacked, went up for sailoff and the lifeboat drill and then it was dinnertime. We sat down and then all of the lights were flickering and then off. The generator kicked on, the A.C. went off and it was not the most pleasant way to begin the week. It turns out that we lost the engines for a total of 6 hours and that we had no elevator usage, few items to choose from to eat, no working bathrooms, no air conditioning and no real explanations. It was a very long and hot night. Not a great way to begin the week. Around 11:30pm our air conditioning started again in our room. The ship started to move and we were on our way again. Because we had an inside with no airflow, we sat on the Promenade deck much of the evening to get a small breeze. There were many irate passengers, many who could not use the stairs who were "stuck" on whatever floor they were on, but there was nothing any of us could do, so we just hung out and waited. By the next day, we were supposed to be in Princess Cays, but we had to miss the stop because we had lost so much time. We were compensated with a glass of wine on Monday at dinner and soda for the kids, and 3 extra hours in St. Maarten. This compensation did not please many of the irate passengers who felt we were owed much more for their inconvenience. It is amazing how loud some of them could be to show their displeasure. We had 2 sea days back to back and I personally had no problem with this. As long as I wasn't cooking or making my bed, I was happy. Hard to not have fun on a cruise in my opinion. St. Maarten was a very hot day and we had been there before. We shopped a bit and then enjoyed a fairly empty ship and the pools were delightful. St. Thomas was a great day and we did one of the Princess Tours to St. John to snorkel in Trunk Bay. It was easy and a beautiful snorkeling excursion. Grand Turk was not much, but we had arranged a tour with Blue Water Divers and loved it! Only 11 of us went snorkeling and had a super time at the "wall" and saw amazing things including sharks, turtles, eels, rays, etc. I would highly recommend this company. Our last sea day was typical and full of fun. On Wednesday we received a letter stating that each cabin would get a 300.00 credit to use for anything to compensate us for the loss of engines and Princess Cays on Monday. We also received 15.00 in port charges refunded for each person. Our family actually received a credit on our Visa. Not bad. Our 16 year old had fun in the teen club. Our 20 year old participated in many 18-20 events. The food was average, I have had much better on Princess ships before. Disembarkation was a breeze and easily handled by Princess on this particular ship. Much better than Carnival. Overall, we had a nice time. Saw some really funny comedians, thought the shows were corny. International Cafe was a hit with our daughter. The pub lunch was mediocre and not really enough food for a lunch, but a nice change of pace. Movies under the stars at night was great! The deck chair situation was ridiculous! The first day I was out at 9:30 and found 1 chair left. The second day, 9:00 and seriously got the last chair. Last sea day, 8:30am and not a chair to be found! People had chairs saved all day and never even used them! Believe me, I watched and even asked the person next to me who was saving the seat if it was available for my clearly live and standing there son, and was told it was being used, but the person NEVER showed up and then she left and picked up the towel on the other chair much later...So rude! So, I'd say that I wouldn't rush to the Emerald again, but I'd definitely try Princess again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2010
Anytime we make it out of HO-HUM Nebraska is a real treat for us, however we had a rough start out of the gate and were set back a bit from the experience we had cruising from port Everglades. Embarkation went off without a hitch and we ... Read More
Anytime we make it out of HO-HUM Nebraska is a real treat for us, however we had a rough start out of the gate and were set back a bit from the experience we had cruising from port Everglades. Embarkation went off without a hitch and we were on the ship and in our cabin in less than 30 minutes. We had lunch shortly after boarding the ship and did some exploring afterwards. It wasn't until maybe 40 miles away from the port (around 6:30PM) that the problems started. We lost complete power in two of the ship's engines and the computer system went down as well, so there was no steering - we were basically just floating out in the ocean. So now image 3000+ people on board a ship with no power, no water services (which meant toilets weren't working), no air conditioning, and basically nothing to do except sit outside on the deck. I felt real bad for the elderly, because the elevators were not working. It was horrible at best. Princess worked on restoring power throughout the day, so every so often the power would come on, people would cheer, and then a minute later the power was off again. In between all of this the captain (or his crew members) was on making announcements pertaining to the ships status. This went on until around 11PM when they finally had everything restored and working. Even though Princess