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48 Princess Emerald Princess Cruise Reviews for Family Cruises to Caribbean - Eastern

Traveled on the Emerald from Jan 30th-Feb 6th of 2016. This was our 4th Cruise with Princess and don't think we will sail with them again!! Menu was the same thing night after night with some sort of FISH fixed 50 different ways. Main ... Read More
Traveled on the Emerald from Jan 30th-Feb 6th of 2016. This was our 4th Cruise with Princess and don't think we will sail with them again!! Menu was the same thing night after night with some sort of FISH fixed 50 different ways. Main dining which should be special took for ever to get our food but after the 3rd night there was nothing to look forward to. Starters were always shrimp, only one pasta (I ate that for 4 nights in a row with the same country chicken). Horizon court for breakfast, had to sit on a lawn chair because no seating!! Spoiled meat at lunch time. Burnt (brittle) bacon and running eggs for breakfast. Use to walk around on the last night with the baked Alaska, now they just serve you a slice. On the elevator going to Captain Circle special event, a woman standing next to me said I bet he doesn't show. She said this captain never does. She was right he didn't. Need tokens for the laundry mat. It was out on all the floors from day ONE. You had to leave your items sitting in the washer and go to customer service to get your tokens and then walk all the way back to do your laundry! If you are celebrating a special occasion, it used to be the balloon would say that, now everyone just gets the same thing. 2 friends with us won Spa/Salon gift cards. Tried to use them on their hair, could not, only on the high price Spa. Most of the activities are booked to close together. We missed many because when one would end the others started at that time. By the time you were out and on your way to the next activity it was already full. Service to our room was good. Bus tour for sixty dollars in St. Marteen was boring, just rode and seen nothing, that was after waiting in line 45 minutes in the hot sun to get on the bus. Zip Lining in St. Thomas was worth every penny. Helicopter ride in Grand Turk was nice. I guess if I had to sum up what I seen on the ship is it looks like everything was done trying to cut cost and save money. I think this is because Carnival bought Princess. The night show in the Theater were poor, cheap entertainment. They need to wake up !! People go on cruises to feel special, be treated special and live like they normally don't all the other days in the year. I talked 4 people into trying Princess. I feel so bad because I bragged it up and that was not what they saw or received. Disembarkation was bad, our ship docked at a different location than when we had set sailed. We were parked over in the other area, had to keep asking how we were suppose to get over there. No one had an answer. Finally after pulling our luggage off the ship we had to reload onto a bus, drive over there and unload our luggage again!! Very, very disappointed. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
My husband and I and my daughter in her twenties cruised to Eastern Caribbean for 7 days with Emerald cruise embarked on Jan 30th 2016. We had a fantastic time. Our steward Edward was very polite and efficient. We didn't see him ... Read More
My husband and I and my daughter in her twenties cruised to Eastern Caribbean for 7 days with Emerald cruise embarked on Jan 30th 2016. We had a fantastic time. Our steward Edward was very polite and efficient. We didn't see him much, just a few times in the hallway, but our room always got cleaned in the morning and the up bed was put down for us in the evening. We were amazed how he knew that were not in the room and got everything done so well. Our waiter Narisak, who is from Thailand, was very fast and knowledgeable and considerate, took his job very seriously. Food was good, service was unbeatable. Neal, the cruise directer, was on TV everyday, and showed up on the performance in the theater each evening, he was really funny, had us laugh a lot. The beach at each port was beautiful. We didn't book any excursions, just got off ship whenever we were ready and took a taxi to tour the island ourselves. Of course, we payed much more this way. We had a good time for our first cruise, will cruise often with princess in the coming years. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
We have taken multiple cruises with Princess, Celebrity, & Royal C. Living in the Midwest always has us looking at winter temperature relief. We decided on a holiday cruise with kids directly after Christmas to experience New Years in ... Read More
We have taken multiple cruises with Princess, Celebrity, & Royal C. Living in the Midwest always has us looking at winter temperature relief. We decided on a holiday cruise with kids directly after Christmas to experience New Years in the Caribbean for the first time. We have in excess of 5-7 cruises on each line and before reading this review, I would still honestly give Celebrity the edge in quality both in entertainment & food quality. Having reviewed some earlier Emerald Princess posts just prior to our trip had us very concerned with the quality of the ship and whether Princess has "downgraded". While I'm sure some of the prior posts detailed major disappointments, we had a wonderful time. Emerald is certainly not new and not as large as others, but not a ship to avoid by any means. Princess hospitality was excellent. We had two adjacent balcony rooms, one for the well-behaved teens and one for my wife & myself. The room steward was excellent, efficient, and very friendly. Room temps were fine and the bathrooms worked perfectly which again was a problem stated in prior posts. The staff in general was great. Rooms were level 14 aft and very convenient to a pool, a single floor below the breakfast buffet, and in close proximity to a pool bar. Ports were St. Kitts, Antigua, St. Thomas, & Gr Turks with 3 at sea days. We were upgraded to platinum status for this cruise with Princess with the standard return guests cocktail party, nice but nothing incredible and no appetizers like celebrity, but ok. The nice new perk was nightly special invite to happy hour in the lounge on 18th floor as platinum. Entertainment was ok and that's a bit generous. A musical disco show was great but short only about 35 minutes and I feel should have been twice that, they also has a great singer single guy with band one night. Great voice and rendition of "get my kicks on route 66" was outstanding. They could have used a wider variety of side bar music venues. They had a nice violinist but they coupled them with a guy on steel drum that was irritating to listen to for long. Also lacked decent singer/band in the side lounges at least early evening. Game shows were given too much emphasis instead. We chose anytime dining as the main seating is either too early or late for our liking. Early morning reservations gave us perfect times every night. Main dining was good. Great would be an exaggeration, but always one very good main course every night. Wait staff in anytime can be hit or miss, but we had one particular waiter so good we asked to sit in his section again. We chose the steak house for one special dining that the entire family thought was excellent. Not sure why prior reviews from some rated it poor? It was very good, really. We also chose to have one dinner at SHARE, the new restaurant. This meal at SHARE was good, but at $39 per person I think it was overpriced and would not do it again. $25 per person for the steak house is a much better value. Pizza at lunch near pool was very good thin style and short wait time, the lunch buffet had decent variety, and there was the standard grill for burgers/etc. The excursions were all good. We chose the lobster/champagne catamaran at Antigua which we have done before and still great. Great snorkel excursion at Grand Turk. Also was pretty cool to have some NFL on the outdoor movie screen and a couple good movies during the week though we did not stay to watch entire shows at night. The casino was a bit disappointing. It is a very large casino, but a lot of the space is unused and they could have easily accommodated more slot varieties. Although there is a non-smoking night, the casino has the general suffocating smoke most of the time. Sea days meant large demand for deck lounges. We already know, so finding the perfect seat early was not an issue, but those showing up at the pool around 11am were challenged for a seat. The ship was extremely clean and well kept considering it's age. We have sailed on her before, and see no reason to suggest avoiding Emerald or princess lines in general as they continue to do a quality job of providing a very nice cruise experience. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
We have cruised quite a bit in the "distant" past and just a little bit in the last 15 years. I think we are spoiled with our "seasoned" experiences of cruising when there were less passengers and more service and ... Read More
We have cruised quite a bit in the "distant" past and just a little bit in the last 15 years. I think we are spoiled with our "seasoned" experiences of cruising when there were less passengers and more service and quality. Our last cruise (Zuiderdam) was a few years ago and just did not live up to our expectations. This year, we chose the Emerald Princess because we thought that we would try a different cruise line. Additionally, the 5 day cruise was the perfect fit for our already planned Fort Lauderdale vacation. We flew down to FLL one day early and stayed the nite at the Hollywood Beach Marriott. Cab fare from the hotel to the cruise terminal was $15.00 without tip. We arrived about 11:30 and there was quite a few people in line ahead of us but everything moved very quickly and we were sent into a waiting area post check in for about 20 minutes before being allowed to board the ship. Everyone was very friendly and helpful during this process. Somehow, my coffee card which I pre-purchased was not included but I was given correct info as to how to get the card once on board. It is very helpful to have a pen/pencil to fill in the health questionnaire while in line. We were allowed to board just about 12:30. It was our intention to go to our stateroom but we found ourselves just outside of the MDR and they said "come on in and have lunch", so we did. Right away, we became aware of just how close those tables for 2 are in the MDR. We rolled with it and had some nice conversations with folks seated on either side of us. Lunch was very good, but I am not used to having courses at lunch! After lunch, we made our way to our cabin D602 - a mini suite on the port side of the ship. Our bags arrived shortly after we did and unpacking was pretty quick. The cabin was very nice and we really appreciated the balcony as we had a great view of the port and ships that departed before us. There was no overhang above our heads so we could see other passengers and they could see us. I had read about this ahead of time on CC but I must say, it didn't bother us at all. In fact, we talked to a few neighbors this way over the course of the cruise. The balcony was a bit run down. The sides of the doors and the walls were pretty stained and the blue floor covering was stained with what looked like white paint from above. Nevertheless, we really enjoyed sitting out there first thing in the morning and later in the day. The beds were comfy but I was bothered by the shortness of the blankets. I am tall and the blankets only came chest high on me. Our cabin steward was excellent and he got me a set up from a larger bed that was great for the entire cruise. I was able to snuggle up and nite without running out of bed covers. The A/C was good but our room temp was never less than 72 degrees. My travel alarm has a thermometer on it that's pretty accurate. Since both of our thermostats were set at their lowest, there was nothing we could do about that. We just prefer our room to be a bit cooler than that at night. The bathroom/shower was good with plenty of space for all of our stuff. The water temperature in the shower remained a mystery for the whole cruise. No matter how you turned the knobs, the water temp stayed exactly the same. I would have liked a little less hot but there is no way to regulate this. Some folks did have serious water issues on this cruise, but we were not impacted. The cabin was very quiet at night and there were no issues with noise from others at night. The TVs in the room were very nice but the channel choices were not very nice. There is no published channel guide. Channels went from 21 - 49 and half of these were Princess channels that advertised more cruises, art shows, and jewelry. We did catch one good movie but that's about it. During the cruise, there were two medical emergencies and both occurred at night. Unfortunately, the emergency staff are summoned by a general broadcast into all rooms and public areas. This occurred twice on successive nights and was enough to wake up the dead. While I understand the need for getting staff summoned quickly, I do not understand the choice to wake up the entire cruise ship. With all of todays' technology, emergency staff should be supplied with personal pagers or other available equipment to get them summoned promptly in order to help the injured/sick passenger and to allow them to respond that they are "on the way". I was surprised to see that the staff working on the lifeboats had pagers and wondered why this wasn't so for emergency medical staff. Following the lifeboat drill on our first day, I did feel that not enough info was given. We were not informed of our actual lifeboat number nor was there any info given about other potential emergencies - like how to get help if someone is injured, is there an emergency phone system, where are life preservers on the decks etc. Much more education could be done in this area. The food overall was very good and we ate in the MDR, the Crown Grill, and the buffet, and the International Café. The best experiences were at the Crown Grill which is outstanding. We ate there twice and really enjoyed it. The buffet was fairly good with lots of choices. Because of the closeness of the tables for two in the MDR, we did not choose this area very much for meals. I very much appreciated that everyone is asked to use the hand sanitizers when entering the buffet area. This is a great idea to help prevent infections. I am a coffee person so I did miss "good" coffee. The coffee in the MDR and room service was just not good. International café was better but not great. My coffee card was never punched....saving it for future cruises. Why isn't there some interest in a Starbucks on board these ships??? I for one sure would use it!!!! The ports were good and we enjoyed beaches and a little shopping at both Princess Cay and Turks and Caicos. The staff does a tremendous job getting people on/off these destinations safely and quickly. Overall, we were both very happy with Princess and we found this ship to be roomy, comfortable, and always could find a comfortable quiet spot to sit and read and enjoy the ocean going by!! We also could always find some nice entertainment...loved the violin duo at the IC. The library is good sized with plenty of choices. Staff service is exception with the exception of the service desk. We called several times with questions and this phone is never answered. You can physically go to the service desk area but there is always a long line. When we couldn't get answers, we always asked our room attendant and he was great and full of info. He should get a raise!! We are beginning to plan our next Princess cruise because we were so pleased with the Emerald Princess!!! Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
