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23 Princess Emerald Princess Spring Break Cruise Reviews

This was a short 3 day cruise from LA to Vancouver. It is spring break so there were lots of young people and kids onboard, many celebrating special events like birthdays. We dined in both the Crown Grill and Share and the food was ... Read More
This was a short 3 day cruise from LA to Vancouver. It is spring break so there were lots of young people and kids onboard, many celebrating special events like birthdays. We dined in both the Crown Grill and Share and the food was great. Service in the main dining room and the food seemed the usual Princes approach. There was concern expressed by someone that since the ship is heading to dry dock in Victoria that there would be less staff and poor food supply but that was certainly not the case. The staff told us that during the 3 weeks in dry dock, their jobs continue, as they must serve the 1000 construction workers who take up residence on the ship and work 24 hrs a day to complete the dry dock tasks. The only difference is that their days are shorter. On another note, Princess has made a decision to remove all the barrel chairs from the balcony and ocean view staterooms. I find this to be a ridiculaous move as do many others. I had disussed my concern with corporate relations and was told that if I ask for chai, I will get it. Many people on Cruise Critic had indicated that they had asked their stateroom steward and had been told that a chair was not available any longer. I did not ask the steward. I went to the Passenger Service desk soon after we boarded and asked for a chair. I happily got one within 1/2 hour of asking. I do have a bit of a caveat, though.This ship is heading to dry dock and maybe the few chairs that they may have available on board right now might disappear once in dry dock. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We did the Alaska cruise. The scenery was amazing having a balcony was a must. Our Cabin steward Ronaldo was amazing, great service. In general the dining staff and staff in the shops seemed disinterested and over it. Loved the ... Read More
We did the Alaska cruise. The scenery was amazing having a balcony was a must. Our Cabin steward Ronaldo was amazing, great service. In general the dining staff and staff in the shops seemed disinterested and over it. Loved the Walker & Black Duo in the Wheelhouse Bar. But the evening shows in the Princess Theatre were in general disappointing compared to previous cruise experiences. The food was disappointing some nights inedible. We booked the Curtis Stone dining experience but would not recommend it, the pasta was hard and chewy, lobster overcooked and tough and the fillet of beef tough. Curtis Stone would definitely not have wanted his name associated with the meal we were served. The shopping on board was disappointing the boutiques clothing dated. The merchandise offered on the sale days looked the same stuff offered on our cruises we did on P&O in 2000. Activities could do with an overhaul. Paper napkin folding demonstrations and a bean bag throwing contest really? Embarkation was ridiculous, 5 cruise ships in port at the same time, a 5 hour wait to get through customs, surely a better system could be implemented, the ship was an our late leaving port as the passengers were not processed. The cruise was definitely a great experience purely for the scenery. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
This was our 30th Wedding Anniversary and our first without our kids in tow. Leaving our kids and daily world behind we embarked on our journey. We stayed two nights in Sydney at The Grace Hotel which was a lovely hotel, reasonable ... Read More
This was our 30th Wedding Anniversary and our first without our kids in tow. Leaving our kids and daily world behind we embarked on our journey. We stayed two nights in Sydney at The Grace Hotel which was a lovely hotel, reasonable priced and the location was perfect. We arrived earlier in Sydney as we wanted to do the Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb. The weather was perfect for our climb, was initially worried as Sydney had been having the most awful weather conditions. The climb was expensive but really lovely and l would say otherall worthwhile experience. We choose to walk from our hotel to the OPT to embark the Emerald Princess. It was an easy walk with our suitcase in tow as we couldn't justify the taxi trip as in most cases there is a bit of a traffic delay around the terminal. The boarding was quick and hastle free, we had priority boarding but even if you didn't I would think you would find the process well organised. You need to keep in mind that you are one of 3000+ passengers boarding so you need to put the event in prospective. They really do well! The Emerald Princess is a lovely ship, l was super impressed by the layout and loved the deck plans and variety of pools. 4 pools to choose from, one was part of the Santuary where a cost was involved, pool two was were live music, pool games or recorded music played, pool three was were the movies screen was which played movies or other shows such as Cirque du Soleil or music concerts like PINK. Pool four was at the back of the ship and was a great place to relax and soak in the sounds of the waves adults only. All the bars and seperate entertaining areas were great with lots of activities happening if you so wished. We didn't do much of the daily activites offered as l like to just relax on a deck chair. The shows by the ships entertainment team were good quality but were short in comparison to other ships. The theatre was packed for the earlier shows and you would need to get there at least 1/2 hour earlier to get a seat. The Horizon Cafe and Calibre Cafe were buffet areas and pretty much operated all the time with good choices available. I think they do better than P & O with hygenine control with strict entry and exit points for the food areas and the staff are attentive with clearing away and getting your drinks. The Pizza bar, Trident Grill & ice cream bars where very popular and food there was excellent. The main dining rooms, we only went twice as we found that the service there was not how we would expect, coming from Royal Carribean or P&O their service was better. The food was excellent but service was a little lacking. No real problem it was still good but not the same. Cabin was lovely and our cabin steward was fantastic as they all are, how can you complain when your room is keep tidy for you morning and night! They work super hard. We choose a balcony Aft cabin B749. First time we have opted for a aft cabin and balcony. It was nice being able to take a seat out the back and watch the ports as we sail away. Definitely recommend this cabin. We did not opt to get the drinks package this time around as we felt that we would not utilise it with all the port days that we had and l was right we didn't spend anywhere near the total cost. ($59 x 11days x 2people) we came in well under that. We took up the ships many 'happy hour' offers buy 1 drink and get another for $1. We are not huge drinkers, it one of the biggest ? always asked by passengers as to whether to get the package or not. My suggestion do your sums. (cocktails/martinis were about $14 spririts & beers $7/8) The ports and excursions we did were great, we opted to do the ships arranged excursions which worked out fine for us. We have done our own on previous cruises as well as ships arranged. Both ways are fine and yes the cost can be more via the ship but sometimes they are just more convienent if you don't want the hassle of negotiating the people on the docks for the best trip/cost. Gym was great, big selection of equipment, lots of treadmils and xtrainers etc. I am a personal trainer by trade so the gym is a must have for me. You can opt to do classes which you would have to pay for. I did the spin classes but was not overally impressed by the instructor. He was not my cup of tea in his style but l won't hold that against the ship. All i will say is l am more of a road cyclist working the rpm and gears and he was more soul cycle putting in squats/pushups/hovers. Dismbarking was easy and painless. Once again they did really well moving off the thousands of people in an organised manner. We love cruising and we will go again and l would travel Princess again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
We wanted a Cruise that would in compass New Zealand and Australia, Princess fitted the itinerary adequately. However although we enjoyed the cruise overall we felt that it didn't reach our expectations and lacked the little bit ... Read More
We wanted a Cruise that would in compass New Zealand and Australia, Princess fitted the itinerary adequately. However although we enjoyed the cruise overall we felt that it didn't reach our expectations and lacked the little bit extra appeal that might make us automatic returning customers. As this was our first Princess cruise we are not sure whether it was just this particular Ship Emerald or the general cruise line itself? The ship seemed difficult to find ones bearing at times and to get to specific area like the Share Restaurant and Adigo Bar. The dining arrangements were much the same as other cruise lines, we were anytime dining in the MichAelangelo restaurant. The food was good the menu was much the same every evening and was lacking in variety, the restaurant staff lacked etiquette at times and would clear your plate before your partner had finished their meal something I would expect in the Horizon Restaurant which in fact was the exact opposite. Both Speciality Restaurants the Crown Grill and Share were enjoyable and made up for the disappointment in the other restaurants. Everything about Horizon restaurant was terrible probably the worst we have accounted. We did book some excursions and these were good but heavily over priced as normal for cruise lines, however the debacle at Gisborne with the tenders due to the rough waters leaves a lot to be desired, not that anything could have been done about the weather and safety was paramount but the the lack of water, shelter and basic information to let people know what's going on was poor. We found that thoroughout the cruise the lack of visibility of ship officers was noticeable compared to other ships which seemed odd particularly when things might be going wrong and safety might be of some concern. Like the Tender debacle mentioned above, people standing all the way up on either side of staircases whilst watching or listening to events in the Auditorium during rough sees us only asking for an accident to occur it was probably by sheer luck nothing occurred. Oddly the announcement over the ships intercom warning people to hold on to rails during rough sees seemed pointless if they are obstructed as I mentioned above. Overall we had a good cruise not great it could have been considerably better but this was lacking on this particular Princess Ship, not sure we will try Princess again it would have to have a spectacular destination and itinerary and probably a different ship. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
