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295 Princess Emerald Princess Family Cruise Reviews

Just returned from a 7 night cruise on the Emerald Princess along fjords in Norway. I went with my 13 year old daughter. We have both cruised on the Emerald before when we did a 10 night Western Caribbean cruise 2 years ago. Embarkation. ... Read More
Just returned from a 7 night cruise on the Emerald Princess along fjords in Norway. I went with my 13 year old daughter. We have both cruised on the Emerald before when we did a 10 night Western Caribbean cruise 2 years ago. Embarkation. We had a 2.30 slot and we arrived at Southampton at 2. There was a long queue but we proceeded through checking and security very quickly. We were on board by 2.50. Cabin. We had an inside cabin and our steward was the lovely Luney. Our cabin was A336 For the 2 of us the cabin was fine. I've never cruised in an Inside cabin before. When my husband joins us we usually book a Balcony. The room also had two upper berths so potentially it could hold 4 people. In my opinion that would have been extremely cramped. It was bad enough telling my teenager constantly to stop leaving clothing on the bed, floor etc. the bathroom though small was adequate. It had a shower, WC and sink unit. By the time we went to our cabin out luggage was already outside the room. Very impressive. We had missed lunch so we went up to Horizon Court on level 15. It was crazy busy. Vast array of good but the crowd and then trying find seating afterwards was very off putting. That was my first and only stressor of the holiday. We unpacked our clothes and went on top deck for whilst the ship was manoeuvring out of Southampton and Portsmouth. Dining. We had anytime Dining which gives us flexibility. We had dinner in the Michael Angelo dining room every night. We shared a table every night. It was lovely chatting to new people each night. The majority of cruisers were British with a few Americans and smaller amounts if people from other parts of the world. Food. Food was ok. I don't know why but the choices seemed less varied than previous cruises I've been on. And every beef dish I ordered was cooked incorrectly when received. I have never had that before and I have cruised a lot! I definitely felt that there was less crew in the dining areas and I felt service suffered for it. We had Afternoon Tea on the first sea day. The service was dreadful. The tea is only 1 hour and you are usually offered several trays of delicious nibbles. The day we did it, the waiter offered food to two people on our table and then walked off. re hello? There are 6 more of us? Service was very slow and we were offered 2 trays of nibbles in the 40 minutes we were there. Very disappointed. Our table was asked by the Head Waiter if everything was ok. He got an onslaught of complaints from everyone. It was quite funny. Ports. The ports were Stvanger, Arlsund, Skjolden, Bergen. All were gorgeous, scenic and relaxing. I literally felt my stress melt away. I loved the evening sails ways just sitting on the deck and absorbing the panorama along the fjords. Very similar to the Scottish a Highlands but it didn't feel bleak. I suppose because we were there during the summer. Movies under the Stars. Weather wasn't conducive for enjoying outdoor viewing but Million Dollar Arm was good. I didn't do evening entertainment, I tend to find it a bit old fashioned for me. Overall, it was an enjoyable cruise, but I think the Nickle and Dime cost cutting measures are tainting the overall standards on Princess. Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
This was our 7th Princess cruise but our first since 2009 and sad to say we did notice that standards had slipped in a number of areas. Mainly little things like they no longer produce the daily newspapers for US, Canadian and UK ... Read More
This was our 7th Princess cruise but our first since 2009 and sad to say we did notice that standards had slipped in a number of areas. Mainly little things like they no longer produce the daily newspapers for US, Canadian and UK passengers, a box of tissues in your cabin is no longer standard, but available if you ask, the sun decks were not cleaned to previous high standards and used crockery etc. was not cleared away as rapidly, and, unlike other US lines sailing from the UK, they don’t provide tea or coffee making facilities in your cabin. But by far the biggest disappointment was in the standard of the food, we always found that dining on Princess was exciting with each course savoured, this was no longer the case and the quality of some of the cuts of meat was well below our previous experience. Probably the biggest deterioration was in the breakfasts, we found a lot of the food items in the buffet were at best only lukewarm, whilst in the MDR we experienced very slow service. I highlighted some of these issues during the cruise and to be fair passenger services did take them seriously and we ended up with 3 boxes of tissues! But more importantly the buffet breakfasts did get much hotter. Overall the cruise was still very enjoyable, especially since we were with our 2 sons and their families, and we did get some very good service from most of the bar waiters and those in the MDR. Was it good value, well yes but only because we got 2 price drops honoured by Princess which resulted in the overall cost reducing by 40% from the original booking fee. Whilst Princess continue to give price drops they will likely remain competitive, but their launch prices in the UK are much higher than RCCL/Celebrity or now, on this year’s launch, even their partner company P&O, and as we need to book early to secure an accessible cabin then they would need to be providing a must have itinerary for us to give them our future business. Entertainment. This was typical cruise ship fare with production shows and guest artists in the theatre, but unlike P&O there were no guest artists in the other venues only the ships staff musicians, DJ music or the entertainment staff organising trivia type shows or the Princess Pop Star passenger talent contests. There were however some guest acts performing in the Piazza as well as a couple of pseudo shows from the ships singers and dancers. But Princess do try to pack more features into their Piazza area, as a result it can get very crowded at some times and finding a seat is well-nigh impossible. The lack of guest artists in the other lounges was probably fortunate for us since we found that both the lounges had poorer viewing access of the stage areas than their P&O equivalents, but for canned music this is not a problem. We also found that Explorers lounge had worse access for wheelchairs than P&O’s Tamarind or Malabar equivalents, and as a result we did not use this lounge. There were a fair mix of musicians on board including a string duo, a couple of pianists, a C&W duo, a guitarist and a party band, generally sufficient to find some bar with your type of entertainment. Ports of call. All the Ports of call were our first visits, at none of which did we take any ship’s excursions, mainly because Princess did not offer any accessible tours at all on this cruise, but they did provide free accessible shuttles where needed. La Coruna – The ship berths close enough to the town centre so that a shuttle bus is not needed. It is quite a large town on a peninsular, similar to Cadiz but much bigger and more modern, with a promenade, the Paseo Maritima, following the coast line and providing a reasonably level walk whereas the town centre is quite hilly in places. We did not venture as far as the Tower of Hercules but wandered around the old town and then into the town hall square which has sidewalk cafes all around it. We