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10 Princess Emerald Princess Cruise Reviews for Family Cruises to Hawaii

An overnight at the San Pedro Double Tree made embarkation a breeze. We were onboard less than an hour after leaving on the hotel shuttle. The ship was beautiful and far exceeded my expectations as I was aware she was headed to dry ... Read More
An overnight at the San Pedro Double Tree made embarkation a breeze. We were onboard less than an hour after leaving on the hotel shuttle. The ship was beautiful and far exceeded my expectations as I was aware she was headed to dry dock after our cruise. Nothing in the public areas looked tired as I’ve seen on other lines that were headed to refurbishment. The food was hit or miss. Our first Dinner at Share was terrrific and encouraged us to book a second. If the food on the second night had been the first we would have not gone again. Polling of various dining companions netted about a 50/50 split on favoribility. Salty Dog was the same. We had ATD and never had much of a wait though we were happy to share. I did see people waiting who were only interested in a private table. Main Dining room food was pretty good with some real misses. Twice I ordered scallops that were seriously gritty. Food seeemed to start strong and trail off to the seemingly typical odd final night. This trip offered Sweatbreads and two mussel dishes on the last night. If you don’t eat either, makes for limited choices. The chef’s table was the best we’ve had on Princess. The experience blew us away - the creativity and the wow factor were both present and delivered an amazing meal. The shore excursions were pleasant. I didn’t find anything that knocked my socks off. During dinner after Hilo I discovered there were tours that would have been a better fit but the passengers describing them were very clear that the descriptions had not come close to matching the tour tour experience. One gentleman even went to tour services to ask they change the description to match so he would know what to expect! The casino was very friendly and paid well early in the trip. We saw several large slot payouts and talked to other big winners. We were able to play on the same cash we started with and casino money most of the trip. The last 3 days the slots tightened noticeably and the staff became appetjetic - it was nearly impossible to get a drink. The did seem to be an issue with crew hygiene as the voyage Dre to a close. There was one guy (I’ll withhold his name) that had body odor so bad it literally made you gag and it left a trail behind him. Needless to say we started limiting activities in that particular lounge. The teen program was very uneven and much was tolerated that surprised me. My child came home talking about kids vaping, swearing, openly discussing sexuality, etc. I get they are teens but somehow I was expecting a bit of positive direction to activities. There was even a physical assault (acknowledged by staff) that did not result in removal from the program for the aggressor. I do think that the environment should at least be safe. Based on this cruise we are looking forward to our next, but still will not hesitate to book on anothe line if we get the right deal. Princess has still not captured my complete loyalty. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Had a great time & ready to go on another Princess Cruise. The only cruise line we have been on. We will book another cruise to Hawaii in the future. We needed more time in Hawaii to see more that we missed. The entertainment, staff, ... Read More
Had a great time & ready to go on another Princess Cruise. The only cruise line we have been on. We will book another cruise to Hawaii in the future. We needed more time in Hawaii to see more that we missed. The entertainment, staff, & rooms on Princess are the best so far. Everything from getting on embarkation to disembarkation is so organized. It’s truly an amazing experience to cruise. We will be on more in future with Princess. Another thing is the passengers are mostly nice and courteous. Many have been on 50+ cruises & several times Princess Cruise line. I asked a couple people their favorite cruise line & it was Princess. In addition, I have a 11y/o who has twice enjoyed the Kids Club. The staff takes care of the kids really well. Keeps them busy, & the kids really enjoy all the fun activities. This makes me feel like my kid is safe too. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
This was a pleasant cruise that went smoothly and no major problems. The embarkation and the disembarkation was the smoothest EVER. Cabin was nice but I would look to upgrade for more room. Dining and Cabin staff were excellent. ... Read More
This was a pleasant cruise that went smoothly and no major problems. The embarkation and the disembarkation was the smoothest EVER. Cabin was nice but I would look to upgrade for more room. Dining and Cabin staff were excellent. Entertainment was good but could not get into some of the Theater early shows. Activities were excellent. Service personnel were friendly and effect. Honolulu was a port that had lots to offer. One day was not a lot of time to see things. The other ports could have used an extra hour or two but it was acceptable. LA was an excellent city to explore before the cruise. We took a city tour before the trip and went to Santa Monica Pier after the cruise. Getting to the departure city a day before would be HIGHLY recommended. Many tours are available in LA. I will definitely be going on another Princess cruise. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
This cruise started out badly. We had to stand outside in the wind and heavy rain to check our bags, then were ushered into a cold tent where we had to wait 3 1/2 HOURS to board! Princess did not take any responsibility for their ... Read More