I’m from East Texas and drove to the port. On Saturday night before sailing on Sunday, we spent the night in Baytown, TX at the LaQuinta Inn & Suites on I-10 East. Great location, very convenient , close to Denny’s for breakfast, ... Read More
I’m from East Texas and drove to the port. On Saturday night before sailing on Sunday, we spent the night in Baytown, TX at the LaQuinta Inn & Suites on I-10 East. Great location, very convenient , close to Denny’s for breakfast, Target, Walmart. Easy 20-25 minute drive to cruise terminal, depending on road construction. Muddy & messy after a rain near cruise terminal area. Once you get onto port/terminal property they have things very organized and well-staffed. Parking was a breeze and embarkation very smooth. Long lines but moved fast. We arrived inside the terminal building at 10:45 and walked on the ship at 11:55. Went straight to our cabin and dumped our carry-ons then went for lunch & exploring. Our luggage arrived before 2:00. Dining: We had late dining (8:00). On Sunday night we walked out of the dining room at 9:55…very slow service that night and most nights. I wasn’t impressed with the breads, and I tried many varieties of rolls. I ordered beef filet medallions (on the menu every night) and didn’t think they had a very good flavor; also had a lot of gristle; very disappointed starting off the first night. However, Crème Brulee was awesome as was the cheesecake and heart-shaped chocolate love boat dessert, and these were offered every night also. They had two shows in the Princess Theater the first night, at 8:00 & 9:30, but were in the dining room during both shows. Lobster was on the menu the second formal night and it was awesome, prepared perfectly. I found the staff/crew on this ship to be the least friendly & cheerful of any ship I’ve sailed on and the food not the quality as on some other cruise lines. I found even higher quality meats tough and prepared with not a lot of taste. Ricardo, the Head Waiter in my dining room (Botticelli) was very arrogant and it appeared to be beneath him to spend more than 15 seconds saying hello from a distance. We were a table of 6, mostly women, and he never actually came to our table and carried on a conversation with us. He just rubbed me wrong from the beginning! The butter pats on the table for bread were chilled so hard they wouldn’t spread, and one night ours were even frozen. Grilled salmon was on the menu every night and it was awesome; prepared just perfect every time. Pizzaria & ice cream bar located mid-ship deck 15. They had hand-dipped ice cream as well as soft-serve. They served it to you, not self-serve. I didn’t think either were very good, and I tried several flavors on several days; just not the flavor/quality like I’m used to. International Café (deck 5 mid) in the Piazza is a great place to pick up a complimentary light (mostly continental) breakfast, a light deli lunch, a dessert, a snack. Really good food there. Gelato available for a nominal charge. Also in the International Café is a coffee bar with specialty coffees that you have to pay for. The Best thing going is to purchase a coffee card for $29 + gratuity, for 15 cups of any specialty coffee and unlimited regular coffee. You can choose to have your coffee in a glass cup or in a take-out cup, and you can have a 12 oz. or 16 oz. cup. And the great thing about this is that if you have any punches left on your coffee card at the end of the cruise, they carry over to your next Princess Cruise; just the specialty coffees, not unlimited regular coffee. There aren’t many real bargains on a cruise ship, but to me this is one. Vines wine bar is in this same area in the Piazza, as well as the 24-hour Internet Café & Future Cruise Sales desk. The cabin: In the shower they provide shampoo/conditioner combo in a pump container as well as shower gel (no soap). If you want an antibacterial or deodorant soap you have to bring your own. Wall mounted hair dryer by the dressing table/desk is plenty hot and plenty powerful. Small refrigerator in cabin but doesn’t get very cold at all. Had to ask cabin attendant to remove their drinks so we cold use it for our own stuff. TV in the corner on a shelf but not interactive, so you can’t check your account, menus, make reservations, etc. I’m used to this and was very disappointed. Can be a real hassle because you have to actually go somewhere to check on anything. Kiosks are around the Passenger Service desk where you can swipe your card and check account balance/activity. Love the closet set-up in cabins on Princess ships. Smart design, easily accessible and no door to get in the way. Traditional electrical outlet (two plugs) at desk/dressing table, but if you need another, the one where the TV is plugged in has one plug available and is very convenient. Our cabin was on deck 10 and had an extra large balcony, even though it was the same BE category as cabins on other decks with much smaller balconies. Ours overlooked the balcony below us…something to seriously think about if considering deck 9; NO privacy there at all. We felt so guilty for “intruding” on our neighbors below, but made the most of our nice balcony and used it often. Cabin doors are recessed in the hall, which makes it nice when entering your door with other people walking in the hall; however, the halls are incredibly narrow and you can barely get thru when a cabin attendant’s cart is in the hall or you pass someone walking the opposite direction. In my opinion that is a definite design flaw. It is very nice that Princess’s cabin attendants still put a piece of chocolate on your bed when they turn it down at night. Many cruise lines no longer do this and I appreciated this special little touch. Around the ship: They have a sorry excuse for a shuffleboard court; half-court only and right in the middle of a walkway; very badly placed. Mini golf (deck 19 aft) is just a little putting green with a few holes, not actual miniature golf at all; very disappointing. Beautiful show theater; offered 3 shows Mon., Tues. & Fri. nights, 7:00, 8:30 & 10:15 and 2 shows the other nights, 7:00 & 8:30. Club Fusion (deck 7 aft) is a real neat & comfortable place with some fun activities there, including sometimes Trivia. Trivia is offered twice daily and sometimes has themes. Gatsby’s casino (deck 6 mid) is very spacious and comfortable. They offered 2 non-smoking nights and it was extremely pleasant in there those 2 nights; other times the smoke was almost unbearable. They had lots of penny slots and a nice variety of games. The Piazza is the central hub and was the venue for various entertainment throughout the week. They had a pop choir who performed the last day and they were really good; on Valentine’s Day the captain did a vow renewal ceremony for couples who wished to participate; the last night they had fun & lively Mardi Gras celebration with singing & dancing, as well as some other things. It’s a really nice area and can be seen from above on decks 6 and 7. The Sanctuary is a large space fixed up nice and offers great pampering, but is very under-used. We never saw many people there and it seems such a waste of good space for so few people. The cost is $20 for half-day and $40 for full day per person. I’m sure the cost is what keeps many from using The Sanctuary. Entertainment: Comedian duo Alfred & Seymore were very good. Theirs was a unique comedy show, not like anything I’ve ever seen. They were funny, clean and quite entertaining. I was very disappointed in the production shows by the singers & dancers. They didn’t seem as polished as most production entertainers usually are. Tom Franek was another entertainer who was awesome. He plays the piano (not like anyone you’ve ever seen before) and sings and has a really great show. Another entertainer was Andrew Phipps; he was a good entertainer but not a good singer. Not one of my favorites for the week. Ports: Docked at the Puerta Maya pier in Cozumel. Lots of ships in port that day and we shared a pier with another ship. In Roatan we docked along-side also and in Belize we tendered; very nice shopping in all port areas. In Roatan we took an excursion to Gumbalimba Park. It’s at the extreme west end of the island and is a great excursion for wildlife up close & personal. NOTE: can’t take bags, backpacks or large purses into park; can take small across-the-chest purses. Best not to wear jewelry either as the monkeys love to grab it. Can rent a locker for $3 to store things not allowed in the park. Can have your picture taken with a macaw on your arm or monkey on hour shoulder…very neat and lots of fun. Will also see iguanas & other lizards, hummingbirds, “rabbit rats”, butterflies & parrots. 40 minute (+/-) bus ride to park; bathrooms there & small snack bar. Entire excursion takes less that 4 hours. Disembarkation was the most amazing yet. I’ve never seen a smoother, more organized or streamlined plan. From the time we walked out of our cabin pulling our bags for self-assist disembarkation till the time we got in our car in the parking lot, it was probably 15 minutes, and that includes a stop at customs on the way out...a truly exceptional process. Other cruise lines should take some notes on Princesses procedures here!! All in all, sailing on the Emerald Princess was not my favorite cruising experience, but it was still a very enjoyable cruise with a very dear friend and we had a really nice time. Will I sail on this ship again…only if I find a truly exceptional deal that just can’t be passed up.   Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
This was our first cruise with Princess and will definitely not be our last. We flew into Orlando a few days before our departure to visit relatives. We flew Allegiant Air which did an ok job. They charge for every little thing including ... Read More
This was our first cruise with Princess and will definitely not be our last. We flew into Orlando a few days before our departure to visit relatives. We flew Allegiant Air which did an ok job. They charge for every little thing including carry on luggage, and snacks. It was nice flying into the Sanford Airport vs. Orlando as it is significantly smaller . The night before our cruise departed we stayed at the Hyatt Place Convention center hotel in Fort Lauderdale. This place is beautiful and new. The staff was friendly and helpful. There were a lot of eating places and shops within walking distance. They had a very nice free breakfast as well. The ship was beautiful, tasteful and very modern in décor. They kept it clean and in great working order. The staff was very friendly and helpful. They always stopped to ask if you needed help if you were looking at the ship map. One staff member, a chef, walked by me and said hi and then noticed I had stopped at the map and turned around to see if I needed help. Our room steward kept our room spotless and the ice bucket was always full, per our request. The age on this cruise was definitely older (70's/80's). My husband and I are in our early 40's but this did not bother us. There were only 32 kids on board this sailing. They had good evening shows with good variety and professionalism. They had 4 dancer/ Vegas style shows. The entertainment is definitely geared toward the older crowd. We saw a great comedian. We also enjoyed the large movie screen on deck. We watched some recent release movies. The dining was nice. We did the anytime dining and set a 5:15 reservation every night. WE had the same server who was superior to any we ever had on any other line. He quickly learned our likes and dislikes. Very professional and experienced. We went to the Crown grill and had some of the best lobster I have ever eaten. Our disembarkement experience was good until we got to the holding area where we were to collect our luggage. The staff here was rude and not helpful. They also did a poor job of sorting the luggage thus making things very chaotic. I would highly recommend this ship..   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
We booked this Cruise for our 30th Anniversary, sailing with Princess twice in the past we had high expectations for this voyage and from the staff and we were not disappointed. The ship is beautiful and was identical to the Crown Princess ... Read More
We booked this Cruise for our 30th Anniversary, sailing with Princess twice in the past we had high expectations for this voyage and from the staff and we were not disappointed. The ship is beautiful and was identical to the Crown Princess from our previous sailings so we felt right at home. The staff was exceptionally friendly, everyone said hello or good day in passing and went out of their way to ensure our trip was an enjoyable one. I would like to extend Kudos to Antonio our cabin steward and to Roberto our bartender at the Explorers lounge. Both are exceptional employees and they do everything they can to make sure the passengers are happy and comfortable. We had roses in our room and Antonio laid out our nightwear on the bed and placed one of the roses on the bed for us each night. The room was always kept immaculate by Antonio and we truly hope he is given a raise or promotion soon, he truly deserves it. He definitely was the best cabin steward we have ever had on any of our cruises. We found out the chef was the same chef we had on the Crown so the food was exceptional as always. We did a mix of anytime dining, buffet and we also dined on our balcony one evening. That in itself is something everyone should experience once in their life. It was $100 a couple but well worth the cost for what we got. The only part we did not enjoy was the champagne, it was very harsh and not a good champagne. The shows we saw were wonderful, we watched Matilda twice. We love Terry Fater and Jeff Dunham so it was a no brainier that we were going to enjoy Matilda. We did notice for the Princess Singer and dancers the shows were reduced to 30 minutes so they were able to get 3 shows in but they were very good shows and the staff was very talented. Our ports of call were Antigua, Saint Lucia, Barbados, Saint Kitts, Saint Thomas and Nassau. We did a catamaran tour on Antigua and had a lot of fun, on Saint Lucia and Barbados we did the Rum tours which were very informative. On Saint Kitts we did a private tour with our cruise critic group with Thenford Grey which was very fun and I would highly recommend. Saint Thomas and Nassau we just walked through the towns and shopped since we had been at both of these islands before. Our cabin was a Mini Suite on Emerald Deck E727 and this room was very quiet and nice. The only problems we had was we had to remove the drain plug from the tub to shower so the water would drain, and it took a day and a half for the fridge to cool our water and soda. The balcony was not as large as we thought it would be, and it did seem as though our Caribe deck balcony was a little larger, but it was large enough for us. We did notice they no longer put the loungers on the balconies, only the chairs with foot stools. Overall we loved our cruise and would highly recommend Princess to everyone and anyone who wants to cruise. If you do not have a good time then the fault lies with you, not with Princess. Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
