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41 Princess Emerald Princess First-Time Cruisers Cruise Reviews

This is the first time my wife and I have ever cruised and it was primarily as a result of recommendations by friends who have all been on various cruises with different providers. Typically we book our hotels and travel independently ... Read More
This is the first time my wife and I have ever cruised and it was primarily as a result of recommendations by friends who have all been on various cruises with different providers. Typically we book our hotels and travel independently choosing hotels and activities which allow us to relax and enjoy some quite quality time in pleasant surroundings with attentive and respectful service. We were admittedly late in booking our cruise with your company as being a little bewildered with the variety of options from different companies we took a long time choosing which unfortunately limited our options. Generally upon arrival things were handled well, check in was prompt and courteous and we found our way to our cabin which, whilst smaller than we are used to, was adequate and clean. At this point I have to commend the cabin steward who was both pleasant and diligent. However what became apparent during our stay was the inadequacy of the bed, the booking clearly stated a queen size bed and literature waxed lyrical about the quality. So you can imagine our dismay to find what we actually had was two beds pushed together. Whilst this might be acceptable if they had been sprung divan bases the beds comprised two metal framed singles with inner wire supports giving a hard and prominent ridge in the middle of the bed where the two metal frames joined. We were told that whilst this was unfortunate nothing could be done to rectify this situation and that we should take this up at the end of our trip with customer services. We enjoyed the setting off and the entertainment on deck as we sailed out of the Hamble. In the evening we went to dinner, having chosen the flexible dining option, and were shown to our table with minimal delay. Unfortunately this was one of the few times we had a smooth transition into the dining room. Generally the staffs were pleasant enough but we were constantly shuttled between deck 5 and 6 each evening which admittedly got a bit wearing and confusing and on more than one occasion we were treated to a rather surly greeting at the dining room entrance before being routed to the adjacent deck which quite clearly implied an “are you too stupid to know where to go” rhetoric. Generally the food in the dining room was of good quality but generally the food was only ever tepid. Only on two occasions could the food be said to be hot, once when I had a fish pie and once when my wife had Escargots. Both my wife and I had wine with our meals and on far too many occasions they kept consistently bringing the wrong Rose wine to the table despite my wife being very clear on the name of the wine she wanted. On one occasion they bought the incorrect wine only to replace it with another glass of the wrong wine. It is accepted that this happens occasionally, but the frequency of occurrence was too high to be acceptable particularly when once they know they have brought the incorrect wine they are then at a bit of a loss what to do about it as the system appears not to allow them to replace the drink as it flags on the system as a dubious purchase too soon after the previous one, thus making it uncomfortable for both the guest and the waiter. I personally have to say that I was not a fan of the bench style seats that most of the 2 person tables utilised against a divider. Certainly they are too low and seat you at a significantly detrimental position to the table for both dining and conversation with your partner. Unfortunately the limited options on tables for two with two chairs meant having to wait long times for their availability. We had considered sharing a larger table but had quickly noticed that guest on tables for more than 2 had to wait until that table had filled before anyone took their orders. Having witnessed one couple waiting 20+ minutes for their table to fill we put up with the bench seats, which incidentally are extremely uncomfortable in a suit. Within a few days of eating in the restaurant we noticed a distinct variability in how quickly, or not, we were attended to. It soon became apparent that, policy or not, the staff were trying to synchronise the rows of two people tables so as to aim to serve certain courses at the same time to all tables and ultimately aim to have the tables finish at about the same time. Not only did this result in some evenings feeling rushed and on others being ignored and hence lengthy meals, it also meant that dishes were coming from the kitchen and sitting waiting for others to come out in what seemed to be a deliberate delay aimed at this synchronisation. Additionally staffing levels in the restaurants seemed to vary quite significantly with some evenings seeming deserted compared to others with the predictable outcome of poorer service levels. On the last formal night my wife and I were seated in the foyer area (another story) and being both dressed smartly but casual decided to see if we could go straight to an early dinner (17:45) rather than get changed into something more formal. The girl at the door point blankly refused suggesting that we should eat at the buffet if we did not want to dress formally and that normal dinner is not accessible otherwise. Dinner is arguably part of the package and to not be able to access it anywhere other than the restaurant which required formal dress on three evenings is unacceptable. Surely it should be that the normal dinner is accessible to guest in a separate area if they do not wish to dress formally? We did get changed and went back down to dinner only to be seated next to two couples, the gentleman both being dressed in slacks and casual shirts one of which was a broad check. Obviously it was quite annoying that the concept of formal dress was being applied in a haphazard way penalising some and allowing others. Dinner on the last evening was nothing short of a fiasco, we were shown to our table which had not been cleared and re-laid. Then it was partly laid and the waiters disappeared. After about 5 minutes I got up and appropriated two water glasses from another table which caught the eye of a supervisor across the room, he came and poured some water. Eventually we got a menu and managed to order. Of note was that we then had to chase to get some rolls on the table and then chase further for some butter. Our ordering caused considerable consternation from a couple two tables down who had been waiting some 20 minutes to have someone give them a menu with the lady having to get up and complain to one of the supervisors before someone attended them. The couple to my right had to refuse water 5 times each time someone would bring them glasses only to take them away when they stated they didn’t require water. They were also told that there was no white wine left which sounded absolutely preposterous but then the couple on my left confided that they hadn’t been given the red wine they ordered despite being reassured it was the same one they had been drinking all fortnight which, this not only was insulting to the couple’s intelligence but also was dishonest. The couple two tables down had to complain further when another couple got their dinner before them despite arriving in the restaurant some 30 minute later. Needless to say despite the large variance in our arrivals all 6 tables were served deserts and coffees at about the same time. On our ship days we ate in the buffet a few times, generally this was a most unsatisfactory experience. At any one time over the lunch period there only ever seemed to be one buffet section from the four available that seemed to be open. Typically lunch meant wandering around until you found a table that was unoccupied, in itself no mean achievement. If you wanted to keep your table you then had to leave something at your table while you got your lunch. Unfortunately if it was something impersonal such as a tray or drink then that did not serve to prevent other people from occupying that table when you were gone. If you had anything bulky that prevented you carrying a tray, such as my wife’s bag or my camera, then you were so far from the active buffet station that you felt that one of you had to stay to look after your valuables while the other went and got their lunch. Then very often you had to walk the length of two buffet areas to join a queue for food which inevitably involved significant jostling and pushing as too many people vied for too little space. Popular items were almost impossible to get to as people competed for that option. Once you had your food, which often took a not inconsiderable amount of time, you then had to walk it back to your table and then your partner could get their food. Invariably by the time you got your food back to the table it was cold as it was only ever lukewarm at the start and you rarely got the opportunity to eat together. If you wanted more or a desert then often while you were eating the buffet station closed and a new one opened so you had to then hunt the current open station before you could eat something else. On one occasion the buffet station closed between my wife getting her food and my subsequent attempt. Quite clearly there was an inadequate amount of facilities for the amount of people resulting in something far from a relaxed or enjoyable dining experience. It was something more akin to how you imagine a cheap package holiday buffet to be but with less seating. Breakfast was a similarly disappointing experience. The quality of some of the cooked breakfast items was poor, in particular the sausages and bacon while other cooked breakfast staples such as mushrooms and fried tomatoes seemed non-existent. In general the breakfast seemed to have been conceived on an American concept of an English breakfast rather than a universal approach. In the mornings most stations appeared to be open but seating was virtually inaccessible. On one occasion we had to sit outside in the rain (fortunately partly undercover) as this was the only place available. Another morning we had to sit outside again, which initially was quite pleasant until the maintenance staff decided to replace and varnish stair and balcony rails in the seating area at around 9:30 - 10:00 am. On a few occasions we had to go and hunt cutlery, condiments collecting what was needed on an ad-hoc basis which as you can imagine was far from enjoyable and resulted in the food becoming cold. Generally the boat felt very crowded and noisy, below decks seating was at a premium and the first few days we were often jostled out of the way by people trying to get to seats being vacated by other guests. Ultimately we learned to be more assertive but that is hardly something you want when you are on holiday. One day we went for a coffee and stood waiting for a table only to be informed by one gentleman that he had been waiting for nearly 30 minutes and there was a couple in front of him. Needless to say we gave up on the idea of a coffee that day. Invariably if you wanted to sit in the foyer area around the piano or coffee bar then there was a wait followed by a burst of running to snag a seat. Things were no better in Crooners or the wine bar. Often the problem was people just using the seats to sit and read or just relax. They could not be blamed for this as there was nowhere else for them to go to do this but it did block access to these facilities. The situation was not helped by selling opportunities organised for “the few”. On an already crowded ship it is reprehensible to close the Explorers Bar for half the day at a time just to sell a few paintings to a handful of individuals. If it had been just the one day it would still have been inexcusable but multiple days is just beyond belief and totally detrimental to the well-being and comfort of the other cruise guest. The overcrowding made itself apparent on a number of evenings. On one in particular we could not get a seat in the Wheelhouse bar nor could we find a seat in the Explorers bar or adjacent lobby area, the Foyer area around the piano was full as was Crooners and the Wine bar. Most evenings meant getting an early meal and then finding a seat before the scheduled diners came out and filled the seats. Because of the lack of seats it made it very difficult to access much of the entertainment. Moving from one area to the other often meant not getting a seat in your target venue when you got there and then finding you had lost your original seat. We tried staying put in one area but there were significant 45 minute plus breaks between much of