This cruise was fantastic ... the crew were awesome... the food was great ... the entertainment team were funny and enjoyable. The staff were friendly and always helpful and happy. Our Cabin was an inside cabin but we only slept in ... Read More
This cruise was fantastic ... the crew were awesome... the food was great ... the entertainment team were funny and enjoyable. The staff were friendly and always helpful and happy. Our Cabin was an inside cabin but we only slept in there so that didn't matter. Cabin staff were brilliant - cabin was always clean ... staff checked the cabins and did mini cleans ( bins etc) at least 3 times a day. Lots of free giveaways on this ship ... free wine ... free scotch ... lots of prizes..... very generous. You didn't fell ripped off or that everything was monitored for cost effectiveness, Lots to see and do on the ship ... were didn't get to see all the places or get to do all the activities. Captain was great, he knew his ship and his crew and was out and about seeing what was happening on his ship. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
Overall, the ship was amazing. The dining was a WOW!! Although the entertainment was average, with only 4 or 5 musicals, the ship still kept our family of 4 busy throughout the whole day. The sporting and fitness facilities on the ship ... Read More
Overall, the ship was amazing. The dining was a WOW!! Although the entertainment was average, with only 4 or 5 musicals, the ship still kept our family of 4 busy throughout the whole day. The sporting and fitness facilities on the ship were outstanding, the ship provided us with a number of sports, such as table tennis(ping pong), basketball, soccer, cricket, paddle tennis, mini golf a jogging track and a well equipped high-tech gym. Every night, when the room steward refreshed our room he left us with delicious chocolates and the next day's edition of the Princess Patter( the newsletter with showed all the activities happening in the next day). One very important thing I would recommend you to purchase, especially if you are travelling with kids, is to buy the soda and drink package. And also purchase once you get on the ship, not before, because the price onboard is cheaper than purchasing it from the website. With 60 Australian dollars we could get all the drinks we wanted for free. And one thing that you should know is that Princess is not very strict with the package. For example, I could but a drink and then give the card to my sister and she could get a drink for herself. Our interior cabin was very nice. The service on the ship was amazing. The dining was also great. The pizza in this ship was amazing. For breakfast there was a huge variety of food, from pancakes, to waffles, to omelettes, to hash browns, to scrambled eggs, to croissants, to yoghurt, to chocolate croissants, to fruit etc. The dinner was amazing too, and the dessert was absolutely wonderful. The cruise was actually very great for children too, the kids clubs were awesome, and the youth counsellors very very friendly. The service on this ship was also very great. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
Chose this cruise during the Princess 5oth anniversary sale as my wife and I wanted a short break. The cruise exceeded our expectations as we found a significant all round improvement since our last cruise with Princess several years ... Read More
Chose this cruise during the Princess 5oth anniversary sale as my wife and I wanted a short break. The cruise exceeded our expectations as we found a significant all round improvement since our last cruise with Princess several years ago. Prior to the cruise we had some concerns given some of the recent adverse reviews that have been posted and now having just returned cannot believe those reviews apply to the same ship. All aspects of the cruise ticked all our boxes from caring staff ,good entertainment and good food. Ebarkation was a breeze we boarded at 3 just in time for the drill which was in fact our only criticim of the cruise.The drill was a drawn out affair with insufficient seating leading to many passengers standing around for 25 minutes. Anyime dining worked out fine with no waiting at all if you were prepared to share a table and some short waits for a table for two if you wanted it. Note however the boat does not dock in Bordeaux but in le Verdon two hours away and there is nothing to do round the port apart fro the free shuttle to a nearby seaside town Soulac which may well be fine in the summer but not in the Spring. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
speedy boarding ship was clean did not seem crowded. Mini suite was comfortable well looked after by Raymond our steward. Shows were ok saw Bernie Flint comedy/singing act for 3rd time he gets better with time. Did not use any shore ... Read More
speedy boarding ship was clean did not seem crowded. Mini suite was comfortable well looked after by Raymond our steward. Shows were ok saw Bernie Flint comedy/singing act for 3rd time he gets better with time. Did not use any shore excursions that were organised by cruise company so cant comment on them Most of the staff were pleasant only problem was when we came to dine in the Da Vinci restaurant which is anytime dinning except the time you want. We asked for a table for two but the Hostess that was in control pressurised you into sharing with others. On the second night we had same problem with her but this time held out for a table for two she was not pleasant this time. We had a 20 minute wait which was fine. For the Rest of the cruise we used Michelangelo restaurant and this Hostess was most welcoming she did ask if we would share but accepted we wanted a table for 2 we had between a 10 minute and a 25 minute wait most nights which is fine/ We spoke to a number of other people who had same problem at Da Vinci one couple said they were seated at a large table where the other dinners had finished their starter and were unable to get into the conversations going on at the table as other guests were well into various subjects. would not use Princess Cruises again have booked next cruise with Royal Caribbean. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
The embarkation was the best we have had. The evening meal got off to a poor start. Steak pie in a pot was on the menu, and that was all you got - no potatoes, no vegetables. Was told there were vegetables in the pot. The pastry was cut ... Read More
The embarkation was the best we have had. The evening meal got off to a poor start. Steak pie in a pot was on the menu, and that was all you got - no potatoes, no vegetables. Was told there were vegetables in the pot. The pastry was cut open - no vegetables to be seen. Had to ask for some. Breakfast next morning, waited over an hour to get it. Breakfast next day, waited over an hour again. Thought it was time to complain. Maitre de said , come and see him personally next morning. Shouldn't have been necessary. The meals, without going into a lot of detail, were no where near the standard on previous cruises on Princess Line. We felt there were signs of penny pinching. The shows in the Theatre were also third rate. The dancers, out of 12 nights were on twice. There were some good individual performances, but overall the entertainment was of a low standard. We have been on cruises before, so we are experienced in comparing one against another. The food lacked variety, however, we did enjoy some of the meals. Drinks on board are exorbitant, probably the most expensive of most cruise lines. There was a veterans meeting on board for former servicemen. It was arranged in a restaurant at lunchtime with live music in th background. The organiser arrived and we had to move to a quieter area. Just a lack of foresight and planning. There were far too many instances like this throughout. Maybe small things to some, but we paid good money for better service. There was a lot of complaints about similar things when we spoke to other passengers. It could well be our last cruise on the Princess Line. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
We chose this cruise as we had never been to The Canaries. Ship was very busy and like others on this cruise we could not get a seat in International cafe or crooners bar and had great difficulty getting a seat in Horizon at breakfast and ... Read More