enjoyed a tapas lunch and then a short stroll back to the ship. Bilbao – The berth is at Getxo which is about 3 miles from Bilbao centre and requires a shuttle transfer of 20-30 mins, provided free by Princess. Unfortunately there was only one accessible bus and it did not run to the provided timetable, as a result we just missed it and decided to let the rest of our party use the normal bus and we went back on board, so I have no real information on Bilbao, other than the family enjoyed it and said it was very pleasant. Le Verdon (for Bordeaux) – The berth is a 3 hr. drive away from Bordeaux and Princess only provide shore excursion tours to Bordeaux or the vinery’s, but they do provide a free shuttle to Soulac sur Mer, however the shore excursion team and even the Captain go out of their way to disparage Soulac, and one of the team even told me that it had little to offer and any beach Soulac had was quite poor and too far away for an easy walk, all of which is quite wrong. The town is only about 20 mins away and although fairly modern is quite a charming little seaside resort. The main shopping street is about a quarter to half mile long leading from the main square where the shuttle drops you right to the sea front which has a magnificent beach and a pleasant promenade. It obviously began as a tourist resort back at the start of the last century and has one or two interesting old hotel buildings on the sea front, and quite a large old market building along the main street with the usual shops selling all sorts of interesting food produce. We thoroughly enjoyed our visit. St Peter Port, Guernsey – This is a tender port and since I was informed that my wife would need to be able to take a few steps in and out of the ships tender and that there were also steps from the dock in the town we decided to stay on board. So we were rather disappointed to find that Princess were also using a larger shore based tender and we saw at least one wheelchair and passenger carried on board this vessel, but by this time the rest of our family had already gone ashore. Conclusions. We had a very enjoyable cruise and cruising still provides a high quality holiday at a reasonable price, but for those of us who have been cruising over the last 10 – 20 yrs. the cutbacks in quality of food and standards of service are quite noticeable. Comparing Princess with other lines we sail, we think they are now very similar to P&O, but have fallen behind Celebrity’s standards, and are probably closer to RCI and CCL itself. This is perhaps not surprising as both Princess and P&O are part of Carnival, but this now leaves Carnival without a main stream high end offering since HAL is a much smaller operation.   Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
This cruise started out badly. We had to stand outside in the wind and heavy rain to check our bags, then were ushered into a cold tent where we had to wait 3 1/2 HOURS to board! Princess did not take any responsibility for their ... Read More
This cruise started out badly. We had to stand outside in the wind and heavy rain to check our bags, then were ushered into a cold tent where we had to wait 3 1/2 HOURS to board! Princess did not take any responsibility for their problems and did nothing to compensate us for the terrible experience. Don't think we will use Princess again. We chose this cruise because we wanted the sea days and were looking forward to warm weather in Hawaii and on the way. Unfortunately, there were storms coming and going so we were not able to sit around the pool or use our balcony. There were very few things to do on the sea days in the afternoon. Most of the lectures were at 9 or 10 in the morning and we weren't up that early. It just didn't seem to be up to the quality we expected of Princess. We had the late seating in the Botticelli dining room. The waiter and assistant were very good and the menu varied, but the food was bland even when it was described as spicy. The Horizon buffet was good, but the layout made it crowded and difficult to maneuver. The wait staff there were very attentive. The Magic To Do show and the other shows with the singers and dancers were really wonderful! The Magic To Do was like a Broadway show and probably the best show we have seen on a ship. The other entertainers were good - singers, magicians, comedians, ventriloquists, but about the same as you would find on any cruise ship. We did independent tours in Kauai and Hilo. It was very easy to walk around in Lahaina and Honolulu as we were docked or tendered to the center of town. In Ensenada we were within walking distance of the shops and bars in town. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
To celebrate our 50th anniversary I couldn't be more dissatisfied. The food was very poor quality. The ship needs updated. The staff was rude. This was my third time sailing with princess cruise line. The past cruises were fantastic. ... Read More
To celebrate our 50th anniversary I couldn't be more dissatisfied. The food was very poor quality. The ship needs updated. The staff was rude. This was my third time sailing with princess cruise line. The past cruises were fantastic. This last one was a huge disappointment. We can never get our 50 th anniversary back. I have nothing more to add. I will never use princess again. The child's program was just babysitting. It used to be great. The food was McDonald's quality. The service in the horizon court was very bad. The service in the horizon court was extremely bad. The bed was very comfortable. The dance classes were fun but needed more room. They were way too crowded. I can't even say how disappointed we were. There were eight of us and we were split up for dinning, even after I requested we were to sit tonight. They even sat other people with half of our party. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
Wanted to visit Alaska. Always heard Princess did the best job. Found out otherwise. Dining staff were rude at times, irritable, refusing to give extra items or reluctant to exchange items. Odd for any cruise ship. Difficult getting ... Read More
Wanted to visit Alaska. Always heard Princess did the best job. Found out otherwise. Dining staff were rude at times, irritable, refusing to give extra items or reluctant to exchange items. Odd for any cruise ship. Difficult getting gluten free items. Not many available. Dining staff seemed lazy, didn't want to walk back to galley if we asked for something. Attitude issues. Culture on ship is rigid. Staff seem fearful. Never got baby food ordered ahead. Flooding bathroom floor , stopped up plumbing system, and no cold water entire trip in son's cabin B532 Would pick different cruise line when returning to Alaska because of culture issues with staff and plumbing problems that couldn't be resolved in 7 days. Alex the cruise director, and his team were good. Team had a lot of energy, offered many new games to keep guests involved, including late night adult games. Music was all ok. Magician did little magic, tried to be a comedian, not very good. Actual comedian was very good. Several shows, all different, very funny guy. Very few food choices after 11:00pm . No late night Pizza Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
We were disappointed with Princess Cruises. Our family of 14 ranged from 7 months to 89yrs. The 89 yr old enjoyed herself but the teenagers, young adults and adults were are somewhat bored and disappointed. The shows were terrible and the ... Read More