the entertainment and invariably meant you had to sit through something you were not interested in before something you had waited for came on. We are early fifties and found much of the entertainment on board inappropriate for our age group. Bingo, Sudoku, knitting and sexy legs competitions are not really things that appeal and quite frankly suggest a lack of imagination. The abundance of quizzes in the various bar areas was also of note and clearly suggests a “what can we do cheap and for minimal staff and resource input” approach to the entertainment schedule. One person a microphone and some poor quality slides are far from quality entertainment. In general the day activities had more in common with 1960’s Butlin’s than a luxury cruise experience. Some entertainment was aimed at relaxation, the pianist, a trio and the guitarist but for the most part with all the people jostling for seats and the constant noise of people milling around, talking and using the coffee bar etc. it was like trying to relax at London Victoria station. At no time during the cruise did we get a sense of peace and quiet unless we were in our room. Part way through the cruise we discovered the Sanctuary, then we discovered it was $40 to go in. Clearly Princess are aware of the lack of a relaxing atmosphere on ship as you have spotted an opportunity to cash in on the one option that exist to get some peace and relaxation. Overall much of the entertainment was good but where it mattered, mainly in the theatre and some of the key acts, it was poor. The Gala show was dire, I would like to say that was just my opinion but the resounding lack of applause confirmed otherwise. It was a lacklustre and discontinuous parade of poor quality cameos none of which was well received. In particular the magic was badly executed and lacked imagination with clumsy presentation leaving the audience in no doubt how it was done. The magician stands out for being particularly bad both in the gala show and his separate stage performances. Before his show in the Explorers bar he approached members of the audience about whether they would be willing to partake, in itself commendable, unfortunately when people declined he seem to take it as an affront and was quite rude to them so as to belittle them and infer it was their problem not his as he was superior anyway. I recall his words when someone declined along the lines of “if you had let me finish what I was saying” which is quite curt and easily construed as rude. Generally his act was poor dropping props and messing up tricks, most of which are available in any toy shop these days. The female comedienne was excessively coarse and I am far from being prudish, her act had the air of a working man’s club and at time bordered on inappropriate, mocking of people with physical and mental issues implied or otherwise is inexcusable and not humour. Crudeness is not necessary to make a good comedy act as the male comedian proved being both funny and entertaining without unnecessary toilet humour. Nearly all the entertainment in the Princess Theatre was mediocre and of only 30 minutes duration the longest show being the Gala show which lasted the billed 53 minutes which given the poor quality was one show that would have benefited from being shorter, 53 minutes shorter. The Princess Theatre gave the clearest indication of just how overcrowded the boat was for the provided facilities and entertainments as on more than one occasion we spoke to people who had been waiting >50minutes to guarantee a seat for 30 minute show. During the gala show there were people standing in the aisles and down the sides of the theatre which talking to other guests was repeated for the second show. Yet more guests we spoke to hadn’t seen either show as they were unable to access the theatre due to the lack of space. In addition the layout of the ship and the theatre meant that at the end of each show one half of the theatre streamed out through the Wheelhouse bar. This meant that if you had been lucky enough to snag a seat to enjoy some quieter time with one of the acts you were regularly interrupted by hundreds of people traipsing through the bar all in loud animated conversation. On a few evenings we tried to watch the films shown on the large screen. Once again this proved to be a less that satisfactory experience. The first night we managed to get two loungers and settled down to watch a film. Unfortunately we had to get straight back up again as the loungers are the same ones used by bathers during the day and are still wet. Now having wet clothes we managed to acquire some towels and spread them over the wet loungers. This helped but as we discovered on subsequent evenings it doesn’t take too long for the wet to penetrate up to 4 layers of towels. The routine soon became watch film, change clothes. On one evening we were not served, due to lack of staff available in the screen pool area, for around 3 hours. This also meant that during this time no tables were cleared and plates and old glasses were left on the small tables by the loungers. As like below decks, during the day somewhere to sit/lay was at a premium. We did note that towards the end of the cruise they announced that any unattended loungers would be cleared after 15 minutes not 30 minutes as previous so this clearly wasn’t just a perceived problem. Above decks, where you sat greatly influenced the level of service you obtained. It was not the fault of the staff but clearly they were overwhelmed by request before they even got to the higher decks or to the further extremes. Scheduling of above deck entertainment was poorly thought out with a band or discotheque playing in one area and a film in the other. The net result for many of the positions around the pools was that neither was clearly discernible and just resulted in an irritating cacophony of noise. We did notice that the above decks areas seem little utilised later in the evenings something that obviously pushed people downstairs into the overcrowded lounge areas. On a number of occasions staff cleaned the windows while guest were using the deck areas resulting not only in inconvenience but large wet areas that had to be negotiated and water trickling through the floor from higher sun decks. My wife and I took advantage of all the shore excursions which were of great variability in terms of quality and organisation. We were often surprised at the poor quality of some of the coaches often having dirty seats and curtains, chipped and cracked screens, non-working air conditioning and externally rusty with large holes and corrosion. Being told that the coach has a toilet but that we shouldn't use it as it doesn't really work that well is not really how we expected a tour to start. St Petersburg was most enjoyable with a competent and knowledgeable tour guide. At times it did feel like the tour had been padded to make it last longer as we visited some places twice, once for a look and photo opportunity and then again later in the day to visit a place of interest at the same location. Places visited appeared to be expecting us and we were efficiently and courteously processed in and out of the various buildings. This was in complete contrast to some of the other tours. In Denmark we were not expected at Kronborg and had to stand around like lost children while various discussions and arguments entailed about who would be responsible for us. In Sweden the guide was most condescending, talking to the guest like they were small children and then at lunch again they were not expecting us so we had to mill around in the street while they readied the tables. Eventually they let one of the ladies in so she could use the facilities before finally allowing us all in. Once we sat down we were presented with water that was a mix of sparkling and still as they tried to rapidly fill the jugs from both taps at the same time as they clearly were not ready to receive guest. In Tallinn the guided tour primarily comprised the guide walking us somewhere before inviting us to have a look around and then moving to the next spot. They did take us to the square for coffee and pastries and on arrival the guide extolled the beauty of the square particularly in the sunshine before cramming us all in the basement of an adjacent café where even the waiting staff were getting cross about the lack of space. Poland was the worst experience, the guide had very poor command of English and given a coach full of English speakers was a bad start. He then wore a loudspeaker on his chest which was useless as he proceeded to walk in front of us all broadcasting to any oncoming strangers but not to the group. The visit then moved on to Malbork Castle where the guide informed us we would have a new guide, this did result in a slightly uncharitable cheer from the coach. When we arrived at the castle our guide disappeared and returned with the new guide before regrettably informing us she only spoke Polish. We stopped for an agreeable lunch marred mainly by how tightly packed we were into the hall. Many people had to try and eat with one hand as it was nigh impossible to eat with two given the tightness with which we were seated. When it came to dining on the tours a feature that marred all dining (and some visits) was the bringing together of all tour groups at the same time in the same place. Whilst this is understandable from a catering and logistics point of view, when it comes to rest-room facilities it became a nightmare. On one occasion only having 3 unisex cubicles for around 300 people who have just been eating and drinking suggest a distinct lack of thought to the process. Given this was a feature rather than an exception using the toilet where possible became a fixation of most people on the tours thus detracting from the experience of the visited site. Post tours the return to the ship was often greeted by the inevitable queue to get back on board. In itself not unexpected but not helped by the often bored and discourteous manner of some staff in particular the security staff. In one instance my wife’s passage was blocked by an arm thrust in front of her by one of the security team without a word being spoken or even the benefit of eye contact. When she was finally allowed to proceed it was indicated by the am being removed, a grunt and a wave of the head. At no time did the member of staff acknowledge her, speak to her or even make eye contact. This was hardly the warmest or friendliest welcome back to the boat after a long hot day. Whilst it is appreciated that security is important and there is a need to scan items a part of that process, it was disconcerting to have to scrabble inside the scanner for items that were too light to push aside the screening mats. Often there were no trays to put smaller items in so this became a necessity on more than one occasion while the security team watched impassively. Overall the experience was not a good one. Generally we were left with the impression that the boat was overcrowded. Staff seemed to become less enthusiastic as the cruise wore on, perhaps due to more people than usual? Non restaurant dining was also marred by too many people and too few places to eat. Breakfast was a crowded affair with nowhere to sit and a jostle to get your food. Restaurant dining was spoiled by tepid food, poor seating and an endeavour to synchronise tables. Entertainment was inadequate in frequency and content and all venues overcrowded. The cruise often felt like a poorly run “Costa” package holiday geared primarily to maximise profit at the expense of the guest comfort and well-being. Living on the south coast we are aware of a growing trend to cater for pensioners and a decline in standards associated with that approach to a level perceived by the purveyor as “what they can get away with” as many pensioners have lower expectations of service and quality, this cruise certainly had many of those hallmarks. Given the costs of the total package, the content and quality of the cruise fell way below expectations and represented extremely poor value for money. The excursions were also for the most part of questionable value for money and sometimes felt like you were being taken for a ride figuratively as well as literally. We did take this up with Princess on our return and received a curt reply along the lines of "couldn't care less what you think". Given the package, with everything, cost was not inconsiderable it shows the level of disrespect Princess and Carnival have for their guest. Hope this helps others thinking of cruising for the first time, we certainly will not do it again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
Was pleasantly surprised that the complaints about the Emerald Princess were rectified for our stateroom D727 and throughout the ship. I did here people complaining about some of the most nitnoid items that I had to laugh. To the 19 ... Read More