We chose this cruise as we had never been to The Canaries. Ship was very busy and like others on this cruise we could not get a seat in International cafe or crooners bar and had great difficulty getting a seat in Horizon at breakfast and lunch. Our biggest complaint are the Tips. We paid the tips but feel cheated as it seems that others did not. Princess should increase the price of the cruise and include the tips. The staff do an excellent job and deserve to be fairly compensated. Good choice in all restaurants. Share specialty restaurant was a great experience - plenty choice of seating there. Excellent choice although expensive. We only attended 2 shows, one was very good , one was not so good. It would be good if the food theme for the Horizon evening buffet was intimated in the Princess Patter the night before. We stumbled across an excellent Indian buffet which we could easily have missed had we gone to the traditional dining option. Our steward Raymond did an excellent job looking after us. Cabin excellent, kept scrupulously clean with a bath and spacious balcony. Very comfortable bed and pillows. Not much to see in the ports which were mainly industrial due to size of the ship. We did not take any organized tours. One shuttle bus was free, another we were charged $10.00 each when the distance was readily walkable. Overall a nice cruise but it would appear we paid more than most due to the gratuity system. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
We choose Emerald Princess on a taster cruise to try the Princess line, we were bitterly disappointed. Embarkation and disembarkation was good The cabin was basic and the toilet smelt of stale urine, the shower curtain was very old. ... Read More
We choose Emerald Princess on a taster cruise to try the Princess line, we were bitterly disappointed. Embarkation and disembarkation was good The cabin was basic and the toilet smelt of stale urine, the shower curtain was very old. Our cabin steward kept the cabin clean and was very helpful. The Botticheli restaurant was ok but the food on an evening was just 3 courses, no cheese and biscuits as an extra and you had to buy any coffees. The Horizon buffet food was cold every day we visited in the hope it would get better. The breakfast was terrible, the sausages were either under cooked or burnt, the choice was minimal. The show in the theatre was only 35 minutes long. It was difficult to get a seat in any of the bars and the service was slow. We were disappointed as they advertise that you come back new !!! This wasn't the case. We will stick to P and O in the future as they give a much better service. We have sent a review to Princess but have not received a reply. We choose Princess as we thought they would be an enjoyable few days in the hope we could book a full cruise in the future. Even the shopping arcade was disappointing with a very limited supply of perfumes. There was no kettle in the cabin, you had to go and buy hot drinks, we tried this but there were no seats in the small cafe area. It is such a shame. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
the embarkation process at Southampton was excellent, after checking in at the desk we only sat in the waiting lounge for 5 minutes maximum, everyone of the staff we spoke with at Southampton was friendly and kind. We boarded the ship but ... Read More
the embarkation process at Southampton was excellent, after checking in at the desk we only sat in the waiting lounge for 5 minutes maximum, everyone of the staff we spoke with at Southampton was friendly and kind. We boarded the ship but no one to direct you to your cabin which seemed a shame as loads of people not knowing which way to go. we found our cabin and it was excellent. unfortunately the food in the main dinning room was not up to the usual standards we have come to expect, but the waiters were very good but no wine waiters, the drinks are served by the assistant waiter and if you want a second drink with your meal it comes just as you finish your meal. Entertainment was most nights a guest act and the shows only last 35 minutes, the on-board entertainment dancers and singers only did two shows all week, there was only three waiting staff taking drinks orders in the theatre, so if you want a drink while watching the show best take one with you. also the service in the other lounges was very slow, in the international plaza it took us 20 minutes before a waiter came and took our order and after no drinks arriving after another 20 minutes I went to find out what had happened only to be told be with you in 5 minutes, we finally had a drink after 50 minutes of waiting. the ports of call were all very good, we did our own thing in each port, there was free shuttle buses in France to take you the 20 minute drive in to town. the shuttle bus and tender ticketing system was not very well organised we heard people talking about not getting into town until four and half hours after docking. the disembarkation back in Southampton was again excellent but you had to have your case outside your cabin door by 10 pm at the latest on the last night , most other cruises we have been on this has normally been midnight. this was our second cruise with Princess. have also cruised with P & O, saga, Celebrity, Fred Olsen and Thomson. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
booked one suite and two balcony staterooms. Family cruise for 6. rooms were nice, clean and well maintained. disappointed in the buffet, unimaginative food without a lot of selection. The only redeeming feature was the Omelet cooked ... Read More
booked one suite and two balcony staterooms. Family cruise for 6. rooms were nice, clean and well maintained. disappointed in the buffet, unimaginative food without a lot of selection. The only redeeming feature was the Omelet cooked for breakfast. Formal nights were a joke. they will simply NOT enforce the dress code. I saw shorts and flip-flops on SUPPOSED formal nights. the food in the main dining rooms was top quality and we did enjoy our dinners. The CROWN GRILL was a fantastic steak house. service beyond perfect and the steaks were the best thing of the trip. sorely lacking in usual amenities. NO miniature golf course. NO full size shuffle board. they did have an idea of a shuffle board. it was crammed in an upper deck corner, about 12 feet long. they did have a croquet course which we used a couple of times. My two teenage grandsons did not think there was much for them except the pools. I have been on 2 other cruises and this one was far and away the roughest. in calm seas no less. I thing perhaps this older ship doesn't have more modern stabilizers. the trip was quite rough with rocking enough to almost throw you out of bed. Our rooms were on the very back of the ship so when they used the reverse thrusters to dock the entire room shook and rattled. We only booked this trip so we could go to Belize for the cave tubing. I have reviewed the Belize and Roatan potions of this trip on Trip advisor. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
The reason for my title is only because I feel like the staff seemed "not in to it" on this one, possibly because it also seemed like the same amount of staff for almost 700 more passengers. They seemed shortstaffed overall in my ... Read More
The reason for my title is only because I feel like the staff seemed "not in to it" on this one, possibly because it also seemed like the same amount of staff for almost 700 more passengers. They seemed shortstaffed overall in my opinion. A few people were friendly, some just going through the motions and a quite a few were just not happy. On the Golden I never felt like that. The ship itself was in good shape, It seemed very clean at all times and nothing seemed to be falling into disrepair. That is a big plus. The piazza was beautiful with so much gold for the 50th anniversary. We did several activities like Bingo and line dancing and they were fine. The coffee bar was very inconsistent and you waited for what felt like forever to get served because of the way it was positioned between the bar and the IC. My coffees were good every time but never once the same. I had about a 50/50 ratio on friendliness there. The gelato was good there, only $1.50 for 3 scoops. That's amazing. We didn't enjoy the buffet at all, our family said it was fine/good for breakfast (we had Suite breakfast in Sabatinis every day) but we never enjoyed the dinners. We had lunch there once and it was pretty good. We also didn't like that they didn't tell us in the Patter what the theme for dinner was in the buffet. That could have helped us choose the right night to go. The pizza was incredible. My husband got pizza at least twice a day. We had the pub lunch in the wheelhouse bar and it was some of the best fish and chips ever. I got a knockwurst at the trident grill and it was fine. The dining room was good overall. Hit or miss on the service again but almost all the food was great. It was mostly Caribbean themed which is not my favorite cuisine and I still found something good almost every night. It seemed to go a little faster then on the golden so that was good. That was our only drawback for eating there. It was really hard to do activities if you ate in the dining room. we did not have a tv guide in our room which was frustrating. We did use the thermal spa once, it was ok. If i had more free time I would have done it more and would have liked the heated stone beds to be warmer. I enjoyed the aromatherapy sauna. I should have used the private pool. The fitness center was fine. The main pool was pretty cold, I assumed it would be heated on some level. We used the hot tubs and pools in the rear of the ship and they were slightly warmer. No kids. That bar took 30 min to get 3 drinks. The bartender was terrible there. Disembarkation was easy. We had them collect our luggage this time and that was fine. Last time we took it off ourselves. We were the last group to go and we were still done and outside by 1030. We originally planned a 230 pm flight and we would have made that no problem. We had no issues getting of the ship in any ports either. We sailed to Cozumel, Roatan and Belize. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
Our suite was lovely as well as the amenities. Our room Steward, Chadwick Sanchez, was one of the best we have had. Sabatini's for breakfast was awesome (the real reason for booking a suite); Crown Grill was very nice; Dining Room ... Read More