We were disappointed with Princess Cruises. Our family of 14 ranged from 7 months to 89yrs. The 89 yr old enjoyed herself but the teenagers, young adults and adults were are somewhat bored and disappointed. The shows were terrible and the young adults always left the show. Definitely not the caliber of RCCL’s Broadway shows! There was not much for young adults and teens to do onboard the ship. They were bored. Our dining in the Da Vinci room had slow service while the kids table had faster service. Kids were not impressed with the food. However, the food in the Crown Grill was so much better. Big difference in the lobster quality and steaks. Our waiter never brought a celebration cake we ordered prior to the cruise. The helicopter excursion in Skagway and the Lumberjack Show in Ketchikan were awesome and the staff were friendly and great. However, DO NOT waste your money on the Buchart Gardens excursion in Victoria, BC! Not enough time to see the Gardens and fireworks, our bus driver was rude and threatened to leave passengers behind. It was difficult fighting the fireworks crowd to get back to your bus in the dark and in an unfamiliar area! Not to mention finding your bus in the sea of other buses! We even signed up for the wheelchair accessible excursion, should allow extra time for that also or not offer the fireworks portion of the Gardens! We also purchased the Unlimited Photo Package prior to the cruise to save $50. This was a terrible purchase. Photographers were not always around, even at embarkation we had to ask where they were. They did not stay out at ports for very long and only came around the dining room twice. They were always too busy in the photo gallery to scan my photos to the USB stick so they held it over night. On 3 different occasions, I went back to pick it up and they couldn’t find my photos or the USB stick! Finally got everything the last day, so I thought. I got home and checked the USB stick and it was missing so many photos! I was happy to see what’s still left of the Alaskan Glaciers, but next time I will definitely do whatever I can to sail on RCCL instead of Princess! Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
This was a large family cruise, for some of the family this was their first cruise while we have sailed with Royal Caribbean 4 times and have only positives to say for them. The crew of this ship seemed to us either first time as crew ... Read More
This was a large family cruise, for some of the family this was their first cruise while we have sailed with Royal Caribbean 4 times and have only positives to say for them. The crew of this ship seemed to us either first time as crew members or tired and not wanting to be helpful and just plain rude. We were given pina colada when ordering a margarita, then when we questioned it were given another pina colada, asked for an Alaskan Brewing Company Summer Ale and given something different and told Summer Ale wasn't available yet it was at the bar outside the dining room. We were short a life vest for our cabin that finally appeared after the 4th day. The adults only pool was never filled and when we asked were told it was due to rough seas, a complete lie as it was smooth seas except for the very first night out of port. The other cruise lines had theirs filled and we asked their passengers at port. The last port, Victoria, we came in port on time but at 7 PM while the other cruise ships passed us on the way and arrived earlier, most of the city shuts down at 9 PM so what a waste and truly a beautiful stop to make, I question their reasons for this schedule. Dining room food was poor, the crab legs and lobster tail were so over-cooked it was rubber for example, buffet staff were less than helpful and sometimes short and giving false information (no omelets when yes, they do them but by the time I learned how to order it was the last day). We will never use Princess again and will let it be known to our social media connections, even after a poor review on Princess' website we were never contacted to ask about the poor review left even though I asked to be called. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
I will start with we the fact that this was our first Cruise on Princess, but we have taken 9 on RCL, 2 on NCL, and 2 on Carnival so we did have something to compare it to. Princess will not get a Second chance. We cruise with a group ... Read More
I will start with we the fact that this was our first Cruise on Princess, but we have taken 9 on RCL, 2 on NCL, and 2 on Carnival so we did have something to compare it to. Princess will not get a Second chance. We cruise with a group often so we take turns planning and picking cruise line and itinerary. My wife and I had done Alaska before on NCL and had loved it, we were on the Sun. So this was our turn to pick, we decided to take our kids this time and had booked 2 of the 8 cabins in the group. No one in the group had been on Princess and we had heard great things about Princess in Alaska. So We spent over 7K on an inside and Balcony Cabin. Our friends who often do go with had the Balcony next door, we always open the balconies for a double balcony and had booked together and asked for this. The Group was in his and mine last names. When we got to the ship the Balconies were not opened, it took 3 days and 9 requests to have it done. Princess switched our booking group agent a few times, once we all called and left messages for the old guy which no one returned and finally one dy after an hour on the 800 number I happened to get Robert by coincidence and he tells me I got moved out of Group Booking a month ago and Brenda took over. Brenda who? Then they got our dining messed up had to fix at the boat to get our group together, and even 2 of the cabins weren't even confirmed for the dining time. I was like huh, we booked as a group over 15 months in advance. The ship was dirty, understaffed, and the staff that were there were plainly rude. Walking down the ship when you pas a crew member they look down, or turn away not even addressing or greeting you. There were a few who tried and if you commented they would make faces or utter comments. While waiting for coffee at the expresso bar I actually heard 3 of the female waitstaff making fun of two "Fat Americans and their Starbucks" older ladies who had brought their own insulated cups rather than use the disposable. I complained to the Customer Service Desk and was told sorry , fill out a comment card, which I did and got no response. I put my name, cabin number and email on the comment. I told the Purser I did not want any money returned, any discount, or anything in return but to be acknowledged and to know when people spend almost 100k as a group to go on a cruise they get what they expect. Last few comments as I could go on forever, just remember Never Princess. 1980 called and wants their battered and fried food back. Lets try some healthy options other than a dated salad bar. The food was dated, Bland, and starchy. I want Protein and Veggies... When you have the Moscow Mule on your bar menu and someone with an $70 a day Ultimate Beverage package walks up and orders it, dont argue with them that you cant serve because he will have to charge you for two drinks and you can only get one on your package every so many minutes. Even though you had one earlier from a different bar. I complained and they figured it out but why. Oh, and the drink package includes fountain sodas, Alcoholic drinks, red bull, specialty coffee drinks, but if you order a soda that some bar on the ship only has in cans then its $2 or you can go hunt it on fountain somewhere else. Whats that, RCCL and others include canned soda. I mean you already got my for a Drink package I will never take advantage of unless I stay drunk which I wouldn't. I only got it because it was part of the group booking. That said, the Weather was beautiful, Alaska was gorgeous, We saw beautiful wildlife, bought souvenirs and had good time with friends, so not all lost. We just stayed in a dump. The bed was comfortable, the Excursions were good and fun (we went on a Seaplane, horseback riding, glacier up-close boat ride, Jeep Tour, wildlife excursion. So got around and had an adventure. Our Group has a Mediterranean Cruise and a Transatlantic booked in the future, thankfully both on RCCL otherwise I would be cancelling now and not going. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We've been on 13 cruises and this was the worst food experience we've ever had. The food was bad, frequently recycled for several meals. The coffee was cold and awful. The excursions were good--what could be wrong with ... Read More