Was pleasantly surprised that the complaints about the Emerald Princess were rectified for our stateroom D727 and throughout the ship. I did here people complaining about some of the most nitnoid items that I had to laugh. To the 19 year old chubby boy whose day was ruined because the plate in the Horizon Court buffet wasn't hot and to the 40 year old lady who pitched a fit in Cafe Caribe because the coffee was brewing and she "didn't think she should have to walk 15 feet to another station" - get over it. There are more of these types but I won't bore you with them here. And these are the people who will write Nast reviews here. Background - we travel solo extensively throughout Europe and the service on this cruise was equal or better than what we expect - so no complaints at all. 1) Karn, our steward, was very welcoming and efficient and kept the room in tip top shape. 2) all of our servers were very engaging and fun from risqué jokes to card tricks to remembers our names. 3) food was great, well presented, tasty and warm. 4) essentially while on the ship everything that was promised was delivered. Now - we are in a digital age and Princess has to catch up as their pre-cruise information sharing is horrendous. "Additional Charges Apply" is NOT an acceptable answer when I'm looking for the cost of a beer, the charge for the Crown Grill, or the charge for the thermal spa package. Knowing that prices can change is one thing but Princess should be able to come up with a price list on the website maybe 2 weeks before the cruise. Also when a booked customer sends an email requesting this information the at the minimum should get a response! Princess GREAT job on the cruise HORRIBLE job with getting information to this first time cruiser pre-cruise. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
This was the first cruise for my wife and me, though we're generally seasoned world travelers and we've been to the Caribbean several times before (and whether it counts or not, we've stayed aboard the Queen Mary in Long ... Read More
This was the first cruise for my wife and me, though we're generally seasoned world travelers and we've been to the Caribbean several times before (and whether it counts or not, we've stayed aboard the Queen Mary in Long Beach). We're people who feel like we know what we're doing when we travel, and what to expect. We'd done a lot of research on this cruise before embarkation, and had seen some of the negative reviews of this ship after its recent drydock. Thankfully, we had no real complaints. Oh sure, if we had to nitpick every little thing, we might say the in-cabin water was a little warm for toothbrushing, the photographs too expensive or the shows were a little short. But come on - is that really going to affect your enjoyment of your vacation? Do you *want* to be miserable? We had a great time, and that was despite some less-than-ideal weather. The ship was rocking and rolling the first night, but we loved our food in the Da Vinci dining room and were happy to see we'd have a table for two for the duration of our cruise. The food was fantastic every night, with the notable exception of the desserts, which were visually beautiful but lacked flavor. I did enjoy the creme brulee (though it was always cold), but most desserts tasted like something you'd get out of the freezer case at the supermarket. We were usually too full by then to care, though, and the other courses were always really tasty and varied every night. Never once did we think it was worth springing for one of the extra fee restaurants. We booked our shore excursions in advance and they were really some amazing memories I know we'll have for a long, long time. We chose to go snorkeling with the stingrays in Grand Cayman and ziplining through the Jamaican rainforest in Ocho Rios. The latter was actually quite strenuous, but we needed the physical activity after 3 days of lounging around doing not much other than eating and drinking. Definitely don't book this if you're not in good physical shape, though - one poor guy on our excursion had to drop out. Service was always cordial at worst, friendly and efficient at best. Our cabin boy Raymond was great, and always fixed up our room (mini-suite D730 on D deck) twice a day. He also brought us welcome glasses of champagne on day 1, and made towel animals for us every morning. Our main waiter in the dining room was obviously experienced and had a real seaman's personality - occasionally I got the feeling he disapproved of my menu choices, but I'm a New Yorker, we expect that sort of thing. The one real service hiccup we had was just prior to disembarkation, when we were assigned to the wrong transfer bus - it took some time and some back and forth to get that corrected, but we finally did without too much fuss. The ship itself is beautiful and we were never left wanting for something to do. We both thought it was logically laid out as well, although any big ship probably takes a day or two to get accustomed to. For some reason we couldn't figure out how to get to Skywalker's Lounge until the last night, but otherwise everything was easy to find. I was a little disappointed that the bow is only accessible on the small covered promenade deck walkway - there's no open-air walking around the bow area. I was a little surprised that just out of drydock, there was still a lot of wear and tear visible on our balcony, and some areas of the ship were still being touched up (the terrace pool at the stern was closed to be repainted and stained until day 3, for example). But again, these are fairly minor issues on a ship this big with this much to see and do. We'll definitely cruise again, and while I can't say we'll definitely take Princess or this specific ship, if we do another cruise line it'll just be because we want to vary our experiences, not because we had any real problems on this cruise. We loved it. I know I can speak for my wife when I say we can highly recommend this ship. Don't get hung up on small stuff. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
My husband and I and my daughter in her twenties cruised to Eastern Caribbean for 7 days with Emerald cruise embarked on Jan 30th 2016. We had a fantastic time. Our steward Edward was very polite and efficient. We didn't see him ... Read More
My husband and I and my daughter in her twenties cruised to Eastern Caribbean for 7 days with Emerald cruise embarked on Jan 30th 2016. We had a fantastic time. Our steward Edward was very polite and efficient. We didn't see him much, just a few times in the hallway, but our room always got cleaned in the morning and the up bed was put down for us in the evening. We were amazed how he knew that were not in the room and got everything done so well. Our waiter Narisak, who is from Thailand, was very fast and knowledgeable and considerate, took his job very seriously. Food was good, service was unbeatable. Neal, the cruise directer, was on TV everyday, and showed up on the performance in the theater each evening, he was really funny, had us laugh a lot. The beach at each port was beautiful. We didn't book any excursions, just got off ship whenever we were ready and took a taxi to tour the island ourselves. Of course, we payed much more this way. We had a good time for our first cruise, will cruise often with princess in the coming years. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
We tried this as our first cruise and was shocked at all the hard sell on the ship from the moment of starting the cruise till leaving the cruise Everything is geared towards you spending on board and I think 50 dollars a day for ... Read More
We tried this as our first cruise and was shocked at all the hard sell on the ship from the moment of starting the cruise till leaving the cruise Everything is geared towards you spending on board and I think 50 dollars a day for drinks is a bit much Exertions and shops on board daylight robbery More money if you wish to go to the sanctuary a quiet part off the ship and if you donusecthe spa facilities the hard sell when your treatment is over is very pushy This has without a doubt made us realise that a captive audience is what they rely on for making even more money big company making big money but even more greedier Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
I was very pleased with the Emerald Princess 5-day cruise to Cozumel and Costa Maya. The staff was outstanding, as they worked so hard and very incredibly friendly as they served our every need. The entertainment was a blast, and even ... Read More
I was very pleased with the Emerald Princess 5-day cruise to Cozumel and Costa Maya. The staff was outstanding, as they worked so hard and very incredibly friendly as they served our every need. The entertainment was a blast, and even rain at the ports didn't stop a great day. I found some great snorkeling on my own at both places. We utilized Tropicante in Costa Maya and The Money Bar in Cozumel, along with a tour at the Kaokao factory. The food was out of this world good. My only complaint was the meals in the dining rooms took a long time (1.5-2 hours), though the food was worth it. The pizza was homemade and tasted like it...very yummy. I didn't know what to expect as a first time cruiser, but I was pleasantly rewarded with an experience that exceeded my expectations. The staff service had a lot to do with that. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
This was our first ever holiday on a cruise ship, we choose Princess because it had the timing and visits we wanted. We choose a balcony room and paid full fare. I will keep this simple: A Cruise to us is nice food and entertainment ... Read More
This was our first ever holiday on a cruise ship, we choose Princess because it had the timing and visits we wanted. We choose a balcony room and paid full fare. I will keep this simple: A Cruise to us is nice food and entertainment 1: We were refused entry to the intermediate restaurants on formal nights (2) even though we dressed in the best we brought with us (Black suit and tie required) So ended up in the Buffet which was inconsistent in quality. (One night they counted 5 cherries per plate no lie) 2. The "Love Boat" theme is way past old - continues screening on one channel of captain stubbing and crew was just lame. 3. The timing of activities on the boat overlapped so after watching one show going to another event meant late arrival no seats or show ending 4. The cost of the on board photos is extreme way beyond a reasonable cost 5. On departure we were left at Rome without water in the sun and a 4 hour wait because of offloading time allocation. Good or better: 1. Staff are excellent they work there "guts" out for a pittance and 9 months servitude on contract 2: The at cost restaurants ($25) are what we should have had all along in quality The ship looks a little tired We will not be spending our money on cruising again based on this experience Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
Ship ran like a military exercise and was very smooth. Lots of food and doing the Greek Islands there was a lot to do and see in terms of culture. Was my first cruise so everything was very new and exciting. Mostly old people on this line. ... Read More
Ship ran like a military exercise and was very smooth. Lots of food and doing the Greek Islands there was a lot to do and see in terms of culture. Was my first cruise so everything was very new and exciting. Mostly old people on this line. Fun meeting strangers for dinner. Could not imagine wanting to repeat the experience (cruising) as would be bored silly second time around. Have decided this is mostly for the unadventurous with little sense of imagination. Good value compared with cost of hotels and taxis. Anytime dining is best otherwise you are regimented to time . Only downside is that you are seated with strangers but that to me was a plus. Instant friends! Beware of the government sponsored carpet scam in Turkey. erdogon forces all ship tour groups to compulsory visit a carpet factory at every port. If you open your mouth and ask the price they squirrel you away to a private room and give you the hard sell. The average is about 1000 euros but on the streets the gypsies will sell you the Chinese imitation for 20. Internet costs a fortune but good excuse to give it up for a week. Drinking costs a lot too. Cabin TV was crap. Endless repeats of love boat. Shows were good. Enrichment was only lectures on acupuncture etc. pools were ok. Food was varied but bland and mostly tasteless catering for the demographic. Don't waste money hiring a suit. Everyone came in their old business's suit. Give the casino and art display a miss. Ditto the photography. (WAste of money). Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
