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85 Houston Princess Emerald Princess Cruise Reviews

We cruised from Houston to the western Caribbean for 7 nights, then back into Houston. We visited the NASA Space Centre in Houston, while the crew turned the Emerald Princess around for our Transatlantic Cruise. Never done a transatlantic ... Read More
We cruised from Houston to the western Caribbean for 7 nights, then back into Houston. We visited the NASA Space Centre in Houston, while the crew turned the Emerald Princess around for our Transatlantic Cruise. Never done a transatlantic cruise before. The cost of this repositioning cruise was very competitive, as we got to cruise the Med. as well after we sailed to Madeira. Emerald Princess is a large but comfortable ship. It is needing some refurbishment in certain areas, but on the whole the condition of the ship/cabins etc; was good. We spent 4 weeks on her, so we had plenty of time to explore! The food was always good, no complaints apart from one, which was dealt with swiftly and efficiently. That's not a bad score in 4 weeks! We are seasoned cruisers so we did not use the port & shore excursions. Mainly did our own thing - this was a much cheaper and a more effective way of seeing some of the ports. You just need to research before you go. Rome for instance can be reached by train from Cittavecchia. Likewise Seville from Cadiz. The entertainment was good and varied. It's a long trip for the entertainment crew, as you are at sea for 7/8 days crossing the Atlantic. They did well, but were probably glad to reach Madeira, where the tours started to kick off! Our balcony cabin was looked after well by our Steward. I needed to use the Medical Centre for a minor complaint, the staff were excellent. If you are British you have to be prepared to be in the minority, as the ship is a way of US citizens getting to Europe inexpensively, so we Brits were well outnumbered! Nice to have a good quantity of Brits on the entertainment crew. Deputy Cruise Director was outstanding and did us proud! Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
We cruise a couple times a year with my sister and hubby, so this was our 7th cruise together and 13 total for myself and hubby. My niece and son-in-law surprised us at the Port of Houston by showing up to go with us. It was a delightful ... Read More
We cruise a couple times a year with my sister and hubby, so this was our 7th cruise together and 13 total for myself and hubby. My niece and son-in-law surprised us at the Port of Houston by showing up to go with us. It was a delightful surprise making our cruise that much better to have a younger couple wanting to tag along for the fun. Four of us did the T/A crossing last fall on the Emerald Princess for 17 days, so when we saw this week-long cruise offered at a super price, we had to jump aboard a familiar ship! We were in interior cabins and don't mind that at all, as we don't spend a great deal of time there except to clean up and sleep! We always get an on-board credit for hubby's military service, which is greatly appreciated from Princess. We didn't do excursions this time, but hired a driver to take us around Roatan, which we all enjoyed and took loads of pictures. The port shopping falls a little flat, but we had fun with bargaining and buying some silver jewelry both in Belize and Cozumel. I have written a separate review about a rude young manager in the Del Sol store in Cozumel; definitely won't go back to that one! On board, we had great food, good entertainment, and some very thorough and friendly crew. I wrote 8 comment cards recognizing their commitment to providing good service. We definitely love Princess and look forward to the next cruise. We would love to do a land and sea adventure to have more time exploring the port cities. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
After booking a mini-suite sailing out of Houston, I almost cancelled it after reading reviews on Cruise Critic. Many of the complaints were about the cold, inattentive staff. This could not be further from the truth! Everyone on board ... Read More
After booking a mini-suite sailing out of Houston, I almost cancelled it after reading reviews on Cruise Critic. Many of the complaints were about the cold, inattentive staff. This could not be further from the truth! Everyone on board smiled and said "hello", the waiters and stewards were happy and fun. There was this ONE GUY, working at the hamburger stand who did not seem to enjoy his job. That was it, everyone else was adorable.This was my 12th cruise, and there was little to complain about. The food can be hit or miss, but there was something exceptional on the menu everyday. We went to the Chef's Table dinner, which was a once in a lifetime event- four hours of galley tours, sampling wines and great food prepared table side. At $95 per person (complete with a huge cookbook) it is a bargain. We loved our mini suite. It will spoil us for smaller rooms from now on. Some reviews complain the patio is exposed to the elements and eyes above on upper decks. Not a problem for a wife who wants to sunbathe daily! The carpet was a little worn, but it was clean. The big tub and shower were nice, and all appliances worked as designed. Our room steward Raul was a delight, funny and efficient. As for food, the good: Pizza was always excellent. Chef's table experience was awesome. Fish and Chips were good, lobster night and the baked Alaska was great. The not so good: Don't order a veggie burger at the hamburger bar. Even if ours hadn't been blackened on one side and raw on the other, it wouldn't have been good. The eggs benedict in the main dining room had very runny whites, so I sent it back. Second time around, the whites were firm but the yolks were like hard boiled eggs. They offered a third try and I passed on it. Finally, the Horizon and Caribe cafeterias are cafeteria quality. Occasionally something is very good, sometimes not. My suggestion would be get many small samples and try it out at the table, then go get more of your favorite. Roatan is like 6 Flags Over Texas, a port designed to sell you Chinese made souvenirs and $20 an hour paddleboats. We hit the duty free shop and went back to the room. Belize is a dump, and we stayed on the ship this time. It was great, one of maybe 5 people at the pool that day. Cozumel is okay, we ate at a great restaurant with free wifi, Paprika. Back to the ship to take advantage of reduced prices at the spa on shore days. This cruise for us was just a chance to get away from jobs, dogs, email, facebook and internet. We enjoyed each other's company and had the couple's massage at Lotus Spa TWICE. We dressed up on formal nights, and dressed down on at sea days. We watched movies and drank wine in bed. It was the best cruise yet. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
