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76 Princess Emerald Princess Family Cruise Reviews

I chose Princess mainly because of the itinerary offered in the dates we preferred. I have cruised the Mediterranean before, but Princess offered some new ports I had, yet, visited. This trip was special, as it was eleven nights with my ... Read More
I chose Princess mainly because of the itinerary offered in the dates we preferred. I have cruised the Mediterranean before, but Princess offered some new ports I had, yet, visited. This trip was special, as it was eleven nights with my two grown daughters, neither who had ever visited any of the countries included. It was wonderful- great service,, attentive staff, and excellent excursions offered. We visited seven ports and took advantage of an excursion at each stop we made. We also enjoyed the dining and service provided ar each meal. The menu was good and varied. One daughter is a pescatarian, and she was a bit concerned about what the offerings might be, but she thoroughly enjoyed the choices provided and there was never an issue. Because there were three of us, we had a mini suite. I think I would upgrade to a full suite if I were to book again, just to give us that much more space. Though we managed just fine, accommodations were a bit tight. All in all , a most pleasant experience, and I would consider Orincess again if I were thinking of another cruise. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We as a family wanted to do a Mediterranean trip. This particular cruise plan met most of our needs. The Cruise ship was excellent, the wait staff was great. The room steward did an excellent job. The meal offerings could have been ... Read More
We as a family wanted to do a Mediterranean trip. This particular cruise plan met most of our needs. The Cruise ship was excellent, the wait staff was great. The room steward did an excellent job. The meal offerings could have been little more variety on different days specifically for vegetarian family members. The entertainment shows were good mix. The comedy show needed little more oomph. The trivia games were good. There could have been little more learning types of activities would have been nice instead of trying to sell spa/spa products under the guise of health talks. The cabin location and décor were good for the time we spent in the room, mostly for little rest or sleep at night. We chose easy types of excursions due to group members needs but we thoroughly enjoyed it. The excursions for Santorini, Naples, Sicily and Kotor were all met our needs perfectly. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We chose this cruise because of the ports of call and our Parents, who went with us, are Platinum members on Princess. The check in was the quickest we have experienced in comparison to Royal Caribbean. The Food choices each day in the ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the ports of call and our Parents, who went with us, are Platinum members on Princess. The check in was the quickest we have experienced in comparison to Royal Caribbean. The Food choices each day in the restaurants were excellent and very appealing to look at. PROS: Check in process was efficient and quick The itinery was great. Ports of call were gorgeous and perfectly fit our bucket list. Staff was very friendly and professional. This was especially true with stateroom Stewards and casino hosts. Bar staff was quick and friendly. We booked interior rooms because we didn't plan on staying inside. Were very surprised with how spacious the rooms were and the bedding was so comfortable!! CONS: Entertainment was very poor and catered to over 70 crowd. No variety each night. Food in Dining rooms were great but Buffet selection and taste was poor. Part of our excursion was canceled to rough seas(Amalfi Coast and Pompei) They took us to Sarrento by bus and dropped us off at the square for 1 hour. Poor substitute for a boat cruise down the Amalfi Coast. Princess credited us $40 for the change in itinary. Eve though I appreciate the thought, I think this was highway robbery when you consider the substitution. I felt that Princess Excurtions did not credit us the appropriate amount for the shortfall. How can you compare the experience and price to being dumped at the city square to sit in the hot sun for an hour. I would have preferred to return to the ship and use the credit on another excursion. This left a poor taste in our overall impression of the cruise. They lost one star for this experience. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
On the whole this was a fantastic cruise. Gibraltar, Marseille, Genova, and even Pisa (once you manage to leave the port of Livorno) were all fantastic. I can highly recommend the itinerary. Buffet areas were busy but we always managed ... Read More
On the whole this was a fantastic cruise. Gibraltar, Marseille, Genova, and even Pisa (once you manage to leave the port of Livorno) were all fantastic. I can highly recommend the itinerary. Buffet areas were busy but we always managed to find a table for the four of us. Food was good, generally no complaints, although they were running out of basics like honey and muesli by day 5 and the watermelon were past their ‘use by date’ by then. Waiting staff were great, all of them although I could hear a rather heated work discussion from the ‘kitchen’ area which was a bit awkward. We embarked straight after our flight in Barcelona at 2 p.m. planning to head out to the city afterwards. This plan fell through because we were told we had to attend the safety demonstration at 5 p.m. with all the usual threats about not attending. They didn’t tell us there would be a second safety demo at night, which would have suited our plans much better. So we missed out on Barcelona. Gibraltar was perfect as a cruise port. The town entrance is a 15 minute walk from the pier. Another 15 minutes walk to the cable car. Took a shared taxi (as advertised everywhere on bill boards everywhere for 35 euros) up the mountain due to long cues for the cable car. The driver/guide was fine but spoke in as few words as possible. The monkeys/apes/macaques/whatever they are were present. The caves worth a short visit and the view stunning. Sailing away from Gibraltar is a sight worth seeing. I did not expect much from Marseille but the city proved us wrong. Finding your way through typical French streets leading to the steps all the way up the steps to the Notre Dame de la Garde Cathedral was one of the highlights of the cruise for us. Took a City bus tour in Genova, but you can see the same sights by foot if just head out from the cruise terminal to the aquarium and then enter the inner city. You can enter the city straight from the terminal but the area looked a bit ‘rough’ at first sight. I could be wrong. I loved walking through the narrow streets and alleys of Genova and the aquarium is one of the best I’ve seen with an impressive dolphin tank. Make sure to take a picture from the ship of the city just before sunset. The light is stunning. Now onto Livorno. The shabby port of Livorno left us with a very sour taste and we will avoid this port in the future. Why? Because you have to pay to get off the ship. Even though the town centre is less than a mile away, passengers still have to pay five euros per person for a shuttle bus. I get it, the harbor area doesn't lend itself to pedestrians, but at least offer the shuttle service for free (like in Marseille and many other ports). It's a matter of