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9 Princess Emerald Princess Cruise Reviews for Senior Cruises to Caribbean - Western

Emerald Princess – Western cruise – 2/27/2016 We had a mini-mini suite – D732 – at the very aft. The balcony was oversize with two lounge chairs and 2 footstools. There is no cover from the sun and rain. The suite had a ... Read More
Emerald Princess – Western cruise – 2/27/2016 We had a mini-mini suite – D732 – at the very aft. The balcony was oversize with two lounge chairs and 2 footstools. There is no cover from the sun and rain. The suite had a large (uncomfortable to sit on ) sofa, one club chair, two 2tv’s, and best of all….VERY comfortable beds. Plenty of closet and storage space with room under the bed for our suitcases. A full bathtub with a good shower and plenty of hot water was ideal. Our thermostat worked perfectly. Our room steward, Raymond, was friendly, always there for us and went beyond our expectations. Kudos, to Raymond!! Food – the next most important cruise element. We took all of our dinners in the DaVinci dining room at a set 5:30pm hour. We found the food very acceptable. Our waitress had a bad cold and should have been excused, as we did not want to get sick with her handling our silverware, etc. Otherwise, she tried hard to please us. Lunch and breakfast was usually in the buffet. Our advice is to get a table first and then get your food. The “one way” buffet line is a pain, but at least they are enforcing the Purell dispenser – thank God! The hamburgers out by the pool are usually overcooked and the pizza is just ok. Bars: Crooners Bar has always been our favorite on Princess and MELODY from the Philippines treated us royally. Entertainment: our favorites were Michael Minor the Ventriloquist and Erik Bryan of the “Magic to Do” cast. Erik is a star by himself. The Stephen Schwartz (Godspell) musical was not my favorite, but the costumes and cast did a good job. Eric Lyden, comic, was clean, but not funny. We really enjoyed “The Voice of the Ocean” – the judges, Michael and Erik (a great team) and who was that super winner that sang “Ride Sally Ride”? Great show! We liked the movies shown in the Princess Theater at 1pm each day as we didn’t go ashore. One problem: the theater is kept very cold, so dress warm. All in all, a very nice cruise!! Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
We sailed on the Emerald Princess from Port Everglades to Grand Caymen and Ochos Rios Jamaica.WE arrived at the Port about 10am they told us to line up to wait there were benches .They were not to clear and it wasn't marked at all ... Read More
We sailed on the Emerald Princess from Port Everglades to Grand Caymen and Ochos Rios Jamaica.WE arrived at the Port about 10am they told us to line up to wait there were benches .They were not to clear and it wasn't marked at all where to go if you needed wheelchair assistance.Then we were told i needed to wait in the front on a bench for the handicapped .They told my wife to stay where she was then when i got to the bench i was told i was #2 and they told me my wife should be here with me so i texted her to meet me.Then they came by to have us fill out a health questionnaire and then we waited about 12 o'clock George came with the wheelchair wheeled us right in he handled everything giving us our boarding passes and wheeling us to the waiting area for handicapped we then were wheeled right on to he ship bypassing the picture taking .They brought me right to our cabin where my scooter was all ready there.We were on thee ship by 12:15.We met are cabin steward Felix he apologize for the cabin not being totally ready we understood and had no problem with that. We called room service to take our mini bar out and bring us two coffee cards we then proceed to the international cafe and had lunch there. The worst part of the trip was the muster drill for us .They did a excellent job of getting us to our muster station using the elevator for my scooter. They were very coordinated .The problem occured after the muster drill .They opened up the elevators right away not giving wheel chairs or scooters time o ge on and back to there cabin. We waited a hour for a elevator and it wasn't just us it was all of us in wheelchairs and scooters. That was the worst part of the cruise.That night we ate at the Crown grill it was empty food was great .This is the only night of the cruise the crown wasn't sold out. I highly recommend doing this the first night of your cruise . Highlights of our cruise . The superbowl it was great to watch it with friends and fans in club fusion.Ultimate balcony dinner was awesome ill right more in cabin review. Salty dog pub was well worth the $19.00 pp and was interesting food the bourbon dessert has 2 ounces of jack daniels in it and the jack was not cooked off it was a excellent dessert. Overall we had a great cruise the food was great the crew were very friendly and always smiling.There were no a/c or water problems as some have stated in earlier reviews.Disembark they were again un organized for wheelchairs.room service was great ordered pizza a couple of times and a burger. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