This cruise started out badly. We had to stand outside in the wind and heavy rain to check our bags, then were ushered into a cold tent where we had to wait 3 1/2 HOURS to board! Princess did not take any responsibility for their problems and did nothing to compensate us for the terrible experience. Don't think we will use Princess again. We chose this cruise because we wanted the sea days and were looking forward to warm weather in Hawaii and on the way. Unfortunately, there were storms coming and going so we were not able to sit around the pool or use our balcony. There were very few things to do on the sea days in the afternoon. Most of the lectures were at 9 or 10 in the morning and we weren't up that early. It just didn't seem to be up to the quality we expected of Princess. We had the late seating in the Botticelli dining room. The waiter and assistant were very good and the menu varied, but the food was bland even when it was described as spicy. The Horizon buffet was good, but the layout made it crowded and difficult to maneuver. The wait staff there were very attentive. The Magic To Do show and the other shows with the singers and dancers were really wonderful! The Magic To Do was like a Broadway show and probably the best show we have seen on a ship. The other entertainers were good - singers, magicians, comedians, ventriloquists, but about the same as you would find on any cruise ship. We did independent tours in Kauai and Hilo. It was very easy to walk around in Lahaina and Honolulu as we were docked or tendered to the center of town. In Ensenada we were within walking distance of the shops and bars in town. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
My wife and I have both reached the Elite Level with Princess Cruise Lines, in addition to having taken maybe a half dozen cruises with other lines. This cruise was our 17th on Princess, over a period of about 7 or 8 years. We felt that ... Read More
My wife and I have both reached the Elite Level with Princess Cruise Lines, in addition to having taken maybe a half dozen cruises with other lines. This cruise was our 17th on Princess, over a period of about 7 or 8 years. We felt that the new Princess program would follow through and recognize their most frequent passengers in some meaningful way, and we enjoyed traveling on their ships. Our cruise last February changed all that. We had a series of unhappy experiences, starting with standing in the rain at the San Pedro cruise terminal for over 90 minutes before boarding. No Princess staff in sight and no umbrellas, ponchos, or anything to provide some relief. After about an hour and a half, with literally hundreds of people soaking wet and standing in the rain, someone realized that there was an empty terminal building that could be used for shelter, and we were all herded into it, only to spend the next hour in line just to get to Passport Control. The entire boarding experience was miserable. When we made reservations for this trip we asked about (a) complimentary gratuities or (b) a beverage package and were told that we were not eligible because we got such a great fare. Once on board we talked with many other passengers only to find that many had the same rate and their gratuities had been included. We also found a group of passengers from the U.K. who had received an even better rate, plus their package included round trip airfare from London to Los Angeles as well as a two night stopover in Ls Vegas at a top hotel. I understand promotional pricing and how it can be presented. But I felt deceived by Princess when they told me what a great deal I had and then gave many other passengers with the same rate a different (and better) deal. And some received a much, much better package. There were a number of other incidents which I felt were cause for making Princess aware of how I felt. So I wrote a four page letter and sent it to them. I sent it by email first to our Princess travel consultant, who returned it to me immediately with a note that she could not open it and I should send it instead to the Customer Care department. So I sent it to the proper address and guess what the reaction was...……….radio silence! I waited for about 6 weeks and sent another note asking what was happening and again heard nothing. If that is how Princess handles their best customers one wonders what they are doing for newer or less experienced passengers. There is a lot of competition in the cruise industry, and this overall experience has left me completely unhappy with Princess. We are now shopping for some other cruise line and left wondering how this could happen. We liked Princess, they seemed to like us, and we were happy. But when they ignored my legitimate issues and made not a single effort to reply I decide that this is their problem, not mine any longer. So we will continue to cruise and I am certain that we can get comfortable with some other line. But it is shame for both my wife and me, and also for Princess. Incidentally, I am still on their mailing list for enticements for upcoming trips! Almost as if I had never written to them at all! Remember that old adage "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me!" Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
This was an amazing trip. We enjoyed our time on the cruise start to finish. From the Captain to the pizza chef, we felt everyone was working to meet our expectations. Our cabin was laid out well and we had a super Stewart called ... Read More
This was an amazing trip. We enjoyed our time on the cruise start to finish. From the Captain to the pizza chef, we felt everyone was working to meet our expectations. Our cabin was laid out well and we had a super Stewart called Antonio. The meals were good and the service excellent. We had pizza a few times and it was very tastee. There was a varied schedule of events that were always well led and free. The International Cafe was open 24 hours a day with various delicious snacks and sandwiches. We made all our ports despite the bad weather and the only ship cruising Hawaii to do so that week. The computer lab was well staffed and the guys were helpful and patient. There were several cocktail parties and the ship’s Captain offered passengers the opportunity to have a picture taken with our own camera. Can’t say enough good things for our first Princess Cruise in 15 years. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