Our suite was lovely as well as the amenities. Our room Steward, Chadwick Sanchez, was one of the best we have had. Sabatini's for breakfast was awesome (the real reason for booking a suite); Crown Grill was very nice; Dining Room service was extremely slow and food average; Horizon Court very, very disappointing. We have seen it go down the last few Princess cruises, which is very disappointing. Food not good at all in Horizon. The staff at Reception is lovely and accommodating as well as throughout the ship. Shows are average, however, I must say that I am not there for the shows but for the wonderful ocean air and island visits. Shops are fairly good for fun stuff. Boarding in Houston was outstanding. Arrived, registered, and boarded. Couldn't have been better. Disembarkation was a nightmare. Delays, longs lines, and appearance of lack of coordination of process. The purpose of this trip was taking a grandson on his "Spring Break Cruise." He had a wonderful time (as well as his Mother). We had connecting suites, and this was great. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
My family of four had a great time on the Emerald Princess from 8-15 Mar 15. Rather than go through the minutia about what was good, I thought it might be more helpful to explain where we saw some things lacking. ENTERTAINMENT: As ... Read More
My family of four had a great time on the Emerald Princess from 8-15 Mar 15. Rather than go through the minutia about what was good, I thought it might be more helpful to explain where we saw some things lacking. ENTERTAINMENT: As discussed on this board previously, my family also found the entertainment to be mediocre at best. I expected a higher quality of nightly performances. DINING: Food was excellent but always seemed to bother me after dinner.... maybe I'm just not used to eating foods so rich. KIDS CLUB: Although this was spring break and there were many kids on the ship, the activities weren't that robust. My 12-year-old grew bored with her group the first day and my 14-yr-old was disappointed compared to other cruise line programs. Again, there just were not enough quality activities. BAR SERVICE: Woefully undermanned. It should never take 20 minutes to get a drink at any bar on a ship (in my opinion). As I said, we generally enjoyed this cruise although I believe we would rather cruise with other lines who offer activities more in line with our own personal tastes. The alcohol program was worth it for my husband and I -- him for quantity and me for the ability to order something different, not like it, and not feel guilty about not drinking it. When you add in the kids beverage program (including malts and mocktails), we more than got our money's worth. Excellent value. My review would be remiss without a shout out to the EXCELLENT medical service. Unfortunately, my oldest daughter was sick the first day at sea but the medical staff took wonderful care of her, even calling during the day to ensure she was getting better. The Houston port was uber efficient and I will definitely cruse out of that port when we go again. Luckily, we experienced no fog. SHORE EXCURSIONS: Booked by ourselves. Little French Key (Honduras) was wonderful and cave tubing (Belize) was a lot of fun. However, at the port, we were "sold" to another trip company and things went downhill from there. Although our river guide was EXCELLENT (Javier's Adventures), the remainder of the experience was lacking.   Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
We are older, ages 63 & 58, this was our 15th cruise, 4th on Princess. We live in Houston and were dropped off at the ship. Having cruised with Princess before on a similar ship we knew what to expect. Getting on and off the ship at ... Read More
We are older, ages 63 & 58, this was our 15th cruise, 4th on Princess. We live in Houston and were dropped off at the ship. Having cruised with Princess before on a similar ship we knew what to expect. Getting on and off the ship at Bayport was a breeze. Luckily, fog was not an issue, though we have dealt with it before in Galveston. The overall experience at Bayport was positive, way better than Galveston. I'll start with the food. We thought the main dining room food was good, but the buffet was not so good. We never had dinner in the buffet, only lunch and breakfast. Breakfast was decent, but the buffet lunch was lacking. There was good pizza by the pool and we enjoyed going to the International Cafe on deck 5. In the Botticelli Dining Room we had tables 66 and 76 located right next to each other. Sandra was outstanding. The staff seemed shorthanded so service was hit & miss on the busier nights. We never tried any of the specialty places on this cruise. Friends did the Crab Shack thing and they liked it a lot. Let's talk entertainment. We went to some, but not all the shows. We thought most of them were below par. Having recently cruised the MSC Divina and having been on the Oasis of the Seas maybe we're spoiled. Shows were better than Carnival shows, but worse than Royal Caribbean. The Princess Theater seemed a little old too and smaller than other ships we have been on. The DJs and live bands did a good job throughout the ship, however. Went to Skywalkers every night and took advantage of the two for one drink special between 10pm and 11pm. Pool deck and outside areas. We enjoyed the Lotus Spa pool and hot tubs almost every day. The Sanctuary, located above the pool towards the front seemed stupid. Looked like a ghost town to me. Just a wasted space that very few people paid to use. Spent time at the aft too near the Horizon Pool. The pool itself is small, but the aft area is a great place to hang out, especially above the pool. Never watched MUTS at the main pool, but the sound was not overpowering like it is on Carnival. I spent time outside on the Promenade Deck each morning and totally enjoyed the peace & quiet. We've been to all the ports, but Mahogany Bay in Roatan was a new dock for us. If you don't want to go to West Bay or the West End the port is fine for spending time off the ship. It's not cheap, however. In Belize, the wife shopped and I planted my butt at the Wet Lizard. We both had fun. Paradise Beach was our stop in Cozumel. Had been there before and would go back. We had a balcony cabin. I thought the balcony was rather small. The cabin was set up well, with a table and chair instead of a little couch. The storage area of HUGE. Biggest closet we've had on a ship. The bathroom was a cruise ship bathroom. Our room guy, Rocard did a good job. We like our cabin cold and it was cold. No cabin complaints. (Posted this cabin review in the deck plan section too.) Overall, we had a good cruise. We still like Royal Caribbean better and Carnival worse. For the right cruise, we'd cruise Princess again, but we'd never cruise Carnival again. The prices out of Houston were very cheap, that alone makes this cruise worth taking.   Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
Just got back today. When I read some of the reviews I was a bit nervous that this cruise was going to be bad. I am pleased to write that is was, in a word-Awesome! We stayed at the airport Marriott the night before which made cruise day a ... Read More
Just got back today. When I read some of the reviews I was a bit nervous that this cruise was going to be bad. I am pleased to write that is was, in a word-Awesome! We stayed at the airport Marriott the night before which made cruise day a little less hectic. The ride to the port is long, about 1 hour. But getting luggage and people on the bus went very smooth. Yes, there are long lines at the Port of Houston and yes, one line just became another, but how else are a few thousand people going to get on the ship-there have to be lines. But, even that went smoothly. We had a mini suite which was very roomy. Balcony was great. Food was average-nothing spectacular. Friday night is lobster and prawn night. On Wednesday and Thursday they turn one of the dining rooms into a crab shack. Wasn't bad for 20$ per person and was a nice treat away from the main dining room. It took a few days for us to become familiar with the main parts of the ship. And there were sections of the ship we did not see because we did not know they were there. I don't know if they have a tour of the ship or not. Since this was spring break there was an average amount of kids but not as many as I anticipated. The majority of people where older. But, the pools were full of the kids and adults can't even get in the pool. BUT-we discovered that there is an adult only pool by the spa. It was a Godsend. No kids allowed. Of course it wasn't perfect and I was not looking for perfect. For instance we didn't have the best cabin steward, but he did his job and if we needed something he brought it. The room was clean, the food was good, our waitress was great, casino was fun, spa was great (though expensive). And overall the staff were very friendly. I was taught long time ago that if people like their job you can tell. Well, the staff were always smiling and they really seemed to enjoy being there. So if you have chosen to sail on The Emerald Princess-rest assure, you made a good decision. Oh and if you are looking for a great beach in Roatan-Tabyana beach is wonderful. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
This was our third cruise..Second on Princess. The weather was not as sunny as we hoped, but still we were on vacation. We dined at Sabatini's and it was well worth the extra $20/pp. We had anytime dining and chose to eat both alone ... Read More