principle. But what really ruined this day for us is how we and others were treated by the shuttle staff: -As is my custom on almost any cruise destination, I like to start the day with a morning run through town as soon as the ship is docked. It's a great way to get a feel of the town while the wife and kids are still asleep. At least that was the plan till a local member of staff rudely blocked my exit from the terminal: you cannot exit the terminal by yourself, you have to pay for a shuttle. So far for my morning run. -Due to a small miscommunication both my wife and I ended up buying those shuttle tickets for the family.Totally our fault and we spotted the mistake immediately. But guess what, the shuttle service flatly refused to reimburse the two surplus tickets. We were the ONLY passengers in the terminal, the tickets were bought less than a minute ago form the same employee, so it was obvious we did not use the tickets. But nope, they flatly refused to take the tickets back. -We rented an extravagantly overpriced car from Avis. There were 3 ships in town, so yeah, I get it, the price goes up. But at least clean the diesel fuel spill that covered most of the rear passenger door and booth. Driving is fine if you are used to Southern European roads or confident enough behind the wheel. -Pisa was fine. The tower is there. It leans. We took the same cliché pictures as every other tourist and went back to the port, returned the rental car, and waited, waited, waited, 10, 20 30, 40+ minutes for the paid shuttle to arrive. In the sun. At least five other shuttles passed us by, just not the very specific one for our ship. Our ship which was just a stones throw away.. -Oh and a fellow shuttle passenger got shouted at for not presenting his ticket on the spot. I'll end my rant here. We had six fantastic days during this cruise. Just not in Livorno. If you buy an official tour then you will probably be just fine. But if you like to do your own thing like us, then you know now what to expect. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
An overnight at the San Pedro Double Tree made embarkation a breeze. We were onboard less than an hour after leaving on the hotel shuttle. The ship was beautiful and far exceeded my expectations as I was aware she was headed to dry ... Read More
An overnight at the San Pedro Double Tree made embarkation a breeze. We were onboard less than an hour after leaving on the hotel shuttle. The ship was beautiful and far exceeded my expectations as I was aware she was headed to dry dock after our cruise. Nothing in the public areas looked tired as I’ve seen on other lines that were headed to refurbishment. The food was hit or miss. Our first Dinner at Share was terrrific and encouraged us to book a second. If the food on the second night had been the first we would have not gone again. Polling of various dining companions netted about a 50/50 split on favoribility. Salty Dog was the same. We had ATD and never had much of a wait though we were happy to share. I did see people waiting who were only interested in a private table. Main Dining room food was pretty good with some real misses. Twice I ordered scallops that were seriously gritty. Food seeemed to start strong and trail off to the seemingly typical odd final night. This trip offered Sweatbreads and two mussel dishes on the last night. If you don’t eat either, makes for limited choices. The chef’s table was the best we’ve had on Princess. The experience blew us away - the creativity and the wow factor were both present and delivered an amazing meal. The shore excursions were pleasant. I didn’t find anything that knocked my socks off. During dinner after Hilo I discovered there were tours that would have been a better fit but the passengers describing them were very clear that the descriptions had not come close to matching the tour tour experience. One gentleman even went to tour services to ask they change the description to match so he would know what to expect! The casino was very friendly and paid well early in the trip. We saw several large slot payouts and talked to other big winners. We were able to play on the same cash we started with and casino money most of the trip. The last 3 days the slots tightened noticeably and the staff became appetjetic - it was nearly impossible to get a drink. The did seem to be an issue with crew hygiene as the voyage Dre to a close. There was one guy (I’ll withhold his name) that had body odor so bad it literally made you gag and it left a trail behind him. Needless to say we started limiting activities in that particular lounge. The teen program was very uneven and much was tolerated that surprised me. My child came home talking about kids vaping, swearing, openly discussing sexuality, etc. I get they are teens but somehow I was expecting a bit of positive direction to activities. There was even a physical assault (acknowledged by staff) that did not result in removal from the program for the aggressor. I do think that the environment should at least be safe. Based on this cruise we are looking forward to our next, but still will not hesitate to book on anothe line if we get the right deal. Princess has still not captured my complete loyalty. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Wanted a holiday cruise to be with family and began a new tradition. The ship was beautiful and well maintained. Had no issues with maintenance. Really enjoyed all the food offerings regardless of where we chose to eat. The main dining ... Read More
Wanted a holiday cruise to be with family and began a new tradition. The ship was beautiful and well maintained. Had no issues with maintenance. Really enjoyed all the food offerings regardless of where we chose to eat. The main dining room was nice and the food and service were superb. The buffet had a lot of varied choices that were good. I chose the main dining room often to avoid having to deal with hustling through the people at the buffet and finding a table. Sometimes a single person would take a table for six. During busier times, it was a hassle to deal with too many people, some with less manners than others, and finding a place to sit and eat. We also had a person with a wheelchair so we had to consider her ability to get around. There was no way she could go through the buffet so we had to get her food for her. The pizza was good. The "free" ice cream was ok. Better ice cream was offered in the main dining in the dessert options. Even room service was nice. Too bad there was a charge for hot chocolate though. The staff was always friendly and helpful. Embarkation went very smoothly as did disembarkation. They were organized and we didn't have long wait lines. There was too little time in the ports so we didn't get to do as much as we would have preferred to do, making us feel we only got a glimpse of the ports before having to rush back to the ship. Will consider how long a ship is in port in the future. Having to use tenders in Lahaina was a nightmare coming back. The lines were half a block long, and it was hot. Staff finally resorted to passing out water and cool cloths. The line moved, but it was not a good experience. We didn't do any excursions, preferring to rent a car in advance and explore on our own. Didn't care for the offerings in the onboard shops and refused to go to the 3 hour sales. My opinion is the purpose of those sales were to create a frenzy and have passengers act like fools to get a discount. There were plenty of activities, lectures, and entertainment