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38 Princess Emerald Princess Cruise Reviews for Family Cruises to Caribbean - Western

I have cruised with my mother and sister on the Crown Princess. This trip was with my mother, husband and two kids. Husband and kids were first time cruisers. We were a bit afraid after seeing some of the reviews about the attitudes of ... Read More
I have cruised with my mother and sister on the Crown Princess. This trip was with my mother, husband and two kids. Husband and kids were first time cruisers. We were a bit afraid after seeing some of the reviews about the attitudes of the crew members. My whole family found none of those reviews to be anything like our experience. Every last person we encountered, from the steward to the bartenders, to the wait staff and on...were absolutely wonderful. Both of my kids, ages 14 and 16 made quite a few new friends at the teen club. (They were reluctant at first, but after the first night meeting everyone, we hardly saw them after that.) We had a lovely Family Suite with plenty of room and so many extra amenities. We enjoyed 4 dinners at Any Time seating in the Michelangelo Restaurant. We normally arrived at 5:30 -6:00 and were seated immediately. The food was excellent and every night even though a different waiter, was so enjoyable! My husband's comment: "Everyone looks like they really like their jobs. Like they really want to be here." We also were able to enjoy breakfast with Mimosas at the Crown Grill. My 16 year old eating-machine son, visited the Horizon Grill every day for lunch, snack, and a nightly dessert or three. He could always find something to eat from sushi, tacos and seafood, to chocolate cake, cheesecakes and cookies and brownies. We also made sure to attend a show in the Princess Theater. It was a Disco tunes and dance show. I had a blast singing along to all of the songs and my mother enjoyed the dancing. Even my husband was tapping his toes. We just love Princess!!! Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
We were the 3rd cruise after Dry dock and the AC in the entire Sector of Deck 10 Caribe Starboard side midsection was barely working! When walking in the hallway of the entire area mentioned above you could feel the stuffiness and hotter ... Read More
We were the 3rd cruise after Dry dock and the AC in the entire Sector of Deck 10 Caribe Starboard side midsection was barely working! When walking in the hallway of the entire area mentioned above you could feel the stuffiness and hotter air temperature due to the AC not working efficiently. We had been on the Emerald Princess just 3 months prior but on a different deck so we had a good reference as to what a "properly working AC" should feel like. We paid a premium to have a Balcony, but could not enjoy the view etc. due to having to keep the Curtains and Drapes fully closed to curtail the heat and sunlight to make the barely working AC temperature tolerable. We reported the AC problem twice to Customer Service, and after two days someone made and appearance to our Cabin but the AC problem was not fixed. Even though they left a card next to the thermostat claiming that the problem was fixed. We also had a leak in the back of the toilet which caused a constant puddle issue. Once again, we had to call twice before Customer Service finally sent someone to fix the leak..two days later! re: Entertainment: The Productions shows were all very good. The Single acts on the other nights in the main showroom were both very talented but not seasoned enough for a major show room on a 3,000 passenger ship. Both of the Singers would be better suited for the Lounges. The ambiance in Piazza [atrium] would have been better if they utilized the Piano player more. The Steel Drum & Violin act was a nice novelty but it was not soothing enough to endure for long periods of time. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
The Emerald Princess did not meet my expectations but then again I had sailed on her before in 2008 on a ten (10) day cruise and was comparing it to that. There were many things that I did not love this time around although some of it was ... Read More
The Emerald Princess did not meet my expectations but then again I had sailed on her before in 2008 on a ten (10) day cruise and was comparing it to that. There were many things that I did not love this time around although some of it was good and what you expect from Princess. That being said, we enjoyed our cabins as we had a wonderful cabin steward who kept the place spotless; also we were only one deck below the Lido deck (Riviera) which was convenient. The Pizza on this ship like all Princess ships was the best at sea and the Trident Grill was also very good. Food in the main dining rooms was largely terrible. It did not take us very long to figure out the Buffet food on this ship was much better than what you got in the main dining rooms so we mostly dined there instead, even on Thanksgiving. The only thing we enjoyed in the main dining room was High Tea which I had never experienced before but will not miss again; it was quite nice. On my last cruise on this ship the food quality and the types of items served were far superior but I guess the backslide is the Cruise Industry in general. Entertainment was poor. There was one "production show" and the rest was pretty lame. We went to the Crew Show which was entertaining but then the next day at the Cooking Show they trotted out the same crew memeber to sing the same song-boy the saved a lot on entertainment for this cruise. Most of the time there was nothing to do. There is a big focus on the Effy store on the ship and there are frequent raffles. It was really interesting to watch people pile in there for these raffles where one girl stood there in front of the box filling out entry after entry; of course she one two (2) of them as you do when you have entered 100 times. Unbelieveable how they hawk that jewelry. There were no good movies under the stars and the one night they had one of interest it rained; forget about getting anything good on TV in the cabin. We do like that the Emerald Princess offers complimentary steam and sauna in the men's and ladies locker rooms; this is getting to be a thing of the past with all the new ships having Thermal Suites that must be purchased. We also as always enjoyed the International Cafe. Bar Service was very slow and largely inattentive. Elevators always seemed to have some out of order which meant long waits. Like any cruise there as good and bad. The main complaints were the food quality in the main dining rooms and the lack of good entertainment although this definitely was not the worst cruise I have been on. Great embarcation and unorganized debarkation; why do people insist on ignoring requests to sit down and take their luggage out of the isle in the waiting areas? Sheesh! My last complaint is the crappy outlet sale that Princess has on the last sail date on every voyage. I have never seen so much overpriced crap in my life. It always amazes me how people line up to buy this junk. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
We cruise a couple times a year with my sister and hubby, so this was our 7th cruise together and 13 total for myself and hubby. My niece and son-in-law surprised us at the Port of Houston by showing up to go with us. It was a delightful ... Read More
We cruise a couple times a year with my sister and hubby, so this was our 7th cruise together and 13 total for myself and hubby. My niece and son-in-law surprised us at the Port of Houston by showing up to go with us. It was a delightful surprise making our cruise that much better to have a younger couple wanting to tag along for the fun. Four of us did the T/A crossing last fall on the Emerald Princess for 17 days, so when we saw this week-long cruise offered at a super price, we had to jump aboard a familiar ship! We were in interior cabins and don't mind that at all, as we don't spend a great deal of time there except to clean up and sleep! We always get an on-board credit for hubby's military service, which is greatly appreciated from Princess. We didn't do excursions this time, but hired a driver to take us around Roatan, which we all enjoyed and took loads of pictures. The port shopping falls a little flat, but we had fun with bargaining and buying some silver jewelry both in Belize and Cozumel. I have written a separate review about a rude young manager in the Del Sol store in Cozumel; definitely won't go back to that one! On board, we had great food, good entertainment, and some very thorough and friendly crew. I wrote 8 comment cards recognizing their commitment to providing good service. We definitely love Princess and look forward to the next cruise. We would love to do a land and sea adventure to have more time exploring the port cities. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
booked one suite and two balcony staterooms. Family cruise for 6. rooms were nice, clean and well maintained. disappointed in the buffet, unimaginative food without a lot of selection. The only redeeming feature was the Omelet cooked ... Read More
booked one suite and two balcony staterooms. Family cruise for 6. rooms were nice, clean and well maintained. disappointed in the buffet, unimaginative food without a lot of selection. The only redeeming feature was the Omelet cooked for breakfast. Formal nights were a joke. they will simply NOT enforce the dress code. I saw shorts and flip-flops on SUPPOSED formal nights. the food in the main dining rooms was top quality and we did enjoy our dinners. The CROWN GRILL was a fantastic steak house. service beyond perfect and the steaks were the best thing of the trip. sorely lacking in usual amenities. NO miniature golf course. NO full size shuffle board. they did have an idea of a shuffle board. it was crammed in an upper deck corner, about 12 feet long. they did have a croquet course which we used a couple of times. My two teenage grandsons did not think there was much for them except the pools. I have been on 2 other cruises and this one was far and away the roughest. in calm seas no less. I thing perhaps this older ship doesn't have more modern stabilizers. the trip was quite rough with rocking enough to almost throw you out of bed. Our rooms were on the very back of the ship so when they used the reverse thrusters to dock the entire room shook and rattled. We only booked this trip so we could go to Belize for the cave tubing. I have reviewed the Belize and Roatan potions of this trip on Trip advisor. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