Having cruised 6 different cruise lines including a European river cruise, my wife and I tried not to have high expectations for the Emerald Princess sailing out of the Houston Bay Port Cruise Terminal. We were pleasantly surprised at how ... Read More
Having cruised 6 different cruise lines including a European river cruise, my wife and I tried not to have high expectations for the Emerald Princess sailing out of the Houston Bay Port Cruise Terminal. We were pleasantly surprised at how it turned out. Parking at the terminal was a breeze. There was no covered parking but we were able to rent a canvas car cover for our vehicle ahead of time from the Port Authority of Houston (and get a small discount). Once inside the check-in went speedy and you were given a boarding slip. There was plenty of seating and after about a 15 minute wait, our section was called aboard. The Emerald Princess is a medium size ship (by today's standards) but seemed well kept up and very clean. Our cabin had a large 4 person balcony and we especially liked the closet area to hang clothes and store luggage. Our room steward did an excellent job keeping our room neat and tidy. Extra towels and wash cloths were quickly delivered when needed. Room service even opened our own wine bottles and provided us with wine glasses. The in-cabin menu was sufficient to satisfy us when we didn't want to leave. The buffet had many offerings and a wide variety. It tended to be crowded at peak times so be sure to check both sides to find the less crowded one. Tons of desserts, too. We liked almost everything we tried. We did the anytime dining but reserved a table ahead of time each day to eliminate the wait. If you reserve a table when the dining room first opens, you have a good chance of getting a table for two. Once seated, the service was outstanding. We barely got settled in before waiters and servers were tending to us. The happened at all three meals. I can't remember the last cruise where the service was so attentive. The next surprise was the how delicious the food was. Even breakfast turned out to be tasty and well-prepared. This impressed us so much that we got on the waiting list for the Chef's Table. Luckily, someone dropped out and we were able to enjoy a whole evening of champagne, appetizers, an incredible multiple-course (I forgot how many courses!) dinner including filets, lamb roast and huge lobsters. All this at a special table in the middle of their dining room. Afterwards, we were given a photo of us with the chef plus a signed copy of his recipe book. Nice touch! Meanwhile, the ship cruised on. We stopped at Cozumel, Honduras and Belize. We did a chocolate and wine tasting excursion at Cozumel. This was fun and tasty. At Honduras, we did a beach and lunch excursion. Unfortunately, it was an arduous journey over the mountain to reach the beach. Once there, it was a nice beach with plenty of tree covered lawn chairs. We didn't tender at Belize since we had been there before but did the couple's spa instead which was enjoyable. Sadly, they actually charged extra to relax around the spa pool area afterwards so we passed and relaxed on our balcony. Disembarkation was well organized but the terminal was a little sluggish so if you are flying out early, be sure you fill out the card requesting an early disembarkation. Overall, an excellent experience. We were impressed with how much better our cruise was than we thought it was going to be. Based on this experience, we are planning a Princess Alaska cruise in 2016. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
Our 9th cruise (4 NCL, 2 Carnival, 1 Celebrity, 1 Holland prior to this one). Arrival and embarkation were no problem, very fast. We prepaid parking since we were local to save the 5 bucks. Disembarkation was well organized and pretty ... Read More
Our 9th cruise (4 NCL, 2 Carnival, 1 Celebrity, 1 Holland prior to this one). Arrival and embarkation were no problem, very fast. We prepaid parking since we were local to save the 5 bucks. Disembarkation was well organized and pretty quick as well. Cabins available very early. Cabin - See cabin review, would have liked it better except C248 has a worn out mattress, hopefully not a common theme on this ship. We did get locked out of our room one morning. If you see other than green lights when unlocking your room, the battery that unlocks the door may be weak. We waited about 5 minutes for someone to come and unlock it and replace the AA's. Dining - Dinners were generally good. Just one or two times when service was slow, but usually service was much faster than other ships we have been on but did not feel rushed. We were anytime diners and rarely had to wait and then not for long. Dress code in main dining rooms is a suggestion only, we saw one woman in shorts and tank top on formal night! Breakfast was our least favorite in the buffet. I joke not when I say the hottest thing at breakfast might be the plate if it is fresh from the dishwasher, food was consistently lukewarm at best. Some improvement for sit down breakfast. Variety at breakfast not as good as other cruise lines. We did find going to the international cafe for the (free) breakfast items a good option and my daughter liked the gelato there for $1.50 for 3 scoops. The buffet also uses plastic coffee cups, not ceramic like most ships. Probably not an issue for