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5 Istanbul to Europe - Eastern Mediterranean Princess Emerald Princess Cruise Reviews

We picked this cruise by price and destinations. We flew to Istanbul on an afternoon flight arriving about 5:30pm; the ship did not leave until 23:00 hrs. Take our advice and try not to travel on a weekend as the traffic is tremendous and ... Read More
We picked this cruise by price and destinations. We flew to Istanbul on an afternoon flight arriving about 5:30pm; the ship did not leave until 23:00 hrs. Take our advice and try not to travel on a weekend as the traffic is tremendous and it took nearly two hours from airport to the cruise terminal. As we were late we almost walked straight in, and within a few minutes we were in our cabin together with our cases. We had a balcony cabin next to the rear lifts handy for the buffet and the fusion lounge; we did not notice any noise from the lifts. Joel was waiting for us and with a font of knowledge and tips. We soon renewed our layout memories and after a good dinner in the buffet we turned in early. The next day was a ‘sea’ day which enabled us to adjust to the extra two hours time difference, we did all the normal activities run by a brilliant entertainments team – I was glad to see that we were giving jobs to some of the ‘Colonists’ - we were soon caught up in activities like Trivia, taboo and Scattergrams, which may seem boring but when you’ve got passengers from all over the world it became hilarious. In the evenings there were game shows very familiar to the British, copies of mr&mrs, blankity blank and family fortunes. The theatre put on some good and varied shows from Mime, comedian, vocalists and not to mention the princess dancers and singers who put on some Broadway standard shows. The weather was fabulous our complete cruise, the sun beds and pools never seem to empty. They also became handy for watching some of the latest films with free popcorn. Being a couple of pensioners we did not take part in the more vigorous activities. Including learning to dance, ball or line. I’m afraid even a well equipped Gym couldn’t temp us. We tried both types of dining, the main dining room and the buffet. The main dining room was a bit disappointing the menu selection was poor and the alternatives looked good in name but when they arrived they were often only tepid and didn’t look inviting. On formal nights we ate in the buffet on the Lido deck which we found to be hotter, more varied and you can have as much as you liked. For the weight watchers there was a good assortment of salads and loads of fresh fruit daily. On this cruise we found waiting staff to be superb willing to chat (if not busy) and tell you all about the homes, it went to show what can be done we a few friendly words. They were always willing to fetch drinks or help someone with difficulties. Having done quite a few cruises we have managed to visit all the tourist sites in the Med at least once so now we’re happy going for walks around the port area or local town and seeing how the other half lives. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
We sailed on the Emerald from Istanbul to Rome. This was our 2nd cruise having sailed on the Ocean Princess last year. First, embarking was a breeze. Took us about 30 minutes. We stayed in Istanbul a couple of days before getting on the ... Read More
We sailed on the Emerald from Istanbul to Rome. This was our 2nd cruise having sailed on the Ocean Princess last year. First, embarking was a breeze. Took us about 30 minutes. We stayed in Istanbul a couple of days before getting on the ship. If you have concerns about Istanbul, don't. What a beautiful city. We set sail at night. The ship is beautiful. Our room was a perfect size with nice closet space. We were on Caribe deck C515 with a very large balcony. 4 chairs and a table. Perfect. Dinner was the 2nd seating and Na was our server. She was brilliant and the food was consistently good. I only had one meal that was not great. They tend to cook beef longer so Americans beware on medium vs. medium rare. The nightlife was ok. The Skywalker Lounge was large but the DJ kept playing annoying pop music that was not appropriate to the age of the people that were in the room. He did not seem to care. The other venues were great. Don't miss the Fish and Chips lunch during the cruise. Best lunch on the ship!! Used the Sancuary and this is certainly worth the extra $$ when you are a day at sea. Very relaxing. Ports of call - Mykonos - wow - Malta (go to Mdina) - Sicily (go to Taromina) Naples (go to Capri) and finally Rome. We did some of the excursions but they were very long days. Next time, we may just do our own thing. Also - note that the internet connection was very poor and expensive. Unplug and unwind. You know you had a good cruise when you are already looking to book your next cruise. Enjoy the Emerald! Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