Our family of 22 did our annual family vacation on the Emerald Princess. Everyone left very disappointed. The way the staff treated us was so RUDE. We wanted to celebrate a private birthday party and were very disappointed with the event. ... Read More
Our family of 22 did our annual family vacation on the Emerald Princess. Everyone left very disappointed. The way the staff treated us was so RUDE. We wanted to celebrate a private birthday party and were very disappointed with the event. First of all, they don't even have a party planner! You end up talking to random people charging you way too much for everything. 200 dollars an hour for a DJ? No thanks. We ended up throwing a small 3 hour private party serving appetizers and using the speakers to play music. What a waste. They kept telling us to put the music down (which wasn't high to begin with) or they would force us to play the boring cruise music. They interrupted the father daughter dance about ten times by turning the music so low and reminding us that if something happened to the speakers, we would need to pay. Thanks, you already reminded us the first 20 times.They interrupted a very special moment and were being so rude about it. The staff also kicked us out of the room an hour and a half early, which at this point we didn't even care anymore! We were so over it. The staff was so unfriendly. Everyday it was something new with the staff. The only friendly staff were the people taking care of our rooms and the waiters at the restaurants. On the last day I couldn't wait to get off of the ship. This cruise ship was boring!!!!! There was nothing for kids from the ages 18-21 to do. The club was filled with a bunch of old people hitting on 20 year old chicks. The lack of activities was astonishing. We went to bed at 8 pm that's how bored we were!!! On the last full day we had on the ship our family brought some Easter eggs to do an Easter egg hunt for the kids. Every old person gave us a dirty look or called the manager on us. This cruise is definitely not kid friendly.The crew would talk crap about us right in front of our faces. It was the worst cruise experience I have ever had. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
The reason for my title is only because I feel like the staff seemed "not in to it" on this one, possibly because it also seemed like the same amount of staff for almost 700 more passengers. They seemed shortstaffed overall in my ... Read More
The reason for my title is only because I feel like the staff seemed "not in to it" on this one, possibly because it also seemed like the same amount of staff for almost 700 more passengers. They seemed shortstaffed overall in my opinion. A few people were friendly, some just going through the motions and a quite a few were just not happy. On the Golden I never felt like that. The ship itself was in good shape, It seemed very clean at all times and nothing seemed to be falling into disrepair. That is a big plus. The piazza was beautiful with so much gold for the 50th anniversary. We did several activities like Bingo and line dancing and they were fine. The coffee bar was very inconsistent and you waited for what felt like forever to get served because of the way it was positioned between the bar and the IC. My coffees were good every time but never once the same. I had about a 50/50 ratio on friendliness there. The gelato was good there, only $1.50 for 3 scoops. That's amazing. We didn't enjoy the buffet at all, our family said it was fine/good for breakfast (we had Suite breakfast in Sabatinis every day) but we never enjoyed the dinners. We had lunch there once and it was pretty good. We also didn't like that they didn't tell us in the Patter what the theme for dinner was in the buffet. That could have helped us choose the right night to go. The pizza was incredible. My husband got pizza at least twice a day. We had the pub lunch in the wheelhouse bar and it was some of the best fish and chips ever. I got a knockwurst at the trident grill and it was fine. The dining room was good overall. Hit or miss on the service again but almost all the food was great. It was mostly Caribbean themed which is not my favorite cuisine and I still found something good almost every night. It seemed to go a little faster then on the golden so that was good. That was our only drawback for eating there. It was really hard to do activities if you ate in the dining room. we did not have a tv guide in our room which was frustrating. We did use the thermal spa once, it was ok. If i had more free time I would have done it more and would have liked the heated stone beds to be warmer. I enjoyed the aromatherapy sauna. I should have used the private pool. The fitness center was fine. The main pool was pretty cold, I assumed it would be heated on some level. We used the hot tubs and pools in the rear of the ship and they were slightly warmer. No kids. That bar took 30 min to get 3 drinks. The bartender was terrible there. Disembarkation was easy. We had them collect our luggage this time and that was fine. Last time we took it off ourselves. We were the last group to go and we were still done and outside by 1030. We originally planned a 230 pm flight and we would have made that no problem. We had no issues getting of the ship in any ports either. We sailed to Cozumel, Roatan and Belize. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
Our suite was lovely as well as the amenities. Our room Steward, Chadwick Sanchez, was one of the best we have had. Sabatini's for breakfast was awesome (the real reason for booking a suite); Crown Grill was very nice; Dining Room ... Read More
Our suite was lovely as well as the amenities. Our room Steward, Chadwick Sanchez, was one of the best we have had. Sabatini's for breakfast was awesome (the real reason for booking a suite); Crown Grill was very nice; Dining Room service was extremely slow and food average; Horizon Court very, very disappointing. We have seen it go down the last few Princess cruises, which is very disappointing. Food not good at all in Horizon. The staff at Reception is lovely and accommodating as well as throughout the ship. Shows are average, however, I must say that I am not there for the shows but for the wonderful ocean air and island visits. Shops are fairly good for fun stuff. Boarding in Houston was outstanding. Arrived, registered, and boarded. Couldn't have been better. Disembarkation was a nightmare. Delays, longs lines, and appearance of lack of coordination of process. The purpose of this trip was taking a grandson on his "Spring Break Cruise." He had a wonderful time (as well as his Mother). We had connecting suites, and this was great. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
This was our first Princess cruise after 12 on RCCL, 5 on NCL, and 2 on Celebrity. I was hesitant to go on Princess (not my choice) because it is in the Carnival family and there have been too many problems on Carnival lines for my ... Read More
This was our first Princess cruise after 12 on RCCL, 5 on NCL, and 2 on Celebrity. I was hesitant to go on Princess (not my choice) because it is in the Carnival family and there have been too many problems on Carnival lines for my comfort. Nonetheless, we went and had a very good time. I would say that it was quite comparable to RCCL and NCL and a notch below Celebrity. We (hubby, me, and 3 year old) stayed in a a mini-suite, which was wonderful. I particularly enjoyed the 2 TVs in the room (hubby could watch March Madness on mute while daughter watched a very good selection of family films on the other). The balcony was large, as was the bathroom. The room steward was very much on top of things, though I got the feeling that he was in charge of more rooms than he probably should have been. The food on the ship was generally good, not great. The buffet was good, but not particularly inspiring (and the crowd flow of the buffet was disastrous--seriously, Princess, do a usability study on that). Breakfast got old quick, and the dinners were okay. The best part was that they generally had the same dessert as the main dining room. The pizza and the grill were very good. The fish and chips in the Wheelhouse on sea days were also very good. The steakhouse was fabulous, though you paid for it. The food and the service at the steakhouse were outstanding. The MDR, however, left much to be desired. The food was generally okay, though bland. But the service was a nightmare. We were a table of 10 and service took three hours (which is too long for anyone, especially for a family with a three year old). On the first night, I talked to someone who I thought was a head waiter, and he promised me it would be better the next night. The next night, it was 40 minutes from when the last person sat down until we got any food. I drank the last drop of my water, and 30 minutes later, my glass still not had been refilled. I then talked to the manager of the dining room and told him that this was my 20th cruise, my first on Princess, and thus far they were not doing a particularly good job at making me want to take another cruise with them. Well, from that point on, service was impeccable. We got a new waitress, who was phenomenal. But I should have to cause a fuss to be treated in a timely manner. We were impressed with the Princess Pelican Club for the three year old. We thought she would hate it, but she wound up asking us when she got to go back to the Club. They had dance parties, painted t-shirts, got their faces painted, and more. I was impressed with the security. The door was always locked (parents had to be buzzed in) and an ID had to be presented to pick up the kids. After the first day, the staff knew my daughter by name and knew that I belonged to my daughter. Impressive. Also, one night when they went to the buffet and to a dance club, two large security guards went with them. This was the first cruise my daughter went on in which she could go to the club, so I can't compare it to others, but I was impressed. We were on the Spring Break cruise, and they had many more kids than usual (to the disdain of many of the older crowd on the ship), but the kids club seemed to handle the influx well. The only frustrating thing about the Pelican Club was that dinner started at 5:30 and the kids club didn't open until 6. So, to avoid the long dinners in the MDR, I would feed her at 5:30 in the buffet, drop her off at 6pm, and then run down to the MDR to join the group for the main dish that my husband ordered for me. I feel as though Princess could have done a better job timing everything to make things work more seamlessly. I thought the ship itself was in good shape. I loved that muster was inside. Overall, we had a good trip and would consider Princess again (especially since Houston is so convenient), though, to be fair, we already have two more cruises booked for the next two years, and neither is on Princess. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