completely agree with the Cruise Critic article about the fact that the ships are being so heavily discounted to fill them that it attracts a very different class of people on board. It not just Princess but all cruise lines do it. The ... Read More
completely agree with the Cruise Critic article about the fact that the ships are being so heavily discounted to fill them that it attracts a very different class of people on board. It not just Princess but all cruise lines do it. The buffet was packed every night which is the first time I have ever seen this on a cruise. the dinning rooms almost empty after 7pm. The staff were indifferent to us and barley spoke as if they couldn't be bothered but I can understand why as some of the people on board were so rude to them demanding instant attention and clicking their fingers at them.. And the staff know full well they are not going to make any decent tips on this voyage Formal night is a complete waste of time as people's version of formal is so very different. We ended up going to the Crown Grill dressed in our finery spending an extra $50 , the food was excellent but we didn't feel special or were made to feel special we thought we would be in there for at least 3 hours but only just managed to stretch it to 2 as the service was too quick. We would have preferred longer between courses so we could really appreciate the food. Certain bar staff were far too pushy in wanting you to order doubles which could be intimidating for any first time cruisers. A lot of the DISCOUNT cruisers would push in all the time shout their drink order at the bar without realising there was a queue (or LINE) and I think it was a completion to see how many people could fit in a lift (ELEVATOR) !! They would just keep coming when they could see it was full therefore squishing every one in side and some of them were not small people ! However we did have a fantastic holiday because most of the destinations we hadn't been to before and that is why we cruise. We don't choose cruises because of so called loyalty cards which are not really worth much, we look at itinerary dates and price and that determines where and when we go so I suppose it's inevitable that we encounter these types of cruises. It is a shame for the old cruises who like the traditions and good service. Cruising has become so popular now and reasonably priced it will be its downfall. Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
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
What a disappointment. After having cruised with Princess Cruise lines this has been the worst yet. The best tip I can give is to avoid their excursions all together. They are outrageous in price and provide poor service. You are better ... Read More
What a disappointment. After having cruised with Princess Cruise lines this has been the worst yet. The best tip I can give is to avoid their excursions all together. They are outrageous in price and provide poor service. You are better off finding an excursion off the ship after you dock each port. We had a complaint at one of our excursions and instead of trying to take care of the customer the excursion desk just led us on a wild goose chase. To make things worse their excursion manager, lied repeatedly when confronted with her superior. The overall attitude of the personnel was poor as well. Eighty percent of the crew seemed uninterested in their jobs and the passengers which reflected in their subpar performance. Our cabin steward falling into this category as well. He did the bare minimal to keep our room appear as if it were clean but not once was our balcony tables or chairs cleaned off in our 10 day voyage. If fact it was dirty before we even checked in and Princess charges us $11.99 gratuity each day for his poor service? They were so concerned over a virus that broke out during the cruise but what they fail to realize is that you can get just as sick from bird poop on the balcony chairs and tables. There is also an automatic 15% gratuity charged on all bar bills.... outrageous for the water-downed drinks which are expensive enough. They are also deceptive in their bar receipts because in addition to a automatic 15% charge there is another line for more gratuity which if you are not careful you may fill out giving them more of a tip. I don't mind tipping and in fact tip 20% or more for good service but I like it to decide how much I tip. When gratuity is already added each day then there is no reason for the crew to go above and beyond exceptional service. The buffet was subpar as well, same thing day after day...boring. On a positive note we loved our server, Michael, at the Da Vinci as well as Luis from Mexico. They went out of their way to make our dinners exceptional and we appreciate them for their charm and great sense of humor. As far as the excursion desk goes, they should all be fired especially their so called manager Roxanna who has the personality of duck tape. A word of advise to Princess Cruise Lines: THE CUSTOMER IS ALWAYS RIGHT ESPECIALLY IF YOU WANT THEM TO UTILIZE YOUR SERVICES AGAIN! Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
This was our second cruise on the Emerald Princess. We had a group of 12 family and friends on this 10 day Eastern Caribbean Cruise. We had veteran cruisers and 1st timers on this cruise. Embarkation: Princess just does it right in Ft ... Read More
This was our second cruise on the Emerald Princess. We had a group of 12 family and friends on this 10 day Eastern Caribbean Cruise. We had veteran cruisers and 1st timers on this cruise. Embarkation: Princess just does it right in Ft Lauderdale. We used an off site parking facility and were dropped off right in front of the terminal. Our bags were taken and we went inside and were on the ship in under 30 minutes. Our room was ready and our cabin steward met us at the door. Bags arrived before we sailed. Room: We were in an outside room. We had booked an obstructed view room, but were upgraded to a full ocean view room. I really like how the Oceanview rooms and obstructed view rooms are arranged. Much more useful than the inside rooms and worth the little extra it cost. The room was clean and had plenty of storage space for our clothes and stuff. One suggestion, if you have laptops, cameras, IPads,etc. bring an extension cord so you can charge several things at once. Plugs are not plentiful. Bath is small, but adequate. Wish the shower was a bit bigger, but it all works. Steward: Our steward was fantastic. Kept the room clean and organized and responded to every request quickly and efficiently. Dinning: We had first sitting and has a great waiter, Woody. He had been with Princess for 11 years and was a real pro. Thought the food an service in the dining room was very good. Nice variety and everything was served hot. One of our group was a chef and he even said nice things about the food. By the way, he went to the chef's table and said it was one of the greatest things he has ever done. Said it was well worth the $95 per person. Princess still does a nice job at the Horizon Court and the pizza is the best of any cruise line I have sailed. Only complaint I had was that it was hard to get a pouched egg at the buffet. Entertainment: The entertainment was very good. The only complaint I have is that Princess has gone to 30 minute shows and it is way too short. Not fair to the audience or the entertainers. There were plenty of activities, but the highlights for us were the movie under the stars and watching the Super Bowl on the huge outdoor screen. Princess even set up a buffet by the pool with traditional Super Bowl food-- i.e. wings, meatballs, pizza, salsa and chips. Was really fun. Overall: Another good experience on Princess. They make cruising so easy and so much fun. Yes there are things one could nit pic, but overall a good job. Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
Well lets start from the top. We have sailed with the Walmart of ships aka Carnival as well as Royal Caribbean and Disney. Princess was on par with Disney even though once onboard we had a bit of a rocky start with some really horrible ... Read More
Well lets start from the top. We have sailed with the Walmart of ships aka Carnival as well as Royal Caribbean and Disney. Princess was on par with Disney even though once onboard we had a bit of a rocky start with some really horrible service from guest services. We stayed at the Ramada Cruiseport Everglades which isnt much of a hotel but has a free shuttle and pretty well organized. beware here though. They had told us we got a free shuttle back after the cruise to the airport. Not true we had to pay 20.00 apiece for this service. We took the early shuttle 10:30 am to port and Princess has their own terminal and very well organized. We were in the first bunch (number 1) they let the suite guests on first and then we were on board and actually straight to our room at noon. Then out to a meet and greet with some cruise critic friends around 3pm. This is a really great good sized ship is great repair and brand spanking new looking. Cleaning was done everywhere all the time kudos to the hard working crew here. Well the usual muster drill took place and the weather out of Lauderdale was a bit wet so no sail away party to speak of. The purpose of our cruise was celebrating my 4 years cancer free so I was told by a Princess rep I spoke to on the phone as well as my AAA rep that I could go to guest services and ask how I could celebrate my 4 years cancer free anniversary. I had originally signed up online for the anniversary celebration since there was nothing specific to my situation thats why I visited the guest services desk. I was appalled, embarrassed, and got pretty red faced at the poor service I received from some young lady from Brazil. There was no one in line at guest services so the young girl motioned me over. I let her know that this was my first Princess cruise and I was celebrating my being 4 years cancer free and wanted to know what I could do to celebrate that. She kinda looked down her nose at me , snickered, and stated "We dont do anything like that here". I told her that I had been directed by a Princess rep to ask do this and she again restated we dont do that here. Walked away from me and then pointed and joked with her fellow guest service members. Man I felt about two inches tall then I got ticked. I went back up and told her I wanted to cancel all my anniversary plans I made online. She grinned and said ok and then went back to talk with her other cohorts. Well the next day I spoke with Crissy Reid who was the Captain Circle Host and Crissy seemed to get pretty concerned stating she would report this to Miguel in guest services. Crissy stated they did the Susan Komen deck walk so there were things to do for cancer survivors. Two days went by heard nothing from Miguel spoke to Drayton Pinton who assured me Miguel would contact me. It was only after persistent followup that I finally did get a meeting with Miguel who comped and my wife a meal at Sabatini's (I asked for nothing free) as well as sent me a letter of acknowledgment of being 4 years cancer free signed by some of the staff as well as a very nice Swarovski pen as a gift. The problem here was I hadn't asked for anything free I just wanted to know how I could celebrate on board the ship. One of Princess stated values was that they never say no to a guest and they always go to a supervisor and look for an alternative. This was not done by a guest service member. I liked the outcome but if not for a lot of my own follow up(7 days worth) I have to wonder what would have been done. Sorry about the rant.. here is the rest of the review. Princess is every bit as good as Disney. Our room was a simply inside room. Very comfy we usually go balcony but wanted to save a little and it was still a great room great shower amenities. Opportunity was we had asked online for robes and extra pillows as well as the egg crate on the mattress. None of this was done at all. It was done after we asked our room steward Eduardo who was a great hard working guy but I think their is some opportunity here for communication between online and the ship. Why offer it if you don't follow up Entertainment wise they had a great cruise director in Billy London. Great show.. Beatle maniac's was one of the best beatle tribute shows I have ever seen with period costume changes. All the other shows were good as well. Pretty decent bands in the lounges. Food was very good. Presentation was not as good as Disney but there asparagus soup was the best I have ever had. Finally real Baked Alaska on board a cruise ship as well. Bravo. The Champagne waterfall was very classy and neat. Plenty to do on board lots of fun without the typical lowbrow games played on board other cruise ships. Halloween party was great. The head lady in the Lotus spa was rude that why we didnt go there but the gym was great. Free sauna and steam room in there as well. I had never been to a church service on board a ship and being a Christian I wanted to check one out. The service lead by Colin was one of the most solid and wonderful services I have been to anywhere. Great service. This is not a blanket endorsement just a good service. Thank you Colin nice job. The Da Vinci dining room had it together much more than the Michelangelo dining room. We did Anytime dining. You really should try Sabatini's the service and everything here is excellent top notch really. Its at least a 2 1/2 hour meal so pace yourself and don't try to eat everything put in front of you or you probably will pass out. The dining staff here was the best I have ever had at sea most of all in the buffet. Really top notch servers that even remember your name. Not really much in the way of a Chocolate buffet or themed buffets with specially craved items or ice sculpture and decorations. But fair trade off for a very ever changing variety of food. Lots of different stuff every day. We choose the walk off disembarkation and got there about 45 min early. Very easy off. Pretty good job by Princess even though there is a huge opportunity with guest services. We will sail on her again. All the ports were great Princess excursions were good and reasonable priced. Plus you could reserve online with no up front cost. One other little stumble was they said the tips would be 10.50 per person per cabin per day. It actually stated this on the paperwork as well. Once on board we were charged 11.50 per person. I had the charges removed and paid in cash. Don't want to sound cheap but don't quote me something and then change the price. Again though I would suggest a Princess cruise to anyone. I remember the last Carnival cruise I took and it was a photographer trying to block my way and my families from getting on board the ship insisting we took a picture. After a complaint to Carnival I was offered a 12.95 chocolate covered plate of strawberries by Kay Savage on my next cruise with them. Princess will take better care of you than that Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
