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1,700 Princess Emerald Princess Cruise Reviews

We were very pleasantly surprised by our family pre-Christmas cruise on the Emerald Princess! I had been carefully following cruise critic reviews for the month of November and to be honest, I was having buyer's remorse for booking ... Read More
We were very pleasantly surprised by our family pre-Christmas cruise on the Emerald Princess! I had been carefully following cruise critic reviews for the month of November and to be honest, I was having buyer's remorse for booking this cruise! Then I read a few reviews from people who advised readers to not listen to all the negativity and just allow yourself to have a great time. Well, that is what we did and "WOW" we had a GREAT time!!!! The highs first: Number one was the food and our servers! We had impeccable service from our two waiters Leo and Kentut, they made each dinner an amazing adventure, even with a toddler at the table. The selection and execution was so good, that we never had a chance to explore other dining options because we didn't wish to miss a night in the main DR (this was a first for our group). Of course we ate too much because the buffets always had something inviting as well. The second highlight was our room steward, he was unobtrusive but still managed to know what we needed. We had adjoining rooms (C421 & C425--great spot, would book them again) with 2 children, so he had his work cut out for him. Next, the kids club staff were wonderful. They ensured our 8 year old had a great time and always employed security measures, so we felt very comfortable with them. All in all, a wonderful and relaxing experience! Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
We had our first cruise due to the generosity of my in-laws. They purchased tickets for 14 of us to go together over Christmas week 2014 in honor of their 55th wedding anniversary. Further, they got everyone balcony rooms. We sailed out of ... Read More
We had our first cruise due to the generosity of my in-laws. They purchased tickets for 14 of us to go together over Christmas week 2014 in honor of their 55th wedding anniversary. Further, they got everyone balcony rooms. We sailed out of Houston on the Emerald Princess (all from Texas). After loads of research before departure, I wanted to put in some notes from our experience. First, we found our departure out of Houston to be flawless. Smooth and easy. A moderate line for embarkation, but, vacation was officially underway, so who cares about a line! All the port employees were smiling, friendly - even jovial. Thanks to all the reviews and information available online, I felt pretty well prepared. Right down to carrying a small bag with anything I'd like to have on hand immediately or even for dinner (we didn't board until 2:00 and dinner was at 5:30). Luggage did take a bit to arrive (mid-evening), but, again, with having the items I really wanted on hand, it was no biggie for us. I cannot say enough about the wonderful staff on the ship. I am lucky to have a husband with the gift for genuine interest in others and he's a great conversationalist. He and I believe in treating our waiter or bartender like a friend and not a servant. I'm sure, because we treat folks this way, we may receive better or more thoughtful service. However we got there, I can tell you we felt pampered 100% by all the staff (steward, wait staff, head waiter and bartenders). All the little details we mentioned up front enjoying were remembered and repeated daily - without a request. For me, that's pampering. Bless the dear soul who brought us coffee and juice each morning with a smile. We had standing reservations for dining daily at 5:30 PM at my in-laws request. My husband and I did not think we'd like the time being so early, but it was perfect. Two large tables takes about two hours to serve and we'd head out each evening to the main show in the theatre. At that point, there's a line waiting to get into to their tables. Choose 5:30 - trust me. We passed on a lot of the ancillary daily activities until the last two days as, I admit, some sounded a bit gimmicky. But, the last two days we participated and had a great laugh and good time. We both agreed, next cruise, we'll be checking out those opportunities daily. MOTION SICKNESS: I chose to use the prescription patch to keep potential motion sickness at bay. For those worried about the matter: IT WORKS!!! Don't bother leaving without a patch in place. Why even risk feeling badly when you can prevent it? No pill to pop, no sleepiness. In 14 people, about half had some minor to moderate sea sickness symptoms off and on. We were the only ones armed with the patch. FOOD: We found the food to be wonderful. The staff offered us "appetizer" portions if we were curious to try an entrée but did not want to have it for our main course. My college age sons tried so many different things I cannot recall. Our request for a special appetizer (off menu) was granted the follow evening. With a smile. We enjoyed most of our dining in one of the main dining rooms. I'm not keen on buffet food so this served my preference well. We did enjoy a pub lunch (fish and chips) one day and slices of pizza another (really quite good). Had a room service lunch of club sandwiches one day as well. Our sons enjoyed a second dinner after 10 PM in their rooms many nights. I appreciated the portion size being reasonable. Not small, but not "Texas sized". You can order whatever you want, but, if you are wishing to show some restraint, it's not hard to do. If you don't have dessert in the dining room, there are options to grab tiny confections at a coffee bar spot. They are really almost better than the main dining room. Grab three and share. ALCOHOL: All over 21 carried a bottle of wine onboard. Husband got one beer package (six for the price of five I believe). He ordered a few extra through the week. I got one canned soda package (diet coke and tonic water) and purchased a smallish bottle of vodka for $17 (room service). We enjoyed a bottle of wine in the evenings as a nice cabernet was available at $15/bottle. We did not spare on the consumption for our liking and felt the prices were reasonable. I had a minor accident that required a visit to the medical facility. Get the insurance that will cover these things!!! This was the last day at sea so not a real downer for the trip. I was surprised that the medical facilities are not available all day every day. It seemed to be 2 hours in the morning and 2 hours in the evening. I assume there's reasoning behind this, but we had to beg to be let in (doors locked) while my foot was bleeding quite a bit. They'd really wanted me to wait to the afternoon hours. With my right toe toenail ripped half off (there's a story....), I felt pretty emergent. Some insistence by my husband got me in the doors, but, it's the one thing I did not research and wanted to share. It's a bit of a complaint, but, awareness would have been wise on my side to know the hours before the trip began. We had some looking for treat for motion sickness and they were always closed - just by chance. FYI for all to know!! CONDITON OF THE SHIP: There was constant maintenance going on everywhere. Not intrusive, but, evidence of real work being done (varnish, paint, etc. outdoors). Public restroom facilities were CLEAN and plentiful. I'm a real stickler for cleanliness and freshness. I appreciated the sense the ship was well maintained daily. OVERALL: The cost to value ratio worked for us and we are dreaming of indulging again - hopefully this year on a last minute deal. We will go Princess again. We'd both love to do Alaska in a few years. I am happy to report that I am a "cruise person". I wondered if I'd dislike the experience (kind of dreaded part of the year leading up to it). But, I'm sold. Eventually, more interesting destinations may be our goal, but, for now, we both agree the 'floating resort' experience we can get to via driving fits our budget and felt luxurious. We were pulling out our cash and leaving additional monetary tips for all that took care of us - in addition to the room gratuity. That's how much we felt well cared for that week. Thank you Princess!!   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
I normally would not write a review but I must say this was fantastic. Taking Princess is first class and such great quality. I know going during the holidays is an expensive time to travel. But a family of 4 with Kindergarten Twins this ... Read More
I normally would not write a review but I must say this was fantastic. Taking Princess is first class and such great quality. I know going during the holidays is an expensive time to travel. But a family of 4 with Kindergarten Twins this was wonderful. The cruise was sold out and there were so many kids and families on board. What better way to spend the holidays then a cruise to the beautiful Carribean. New Year's is such a fun and wonderful time of year. The cruise was perfect. They had a huge New Years Party. My kids absolutely loved it! The kids club and the pool was there favorite. The food was wonderful and the ship was so very clean. I would take Princess again with my kids in a heartbeat. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
The port of Houston was the best check in we have ever had. We have sailed on the Emerald 3 times and the ship is as beautiful as it was when it was new. We went to the Crown Grill the first night and we couldn't have had a better ... Read More
The port of Houston was the best check in we have ever had. We have sailed on the Emerald 3 times and the ship is as beautiful as it was when it was new. We went to the Crown Grill the first night and we couldn't have had a better meal. We had early seating in the dining room and the food was not excellent however it was very good and there was something for every appetite. The service was excellent! I was glad Princess had movies in the theater in the afternoon however it would have been nice to have had an enrichment speaker. We were never at a loss for something to do. The International Cafe on deck 5 was fabulous. They had the best salads, sandwiches, and deserts. That is something not to miss! As for the ports,,,,, we have been to them many times and this time we enjoyed just staying on the ship. We had easy walk off with your luggage and it was indeed easy. Disembarkation was a breeze. All in all we had a great cruise and we will certainly cruise with princess again Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
