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23 Princess Emerald Princess Cruise Reviews for Romantic Cruises to Caribbean - Southern

Booked 2nd 'best' suite as best suites were soldout. 'suite' was size of balcony suite on other cruise lines "small"!!! All 'non-surcharge dining ' had exact same menu!!!! And primarily fish ... Read More
Booked 2nd 'best' suite as best suites were soldout. 'suite' was size of balcony suite on other cruise lines "small"!!! All 'non-surcharge dining ' had exact same menu!!!! And primarily fish entrees..ugggh!! Ship has no stablizers!!!! Felt every wave, and noise of engines was annoying; old ship!!! New years eve celebration consisted of old, faded, video on large screen 'fireworks' wow!!! No complimentary champagne toast.....buy $40 bottle of cheap champagne if a 'toast' was wanted......cheap cruise line!!! About 1/2 point above 'carnival cruises' which are awful! If you smoke....go on another cruise line!!!! No smoking on balcony, small smoking area on 12th deck......please! Never, ever again! I'm sticking with norweign and holland america; quality cruise lines. We waited 3 years to book a new years cruise; we are totally unsatisfied, feel ripped-off and disgusted with princess cruises!!! Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
This was the second time we've been on the Emerald. We were on it during its second year in the Mediterranean and now it is seven years old. She still looks very nice and they take good care of her, painting, replacing carpet, etc ... Read More
This was the second time we've been on the Emerald. We were on it during its second year in the Mediterranean and now it is seven years old. She still looks very nice and they take good care of her, painting, replacing carpet, etc that we saw while on board. Our mini suite, cabin D114 (portside), was very nice, but we were very forward and did feel the movement a little more than the mid ship staterooms we were accustomed to, but it wasn't real bad by any means. The Christmas decorations were beautiful around the ship! The added room in our cabin was nice with three of us sharing the space. Having a tub is also something you don't get in a regular balcony stateroom, and we enjoyed the bigger bathroom. The sofa bed for our grown daughter was great because the long sofa still had a portion to sit on even though the bed was open. Good idea! Our large queen size bed was comfortable for me but not as comfortable for my husband. The dining staff was the best of any of our 7 other cruises (4 th on Princess) They went way out of their way to please us, no matter what we requested! If we wanted a bottle of wine that we had not finished in a previous dining room for Anytime Dining, they tracked it down. If we wanted to try two different desserts, they just brought them without us even asking for both. They were all so friendly and never acted as if we were troubling them in any way. Many had a super sense of humor and made our dining experience a real pleasure. Entertainment we saw only on some of the evenings, so can't judge them all. The trivia game in the Explorers Lounge was very fun, the comedian illusionist was terrific, and the Casino non- smoking nights were good for just a little while, so as not to lose too much. Dancing in the Wheelhouse Bar was nice. We even learned some new dance steps in the Club Fusion. Bingo was well attended and was more reasonable to play than on other cruise lines. When you think about the chef having to plan for 15,000 meals per day, it is amazing what they are able to accomplish. We ate one evening in the Crown Grill Steakhouse and thought it was outstanding, well worth the $25 surcharge. Also on our last evening, we dined in the beautiful Sabatini's restaurant and had a wonderful meal, also a specialty restaurant. We never bought the alcohol package because we didn't feel it was worth it. You are allowed to bring a 750 mL bottle of wine per person in each cabin without a corkage fee. It was nice to sip a glass of wine on our balcony before dinner. At dinner we'd order a glass of wine and a pina colada by the pool, but never would have spent the amount of the alcohol package. The exciursions were okay except that in Belize we had to use local catamarans that held about 200 passengers to tender us to shore instead of the tenders from our ship. Because of that, it was open air and cooler on the morning trip to shore. The 2 hour river cruise was in an open air boat that was not very comfortable, it rained on us and we were cold, but we saw many crocodiles, iguanas, birds, and even bats on trees. Interesting. Tulum in Mexico was a long trip from the ship because you had to take a 30 minute big enclosed speed boat trip before taking a 45 minute motorcoach ride to the Mayan Ruins of Tulum . I felt it was worth it to see this ancient civilization on the gorgeous turquoise sea, but felt that I also missed a day on the beautiful beaches. You can't do it all! I figured that you can't always see the ruins on this magnitude. I loved this particular cruise because there were 3 full days at sea and it was so relaxing to just do your own thing! Whether it be walking the Promenade deck 3 times around for 1 mile of exercise or going to the big fitness center or just lounging under the huge outdoor screen to see a Beatles concert or see an NFL game, there was always something to see, eat, or do. I truly believe that it is up to each individual's attitude as to whether you will enjoy yourself or not. Some people complain about very minute things when on the whole picture, the cruise was wonderful and the staff was terrific in every way! Would we cruise with Princess again? Absolutely. It is very economical for what you get and if you paid a lot more on a high end smaller cruise line, you would expect more. Free liquor with dinner, smaller numbers at dinner, no waiting, etc., but we didn't break the bank and were very pleased ! We had a great time.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
We have just returned from our 10-day Southern Caribbean itinerary aboard Emerald Princess and had a wonderful cruise. We are in our early 50's, reasonably fit and active and it was our third Princess cruise (7 day Western Carib on ... Read More
We have just returned from our 10-day Southern Caribbean itinerary aboard Emerald Princess and had a wonderful cruise. We are in our early 50's, reasonably fit and active and it was our third Princess cruise (7 day Western Carib on Crown P in 2010 and 10 day Eastern Carib on Emerald P in 2011). We had a wonderful time and have nothing but praise for Princess and for the crew of the Emerald. Booking We booked with an agency that had good consumer feedback and provided very close to the best price/OBC quote for the cabin category (Inside Double) that we wanted. Unfortunately there was confusion in the telephone conversations between me and the Agent and the OBC amount was $100 less than I was expecting ($250 vs $350). Over several weeks I tried to work through the problem, first with the Agent and then with the President of the firm. In the end we agreed to disagree on who was right/wrong, but I commend the company for their willingness to interact with me (multiple email and phone calls including audio files of all our telephone calls!). A bit of a rocky start to the cruise but from then on everything went exceptionally well. Pre-Cruise Due to the vagaries of weather in our part of the world (New Brunswick is in eastern Canada), we booked our flight south on Friday for a Sunday cruise departure. Flight to FLL via Montreal was uneventful and luggage arrived without incident. I booked a car through priceline for pickup from Avis at the FLL airport (with drop off near Port Everglades) and the pickup process went very smoothly. We were en route to our hotel quickly. Price was very reasonable - $20.99 per day plus taxes and fees for a 2 day rental grand total of $65. Two night pre cruise accommodations for the 15 and 16 of March was difficult to book at a reasonable price but ended up with a diamond in the rough. The Ocean Holiday Motel was $100 per night, included free parking and was right on the beach in Fort Lauderdale. It's not the Ritz - basic accommodation but clean, comfortable, well situated and very nice owners. Wrote a review on Trip Advisor if you are interested. While in Fort Lauderdale we ate at Joe's Cafe (it may be Joe's Diner?) and the Gilbert 17th Street Grill and both were great. Wrote reviews about them on Trip Advisor too. Return of the rental car was to the Avis outlet in the Hyatt Pier 66 hotel on Sunday morning and then we took their free shuttle to the cruise port. The port was a bit of a gong show with 7 or 8 ships doing turnarounds but we eventually snaked our way through all the traffic and the various pickups and drop-offs until we got to pier 21 where the Emerald was berthed. Embarkation Estimate that we got to the terminal just after 11 o'clock and by then there was a queue already well formed. We gave our bags to the porter, watched them load into one of the hoist cages and joined the conga line. It moved quickly and we were into the building, up the escalator ("Hold onto the hand rail" we were politely told by an elderly Princess rep ? ) and into another queue for check in. Stood in this line for quite a while but we were shuffling forward and chatting with folks around us. There sure were a lot of dour faces in the line up. Come on people, you're going on vacation. Look a bit more cheerful!! Once the early arrivers were able to move from the seating area onto the ship, our queue moved very quickly and sometime between 12:30 and 1:00 we were on board. Everything was just as we remembered it from two years previous. Piazza is beautiful, International Cafe is beckoning, staff are welcoming, their uniforms are spotless, B2B-ers are lazing about, newbies are wandering around with their jaws agape, etc., etc. We went straight to our cabin (D104 at the VERY VERY VERY front inside of Deck 9 -- more about this later), dropped our carry-ons, changed into swim suits and headed for the Outrigger area to enjoy sail away from the back deck and the hot tubs that overlook the stern of the ship. When we returned to our cabin a couple of hours later (with a brief stop at the grill for a hot dog and at the ice cream counter for a swirl cone ? ) , our luggage had arrived so we unpacked and settled into our cabin. Cabin We booked an Inside Gty and were assigned a Category K, D104 which is located at the very front of Deck 9. It is identical to other Insides that we have had so it was like coming home when we moved in. We did notice more of the ship's motion being in this location and more noise than usual. Not sure if it was from water against the hull or from something clanging on the forward deck but at times it sounded like there was something about to come through the roof! While I would not choose this location again, it was not a huge problem for us. By the end of most days my wife and I were so exhausted that the noise didn't bother us. I would prefer an Inside on Plaza deck to this location. As almost always seems to be the case, our room steward, Robertino, was fantastic. Food We enjoyed the food that we had in all venues. We did not eat in either the Crown Grill or Sabbatini's on this trip. We had Anytime Dining and never waited more than a minute or two to get into the dining room. We always asked to share a table and our table mates ranged from good to great. Met physicians, farmers, police officers, teachers, business owners, etc ., from all parts of America, Canada, Oz and the UK. Service in the dining room was first rate although there were a couple of nights where it seemed the pace was slow. Just gave us more time to talk!! Had one breakfast in the MDR (very civilized!) and one evening meal in the Cafe Caribe (excellent) and most lunches at the International Cafe or the Trident Grill. The IC is, without doubt, our favourite venue on the ship. Chocolate dipped donuts every morning with a cappacino is THE way to live!! The servers in the IC -- Gina from Indonesia & Anastasia from Ukraine were wonderful. On board activities Took part in many more on-board activities this trip than on previous cruises. Joined the Pop Choir which was great fun. My wife and I took three ballroom dance lessons -- merengue, jive and foxtrot -- and it turns out I don't have 2 left feet!! We took every chance to dance so by the end of the cruise I was tickled pink when someone referred to us as the dance couple! Also went to Zumba which was fun. The gym on board is great so was able to keep up my commitment to active living. Formal Nights Both my wife and I really like to get dressed up so formal nights are something we really enjoy. While there is a range of attire to be seen, a reasonably large proportion of folks were in semi-formal or formal wear. Ladies -- it is always a pleasure to see you looking so FINE and Gents -- you looked great as well!! Loved seeing a number of 20-somethings in tuxes with their dates in long gowns! Of course, none looked as lovely as my wife did in the gowns that she wore ;). Also really enjoyed seeing youngsters and teenagers all dressed up and looking sharp. Entertainers The great -- comedian Sarge, singer Mark Preston (of the Lettermen), band Sol Provider, pianist Cory Simon, the Princess orchestra (jazz and big band sets) The good -- steel drum player, Princess production shows, International Crew Show, piazza pianist, hypnotist Michelle The bad (actually BRUTAL) -- comedian John Ferrentino Crew From the captain (Nick Nash) on down, they were uniformly excellent. Met the Captain and the Maitre'D at our CC M&G and they were very pleasant and stayed around to answer questions for a good length of time. The cruise director staff -- CD was Lee, others included Frenchie, Cory, Lexi, Leesh, Stephanie , Sarah -- were omnipresent, cheerful, engaged and friendly. Attended a portion of the chef/maitre d show in the Princess Theatre and they were very entertaining. The servers were referred to by one comedian as "Ninja's" because they are so fast to clear things away that you don't see them only feel a swoosh of air. That was indeed my experience! Always seemed to be crew cleaning, polishing, painting, refinishing, etc. Only complaint -- the public washrooms were sometimes less than perfect. Mostly though they were in good shape. Excursions Through a lot of research on CC and TripAdvisor, I found and booked all of our excursions: 1. Aruba -- Trikes Aruba -- approx $200 for a 3 ½ hour tour of the island on chopper-style motorized trikes. It was a total blast and worth every penny. Took a cab from the port to their location near the Westin hotel, short instruction on how to operate the machine and off we went. Visited the California Lighthouse, the first church, a waterside restaurant/bar, etc. Afterwards we walked to a nearby beach, hung out for a while and then walked back to the ship. In retrospect we should have taken a cab as it was a LONG walk but we managed OK. 2. Bonaire -- Woodwind Snorkeling -- this was a fantastic excursion. Great instructions by email in advance. Met co-owner Ulf at the pierside and he directed us to their location near the Casino, about a 5 minute walk. Trip left exactly on time. Co-owner Dee led the trip with 3 or 4 other guides and a professional photographer plus catamaran skipper. Great equipment, good safety briefing. Reef in Klein Bonaire is spectacular. Saw too many types of fish to name but the highlite was seeing multiple sea turtles. Free beverages -- beer, punch, soft drinks, water and some great nibblies as we sailed back. Trip arrived back exactly on time per the guarantee that we had been given so no worry about missing the all-aboard time. 3. Grenada -- took the water taxi to Grand Anse beach. $8 round trip pp which you pay upfront and receive a ticket for the return trip good on any watertaxi. At the beach we headed to the far left and obtained an umbrella and 2 loungers for $20. There were servers walking back and forth. Beer was $3 and frozen dacquiri's were $5. No pushy vendors. There was a fellow strolling with a guitar who would stop and play/sing hoping for a donation. After the beach we went to the market and looked around. Stopped to speak with a charming older lady who told us all about the various products. We bought a small sampler of spices plus the cocoa balls and some cinnamon sticks. On the walk back to the ship I bought some spice necklaces (3 for $10). 