We are a Swedish family of four who went on this cruise to celebrate my husband´s 40th birthday. We went on a Princess cruise for or honeymoon ten years ago and liked it so much, we wanted to bring our children on a cruise as well. They ... Read More
We are a Swedish family of four who went on this cruise to celebrate my husband´s 40th birthday. We went on a Princess cruise for or honeymoon ten years ago and liked it so much, we wanted to bring our children on a cruise as well. They are 8 (boy) and 6 (girl).For us, cruising with Princess in the Caribbean has a certain "American" feel to it, even though the passengers are international to a certain degree, and the crew most definitely is international. So you may view this review as a "(Northern) European view on American cruising" if you will!Last time, we booked a cabin with a balcony, but didn´t actually use the balcony very much. So this time, we decided to book an oceanview cabin instead, and spend the money on shore excursions instead. This turned out to be a good decision, since the children were more interested in swimming than in sunbathing, and sun chairs in fairly close proximity to a pool was much more appreciated than looking out over the ocean! Our cabin was located on deck 5, Plaza, which we at first felt was i little "off", away from the pools and the restaurants, etc. But after a day or two, we realized that this was actually a great location. Only passengers staying in the cabins ahead of ours ever passed through the corridor and after all the noise and people in other parts of the ship, it felt nice and calm coming back to "our" quiet little corner of the ship. The fact that we got to walk through the art gallery several times a day was very nice, the children loved looking at the paintings. We were also very close to the International cafe and the atrium, which was very convenient. We often sat in the atrium reading (the adults) and playing DS (the children) when we felt we needed to be indoors for a while.The cabin itself was a good size, with two regular beds and "wall-beds" that our cabin steward Gaetano would fold down and prepare every night while we were at dinner and fold up again every morning when we had breakfast. The bathroom was quite nice and we didn't find the shower small at all (as we had read in other reviews). The closet and the drawers were sufficient for four people, that is, they were quite large. The mattresses were in our opinion extremely comfortable, not at all hard, as I had read many complaints about. However, we found the mattresses at the hotels we stayed in before and after the cruise a little too soft for our liking, so maybe mattresses are just generally softer in the US than in Europe....We didn't spend much time in the cabin except for sleeping and changing clothes. We also did not have any special demands for our cabin steward, as I have seen in other reviews many have (regarding ice, extra towels, robes, fruit and what not.....) We saw him quite often during the first two days, but being Italian, I would think that he has encountered Scandinavian guests before, and acted accordingly. He was almost invisible but took care of our cabin quite nicely. Scandinavians are generally not very demanding guests, but we are also lousy tippers...... I could get into a philosophical discussion about this, but I wont because there is not enough space. Let me just say that I think it has something to do with our Lutheran, Social Democratic upbringing.....Our children only speak Swedish, and only a few words in English, so we were wondering what to do about the children's´ clubs, since of course no one in there spoke Swedish (and we didn´t expect them to either, of course!). It turned out, that each child was allowed to bring one parent with them. So I went with our daughter to the 3-7 year old´s club a couple of times. I sat in a corner and translated when it was necessary. She liked doing the arts and crafts that they did, but then she didn´ get much out of it, since all the other kids spoke English and Spanish to each other, which of course left her out. But had she spoken the language, I´m sure she would have liked it. It seemed like they were very well organized with a friendly staff. Our 8-year old was placed in the 8-12 year age group and found it so embarrassing to have to bring a parent, he just refused to go there. The staff said he was welcome to join his sister in the 3-7 group, but that was an even worse alternative, so no kids´club for him...He is a very verbal person in Swedish, who will talk to anyone about anything, so he really felt at a disadvantage when he couldn't communicate. The good thing is, he is very motivated to start studying English in school this fall!We had anytime dining, which worked out very well for us. We ate in the dining rooms most evenings. Twice, we ate at the buffet, and once at Sabatinis (on my husband´s birthday). The first night , we had our one and only encounter with a less than friendly staff member. It was one of the waiters in the Michelangelo dining room, who was very rushed and wouldn't give us time to translate and explain the menu to the children. He just kept telling us to take the alphabet soup over and over again (and they did NOT want alphabet soup, the was the only thing they knew for certain!). It was unfortunate that this happened the very first night. After that , we didn't go to the Michelangelo Dining Room again, but went instead to Da Vinci, in order to avoid this gentleman. Plus, we only encountered super nice crew members during the rest of the cruise. Sabatinis was a wonderful experience with excellent food (but way too much!). And they only charged half the cover charge for the children. We liked the pizzas, ice creams and hamburgers on lido deck a lot. The buffet had some items that we found strange sometimes, but being a buffet, we always found something we liked.Entertainment: We saw all the productions shows, since this was something the children could enjoy without understanding English. We felt they were all quite good. Did not see the comedians or the movies because of language difficulties for the children.My husband used the gym once, and I went to a quite good zumba-class. I checked out two books from the library and finished 1,5 of them.In all, it was a great cruise. We had a wonderful time and I really have to think hard in order to remember things thet were less than perfect. If we go on a cruise again (and I hope it won´t be ten years again until next time!), we will most likely choose Princess again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
This was our 6 th cruise with Princess, so we're pretty familiar with them. We took the red eye out of Vegas via Atlanta and depite Delta breaking our wheel on our bag made it safely and on time into Ft. Lauderdale. Our nephew picked ... Read More
This was our 6 th cruise with Princess, so we're pretty familiar with them. We took the red eye out of Vegas via Atlanta and depite Delta breaking our wheel on our bag made it safely and on time into Ft. Lauderdale. Our nephew picked us up and we were off to Einsteins Bagels for a quick breakfast and some great coffee too. We arrived at the terminal early and were on baord without delay by 12:45. Our room was on deck 12 Aloha 432 right at mid ships near the goofy elevators and stairs. More on the elevators later. Our room steward Jerome was friendly and brought us our robes, egg crates & hangers promptly as requested. The room was clean, fairly small, but had a nice roomy closet and flat screen TV.The ship was a beauty, only 3 1/2 years old, next to the Ruby Princess, the 2nd newest in the Princess fleet, and the crew was constantly cleaning, and sprucing up the ship. In fact our balcony railing was re-varnished during the cruise, so we could not lean on it for at least 24 hours.The sail away party was off and runing with the house band from St. Lucia, "Icon", but before that the mandatory muster drill. Beautiful blue skies, seas, and 78 degrees,made a perfect setting for our embarkation.So much to see & do the ship's "Princess Patter" refrencing is the only way to see and do the things that interest you. Take it with you whenever you leave the room..We elected to have "anytime dining" and made a reservation for 5:45 every night, so we would not have to wait, or miss a show, or activity that interested us. We just bypassed the line and walked right over to our great table location next to the windows.Now for the mysterious elevators that sometimes worked and sometimes had a mind of their own. On several occassions throughout the cruise, we found the elevators would only go up so far sometimes deck 8 or 9 and then heading back down on their own, even though many of us had pushed 11,12, & 14.Time for a major overhaul I'd say Princess. Many of the passengers would start pileing into the elevatoe before others could get off, and some were very rude. Pool chairs & lounges typically filled up fast, if you did not reserve one by at least 9 am, forget about it, same for the evening movies (MUTS) under the stars.No enforcement was seen as some lounges were vacant for several hours at a time ? The pool near MUTS is very loud due to movies, or concerts being played all day. I think they should just play music during the day only as the MUTSis very loud and not condusive to relaxing. A far as the food is concerned we really enjoyed the dining room for breakfast and dinner, it sure beat fighting the crowds in the buffet, and the lack of tables to sit 3,100 ! We also enjoyed the tasty but very thin pizza out by the pool and burgers, chicken sand. and fries. A nice variation from the buffet, and don't forget the "Pub Lunch" in the Wheelhouse Bar on Sea days, Fish N Chips, Bangers & Mash etc. delicious. "Shows", lot's going on at night we saw Russ Harris a funny Commedian, impressionest Michael Brown, and "4" major shows with the Princess singers and dancers. You usually only get 2, and they are repeated, so that was a big plus we enjoyed all of them. We picked up the Fab 4 the Beatlemaniacs in St. Kitts for one night only and they brought the house down with the majority of the 50 + crowd, singing along to some pretty talented guys ! The entertainment was much better than I had read in other cruise critic reviews, but so was the food. One note on a "downer" here the "Explorer Lounge" is just too small of a venue for any act good or bad. I would guess it only holds about 100 or so passengers yet they held several comedy and magic acts there. Club Fusion was a little larger but still too small. Princess Pop Star (Karaoke) was held there and I want to thank DJ Clinton for finding my song I wanted to do by Michael Buble not in their older karaoke library.We missed a couple of other entertainers just too many places to be and things to do. The Casino was ofcourse tight as a drum, especially the slots, yet consistantly busy every night ? Lot's of waisted floor space in the middle of Gatsby's Casino for some unknown reason. Photos are taken often, and everywhere, including on shore, it's big business for Princess, say "cheese" ! Bingo, we won $75, having to share with 4 others sigh, lot's of games daily, the "not so newly wed game"," passenger feud", trivia, shopping shows, fruit carving, 50's 60's sock hop, country western night, bar wars, and various pool games (days) going daily. The "deck party" out by the pool was a big hit (late night), conga lines group dancing, limbo bars and good music made for a fun night.We had 3 days at Sea, which is my favorite itinerary, no rush to get off or on the ship, just relax and do whatever, the more sea days the better I say. "Happy Hour" is currently 4 pm to 7 pm, on this cruise, so you can get certain cocktails for only $3, take advantage of that if you can, otherwise drinks are expensive.We met lot's of nice people especially two nice British couples and many Canadians. Most passengers were very cordial and happy to be aboard, despite some of the rude elevator people I mentioned earlier, a good mix of all ages. It's not the ship,and what belles and whistles it has, it's the staff/crew that make your ship & cruise a wonderful experience. The C.D. staff on this ship was a bit inexperienced, perhaps (new) and it showed on many occasions in comparison to the 5 CD staffs we have sailed with in the past Billy London's crew needs some re-training,and to be more personable, instead of trying to out cute each other. Sorry folks, but that's the way I see it, and the rest of our group of 5 felt the same way. Ports:First portAntigua - was our first stop and let me say after leaving the tourist shopping areas most of these Island nations are really poor desperate people who dearly rely on us to visit and spend money. Antigua has 365 beaches, one for every day of the year. After finding a fair price he took us to Valley Church beach about 15 minutes from the port, it was absolutely gorgeous. They had a nice bar, showers rest rooms and it was very clean, great beach day in Antigua. On the way back we found a few gift shops before re-boarding the ship.Our second stop was St. Lucia. We went zip lining at theTreetop Canopy, and had a great time zipping across 12 different lines over the St. Lucia rain forrest and river below. A great excursion I definately recommend it.We saw some very poor housing conditions along the way, sad.It's a beautiful island, we wish we had more time to see it all.No time to see the beautiful "Pitons" (mountains), maybe next time, I hope. Next was Barbados, after doing a little shopping we decided to walk into town and found the "Boatyard" a private beach which was recommended by the CD on his morning show. We paid the admission $12-15 ? At entry you get 1 cocktail beach chair or lounger, umbrella, and transportation back to the ship. We noticed hardly anyone was in the water ? It turns out this particlar beach was infested with jelly fish that day and several tourists had been stung. We asked for a refund and headed back through town on foot. We found a nice bar had a drink