We've been on 13 cruises and this was the worst food experience we've ever had. The food was bad, frequently recycled for several meals. The coffee was cold and awful. The excursions were good--what could be wrong with Alaska? Comedian Carlos Oscar Singer Nathan Foley and the ship orchestra were all very good. The cruise director was least informative ever--never gave debarkation information for excursions, etc. The room service was bad--slow and cold. There were dirty dishes on the buffet line frequently. Water used to clean the tables was kept in dirty bucket on floor and used over and over. Service at all restaurants was slow and/or nonexistent. The captain made an announcement at 5:30 one morning only to come on shortly after to apologize and say he had the time wrong. Seriously? The train excursion broke down. Missed more than half of the trip. Had to complain to get refund--shouldn't that be automatic? And with apology? We booked thru Princess because we were assured that way we would get full service as promised. This will be our last Princess excursion. What a disappointment. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
Worst cruise my husband and I ever took. FACT: 1) Spent more time at sea than the itinerary stated. 2) Took over 3 hours to get into our room due to the key card and room door being inoperable. 3) The room was really small, ... Read More
Worst cruise my husband and I ever took. FACT: 1) Spent more time at sea than the itinerary stated. 2) Took over 3 hours to get into our room due to the key card and room door being inoperable. 3) The room was really small, not what was shown in the picture on the website and set up with two twin beds instead of a queen. 3a) The bathroom was small. I’m 5’7 and 185. As I stood in the shower, one arm touched a wall and the other arm touched the shower curtain. 4) The food was horrible. Some items were under cooked, while others were over cooked, very little options on a day to day basis and not pleasing to taste. 5) Trouble with the cruise ship. We happened to be on the side where the repairs were done. 6) Closed laundromat. 7) The majority of the staff was rude and unpleasant. 8) The boat had a urine smell in the pipes that wafted into the air. 9) No diverse onboard activities. 10) Rude to handicapped cruisers. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We planned a once in a lifetime Alaskan vacation, the whole family. We found the food to be subpar, either bland or over spicy. Most meals at the buffet were either heavily influenced by Asian or India food. Wait staff at the buffet ... Read More
We planned a once in a lifetime Alaskan vacation, the whole family. We found the food to be subpar, either bland or over spicy. Most meals at the buffet were either heavily influenced by Asian or India food. Wait staff at the buffet seemed miserable and looked at us as an inconvenience for being there. Very strict alcohol policy even with the purchase of the premium beverage package. They would not serve a bottle of water with an alcoholic drinks, you had to wait 5 minutes to get a bottle of water. The drinks very much seemed like the alcohol was watered down. The evening entertainment was dancing shows, one show, ok but every night got old fast. Entertainment during day never started on time and threw the whole days schedule off. Nothing memorable except a smaller bank account. You will be bombarded with shopping fliers & photo packages, seems like they want to suck every last dollar out of you Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Food was horrible! Staff was not happy or friendly. Atmosphere was very ugly. No one I spoke to on the cruise was having a good time. Daily entertainment was very limited! Kids program was not fun for my 12 year old who is almost 13. ... Read More
Food was horrible! Staff was not happy or friendly. Atmosphere was very ugly. No one I spoke to on the cruise was having a good time. Daily entertainment was very limited! Kids program was not fun for my 12 year old who is almost 13. Everything was geared toward little kids in his group so he never went to class because they didn’t make it fun and made my preteen feel like a little kid. He wanted to hang out in the 13+ but they would not let him even though he is 13 next month. It was at least 30 min to get seated for dinner and food took forever. When the food came it was old and gross. Selection was not great either. The buffet had old food And again not a big selection. Overall this is the worst cruise I have ever been on and will not be back in Princess! Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Sailed with a group of 16 friends which included spouses and kids. The group had fun spending time together however, the service was not acceptable. With a few exceptions, the crew was rarely engaged, inattentive, uninterested, poorly ... Read More
Sailed with a group of 16 friends which included spouses and kids. The group had fun spending time together however, the service was not acceptable. With a few exceptions, the crew was rarely engaged, inattentive, uninterested, poorly trained and just not friendly. More like mindless robots rather than highly trained friendly helpful crew. This seemed rather unusual as I've always had a great experiences on other cruises: Royal Caribbean, Holland America and Celebrity. Their crew are typically cheerful and engaged and helpful with their patrons. I found this rather surprising as it wasn't just one or two problem crew members but the majority were like that. It was the strangest experience. Food quality was fine. We usually went to the dining room or buffet. Selection at the buffet could have been better. The food quality there was solid at both places. Public washrooms were filthy. This was my first and last cruise with Princess. There are too many other options out there for me to want to give Princess another try. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
It seems like Princess has decided not to prioritize customer service. This trip felt more like working with an airline than a cruise line. The guest relations staff was not empowered to do anything when a problem arose. The food was ... Read More
