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45 Southampton to Baltic Sea Princess Emerald Princess Cruise Reviews

August might sound like a good time to cruise to the Arctic Circle but it's wise to go prepared. As we discovered, it can be wet and windy, so we were glad we took waterproof over-trousers. We were less prepared for the numerous ... Read More
August might sound like a good time to cruise to the Arctic Circle but it's wise to go prepared. As we discovered, it can be wet and windy, so we were glad we took waterproof over-trousers. We were less prepared for the numerous children on board but, as it was school holiday time, this was probably inevitable. The 14 day cruise from Southampton included just 4 sea days but the weather prevented calling at Flån. On Board Having cruised to the canary Islands in May, we were pleased to find that Princess had made several changes to key Emerald Princess personnel. We liked the new Cruise Director, Paul Chandler Burns and his team kept us entertained. Lyndon Jolley had also joined the ship, as the destination expert, and gave some informative talks. Captain William Kent had recently taken over the helm and, even with his experience, he had some interesting moments with the strong winds in Stavanger. We had hoped for reasonable weather, as it was August, but the rain persisted and we failed to call at Flån, which was disappointing since we had managed to book for the Flån railway. Having booked this trip with Princess (which is unusual for us) the cancellation cost us nothing and the trip in the rain would not have been much fun. Dining We traveled with another couple, so had requested fixed dining at 8.15 pm. For some reason the booking had been messed up, so we were given a table in the Da Vincci dining room, which suited us nicely. Breakfast in the Botochelli dining room was often a frustrating start to the day, even when we arrived at 8 am before it became busy. The waiters were slow to take orders and a luke warm omelet could take 30 minutes to arrive. Afternoon tea was less leisurely and our waiters in the Da Vincci dining room were excellent. Food was of a consistently high standard, as ever, but the menu is now so predictable for any regular passengers. As it was August, there were quite a few children on board, so the dining room tended to be rather noisy at times. Maybe Princess should copy P&O and have some adult only ships! Entertainment We used to enjoy the resident song and dance shows but the same shows seem to run for years, so we no longer bother to go. We also feel that the production teams ruin the shows with the video backgrounds and unnecessary lights. Princess's new Magic To Go show had some of the best special effects we have seen on a cruise ship, being simple but clever, and it did not rely on annoying videos. The theatre was 100% full but many commented that it was not very magical and the music was unfamiliar. Steve Larkin's Freddie Mercury tribute act was good but Princess keep repeating it. Jeff Stevenson proved to be really popular and kept us all laughing with his endless stream of jokes and observations. Jayne Middleton's tribute to Annie Lenox was OK but the songs were not as well known, leading some to suggest that featuring Karen Carpenter or Dusty Springfield might have been better. Peter Howarth, the recent lead singer of the Hollies, sang a good mix of oldies, including several Roy Orbison numbers. We had seen him on an earlier trip but this time he gave a second show, which was equally good. We enjoyed listening to Pingxin Xu who played an amazing 140 string instrument called a Dulcimer. This made a nice change from the tribute singers and song/dance shows. Gregory Scott entertained everybody, on the last night, playing well known songs on his violin albeit with more distracting video backgrounds. Daniel Zafrani's "visual comedy and mime" act was one of the worst we have seen on Princess. It was neither funny nor entertaining so we, and many others, walked out after a few minutes. Whilst we like the tribute acts and enjoy the old 60's and 70's numbers, maybe it is time for Princess to engage some different artists. As ever, there were numerous trivia challenges, dance sessions etc and some extra events to involve the families on board. For passengers dining on the second sitting, there was very little to do between afternoon tea and 8.15 pm. Ports We had just 4 sea days, which suited us fine, as we like to get ashore and explore by ourselves. The scenery is spectacular but, in all honesty, there is not a huge amount to do at many of the ports. We booked a private fjord trip from Stavanger but Pulpit Rock does not look great when covered in mist under heavy rain. As it happens, we had been too late to book the train for our Scheduled Flån stop, so had resorted to booking the similar Princess trip on the same train. So, failing to get to Flån cost us nothing other than the enjoyment of the train ride (in the pouring rain). We had an enjoyable stop in Olden, in spite of the weather. It was easy to get to the Briksdal glacier on the local bus (about NOK 100 each way) and the 3 Km walk is scenic, with numerous waterfalls from the melting ice. There is plenty to see in Trondheim so we opted for a self guided walking tour. The cathedral is really the major attraction and we were there in time for the 1 pm organ concert, then climbed the 174 steps to the top of the tower. The NOK 90 seemed quite expensive, with a further NOK 40 for the tower, especially since photography is not permitted. A further NOK 90 is charged for the Bishop's Palace and again for the Crown Jewels but neither were very impressive. The old warehouses along the river are attractive and the small fish market is worth a visit. Honningsvag is the stopping off place for the North Cape but there is not much to see there other than the wooden church. The North Cape is a bit of a tourist trap and most passengers seemed to head for the visitor's centre there. The local bus charges almost NOK 600 for the return, 30 minute ride (but did include the entrance to the visitor centre) and the other options were even more expensive, so we gave it a miss. Tromsø is a larger town with plenty to see and do. Princess offered a shuttle bus to the centre for USD 5 per trip, You can then catch the bus to the cable car. It is best to get there early as the two cars only carry 28 people each. The trip takes just 4 minutes but costs NOK 170 return. We then crossed the bridge to visit the modern and old cathedrals and even the adjacent art gallery. The Polar museum was very popular too. The stop at Gravdal seemed rather pointless as it required a tender and there is absolutely nothing at the port jetty. It is the stopping place for trips to the Lofoten Islands but they are not readily accessible or exciting. A tender to Nusfjord would be better, if practical. We opted to walk the 4 Km to the town but there is nothing there except for an attractive wooden church. We later discovered that there was a free shuttle bus in the opposite direction to Leknor, which we do not recall being mentioned at the port talk. The penultimate stop, at Ålesund, was more interesting. It was a clear day, so we caught the local busses (662 from the port, then 664), which took us around the islands of Giske and to the lighthouse at Godøy. On returning to Ålesund, we climbed the 418 steps to the viewing point rather than resort to the hop on/off train. We had been to Bergen recently and it was good to return and re-visit the fish market. However, the itinerary only allowed a half day at this port. Forthcoming bad weather then meant the ship increased speed and we arrived at Southampton hours early. Wi Fi Elite passengers get a generous free wi fi allowance but we were unable to use it because the Internet connection was extremely slow or non-existent. Summary We chose August in the hope that we would get reasonable weather in Norway but were glad we had packed all weather conditions. Food was of a consistently high standard and service was always friendly and efficient (except for breakfast times). Everything in Norway is expensive and some of the entry charges are excessive. Norway gets plenty of rain even in August and in the north it can be really cold, so go prepared. There is enough to see and do at most, but not all, ports. Princess could do better with entertainment but they remain our preferred cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
We chose this cruise because we wanted to see the North Cape and midnight sun. Thoroughly enjoyable voyage although the weather could have been kinder. A few rough seas and sickness - although thankfully we were OK. Even managed a bit ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we wanted to see the North Cape and midnight sun. Thoroughly enjoyable voyage although the weather could have been kinder. A few rough seas and sickness - although thankfully we were OK. Even managed a bit of sunbathing on the balcony on some days. Ship is fine - we had also been on it two years ago. Unfortunately we found that most of the theatre entertainment was exactly the same as before! However the crew were all really friendly and made for a relaxed atmosphere. The food was really good - hot food served on hot plates for a change. Would recommend this itinerary for anyone who has done the usual Southampton trips and fancies something a bit different. However make sure you take some warm clothing - some families seemed dressed for the Med and were very cold when the sun wasn't shining. Due to the windy weather, the captain was unable to take us to Flam which was a pity as we were looking forward to the railway trip there. Only took one ship excursion which was a shuttle to the North Cape from Honningsvag. $117 each for a 35 minute coach ride was extortionate but the only way to be sure of getting there. However the best views were to be had at about 3.00 am when we sailed around the cape in the midnight sun. Unfortunately everyone else seemed to be in bed asleep! Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
We arrived at the Southampton terminal around 12:00 and were placed in a waiting area where free cakes and coffee was available we barely had time for a drink before we were rapidly booked in. Being familiar with Emerald Princess we ... Read More
We arrived at the Southampton terminal around 12:00 and were placed in a waiting area where free cakes and coffee was available we barely had time for a drink before we were rapidly booked in. Being familiar with Emerald Princess we quickly found our cabin and were soon ensconced in restaurant having lunch. In our cabin we found that all the bedding had been upgraded with lovely new mattresses and pillows but we still had those dreadful clinging shower curtains. Our first stop was Zeebrugh, having done this cruise before we didn’t do any excursions, here we had a walk into Blankenburg as it was sunny but cool, being Sunday there were no shops open. With the rest of the ports it depended on the weather, Copenhagen we saw the Little mermaid and strolled along the waterfront. Stockholm was similar, Helsinki it rained all day so we stayed on board an were surprised by the amount of activities and games laid on by the Entertainment team so there was plenty to do. St Petersburg was again wet the first day, we hadn’t bothered with a Russian visa partly we found it very expensive, partly we’d done the excursions on a previous cruise and finally there was nowhere to stroll near the dock. By now the weather was starting to look up so at Tallinn we explored the old town. Gdynia (port for Gdansk)Was another enjoyable town to visit as it was an easy walk into town. The town was very clean with the wide main street lined with plenty of shops. The weather for the cruise was very disappointing, we booked in July hoping the weather would be fairly summery but the first week was more like March with a very cold wind and the temperature hovering about the 60° mark. During the second week the weather improved enough to coach the sunbathers out, and we managed to take full advantage of our balcony. I’m glad to say that the seas were friendly so that even a bad sailor like me had no qualms. There was a good entertainment staff led by Kelvin who on the most part had a good rapport with the passengers making as much fun as possible. The games they put on in the evenings always had crowded lounges, such as liarliar, marriage game and Majority rules and there were plenty of Trivia quizzes where the keen players could win fantastic prizes like a pen or key ring. But majority played for fun and the banter was much appreciated. There were plenty of aerobics classes and almost any dancing lessons with the atrium being the most popular dance floor, up at the top of the ship was a regular disco catering for young and old alike. There was even a Bingo session every day to satisfy the ardent bingo fan. the For dining we had plumped for anytime dining, using the dining room for lunch on sea days and the main dining room only after we’d checked the menu for the day, some of the menus seemed to us to have strange items which did not appeal. Other nights we use the Horizon buffet we had the same items but also a lot more besides add the fact that you can have as much as you want. We did not try the speciality restaurants as we don’t think the extra charges are value for money. The pool decks appeared to have ample enough loungers with plenty of tables and chairs all along the side especially by the grill bar which incidentally turned out some nice barbecue type food. Overall we found it to be a very enjoyable cruise with plenty to do on sea days and even in port we found Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
