We were scheduled to depart Houston for a 5 night cruise at 4:00pm on November 11th. This was our very FIRST Princess cruise. We have taken several other cruises with 4 other cruise lines. We arrived early at the terminal - about 11:15am ... Read More
We were scheduled to depart Houston for a 5 night cruise at 4:00pm on November 11th. This was our very FIRST Princess cruise. We have taken several other cruises with 4 other cruise lines. We arrived early at the terminal - about 11:15am because it looked like it was about to rain. We booked a mini-suite, so we had early embarkation at 12:00. They opened the doors at 11:45 because it had started to rain. Once inside, we filed thru the snake lines and found a seat. We waited.. and waited.. and WAITED. They finally let us board at 2:30! No explanations, no updates, just sit and wait. Two and a half hours - that's the WORST embarkation we had ever experienced.
Once on board, we found the buffet (crowded, as we expected) and had lunch. Muster drill was supposed to be at 3:15, so we went to the cabin and unpacked. The luggage had been delivered in a very timely manner. At 3:00, there was an announcement that the muster would be delayed. Also, the sail away was delayed. (We were part of a group of 120 people from Cruise Critic that had a meeting planned at the outrigger after the muster.) We waited.. and waited.. and WAITED.. and finally, at almost 5:00, we were called to muster drill... YES - the ship was still docked!! It was 6:00 before the ship sailed. We went to the Outrigger, but it was closed due to the rain and high winds... So we went to dinner. Never did get a chance to meet the others from Cruise critic.
At dinner, we ordered the shrimp cocktail as an appetizer. It was served absolutely RAW. It was gray and slimy. The waiter and the head waiter were mortified and apologized. They brought out a second shrimp cocktail and the outer shrimp were cooked, but the middle shrimp was - you guessed it - raw.
During the cruise, we were also served uncooked pork tenderloins. They were still red in the middle. The menu choices became a topic for laughter at the table each night to try to guess what was going to be edible and not make us sick.
After dinner, we headed outside, on the balcony to watch the waves go by. Wooee! - Right back inside because there was no roof over the balcony and we were getting soaked. This was a mini-suite!!! No roof!! We couldn't even leave the door open because of the rain blowing in. Also, since we were on the 9th floor, EVERYONE could look down on our patio. No privacy. It also appeared to be a falling object hazard. Hey - things happen on cruises - it is bound to get better - Right?
We went to the show and then had a glass of wine and got back to the room about 11:15 the first night. We pulled back the covers to go to bed and discovered that the bed had been short-sheeted!. We only had a bottom sheet and a coverlet. No top sheet. At that time of night, we chose to sleep under our robes rather than try to get someone from housekeeping to bring up another sheet!
The next morning, we asked our room steward - Reynaldo - to please bring another sheet. He said that Princess did not give you a top sheet unless you specifically REQUESTED it. Then, he said - and I quote, " You know - this isn't a 5 star hotel". Honest to Pete, that's what he said... He brought a (still folded up) sheet and tossed it onto the bed and explained that he had already made the bed and he didn't want to tear it apart and make it again, so he was going to wait until nightly turn-down before he was going to put it on. He did put on the sheet at turn-down.
The next morning, we asked our room steward - Reynaldo - to please bring 2 more wine glasses because we were going to have some friends over for wine that night and needed 2 more glasses. He said that we should call housekeeping to get the glasses. We asked him if he could please get them and he again said to call housekeeping because they could get them to us more quickly than he could. Again - we were in a mini-suite - where we have always found the room stewards to be exceptionally helpful. We left and went to the closest bar and got our own wine glasses and took them to our cabin. Total lack of training and no professionalism what so ever!
The next night after the show, we met another couple and went to the wine bar. We ordered 4 glasses of wine and waited.. and waited.. and waited.. The staff was having a very animated, personal conversation together behind the bar and laughing and having a great time. Finally, we got the wine. The staff went back to their conversation which got so loud at times that we couldn't hear our own conversation. We decided to order another glass. The server told us that the bar was closed at 11:00. We pointed out to him that it was 7 minutes to 11 and he still had 7 minutes of open time. He huffed and brought us our wine and then proceeded to shut off the lights. The wine was good anyway.
These are specific examples of how we were treated on the Emerald Princess. During the 5 days on board, there were several other passengers that made the comment that this is not the typical Princess cruise. We told them that this was our first experience and we were disappointed. Every one of the experienced Princess cruisers said that THIS cruise was poorly managed and not up to the Princess standard of service.
We love to cruise and we are planning several cruises for the next year - but they will NOT be with Princess. Too bad, because Houston is an easy port for us to drive and sail. Read Less