First of all let me start by saying that the ship is beautiful. I traveled with my sister, We had a balcony cabin. We were pleasantly surprised by the large balcony, and the room itself was very nice. We liked the way the large closet ... Read More
First of all let me start by saying that the ship is beautiful. I traveled with my sister, We had a balcony cabin. We were pleasantly surprised by the large balcony, and the room itself was very nice. We liked the way the large closet separated the bathroom and bedroom area. So A+ for the room. The food was really very good. We did the anytime dining and that worked very well for us. We had a wonderful waiter who we requested every time that we used the dining room. He made our dinner and breakfast a special treat. So ask for Arnold Trinidad, He is the best. Shore excursions were very good and reasonably priced, but the lunches included in the excursions were pretty bad.Not much selection and not much food. That brings me to the entertainment. Cruise director Kelvin and his sidekick Dan are hilarious and worked very hard to keep everyone happy. The rest of the entertainment was mediocre. The dancers were great but the specialty shows were not so good. One of the shows was playing card tricks, it made me feel sorry for the people further back in the theater because I am sure that they could not see what he did. Overall we ahd a very good experience, just dont expect fantastic shows.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
The Emerald is huge so lots of activities are available every day. In fact, I almost enjoyed the days at sea more than the destinations because we were able to relax, enjoy the sun, and not stress about food or transportation. The ship is ... Read More
The Emerald is huge so lots of activities are available every day. In fact, I almost enjoyed the days at sea more than the destinations because we were able to relax, enjoy the sun, and not stress about food or transportation. The ship is luxurious and the service was always great. I loved the convenience of the pizza, burger, and ice cream bars near the swimming pools, and when we wanted a bit of quiet, we really enjoyed the adult pool area. I liked that I could go to the sauna and steam room whenever I wanted, didn't have to pay extra to enter those. We were pretty lazy the entire trip, so I don't know much about activities, but I know there were tons. One thing I loved was they played movies on a huge outdoor screen right above one of the pools every night. We were lucky enough to get a private table at dinner, not sure if that was because we were on a honey moon. The food was delicious every night. It kinda sucks that you're on a schedules dinner and ours was kinda late (8:30pm I think) but we would get late afternoon snacks at the buffets so we wouldn't be starving. We paid an extra $35pp for unlimited soft drinks for the week, which I thought was a fair deal. We watched the night entertainment presentations in the theater every night and enjoyed those, except one night when they had a dirty and not-funny stand-up comedian, so we left. Embarkation/disembarkation were always a pain. I guess that's how it always is. To avoid long lines, we would eat at the buffet during disembarkation (to the islands) that way we also wouldn't spend money on food at the islands. I remember thinking the safety instructions before we set sail were so annoyingly long, but that's how it always is. We did one excursion, I think at Princess Cays, and that was snorkeling. It wasn't anything amazing. Saw a few fish but no colorful corals or anything. Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
We have sailed on many Princess ships and the Emerald lived up to our expectations. However she does look a little tired in her decor and perhaps could do with a refit sometime soon. The cabin was of the usual standard and kept clean and ... Read More
We have sailed on many Princess ships and the Emerald lived up to our expectations. However she does look a little tired in her decor and perhaps could do with a refit sometime soon. The cabin was of the usual standard and kept clean and tidy by our steward Roger. We had chosen the extended balcony cabin on Caribe Deck and were very happy being able to use the extra space. We do tend to use our balconies during cruises. After all that's what you pay for. is it's worth going for the extra space if you are like us. We had room service on numerous occasions and they always arrived o time and with the full order. It's especially nice to have breakfast on the balcony in the sunshine. The standard of food was very good and although there were odd occasions were things didn't quite reach the standard service was very good. We had opted for Freedom Dining and this worked very well. We were always happy to share a table so never had to wait at all. We did meet many different table mates and enjoyed that experience too. Although we didn't go to may shows , the ones we did go to were pretty good. Especially Mercury Rising. However we pretty much enjoyed a drink or too in the bars and show lounges and made special efforts to see a young guitarist Henry Hood , who was excellent . He was happy to entertain everyone and always happy to play requests. Downsides. There were not many at all. However being an Atlantic crossing we fully expected that the majority of passengers would be Americans. This proved to be right, with many doing the cruise to visit the Normandy Beaches etc from the port of Le Havre. We met many many Americans people and enjoyed their company. However their standard of dress , especially on formal nights , were far different to ours, and unfortunately in our opinion let themselves down. Being very happy to dress themselves up on Halloween, they found it difficult to put shirt and trousers on. Preferring the tee short jeans option. It must be said that not all Brits excelled in this either. Bit of a let down really but not entirely un expected. Overall a very nice cruise and fully up to the Princess expectations. Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
Emerald Princess 30th September- 14th October Mediterranean Cruise Couple Age mid-fifties.  First cruise for my wife and i , absolutely fantastic, from boarding to embarking on the final day. We both had a relatively open minds, of ... Read More
Emerald Princess 30th September- 14th October Mediterranean Cruise Couple Age mid-fifties.  First cruise for my wife and i , absolutely fantastic, from boarding to embarking on the final day. We both had a relatively open minds, of course some research had to be done , I read a whole host of reviews, as always a great cross section of opinion provided all with negatives and positives. Gratuities , drinks packages , excursions, and embarking times being the hot topics, gratuities number one. Advise here is to relate how you reward good service in UK and take it from there. Putting these thoughts in the sub conscious we boarded and the conscious experience began. Weather was superb except when departing Gibraltar we hit a reported force 10, this lasted from approx. 7pm on the Saturday to about 2pm on the Sunday 12th October, we were aware of the additional motion but not to an uncomfortable level. I enjoy the sea but have never sailed being unable to see land for the first time, so the balance of sea days and port excursions was great for us. Ship excursions are bit pricy we only did one which included wine tasting in Tuscany, seeing the superb countryside and the leaning tower of Pisa, this proved good value. With forward planning many of the ports of call can be visited in your own time frame we did it with no problems, but beware on getting back to the ship in time for the sailing, to our knowledge no one was left at any port!! Highlights, Corsica, Monte Carlo, Rome and Genoa. The food on board was excellent and there is enough temptation through out the ship to indulge . Vines, have a glass of wine with tapas and sushi, International café a whole range of coffees , pastries , quiches, the quality of food throughout was very good . Because of this we found the pounds did not pile on as much. Plenty of leisure activities are available, some you pay for . The Sanctuary, offers various spa treatments, you could learn how to play instruments , you can putt, play table tennis , listen to a whole range of talks, or simply have a walk on deck 7. The pools are quite small and get crowded but larger pools would present problems for the ship in inclement weather Our favourite restaurant for evening dining was the Divinci which operated any time timing where you can choose to eat as a couple, slightly longer queuing time, or mix with other cruisers . Most nights we done the latter and met a whole of host of interesting people. The maitredess at the entrance to the restaurant done a great job at getting a good mix of people on the tables…. most of the time . Horizon restaurant is buffet style and is a bit of a scramble dependent on time of visiting. Boterchelies a must for breakfast, similar operation to Divinci offering a whole range of breakfast options, allow a little bit more time to enjoy. Kelvin , entertainment Director and his side kick Dan are as corny but endearing as your find, very enjoyable , Sky walkers night club being a running joke , will say no more. Entertainment on board was a bit up and down but generally watchable. Highlights were Freddy Mercury tribute band, comedic and camp twist on delivery but the guy could sing and the band play .Emerald Princesses own band and singers were excellent with so many costume changes and some great individual singers. The smaller bar venues had various artists, singers and comedians, Bernie Flint, an x Opportunity Knocks contestant being the pick. Staff work hard to make the experience a great one , almost all friendly and polite. Service is exceptional from cabin room staff to dining areas. My wife and I our in the mid- fifties, the average age for this cruise was a little more .There were some younger but we enjoyed mixing with the more mature folk as they have a wealth of cruise/life experiences and provided great conversation and entertainment. We travelled the day before and stayed at the Chiltern Manor hotel which offered a " Cruise Package" this included 14 nights parking, bed / breakfast and use of leisure facilities and taxi transfers, great hotel. This option takes the stress out of worrying about travelling down on the day. I would not hesitate another Emerald Princess cruise or one within the fleet of the Carnival brand, Princess Cruises being one. Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