Had a fabulous cruise to the Baltic. All ports of call were excellent. The standard of service was great. And the staff went well beyond the call of duty to ensure you had a great cruise. The food on board was excellent but some of the ... Read More
Had a fabulous cruise to the Baltic. All ports of call were excellent. The standard of service was great. And the staff went well beyond the call of duty to ensure you had a great cruise. The food on board was excellent but some of the shows left a bit to be desired in there quality.the production shows were excellent and very well produced. Only major complaint was the stafff in the MDR not applying the dress code on formal nights. They had a couldn't care less attitude about passengers wearing,shorts,polo shirts,tee shirts etc. I think Pricess should abandon formal nights.i think it is pointless to advertise formal nights then totally ignore the rules. The selection of shore excursions was great and the staff at the tour desk were very helpful as were all the staff on board. The guides on the tours were very good and very helpful with any specific queries we had about things.. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
My wife had always wanted to visit Helsinki, Stockholm, Tallinn and St. Petersburg and I had always wanted to visit St. Petersburg, Tallinn and Stockholm. With this in mind, when we received information on the Baltic cruise with Princess, ... Read More
My wife had always wanted to visit Helsinki, Stockholm, Tallinn and St. Petersburg and I had always wanted to visit St. Petersburg, Tallinn and Stockholm. With this in mind, when we received information on the Baltic cruise with Princess, we had to book our places. Other advantages of the cruise would be a visit to Gdansk, which we both wanted to visit as we had enjoyed a city break in Krakow, plus being able to revisit Bruges and Copenhagen which, again, we had enjoyed on city breaks in the past. For those of you reading this- in our opinion, all the ports lived up to our expectations and did not disappoint. More detail is offered later, if you wish to read on. We had not sailed with Princess before, so, as we all do, we checked on numerous sites with respect to the Emerald Princess. Although reviews were a little mixed, we remained focused on the ports and went ahead with our booking. Again, in our opinion, we would sail with Princess in the future, but they are unlikely to be our first choice if the ports are on offer with another line as we feel there are some areas that could be improved. Having addressed the two main points ie. the itinerary and would we sail with them again, I will now start on the detail both good and bad-feel free to stop reading at any point- however, I hope some of the information is useful. Prior to sailing. As is our normal case, we decided to pre-book port excursions. This proved to be a mistake as, approximately 2 weeks prior to sailing, we received an email offering a discount on all excursions. Luckily, we had only booked one excursion through Princess, so only lost 10% on one tour only as we used another company (who we have used in the past) for the majority of the ports. However, I should add that Princess offered an extensive choice of excursions for each port. Embarkation at Southampton (Mayflower Terminal) We arrived at the terminal at 12.30pm and, on the outside of the building, we noticed signs to indicate where to leave our main cases. The deck letters were adjacent to hatches where a member of staff accepted your case and fed it into a collection area inside the building. We then proceeded into the building to check in, keeping some carry- on items with us. We were handed a health form to complete while we zig-zagged through to the check in desk. As we had completed pre- check in online, the assistant at the desk had us checked in very quickly, presenting us with our cabin /boarding pass marked with our pre paid soda package sticker. We were then on our way to security scanning. We then proceeded to board the ship where, on initial presentation of our card, our face image is recorded on their hand scanning units. We then made our own way to the cabin in order to drop our carry on items before proceeding to the Horizons self service on deck 16 for some lunch. This whole process had taken less than 40 minutes and could well be our fastest check in to date. After a quick lunch, we returned to our cabin and, finding our main cases, we were able to unpack and proceed to a bar for some drinks prior to sailing. Safety Drill. I am sorry to say I did not hear the Captain fully when he announced the numbers on board and it was either 2,650 something or 2,850 something passengers (this has implications later!). The muster/lifeboat drill is carried out in various indoor locations around the ship, ours being in the main theatre, resulting in comfortable seating while the safety is covered. Welcome to new Cruises with Princess. They did not seem to arrange a session for this until towards the end of the 14 days when a session was arranged in order to inform people about the Captain's Circle. However, we did note that some in the Captain's Circle were invited to an event with the Captain early on in the cruise. Costings We pre- paid for the Soda, Mocktail and Hot Chocolate card as there was no offer for wine other than in the full Drinks package, which did not seem to be good value to us as we would not consume sufficient to warrant the cost. The package cost around £73 each for the 14 day cruise. However, once on board, we did notice that they had a beaker that could be refilled each day on offer but as we had our package, we did not use it or check the cost. All drinks on board are subject to an automatic gratuity of 15% and therefore needs to be added to the following costs:- Soda $2, Beer from $6, Spirits from $8, Mocktails from $6, Wine from $7. Wine in the Bars and Restaurants was from $30 a bottle including the 15% gratuity. In my opinion, the wine is overpriced and this was supported by the fact that, towards the end of the cruise, the less expensive wines had run out and we ended up paying around $40 a bottle. Ship Account and Gratuities. Princess offer the use of an app (for your phone, tablet or laptop) while on board in order to keep you informed of your account, the app also provides times and details of all that is on that day. By attending the front desk, at any time during your cruise, you can amend your Gratuities. Room Service Princess provide this service at no extra cost and normally we would not use it. However, due to a number of early trips,it was our only option. Our breakfasts were delivered on time by friendly staff and proved to be ample to keep us going until the programmed lunch stops. Bars We used the following areas:- Wheelhouse, Explorers, Club Fusion, Piano/Crooners Bar, Tradewinds, Calypso, Mermaid's Tail, Adagio and Skywalkers. At certain times during the day, they all have various types of entertainment (Bingo, Trivia, Lectures and Artist and Entertainers) plus Happy Hours (second drink for $1). We always managed to find a table as we avoided the Happy Hours and arrived early for the Acts we wanted to see. All the staff were very friendly and attentive and we never experienced the problem some others have commented on with reference to being on a pre- paid card so staff were not attentive. Entertainment This section is always down to personal taste, the Cruise Director (Kelvin) proved to be the best we have experienced on any of the cruises we have been on. The Princess band were also excellent, as were all the visiting Artists we viewed in the Main Theatre and in the Explorers Lounge. However, the show on the first night was not up to the standard as the remaining 13 nights. Another problem was the main show- Magic was only shown twice during the 14 days, this equates to just under a total of 1,700 seats available-as expected, people turned away-Princess need to do the Maths!(We did not see it!). I could name all the acts, but this review is getting on a bit and they may not be on your cruise-best to check for yourselves, but be early for seats. Restaurants We had pre- booked a fixed table for two at the second sitting for dinner and this worked very well for us, being allocated a table in Botticelli. The staff who looked after us (Robert and Darwin) both being attentive, friendly and helpful- again some of the nicest we have encountered and they deserve a big thank you! When possible, we also used this Restaurant for Breakfast, Lunch and some Afternoon Teas. In order to experience other areas on the ship and as a result of some late return times from day trips, we did not occupy our table every evening and this is where our experience of fellow passengers becomes a little tainted! However a very nice feature of the Botticelli Restaurant was the evening menu as one page offered the same dishes every day as well as a number of daily alternatives, which in my opinion were not repeated over the 14 days, so plenty of choice! Restaurant Tales! We assumed that the Horizons Grill would be busy when we first boarded, but we also know that we had to have some lunch-so we set off. As expected, all tables were occupied- therefore, with the assistance of a Steward and us asking the current occupiers could we share a table ,the first problem was solved. (Never assume others are the same!) On one of our evenings we returned late to the ship (as did many others), so off to Horizons again, found a table and placed a camera and some other items on the table and chairs, plus altered the napkins. Off we went to face the Pincer Movements and Elbows (obviously we were all going to starve!(with food available 24 hrs)). Returned to find our table occupied, what happened to manners? However, on this cruise, I can top the Pincer Movement and the Elbows. How I hear you ask?