It seems like Princess has decided not to prioritize customer service. This trip felt more like working with an airline than a cruise line. The guest relations staff was not empowered to do anything when a problem arose. The food was mediocre. The entertainment, with a few exceptions, was terrible. The director of dining was abrasive. The decor was dated. The tendering was poor. Some of the scheduled events did not occur because the cruise director staff did not show. There was virtually nothing in the way of activities for our children. (Ages teen through young adult.) It was also odd that they had a series of enrichment lectures about serial killers. Why would that be a topic at all, never mind almost every day. On top of it all, you had the usual high pressure sales tactics (spa products, health products, art). Because of the poor training and customer service, the ship was simply not designed to give even the suite passengers anything extra. We made the most of our trip mainly by creating our own fun, designing our own excursions, etc. We also found out during the trip that numerous passengers were upgraded to Platinum, which was good for them, but further diluted the benefits of being Platinum, Elite, or Suite. For example, the evening cocktail party did not offer any complimentary drinks and snacks that were no better than what could be obtained elsewhere. Even the staff who helped suite guests with disembarking was rude. Christmas/New Year's is always a little hectic, but this was unbelievable. Also note that despite the cold weather, there is NO INDOOR POOL. The outdoor areas were almost unusable for the majority of the trip. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
Princess Cruises has entered the race to the bottom with so many changes, to what once was the popular "Love Boat" experience. The focus during the entire cruise was to generate onboard revenue with additional charges and ... Read More
Princess Cruises has entered the race to the bottom with so many changes, to what once was the popular "Love Boat" experience. The focus during the entire cruise was to generate onboard revenue with additional charges and fees. No longer is everyting included with the cruise. There are 4 alternate restaruants with very high additional fees charged ($29.00) per person. The food quality is inferior due to low quality provisions, inproper preparation and lack of training of kitchen staff. Princess should consider changing the name of buffet dining to Golden Corral at Sea, however Golden Corral has wider selection. Alternate dining restaurants were substandard and improper preparating of foods, all foods overcooked. The kitchen cannot make a good soup and does not know the meaning of bisque or chowder. What a truely disappointing experience with Princess. As a Platinum member with Princess, I will not sail with them again. Princess has transferred the labor costs entirely to the guest with the automatic gratuties added to every shipboard account. Staff onboard was great but they can only do with what the company provides, which is poor provisions and inferior training. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
I strongly agree with all the points that a previous contributor-'cherub flashpoint', has already noted; impolite security staff who have no ability to smile, waiting staff that hound you constantly for drinks( God help you if ... Read More
I strongly agree with all the points that a previous contributor-'cherub flashpoint', has already noted; impolite security staff who have no ability to smile, waiting staff that hound you constantly for drinks( God help you if you try to get your own tea/coffee-cups are snatched from your hands and you are told off!!!) or taking plates away from you. Started to fold a blanket after 'movies under the stars' to help the deck attendant- once again snatched from me -' I do that!!!' The tender to Corsica was a joke!!- a raffle ticket system turned into a free for all with the winners being who could get their mobility scooter to block the most passengers.The tour guide on the coach to Rome admitted she couldn't speak English very well- useful as a 'chocolate teapot' We have written a strong complaint letter to the company - no response as yet- I will never travel with them again!!! Luckily this was not our first cruise otherwise it would be our last. It will be Royal Caribbean in the future- they were friendly,fantastic variety of food, great entertainment and overall great value for money. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
Emerald Princess, 2nd July 2016, Northern Europe. This was our 3rd cruise having been twice with P&O on Aurora in 2014 and Britannia in 2015. We won’t be using Princess again and I would like to share our experiences. I am sure ... Read More
Emerald Princess, 2nd July 2016, Northern Europe. This was our 3rd cruise having been twice with P&O on Aurora in 2014 and Britannia in 2015. We won’t be using Princess again and I would like to share our experiences. I am sure plenty of people had an enjoyable week and I am pleased for you if you did. I found many things to be totally not up to standard and as such my review will not be positive. I’ll break it down into categories: Embarkation: Very, very smooth. Yes, it is a bit odd to have numbered cards as you wait in line, but it is a system that appears to work. Good for the suite and elite passengers to get to queue jump...I find that to be absurd and a little demeaning, but it is what it is. Those extra 5 minutes must be worth the pushing in, eh? Cabin. We had an outside cabin with a fully restricted view. This did not bother us as we rarely used the cabin other than for sleeping and changing. You could see the sea or the quayside to see if we were docked, etc, so no problem and a fair bit of cash saved for spending elsewhere; cash you’ll need, by the way, the ship is very expensive. The shower is small, as per expectations, but the shampoos and soaps are a bit cheap to say the least. The bed, as reported elsewhere, was magnificent. Food. Dire. We are generally quite easy to please and my wife is a vegetarian, but not a fussy one, if you know what I mean. But the non-meat options are so poor, she barely had what you could describe as a full plate for most of the cruise. She had to ‘piece together’ suitable meals and all had to be fish with no special vegetarian meal on offer. The buffet is way too small and there are nowhere near enough seats in the Horizon restaurants with breakfast being particularly shambolic. We shared tables, often, which is fine, but it is not a good set up at all. The buffet food was a bit strange, we felt, and the concept of vegetables is misunderstood. If there is a carvery, for example, have carrots, peas and green beans instead of just one with several potato variations. Strange. We only went to the anytime dining restaurants on one occasion and had that been a paying restaurant (well, I suppose we did pay up front...) I would have challenged a number of items on the bill, not least the ‘gourmet burger’, which was poor. We sat down and were asked if we wanted sparkling or still water. I asked for sparkling and so had to pay, though I didn’t know this at the time and no-one said anything...the sharing table guests got still water...free. This sort of mealy mouthed money grabbing leaves its mark and I hope they are pleased with themselves for it. Ports of call: Really, just really? In a nutshell: Bruges. It is not Bruges, it is Zeebrugge, a soulless container port. Bruges is miles away and Princess made it very clear in their port description that taxis from the port exit were ‘not plentiful’. Plus, as Zeebrugge is a container port, you cannot just walk off the ship and make your way to the exit. You could, of course, buy their trip into town for an amazing, amazing, amazing price of $179...each. This is laugh out loud ridiculous. Money grabbing, did I mention that? We stayed aboard, fed up, not knowing how to get to Bruges. Many people went to Blankenberge for about €10, I think, but the itinerary said it was Bruges...no, it was a container port and the sales pitch for a Princess partial excursion monopoly. Copenhagen: Fine. Helsingborg: Nope. Too windy for tenders, so we carried on towards Oslo at walking pace. Safety first, we have no problem with that, of course not. We also got $18 each refunded for the missed port as a port tax rebate. That bought a single drink! Lol. Oslo: Fine, but it left at 15.30 hours...we had missed the previous port, so why not extend this one? Oh yeah, it would