4. Dominica -- took a tour with Bumpiing. Met us just outside the gate and we left promptly. First stop was Champagne Reef where, as the name suggests, bubbles ascend from the ocean floor. Lots of coral and fish to see as well. Then it was off to a scenic overlook of the city. We could see the ship, the cricket stadium and much of the residential area. Third stop was Titou Gorge. A short walk led us to a stream flowing through the rocks. Water was cccccold but once we were in we were able to wade upstream into the canyon. Climbed up two small waterfalls and then floated back out to the starting point. We were told that a couple of scenes from Pirates of The Caribbean were shot in the Titou Gorge. Final stop was Trafalgar Falls, a national park. Slighly longer hike in to see the Falls and for those interested and capable, we climbed down into a hot spring. Absolutely lovely to relax in the very warm water and to find the various places where it cascaded over rocks and would give you a nice shoulder massage! Tour was $52/pp and lasted 6 ½ hours so very good value. Free beer, pop, water along the way too! 5. St Thomas -- it was a Sunday and we were moored at Crown Bay so we decided to simply enjoy staying on the ship rather than rush off to a beach. We did spend a few minutes browsing the shops in the port area. My wife bought a pendant of a sea turtle to remember our time at Klein Bonaire. 6. Princess Cays -- I know that some love this stop but I have never been a big fan. So, once again we stayed on board, watched a movie on the MUTS screen, lazed about the pool and hot tub and snoozed/read. Disembarkation Since our flight was not until 2 pm, we were amongst the last groups off (1010). I now know why they ask people to arrive in the afternoon to board. The B2B folks weren't scheduled to get off the ship until 11:30 or so. Everything went smoothly for us -- found our bags quickly, the customs line moved steadily and within 30-40 minutes we were in our cab en route to the airport. Final Thoughts By now I'm sure you've figured out that we really enjoyed our trip. Until 3 years ago I never imagined that I would enjoy cruising but after three cruises, there is no doubt that I'm a convert. Not sure when we'll be able to go again but hopefully it'll be within the next couple of years. Two itineraries that I would really like to do - #1 is the Baltics and #2 is the Panama Canal. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
This was our second cruise, but the first with Princess. Our first cruise was in 2009 on the new Celebrity Solstice. We wanted to try out Princess, plus we were interested in the specific ports visited on this cruise. EMBARKATION: There ... Read More
This was our second cruise, but the first with Princess. Our first cruise was in 2009 on the new Celebrity Solstice. We wanted to try out Princess, plus we were interested in the specific ports visited on this cruise. EMBARKATION: There were many ships in port on March 17th. Our journey from the airport La Quinta to the port via All Stars Transportation was a long, tedious process as the driver dropped a crowded van of passengers at various ships. Given the crowded port, we might have done better with a cab. When we arrived at the Emerald Princess, there was an endless wait in line. Eventually it seemed that princess added more staff to process passengers, but it still took an inordinately long time. I had hoped to make it on board in time for lunch in one of the dining rooms at (1:30 p.m.), but we were cutting it close, so we went to the Horizon Court buffet. CABIN: Our cabin was E730, a mini-suite with an extra-large covered balcony. We liked this room and spent quite a bit of time enjoying the space and the balcony, though it was windy at times. The bathroom tub area and the balcony showed a slight bit of wear. We thought the flat-screen TV's were too small for the space, and of course the lack of high definition limited the viewing experience. Still, it was fun to have two televisions, and we did enjoy the first-run movies. Our toilet quit working one afternoon. After about an hour, a maintenance person appeared and fixed the problem - the result of an air lock. Our room steward Jose did a most thorough and professional job each day. The evening noise from Club Fusion below has been mentioned in other reviews, and we did sometimes hear this at a low level, but it was not a problem for us. The location of the cabin (aft) placed us at quite a walking distance to elevators. DINING ROOMS: We chose anytime dining. We were eager to experience this option after the limitations of traditional dining on our previous cruise. It took a day or so to learn how the system worked. On most nights, we were seated within a reasonable time, although we did have to carry a pager sometimes. We learned that it is possible within the anytime dining choice to reserve the same table at a definite time for more than one night. The dining room food was very, very good. Although there were a couple of entrees we enjoyed less than others, overall the food was very tasty and beautifully presented. Service was always excellent. The portions were just the right size. My spouse enjoyed different ice creams every night, and I sampled all the dessert offerings. We also had breakfast one morning in the dining room, and afternoon tea was offered each day - a very nice experience! The baked alaska parade on the last night was festive and impressive. HORIZON COURT/CARIBE CAFE: The buffets were more than adequate, although by the end of the cruise we were a little tired of some items. We agree with others that the juice is very watered down and the coffee could be improved. Among the good things at the buffet were fried shrimp, the breakfast offerings, including made-to-order omelets, and fresh fruit and salads. OTHER FOOD & FOOD IN GENERAL: We thought the pizza was quite good, and we also had burgers/french fries when we wanted a change. The International Cafe was really delightful and just suited us on several occasions. The overall quality and availability of the food on Princess was one of my favorite things about the cruise. SHORE EXCURSIONS: All three of our shore excursions - Bonaire, Grenada, and Dominica - were good and were reserved through Princess. Bonaire and Dominica were our favorite stops of the cruise PROS: Overall friendliness of staff who all seemed to be working very hard. All of our contacts with customer service were positive. At 6 years old, it is a beautiful ship. We enjoyed the warm wood tones and the attention to detail. We did see the occasional scrape or bump, but nothing to detract overall from our appreciation of the Emerald. CONS: High pressure sales of alcohol, spa packages, and other offerings especially during the first few days. We understand that the cruise line makes money this way, but alcohol is completely exorbitant after the tip is added, and we did not plan to spend money on much else besides an occasional drink, a photograph or two, and our excursions. We did not use spa facilities, fee restaurants, or the casino. ACTIVITIES: I attended an orientation to the ship's public areas (good); a name that tune contest (too bad one had to be part of a group of 6 to participate); a cooking demo that ended with a visit to one of the galleys (fun and I loved seeing the galley). My spouse went to an astronomer's talk and a seminar on speaking basic French. ENTERTAINMENT: We attended a couple of musical shows in the theater, which was nearly full on every occasion. These were just okay. We thought Mark Preston was very talented and we enjoyed his show. We also attended a female hypnotist's demonstration one evening. This show was fascinating and slightly disturbing. ADDITIONAL NOTES: It was crowded around the pools, but we managed with only one unpleasant encounter when my spouse was caught between two women in a disagreement over a chair. We enjoyed the promenade deck, which had a nice old-fashioned feel, although it was very windy. We learned that passengers could bring one bottle of wine per person back to the room, not just at embarkation, but at each port! FELLOW PASSENGERS: Very few children, and generally an older crowd, although there were a few passengers from all age groups from the U.S. and several other countries, including Britain and Canada. DISEMBARKATION: We were assigned a time we thought was too late, but the passenger service desk changed it readily for us. There was a short wait in the Casino before we left the ship and found our transportation to the airport.   Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
First off let me say to all of those absurdly picky travellers with complaints on minor issues like standing in a line or your room not being made up exactly when you want it to be...GET LOST! LOL I swear my wife and I go on vacation to ... Read More
First off let me say to all of those absurdly picky travellers with complaints on minor issues like standing in a line or your room not being made up exactly when you want it to be...GET LOST! LOL I swear my wife and I go on vacation to have fun and we have fun every single time. Unfortunately we had to listen to a passenger complain loudly about something he or she hadn't received. LOL It is a vacation and you are damn lucky to be able to afford such a nice cruise...enjoy it! Okay back to positive stuff. Our balcony guarantee paid off in a big way as we received an upgrade to Caribe 534 awesome balcony room with a giant balcony which we used everyday. From morning coffee to evening cocktails to even some spur of the moment Whoopee; yes I said it. PS- Our cabin steward Sigfreid was awesome and we tipped him well. (They truly work hard) The cruise ship was immaculate and all we saw was crews continuing to clean, paint, and fix things throughout the cruise. Nice job Princess. All the pool areas were fun and clean and never a problem finding a chair or someone to get us a cocktail. In terms of activities there was something for everyone. My wife loved the Zumba classes, dance classes, and Bingo which she won $100 bucks. I loved the football games on the giant movie screen by the pool and I loved my fellow cruisers. I met a ton of nice people from all over the world. We really enjoyed both Sabbatinis (too much food but delicious) and Crown Grill(fantastic steak and top notch service) specialty restaurants; a great treat. We also did the Ultimate Balcony Dinner which was too good for words. Absolutely phenomenal; a must do if you have a balcony. In terms of the Main dining room it would be nice if princess mixed it up a bit with theme nights in the dining room; Caribbean night, Italian night, Mexican night, etc as the dining room was good but it did get a bit stale. Entertainment was fine and first night show and the marriage game were the best. They had great live music throughout the cruise. Everything on the trip went fine the usual delays here and there but nothing to bat an eye at. PS- Loved the Cosol tour company in St. Lucia; highly recommend them. This was our first 10 day cruise and we are now planning our first 14 day cruise and of course it will be with Princess. Happy sailing everyone! Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
We arrived at port about 11 am and waited for about 45 minutes for check-in to start. Once it started it was quick and we were in our cabin shortly after noon. We were in an interior cabin. Previously we had booked balcony cabins, but ... Read More
We arrived at port about 11 am and waited for about 45 minutes for check-in to start. Once it started it was quick and we were in our cabin shortly after noon. We were in an interior cabin. Previously we had booked balcony cabins, but decided to try an interior this time. We think we will be able to afford a lot more cruises if we book interiors. I was a bit leery of an interior when we booked it, but it turned out to be quite alright. It was small, but quite comfortable. We were hardly in it except to sleep or shower and change. It was located just aft of mid-ship and we found it to be a good location. Our only complaint was that the a.c. was not cool enough even when set at the lowest temp. It was adequate, but we would have liked it a bit cooler. We heard the same from several other people. We also found the a.c. around the ship to be a bit uneven - some areas cool, others a bit on the warm side. Food: We enjoyed the food very much. We had anytime dining. We would go to the dining room whenever we wanted. Because we were willing to share a table with others, we never had to wait. The only people that seemed to wait for long were people who went at peak times and wanted tables to themselves. Almost all the people we dined with were very nice except for one strange couple. They gave the impression that they were better than everyone else and the husband was an expert on everything. The beauty of anytime dining was that we never saw them again. It would have been unpleasant to have to dine with them each evening. The pub lunches in the Wheelhouse Bar on sea days were very good. The Crown Grill had great steaks, lamb and seafood in an elegant setting with excellent service. The buffets had great food too and we ate all our breakfasts and most lunches there. The International cafe in the Piazza was great for a snack or light meal. It is open 24 hours and the food was very good. Entertainment: Very good shows in the Princess theatre, usually 3 shows a night at 7:15, 8:30 and 10:15. The Piazza had all sorts of things going on throughout the day - singers, dancers, musicians, juggler, sing-a-long etc. The movies under the stars is nice and we saw a few good movies there and also in the Princess theatre. There are lots of bars around the ship and there is always something going on in them. We did ship sponsored tours in each port and enjoyed them all. The ship itself is very beautiful. The staff was friendly and tried very hard to make your holiday enjoyable. Our steward Grace kept our cabin spotless and looked after our every need. All the staff we interacted with were pleasant and professional. We met lots of really nice people from all over. Disembarkation was well organized. We enjoyed this trip very much and have put a deposit on a future Princess cruise. Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
Emerald Princess cruise March 7th-17th. Southern Caribbean route. We are from South Carolina so rather than deal with the airlines we decided to leisurely drive down to Fort Lauderdale. Our first stop was in Cape Canaveral at the ... Read More