Second cruise with Princess and just as eventful as last year though for different reasons. Last year on Crown Princess we had a missed destination - Corfu - due to intercepting Syrian refugees who needed a doctor. This year we had 2 ... Read More
Second cruise with Princess and just as eventful as last year though for different reasons. Last year on Crown Princess we had a missed destination - Corfu - due to intercepting Syrian refugees who needed a doctor. This year we had 2 engine fires and to paraphrase Oscar Wilde, to have one engine fire could be regarded as a misfortune, to have two looks like carelessness! Other passengers with many more cruises under their belts than us said they had never experienced anything like it. It was quite surreal to see the crew running round in their life jackets at 11pm while we the passengers sat sipping our G and Ts. Having been initially told that there was nothing to worry about the Captain then announced that there was smoke in the engine room followed eventually by an admission that there had been an engine fire. This was repeated at 11am about 3 days later. It certainly spooked some passengers and rumours circulated that a crew member had died and that some passengers had asked to get off at Civitavecchia (can't confirm or deny either of these). From then on there was a lot of dark humour about being the same company as Costa and having an Italian captain! OK enough of the dramas. Embarkation was not totally smooth with a wait of about 2.5hours. Strangely the reason given was very similar to last year - customs inspection - which seems a bit suspicious. Disembarkation was very quick and very smooth - went from waiting in the lounge to sitting on our coach back to the car storage compound in 20 minutes. The cruise itself was excellent. The staff were attentive, sometime to the point of obsession and always gave excellent service. The thing that struck me last year and this is the fact that every crew member you meet whatever their rank or role says hello (unlike some of the passengers) Cabin on deck 8 aft was quiet and well maintained. It sits just behind the last life boat meaning that although it is badged as 'obstructed' there is a pretty decent view from the window. Electric points are American 110 volts so need an adaptor. At peak times my wife's hair straighteners would not work, so gas operated pair was a useful standby. There is a plug point under the bed which I think is 3 pin but it was too much like hard work to pull the bed out. Any time dining worked well - no queue, good service good food and good company. Some people complained about shortages of wine but we didn't experience this. Horizon Court buffet - lots of choice and we often lingered to talk to interesting people we had happened to sit with, which is one of the best things about cruising for us. Yes at peak times it can be a bit of a bun fight (or smash and grab as one passenger called it) but there is an obvious answer to that - don't go at peak times- there are other places to get food if you can't go a couple of hours without filling up. For us not eating at the usual times is part of the fun. A lot of people complained about the entertainment and I would agree it was not West End standard. However, there were a lot of excellent individual performances particularly in the bars rather than the theatre. The exception in the theatre was Bernie Flint who combined great vocals with a very funny and self-mocking act. For us a cruise is only as good as the places you get to visit, and this cruise ticked all the boxes on that one. Rome Florence Milan and Barcelona in less than a week left us breathless but happy. Lessons from this trip - Rome is easily accessible by public transport under your own steam but don't underestimate the scale of the place and book attractions before you go. We booked the Vatican tour with a guide for £30 each via the Vatican website and almost walked straight in Of course you then have to compete for space with the other 20,000 people who were waiting outside. Florence and Milan - use the excursion to get there then do it yourself. Barcelona - the stop was too short for such a large and fascinating city. We got to the Sagrada Familia cathedral having booked a tour and climb of the tower. This is the most amazing building I have ever visited, and more so because it is still under construction. All in all a very enjoyable trip but a week of uninterrupted port stops in the middle of the voyage was quite hard work. We ended up using Monte Carlo as a slow day and spent only a couple of hours on shore before returning to the ship, just to recharge the batteries!   Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
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
First let me say we are elite on Princess and love the cruise line. We only wanted to be gone around a week and have an easy flight from New York and so we chose this cruise. Our two days in London were fabulous ( I wish we had more time) ... Read More
First let me say we are elite on Princess and love the cruise line. We only wanted to be gone around a week and have an easy flight from New York and so we chose this cruise. Our two days in London were fabulous ( I wish we had more time) we took the Princess package with their reliable pick-up at the airport and a very nice clean modern business hotel The Pullman St. Pancreas with a fabulous breakfast included and a very helpful staff. It was only 7 minutes on the underground to Piccadilly and we raced around to the British Museum, The National Gallery and my favorite the National Portrait Gallery. We also saw Jersey Boys for the third time and I thought it was wonderful, the cast terrific, and almost as good as Broadway. Our drive to the pier was a little hairy as the driver was weaving in and out of traffic and had to stop for breakfast as he felt dizzy. Once at South Hampton, everything went well. There were enormous lines but it helped to be elite and since we made our Spa reservations online and had no intention of killing ourselves to get the Sanctuary ( as we would in the Caribbean) we were relaxed. We took a mid-ship mini-suite and it was fine. We had a very nice steward ( we always tip $20 before the cruise).Our first problem was at dinner. We always reserve the early traditional sitting. In the old days you would go down to the dinning room and see your table and if you didn't like it you would talk to the head waiter and he would change it. No more, now your table number is on your cruise card. Our table was so dark and noisy that we were very disappointed. No change available. We left and marched over to the Crown Grill. George was wonderful and showed us to a window table. The food and staff were great and we ate there the next three nights. The fourth night we ate at Sabatini's. Hey, I know there's a cover charge, but it was worth it. Then we got smart. We went to anytime dining EARLY. We got a table by the window and found out it's number. The next two mornings we called at 8:00AM and requested that table. It was wonderful. We had the best waiter and a great time. The ship is still lovely, the shows pretty good, the casino empty ( slots were very tight). We were disappointed in most of the ports. Bergen was terrific but the ship was only there until 1:30. Don't take the tour to the old house Museum outside town. It is boring with nothing much to see. For Bergen, you really can just go on your own and walk around and see the fish market and interesting shops. The Stave Church port was a disappointment too. The Boat ride up the Lysejford was pretty and you get some good photos and you stop for waffles with homemade strawberry jam and whipped cream. The walking tour with Kari in Alesund was a nice day. I think if you have been to New Zeeland, Chile, and Alaska the fjords are small. But they are serene and peaceful. We loved playing trivia on the ship. I have never seen such a turn-out in 17 Princess cruises. It was a lot of fun and very competitive. The Cruise Director Billy London was never seen except on TV and he wouldn't let his asst. get a word in. Later we had the asst. Ryan for Trivia and he was hilarious. All in all, every cruise is great. We'll be on the Ocean Princess in February and I can't wait. Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
Before we went on this cruise I was worried by the size of the ship, but I needed have been as everything ran like clockwork. We never waited for food, theatre or to get off or on the ship. The food was good, entertainment in the theatre ... Read More
Before we went on this cruise I was worried by the size of the ship, but I needed have been as everything ran like clockwork. We never waited for food, theatre or to get off or on the ship. The food was good, entertainment in the theatre was excellent. The only slight downside was the arrangement of sporting events. There were 490 children onboard, but we hardly ever saw any The childrens clubs must be very good.There's far too much to do onboard in any 24 hour period, we found ourselves going to different activities so that we covered a bit more - it's supposed to be a relaxing holiday! Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
We used to travel down to Southampton from mid Suffolk in our car, staying overnight at a spa hotel, indulging in a first class dinner then going down to the dock by taxi and after the cruise returning to the hotel by taxi to pick up our ... Read More