most, but the plastic retains the coffee odor and I'm a tea drinker and my tea smelled and tasted like coffee sometimes. I'd bring my own cup next time. Afternoon tea uses ceramic cups and is generally a pleasant experience, though they just serve Lipton. They actually have the same tea deserts at the buffet at the same time and you can pick your tea if you prefer it that way. Lunches were just ok, pizza and burgers were ok, expect lines but they moved pretty fast for us. The buffet area is not big, fewer choices than newer ships out there. Activities - Our favorite was actually the movies in the theater. Pretty recent movies shown in the theater during the day when there are no shows going on. They might want to serve popcorn but we often brought our lunch/snacks in with us (trays in the armrests). Trivia was the typical with pretty competitive groups, yes or no show was mostly fun. Golf is a putting green, they have croquet but you have to use golf putters to hit the balls (no mallets), and shuffleboard is not workable in the corner arrangement they have (plus broken parts). Fitness facility was not very crowded. Few channels on the treadmill TVs and quite a few with fuzzy reception (bring your own earbuds). Service - One of the best parts of the ship. Other than the mattress issue with customer service, everyone was top notch. Entertainment - Mostly good. We're not into the Vegas style shows though other reviews will give you an idea, but we liked the comedian (mostly family friendly), the illusionist was typical for a cruise ship - ok, and the comedy singer was good - including his second performance. Excursions - We did one excursion through Princess, Amazing Secret River, Caverns and Playa Del Carmen (Rio Secreto) (ferry to Playa del Carmen, van ride to facility, don wet suit, hike/swim thru cave/river with stalactites (uneven walking surface, think twice before bringing kids under about 12), reverse the process with shopping time at Playa). We liked this one (16 yo daughter said it was her favorite of the trip) and given the timing, doing it thru the ship is the only way to go. In Roatan, we did a zip line thru South Shore Canopy Tours/Zip Line Adventures, trying to avoid the companies the cruise lines use to avoid the crowds, we prepaid with no problem, walked to meet them per their instructions, somewhat hot van ride to get there (people in the front row took all the ac vents) but overall a good time, a nice zip line and good value, felt safe. In Belize, we did the cave tubing thru Belize X-Stream Cave Tubing (part of Island Marketing). There are many companies offering the cave tubing. One big difference in my opinion, this one offers a 2-cave tour, you carry your tube about 10 minutes longer but get to do 2 caves. This matters because we were basically the only group in the first cave about 11 people and 2 guides, when we got to the second cave we joined everyone else from all different companies about a hundred people or more, not shoulder to shoulder but much more crowded. They tie your tubes together in a chain of 5 or 6, try to be in the front to hear the guide better. This is in a national park, multiple companies come here and x-tream brings people on several tours that start and finish in the same place - 2 cave tubing, 1 cave tubing & zip line, zip line only. Take earliest tender you can, they load vans as they get enough people and earlier departure means earlier return. Ship - The ship itself seems nice and did not seem crowded. Plenty of venues and always a place to sit and relax if you want. Pools didn't seem too crowded and this was spring break. Too bad there are no slides at the pool, but we knew that going in, Princess doesn't do slides (I'd say they cater to an older crowd). Hot tubs in the sanctuary were better, in the main pool area the jets were minimal. The nights where the casino was non-smoking made it easier to walk thru it. Scored enrichment low because there wasn't any. Other passengers - Did overhear a couple drunks at dinner one night (last formal night), a woman at the table next to us who just wouldn't keep her voice down and repeated the same curse words at regular intervals and a middle-aged man who was trying to dance in the dining room with a 21 yo girl from another table. Get a good mattress and temper your expectations about breakfast and a few other things and this is a fine cruise and a good value. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
We should have known this going to be a bad cruise when we got to our state room and there were no hand towels, ice bucket, or listing of the TV channels. The air conditioning wasn't working properly, we had no hot water, and were ... Read More