-Read on! On our return from another day trip, we decided to order burgers from the Trident Grill, which we did. As they are cooked to order, while you wait (well we did!). Whilst waiting, I went off to get the drinks and place them on a table. On my return, my wife had her burger, but mine had been taken by the couple behind (who had been bumping into my wife as the queue/line progressed and been complaining about the wait). Obviously, we are all going to starve!! For my final moan-do not bother to queue, just use the “Pincer Movement” when going for your Ice Cream! Food Area timings (that we used other than the main Restaurant) We used the International Cafe in the Piazza area on deck 5 open 24 hours. Trident Grill Deck 15 Forward for Burgers, Fries open 11.00 to 23.00 hrs. Prego Pizzeria Deck 15 Midship open 11.00to 23.00 hrs. Scoopes Ice Cream Deck 15 Midship 11.00 to 23.00hrs. Cafe Caribe Deck 15 Aft open from 05.00hrs for light breakfasts. As can be seen, you need to practise your Pincer Movements, Elbows, Queuemanship etc in order to ensure you do not starve!!!! Champagne Fountain This event was held on the first Formal night of our cruise in the Piazza area which covers Deck 5, 6 & 7. We did not know the best place to be was Deck 5 and we also did not know that you had to be there VERY early. We witnessed many people having 2, 3 and even more glasses of Champagne or top ups. Unfortunately ,we did not get one as was the case with some other passengers. Upon asking a member of staff where we needed to go in order to get a glass and informing him that we had walked around Deck 6 & 7 Piazza area for 20 minutes, he said we had not done so and that there is none left- the only rude attitude from a crew member that we experienced during the whole fortnight on board. Photographs and Videos The Photographers where friendly, polite and more than capable of capturing good photographs of people. We did resort to purchasing a couple of the shots they took of us. It should be noted that we did not experience any hard sell or pushing on their part to sell them and they spent a fair amount of time on us for one of the shoots. (I do not take a good photograph, which is born out by our wedding photographs!) Although we had decided to purchase the full Video package, it was worth waiting until the preview presentation of St Petersburg Experience to place our order, as they offered a discount at the end of the presentation($10). Daytime Activities and Lectures. I am sorry to say that, for us, this area is weak (again personal choice). We enjoyed the Lectures given by the Navigation Officer, the Engineering Officer (let down by the venue being unsuitable to show the detailed slides, it required a large screen, not just monitors). The Captain's session with Kelvin was also very good. We also experienced the best Port lectures provided by Ken that left other lines in their wake! He did not try to push Princess Trips on to you, however he did point out the alternatives and all the best places to visit. His sessions could have been increased to include the two ports he did not cover and also he could maybe offer an insight into other ports on other cruises. He also made himself available as an independent advisor at times of the day if you needed further help (another real positive). Movies were shown at various times in both the Main Theatre and on Deck 15 ,plus over the in cabin t.v. For us, the other activities of Bingo, Trivia, Horse Racing, Paper Plane Making and lectures from Matt Monro's Daughter, did not interest us. We did not make use of the dancing lessons as we are both up to speed with Ballroom and Latin. However, it should be noted that, if you have an interest ,those we witnessed were of a good standard. I would have liked to have seen some computer sessions, with help and tricks using Photography, Music and other software packages. (I know another line has an agreement with Windows/Microsoft, however there are other packages out there!) Other very informative and enjoyable talks we attended were on Opals, Russian Dolls and Lacquered Boxes. Once again, my fellow passengers never fail to amaze me, as one woman continued to push into me for the whole of the talk, having completed her details on a draw ticket, on her entry. However, when we were all reminded to complete the tickets towards the end of the talk, she completed a second and passed one to her husband, making three in the draw when the person giving the talk had clearly asked for one ticket per Stateroom! This talk could have been improved by using a seated venue rather than the Jewellery Outlet. Princess Shore Excursions. As stated earlier, we only booked one excursion through Princess, this being Gdansk and Malbork Castle with a Lunch included. We enjoyed all the aspects of the day, the guide being very informative and,as cruise day excursion costs go, it was less expensive than others. We could have spent more time in both locations as there was plenty to keep us occupied. However, even with the early start, there is only so much you can cover in a day. Disembarkation (Queen Elizabeth Terminal) This was again a very positive part of the cruise, being very well organised. Princess requested our preferences some days prior to our final day and tickets/case labels and information were provided a few days before we left the ship. Due to the request for cases being outside your cabin before you went for your evening dinner, a good night's sleep was had by all. Another positive was being able to still obtain a table for two in Botticelli at breakfast on our final morning. Summary. We did enjoy our cruise and would sail with Princess again. However the following points would have to be improved in order for them to become our first choice. 1) Daytime Activities/Lectures. 2) Ensure cabins for two do not have bunk beds. 3)Main show given more slots in order for all to see it. 4) Possible ticket system for the Champagne Fountain. For those who stayed with me and have read all I have written- I hope you enjoy your cruise and you probably now need a drink! To all that have given up-you do not know what you are missing and I hope you will also enjoy your cruise! Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
Should you not read all this letter, you should read the last 4 paragraphs. We chose this cruise on Emerald Princess because we wanted to try a Baltic cruise and the date fitted in with our visit to England from our home in Tenerife. ... Read More
Should you not read all this letter, you should read the last 4 paragraphs. We chose this cruise on Emerald Princess because we wanted to try a Baltic cruise and the date fitted in with our visit to England from our home in Tenerife. It was our first cruise with the Princess line and unfortunately will almost certainly be our last. We found that during the day while the ship was at sea the atmosphere reminded me of what a Butlins Camp would possibly like. There was not enough quality things to get involved with, but if you liked constant loud music round the main pools, when this was not blaring out loud films were shown, bingo, constant quizes, Mr and Mrs competitions etc etc then you were fine. The food was excellent but limited. What we didn't like about our eating experience was the fact we like waiter service which was no problem in the evening, Kateryna and Khomenko our waiters were excellent, but for breakfast the only restaurant with waiter service had limited opening times from 7am - 9am. When the ship was in port which was 7 days on our cruise the restaurant was not open at all for waiter service breakfast, which caused complete overcrowding in the only main self service restaurant. In the past breakfast on cruises has always been a relaxed experience to look forward to, not having to jump out of bed, keep an eye on my watch and make sure I managed to negotiate my way down to the 6th deck, then walk the full length of the ship and finally get to the waiter service restaurant before 9am, and then finding it was closed if in port. Never have we been treated in this way before and not what you expect, our cruising has always been stress free in the past. The main entertainment was ok, and some nights quite good but we actually enjoyed some of the side entertainment just as much if not better, especially when the volume of some of the singers in the main theatre made us run for cover. Tetiana on the piano in the Piazza was very good and was a lovely lady. The X-Trio were good, Katya and Egor the acrobats were excellent, and last but certainly not least , we very much enjoyed the resident Jazz Band who played in the Piazza one day. There was a mix up with the daily guide left outside our cabin each evening which was in Spanish. I can understand the initial mix up because we have a Spanish address, however it shouldn't have taken 4 visits and 4 days to customer services to sort it out. Our cabin was good and our steward was pleasant and helpful and kept our room very clean, in fact all the crew we came in contact with were professional and well mannered. I am sorry Princess but now comes the final punchline. On the 21st July a sizeable amount was taken from my debit card and bank account for my spend on board and the various excursions we booked, however it did not show as a credit on my daily ships statement. I asked 3 different people at customer services why this was because I was afraid the money would be taken twice. Each one of them assured me the amount was on hold and said not to worry I definitely would not be charged again but I still had my doubts. For the next 2 final days every time I spent something however small the amounts were taken individually from my debit card which should have left me with a nil balance. The last day was the 23rd July and my statement now showed the full amount of everything I had spent, Again I was assured everything was in order. A couple of days later I checked my account and all was well, or so I thought, however, ( you guessed it ), when I checked again I found that on the 27th July the total amount of everything I had spent had been taken out of my account a second time. When I contacted them I got a message that it could take 28 days to rectify, however I replied that it had probably only taken seconds to swallow up my money a second time either by mistake or fraudulently and I was not prepared to wait so long to get my own money back, especially when it was no fault of my own and I had taken every precaution to stop this happening. I paid in euros however the exchange rate they calculated I thought was also outrageously biased in their favour. To their credit my money arrived back in my bank 4 working days later. However I previously asked them to email me confirmation of the refund and an explanation as to how it happened, and suggested that an apology might be in order. As of the date of this letter in August I have not received any communication from them whatsoever, which I feel is very bad for customer relations. Sorry Princess we have had several cruises with Royal Caribbean which we very much enjoyed and had no complaints, and although Thomsons are generally older and smaller ships, the one cruise around the Canary Isles we had with them was also a great and satisfying experience. You may now draw your own conclusions as to where we go from here. Bon Voyage to all who read my review. L. Tenerife. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
Having previously cruised (with Princess) on our Honeymoon, we decided to do so again for our 10th Anniversary - this time, with our children (5 and 7) too!! We were very pleased with our previous Princess cruise, although we primarily ... Read More