probably have cost Princess more, of course. So, 4 ports...well, we got 2 and a container port. Useless. Entertainment: We only checked out the theatre on the last night and saw the very talented Neil Lockwood, very good he was too. We generally avoid cruise entertainment as it is not really our thing, but he was excellent. The theatre is large. Staff: In general they were a delight. However, the more ‘elevated’ staff were not, particularly the Cruise Director, who I found to be generally awful. I’m sorry to be specific, but I was unsure what he brought to the show other than his starring in his own intergalactic movie attitude. Tune in to Channel 29 in your cabin and you can watch him and his sidekick embarrass themselves each morning. We watched it as it was so bad, you just had to. Self-indulgent and childish, it was at best patronising, at worst a pair of adults behaving like gushy school children. Truly dreadful and I’d be all over this if I was running the ship. Haha, that’s likely! Do you really need to have his young woman sidekick being quizzed about not having a boyfriend? That is plain creepy. Am I interested in how the Cruise Director ‘keeps an eye’ on his favourite football team? No mate, I am not. The worst bit about them is how they are totally on-message with the Princess trademark upselling. When asked about the best restaurants aboard, the woman started to pretend to be thinking before coming up with 3 choices...all of which ‘she loves’. Which 3 do you reckon, then? Correct, the extra charge ones! Do me a favour the pair of you...One assumes she doesn’t join the fist fights in the overcrowded buffet then or, indeed, is not a vegetarian or a lover of fresh vegetables. Ridiculous and just out of touch with many passengers. I know some people will like the skittish banter but it is just endless and vacuous, it really is a tired formula. Holiday camp?...maybe. On the extra sea day because of the Helsingborg issues, they came up with a great idea for entertainment...making paper planes...I kid you not. The front desk staff were surly and unhelpful. Sorry, but that is how we found them. I loved the separate velvet rope section for elite and suite passengers...again, really? Do they actually push in like this anyway? Shopping: Awful. Expensive and lacking in choice. My wife bought a bag which was reasonably priced once they had applied the advertised 30% discount to bring it back to the price on the mainland, groan. We found another bag for my daughter back home, but we noticed it appeared to be damaged as we took it to the till. They whisked it away without any offer to knock a bit off. I raised this with the Retail Manager who brushed it all off a little too easily; fact is, I think, the same bag will be back on the shelf on the next cruise or back to the retail outlet village it came from. Buyer beware, that’s all I’m saying. The fragrances are more expensive than on the mainland and everything, everywhere is in dollars, by the way. It is an American ship, so fair enough. But it does slightly affect the cruise experience for Brits sailing from, erm, Britain. Go figure. The art auction: This needs its own section because it was so totally dreadful. Our ‘invite’ was received and the idea of free bubbly definitely got my wife’s interest. Sure, you can choose not to go, but it was a sea day and we were intrigued as to what this auction would be like. I have asked Princess directly to talk to me about our experience at the auction because what I saw does not sit well and I wish to establish what was going on. It was pressure and squeeze and foam and blather, laughable from start to finish except for the bit when bidding started after the auctioneer had taken an age to butter up the increasingly bored audience before she started her comedic selling patois as well as the hyper speed auctioneering spiel. Honestly, we were giggling like kids...perhaps good enough for Channel 29. The art work itself was a mix of horrendous garish coloured works together with stuff you can see in any school art department, no better. Just our two cents! Bars: Wow, expensive. They whack on a service charge on every drink, so we felt miffed about being asked for an additional $12.95 per day, per person for gratuities. We removed these and tipped our room steward ourselves, a lovely guy called Michael. Just increase the price of the cruise by $100 and do away with this contentious gratuity issue, it really does nobody any favours at all. There is a happy hour (2nd drink for $1) in the Skywalkers ‘nightclub’, which is worth taking advantage of if you are late up each night, as we were, though you’ll need to be able to withstand the same standard playlist of music each night...the opening hours of the bars is a little skitty and seem subject to alteration without notice. Generally, they are fine, it is the prices that are not, they are way out of order. Disembarkation: As easy as getting on, absolutely first class. I guess the suite and elite people get carried off on thrones...who knows! The only gripe is that they want everyone out of their room by 08.00. which leads to everyone piling for food in the already inadequate Horizon area...well, not everyone but a lot of people. Given that fellow cruisers love to place bags on chairs designed for actual humans, an act of selfishness that too many cruisers seem to enjoy (not all, but too many), you will find it hard to get a seat. Very hard. The weather was mainly superb and we had plenty of laughs. But it was not great, not by a long way. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
Staff very nice and pleasant. Balcony cabin b222 very good position clean and tidy. Shops on board well over priced, sale day on board like a jumble sale (junk) Food OK always found something to eat. Entertainment very poor kareoke ... Read More
Staff very nice and pleasant. Balcony cabin b222 very good position clean and tidy. Shops on board well over priced, sale day on board like a jumble sale (junk) Food OK always found something to eat. Entertainment very poor kareoke not entertainment just cheap penny pinching not putting on acts. Comedian nothing to right home about and magic show seen same old card tricks several times done better. Formal night people don't bother we felt very over dressed(disappointed) shorts don't count as formal ware. Staff were pleasant especially Richard in cafe All the ship wanted to do was try to sell sell sell. Photograph poor back drops why not use the elegance of the ship instead of false back grounds. After all of the above enjoyed cruise but disappointing as being American ship thought it would be be better. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
Our family of 22 did our annual family vacation on the Emerald Princess. Everyone left very disappointed. The way the staff treated us was so RUDE. We wanted to celebrate a private birthday party and were very disappointed with the event. ... Read More