options including lessons. I would have liked to learn to play the ukulele but that was a progressive class and if you didn't attend the first one, you missed out. The lei making class was so full you had to go at a specific time and place to get a ticket to a class. Well, I missed out on that. When I went, the ticket folks were gone. Too much trouble to participate in the worthwhile lessons so I unfortunately missed out. Also, regarding entertainment, if you didn't show up at least 45 minutes early for a production show, then forget about it, seats were full. There were too many people trying to see shows and not enough seats. This was a problem in the piazza also. People would arrive and start arranging and saving the few seats so attending those entertainment offerings became an uncomfortable hassle too. It also interfered with the ability to just go to International Café or Vines for coffee or wine because all the seats had been taken or occupied to view the entertainment. I think it defeated the ideal of a piazza. The entertainment should not be scheduled on th3e patter. and instead seem more impromptu so if you happen to be in the piazza, you can catch the entertainment without fighting for seating. The ship simply has inadequate seating for entertainment and this distracts from the ability to relax and enjoy yourself. We did not travel with children and frankly had issues with parents who let their children run wild all the time. The ship became an enclosed baby sitting trap for children of all ages, including teenagers, who were inconsiderate of others. There was running down the halls at night time, groups of unruly kids pushing ahead in lines when the older people were more mannerly, and therefore, at a disadvantage. In the future, I will look for more time at ports, and I will read reviews for adequate opportunities to participate in entertainment and activities, including seating and crowd control. Overall, however, the experience was positive and enjoyable and very much worth the value. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We've been on this cruise before, and it is by far the best cruise for pure relaxation. The ship was showing its age a bit, but everything was still nice. The rooms (balcony A317) were roomy, comfortable, and the balcony was great. ... Read More
We've been on this cruise before, and it is by far the best cruise for pure relaxation. The ship was showing its age a bit, but everything was still nice. The rooms (balcony A317) were roomy, comfortable, and the balcony was great. Our steward, Ricardo Hernandez was beyond great. On the first day, when I met him, I requested ice 2x daily, as well as bathrobes for my wife and I, and this was done immediately, and he never failed to put the ice in the room. My wife had a problem with the pillows, and he helped solve this by the 3rd day. I find the dining on Princess in general, and this trip was no different, to be excellent but not really outstanding. (If it were, I'd probably give a 5.) We enjoyed all meals, and the Crab Shack dinner was well worth the price, lots of fun and our Jr. Server, Madhu, was excellent. We had some requests for dessert, like can he get some cookies from the buffet and lots of whipped cream for me. it would've been very easy for him to say that we were limited to what was on the menu, but he didn't. Off he went to the buffet to get exactly what we wanted. The entertainment was great also. I only have one complaint with PCL's entertainment. If you don't like to dance or go to the casino, the ship pretty much closes up after the main show. We LOVE what Carnival does, with their comedy routines late at night. Having been of a number of cruises, I must say that the service from top to bottom on this ship was way over-the-top outstanding.The best Ive ever experienced on a cruise, and we would definitely go again--on this cruise and on this ship. Only real problem was the internet. Like on many ships, it sucked. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
This was our first cruise. We had a mini-suite--the bedding was extremely comfortable and our Attendant Alex was perfect. Lots to do, we missed most of the shows. The comedian on the last night was great, the dancing was fun. Buffet was ... Read More
This was our first cruise. We had a mini-suite--the bedding was extremely comfortable and our Attendant Alex was perfect. Lots to do, we missed most of the shows. The comedian on the last night was great, the dancing was fun. Buffet was mediocre but got the job done in the mornings. Evening anytime dining was good. We paid extra for Share (Curtis Stone) and it was absolutely worth the extra $29. It was the best meal of our vacation and the service at Share was impeccable. (Service from all dining rooms was great.) We also bought the Salty Dog Gastro Pub, not our favorite. Pizza from 11 am to 11 pm was my fiance's favorite feature, and the soft serve was my daughter's favorite. Shore excursions were made easy through the transfers. I recommend the Tortilla Workshop and my daughter loved swimming with dolphins in Cabos. Spa was pricey, but my nail tech Anna was fantastic--probably the best manicure I've ever received, and 2.5 weeks later it's still holding strong. Craft program for adults could be upgraded, as it was "sold out" (although free) every time. They added second classes to accommodate. Kids program seemed empty most of the time. My child was on the cusp between kid and teen and so she didn't use the service. It wasn't a kid cruise, but seemed like enough for all ages to do. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
Background: We did a family trip (6 adults) for thanksgiving. My husband and I have only sailed previously on Disney Cruise Line to the Caribbean, so admittedly have little to offer in terms of comparison. We chose this ship/itinerary ... Read More
Background: We did a family trip (6 adults) for thanksgiving. My husband and I have only sailed previously on Disney Cruise Line to the Caribbean, so admittedly have little to offer in terms of comparison. We chose this ship/itinerary because of the length (5 nights) and sail date (over Thanksgiving). The fact that half of the group was in driving distance of LA helped us choose as well. Port: there are no car rental agencies on site. We dropped off half the group and all the bags at the terminal (approximately 1030am), then dropped the car at Hertz in San Pedro. The weather was nice so we walked back to the port (approx 1 mile). Post-cruise, we rented from Avis so had to Uber to Long Beach Airport (about a 20 minute drive). Had we chosen to park a car, it was under $20/day at the port. Embarkation: tagged our bags with our preprinted tags and the porters took them. We walked into berth 93 with our carry-on luggage (including 4 bottles of wine). The check-in process was pretty quick and the agent checked passports and gave us our keycards and boarding group number. They didn’t take a photo (for the keycard) until we actually boarded the ship. We then went through security and the X-ray scanners. From there, I was directed to the alcohol desk/table to register my wine. Because we were 6 adults through 4 cabins, we had no corkage fee, but I had to have someone from another’s cabin come with me to show we had multiple cabins to avoid a fee. It was actually really easy. Then we waited for the boarding process to begin. There were several folks continuing on from the previous cruise (a 28 day Hawaiian trip!) who were able to reboard first. We had group 4 