Having previously cruised (with Princess) on our Honeymoon, we decided to do so again for our 10th Anniversary - this time, with our children (5 and 7) too!! We were very pleased with our previous Princess cruise, although we primarily selected the Baltic Heritage cruise because of the itinerary - the fact that we "knew" the cruise line made our choice even simpler. Due to an early morning flight, we arrived at the cruise terminal in Southampton slightly early for our embarkation time slot. However, we were checked-in very promptly and were allowed to board the ship shortly thereafter. The check-in/embarkation process was excellent and very "slick". After a brief walk-around the ship and some lunch from the Horizon Court buffet, we returned to our stateroom to find that our cases had all been delivered - again, very quickly indeed! We had primarily chosen this cruise because of the excellent itinerary, however we did not do any of the ship’s organised excursions. In the majority of ports, we simply did our own thing (very easy to do in most cases – especially Tallin!) and in St Petersburg we booked a 2-day tour via an independent operator – which was excellent and substantially less expensive that Princess’ own offerings. I would add however that the itinerary did not disappoint – it was fantastic – we visited some fascinating places and having 2 “sea days” at the end to simply “chill out” was perfect! Our cabin/stateroom was larger than we had anticipated (Room E114 - as reviewed separately below) and was more than adequate for our family’s requirements for 2 weeks. Whilst on-board, we enjoyed a variety of dining experiences - usually a buffet breakfast which was good, but could get very busy - and sometimes difficult to find a table (there are two sides to the buffet - usually only one of which is open at a time - so a good "tip" is to take your plate/food through to the other side which is quieter and usually had plenty of tables - the tea/coffee/water was always available in both sides). We sometimes used the buffet also for lunch - when we weren't ashore - or had a snack from the excellent pizza bar (cooking fresh pizza's throughout the day) or something from the grill (which had very good burgers!) - both of which are very handy for the pool. The evening menu in the restaurants had a "core" selection of dishes available each evening and also varied other dishes each evening. There was always something to suit all members of our family. The waiting staff in the main dining rooms were excellent and made our Anniversary dinner special and also made our son feel special on his birthday! Our children thoroughly enjoyed the kids activities on-board and the children’s centre staff were all first-class. We were fortunate to be on a cruise with a relatively small number of children (although still an adequate number for them to make friends and enjoy themselves) and as the children's area rooms are not vast, I could imagine they may get crowded on busier “school holiday” cruises. Similar to the embarkation process, disembarkation was a well-organised and “slick” process. We were able to enjoy a leisurely breakfast on-board prior to leaving the ship at our allotted time to find all our luggage ready and waiting for us. No fuss – just a very easy and fast process. In summary, I would highly recommend this cruise to anyone interested in seeing the Baltics. There were no particular negative experiences to our cruise and innumerable positives. All-in-all, a fantastic holiday! Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
I resisted Cruising fir 40 years. this is the Baltic which made all the difference. St Petersburg alone is spectacular but all towns (Bruges, Helsinki, Talinn, Gdansk Copenhagen, Stockholm etc.) are brilliant. on board it's like ... Read More
I resisted Cruising fir 40 years. this is the Baltic which made all the difference. St Petersburg alone is spectacular but all towns (Bruges, Helsinki, Talinn, Gdansk Copenhagen, Stockholm etc.) are brilliant. on board it's like visiting a good restaurant every evening with excellent service and a 5 course meal.. really full buffet breakfast. but want coffee or tea with your free and excellent pastries, outside the buffet and it's $3-5. it's the same tea bags as in the free buffet. Not sure what the beverage called coffee served in the buffet, is. Internet costs $50 every few hours!. In short everything above food and accommodation at a premium price, including alcohol. Each bottle of your own costs $15 corkage,. with small exceptions, entertainment is "end of pier" quality. Lectures should be avoided. "Health" lectures sell you snake oil. excellent gym, saunas, swimming pools etc. Cabin is a bit pokey,(all of them!) but who cares. they intentionally provide minimum information about ports, to encourage you to take their excursion, also at a vast surcharge. we booked our own excursion to St Petersburg, before departure with TJ tours. Half the price! their excursion had 30 people coaches. we had nine. Our Guide was young Professor at their Uni. Better tour, cheaper than applying for a Russian Visa on your own. They say that if you're late from an excursion not theirs, ship sails without you. A scare tactic, TJ, guarantee to return also in time. you will be assailed with art auction sales, jewellery sales, discounted to twice normal price from their absurd pricing. I'd have thought the loss of goodwill in not providing free coffee/tea throughout the ship overweighed the income, let alone the profit. In the end, it's Hi-de-Hi at Sea with seriously upmarket food.. many ike that, obviously. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
We chose this 14 day cruise for its itinerary as we had only every visited Bruges before. Never started a cruise from Southampton due to the difficulties of getting down from the North driving with a stopover was our best option to ensure ... Read More
We chose this 14 day cruise for its itinerary as we had only every visited Bruges before. Never started a cruise from Southampton due to the difficulties of getting down from the North driving with a stopover was our best option to ensure we got to the ship on time. This proved to be a good choice as it took 7 hours to get within 2 hours away the next morning due to traffic. The check in at the Mayflower terminal was very well organised with our car collected when we arrived to be waiting on our return. The ship was familiar to several other cruises that we have been on so finding our balcony cabin was easy, which we found it to be as expected with good size double bed, shower /toilet room, good storage space, TV and fridge which had three bottles of water (chargeable). TV had several English channels plus films should you wish to stay in you cabin. We brought the permitted two bottles of wine on board for the cruise any extra wine or spirits would be confiscated and given back at the end of the cruise. We later found out from fellow passengers that this rule was not being applied and they were bringing wine etc at each port of call. As the average cost for a bottle of wine at dinner was around $35 including the 15% service charge we would have saved a lot of money over the 14days even paying the $15 corkage. The overall cost of drinks on the ship were the most expensive that we have every experienced on any cruise ship or 5 star hotel around the world. When you consider that they do not pay any duty or vat the pricing is off the scale with only two draught beers available in some bars one being Newcastle brown, your only option was to have a can or bottle with a standard can of Boddingtons costing $5.95 plus 15% service charge. A good way to get better value is t buy a bottle of wine which has 5 glasses at a cost $25 as opposed to 5 glasses at $8 each both plus 15% s/c. They do have a happy hours in the wheelhouse every day from 3 – 4 and at the Skywalker at 10.30 if you are still awake. The deals is buy one drink at full price and get one for $1, speaking to the staff they said the previous cruise the extra drink was free. As moat people were on shore most days I suspect the opening times were not very well attended it would have been better to have a later time before dinner. We found at some bars practically around the pool areas there was an absence of waiters which meant you had to go to the bar to be served and at no time did the bar staff offer to have the drinks sent over to your table and for your convenience they charge your 15% etc. Overall we found lot of the staff did not seem to be interested in going out of there way as they believed they would not receive any tips. Staffs in the wheelhouse bar and the two evening restaurants were the exception very professional and gave good service. We were offered the drinks packaged when we booked at just under $40 each per day and when we boarded the ship this had gone up by $10 even at their very high prices you would have to be a drink a lot to get value for your money. Food in the De Vinci & Michelangelo restaurants was expellant with the flexible dinning we meet some lovely people from all around the world this coupled with great service made each evening memorable. The breakfast in the Horizon and Cafe Caribe was a little frenetic trying to find a table. With plastic plates we found by the time you got to your table the food was going cold. If you used the restaurants for lunch the same problems would arise and over the cruise not once were we asked would we like a glass of wine /beer with our meal. We did not try the three themed restaurants Share supplement $39, Crown Grill supplement $29 and the Salty dog $19. When you purchased any drinks you were not required to sign and on several occasions you did not receive receipt. You could check and print your account at terminal by customer relations or log onto your ID of phone FOC. Gratuities for the cruise other than the 15% service charge were not compulsory and opted out preferring to tip the staff who gave us the best service such as the cabin steward ad dining room staff. We tried room service once in the morning for tea/coffee sadly it arrived cold so we gave up and walked up two floors up each morning and brought hot drinks to the cabin. That same day when we got back in the afternoon from trip the tray was still there and the cabin was not cleaned. Phoning the number for the steward got no response when I phone customer services I was told to hang on before I could explain why I was calling. I was left hanging on for 35 minutes, I left the phone off the hook and when down to customer service only to be told they had no way of knowing if a gusts was holding on. The room was cleaned an hour later and as a way of apology we were left a large dinner serving tray with a four chocolates and a note of apology. Entertainment overall was good in the main theatre with the exception of a poor guitar playing comedian and a very dodgy hypnotists. The remainder of the entertainment was very good with some very talented performers and the resident ships staff headed by Kevin Joy the cruise director putting on some great shows. A range of quizzes/trivia games in the bars plus dancing and bingo which again was expensive at $25 for two cards. There was a great emphasise every day on promoting fine art with several auctions taking place mostly I suspect at the prices they were being sold for our American friends this together with the daily jewellery news letter and demonstrations made a lot of us Brits feel very poor. We do not go on a cruise to buy fine art and jewellery and found that the effort that was being made could have been better use entertaining the guests particularly at sea days they could have put on an afternoon show in the theatre. Other services such as internet were again very expansive with tea or coffee with your cake $3/5. Duty free was a joke up to 60% off was stated not sure what they were basing their pricing on it certainly was not UK shop prices which were a lot less. It was noticeable that there were no price tickets on the shelves these could be found on an A4 sheet by the till, I suspect that they alter pricing depending on the cruise. When you left the ship at each port we found the staff to be totally uninterested and never once did any staff say good morning or have a nice trip this was repeated when you arrived back on board with only the last shore visit one member of the crew welcomed us back. The crew mix were from all corners of the world and not sure if this worked as we found some gave the appearance that they did not want to be on the ship. Ports of Call: We did not purchase any trips from the ship due to the high cost and at a lot of the ports you can walk into the town. We did buy from our cruise travel agent Cruise,co.uk a two day trip to St Petersburg and Tallinn. Zeebrugge/ Bruges we paid €10 for a coach from the ship to Blankenberge which had the local Sunday market and fair from their we were able to get a train for €5 each return to Bruges station with the centre of town 20 minutes walk or you can hope on one of the local tourist busses for €2 Copenhagen: You can walk from the ship to the Little Mermaid in 10minutes the centre of the town would take you a further 30minutes if you are fit. We used the combined hop on hop off Red bus visit all of the main sites. Stockholm: The port is a little way to the centre so we used the combined hop on hop off Red bus and river ferry which we were able to the main site including the Royal Palace and the not to be missed Vasa museum. Cost for the combined ticket €35 each Helsinki: The only bad day of weather with rain all of the day. The centre of the city is well within walking distance but due to the poor weather we paid the €10 for the ship bus to the town, you could get a walk on bus but did not believe that with the weather you would see much. St Petersburg: The