After having cruised on Princess' newest ship-the Regal in January I was disappointed in the Emerald Princess. I know it is older but that shouldn't affect the hospitality aspect of our vacation. Most of the employees were cold ... Read More
After having cruised on Princess' newest ship-the Regal in January I was disappointed in the Emerald Princess. I know it is older but that shouldn't affect the hospitality aspect of our vacation. Most of the employees were cold and indifferent throughout the entire 7 days. They hardly ever smiled and for the most part lacked in customer service. Yes, there were a few who were great but for the most part the rest were below par. Our fine dining waiter seemed distracted every night with a scowl on his face-we felt like we were bothering him being there and instead of looking forward to the dinner we sorta dreaded going. The head waiter never stopped by to ask how things were as on the Regal. Our steward was just adequate-not friendly except when we first met her. This was my husband's first experience to cruise and I was so hoping it would be as awesome as my previous one in January-but alas, not so! Will not cruise on this ship again and will probably try another cruise line altogether in the future. I will say Customer Services is excellent but that is a given as they are highly trained to be professional. Excursions were ok except when we were waiting to leave for one the ship attendant calling out numbers became agitated when things didn't go his way (i.e. elderly people who couldn't hear that well and didn't know what to do, he would call out numbers in an exasperated voice which was very disturbing to us as well as people sitting around us-not a pleasant way to start an expensive excursion). Food in buffet was not very good, sometimes couldn't find anything appealing and walked out. Bland, not hot enough. Chairs in buffet area are worn and shabby looking. Disembarkation was good. In summary, not what I had hoped for. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
Arrived at the LaQuinta Inn Webster-Clearlake. Nice pre-cruise stop for the night. Good value for the money. Drive the next day to the ship at Bayport Cruise Terminal was easy. The terminal area was well thought out and easy to ... Read More
Arrived at the LaQuinta Inn Webster-Clearlake. Nice pre-cruise stop for the night. Good value for the money. Drive the next day to the ship at Bayport Cruise Terminal was easy. The terminal area was well thought out and easy to navigate(drop-off luggage, parking) and the fee of $75 a lot better than Ft. Lauderdale. As an opinion, the whole terminal complex is easier and nicer than Ft. Lauderdale.. Embarkation was flawless. Very quick. Nice Elite lounge. The first night was the best as far as dining goes. We have most of our meals at the Horizon Court. After the first night the type of entrees and quality went downhill. I use the salad bar a lot. Not once did they have any olives, tuna, beans (garbanzo, kidney, black) julienne sliced cheese, ham, turkey, egg, bacon, grape tomatoes. They used to have all that. No shrimp, not even cocktail shrimp. Good salad bar stuff to make a meal out of it. On Mexican night, Beef Wellington was the carved meat. Go figure. No fajitas, tacos. They had these 4 inch long fat flour tortilla chim-chonga(their spelling). Not fried. They used to have on the line Strawberry's, Red and Green grapes. All missing. Caned peaches and pear halves. Your getting cheap Princess.. In the cabin there used to be a paper TV guide for programming. Not anymore. Spend 15 minutes and watch it scroll down on ch. 21. Shampoo and soap dispensers in the shower taking up precious room in that tiny space. Make a future cruise reservation, confirmation used to be sent to your cabin. Now, get home and print it out yourself.. Just little things, cost cutting. On a positive note, the shows were great. Casino was fun and plenty of other shipboard activities. Loved the horse racing! We were walk-off group C and once we left the meeting area(Crown Grill), we were in the car 20 minutes later! Excellent! 21 completed cruises now with Princess. Will be back. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
I had not been on a cruise in years, and the thought of sailing out of Houston, away from the masses in Florida was very appealing to me. But I guess embarkation day, no matter where you depart from, is always going to be somewhat ... Read More