so had to wait a few minutes. When called, we boarded through the aircraft jetbridge-like walkway up to the ship. There were photographers taking group photos in front of a green screen. When we got to the ship, a Princess employee scanned each keycard and took a photo (no glasses) before allowing us on the ship. We were onboard by 1230pm and headed to the buffet. Cabin: wasn’t ready until 2pm and our bags didn’t arrive until closer to dinner time. We stayed in B757 which is a balcony cabin in the rear of the ship. The rest of the group were in inside cabins on the Aloha and Baja decks forward. All the cabins were quite roomy. Our cabin had a massive balcony with two chairs and a table, two chairs inside, a small tv (note that most channels showed a loop of two shows or a movie each day all day; if you happen to be sick and stuck in your cabin, you will become bored of the limited selection quickly), a queen sized bed, a small refrigerator, and loads of storage in the closet area as well as the desk/nightstands. The view from the balcony watching the wake was really nice, especially later in the trip leaving Cabo. Dining: we chose late dining but tried two specialty restaurants as well. Share - was fantastic, I can’t recommend it enough. Our server was Magdalena and she recommended ordering several from each course and sharing. We did that for a few courses but eventually each just ordered what we wanted. Everything was delicious and we’d all go back without hesitation. Crown Grill - also delicious, but honestly the Share steaks were better in my opinion. Still, no real complaints. Botticelli (dinner) - Princess offers some entrees every night and then has special entrees only available on a given night. Again, no complaints, everything we tried was great. On the final night, the seas were rough and I was feeling it, so I ordered the beef consommé which helped tremendously and tasted good. The only negative at the restaurant is the kitchen was really slow, reportedly because they share a kitchen with another dining room. Botticelli (breakfast) - again, slow kitchen, but since Michelangelo doesn’t serve breakfast, I don’t know what the rationale was. The pancakes and the French toast (especially the James Beard cornflake crusted version) were excellent. On one morning where I was feeling sick, I asked our server, Wellington, for a box of Frosted Flakes to take with me and he actually had to go up to the buffet to get it for me. I appreciated the effort on that since I wasn’t able to easily get up there with the seasickness. Horizon court buffet - most of the food was really good. I didn’t care for the chili, but everything else I tried (including some Indian dishes I hadn’t had before) were delicious. Afternoon tea - I don’t like tea, but enjoyed the tea service nonetheless. Servers come around with different pastries and scones with quite the large selection. I would recommend it. Spa: I didn’t try the workout area but did get a massage. I probably wouldn’t do that again on this ship since my treatment room was right next to the hair salon so was loud, plus faced out to the deck so my therapist kept struggling to get around my table in the small room and kept knocking into the blinds. It wasn’t exactly relaxing. Wine tastings: we tried two of the wine tastings. The first was an additional $25 per person and included 6 wines and canapés. I would highly recommend the tasting. The one later in the trip was under $10 per person with 5 wines and prepacked crackers and some cheese cubes. I would probably skip that one. Both tastings had sommeliers and servers explaining the wines in detail, but honestly I would have preferred a shorter explanation on most of the wines. Some speakers were long winded. Entertainment: I only watched one of the game shows, part of an art auction, and a few of the musicians in the lounges, so I can’t accurately comment on most of the entertainment. The musicians were hit or miss. Ports: we only went to Cabo, so had mostly sea days. Cabo was a 24 hour stay, so some passengers chose to stay in a hotel/resort overnight. The tenders began around 2pm and continued throughout the day/night until 1130am. (Every half hour overnight.) I found the tender process to be a bit disorganized. Again, I don’t have a ton of experience but the line to get a tender was so long, we decided to wait on the ship until 4pm. (Note: this was where we decided to go to afternoon tea to wait it out.) My parents chose an excursion in Cabo to a resort for the day, so they didn’t have the long tender wait that the rest of us without an excursion faced. The rest of us ventured to land around 4pm and yelped taco shops. We enddd up at Tacos Guss, which was just a short walk from the main tourist walkway/boardwalk/malecon. After lunch, we walked around a bit more and over to the mall by the aforementioned tourist walkway. The mall has seen better days but looks like they’re renovating most of the second floor. From there, we kept walking to the end, then turned back to walk around the harbor back to the tender area. Lots of people trying to sell everything from bracelets to cigars to pictures with an iguana, but no one was rude about it; a polite “no thanks” was sufficient. Upon return to the tenders, the line was several hundred people long (approximately 645pm). We were concerned we’d miss our onboard dinner at 745pm, but the line moved fast enough that we were on a tender by 715pm and back on the boat around 730pm. We didn’t choose to return to Cabo the following morning, so we really only spent 3 hours in the town. Disembarkation: everyone who didn’t purchase Princess airport transfers was assigned a walk off group based on cabin number. With 4 cabins and around 7 bags, this was not a great way of doing things. We spoke to the front desk and they put us all into one of the later groups and gave us some luggage tags to put on our bags. We had to have the bags out by midnight before disembarkation. We had to be out of the cabins by 800am but our group wasn’t scheduled to exit until 945am. We had breakfast at Botticelli and then hung out by a table in the Lido Deck for a while before heading to the Wheelhouse Bar for our meeting location. This process seemed far more difficult than necessary and we ended up waiting about half an hour extra in the bar until we actually got off the ship. Customs was easy (we are all Us passport holders) and bag claim was very quick (likely because most people had to carry their own bags when they walked off). Overall thoughts: Cons - I struggled to understand many servers/speakers/other personnel. They spoke English, but many had very thick accents. The deck plan is strange - i continually walked into dead ends all over the ship. I’m not sure if it was a retrofit that caused it or if that’s original. Also, there are many parts of the upper decks that effectively require stairs. There’s only one elevator on the ship that goes to some of the aft top decks but it can be quite slow. Public restrooms on the main decks were hard to find. The cruise line seems to have chosen to keep the signs small and discreet, but that left me continually asking people where the restrooms were or going back to my cabin regularly. Compared to DCL, the staff were a bit less friendly (though not rude) and the ship’s upkeep wasn’t as good (though not unsafe). The price for this cruise was significantly less, so I expected some decline in service, but many times I was still left wishing I was on the Disney Fantasy. Tendering/disembarkation - given