We should have known this going to be a bad cruise when we got to our state room and there were no hand towels, ice bucket, or listing of the TV channels. The air conditioning wasn't working properly, we had no hot water, and were kept awake the first night because the ladder to the bunk bed (not being used) was not stored properly!. When we went to the Crown Grill Steakhouse, we ordered rare steaks and BOTH came medium-well. The maitre'd had to cook us new steaks because he was so ashamed this happened. A good steakhouse should know how to make a steak. Then, to make matters worse, my wife burned her hand on a dish of vegetables that was put on the table without a warning that it was scalding hot! And we paid extra for this. The food in the dining room was acceptable, not great. The coffee was horrible everywhere on board, even in Sabatini's, the other specialty restaurant. We did have a wonderful meal there. There were a lot of little annoyances that occurred throughout the cruise such as no straws on board, wines on wine list not available, being unable to hear announcements, not being able to disembark in Cozumel for forty minutes while another ship docked next to us (we ad a short day there as it was). All of these combined made this (our 7th on Princess) cruise ship one we won't be going on again.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
We took this trip to see if my 87+ year-old husband's new knee was up to traveling any more. To make everything as easy as possible we took Princess' hotel package in Houston that included transportation to the port. It was a ... Read More
We took this trip to see if my 87+ year-old husband's new knee was up to traveling any more. To make everything as easy as possible we took Princess' hotel package in Houston that included transportation to the port. It was a great deal and everything went smoothly, making us wonder why we haven't taken the cruiseline packages before. Airport Mariiott was very satisfactory and access from the airport couldn't have been easier. The Emerald Princess is one of the most beautiful ships we have been on in 30+ cruises. Service was outstanding, the food was good. Our room steward Arkadii was always available and anxious to make us comfortable. Embarcation and debarcation were handled very well. Fog caused a delay in sailing until about noon the following day, but we didn't care, we were comfortable and happy and I didn't have to plan or cook the meals or make beds, etc. Western Caribbean ports aren't too interesting but we knew that in advance and have done this cruise before. Our only problem was the noise level in all the public areas of the ship. Loud music everywhere! We couldn't enjoy the Lido deck at all because of deafening music. Entertainment was only so-so at best. Every moment was a shopping opportunity and we are not shoppers. We have come to the conclusion that Princess now caters to a much younger demographic than we are and probably won't sail with them again but my husband proved that he can still travel.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
Embarkation: Unloading baggage and parking was incredibly easy at the Houston (Bay Port) Cruise Terminal. The only delay was waiting for a wheel chair that my wife needed to get aboard the ship. After twenty minutes delay, the ship ... Read More
Embarkation: Unloading baggage and parking was incredibly easy at the Houston (Bay Port) Cruise Terminal. The only delay was waiting for a wheel chair that my wife needed to get aboard the ship. After twenty minutes delay, the ship provided the wheel chair. From then on the embarkation went very smoothly. We were registered and in our cabin within fifteen minutes. Whether this was because we had assistance from a crew member helping my wife board or not, guests seemed to move through the lines quickly and efficiently. Cabin: We were in a balcony cabin on the Baha (11th) deck. The cabin was faily spacious and laid out to our liking. There was plenty of storage space. The bathroom and shower were a bit cramped, however. The balcony was roomy and well-appointed with two chairs and a small table. The cabin and balcony were clean and well-maintained. The only material deficiency I noticed was the inability of the TV remote controller to turn the TV on or off. This was reported to maintenance by our cabin steward but was never rectified during our cruise. The location of the cabin was far aft, starboard side of the vessel. It was convenient to dining but a very long way from the theater and fitness center. The room was quiet but susceptible to ship movements. Ship’s Condition: Emerald Princess was commissioned in 2007 and refurbished in 2012. Overall, the interior spaces were in excellent condition. There was some rust on exterior surfaces. The maintenance crew worked throughout the cruise painting, scraping, etc. The exterior of our cabin (balcony) was washed down including doors, windows, and railing. Food: Meals in the dining rooms and the Horizon Food Court were above average for cruise fare. Menu selection was varied and the dining room presentations were excellent. Fast food included hamburgers, hot dogs, pizza, bratwurst, and knockwurst. All items were above average to excellent. The International Café offered salads, pastries, and some sweets. All were very good. A word to the wise: do not eat in the Horizon Food Court on the day of departure. It is much too crowded, very difficult to find seating, and some food items run out. A better alternative is to eat in one of the dining rooms upon arrival to the ship. Service: Service aboard the Emerald Princess has markedly improved since we last sailed on Princess. Even though we were assigned AnyTime Dining, the waiters and assistant waiters were friendly, attentive, and efficient. Our room steward, Allen, was one of the best we have ever had over our 25 