Emerald Princess cruise March 7th-17th. Southern Caribbean route. We are from South Carolina so rather than deal with the airlines we decided to leisurely drive down to Fort Lauderdale. Our first stop was in Cape Canaveral at the Radisson Resort At The Port. If you ever decide to sail out of Port Canaveral this is an awesome hotel to stay at. For $160 we stayed in a suite with king sized sleep number bed, a full separate eating area with second TV, a hot tub next to the bed and a nice marble shower. The pool is done up to look like a tropical oasis with large stone arches covered with vines and a waterfall in the middle. The service there is top notch. We ate at Kelsey's pizza right next door and had delicious pizza and Greek salads. We then ventured on to the Springfield Inn and Suites Ft Lauderdale Airport and Cruise Port. We got a king sized room with all the amenities for $193. This included a free shuttle to the port and the ability to park our car for the duration. With a 10 day cruise the savings really added up. You can book a return shuttle back from the port for $10 a person. We enjoyed yummy pizza from Carcione's pizza (large 1 topping with 6 garlic knots and a cold 2 liter...$14). Embarkation: We took the 10:30am shuttle to the port. Arrived inside around 11am and were put into group 4. It took about an hour before our group was called but once we were called things moved relatively fast. We went to our cabin and found our luggage had already arrived! We decided rather than fight the hordes at the Horizon court we would have lunch in the dining room. It was a decision well made. The dining room was not crowded and a perfect place to relax. My wife and I enjoyed a delicious cheese ravioli appetizer and then beef tenderloins in a rich gravy with red mashed potatoes. It was one of the best meals on the ship. I would highly recommend doing this instead of the horizon court. There are even cheese burgers available if you have picky little eaters. We did muster at 3pm and met in the casino. They now scan your room key card at muster so trying to hide from it won't work. It was quick and painless and soon we were ready to "escape completely". Cabin: We stayed in E 316. An inside cabin on the emerald deck. This cabin had it's ups and downs. On the upside we were conveniently located close to just about everything. The elevator was just around the corner and were were very near the theater, bars and dining venues. The room was spacious enough not to feel cramped and offered more than enough storage space. The bathroom was small but workable with a nice shower with good pressure and temperature variation. On the down side our first night we hit some rough weather with high seas and wind. The walls of cabin creaked so long and so loud sleep was almost impossible. Fortunately when we reached the calmer Caribbean waters the creaking subsided. Also we could never seem to get the cabin very cool. We didn't opt for a top sheet and later regretted it as it got pretty warm under the comforter with the little AC the room provided. We did get the egg crate mattress which made the bed more comfortable. What made our cabin stay the most bearable was taking my WDTV with portable hard drive along. WDTV is a small black box which allows you to watch Netflix, Youtube, Facebook and various other video, picture and music services with WiFi connection. We didn't utilize these since WiFi is very expensive and spotty on the ship. However I downloaded a DVD copier program (Ideal DVD copy) and burned 120 of my favorite movies to a 1 gig portable hard drive which I could plug into the WDTV. I then plugged the WDTV into the stateroom TV and by switching the sources with the TV remote was able to watch our DVD movies in our cabin. It was really great to be able to relax and watch a movie at our leisure right in the room. WDTV is $99, a 1 gig portable hard drive is $150 and the DVD burner program cost $40. So for a one time investment of $300 I can take my DVD library everywhere I go! Dining (my favorite part): We ate all our breakfasts in the dining room (except) for the last day. You should really avoid the horizon court as the food is not as good. The breakfasts in the dining room were very good. We enjoyed Eggs Benedict, blueberry pancakes, crispy french toast, and other yummy samplings. Each breakfast has 2 specials of the day and then the standard fare of eggs, pancakes, cereal, fruits, meats, etc. I disagree with other posters who said the coffee was bad. The horizon court coffee was nasty but the dining room coffee tasted just fine to me. The international cafe also makes a great breakfast stop. They have loads of pastries, donuts, coffee cake and muffins all of it tasty and fresh. For lunch we went to the dining room when available. The food was consistently good and the hamburgers outdid the Trident grill in both size and flavor. Hamburgers, cheeseburgers and bacon cheeseburgers are available on every dining room lunch menu. The Trident grill was not bad. It featured hamburgers, cheeseburgers, chicken sandwiches, brats, and hot dogs as well as a vegiburger for non meat eaters. You may want to be in line a little before 11:30am as the lines get long. I do wish they had more offerings as well. I have seen other lines offer taco bars with nachos and chili. It would have been nice to make a chili cheeseburger or chili dog to break up the monotony. The pizza grill was another great staple with some of the better pizza I have had at sea. The crust is tasty and crisp and the ingredients fresh. They offer cheese, pepperoni and a pizza of the day. My favorite was the "surf and turf" which was tenderloin and lobster bits on a pizza. Again my only complaint is wishing the had more choices. Only 3 choices with 2 of them being staples gets old quick. The international cafe offers small sandwiches and salads with a quiche of the day and soup of the day. The sandwiches include ham & cheese, Mozzarella and Prosciutto, chicken salad, and others. The sandwiches are small but light and refreshing. The quiche of the day is usually cheese with either mushroom, onion, spinach, leeks or tomato depending on the day. I didn't try the soup and the Gelato was still unavailable. We never ate in the horizon court which is available as well. For dinner we stayed with the dining room. Here is where we encountered another Princess problem. Anytime dining. Which by all definition was certainly not. When cruising with princess before we were able to make a standing reservation for a table for two for the duration of the cruise. We were told that this was not allowed by the reservation line only to discover other couples were allowed to make this arrangement. We were told to arrive at 5:30 every night and we would be seated but that isn't "anytime" dining in my book. Other lines could accommodate us "anytime" and any seating arrangement we liked. All said our meals were generally very good and the wait staff friendly and attentive. The prime rib is a must try as well as the Goat Cheese Souffle, Lobster was sweet and tasty. Do have the Chocolate Hazelnut souffle as it is very good. One other complaint is the way tables for two are set up. There is a long community couch with chairs spaced out along it to create makeshift tables for two. The problem is you don't have any privacy as there are people at both your elbows. People who want tables for two usually wish to dine alone and not be subjected to forced conversations. I would like to see Princess create real tables for two instead of trying to pass this off as such. The international cafe has yummy dessert bites in the evening which we found outdid some of the desserts in the dining room. They are also smaller and less filling. Now for my favorite. The Crown Grill. We ate there twice and can't recommend this place enough. The steaks are some of the best I have ever tasted and always cooked to perfection. I would recommend the Scallop appetizer with perfectly cooked scallops. The Black and Blue soup with tangy Roquefort cheese. I had both the 8oz fillet and the 16oz Kansas city strip both delicious. The scalloped potatoes are a must try. They are swimming in cheesy goodness. You can also add as many 4oz lobster tails as you can handle. The only throw away about the meal was the signature salt collection. The salts were too strong tasting and really not needed. The Cafe Caribe was available for dinner but we never ate there. We also never tried room service as the menu and food quality are the worst at sea. Entertainment: We skipped all the song and dance shows. We saw Al Katz and he was pretty funny. He did the usual stand up and we found getting a seat in the theater at 7:15 was not hard. We also saw Steven Scott and thought he was very funny combining sound effects with his various funny stories. He did a dead on impersonation of the captain that had everyone rolling. I would highly recommend seeing him. Our most common night activity was sneaking off to our secret hot tub. I will now share with you the secret. In the spa area is a pool and two hot tubs which are virtually abandoned at 7pm-8pm. These hot tubs are really hot, not luke warm like the ones in the main pool area. They also have powerful jets. It was very relaxing to have the place to ourselves at night with the night sky, cool night breezes and the lights of the Sanctuary giving a nice glow. Seek this place out! Just take the elevator to deck 16, make sure you get robes to wear from your cabin steward. Ports: Princess Cays: We stayed on the ship as we had been there before and it rained most of the day. I felt bad for the people who took the rough tender ride over only to be rained on with no place to find shelter. If you have been here I would recommend a day of having the ship to yourself. Nice to avoid all the cattle lines and just relax. St. Thomas: Got off briefly to purchase alcohol. If you plan to do so on this cruise buy it all here as they have the best prices and selection. We were surprised to find that they didn't take our liquor and hold it till the end of the cruise. I can't say if you will be so lucky but it was a nice way of keeping our bar tab low. The other ports had little to no alcohol stores and they were more expensive with poor selection. Dominica: Stayed on the boat. We have toured it already and once you have been there you have been there. Grenada: Had planned to go to magazine beach but it was overcast. We decided to venture into town which was a mistake. Every 3 feet some guy would try to peddle his cab tour. It usually went like this... Do you want a tour? No thanks. Let me show you my beautiful island. No thanks. With all it's waterfalls and cliff divers. No thanks. And historic forts. No thanks. I will take you to Grand Anse beach. No thanks. Repeat this with every guy you pass on the street. We did find a very nice spice store in the mall called D#1 spice shop. She had the best prices and wasn't a tacky tourist shop. Bought spices and retreated back to the boat. Bonair: One of the best stops of our trip. We chose to take a free shuttle bus to the Plaza Resort Bonair for some snorkling and relaxing on the beach. When you get off the ship just look for a set of white tents featuring tours. The Plaza shuttle driver is usually there about every 10 minutes. The shuttle is free and the resort costs $10 a person for use of their beach chairs, pool, bars and restaurant. Bring towels as none are provided. This was the best snorkel spot I have ever been to. The water is glass clear. The sea floor is a mixture or rock and coral so there are tons of fish. The best part is you don't have to be a great swimmer to snorkel here. In waist deep water you can literally stick your face in the water and see all kinds of sea life. We saw Parrot fish, angel fish and even an eel poking his head out of his hole. I do recommend some water shoes to keep your feet from getting cut or slipping. The beach itself is small and relaxing. When you are ready they will contact the shuttle to take you right back to the ship. Here is a video I shot, please excuse the shakiness since my flip cam lacks image stablization... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5pK5LkuZ0DI&list=UUWFaowMaC-ERNs2OSSFidug&index=1&feature=plcp Aruba: After reading the various Cruise Critic boards we decided to venture to Eagle beach for a nice beach day. The weather was perfect, sunny with a nice breeze blowing. Originally we were going to take a taxi there, $13 one way per cab but a tour driver said to us "Why do that when the city bus will take you there both ways for the two of you for $5?" The bus station is right outside the port terminal. The busses are clean and modern and very safe. We purchased our bus tickets and headed on our way. On the bus we met up with "Myrtle Beach", a Boston snow bird now living in, you guessed it. She told us all about Eagle beach and what it had to offer. She was quite the character. She also introduced us to beach towel clips which we are going to have to get next time. She bought them at Bed, Bath and Beyond and they seemed to hold the towels neatly against the chairs. We arrived at the yellow exterior of the Amsterdam Manor which is right across from the beach and we got off. The beach was pristine with soft sand and clear blue water. Chairs were $10 a person and they had bar, changing area and port-o-lets. Myrtle Beach clued us in that we could use the Manor's restroom and that there was a Coke machine in there with $1 Cokes and Water. We stayed on the beach so we never found out if this was the case. Had a great day and decided to leave at 1pm which was good since the busses were getting a little crowded. All in all a perfect beach day. Sea Days (one early and two at the end): We spent our sea days lounging in the sun. We tried a number of places on the ship. The Mutts pool area seemed to lack a good breeze due to the tall glass windows all around it. We sat by the main pool upper deck area which had decent breeze but a lot of other people packing in like sardines. I wish some of these people grasped the concept of " personal space " We tried the highest deck by the Doplar radar globes but ended up naming it the frying pan due to the heat coming off the floor since they didn't put down the blue turf carpeting. I will now reveal to you the sweet spot. The best spot to spend an entire day sunning. Grab this spot early and guard it like a pitbull. Just outside the Sanctuary there is a glass wall that leads to a series of chairs. If you take your chairs and position them right next to the edge of the ship facing the dolphin shaped Sanctuary sign you will catch both a breeze from the side of the ship and a breeze blowing in from the front of the ship. Also you can use the pool located in the Sanctuary which is very cool and if you go into the spa area there are some very nice bathrooms close by. This is the same area with the awesome hot tubs. Disembarkation: Self debarked and were off the ship by 7:15. Shuttle back was prompt and the driver parked right next to our parked car. We were on the road by 8:00. Closing notes: We had an enjoyable cruise but feel that Princess has lots of room to improve. Anytime dining needs to be refined maybe by adding more dining venues. The Trident grill and pizza grill should expand their menus. The room service menu needs to be retooled and improved. Vines is a complete waste of space. Nobody used it except as overflow from the Piazza. The staterooms need better temperature control. Not to be missed sunrises and sunsets. Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
I have given detailed port reviews so I'll just talk about the boat here. We were very pleased with the ship. The food was fantastic in the dining room. We quickly discovered that the food from the dining room was WAY ... Read More
I have given detailed port reviews so I'll just talk about the boat here. We were very pleased with the ship. The food was fantastic in the dining room. We quickly discovered that the food from the dining room was WAY better than what could be found in the buffets. One of the crew said that the buffet food was the same as the crew got. Pretty good for crew food but not nearly as good as the dining room. The entertainment was pretty good. We enjoyed the magicians and comedians. The only problem was the Princess dancers. It was seriously soft porn. Everything they did was sexually charged, all the women's outfits were very bare. Picture this: the women put collars on the men, and the men get on all fours, and the women have a leash on the men - all while gyrating very sexually. AH! After the first show and a half we just didn't go to those anymore. The service was amazing, the crew was so, so nice. All the public rooms were beautiful and comfortable. A note on disembarkation. We did walk off - so did a lot of other people. Even though we did some waiting, etc. we did get to the airport, and through the security by 8am. So, our 10am flight was just fine. Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
My husband and I are experienced cruisers. We have cruised mostly in the eastern,western and southern caribbean and once to Hawaii. We usually cruise with a group of 6-12 adults, ranging in age from 55-75. We believe that the ship is the ... Read More