organised tour company “Tour De Force” ensured you had a tourist visa, we did not have to queue at passport control and were meet by our young very knowledgeable guide for the two days. Lunch on the two days was arranged at an extra small cost. A very tiring first day with lots of walking but little queuing at each stop as our bus only had 28 people we were able to get some priority at each stop, we did notice the ship trips were large coaches and speaking to fellow passenger that night they had some queuing. The trip cost was less than £200 each plus the cost of the meals. Tallinn: The old town is in easy walking distance from the port we did however use a pre arrange walk on Red bus to see the main site before getting off at the top f the old town. One word of warning sadly at the old town battements were there many of passengers from the three ships that were in port a lot of Romanian pick pockets were operating, I myself had my mobile taken out of my from shoulder bag but luckily I felt the movement and the woman dropped it on a ledge in front of her and I was able to retrieve it back. The cheeky person just smiled and waked a little way in the crowed we were able to warn a lady that she was in her bag again she just blow a kiss and walked on. Sadly we did see several other pick pockets operating in the area but no police presents. Gdynia/Gdansk: The town is within easy distance to walk. We did take a taxi to the station to catch a train to Gdansk cost 22 Zolty return. Good service took 40 minutes. Nice old town but not a great deal to see. Money: We get some local currency for Copenhagen, Stockholm, Poland and Russia just enough to buy some food or drinks. All counties took the euro including Russia but not sterling so do not both changing into rubles. As your ship account is in US dollars your credit card will be charge at the ships special rate unless you opt for your card to be charge in $ and let you bank covert the rate. When we left the ship there rate was $1.21 to £ our Nationwide credit card was converted at £1.308 yet one more money making scheme from Princess. They should change their statement “Come Back New” to Come Back Poorer. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
This was our first Princess cruise - we have been doing Celebrity, but decided to try Princess primarily for the Baltic itinerary (Celebrity does not visit Gdansk Poland). The Emerald Princess was quite nicely finished, the common areas ... Read More
This was our first Princess cruise - we have been doing Celebrity, but decided to try Princess primarily for the Baltic itinerary (Celebrity does not visit Gdansk Poland). The Emerald Princess was quite nicely finished, the common areas and dining are attractive and clean. The ship layout and size is very similar to the Celebrity Solstice class vessels. Embarkation at Southampton was very smooth and fast. We arrived at the pier at around 12:30 and were in our room by 1:15pm. Luggage arrived very shortly after. Our veranda stateroom was on the stern and had a large balcony with 4 chairs and a side table - it could have easily accommodated 6 people. The room itself was nice and featured a large closet. Overall, the room was similar to what we have been booking (concierge class balcony) on Celebrity, but it was touch smaller and didn't have a couch. We had traditional dining in the Botticelli dining room and were matched up with 2 great couples. Service in the dining room was attentive. Food on this cruise was a mixed bag - the best was as good or better than anything we've had on other cruises. Highlights included lobster (twice), prime rib and chateau briand in the dining room, fish and chips in the Wheelhouse Bar (the ship offered 3 "pub lunches" in this bar during the 2 week cruise)and the meals we had in the Crown Grill (ribeye) and the Share (Lobster and all the courses). The Horizon food court generally felt rather crowded - worsened by an inexplicable daily closing off of half the seating in the evening. Another highlight was the buy one, get the 2nd drink for $1 happy hour in the Wheelhouse bar. Misses @ the Horizon included no free gelato bar, no sushi (yes, Celebrity has both in their food court) and the fact that the pizza was located one pool area away from the Horizon seating area. We loved the Movies Under the Stars (do beware of seemingly dry seat cushions really being wet), and the Starwave Band, who played in various venues all over the ship. The shows that we saw in the Princess Theatre were pretty lame, with the exception being the finale of the Voice of the Sea contest. The Princess Theatre and Explorer Lounge are undersized for the 3,080 passenger capacity - no seating available unless one arrived very early. Excursions were disembarked very efficiently and the gangway never felt crowded when leaving the ship. We had remarkably good weather for this time of year in the Baltic, sunny or partly cloudy in all ports except for Helsinki (drizzle and 2 big cloud bursts during the day). All the ports were delightful, with the exception of St. Petersburg. If I were to make a repeat visit to the Baltic, I would prefer to skip this port -its residential areas are drab, dreary, depressingly poor in stark contrast to all its baltic neighbors. The showy palaces and museums, churches and the like are very shiny and well kept, but also very crowded. Beware - the Hermitage Is not air-conditioned or ventilated - extremely crowded and very hot. Russia requires an expensive visa or the use of a ships tour - what an unfriendly country! Gdansk and Tallinn were the star ports of call - full of history, well kept and full of places where one could happily spend lots of time exploring, eating and drinking. We will be back with Princes for a British Isles cruise (better itinerary than Celebrity) and possibly a Western Mediterranean cruise (I want to visit Gibraltar). But, our main line will remain Celebrity. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
Note: this review is very much food focused! Everything about this cruise to Scandinavia was fantastic. This was not our first cruise (NCL & RCCL) but our first on Princess. Travelling with my elderly mum who has coeliac disease ... Read More
Note: this review is very much food focused! Everything about this cruise to Scandinavia was fantastic. This was not our first cruise (NCL & RCCL) but our first on Princess. Travelling with my elderly mum who has coeliac disease (needs a gluten free diet) we arrived at check in desks in Southampton approximately noon and we were on-board by 1pm. We went straight to our cabin something other cruise lines don’t allow until a set time and amazingly our bags were outside of the door. Off to the buffet next, a good selection of food, mum being a coeliac has to be a bit careful when eating in the buffet so selected some fruit and some cheese. We couldn’t believe it when I spotted a ‘gluten free’ tapioca pudding. There was a different GF pudding available in the buffet daily throughout the cruise which is tremendous. Back to the cabin. We were on Caribe Deck towards AFT – starboard and were really happy with the location. The Balcony on this deck is double the length of those on deck 9 and 11 – so a great choice for us. The balcony has 2 adjustable chairs with footstools and a table. The cabin itself was well appointed and I particularly liked the separate dressing room area which was particularly useful for mum to park her 3 wheel walker. The bathroom whilst small was again good with a walk-in shower. The only shame about this was it was a static showerhead and not a showerhead on a hose to be able to wash your more difficult parts! We ate in the main dining (Michelangelo) which was available for anytime dining. We always asked for a table for 2 and generally we had a small wait, this was anything from 10 to 30 mins. We were given a pager which allowed us to sit and get a drink or just sit and watch the piece band in the piazza. The first evening we made it known that mum needed gluten free meal. A Head waiter was then allocated to us for the whole cruise. Nelson was ours and was wonderful, he helped mum select off the menu for the first night and arranged for some gluten free bread. She had the country chicken as main and there was flourless chocolate cake for desert. He then gave her the menu for the next night and told her only to select Starter and main course and he will arrange something special for desert every day. This was on-going for the cruise. She ordered whatever she fancied and he made sure it was made gluten free. The deserts were amazing. She had Strawberry gateaux, raspberry and coconut cake, lemon sponge, a version of a red velvet cake and the list goes on. She was blown away. We also went to the dining room one morning and she had GF Pancakes. In the Buffet I was able to order GF Toast from the chef – this usually took about 5 mins to cook fresh for her. At 3.30pm everyday there was afternoon tea in the Botticelli. Again they more than catered for GF. Sandwiches, cake, Scones and these didn’t need to be ordered. For me, the sandwiches, cakes and scones were great and being brits the tea was good too! I must say the food quality and quantity was a high as we’ve had on any cruise. I was more than satisfied with the breakfast in the buffet and dinner in the dining room. So now onto the rest of the cruise. We were so lucky with the weather, we stayed on the ship in Zeebrugge and the weather was lovely and gave us the opportunity to look around a near empty ship and to generally chill out. In Copenhagen we had selected the ‘Easy Copenhagen’ tour as this was shown as being good for people not wanting to walk far. Imagine our surprise when we got the coach and it was a double decker! Luckily we managed to get a seat downstairs, however if there hadn’t been room we would not have been able to go on the trip. Not happy with these arrangements and to be honest it spoiled the excursion as even though mum was down stairs there was a large step she had to climb just to get to her seat this meant she wasn’t able to get out of the coach for the photo stops. Unfortunately but the time we got back to the ship it had started to rain so we didn’t go back out. The next stop was meant to be Helsingborg, this was a tender port. Due to high winds this stop was abandoned for safety reasons so it meant an extra day at sea. It actually didn’t bother us too much and we enjoyed the day relaxing. Next day was Oslo and again we selected the ‘Easy Oslo’ tour, this time we had a proper coach. This was an excellent tour, Oslo is a beautiful city. Once we got back to the ship mum went back to the cabin to rest and I went out and walked around the city and saw most of the main buildings close up. It helped that it was a lovely day. Upon leaving Oslo the scenery was stunning and reminded us of Alaska in some ways. We’d definitely like to do Norwegian Fjord cruise now. So in summary... a fabulous cruise and particularly if you or your travelling companions are in need of a special diet. The ship was lovely and we would definitely travel on Princess again. There was always lots to do, including plenty of trivia, karaoke, Movies under the stars.. You can do as much or as little and you want. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
We selected this cruise primarily for the itinerary, as I have been somewhat disappointed with the Princess cruise line in the past and it is not my first choice for a cruise. We have previously sailed both the Baltic and the Norwegian ... Read More