that this ship has been sailing for years to ports around the world, I don’t understand why the tendering and disembarkation processes were so slow and disorganized. Photos - all the photos the ship photographers take are out up on deck. I’m surprised they don’t have a feature where they scan your keycard so you can easily find/access your pictures. App - there is no app, only the Princess @Sea site. You can message others only if you know their unique id number. Also there are no push notifications so you are forced to continually refresh the screen to see if your family/friends messaged you. As this was a holiday cruise, there were many kids (especially teenagers) onboard. I actually found them much more obtrusive in this ship than I have on DCL. Pros - The food was fantastic. There are bars and lounges throughout the ship as opposed to Disney where most are tucked into one part of the ship. The Piazza (atrium) is a nice place to relax but is a bit small for some of the events they use it for. Overall, I’ll probably sail Princess again but not in the immediate future. I think it was a fairly good choice for our group, given our constraints on geography and timing. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
As a frequent cruiser, I tend to expect a lot. I travel on various cruise lines and am on Princess at least half of the time. The service and food on this ship was noticeably superior. Ship management and staff should be congratulated. ... Read More
As a frequent cruiser, I tend to expect a lot. I travel on various cruise lines and am on Princess at least half of the time. The service and food on this ship was noticeably superior. Ship management and staff should be congratulated. Attentive wait staff and overall food venues were exceptionally good. Pastry,bread,soup, buffet, dining room presentations were available and at the right temperatures etc. We choose this cruise to get away for a while and the itinerary was perfect for that. The ship handled the long sea days well and was about the right size for a 28 day trip. The ship is scheduled for a facelift which should make the experience even nicer. Keep it up Princess and we will be back! Shore excursions were good but like most ships, the price seems to go up along with drink prices. Overall, it was a memorable experience. Most passengers were very happy with the cruise. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
I chose this cruise because it left from Vancouver and came back to Vancouver, which is my home port. This was my first time on Princess and the first cruise for my daughter who came with me. The Emerald Princess has a capacity of 3500 ... Read More
I chose this cruise because it left from Vancouver and came back to Vancouver, which is my home port. This was my first time on Princess and the first cruise for my daughter who came with me. The Emerald Princess has a capacity of 3500 passengers and was extremely crowded. There is not enough public space for that many people and too much space is given over to selling artwork and photographs. There were line-ups for anytime dining and the tiny atrium was standing room only. Because of the line-ups, we ate later than we normally would have and as a result, were not able to attend many of the entertainment events. Often we arrived to find there were no seats left at all. Sharing tables with others in the Horizon Court buffet was the norm. I found it difficult to tell direction on this ship, even after 10 days, and signage for the restrooms was poor. We ate breakfast and some lunches in Horizon Court and found it to be adequate. We had very nice dinners in the paid venues Crown Grill, Crab Shack and twice in the Saltydog gastropub. We really enjoyed the appetizers, soups and desserts in the main dining room and we liked the pub lunch in the Wheelhouse Bar. Our favourite place was Vines where we received excellent service and enjoyed the tapas and California rolls. We watched the Wake show in the morning which started our day with good laughs and good information. Our favourite event was the ABBA trivia session hosted by Jen and Omparo (sp?) but we also enjoyed comedian Steve Caouette, music group Pinnacle, the Walker Black Duo and the Sun Shine Duo. Embarkation was okay but disembarking was not. We were sent to the Princess Theatre, which is terraced, so I had to drag my carry-on down several stairs and then pull it back up again when it was time to leave. Made no sense at all. We booked excursions through the ship in Los Angeles, Santa Barbara and San Francisco. We loved the wine and cupcake day in Santa Barbara and our trip to Muir Woods and Sausalito in San Francisco. We did not like Los Angeles and wished we'd stayed on the ship. The best part of the trip was some of the people we met and the many staff who worked so hard to make our holiday a success. I would travel with Princess again but I'd keep an eye out for smaller ships. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
Chose this cruise for the itinerary. We lucked out as it was sunny and cool everyday. Sweatshirt and/or jacket in the morning and at sea days due to the wind. Otherwise, a long sleeve shirt or light sweater did the trick. In Ketchikan. We ... Read More
Chose this cruise for the itinerary. We lucked out as it was sunny and cool everyday. Sweatshirt and/or jacket in the morning and at sea days due to the wind. Otherwise, a long sleeve shirt or light sweater did the trick. In Ketchikan. We walked around town, and purchased t-shirts. Saw salmon, an eagle and a seal off the bridge in Creek ? Took the Tracy Arm tour but couldn’t go because of the ice so they directed us to Dawes Glacier. The tour operator, Allen Marine was fabulous. I especially appreciated their knowledge, the way they rotated the boat so all could have a photo op and the fact that they held tight waiting for us to get a close up view of a hump back whale (this was a glacier tour, not a whale watching tour). They were outstanding! In Skagway, we rode the white pass trail railway. We had gorgeous weather so we could see for miles. Our tour in Victoria was cancelled so we signed up for an alternate. Unfortunately it was a tour of the city. Great tour. Bad timing. Nothing to see at dark. Surprised Princess would endorse this. Tour guide was knowledgeable but points of interest couldn’t be seen from our coach. Food on board was mediocre. Wait staff and steward were excellent and always trying to make a memorable experience. Entertainment was meh. The Walker Black Duo was worth listening to. The only music for classic/soft rock. Majority of music was geared toward older folks except on deck where oddly it was rap music. Weird. Cabin was a mini-suite loves the extra sitting area and balcony. Didn’t use our club class perks as we were traveling with non club class people. Don’t feel like I really missed our. Getting on and off the ship was a breeze and being able to check our luggage while onboard all the way to our destination was genius. No problems! Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
My sister chose the Princess cruise to Alaska for her 50th birthday. My family groaned at this idea because all we could think about was that it was going to be cold? Why should we pack winter clothes for a vacation? Needless to say all 12 ... Read More