I've been on several cruise lines (Celebrity, Carnival, Disney, Holland America, Norwegian and Royal Caribbean) the this was my favorite cruise line and favorite ship (been on the Emerald 3 times). But the romance is over. Something ... Read More
I've been on several cruise lines (Celebrity, Carnival, Disney, Holland America, Norwegian and Royal Caribbean) the this was my favorite cruise line and favorite ship (been on the Emerald 3 times). But the romance is over. Something happened and it just wasn't up to it's usual standards. I will say that the entertainment was outstanding - possibly the best. The two major production numbers were Broadway quality but, it seems, undervalued by many of the audience. The Cruise Director and staff worked overtime because they were short by 2 staff and did their best. I don't know what happened with one leaving but the other was totally predictable by Princess as she disembarked in Honolulu to begin her vacation. As this was a two week cruise involving two 4-5 day stretches at sea, there were not enough activities. Partly due, I expect, to small staff, but also possibly due to not having available areas for events (trivia, Pictionary, etc.) since the space was being used for private functions or movies. The Explorer Lounge, frequent home to trivia and game shows, was very cold for most of the cruise and after many, many complaints they finally turned off the a/c nine days into the cruise. Some passengers actually wore their winter coats or brought blankets to the events there. Horizon food (buffet) was terribly repetitive and limited in options. Often it appeared to be left-overs from day to day. And why are the plates so hot??? Evidently, chocolate milk is like gold. My son has special needs and his routine includes chocolate milk with his pills. It was an adventure finding any. While the dining room servers brought him a glassful every night, the buffet seemed baffled about how to handle the request and some seemed to not even know what it was, offering hot chocolate (made with water) with a side of ice cubes. Sometimes they required a drink card, sometimes not. It always took awhile as they had to go to Mars to get chocolate milk. Why it isn't stocked in the buffet kitchen is a mystery to me. In any other cruise, it's offered in small self-serve cartons at the buffet. Once we complained at a passenger forum, the problem was resolved in that we no longer had to explain what we wanted but the time it took indicated it was still being kept in a secret hiding place in the bowels of the ship. One of the things I hated about Norwegian was that I felt like I'd spent a week at the mall due to constant "selling". Sadly, Princess is now also in the business of marketing junk on board. Our mailbox was inundated with junk mail about spa deals or sales. The upper Piazza was often blocked by tables hawking cheap watches and T-shirts. Look, Princess, if you are going to sell stuff please make sure it's quality stuff. It makes you look bad when 2 out of 2 watches fail within an hour. (We didn't; expect much for a $10 watch but we just wanted ones that would last the two weeks fo the trip as ours were left behind.) Okay, now this is big: There was a garment sale in the dining room, advertised as 70% off. Tables were piled with mens' and women's clothes. Now one would think that meant everything was 70% off. Wrong. At the checkout the cashier said that the men's polo shirt was REGULAR PRICE. "Not everything is on sale?" I asked. "No." Out in the Piazza shop the same men's polo shirt was also regular priced with an offer for a second one at a discount - cheaper to buy two out there. I find this deceitful. Shame on you, Princess. Boarding and disembarking was quick and well organized. Tendering ran smoothly. So my romance with Princess is over. The integrity, service and quality is slipping. Now Royal Caribbean, I guess you're my favorite now. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
Wanted a holiday cruise to be with family and began a new tradition. The ship was beautiful and well maintained. Had no issues with maintenance. Really enjoyed all the food offerings regardless of where we chose to eat. The main dining ... Read More
Wanted a holiday cruise to be with family and began a new tradition. The ship was beautiful and well maintained. Had no issues with maintenance. Really enjoyed all the food offerings regardless of where we chose to eat. The main dining room was nice and the food and service were superb. The buffet had a lot of varied choices that were good. I chose the main dining room often to avoid having to deal with hustling through the people at the buffet and finding a table. Sometimes a single person would take a table for six. During busier times, it was a hassle to deal with too many people, some with less manners than others, and finding a place to sit and eat. We also had a person with a wheelchair so we had to consider her ability to get around. There was no way she could go through the buffet so we had to get her food for her. The pizza was good. The "free" ice cream was ok. Better ice cream was offered in the main dining in the dessert options. Even room service was nice. Too bad there was a charge for hot chocolate though. The staff was always friendly and helpful. Embarkation went very smoothly as did disembarkation. They were organized and we didn't have long wait lines. There was too little time in the ports so we didn't get to do as much as we would have preferred to do, making us feel we only got a glimpse of the ports before having to rush back to the ship. Will consider how long a ship is in port in the future. Having to use tenders in Lahaina was a nightmare coming back. The lines were half a block long, and it was hot. Staff finally resorted to passing out water and cool cloths. The line moved, but it was not a good experience. We didn't do any excursions, preferring to rent a car in advance and explore on our own. Didn't care for the offerings in the onboard shops and refused to go to the 3 hour sales. My opinion is the purpose of those sales were to create a frenzy and have passengers act like