Our 9th cruise (4 NCL, 2 Carnival, 1 Celebrity, 1 Holland prior to this one). Arrival and embarkation were no problem, very fast. We prepaid parking since we were local to save the 5 bucks. Disembarkation was well organized and pretty ... Read More
Our 9th cruise (4 NCL, 2 Carnival, 1 Celebrity, 1 Holland prior to this one). Arrival and embarkation were no problem, very fast. We prepaid parking since we were local to save the 5 bucks. Disembarkation was well organized and pretty quick as well. Cabins available very early. Cabin - See cabin review, would have liked it better except C248 has a worn out mattress, hopefully not a common theme on this ship. We did get locked out of our room one morning. If you see other than green lights when unlocking your room, the battery that unlocks the door may be weak. We waited about 5 minutes for someone to come and unlock it and replace the AA's. Dining - Dinners were generally good. Just one or two times when service was slow, but usually service was much faster than other ships we have been on but did not feel rushed. We were anytime diners and rarely had to wait and then not for long. Dress code in main dining rooms is a suggestion only, we saw one woman in shorts and tank top on formal night! Breakfast was our least favorite in the buffet. I joke not when I say the hottest thing at breakfast might be the plate if it is fresh from the dishwasher, food was consistently lukewarm at best. Some improvement for sit down breakfast. Variety at breakfast not as good as other cruise lines. We did find going to the international cafe for the (free) breakfast items a good option and my daughter liked the gelato there for $1.50 for 3 scoops. The buffet also uses plastic coffee cups, not ceramic like most ships. Probably not an issue for most, but the plastic retains the coffee odor and I'm a tea drinker and my tea smelled and tasted like coffee sometimes. I'd bring my own cup next time. Afternoon tea uses ceramic cups and is generally a pleasant experience, though they just serve Lipton. They actually have the same tea deserts at the buffet at the same time and you can pick your tea if you prefer it that way. Lunches were just ok, pizza and burgers were ok, expect lines but they moved pretty fast for us. The buffet area is not big, fewer choices than newer ships out there. Activities - Our favorite was actually the movies in the theater. Pretty recent movies shown in the theater during the day when there are no shows going on. They might want to serve popcorn but we often brought our lunch/snacks in with us (trays in the armrests). Trivia was the typical with pretty competitive groups, yes or no show was mostly fun. Golf is a putting green, they have croquet but you have to use golf putters to hit the balls (no mallets), and shuffleboard is not workable in the corner arrangement they have (plus broken parts). Fitness facility was not very crowded. Few channels on the treadmill TVs and quite a few with fuzzy reception (bring your own earbuds). Service - One of the best parts of the ship. Other than the mattress issue with customer service, everyone was top notch. Entertainment - Mostly good. We're not into the Vegas style shows though other reviews will give you an idea, but we liked the comedian (mostly family friendly), the illusionist was typical for a cruise ship - ok, and the comedy singer was good - including his second performance. Excursions - We did one excursion through Princess, Amazing Secret River, Caverns and Playa Del Carmen (Rio Secreto) (ferry to Playa del Carmen, van ride to facility, don wet suit, hike/swim thru cave/river with stalactites (uneven walking surface, think twice before bringing kids under about 12), reverse the process with shopping time at Playa). We liked this one (16 yo daughter said it was her favorite of the trip) and given the timing, doing it thru the ship is the only way to go. In Roatan, we did a zip line thru South Shore Canopy Tours/Zip Line Adventures, trying to avoid the companies the cruise lines use to avoid the crowds, we prepaid with no problem, walked to meet them per their instructions, somewhat hot van ride to get there (people in the front row took all the ac vents) but overall a good time, a nice zip line and good value, felt safe. In Belize, we did the cave tubing thru Belize X-Stream Cave Tubing (part of Island Marketing). There are many companies offering the cave tubing. One big difference in my opinion, this one offers a 2-cave tour, you carry your tube about 10 minutes longer but get to do 2 caves. This matters because we were basically the only group in the first cave about 11 people and 2 guides, when we got to the second cave we joined everyone else from all different companies about a hundred people or more, not shoulder to shoulder but much more crowded. They tie your tubes together in a chain of 5 or 6, try to be in the front to hear the guide better. This is in a national park, multiple companies come here and x-tream brings people on several tours that start and finish in the same place - 2 cave tubing, 1 cave tubing & zip line, zip line only. Take earliest tender you can, they load vans as they get enough people and earlier departure means earlier return. Ship - The ship itself seems nice and did not seem crowded. Plenty of venues and always a place to sit and relax if you want. Pools didn't seem too crowded and this was spring break. Too bad there are no slides at the pool, but we knew that going in, Princess doesn't do slides (I'd say they cater to an older crowd). Hot tubs in the sanctuary were better, in the main pool area the jets were minimal. The nights where the casino was non-smoking made it easier to walk thru it. Scored enrichment low because there wasn't any. Other passengers - Did overhear a couple drunks at dinner one night (last formal night), a woman at the table next to us who just wouldn't keep her voice down and repeated the same curse words at regular intervals and a middle-aged man who was trying to dance in the dining room with a 21 yo girl from another table. Get a good mattress and temper your expectations about breakfast and a few other things and this is a fine cruise and a good value. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
Let me start by saying we are not picky and the type to gripe about little things. That being said I was very disappointed in our cruise on the Emerald Princess. We did the same cruise last year on the Caribbean Princess and was very happy ... Read More
Let me start by saying we are not picky and the type to gripe about little things. That being said I was very disappointed in our cruise on the Emerald Princess. We did the same cruise last year on the Caribbean Princess and was very happy with that cruise. We chose Princess again because of the food, I feel Princess has a lot better food than Carnival so we went with Princess. The food did not disappoint, it was very good and the service in the dining room was great!!! The problem we had was this boat has very few activities on sea days, this was a spring break cruise so the average age was much younger than what is usually on this ship. I still have no idea who the cruise director was, never heard or saw him/her. There are things like bridge and knitting classes, line dancing classes things you would see in a senior citizen home. Almost every show was an attempt to sell something. The ship is a nice ship almost the same as the Caribbean Princess but the entertainment was lacking to put it nicely. If you are 75 years old you will love it as it will be just like a nursing home if you are young and have kids re think this cruise!!!!! Since most gratuities are automatic the bar staff could really care less it took forever to get a drink or refill and they acted as if it was a hassle to serve a drink. We loved Princess last year but this cruise makes me look at that line very different now. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
This was my first time on a Princess cruise. I have been on 4 Carnival ships, 1 Disney ship and a Noregian ship. The lack of the little things that Priness offers is somewhat frustrating. Let me start when I first was brought on the ship. ... Read More
This was my first time on a Princess cruise. I have been on 4 Carnival ships, 1 Disney ship and a Noregian ship. The lack of the little things that Priness offers is somewhat frustrating. Let me start when I first was brought on the ship. I was lead through the bowls of the ship and not through the atrium like every other cruise I have been on. This took away the excitement as I see the atrium for the first time and hear the island music. There was no music playing when I entered the ship. The few was hard working and friendly however the cabin staff does not make towel animals when you enter your room for bedtime. If you have kids this is a disappointment. Heck I'm 40 years old and I was disappointed. The wait staff was friendly however there was only one show that the staff put one in the dinning room on the last night. While at Cozimel my family and I swam with the Dolphins which was a tour that the cruise line recommends. The staff would not let any photos taken while swimming with the Dolphins. They did have a staff photographer who took several photos. The end result was me and my family being dropped off, before the tour was done, in the photo store. Nice photos, however I was told the cost was $1,100 for all the photos and $70 per person if you just wanted one or two photos. What a rip off! Needless to say I didn't buy and pictures. I felt like Princess should do something about the price of photos. The worst part was once we said we weren't going to buy any pictures, my family and I were ignored and not taken to the next portion of the tour. I never heard any island music on the decks. I'm not saying there was none, just never heard any. On Carnival ships music is all around. A Carnival cruise is much more exciting and fun. I also think Carnival's ships are more for family's with kids. I thought Princess cruise line catered towards older people. If I was a first time cruiser I would have been happy with the cruise on The Emerald cruise ship, however I like the little things that other cruise lines offer. I'm not saying I would never cruise with Princess again, I'm just saying I would look at other cruise lines first.   Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