My husband and I are experienced cruisers. We have cruised mostly in the eastern,western and southern caribbean and once to Hawaii. We usually cruise with a group of 6-12 adults, ranging in age from 55-75. We believe that the ship is the destination, and the ports are just a bonus, so keep that in mind as you read the review. Travel to Port Everglades: We usually travel to the embarkation port a day ahead, and this time we made arrangements to stay at the Embassy Suites at the port. Very nice hotel,tropical in decor with a beautiful atrium where breakfast is served in the AM. Bring your bathing suit because the outdoor pool area is very pretty. Nice gift shop and there is a shopping/restaurant area within easy walking distance. There also is a grocery store adjacent to the shopping area, so my husband and I bought the toiletries there to save room in our luggage due to flight restrictions. We had a one-bedroom with living area and microwave/refrigerator/table space. Very nice because we were staying with our friends for the one night prior to boarding the ship. There is also an on-site restaurant and bar too. They also have a shuttle that you can arrange transportation to the port right at the hotel. Very convenient-cost about 15.00 for two people. Embarkation: We never let the cruise line dictate when we arrive at the port, so therefore, we don't take any transfers by the cruise line. We arrived at 11:45 and were in line filling out the health screening cards within 5 minutes. The line moved slowly at first, but we were on the ship within 20-25 minutes. Our room was ready and we were able to relax immediately!! The room: We had a balcony room on Caribe deck. I highly recommend this deck!! the balcony was 9x9 with the first 5 feet covered, and the last 4 feet exposed to the sun and other decks above. This did not bother us, as we could be in the shade or the sun whenever we wanted. Our friends were right beside us, so our room steward opened the divider between our balconies for easy access. It was perfect!!! The bed was comfortable and had a million pillows to rest our weary heads after a day filled with rest and relaxation! The closet was just like a walk-in the way it was arranged in the room and did not have a door, so it was a lot better as far as space goes. Also attached was a safe and another stacked storage space with a door. Now for the bathroom. I'm not sure how most people can fit into the tiny shower that had a fabric shower curtain that allowed water to splash out onto the bathroom floor. It is the smallest shower we've had on any of our cruises. I didn't mind it, but I couldn't help but wonder about other people!!! We had a mailbox outside our door that was great!!Upon arrival, we had arranged for chocolate dipped strawberries, cheese and crackers, shrimp and wine to be delivered to our room. No problems with room service. Our room steward was very attentive, but not intrusive.Sigfried was nice The ship: Princess does A lot of things well. The decor was stunning and the Piazza was a great place to listen to many different musical/variety acts. Get there early to grab one of the seats available nearby, or at the International Cafe where you can have a cup of coffee with a freshly made pastry or cookie. On a personal note, one of our friends has ancestors that are from Hungary, and the young lady that waited on us at the coffee/wine bar just happened to be from Hungary!! It was interesting that they also shared the same Hungarian last name!! Needless to say, we always liked to stop by and say "hello" during our time on Emerald. The outdoor areas were also wonderful and MUTS was a first for us! The wool blanket, milk and warm homemade cookies hit the spot!! The pools were very clean and we never had a problem getting a chair. The aft pool was unusual, not a lot of chairs available. There was this huge wooden stadium styled seating that was very hot and extremely slippery. A man actually slipped and feel down several of the levels and hurt his back. The ship's medical staff quickly responded after they were alerted. The theatre is lovely, but seems smaller compared to Royal Caribbean's theatre. Elevators were plentiful, but often packed at the peak times due to the older population aboard, as steps were not an option.Confusing layout, but folding map helped. The Spa: My husband and I had a couples massage and it was WONDERFUL!! Be aware that it is expensive and they will want you to buy the products used, but hey, if you can do it I suggest you try it. Ask for Elizabeth and Anne. They were great!! The food: The dining rooms are very different. They were individually placed throughout the ship instead of one three-tiered dining room with an expansive staircase. The arrangement was not as spectacular, and the servers were very business-like, with not much time to really give that wow service we've become accustomed to. On several occasions, two of the four of us went through an entire meal, up to desert without a drink, even after we had requested it. They seemed overwhelmed by the design of the serving area and were not very attentive. One day, we ran into one of our waiters as we came back on the ship and told him that we were having dinner on our balcony, so don't wonder where we were at dinner, and he replied "don't worry, tip is the same". He was right, this was the first time we did not give extra tip over the allotted. The food at the pool area was good and in the Horizon/Cafe Caribe was mostly good, enough food to find something to eat.The desserts were the best we've ever had, even the sugar-free was good! The Ultimate Balcony Dinner is well worth the 100.00/couple. Fresh flowers, picture and five-course meal served by our own personal butler, including wine and cocktails. Well worth the money. The entertainment: We really loved the Beatle Maniacs and the comedians. The musical acts left us unmoved, so we did not attend most of the theatre acts. The cruise director was lame, but there was a much younger man that was a lot more visible. He was good. Enjoyed the groups Evolution, and Xtasea and Barty Brown had a great sailaway evening of St.Patrick's Day music!! Games galore and DJ dynasty was fun and very accommodating. Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
My wife and I have traveled on Princess for three previous cruises. I have always been happy with the ship and its ports of call. The staff is always there when needed with a smile and greeting. With today's economy and fuel prices I ... Read More
My wife and I have traveled on Princess for three previous cruises. I have always been happy with the ship and its ports of call. The staff is always there when needed with a smile and greeting. With today's economy and fuel prices I understand the need to look at where excess spending can be reviewed. I am sorry to say the the quality of the food has diminished. The procurement of meat products is not up to previous cruises. The main dining room quality caused numerous individuals at every night sitting to return the food. We sat at a table for eight. The beef and lamb dishes were tough and the Beef Wellington was unable to cut. My wife and another party decided to eat at the specialty restaurants. The Crown was fantastic. Sabatini's was the worst italian food I have ever ate. Two of us ordered the Veal Chop and sent it back it was so tough. The Chop was smothered in a brown gravy. The pasta dish was also smothered in the brown gravy. The others ordered the shrimp dish and it came with 4 small shrimp. This should never of been a $25.00 extra charge. Princess Cruise Lines needs to review there Food and Beverage procurement for top notch quality or review the Executive Chefs standards. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
My wife and I are in our early 50's and we chose this cruise because it was 10 days long instead of the usual 7 day cruises that we have been on in the past. It always seems like 7 days is just a little too short. This was our first ... Read More
My wife and I are in our early 50's and we chose this cruise because it was 10 days long instead of the usual 7 day cruises that we have been on in the past. It always seems like 7 days is just a little too short. This was our first time on Princess and we were interested on how it compared to Royal Caribbean, which is the only line we have cruised on before. The demographic was definitely much older than RCL and probably had something to do with the length of the cruise and it being during the school year. I swear there were only about 6 kids on the whole ship. Flew into Ft Lauderdale the night before, stayed in a hotel, and was efficiently shuttled to the pier by the hotel. Boarding was efficient, no long lines, and we were aboard and checking out our stateroom in a matter of minutes. Plenty of ship employees offering directions and assistance. We went up to the Horizon to have a bite of lunch and by the time we got back to the stateroom, all the luggage had arrived. The ship was beautiful as well as clean and well-maintained. Although this ship is the same size as the RCL ships we've sailed on in the past, where the RCL ship is very open, Princess divides the ship up into a lot more separate and intimate areas. First time we've ever booked an inside room and it worked out fine. We've found in the past, we spend very little time in the room and any extra features just go to waste with us. Wall to wall mirrors at each end of the room make it appear much larger than it actually is. We went with the scheduled 8:15 pm dinner in the dining room because we like to have plenty of time from playing on the islands to get ready for dinner. We had 2 other great couples at our table and thoroughly enjoyed their company the entire cruise. The waiters were great, attentive, courteous, and friendly, with some personality. The food was delicious, well prepared, and there was a good variety. We ate breakfast everyday in the Horizon and the food was very good. There were several staples that you could count on every morning, but they offered some different items each day as well. We did not go hungry. Breakfast was somewhat challenging when looking for a table to sit at once you had your food. But, we were able to share tables with others, and quite often met some pretty interesting people. Although breakfast was quite busy, we never really stood in any long lines to get our food. We would often have lunch or snack from the café in the atrium. The shrimp salad is awesome and of course, they had all kinds of desserts available from the bakery. Sometimes lunch was pizza or burgers by the pool, which was very good. Get a big plate of fries and finish it off with some soft ice cream from the ice cream bar. The one place where we feel that Princess fell down pretty severely was the entertainment. After cruising with RCL we were kind of spoiled by the quality of the production shows and the quality of the musicians and groups. Other than the Beatles show, most of the shows were pretty average and mostly lip-synched. We have always enjoyed a good piano bar guy, but the one on this cruise was pretty bad. If you like 30's show tunes he is your man, but his voice is not very good and probably should have retired a few years back. There was one band that seemed to play all the time. They had them play during the day and were the one group that played well into the evening. They were very, very average at best and were way over exposed, as we heard some of their tunes over and over. There was one good jazz band, but they always finished right about the time we were finishing dinner. We got to hear them once for 15 minutes and they were excellent. And this is where the main problem lies. The scheduling was terrible. It seemed like a lot of the shows and music conflicted with dinner and each other. We've never been on a cruise where we had so much difficulty with the schedule. Yes, you usually have to make choices, but that wasn't the case here. The schedule is simply not well thought out. And, I don't know if it's because of the age of most of the folks on board, but any nightlife after 10 pm was severely limited. A bright point was the string quartet that played in the atrium every day. They were quite good. We made 6 ports on the cruise. We found something to enjoy on each one. We're not big shoppers, so we pretty much turn a deaf ear to all the sales pitches, both on the ship and on the shore. In the past, we've taken excursions through the ship, but this time we decided to go out on our own. I just googled info for every island we were going to visit and decided on the best beaches to visit. Then it was simply a matter of getting a taxi, water taxi, or public bus to take us where we wanted to go. Most of the time this took us away from the rest of the tourists and often it felt like we had the island to ourselves. We never felt uneasy or unsafe at any of the locations. Princess Cayes -��" only stop where we had to tender to the beach. We walked all the way to the end of the beach and were all by ourselves. People have a tendency to walk a few feet from the dock and stop. Walk a little more and you will have a lot more quiet and you can relax. St. Thomas -��" taxi to Koki beach. A little bit more of a locals beach, but absolutely beautiful. White, sandy beaches and some pretty good snorkeling. Bring your own gear and you never have to worry about renting or finding a place to rent. Dominica -��" taxi to Champagne beach. Not much in the way of sandy beaches on this island, but some pretty decent snorkeling. Bubbles come up out of the ocean floor from volcanic fissures. Grenada -��" walked around the town, soaked up the scenery, perused the fort on the hill, and enjoyed some time with the locals in the marketplace. Then a water taxi to Grand Anse, a nice, white sandy beach away from everyone else. No decent snorkeling, but some nice relaxation in the surf. There are so many very nice beaches on Grenada. Bonaire -��" a little walking around the town while we waited for our turn on the water taxi and then we were on the boat and headed out to Klein Bonaire. The best snorkeling and an awesome beach as well. The water is crystal clear and the reef is pristine. Aruba -��" much more commercialized than any other island. But, we hopped on the public bus and for $1.50 it took us all the way to the end of the island where we plopped down on Arashi beach, another beautiful sandy beach. Snorkeling wasn't bad either. We relaxed, away from the hotels and Burger Kings, and pretty much all the other tourists. The two sea days on the way back to Ft Lauderdale allowed us to relax and take in some of the amenities of the ship that we had missed when we were on the islands. The big screen over the pool is pretty cool. Make sure to have the afternoon tea and absolutely have the scones. Getting off the ship was a breeze and we went ahead and had Princess shuttle us and our luggage to the airport. Bottom line, it was a nice, relaxing, enjoyable cruise. We never felt on edge or that we needed to be somewhere at a certain time. Probably because we didn't book excursions or worry about the shopping demo's. The food was very good, the service was excellent. I can honestly say I did not have one ship employee act anything less than helpful and friendly. The ship-board entertainment was disappointing, but the islands more than made up for that.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
What a great cruise, my wife and I had a blast. I was never really one to go in for the sail away party, I always preferred sitting on my balcony, enjoying a cold one, but I actually had a great time, the weather was perfect, the pools ... Read More