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
The Emerald is huge so lots of activities are available every day. In fact, I almost enjoyed the days at sea more than the destinations because we were able to relax, enjoy the sun, and not stress about food or transportation. The ship is ... Read More
The Emerald is huge so lots of activities are available every day. In fact, I almost enjoyed the days at sea more than the destinations because we were able to relax, enjoy the sun, and not stress about food or transportation. The ship is luxurious and the service was always great. I loved the convenience of the pizza, burger, and ice cream bars near the swimming pools, and when we wanted a bit of quiet, we really enjoyed the adult pool area. I liked that I could go to the sauna and steam room whenever I wanted, didn't have to pay extra to enter those. We were pretty lazy the entire trip, so I don't know much about activities, but I know there were tons. One thing I loved was they played movies on a huge outdoor screen right above one of the pools every night. We were lucky enough to get a private table at dinner, not sure if that was because we were on a honey moon. The food was delicious every night. It kinda sucks that you're on a schedules dinner and ours was kinda late (8:30pm I think) but we would get late afternoon snacks at the buffets so we wouldn't be starving. We paid an extra $35pp for unlimited soft drinks for the week, which I thought was a fair deal. We watched the night entertainment presentations in the theater every night and enjoyed those, except one night when they had a dirty and not-funny stand-up comedian, so we left. Embarkation/disembarkation were always a pain. I guess that's how it always is. To avoid long lines, we would eat at the buffet during disembarkation (to the islands) that way we also wouldn't spend money on food at the islands. I remember thinking the safety instructions before we set sail were so annoyingly long, but that's how it always is. We did one excursion, I think at Princess Cays, and that was snorkeling. It wasn't anything amazing. Saw a few fish but no colorful corals or anything. Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
Emerald Princess 30th September- 14th October Mediterranean Cruise Couple Age mid-fifties.  First cruise for my wife and i , absolutely fantastic, from boarding to embarking on the final day. We both had a relatively open minds, of ... Read More
Emerald Princess 30th September- 14th October Mediterranean Cruise Couple Age mid-fifties.  First cruise for my wife and i , absolutely fantastic, from boarding to embarking on the final day. We both had a relatively open minds, of course some research had to be done , I read a whole host of reviews, as always a great cross section of opinion provided all with negatives and positives. Gratuities , drinks packages , excursions, and embarking times being the hot topics, gratuities number one. Advise here is to relate how you reward good service in UK and take it from there. Putting these thoughts in the sub conscious we boarded and the conscious experience began. Weather was superb except when departing Gibraltar we hit a reported force 10, this lasted from approx. 7pm on the Saturday to about 2pm on the Sunday 12th October, we were aware of the additional motion but not to an uncomfortable level. I enjoy the sea but have never sailed being unable to see land for the first time, so the balance of sea days and port excursions was great for us. Ship excursions are bit pricy we only did one which included wine tasting in Tuscany, seeing the superb countryside and the leaning tower of Pisa, this proved good value. With forward planning many of the ports of call can be visited in your own time frame we did it with no problems, but beware on getting back to the ship in time for the sailing, to our knowledge no one was left at any port!! Highlights, Corsica, Monte Carlo, Rome and Genoa. The food on board was excellent and there is enough temptation through out the ship to indulge . Vines, have a glass of wine with tapas and sushi, International café a whole range of coffees , pastries , quiches, the quality of food throughout was very good . Because of this we found the pounds did not pile on as much. Plenty of leisure activities are available, some you pay for . The Sanctuary, offers various spa treatments, you could learn how to play instruments , you can putt, play table tennis , listen to a whole range of talks, or simply have a walk on deck 7. The pools are quite small and get crowded but larger pools would present problems for the ship in inclement weather Our favourite restaurant for evening dining was the Divinci which operated any time timing where you can choose to eat as a couple, slightly longer queuing time, or mix with other cruisers . Most nights we done the latter and met a whole of host of interesting people. The maitredess at the entrance to the restaurant done a great job at getting a good mix of people on the tables…. most of the time . Horizon restaurant is buffet style and is a bit of a scramble dependent on time of visiting. Boterchelies a must for breakfast, similar operation to Divinci offering a whole range of breakfast options, allow a little bit more time to enjoy. Kelvin , entertainment Director and his side kick Dan are as corny but endearing as your find, very enjoyable , Sky walkers night club being a running joke , will say no more. Entertainment on board was a bit up and down but generally watchable. Highlights were Freddy Mercury tribute band, comedic and camp twist on delivery but the guy could sing and the band play .Emerald Princesses own band and singers were excellent with so many costume changes and some great individual singers. The smaller bar venues had various artists, singers and comedians, Bernie Flint, an x Opportunity Knocks contestant being the pick. Staff work hard to make the experience a great one , almost all friendly and polite. Service is exceptional from cabin room staff to dining areas. My wife and I our in the mid- fifties, the average age for this cruise was a little more .There were some younger but we enjoyed mixing with the more mature folk as they have a wealth of cruise/life experiences and provided great conversation and entertainment. We travelled the day before and stayed at the Chiltern Manor hotel which offered a " Cruise Package" this included 14 nights parking, bed / breakfast and use of leisure facilities and taxi transfers, great hotel. This option takes the stress out of worrying about travelling down on the day. I would not hesitate another Emerald Princess cruise or one within the fleet of the Carnival brand, Princess Cruises being one. Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
This was our first cruise holiday, and we were expecting a relaxing two weeks with good accommodation, top quality dining and some reasonable entertainment. Our first disappointment was the 'stateroom', a cabin area of small ... Read More
This was our first cruise holiday, and we were expecting a relaxing two weeks with good accommodation, top quality dining and some reasonable entertainment. Our first disappointment was the 'stateroom', a cabin area of small proportions with bedding which to say the least had seen better days. Our steward called his superior and she was horrified at the state of sheets and pillows. These were changed immediately but not a lot better than the originals. We had chosen anytime dining and as food was identical in any of the main three restaurants we decided to eat at the Michelangelo. The quality of cooking was to say the least variable, but one aspect certainly was an inability to cook fish. Scallops were overcooked and on one occasion returned to the kitchen as they were unrecognizable both by us and our very good waiters. Fillets of Lemon Sole did not taste of anything and as we live 50 metres from a fish market we do know what fish looks like and how it should taste. The meat dishes fared a little better and we did receive three good steak dishes, but on our final evening everything was overcooked and tough. A new style of Apple Strudel arrived one evening which consisted of two slices of thick pastry with tinned apple mush between. Apple Strudel should be a confection of thin pastry rolled up round a filling and baked.(see Oxford English Dictionary) Lunchtimes were buffet style and of variable quality, but at no time could one honestly say the food was good. Smoked Salmon made guest appearances, and if you enjoyed this on a daily basis you had to ask and a small dish would arrive, not exactly fine dining! The two main pools on the boat played loud 'music' and one showed films most of which were not 'A's. We would not recommend this cruise boat to anybody who was looking for quality food, quality entertainment and relaxation.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
My wife and I booked the Baltic cruise in order to travel with a family member who we promised to go with a few years ago. We expected the worst and were not disappointed. There were a few thousand geriatric travelers, mostly from Britain ... Read More
My wife and I booked the Baltic cruise in order to travel with a family member who we promised to go with a few years ago. We expected the worst and were not disappointed. There were a few thousand geriatric travelers, mostly from Britain and America, which made it something akin to a floating nursing home. It was hard for me to believe that these people were my peers, people that were young during the rebellious 1960's. The furnishings of the ship were extremely tacky, the staff overly pleasant and uncomfortably obsequious (they probably detest the passengers who have nothing better to do with their money). The passengers seemed mostly the type that live in the suburbs or in gated communities, bourgeois that is. In Saint Petersburg, the few thousand tourists from the ship were herded like cattle into waiting buses, which took us to the signifcant palaces, churches and museums where we were led like sheep bumper to bumper with other tourists. As if I went to St. Pete to see a Titian or a Rembrandt or an amber room or some of the other extravagances that my peasant family had to suffer for. We were informed in detail about the Czars and Czarinas and shown the opulent palaces and expected to stare at appropriately dumbstruck at their beauty. The last 100 years of Soviet history was remarkably absent from the narratives. It was all Catherine this and Peter that, Nicholas this and Elizabeth that, to the point of asking for mercy. We went on a number of tours and on each one we spent our time with other tourists in palaces, churches and museums (as if they alone were the essential fabric of the country). The only somewhat non-painful days (no, they too were painful) we really had were the ones where we walked about cities pretty much at random and did not go on tours, but rather used public transportation. But still, we had to return to the prison of the ship in a few hours time in order to not be left behind. The towns of Gdansk and Tallinn, specifically have been restored beautifully, but it is tourists that you will be spending your time with there. In fact, all the tours had something of a Disneyland (where I've never been) quality about them (fake that is). The food was adequate and plentiful, although I wouldn't think that a reason to travel, especially since the chef made no attempt to provide the national dishes of the cities we visited. Really, I can't figure out why anybody would waste their money on a cruise or on the frivolous tours that accompany them. It was all so boring, inauthentic and aseptic. But that is probably why people do choose to cruise and tour. They want a sanitized edition and history of the countries they visit. They have no desire to walk the streets or mingle with the actual people of these "foreign" places. These people travel to see tourists. So all in all, the trip was miserable. It even ended miserably when you are treated like a suspect at the airports, all due to the foreign policies of America and the western European countries. I should mention that we did not go to a single lecture or show, rather spent our time in our tiny cabin reading. I am not condemning people that cruise, it simply isn't our thing. Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
This was our 7th Princess cruise but our first since 2009 and sad to say we did notice that standards had slipped in a number of areas. Mainly little things like they no longer produce the daily newspapers for US, Canadian and UK ... Read More