tried to comfort us through this awful ordeal, I think they could have done a lot better - free drinks for starters. And the $300 credit per stateroom was a slap in the face. Not only was the first night a complete loss, they skipped an entire port call (Princess Cays, Bahamas) in which we were most excited to see with our kids. This mishap didn't ruin the entire trip, but it did start us off on bad footing. So with the skipped port we had two and half days at sea, and fortunately there was plenty to do on board the ship. Activities included sports (putt putt golf, basketball) several pools and hot tubs, trivia, bingo, casino, bars, Movie Under The Stars and much more. If you were bored on the ship then you didn't put any effort into having fun. The ship itself was large and beautiful. We had a very nice balcony stateroom with plenty of space. The room smelt fresh and was very clean. Our room attendant (Roberto) was very friendly and keep the room up very well. The only grip I have was the smell of other people smoking on their balconies, which made it hard to enjoy sitting out there. We just happen to have a couple of heavy smokers below us. FOOD & BEVERAGES: The buffets were pretty good, however seating was overcrowded during prime times - so go early and avoid the rush. I wish they made lemonade more readily available, as having to ask for it was a pain in the but. I love seafood and didn't think there was enough variety available in that regards. Better choice of seafood is available at a price in other venues like the Crown Grill which we didn't partake of. I didn't attend any formal dinners, but did make all of the semi-formal dinners. We had seating at the Botticelli dining room right next to the windows which was nice. Both our waiters (Richard & Garry) were awesome and did a wonderful job serving us. The food choices were excellent (for the most part) as well as the taste. One night I had some dish I didn't care for so they brought me something else to eat. They have a very good kids menu and will gladly make something for the kids not on the menu if you ask a day in advance. We used the heck out of the Trident Grill (burgers, hotdogs/brats and chicken sandwiches) and Pizza and Ice Cream bar. Alexandar at the Pizza bar was the nicest guy you'll ever meet and did a great job serving my family. Depending on the time of day you got pizza, it was excellent to ok. If there was a long line then the pizza was a bit runny and undercooked. Besides pepperoni or cheese, they had other flavors every day. Order room service at least once on your cruise - the sandwiches are good! Also ask for the fresh fruit bowl for your room. It's also not a bad ideal to bring a six pack of pop or water onboard to stash in the fridge in case you get thirsty. I don't dare drink the water from the faucet! I highly recommend getting a soda (pop) card for around $26/pp if you want something to drink other than coffee, tea, lemonade and ice water which are free and aren't the best tasting. They serve only Coke products on the ship and diet Sprite requires an additional charge. The alcoholic beverages were pretty high priced (to be expected) except during happy hour which was from 8 to 11PM when there were drink specials for $2.99. The quality of the drinks were below average. Either too watered down or too much alcohol, so I just stuck to drinking beer. My wife thought the Long Island ice tea was good. For those of you looking to cruise with your kids: We have two daughters, ages 18 and 14, and a son age 6. All three had a great time and for the most part found plenty to do. The kids clubs that they offer are on par with what I would expect for a cruise line and the staff did a wonderful job keeping my son happy. I was surprised to see the amount of young children running about the ship unsupervised, and as a parent I would be worried this day and age about that. But then again, maybe I am an overprotect parent. The two main pools on the ship were from 5 to 7 foot deep and if a child was to fall in during a peak time.. well fortunately there were no accidents on the Emerald. Overall, not including the initial ship problems, we had a pleasant family cruise. The Princess staff was friendly and did a good job serving our needs. Kudos to our room attendant, wait staff and the folks at passenger services who did an exceptional job. The food wasn't the best ever, but it kept us satisfied. The best part of the Princess ship was the Movies Under the Stars (free popcorn and hot cookies). The staterooms were very nice and a great place to unwind from the days events. Just a friendly tip - don't leave your dirty food trays/dishes out in the hall way. Have your room attendant come get them or call passenger services. Who wants to see a bunch of dirty dishes in the hall way as they pass by? Don't forget to purchase snorkel equipment before you get on the ship. This well save you a bunch of money in rental fees, and there are plenty of places to use them. Avoid prime times for any buffets or food bars if possible. If you're not a late sleeper then enjoy swimming in the pools in the early mornings when nobody is using them. Purchase a pop and/or coffee card they are worth the money spent. Read Less
Sail Date July 2010