What a great cruise, my wife and I had a blast. I was never really one to go in for the sail away party, I always preferred sitting on my balcony, enjoying a cold one, but I actually had a great time, the weather was perfect, the pools were open, we were in our room at 12 noon, lunch was great. Princess Cay is Princess Cay, Eat before you leave the ship and enjoy the beach, the amount of pushy people trying to get a burger or a chix sandwich on P Cay is a joke. A lot of unhappy penguins on Formal Night, I heard a lot of "never again" comments. St. Thomas is nice, Amazon will usually give you a better deal on electronics, I'm not in the Diamond business, so I really cant comment, but I always thought a 1 CT Flawless Diamond was better than a 3 CT Diamond with carbon spots in it, but according to the Shopping Expert, your friends need to see the diamond from across the room. I did go into "Royal Carib" electronics shop, I gave the girl 3 cameras I was interested in, she had 2 in stock, then I showed her my price from Amazon and I appreciate her honesty....she flat out told me she could not touch those prices. Dominica is a wake up call for all that have enough cash to jump on a boat for 10 days. This is probably one of the poorest places I've been to, but some of the nicest people I met. Driving up a mountain side in a light rain with partially paved roads, no guard rails, looking down a 200 foot drop, not exactly ideal conditions but the driver didn't seem to mind. Hurricane David destroyed the island a few years back and they are still recovering. We went on the tube rapids tour, It was ok +, the hour drive there and an hour back was a little much, but it was a cute little tour that didn't break the bank, we got some good pics and at the end of the rapids there is cold Beer and Soda for sale and fresh Tuna and Chicken sandwiches for sale. Bring cash for tips and drinks, I regret not getting a grilled Tuna sandwich for the ride home. Really nice group of people from the ship, no whiners or complainers. Grenada was next, Snorkeling on the "High Times" was the order of the day, this included lunch and beach, Snorkeling was pretty much average and so was the lunch and beach, at 99 PP, I thought this trip was a little pricey. This was the short day, I think we were back at sea by 2 PM. Bonaire was very nice, the weather was perfect, we walked around the shopping areas, no great bargains there, we found a nice open air cafe right across from the dock that was closer to the shopping area. We got back to the ship and realized we had 4 hrs to go, there were taxi's right outside the gate that would take you to a local beach for $ 5.00 PP, they also waited at the beach for your return, another $ 5.00, Well worth it, the beach was nice, we brought a towel, mask and snorkel, get a water wallet from a decent dive shop, they only thing we left on the sand was a towel. The Netherlands Antilles is a Dutch Territory, they are a lot more developed than the other Caribbean Stops, it also helps they are a little far south to be in Hurricane Alley and escape a majority of the storms. Aruba the was last stop and in my opinion the nicest, we took the 3 stop snorkel with the wreck dive on the Antilla, Really nice tour, 15 minute bus ride to a local hotel where you boarded a transport boat to a larger sailboat. The crew was very friendly, the water was the bluest green you could imagine. The first two stop were great the Antilla was the first stop, the bow of the ship was about 6 ft under water, great for pictures, lots of tropical fish swimming everywhere. The second stop was in about 12 feet of water on a reef, another great picture spot. The third stop was just off the beach, not so great, but ok, soft drinks and rum punch were free, at the end they have a swing rope, everyone that wanted to got a chance to swing, we had the photographer from the ship with us, everyone got a lot of airtime on the video. The rest of the day, being our last, was spent looking for a few t-shirts and hats (I refer to as Island Crap) that my wife insists on buying. I 'm still a rookie as far as I'm concerned with 5 cruises completed, but this ship is magnificent, the itinerary and the Crew and Guests (a little old, but I'll take old rather than screaming kids and obnoxious parents any day of the week) this has been the best cruise to date with a close second being on the Island Princess through the Panama Canal. The Food was very good and our Mini Suite was great, Don't miss Lobster and Stone Crab night !! We had dinner on deck 15 every night except for the nights at the Steakhouse, the 25.00 PP was well worth it, the food was excellent ! Entertainment was so-so, we walked out on the Magician, Both comedians were very funny, their adult 1100 PM shows were better, the ventriloquist was funny. Dancing and singing don't do much for me, I wasn't the only one, a few people walked out when we did. The Beatles show was good, I prefer the Rolling Stones myself. Our Cabin Stewart "ROI" from the Philippines was the BEST !!!! Happy Cruising !!! Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
We arrived at the Terminal at 11:45 AM. Check-in was fast. We were in our cabin ten minutes after noon. Our luggage was delivered around 2 p.m. This was our 7th cruise, second on Princess. The other five cruises were of various HAL ... Read More
We arrived at the Terminal at 11:45 AM. Check-in was fast. We were in our cabin ten minutes after noon. Our luggage was delivered around 2 p.m. This was our 7th cruise, second on Princess. The other five cruises were of various HAL ships. BREAKFAST: food and plentiful and tasty. Unfortunately, Princess have not yet discovered the type of toaster that toasts slices of bread on both sides at the same time that we use here in our homes in North America. They have some toaster that works very, very slowwwwwww and toasts on one side only. LUNCH: We chose the buffet-type at the Horizon on the 15th floor. Again, wide choice, good food. DINNER: we chose anytime dining, usually showed up between 7 pm and 7.30 pm. We always requested a table for two. Only twice over ten days did we have to wait for a table, and never more that 10 minutes, even when we were told it would be 20 minutes. We found the food excellent in all aspects, the choices very varried, presently professionally and with a smile. My wife is a fish and sea food addict and she always found everything perfect. I had a fine steak once, cooked medium-rare exactly as requested. Another night I had lamb chops(carrE d agneau) so tasty I had to keep myself from asking for a second plate. We are not sweet dessert afficionados, so cannot comment on those. A few times, I asked for the cheese plate. That was OK but the cheeses were too cold for my taste. My wife and I are knowledgable foodies, still eating at excellent restaurants in Montreal, New York, Miami several times during the year, so we are able to judge when food is just so so and when it is really good. We found very good wines under $30.00 and the bottle was put away for us until another night as we only had half a bottle with each meal. Land tours: first was Magen Bay Beach on St-Thomas - which I very highly recommend. Second land tour was at Dominica, a new tour FALLS OF DOMINICA AND SULPHUR SPRINGS which we enjoyed immensely. Now, Dominica is a poor island but we met the warmest people you could hope for. It is an island of mountains so there often are showers. The tour we took requires one to wear solid shoes as the trails are slippery, going up a side on a mountain and down another side. Being avid outdoor amateurs, we throughly enjoyed that particular tour. Our Guide, Jillian, was a gem of a young lady, patient with our questions and knowledgable in her replies. She spoke good French also as did a few local people we talked to. Nightly shows: We caught 9 out of 10,(we do not go the the hypnotist) and yes, we showed up half an hour before the start. All in all, this was not our last time with Princess. Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
We said good bye to Fort Lauderdale in the rain. While it dampened the experience the greeting and service of the staff made for a great start. We do anytime dining and found the experience worthwhile as we can choose to linger or go ... Read More
We said good bye to Fort Lauderdale in the rain. While it dampened the experience the greeting and service of the staff made for a great start. We do anytime dining and found the experience worthwhile as we can choose to linger or go direct to dining with no thought or worry about time. We had a meal in the Crown Grill where the food was terrible; we brought it to the staffs attention and because of cold soup and gristly meat they provided a 50% discount. We recommend Sabatini's - lots of food, great variety and wonderful attentive service. We were surprised by the first formal night coming on the same day as Princess Cays, we remembered it as usually being the first sea day. It was hard to get in the mood for formal night after being at the beach all day, so we were rather less than formal that night. Enjoyed the second formal night,however. We would have liked more variety shows but the entertainment was overall good. We did notice that there seemed to be a bit of cost cutting measures - no buffet at the deck party night and rather too many comedians instead of production shows, but nothing we couldn't live with. Princess Cays was a great way to introduce the warmth of the Caribbean to those of us from the North. Tendering was seamless and there was lots of time to enjoy the offerings. St Thomas is well written on and overall is enjoyable but I would have enjoyed it more had we docked at the traditional dock, but no sweat, Maggens Beach / Bay was not missed and the sun tan was on its way ... Dominica: this was not expected to be a great port so we selected the river tube expedition; I would recommend it even with the long bus ride along very windy roads; good job to the operators who provided a safe experience. Grenada was a very pleasant surprise - we arranged (negotiated) a private taxi for the 7 of us and saw the nutmeg plant and the forts. Shopping was convenient and the port and city was very clean and safe Bonaire was quiet and Aruba provided very warm temperatures. We found the local bus service on Aruba worthy as it took you along the famous beaches and it was easy to get off and there was frequent service back to towm. We enjoyed Palm beach. The next two days were sea days. We had no problem finding deck lounges and no trouble in the theater. We appreciated that this likely occurred as the average age of the cruisers were fairly high; expected on a longer cruise. We enjoyed the Crooners Bar and out favourite waiter kept us entertained with juggling and magic; good on rapport and fun! Our room steward "Romeo" was pleasant and we thank him for the attention he provided! Overall great job by everyone. Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
Flew into Ft. Lauderdale a day early from the Midwest to be on the safe side in case of a snow storm. Record lows in FL but since we had left single digit temperatures it seemed warm to us. We stayed at the Spring Hill Suites for several ... Read More
Flew into Ft. Lauderdale a day early from the Midwest to be on the safe side in case of a snow storm. Record lows in FL but since we had left single digit temperatures it seemed warm to us. We stayed at the Spring Hill Suites for several reasons. Free hotel stay with points, free airport pickup, free breakfast, free bus to cruise port. Nice hotel with a mall across the street to pick up forgotten items, wine and liquor. Eat at TGI Fridays and had appetizers with huge portions and drinks that actually had liquor in them. We arrived before noon at the cruise port. Never had an issue before and usually after 15 minutes were on the ship. Not this time. When they said check in was at 1 pm they meant it. Next time we will be platinum so no waiting. Yaa !! The first thing we did was dropped off our carry bags in our room and then checked out the ship. She is a beautiful ship all decorated for Christmas. The next couple hours at Crooners Bar we shared laughs and drinks with new friends. Greg the bartender was great keeping us happy with drinks. Princess Cay: Very nice Island not to be missed. Relaxed on the beach, eat, drank and listened to a great band. It was formal night, so we went back early and relaxed on our balcony before getting ready for the champagne waterfall and then to dinner. We had late traditional seating for 2. Our servers Darco and T something (sorry I don't remember how to spell his name) was attentive and fun. We really enjoyed listening to their stories and getting to know them. The food on this cruise was rather plain with little flavor compared to past cruises. Maybe the majority of people don't like a lot of seasoning or spicy food because of stomach issues, age or ? The first night I asked for Tabasco sauce and it was on the table for me every night after that. ? Sea Day: If you did not get on deck by 8am there were no chairs available. Princess needs to delicate people to remove at least the towels after a period of time. Once we found chairs we had a great day relaxing. Yes, there are always rude, loud people around, but no matter where you go that's a part of life. Don't worry what other people are doing or not doing. Ignore it and have fun. St Thomas: We decided to go through Princess and did the Champagne Snorkel Cruise. We did a catamaran tour not through Princess on our last cruise and loved it, so I think we had been spoiled. I was so disappointed in this tour. Weather was great, so why didn't we go to Trunk Bay like we were suppose to where the snorkeling is one of the best in St John's? The head (toilet) door didn't shut all the way and smelled really bad. FYI: For people who have a problem with climbing, the stairs to the head might be difficult to maneuver. Champagne was served in plastic solo cups. Why can't they get the plastic cups like Princess has that can be rewashed and used? Anyway, lesson learned. Next time for just a few dollars more, I will pay for a local tour. Later on that evening we heard the Midwest was getting 22 inches of snow with subzero temperatures. I can't think about that now, I'll think about it tomorrow.....can I have another El Mejor Margarita Greg? Dominica: Before leaving the ship we stopped at the International Cafe and picked up sandwiches. We had arranged an excursion with Bumping Tours. This was one of the best tours we have done. There was only one other couple with us and they were the nicest people from Canada. We had Gary and he was a great guide. We went to Titou Gorge, Sulfur Springs, Botanical Gardens, Trafaigar Falls and Champagne Reef. I want to go back to Dominica and take this tour again. Grenada: We had planned on going to the beach, but time went by way to fast. I wanted to buy 20 spice necklaces for family gifts. We ending up at the market a few blocks away and I found freshly made necklaces. You could really tell the difference in smell from the ones you could buy just out of the mall area and the ones at the market. Since this was an early port departure I had reserved the Ultimate Balcony Dinner to celebrate our Anniversary tonight. Words can't even start to explain how great this experience is. Dennis our server was fabulous and our food beginning to end suburb. We'll do this again on our next cruise. Bonaire: We had reserved an excursion with Woodwind. This was again a great tour with very knowledgeable people who truly care about the area. We had a special treat seeing dolphins and were told this was very rare. We also saw sea turtles, many different types of fish and coral. Aruba: For an anniversary present I booked a Deep Sea Fishing trip for my Husband. It was rather a disappointing day only catching 2 small fish. That wasn't the fault of the company we booked with, but I was very disappointed on their conduct. Smoke a cigarette, throw the butt into the ocean, open a pop bottle throw the top into the ocean, now repeat 20 times, and don't forget to ignore your customers on top of it. The high light was taking our catch to a local restaurant and having them prepare it. Great meal and service, but the most expensive fish dinners I ever ate. LOL. Did some power shopping after that with Hubby finding great prices on two watches and I purchased a Larimar pendant. Captain Cruise Circle party tonight that was once again nice to attend. 