My sister chose the Princess cruise to Alaska for her 50th birthday. My family groaned at this idea because all we could think about was that it was going to be cold? Why should we pack winter clothes for a vacation? Needless to say all 12 of us, brothers, sisters and friends we set sail August 26, 2018. The port was in Seattle and it was a little chilly; however, the boat was beautiful. There was live music playing in the main lobby 6th floor while passengers were checking in. People everywhere, swimming pools are filled with water, steam rolling off the jacuzzi's and pitter patter from children running all around. Plenty of entertainment on the ship, treasure hunts, zumba, line dancing, movies, shopping, kareoke, auctions, Voice of the ocean (my sister won) and concerts. Our first stop was Ketchikan ,small quaint town full of shops and houses on hills. The people are friendly and you will see vendors trying to pursue people to buy excursions. Lots of jewelry shops and cannibas shops. Surprised. :) Weather was rainy. Next stop is Junea which is more shops, vendors but just a different place. My daughter and I went to a great pub and had some fish and chips. Quite good. Weather got better. While sailing to Skagway we see glaciers in the water and whales. Skagway is beautiful. Me, my sisters and brothers take a scary train ride 3hrs long. We go through tunnels, hills and mountains way up top. We travel across Canada and then return. More whales sightseeing as we go to Victoria, British Columbia. Beautiful weather and oh my goodness sooo many shops. The town is beautiful but the trip there was wayyy too short. 3hrs really? Overall this is a beautiful cruise and I encourage anyone that's truly wanting a relaxing and fun time go. Food on the ship was great and the staff was even better. Look out for Hendri, Fernando, Franco and Supervisor Joel. Esperanza took care of my rook and she was wonderful.Loved this trip!!!! Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
My retired parents decided to take a cruise to Alaska and took myself and my son (16 years old) and my daughter (8 years old) along with them. I have cruise on other cruise lines in the past, but this was my first time on Princess. ... Read More
My retired parents decided to take a cruise to Alaska and took myself and my son (16 years old) and my daughter (8 years old) along with them. I have cruise on other cruise lines in the past, but this was my first time on Princess. No matter where we went, we were always greeted with a smile. The staff are very eager to impress and ensure you have an amazing vacation. My daughter and I stayed in E404, which is an obstructed view stateroom on the Emerald Deck (8). The room is perfect for two people. Lots of space and a beautiful large window with minimal view obstruction. If you want to look all the way forward or aft, you have an issue, but looking straight out is fine. The room was always clean and our cabin steward, Roderick, took care of everything before I even asked for it. The food in the dining room was amazing. We loved going there for breakfast and dinner. We didn't get to have any lunches in there. Once again, the staff we amazing. Daisy and Wellington were attentive to our every need, including my son's nut allergy. They were also a lot of fun. They really left a lasting impression with us. The food in the horizon court (buffet) was ok for breakfast, and pretty disappointing for lunch and dinner. The breakfast was the same thing everyday, which after seven days can get pretty boring. My kids had a hard time finding anything they wanted to eat on the lunch or dinner buffet. They seemed to be more Asian inspired selections. My kids both had big expectation for the kids / teen clubs from a past experience on a Cruise with Royal Caribbean. My daughter enjoyed being in the club for the 8 - 12 year old children. She was always disappointed if she missed out on anything in the kids club and was ALWAYS upset when we picked her up. She never wanted to leave. My son, on the other hand, did not enjoy the teen club. He said that they just basically had the teen lounge available to hang out in, with minimal planned activities. He was hoping they would have similar activities to Royal Caribbean (e.g. scavenger hunts, sport competitions, teen prom on formal night). That wasn't the case for Princess, which was disappointing. Overall, it was an amazing vacation and I would definitely take a Princess cruise again! Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
This cruise was a gift from my dad so it was even more enjoyable!! The service on this cruise was excellent from room service to our food servers. The food was very good. The entertainment was also very good. Almost always something ... Read More
This cruise was a gift from my dad so it was even more enjoyable!! The service on this cruise was excellent from room service to our food servers. The food was very good. The entertainment was also very good. Almost always something exciting happening!!. We were treated very good. The only negatives would be that the ice cream and pizza bars were only open till 10. And the stop at Victoria island was very short. We also got one of the beverage packages which was very nice. You could get an unlimited number of soda and cold non alcoholic drinks. The sip was very easy to maneuver around and there was plenty of space to spread out or just leisurely walk around unless of course there was an important event where everybody had to be in the same place at the same place. This is my 2nd cruise with Princess and so far very impressed! Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
Many people love to complain. I can't complain here. Was the cruise perfect? No. What ever is? Was it so much fun and what i hoped for? You bet! First I have to say the best part of the actual time on the ship was the cruise ... Read More
Many people love to complain. I can't complain here. Was the cruise perfect? No. What ever is? Was it so much fun and what i hoped for? You bet! First I have to say the best part of the actual time on the ship was the cruise director, Simone. Stay snazzy! She was so so so much fun! So much energy! So funny! Super cute and bubbly! She worked morning until night and never let you see any ounce of being tired. Jessie, Ruby, et al.....all her staff were fun and amazing! They truly were a ray of sunshine every time I saw them. I also want to commend my stateroom steward, Warlito. The care of time he spent keeping our room so fresh and clean was over the top. Recognized me every time he saw me. All of the bar staff are great, but Rizzy at Crooner's Bar gave customer service at the highest level. I learned customer service from Disney years ago and this is what i use to rate it wherever I go. He made me a special drink that i asked him for. He remembered my name from that first encounter and made it a point to greet me personally every time i saw him the rest of the trip. That felt great! Finally, I'd like to say the staff at the Michelangelo dining room where we ate dinner every night were wonderful. The host recognized us each night. Danced with my niece and nephew. Put a smile on our faces. Our servers and staff were so nice and knew everything about each menu. Made for a wonderful experience. Ok...now let's get on to the boat. The positives, aside from the personal mentions above, were the singers and dancers for the shows in the theater. The comedian, Carlos Oscar, was hilarious! The trivia events and the games such as Yes/No Game Show were very fun. Food was great. Trident Grill burgers, brats, etc was awesome. Movies By The Pool were great. Pizza and Ice Cream counters were great! Overall the events, the food, the ambiance and overall experience was what