cruises. The room was always clean and towels were replaced twice daily. Pool towels were allowed to be left by the pools and were replaced in our cabins daily as well. Assistance for my wife with her wheel chair was wonderful in all venues. Princess should be very proud of their crew; they were wonderful. Entertainment: The ship’s production numbers were awful; much below the standards set by most cruise lines. The singers reminded me of some amateur hour talent show. The dancers were never in sync and the productions themselves were weak at best. Henry Hood played in several venues and was fair at best; he had an annoying way about him and was a consummate self-promoter. The only saving grace was singer/guitarist, Duncan Tuck, who was excellent. Princess really needs to work on this aspect of their cruises as they are being far outclassed by Holland America, Celebrity, and Royal Caribbean. Fitness Center: The ship’s fitness center was well-outfitted with adequate cardio equipment, excerpt for upright bicycles. There were only two for a passenger load of 3100. Use of the treadmills was limited to the hours of 8 AM to 8 PM since there were some cabins below the workout area. Not a bad idea. Ports: We visited Costa Maya, Belize, and Cozumel. My wife and I choose to remain on board for most of the ports. I did walk around Cozumel and found it safe and clean for a Caribbean port. Cannot comment on ship sponsored excursions. But in talking with other guests, I didn’t hear of any significant problems. Ship’s Officers: Most of the ship’s senior officers were readily available and quite visible throughout the cruise. I had occasion to speak to the ship’s captain several times during the voyage. He was always friendly and quite informative. Debarkation: We again required wheel chair assistance for my wife. It was handled efficiently and courteously. The crew member who helped my wife even stayed with her until I brought the car around, and helped load our luggage. We couldn’t have been more pleased. It is little things like the above that made our experience most memorable.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
I booked a cruise to celebrate my parent's 60 wedding anniversary. Since we live in Texas, it's so much easier and cheaper to drive to Houston than fly. The cruise went to Roatan, Honduras, Belize City and Cozumel. My husband and ... Read More
I booked a cruise to celebrate my parent's 60 wedding anniversary. Since we live in Texas, it's so much easier and cheaper to drive to Houston than fly. The cruise went to Roatan, Honduras, Belize City and Cozumel. My husband and I booked 2 staterooms with balconies and was pleasantly suprised to see we got upgraded to a mini-stateroom with $50 ship credit from Princess and $50 from Vacations To Go! My parent's room (Caribe 10 Deck) had a larger balcony with four chairs so we liked to sit outside with them and shared their complimentary champagne. I was able to bring my own wine (1 per person) and kept it in the mini-fridge. We were treated with such friendliness, starting with the parking people at the Houston Port cruise terminal to every single Princess employee! Parking (paid on-line,) embarkation, customs and debarkation were super smooth! We have twice sailed on Holland America to Alaska before but the Emerald Princess was larger and just as nice. However the Gulf of Mexico and Carribean are rougher seas and I was seasick a few times. I tried the ginger tablets, essential oil, and wristbands, and reluctantly used Dramamine on the last day only to fall asleep for two hours! I did feel better the rest of the day. I even felt seasick while snorkeling in Belize. Our room steward, Robert, was quite efficient and friendly -- wish I could sneak him home with me and my house would magically be clean! We opted for the early 5:45 pm seating for dinner and totally enjoyed the food and impeccable service. Our waiters, Chaiyut and Kiattisan, from the Philippines, were prompt and professional. My parents had dinner in the Crown Grill one night and raved about the lobster. My husband and I went to Sabbatinis which was equally good and very romantic. We never skipped dessert either! Needless to say, I'm on a diet now. One morning we had breakfast in the Da Vinci dining room where it's nice to sit down and order from a menu and dine with other folks. On port days, we opted for the buffet breakfast because it was faster and we had excursions booked. We enjoyed eating breakfast from the Caribe Cafe and sitting outside on the bow deck, enjoying the fresh air and view. Lunch was just okay, nothing special. We are not big drinkers, but occasionally bought a glass of wine or beer. Not a great selection so I'm glad I brought my own favorite wine to sip on before dinner. Once, I got the Drink of the Day in Cozumel -- a delicious frozen margarita. Unfortunately they ran out of straws. One thing I was surprised about were all the sales promotions for jewelry, art, spa services, etc. -- pages of ads in the daily newsletters, PA announcements. If you attend an informative seminar, there was a sales pitch to endure. When you get off the boat in port, you walk through all the duty-free, Tanzanite and diamond shops. When you get back on, the spa people were there to entice you for their