2 Sea Days: I wanted to eat breakfast in the dining room this morning because corn flake French toast .was being served. My hubby prefers the buffet court because he likes the omelets better there, so this was the only time we eat here for breakfast. Every day we talked about going to the gym, but we never did. Just have to make up for it when we get home. So on that note a couple hours have passed now and again we need to eat. I had heard how good the fish and chips were so we dropped in for that and a beer. Very good, must do this again tomorrow and yes we did. We signed up for the wine tasting and I must say it was a good choice. Wine was good, announcer kept it interesting and shot glasses alone were worth the price. Relaxed by the pool rest of the afternoon and dressed for last formal night. After dinner we signed up for "The Not so Newly Newlywed game" and were picked. Fun, funny and thought we did pretty good getting the questions right. Next we went to Skywalker's for drinks and dancing until ??? On the way back to our cabin....be very very quiet, we're hunting rabbits....... my poor head the next morning. By late afternoon all bags were packed and feeling sad this was our last night. A few notes: I had purchased a coffee card on my last cruise and able to use it on this cruise. Being an early bird I ordered room service every morning and sat on our balcony eating fresh croissants with marmalade and coffee until my Hubby woke up. Every day after leaving a port we would order room service or go to the buffet and enjoy snacks with cocktails on our balcony. Hardly any cigarette or cigar smoke noticed until the last sea day. I purchased a nice bracelet and ring on the ship. I found prices to be considerably cheaper on these particular items than in ports. If you have a complaint, bring it to someone s attention while you are on the ship. We had an issue we tried to overlook until we just couldn't deal with it any longer. It was quickly taken care of by Princess Management. We purchased future cruise credits while on the ship for our upcoming family reunion cruise. Once off the ship we rented a car and drove to Fort Myers where we would stay at the Embassy Suites. The hotel is located in a nice area and close to the airport. We checked in, drove to the ocean, took pictures, collected shells, back to the hotel, enjoyed 2 hours complimentary drinks and eat at the restaurant that served great steaks. Very nice ending to our great vacation. Next day flew to the cold and snowy Midwest and back to reality. Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
This was our second time doing this 10 day Caribbean out of Fort Lauderdale on the Emerald Princess and we enjoyed it thoroughly (with a few minor problems). Embarkation was a breeze, rooms were ready exceptionally early and lunch ... Read More
This was our second time doing this 10 day Caribbean out of Fort Lauderdale on the Emerald Princess and we enjoyed it thoroughly (with a few minor problems). Embarkation was a breeze, rooms were ready exceptionally early and lunch was being served as we boarded! Last time we took this cruise in Nov. 2008 I had a relapse of a flu/cold that kept me out of action the entire voyage. This trip was a re-do to see what I had missed. Meeting up with Cruise Critic folks made this voyage so much more enjoyable! We had some major issues with our cabin steward (only the second time in 27 cruises) but I think it wasn't the norm for this voyage so won't dwell on the negative. Suffice it to say I LOVE Princess. The staff in general are polite, well trained and exceed our expectations. Having a self-serve laundry onboard is the icing on the cake! The few complaints (we had to look hard to find faults!) are the body lotion in the cabin stinks! Not sure how they think this is a Spa product but the smell is awful! We ordered a flower arrangement for our cabin and it was dying after 3 days - our Recent Royal Caribbean cruise has a wonderful flower arrangement that stayed fresh the entire 7 days. And if you really want to be picky - what's with the paper products (Kleenex & TP)? Total cardboard - but not any better on other cruises so I won't hold that against them. Don't get me wrong this cruise was wonderful - I'm trying to keep it real. Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
This was my first cruise. As such, I had no real expectations on what to expect. Embarkation was quick and painless, although once we boarded we had no idea what we were supposed to do. We found our mini-suite, which was close to the ... Read More
This was my first cruise. As such, I had no real expectations on what to expect. Embarkation was quick and painless, although once we boarded we had no idea what we were supposed to do. We found our mini-suite, which was close to the middle of the ship, slightly toward the aft. After entering our room the first time, the key card wouldn't open my door and my steward, Tomas, ran to get a supervisor. Apparently the battery on the card reader died, and it's a somewhat common occurrence (I saw them replacing another battery 8 days later on the cruise). Tomas, our steward, was pretty good, although I have no reference point other than hotels that I've stayed at. Our room was always efficiently cleaned and all special requests were handled quickly and with a smile. I'm not sure if it's because we were in a mini-suite but thankfully our steward was great. My fiancee did want more than one towel animal (we had only one the whole trip) but after reading other reviews I'm glad I got to see one. We brought a bottle of wine onboard and Tomas provided a bottle opener complimentary for us. Our balcony chairs seemed a little dirty though. If you're reading this review, you'll probably read the review below it by 'oleej'. My fiancee and I were two of the 20 other people on the ship that were in their 20's. Yes, there were lots of older people aged 65-80. We even dined and chatted with several that were 80-90. Some were very nice and others weren't quite sure how to interact with us. Overall, passengers were much friendlier and talkative than on land vacations. Service was spotty and it pained me that my tips would be split among all of them equally. Some service staff in the dining rooms were great (not superb) and others were mediocre at best. I ended up changing the discretionary tip drastically downward and giving the difference to my steward since he was so helpful and always said "Hello", even when he was obviously exhausted. We got lucky on our ports, as the 10-day trip before us had 10-days of rain (just read the reviews right after this one. "It's hurricane season."). We had 9.5 days of sunshine and all the ports were sparkling, beautiful, and accessible. Aruba and Bonaire were absolutely fabulous and stunning. Grenada looked nice but the locals are very money-grubbing and aggressive. St. Thomas is a common port and is what it is. Princess Cays was great, clean, secluded, and relaxing. Food is great for being on a cruise ship but coming from Los Angeles I missed superb Mexican and Asian cuisine. The cruise food was heavily tilted towards European cuisine. Pizza on deck was fabulous when freshly cooked. Dining Room shrimp dishes were awful (all shrimp tasted the same, like it was all cooked the same way and dumped with different sauces). My 'flambeed' shrimp looked steamed and boiled like every other shrimp on board. Buffet was hit or miss depending on the dishes. Had excellent veal mushroom ravioli at midnight. Their escargot and souffles in the dining room were excellent. Lobster night was difficult as I wanted more lobster tails but the server kept giving me the entire dish (lobster tail w/ two jumbo shrimp and 6 sprigs of asparagus). Later overheard my server explain that the chef refused to serve the dish except as he had designed because the presentation would be ruined and the dish would 'look bad'. After explicitly requesting only a lobster tail, a member of the kitchen staff came over and placed the tail on my half-full plate with a pair of tongs. I found it mildly amusing that the chef was so anal and wouldn't just serve lobster to us on a fresh plate. Shows were hit or miss. Cary Long was hilarious and had the audience laughing hard. Their production shows are amazingly good given their price (free) and the environment (a ship at sea). Another entertainer was forgettable and off-putting. I also want to mention that the TV shows were awesome. It was better than the cable available to me at home. 4-6 movie channels, usually playing on repeat so you can catch the beginning of a movie you missed, and 30-Rock, Discovery, and Travel channel playing ocean-themed documentaries were all pretty awesome. I got sick on my 3rd day on the cruise and the TV was a lifesaver. I usually never watch TV on vacation but this time I couldn't help it. Kudos to the whoever designed Princess' TV network. Most of the channels were commercial free, which sealed the deal. ESPN and ESPN2 were available to catch my NFL and NCAA games. Another reviewer mentioned this too so I thought I'd comment on it as well. My room shook and vibrated, usually when the ship was at high speeds. I like to lean back on my bed, but found this impossible because my head would end up vibrating too much when placed against the cushions on the wall. The bed has excellent stabilization though since I could never feel the vibrations if I didn't touch the wall. I thought this was a ship-wide issue and part of cruising but the previous reviewer mentioned he/she was dealing with this as an aft issue. Overall, for the price I paid, I was very happy with my 10-day cruise visiting 6 Caribbean islands. Definitely worth the price but there may be better alternatives in the cruise industry. Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
Embarkation: Was well done, even better than Carnival that we had sailed on in May of this year. The process was made very easy by checking in according to your cabin level. The ship: Very attractive on the inside. The colors were ... Read More
Embarkation: Was well done, even better than Carnival that we had sailed on in May of this year. The process was made very easy by checking in according to your cabin level. The ship: Very attractive on the inside. The colors were bright and appealing not dark like the Carnival Freedom. I was very surprised to see that the outside of the ship had rust showing in several places and places on the hull that looked like they were painted over with out sanding the rough spots. Carnival clearly does a better job at keeping the ship snow white and attractive on the outside. This was proven when we docked between the Carnival Freedom and another Carnival ship in the Virgin Islands. Dining: We were spoiled by Carnival early in the year. Princess started out slow but came on strong and I thought the food and the selection was good especially through out the latter part of the cruise. Two negatives were the lack luster service on refills unless green coated supervisors were around and the need to allow people to get their own refills if they wish to. On several occasions I attempted to get my own refills while the unsupervised servants stood around like zombies. The ice machines were almost always out of ice. Entertainment: What we saw was good although we are not hard to please in this area. The cruise director Marahscalh , a alabama traveler himself , kept every one informed and entertained to the best of his ability which I thought was done with class and professionalism. Cabin: Our cabin was satisfactory. You give some and you take some and Princess gave more closet space with less bathroom space than Carnival Freedom. The shower was so small that at six feet tall I almost had to shower half of my body at a time. To bend over and wash my feet or legs while in the shower I had to stick the upper part of my body out of the shower which caused my face to almost go into the toilet bowl. The balcony was larger than the last cruise ship but the seats did not recline which was a real disappointment for me since I spend a lot of time on the balcony. Room service: Our room servant missed changing the sheets and towels on one day and did not bring fruit but brought double on a later day. We understand that these people are very busy and are human and can forget , so no problem. Service: The lack of posting one's account on the TV screens was a big negative because you have to go all the way to the customer service counter for account information and my information was not correct or updated on more than on occasion when the public print out monitor and the customer service monitor are only feet away from each other. Ports of call: The Ports of call were the highlights of this cruise. The itinerary was well planned and laid out and none of the stops were disappointments to us. Over all the cruise was relaxing and affordable. We enjoyed it and appreciate the effort of Princess and staff. Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
My husband and I sailed on the Emerald Princess from Ft. Lauderdale on April 19-29.  We did the Southern Caribbean itinerary that went to Aruba, Bonaire, Grenada, Dominica, St. Thomas and Princess Cays.  We are both in our mid 30's, ... Read More
My husband and I sailed on the Emerald Princess from Ft. Lauderdale on April 19-29.  We did the Southern Caribbean itinerary that went to Aruba, Bonaire, Grenada, Dominica, St. Thomas and Princess Cays.  We are both in our mid 30's, we have no children, and this was our fourth cruise.  Our first cruise was on Carnival, our other cruises on Royal Caribbean.  I chose this cruise because I wanted to visit different islands; we have already done one Eastern, Western, and Southern Caribbean on our previous cruises.  This was our first Princess cruise, and first time to do a 10 day vs. a 7 day cruise. We stayed at the Embassy Suites in Ft. Lauderdale for one night before the cruise.  I liked the hotel and it was a good value because they offered free full buffet breakfast in the morning and alcoholic drinks and treats during happy hour.  Embarkation:  Chaotic.  I've never experienced such disorganization from a cruise line in boarding the ship.  We got to the terminal around 11 am and you could not tell what line you were supposed to be in or what doors would be opening to start the boarding process.  When you finally thought you had it figured out, they reversed the line and sent all the people who had been waiting the longest to a different entrance.  It was frustrating.  Once we finally got into the building, it seemed to streamline a little better. Stateroom:  We had a balcony on the Caribe deck and I was pleasantly surprised with the size.  I've never had a balcony contain more than 2 small chairs and a small table.  This one had 2 loungers, 2 chairs and a medium sized table.  It wasn't very private, you could chat with your neighbors from all sides and the smokers around also bothered me a bit.  Overall though, I thought it was fantastic.  I also thought our room was spacious enough and our room attendant did a great job.  Rarely saw him, and the room was always impeccable.  The shower was small, but it's to be expected. Food:  We chose to do anytime dining because I'm a very picky eater and I really don't enjoy the food in the formal dining room that much or the time constraints of traditional dining.  I liked this option, as I never felt like I was letting my fellow dining companions down by not being there.  We ended up eating in the dining room twice, both times at pre-arranged times with people we had met on the ship.  Each time we were seated immediately.  Dinner lasted sometimes 2-3 hours which is just a bit much for me.  So, I was thrilled to have the option of eating elsewhere and anytime dining is another main reason I chose this cruise.  Since I like the simple food, I had a lot of the pizza on the ship.  I thought it was excellent.  Very tasty.  They could have had more varieties, but I'm sure they were just trying to please the masses.  The breakfast buffet in the morning had enough options.  Omelets were not as easy to come by as on previous cruise lines.  The Trident Grill's hamburgers, hot dogs and fries were tasty.  Never a wait to get them, always prompt service.  