I hoped for. But there were also some negatives. I thought there were too many events in the Piazza. It's a small space and nowhere near enough seating. People lining the staircases were a nuisance during these times as well. Club Fusion should have just been called Fusion. Certainly wasn't a club. I know a 7 day Alaska cruise caters to an older clientele, but there were plenty of people there that didn't want to go to bed at 11:30 and would have liked that club to be open. Basically everything ended by 11:30. I went to bed earlier on this cruise than i do when i go to work the next day. And the casino.....and it was probably a good thing as i kept my money in my wallet....was boring and dull. Worst thing, by far, about the cruise was getting a soda. Especially in the Horizon or Cafe Caribe seating areas. I just think the process is bad. You have to give your card to someone and tell them what you want. There were times I saw that card and order given to 2 more people after the initial order. Then sometime in the not so near future you got your drink. Really, REALLY poor service. Overall....please focus on the positive things I wrote. I was just trying to nitpick and give some feedback on places where they could do better. The positives outweighed the negatives 95% to 5%. Lastly...and this is just single guy talk. Blonde female manager in the Horizon court area.....super hot. Female hostess in Michelangelo dining room. Hot. Cruise Director staff etc.....super hot. Especially the Cruise Director. Sorry...thanks for indulging me. TAKE THIS CRUISE!!! Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
Chose the seattle roundtrip due to price savings vs vancouver or whittier. Flights and seattle extended stay costs post cruise were so high, should have skipped seattle. Also, not the usual Princess guest calibre, a little rougher crowd , ... Read More
Chose the seattle roundtrip due to price savings vs vancouver or whittier. Flights and seattle extended stay costs post cruise were so high, should have skipped seattle. Also, not the usual Princess guest calibre, a little rougher crowd , lots of smokers and very few kids since early June. Ketchikan was the best town of all and the best moment was enjoying room service breakfast on oversized balcony while scenic cruising tracy arm. Coffee on ship was horrible, unlike what we had on carribean in their newer ships. Service was the worst as well. Seems like they put the best crew on the newer ships. Employees very task oriented, few smiles. Saw a great magic show and comedian for kids and adults. Piazza is cramped and noisy compared to regal and sister ship that is newer. Lots of clothes, jewelry and art sales trying to get your money and blocking paths in public areas. Very disappointed with steakhouse which was comped as part of price. Server was horrible and wanted me to sign my voucher and tip b4 meal was over. Poor training. Saw him cleaning tables in buffet the next few days. Juno is nasty. Great whale watching but town is scary after dark. Homeless and drunk locals. Skagway is a pain. Have to grab a shuttle just to get into town. Ketchikan close to ship. Eat crab at annabelles. Worth every penny. Forget crab night option at buffet on ship. U spend $30 each but only get to pick on main dish. Better if eating out at a port. Smokers enjoyed their own juice,water and coffee area each morning up on deck. Hard to breathe trying to walk the ship up top each morning. Pool was actually heated which was nice. Disembarkation was horrible at ports unless early morning. We booked princess excursions and did not evev get to exit b4 others like they do on disney. People freaking out about missing their bus etc. Getting to go to Alaska made up for the subpar experience with Princess. Will stick to newer ships in future. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
Cruised with Princess twice before and had a great experience again this time. Professional, Solid service each time. Cabin was cleaned well each day and had kind, service each mealtime with really good variety and quality of food. ... Read More
Cruised with Princess twice before and had a great experience again this time. Professional, Solid service each time. Cabin was cleaned well each day and had kind, service each mealtime with really good variety and quality of food. Entertainment was good and the excursions were top notch for the money. I'm just sad I lost so much at the casino. They allowed us to upgrade to a balcony cabin for a modest fee of $300, so that was nice to have the extra room. The Lotus spa is overpriced but hey, you expect that on a cruise. I doubt the Lotus spa will see me again after some less that great, better-than-you attitudes. All-in-all, it was a nice cruise that I've come to expect from Princess. They even put a halt to a norovirus outbreak that was threatening, by implementing some strict food handling protocols. I'd appreciate some better rewards for being loyal to Princess, but maybe next time. The position of the TV in the room was not great either. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Emerald Princess cabin B614. We LOVED ALASKA. We take an Annual trip with siblings and spouses where 7 of the 9 of us have never been to Alaska. We are active seniors. We chose Princess because of their offers: No gratuity, on board ... Read More
Emerald Princess cabin B614. We LOVED ALASKA. We take an Annual trip with siblings and spouses where 7 of the 9 of us have never been to Alaska. We are active seniors. We chose Princess because of their offers: No gratuity, on board credit, casino credit, cabin upgrade (which we did not get). We were disappointed with the entertainment, a boring magician with old tricks, their broadway type musical were ok. Steve Moris was their comic/musician which was the only highlight in their entertainment. They had some craft times which were ok, I would skip the origami one. Their wake up show was informative. Alexander is nice and funny but your Cruise Director needs to have more enthusiasm and smile more often. The food in the dining room is ok, their one lobster night is now a very small lobster tail. BUT, don't dwell on the small negative things or it can ruin a vacation. All 9 of us enjoyed our time together with some great excursion, especially the train in Skagway. Embarkation and Disembarkation went fast. Just make sure you get a knowledgeable passenger service rep if you use the free Seattle Port Valet. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We chose this cruise because we did not want to go around the horn but wanted to visit S. Am. We have sailed on Princess several times in the past and like to book our next cruise prior to leaving the ship. Princess always seems to have ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we did not want to go around the horn but wanted to visit S. Am. We have sailed on Princess several times in the past and like to book our next cruise prior to leaving the ship. Princess always seems to have excellent entertainment, food, and services. The one downside members of our group mentioned this trip was the lack of Happy Hour at the Wheel House. That has always been a gathering place of many in the past and we were sorry to find it was not included on this trip. Also the wine package was listed as being available prior to sailing and upon sailing they found this also was not available and many wines listed on the wine list they did not have. This did not affect myself or wife as a rule but I did hear other passengers growling about these issues. Overall this was a great cruise again this year. If you ever see Dinesh, tell him hi from the group of 8 from the area of Wyoming. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