Our family of 22 did our annual family vacation on the Emerald Princess. Everyone left very disappointed. The way the staff treated us was so RUDE. We wanted to celebrate a private birthday party and were very disappointed with the event. First of all, they don't even have a party planner! You end up talking to random people charging you way too much for everything. 200 dollars an hour for a DJ? No thanks. We ended up throwing a small 3 hour private party serving appetizers and using the speakers to play music. What a waste. They kept telling us to put the music down (which wasn't high to begin with) or they would force us to play the boring cruise music. They interrupted the father daughter dance about ten times by turning the music so low and reminding us that if something happened to the speakers, we would need to pay. Thanks, you already reminded us the first 20 times.They interrupted a very special moment and were being so rude about it. The staff also kicked us out of the room an hour and a half early, which at this point we didn't even care anymore! We were so over it. The staff was so unfriendly. Everyday it was something new with the staff. The only friendly staff were the people taking care of our rooms and the waiters at the restaurants. On the last day I couldn't wait to get off of the ship. This cruise ship was boring!!!!! There was nothing for kids from the ages 18-21 to do. The club was filled with a bunch of old people hitting on 20 year old chicks. The lack of activities was astonishing. We went to bed at 8 pm that's how bored we were!!! On the last full day we had on the ship our family brought some Easter eggs to do an Easter egg hunt for the kids. Every old person gave us a dirty look or called the manager on us. This cruise is definitely not kid friendly.The crew would talk crap about us right in front of our faces. It was the worst cruise experience I have ever had. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
We seem to have been on a different cruise to the previous reviewers.................. Pros: the crew, the cleanliness of the ship, our cabin steward and the staff in the International cafe. Cons: Our basic concerns were with the menus ... Read More
We seem to have been on a different cruise to the previous reviewers.................. Pros: the crew, the cleanliness of the ship, our cabin steward and the staff in the International cafe. Cons: Our basic concerns were with the menus and the quality of food being served. We are Elite members and have been sailing with Princess for quite some years and we were very disappointed with the range and quality of food in the Horizon and the very slow service in the main restaurants. We complained about the amount of beef dishes that were on the menu daily - firstly to the Head Chef of the Horizon Court who seems not to have the words "can do" in his vocabulary but blamed his superiors We then wrote a written complaint to the hotel manager and it took him a few days to respond - it may be just coincidence before the Captains Club formal event and his answer was ut us "Carnival's fault". The gym was so disappointed - most of the equipment, in particular the bikes and the cross trainers - needed major work and calibration mainly due to the fact that they are not designed for obese people who tend come and watch movies in the gym for some reason. The coffee on the ship was absolutely lousy and we a premium coffee card - even the staff agreed with us about the standard of the coffee. We took an excursion in Madeira and for four hours we were subjected one couple whose baby was crying continuously. When it rained the Lido Deck was like a skating rink because the drains could not cope with the rain water and some people on the deck were worried their cabins would get flooded every time it rained. The lounges were always full of people and were during the day with flip-flops and booze . We will never travel again on the "Grand class ships" as we have had the worst travel experiences on those ships . We are also Elite members on other cruise lines and will be more inclined to book with them in future ! Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
I am resubmitting this as I am unable to find my original review. My husband and I took his son and our 5 year old grandson on the Emerald Princess for their Eastern Carribean New Year's Eve cruise. My husband and I have been on ... Read More
I am resubmitting this as I am unable to find my original review. My husband and I took his son and our 5 year old grandson on the Emerald Princess for their Eastern Carribean New Year's Eve cruise. My husband and I have been on numerous cruises all over the world and many different lines. We ALWAYS book full suites/penthouses. We booked L107 Lido Deck for us and a second cabin nearby for the kids. Our first morning we woke to THUMPING, LAMPS SHAKING, TV SHAKING, BATHROOM DOOR SHAKING. It was our first morning and at sea. So we planned on a leisurely day waking up whenever we did. Who could sleep with all the racket. It was 7 AM (our time). Turns out our bedroom was directly under the treadmills. When we booked the cruise the web site indicated we werr under the spa which is quiet. I called the hotel desk immediately plus notified our steward. Our steward, Jeffrey, was wonderful. He brought his supervisor to our suite to hear the thumping. The supervisor, Sammy, contacted customer relations manager, Anthony, who said he would see what he can do. Meanwhile the thumping was all day long. I asked for a meeting with the Hotel Manager Peter which was granted. In the interim the customer service manager offered to move us to a mini suite on deck 9 (we were on deck 15) and near our kids, that was the plan. If I wanted a mini suite I would have booked one! My husband and I explained to him that this was unacceptible. We were planning on having great holiday cruise with family and now we can't even stay in the suite we paid $10,000 for. The hotel manager suggested they would try to pinpoint which treadmills were affecting our suite and close them down for the mornings. They put out of order signs on the first 3 treadmills. The next morning it seemed quieter. Too good to be true because the thumping started. I called Hotel Manager again. Basically for 4 days I was calling the Hotel manager. i would go up to the spa to see what machined were being used. Sometimes it was the second 3 machines. In the meantime they have about 20 treadmills all along the front of the ship. The ones used the most were the ones on the starboard side above our suite. Whenever i went to the gym to check there was never anyone using treadmills on the port side. The woman at the spa desk said the customer relations manager instructer her not to close off additional machines. Maybe if they tried closing machines 1-6 we would not have had any issues. Finally while at sea I called Corporate Princess. After being passed to a second person they said they would look into it. It wasn't until day 5 that the customer relations person called our cabin and provided us with compensation. Considering we spent over $10,000 for our suite and we paid for the kids cabin, in addition to a few thousand in shore excursions, drinks, special restaurant, gambling, the $1150 they gave us is in an insult. This is the first complaint. Food was horrible. I have never been on a cruise where the food has been so bad. Even in the Crown restaurant it was not up to standards I am familiar with . Not to mention it took 4 days before I got a waiter to give mac and cheese to my grandson. Although EVERYONE on board said asking for mac and cheese was no problem no one seemed to be able to get it for us. Our first night in the Michelangelo dining room they said they didn't even have a kids menu! Finally the next night we got a kids menu. it wasn't until the fourth night we ate in Michelangelo and had a waiter named Wotold who managed to get us mac and cheese. Every night after that we made sure we sat at his table as he seemed to be the only competent waiter. The coffee in the Horizon was all water! We love a good cup of coffee in the morning. It was the pits. But in the evening the coffee was fine in the Michelangelo so why couldn't be the same in the Horizon. New year's eve was a major disappointment. They did not offer complimentary champagne. You had to buy a bottle if you wanted a glass of champagne at midnight. We have been on other cruise lines for new Year's and always was given a glass of champagne. The evening activities on New Years was terrible. Your choice was the top deck with the band and the activities group leading in line dancing or the inside piazza with balloons dropping. That was it! As i said this was the worst cruise ever! Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