I had not been on a cruise in years, and the thought of sailing out of Houston, away from the masses in Florida was very appealing to me. But I guess embarkation day, no matter where you depart from, is always going to be somewhat chaotic, and this was no exception. I do give Princess credit for being organized about it all. That day was stressful because of the hoards of people everywhere. Initially, being honest, I thought it was horrible. But then as time went on and as people dispersed to places all over the ship, I enjoyed it. I especially enjoyed it when we were in ports and everyone got off. I stayed on and it was so nice a peaceful. I would say about 85% of the staff were excellent. My room steward, Jose, could NOT have been better and more accommodating. The room service staff likewise. The only place where I found the male staff to be consistently rude was a place called the International Cafe. But this was an exception, not the rule. The ship itself is stunningly beautiful in my opinion. My balcony stateroom was perfect. It had great air conditioning, extremely comfortable bed and excellent shower. The food was pretty good. Of course I understand that when you cook for thousands, it is a bit difficult to have a consistently high quality product, but I found it to be delicious most of the time. I will say to beware of being nickeled and dimed left and right. One of the International Cafe bar tenders deceived me into purchasing a $25 "specialty" coffee card after he told me I could not get regular coffee (which of course you can get..for free). I would suggest not buying anything until you get on board, see how much you use and then go from there. I would also suggest the same thing for excursions in different ports. I ended up not taking either one that I had paid for because I just felt like getting away from all the other passengers. This ship does have something for everyone and I think you would enjoy it. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
I have to tell you, I'm ready to fly home at the next port. I will be more than happy to follow up with a more positive review at the end of the cruise, but day one leaves a lasting impression. On the positive side..the only ... Read More
I have to tell you, I'm ready to fly home at the next port. I will be more than happy to follow up with a more positive review at the end of the cruise, but day one leaves a lasting impression. On the positive side..the only positive side...check in was a breeze and the people were very friendly. It went downhill from there. I paid double for my own private room and asked to be put in the quietest part of the ship. Screaming kids running up and down the hall. Oh well. I went down to one of the bars and was tried to be sold on a number of different packages that I didn't want. I was told I could not even get free coffee in the morning. I ordered a robe in the room..it wasn't there. I called room service and asked for a tray of canapes "We're sorry sir, but we need 6 to 8 hours notice to get those". I asked for a bottle of wine. "I'm sorry sir but we have to wait until we are out of the port of Houston before we can deliver that to your room". They nickel and dime you to death. I prepaid the gratuities, but have been told that only applies to to he wait staff in the restaurant and my room steward. Deceptive. Right now there is a pianist playing.. i could be in a floating Nordstroms. But I guess I have just realized that cruises are not for me. If I wanted to have to bypass crammed elevator after crammed elevator just to go up and down the stairs, I could just go to and office building downtown. The whole ship has this incredible air of cheapness about it. And, much like the airlines, the staff seems completely robotic. Stains on the carpet in my room, a laughable selection of TV channels (every other one being an ad for Princess). I was told i could bring plates of food up to my room from one of the places downstairs, but then no one told me what to do with them once I was finished. There were no to go boxes or bags. So here I am in the jammed elevator with china, trying to balance it. In addition, our lifevest demonstration was HIGHLY inadequate. We were hoarded into a theatre like we were going to see a show. Then, as if on a giant airplane, the attendants demonstrated how to use to vest. We were never told specifically where our lifeboats were. All in all, not a happy camper, in the least. Again, I will be the first to change this review at the end of the journey if things change. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
With seven voyages under our belts with Princess Cruises, we had never considered the possibility of looking to another cruise line -- We never needed to do so. We have just completed an "average" cruise with Princess from ... Read More
With seven voyages under our belts with Princess Cruises, we had never considered the possibility of looking to another cruise line -- We never needed to do so. We have just completed an "average" cruise with Princess from the port of Houston down to Cozumel, Roatan and Belize. Unfortunately it was only average because of a number of annoyances which added up and put a damper on the trip -- something that hasn't happened to us before with Princess. One fellow Canadian traveler who we met on the ship put his finger on what we were feeling, that Princess "over-promised and under-delivered." I have to agree. We started cruising with Princess in 2009 and were blown away on our first couple of cruises -- the food was incredible, the selection was amazing and the service was outstanding from everyone on board. Princess passengers -- the repeat cruisers -- also seemed to be very classy and well behaved. Perhaps we were lucky in the first few cruises, but Princess set a benchmark that they haven't been able to meet consistently. Obviously rising costs and competitive prices have thinned their margins a little and they are trying to keep making a profit. You really notice it in the food - one of the staples of a great cruise. The cuts of meat are downgraded -- and you don't see crab and shrimp unless you "pay" $50 per couple for the Crab Shack, or lobster if you pay an extra $50 per couple for the Crown Grill. Don't get me wrong - we enjoy travelling with Princess and we think they are very good -- but they are starting to become really predictable and that's a bad sign. Staff at the Port of Houston are far less friendly than in the previous port of Galveston -- and the luggage handlers managed to break a hardshell suitcase between the curbside drop and it getting to my cabin. We also found something more disturbing -- a lower common denominator of behavior and manners from passengers -- something we noticed through recent sailings out of Texas. Worse is that the cruise