Now that we have done both we can comment. We did 2 RC cruises Freedom and Adventure. Loved Freedom, lukewarm on Adventure. We literally returned 2 days ago from our first Princess (Emerald). Here is our thoughts. Likes Princess: ... Read More
Now that we have done both we can comment. We did 2 RC cruises Freedom and Adventure. Loved Freedom, lukewarm on Adventure. We literally returned 2 days ago from our first Princess (Emerald). Here is our thoughts. Likes Princess: Casual food much better (pizza, fish n chips etc) Art seemed better although bidding start points were retail on most pieces Choices of casual dining Desserts were better in general throuout the boat Gym had good features Spa was fantastic Excellent in room movie/channel choices Entertainment- this, to us, blew RC's entertainment away. Loved the dancing shows and the comedy. FANTASTIC. Dislikes Princess: Dining experience was very blah, waiter was terrible and food was no better than RC. Expected better. Lobster night came around and none of us were able to get more than 3 tails due to the fact they were already ready to turn the dining room over for the 8pm seating. That tells you how slow it was. PANTS REQUIRED IN DINING ROOM AT ALL TIMES. Highly LAME. Low ceilings throughout ship, we are over 6'1, this was something we noticed and many may not. Especially in the dining room Charge for Ice Cream and it's not self serve. Lame. Charge for Coffee drinks and even regular coffee (except at dinner where coffee is free) CONSTANT requirement to show your soda card, even if you have the soda container you bought for $29 or whatever it was. Quite cumbersome. They are like soda card Nazis. MUTS, this makes them close the main pool to show movies. The whole people constantly being glued to giant movie screen thing while on a cruise ship/Vacation was a bit odd to us. Especially when we wanted to use that damn pool! I mean people you're on vacation, how about interacting and meeting people, having some fun and making new friends??? Pools. Dismal and tiny pools that are WAY overcrowded due to the fact 1 is almost always closed for the MUTS that plays all day. Jacuzzis. Awkwardly small. If you get in with strangers you WILL tough feet with them. Keep that in mind. Disembarking from ship was a nightmare as they held up the line for people to get off so that EVERYONE can get photos with the pirates etc. This is absurd. They should move this off to the side, its optional and should not interfere with others who are just not interested in spending $20 for an 8x10 with some guy in a Pirate outfit. And the WORST part of our Princess experience, besides the waiter, was the TRAFFIC FLOW. Very poorly thought out and I felt like I spent half my trip standing in lines. Liked RC Open floor plan throughout ship, great traffic flow. Dining experience was fantastic Gym is fantastic Embark/Debark was smooth Photo sessions were very impressive Balcony rooms were more impressive with much more comfortable beds The promenade is a great centrally located place to hang In room channels are lacking Disliked RC Way more kids Not enough casual dining variety Read Less
Sail Date June 2010
On this, my 7th cruise with Princess, I had some great moments and some not so great moments. Highlights: 1. Embarkation and disembarkation are a breeze now. They have perfected this process! 2. The Sanctuary is sublime. I love it ... Read More
On this, my 7th cruise with Princess, I had some great moments and some not so great moments. Highlights: 1. Embarkation and disembarkation are a breeze now. They have perfected this process! 2. The Sanctuary is sublime. I love it there! 3. The Crown Grill and Sabatini Restaurant continued to impress with service, presentation and the quality of the food! 4. Several crew members really stood out. One waiter in the Da Vinci dining room (Daniel) was just fabulous. His assistant waiter was also named Daniel. We saw Daniel 9the waiter) in multiple locations - Da Vinci, wine tasting and at the buffet. Each time he was extremely pleasant and eager to please. 5. Room service. I only ordered once. Although I had to let the phone ring a thousand times, the food arrived quickly and the service was pleasant and the food very tasty. 6. My 23 year-old son met a lot of great people his age and had an absolute blast! 7. We met so many wonderful people on this journey! Low moments: 1. Sanctuary service was not quite as constant as I enjoyed on the Ruby Princess. I frequently had nothing to drink. My lounge chair was never ready when I arrived, even though I booked it for the whole cruise. 2. Buffet food was mediocre, at best. The only exception was a made-to-order omelet at breakfast. 3. Dining room food was mostly mediocre. The only exceptions were the goat cheese souffle and the curried pumpkin soup, both of which were out of this world! 4. I paid $30 more for a pre-booked massage than any passengers who booked the identical service on the same day of my treatment. Procrastinators were rewarded. Faithful returning passagers who booked ahead got screwed. This is a policy that needs to be changed. If you discount the service for same day bookings, I should pay the same low price. 