This was our third cruise..Second on Princess. The weather was not as sunny as we hoped, but still we were on vacation. We dined at Sabatini's and it was well worth the extra $20/pp. We had anytime dining and chose to eat both alone and with other couples. We met people from all over the country at both breakfast and dinner. The diningroom food was good, but I felt the buffet food could be a little less bland. Of course, a lot of people don't like spicy food. Another idea would be to add a mexican/tex mex type restaurant somewhere on the ship....I bet a lot of cruisers would enjoy loaded nacho's with their beer....Another area which we liked was the International Cafe that had a specialty coffee area and a pastry counter and also small sandwiches depending on the time of day. The entertainment was the standard shows and comedienne/magician/jugglers...We really enjoy the comics...the casino is the usual smokey room with slots, etc. Our cabin was fine. We signed up for a guaranteed balcony and we assigned a room on Riviera Deck. We had a covered balcony which was nice. There was a little noise from the pool area above from time-to-time, but nothing to complain about. We were in R311 and would not mind staying here again. All in all, we enjoyed this cruise but the weather was not as sunny as it coul Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
We just got back from a week on the Emerald Princess. We had a great trip. 2 Grandparents, 1 Daughter, 2 Grandsons, 13 and 10. This is our 4th cruise, 3rd with Princess. Our daughter and her two boys were on their 2nd. Embarkation - We ... Read More
We just got back from a week on the Emerald Princess. We had a great trip. 2 Grandparents, 1 Daughter, 2 Grandsons, 13 and 10. This is our 4th cruise, 3rd with Princess. Our daughter and her two boys were on their 2nd. Embarkation - We arrived at the terminal about 10.30, expecting to get on the ship around 11.15 but were delayed due to extra cleaning. One of the staff on board told us they a Virus on the sailing just completed. If you are familiar with the boarding procedure then you know they board by group #. We were group 1. Once they called us it took about 5 minutes to get signed up and on board. Lunch on deck, a few drinks, Listened to some music and the sailaway party. The main band was called Evolution and they were great. Played a huge variety of music throughout the day. Cabins - Checked out the cabins right as we got on board. We had a balcony Cabin, C 259 and they had an inside, C 257). The cabins were as advertised and the steward, Jonathan was great. Cabins were always cleaned in a very timely manner. The showers are in fact tiny. The bed was terrible. Had I been a prisoner in a state prison, I think I could have sued the state and won for cruel and unusual punishment. We even had the extra pad put down. Having said that, it did not keep up from sleeping pretty well every night. Food - We at dinner in DaVinci 6 nights. We did have to wait about 10 minutes on the first night to get a beeper and then came back in 30 minutes and sat right down. The service was great everywhere all week. Without exception the staff was friendly and courteous and well versed at taking our money!! My wife and I took this same cruise in Jan, 2009 and the food this trip was way better. With few exceptions it was very well prepared. We ate all of our breakfasts at the buffet and it was easy to find things that were to our liking. Yes, the buffet was crowded at times, but no problem. Lunch was usually pizza, hamburgers or hot dogs which are always good. Of the 6 nights we ate in Davinci, we only had to wait 2 nights. The last 4 nights of the cruise, there was no wait more than 5 or ten minutes and not a problem. We also had a few snacks from international cafe which was very good. Food and beverage service was very good, everyone friendly and helpful. There are $2.99 drink specials after 8 which is worth looking at. Martinis at Crooners were pretty tasty!! The ladies had tea which they said was great. Kids Club - The boys went to the Kids/Teen Club right away. The younger one stayed with us most of the week. The 13 year old found a group of like minded kids and hung out with them most of the week. Except for meals and couple of shows, we hardly saw him at all. On board activities - Mostly, we sat in the sun during the day. Watched a few movies had a few boat drinks and enjoyed the sunshine. Most of the music we heard was very good and great variety. We saw the comedian in Explorers one night, he was hysterical. Delta had lost his bags and it really got him going. We also saw the magician/comedian, thought he was funny as well. Did not see any productions. Everyone is correct about saving chairs. It does seem a bit overdone. We always were up early had breakfast and hit the deck so never had any problem. But the chairs did seem to be gone by 9, at least close to the pools on any of the levels. I did not see the Princess staff move any towels or clear off any chairs all week. Not sure of the fix to this but it must be a problem if you sleep late. Someone else mentioned that the cruise director and staff were not that visible and I think I would agree with that. The Cruise director we had last year seemed to be everywhere, enjoying himself as well as the passengers. We used the gym a few times. There were available tread mills and ellipticals when we were there, but the other equipment could use an update. Good experience. Ports Blown out of Princess Cays. One of the staff said that had happened twice in the past 8 weeks. Bad luck for us. St Marteen - We did the Segway tour in St. Marteen and if you are interested I would not book it through the ship. It was $89 and was supposed to last two hours As it turned out, it lasted 70 minutes, including the ride from the ship to town. There was also supposed to be a stop for "refreshments" but no time. I talked to the tour operator and she said that they had been trying to get the ship to change the description. She also told me they charge $45 for the same thing. You ride slowly up and down the boardwalk with the "guide" and that is it. If you want to do this, I recommend that you walk up to them and negotiate directly. The guides were very friendly and helpful. Also, there were 5 ships in port including the Oasis of the Sea, with Princess coming in last. I was amazed how "un-crowded" things felt considering how crowded it was. Hung on out on the beach for a few hours, rented 2 chairs, 1 umbrella and 5 beers for $20. Seemed like a deal to me! St. Thomas - Booked the ½ day Champagne snorkel cruise to St. John through Princess. Had a delightful time, although it is a 20 minute ride to get to the boat. The crew of the Adventuress was energetic, friendly and interested in making sure everyone had a good time. Seemed like everyone did. Reasonably good snorkeling but saw several Rays and Turtles pretty close that was great. Grand Turk - Rainy, cloudy day. Stayed close to the ship at Margaritaville. In the pool with the kids, then back to the ship as it was going to rain harder. OK, so here is my only complaint of the whole trip. We signed up for Express Check for our bags. On the form they tell you that if the airlines says to charge you baggage fees, they then will charge you. I told them we should not be charged because we were Frequent Flyers. In fact I told them that twice. Of course they charged us the baggage fees of $45. My big problem is that they cannot give you any evidence that the airlines actually charged them. I was told the information came over in a "file" from the airlines and that they could not give me a copy. Princess says that they are "sure" the airline will take care of it but I'm betting I'm out $45. Having said that, the $20 Princess charges to check your bags for you seems worth it to me. They took them away Saturday night and we picked them up at home. Check out - We opted for Walk off. Since we were packing pretty light at that time, we walked down the stairs. The line did seem stupidly long, but honestly we were off the ship and through customs in less than 20 minutes at about 7.30 in the morning. Overall, we had a great trip, lots of fun and time to be together. I'd definitely sail Princess again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
We are a couple in our mid-30's to early 40's respectively, from NJ directly across the Delaware River from Philadelphia PA. This was my lady's 3rd cruise (2nd with Princess) and my 5th cruise (also 2nd with Princess). After ... Read More
We are a couple in our mid-30's to early 40's respectively, from NJ directly across the Delaware River from Philadelphia PA. This was my lady's 3rd cruise (2nd with Princess) and my 5th cruise (also 2nd with Princess). After a rough couple of months at our jobs we really looked forward to this break, both from work and from some fairly nasty weather in our area. We flew down to Ft. Lauderdale a day early for this cruise. We had never done that before, and it turned out to be a real blessing as the Philadelphia area got NAILED with a nasty rain storm the weekend we left. Our flight departed PHL one hour late, hardly affecting our vacation at all. We arrived at our hotel (Gallery One, A Doubletree resort) at around 3pm Saturday, checked in, celebrated the beginning of our vacation, and hit the beach for an hour or so. We then went back to the hotel, and took the water taxi from the back patio of the hotel over to Las Olas for some dining and a nice long walk. We really liked our stay in Ft. Lauderdale. It is a lovely place, and Gallery One is a fine hotel that is not outrageously priced. Unfortunately we were awakened very early by some stupid rowdy spring breakers who were fist fighting and ultimately got the police and emergency squad involved. All this, plus we lost an hour sleep due to daylight savings time beginning. My lady was bold enough to ask the hotel for a late checkout, and we were able to check out at noon. We shared a taxi to Port Everglades with a couple sailing on Celebrity Solstice (Each couple paid 25 dollars US plus tip). We arrived to find a very long line to check in to the ship. At around 1pm the line started moving very quickly. I'm pretty sure we were onboard by 2. Our bags were waiting for us when we arrived at our stateroom. We asked our stateroom steward to place an eggcrate on our mattress, and she did this for us. Our