We used to travel down to Southampton from mid Suffolk in our car, staying overnight at a spa hotel, indulging in a first class dinner then going down to the dock by taxi and after the cruise returning to the hotel by taxi to pick up our car. Having costed this out a couple of times, we decided this time that for marginally more money we could get a return taxi all the way down to the port without the hassle of driving. We got to the terminal at about 10.30 and took the lift up to the departure lounge. We later discovered that, as DW is mainly wheelchair bound we could have asked at the lower floor reception for help to push the chair aboard. We went to the check in area and all went smoothly as a priority check in. We then proceeded to a refreshment area to wait until called to pass through the security department. Upon boarding at about 11.30, proceeded down to our stateroom to find our baggage already there. Putting our valuables into the safe and dumping our hand baggage, we proceeded to the Da Vinci dinning room. At this point enroute to dine, staffs try to direct you to the buffet at horizon court, each to their own preference of course. Having had a light lunch, we then made tracks to find the Maitre d’ hotel to request a table for two for dinner. We are very sociable people but do like just being on our own at the dinning table. Well tables for two are as rare as hen’s teeth so we were most fortunate to be changed to one for fixed time dinning at 5.30 in the Da Vinci. I must mention here that we book with Princess over a year ahead so as to get a wheelchair accessible cabin (classified as HC ). Our cabin was C304. Next stop was down to the stateroom to unpack and read the what’s on program sheet, “The Patter”. At about 3.30 we went to our muster station for lifeboat drill at 4.00. this way we could use the lifts for the drill. We had already been to reception to register DW as needing carry down by crew should there be an emergency evacuation. One of our preferred entertainments in the evening is the Princess Theatre. Nowadays there are usually three shows each night at about 7.15pm, 8.45pm and 10pm. Our dinner time dictated that the 8.45 show was best for us. The age demographic on cruises out of Southampton seems such that there many more people in wheelchairs etc. than other cruisers using airports. I suppose over time those with infirmities will increase. Princess need to seriously look at accessible seating throughout the ship. Shipboard public spaces. International Café. On sea days this area was well overcrowded although extra tables and chairs were put out. The overcrowding was such that there was an overspill into the Vines bar, preventing anyone sitting down to enjoy a glass or two of wine. Vines should be relocated to somewhere quiet, say a corner of Crooners bar. Pool and sun deck. Here again the elderly age demographic of most of the passengers meant that these were not crowded and not overly used by the chair hoggers seen on most cruise ships, although some of the best positioned loungers were bagged early in the day without use most of the time by ignorant stupid people. Dining rooms. We only felt the need to dine in the Da Vinci. Ah. what an improvement Princess has made on the last few cruises we have been on. The food on our previous several cruises seemed to have slowly reduced in quality but this cruises food quality and presentation was a vast improvement Well done Princess, you must have listened to your passengers. Internet. “Oh dear” We being Platinum members each got 250min. free time. The connection speed seemed to be slower even than the old 56k dial up (for those who can remember that far back) such that to download emails took about 20min. “Oh dear” Now for our views on the evening shows in the Princess theatre. Day 1 Welcome aboard song and dance plus comedian Jeff Stevenson who was clean and excellent. Day 2 I got the Music. Very good. Day 3 Steve Larkins as Mercury Rising . Smut and innuendo just bad for us and several passengers walked out. Day 4 Chilli Gold. Very good singer. Day 5 Andrew Geater. An excellent singer. Day 6 Steve Larkins again. We gave it a miss and went elseware. Day 7 Production show Boogi Shoes. Excellent. Day 8 Vocalist Nic Page Falsetto on top of Baritone in the same song line. Not for us and some other passengers so we walked out and enjoyed a coffee on our balcony. Day 9 We were docked in Venice, it was festival time ashore and we were treated to a performance in the theatre by the Venetian Chamber Orchestra. Marvellous. Day 10 Nic Page again Oh dear. Day 11 Gary Thompson vocal impressions. Dirty school boy jokes not for us so waved him goodbye. Day 12 Blame it on the Boogi. Very good song and dance show. Day 13 Craig Owen violinist. Some good, some Irish fiddle jigs. Overall just about OK. Day 14 Gary Thompson again so again enjoyed coffee on our balcony Day 15 Berni Flint. A bit risqué at first but then excellent. Day 16 What a swell party Song and dance. Themed on the 1920s excellent Day 17 Berni flint again excellent. Staff we would like to mention Michels Head waiter for table 437 in the Da Vinci Marius waiter Dmytro junior waiter Dymi who ran the Vines bar Fabiola waitress in the international café Agnus the young lady who delivered our room service light breakfast each morning All the above were extra special Now comes one who could do better, sorry Pitsan our room steward, sometimes forgetful with face cloths and bath mats, most times several hours from us leaving the cabin to it being refreshed.   Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
Embarkation - Busy but well handled. Food: In Horizon's, always good choice and quality generally very good. Serving areas looked too small but never really had an issue getting our food. Seating area obviously busy but, again, always ... Read More
Embarkation - Busy but well handled. Food: In Horizon's, always good choice and quality generally very good. Serving areas looked too small but never really had an issue getting our food. Seating area obviously busy but, again, always got a seat. Usually had to share a table but great way to meet people. Da Vinci/Michaelangelo restaurants - Ate twice in Michaelangelo and service was slow but never so in Da Vinci.where we dined 12 nights. Some of the waiters a good laugh, considering the pressure they're under. Twice got a pager for a table and didn't wait more than 15 mins, even at peak times. Didn't use speciality restaurants as main dining was so good. International Cafe on Piazza excellent for light-bites so a bit busier for seating and service(again, didn't wait more than 10 mins for either). Cabin - interior. Lots of storage and hangers. Toilet/shower fine. Room space not crampt. Room attendant v. good. Bars/Lounges - really liked Crooners, Explorer's, Club Fusion. Wheelhouse a bit dark and depressing but seemed popular. Prices - expensive for drinks but prices at home catching up fast. Soda package excellent value. You can ask for a form at the main desk to waive your daily gratuity add-on($11.50per day per person). Just say you want to do personal tipping. No hassle. Getting drink on board on embarkation and at each port-Easy! No checks made of hand luggage when getting back on board at each port.(Just put it in a soft-drinks bottle). Theatre - ok, but filled up quickly. Entertainment - as you would expect - some good, some ok, some dreadful. Entertainment staff - really, really good - tried really hard and looked as if they were enjoying ourselves. Pool area - generally quiet due to the 'baltic' weather, tho' they did remove towels from reserved loungers (hurrah!). Poolside band very good but most people seemed to not notice. Excursions - didn't use any due to high prices. Did our own which were cheaper and much better in some cases(eg saved £186 on St Petersburg two-day tour which was for a party of ten and which therefore was very flexible and we visited places the Ship's tour didn't. Ship's tour was more expensive(by far) and comprised of coachloads( +50?) sticking to a pre-defined schedule). Really, we saw LOTS more on our small 'tour'. Ports - Oslo - Vigelund Park a must. Otherwise, it rained so heavily be went back to ship early. Ship docks minutes walk from town centre. HOHO stops at dock. Gothenburg - missed due to stormy weather preventing ship from docking. Tallin - great wee place. Picked up at dock by (external) excursion company, small party - driver flexible if we wanted to stop somewhere. St Petersburg - all it's made out to be. Staggeringly good, but you are rushed around some of the places due to time restainsts. Very, very busy inside some of the museums. Stockholm - 'old town' part is terrific and take the change to wee the changing of the guard at the Royal Palace({last an hour and if free - go early). Loved stockholm. Copenhagen - Maybe my favourite after St Petersburg. So much to see and do. Bruges - took tour to there from Zeebruge( 20 drive in coach). Alternative is to walk to Zeebrugge train station from port and get train, - dirt cheap but more convenient doing our coach-shuttle. Only issue with taking a coach to Bruge is that you have a 20 walk into the city centre from the coach park as the streets are too narrow in Bruges for coaches(so had to watch our time for getting back to the coach. If going to Bruges - get a map! We got lost due to small streets and confusing street names. Otherwise, Bruges is gorgeous. Take the canal tour early as they had long queues later on. Belgian chocolate shops everywhere and get more expensive the closer to the city centre you get. Overall, difficult to fault any aspect of the cruise. Anyone who takes issue with minor things on a cruise ship should just stay at home and grumble into their freshly cooked eggs on their freshly made toast. Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
Our cruise was the Mediterranean adventure and we sailed from Southampton 12th July 2014.  This was our 3rd cruise with Princess and we loved it ! Once again we stayed overnight in the Southampton Premier Inn. The embarking process went ... Read More
Our cruise was the Mediterranean adventure and we sailed from Southampton 12th July 2014.  This was our 3rd cruise with Princess and we loved it ! Once again we stayed overnight in the Southampton Premier Inn. The embarking process went very smoothly although it was very busy we just unloaded our car ( 8 suitcase!) and the bags were taken away to our cabin and after 30 minutes we were on board. The ship and crew were excellent so much to see and do, it was really nice having 3 days at sea before our first port as this allowed us to relax and get into the holiday spirit. Our room steward worked hard to ensure our cabin was refreshed ASAP after we left for breakfast and again in the evening We had fixed dining this time and found we preferred this to the “anytime” that we booked on the last 2 trips. The food was excellent, many options inc steak / lobster etc we eat in the main dining room for breakfast / lunch and dinner with the exception of one day when we had a “pub lunch” of fish and chips in the British style pub once again excellent. We booked a table to 2 but got on really well with the couples either side of our table, with the wives talking about buying bags and shoes from the ports of call. We found the entertainment very good and the big production nights excellent , Ami and the Princess dancers were West End standard. Berni Flint held 2 shows and he was fantastic, as were the 2 comedians. We also watched films and lectures in the main theatre on sea days. The age group on this trip was a lot wider with many more younger people , but this helped reduce the queuing etc as people wanted to do different things. We enjoyed all the ports and day trips Rome being the hi light. It was really nice to get back on board after a hard days exploring. The only disappointment we had was not receiving our ticket to the captain’s cocktail party as we were returning guests. This cruise was made perfect by the hard working crew of the Emerald Princess.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