5. On the last night of the cruise, I noticed an adjacent table receiving Flan (a custard with caramel sauce) for dessert. This item is ALWAYS on the room service menu, so must be prepared by the dozens every day. When I asked for one for my dessert, I was told I could not have it. The Head Waiter was even called over to the table to deal with me, because I kept asking for an explanation. I actually asked if I could step to the phone, call room service and have them deliver one to the table, since it is always available. I was told that I should have pre-ordered it. I then asked why the dining room needed 4-5 hours of advance notice when room service could respond in fifteen minutes. This was such a small thing and could easily have been provided. I am Platinum with Princess and I spent $5000 on this vacation including the cabin, airfare, drinks, shore excursions, spa treatments, a ring from the onboard jewelry store and all of the other crap they charge for. But I couldn't get a simple Flan in the dining room. This made absolutely no sense. Overall, I have to say that I enjoyed this cruise the least of all seven cruises that I have taken with Princess and it came down to one thing -- service! I'm considering going back to Royal Caribbean for my next trip. I am now taking two cruises every year. I think it is time to give my money to another cruise line to see what kind of service I get there. Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
My husband and I were on the 4/25/2010 sailing of the Emerald Princess, attending the wedding of my niece (she got married on-board by the Captain). This was our first Princess cruise - we've sailed with Disney, RCL, and Carnival in ... Read More
My husband and I were on the 4/25/2010 sailing of the Emerald Princess, attending the wedding of my niece (she got married on-board by the Captain). This was our first Princess cruise - we've sailed with Disney, RCL, and Carnival in the past. Our last cruise was with Carnival in October. Since the cruises were so close together, it was hard not to compare, and overall, Princess came up short. The Good: Dining - we found both the food and the service was very good. I especially liked the way the Horizon cafe (Deck 15) was set up, and how they managed the seating (especially compared to the disorganization on our last Carnival cruise). There are three buffet areas - all serving the same food - so the lines aren't long. On the St. Thomas morning, we ate breakfast in Horizons, and they had waiters seating people, so you didn't need to wander around hoping to find a seat. And they were very quick to bring coffee/juice. We had anytime dining, and found that making a reservation was the best way to go. On the few nights we didn't reserve, we were given a buzzer, and I don't think we waited more than 15 minutes to be seated. My husband believes the food was better aboard RCL and Carnival, but I thought they were all comparable. Balconies & Balcony Breakfast - The balconies on Princess were much larger than other cruise lines. Our second cabin was on the Caribe deck, and while it held 4 chairs and one table, it could have easily accommodated more. I believe the balconies on this deck were the largest, and what I liked was that half the balcony was covered so you could get shade if you wanted, and the other half exposed. One thing I wasn't thrilled about was having people look down on our balcony, and looking down from ours onto other balconies. We treated ourselves to a champagne balcony breakfast one morning. For $32, we received a half-sized bottle of champagne, and more food than we could have possibly eaten (quiche, bacon, danish, croissants, smoked salmon, juice, coffee, fruit), delivered to our balcony. It was a great experience! Debarkation - Princess assigns you to a location on the ship to wait for your debarkation time, then brought out those groups one at a time. It made for a very orderly process, no confusion in finding your luggage, very short lines through Customs, and no taxi lines. The Bad: Tendering to Princess Cay - could they have made it anymore painful? We purposely waited until late in the morning to go to the tender area, thinking we'd avoid the crowds. Boy, were we wrong! They were only tendering from one location at a time. After we waited about 45 minutes, they finally opened up another exit and started loading two tenders at a time. Not sure why they didn't do that earlier, especially since we could see the empty tenders waiting to receive people (there were always at least two lined up and waiting). Entertainment - was pretty lame. We went to one show - it was ok, but not good enough to entice us to go to any others. We saw a comedian/magician one night who was great, but the other comedian wasn't so good (the hecklers were better). It didn't seem like there was a lot for us to do at night. Port Time - The time in each of the ports seemed very short, especially in Grand Turk where we only had 6 hours (5 hours really, since you don't get off right at 1:00, and must return at least � hour prior to departure. If you go on a shore excursion, there's really no time left to do anything else. And we weren't in any port at night, so forget about enjoying the local nightlife. On other cruises, we've had time to do a shore excursion, shop, stop for a drink, and