We selected this cruise primarily for the itinerary, as I have been somewhat disappointed with the Princess cruise line in the past and it is not my first choice for a cruise. We have previously sailed both the Baltic and the Norwegian fjords on Holland America, and loved both cruises, but had never been to Belgium or Oslo. We also wanted more time in Copenhagen than we had been afforded on a past cruise and the prospect of going to Hamlet’s Castle from Helsingborg, a small port in Sweden, was very appealing. We found that our expectations were met in reverse order – we loved the ship but found the itinerary and shore excursion offerings disappointing. We entrusted Princess to handle our transfer arrangements and our hotel in London the night before the cruise started in Southampton. We arrived after an overnight flight about lunch time at the Grange Tower Bridge Hotel. As the name implies, the hotel is close to the Tower of London and Tower Bridge, which was an excellent location for visiting one or both and enjoying activities around that part of the Thames River, which are numerous. The hotel, while a bit modern for my taste, was new, clean, comfortable and well appointed; we had a king sized bed, reliable air conditioning (neither of which is ever a "given" in England) and a large breakfast buffet (included in the cost) in the morning. The Princess representative at the hotel the day of our arrival was very helpful with tips on local restaurants and attractions. The coach was on time the next morning for our transfer to Southampton and we arrived at the cruise terminal shortly after noon. Embarkations was a breeze – swift, problem free, and our luggage was in our room before we were! We had time to make the embarkation lunch in the dining room which, excepting the Crown Grill, was the best meal on the ship; we were completely unpacked and settled well before the safety drill. (This was our 15th cruise - 4th on Princess - and it was our best embarkation ever. Kudos to the Southampton staff.). The Emerald Princess is beautiful, well-maintained, and designed better than other Princess ships (Star Princess and Caribbean Princess twice) on which we have sailed. Our stewards provided wonderful service, as did the bar tenders at Vines, our favorite place to hang out. (If you imbibe at all and are offered a complimentary “Sip and Sail” package on Princess, as we were, grab it! I’m not sure I would actually pay for the package as it is quite expensive and I could never consume 15 drinks a day. But we like wine and a few other cocktails and it really kept the boat charges down.). The cruise director staff, the port lecturer, and the entertainment in the piazza were all very good. The ship did a nice job of celebrating the 4th of July, including having some of the musicians make up a Dixieland jazz band to perform in the piazza. For all Downton Abbey fans, there was an exhibit in the piazza one night of Downton Abbey costumes. (Since we are fans of the show, and had tickets to visit Highclere Castle when we returned to England, this was an added bonus that we had not expected). Having previously sailed in balcony cabins, we opted for a mini-suite and were not disappointed. (For all Holland America fans and comparison purposes, the mini-suite on the Emerald was conquerable to a Vista Suite on the Rotterdam or Maasdam). We had plenty of space and were very comfortable. The only odd thing is that the balcony is completely exposed, which does limit one’s privacy and can make for a breezy and sometime wet time on the balcony. But I will always pay the extra money for a mini-suite on Princess any time that I can do so. The itinerary on this cruise, however, was a disappointment. In Belgium, this ship docks at an ugly, industrial port 2 hours away from Brussels. We took an all-day shore excursion which included a drive around the city, with landmarks such as the Royal Palace and parks being pointed out, then a walking tour of the old city. It started to rain just as the walking part of the tour started – which marred the process considerably. Lunch was included and, except for the dark chocolate mousse dessert, was not much to my taste (too much cheese and cream sauces). We then had a little free time in the city before the long drive back to the ship. I’m glad I did this tour, but I would not go out of my way to do it again. Copenhagen gets mixed reviews from this visit. The good: the ship docked at the closer-in quay and we were able to get a Hop-On-Hop-Off bus quickly. We first visited the Rosenberg Castle; the Danish Crown Jewels are kept in the basement! We walked thru the grounds of Rosenberg – which are very lovely formal gardens – to Amalienborg, the home of the royal family. The palaces (4 in all) are not open to the public, but we stayed for the changing of the guard, which (while not quite the beefeaters at Buckingham Palace) was fun and interesting. The bad: Our afternoon was less successful, as it poured rain. Copenhagen was even more congested than London (if that is even possible) and it took us over 3 hours to make what should have been a 90 minute loop in the bus. It really soured our evening canal cruise, which we gave up dinner to do. The canal boat was wet, cramped, and the engines so loud it was hard to hear the guide. In retrospect, I would not have purchased that excursion, though on a beautiful night it would probably be a much better experience. Helsingborg in Sweden proved to be the biggest disappointment of the entire trip, since we missed the port. I had attended a port lecture (which was very good) and was looking forward to seeing that quaint, ancient town. We had booked an excursion by ferry to Kronberg in Elsinore, Denmark, also known as “Hamlet’s Castle,” and were really looking forward to it. However, it was again pouring rain, there were gale force winds, rough seas and high waves. As this was an anchor and tender port, the Captain felt the conditions were too dangerous to do so, and we really could not blame him at all. We are not mad about, just disappointed. (And he did send a written letter of apology to all passengers, in addition to his announcement, which was an added courtesy). Oslo is the port that made this trip worthwhile. It is a lovely city. And it helped that the weather was glorious that day – blue sky, about 65-70. The boats dock close in (the Regal Princess was docked right across from Akershus Fortress which is an even better berth to have – I don’t how that ship rated that berth and we did not) and it is an easy walk to the city center. We took a walking tour which was informative and toured City Hall, where the Nobel Peace prize is awarded. We then broke off from the tour, as we had booked the noon English tour of the Royal Palace in advance. (NOTE: this tour is popular and sells out so book in advance online). That was the highlight of the entire trip! WHY Princess does not offer this as a shore excursion is a mystery to me. Moreover, we needed a LOT more time in Oslo. The 4:00 departure was much too early. Many other passengers felt exactly the same way we did. Also, if you go, make time to watch sail away down the Oslo fjord. (Geiranger it is not, but still beautiful). We had considered taking the train from Southampton to London, but a transfer was included in our Princess package so we again let the ship handle the arrangements to get us into Victoria Coach Station, as we were staying in London on our own after the cruise. We had an excellent coach driver who provided some great information, both about Southampton and about the top London sights and how to get around easily. (He actually made we want to stay a day or two in Southampton to see the sights there. Again, why is that not an option offered by Princess?). He deviated from the route into London to drive us past Runnymede and Royal Holloway, a division of the University of London which has some spectacular buildings, as well as through some of the very affluent suburbs of London which we would never have found on our own. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
As a first time Cruise - i have to say how impressed I was. From the start of the cruise everything was made easy, checking in at the port was a doddle, off car park shuttle bus, cases taken off us - a short walk to terminal and check in, ... Read More
As a first time Cruise - i have to say how impressed I was. From the start of the cruise everything was made easy, checking in at the port was a doddle, off car park shuttle bus, cases taken off us - a short walk to terminal and check in, straight through and straight on ship. It really was so easy, directed to cabin, which i was worried about - but it was very nice. The ship was big, but easy to get around, the facilities were more than I expected and the service was what I would expect from a 5 star hotel. Nothing was to much bother as far as the staff were concerned, the food was good, you can go posh for dinner or casual whatever takes your mood. Plenty to fill your time whilst at sea, and we visited some nice ports. Excursions well organised, but plenty of help if you want to do your own thing.. Departure at end was so easy, known of that awful rushing you have at airports. Will i do it again, yes, be a foul not to. A great experience, looking where i can go next time. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
Hello All, Just got back from our 7 night Northern European cruise on the Emerald Princess. Overall we had a great time but there were some areas I wish to touch on in this review. My wife and I are in our mid-30s and I work in the ... Read More
Hello All, Just got back from our 7 night Northern European cruise on the Emerald Princess. Overall we had a great time but there were some areas I wish to touch on in this review. My wife and I are in our mid-30s and I work in the hotel industry so know a bit about what food and service levels should be. Embarkation - very quick, waited about 20 minutes and our room was ready when we boarded at about 12PM. Our Cabin R308 Balcony: Very quiet room except for the first day as it is near the luggage room. New mattress was amazing! I know all about mattresses and was very impressed with this one. The new sheets and duvets were fine, but not great. Balcony size was bigger than expected from reading the reviews on here. TV channel selection was not great and the TV guide for the movies was often incorrect. Cabin Steward - Excellent through the entire cruise Food: Overall very mixed experiences Breakfast in-room dining was fairly poor as there was no hot items such as eggs, pancakes, etc. Service was always on time though. The buffet I would say was OK not great. Lots of food options but not a lot of taste. Lunch: The buffets were what I would consider to be poor to average. With the exception of the soups the food was not good. Also, finding a table was also a constant struggle. Too many 6 top tables VS tables for 2 people forcing couples to take a 6 top round table. Pizza: Overall it was pretty good but from the reviews I was reading before the cruise I thought it would have been better. The burgers and hotdogs were also just OK nothing great. Dinner: Crown Grill: By far the best meal we had on the ship. Great food and great service. I had the lobster and it was excellent. It was nice you could also get a small sample of all of the desserts. Looking back we should have eaten here again. Salty Dog: Overall we were most excited about the menu as we were looking for a change of pace after so many formal dinners. Overall this was a really strange experience. We did not have a reservation but we went in around 7:30PM but it still looked empty. Mostly cruise officers eating there that night so it must be popular with the crew. The host said that the kitchen is very small and they can only serve 10 people at a time. We were seated about 8:15PM and had good service throughout the dinner. Between my wife and I we tried 6 of 10 menu items. My spicy beef short rib was really disappointing but the grilled cheese was pretty good. Lobster mac and was good not amazing. The desserts were really both really good (coffee and doughnuts & strawberries and cream). Glad we tried it but I wouldn’t rush to go back. Overall seemed liked a missed opportunity. Also I assumed the bar decor would match the menu but this was not the case at all. Main dining room: Pretty good, the 2nd formal night there was good service and food. Buffet: Not great, again bland food and crowded. Intl Cafe: Enjoyed most of the food and specialty coffee was pretty good. Nice to get soy milk as an option as well for lattes. Coffee: The regular coffee I thought was pretty good even though it’s from concentrate. From all the talk on the message board I was surprised the taste was good. Fitness Area: Was able to get to the gym 3 times and the treadmills were all in good shape. I think I counted 20 of them. The water fountain was not cold water which was not good. Casino: The card dealers all had a lot of attitude which made losing that much more painful ;-) Photographers: Took some very good photos! Disembarkation: We carried our luggage off and were off the ship by 7:40AM. We got a cab to the train station and made the 8:00AM train to Waterloo. We were in London by 9:30AM. I would highly recommend taking the train if you can manage your luggage. Trains leave about every 30 minutes to Waterloo and it’s a direct train. Going to the ship we left from Paddington but had one change in Reading. That was also fine but with luggage it’s easier to do the direct to Waterloo. All that being said we still had a great time on this cruise. We had amazing times in Copenhagen, Oslo and Bruges. A bummer we had to skip Sweden but these things happen. For us it’s more about the ports than time on the ship. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