We went on this cruise to Alaska on August 20th, 2017...This was our 4th cruise, first with Princess...Overall, a very positive experience. Very organized Embarkation and Debarkation. I felt after boarding there was some confusion with ... Read More
We went on this cruise to Alaska on August 20th, 2017...This was our 4th cruise, first with Princess...Overall, a very positive experience. Very organized Embarkation and Debarkation. I felt after boarding there was some confusion with room service and the items I pre-purchased before the cruise. I also was worried about my tuxedo rental not being there when we were just about to sail away....Everything seem to come together nicely a few hours into it....All the staff seemed very personable and we enjoyed talking to them.. I felt the service at the bars/clubs could use some work as it was difficult to get a waiter. I often saw them congregated around the bar chit chatting amongst themselves..I often had to get up and go find one... The anytime dining was sort of pushed on us when we booked 5 months before the cruise as traditional (early) dining was full and late dining is not for us....Part of the overall Cruise experience for us is dining with the same people everyday, make new friends, talk about your experiences that day, shore excursions, etc. This is one piece of the cruise that we really missed. The anytime dining line to get into the Michelangelo dining room at 5:15 was like a cattle line...One day, there must of been 500 people in line....This cruise was filled to capacity and I'm attributing most of any lack of customer service to the huge crowd...Besides these couple items, not really a big deal the Cruise was an exceptional experience..... HIGHLY RECOMMEND-book your excursions months in advance, especially helicopter and seaplane ones....We happened to reserve the Helicopter ride to Mendenhall Glacier and Salmon Bake 4 months before the cruise and got it....90 days before the cruise it was sold out....You have to do this tour, it was probably one of the best experiences in my life...It was freaking unbelievable....Words or pictures cannot describe this, only your own eyes need to experience this..... Again, we thoroughly enjoyed this cruise and any criticism above is mostly attributed to a crowded ship.....We booked a future cruise while on the cruise to the Grand Mediterranean on the Crown Princess October 23, 2018.....Really looking forward to it:) Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
Arrived in Seattle the Saturday prior to cruise. Arranged for Princess Transfers from airport to the Westin - Westin to Cruise Port - Cruise Port to Airport. Upon arriving in Seattle, Princess representatives were are the luggage area to ... Read More
Arrived in Seattle the Saturday prior to cruise. Arranged for Princess Transfers from airport to the Westin - Westin to Cruise Port - Cruise Port to Airport. Upon arriving in Seattle, Princess representatives were are the luggage area to meet arriving guests. Although, it took us talking to 3 different Princess reps for them to figure out how to get us transportation to the Westin. 30 minutes later someone comes to meet us and takes us for a long trip through the airport - up escalators dragging your luggage- across to parking deck- up more escalators then back down and then finally getting to a waiting area for a shuttle to pick you up - this took an hour after we got our luggage - save yourself the hassle and get a taxi which is lined up right outside of luggage area. The Westin, which Princess had booked for us - was great - highly recommend staying there if you have an extra day. Transportation to the cruise ship was much better - Everyone met in the lobby the morning of and had a bus waiting to take us to the Pier. Check-In was quick - cabins were ready on the ship when we boarded. We were fortunate enough to stay in a suite - if you can swing that or Club Class Suites - they have a lot of perks. The best ever is the Club Class Dining - soooo wonderful - Head Waiter/Chef and wait staff are awesome. Cruise ports were fun, plan your day around what you like to do - tours are readily available or take a walk through town and catch a local restaurant. Advise you to take the boat tour that picks you up off of cruise ship and goes into Tracy Arm Fjord - our cruise ship was not able to go into area due to weather, but people who had booked that excursion were able to go into the Fjord on a smaller boat - saw lots of animals and had a fabulous time - our cruise ship just had to head on into our next port and got there earlier than planned. My best advice would be at the end of your cruise - save yourself a big head ache the last night of the cruise and do not let Princess handle getting your boarding passes and luggage tags for you from your airline. This is a service they highly promote and make it sound wonderful - was awful. Our last port was Victoria, BC - a night stop. Arrived 5:15 pm, was to be back on board by 11:30 pm. (Side note - city bus tour and High Tea excursion was boring and a complete waste of $90 person compared to excursions we did at previous ports.) My 78 year old mother and I arrived back on board by 10:00 pm....still did not have luggage tags and boarding passes even though we were told we would have them between 5 pm & 8 pm (the information for the flight was given on the first couple of days of the cruise). Went down to the customer service desk - oh my - 50 + other people waiting in line - all with problems with no boarding passes/luggage tags so none of us could put our luggage out in the hall for pickup. An hour and a half later - the front desk gave me Delta paperwork for our connecting flight in Atlanta, not our departure flight out of Seattle. Said they did not have the correct information to give me luggage tags for leaving Seattle so I would have to address it with Delta at the airport the next day - It is now midnight - I finally get a colored luggage tag for Princess just to pick up bags in the hallway to take off ship for us to pick up in luggage holding terminal. Was fine until the front desk had given 2 of us Purple 1 tags which coordinated with our flight schedule for when luggage was taken off of ship,. but they gave 2 other people on our flight traveling with us, Purple 2 Tags, therefore we had to wait in the luggage terminal for an hour for all of our group of 4 luggage to be taken off the ship at different times. Just make sure everyone traveling in your party gets the same color/numbered tag for luggage. We got a porter to help take luggage out and he took us right to the bus which would go to Delta at airport. No one ever asked us for our transfer passes for the bus which we had paid for to take us to the airport....made me wonder if we had needed to even pay extra for that. Also, taxis were readily available right outside the door after passing through customs. Other than the hassle the last night, the cruise was a wonderful time. Alaska is absolutely beautiful and a must see! Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
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 '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
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
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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