stateroom, Plaza 328, was a little narrower than our stateroom last year (P309 on Ruby) presumably to accommodate the adjacent stateroom's pulman bed. Between that and our toilet having a raw sewage smell, I was a little disappointed in the beginning. After rearranging some furniture though, and buying a little can of citrus air freshener (a little over $6.00 US but it lasted all week, and it absolutely works) which we used before and after each use of the toilet, we were quickly satisfied with our stateroom. It was a good location, 4 staterooms forward of the International Cafe, which we (especially I) enjoyed at least twice a day. The Piazza and the International Cafe are wonderful areas to relax, snack and coffee up, and to be entertained by musicians, jugglers, hoola hoop dancers, and other cool activities. After getting settled, we hit deck 15 for lunch. As last year, we started with a dog (for my lady) and a cheeseburger (me!). After lunch, we made a Tuesday reservation at the Crown Grill, checked out the spa (my lady didn't book a massage this time, too expensive!), did the muster drill, then ended up back in the stateroom and even blew off the sailaway party, being so tired from our interrupted sleep the night before at the hotel. That night we ate in the Dining room, tried sharing a table at Anytime dining (only did this once, it lengthens dinner too much), hit the show at the theater with the first comedian, and retired pretty early. I woke up early the next morning and went to the International Cafe, bought a coffee card for the week (a real bargain, especially if you like fancy coffee drinks), had an early coffee and let my lady sleep in. We ended up in the Dining Room for breakfast when the Captain came on and announced that due to rough surf we'd be skipping Princess Cays. A minor disappointment that was made up for by a lucky spot we found on the pool deck for our extra day at sea. We got a lot of sun, and enjoyed Pizza for lunch by the pool. We did dinner in the buffet that night, and perched on deck 16 to watch "The Blind Side" at Movies Under the Stars. We knew this cruise to bring sweats because it gets pretty cold in the evenings out on deck. Anyway, no popcorn or cookies served this showing, maybe because of the noro-virus protocol that was observed for the first couple days. After the movie, we hit the hay. We were tired. We got up early the next day, grabbed a couple loungers by the Neptune Reef pool, and had another sun filled day. It's amazing watching the animal like behavior regarding pool chair saving on sea days. Anyway, same as the day before, we lounged and lunched on deck, back to the stateroom for a nap by 2:30. This was formal night, and since we skipped formal wear this cruise, we did the Crown Grill for dinner, which is easily worth the $25.00 a person. They served us awesome appetizers, awesome Filet Mignon, and awesome desserts. We were going to see the second comedian, but realized he was the same fellow we saw last year on the Ruby, so we went to the theatre and saw the extended performance of the comedian we saw on embarkation night. I didn't like him but my lady thought he was really funny. Afterward we retired. Wednesday we stopped at St Maartin, for a very very hot day. We were unencumbered by the heat, and by the crowds from the Emerald and 4 other ships (including Oasis of the Seas). We walked toward the far end of 'the Boardwalk' and rented two chairs and an umbrella for $10 US. We retreated when we saw some dark clouds, which didn't end up dropping rain. It was a lovely day. We did the buffet for dinner this night, played some miniature golf and watched the sunset, had some romance, hit the outside promenade deck for night time sailaway, and I think this was our first night in the casino. My lady played the slots, won a little, then gave part of it back. Thursday we were in St. Thomas. This was a short port day, so instead of getting up at the crack of dawn and ferrying to St. John as we originally planned, we instead taxied to Magens Bay and enjoyed our day there. It's very pretty but in my opinion pales in comparison to Trunk Bay on St. John. This was the second formal night, Lobster night, but as I said before we skipped formal wear so I ended up eating lobster claw in the buffet. It was not at all bad. We watched sail away from deck 19. We were very tired by show time, so we skipped Phil Tag's first performance and hung in our stateroom. Friday we slept in and docked in Grand Turk at around 1pm. It was a miserable rainy day so we didn't spend too much time off the ship. We did a little shopping, then came back on board for a late lunch. Since we didn't enjoy this port due to the weather, we began to regret missing Princess Cays, because there were only two nice days off the ship. Anyway, we did the dining room for dinner this night. We ate at a table for two, with no waiting, quickly in and out with fast service. We went to the casino again. This time I played, lost $40 in about 3 minutes and gave up. My lady lost a little, won a little, then lost some more. We stayed there a few minutes too long and couldn't get a seat for Phil Tag's encore performance. I was very disappointed, but we went to Crooners and I had a couple drinks and listened to some music. This was the first night we stayed up until midnight or so. This was also the night that we both were afflicted with the ships cough/cold. Still, a fun night. Saturday, our last day, was a sea day. We slept in though, having felt we had enough sun on the previous days, and forfeiting any chance for a decent chair by the pool. Instead, we walked around inside the ship, caught an afternoon movie in the theater ('The Invention of Lying', unfortunately we both slept through it), sat for a short time on the pool deck, and got dressed for our final dinner in the dining room. After this, we saw the final show by the two comedians, packed up and hit the sack for our final night's sleep on board. Sadly on Sunday we woke up, had a nice farewell breakfast in the main Dining room, then disembarked (it went smoothly enough). I had a nasty head cold on the flight home but I survived. We're back at home now, settling back into reality. We had a lovely, relaxing time on Emerald Princess. Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
We had a fantastic time - here's my long winded review! Preface - We are a 40"s couple travelling with our 11 year old daughter. This was our 4th cruise - but 1st with Princess. DH is a dentist, I'm the office manager in his ... Read More
We had a fantastic time - here's my long winded review! Preface - We are a 40"s couple travelling with our 11 year old daughter. This was our 4th cruise - but 1st with Princess. DH is a dentist, I'm the office manager in his office. We are just middle of the road people - not too fancy, fairly easy to please. (just giving this info so you can base my opinions on food and quality by "who" we are....) My opinions are only that - opinions! :) We like nice things, but don't require a certain 'caliber' to be happy! Ft Lauderdale - Arrived early - on Friday! Had reservations at the Hyatt Place/Plantation, so we picked up our rental car (Budget through hotwire $42 for 2 full days!), set our GPS with the address and off we went. Check in went smoothly - we were offered a choice of rooms - We chose what they said would be a quiet room on floor 5 - they were right! We were given a quick tour of the facilities. Got to our room - it was fantastic - King sized bed with a pull out couch for our DD, HUGE big screened TV (which my husband loved for NCAA March Madness). The room was clean, roomy, the bed comfy. Some more notes about hotel: *Pool - it is heated - but just a bit - it was fine for us, but there were a few people discussing it amongst themselves that it should have been warmer - it could have been, but it was definitely heated. It was unseasonably cool for FL this past week, too - I guess which may have added to the chill! *exercise room - it's small, but mighty! No weights, but for cardio machines - they were top notch! One elliptical, 2 (or was it 3) Treadmills, and a bike. These were new high quality machines that you could watch TV on, listen to FM radio, or just watch your progress on a picturesque screen. *Breakfast - this may have been the only downfall of the hotel. Keep in mind - this was spring break. It was chaotic in the breakfast room every day. We learned quickly to try and avoid the prime times - and our second day was definitely better than the first. They do have a nice selection of bagel, english muffin, fruits, cereals, yogurt, juices. If you wanted hot foods - they were available for order at a nominal fee (eggs, waffle, omelet) they also served a small selection of food for any time of the day. *Dining - we ate the most fantastic pizza ever at a wood fired pizza restaurant very close to the hotel. It was called Anthony's Coal Fired Pizza http://www.anthonyscoalfiredpizza.com/ The best pizza - bar none - that I've had since I was in Italy - and the salad (its HUGE! They say enough for 2, but probably enough for 4 - we all three ate on it and had loads left over) was the BOMB! We also ate at Smoky Bones BBQ on University (again, only a couple of miles from the hotel) for dinner and it was good food - typical to what you'd expect from a chain BBQ joint. Good service. We did eat Ole Ole Mexican for lunch one day - it was good food - but want to mention that it was a bit pricy - we could have eated at anthony's again for cheaper and been just as happy! Good food tho! *Mall - just want to mention that there is a nice big mall within walking distance of this hotel, as well as a Walgreens, a liquor store, and a grocery store all within a mile or two of this location. *Beach - there is a beach about 20 minutes or so from this hotel - straight down broward - nice clean area - parking is easy if you get there early - but later in the day good luck! :) Sunday - we checked out of hotel, dropped rental car back at the airport, and