My family of four had a great time on the Emerald Princess from 8-15 Mar 15. Rather than go through the minutia about what was good, I thought it might be more helpful to explain where we saw some things lacking. ENTERTAINMENT: As ... Read More
My family of four had a great time on the Emerald Princess from 8-15 Mar 15. Rather than go through the minutia about what was good, I thought it might be more helpful to explain where we saw some things lacking. ENTERTAINMENT: As discussed on this board previously, my family also found the entertainment to be mediocre at best. I expected a higher quality of nightly performances. DINING: Food was excellent but always seemed to bother me after dinner.... maybe I'm just not used to eating foods so rich. KIDS CLUB: Although this was spring break and there were many kids on the ship, the activities weren't that robust. My 12-year-old grew bored with her group the first day and my 14-yr-old was disappointed compared to other cruise line programs. Again, there just were not enough quality activities. BAR SERVICE: Woefully undermanned. It should never take 20 minutes to get a drink at any bar on a ship (in my opinion). As I said, we generally enjoyed this cruise although I believe we would rather cruise with other lines who offer activities more in line with our own personal tastes. The alcohol program was worth it for my husband and I -- him for quantity and me for the ability to order something different, not like it, and not feel guilty about not drinking it. When you add in the kids beverage program (including malts and mocktails), we more than got our money's worth. Excellent value. My review would be remiss without a shout out to the EXCELLENT medical service. Unfortunately, my oldest daughter was sick the first day at sea but the medical staff took wonderful care of her, even calling during the day to ensure she was getting better. The Houston port was uber efficient and I will definitely cruse out of that port when we go again. Luckily, we experienced no fog. SHORE EXCURSIONS: Booked by ourselves. Little French Key (Honduras) was wonderful and cave tubing (Belize) was a lot of fun. However, at the port, we were "sold" to another trip company and things went downhill from there. Although our river guide was EXCELLENT (Javier's Adventures), the remainder of the experience was lacking.   Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
We are older, ages 63 & 58, this was our 15th cruise, 4th on Princess. We live in Houston and were dropped off at the ship. Having cruised with Princess before on a similar ship we knew what to expect. Getting on and off the ship at ... Read More
We are older, ages 63 & 58, this was our 15th cruise, 4th on Princess. We live in Houston and were dropped off at the ship. Having cruised with Princess before on a similar ship we knew what to expect. Getting on and off the ship at Bayport was a breeze. Luckily, fog was not an issue, though we have dealt with it before in Galveston. The overall experience at Bayport was positive, way better than Galveston. I'll start with the food. We thought the main dining room food was good, but the buffet was not so good. We never had dinner in the buffet, only lunch and breakfast. Breakfast was decent, but the buffet lunch was lacking. There was good pizza by the pool and we enjoyed going to the International Cafe on deck 5. In the Botticelli Dining Room we had tables 66 and 76 located right next to each other. Sandra was outstanding. The staff seemed shorthanded so service was hit & miss on the busier nights. We never tried any of the specialty places on this cruise. Friends did the Crab Shack thing and they liked it a lot. Let's talk entertainment. We went to some, but not all the shows. We thought most of them were below par. Having recently cruised the MSC Divina and having been on the Oasis of the Seas maybe we're spoiled. Shows were better than Carnival shows, but worse than Royal Caribbean. The Princess Theater seemed a little old too and smaller than other ships we have been on. The DJs and live bands did a good job throughout the ship, however. Went to Skywalkers every night and took advantage of the two for one drink special between 10pm and 11pm. Pool deck and outside areas. We enjoyed the Lotus Spa pool and hot tubs almost every day. The Sanctuary, located above the pool towards the front seemed stupid. Looked like a ghost town to me. Just a wasted space that very few people paid to use. Spent time at the aft too near the Horizon Pool. The pool itself is small, but the aft area is a great place to hang out, especially above the pool. Never watched MUTS at the main pool, but the sound was not overpowering like it is on Carnival. I spent time outside on the Promenade Deck each morning and totally enjoyed the peace & quiet. We've been to all the ports, but Mahogany Bay in Roatan was a new dock for us. If you don't want to go to West Bay or the West End the port is fine for spending time off the ship. It's not cheap, however. In Belize, the wife shopped and I planted my butt at the Wet Lizard. We both had fun. Paradise Beach was our stop in Cozumel. Had been there before and would go back. We had a balcony cabin. I thought the balcony was rather small. The cabin was set up well, with a table and chair instead of a little couch. The storage area of HUGE. Biggest closet we've had on a ship. The bathroom was a cruise ship bathroom. Our room guy, Rocard did a good job. We like our cabin cold and it was cold. No cabin complaints. (Posted this cabin review in the deck plan section too.) Overall, we had a good cruise. We still like Royal Caribbean better and Carnival worse. For the right cruise, we'd cruise Princess again, but we'd never cruise Carnival again. The prices out of Houston were very cheap, that alone makes this cruise worth taking.   Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
We always enjoy cruising and nothing terrible happened on our latest voyage on Emerald Princess from Houston Texas. But the bar is set high for ships sailing our blue oceans and Princess fell far short of the competition. I shall dwell on ... Read More
We always enjoy cruising and nothing terrible happened on our latest voyage on Emerald Princess from Houston Texas. But the bar is set high for ships sailing our blue oceans and Princess fell far short of the competition. I shall dwell on the negative in my notes here, but really to be a warning about items I found distasteful and distracting. There were positives as well which I listed too. I will never sail with Princess again, so this is my one-and-only review. Clearly, many customers like their ships and stay with them. On our ship, a couple was listed in the most traveled on Princess with 198 cruises for 1400+ days at sea! That is impressive - 4 years of sailing! - Maleficent's husband (these opinions are mine and may not fully represent those of my dear wife) CONS: * Be AWARE that any big change to your booking may cancel all or part of your shore excursions, dining reservations, upgrades, and credits! Princess appears to take great pride in stealing from customers by charging for these services and then "forgetting" about them once the passenger arrives! I am serious. We split a party of 4 from one cabin into two and all the bookings vanished for the boys we moved (so it was not obvious to us). Discovering this too late while already leaving port made it impossible to recover without "evidence". Yes, they would do NOTHING for us since we failed to bring WRITTEN PROOF for any pre-paid activity or benefit. Their records of our payments were erased entirely and all I heard was "it is not in our computer", which (as you know) means "I think you are a lying customer". They really do not trust you to be correct; I suppose that many customers must be attempting to scam the company and those White Uniformed "officers" have lost faith in humanity. * When our nephew lost his ship card, we were challenged to prove he had the Beverage Option - even though they gave it to him at departure and all our party could show our tags. They simply do not think the customer is to be believed. DO NOT SAIL WITH THESE THIEVES! * Anytime dining means "NOT being able to eat at ANY TIME" - thus, only certain times are open for reservations. Basically, from 6 pm - 8 pm, you must show up and wait in line, which can be 40+ minutes on some nights. * The $25/person upgrade dining was just okay; not bad, but about what you get for that price on land. * The "free" food was average; the pizza was popular but I did not think it so grand. Orange juice was watered down too much, but pine apple juice was okay. * Service for ice cream (really a frozen ice milk) is NOT self-service. Although this appears to be an upgrade, it just creates a long line to get food (on other lines, it takes 30 seconds to get a cup of custard). * At the buffet, you have to sit down to get any drink (other than water or tea), so add 10 minutes if you wish to take your food to the pool or stateroom. * They have the smallest cups for juice (about 3 oz) unless you ask for a large and convince them you will drink what you order (again, the lack of trust in customers). * The entertainment was a band (aka "orchestra") of 5 with the cruise director singing. He was listed as vocally trained and can sing better than me, but not so good as in Broadway-class shows from the other lines. * The magician was fairly good at slight-of-hand but his "tricks" were taken from his own Magic Store (which he plugged) and could be done by anyone; although he did them well, they were fairly obvious as the 3-rope trick is an old stand-by. Then, he showed his kids' video for 10 minutes to plug their acting careers! He gets "Dad Points" for that, but it was boring. * The daily newsletter (event listing) was NOT available at the customer service desk or at kiosks around the ship (like Carnival, Disney and others do) - so don't lose it or forget it - you get ONE copy per cabin! * My primary gripe was with the Shore Excursion desk; the nameless White Uniform man there was rude and of no "service" at all. I admit that my worst side came to the surface as I challenged him at the end of my first visit that I would resolve the ticketing problem and prove him wrong (Princess cancelled half of my group's tickets) even after he insisted that the "computer is always correct". I called my travel agent (Debbie at Cruises Only is a SAINT) who was helpful and found the record of our purchase. Sadly, she never could