still have plenty of time to get back to the ship. On this cruise, we always felt like we were rushing to get back on time. The Smelly: Our first stateroom was B754 - an aft balcony cabin on Deck 11. I was quite excited about having an aft cabin, thinking how enjoyable it would be to sit out there and look at the wake of the ship. And we did enjoy it - for about 15 minutes. Then we noticed the smell - it was like greasy, dead fish. We had hoped it would get better once we went to sea, but it just got worse. Dealing with Passenger Services regarding this issue wasn't easy - they didn't answer the phone the first time we called (Sunday night), the second time we called (Monday) they suggested we contact our room steward to have the balcony cleaned. We then visited the Desk in person on Tuesday morning before breakfast. Then, the person we dealt with told us to contact him when we returned to our room after breakfast, but when we tried, we found out he was off duty. We finally talked to someone named Karen, who was our contact the rest of that day. She said there was some mechanical problem with the kitchen filters and they were working on it. At this point, she also mentioned that she'd try to get us some type of compensation for the fact that we hadn't been able to use our balcony for the first two days of the cruise. Our niece got married on board that morning, and after the wedding and reception, we returned to the cabin to find that the room itself was now starting to smell, but there was no message or information from Passenger Services. Btw, we had another couple with us, and they also noted the smell, so it wasn't just us. My husband called and left a message for Karen, who contacted us late that afternoon and said they had another cabin for us. It was the same category, but near the front of the ship (C255). So we packed up and moved. While unpacking, Karen called to make sure the cabin was suitable, and that was the last we heard from them. We thought they might send some token gift with a note - a bottle of wine, or small shipboard credit, especially since it had been mentioned, but we didn't receive anything. Don't get me wrong - we were very happy that they were able to move us, and honestly, I would have taken a downgrade to get away from the smell. But we really don't think that it was handled that well. And after returning from the cruise, I did some research on the boards, and found many other postings about the smell on the aft balcony cabins for this ship. It appears to be more of a design flaw with the ship. The kitchen exhausts are arranged atop one another from Deck 15 down to about Deck 11, dividing the aft balcony cabins along the vertical centerline of the ship. The exhaust does not trail behind the boat but roils in the air around the aft balconies. I guess some people can handle the greasy, fried "dead fish" smell, but it made me quite nauseous, and there's no way I could have stayed in the cabin once the smell started getting into the room. Miscellaneous: Our activities in each port: We brought snorkel equipment and snorkeled in Princess Cays. The snorkeling was ok. The area was very rocky, so I highly recommend anyone doing this to bring water shoes. In St. Maarten, we went shopping and walked around. We took a cab to the downtown area, but it's really an easy 10 - 15 minute stroll so the cab wasn't necessary, and we walked back to the ship. We dived in both St. Thomas (Coki Beach) and Grand Turk (Bohio). Both dive experiences were great, and I'd highly recommend both shops. We made our arrangements independently of the cruise line. My husband especially loved the 7000-foot wall that was 300 yards off Grand Turk's beach. On the ship, I never had trouble getting a pool chair. I mostly hung around near the adult pool by the Sanctuary. There are only about 10 deck chairs around the pool itself, but there are plenty of chairs up one deck that are very close to the pool. And it was definitely quiet here. On the second day at sea I considered springing for a half day in the Sanctuary, but couldn't quite bring myself to do it. It didn't seem to be very busy. I didn't use any spa services, but did visit the gym. Like every other cruise ship I've been on, it was small, crowded, and hot. Most of the equipment is treadmills, with some ellipticals, two recumbent bikes, some weight machines, and a very small area for free weights. The treadmills are preset to 20 minutes, while the ellipticals are preset to an hour. There were quite a few spin bikes, but only for those taking the classes. And my pet peeve - there was no place at all to stretch or do yoga. Grrr! We ate one night at the Crown Gill ($25 per person), and it was excellent. I'd highly recommend this. Overall, we enjoyed the cruise, but the balcony smell started us off on the wrong foot and we never quite got over that. We really felt a bit disappointed by the experience, and I doubt we'll ever cruise with Princess again.   Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
This was my third cruise with Princess. I was excited to be on the larger ship again. My first cruise was on the Crown and second on the Coral. For some reason I find it easier to navigate a larger ship. Embarkation was fine. We ... Read More