This was our 7th Princess cruise but our first since 2009 and sad to say we did notice that standards had slipped in a number of areas. Mainly little things like they no longer produce the daily newspapers for US, Canadian and UK passengers, a box of tissues in your cabin is no longer standard, but available if you ask, the sun decks were not cleaned to previous high standards and used crockery etc. was not cleared away as rapidly, and, unlike other US lines sailing from the UK, they don’t provide tea or coffee making facilities in your cabin. But by far the biggest disappointment was in the standard of the food, we always found that dining on Princess was exciting with each course savoured, this was no longer the case and the quality of some of the cuts of meat was well below our previous experience. Probably the biggest deterioration was in the breakfasts, we found a lot of the food items in the buffet were at best only lukewarm, whilst in the MDR we experienced very slow service. I highlighted some of these issues during the cruise and to be fair passenger services did take them seriously and we ended up with 3 boxes of tissues! But more importantly the buffet breakfasts did get much hotter. Overall the cruise was still very enjoyable, especially since we were with our 2 sons and their families, and we did get some very good service from most of the bar waiters and those in the MDR. Was it good value, well yes but only because we got 2 price drops honoured by Princess which resulted in the overall cost reducing by 40% from the original booking fee. Whilst Princess continue to give price drops they will likely remain competitive, but their launch prices in the UK are much higher than RCCL/Celebrity or now, on this year’s launch, even their partner company P&O, and as we need to book early to secure an accessible cabin then they would need to be providing a must have itinerary for us to give them our future business. Entertainment. This was typical cruise ship fare with production shows and guest artists in the theatre, but unlike P&O there were no guest artists in the other venues only the ships staff musicians, DJ music or the entertainment staff organising trivia type shows or the Princess Pop Star passenger talent contests. There were however some guest acts performing in the Piazza as well as a couple of pseudo shows from the ships singers and dancers. But Princess do try to pack more features into their Piazza area, as a result it can get very crowded at some times and finding a seat is well-nigh impossible. The lack of guest artists in the other lounges was probably fortunate for us since we found that both the lounges had poorer viewing access of the stage areas than their P&O equivalents, but for canned music this is not a problem. We also found that Explorers lounge had worse access for wheelchairs than P&O’s Tamarind or Malabar equivalents, and as a result we did not use this lounge. There were a fair mix of musicians on board including a string duo, a couple of pianists, a C&W duo, a guitarist and a party band, generally sufficient to find some bar with your type of entertainment. Ports of call. All the Ports of call were our first visits, at none of which did we take any ship’s excursions, mainly because Princess did not offer any accessible tours at all on this cruise, but they did provide free accessible shuttles where needed. La Coruna – The ship berths close enough to the town centre so that a shuttle bus is not needed. It is quite a large town on a peninsular, similar to Cadiz but much bigger and more modern, with a promenade, the Paseo Maritima, following the coast line and providing a reasonably level walk whereas the town centre is quite hilly in places. We did not venture as far as the Tower of Hercules but wandered around the old town and then into the town hall square which has sidewalk cafes all around it. We enjoyed a tapas lunch and then a short stroll back to the ship. Bilbao – The berth is at Getxo which is about 3 miles from Bilbao centre and requires a shuttle transfer of 20-30 mins, provided free by Princess. Unfortunately there was only one accessible bus and it did not run to the provided timetable, as a result we just missed it and decided to let the rest of our party use the normal bus and we went back on board, so I have no real information on Bilbao, other than the family enjoyed it and said it was very pleasant. Le Verdon (for Bordeaux) – The berth is a 3 hr. drive away from Bordeaux and Princess only provide shore excursion tours to Bordeaux or the vinery’s, but they do provide a free shuttle to Soulac sur Mer, however the shore excursion team and even the Captain go out of their way to disparage Soulac, and one of the team even told me that it had little to offer and any beach Soulac had was quite poor and too far away for an easy walk, all of which is quite wrong. The town is only about 20 mins away and although fairly modern is quite a charming little seaside resort. The main shopping street is about a quarter to half mile long leading from the main square where the shuttle drops you right to the sea front which has a magnificent beach and a pleasant promenade. It obviously began as a tourist resort back at the start of the last century and has one or two interesting old hotel buildings on the sea front, and quite a large old market building along the main street with the usual shops selling all sorts of interesting food produce. We thoroughly enjoyed our visit. St Peter Port, Guernsey – This is a tender port and since I was informed that my wife would need to be able to take a few steps in and out of the ships tender and that there were also steps from the dock in the town we decided to stay on board. So we were rather disappointed to find that Princess were also using a larger shore based tender and we saw at least one wheelchair and passenger carried on board this vessel, but by this time the rest of our family had already gone ashore. Conclusions. We had a very enjoyable cruise and cruising still provides a high quality holiday at a reasonable price, but for those of us who have been cruising over the last 10 – 20 yrs. the cutbacks in quality of food and standards of service are quite noticeable. Comparing Princess with other lines we sail, we think they are now very similar to P&O, but have fallen behind Celebrity’s standards, and are probably closer to RCI and CCL itself. This is perhaps not surprising as both Princess and P&O are part of Carnival, but this now leaves Carnival without a main stream high end offering since HAL is a much smaller operation.   Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
The cruise was nice, and the food in the buffet was AMAZING. The deserts were the best part. The ship was clean, and elegant. I was 26, and I went my 73 year old parent. The activities tended to be geared more toward older people ... Read More
The cruise was nice, and the food in the buffet was AMAZING. The deserts were the best part. The ship was clean, and elegant. I was 26, and I went my 73 year old parent. The activities tended to be geared more toward older people (retirement age people). For example, they had some guess the song activity, and all of the songs were from the 1960s and 1970s. They also had bingo, art sales, and a Princess Pop Idol competition where guests would sing. But, everybody was fun and I had a GREAT time. There were a couple of dress up nights, but nobody is forced to dress up. I saw some people not dressed up. We were supposed to stop at the Princess Cays port, but with the tender, the water was too rough, and it was deemed unsafe to stop. However, we were able to make all of the other stops, and I appreciate the fact that safety was a priority. The nightly entertainment usually took place in the very nice Princess theater. Three nights had the Princess singers/dancers perform shows (that include singing/dancing to a theme, like disco). Other entertainment included a female hypnotist from Canada, a show from comedian Rondell Sheridan, singing by a member of the Letterman (Mark Preston, but I don't remember), and another comedian whose name I do not remember. Overall, the entertainment was good. Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
As others have said, we took this cruise for the itinerary. Since it was our first cruise, we did not know what to expect. I booked our extra nights before & after the cruise in Copenhagen through the Radisson's website. This cost ... Read More
As others have said, we took this cruise for the itinerary. Since it was our first cruise, we did not know what to expect. I booked our extra nights before & after the cruise in Copenhagen through the Radisson's website. This cost half of what Princess would have charged so I don't know why anyone would book through them. We took a taxi from the airport to the hotel. Princess was going to charge us $120 to get to the hotel and we paid $40 on our own. There was a Princess table set up in the lobby & the woman told us to wait until 3 or 4 in the afternoon to board the ship after all the groups had checked in. it was great advice & we breezed through. The ship itself was grand. It was everything I expected. it was huge, well organized & super clean. Our mini suite with balcony worked great for the 4 of us. It was well thought out. I never felt cramped. There was plenty of storage so we were able to unpack everything. The bathroom was a good size - bigger than expected. We saw maintenance people working all the time. I had always heard people rave about cruise ship food so I was coming in with high expectations. I know cooking for thousands cannot be easy but really - can't they cut the rind off the pineapple before serving it? It took a lot of sawing to get it off with that butter knife. We ate mainly in the Horizon Court because it was convenient. We spent the extra $25 per person for dinner at Sabatini's & really should have saved our money. It was heavy on atmosphere & short on food. The menu was very limited with the pasta course being "chef's choice" which means zero passenger choice. I felt nickeled & dimed with the food. I wanted a Diet Coke one day & was asked for my room number so they could charge me so I skipped it. I had hot tea at no charge in the Horizon Court, dining rooms and through room service. I was surprised when I ordered tea at the European style cafe in the Atrium & they wanted to charge me! Ice cream was available at no charge near the pizza counter but if you wanted the "special" ice cream at the cafe, there was a charge. That said, the food was adequate & nobody starved. We loved the $3 flat fee for room service. The staff are very friendly & well trained. I found getting on & off the ship surprisingly easy. The only port I did not like was Aarhus. I cannot figure out why the ship stops there. I would rather have had another day in Stockholm. the ship docks in an industrial area with lots of commercial traffic so passengers are not allowed to walk off the ship into town. We had to wait for a bus to take us a mile into town. Plus it was pouring rain & we went back to the ship. St Petersburg was the highlight of the trip. We booked a private tour through SPb tours & it was fabulous. Because we were a small group, the tour guide was able to get us to the front of every line. it was expensive & worth every penny. It was hot when we went to Peterhof & my kids loved running through the fountains. I had read that we might have to wait to get off the ship because we were not on a Princess shore excursion but that was not the case at all. My 9 year old went to the kids club one afternoon when we were at sea. My 14 year old did not go at all. I know Princess is not really geared towards kids but Disney Pictionary for 13-17 year olds?? They were so tired from sightseeing that we watched movies or swam in our free time. Princess really pushes on-board shopping & art auctions. I think having shops on board with nice souvenirs is great but please don't clutter up the hallways with tables of stuff. And don't tell me not to buy souvenirs in Russia, that I should buy them on board. I wanted to buy a book or magazine but the selection was almost non-existent. The onboard travel guru was great until they started broadcasting his lectures over the PA system. The entertainment was pretty hokey although we enjoyed the crew talent show - they were very genuine. Overall, the trip went smoothly & we have great memories. Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
My wife and I have sailed with Princess numerous times and this was a last minute trip, planned in early December 2012.....Wish we had looked up the airfare from ORD TO FLL beforehand booking the cruise (duh momemnt...) ALWAYS look up the ... Read More