convince Princess of that fact and the issue was never resolved. I still have two paid tickets to see Belize that Princess refuses to refund to me - again, be cautious and BRING WRITTEN PROOF OF EVERY PAYMENT TO THESE SCOUNDRELS!! PROS: * The ship is basically clean, but typical in appearance without any special options. * Good wait staff & room staff too! This is nearly universal as these are the hardest workers at sea that you will encounter on any cruise line. These folks were delightful, funny, engaging and also helpful. * Our teens really loved it - first cruise so all was new and they found a good group to join and create friendships. We were concerned about not having enough in their age group, but (although true), it was not a problem. * The cruise director does not use the PA (public address) into the state rooms to announce activities - this was great as even my favorite line (Disney) interrupts my daytime naps too often to tell me about ice carving... * The medical staff was nice & friendly. Our nephew god a wood splinter in his finger from the hot-tub (sigh, some ship maintenance needed there), but they helped him remove it. They waived the $45 fee as well (but, of course, they should have). * The Beef Chili from room service was great! And that service was quick and accurate and the stewards were very kind and helpful - don't forget to tip those folks! * The add-on for drinks was a hit for our teen-age nephews who ordered every possible "virgin" beverage as much as 10 times per day! * The room steward has the key to unlock the connecting doors on the balconies! On all my other cruises, this became a 24-hour request to get that door opened, so this was easier and quicker than normal. However, when they did work on our deck, all the doors were opened for an hour and then everyone of them locked again, so we had to ask twice... * The other passengers were kind and gracious; at every meal, we shared a table and had very pleasant conversations with young and old alike. NOTES: * Be aware that the promenade deck, which provides a full 1/3 mile covered circuit of the ship is NOT on one level. I have never seen this before - you must go up from level 7 to 8 at the bow and back down as you make the loop. If stairs are a problem, then you cannot walk around the ship on that level. * On the 2-for-1 happy hour, be aware that you will get two of what you order, not your friends drink for free! Yes, they told us, but I just did not expect them to double my order rather than halve my bill (stupid me). Good drinks but very slow service when they are busy (35+ minutes per round). * If you drink, bring your bottle of wine per adult - was worth having it in our room. * The port of Houston is plagued by fog in some seasons (read more from others), which may delay departure and/or arrival. Be prepared in your travel planning for this as it seems to be likely. Our captain warned us every night about this possibility, which I suppose is good, but every time he talked on the PA to the entire ship (including staterooms), the news was never good. * Although our 15- & 16-year old boys loved the ship, they did not spend time in the teen lounge after day 2; it was an initial meeting place for the kids to bond in groups who then found the sports decks, gym and food areas to be their haunts as the ship's dedicated areas for them held little appeal. Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
The terminal at Houston, Tx is fairly new and very cruiser friendly. The parking lot is ample for the ships that depart from this port. The embarkation was the smoothest and quickest I have ever had on any of my cruises! They were ... Read More
The terminal at Houston, Tx is fairly new and very cruiser friendly. The parking lot is ample for the ships that depart from this port. The embarkation was the smoothest and quickest I have ever had on any of my cruises! They were organized and we arrived at the terminal, got luggage unloaded, checked in and got to our stateroom in less than an hour!! We had requested queen bed in our interior cabin and when we first arrived to our cabin, saw that there were twin beds in the cabin, as well as two berths on the walls! Surprise! Since there were only two of us, we certainly did not need the extra berths. PLUS, we had received an email from Princess a few days after we booked and paid for our trip, stating they had upgraded our room and gave us a cabin number at that time. In looking at ship layout maps and descriptions of rooms on several sites, including Princess', not one of them shows R331 to have berths in addition to the twin beds. In fact, Princess' website shows a small table and chair in the cabin, which certainly was not there, nor would have been any room for anyway. We went to customer service immediately to inquire about a different room and to request that we have a queen bed rather than the two separate twin beds. The staff was courteous and took down our information and said she would see that the beds were put together, but said there were no other rooms available. The cabin steward did put the beds together later in the evening, per our request. However, that created a whole new problem...there is only about a foot of space between the wall and the bed, on each side. With the berths protruding from the wall about 10 inches, it made it very difficult to get into bed. Once again, we made our way to customer services to inquire about a change. We received a letter later that day stating, 'Sorry, but no rooms. Enjoy your cruise,' No offer of any compensation or apology for not informing us of the annoying berths prior to embarkation. Entertainment was fairly good and entertaining during the cruise. The ship was in good condition and clean. The pool stewards made sure chairs were out around the pools for lounging, as well as watching movies under the stars, which was great. They also served cookies and milk in the afternoon. We only saw them with cookies one afternoon, but supposed to be every day. Had nice service in the dining rooms, with different servers, since we had anytime dining. Vados was the assistant waiter for a couple of evenings and he was great and very charming. Maitre d came around to diners and made conversation most nights and was very friendly. He definitely made a point to stress the ratings we give on our post cruise surveys and hoped that we all gave high marks! Food in the dining room was very good most nights. Steak overdone on the night they served them, but tasted OK. Food in the Horizon court buffet was only mediocre every time we ate lunch or dinner in there. The temperature was warm and most times the meat was dry and nondescript. Breakfast omelettes were good, and most breakfast food was good. Took shore excursion to Tabayana Beach in Roatan, Honduras. The bus ride there was quite long and along some very bumpy roads. The beach was nice, with lots of chairs and shade trees to park underneath, if you preferred to be out of the sun. They did not have water toys or shades to rent while there. The excursion included lunch while there. It was mediocre barbecue chicken, rice and beans and fruit. I would say find a tour that did not include paying for a lunch, because it really was extremely disappointing. The sand was beautiful white and smooth and the water was great. We explored the Mohagony Beach right next to the port when we returned from our excursion. In retrospect, I would have stayed at that beach to swim and sun and walked back to ship for lunch, or ridden the chairlift back and forth, which was $10 for all day, as many trips as you wanted to do. There were water floats and toys to rent. as well as shades. Fewer trees and the sand was not quite as nice as Tabayana Beach, but it was still very nice and way lots closer and didn't involve long bus ride. We took the River tour and Altun Ha ruins in Belize City and really enjoyed it. The tour guides, Ken and Sally, were great on the bus ride to the ruins. They were very informative and fun. After touring the ruins, we were taken to an outdoor area for lunch before boarding the boats for the river tour. Again, there was chicken, beans and rice and bottled soft drinks. Unfortunately, the Cokes were room temperature and the food was mediocre at best. Ken was our tour guide on the boat and we did see some crocodiles, a few howling monkeys in the trees, some iguanas and bats and some herons. No colorful birds as we had hoped, but was still very enjoyable 22 miles motoring back to the cruise port. I would do this tour again. I will say it was next to impossible to get an audience with the future cruise representative. She is only in the office a few short hours. They seem to encourage everyone to simply complete a form and drop it in the box rather than speaking with the representative to discuss future sailings. The staff did a great job of informing us what to expect for disembarkation and were well organized. Again, it was the best disembarkation that I have ever had at any port. We were very pleased with the ease and speed. Had the best porter to take our bags and got us through customs in record time. Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
My wife and I took a western Caribbean cruise on the Emerald Princess. When we take our children, Carnival has more entertainment for the kids. But, when we want to relax the two of us chose Princess. We stayed on the Aloha Deck A-709. ... Read More
My wife and I took a western Caribbean cruise on the Emerald Princess. When we take our children, Carnival has more entertainment for the kids. But, when we want to relax the two of us chose Princess. We stayed on the Aloha Deck A-709. Our cabin steward made the bed and straightened the room when ever we left for any time at all. We heard no noise from the floors above or below us. The room came with a refrigerator and a safe. The shows were enjoyable although a little short at about 40 minutes each evening. We would have liked to see a piano bar and more dance lessons. The dining room was provided great meals and our waiters did everything they could to keep it that way. We got fish and chips at the pub and they were good. The pizza was great as I had it a few times for lunch. The buffet could have had a few more choices, but it was normal buffet style. We paid to use the exclusive spa area. I don't think I will do this again. They sell it to forty people and at times there were more people than spots for them. Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
This was our first time sailing out of Houston Texas. You actually embark at Bayport Terminal in La Porte Texas, about 30 miles South of Houston. We stayed in Seabrook Texas, about a 10 minute drive to the port. We found the Bayport ... Read More