This was my third cruise with Princess. I was excited to be on the larger ship again. My first cruise was on the Crown and second on the Coral. For some reason I find it easier to navigate a larger ship. Embarkation was fine. We arrived early to the port and had to wait for some time. Knew that in advance but the people working at the port we friendly and efficient. Once on the ship we found our cabin pretty easily. There were not many staff members around in the halls to direct you but we knew Caribe deck and at the very back of the boat. Upon entering the room there was a horrible chemical smell. This made not only myself ill but also my aunt. We contacted the room steward, Albert, who informed us that there had been heavy smokers in the room prior to us and they had treated the room. He sprayed something else but it still didn't help. Later we went again to the pursers deck and complained. Someone else arrived at the room promptly. They found that most of the smell was contained in the curtains and the drapes. They removed them to launder but said they had nothing to cover the doors until they were cleaned. So our first night at sea-no drapes. Also, no apologies from Princess. Next, we were supposed to receive the new festive coupons books. Again we went to the pursers desk. They said they had no record and we needed proof. So I went to use the Internet cafe and emailed my t/a at Princess. Let me say that this person had all ready messed up our reservation and not sent the appropriate information to myself or my aunt prior to the cruise. So, my t/a responded and said yes indeed we should have the booklets and she would get in touch with someone. So back to the pursers desk I go. Once I get to the desk, they say they still have nothing and I have to print the email for proof. Back to the Internet cafe, print the email, back to the pursers desk. Are you seeing a pattern? They took the email and said they would have to present to the person in charge and would call and get back with me. No phone call but 2 days later-the coupon books. When I asked if I could get credited for the Internet and printing usage. Well that was a no again with no apologies. Then there was the on board credit that we were to have for the trip. It was to have been $100 per person. When we received our statements, it was $50 per person. Back to the pursers desk with the never delightful Ana from Argentina. Even though we could prove what the credits should have been, she said it was too late in the cruise and we would have to send a letter to Princess. Now more about the Emerald. She is a beautiful ship but showing some wear. Loved MUTS. Good selection of movies. They are serving popcorn but also they have waiters serving cookies and milk and pizza. Could it get any better! MUTS during the day is a waste. You can't really hear and too many interruptions. Don't expect to find deck chair even if you are out at 10am. Selfish chair hogs still rule with Princess. Someone even asked a deck hand about all the towels and the number of people in the pool, which weren't adding up. The deck hand told the passenger he could move things if he wanted. What was his job. Speaking of the staff of the ship, most were very friendly. Some were as someone else all ready said, openly complaining about other staff members and Princess. This was readily seen in the boutiques. Also, I think many members of the staff were new to the Emerald, as they were studying the small ship layouts at any quiet moment. The food on Princess is lacking variety. Seems that many of the menus are the same as when I cruised my first cruise 3 years ago. It was nice to have items at the international cafe for free. Great treats there. The dining room menus are tired. The food at the horizon court has gone from pretty good to poor. The new plastic wrapped sandwiches are HORRIBLE! They are a mushy mess. And what happened to the turkey sausage that used to be available at breakfast. I asked several people on staff, even the gentleman in charge, and they said it would have to be a special request made before cruising. It used to be readily available on the buffet. Dining in the Caribe Cafe was generally pretty good. Still really enjoy the pizza. And about the free ice cream-that is a joke. It is a dab of soft serve custard in a cup. They have other ice cream available in the coolers in that area but unless you know the code word, you can't get access. Entertainment was pretty good. The shows were somewhat cheesy but really enjoyed the one about shoes. The comedians were hysterical. Didn't really enjoy the cruise director staff. Didn't readily see them around the ship and when you did they seemed pretty phony. Plus things seemed to be scheduled rather late or on top of each other. About the ports-the cays was nice. They seemed to run out of food. The cooked meats were rather dry. Plenty of places to set and relax by the water. Loved St. Maarten and wished we had had an entire day there. We did the excursion the included both sides of the island and the beach. The French side was my favorite and the beach amazing. 1 hour there not enough. At St. Thomas we did the new ultimate tour. Another wonderful beach. Very disappointed with Blackbeards Castle. Too many steps which weren't labeled in the description and not very well laid out. If maybe a guide or better explanation. There was one really nice house on the tour with wonderful views. Grand Turk-well it is Grand Turk and you just can't go there with great expectations. Did the port and Margaritaville. Poverty on the island is sad. All in all the cruise was ok. It was the customer service from Princess or lack there of that makes me pretty sure that we will not cruise with them again. Too much money and time is spent trying to plan a nice vacation and Princess staff disappointed me from beginning to end. Read Less
