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5 Princess Emerald Princess Cruise Reviews for Senior Cruises to Canary Islands

We chose this cruise mainly because it was from Southampton, in September and on Princess which we prefer. We enjoyed the cruise in the main but a couple of things we felt could have been better. Firstly could not fault the crew. They ... Read More
We chose this cruise mainly because it was from Southampton, in September and on Princess which we prefer. We enjoyed the cruise in the main but a couple of things we felt could have been better. Firstly could not fault the crew. They were helpful, friendly and the cabin steward was excellent. We found the ship clean, and well maintained. The public areas comfortable. The areas that we were not happy with....entertainment was dire. The shows were like school productions. A couple of the special acts were good but the others were awful. The entertainment staff work hard it's just a pity they are not given the means for success and trying to find a seat was a mission in itself. The films on board were a good choice and enjoyed the ones we watched. Food in the MDR was excellent and the Crown Grill really nice but we tried to avoid the Horizon if we could as we thought the food very substandard. The I C was good with the little cakes hard to resist. We had been to all ports before so knew what they were like, pleasant but not interesting. So apart from the few things mentioned an enjoyable cruise Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
This was our 17th cruise - the 4th with Princess, the remainder with P&O. Our previous Princess ships were the Island, the Regal and the Royal, so we knew what to expect - or so we thought! It's my fault - I should have done ... Read More
This was our 17th cruise - the 4th with Princess, the remainder with P&O. Our previous Princess ships were the Island, the Regal and the Royal, so we knew what to expect - or so we thought! It's my fault - I should have done my homework better. The Emerald Princess is smaller than the Island, yet carries almost 1000 more passengers. It really should be renamed the 'SS Sardine'. The good - our cabin was very good. Immaculate and kept so by a very friendly and efficient cabin stewardess. It was on C deck, so had a very generous balcony, only half of which was overlooked by the deck above. So far so good. The crew were (mostly) very friendly and helpful - although some were clearly quite new to the job. I say mostly friendly. The security staff retain their facial impressions of a bulldog chewing a wasp at all times of course. No change there. And if you had a query which resulted in 'computer says no' you were in for hours of fun. All very polite incompetence of course.... Clearly the Princess 'suits' don't like their staff using their own initiative. The dining staff were very good...the food mostly OK, but not as good as the Royal or Regal. The bad - Overcrowding. The Emerald Princess is seriously under-resourced for 3000 passengers. 2000? - maybe, but 3000? - no way! The Horizon Buffet is way too small, both in seating capaclty and serving areas. Unless you took breakfast at 6.30 sharp - or after 10.15 - you stood virtually no chance of finding a seat without using very sharp elbows. This is not a ship for the meek. The seating in public areas - around the Piazza for example - is woefully inadequate. If the weather was less than perfect, you constantly encountered hoardes of lost souls wandering aimlessly looking for that elusive seat, giving up and taking their tea and cakes back to the cabin to eat on their own. This overcrowding is a serious problem on this ship, which will probably backfire on Princess eventually - although there are probably several thousand new potential customers who will need to discover it all for themselves, so they'll not change anything, I suspect. Such a shame, after the excellence of the Island Princess in 2013 (before they added another 121 cabins to that ship!) The worst example was the Skywalker 'disco'. Because the trip was Southampton to Southampton, there were a lot of Brits on board, but sadly rather too many 'Ronnie Pickering/Reggie Kray wanabee' types, with their attendant partners. These folk simply took over the very small disco, the female of the species reserving their seats with little handbags, and returning to 'dance' on teetering heels with Ronnie/Reggie on the tiny dance floor. Ordinary folk who deigned to visit this enclave stood no chance.. and usually just walked around forlornly for a bit, sighed and left. The ugly - this overcrowding seriously affects the ambience of the ship. On more than one occasion, I witnessed snarling altercations over individual chairs. The Ronnie/Reggie 'ladies' usually won. The meek may inherit the Earth. They are certainly very unlikely to find anywhere - other than their own cabins - to sit down on the Emerald. That's for the chosen few. Had it not been for the overcrowding it could have been a very good cruise. As it was, it was our first and last on the Emerald Princess. Shame. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
Emerald Princess had just undergone a major refit, so we were interested to see what had changed. Sabatini's had become “Share” (now 29 USD extra) and part of the Wheelhouse had become the “Salty Dog Gastropub” (also an extra) ... Read More
Emerald Princess had just undergone a major refit, so we were interested to see what had changed. Sabatini's had become “Share” (now 29 USD extra) and part of the Wheelhouse had become the “Salty Dog Gastropub” (also an extra) but we were not tempted to try them. Nor the updated gym. We did, however, love the comfortable new luxury mattresses. The addition of 100 communicating doors might be fine for families but if you are allocated a four berth cabin having requested two single beds it is like being in a tiny dormitory. GENERAL The ship was 100% full with 3,100 passengers, mostly from the UK, making it more like P&O or Saga. With the Caribbean on their doorstep, there was not the usual mix of 50% Americans and other nationalities. As always, the service was universally excellent and everybody was made to feel very welcome. PORTS Having stayed on the various islands several times, this was more of a reminiscence trip than an adventure but it was interesting to see how the destinations had developed. After 3 days at sea, it was good to go ashore at Las Palmas when we reached Gran Canaria. Tenerife is more interesting and we discovered that the Tourist Office runs a shuttle bus to Puerto de la Cruz (19 euros return), which is easier than using the local bus. Lanzarote was rather deadly and even the Arrecife Tourist Office on the dock remained closed. Had we realised it was a May day holiday, we would have explored the geology of the island instead. Madeira is still a delightful place and we enjoyed visiting the market then the botanical gardens via the cable cars. We had visited Santiago de Compostela recently, from La Coruna, so decided to look around Vigo instead. We obtained four self-guided walking tours but gave up after plodding around the Old Town, which is not very exciting. LECTURES