then walked back to the ship stopping along the way to shop. Turned out to be a not so good beach day as some light rain came down. This was the only time we had weather of any concern. I will say the people of Barbados were very friendly even though my sister in law was asked why she did'nt buy anything from them in a commanding way. Stay together Sales, it's a tough racket ! St. Kitts - Another beautiful Island, after a brief stroll through the tourist shopping areas, we saw some cute little monkeys vendors were using for photos and some local men dancing through the courtyards in their native attire & headgear, very flashy dancers. We found an inexpensive 90 min. tour through the city area, with a later stop at a beauitful beach, South Frigate and again ran into many Emerald passengers with their blue & white stripe towells. On the way we stopped at a beautiful overlook and admired both oceans from high above the Caribbean on one side and the Atlantic on the other. A spectacular view in either direction, including the new mega-resort "Marriott". St. Thomas - What can I say shopping areas everywhere, although very spread out.We booked the Magens Bay & Blackbeard Castle tour. The later was just a made up tourist trap by a lot of fun and facts along the way. Again, the elevated view above the city & bay was spectacular. Three pools for swimming, jewelry stores, gift shop, and ofcourse a couple of bars. Hurry up with that rum ! There was a regatta in the bay at the time, sail boats everywhere. Magens Bay our first stop was breath taking ! National Geographic ranked it one of the top 10 beaches in the world for sure beauty, and I can see why. A calm horseshoe bay surrounded by green rolling hills on both sides. The beach had all kinds of lush green foilage everywhere, rentals, bathroom and bar complented the beach as well. Princess Cays - Eluthera (Bahamas) It's been 5 years since I first visited P. Cays and they have really fixed it up, plus added many more things to see and do. This was our last stop before Ft. Lauderdale and it was the dreaded "tender" ! We decided to have a nice calm & relaxing breakfast in the dining room before getting in line. You meet in the Michael Angelo dining room deck 5, where you can sit and relax until they call your group number. It was a good idea, as everyone seemed to want to be the first one's over for our brief 6 1/2 hour stop. The whole process took apx. 45 minutes, not bad really ! There are plenty of loungers over there, but the shaded gazeebos fill up fast, so if you need shade, go early ! We enjoyed a nice clean beach, bathrooms, showers, a fair tasting lunch, and some great swimming & snorkeling. My wife, sister in law, daughter, and friend all rented various floating devices and we all had a great beach day together, our last on the cruise, sigh ! For late March, it was perfect, 82 and I guess the water was in the hi 70's. Definately worth the short visit, and your time. We look forward to our next visit there, again in March 2012, check it out !That being said, I guess it's time to talk about disembarking, and that did not go as well, or as smooth as embarkation. We were asked to leave our cabin at 9 am sharp by our steward, despite our group not being called to leave until after 9:30. Please do yourself a favor eat early in the dining room before (9am) so yo don't feel so rushed off the ship even before yout time. Our luggage was mis-placed in the hanger, so it took another 20 minutes to find it in another section, that was stressful. Now for "Terminal 21", good luck, it's a real mad house out on the street. Make sure you have an advance reservation for ground transportation, and they know specifically where you will be, and at what time, otherwise it's mass chaos curbside ! I guess there is no such thing as a perfect cruise really, it's impossible to please everyone, so just go with the flow, don't worry, be happy as the song goes. Happy cruising everyone ! Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
We flew British airways to Miami and were met by Princess and taken to the west Miami Intercontinental for the night. This was ll stress free. the hotel is in the business district, but we really like it. There is a nice pool and a fitness ... Read More
We flew British airways to Miami and were met by Princess and taken to the west Miami Intercontinental for the night. This was ll stress free. the hotel is in the business district, but we really like it. There is a nice pool and a fitness room. We had to pay for breakfast, but it was very good. The next morning we had a little time to ourselves ( there is a Walmart just down the road). the coaches took us to the boat. Great experience sailing on the Emerald Princess. Boarding was fairly uncomplicated and our balcony state room was ready and waiting. We were on Dolphin deck uncovered balcony--and had a wonderful, pleasant Room Steward, Ionel. He was always available; seemed to be in the hallway almost every time we left the room. Our room was always cleaned thoroughly. Sometimes our room was cleaned 3 -4 times a day, he was always replacing our towels when they were needing it. We just loved the boat so much to do or nothing if you wanted it that way. It is beautiful, so clean and the staff were all wonderful. The only possible thing i could complain about was the smoking on balcony's and in some public areas, but i knew this before I sailed. My 10 year old hardly went to the kids club as there were so few children her age there. However the provision when she went was excellent. I thoroughly recommend joining your cruise critic roll call, I met some really super people through it, and they were very kind to us first timers. it was lovely to already feel you knew someone before you sailed. A big thank you to Marybeth, Julie and Caroline for all their organising and hosting. Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
This was our first cruise on Princess since 2002, and our first cruise on a HUGE ship, 3000+ passengers. Over all, it was a very nice ship. The public spaces were clean and attractive, and the piazza often had entertainment going on, most ... Read More
This was our first cruise on Princess since 2002, and our first cruise on a HUGE ship, 3000+ passengers. Over all, it was a very nice ship. The public spaces were clean and attractive, and the piazza often had entertainment going on, most of which was silly, like napkin folding, or some bimbette with hula hoops, but always nice to pause and see what was going on. We didn't spend much time in the main pool area because the big screen always had something on, and it was too loud and too noisy for us. We preferred the adults-only area aft of the ship for lounging. Our stateroom was a mini-suite, very spacious and it had balcony twice as large as normal, due to the location as the last stateroom aft on the port side. The stateroom below ours, and the two corresponding staterooms on the starboard side have the same configuration, so, if you're looking for a roomy balcony, those are the ones to pick. Our steward was efficient and unobtrusive and took great care of us. The bed was tolerable, but just barely. Every night, it would part like the Red Sea, so there was always a gap between the two twins pushed together. First time we've ever encountered that situation. The food was mixed. We ate at the buffet most mornings. On HAL, we always had breakfast delivered, but the Princess choices were limited and only a true continental breakfast. The coffee was wretched. I heard that it was not brewed, but a concentrate? Anyhow, I'm sure this was to push people to buy coffee cards for the cafe, the only place you could get a real cup of brewed coffee. The choices on the breakfast buffet were the same, every single day, which got old pretty quickly. We visited the dining room one morning only to find that they had the exact same choices, just served to you instead of self-service. Lunch was pretty much the same at the buffet, though we did have an excellent lunch in the dining room, and we also enjoyed the fish and chips and curry at the English pub. We had an early dining option with the rest of our party, and the food in the main dining room was very nice and our servers were outstanding, with the exception of them forgetting my father-in-law's milk every evening unless reminded once or twice. We visited both Sabatini's and the Crown Royal, the specialty Italian and chop house restaurants. Both were well-worth the fees. A very civilized dining experience in both places had some superb food. You must make your reservations right away upon boarding the ship, otherwise, you can't get in. On one last note, the pizza was outstanding! The shops on board were OK, though I didn't buy anything, I definitely looked. We did some shopping for high-end watches, and the sales lady was most helpful and patient, even though we didn't buy anything from her. We really enjoyed the Adagio piano bar. That became our special place after dinner each evening. There was hardly anyone there, so there was always a nice couch and table to sit at. It was quiet, the service was outstanding, and they had some excellent and reasonable specialty drinks that we enjoyed sampling. Sometimes they brought us things to try (I guess as the regulars?). Most nights there was a pianist, and some nights a jazz group would come in later. My biggest complaint was that there were 5 ports in a row. I could have used a sea day in the middle to recover a little. Otherwise, it was a very nice itinerary, visiting several islands we had never been to. Just a note on Princess Cays, the private island: OUTSTANDING. We rate it a 5. We rented a cabana, which I highly recommend. We also got an upgrade for an extra $25 per person, which meant that we supposedly got priority tender, but no one told us where it was. Also, they waited on us with special meals. TOO MUCH FOOD, but it was fantastic, and the lobster salad was worth the $25 upgrade on its own. We snorkeled, and it was probably the best underwater viewing we had all cruise. There were cuttlefish, which I'd never seen in the wild, and a very vibrant fish population. My husband saw crabs, lobsters, and one lion fish, which he notified the lifeguard about, since they are not native to the Caribbean and are spreading like wildfire. Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
Stayed at Sheraton Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort the 2 nights prior to cruise and rented car. Short drive to Port from hotel, but 8 ships departing on same day, including the Oasis(6k passengers!) so the traffic was really heavy and slow ... Read More
Stayed at Sheraton Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort the 2 nights prior to cruise and rented car. Short drive to Port from hotel, but 8 ships departing on same day, including the Oasis(6k passengers!) so the traffic was really heavy and slow going. Rental car facility at FLL airport has free shuttle to the Port, usually 15 mins, but an hour with the traffic on this day. Check in was a breeze, walked straight through with no lines. In mini-suite midships on Dolphin deck. Good size cabin, with a full size sofa (3 sections), 2 sections pull out to sofa bed. The balcony was smaller than the mini suite on Sapphire. The cabin was about half way walk to mid ship elevators and half way to back of ship elevators. Quiet room, never heard neighbors. Wall mounted boxy hairdryer was horrible, would bring my own. The shower never got hot, just warm. The sink tap got hot... The check in agent said there were 800 Kids on board, the ship has I think 3,400 passengers. It felt quite crowded, with lines for most things, show seats all full 30 mins before start times, and a line for the AnyRoom dining rooms each night (except when it was seafood night at the buffet). I much prefer the 4 smaller AnyRoom dining rooms on Sapphire to the 2 larger ones on Emerald. The Sapphire didn't have lines, just gave you a pager occasionally if you had to wait a few minutes for a table. On Emerald, you had to wait in line for 5 mins just to get a pager... Dining room food seemed better on Sapphire in March. The Emerald was ok, but nothing memorable. The buffet food was very stodgy. very little fresh fruit and veg, no berries. Same melon/pineapple choices every day. Room steward Eric was very good, personable, friendly, learned our names day one and always greeted us. Hard worker. Pools got very busy, lots of kids, all loungers were full early. Some coveted loungers at the back of the ship deck 15/16 were held from 6.30am!!! all were usually spoken for by 8am. Great kids club, my 5 year old really enjoyed it - which was great, because the pools were just too crowded for a little one most of the time. The strangest thing about this cruise / ship was there were a lot of 'odor's. The back stairs usually had a very strong fishy smell and around mid ship on our deck (Dolphin) there was a strong stagnant/reclaimed water smell. The cruise director Tim D, as many others have commented, did not seem to like people. His staff were really great, personable, silly, fun, friendly. But he seemed like he viewed passengers as 'punters' and was rather rude and patronizing, not approachable. The co-cruise directors on Sapphire in March were really great, funny, friendly, approachable. I'm sure all mass market lines are the same, but being sold to all the time, gets really annoying. Disappointed that there wasn't much Port information available, but lots of info about where to shop. Port lectures were 'where to shop, what to buy' lectures. Maybe a sentence or two in the Patter about Port points of interest, but that's it. No printed material at the excursion desk. Pursers desk staff were very good, kept professional despite some of the really rude and unreasonable passengers they had to deal with. (one fellow the day before disembarkation was shouting at a purser about the standard custom form, how it should ask for 'places' you visited vs 'countries'... !) Ports were good, but it is always humbling to see how poverty stricken most of the island are once you get away from the tourist area. Nice Holiday touches were: Gingerbread house making competition (48 teams!), Santa visit, carol singing in Piazza, snow fall in Piazza. I will cruise over the holidays again, but on a smaller ship next time. Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
Let me start out by saying that this was our third cruise, and the first one with good friends. We decided to go with another couple on a princess cruise because they are our good friends and were expecting and we had a baby the year ... Read More