We chose this Scandinavian cruise as it is a part of the world I have always wanted to visit, and Emerald Princess happened to be there. We visited Zeebrugge, Copenhagen and Oslo, and had a visit to Helsinborg in Sweden aborted due to bad ... Read More
We chose this Scandinavian cruise as it is a part of the world I have always wanted to visit, and Emerald Princess happened to be there. We visited Zeebrugge, Copenhagen and Oslo, and had a visit to Helsinborg in Sweden aborted due to bad weather. I had not heard much about Princess before, and I was nervous about travelling with an infant after reading articles on this site warning about what an awful experience I was likely to have. Turns out, this could not have been more wrong. This was our third cruise, and hands down the best. The service was second to none - easily the best service I have ever experienced, not only on any cruise before, but in any leisure or hospitality environment. My baby daughter was treated like a celebrity across the ship, so much so that on our last day we had to take her on a "tour of duty" to say goodbye to each and every waiter and bar person who had fallen for her charms over the week! The team onboard could not do enough to make sure we had everything we needed, and the food and presentation was exceptional. There was plenty of choice food wise - we ate in the Michaelangelo anytime dining room every night, and even my fussy teenage stepdaughter found something to eat off the menu. My 6 month old was quite happy chomping on breadsticks and steamed veg, although I was regularly offered baby food. A high chair and a clean, film-wrapped tray were provided quickly for us each time we arrived at either the dining room or the Horizon buffet for breakfast and lunch. The buffet was more than adequate for breakfast and lunch with plenty of hot and continental options available - my teenage stepdaughter was quite happy to have Belgian waffles with chocolate sauce for breakfast every day! Embarkation was smooth and speedy (we were onboard the ship less than 45 minutes from pulling up in the car in front of it), and our bags beat us to our room. There were plenty of areas, inside and out, to sit, and at no point during the day did anything feel crowded. This was despite the fact that due to bad weather stopping us from going ashore in Sweden and leading to an unexpected sea day - there was still plenty to do. Evening entertainment was varied and we found something we wanted to do every night - my stepdaughter took a shine to the house band, Starwave, so we watched them in a number of venues around the ship on different evenings. The theatre shows were lots of fun, including a musical written for Princess by Stephen Schwartz, a Robbie Williams tribute, and a version of The Voice. The only nights they were really crowded were the formal nights when more people were out and about, but we arrived 15 minutes before showtime and had no problems getting seated. We didn't purchase any official excursions so I can't comment on those, but we found something to do in each port - there was a shuttle at Zeebrugge which took us to the nearby town of Blankenberge for 10 euro each, We walked into Copenhagen, and we jumped on a hop on hop off bus in Oslo for around 30 euro each. Shuttles etc were all available from just outside the ship. Overall - I don't think I've ever been so sad for a holiday to end, and I would happily return to Emerald Princess tomorrow. I've already started looking at Princess again for next year! Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
We are into double figures for cruising now and our first cruise with Princess. We were looking forward to this cruise as it was something different with new locations being covered. The cruise was booked on a last minute flash sale and is ... Read More
We are into double figures for cruising now and our first cruise with Princess. We were looking forward to this cruise as it was something different with new locations being covered. The cruise was booked on a last minute flash sale and is not our main cruise holiday for this year. Southampton check in was excellent as we had been given priority due to the level of cruises we have done with sister companies in the group,40 mins we were on ship . As this was last minute we had booked an inside which is what you expect ,cleanliness was good on inspection and the room steward as per usual introduced himself. Like with many American lines no kettle was provided so if you wanted a warm drink was either a walk to the café or room service ( not a main issue ) but be aware . We have been on Azura its sister ship and was surprised in how dated the ship felt ,very dark wood used giving a dated appearance, casino was large as per usual and generally a lack of places to get a drink on an evening ,only two actual bars outside of entertainment lounges internally. We were on freedom dinning so when we decided to venture for our meal the queue was into the main atrium so the first night we sampled the self service, which on first impressions we couldn't fault ,all displayed as expected. Again finding a table was an issue. The next day we returned to the dinning room and the only way to get a table for two was to take a buzzer irrespective of time you decided to go down ,generally we had a 45 minute wait ,on the two occasions we did this we wished we hadn't, the food and menus offered in the restaurant were the poorest we have sampled on any cruise ship, the waiters were not welcoming and table etiquette needs to be resolved , cool ,greasy food were the delights we had, on one occasion I asked for melon as an alternative to a starter and two pieces of just cut of the melon arrived with a mint leaf ,not fanned or nothing ( is this 5 star standard cuisine ?) In the daytime we could not fault the pizza & burger bar and likewise the self service which we used the most as was much better than the freedom dining. The room was at typical inside, nothing to fault although during our trip the steward didn't clean used glasses leaving them until he decided to change on an evening, the sink plug broke and dust was present on the internal fans, small details but princess claim to be 5 star . The biggest gripe I would say is the cost of the drinks and special dinning , we have sailed on many and this was the expensive of them all ,as all is in $ on board we brits pay an additional premium but to be lumbered with a no option 15% tip on all drinks making two glasses of wine circa $20 £18 is very expensive ,we didn't bother with any bottles as the started at $30 plus even for the cheapest . Lager was circa $6.50 ,cocktails were same price as wine but what we sampled were disappointing. The drinks package is $49 + 15% tip per day per person ,so the choice is yours !!! Entertainment was good in the day and plenty on an evening but not many places to just get a drink after a show etc, we spent more time in our room watching the in house movies ( all latest release) than drinking. This is not our normal chosen activity but a general guide of the ship layout . Our first stop was zeebrugger (Bruge visit) ,we booked a non princess excursion which means you have to meet them outside the port gates,( a bus is provided ),so remember this if you book an indepenndant. Copenhagen was next , would recommend this as plenty to see with various famous statues ,good shopping arcades and the Tivoli gardens all in walking distance but be prepared with good walking shoes, we did 8 miles that day . We had to abort Helinsbourg in Sweden due to bad weather so having an extra sea day to Oslo ,Norway. We got the hop on hop off bus which takes you around and shows you all the sights, royal palace, statue park and opera are all good stop offs. The area around the dock is all new so plenty to do . Disembarkation at at Southampton was good again , one of the best as we were off for 9.00am in the morning. Despite the good start, we felt very disappointed in what princess offered ,not the 5 star they advertise ( well below RC) and even below P & O on food and friendliness, lets say I wouldn't rush again to book with them again, even with flash sales. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
We booked this cruise, our first Princess Cruise, mostly for its itinerary in Scandinavia, which interested us greatly. We weren't expecting a lot from the ship itself due to its negative reviews. However, we were pleasantly ... Read More
We booked this cruise, our first Princess Cruise, mostly for its itinerary in Scandinavia, which interested us greatly. We weren't expecting a lot from the ship itself due to its negative reviews. However, we were pleasantly surprised! To begin, the ship was stunning. The piazza is gorgeous, and the public areas and lounges were very well designed to host a large number of people, as we almost never felt crowded. We liked to hang around spaces like the Adagio bar on deck 16 (great for playing cards) and Vibe on deck 7 (where many events were held throughout the day). The main dining room, though somewhat less impressive than those on Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Ships, still felt elegant and calm. This ship has definitely held up over the years! We absolutely loved our balcony cabins. Our family of 4 had two of them side-by-side, and we opened up the balcony divider. It performed its function extremely well, with space used very efficiently (HUGE closet). The beds, which I understand were recently replaced, were very comfortable. We had no trouble falling asleep at all. I'd highly recommend our cabin location, deck 14 aft. This offered easy access to the Horizon Court and Terrace pool, and we heard nothing from the buffet above us. The dining was what stood out to us most on this cruise. The buffet, Horizon Court, was one of the best we've had at sea. Though it wasn't huge like some other ships we've been on, we never saw the same items twice! Everything was constantly being changed, and the food was consistently good. The Trident Grill was fantastic for snacks, as was Prego Pizzeria. All of these restaurants close at 11pm, by the way. The main dining room food quality varied from okay to fantastic, but it always arrived hot and beautifully presented, which is something other cruise lines have struggled with. As for the on-board entertainment, we were quite impressed. Shows were somewhat smaller scale than Royal Caribbean, which I think still outperformed this ship in Broadway-style shows. However, what Emerald Princess excelled at was the amount of shows. While Royal Caribbean only does 1 big show a night, with 2 time slots (early and late), Princess had 2 - 4 shows a night, with multiple showings of each! To name a few of these shows: "The Voice of the Ocean" (singing competition), "Magic To-Do" (Broadway style show), David Knight (comedy hypnotist) and "HalfDanskerne Trio" (Danish folk singers). Entertainment throughout the day was very creative as well. Our favourite was the "Crazy golf" in the Adagio bar on the last day. The Cruise director staff was very engaging and made good use of the on-board space. Aris was really great and never failed to make us laugh. There was constantly more than one activity going on at any given time: you won't get bored on this ship. Service was excellent. There are very attentive and courteous servers in the Horizon Court, which Royal Caribbean somewhat lacks, and our stateroom steward, Luney, was very good. We had a few very minor hiccups with the Dining room service, but they were working hard. Our server, Katarina, was very professional and our food always arrived hot. I won't go into too much detail about the ports, but I will say that I highly recommend this Scandinavian Itinerary. Bruges was picturesque, and great if you're a chocolate lover. Copenhagen was magical, despite the downpour of rain we got, and Tivoli Garden is not to be missed! I loved Oslo's engaging museums (we did the Folk museum and Fram museum), though it should be noted that if you prebook your Oslo pass, it is QUITE the walk across town to get it. Unfortunately, we did not get to Helsingborg as the captain had to cancel the tender due to a storm. This came as quite a crushing disappointment to us, as we really wanted to get to see Kronborg castle. Apparently, this cancellation is not uncommon either. If there is anything you really want to do in the area, do it in Copenhagen: don't wait for Helsingborg, as you very well may miss it. A word of warning about the weather: pack for the worst and expect the best. I had a sweater, a rain coat and a pair of shorts in my backpack, and I used all three over the course of one day! The weather in this part of the world changes drastically VERY QUICKLY. Be prepared. We would certainly cruise with Princess again, and it may actually be our new favourite cruise line. I urge anyone looking to book a cruise on this ship not to get scared away by the negative reviews. Bad experiences can happen on any ship, don't let a few of them stop you from trying a cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