This was our 4th time on Emerald Princess but our first time cruising in the Baltic Sea. Knowing the ship well we booked again a Caribe deck cabin as the balconies are just the best for the cabin category. I’m not keen on Southampton ... Read More
This was our 4th time on Emerald Princess but our first time cruising in the Baltic Sea. Knowing the ship well we booked again a Caribe deck cabin as the balconies are just the best for the cabin category. I’m not keen on Southampton embarkations and prefer to fly, but this cruise was so keenly priced for a 14 night cruise I wasn’t going to let it put me off. In fact the sailaway from Southampton was actually good with warm sunshine a first compared with previous August sailings. Having sailed on Emerald when it was brand new in 2007 I did notice some tired areas but no real signs of neglect. One thing I did miss though was the disappearance of the golf driving range on deck 19. We chose second sitting on a table of eight. This was ideal as it meant we could enjoy the late sunshine. It was odd to be dining with the sun still up at 10 pm. It also rose really early too which took some getting used to. The fact that we saw so much sunshine was a pleasant surprise too. The weather was excellent with temperatures well into the 80’s most days hitting 90 in Stockholm. There were one or two rogue showers in Tallinn, St Petersburg and Zeebrugge but they didn’t last long. As well as the ports just mentioned our itinerary also included Oslo, Guttenberg, Helsinki, and Copenhagen. All were worth visiting but the highlights for me were Stockholm and Copenhagen. Whilst many would claim St Petersburg was their highlight I thought it was over rated, but with our tour starting at 7 am and losing an hours sleep with the clocks going forward I perhaps wasn’t feeling in the best mood for sightseeing. However, getting up early for the sail into Stockholm was well worth the loss of sleep. Stunning scenery and still waters. If you miss the sail in I would recommend you eat in the evening in Horizon Court and see the islands pass by within spitting distance of the ship. Having sailed with Celebrity a few times there is not much to separate the two brands. Their Solstice class ships are beautiful but I give Princess the edge for their variety of entertainment. They still have a full activities team unlike Celebrity now and Ryan the ubiquitous assistant CD was excellent (unlike the CD who you only ever saw introducing theatre acts and telling poor jobs). If you like Ballroom/Latin dancing there are far more opportunities on Princess compared with Celebrity. Our favourite venues for this being the Wheelhouse bar and Explorers lounge. The guest entertainers were just OK with the exception of David Copperfield who was quite poor (repeating his act I saw 5 years ago on IOTS). Once again MUTS did not disappoint and I watched 5 films whilst basking in the afternoon sunshine. We didn’t try Sabatini’s or the Crown Grill as the food was pretty good mostly in the MDR. The Botticelli restaurant being the best of all the MDR’s. Food in the Horizon court however was just not hot enough for me so I had mostly burgers, pizzas and pub lunches on sea days in the Wheelhouse bar. For a dessert fix the International café is the place to go 24/7. Having had a premium alcohol drinks package on a Celebrity cruise I decided against it this time, instead opting for the silver wine package. Well worth it as you simply paid the difference on any bottles costing more than $29. Generally the drinks prices seem fair. A draught pint of Stella was $7.76 (inc grat’s) and a Harvey Wallbanger was $10.06 (inc grat’s). Overall, this cruise was really good, perhaps because we had great weather, and I would definitely recommend it. Stockholm is worth visiting time and time again despite being very expensive. Also expensive were the shuttle buses. Four times Princess provided port buses and charged $16 each for return tickets!   Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
Well, My wife and I booked our fourth cruise about 6 weeks before we were due to set sail. Fourteen days around the Baltics sounded fantastic and considering the price we paid, we were extremely happy! Ship: The ship itself is very ... Read More
Well, My wife and I booked our fourth cruise about 6 weeks before we were due to set sail. Fourteen days around the Baltics sounded fantastic and considering the price we paid, we were extremely happy! Ship: The ship itself is very similar to the Grand Princess which we traveled on before but this was not a problem, it just meant we were able to find our way around a little easier. The decor was pleasant enough and the cabin itself clean and well maintained throughout. The gym was always too busy but the swimming pools were always quiet (surprising really!) Entertainment: Was good in my opinion but it will always depend on what you like. I felt the movies under the stars was a little disappointing compared to usual and many of the films were quite dated. The comedians (which they had a lot of) were excellent I thought and the stage shows were really good too. They also had a couple of acrobats which were impressive to watch the first couple of times but were on a little too often! Food: Food was excellent. The buffet always had a good selection of food although it did get VERY busy. There was also a place to buy burgers/hotdogs, pizzas, ice creams, an international cafe which had salads and cakes and of course dining rooms. We had the early dining and always found it to be very good. The waiters were friendly, courteous and did their best to ensure we had a good time. The ports of call were excellent however, many required a shuttle bus which was quite costly. This was not something that Princess had warned us about. It was annoying but not something that ruined the cruise. The excursion is Russia was a little frustrating too as the tour guide refused to talk about the history of the country following the revolution of 1917. That being said, our one in Belgium was excellent and was exceptionally interesting. Generally, it was a fantastic holiday but there are always going to be people who complain. How anyone can complain about the food is beyond me personally though! We arrived back in the UK a few days ago but are thoroughly refreshed!   Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
I travelled with my husband and daughter to Southampton and the traffic was (as usual) very busy, we arrived at 2pm. I had heard that embarkation could be long and protracted but actually we went through the booking in and security stages ... Read More
I travelled with my husband and daughter to Southampton and the traffic was (as usual) very busy, we arrived at 2pm. I had heard that embarkation could be long and protracted but actually we went through the booking in and security stages very quickly; very impressed, and in our cabin (D627) at 2.30. Our mini-suite was lovely, with two tvs and an enormous couch. Our steward welcomed us and brought us a glass of champagne and very quickly our suitcases arrived too. I stayed in the room to have a bath (oh how I loved having a room with a bath for the first time; I had brought with me what seemed like the entire stock from Lush so I could bathe in luxury every day) whilst the others went to the buffet. Later, we did the muster drill, our cards being scanned to keep a record of everyone present; a good idea. There was a sail-away party on deck from 4pm but we preferred to relax on the balcony with a glass of wine (Princess allow passengers a bottle of wine/champagne each to use in the cabin). Mini-suite cabins on Dolphin deck are completely exposed no overhang at all. This meant that star gazing every evening was fabulous. I used a large umbrella for shade (if necessary) during the day. My daughter is 20 and the Princess Patter listed a few 18-20 get togethers in the evenings so the young adults could get together. I was pleased because she is too old the for kids clubs but young passengers still need a place to meet and chat. We had registered for anytime dining and we like to share a table with other passengers. We've always meet interesting people and this cruise was no exception. After a couple of days the lady at reception recognised us and would confirm that we would like to share (I was impressed by this because she must see hundreds of passengers every evening). It is a great way to meet new people and make new friends. We didn't have to wait for a table ever. The food generally was very good and I have no complaints at all about it. I was pleased that to mostly came piping hot too. I spent the majority of my time by the Calypso Pool because I like the MUTS (watched several films and concerts, plus a couple of football games). I always found a place to sit in the shade, sometimes even a sunbed was available! The pools on Princess are freshwater and at a comfortable temperature so I swam every day. Towels were always available on deck (in cabin too) and, if not, I would ask a pool steward who would get me some straight away. I didn't use the (Horizon Court) buffet (deck 15) much at all, I don’t do breakfast and order coffee and tea using room service each morning (doubles as an alarm clock). For lunch I usually got a hotdog or burger from the Trident Grill or a piece of pizza from Prego Pizzaria, both very tasty. Next to the pizza place is Scoops, ice cream is available there. I did walk through the buffet sometime and it seemed to be well stocked with a variety of foods. At the back of the ship on deck 15 is Caribe Cafe and this opens out onto another pool