The food I absolutely enjoyed the most was the fish & chips in the Wheelhouse Bar.  Just excellent. We also tried out the Crown Grill one night to join our friends on the cruise.  I am not a fan of the specialty restaurants simply because I don't believe I should have to pay for food that you should be able to get for free.  As I thought beforehand, I did not think the food was worth the $25 pp surcharge.  I ordered a steak and baked potato.  My food was good, but others at my table had their steaks come out too done compared to how they were ordered.  We had almost finished our meal by the time it was corrected.  However, the wait staff was gracious about it, did apologize, and even brought as a bottle of champagne for our table to share to make up for the mistake.  So, my experience there was fine, but I probably would not go to another specialty restaurant again simply for the fact that I don't like to encourage them charging for any extras on the actual ship.  Pools/Ship Area:  I thought the ship looked like it was well kept up, in good condition.  Yes, the layout was a little odd, but if you are the exploring type, it meant you might find a little nook or cranny that nobody else did.  I enjoyed all the pools, there were a lot of them.  Hot tubs were smaller than I'm used to, but scattered about all over the ship.  Never seemed like it was overly crowded anywhere on the ship but maybe the Explorer's Lounge when they were having a nightly show in there.  I enjoyed the swim against the current and cushy chairs by the spa pool.  We never used the Sanctuary at all, I could find other relaxing, quite places that I didn't have to pay extra to be in.  Entertainment:  I have never gone to as many shows nor did so many scheduled activities as I did on this ship.  On my previous cruises, we usually found ourselves in the bar areas listening to bands or singers or in the nightclub dancing.  There really didn't seem to be that great of entertainment in the small bars & the nightclub was DEAD.  So, off we went to the shows.  I actually enjoyed the dancing shows.  The two comedians we saw were funny.  The juggler even entertained me some.  We went to the Not So Newlywed game and that was funny.  Karaoke nights were entertaining.  I even went to Country Music night, found myself out on the floor learning line dances, and I don't even like country music.  So, although the entertainment experiences were different, I still enjoyed myself.  There was always something to do.  The only complaint I heard was from a couple who had been on the Crown Princess just a year earlier, they told us all the shows were the exact same.  That would have been truly disappointing, so I'm glad we hadn't previously been on a Princess ship. Spa:  I did get a couples massage at the Lotus Spa.  This is the first spa service I have ever had on a cruise ship, but not my first massage by any means.  The price is pretty steep.  I think it was $269.  Before I left, that seemed like a ridiculous amount to pay, but I ended up paying it because I so enjoyed the hot stone mini massage they gave me when we did the spa tour on the first day onboard.  It was worth it though.  It was really relaxing, the massage felt great.  It was a little windy up there in the cabana's they take you to, and you could sometimes hear the people talking in the Sanctuary during your massage, but all in all, I'd do it again.  They gave us a short sale on the products at the end, but really, we said no and didn't have any problems.  Ports:   Aruba:  My husband and I rented a Jeep and drove the island ourselves.  Sometimes we would find ourselves entirely alone with no one else around except for the ocean on one side and rock formations on the other.  Sometimes, we would occasionally meet up with the other organized tours.  It was a nice way to see the island's attractions.  We covered the CA Lighthouse, the church, rock formations, and Baby Beach.  We had time to stop at Senor Frogs too and go down the waterslide in the bar (which was actually one of the most fun things I did on the entire trip).  Bonaire:  Looked like a beautiful place.  I wish we would've had more time here.  We walked around and saw a lot of shopping and restaurants.  We had booked the water taxi to Klein Bonaire through Princess because I had heard that sometimes all of the water taxi's get reserved and you wouldn't be able to get one unless it was through the cruise line.  I'm not sure I really believe that now, having been there, but still, I enjoyed our snorkeling over there and it was a beautiful place. Grenada:  I did not like this port and I only filled out the survey at the end of the cruise just to let Princess know that I would take it off the itinerary.  We went through the shopping area before going on our excursion and as I had read before leaving, they were very aggressive and very pushy trying to sell tours.  We booked the independent Manadoo Spice tour after reading great reviews on Cruise Critic and it did not live up to my expectations.  I enjoyed seeing where the spices were made and learning about them, but they did not provide us with any local food or drinks other than a Dixie cup of punch.  They barely stopped long enough for you to use the restroom and it was a ton of riding around in a bus.  I think there may have been a road closed that contributed to this, but there really was no communication on this from our driver.  We did so much driving that we did not even have time to make a scheduled stop at any beaches and there was no apology for that either.  I cannot recommend this tour for those reasons.  After finally getting back to the ship, we tried to do some quick shopping at the local market and a local man tried to start a fight with my husband after he innocently took a picture of the general market area.  He was not taking a picture of anyone or anything specific and we were utterly shocked as to the rude and disparaging comments that were made to us.  They made us feel very uncomfortable and we bought spices as presents as quickly as we could and went back to the ship.   I have been to Mexico, and Jamaica; some other places that you can sometimes run into difficult situations, but I have never experienced anything like this before.  I will never go back. Dominica:  We took a cab with another couple to snorkel Champagne Reef on our own.  It was so early in the morning that no one else was there.  That was a plus and minus.  It's great to be alone on a grand adventure, but we had trouble finding the actual snorkeling spot with the famous bubbles that come up.  We finally did locate it after about 30 minutes or so and it was really neat, completely as advertised and I'm so glad we didn't miss it.  We had already booked the Antours River Tubing tour so we had a limited time at Champagne Reef before we had to go to that.  River Tubing through Antours was fantastic.  I really enjoyed it and always felt safe with the qualified helpers they had working the river.  Before and after the tour, local food and beverages were served and it made all the difference.  This tour, I would recommend to anyone.  St. Thomas:  We went shopping in the morning and even though it was my third time there, I still had never made it to Meagan's Bay.  So, we took a taxi there on our own in the afternoon.  The beach and the scenery on the way there and back were beautiful.  St. Thomas is always a good time.  I had never had the Bushwhacker's either and they were fantastic! Princess Cays:  Tendering over to the island took longer than I thought it should have.  Again, seemed like Princess should've had this process working like clockwork, but they didn't.  Once we got there though, plenty of lounge chairs and I loved the water and the island.  Very relaxing.  My only complaint is that the people playing sand volleyball had a flat volleyball and when they asked for another one, they were told there was none.  Huh?  Shouldn't be that hard to have a few spare volleyballs laying around. Disembarkation:  I booked an earlier flight than I probably should have.  I knew that before we left, but I really wanted to get back earlier because we both had to be at work the next day.  My flight left at 8:50 am.  I thought we would have no problem making it if we took our own luggage off the ship.  The meet up time to do that was 7:15 am.  However, because of more Princess disorganization, confused lines and confused people, we did not get off the ship until 8am.  I'm happy to say though, that we still made our flight.  Unfortunately, my stress level did go from 0 to 10 during this process. Overall:  I enjoyed this cruise.  We met some great people.  On our last cruise we did the same amount of ports in 7 days and it was truly too much.  So, by choosing a 10 day cruise, I did manage to have it be more relaxing this time.  However, a lot of people on this ship were older than us and meeting couples our own age sometimes felt challenging.  And, although I enjoyed the "different" entertainment, I was let down by the bars/nightclubs on this ship.  For that reason, we will probably go back to Royal Caribbean and back to 7 day cruises.  With that said, I don't regret trying out Princess, and I will sail them again sometime. Read Less
Sail Date April 2009
My husband and myself recently cruised with the emerald princess on march 30 /09. This was our 4th cruise but 1st with princess and were very excited. The ship was beautiful and we had a great cabin stewart but that was about it. The food ... Read More
My husband and myself recently cruised with the emerald princess on march 30 /09. This was our 4th cruise but 1st with princess and were very excited. The ship was beautiful and we had a great cabin stewart but that was about it. The food was terrible...way too much seafood. We lived on french fries for 10 days. Every night we went to the dining room and left and went to the buffet, which still was not great. The service in the dining room was not very good. Every night we left basically a whole plate of food and our waiters did not seem to care or offer us anything else. When we went on carnival, where food was not an issue our waiters would go above and beyond for us. We even paid to go the italian restaurant Sabitini's and still left disappointed. Again it was all seafood and we had told our waiter we did not like seafood and he said he would accommodate us but that never happened. In hindsight we should not even paid for the meal. Also there not much night life on board for people in their 30's. The whole point of this seemed to be involved in getting people to go the casino so they could spend money. The entertainment was not great and to keep repeating shows like they did was terrible. We paid alot of money for this cruise and expected better. Even our cabin did not meet our expectations! Those showers are the smallest I have ever been in. This we could even put up with but our bed was terrible. It was hard as a rock and the pillows were flat. We complained to our cabin stewart but he said there was nothing he could do. All week there felt like there was something in my back and sure enough we found 3 plastic cafeteria trays under the mattress!! I mean come on I did not pay for an upgrade to a balcony to sleep on hard trays. You guys really need to get your act together. I always recommend cruising to my friends and family after this experience I will be sticking with carnival Read Less
Sail Date March 2009
Background: Our friends had a grandson with a celebration scheduled in St. Thomas. They didn't want to fly so they asked my wife (our resident cruise booking expert) to see if there was a cruise that was stopping in St. Thomas on the ... Read More
Background: Our friends had a grandson with a celebration scheduled in St. Thomas. They didn't want to fly so they asked my wife (our resident cruise booking expert) to see if there was a cruise that was stopping in St. Thomas on the designated day and if we would go with them. She found the Emerald Princess and we agreed to go with them. That is how we came to be talking this cruise. Travel & Hotel. We live in Florida and drove to Fort Lauderdale. We've done this before and stay at the Hampton Inn on SW 12th Street. Good hotel, free shuttle, and you can leave your car there for a nominal charge. Embarkation was well done. There was a long line but it moved along. Once you got to the check-in the process went quickly. There was space to move around the ever present photographer's back-up. Our balcony stateroom was a disappointment. It was smaller than any balcony we can remember on any line. We were on Holland America in Dec 08 and our room was at least 1/3 larger. The bathroom was really small and the shower almost laughable. Our friends got a large balcony room (+$800) and the only difference was a larger balcony. We found that with the larger balcony you didn't have any privacy as all the decks above can look down on your balcony. We were disappointed in the ship design. It appears that the primary consideration was for the number of cabins at the expense of the public areas. All the public areas were too small for the number of people on the ship. The theater seats are narrow and very close together (think discount airline). I found it so uncomfortable I skipped all the shows. My wife went to the shows with our friends. Anytime people gathered (shows, evening entertainment, and Piazza events) there was never enough room. I use the fitness center, dry spa and steam room extensively. The fitness center, equipment, and classes were fine. The locker room is too small for the size ship. It is poorly designed with towel storage on the small bench and thus nowhere for more than one person to sit at a time. There is an additional thermal spa for $80 that I joined. I will not do that again as there is really no benefit over the free facilities. We used Anytime Dinning. This was fine as long as you made reservations. If not, there were long lines most of the time. There is a dining room on Decks 6 and 5. Most people went to the Deck 6 room and Deck 5 was less crowded with a shorter wait. The food was fine. The free pizza was very good. On the days at sea there was an English pub food lunch menu in the Wheelhouse bar. It was very nice and I enjoyed it. There was the usual spread of shipboard activities. All was as expected. Another disappointment was the Princess policies on getting more money from the passengers. I ordered a drink and was asked if I wanted a medium. Now to me that means there is a small, medium, and large. Not the case. A medium is a larger drink than a regular size and more expensive. I haven't seen this type of deceptive marketing since McDonalds Hamburgers used it with their french fries. A fellow passenger fell on the ship and cut himself. The Purser's Office charged him $1.09 for band aids. There is free ice cream on board for a few hours a day but it is totally unadvertised as opposed to the for fee ice cream which is well advertised. The gym classes are $10 each if you buy a package for the entire cruise or $12 if you want to try just one. I could go on with more examples of, in my opinion, the loss of prestige of the line and the move to mass marketing techniques based on the size of the ship. When you are on-board, let the buyer beware. The cabin service and our table service were very well done. We felt that clean-up and drink delivery on the Lido deck dinning were a bit slow. Everyone was pleasant and made the cruise enjoyable. My wife enjoyed the entertainment. As mentioned before, all evening events were very crowded. Most shows were repeated three times over two or three days; I guess so everyone would have a chance to see them. We think the variety and quality was as expected for Princess. We visited five ports. Excursions and other details were as expected. Disembarkation was fine. We had the option of early walk off which we didn't use. Our group was called within five minutes of the expected time. It was a usual, timely disembarkation. I filled out my comment form but couldn't fine a place to drop it off. I guess there was a box by the Purser's Office but who goes near that place on the last day? I expected a box by the gangway but there wasn't one. Summary: A day cruising is better that any day ashore so don't take my comments above to mean we didn't have a good time. It was just a series of small nits that kept it from being a great cruise. Princess seems to have lost the ability to do the last 5% that separates a great cruise line from a good one. Overall I told my wife that we will not cruise on this class of ship again but I don't mind going on Princess. Perhaps we'll find the smaller ships still have the old Princess charm and quality. Read Less