line seems to let anything go among some passengers -- perhaps out of fear that a customer might not come back. But what if that customer is so offensive they drive off those of us who travel with them exclusively and every year? They need to consider that possibility. Onboard, there was a large chunk of poorly behaved clientele that one would expect to see at a bus station rather than on a cruise ship. Examples of behaviours: * Bathing suits with no coverups in the dining rooms * jeans and ballcaps on formal night! * drunks in the traditional dining area yelling loudly and talking inappropriately at the top of their lungs * the man in a wife-beater T-shirt on deck daily sporting white supremacist tattoos. * a huge group of boisterous children brought into the bar during serving hours for an Easter egg hunt among the paying patrons quietly enjoying the wine bar! * despite a plea from the captain on Day 1 about people being responsible for their children - some ran and yelled through halls after 10:30 as people tried to sleep. * I am not exaggerating - and no staff stopped them or intervened in any way despite being asked in all of these cases. Another major annoyance in travelling through Texas ports is that the state charges you for bringing in duty free liquor and cigarettes -- even if you are just passing through the state on your way out of the country! It cost us $7.00 for two small bottles of rum -- the state had set up a booth after US Customs manned by an obese sweaty man in a t-shirt stopping passengers who had been cleared to see if you have booze or smokes. After all the money we spent in the state on the way down to the cruise, staying at a hotel, dining in the area, visiting attractions, spending money contributing to the Texas economy, their parting gift to visitors is a parasitic tax on the way out. We also took a "tour" with Princess from the port through Houston and finally to the airport. The tour organizers didn't keep the group together and it took 90 minutes to get everyone through Customs. The buses we late and the tour was cut in half and included a five-minute stop at a museum and a five minute stop at the San Jacinto monument -- seriously! Five minute stops. Then the tour dumped everyone at one of the airport terminals forcing us to carry baggage past two adjacent terminals because you can's use a cart on the train! The tour was a disaster and cost us a fair dollar. Onboard, the activities are becoming predictable and standard - from bingo to trivia and karaoke. Unfortunately there were no interesting lectures and few learning experiences apart from getting a chance to learn how to play You Are My Sunshine on the steel drums:) Luckily, we had great scuba diving excursions in Cozumel, Belize and Roatan that made up for the lower standards on board the ship. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
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 Emerald Princess continues to be one of my favorite ships. It was an enjoyable time leaving from Houston and visiting the western Caribbean ports . The staff on this ship are simply wonderful. Cruise director Lee Childers did an ... Read More
The Emerald Princess continues to be one of my favorite ships. It was an enjoyable time leaving from Houston and visiting the western Caribbean ports . The staff on this ship are simply wonderful. Cruise director Lee Childers did an excellent job and he conducted beautiful, moving services for Good Friday and Easter ( on Saturday). Room steward was fantastic. Loved the pillows on the bed; bed was very comfortable. Staff at the International Café were always full of smiles and very cheerful. Dining room service was great...Everything just went off on schedule and very well. Princess continues to be our favorite cruise line and we have tried others. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
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
Overview: This was probably one of the best cruises I have ever taken in my life. The ship was elegant and beautiful, the staff was superb with excellent service. I had the most amazing table mates possible and was even a part of a ... Read More
Overview: This was probably one of the best cruises I have ever taken in my life. The ship was elegant and beautiful, the staff was superb with excellent service. I had the most amazing table mates possible and was even a part of a Cruise Critic member's (foolds) proposal to his girlfriend. I met lots of great friends on the ship and I am so lucky to have had this experience. Embarkation/Bon Voyage Program My grandfather joined me on the ship before it left port as part of the Bon Voyage Program. As soon as we arrived we were taken in and led to the priority check-in line and were taken to board the ship. The whole process was very smooth. He absolutely loved the ship and one of the bar servers, Nhorman, helped us get him and his wheelchair on to the ship. He was exceptionally nice and friendly to us and to my grandfather. Ship Overall the ship is pretty nice. There are a few design issues such as moving between dining rooms but overall it is nice. The public areas are well decorated and somewhat elegant. Overall the ship appears well maintained. I find some people have unreasonable expectations for ships (remember that they operate 24/7/365). I saw plenty of maintenance taking place and did not feel the ship to be in disrepair or dirty. Crew/Service I must say that the crew on the ship was very helpful and kind. Dining room service was decent but not outstanding. The bar people were nice and friendly. My cabin steward (it's steward, not stewart by the way) was great. I take a medication that I have to mix with water. I usually use a fork to mix it in a cup so the first night of the cruise I went to Horizon Court and picked up a fork and brought it back to the cabin. The next morning the steward took the fork, which I figured he would, so I went to and picked up another fork that night. Well the next morning the steward brought me a clean fork and extra glass