area with a lovely view of the wake. I came here once for coffee and it was very relaxing to sit watching the wake. On deck 5 is the International Cafe which I had a look at, has some wonderful-looking food on display but I didn't try any (prefer to eat on the open deck during the day). On the last two days we decided to try the formal lunch (only on sea days I think) and it was super. I recommend it; again, we shared a large table with other passengers. On the last sea day we also did the formal afternoon tea. Mmmm, warmed scones with jam and cream; just delicious. I asked for my usual Earl Grey tea and got my own pot, but didn't want the sandwiches or cakes offered (I had of course recently had a formal lunch!) Entertainment-wise, there was a full schedule and we enjoyed going to the Explorers most evenings to see Kelvin the CD host quizzes. Daft fun and hugely entertaining. There would also be a show in the Explorers that we tried to attend plus the Princess Theatre shows nightly. It made for busy evenings. We had a variety of acts, several comedians; Berni Flint, Gary Thompson, Jeff Stevenson, Taffy Spenser, the marvellous Steve Larkins as a Freddy Mercury tribute singer; hypnotist David Knight (who also did an interesting talk about hypnotism later in the cruise), a couple of pianist/comedy entertainers; Darren Bethel and Maria King, plus other entertainment I can’t remember. I attended and enjoyed all the production shows in the Princess Theatre, particularly the Disco one and What a Swell Party. Films were also shown here during the day. If you can, go along to the Meet the Cast Backstage Tour on the final sea day, really interesting and we had a good chat to the dancers and singers. Also, make sure you go to the Culinary Demo on the last day in the Princess Theatre; a galley walk-through follows. I sat on the front row so I could get all the lovely aromas. I had a look at the Sanctuary area ($20 for half a day $40 for full day); very comfortable looking double and single sunbeds in sun, partial shade or full shade. Didn't have time to try it out but spoke to a table companion who did. She said the beds were sooooo comfortable and relaxing and she was served snacks and afternoon tea too. Just below the Sanctuary is the adult only pool. I tried it on the last sea day and it is a nice pool. It has a wave machine so that you can swim against the wave. There are two jacuzzis. Inside is the gym and Spa area. The toilets here also contain a steam room and a sauna. On the first sea day we all signed up for the Murder Mystery event that would cover the whole cruise. We had no idea what was going to happen but it turned into a bit of extra fun. It was hugely enjoyable and I would love to do it again. We stopped at Barcelona, Ajaccio, Civitaveccia, Livorno, Genoa, Monte Carlo and Gibraltar. We did our own tours at each place, having been to them all before. Because we are Platinum passengers (Princess takes all our P&O cruises into account as well as Princess ones) we got to wait at Club Fusion with tea/coffee/juice and pastries. It was just as well because we were delayed by about an hour getting off. Platinum passengers also each get 250 minutes internet (14 day cruise). This is handy if you want to keep in touch with family or do research. I am sure I’ve forgotten so much more to tell you, but sadly that is all I can remember just now. Just to finish by saying that I thoroughly enjoyed my cruise and it won’t be my last with Princess.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
This was our first time on a Princess Cruise. We have traveled on Celebrity a couple of times before. The ship was real nice, especially the Piazza area. I was also impressed on how it never seemed overcrowded in most areas. There were not ... Read More
This was our first time on a Princess Cruise. We have traveled on Celebrity a couple of times before. The ship was real nice, especially the Piazza area. I was also impressed on how it never seemed overcrowded in most areas. There were not many young people on the cruise, maybe due to the itinerary. We flew into London the day before departure and took a National Express coach to Southampton. This was a very cheap alternative to car service. Embarkation wasn't bad. Dining/Bars: We had traditional dining during the late seating at the Bottecelli Dining Room. The food was good, but not great. The service was outstanding, and we were seated with two great couples from Australia. We enjoyed the various snack locations and bars around the ship. The International Cafe in the Piazza area is really pleasant, and the Vines Wine bar in the same area is a great place to relax. The breakfast buffet at the Horizon Court was decent. Nightlife on the ship was mostly subdued. There was always a crowd at the trivia contests, but the dance locations were mainly empty. Activities: My wife and I don't go to many shows on cruises, so I can't comment on the entertainment. The pool area was nice, and the gym was spacious and well equipped. Service: I was impressed with the staff on the ship. All were courteous and friendly. Our room was well attended to. Ports: All outstanding. Oslo: Nice, clean city. We caught the Hop On/Hop Off right outside the ship. We bought lunch at a deli and had a picnic in a park. Gothenburg: We docked a few miles from the center of the City. Princess offered a paid bus service to and from. It was also a fantastically clean city with good shopping and nice cafes. Tallinn: We took the paid Princess bus, but the old city is probably about a 20 minute walk from the port. The old city is nice to stroll around. We found a brewery called the Beer House, and had lunch at a great cafe called Kohvik Sinilind. St. Petersburg, 2 days: Wow, so much to see here. We booked a local tour as the group sizes are smaller and the cost is less than those offered by Princess. We covered a lot of ground in 2 days: palaces, churches, museums, a canal cruise. The exhaustion afterward was worth it. Helsinki: Hate to say it, but we were so tired after St Petersburg that we stayed on the ship to rest. Stockholm: Great city. We took the Princess bus in and caught the changing of the guard ceremony. We found a great restaurant called C.C. close to the Royal Palace. Copenhagen: We booked a Princess tour that included a canal cruise, which was awesome. Belgium: Took a Princess 'On your Own" tour to Bruges. This had to be my favorite stop of all. Delightful city with chocolate shops everywhere. We had a great meal at Breydel de Coninc close to the City Market, and sampled beer at Halve Maan Brewery. Upon docking at Southampton, we took a Princess tour to Windsor Castle, which was nice, then stayed at a Hilton at the airport. Overall, the cruise was very relaxing and we had a great time. I would say the experience with Princess was similar to Celebrity. Each has some better features than the other, but I would recommend either.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
Our family of 5 including my husband, me, and 3 daughters enjoyed this sailing. We chose this itinerary for its Rome, Florence/Pisa, Gibraltar, & London ports of call. We flew into London City airport and went straight to Southampton, ... Read More
Our family of 5 including my husband, me, and 3 daughters enjoyed this sailing. We chose this itinerary for its Rome, Florence/Pisa, Gibraltar, & London ports of call. We flew into London City airport and went straight to Southampton, using Smithsforairports for all transportation. We were very happy with their service. Our boarding time was 2:30 but we were able to get on about an hour earlier. I had read in previous posts that embarkation was very disorganized but that was not our experience. It would be nice though, to be able to board when you arrive at the ship. Had hoped to be able to enjoy lunch in the open sit down dining room but it had already closed. Our alternative was to join the masses at the buffet. We were aware that the Emerald was hit hard with norovirus in the few weeks before our sailing. The buffet was always manned with staff encouraging the use of hand sanitizer. I noticed most people taking advantage of it. I think though, it should also be encouraged AFTER filling plates and touching all of the spoon handles and drink dispensers. I did not hear of any illness on our sailing. We had three staterooms: two ocean view next to each other in the aft section and one inside in the forward section. Although we requested the inside guarantee be put near the two oceanviews; Princess did not accommodate. The inside room was to be for adult daughter, the two ocean views for husband and myself; and the other oceanview for two daughters, adult and 16 year old. A quick change was made and my husband and I went with the inside so our 3 daughters would be next door to one another. The inside room was adequate, bed comfortable with plenty of storage. No windows makes it easy to sleep late! The two ocean views were sold as completely obstructed but we were delighted to see they had full view of see with obstructions to the sides. They were also blocked off so only crew was able to enter the areas below which meant no passerby's peaking in. Our first three days were sea days and welcome ones they were! We needed this down time to recoup from pre-cruise travel. We enjoyed many of the on board activities. Our 16 year old met with the teen group and immediately found a good friend with whom she spent a good amount of time. The teen club was an overall positive experience however she was discouraged to see some of the teens acting immature and bragging about smuggling in alcohol. These teens seemed to have very little parental supervision. Our other daughters enjoyed line dancing, zumba, fitness center activities, trivia, and karaoke. We do not utilize spa or any other on board activities that require extra payment nor did we pay extra to eat in the specialty restaurants. We enjoyed the food on board but I found myself sometimes just wanting something not so fancy. I never complain though about not having to cook so I enjoyed every meal! Our waiter Randolf and his assistant, Ali were great. Our room stewards were excellent and helpful as well. We enjoyed nightly entertainment in the theater. Some were better than others but overall we always manage to enjoy them. The last nights' crew theater production was wonderful and it was great to see everyone having such a good time. It was standing room only with many doing just that in