grabbed a taxi to the cruise dock. We'd been told we could probably get on the ship about 10:30 or so, and arrived about then to the cruise terminal. (cab was $13). We were about the 4th person there! :) We were given a #1, and sent to wait. *friendly staff everywhere *Pictures are NOT allowed in the area - it wasn't really posted well, and many people were getting in 'trouble' by the security. *Staff told us they don't hardly EVER board by 10:30! LOL People began filliing up the seats, and at noon, group one was called to go through registration. I'd say it took us 5 minutes TOPS to get on the boat. And that was only because our guy checking us in was chatting up our daughter about how excited she was, and because we stopped to get a picture! It was a BREEZE! *If you are early boarding - you do not have to go to your designated check in gate for your floor - you can go to whoever is open *If there is a line - migrate towards the right of the lines - it's closest to your embarkation route! We went straight to our room - Minisuite D715 on the Dolphin Deck. Completely uncovered balcony. I literally DUMPED my bags and dashed to the Sanctuary to get a seat for the week! (more later in bullet points) Once seat secured - I flew downstairs one level and then signed up for the thermal spa for both DH and I. Then back to the room to actually look at it! LOL Minisuite was great - LOVED the layout compared to Carnival's suite - I like the longer, narrower layout a lot! The bathroom is smaller than what we were used to a little bit - and darker?....but who's spending the week in the bathroom! I loved the big closet - and then the wall of shelves to organize your clothes on!. Two TVs - nice added bonus (I think we only had one one once the whole trip tho!) Dinner that night in the Anytime Dining was great - Prime rib for DH, Barramundi fish for me, and Spaghetti and Meatballs for the Daughter. We picked the Michelangelo dining room and had Ralph from the Phillipines (side note - he was awesome, and inadventently - we sat in his section 4 times! It was funny! The final time we did request him, and gave him a tip, he'd been such a nice guy all the times we had him!) *Sanctuary - Okay - it was fantastic - don't get me wrong - but I'm not sure I'd spend the money again. I don't think I personally utilized it enough to make up for the cost for the week $105.00 I used it for a couple hours every day - and on one day I was there for about 4 hours. I figured it cost me about $8/hour. It's so nice and swank up there - those chairs are so comfy - and they treat you like royalty - bringing you cold clothes, special snacks, turning your chair for you, covering it each day with a super nice towel! The spa pool was a level down from here and although some people say no one was ever in that pool, this week it was fairly crowded all week. And - to get there from the sanctuary - you had to go all the way out of the sanctuary, down a level into that area. Too bad it couldn't have been a little different layout maybe? Anyway - really really nice - probably worth every penny - but for me, I'd probably take that money for something else next time. *Thermal Spa - first day special $149 for two people for the week. This facility is awesome also - ceramic hotbeads, rainhead showers, steam rooms with different scents, very private! We loved, loved, loved this. But again - we didn't utilize it as much as I thought we might - I'd say one of us used it every day - and maybe twice we both went on the same day. That being said - it made it about $17 a visit for us - not terrible really - it was so relaxing. I only shared the room a couple of times with anyone. I'd probably spend the $$$$ on this again - before I'd do the sanctuary again - although after typing all this, I think the sanctuary might be worth it again! LOL We rented a bungalow at Princess Cay - Had we not - it would have been sunny and 100*. Since we spent the $199 on the BB, it was 70 and rainy! LOL Such is life! We made the best of it - Some people love princess cay, and some don't - we liked it - would we pick a cruise because of it - never! HOwever, if the weather had been nicer we'd have enjoyed the beach day loads (We are beach and ocean junkies!). The bungalows are awesome - roomy with a table for four - an airconditioner, shelves to put your stuff on. Lots of towels to use - the outside shower head would be nice on a hot, sandy beach day! We swam - YES - we were a few of the idiots that actually made it into that cold water! LOL *DD got her hair braided - $30 for half a head. Cheaper than some of the places we've had it done before. *If you like to shop - don't come in with an expectation of it here - you'll be disappointed as there isn't a lot of shopping here - there were several little kiosks - but many had the same or similar items. *The BBQ is okay - burgers, hotdogs, baked beans and potato salad. Pretty much it - again - had it been a hot sunny day, we might not have been searching for 'snacks' so much! LOL *music - there was some live music - which I love! It was relaxing to sit and listen to him while shivering from the rain We made the best of our day - and headed back to the ship towards the end of the day. While it certainly didn't compare to the other stops, it was an adequate stop - I think we'd have liked it towards the end of our trip better. I think people are so in anticipation of shopping and restaurants, and tours, and whatnot - they are disappointed with Princess Cay - where if you were doing at the end of the trip - you could use it for a relaxation and unwind day from all the go go going of your trip - I think it would be better received that way! Sea Day! We had a great day - lots of activities! *Bingo - $20 for a three card pack that gets you 4 games. These are cards that you mark - unlike carnival. We bought dabbers - but you could have used just an inkpen if you wanted. I think it was offered twice this day - special note - the time posted is the time that the game Begins - get there before that time so that you are ready and not missing out! *cruise director staff is loads of fun - first time I really witnessed them around the ship, involving people all the time. For example, I was sitting in the explorer lounge watching Evolution (one of the ships bands) and here come some of the crew - one of the guys got my DD up dancing, one of the girls sat down by me and chatted me up some. The rest of the trip when they saw us, they spoke and remembered us. Nice touch that we hadn't really witnessed on carnival! *casino - won a little $$$ in the casino - started the week with $20 and by today was up to about $178 in my casino account. The cruise card system is so easy - not sure what all the hub bub is about it - put your card in - it asks you to set up account - pick a pin number, enter it again and voila - you are in business! St. Maarten - We went into port - not a lot to do at this dock that we were at, and since we had a tour scheduled in a short time, we didn't have time to do much else, as far as taking the water taxi to shopping, etc. - bought a hat (good parenting = sunburnt daughter! LOL), bought a couple cute trinket stuff, and headed off on our excursion! *Golden Eagle Sail - This was a good trip - efficient crew. We were supposed to have gone to tintarre beach (that isn't right, but if you've been on here you know which beach I mean) Because of the roughness of the water, we went first to a snorkel location that was okay, then to mullett beach. The snorkelling we saw was not the greatest I've done, but it really wasn't the crews fault. The water was a bit choppy, and it was a good distance away from the boat before you could see anything. We did see some fish, and a little bit of coral, but had more fun just floating around in the ocean by the boat. Next stop mullet beach - where my daughter was traumatized by the lack of clothing! LOL (side note - HILARIOUS day at the pool after - listening to all the kids talk about their experiences at the clothing optional beaches - really was one of my more entertaining afternoons/evenings by the pool! LOL) We saw a pod of dolphin as we were leaving - which was really really neat - a baby and several others - and I understand that seeing them in that area is fairly rare! We watched them for about 15 minutes swim right around our boat - great ending to a nice day! My all time faves of the trip - both of these days were amazing! We'd been to St Thomas before - love love love the shopping there, but since DH drop a jackload of money on a gold Rolex the last time we were there, I opted for an all day cruise to avoid him spending more than a used car of something stupid again! We picked the Full Day Sail with lunch. This excursion might well be the highlight of our trip! I honestly did it to keep my husband out of the shops, and couldn't believe the day we had! We were on a catamaran - the Dancing Dolphin http://www.thedancingdolphin.com/index.html The crew was Ian, Lilly and....