1. Home
  2. Cruise Lines
  3. Princess Cruises
  4. Emerald Princess Review
  5. Emerald Princess Cruise Reviews

5 Princess Emerald Princess Cruise Reviews for Senior Cruises to Baltic Sea from Southampton

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
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
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
We were a party of two couples ages 66, we flew British Airways direct from LAX, First class so we would arrive fresh. Our luggage was lost by BA, very poor customer service, had us waiting 4 hours at the airport telling us that the ... Read More
We were a party of two couples ages 66, we flew British Airways direct from LAX, First class so we would arrive fresh. Our luggage was lost by BA, very poor customer service, had us waiting 4 hours at the airport telling us that the luggage was there....it was found day 10 of our cruise. Princess Cruises was more than helpful, allowing free phone calls to British Airways, on several occasions, one call lasting 2 hours. they gave us $100. each for clothing, free same day laundry, tuxedos for the gents. They were mAore than helpful. Would take them on the next cruise but the itinerary doesn't match my needs. We took LondonAirportTransport who was exceptionally good, waiting for us at the airport, got us to the ship on time and took us on an alternative city to visit on the way which we had time for. St Petersburg was wonderful, we used SPB TOURS, which was marvelous and very well priced for a group of 15people, air conditioned van, professional absolutely magnificent. Our next favorite port was Bruges. We took a taxi to the city, not bad for 4 people about 50 Euros. Walked the city on our own, loved the lace shops, took a canal trip, just beautiful. This was a lovely trip in all, aside from the British Airlines not giving a hoot that our luggage was lost! Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
We received an email telling us of a delay in boarding. but that didn't proved to be such an inconvenience and once on board the fun and adventure began. This was completely different for us as I had done some research and decided to ... Read More
We received an email telling us of a delay in boarding. but that didn't proved to be such an inconvenience and once on board the fun and adventure began. This was completely different for us as I had done some research and decided to use what I had read for most on shore excursions. Back to the ship, our cabin on the Riviera R631 was very handy to the Horizon, nothing changes ,bit of a moan about the selection of programmes on TV after being on the Royal last year and one side of our pushed together beds was stuffed but my quiet mild mannered spouse didn't moan until late in the cruise. The food was always of a high standard and the pleasant manner of the staff made one feel quite special, I never found them patronising. It appeared to be quite crowded when dining at the Horizon but it did give us a chance to meet a lot of very nice people Every cruise has their loud people and self opinionated folk but the ship is big enough to only have to put up with them once. The entertainment directors Kelvin and Ryan were entertainers in their own right and the shows that they hosted were an enjoyable part of the cruise for us. We normally did our own thing when it came to shore excursions and that worked out fine with us. In St Petersburgh we used an independant company (Alla Tours) which we found on the internet and they were excellent. But hop on hop off buses were normally fine for our short stays. In Poland we used a taxi outside the port with 2 other couples (who we had never met before) to take us to Gdansk and for 90 euros we had our own car and driver all day so for 30 euros each it proved to be of great value. Of course not everything is perfect but the Baltic heritage cruise with the Princess line will forever be a highlight of our lives. The beauty ,charm and history that we saw were things for us to behold, especially sitting on our balcony and watching the sun disappear at 1135 at night. Loved will be back with Princess next year. Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
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

Find an Emerald Princess Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click