Let me start out by saying that this was our third cruise, and the first one with good friends. We decided to go with another couple on a princess cruise because they are our good friends and were expecting and we had a baby the year before! The Emerald Princess is a beautiful ship, I loved the Atrium! It was nice to walk around the shops and see all the many items they had. I have never written a review before, so I will try to make this as brief and informative as possible Ship and Cabin Both were very beautiful! We had an inside room and really only spent time in there to sleep, but it was perfect for us! Our room Stewart was amazing...always smiling and happy and always willing to strike up conversation with us. The ship itself was very clean and very nice...we were impressed by the sheer beauty of the Emerald! I think it looked nicer than any Royal Caribbean ship...even though we liked them too...this ship has just a more elegant feel to it! Service Well this is one area that I have to say can be lacking. Our dining room waiter was awful...and I am not a picky person but everyone at our table felt the same way. I am not one who does not tip, but after going 2 nights in a row we decided not only not to go back to the dining room, but to take the tips off and give them all to our room Stewart. Our waiter at diner rushed us and made snippy comments about ordering too much food and really rushed the whole process. Not only that, but on the formal night he pretty much ignored us for like 15 minutes. We were one of the last tables to leave that night and its not because we choose to..it was because he was not around and we were waiting for our dinner. After those 2 days we ate in the buffet and we had great service! Food Very good! That pretty much sums that up. Ports of Call St Thomas, St Maarten, Grand Turk, Princess Cays, Been to both St Thomas and St Maarten...love both islands, however decided to go on the boat over to St John and loved it! Walked to a deserted beach and then over to Trunk Bay....great place! Went to Orient Bay in St Maarten and had a nice time. As far as Grand Turk...we took a tour through the cruise ship and had a great time...saw a shark!! The rest of the island is really a beach hang out with a Margarita ville! Princess Cays was ok...not anything spectacular...but it was kinda rainy and gloomy and then really hot so we didn't enjoy it as much. Overall we had a great time and would not hesitate to book another cruise with Princess. Every vacation will have ups and downs...and even though the service in the dining room was not good..the rest of the staff was great! We are not too picky when it comes to vacation and don't let one small hiccup ruin our time! I think that a vacation is all what you make it out to be! Anyway, hope that helps! Oh and make sure you check out the art auction...won a beautiul print and the guy really does know his facts and its interesting...although I wouldnt buy anything from there it was a neat experience! Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
We flew all the way from Los Angeles to board the Emerald Princess on September 5, 2010. The check in process at the cruise terminal in Fort Lauderdale was so easy! We were on the ship by 12:15pm. This gave us a chance to run around the ... Read More
We flew all the way from Los Angeles to board the Emerald Princess on September 5, 2010. The check in process at the cruise terminal in Fort Lauderdale was so easy! We were on the ship by 12:15pm. This gave us a chance to run around the ship and wait for our luggage to be delivered to the room, in fact, it didn't take long for the luggage to come! Our Room was E619 which was a fully obstructed view. I was kind of dreading this room but actually, even though it was the worst obstructed view with a lovely tender sitting outside, it was nice. The natural light always came in. It was quiet too when they pulled the tenders down for Princess Cays. Once or twice, I did see a crew member working on the tender, so if you have this room, be cautious, you might have a surprise visitor outside your window :) Every dinner was fantastic, the service from the waiters was incredible. Speaking of service, ALL the crew on the ship were so sweet, always said Hello, Good Morning, Good Night, etc. We went to Princess Cays, St. Maarten, St. Thomas, Grand Turk...each place we berthed in was so clean and the locals were super nice. We did a shore excursion in St. Thomas, and would HIGHLY recommend it! CATAMARAN SAIL AND SNORKEL to TURTLE COVE was unbelievably the highlight of my vacation. Not only did we snorkel with tons of endangered sea turtles, but we also saw many stingrays and beautiful fish. The crew aboard the CAT (catamaran's name) were hilarious, great, and supportive as someone in my party was not a good swimmer or snorkeler. All the activities aboard ship were pretty neat too. At sea they had a Rum Tasting, it was free...fun to try different types of Rum. I enjoyed the daily trivia! THE PIZZA aboard ship is sooo delicious!!!!! It's a must try..every day! This vacation was simply wonderful and would recommend it to anyone with families, couples, etc. The Emerald Princess is a beautiful ship, and I miss her already. Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
We are a family of four with two young children 3 and 5. This is only our second cruise the first being with Royal Caribbean about 8 years ago. So we were really looking forward to this vacation! We flew in the day before the cruise left ... Read More
We are a family of four with two young children 3 and 5. This is only our second cruise the first being with Royal Caribbean about 8 years ago. So we were really looking forward to this vacation! We flew in the day before the cruise left from Colorado. We had booked the Crowne Plaza Airport/Cruise Port Hotel, due to the fact that it offered a free shuttle pick up at the airport and also a free shuttle to the cruise port. The shuttle was great! This hotel is new and I would highly recommend it to anyone going on a cruise! We arrived at embarkation at approximately 12:30 we made it through all the initial check-in easily. The lady who gave us our room cards and checked our documents was really slow, however all the lines around us were moving quickly. It was just our line! When we boarded the ship we were blow away. The ship is spectacular, so beautiful and classy. We had booked a category (I) inside stateroom on the Aloha deck mid-ship (A335). All of the crew that we initially met were warm and helpful we were in our room by 1:15. Our luggage arrived by 2:00. We were actually surprised by how roomy the room felt even for the four of us. Our kids got a kick out of the beds that folded down out of the wall. The cabin closet and bathroom were awesome! Plenty of room for all four of our stuff and a stroller. The bathroom was large compared to our last cruise. We also noted during our cruise how quiet the cabin was. We never heard any noise from other cabins or the hallway. Our room steward was HORRIBLE! The first day right after getting into our room we asked if she could configure the two twins into a queen and remove the ladders from the bunk beds (they take up too much room). She said yes. After dinner that night the beds and ladders were still not moved so I finally did it myself, and I just put the ladders in the closet. When we moved the beds there was about a 1/4 inch of dust and debris under the bed, this was never vacuumed or clean the entire week. We had also told our children about the towel animals prior to the cruise. Well Elizabeth never left one towel animal in the room. Not a big deal for us but the kids were disappointed. On the last night of the cruise my son had made a clay snake in the kids club that was drying on our shelf. We had also booked a post cruise shore excursion and had the instructions on the same shelf. When we came back for dinner she had thrown the instructions and the snake away. Needless to say our child was upset as were we. I don't think this is indicative of this ship or Princess I think we just had a lazy steward. Next we registered our children at the kids club (Princess Pelicans) we didn't plan on using the service much but after the first day our kids loved it so much that all they wanted to do was go to the kids club. The staff was wonderful! Everyday they had new activites and each day the kids left with some sort of "treasure" that they loved. And they looked forward to going there everyday. The food in the main dining room was fantastic! We loved everything we had there, far superior to the food we had on RCCL. We choose to do anytime dinning, which worked out great for us, we could go anytime the kids were ready. We never had to wait longer than 3-5 minutes. The hostess always helped keep the kids entertained while we were waiting. The waitstaff was wonderful! They were always very quick with everything and very attentive. They even made animals and such out of napkins etc. to entertain the kids. We had worried about taking the kids to dinner but the waitstaff were so wonderful with them that they enjoyed going to dinner and were very well behaved. Food at the Horizon Court was good I would say above average buffet food same at the Cafe Carribe. The only complaint that I have with Cafe Carribe was that they have theme buffets each night but the information as to what the "theme" would be was never publicized unless you went up and looked in the restuarant. One night we were lucky enough to catch Bavarian night and it was wonderful. The pizza was great, as were the hamburgers and hot dogs. We also had room service a couple of times and it was very good as well. We loved the International Cafe for a quick bite. Everything we tried there was delicious. I must say that the food on Princess Cays was mediocre at best. MUTS seemed like a cool idea, except that they really didn't play anything that good. We went to see Ironman 2 one night but the wind was blowing so hard we couldn't enjoy it. Also they never served popcorn or snacks. We used the fitness center everyday and it was nice and had eveything we needed. We even signed up for the thermal suite, which was something we had not planned on, nor was really in our budget, but we were so impressed with the facility we went ahead and did it. We considered it a treat for ourselves! Throughout the week we tried to use the facility every day. I say tried because the "gentle sauna" never worked the entire week, it was always ice cold. Several nights we used the other steam rooms and were only able to use the steam rooms for a couple of minutes because the temperature was so extremely high. On all of those occasions the front desk asked us why we were in there for such a short period of time. We explained about the temperature and were told that they were having trouble regulating the temperature. This was very frustrating to us that we paid extra for a service that we were unable to really enjoy or use. But the most unbelievable thing that happened to us was the last night of our cruise. We had spent the day at sea and my wife and I worked out and then went to the front desk to get a robe and a locker and check in. It was around 8:45 PM. When we approached the desk the gentleman setting behind the desk informed us that the spa was closed. We were shocked! When we bought the package we were told that the spa was open until 10:00 PM every night! But they neglected to tell us or post it anywhere that on the night before "turn around day" the spa closes early. The thing that was most shocking to me was the attitude this gentleman had. He was actually very nasty when telling us the spa was closed. When my wife and I showed our surprise and asked why they closed early he said, and I quote, "We close everything early, tomorrow is turnaround day, face it your vacation is over!" I was completely floored I have never had anyone be so nasty and condescending to me anywhere. We played BINGO one time and saw several of the shows and enjoyed all of them. I do think that Princess should have more activites on sea days. One afternoon we dressed up and took our almost four year old daughter to afternoon tea and had a great time. She loved every minute of it! The "Kids and Family Deck" at the back of the ship was a very nice area, a great idea. My only complaint were the non-kids or families (usually elderly) people who hung out back there and then acted all put out when our kids would get in the pool and splash around. Apparently they didn't realize that there are two other adult only pools on the ship. Overall this ship and cruise were wonderful! We would definatly do it again. We were able to overlook the small snafus and have a wonderful time! Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
I have cruised with Carnival, Norwegian, Royal Caribbean and now Princess. I had been under the impression that Princess would be a step above the others, but after a week onboard, can't really say that. What WAS impressive was ... Read More
I have cruised with Carnival, Norwegian, Royal Caribbean and now Princess. I had been under the impression that Princess would be a step above the others, but after a week onboard, can't really say that. What WAS impressive was arriving on board to find friendly crew members in the lobby, elevators and on our deck, welcoming us and directing us where we needed to go. My first impression was "Wow! This is going to be great!" First time ever being greeted and helped to that extent. The ship itself was beautiful, well maintained, and very easy to "negotiate." I have been on cruises before where it took me almost the whole week to find my way around, but not the case this time. I'm guessing because of the price point, there were not as many children on board as my prior cruises. It was, however, the noisiest cruise I've ever been on. There were teenagers on our floor, who RAN the halls at night. And twice we were trying to get out of the elevators, when as the doors opened, children came rushing in. Both times accompanied by parents, who said nothing to them. Our cabin was just "okay." My mom didn't like it, (she is a frequent cruiser), and we were surprised at the size of the balcony after looking at the photos online. I would have expected three chairs on the balcony, since they knew there were three of us in the room, but we had to request and wait until late in the day for an extra chair. We had requested robes in the cabin online prior to arrival, and they were not there. The bathroom was standard, the cabin was standard, but the closet space was exceptional, especially for three of us. The refrigerator in the room did not work, and after several phone calls, we got a replacement. Our cabin steward, Jesus, was absolutely a gem, and went above and beyond for us the entire trip. We had traditional dining, early seating, and were placed at a table with another couple traveling with their adult daughter, who faulted just about everything except the desserts. We only ate dinner with them three times, as we opted for dinner one night at Sabatini's, one night at Crown Grille, and the buffet one night as we were still in port in Grand Turk at dinnertime. The food in the dining room was good, not great, and our server was informed, not terribly attentive, not overly friendly - just okay. The first night, prime rib, I ordered medium and received well done. Had it been undercooked I may have sent it back, but it would have had to be redone and everyone else would have been