We chose this cruise for the destination, but sadly the Emerald Princess quickly became a disappointment. Lack of entertainment, sub-par food, and horrible dining room attire rules. Nice shorts and shirt NOT acceptable but jeans and ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the destination, but sadly the Emerald Princess quickly became a disappointment. Lack of entertainment, sub-par food, and horrible dining room attire rules. Nice shorts and shirt NOT acceptable but jeans and sports jersey's are acceptable on a Formal night. NO entertainment pool side on either sea days. They turned the music on for ice-carving then quickly turned the unacceptable playlist to very low. I understand the population on the cruise was a little older, but they were happy to listen to our music when we brought out our music player. All the pool guests around us were complaining. The drink package - they really encourage you not to use it, limits and rules for every situation. The spa was nice, although pricey - but that's expected on cruises they increase the price. Positive - I like the hand- washing stations at the entrance of the buffet. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We have cruised with other lines before and decided to try Princess based on a recommendation from our travel agent due to the specific ports we wanted to visit. We did a 14 day cruise with Princess Cruise lines. Never made it to Mykonos ... Read More
We have cruised with other lines before and decided to try Princess based on a recommendation from our travel agent due to the specific ports we wanted to visit. We did a 14 day cruise with Princess Cruise lines. Never made it to Mykonos due to a storm. Food was average but nothing spectacular. Too many starchy foods. Not enough vegetables and fruits. Entertainment was just okay. Not enough planned activities accept pushing bingo games and paper airplane races. Don’t buy a drink package. If on Dolphin Deck, the tinder boats are under you and when they are launched at 6 am, you will be knocked out of bed by the noise. Gym was sub par. Two standard stationary bikes for the whole ship to use. The Sanctuary area is a joke. Don’t waste your money for $80 a day. The art auction staff must all be new as they didn’t have full knowledge on the artist they were selling. Overall staff were not as friendly as on other cruise lines we have travelled on. I honestly do not believe we will ever cruise with Princess in the future. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Excursions too rushed and actually didn't see anything properly and definitely did not have the experience expected. Summary - 'Been there seen that' - Not 'Been there and done that'. Embarkation and ... Read More
Excursions too rushed and actually didn't see anything properly and definitely did not have the experience expected. Summary - 'Been there seen that' - Not 'Been there and done that'. Embarkation and disembarking were very well organised and efficient. Cleanliness was high and service from our steward was excellent. No issue service wise. Food was basically the same form day to day will minimal variations - food was ok of you love great if you love salt. Would have preferred to have more local foods from each destination we went to. Couldn't get into the restaurant we wanted even when booking a day on advance. Was my first cruise so wasn't sure what to expect - but definitely felt underwhelmed. My 2 teenage daughters did enjoy it but even their excitement was starting to dull toward the end. Everything seemed to have an additional charge when I expected most things to be included. Overall pretty poor value - rather do hotels and stay for a few days at each location that this overrated hop on hop off bus. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
My wife and I have both reached the Elite Level with Princess Cruise Lines, in addition to having taken maybe a half dozen cruises with other lines. This cruise was our 17th on Princess, over a period of about 7 or 8 years. We felt that ... Read More
My wife and I have both reached the Elite Level with Princess Cruise Lines, in addition to having taken maybe a half dozen cruises with other lines. This cruise was our 17th on Princess, over a period of about 7 or 8 years. We felt that the new Princess program would follow through and recognize their most frequent passengers in some meaningful way, and we enjoyed traveling on their ships. Our cruise last February changed all that. We had a series of unhappy experiences, starting with standing in the rain at the San Pedro cruise terminal for over 90 minutes before boarding. No Princess staff in sight and no umbrellas, ponchos, or anything to provide some relief. After about an hour and a half, with literally hundreds of people soaking wet and standing in the rain, someone realized that there was an empty terminal building that could be used for shelter, and we were all herded into it, only to spend the next hour in line just to get to Passport Control. The entire boarding experience was miserable. When we made reservations for this trip we asked about (a) complimentary gratuities or (b) a beverage package and were told that we were not eligible because we got such a great fare. Once on board we talked with many other passengers only to find that many had the same rate and their gratuities had been included. We also found a group of passengers from the U.K. who had received an even better rate, plus their package included round trip airfare from London to Los Angeles as well as a two night stopover in Ls Vegas at a top hotel. I understand promotional pricing and how it can be presented. But I felt deceived by Princess when they told me what a great deal I had and then gave many other passengers with the same rate a different (and better) deal. And some received a much, much better package. There were a number of other incidents which I felt were cause for making Princess aware of how I felt. So I wrote a four page letter and sent it to them. I sent it by email first to our Princess travel consultant, who returned it to me immediately with a note that she could not open it and I should send it instead to the Customer Care department. So I sent it to the proper address and guess what the reaction was...……….radio silence! I waited for about 6 weeks and sent another note asking what was happening and again heard nothing. If that is how Princess handles their best customers one wonders what they are doing for newer or less experienced passengers. There is a lot of competition in the cruise industry, and this overall experience has left me completely unhappy with Princess. We are now shopping for some other cruise line and left wondering how this could happen. We liked Princess, they seemed to like us, and we were happy. But when they ignored my legitimate issues and made not a single effort to reply I decide that this is their problem, not mine any longer. So we will continue to cruise and I am certain that we can get comfortable with some other line. But it is shame for both my wife and me, and also for Princess. Incidentally, I am still on their mailing list for enticements for upcoming trips! Almost as if I had never written to them at all! Remember that old adage "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me!" Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
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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