This was our first time sailing out of Houston Texas. You actually embark at Bayport Terminal in La Porte Texas, about 30 miles South of Houston. We stayed in Seabrook Texas, about a 10 minute drive to the port. We found the Bayport Terminal to be easy to get into and out. On the day of embarkation we arrive about 11:00 am and got right into the terminal. At 11:30 am they started boarding and by 11:45 am we were on board the Emerald Princess. While the Emerald was showing some signs of needing some updates, I would say the staff was friendly, helpful and they did keep the Emerald looking good. Lot's of crew keeping things cleaned up and making sure we were being taken care of. Shows were "Fair" and not of the same quality of other shows I've seen on Princess ships. All worth going too, just seems like they were not as well choreographed as others we've seen. A comedy show with two black comedians is a must see, it is very funny. The two sea days out of Houston were great, nice to relax and enjoy the ship. At Belize you will be tendered into port. They do not use ship tenders, they use local tenders which are catermarans. The process is fairly quick other than this is about a five (5) mile trip each way.   Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
This was our 14th cruise and 2nd on Princess. We had a good time on the cruise but know that the entertainment is better on Carnival and the ships are more up to date on Royal Caribbean. I firmly believe that food is better on Princess and ... Read More
This was our 14th cruise and 2nd on Princess. We had a good time on the cruise but know that the entertainment is better on Carnival and the ships are more up to date on Royal Caribbean. I firmly believe that food is better on Princess and at dinner, the staff went out of their way to please of couple of our table mates (they should have left a bigger tip but I know that they didn't). The other positive about Princess is that they do not push alcohol as compared to other cruise lines. Our cruise also had a giant group of people (650 I think they said) from a dog food company in Utah. I was concerned about this at first but it was a benefit because it reduced the average age of the passengers by a ton. Sailed out of the Houston Terminal on 1/11/15, actually 10:00 am on 1/12/15 since the channel to and from the port was closed due to fog. Don't know if the ships leaving from Galveston had this problem or not. The result of the delay was that we did not go to Roatan, Honduras as scheduled but went to Costa Maya instead. Some of the crew said this was the second week in a row that they went to Costa Maya and that is was a better port than Roatan. Princess refunded the excursion we booked at Roatan but had to select something for Costa Maya. My first issue with Princess is technology or lack there of. On most ships I have been on lately, excursions can be booked from the cabin on the tv. Not so on Emerald and I can't say if this is true about other Princess ships. You also could not check you bill as on other ships. However, the excursion desk had no line in the morning and the staff was very pleasant. Some other photo galleries use facial recognition software to create and electronic folio for your cabin. Princess is the old time scan the walls for your photos. Excursions were okay. In Belize we went to the Mayan ruins at Altun Ha. The ruins are nice but take bug spray. There are these little bugs that you can't see or feel when they bite. It might not be until the next day or day after but you will be scratching for 2 to 3 weeks. Seriously! My other issue was the entertainment. The singing and dancing shows in the main room were okay. The feature entertainers were awful. The comedian told jokes about the small size of the showers and how hard the toilets flush. The guitar player could play but Dueling Banjos from Deliverance and Classical Gas? Both of these guys were in serious need of new material. The magician seemed bored. Secondary venues were too small. Many people were turned away from the Wheelhouse Bar or Explorers Lounge. I have avoided Holland America because I thought they catered to an older clientele. Now I have to add Princess to this list. However, there were many people on the boat that had sailed a dozen times or more with Princess (some admitted that it was to get the free laundry service). The food is better but it isn't good enough for me to put up with the negatives.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
We cruised from the Houston Port (an industrial no man's land) to Mahahual, Belize and Cozumel. The Emerald Princess is a fine ship, very clean and with all the usual amenities. The staff was pleasant. We enjoyed the excursions to ... Read More
We cruised from the Houston Port (an industrial no man's land) to Mahahual, Belize and Cozumel. The Emerald Princess is a fine ship, very clean and with all the usual amenities. The staff was pleasant. We enjoyed the excursions to the Mayan temples in Chacchoben and Belize (do NOT miss the Lamanai temples in the jungle !). Breakfast and lunch at the buffet was plentiful and reasonably varied. The only real problem with the cruise was the dinner : 1- the 'filet migon' was NOT filet migon but a cheap generic tasteless cut. 2- the 'ceviche' was not edible. 3- the mussels were old and overcooked ... certainly the worst I have eaten (I have cruise over 18 times, travel to Europe at least 20 and live in a city of fine dining : Montreal). The 'fries' serve with them make McDonald's seem delicious by comparison ! B- The entertainment was unremarkable except for the excellent magic show by Michael Barron. As mentioned, the dinner was not up to par with Royal Caribbean, Holland America. Celebrity or Costa. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
I booked a cruise to celebrate my parent's 60 wedding anniversary. Since we live in Texas, it's so much easier and cheaper to drive to Houston than fly. The cruise went to Roatan, Honduras, Belize City and Cozumel. My husband and ... Read More
I booked a cruise to celebrate my parent's 60 wedding anniversary. Since we live in Texas, it's so much easier and cheaper to drive to Houston than fly. The cruise went to Roatan, Honduras, Belize City and Cozumel. My husband and I booked 2 staterooms with balconies and was pleasantly suprised to see we got upgraded to a mini-stateroom with $50 ship credit from Princess and $50 from Vacations To Go! My parent's room (Caribe 10 Deck) had a larger balcony with four chairs so we liked to sit outside with them and shared their complimentary champagne. I was able to bring my own wine (1 per person) and kept it in the mini-fridge. We were treated with such friendliness, starting with the parking people at the Houston Port cruise terminal to every single Princess employee! Parking (paid on-line,) embarkation, customs and debarkation were super smooth! We have twice sailed on Holland America to Alaska before but the Emerald Princess was larger and just as nice. However the Gulf of Mexico and Carribean are rougher seas and I was seasick a few times. I tried the ginger tablets, essential oil, and wristbands, and reluctantly used Dramamine on the last day only to fall asleep for two hours! I did feel better the rest of the day. I even felt seasick while snorkeling in Belize. Our room steward, Robert, was quite efficient and friendly -- wish I could sneak him home with me and my house would magically be clean! We opted for the early 5:45 pm seating for dinner and totally enjoyed the food and impeccable service. Our waiters, Chaiyut and Kiattisan, from the Philippines, were prompt and professional. My parents had dinner in the Crown Grill one night and raved about the lobster. My husband and I went to Sabbatinis which was equally good and very romantic. We never skipped dessert either! Needless to say, I'm on a diet now. One morning we had breakfast in the Da Vinci dining room where it's nice to sit down and order from a menu and dine with other folks. On port days, we opted for the buffet breakfast because it was faster and we had excursions booked. We enjoyed eating breakfast from the Caribe Cafe and sitting outside on the bow deck, enjoying the fresh air and view. Lunch was just okay, nothing special. We are not big drinkers, but occasionally bought a glass of wine or beer. Not a great selection so I'm glad I brought my own favorite wine to sip on before dinner. Once, I got the Drink of the Day in Cozumel -- a delicious frozen margarita. Unfortunately they ran out of straws. One thing I was surprised about were all the sales promotions for jewelry, art, spa services, etc. -- pages of ads in the daily newsletters, PA announcements. If you attend an informative seminar, there was a sales pitch to endure. When you get off the boat in port, you walk through all the duty-free, Tanzanite and diamond shops. When you get back on, the spa people were there to entice you for their services. On-board activities were definitely geared to an older crowd although younger people might like Knitters, Bible Study, Bridge, Bingo, Speed Sudoko, seminars on non-surgical face lifts and footprint analysis. I would have preferred more cultural, historical, wildlife presentations with a naturalist that doesn't have anything to sell! I participated in Zumba one morning but there were too many people crowded on the dance floor of the Fusion Night Club. The Brit instructor looked a bit out of shape too. Since I had my husband captive on the board, so to speak, and he hates posing for photos, I booked a session to take those beautiful black and white portraits in the Platinum Studio. Our photographer, Rozanna from South Africa, played music, offered a glass of wine, and got us laughing -- all in 30 minutes. As a result, the poses were very natural. The next evening she presented us with nearly 80 images in a slideshow where we narrowed our choices down to 4 poses and got a free 8X10. Before the photo shoot, I had my hair styled in the salon by Sushant from India. I thought it was well worth the $49 because my hair is always frizzy and Sushant transformed it! Quite a sweet guy, only 21 years old, and he's seeing the world! Afterward he did try to sell me two expensive hair products that I declined. For entertainment after dinner, we enjoyed Tom McTigue, an excellent comedian who happens to play the photography teacher in the Oscar-nominated film, Boyhood! The magician was okay, not David Blaine-caliber, but a fun show. If you want to see a show, make sure you