From the moment we stepped onboard Emerald in Istanbul there was a complete lack of elegance and sophistication we had found on numerous cruises before aboard the Princess line. The ship was tired, the crew burned out and there was a ... Read More
From the moment we stepped onboard Emerald in Istanbul there was a complete lack of elegance and sophistication we had found on numerous cruises before aboard the Princess line. The ship was tired, the crew burned out and there was a complete lack of concern. The bedding looked like they had cleaned the floor with it and the bathroom towels were ragged and tattered. We have cruised Princess several times before although it had been three years ago this time and the difference was shocking. For those of us who enjoy the late seating dining this unbeknownst to us eliminated the evening shows. Show times were 6 and 7:30 instead of the traditional 10 PM show after a nice dinner. The entertainment was nonexistent. The Princess Employee Talent Show are you kidding me you could hear the dogs barking 60 miles away in Istanbul. The first full day was a day at sea and we tried to go up to one of the pools but there were no towels left so we got to sit on the dirty deck chairs and watch the unsupervised children strangling one another as the played some version of "King of the Mountain". Jumping, diving, screaming and carrying on it was a complete free for all. The toilet in our stateroom stopped working and the list continued. We were in shock as I began to think that somehow I wound up on a Carnival ship. I wrote a letter and emailed it to Princess corporate. About 48 hours later I received a telephone call from the Customer Services Director stating that he had heard from the home office and want a meeting with me. With nothing to lose and hopefully something to gain I agreed. We discussed the aforementioned issues along with horrible food both overlooked and undercooked, the free for all buffet on the Horizon Deck and the fact that you had to just about beg to get a glass of lemonade from the staff. There were people complaining every time we turned around. These were legitimate complaints and for the many that tried to speak with someone on staff they told how they were ignored and dismissed. At the end of my meeting the Customer Services Director requested that I meet with him again the second week which I agreed to do and I never heard another word from him. We decided to purchase a photo taken on one of the Formal Nights and as usual we saw the $19.95 sign but when I went to pay for the picture I was charged $24.95 and when I asked why the increased price the response I got was that it was a portrait. Seriously? How about the dry cleaning that came back in a ball of wrinkles? The ship is due to go to the yard in October which is probably about 6 months later than it should have. They requested that we complete a post cruise survey and as you can probably imagine I was more than happy to respond albeit not what they wanted to hear. I even attached a letter elaborating on our experiences leaving the door open for some type of resolution but all I got was a telephone call from someone in California identifying himself as the people in charge of dissatisfied passengers thanking me for my input. Are you kidding me over $10,000.00 spent and I get a "have a nice day." In a nutshell the cruise was a disaster and Princess completely dropped the ball this time. I cannot begin to tell of the frustration I feel with this cruise and this company. If your considering a Princess Cruise don't until they get straightened out if they get straightened out. Simply put we got ripped off! I will never ever do another Hop On Hop Off "Medley" cruise again and I'm very doubtful we will set foot on another Princess Cruise due to their give a heck attitude. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
I have been on many cruises with different cruiselines, but never on a princess cruise before. Because of many excellent reviews Princess was on my bucket list so I was more than happy to book this cruise. I booked a balcony and was ... Read More