and left them in my restroom for me to use with the medicine. I find this to be extraordinary service that he did this without me having to ask. I gave him the Consummate Host card. Ports/Shore Excursions I have been to Cozumel and it is more of the same it has always been. The only excursion I took was in Belize which I really loved. I took the open air trolley tour. I am kind of torn because I loved the tour and the people seemed nice but Belize is a horribly homophobic place so I do not plan to spend any money at all there in the future. Mahogany Bay at Roatan blew me away. Let me say this now: I heard an Princess Elite member telling people on the ship that they could NOT use the beach at Mahogany Bay because it is owned by Carnival. This is 100% FALSE. The beach is free for any cruise passenger that docks at that dock. If someone tells you any different they are simply misinformed. I spent the day at Mahogany Beach and it was simply amazing. The water was beautiful and so was the atmosphere. Entertainment The only show I really attended was the magician, Michael Barron, and he was excellent. This was probably the best magic show I have ever seen and was very entertaining. I did attend the Princess Pop Star competitions as a friend I met on the ship was competing and they were amazing. We (a group I met on the ship) also went to Skywalkers most nights and had a blast. LGBT Get Together There was a LGBT get together every day at 5:30 in one of the bars, usually Wheelhouse. I met a few other guys there and we all hung out together for portions of every evening. The only thing I would like to see them change is maybe have a crew member host it (there are plenty of gay guys in the crew) and have some way of marking where the event is within the bar such as a sign. Cabin I was in cabin A403, an interior cabin on deck 12. The cabin was small but comfortable with adequate storage and closet space. The bathroom was small (as all are) but it served it's purpose. The Elite bathroom amenities were nice. Captain's Circle Elite Benefits The Princess Captain's Circle is awesome. The benefits are outstanding. I received a free mini-bar, priority service at the pursers desk, 10% boutique discount, priority tender embarkation, 150 free internet minutes and much more. These were all awesome benefits. Bad Parts Avoid the shopping show on the second sea day. You will lose part of your life if you go. There was little to no actual port info given and the whole thing was a long, drawn-out sales pitch and the man (Vince) was repetitive and not very genuine. I would not lose sleep if they did away with his position. Disability Accommodations I have some medical problems including a damaged spine. I did not ask for or sign up for any disability accommodations but the facilities seemed ample and appropriate. I did use the elevators which were usually available but sometimes had a wait. There were quite a few mobility impaired people onboard who seemed to get around easily (as easily as possible). The tender ride in Belize and the trolley were a little uncomfortable and I had to take pain meds after returning to the ship but that was the only real annoyance. Solo Cruising I have taken many cruises but this was my first solo cruise. I was nervous at first but it worked out really well. I did not attend any of the SOLO cruiser meetings as they all interfered with the LGBT get together or other activities. Summary The cruise was amazing. I absolutely loved it and am looking forward to another. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
OMG, over 700 kids and over 500 from South America. But that is just a holiday cruise. The real issue is that they bill themselves as a equal to Royal Caribbean and they are not. She is a nice ship, they are for the most part good ... Read More
OMG, over 700 kids and over 500 from South America. But that is just a holiday cruise. The real issue is that they bill themselves as a equal to Royal Caribbean and they are not. She is a nice ship, they are for the most part good staff, but all the little niceties are missing. Along with the cruise director? Was there one on board? The food was good 4 out of 7 nights, the steak house is not worth it, the Italian place is GREAT!!! Bar staff is so/so. Pool staff is real poor standing around doing nothing, I am sure that is where everybody starts work as most do not speak much English and make no effort to help the passengers. We had a Mini Suite, it was nice and large, but the balcony was totally exposed no privacy like all the balcony suites had. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
We have traveled with Princess several times but this was our first experience on the Emerald. We were in a mini-suite which we believe is the best value for the amount of space you receive. We like the layout of the Royal Princess much ... Read More
We have traveled with Princess several times but this was our first experience on the Emerald. We were in a mini-suite which we believe is the best value for the amount of space you receive. We like the layout of the Royal Princess much better than the Emerald. The space in more functional. The Royal has a desk/dresser where you can put clothes away and out of site and a room divider if you're sharing living space. The Emerald has a rounded console that has open space to store items but seems to take up more space with less function. The Royal has two large screen wall mounted T.V.'s with on demand function. We did not realize how much we utilized this features until we sailed on the Emerald. We greatly missed the feature plus the rebroadcast Princess Live shows. The ship was clean and tidy and our steward, China, always kept everything immaculate. We still have not been overwhelmed with the food on Princess (except Crown Grill $25 pp surcharge) but appreciate the variety and flexibility. The entertainment was lacking and reminded me of a weak high school production. We will never embark from Houston again. We had to fly in the day before and it was very costly getting