finished, so I just ate it. The best night was the lobster tail, which was perfect. Two of the three nights there seemed to be a long time between main course and dessert, where no waiter was anywhere near. Not what I expected at all. My mother disliked the food onboard, everywhere. My daughter, a "foodie," loved Sabatini's and the Crown Grille, but didn't care for the dining room or the buffet. My opinion - dinner at Sabatini's was incredible, well worth the $20 extra. Superb food, service and atmosphere. Dinner at the Crown Grille was not nearly as good; food, service or atmosphere. The ribeye was huge, but tough, tasteless, and served on a pool of wine sauce I didn't care for. Nowhere near worth the $25 surcharge. Side dishes were unimpressive, although plentiful. The buffet was overcrowded, and the food was plain. Seating was sometimes a problem. The absolute jewel of the ship was the International Cafe in the beautiful Piazza, which served various pastries and salads, and the best gelato I've ever had. After the free soft-serve ice cream on deck the first night, and discovering the $1.50 gelato the next day, I never went back for the soft-serve. What a bargain the gelato is at $1.50! Three scoops of heaven. The coffee shop is right next to the International Cafe, and well worth the extra charge, although it could be better staffed. There were routinely long lines. As far as the shows - the comedians were fabulous; can't say enough about them, and my mother and daughter both agreed with me on this. The other "variety" type shows were good, not great, for my daughter and I, but my mother is a fan of the "Vegas" type shows from cruises past. I had read complaints about people saving seats for the shows, so we just arrived early, but all of the shows were full, so if you didn't arrive early, you would have a problem with this. We purchased a pass for the "thermal suite" in the spa for the week, which was great and a good value. Took advantage of the sauna and steam rooms, and the incredible "stone beds" almost every day. But whoever planned this part of the ship made a huge mistake placing the workout area on the floor above the thermal suite. There's a sign stating "quiet area" when you walk in, but people jumping on the floor above you and dropping weights on the floor is hardly quiet while you're trying to relax! The Sanctuary on the top floor was very nice, and although there was a small surcharge, we took advantage of it several times. My daughter went for a facial, and was happy with the result, but didn't enjoy the smoker's breath from the technician who performed it. We spent our pool time at the pools on the front and back of the ship, but not the main "family" pools, and didn't attend any of the Movies Under the Stars. Some movies were shown over and over, but the one we wanted to see was only shown once, during a time we couldn't go. The ship's first stop was Princess Cays where passengers were tendered to a little island for the afternoon. My daughter and I did not go over, but my mother did, and it was as expected. Little booths set up selling straw items, and a luncheon on the beach. I didn't care for the itinerary overall - too little time spent in each port, I guess. Our first and last days on board were at sea, but the middle of the week went quickly with all three ports three days in a row. Overall - I would probably cruise Princess again, although I was disappointed it wasn't a little more upscale as it's pricing indicated it would be. My mother would definitely not, and neither would my daughter. Read Less
Sail Date August 2010
Our August 22 Eastern Caribbean cruise on the Emerald Princess was wonderful. As background, this was my 19th cruise, 3rd on Princess. My daughter and I have also cruised on NCL, Celebrity, HAL, Costa, and RCL. We met many great people on ... Read More
Our August 22 Eastern Caribbean cruise on the Emerald Princess was wonderful. As background, this was my 19th cruise, 3rd on Princess. My daughter and I have also cruised on NCL, Celebrity, HAL, Costa, and RCL. We met many great people on this cruise, many from Cruise Critic. We arrived the day before and stayed in the Marriott Courtyard Ft. Lauderdale Beach Hotel. Both the hotel and the location were perfect. It was a $20 taxi ride from the airport as they did not have a free shuttle. We wanted to stay at the beach this time and made a good choice. We ended up leaving the hotel earlier then expected and arrived at the pier around 10:00. We were not the first ones there and joined others with #1 cards in a lounge with chairs. The main door (by the soda machine) was receiving early and elite passengers - the door that would be used as the main entrance later was not yet open. At exactly 12 Noon they opened the doors and we went immediately to the desk. Check-in took less than 60 seconds. We walked past the photographer, used our cruise card for the first time to check on the ship, and went straight to our cabin. We were there by 12:10. This could not have been easier. It was rumored that the ship was not quite sold out, and there did not seem to be as many children as earlier summer cruises we have been on. For this cruise we chose a mini-suite on Dolphin Deck. This was a great choice! A bathtub - yippee! The room was comfortable, with a large closet, safe, and full size couch. Three suitcases can fit under each bed. The balcony was smaller than those on Caribe deck, but bigger than the balcony cabins on the higher decks. On this deck the balconies are uncovered. Honestly, this did not bother us at all, except when it rained. Our cabin steward, Thomas, was excellent and always in the hall. He got us extra hangers and more pillows, and added the egg crate pad to the beds the second night. He also brought us four beach towels every day and filled the ice bucket frequently. Dining Room: We chose Traditional Early Seating on this cruise, having done Anytime Dining on our two previous Princess cruises. I like having the same wait staff and tablemates every night - and our tablemates were great! Service was ok, but not as attentive as past cruises. We did have to ask for our drinks (always soda and tea) every night and they did not stop back after serving us to see if our selections were to our liking. Food was fine, some nights better than others. The choices on Caribbean Night were not appealing to any of us so we chose from the alternate, always available, side of the menu. The Princess Dream dessert continues to be my favorite! Horizon Court: I found that I had completely forgotten how crowded this area is. Certainly not big enough to hold 3000+ passengers for breakfast or lunch. Finding a table was an art, but the wait staff was always at the exit to the line asking if they could help you find a seat. Once seated the waiters brought you your choice of drink and would stop by the table often to see if you needed anything. Navigating the crowded buffet area is difficult at crowded times. The food choices were similar everyday and we chose to do the Trident Grill (cheese burgers, hotdogs, chicken sandwiches, and veggie burgers) and the Pizzeria several days. The pizza is absolutely delicious, with cheese, pepperoni, and one daily special available everyday from 11:00 a.m. until 1:00 a.m. every day!!! Crown Grille: We made reservations as soon as we boarded on Sunday for two nights at the Crown Grille. Once again, we were not disappointed by the food or the service. We had NY strip steak, filet mignon, lobster tails and the giant prawns over the two nights. On our second visit our tablemates from the dining room joined us and between the four of us we ordered all the available side dishes. The corn casserole and the scalloped potatoes were my favorites. Our table by the window looked like a buffet!!! On the second night our server had them make me a special dish with the prawns and it was perfect. For dessert we had the lava cake (very chocolaty), the dessert sampler, and a very light and fluffy cheesecake. All were delicious. Sanctuary: We had read a great deal about the Sanctuary and how the chairs sell out quickly, so we went directly there after dropping off our carry-ons in the cabin. We were the first people to select our two chairs for the week. This was the best money I have ever spent on a cruise! The staff was very attentive all week, bringing us cold water and cool, wet towels throughout the day. We were greeted by name every morning and they made our chairs up while we waited. I was even able to change my chair at the end of the week to one in the shade - I had had enough sun! You need to be careful where you select your chair, as you are not allowed to move them. The area was very quiet and the adults only Lotus Spa pool was just a short walk away. The first several days the pool was empty, but then it was "discovered" and we were joined by many others! Having a chair at the Sanctuary allowed me to actually leave and do other onboard activities and then come back - something you can't do at the pool or you will be labeled a "chair hog." We really loved the Sanctuary and would recommend it to anyone who really wants to relax. Wine Tasting: We chose to do the Maitre d' Wine Tasting session for $25 each on the first day at sea. I have to say we were disappointed in this. The dining room seating made seeing and hearing the presentation very difficult. It didn't help that all the passengers were talking throughout the entire tasting session. There were six wines to taste with canapEs to pair with each. Entertainment: We only saw two shows, the comedian in the Princess Theater and a magician/comedian in the Explorer Lounge. Troy Thirdgill, who performed in the theater, was hysterical; he kept us laughing from beginning to end. James Michael in the Explorer lounge was labeled as PG13 in the Princess Patter and his comedy was certainly very adult in nature. Unfortunately, at 8:30 there were many young children in the audience. Some of his show was funny, but we were, in fact, offended when he "mooned" the entire room at the end of his show. We saw also the hula hoop lady and another comedian in the Piazza and both were very entertaining. We only saw Oceans (a documentary) on MUTS this trip. Most of the other MUTS choices did not interest us or the show times were not convenient. The Ports: As always, floating on a raft in the beautiful sea at Princess Cays was very relaxing. We decided not to stay for lunch on the island and returned to the ship for a quiet lunch and an afternoon at the Sanctuary. St. Maartin was hot, as always, so we took the excursion to Orient Bay and thoroughly enjoyed this day. Our guide, Toni, was delightful, pointing out interesting things as our bus drove to and from the beach. We paid an extra $3 for an umbrella and enjoyed the waves and lunch. Although this worked out to be a little more expensive then doing it on our own, we agreed that we liked taking the bus instead of the usual hot taxi. In St. Thomas we spent the morning shopping and then returned to the ship for lunch and the pool. We have been to St. Thomas many times and this was a perfect day for us. Finally, we had our first visit to Grand Turk. We rented a golf cart and along with our dinner tablemates we spent the afternoon touring the island (and getting lost) on our own. The island is beautiful and the people were all very friendly, always waving as we went by. We ended the day at the Margaritaville pool and beach. Weather: Cruising during hurricane season is always a risk, and this week there were two hurricanes, Danielle and Earl, out there with us. Danielle was ahead of us and Earl was just getting organized off of Africa. In spite of that the cruise was very smooth, no rocking, and sunny everyday except one. Overall Impressions: The entire staff on this ship was friendly and helpful. Everyone greeted you as you passed them, no matter where you were. The ship was spotless, with cleaning taking place constantly. Yes, you can still see workers polishing the railings every morning! We purchased the soda card ($34.00, including tip) and definitely got our money's worth. We took advantage of the reduced price drinks between 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. while at the Explorers Lounge. The International Cafe is the place to go for delicious breakfast treats and warm cookies at night. I still haven't tried the gelato, which is said to be fabulous. The Cruise Director was new to the ship and we only saw him on TV. Our only disappointment was the Passenger Services' Desk being unable to answer questions about the duty free guidelines for St. Thomas. There was no information on this topic in any onboard literature and three trips to the desk resulted in three different answers. The result was a trip to the "duty room" on the pier after we went through customs. Overall, this was a wonderful, very relaxing cruise and we can't wait to cruise on Princess again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2010
Just back from the Emerald Princess, July 25, Eastern Caribbean trip. We have been on Princess 3 x before and although we enjoyed our trip very much, this was not our favorite cruise. We are a family of 4 consisting of 2 teens, age 16 and ... Read More