(gawd, I've forgotten his name! LOL) We started out of St Thomas on the boat - only about 19 people on the boat to Turtle Cove. This is in the wild - out in the ocean, where you can snorkel above sea turtles swimming - they would come up right beside you for air - it was awesome! Even more so - they did a guided snorkel tour for the first half hour or so, where Lilly would explain about what kind of fish we were seeing, bring sea urchins up for us to see and handle, all the while explaining how to protect them and treat them, and how to help the ocean. Lots of interesting different facts about the ocean, where sand comes from, etc. Best snorkeling tour ever that we'd taken - lots of info -lots of free time to do our own thing! Then, with the rum punch flowing after the snorkeling - the second half of our day was spent at honeymoon beach, with BBQ ribs and chicken, salad, etc. More rum punch, soda, beach volleyball, more snorkeling if you like. This crew was the perfect combination of fun and professionalism. We ended up tipping them $50 at the end of the day - the most fun 6 hour excursion we've done! I cant' say enough about this day - its an expensive excursion, but well worth the $$$! Grand Turk - WOW. We loved it here. It was just beautiful! The prettiest water and sand of the cruise! We did the 'ultimate snorkeling tour' and loved it. This was a shorter, inexpensive tour - but had lots of bang for your buck. Fun crew, LOTS of people on the boat tho! We went to two different snorkeling stops - the first there were tons of the huge stingray like Grand Cayman - that the guides would go down and grab so you could touch them. Lots of coral, wonderful visibility. Tons of conch shells - many of them empty and there for the taking! The second stop was near the surf break - so a bit more choppy, but nothing even my 11 year old couldn't handle - TONS of sealife and fish here - and a resident 'PET' barracuda that swam with us. a little creepy, but so cool - saw some very amazing and unique fish here that I've never seen on the 15 or so snorkeling tours I've taken! We spent a short time at margaritaville, and did a little bit of shopping - and then it was way too soon time to leave this GEM of an island! I cannot believe people say they don't want to get off of the ship here - its a small island - but it packs a mighty mighty punch as far as beaches, sea life, and beauty! We were out of the cabin by 7:45 - off to the zoo of the buffet. Then on to the Wheelhouse - our appointed 'waiting' spot! Within about 5 minutes they called us to leave - We did the EZ Check - let me tell you - IF YOU HAVE A LATER IN THE DAY FLIGHT - the is the ONLY way to go - and the BEST $20 you'll spend per person on your trip! People with an earlier flight, it'll make it easier for you - but not like the people who have to wait several hours for your flight. Our flight didn't leave until 4:17. Because we did EZ Check - we were first off the boat after self carry. We walked directly off the boat! Here's where EZ Check made the difference in our day - the airport was a ZOO. The airlines have a policy that you cannot check your bags until 3 hours prior to your flight. This means, you can't go through security and down where there's food, lots more chairs, etc, until you've checked your bags. because people couldn't check their bags, they were stuck in the area by check in that has very little sitting which means in every direction you looked - the floor was covered with loads of tired people and all of their bags :( We only had our carry ons - and were able to roam about, go through security and get seats etc. Looking back, I wished I had rented a car for the day to meander around, but now I know for next time! Some notes about Princess difference: *I thought the food was better than carnival - DH thought food was better, but that carnival had more choices geared towards his likes. By the way - sidenote! The Sea Bass on Grand Turk night (captains night) was the BEST I've had - it was fantastic! Also the fish on the first sea night (monday) was delicious! *anytime dining - I've read some negatives about it - we didn't experience that at all. Only one night were we asked to share a table - and ended up meeting a lively crew that we enjoyed seeing the rest of the week. We did have to wait in line to be seated for maybe 10 minutes every night, but the hostess was very friendly and kept everyone entertained. We never got a beeper - in fact - only saw one person with one the whole time. We found the michelangelo was faster, and a shorter line, so aside from one night we ate there. We ate at all different times - the line was about the same all the time. Early early, and late late seemed a smidge less crowded, but we were pleased with our dining on all nights. *I noticed what I'd call a 'quiet elegance' about the staff. My DH kept saying - they don't seem quite as attentive as carnival, and I'd say, well - what is it that you need, and he'd respond - well, nothing, it's all taken care of. I liked that not 'in your face' sort of attentiveness. I don't think DH didn't like it - it just wasn't what he was used to. If you needed help with anything - they were all more than willing to help. *I really, really loved the way Princess utilizes all of their public areas for different things. Instead of doing 'everything' in the theatre. It made me more acclimated to the ship, and I felt like I'd seen the whole ship, not just the pool, theatre and dining room! *Embarassed to admit I saw very little entertainment on this cruise! We fell in love with Evolution on first day - and like someone on here mentioned, sort of stalked them around the ship! They had such an eclectic range of what they could do and were loads of fun, too. *Don't bring books - HUGE library!! Save the room in your suitcase and check something out there - very handy! *MUTS - lots of fun, love that they bring you blankets, popcorn, and cover the chairs with comfy covers! We had a great cruise - One of our best so far - definitely will travel with Princess again as we took advantage of the $100 deposit and onboard credit for booking while we were on the ship. I also booked a European cruise for a friend and I to get the deposit discount and onboard credit for it! I have all the patters! Didn't get home until late - so no pics up yet, but I'm happy to answer questions you might have or scan those patters and email them to you - as well as the list of Muts Movies, Spa Specials, etc. My email is addygirl216@sbcglobal.net Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
We arrived early into Ft. Lauderdale and stayed at the BW in town that offered a complimentary shuttle, breakfast and transfer to the ship. A short walk took us to many restaurants and retail shops for last minute items. We were welcomed ... Read More
We arrived early into Ft. Lauderdale and stayed at the BW in town that offered a complimentary shuttle, breakfast and transfer to the ship. A short walk took us to many restaurants and retail shops for last minute items. We were welcomed at the port and directed where to proceed to check in. My husband had lost track of an item through the xray machine and we were unfortunately not able to recover. Come to find out later that all items left behind at the Terminal were transferred to the ship. After a few moments of stepping on to the Emerald, we were directed by smiling crew directing us to our appropriate deck to find our stateroom. We were immediately welcomed by our stateroom attendant (Elizabeth), who made us feel welcomed as we unpacked for the week. We found the inside stateroom to be very "roomy", the design allows for a long open closet area with oversized shelves which proved to be ample room for our family. We rotated the upper bed sleeping arrangement since it was not comfortable. We found that the twin beds in the room were not very comfortable, and may need updating. My husband complained that his mattress had a deep slant on the one side. With the best intensions, we planned on visiting the fitness center. However, we opted to sleep in most mornings and filled up our days with other activities. It was very busy in the buffet area for lunch, many people trying to figure out which direction to go and many just there to look at the offerings. But, this is after all the first day on board and everyone is trying to figure out port, starboard, aft and forward on the ship. The cuisine in the dining room was very good, shrimps were on the small size in the nightly shrimp cocktail, but the salads and soups were tasty and the main entrees were very good. The assortment of rolls and bread sticks was nice which lasted through the voyage. I did not care for the "unsalted" individually wrapped butter, it tasted sour to me and I would have preferred the real thing with my roll. We opted for Personal Choice dining on this voyage. We enjoyed a different staff each night (you may request a particular dining team); and many times we enjoyed sharing a table with other passengers which is always a pleasure and lends itself to a good time. The entertainment on board was good and provided a good balance of comedy, live orchestra music and string instruments. On the last night the crew passed out balloons to the audience and we had a balloon toss before the show started. This is not something you see every day, people of all ages acting like children -- priceless!! The service at the Captains Circle desk and Guest Services was very professional. We love to play trivia when we cruise, if there was a game, we were there. Our winnings was a hat and a deck of cards. We tried to win the passport cover, but it was never in the cards. We utilized the pressing and laundry service while on board (complimentary to elite members); and found that all items where returned timely for evening attire. We booked the catamaran champagne snorkel to St. John when in St. Maarten. We thought that the 40 minute ride to the dock was a little too much but it was worth the friendly service on board the reward of arriving at the snorkel destination of St. John. We felt a sense of "tradition" on Princess. You could always catch up on an episode of a "Love boat" show and other old time movies. The staff was overly friendly and ready to please. Although we never patronized, the casino offers several "smoke free" days over the week which is nice for non-smokers. The "Movies under the Stars" was presented nicely. The crew will cover all the lounge chairs with a heavy pillow top cover and top with a cozy red plaid blanket. Pizza, hamburger and fries always near by. We dined two night in Crown Grill, this is a wonderful intimate dining experience with premium cuts of beef and whole lobster offerings. The boutiques on board offered several items at all different price ranges. There was a small sale of items on the last port day. The Elite members receive a 10% discount in the boutiques. Read Less
Sail Date February 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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