to the port and the local hotels did not provide shuttle service like they do in Ft. Lauderdale. In retrospect, we should have stayed near the airport at a hotel that offered shuttle service and went back to the airport the next day to utilize the Princess transfer (that would have been a steal compared to what we ended up paying). We enjoyed the snorkeling at Cozumel and did some shopping near the port. We used Shore Excursions and the staff went above and beyond to make sure your trip was enjoyable. We tendered in Belize City and went on a Shore Excursion to the Altun Ha Mayan ruins. The trip was interesting but would have like more history at the ruin site. Belize City is very third world and we have no desire to return. One of my co-workers in from there and was disgusted that the ship stopped there since there are some beautiful coastal destinations that don't have the filth of Belize City. Roatan Honduras has a very modern port that caters to tourists/divers. We went on a snorkel excursion through Princess and enjoyed the day out. The winds were too high so we could not go to the shipwreck site but the alternate site was okay. Overall, we enjoyed the cruise but kind of have a "been there done that" attitude regarding this itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
Our family of 22 did our annual family vacation on the Emerald Princess. Everyone left very disappointed. The way the staff treated us was so RUDE. We wanted to celebrate a private birthday party and were very disappointed with the event. ... Read More
Our family of 22 did our annual family vacation on the Emerald Princess. Everyone left very disappointed. The way the staff treated us was so RUDE. We wanted to celebrate a private birthday party and were very disappointed with the event. First of all, they don't even have a party planner! You end up talking to random people charging you way too much for everything. 200 dollars an hour for a DJ? No thanks. We ended up throwing a small 3 hour private party serving appetizers and using the speakers to play music. What a waste. They kept telling us to put the music down (which wasn't high to begin with) or they would force us to play the boring cruise music. They interrupted the father daughter dance about ten times by turning the music so low and reminding us that if something happened to the speakers, we would need to pay. Thanks, you already reminded us the first 20 times.They interrupted a very special moment and were being so rude about it. The staff also kicked us out of the room an hour and a half early, which at this point we didn't even care anymore! We were so over it. The staff was so unfriendly. Everyday it was something new with the staff. The only friendly staff were the people taking care of our rooms and the waiters at the restaurants. On the last day I couldn't wait to get off of the ship. This cruise ship was boring!!!!! There was nothing for kids from the ages 18-21 to do. The club was filled with a bunch of old people hitting on 20 year old chicks. The lack of activities was astonishing. We went to bed at 8 pm that's how bored we were!!! On the last full day we had on the ship our family brought some Easter eggs to do an Easter egg hunt for the kids. Every old person gave us a dirty look or called the manager on us. This cruise is definitely not kid friendly.The crew would talk crap about us right in front of our faces. It was the worst cruise experience I have ever had. 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
This was our first Princess cruise after 12 on RCCL, 5 on NCL, and 2 on Celebrity. I was hesitant to go on Princess (not my choice) because it is in the Carnival family and there have been too many problems on Carnival lines for my ... Read More
This was our first Princess cruise after 12 on RCCL, 5 on NCL, and 2 on Celebrity. I was hesitant to go on Princess (not my choice) because it is in the Carnival family and there have been too many problems on Carnival lines for my comfort. Nonetheless, we went and had a very good time. I would say that it was quite comparable to RCCL and NCL and a notch below Celebrity. We (hubby, me, and 3 year old) stayed in a a mini-suite, which was wonderful. I particularly enjoyed the 2 TVs in the room (hubby could watch March Madness on mute while daughter watched a very good selection of family films on the other). The balcony was large, as was the bathroom. The room steward was very much on top of things, though I got the feeling that he was in charge of more rooms than he probably should have been. The food on the ship was generally good, not great. The buffet was good, but not particularly inspiring (and the crowd flow of the buffet was disastrous--seriously, Princess, do a usability study on that). Breakfast got old quick, and the dinners were okay. The best part was that they generally had the same dessert as the main dining room. The pizza and the grill were very good. The fish and chips in the Wheelhouse on sea days were also very good. The steakhouse was fabulous, though you paid for it. The food and the service at the steakhouse were outstanding. The MDR, however, left much to be desired. The food was generally okay, though bland. But the service was a nightmare. We were a table of 10 and service took three hours (which is too long for anyone, especially for a family with a three year old). On the first night, I talked to someone who I thought was a head waiter, and he promised me it would be better the next night. The next night, it was 40 minutes from when the last person sat down until we got any food. I drank the last drop of my water, and 30 minutes later, my glass still not had been refilled. I then talked to the manager of the dining room and told him that this was my 20th cruise, my first on Princess, and thus far they were not doing a particularly good job at making me want to take another cruise with them. Well, from that point on, service was impeccable. We got a new waitress, who was phenomenal. But I should have to cause a fuss to be treated in a