services. On-board activities were definitely geared to an older crowd although younger people might like Knitters, Bible Study, Bridge, Bingo, Speed Sudoko, seminars on non-surgical face lifts and footprint analysis. I would have preferred more cultural, historical, wildlife presentations with a naturalist that doesn't have anything to sell! I participated in Zumba one morning but there were too many people crowded on the dance floor of the Fusion Night Club. The Brit instructor looked a bit out of shape too. Since I had my husband captive on the board, so to speak, and he hates posing for photos, I booked a session to take those beautiful black and white portraits in the Platinum Studio. Our photographer, Rozanna from South Africa, played music, offered a glass of wine, and got us laughing -- all in 30 minutes. As a result, the poses were very natural. The next evening she presented us with nearly 80 images in a slideshow where we narrowed our choices down to 4 poses and got a free 8X10. Before the photo shoot, I had my hair styled in the salon by Sushant from India. I thought it was well worth the $49 because my hair is always frizzy and Sushant transformed it! Quite a sweet guy, only 21 years old, and he's seeing the world! Afterward he did try to sell me two expensive hair products that I declined. For entertainment after dinner, we enjoyed Tom McTigue, an excellent comedian who happens to play the photography teacher in the Oscar-nominated film, Boyhood! The magician was okay, not David Blaine-caliber, but a fun show. If you want to see a show, make sure you get there 1/2 hour ahead of time. We skipped the song & dance and disco shows and watched recently released movies on TV instead. There's a good band that plays rock, country and pop covers out by the big pool during the day -- my 83-year old dad really liked it! On sea days I would find a quiet spot on deck, stretch out in the sunshine and read a book. Bliss! I did yoga in my room because the offered class ($12) was too early for me. Excursions -- In Roatan, we got a private tour with Victor Bodden ($25 for 4 people) plus $10 at the iguana farm where you get to feed them. Iguanas are ALL over the place, even in the trees. Another $5 at Monkey Business where the little cappuchins and macaws jump on your shoulder, plus $10 for lunch. Our guide was informative and drove us all over the island. However, he did take us to an souvenir shop that was twice as expensive as the shops at the Mahogany Bay cruise terminal shops. In Belize City, we used Sun Kissed Excursions, also known as Ecotours, for Goff's Caye Beach and Snorkeling. $40 each, not including lunch. It was a 35-minute boat ride from the port to the beach where we were provided the equipment, then jumped off the boat and snorkeled half-way around the island in turquoise blue water. I did see a lion fish but not much else. Plus I was getting seasick. After 45 minutes of snorkeling, we had about a couple of hours to lay on the board. It started getting crowded as we were leaving around 1 pm. Cave tubing and zip-lining would have been fun too but we had already done that at a previous trip to Belize. My parents also used Sun Kissed Excursions to go to Lamanai Mayan ruins by way of a speedboat on the river. They loved it! No need to book expensive excursions in Cozumel. We just hired a taxi and for $25 each, the driver spent 3 hours driving us all around the island, stopping at Playa Palancar for a hour where we sat on the lovely beach before the crowds came around 10 am. In all, the crew on Emerald Princess works really hard at trying to provide a vacation for all kinds of people, even LGBT, singles, children and seniors. The only drawbacks were all the sales pitches and not enough active activities geared to younger people.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
We flew in from Atlanta on the day of the cruise - which is a first for us! Our flight out was at 9:42 and we arrived in Ft. Lauderdale around 11 am. After finding our luggage we went to the Princess desk for our transfer to the port ... Read More
We flew in from Atlanta on the day of the cruise - which is a first for us! Our flight out was at 9:42 and we arrived in Ft. Lauderdale around 11 am. After finding our luggage we went to the Princess desk for our transfer to the port (another first for us, ship transfers) and we're on our way to the Port by 11:30. The transfers were well-organized and friendly. The one thing to note is that unless you hire a porter for your bags you will be conveying them to the desk, then to the bus yourself. And when boarding the transfer bus you will have to take care of your own carry on. There were two elderly getting on before us and each of them were struggling up the steps on the bus with a large carry on bag. When we arrived at the port the line was really, really long! The nice thing about the transfer is not having to worry about your bags getting to the ship (well, not worry TOO much). So we dutifully went to the end of the line, filled out our Health Questionnaire, and proceeded to wait. A kind gentleman working with the line noticed my boarding pass and said "you are Preferred - you don't have to wait in the front of the line" and told us to go to the "other" entry. Well, there was no "other" entry