Sail Date March 2009
This was our first Princess cruise and we were celebrating our honeymoon. We have sailed with Carnival twice previously (Triumph in 2006 and Miracle in 2008).Princess booked our air and overall they did a pretty good job with the ... Read More
This was our first Princess cruise and we were celebrating our honeymoon. We have sailed with Carnival twice previously (Triumph in 2006 and Miracle in 2008).Princess booked our air and overall they did a pretty good job with the flights/connections. We flew into Ft Lauderdale the night before Embarkation and Princess booked us into the Marriott North which is aprox 10 miles from the pier. Not a great hotel, but not the worst we've stayed in either.Embarkation - We arrived at the pier at around 12:30pm, there was a huge line up, but it went so quickly, we were on the ship by about 1pm. Their Embarkation process was so quick and efficient, I was in shock at how smoothly everything ran.Stateroom - By the time we got onto the ship, our cabin (B707) was cleaned and ready for us to move into. The Bathroom was extremely small but that didn't bother us. The closet was quite large with lots of hangers. The rest of the cabin was about what you'd expect from a standard balcony stateroom. The balcony was not very big, but larger than I was expecting after having read so many reviews about this ship. It was perfectly sufficient for us and we spent quite a bit of time on our balcony. The bed was not very comfortable but we had an extra mattress topper placed on it and it helped a bit, but still wasn't great. We certainly didn't let something like that spoil our cruise. We spent too much money to be upset over such little things. Our room steward was fantastic; Danny was always eager to get us anything we may want or need for our room. He was super friendly and always did a great job with cabin.The Ship - Upon stepping onto the Emerald I was instantly in awe over her; what an absolutely beautiful ship. The dEcor and ambiance was very classy and tasteful throughout the entire ship, which was a very pleasant change from our last sailing on the Carnival Miracle. We did find that the layout was somewhat confusing and it took us quite a while to get it all figured out. Overall, we were extremely impressed with this ship though. We weren't sure if perhaps they were not booked to capacity on that sailing or if it was because of the layout but the ship really didn't seem overly congested at all, compared to our past cruises with Carnival. There were quite a few pools and hot tubs up on deck and they usually weren't too crowded either. We were also quite surprised to find that there didn't seem to be that much of a problem with people hogging deck chairs for the day. There was a bit of it, but we never had too much trouble getting a chair when we wanted one, for the most part. We really enjoyed MUTS. The sanctuary seemed quite nice, though we didn't get around to booking ourselves in there at all. The pool at the Lotus Spa was really nice; so tranquil and far away from everything else going on onboard. The International Cafe was really nice; my husband LOVED the shrimp salad. The specialty coffees were really good. If you drink a lot of coffee, the coffee card is definitely your best bet.We went to the Wine tasting on the second sea day and it was definitely not worth the $25 per person cover charge, even if you really enjoy wine, as we do. They give you a small sample of 6 different kinds of wine and a few canapEs. Nothing special, not worth the $50 we spent. There was a second wine tasting later on in the cruise for $9.95pp which I hear was pretty much the same as the first one, but as we were disappointed in the first one, we didn't sign up for that one.Food - The buffet was split into 4 separate venues, and there was always food available in at least 1 of the 4 stations. The food did seem to be a step up from what we experienced on Carnival. Buffet was quite good, but not outstanding. It is hard to make outstanding when you're cooking buffet for SO many people. The selection was a lot greater than on carnival. The Pizza was good and the Trident Grill was nice too. I absolutely loved their chicken breast burgers. We ate at Sabatini's ($25pp) which we were somewhat disappointed over. Their food is quite pretentious and really not any better than the food served in the traditional dining room. The service wasn't nearly as good either. Our Dining Room servers in the Botticelli Dining Room were absolutely fantastic; Ricardo and Sergio definitely made our cruise even more memorable. Since it was our honeymoon, on the first formal night, they came out with a special dessert for us to celebrate our honeymoon and they (along with all the other servers in that area) sang "Happy Honeymoon" to us. They were absolutely terrific. The food in the dining room was overall really good. We also had dinner at the Crown Grill ($20pp)one evening and like Sabatini's, the food seemed quite pretentious (as was our server) and that overall experience was not as good as our dinners in the Botticelli Dining Room. Ports - What a fabulous itinerary, every port was spectacular. We visited Aruba, Bonaire, Granada, Dominica, St Thomas and Princess Cays.  We pre-booked our excursions through Princess, except in St Thomas.Aruba - We booked the Aruba Sail & Snorkel; that was really good. They took us to 2 snorkel sites, the second being over top of a ship wreck. The company was Red Sail Sports and they were fantastic. The rum punch they served was made with 150 proof rum, so it packed a punch alright!Beware of Senor Frogs in Aruba, we ordered a couple of drinks and nachos($28)and quesadilla(about $18) and the total came to $100 USD. Their drinks are around $25 each and their shots are around $12 each.Bonaire - We booked Samur Sail & Snorkel. We had the option of drift snorkeling (which I HIGHLY recommend). That was absolutely spectacular, and the crew of Samur were really great also.We had lunch at a little place in Bonaire called Papagayo's, and it was REALLY good and very reasonably priced.Granada - River Tubing was fabulous. Another excellent excursion.Dominica - We booked the Champagne Reef Snorkeling which was quite an experience. The snorkeling wasn't nearly as good as in Bonaire but still pretty good, and the Champagne reef was a once in a life time sight to see.There we had lunch and a few local beers (beers were really good) at a place right by the pier called Cocorico Cafe; another really great little restaurant with really good local food.St Thomas, we did a little exploring on foot, then did a little shopping. Then we booked an independent tour guide to give us the island tour. Apparently a lot of these tour guides can be quite shady and have reputations for drinking while intoxicated so BEWARE!!Luckily, the guy we went with was really good (He also works for the local fire dept as a paid fire fighter). Check out Raymond's Island Tours (Raytours2000@gmail.com) $25pp and he'll show you the whole island and explain so much throughout the tour.Princess Cays - I was really disappointed in princess cays. We booked a clam shell ($24/day which seats 2 ppl) and it was hardly worth it. The beach was not very nice. I didn't see anyone going into the water. Perhaps there was a cleaner beach elsewhere on the island, but where the clamshells were set up, it was quite unappealing. Spent about an hour or so on the island then took a tender back to the ship to finish up my tan on deck.Disembarkation - went extremely smoothly and in good time. We booked a tour to the Everglades as we had a later flight out of FLL. That was a great way to end our fabulous cruise vacation. I would recommend doing that to anyone who has the time to do so.To summarize, we thoroughly enjoyed our time aboard and ashore during our cruise on Emerald Princess. It was by far a big step up from Carnival. The overall service was way better and the ship was so much nicer. Of course, it wasn't absolutely perfect, but it doesn't matter where you are in this world or what cruise line you chose to sail with, if you look for things to complain about, you'll find them. If you're looking for perfection, good luck to you; let me know when you find it!! Yes, there is a lot of 'nickel & diming' but that's to be found on any cruise line. There is no obligation to buy any of the extras, they aren't even pushy about it.We had an absolutely fantastic time; about as close to perfect as one can get in this world, I should think. We would definitely sail with Princess again in the future. Read Less
Sail Date March 2009
My wife and I took our 5th and longest cruise this time, choosing Princess per itinerary and length.3 previous on NCL and 1 on Carnival and this our 1st on Princess.I am 51 and my wife 47.Went alone this time w/ high expectations as our ... Read More
My wife and I took our 5th and longest cruise this time, choosing Princess per itinerary and length.3 previous on NCL and 1 on Carnival and this our 1st on Princess.I am 51 and my wife 47.Went alone this time w/ high expectations as our cruise planner recommended Princess highly. Flew into Miami 2 days prior to embarkation and took Super Shuttle to Ft.Lauderdale to the tune of $66 for a 24 mile ride.Stayed at the Courtyard by Marriot.What a beautiful hotel w/ great location and fantastic views.Only complaint that there is no shuttle to airport/cruise port but caught the local bus for $2.50 and walked into the port area.We aren't cheap but a cab is $10-15 for a 1.5 mile ride. Embarkation: arrived at port at 1200 noon to a huge line.Met a great Canadian couple who had been there since 10:45 and were told ship would not start boarding until at least 2pm as there had been an Noro-virus outbreak and the ship was being "sanitized".No brainer there, sanitize away.Once line started moving it went very fast and we were on the ship in our cabin in about 30 min. Cabin: KK on deck 10, inside forward C-244.Nice decor.Large storage area made so by the smallest bathroom we have ever had.The shower can't possibly get any smaller.Living/bed area was about the same as other ships.Very firm mattress and had egg crate placed on 2nd day per other post's on C.C..Our cabin stewart was very cordial and efficient. Ship:as per other reviews the theater is way too small for # of passengers (our cruise was sold out 3100+)and getting there 30 min prior to shows was a must to get a seat.The Explorers Lounge where other acts took place had the same limitations and was considerably smaller than the theater.Grand Atrium was beautiful/elegant w/ often a 4 person string quartet playing classical music.The ship is large and poorly laid out.It seemed as if it was cut up and difficult to get around.We heard this complaint over/over during our cruise.The MUTS idea is a big hit w/ us and we really enjoyed the movies day and night.There seemed to be ample lounge chairs available even w/ the ever present "saving" going on.But frankly we had no problems finding 2 chairs pretty much when and where we wanted.There are 2 main pool areas mid ships and 1 small pool at the stern.These didn't seem to get used a whole lot.No pool slides but I doubt there were more than 20 children on board anyway and very few young couples either.My wife enjoyed the gym but was quite upset they didn't open earlier due to being built over cabins below.Shops were about the same as on other ships.Live band at pool side was good.Overall ship seemed in good shape and was clean though already showing signs of wear in carpeting etc. Food:had high expectations and were disappointed.3 main dining rooms, 1 traditional seating and 2 either/or anytime/traditional.No wait EVER w/ our anytime option.But all 3 dining rooms had the same menu each night so there was no variety to speak of unless going to buffet or one of the 2 upscale dining options.The morning buffet style breakfasts were chaos.There is no flow to these area's and though there are 4 area's they are all relatively small.We did not have breakfast/lunch in any main dining rooms.The variety at lunch/dinner in the buffet area's were good though.And the pizza was very good as was the grill at poolside.We ate one night in Crown Grill at $25 pp.The meal was good but not overly so as it should have been.Quite frankly we both felt the overall food is superior on NCL and we did in fact meet several devoted Princess cruiser's who felt as if this particular cruise was just off a bit.One couple had even been on Emerald 1 year prior and felt there was a big difference this time. Crew: in general the entire crew were fantastic.Cruise director was funny and energetic as were his asst's.Almost every crewman we met seemed happy and energetic. Shows:the comedy shows were very funny and the 2 shown in the theater we were able to get into were also well done.We both felt though that the shows in general are better and more contemporary on NCL.We do not do art auctions,bingo,etc. Drinks: they just seem to get more and more expensive each cruise we go on.On NCL when you buy the souvenir glass you get $2 off each drink you buy when you have that glass in hand, not on Princess.$6.95 + gratuity for regular drinks and 4 for the price of 5 buckets of beer that were just plain too rich for our pocketbooks.The cruise lines should note that in this current economy lowering the price even just a little would probably dramatically increase consumption.We did not spend much on board on drinks and chose to drink more when ashore where prices were more reasonable.We are not rich and simply have to budget somewhere in order to cruise each year. Excursions: only did 1 in Greneda.Way over priced for what we got, but had a good time and we know better but time there was very limited. Ports.Princess Cays: nice area but seemed extraordinarily crowded w/ just our 1 ship.Was a windy day and water seemed quite cool/cold.Good food at BBQ.Little else to do and were not allowed out of the general area.St Thomas: took cab to Coki beach and while small and crowded, had decent snorkeling/swimming.Drank a couple buckets of cold Presidente and enjoyed the sun.Dominica:took a 3-4 hr bus tour of interior to waterfalls etc and had a great time.Cynthia our tour guide was exceptional and only cost $50 at the pier. the took $5 cab ride to black sand beach to finish off the day.Would come back.Greneda:too short a time (see excursion above).Bonaire: took water taxi to Klein Bonaire to snorkle.What an incredible place, the best snorkeling we have ever had including in Hawaii.Did a little shopping prior to leaving.Aruba: what a total disappointment.1st time there and with all the hype about the place was shocked when got a few streets away from port area.Up by the resorts it is pretty nice and up past to the lighthouse but the other side and end of island are rugged and barren.Just flat expected more beaches and beauty. Debarkation: pretty well organized, no real complaints except that the cabs in Ft.Lauderdale are flat overpriced.$15.00 for a 2 mile 10 min ride is outrageous.And then they want a gratuity on top. Overall: our expectations were not met and we were disappointed.But wanted to branch out and try another line.Will probably go back to NCL next time as they seem to be more our style.We met many wonderful people (hi to Sandy and Leroy from Toronto) and still had a great time as weather was good and afterall, it's hard not to have a good time in the Caribbean in winter. Read Less
Sail Date February 2009
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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