timely manner. We were impressed with the Princess Pelican Club for the three year old. We thought she would hate it, but she wound up asking us when she got to go back to the Club. They had dance parties, painted t-shirts, got their faces painted, and more. I was impressed with the security. The door was always locked (parents had to be buzzed in) and an ID had to be presented to pick up the kids. After the first day, the staff knew my daughter by name and knew that I belonged to my daughter. Impressive. Also, one night when they went to the buffet and to a dance club, two large security guards went with them. This was the first cruise my daughter went on in which she could go to the club, so I can't compare it to others, but I was impressed. We were on the Spring Break cruise, and they had many more kids than usual (to the disdain of many of the older crowd on the ship), but the kids club seemed to handle the influx well. The only frustrating thing about the Pelican Club was that dinner started at 5:30 and the kids club didn't open until 6. So, to avoid the long dinners in the MDR, I would feed her at 5:30 in the buffet, drop her off at 6pm, and then run down to the MDR to join the group for the main dish that my husband ordered for me. I feel as though Princess could have done a better job timing everything to make things work more seamlessly. I thought the ship itself was in good shape. I loved that muster was inside. Overall, we had a good trip and would consider Princess again (especially since Houston is so convenient), though, to be fair, we already have two more cruises booked for the next two years, and neither is on Princess. 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 just got back from a week long cruise to Cozumel, Roatan and Belize. We booked our cruise late (Tuesday before sailing on Sunday). Had a nice cabin, we were upgraded from a cabin with obstructed view to cabin with view. The three ... Read More
We just got back from a week long cruise to Cozumel, Roatan and Belize. We booked our cruise late (Tuesday before sailing on Sunday). Had a nice cabin, we were upgraded from a cabin with obstructed view to cabin with view. The three Princess ships we have been on do not have couches. Only seat other than bed is desk chair which when pulled out seemed to be in the way. Our cabin always felt a little warm to us. We bought a small clip on fan with us to help dry our workout gear and diving gear. At night we set up the fan to blow over the bed and that made life much more tolerable. During the day we set up the fan to blow over stuff hanging in head and on the door to the head. During the check in they put the sticker for the soda card on the wrong cruise card (mine instead of hers). Told them it was wrong and was told they had to fix on board. Went to guest services and the lady was perplexed as to fix this problem. Told her to peel it off and put on my wife's card.. I did not want to do it because if the sticker got damaged I did not want to have to pay again. She got the sticker on the right card after consulting with the supervisor. This is the first time we have checked in early (before noon) and were allowed to board before noon (11:45). As we were getting on board everyone (crew & terminal personnel) said to get some lunch. So we dropped off our carry on luggage we went in search of something to eat. Tried the burger grill and told to come back in half an hour. Found one side of the Horizons buffet open and two separate lines to get in. The gate keeper to the buffet was overwhelmed. All she is used to doing is saying please sanitize your hands. They needed crowd control there. Then once we got into the food area the selections was very limited. Food was cold and not very good. We went to someplace where they were selling the soda card to get my wife's cup. They sent us on our way telling us we had to get the cup from Guest Services because we pre paid for the card. On the way back to the cabin we stopped at Guest Services to find out about the soda cup. We were told to wait until after 4pm. It was only 1pm at this time. I asked about my pre-paid coffee card. I was told we have to check with steward. We went and wondered about and decided to go to the gym for a walk on the treadmill. Well the belts on the treadmills slipped with every other step. Not too good. The ellipticals were great. Good workout. Came back and took a shower. By this time was after 4 so we check on the soda cup and the steward told us to go to guest services. Guest services told us to check with steward. GRRRRR!!!!! Finally my wife got a hold of the hotel manager and he delivered the cup himself. Dinner that night was good not great. Overall I would say the ship was clean and they were taking care of the rust bubbles. Disappointed that they did not have a chef's table. It is not widely advertised and the price is steep compared to Carnival. But each person gets a $28 cookbook which for a couple would be over kill. Why would a couple need two of the same cookbook. Also disappointed in the big promotion for Chocolate Journey. This was a joke. They had a couple of deserts. One desert in the Crown Grill stated in the description the base was developed by Norman Love. Really, all that promotion for the base of a desert? I believe one night they had a desert in the main dining room that was part of the chocolate journey. I'm talking they promote this "Chocolate Journey" on tv, brochures left on your pillow, everywhere it was promoted. They describe a cooking demo developed by "Norman Love" and they only have it on one or two of the ships. In the past we have always had personnel to recommend for the Consummate Host program and this time we did not feel there was on person deserving of the recommendation. For some reason, Princess Cruises charge more for there excursions than Carnival. One dive excursion was $40 more than what Carnival charges. My wife used shoreexcursioneer.com for an excursion and it was $3 more for an extra hour tour than what the Princess offered. I was going to book a dive excursion in Belize with them but did not feel comfortable flying in a small plane after diving yet. But it was $50 cheaper than the one Princess offered. Will do next time. Entertainment on the cruise was lacking. We enjoy the production shows. The last three nights they did not have one. They brought in a ventriloquist. We were told the shows were great but not our cup of tea. We don't understand why they did not have shows. The cast was still onbaord but nothing. Also the Friday after all the port calls we found there was not a lot to do. For the first time on a cruise we got board. Spent a lot of time playing cribbage. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