With several days at sea, we attended lectures in the theatre and some excellent Spanish classes. Rod Repton gave some entertaining talks about his experiences in the police force but the port talks were mediocre and delivered in a condescending manner. Slide shows of places Ken had visited during his 17 years in the job were of no practical use to the many passengers who prefer to “do their own thing”, so we were pleased that we had browsed the Internet before embarking. ENTERTAINMENT Theatre entertainment in the evening was of variable quality, starting with a really poor comedian but ending with the lead singer of the Hollies, who was great. There were two female singers, who seemed well received and a couple of other acts that were quite entertaining, including Mike McClean, who was really funny. The resident singers and dances only performed on two nights and the second show was new to us. Unfortunately, the production team had made it look more like a video arcade, so the artists were poorly lit and the audience were dazzled by flashing lights. They also still fail to understand that the band should not drown the singers and that nobody enjoys having spot lights shone in their face. There was no show for second sitting diners on the last night and the timing of Princess’s version of The Voice was not smart with a 7.30 pm start. FOOD AND DINING We had opted for second sitting dining at 8.15 pm and enjoyed each evening with two other couples. We also chose the Boticelli dining room for breakfast, lunch and even afternoon tea whenever possible. We noticed that steak had been down-graded to beef-burger on the alternative evening menu but there was generally a good choice for each course. The food was of a consistently high standard and the waiters were cheerful, friendly and efficient. Our only criticism was that breakfast was rather leisurely and frustratingly slow at times. The Managers appeared to recognise this but helped by re-laying tables rather than organising their staff. SUMMARY Sailing from Southampton is very easy and this is a good cruise if you can get it at a competitive price. The destinations are not wildly exciting but it made a timely Spring break. Princess remains our preferred cruise line and with over 500 Elite level passengers on board others seem to like it too. Having re-read my earlier review from May 2014 (“Rock ‘n Roll from Southampton”), it seems that little had changed but at least the weather was calmer this time. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
26 April 2016, Southampton to the Canaries. The Imbarcation and disimparcation was very orderly and efficient, Onbord I noticed that the East European staff are not as friendly as staff from other nationalities, the food in the dining ... Read More
26 April 2016, Southampton to the Canaries. The Imbarcation and disimparcation was very orderly and efficient, Onbord I noticed that the East European staff are not as friendly as staff from other nationalities, the food in the dining room and buffet was extreamily good and the dining room waiters where very friendly and efficient, at peak time the buffet areas was very congested as there wasn't enough tables, the theatre performances where poor in comparison to other cruise companies only lasted 30 minutes and lacked variety, there were no activities around the pool areas, there was too much time dedicated to art auctions and wine tasting, overall too much time was dedicated to try and get more money from you. A big disappointment regarding the gratuity system, on top of the 15% per day per person charged, each time you make a bar or dining room purchase you will be charged another 15% gratuity, the good thing is that if you go to the front desk you can opt out from paying the 15% daily gratuity, almost all I spoke to had opted out, I feel that this extra 15% gratuity charge is not fair and is creating a negative effect on the staff because the majority of people are opting out from it, the staff are not receiving a top up on their very low wages. A small effort was made to remove towels from the unoccupied deck chairs, on my previous Golden Princess cruise to Hawai this didn't happen and by 9 am all deck chairs had towels on it and not been anoccupid until after lunch. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
Embarkation was excellent. We were soon aboard and no huge queue for security. Cabin was as expected. Steward, Conrado, was excellent and kept it spotless. Requests were soon carried out. Muster drill was dragged out and exhausting for ... Read More
Embarkation was excellent. We were soon aboard and no huge queue for security. Cabin was as expected. Steward, Conrado, was excellent and kept it spotless. Requests were soon carried out. Muster drill was dragged out and exhausting for those who had had long journeys and couldn't find a seat. Weather was mixed and seas a bit choppy round the islands. We were fixed dinner, early seating. Our table for 6 was great and we had a great time with the other folk there. The waitress and waiter were very good. Nothing too much trouble. However they had far too much to do as they now have to provide the drinks as no more wine waiters. Food on a whole was ok but lacked the wow it used to have. No longer steak to choose from on the always available menu. However the chocolate journeys on the dessert menu were wonderful. The entertainment was very very disappointing. Only 2 shows of 35 minx with the singers and dancers. The comedian was dire and folk walked out. There was no alternative act on in one of the lounges as there used to be. Far far too many silly game shows one of which was obscene. We walked out of that. It was very difficult to get seats in the lounges in the evening. After a fruitless search one evening we ended up in Skywalkers to find there was not even a bar open there until 10.00 pm. Princess is missing out as there were a good number of people sitting there. The coffee bar was always packed too. The ports were fine but in Tenerife and Lanzarote most places were closed due to Sunday and Bank Holiday. We took the ship's excursion to Santiago. That was very good. Overall all Princess seems to be interested in us getting you to part with your money. Expensive drinks and too many pay extra eating places. Most were never busy. Staffing seems to be cut all over and there was often long waits for drinks. The cruise director did very little but his staff worked hard. Overall this was the poorest Pricess cruise we had been on and it did not make us rush to book again. We will certainly be looking and comparing with others in the future. Disembarkation was not good. The Platinum/Elite lounge was far too small for the number of passengers trying yo get in. We were travelling by coach and our cinch company were assigned times over an hour after the other company travelling to the same destinations. It meant we did not get home until 10.00pm. Not good enough. Wake up Princess and give us the type of cruise what we are used to getting. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
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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