get there 1/2 hour ahead of time. We skipped the song & dance and disco shows and watched recently released movies on TV instead. There's a good band that plays rock, country and pop covers out by the big pool during the day -- my 83-year old dad really liked it! On sea days I would find a quiet spot on deck, stretch out in the sunshine and read a book. Bliss! I did yoga in my room because the offered class ($12) was too early for me. Excursions -- In Roatan, we got a private tour with Victor Bodden ($25 for 4 people) plus $10 at the iguana farm where you get to feed them. Iguanas are ALL over the place, even in the trees. Another $5 at Monkey Business where the little cappuchins and macaws jump on your shoulder, plus $10 for lunch. Our guide was informative and drove us all over the island. However, he did take us to an souvenir shop that was twice as expensive as the shops at the Mahogany Bay cruise terminal shops. In Belize City, we used Sun Kissed Excursions, also known as Ecotours, for Goff's Caye Beach and Snorkeling. $40 each, not including lunch. It was a 35-minute boat ride from the port to the beach where we were provided the equipment, then jumped off the boat and snorkeled half-way around the island in turquoise blue water. I did see a lion fish but not much else. Plus I was getting seasick. After 45 minutes of snorkeling, we had about a couple of hours to lay on the board. It started getting crowded as we were leaving around 1 pm. Cave tubing and zip-lining would have been fun too but we had already done that at a previous trip to Belize. My parents also used Sun Kissed Excursions to go to Lamanai Mayan ruins by way of a speedboat on the river. They loved it! No need to book expensive excursions in Cozumel. We just hired a taxi and for $25 each, the driver spent 3 hours driving us all around the island, stopping at Playa Palancar for a hour where we sat on the lovely beach before the crowds came around 10 am. In all, the crew on Emerald Princess works really hard at trying to provide a vacation for all kinds of people, even LGBT, singles, children and seniors. The only drawbacks were all the sales pitches and not enough active activities geared to younger people.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
Let me start by saying that this is our 5th cruise on Princess. We had read all the negative reviews posted recently on this ship and its cruise. And quite frankly, they concerned us. But we were already booked and there was nothing we ... Read More
Let me start by saying that this is our 5th cruise on Princess. We had read all the negative reviews posted recently on this ship and its cruise. And quite frankly, they concerned us. But we were already booked and there was nothing we could do about it. NONE of the horrible things those other reviews said happened to them--happened to us...NONE OF THEM. Lets start with the only thing that really did go wrong. We had signed up for Princess to provide transportation from Houston Hobby Airport to the embarcation dock on Sunday morning, Dec. 7th. We arrived in plenty of time that morning at the airport. For some reason, the bus was running over an hour late....and nobody knew why...not even the agents. So, that was frustrating. But the busses did eventually show up and they took all of our luggage and we never saw our luggage again until it was delivered to our room onboard the ship. So, that was cool. Lets make one thing clear from the top. If you want belly-flop contests, kids screaming, running, splashing and be annoying..... cruise with Carnival. If you like conga-lines...cruise with Carnival. If you want non-stop partying and drinking...cruise with Carnival. If you want an elegant ship...cruise with Princess. You you want good entertainment geared towards adults...cruise with Princess. If you want very good food....and alot of it...cruise with Princess. If you like to lay next to the pool, and not be splashed by 100 kids...cruise with Princess. If kids screaming is not your definition of peace and quite...cruise with Princess. Most importantly, if you want to relax...and enjoy peace and quiet... and be treated like royalty by the staff....cruise with Princess. This is exactly what you will and will not get on the Emerald Princess. Embarcation was a breeze. The only complaint was that they passed out a form at the beginning of the line that had to be returned before you can actually go onboard. It was a struggle to fill the form out and keep up with the line moving. For those of us who used Princesses transportation from the airport...it would have been much better to have been given that form when we boarded the bus so we could have filled out the form during the 35 minute bus ride to the dock. The Ship. The Emerald Princess is an elegant ship. Beautifully constracted with extensive use of varnished wood throughout the ship. The Atrium is truly elegant...as opposed to Carnival where the Atrium is all splash and glitter. The Vines venue in the Atrium is a 5-star venue by anyones definition. Our balcony cabin was A435. And we loved it. It was only a few steps away from the elevators midship....so we never had to walk far to get back home. It was very quiet...no outside noises whatsover. Our cabin Steward, Christian, was excellent...just excellent. He provided us with everything was asked for. He referred to us by our names when we met him in the Halllway, our room was cleaned 3 times a day. I asked him to iron my suit and shirts for formal night and requested that they be returned by 5PM the next day. At precisely, 5PM the next day, Christian knocked on our door with our freshly ironed suits and shirts. I wish I could remember his last name, so I could give him the credit he deserves. The crew was from all over the world. Some were from the Ukraine. I was amazed at how they could be so happy and smile at us when their country is at war...but they did. Everyone who serves on that ship made you feel like family....so friendly, so happy to see you. The entertainment onboard was must better than others have described it. The singers and dancers were excellent. The comedians and magicians were very good. The Emerald Princess does not have a dedicated "comedy club" and I did miss that. But however, there was always plenty of things to go see and do at night. Their cruise director Kelvin was especially HILARIOUS. Do not miss a chance to hear him. He is very funny, and you can't help but to like him. The food in the main dining room was very good and the service was faster than what we had experienced on other ships. We chose "anytime dining" and the key to making this work is to call for a reservation that morning. We always called and reserved our table for 5:15 OR 5:30, and we walked right in. Those that did not, they did have to stand in a very long line waiting for dinner. YOU MUST use Exotic Eco Adventures in Belize to take you to Goff's Caye. They will meet on the dock in Belize and after a 30 minute boat ride equipt with 2-200 HP outboards. They will dock on the most beautiful spit of land you have ever seen. Trust me, go the trip advisor and search for Exotic Eco Adventures in Beize....and Goff's Caye. Many called it PARADISE....and that is what it is...PARADISE. Everyone in our group loved this little small island. They serve FREE fun punches throughou the day. They will even bring you your own bottle to your chair. Barbeque chicken and lobster lunches are $12.00 This small island IS NOT TO BE MISSED. The ship does not offer it as an excusion...so please do yourself a favor and contact Exotic Eco Adventures and have them take you to Goffs Caye. You will never forget it!!! In Roatan, we contracted with Juan Carlos with "Islandertours". He drove us around the Island and took us to the west end at Bananrama. You will learn everything you wanted to know about the island and many things you would have never known if you had not gone with this company. He is highly rated to Trip Advisor and he treated us wonderfully. Our group of 4 adults paid him $100 for the day.. ($25.00 each) ..and we tipped the driver $40.00. We recommend him highly. In Cozumel, we dove with Alison who runs "Scuba with Alison" There were many reason why we chose her. She runs a small boat..never takes more than 7 divers on her boat. We have been on "cattle boats before---and we hate them. Alison is personable, and excellent dive guide and she will take care of you. $90 for a two tank dive with all the equipment including a computer. They will set up all the gear for you and you will never set it up yourself...even between dives. You can look her up on trip advisor. Her reviews are all very positive and she will write you back very quickly if you decide to want to go scuba diving with her. And $8 taxi ride will get you to where her boat the Maximus is docked. The disembarcation went smoothly as well as the bus ride back to Houston Hobby. Overall, all four of us really loved this cruise. And we would recommend it to ANYONE that wants a quiet, peaceful, relaxing cruise. But you REALLY HAVE TO GO SEE GOFF'S KEY in Belize!!!!   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
As seasoned cruisers we weren't sure what to expect from the Emerald or the Houston Port, based on prior negative reviews. We are happy to say we didn't experience any of the negatives reported by prior naysayers. Port ... Read More