Just back from the Emerald Princess, July 25, Eastern Caribbean trip. We have been on Princess 3 x before and although we enjoyed our trip very much, this was not our favorite cruise. We are a family of 4 consisting of 2 teens, age 16 and 19. We did sail with other family members totally 11 people in all. We stayed overnight in Dania at the Springhill Suites and took a free shuttle to the port at 10am and left our car at the hotel for free for the week. The hotel was lovely and there were no problems at all. We paid for return shuttle on Aug.1 to get back to the hotel to retrieve our car. $8pp was the fee for this service. We arrived at 10am at the port and the ship was still handling departing passengers from the week before. So, we sat outside on benches and waited to be invited in to go through security. Then we were put in group 2 and sat in the waiting area until almost noon. Our group was called quickly and we then went through the lines to register, get key cards and board the ship. When group 2 was called to boarding took all of 15 minutes. Very efficient. We were allowed to go straight to our rooms on Aloha. We had two inside cabins next to each other and they were ready to go, clean, and ready for luggage with a luggage pad waiting on the bed. Our room steward was Jules and he greeted us promptly and throughout the week, supplied us with what we needed. I had faxed 4 weeks ahead for egg crates for the beds and he had not gotten the message, so he quickly remade the beds on Monday after we re-requested them! It was not his fault that he had not gotten the message and he even offered to show us his "list" of special requests, but we did not take him up on it, as we totally believed that it was a Princess error and not his. Not an issue anyway. Our group was quickly off to the DaVinci diningroom for a nice relaxing lunch. Our group of 11 was accommodated with no questions and it was a nice sendoff. 9 of us looked at our key tags and made sure that we all were assigned to dinner together. The other 2 did not check, assuming they would be with us, and this caused an issue later, as by the time they realized that they were not at our table, the maitre'd had made all changes and could not do anything. So, for the week we had to call each morning and make a reservation at 6pm for dinner each night for our large party. We ended up getting the same table each night with the same servers, just not in the traditional dining room, but in the anytime dining room which was fine. We toured the ship, received luggage, unpacked, went up for sailoff and the lifeboat drill and then it was dinnertime. We sat down and then all of the lights were flickering and then off. The generator kicked on, the A.C. went off and it was not the most pleasant way to begin the week. It turns out that we lost the engines for a total of 6 hours and that we had no elevator usage, few items to choose from to eat, no working bathrooms, no air conditioning and no real explanations. It was a very long and hot night. Not a great way to begin the week. Around 11:30pm our air conditioning started again in our room. The ship started to move and we were on our way again. Because we had an inside with no airflow, we sat on the Promenade deck much of the evening to get a small breeze. There were many irate passengers, many who could not use the stairs who were "stuck" on whatever floor they were on, but there was nothing any of us could do, so we just hung out and waited. By the next day, we were supposed to be in Princess Cays, but we had to miss the stop because we had lost so much time. We were compensated with a glass of wine on Monday at dinner and soda for the kids, and 3 extra hours in St. Maarten. This compensation did not please many of the irate passengers who felt we were owed much more for their inconvenience. It is amazing how loud some of them could be to show their displeasure. We had 2 sea days back to back and I personally had no problem with this. As long as I wasn't cooking or making my bed, I was happy. Hard to not have fun on a cruise in my opinion. St. Maarten was a very hot day and we had been there before. We shopped a bit and then enjoyed a fairly empty ship and the pools were delightful. St. Thomas was a great day and we did one of the Princess Tours to St. John to snorkel in Trunk Bay. It was easy and a beautiful snorkeling excursion. Grand Turk was not much, but we had arranged a tour with Blue Water Divers and loved it! Only 11 of us went snorkeling and had a super time at the "wall" and saw amazing things including sharks, turtles, eels, rays, etc. I would highly recommend this company. Our last sea day was typical and full of fun. On Wednesday we received a letter stating that each cabin would get a 300.00 credit to use for anything to compensate us for the loss of engines and Princess Cays on Monday. We also received 15.00 in port charges refunded for each person. Our family actually received a credit on our Visa. Not bad. Our 16 year old had fun in the teen club. Our 20 year old participated in many 18-20 events. The food was average, I have had much better on Princess ships before. Disembarkation was a breeze and easily handled by Princess on this particular ship. Much better than Carnival. Overall, we had a nice time. Saw some really funny comedians, thought the shows were corny. International Cafe was a hit with our daughter. The pub lunch was mediocre and not really enough food for a lunch, but a nice change of pace. Movies under the stars at night was great! The deck chair situation was ridiculous! The first day I was out at 9:30 and found 1 chair left. The second day, 9:00 and seriously got the last chair. Last sea day, 8:30am and not a chair to be found! People had chairs saved all day and never even used them! Believe me, I watched and even asked the person next to me who was saving the seat if it was available for my clearly live and standing there son, and was told it was being used, but the person NEVER showed up and then she left and picked up the towel on the other chair much later...So rude! So, I'd say that I wouldn't rush to the Emerald again, but I'd definitely try Princess again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2010
Anytime we make it out of HO-HUM Nebraska is a real treat for us, however we had a rough start out of the gate and were set back a bit from the experience we had cruising from port Everglades. Embarkation went off without a hitch and we ... Read More
Anytime we make it out of HO-HUM Nebraska is a real treat for us, however we had a rough start out of the gate and were set back a bit from the experience we had cruising from port Everglades. Embarkation went off without a hitch and we were on the ship and in our cabin in less than 30 minutes. We had lunch shortly after boarding the ship and did some exploring afterwards. It wasn't until maybe 40 miles away from the port (around 6:30PM) that the problems started. We lost complete power in two of the ship's engines and the computer system went down as well, so there was no steering - we were basically just floating out in the ocean. So now image 3000+ people on board a ship with no power, no water services (which meant toilets weren't working), no air conditioning, and basically nothing to do except sit outside on the deck. I felt real bad for the elderly, because the elevators were not working. It was horrible at best. Princess worked on restoring power throughout the day, so every so often the power would come on, people would cheer, and then a minute later the power was off again. In between all of this the captain (or his crew members) was on making announcements pertaining to the ships status. This went on until around 11PM when they finally had everything restored and working. Even though Princess tried to comfort us through this awful ordeal, I think they could have done a lot better - free drinks for starters. And the $300 credit per stateroom was a slap in the face. Not only was the first night a complete loss, they skipped an entire port call (Princess Cays, Bahamas) in which we were most excited to see with our kids. This mishap didn't ruin the entire trip, but it did start us off on bad footing. So with the skipped port we had two and half days at sea, and fortunately there was plenty to do on board the ship. Activities included sports (putt putt golf, basketball) several pools and hot tubs, trivia, bingo, casino, bars, Movie Under The Stars and much more. If you were bored on the ship then you didn't put any effort into having fun. The ship itself was large and beautiful. We had a very nice balcony stateroom with plenty of space. The room smelt fresh and was very clean. Our room attendant (Roberto) was very friendly and keep the room up very well. The only grip I have was the smell of other people smoking on their balconies, which made it hard to enjoy sitting out there. We just happen to have a couple of heavy smokers below us. FOOD & BEVERAGES: The buffets were pretty good, however seating was overcrowded during prime times - so go early and avoid the rush. I wish they made lemonade more readily available, as having to ask for it was a pain in the but. I love seafood and didn't think there was enough variety available in that regards. Better choice of seafood is available at a price in other venues like the Crown Grill which we didn't partake of. I didn't attend any formal dinners, but did make all of the semi-formal dinners. We had seating at the Botticelli dining room right next to the windows which was nice. Both our waiters (Richard & Garry) were awesome and did a wonderful job serving us. The food choices were excellent (for the most part) as well as the taste. One night I had some dish I didn't care for so they brought me something else to eat. They have a very good kids menu and will gladly make something for the kids not on the menu if you ask a day in advance. We used the heck out of the Trident Grill (burgers, hotdogs/brats and chicken sandwiches) and Pizza and Ice Cream bar. Alexandar at the Pizza bar was the nicest guy you'll ever meet and did a great job serving my family. Depending on the time of day you got pizza, it was excellent to ok. If there was a long line then the pizza was a bit runny and undercooked. Besides pepperoni or cheese, they had other flavors every day. Order room service at least once on your cruise - the sandwiches are good! Also ask for the fresh fruit bowl for your room. It's also not a bad ideal to bring a six pack of pop or water onboard to stash in the fridge in case you get thirsty. I don't dare drink the water from the faucet! I highly recommend getting a soda (pop) card for around $26/pp if you want something to drink other than coffee, tea, lemonade and ice water which are free and aren't the best tasting. They serve only Coke products on the ship and diet Sprite requires an additional charge. The alcoholic beverages were pretty high priced (to be expected) except during happy hour which was from 8 to 11PM when there were drink specials for $2.99. The quality of the drinks were below average. Either too watered down or too much alcohol, so I just stuck to drinking beer. My wife thought the Long Island ice tea was good. For those of you looking to cruise with your kids: We have two daughters, ages 18 and 14, and a son age 6. All three had a great time and for the most part found plenty to do. The kids clubs that they offer are on par with what I would expect for a cruise line and the staff did a wonderful job keeping my son happy. I was surprised to see the amount of young children running about the ship unsupervised, and as a parent I would be worried this day and age about that. But then again, maybe I am an overprotect parent. The two main pools on the ship were from 5 to 7 foot deep and if a child was to fall in during a peak time.. well fortunately there were no accidents on the Emerald. Overall, not including the initial ship problems, we had a pleasant family cruise. The Princess staff was friendly and did a good job serving our needs. Kudos to our room attendant, wait staff and the folks at passenger services who did an exceptional job. The food wasn't the best ever, but it kept us satisfied. The best part of the Princess ship was the Movies Under the Stars (free popcorn and hot cookies). The staterooms were very nice and a great place to unwind from the days events. Just a friendly tip - don't leave your dirty food trays/dishes out in the hall way. Have your room attendant come get them or call passenger services. Who wants to see a bunch of dirty dishes in the hall way as they pass by? Don't forget to purchase snorkel equipment before you get on the ship. This well save you a bunch of money in rental fees, and there are plenty of places to use them. Avoid prime times for any buffets or food bars if possible. If you're not a late sleeper then enjoy swimming in the pools in the early mornings when nobody is using them. Purchase a pop and/or coffee card they are worth the money spent. Read Less
Sail Date July 2010
I'll try to keep this brief. Most aspects of the cruise were great, we are still fans and will cruise again. Best Parts: Efficient embarkation, quick and painless, even with a full (3400 pax) ship. Food in dining rooms well ... Read More
I'll try to keep this brief. Most aspects of the cruise were great, we are still fans and will cruise again. Best Parts: Efficient embarkation, quick and painless, even with a full (3400 pax) ship. Food in dining rooms well prepared, tasty, enough choices. Dining room service was good to excellent, even using Anytime Dining. Anytime Dining worked for us, had no waits, mostly ate early by choice. Flexibility of Anytime Dining is wonderful. Pools were refreshing and used a lot. Loungers were available even on sea days, but perhaps not in the location you might want (sun vs. shade or deck level). Ship was in great shape. MUTS was fun, even in the light sprinkle rain. Self-disembarkation was a breeze. We will certainly choose this option again. Surprisingly disappointing parts: Clothing rules were not anywhere close to followed or enforced, seemingly anywhere. Shorts and short-sleeved aloha shirts in the dining room on formal nights. Bare-chested and shoeless men inside the buffet (not just walking past, I mean serving themselves food and then sitting down and eating.) Girls and women using wet pool towels as 'clothing' sarong-style, also in the buffet areas. Dining room and buffet staff saw all this every day and did not even blink. It made us wonder if we should re-think even trying to take the appropriate clothes on our next cruise or if we should just take tee-shirts and shorts for everything. Maybe it was the itinerary, maybe it was the passenger mix, maybe it was something else. I will say the line-up at the past passengers party (on formal night) was 100% appropriately dressed, so maybe it is a lack of experience. Chair Hogs were about 30% of the lounge chair 'users', which is actually less than what I expected, but the Deck Staff did nothing to enforce the 30 minute rule OR to help passengers looking for a spot. "Go somewhere else" was their advice and assistance. Princess should either have the Deck Staff DO something or assign them to some other job. I saw four men standing by the bathrooms doing absolutely nothing to assist passengers on the last sea day. Good, nothing extra special, but certainly adequate parts: Shore excursions were OK, I think we will go back to booking our own and get more time 'doing' and less time 'getting organized and talking'. Entertainment was plentiful, although seating space is at the usual premium. Many small venues + full ship means that only about half the passengers can see the lounge shows even when they are performed four times per cruise. Photo Ops were available, but not terribly pushy if you did not want to participate. Did not use the Spa or Sanctuary, did not see anyone using Sanctuary when we went to the Lotus pool. Treadmills were plentiful in the gym, many people ran on deck, too. Princess is trying to up the ante on their enrichment options, but it still needs some work. We had a guest island history lecturer onboard, who while qualified on paper, was an utter bore and not a very good public speaker. I attempted to go to ceramics the first day, but so did twice as many people as they had space for. I chose not to sit directly in the broiling sun for two hours without a fan or a cooling breeze just to paint a dish. Instead, I went back to my covered balcony and read for a while before taking a nap. Read Less
Sail Date July 2010
Emerald Princess Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 4.5 3.8
Entertainment 4.0 3.5
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.9
Family 4.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 5.0 3.7
Enrichment 4.0 3.4
Service 4.0 4.2
Value For Money 4.5 3.8
Rates 4.0 4.0

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