fools to get a discount. There were plenty of activities, lectures, and entertainment options including lessons. I would have liked to learn to play the ukulele but that was a progressive class and if you didn't attend the first one, you missed out. The lei making class was so full you had to go at a specific time and place to get a ticket to a class. Well, I missed out on that. When I went, the ticket folks were gone. Too much trouble to participate in the worthwhile lessons so I unfortunately missed out. Also, regarding entertainment, if you didn't show up at least 45 minutes early for a production show, then forget about it, seats were full. There were too many people trying to see shows and not enough seats. This was a problem in the piazza also. People would arrive and start arranging and saving the few seats so attending those entertainment offerings became an uncomfortable hassle too. It also interfered with the ability to just go to International Café or Vines for coffee or wine because all the seats had been taken or occupied to view the entertainment. I think it defeated the ideal of a piazza. The entertainment should not be scheduled on th3e patter. and instead seem more impromptu so if you happen to be in the piazza, you can catch the entertainment without fighting for seating. The ship simply has inadequate seating for entertainment and this distracts from the ability to relax and enjoy yourself. We did not travel with children and frankly had issues with parents who let their children run wild all the time. The ship became an enclosed baby sitting trap for children of all ages, including teenagers, who were inconsiderate of others. There was running down the halls at night time, groups of unruly kids pushing ahead in lines when the older people were more mannerly, and therefore, at a disadvantage. In the future, I will look for more time at ports, and I will read reviews for adequate opportunities to participate in entertainment and activities, including seating and crowd control. Overall, however, the experience was positive and enjoyable and very much worth the value. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We've been on this cruise before, and it is by far the best cruise for pure relaxation. The ship was showing its age a bit, but everything was still nice. The rooms (balcony A317) were roomy, comfortable, and the balcony was great. ... Read More
We've been on this cruise before, and it is by far the best cruise for pure relaxation. The ship was showing its age a bit, but everything was still nice. The rooms (balcony A317) were roomy, comfortable, and the balcony was great. Our steward, Ricardo Hernandez was beyond great. On the first day, when I met him, I requested ice 2x daily, as well as bathrobes for my wife and I, and this was done immediately, and he never failed to put the ice in the room. My wife had a problem with the pillows, and he helped solve this by the 3rd day. I find the dining on Princess in general, and this trip was no different, to be excellent but not really outstanding. (If it were, I'd probably give a 5.) We enjoyed all meals, and the Crab Shack dinner was well worth the price, lots of fun and our Jr. Server, Madhu, was excellent. We had some requests for dessert, like can he get some cookies from the buffet and lots of whipped cream for me. it would've been very easy for him to say that we were limited to what was on the menu, but he didn't. Off he went to the buffet to get exactly what we wanted. The entertainment was great also. I only have one complaint with PCL's entertainment. If you don't like to dance or go to the casino, the ship pretty much closes up after the main show. We LOVE what Carnival does, with their comedy routines late at night. Having been of a number of cruises, I must say that the service from top to bottom on this ship was way over-the-top outstanding.The best Ive ever experienced on a cruise, and we would definitely go again--on this cruise and on this ship. Only real problem was the internet. Like on many ships, it sucked. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
My wife and I chose this cruise line after sailing with Carnival the past five years. The Emerald Princess is a decent ship, however, she is starting to show her age. First things first. Be aware that this Cruise has guests that are ... Read More
My wife and I chose this cruise line after sailing with Carnival the past five years. The Emerald Princess is a decent ship, however, she is starting to show her age. First things first. Be aware that this Cruise has guests that are averaging late 60s to late 70s in age. Therefore, you will see quite a few scooters, wheelchairs, and walkers. One thing that I will say as a positive with this cruise, is that getting on the ship was extremely easy. Our room was E419, which is supposed to be and obstructed view. However, the obstruction was actually minimal. One of the other things that I will mention in more detail is the cabin size. Normally, we get a balcony room. However, this time (because it was our first cruise with Princess) we decided to get a window or ocean view. This actually saved us quite a few dollars, because usually you hear that people are only in their rooms to sleep. This is not always true. After you have been on several of these cruises, sometimes you want to just stay in your room and relax. Now the room. Our room was much smaller than on a similarly equipped Carnival ship. Also about the room. To our right just outside are the lifeboats. The staff decided to paint the underside of the railing, which caused them to use hammers and scrapers, making a ton of noise. The tapping became so annoying that I had to actually go down to guest services and ask them if they could hold off with the tapping until we went ashore. They did not guarantee that the workers would stop, but eventually they did. As we arrived in Honolulu (our first port), we could hear them tapping again but we were leaving the ship anyway. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
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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