As seasoned cruisers we weren't sure what to expect from the Emerald or the Houston Port, based on prior negative reviews. We are happy to say we didn't experience any of the negatives reported by prior naysayers. Port Pros:Road construction around the port is substantially done, but the road signage was still inadequate as of Dec 14, 2014. The parking lot has been enlarged, and appeared to be big enough now. Cons: Parking lot directional signage was absent. Cops and parking attendants gave contradictory instructions to those arriving. Embarkation Pros: We experienced none of the embarkation process problems (identified in earlier reports). Signage was improved, but could be beefed up even more to match other ports like Ft. Lauderdale. Cons: They allow queue lines to cross in two areas (Check-in area and Plat/Elite/Suite waiting areas) which adds confusion.They also need more wheelchairs and pushers for mobility challenged folks at the start of embarkation. Ship/Excursions Pros: All crew was polite, eager to assist, and generally pleasant from top to bottom. Captain is fun, runs a tight ship of which he is obviously proud. The Emerald is starting to show her age (worn carpeting, bits of rust here and there, worn toilet seats, etc.) but the crew was constantly working on her- she is not neglected in any way. We had a cracked bathtub and a few toilets in public spaces overflow. Cons: Our only complaint surrounds the Excursions themselves, not the staff that facilitates them. We found details in the descriptions frequently inadequate, incomplete or just plain wrong. It appears Princess has sacrificed the "traveler" and suboptimized for larger "cattle call" tourist like experiences. Competitors are doing a better job in this area, and we believe Princess needs a significant revamp to compete with the burgeoning options. We've stopped using Princess excursions entirely, but booked two events for my independent, yet mobility challenged Mom. Both attempts were busts for her, as they failed to describe obvious impediments that prevented her access. Sadly, we were not credited in either instance. Dining/Bar/Entertainment All Pros, no Cons. Staff, food service and bar entertainment absolutely met our expectations in every way. We ate late each night and caught MUTS rather than going to the theater shows on this trip. Cabins All Pro: The Dolphin floor is entirely comprised of Mini Suites, which we successfully upgraded to right before we sailed. Cabin steward, "Reynaldo," was awesome and we had NO issues what so ever. Shopping Pros: The Effy store is a great addition. The prep for onshore shoppers is always well orchestrated. The addition of J Ribkoff, Tommy Bahama and Nautica clothes is FABULOUS. The tanzanite selection was incredible- onboard and on-shore. Cons: The jewelry choices onboard should be balanced between low, med and hi. Currently its too weighted at the extreme low and high ends, and the mid range options are suffering. For instance, I buy gold and silver charms for everyone on each cruise, but sadly I had no options on the Emerald from which to chose. (Ruby was better in this regard.) Overall, Emerald is doing a great job at meeting the expectations of it's patrons. Princess will remain our preferred cruise line, even if we don't like how they manage their excursion options. They cannot expect us to pay a premium for their excursions when they don't return the value for the cost: they are too short, have too many people, or are too often inaccurately described to be deemed reliable.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
We were very pleasantly surprised by our family pre-Christmas cruise on the Emerald Princess! I had been carefully following cruise critic reviews for the month of November and to be honest, I was having buyer's remorse for booking ... Read More
We were very pleasantly surprised by our family pre-Christmas cruise on the Emerald Princess! I had been carefully following cruise critic reviews for the month of November and to be honest, I was having buyer's remorse for booking this cruise! Then I read a few reviews from people who advised readers to not listen to all the negativity and just allow yourself to have a great time. Well, that is what we did and "WOW" we had a GREAT time!!!! The highs first: Number one was the food and our servers! We had impeccable service from our two waiters Leo and Kentut, they made each dinner an amazing adventure, even with a toddler at the table. The selection and execution was so good, that we never had a chance to explore other dining options because we didn't wish to miss a night in the main DR (this was a first for our group). Of course we ate too much because the buffets always had something inviting as well. The second highlight was our room steward, he was unobtrusive but still managed to know what we needed. We had adjoining rooms (C421 & C425--great spot, would book them again) with 2 children, so he had his work cut out for him. Next, the kids club staff were wonderful. They ensured our 8 year old had a great time and always employed security measures, so we felt very comfortable with them. All in all, a wonderful and relaxing experience! Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
We had our first cruise due to the generosity of my in-laws. They purchased tickets for 14 of us to go together over Christmas week 2014 in honor of their 55th wedding anniversary. Further, they got everyone balcony rooms. We sailed out of ... Read More
We had our first cruise due to the generosity of my in-laws. They purchased tickets for 14 of us to go together over Christmas week 2014 in honor of their 55th wedding anniversary. Further, they got everyone balcony rooms. We sailed out of Houston on the Emerald Princess (all from Texas). After loads of research before departure, I wanted to put in some notes from our experience. First, we found our departure out of Houston to be flawless. Smooth and easy. A moderate line for embarkation, but, vacation was officially underway, so who cares about a line! All the port employees were smiling, friendly - even jovial. Thanks to all the reviews and information available online, I felt pretty well prepared. Right down to carrying a small bag with anything I'd like to have on hand immediately or even for dinner (we didn't board until 2:00 and dinner was at 5:30). Luggage did take a bit to arrive (mid-evening), but, again, with having the items I really wanted on hand, it was no biggie for us. I cannot say enough about the wonderful staff on the ship. I am lucky to have a husband with the gift for genuine interest in others and he's a great conversationalist. He and I believe in treating our waiter or bartender like a friend and not a servant. I'm sure, because we treat folks this way, we may receive better or more thoughtful service. However we got there, I can tell you we felt pampered 100% by all the staff (steward, wait staff, head waiter and bartenders). All the little details we mentioned up front enjoying were remembered and repeated daily - without a request. For me, that's pampering. Bless the dear soul who brought us coffee and juice each morning with a smile. We had standing reservations for dining daily at 5:30 PM at my in-laws request. My husband and I did not think we'd like the time being so early, but it was perfect. Two large tables takes about two hours to serve and we'd head out each evening to the main show in the theatre. At that point, there's a line waiting to get into to their tables. Choose 5:30 - trust me. We passed on a lot of the ancillary daily activities until the last two days as, I admit, some sounded a bit gimmicky. But, the last two days we participated and had a great laugh and good time. We both agreed, next cruise, we'll be checking out those opportunities daily. MOTION SICKNESS: I chose to use the prescription patch to keep potential motion sickness at bay. For those worried about the matter: IT WORKS!!! Don't bother leaving without a patch in place. Why even risk feeling badly when you can prevent it? No pill to pop, no sleepiness. In 14 people, about half had some minor to moderate sea sickness symptoms off and on. We were the only ones armed with the patch. FOOD: We found the food to be wonderful. The staff offered us "appetizer" portions if we were curious to try an entrée but did not want to have it for our main course. My college age sons tried so many different things I cannot recall. Our request for a special appetizer (off menu) was granted the follow evening. With a smile. We enjoyed most of our dining in one of the main dining rooms. I'm not keen on buffet food so this served my preference well. We did enjoy a pub lunch (fish and chips) one day and slices of pizza another (really quite good). Had a room service lunch of club sandwiches one day as well. Our sons enjoyed a second dinner after 10 PM in their rooms many nights. I appreciated the portion size being reasonable. Not small, but not "Texas sized". You can order whatever you want, but, if you are wishing to show some restraint, it's not hard to do. If you don't have dessert in the dining room, there are options to grab tiny confections at a coffee bar spot. They are really almost better than the main dining room. Grab three and share. ALCOHOL: All over 21 carried a bottle of wine onboard. Husband got one beer package (six for the price of five I believe). He ordered a few extra through the week. I got one canned soda package (diet coke and tonic water) and purchased a smallish bottle of vodka for $17 (room service). We enjoyed a bottle of wine in the evenings as a nice cabernet was available at $15/bottle. We did not spare on the consumption for our liking and felt the prices were reasonable. I had a minor accident that required a visit to the medical facility. Get the insurance that will cover these things!!! This was the last day at sea so not a real downer for the trip. I was surprised that the medical facilities are not available all day every day. It seemed to be 2 hours in the morning and 2 hours in the evening. I assume there's reasoning behind this, but we had to beg to be let in (doors locked) while my foot was bleeding quite a bit. They'd really wanted me to wait to the afternoon hours. With my right toe toenail ripped half off (there's a story....), I felt pretty emergent. Some insistence by my husband got me in the doors, but, it's the one thing I did not research and wanted to share. It's a bit of a complaint, but, awareness would have been wise on my side to know the hours before the trip began. We had some looking for treat for motion sickness and they were always closed - just by chance. FYI for all to know!! CONDITON OF THE SHIP: There was constant maintenance going on everywhere. Not intrusive, but, evidence of real work being done (varnish, paint, etc. outdoors). Public restroom facilities were CLEAN and plentiful. I'm a real stickler for cleanliness and freshness. I appreciated the sense the ship was well maintained daily. OVERALL: The cost to value ratio worked for us and we are dreaming of indulging again - hopefully this year on a last minute deal. We will go Princess again. We'd both love to do Alaska in a few years. I am happy to report that I am a "cruise person". I wondered if I'd dislike the experience (kind of dreaded part of the year leading up to it). But, I'm sold. Eventually, more interesting destinations may be our goal, but, for now, we both agree the 'floating resort' experience we can get to via driving fits our budget and felt luxurious. We were pulling out our cash and leaving additional monetary tips for all that took care of us - in addition to the room gratuity. That's how much we felt well cared for that week. Thank you Princess!!   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
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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