order to view it. I do have a few complaints with Princess one being the internet access-not only pricing, but speed. I don't mind paying but when it takes 15 minutes just to log on and check a few emails; well, that's ridiculous. It's obvious that they manage to slow it down to make more money. Also, I'm not pleased with the day bedding that is stuffed on the floor at night under our bed and then put on top of our bedding during the day, including throw pillows on top of the pillows we sleep on. This just seems dirty to me. Also, at night, during popular events such as trivia or karaoke, the seating in the lounges was not adequate. Many times, we would have to miss an event we would have attended because there was no seating. All staff on board were friendly and helpful. I utilized the laundry room often and only had to wait a couple of times for a washer or dryer. It is $2 for a wash; $2 for a dry. The iron/ironing board came in handy as well. To make this as brief as possible, I will quickly post ports of call and tours used. With five of us, ship excursions are not an option. I booked everything independently after doing extensive online research and everything was great. Barcelona: Nancy Baum Dailey of enchantingbarcelona tours dot com. We enjoyed her tour and highly recommend. The highlight for us was la Sagrada Família. What an amazing building! Corsica,(Ajaccio), France: We toured on our own and went to Napoleon's home. We also walked to the beach to put our toes in the sea. Be aware that many sunbathers are topless. My American teen daughter was not quite prepared for this. We took a bus ride out to view the Isle de Sanguinaire. Overall, this port was a nice, one-time visit but we would not care to go back. The next 2 days we docked at Civitavecchia for Rome and Livorno for Pisa/Florence. I booked both days with Rudy's Rome Car Tours @ www.rome-car-tours dot com. If Rudy is not available he sends another guide which I knew was a possibility but unless you ask in advance, you are not told this. We were happy with both guides, especially Claudio in Rome who really went the extra mile to fit everything in. He hoped we wouldn't blame him that Trevi Fountain was under refurbishing, empty of water and behind scaffolding. Of course we didn't but were disappointed that we couldn't view it in all its glory. The highlights for us were the Colosseum, and Vatican area. We are not Catholic but enjoyed the history, art, and architecture immensely. The next day we spent the morning at the Tower of Pisa. We all loved this visit. The afternoon was spent touring Florence which was nice and a visit to the Academia to see statue of David and other art which was great as well. Genoa, Italy was our next port and frankly we were tired from the hard-going previous days. We got off the ship and stayed in the port area. Fortunately, the aquarium is there so we enjoyed it. It is an ugly building and this disappointed me but the displays are nice. We loved the dolphins and manatees. There was an overcrowding problem and it seemed very disorganized but overall it was a good visit. We visited some of the cheap souvenir vendors nearby before going back on board for the afternoon. Monte Carlo, Monaco is our next destination. My husband thought this was the prettiest port area. The expensive yachts probably had something to do with this! I found tomsportguides dot com very helpful in planning our walking tour of this port. He lists step-by-step instructions on how to get up to the palace area without having to take too many stairs. He has other port guides as well with the same helpful info. We enjoyed touring the palace, church and the changing of the guard at the palace. Also, the Oceanographic Museum and aquarium is wonderful and very tasteful building unlike the aquarium in Genoa. They do not however, have dolphins or manatees like Genoa does. They do have a shark pool with small sharks you can touch. The girls really like this. We returned to ship for late lunch and then hubby and I too the water taxi across to the casino for a quick peek. We are exhausted at this point and a sea day was welcome and enjoyed before our last port of call-Gibraltar. We loved our tour with John Lopez's Gibraltar Rock Tours; www.gibraltar-rock-tours dot com. Again, we did not know who our driver/guide would be but he was very good. We loved our visit here for the wonderful views-they were perfect that day. We also greatly enjoyed touring the Great Siege Tunnels. Our last two days on ship were sea days and we needed them for our upcoming few days in London post cruise. Disembarkation went as smoothly as it could. We were again, transported by smithsforairports. I had previously arranged tickets for entry to Stonehenge on our way to London. We were glad to get to see this. We then went on in to London, dropped our luggage off at our hotel and went to an afternoon performance of The Lion King. It is an amazing production. We then had fish and chips nearby at Wellington Pub which were delicious. (Reservations were made online ahead of time which is recommended as the pub is small.) We then took a cab back to our hotel. I chose The Rookery Hotel in London after researching online. Since we needed two rooms, budget was a big factor. I was drawn to this hotel though, because of its history, architectural features, Old English decor and good reviews. It only has 33 rooms and I was not disappointed. It did take a while to get everything organized since we needed a rollaway bed and accessible shower. The staff were very helpful and prompt answering my numerous emails. The breakfasts, while not free, were delicious, fresh and beautifully presented; either served in our rooms or in one of the public rooms or patio area. My girls felt like princesses in the lavishly decorated rooms. Their room on the front did allow for some of the outside noise at night to be heard (trash trucks and people talking) but ours in the back was very quiet. We loved our stay here and would recommend it if you like a more homelike environment. It was a quick few minutes walk to Farringdon station to catch the tube for transport around London. The following day we enjoyed worship service at Hillsong London. That afternoon we had a tour with Steve Norris in his Cow Cab. (londoncabbietours dot com ) We learned a lot from Steve and saw parts of London we would not have been able to see on our own due to time constraints. He tucked in a few Harry Potter filming spots here and there which my 16 year old loved. He also took a photo of us Beatles-style at the Abbey Rd. crossing. The next day would be our last in London. We set out for Buckinham Palace changing of the guard ceremony. We stopped on the way at Platform 9 3/4 in Kings Cross Station for our Harry Potter fan daughters to take photo. Queue was long and it took about 2 hours. After changing of the guard ceremony, Hubby took two youngest daughters to Warner Brothers Harry Potter tour. They loved it! Other daughter and I bought tickets to tour Buckingham Palace. We enjoyed lunch afterwards on the grounds. The sandwiches were delicious and about $16.00 usd each. I like to say, we had lunch with the queen! A stop at the souvenir shop for some last minute gifts then on our way to the tube to Westminster Abbey. After finding it closed at 3:30 and Evensong another hour away, we decided just to head back to the hotel. We enjoyed nachos from next door, Burburrito and found the ingredients to be fresh and very tasty. We all packed up, turned in early to rest for our 6 am pick up, again by smithsforairports for transfer to Heathrow and flight home. Our trip was wonderful and everything went very smoothly which we are very thankful for! We loved the Emerald Princess and hope to sail with her again! Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
Having avidly read every review we could find on Emerald Princess I must admit we had a reservations about our cruise. This review is our experience and having heard a number of comments on board from other passengers it may differ from ... Read More
Having avidly read every review we could find on Emerald Princess I must admit we had a reservations about our cruise. This review is our experience and having heard a number of comments on board from other passengers it may differ from their experience. We have cruised with several other lines over a number of years. EMBARKATION This was the only ship in on 11th June and we boarded from Ocean Terminal - this was a breeze, with a large number of checking in stations and after a cup of tea from the cafe boarded with no problems. There were plenty of staff and I think 4 scanning machines. CABIN We had a balcony cabin and whilst not as large as previous ships it was perfectly adequate and we really liked the hanging space which seemed much more generous than others we had in the past. There were a number of comments regarding the shower - I am not small and had no problems never once tangling with the shower curtain. The bed wasn't that comfortable however a mattress topper helped. DINING We were anytime dining and were in the Michael Angelo - the second night we found a table that suited and requested to keep it for the cruise. I was advised that we could only do this if we dined at the opening time of 5.30pm as they couldn't hold a table empty if other passengers were waiting. This wasn't a problem as we always eat early. Buffet - not very big, but as I am not a fan of buffets we only had a couple of meals there as there are plenty of other venues available. FOOD I must say this is probably the best choice we have experienced in a main dining room. It was a 17 night cruise and we virtually had something different every night. The quality was excellent and always hot. We also had a meal in the Grill which was well worth the extra (my daughter arranged this as a Fathers Day present) We loved the pub lunches in the Wheelhouse bar when on offer with traditional pub food i.e. Steak & Kidney pie - fish and chips - Scotch Egg salad - curry - Sausage and Mash. The International Cafe - had a great choice of cakes and also sandwiches, salads and a pie of the day. Getting a seat was difficult sometimes but only walked away once. (TOP TIP this is open 24 hrs and on disembarkation was empty -so as long as you don't want a 'full English' better choice that the buffet which I understand was chaos.) ENTERTAINMENT By far the best we have had on any cruise. The singers and dancers were very professional and the