Sail Date October 2009
This was our 15th cruise - the second on Princess - the first being a Panama Cruise on the Coral which ended a few days before we embarked on the Emerald. EMBARKATION After spending 5 days in Disney World following the Panama cruise, ... Read More
This was our 15th cruise - the second on Princess - the first being a Panama Cruise on the Coral which ended a few days before we embarked on the Emerald. EMBARKATION After spending 5 days in Disney World following the Panama cruise, we flew back to Fort Lauderdale with a taxi from the airport to the pier. This embarkation was quite a contrast to that experienced on the Coral in Los Angeles. It really was quite a shemozzle. The ship was docked at Pier 29 which quite obviously was too small to handle the number of passengers disembarking from the previous Emerald cruise and those who were endeavoring to go on board for this cruise. SHIP We found this ship just too big for us. Even after 10 days on board we still managed to have difficulties in finding the various public bars, etc. With over 3,000 passengers, I thought that the shops on board were very poor with a limited stock of items. PORTS OF CALL Antigua - Sadly, we missed this port. We were advised that the winds were to strong to safely dock. This was a disappointment and we wondered whether a smaller ship might have made it into the port. Dominica - Booked with Beno over the internet. Travelled to Emerald Pool and waterfalls. This gave us a good idea of the island. Having had this extensive tour of the island, we are unlikely to include this port in any future Caribbean cruise itinerary. Barbados - Nothing planned prior to arrival. Picked up a tour at the port with Carson St Claire. Pretty good tour. Would consider returning to this island. St Kitts - Booked with Thenford Grey over the internet. This was our best tour of the trip. It lasted the whole day and was only $40 pp. He was very informative about the island's history and extremely obliging. A number of fellow passengers left the bus in town so missed out on the trip to the other side of the island which was very different and where we all enjoyed swimming at Turtle Beach. A nice touch from Mr Grey was his Valentine's Day wishes naming all his customers written on the back window of his bus. Would consider coming back here. St Thomas - Nothing planned prior to arrival. Picked up a tour at the port with Sean (007). Toured the island and was able to take some beautiful photos. Would consider coming back here. Princess Cays - Lovely to look at but too crowded. Just seeing all those deck chairs along the beach was too much for us. Only spent a short time here, returning to the ship where we had a very restful afternoon around the pool. Fort Lauderdale - Much better with disembarkation than embarkation probably due to the pier location. We took a taxi direct to the airport. ENTERTAINMENT We enjoyed the showtime performances but hypnotist and comedian are not our cup of tea. Did enjoy the Movies under the Stars a couple of times. DINING We were glad that we had fixed dining in the evening. After a couple of days doing battle at the buffet at lunchtime we chose to eat all our meals in the dining room. RED ALERT We received advice that ship was on Red Alert due to outbreak of gastric virus for the last two days. Our dining partners advised that they were aware that there were 70 people on their level who had been quarantined. Whereas on previous cruises with HAL passengers were required to use the preventative gel prior to entering the dining room, this was not done on either of the Princess cruises. CONCLUSION This was the biggest ship on which we have sailed. Will stick with the smaller ones such as the Coral and HAL. Being Aussies - we really dislike the daily gratuity charges imposed on our account. We believe that such gratuities should be earned and rewarded accordingly. I truly believe that passengers should be given the flexibility of rewarding cabin stewards and dining room waiters personally for services rendered rather than have this gratuity charge imposed upon them. Can someone explain why there is a 15% service charge imposed on each and every drink yet there is this additional blanket daily gratuity charge ? Read Less
Sail Date February 2009
Emerald Princess Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 4.5 3.8
Entertainment 4.0 3.5
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.9
Family 4.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 5.0 3.7
Enrichment 4.0 3.4
Service 4.0 4.2
Value For Money 4.5 3.8
Rates 4.0 4.0

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