This was my wife's first Princess Cruise. I have been on several, but none in the last 15+ years. Our boarding was delayed as the ship could not come into port due to fog. We were able to board around 5pm, however we did not get to ... Read More
This was my wife's first Princess Cruise. I have been on several, but none in the last 15+ years. Our boarding was delayed as the ship could not come into port due to fog. We were able to board around 5pm, however we did not get to leave Houston until around noon on Monday. No big deal. We were on the ship and things went on as usual. The boarding process was outstanding and the crew was awesome for our stay in Houston. Princess was able to re-arrange our ports so that we did not miss any. While Cozumel was to be our first stop it then became our last stop. We were at sea on Tuesday, Costa Maya Wednesday, Belize City Thursday and Cozumel on Friday. The Emerald Princess was in Great Shape!!! The staff went out of their way to make us feel welcomed. We had set dining and the food and service was the best. Allen, our head waiter, knew that I would want multiple shrimp cocktails each evening and made sure that I had them. He also brought me 2 lobsters on lobster night. On the final night I let him pick my meal and he picked everything that I would have picked. The entertainment was very good as well, always something going on. The "house band" Wavelength was extremely talented and could really do all types of music. The shows were all very well done. In the end in my wife's words "this was the best trip EVER!!!" We will be going again!!!! Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
Let me start by saying we are not picky and the type to gripe about little things. That being said I was very disappointed in our cruise on the Emerald Princess. We did the same cruise last year on the Caribbean Princess and was very happy ... Read More
Let me start by saying we are not picky and the type to gripe about little things. That being said I was very disappointed in our cruise on the Emerald Princess. We did the same cruise last year on the Caribbean Princess and was very happy with that cruise. We chose Princess again because of the food, I feel Princess has a lot better food than Carnival so we went with Princess. The food did not disappoint, it was very good and the service in the dining room was great!!! The problem we had was this boat has very few activities on sea days, this was a spring break cruise so the average age was much younger than what is usually on this ship. I still have no idea who the cruise director was, never heard or saw him/her. There are things like bridge and knitting classes, line dancing classes things you would see in a senior citizen home. Almost every show was an attempt to sell something. The ship is a nice ship almost the same as the Caribbean Princess but the entertainment was lacking to put it nicely. If you are 75 years old you will love it as it will be just like a nursing home if you are young and have kids re think this cruise!!!!! Since most gratuities are automatic the bar staff could really care less it took forever to get a drink or refill and they acted as if it was a hassle to serve a drink. We loved Princess last year but this cruise makes me look at that line very different now. 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
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
This was our 4th cruise with Princess and our 2nd out of Houston. We had experienced fog on our first cruise out of Houston and were a bit worried sailing out of that port again, but the price was right and we had no fog issues this time. ... Read More
This was our 4th cruise with Princess and our 2nd out of Houston. We had experienced fog on our first cruise out of Houston and were a bit worried sailing out of that port again, but the price was right and we had no fog issues this time. This was the quickest time we have been on a ship in our 10 plus cruises..took the princess shuttle from the airport..checked in and on the ship we were...in less than 20 minutes..same getting of the ship..we always take our luggage with us...no wait time at all. First to the food...we had the late seating...the food was outstanding..no complains...but Princess has cut back in staffing..only 2 waiters to serve...including getting drinks from the bar...one evening we waited 40 min to get our appetizers..no fault of the waiters at all..they work the butts off. We went one evening to the crown grill...food was excellent, but the service was also slower than on the last cruises. We also tried anytime dining one evening...only waited 15 min to get a table, but the same slow service. Overall the staff on board is very friendly and work very hard. We visited the ports of Cozumel...went tequila tasting on our own...Roatan..took the snorkeling and nature walk tour on Paradise Island...can highly recommend this..and Belize...just went into town and did some sightseeing. We did watch the comedian and the illusionist shows which were very entertaining. If you are looking for a quick and easy embarkment..this is the port for you...other than that the port of Houston is nothing to look at.   Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
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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