My wife and I have sailed with Princess numerous times and this was a last minute trip, planned in early December 2012.....Wish we had looked up the airfare from ORD TO FLL beforehand booking the cruise (duh momemnt...) ALWAYS look up the airfare BEFORE you book the cruise.....I should know that by now.. anyhow booked the cruise, got assigned Rivera Deck Cabin R224....very nice, deck 14, up on port side near the front of the ship....as a matter of fact saw many of the top brass walking down our hallway all during the cruise....especially a very nice BIG Irish nautical guy, who was ever so pleasant and very friendly...stopped to ask about the cruise, our names etc...saw him many times.....he has some nice nautical tattoos on his forearms and my wife joked, that he probably had more.... SO, spent next few weeks using kayak and other websites to find cheap airfare without aggravations.......also we checked the forecast for the weather and saw that snow was possible, in our area and in areas flying through...Indy, Ohio, Penn etc......so I mentioned to people on CC boards to book your flight a day or two earlier......just in case...we never fly in anymore on the cruise day.. so this year Christmas was the 25th, and the 26th, we were still trying to enjoy Christmas, but airborne....luck would have it that on the 22nd we finally find airfare going to FLL, stopped in Charlotte, NC, via UNITED/US AIRWAYS..... flights were easy and good, then got to Charlotte to see the horrors of air travel delays......IT WAS THE BUSIEST AIRPORT area that we had ever been too... after having the US AIRWAYS guys straighten out our flight.....and then told the flight was oversold...but we had seat assignments..luckily but other flights we delayed due to poor weather in INDY and PENN etc.....so this caused such a delay in flying out on the 26th out of Charlotte...... We ran into several other Emeralders going on our cruise and we wished them luck finding flights out......from Charlotte down to FLL.....so it nice to visit the Amex lounge in the Charlotte airport....it was delightful and cozy, had nice mags to read, snickety snacks, quiet, clean bathrooms and places to doze off before our delayed flight out... So, arrived in FLL, caught the shuttle bus taking us to the La Quinta Inn & Suites Ft. Lauderdale Airport 2620 North 26th Ave Hollywood, FL 33020 1-954-922-2295 it was the BEST hotel ever in FLL that we had ever stayed in, clean quiet, nice safe area, free shuttle pickup from FLL airport, and they had a special $8 pp to the cruise port the next morning......FREE hot breakfast of waffles and cereals and rolls and hot coffee/tea/OJ it was very very nice. We had learned a few days back and posted on CC about the NORO on our very ship, we were not concerned.....since we knew it would take time to get onboard...and it did....... Took shuttle bus to FLL cruiseport and it was chaotic.....our poor driver stuck in a traffic nightmare and we just begged to be dumped off anywhere so he could get out of there and drop off his other cruise passengers...waiting patiently for their sailing on the HAL ship...... SO, we snuck out when the cruise cops were not looking....took a few secs....and paid our driver and ran into the terminal..... WHEW! we would still be sitting there.....traffic was a nightmare due to cabs in and out of the port.....and noro cruisers and repeat or back to back cruisers getting checked out before reboarding....scary stuff this noro... Checkin was slow and stopped, we have ELITE status...so we got into a special room without drinks or nibbles (they always have that) and then finally got onboard the Beautiful EMERALD around or right after 3pm.....YEP 3PM we did not sail out finally until 6 630pm and it was nice...seeing the port in the darkness and all the people waving and flashing their lights in those condos right by the port entrance....great send off.... -Ship Info The ship just had been drydocked a few weeks before to have some general things done.....carpeting etc...it was rumored that the workers in drydock the guys who do not wash their hands, brought the NORO onboard with them....who knows? Others speculated that it began with some sickly kids from Christmas cruise previous week and spread through deck 14 Rivera (our deck) We were happy with the room, nice and clean and comfy......hobbit sized as we call it...but very much appreciated.....our room steward was Rizza, a delight. Ice bucket in the fridge with fresh ice all the time.....beds always made etc...we kept a clean room the whole 10 days to save her some time for the kids, lots of kids and teens on this cruise...heard almost 400? Ship was so beautiful, clean and staff was friendly and very very accomandating...advised everyone all the first few days to wash hands and use purell and etc etc...was over repeated again and again.....when you poop, wash your hands....(I am a guy and can tell you 7 out of 10 guys using the bathroom while standing upright or sitting down, DO NOT WASH THEIR HANDS) sorry....almost everywhere we go....people irked to have to stop their vacations to wash their hands...... just do it..... Had a terrible waiter, Johnry in Bottacelli dining table 84? he was awful, we hardly ate in their, did not complain either....our choice...we wanted a nice quiet cruise and relaxation....got it too.......sorry Johnry, you should be fired....never brought water to table, never listened to our needs, wants or offered suggestions etc....... -Activities The daily Princess Patter aka the _hitter Patter as we fondly nicknamed her...cause it came to your room every night at 9pm when you were in the cabin or changing or using the toilet...bring a hi lighter there are so many events... did we do them all, no....... I let my wife do her thang and I did my thang...which is sitting on the deck, people watching and chatting, watching the world sail by......being so lucky to have gotten the chance to be on this cruise.... Once I got my deckchair, and yes the deck chair savers are on board this cruise too....but they are enforcing the policy saying if you don't use that deck chair in 30-45 minutes OFF your towel or stuff went to the pool guys desk and you lost your spots....hahaha I really really enjoyed this part of the cruise...I loathe deck chair savers....... SO, wife went light shopping, went to chats and shopping shows.....Marty is the best, he is the shopping guru on the Emerald and he was the BEST....he helped us find a nice new ring fitting for my wife's diamond setting at the DI in St Kitts.....one of the better ports we visited...... -Service Pretty awesome, except for the rude coffee guy (I reported him) he was so rude to me waiting for a coffee, and waved me off.....and not it nice way.....enough said about that... Highly recommend the International Cafe right there in the piazza.....man it was awesome........all free except the ice cream....go down every morning for the best DONUTS, chocolate, sugar and the bavarian and the best beignets I have ever had...YUMMY... Lunch and breakfast was good.....and dinners were very tasty..... wife did not like the pot roast one night and our lousy waiter never replaced her meal or offered her something else...great service NOT. If you don't want to fight to find a table or hunt for food.....I would suggest going AFT to the rear dining room always a table and such and if not have the lunch in the dining room.......always a treat! The hot tea days were awesome....could not do them all......met some lovely people.......especially the Brits and the Canucks..... -Port & Shore Excursions We did not do any shore excursions other than, finding a nice couple from Stuart, Florida Lori and Dave and we went to the best beaches with them everyday and soaked in the ocean for 3-4 hours each time...doing nothing but floating, swimming and talking...it was awesome....and they knew everything about cruising and the best beaches.... Unfortunately all the ports we visited right around the new years...so everything was closed.....that was disappointing..... Was not impressed with any of the ports cities....all run down and needing some tourist money to build them up and spring them to life....(ST THOMAS) is the king of the ports....we think....,they have so much money and established island etc......the other islands need to learn from them....... St Kitts was awesome great beaches and shopping...... the other ports alright to goto the beach, but honestly.....run down areas... take the cab...we walked in one port city after the beach and it was scaryness, even the police station was closed......got lost trying to find the road to the cruise ship in a not so safe area........finally did our CHICAGO WALK...which means, do not get in my way or bother me or else.........like the New Yorkers how they walk like they mean business.....finally got to the port....1.5 miles to the beach...take the cab, trust us....its worth it and set a return time with your driver....... -Summary It is sad to celebrate NY Eve on the cruise ship...I told my lovely that they were setting up tables....and they would be selling the champs aka champagne this time and not free like on other NY Eve cruises.......PRINCESS this was so bad and in poor taste.......I am very saddened and did not drink any of the $7-20 glasses of champs, or buy a bottle of $175 Veuve Cliquot......huh? at least the band music rocked and the confetti was free...well this time... Everything else on the cruise was wonderbar aka wonderful...... You could stroll the decks for a nice breather, shop the shops, watch people lose their money to the casino....never saw anyone win....but they just kept giving money to the casino....STOP...hehehehhee the coin lock game is rigged I played and studied it for days.....you insert a buck and get a shot to stick a key into the slot to win cash or an ipad...its rigged......nobody won in our ten days cruise and everyone said they blew 10-25 bucks on it per try....and that was alot of people..... We carried on our own luggage so could not find the porters....I recommend this if you have just a few bags.......easy and you get your luggage right in your room..... When disembarking the cruise ship......wait in your assigned area for your group to be called....if you live nearby you are the last off the ship...am flights get dibs on first off the ship.....and once you clear customs and go outside to get your cab...the cab line was over 45 minutes long look for a few guys with white vans and they charged $11 pp taking you right to the FLL airport....more for MIA airport...but they are right when you walk outside and you are hit with the onslaught of cabs, buses and traffic and lots of people....its then when the cruise is finally over..... And if you are travelling in a large group and not everyone is together please don't hold 20 seats for the other party members to arrive....please its rude... you don't always have to sit with your family and friends......why is this so commonplace every cruise that we take??? for Christmas sakes, go off and explore the ship, goto the library (get daily crosswords) and have your own adventures.......We never hang with family and friends...we tell them we are NOT offended and go off and do your own thang and if you want to meet up great.... The 35 member family who insisted on trying to pick a fight with us over breakfast tables....buzz off......I sat down and ate my breakfast and NONE of your clan EVER came to breakfast, even at nearly 10am......so there you go.... WONDERFUL EMERALD CRUISE....Lee was the cruise director, but he did not do much, he let his staff do everything and they rocked...sorry Lee. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
This was our first cruise and we were fortunate to be able to go on this with family members that cruise regularly. This meant that we were better prepared than most first time cruisers in what to expect. We enjoyed the ship, the ports ... Read More
This was our first cruise and we were fortunate to be able to go on this with family members that cruise regularly. This meant that we were better prepared than most first time cruisers in what to expect. We enjoyed the ship, the ports and what activities we did get involved in. The ship was lacking in some areas for new empty nesters interested in fun and activities like night life. Very few people at the "clubs", but overall it was an excellent cruise. The shows were enjoyable, but I do wish they were a bit longer. We loved having access to the movie theater and the casino when interested. The crew and staff was wonderful and always looking our for our interests. Food was great all around. We went to a combination of dinners, specialty restaurants and buffets, so we had a variety of food types and selections to enjoy. Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
This eleven day tour of scandinavia and the baltic region with Princess was a great experience. All of our expactations were met and exceeded. Pre cruise concerns...sea sickness, lack of interest in drinking, gambling, dancing amounted ... Read More