I have been on many cruises with different cruiselines, but never on a princess cruise before. Because of many excellent reviews Princess was on my bucket list so I was more than happy to book this cruise. I booked a balcony and was upgraded to a minisuite, nice surprise. At Istanbul I had a transfer organized by Princess; worked perfect. We arrived at the ship something around 1 pm, dropped of the luggage and went to the check in. 5 minutes later I was onboard and on my way to my cabin. Within a few minutes my steward came, introduced himself and offered me a glass of sparkling wine. Now I was ready to "move in". The size of the minisuite was really nice, but there were some signs of wear. In the bathtub there were many chips and deep scratches, the sofabed was beat-up and it was impossible to push it together properly. At the steel-covering of the balcony there was rust...a lot of rust. Carpet needs some shampooing. Now I grabbed something to eat at the horizon buffet, and I was a little bit disappointed about the food quality and choice. But I thought the limited choice resulted in the fact it is embarcation day. Big fault. The fruit selection was more than poor. I like a nice selection of sliced fruit in the mornig. What we got were melons. Every single day melons. Except of 2 days; one time there were pineapples (which were more than fully mature, brown at the paring) , the other one papaya. Fruitsalat contains.... melons. Mostly JUST melons. Cutted into squares of 3 inches. This cruise was during the season you can get everything everywhere: strawberrys, peaches, apricots, berries, think of whatever you want. We´ve got nothing. There were some whole fruits at the buffet, but I don´t want to cut 2 pounds of fruit into slices to have some fresh fruitsalat with my yoghurt. Same for the lunch buffet. Salad buffet contains cabbage.... a lot of cabbages. Some mashy tomatoes, some cucumbers. No nice condiments. Same for dinner. Food looked like in a cheap canteen. Quality of meat was more than mediocre, pasta was overcooked and tasted boring. Cheese platter contains 2 kinds of sliced cheese, cheapest industrial cheese ever, cutted from squares into triangles.... every single day the same. Surprisingly, the quality at the main dining rooms was really really good. This discrepancy was hard to believe. Although I prefer a more casual dining at some days I decided to avoid the buffet whenever possible (took a look every day and refused to eat there). Pools were well maintained. Shows were disappointing; boring. At the end of the cruise there was the same entertainer at two consecutive days. So I had a lot of time reading. I missed some nice workshops during the days, something like crafts, scrapbooks or anything like that. Ports were nice as expected. (Mykonos, Malta, Messina, Naples). Disembarkation was perfect; choosed my timeslot, left the ship within minutes. I enjoyed my cruise, but I see a lot to improve comparing this cruise to my previous ones (RCL, NCL, MSC and HAL). Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
I have travelled with Princess for 30 years often defending and promoting this company as times & cruise expectations have evolved & changed. I booked a 2 week cruise from Istanbul to Barcelona. I received 2 one week cruises ... Read More
I have travelled with Princess for 30 years often defending and promoting this company as times & cruise expectations have evolved & changed. I booked a 2 week cruise from Istanbul to Barcelona. I received 2 one week cruises with food, entertainment, in-room entertainment and public announcements duplicated from one week to the next. Different ports of call but the exact same onboard mediocracy. Oh, and noro-virus (the ship went to 'RED' status). The ship is in rough condition with mold and mildew growing around the whirlpools, elevators not functioning, decor pealing, burned out lights and an "EFFY Store." As an Elite passenger, we were greeted with an obviously dirty toilet with skid marks. As the sun entered the room, we could also see the antics of a previous passenger splattered on the artwork hanging on the wall. The table on the balcony did receive a cleaning 12 days into the cruise and the room was vacuumed once. We did of course receive our invitation on week one for the Captain's Party. No handshaking as the virus was throughout the ship. We also received a second invitation to a Captain's Party (same Captain's name on the invite) the following Thursday. However, we did not attend because the Captain disembarked for a 2 month vacation and a new Captain took the helm that very day. We are still curious why we received the second invite from a Captain and a system that must have known he was leaving. The system is broken. I felt we were simply a credit card number. Minimum effort by a system needing a radical examination & overhaul. I compliment the staff (not the head-office, not the accountants, not the system analysts & definitely not the senior management) in trying to provide a great cruise experience to each and every passenger but are handicapped by a dysfunctional, antiquated corporate culture. After 30 years, the question arises if I will travel on the Love Boat again (....by the way, the episodes were repeats & repeated too!)? Read Less
Sail Date May 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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