and after a few wrong starts and with a group of other Preferreds we found our line before security where they shoved aside all of the "regular" people and let us go through first. I wasn't really excited about doing this because it seemed a bit rude to me but was in a group by then just moving along. It would be nice if the Preferred status was handled in a quieter manner with a little less fanfare. We went straight up to the counter, were checked in quickly and on-board in our cabin by 12:00. We checked out our first inside cabin (hmmmmm) grabbed the Patter and headed down to the Dining Room for a nice quiet lunch. There were very few people there and we sat at one of those tables for 2 that seat you next to other couples. We chatted with 3 nice couples and had a good lunch. After lunch we headed out to explore the ship which is the sister to the Caribbean Princess which we had been on last year. The ship was in excellent shape and very clean and well-maintained. We headed back to our cabin and met our room steward, Freddie, who was nice and courteous. He did a fine job throughout the cruise but wasn't exceptional in any way. We asked that the beds be moved into twins to give us more room, and for the mattress toppers to be put on each. He had it all done when we got back pre-muster. Muster was no big deal and our station was in the Princess Theatre. After muster DH battled the crowd and took the life preservers back to the cabin while I headed to Crooner's - the Martini Bar - to watch sail-away. Since we've done this departure many times before we decided to stay out of the heat and sun and begin our vacation relaxing. We had Traditional Dining at 6:00pm with two other couples who were very nice. We normally do anytime dining but we tried traditional this cruise. It was a little early for us to eat and because we were the first seating we always felt pressure to finish and leave so the next shift can come eat. We would be chatting away with our new friends and the waiter, Noppy, and his assistant would be clearing the table in front of us...we took the hint and left. He was a good waiter but again, not exceptional. When asked for anything special he seemed annoyed but got over it quickly. The food was always good but not remarkable, the service quick and efficient and the company wonderful. On two nights we chose to miss our assigned dinner and ate at Cafe Caribe and it was very good. There are many choices of vegetables there and that made our night sometimes. A note on the cabin - the twin bed setup worked really well for moving about the cabin. Since it was our first time in an inside, I was concerned about the lack of light (I sleep with a nightlight) and when the lights were off it was dark in there for sure! But still some light coming in from the outside hallway through the cracks in the door so it was fine. But, surprisingly, DH and myself slept the best we had in a long time! It was either the dark or the single beds but we will definitely do some experimenting when we get home! lol We always found lots of things to keep us busy and on the sea days there were many activities we went to, including the Pub Lunch which was very good. Our worst experience on the ship was for our Anniversary Celebration at the Crown Grill. Our waiter was Sebastian from Poland and he was abrupt, hard to understand, unfriendly, rushed, and just plain rude. I did not feel welcome there or treated well. We had sparkling water to drink and after Sebastian poured the final bit of it into my glass, the other waiter came over and quickly filled the glass with tap water - ick! Since Sebastian was watching I know he was aware of it and only shook his head and walked away....when this has happened other places, they have replaced the sparkling with a new bottle. No mention of it was made. We will not dine there again. It was not a lovely anniversary dinner. The food was excellent though. The other problem was with Vines. On the Caribbean Princess Vines was a quiet wine bar that served tapas with your wine. The focus was on the wine and the servers were all well-trained and efficient. We really enjoyed the ambiance and the lovely wine. On Emerald the focus in Vines is the Tapas and Sushi bar where people of all ages and manner of dress come in to eat. It is like a cafeteria. We did do the wine flight but were surrounded by loud, noisy people going back time and again for sushi. Maybe a split between the two might be in order? The wine bar is nice with just maybe a snack but please focus on the wine again? We did the EZCheck for disembarkation - our first time. We received our instructions and luggage tags the evening before, put our luggage out and at 8:30 am we went to the Crown Grill and disembarked with a very small group about 8:45. We did not have to claim our bags to take through Customs. We boarded our transfer bus and were at the airport by 9:30. Our flight was not until 12:30 - and was delayed by weather - but when we arrived in Atlanta our bags were there! Best $40 we ever spent! It was a very nice vacation, the Emerald is a beautiful ship and we had a wonderfully relaxing, stress free time. Read Less
Sail Date August 2010
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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