This eleven day tour of scandinavia and the baltic region with Princess was a great experience. All of our expactations were met and exceeded. Pre cruise concerns...sea sickness, lack of interest in drinking, gambling, dancing amounted to nothing. There were heaps of things for us to do both aboard and ashore. I loved the art history and gem lectures, jewellery shopping (excellent prices for amber), art auctions, scenery, tour of the galley, variety of dining experiences, quality of food. We had three full days at sea...one unexpected as we couldn't land in Oslo due to a general strike and seven ashore days. We were disappointed in missing Oslo but actually appreciated the day (first day of cruise) to explore the ship and recover from our jet lag. On two of the shore days - Aarhus and Tallinn - we did our own thing and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. On the other five days we did Princess shore excursions. All of them were managed brilliantly. They were exhausting days but absolutely brilliant. Of 3200 passengers only 11 were children. There were people from all over the world but mostly Americans. Many people we talked to were seasoned cruisers...quite a few had clocked up over 10 cruises many with Princess. The food, service and entertainment were much much better than I expected. Don't use " The Love Boat" as a reference guide! We used the specialty restaurants, Crown Grill and Sabatinis for formal nights. Other nights we did Anytime Dining in Michaelangelo and Da Vincis. A couple of times we had room service. We had breakfast at Horizon Court most days. All of the food was high quality and the service was excellent. We hardly felt any boat movement...mostly we had calm or mild seas. We will definitely cruise with Princess again! Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
Just finished my first cruise on the Emerald Princess and we had a great time. The room was a fine size and the balcony made it perfect. We are both average size people so we had no trouble with the shower, which can be a little small ... Read More
Just finished my first cruise on the Emerald Princess and we had a great time. The room was a fine size and the balcony made it perfect. We are both average size people so we had no trouble with the shower, which can be a little small for larger folks. Most of the food was really good, some nights the menu read better than the food tasted, but the deserts, well you just have to experience them for yourself. The fish was kind of fishy tasting no matter how it was prepared, but the lobster and escargot were delicious. The activities were varied and something was going on all day long. The coffee and ice tea were fine, no I didn't buy a 70.00 drink cup, that I thought was a bit much. Our room was tended to all the time, and our waiter was so helpful with suggestions and wine recommendations. There was music going on at all times and the dance lessons were great. The only thing I can say that could be improved are the mattresses. Our steward did put a foam cover on the bed for us, but it didn't help. The mattress was just worn out and really should have been replaced. The gym was wonderful, the classes were great that they offered and the pay for pilates and yoga classes were priced pretty much like home. I would recommend this cruise to anyone Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
Being first-timers, we have nothing to compare it to, but we found our cruise on the Emerald Princess to be very enjoyable. Embarkation and debarkation were smooth and quick, not at all the chaos we'd been led to expect. The staff ... Read More
Being first-timers, we have nothing to compare it to, but we found our cruise on the Emerald Princess to be very enjoyable. Embarkation and debarkation were smooth and quick, not at all the chaos we'd been led to expect. The staff were excellent, the food was great and so was the entertainment. We visited six ports and enjoyed them all. We had a bit of rain and rough water, but that's hardly Princess' fault, and, unlike some horror stories we'd heard, nothing went wrong with the ship and no one got sick. We had an inside cabin, which would have been boring had we spent any time in it. However, we just slept there and spent all our time on deck or in the various lounges, so I'd recommend an inside cabin as a good way to save money. The cabin was large enough, and very queen (refreshed twice daily.) There was individual temperature control, which worked very well. We took four tours booked with Princess, and one we found on our own. Advance booking is less trouble, but on-the-spot is cheaper. I think next time we'd book fewer tours in advance and more on the spot. The "official" tours were all as advertised and quite satisfactory, just a bit overpriced. We travelled to and from Fort Lauderdale on Southwest -- right on time, friendly and efficient. We stayed for one night at the Marriott Cruise Port/Airport hotel before boarding the ship. I think everyone there was going on a cruise. The place is fine but there's no other reason to stay there. Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
A long BA flight from Heathrow and then a night's stay in Fort Lauderdale which was a waste of time realy. Off to the ship next morning and quickly on board. Nice inside cabin but as I am only going to change and sleep in it so ... Read More
A long BA flight from Heathrow and then a night's stay in Fort Lauderdale which was a waste of time realy. Off to the ship next morning and quickly on board. Nice inside cabin but as I am only going to change and sleep in it so what. Ship is huge, 19 floors for the lifts and stairs to the 20th for mini golf. Quite a few bars but only Stella on draught in one or two and that was nothing like you would expect or want. Fosters in big cans wasn't too bad and Jamesons whisky was quite cheap. Entertainment was OK but the karaoke got quite boring by the end of the voyage. Same old voices that couldn't sing... Trips ashore a bit short on time and expensive on ships own ones. Taxi trips - Antigua was great, Barbados was boring as the driver wittered on about who with millions lived or stayed where. St Kitts was useless as driver was an idiot who kept trying to speak through a distorted PA system. Ruined a good day out. Food on board in the main restaurants was nearly all Italian or just over fancy and not to our humble tastes. After two nights we all moved permanently to Cafe Caribe. Speedy disembarkation at Port Everglades and sight seeing trip of Miami and then the Mall. They have a lot of concrete in Miami and not much else. Dolphin Mall was a load of rubbish. Miami airport, the less said the better and then 9 hours on a 1 hour late flight. What did I think over all. I'm glad I did it but I wouldn't do it again. Too long flights and not enough time to see the places. 9000 miles and I need another holiday. Have booked again but this time its the Mediteranean. Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
Review of Emerald Princess 01/27/12 10 Nights Southern Caribbean Itinerary: Ft. Lauderdale, Princess Cays, Sea Day, St. Thomas, Antigua, St. Lucia, Barbados, St. Kitts, 2 Sea Days, Ft. Lauderdale About me: I'm 40 years old, ... Read More
Review of Emerald Princess 01/27/12 10 Nights Southern Caribbean Itinerary: Ft. Lauderdale, Princess Cays, Sea Day, St. Thomas, Antigua, St. Lucia, Barbados, St. Kitts, 2 Sea Days, Ft. Lauderdale About me: I'm 40 years old, from Atlanta GA, and this was my 30th cruise - 4th with Princess. I have previously sailed on the Grand, Golden and Caribbean Princess. Other cruise lines I frequent are Celebrity, HAL and RCCL. I have also sailed Regent, Crystal, Carnival and NCL. Traveling companions: My partner, who is 44 and from Ireland, and 2 co-workers/friends who are 42 and 49 both living in Atlanta GA. For all 3 of them this was their fist cruise. First thoughts: We were looking for a relaxed, easy paced holiday - something with little structure and not to dressy, but still in a sophisticated environment with quality food and entertainment. I specifically chose Princess for these reasons. While I typically gravitate to Celebrity and HAL I knew Princess was right for my travelling companions and their preference for a more relaxed, casual environment. I chose correctly. General Ship impressions: Upon first entering I felt the ship to be much more sophisticated and elegant than its older siblings. Gone are the mint/peach/mauve/turquoise colors and tropical patterned carpets/decor. Instead I found much more rust/browns/jewel tones and Italianate design throughout. As I wandered the ship I felt the overall flow of spaces works much better with the relocation of Wheelhouse between the atrium and theater, moving Crooners to the port side of the vessel and the addition of the International Cafe/Vines on deck 5. The Crown Grill is lovely once inside but the walkway leading to it feels a bit like a discount photo-mat. One other odd item -- Explorers lounge. The murals depict India and Southeast Asia, but the architecture and tables still sport an Egyptian theme which seems rather at odds with each other. This is a small detail that few would notice and one that did not hamper my enjoyment of the space, but rather elicited a small chuckle on my part. As they say "the devil is in the details" (more on that later!). I like the new location of Sabatini's and the addition of Adagio; however they are easily overlooked due to their general remoteness. The new placement of Skywalkers is also a plus. I liked the decor of the casino, but felt the placement of slots and tables left too much empty floor space. Also the selection of slots was rather dated. From a design and decor standpoint I think all of the changes made since the launch of the Grand are well chosen and executed. Cabin: We were in E504, partially obstructed Oceanview on Deck 8. I really liked our cabin. All of the Oceanview cabins on deck 8 are laid out with the beds against the sidewalls just like in balcony cabins. The exceptions to this are any cabins for triples/quads, which have the beds against the window wall. The view from our cabin was pretty decent -- a nice view of both sea and sky, albeit with the top of a lifeboat thrown in for that "nautical touch". Bathrooms are typical Princess -- small and efficient. I am 6'1", and my partner is 6'3" and we both found the shower serviceable if not exactly spacious. The biggest issue was the tiny single shelf for toiletries in the shower. Next Princess cruise I will definitely bring some sort of shower caddy. There was more than ample closet and shelf space for the 2 of us for a 10 night voyage, even though we both packed on the heavy side. I like the small shelf on the bedside tables -- a great way to keep clutter at bay. The midship location on deck 8 was ideal as it was always and easy hop down/up the stairs from all the public spaces on decks 5-7. We only used the elevator when going up to deck 15. Our friends were in A229 on Deck 12 forward and were less pleased with their general location. They used the elevators a lot more than we did, and felt that most things were a good bit of a "hike" to find being so far forward. On a ship this large cabin location is key! Smoking Policy: The new smoking policy had gone into effect on the cruise prior to ours. There was no odor of smoke in our cabin or in any of the public areas except the Casino (where it is still allowed) and Skywalkers. The other smoking areas were the entire Port side of the Promenade Deck, the forward 1/3 of the Port side of the Neptunes reef pool area by the windows, and the Port side of Deck 15 just outside of Cafe Caribe above the Terrace pool. I heard no complaints from non-smokers about excess smoke being an issue. The casino held several non-smoking nights throughout the cruise, which was not a huge issue for smokers as they had the Cigar lounge immediately adjacent. For the record, I am a non-smoker, and my partner smokes. Dining: We ate in the DaVinci Dining room 5 times for dinner, Crown Grill Twice, Sabatini's once and Cafe Caribe twice. For Breakfast we ate in either the DaVinci dining room (5 times), International Cafe (4 light port day breakfasts) and Horizon Court once (which was once too many for me). Embarkation lunch was taken in DaVinci, and on our 3 sea days we ate from Cafe Caribe twice, both later when the crowds had died off, and once from the Burger grill. We found all of the food to be fresh, hot and generally of a high standard and well prepared/presented. By nature I tend to avoid buffets for many reasons -- crowding, sanitation, poor presentation, old/cold food, etc. I was generally pleased with the food offerings in Cafe Caribe and it was all fairly fresh and tasty. I like that they use "real" plates there at night and set the tables with linens and glassware. The melamine plastic they use during the daytime is just plain tacky! Horizon Court breakfast was hot, but rather uninspired and the crowds are maddening. All of the meals taken in DaVinci were excellent! Food arrived hot, well prepared, not too salty and in appropriate portions for a 4-5 course meal. We were on Anytime Dining and had several different wait teams, all of whom provided excellent service. The food in the Crown Grill was good quality mid-upper end American Chain Steakhouse -- similar to Morton's. Service was okay, but not spectacular. The waiters seemed overworked, even though they had relatively small sections (3-4 tables). I found the service flow in the main Dining Room to be more calm and organized, which is usually just the opposite. I had similar thoughts on Sabatini's. I will say I like the new Sabatini's menu, but if you are not a seafood lover you may find it a bit disappointing. Now for my "Devil is in the details" gripe -- Princess does a LOT of things right in their dining venues -- good quality table linens, decent plate ware and flatware, nice standard glassware, silver plated butter dishes, creamers, use of pepper mills and crumbers, etc ............ but then .......... Plastic water pitchers in ALL the dining venues (not to mention the tacky blue jugs in the buffet), Plastic tongs for serving pastries in the MDR for breakfast (which are on silver trays), waiters setting the large plastic service trays on tables in the Specialty dining venues and the list goes on. It cheapened the overall elegance of the dining experience and is something that could easily be corrected. This is the one area I feel they could easily improve upon. Bars: I liked the Martini Menu at Crooners -- it offered some really nice cocktail options that I had never seen. Wheelhouse is a lovely space, but, the chairs SHOULD be upholstered in real leather, and NOT in the leather-look vinyl that they are covered in. This is another one of those "Devil is in the Details" kinds of gripes from my end and is something very few passengers would even register as they used the space. Adagio was lovely, but woefully underused and has its own unique cocktail menu. Bar staff were friendly and efficient, though during the first 24hrs there was a BIG push to sign folks up for Wine Tasting events. I think we had 6-7 offers the first night alone between 7pm to 1030pm! After that initial push no one tried to "sell" us on anything. We never used Vines and it rarely was busy. The coffee bar at the international Cafe was well used at all hours of day and night and the food selections offered a nice range of light bites (all complimentary) appropriate for the time of day. Entertainment: This was the 2nd cruise with the new entertainment format. I actually rather liked it. Offering one "Big Show" per night in the Princess at 3 different times and limiting it 30-40 minutes worked well for us. We generally arrived about 5-10 minutes before show time and were able to get decent seating. The only shows that seemed to require and earlier arrival were the Beatle Maniacs Show (all 3 showings were standing room only) and the Crew Show on the final night. For both of these we arrived 20 minutes early and got very good seats. We attended a variety of showtimes and found no crowding or traffic flow issues. Explorers Lounge was almost exclusively Game Shows, Trivia, Karakoe, etc and club Fusion was used for live Party-Band dancing while Wheelhouse had a variety of Piano Music, Social Dance Music and Party Band. Crooners was not used well -- the only entertainment there was a Piano Bar entertainer from around 9-1130 every night. He had a following but I could never warm up to his style. Some nice pre-dinner jazz/standards piano would have been nice in this venue. Adagio had a mix of piano music and Jazz nights. The Jazz nights were excellent -- I wish they would do them every night! My only gripe is that there was virtually no live music from 7-8pm, which should be prime time for cocktails. I won't go into specific performers / cruise staff as they can vary so much from one sailing to another. Overall I felt the range of entertainment was well suited to the overall passenger mix and passengers seemed to by and large be enjoying themselves. MUTS: Good selection of films; pizza, milk, cookies a nice touch; but the sound is awful -- very hard to hear! Pools: With 5 Freshwater Pools and 7 hot tubs how can you go wrong?! There were plenty of loungers and even though chair-hogs were out and about we were able to snag a chair or two at any time we wanted. Preferring a quieter ambiance we used mainly the Terrace pool or the Lotus pool. Final thoughts: We had a very relaxing and enjoyable cruise. Princess offers a nice upper-mid range cruise experience that suited our needs well. Food was of an overall high quality, Service uniformly excellent, and entertainment varied enough to allow us a variety of activities. The Anytime Dining and new Entertainment format worked very well for us. There was nothing in the experience that would prevent me from cruising with Princess again and I look forward to doing so sooner rather than later. I was glad to have chosen Princess and my travelling companions all had a wonderful first cruise experience thanks to their wonderful staff! Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
From August 9th to 20th we took our first cruise and it was just fabulous, fabulous to the point that we are now planning a European river cruise for next summer. The Emerald Princess was a beautiful ship which was well maintained by an ... Read More
From August 9th to 20th we took our first cruise and it was just fabulous, fabulous to the point that we are now planning a European river cruise for next summer. The Emerald Princess was a beautiful ship which was well maintained by an excellent staff who were more than helpful. The quantity and quality of food was as good as we have had at numerous 5-star resorts and the specialty restaurants were well worth the extra fees. The Internet Cafe was somewhat disappointing as internet service was quite slow even while in port which resulted in our spending a lot of money just to keep in contact with people. Due to inclement weather we were unable to dock and consequently missed our excursion to Berlin, that was disappointing. We were so impressed by the fact that our ship took us right into the middle of Stockholm, Helsinki, Tallinn,Aarhus and Oslo. The only negative item about our whole cruise was the harassment inflicted by Princess Cruises organization and staff on those of us who did not take their excursions at St. Petersburg. We had an excellent excursion there with SPB! Last but not least, we would like to thank CRUISE CRITIC and its members for all the help we got prior to setting out on our first cruise. Sincerely, Kate and Jerry Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
Perhaps I should get this over with first. Princess Air total botched our airline reservations. Despite being advised by me that Delta insisted our names on the reservation be spelled correctly, Princess of several occasions insisted ... Read More
Perhaps I should get this over with first. Princess Air total botched our airline reservations. Despite being advised by me that Delta insisted our names on the reservation be spelled correctly, Princess of several occasions insisted otherwise. I had to begin straightening things out at our local airport and then then, when we arrived in Amsterdam, we had double reservations. I had to run, not walk, run, two concourses to straighten things out and reach Copenhagen. On the return trip we spent a half hour at the ticket counter while KLM sorted out the mess. This could have been entirely avoided if Princess Air had been willing to correct the names on our tickets. I do not recommend anyone use Princess Air. Our cabin steward was unobtrusive and most competent. We never returned to our cabin without finding that everything had been cleaned and he ensured we were aware of any matters that required our attention. Our servers at the 8:20PM dining were outstanding in every way. I found the tone of Princess' lectures distinctly low brow, not to enriching and imagine that they match the interests of the majority of Princess passengers. It would be pleasant if a corporate entity, even a cruise line, actually attempted to provide lectures that truly uplift and teach. That said, their Baltic expert's lectures, repeated on the television, were first rate. Diner was a splendid experience on the Emerald Princess. Our 8:20 seating was most pleasant; the food, excepting the fish, was excellent, the waiters were superior and the wine reasonably priced with a good selection. The wines essentially duplicated those we drink at meals and carried no more markup than standard in a restaurant, however, they did add a 15% tip! We wandered quite a bit throughout the ship, which I was told holds 3,000 persons, and I don't recall feeling crowded at any time, except when we looked around the shops down in the bowels of the ship and at the Horizon Court Dining Room. We found the service at the Horizon Court Dining Room to be grossly inattentive. At breakfast, the waiters and bus persons walked past us, not offering coffee, juice or anything. After you hailed them, which often brought about a sneer, then they would continue to pass you without looking to see if you needed a refill. Now, one imagines the better personnel work the service for about a week at the Horizon Dining Room. Others have said this but the coffee was truly horrible; it was watery, tasteless and was delivered through a pipe! Our cruise was splendid once we boarded in Copenhagen We found the majority of the ports visited by the Emerald Princess to be excellent. We would recommend Tallinn, Oslo, Stockholm and St. Petersburg to anyone. Tallinn is undoubtedly one of the best preserved medieval walled cities in the North and it has managed to survive without damage either natural or man-made. I can't imagine a trip to the Baltic without a stop in Tallinn. St. Petersburg is wonderful. We had a tour with ALLA tours and the itinerary and guide were first rate. If we never get to Aarhus or Helsinki again, it won't be much of a problem as these ports were at best time fillers. Tallinn is undoubtedly one of the best preserved medieval walled cities in the North and it has managed to survive without damage either natural or man-made. I can't imagine a trip to the Baltic without a stop in Tallinn. St. Petersburg is wonderful. We had a tour with ALLA tours and the itinerary and guide were first rate. Incidentally, this is the best place to buy either Scandinavian or Russian gifts. The quality is high and the prices much, much more reasonable than the later ports. Frankly, Aarhaus isn't ready for prime time. There was little to do of value, and that was a shame, because we spend only about 8 hours in Stockholm, far too little time. Helsinki was a bit of letdown, especially the monument to Sibelius, my favorite 20th century composer. It is worth a ten minute look at most. Oslo is a bit different in the way its people view the work and gosh, everyone should see the Sculpture Park there. Three hundred nude statues done in a distinctive style, my that's wonderful; let the prudes get their apoplexy, I found the statutes alive and, in all cases the depictions either caused one to consider aspects of the human condition or laugh. It was great fun and we will never forget it. Also, the cruise's walking tour of the downtown was super; the woman to walked with was an opera singer and she sang to get our attention. She was deeply committed to Oslo and really provided an insightful commentary as we walked. What little of Stockholm we were able to see was outstanding; the problem was that 8 hours doesn't cut it for such a city. We plan to return and explore some more. The rating is lower because Princess failed to make a sufficient commitment to visiting the port. We thought Helsinki would be something special. It wasn't. We managed to spend a day looking around, but our time would have been better spent in Stockholm. The Hermitage, Russian Orthodox churches, the Peter and Paul fortress and Catherine and Peter's palaces are the highlights in and around St. Petersburg. We spend two days there and could have stayed a month. It is very different than other European cities and possesses some of the best museums and preserved palaces in Europe. The architectural style is a bit over-the-top but wow! We couldn't imagine a Baltic cruise without St. Petersburg, the absolute high point. We took a small group tour with ALLA Tours, a local outfit and it was just wonderful. Outstanding itinerary and great guide. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
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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