We have cruised to the Mediterranean twice and wanted to see Northern Europe. Very nice, the ship is lovely. The food is good, I read a lot of reviews that said the food was terrible, did not find this. Excursions are good, needed more ... Read More
We have cruised to the Mediterranean twice and wanted to see Northern Europe. Very nice, the ship is lovely. The food is good, I read a lot of reviews that said the food was terrible, did not find this. Excursions are good, needed more time in Norway, we took the museum excursion. Wonderful excursion just rushed. The service is excellent in all areas. One of the reasons we usually sail Princess. Embarkation and debarkation was a breeze. Very fast and organized. Where they do need improvement is entertainment, a couple of lounge shows were great, most fell short. Only saw 2 shows in the theatre and was disappointed. Overall we loved this cruise and will sail Princess again. This was our 4th cruise with Princess. The carpet in our cabin should be replaced, other than that cabin was clean and Francis did a wonderful job keeping it that way. Older ship but still very clean and beautiful. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
We chose this cruise because it included the North Cape of Norway, the northernmost tip of Europe and went to several ports we had not been to. Embarkation was excellent as was disembarkation. Minimal waiting time to get on and our ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it included the North Cape of Norway, the northernmost tip of Europe and went to several ports we had not been to. Embarkation was excellent as was disembarkation. Minimal waiting time to get on and our cabin was ready for us immediately. Our luggage arrived very quickly. We enjoyed this cruise 100%. The staff and the ship were first rate and it feels like a very happy ship. Everyone on board was very sociable with an international guest list of 1900 British, 600+ from USA, 120 Australians plus many other nationalities. We felt that the dining was a let down for us and we struggled with the choice of food at dinner. The food quality was very good but we just didn't like the menu. Otherwise everything was very good. We went on 3 excursions, all of which were a bit pricey but the on board spend helped us out. The cruise exceeded my expectations and we will definitely look closely at Princess for more cruise opportunities. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
my general feeling was it was an average cruise, nothing out of the ordinary. The ports were reasonably interesting but somehow the cruise was lacklustre. Food, entertainment was ok, me us in dining room were frankly boring and lacked ... Read More
my general feeling was it was an average cruise, nothing out of the ordinary. The ports were reasonably interesting but somehow the cruise was lacklustre. Food, entertainment was ok, me us in dining room were frankly boring and lacked flavour. Cruise ship tours were all overpriced and we did our own organisation, only did one ships tour to North Cape, no comentary, just a coach teip to North Cape, left there for two hours and then back. Our one enjoyable evening activity was trivia each afternoon, questions sometimes skewed towards US passengers, we loved the 60s music trivia, the cruise Director was so much fun with his miming to the songs, he really gives his all. Our journey on Flam train up to mountsin was a wonderful experience, well worth the trip. We hired a car in the Lofeten islands and it was a lovely day, visited the Viking museum, well worth a visit, fascinating interactive displays. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
Enjoyable cruise, comfortable ship - the real star of the cruise was the Norwegian scenery, particularly the wild and remote North Cape, and the midnight sun. The ship's staff were superb, polite, helpful, doing everything they ... Read More
Enjoyable cruise, comfortable ship - the real star of the cruise was the Norwegian scenery, particularly the wild and remote North Cape, and the midnight sun. The ship's staff were superb, polite, helpful, doing everything they could. I had an inside cabin, fine, comfortable and quiet. Food was very good, and queues not long - with the exception of the slightly dysfunctional and badly managed International Café. Entertainment good, but I did feel that the entertainment management hadn't appreciated the (rather elderly) demographic of the customers (songs by Justin Beiber, Madonna? really?). Princess in-house singers and dancers excellent, rock band Starwave just as good (even though they didn't seem to get the sound balance right - piercing drums, very slow, almost inaudible bass), but clearly very talented musicians. Comedians funny but felt the second comedian took too many liberties insulting members of the audience - left some of us feeling a bit uncomfortable. Excursions OK, but ridiculously over-priced - the tour to North Cape cost $139 and was only nothing other than a 23 mile return coach ride. Another was not at all well managed, hours spent hanging around for train and bus. Tip: avoid the very high internet charges, at most ports there are free or very cheap internet cafe's. Just one rather disturbing experience - witnessed an 'art auction'. I did wonder to what extent there were elements of misrepresentation - painting "worth" (according to the auctioneer, desperate for sales and commission no doubt) $12K offered for $4K. Incredulously, about 8 paintings "worth thousands of pounds" offered for $400. The whole tenor was to make the public think they were getting 'bargains'. Asked the auctioneer's assistant if there was fraud at work, she just 'assured' me she worked for a reputable company - so there we are. Caveat Emptor!! In all, impressed by Princess, very enjoyable cruise, this was my first Princess cruise and I would certainly hope to sail with them again. Oh, nearly forgot, enjoyed the Sanctuary, nice quiet adult only area were you can relax, read etc. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
We have done lots of travelling but never to Northern Europe. We have been to Scandinavia but not to some of the other ports. Since parts of Europe are getting more dangerous we decided to go while it was still reasonably safe. It was ... Read More
We have done lots of travelling but never to Northern Europe. We have been to Scandinavia but not to some of the other ports. Since parts of Europe are getting more dangerous we decided to go while it was still reasonably safe. It was cool and rainy some days but the amazing tours and scenery made up for the weather. Would highly recommend this cruise. All the excursions we took were above average. The St. Petersburg two day excursion was absolutely wonderful. The staff on the ship were great as usual. The new shows we top quality not unlike you see in New York or London, just shorted but great. We enjoyed the on board experience as well as the on shore trips. We usually travel with friends and family but we're on our own this trip. Met lots of lovely people and enjoyed the happy hours in Skywalkers lounge. Went to most of the restaurants and shows so experienced most of the ship. All in all this was fantastic! Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
Contrary to some of the reviews I have seen, I found the ship to be in excellent condition. All carpets and chairs looked new and all venues were well maintained. Embarkation and disembarkation both went very smoothly with no waiting at ... Read More
Contrary to some of the reviews I have seen, I found the ship to be in excellent condition. All carpets and chairs looked new and all venues were well maintained. Embarkation and disembarkation both went very smoothly with no waiting at all for our group. The cabins which were both outside were spotless and well serviced throughout the cruise. Our room steward was called Joel and nothing was a bother to him. He is to be recommended. We did anytime dining which worked well for. us. As early diners we never had to wait for a table. The food was generally good but we did have to return two courses where the meet was too tough or not cooked to our satisfaction. These problems were quickly resolved by the staff with replacement dishes. In fact we often preferred to eat at the Horizon where the food was, again, usually very good. Princess have the best cakes at see in my opinion. We don't use ships excursions and usually organise our own where we want to see anything specific. This usually works out well for us and saves a lot of money. We had plans for Stockholm but had to alter these because of docking changes. In fact the ship did not get into the scheduled port of Stockholm. We docked in Nynashamm which is a long way from Stockholm. The Captain's excuse was low water and crosswinds but four other cruise ships succeeded. There was no wind. In fact I was told weeks before by Princess Head Office that we would dock in Nynashamm so what can you believe? USA passengers had been told months before of the change. Our last port was Gdynia for Gdansk and my booked taxi did not turn up. In fact there were plenty taxis available at the port gate at a cost of up to 60 Euros return. The driver even waited for two hours in Gdansk for our return journey. A great port to visit. Entertainment was mostly very good as expected. We loved the shows . Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
Have always wanted to travel Scandinavia and was not disappointed. The embarkation went smoothly as did the disembarkation. Our cabin was roomy, clean at all times. Our cabin housekeeper wasnt exactly overfriendly but was pleasant. Didnt ... Read More
Have always wanted to travel Scandinavia and was not disappointed. The embarkation went smoothly as did the disembarkation. Our cabin was roomy, clean at all times. Our cabin housekeeper wasnt exactly overfriendly but was pleasant. Didnt go out of his way to make the effort. Being our second cruise with Princess a little disappointed with the sit down dining. Food was not up to the standards of our previous cruise so we opted for the buffet style dining most of the time. Didnt do many cruise excursions through ship but the ones we did were not disappointing. Through Alla tours we did the 2 day Russian tour and was definately not disappointed. Service throughout the rest of the ship just perfect. Friendly staff, always wanting to make you feel special and served always with a lovely smile. We have booked next year for a med cruise once again with Princess and I am sure it wont be disappointing. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
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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