speciality acts were outstanding (except in the Freddie Mercury act which was awful ) One of the highlights was the Venice Chamber Orchestra which was very well received playing a mixture of light classical music with a couple of novelty numbers. I have seen comments regarding the availability of seats - Not surprisingly a number of guests turned up with a few minutes to go and looked surprised when the place was full. The shows were on average 40 mins long to enable 3 performances a night plus the speciality acts did another night in the Explorers Lounge giving another chance to see them. Kevin & His sidekick were exceptional funny without being patronizing they put together a variety of activities without resorting to the 'Knobbly Knees & Belly Flop' contests. There were talent contests, language classes, ukulele classes, guitar 'jam' sessions, guest choir -plus many more. PORTS/TRIPS All cruise ship trips are expensive so just a guide if you haven't been to any of the of the following Cadiz - Hop on Hop Off bus right outside the dockyard / town a short walk over the road Valetta Hop on Hop Off bus a couple of hundred yards outside the dockyard with several routes Venice ferry arranged by Princess quite a walk off the gangway $25 added automatically to onboard account however if you walk further there is a public boat for about 15 Euros Kopa Hop on Hop Off bus just off the gangway - a short walk into town. our first time here and absolutely loved it Dubrovnik We berthed in the port which was a bus ride to the old town - we have been twice, once before the war when there were very few tourists and it is an absolutely beautiful place. However subsequent visits have been a nightmare as the place gets so crowded. I understand that with so many cruise ships in there were major issues with the crowds. Corfu We didn't go ashore here however its about 2 miles into the town and I did see a bus from the jetty though I'm not sure if there were any charges Gibraltar transport is short walk from the ship 4 Euro return to Casement Square SUNBEDS The same people seemed to be on the same beds every day, so I don't know what time they got up to reserve them. There were a number of sun beds tied up because people were too lazy to return the towels and left them in situ . But the one that show how inconsiderate some people can be- were a couple who had all of their belonging on two very nicely placed sun beds next to the pool, but elected to sit in two chairs behind them for most of the day! I can't finish without mentioning the Noro Virus outbreak. This appeared after about 10 days and although it didn't really affect us the increase in hygiene was apparent. This was very lax previously and not enforced so hopefully now the ship will address this. Overall - We had an absolutely brilliant experience and wouldn't hesitate to sail Princess based on this experience - this is only our own view having heard 'whinging' during the cruise. There will be other opinions I'm sure but I will say that if you want to look for faults I guarantee that you will find some. Happy cruising   Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
This was a nine country cruise through the Baltics. Overall the cruise was great. Our weather was fantastic with sunny skies and highs in the 70's. We had a mini-suite on the Dolphin deck (nine). Our cabin steward was the most ... Read More
This was a nine country cruise through the Baltics. Overall the cruise was great. Our weather was fantastic with sunny skies and highs in the 70's. We had a mini-suite on the Dolphin deck (nine). Our cabin steward was the most efficient we have ever had. This was our fourth cruise with Princess. We have taken three with Royal Caribbean. The seas were very calm throughout. The negatives: We got an email from Princess three days before the cruise indicating a norovirus outbreak that they were taking extra sanitation efforts to contain. On our cruise we had no issues, so maybe the efforts worked. This however led to a delay in our embarkation which was a nightmare. Princess took us to a hotel and fed us only pastries. We were at this hotel for four hours waiting to go to the pier. Unfortunately the plan to board by deck number fell apart as everyone arrived at the pier at the same time despite Princess indicating they would board by deck. The line at the pier was outside and took two hours. Princess totally dropped the ball on this. Not the way you want to start your cruise. Worst embarkation ever. We also noticed while waiting in line that the crew unloading luggage from a Crawley bus was flinging it intentionally and having lots of laughs watching luggage flying into walls etc. No excuse for this. If I had seen my luggage handled like that I would have gone ballistic. They should all be fired. The dining experience with Princess is never as good as with Royal Caribbean. The servers are indifferent. We dined at Sabbatini's also and got a server named Frinco who was all smiles at first, but when we turned down dessert and coffee because we had a show to catch, he scoffed at us and turned and left in a huff. What a moron. Made us feel uncomfortable. The Horizon Court buffet is decent, but the corral they make you enter is too crowded. Royal does this better with spread out stations with food. Also the real flaw with Princess here is the coffee station. There is no hand sanitizer there and they make everyone grab the same pitchers for cream and milk. They are just promoting the norovirus with this poor system. Evidently they do not want to spring for individual creams like Royal does. And since they do not provide individual creams you cannot ask the server for coffee. They have no idea how much to put in and inevitably ruin it and you have to get it yourself anyway. Dumb system. That is it for the grousing. No travel experience is perfect. Some of these beefs could be avoided however. The cruise itself was fabulous. The ports were all fascinating and charming except for Helsinki which is kind of a dud in my opinion. We go with Princess or Royal Caribbean solely based on itineraries. Whichever has the itinerary we want is who we sail with. Royal Caribbean has it together a bit more than Princess I think, but that does not stop us from going with Princess when the itinerary is better. Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
We are regular cruisers with Prrinces as we like many aspects of Princess as much as the mix of nationalities who cruise on Princess ships. We booked this cruise about six weeks before as a last minute break having only returned from a ... Read More
We are regular cruisers with Prrinces as we like many aspects of Princess as much as the mix of nationalities who cruise on Princess ships. We booked this cruise about six weeks before as a last minute break having only returned from a long Princess cruise in Australia and New Zealand and Far East in March. Embarkation. This proved disappointing - we arrived at the Mayflower Terminal Southampton about 10 minutes later than our allotted time to find a very long line of passengers (pretty much everyone) waiting outside to be processed - which we accepted as being due to the ship undergoing a deep clean due to an outbreak of Norovirus on the previous Cruise. Having asked a Princess port representative we were directed, without being asked about cruise priority status ( there was no signage) to join the end of the queue which stretched and snaked right along the front of the terminal. Eventually a Princess port representative wandered along muttering about Elite or Platinum passengers, those of us who were lucky enough to hear her, made our way back to the entrance, - No queue for this and were able to complete our boarding in reasonable time. Environment The ship showed a high level of cleanliness. Antibacterial gel was available at the entrance to food areas with passengers directed to use the gel as they entered the food section of Horizon Court. As far as we know there was no recurrence of the Norovirus that had been noted on the previous cruise. Obviously controlling the spread of infection is as down to passengers adhering to hygiene as well as staff. Food We choose to use anytime dining and find the standards of quality and service are still excellent, although the range of choices is somewhat diminished. We find the Horizon court buffet gives a good choice and variety of foods at all times of the day especially at breakfast. We liked the fact that ready prepared fresh fruit salad appears to be available every morning now. Ports of call. There were many lovely cities on this cruise - with no tender to ports neccesary and all the piers had easy access to HOHO buses and / or train station - Stockholm had Ho Ho buses as well as HoHo boats which we used. In Gydnia (Gdansk) the HOHO buses were limited and there were long queues. As we like to walk (amble) and walked the 2km (approx ) into the town of Gydnia and were delighted to find a lively centre with a lovely marina, maritime museum with a variety of ships as well as an aquarium. The whole area had a friendly seaside atmosphere, a nice looking beach and plenty of snack bars and cafés. Entertainment The production shows were of the high standard we have come to expect, Whilst Chris Watkins-Fireworks on four strings, was superb! And singer / comedian Bernie Flint was entertainingly funny. However, the other acts were quite mediocre. On the whole there was something for everyone The Princess Orchestra and resident musicians were, as usual, exceptionally good with the piano entertainer in the Crooners bar appearing to be very popular and having a 'full house' every night. This cruise we 'missed' the usual performance string quartet - (not sure why)! The cruise director and his assistant were entertaining and passed on information concisely. As a plus point there were minimal public address announcements from the cruise director etc. This suited us as on other cruises we have felt 'bombarded' by one announcement after another!. Overall we enjoyed the cruise , there was a good mix of passengers of different nationalities on board, lots of lovely people to share our anytime dining experience and the service was very good with friendly helpful staff, particularly in Horizon court. Disembarkation Proved excellent, swift and without any delays. We docked at the Ocean terminal, which is modern, spacious and very easy to exit. Port staff were helpful and able to direct passengers to car /coach areas.   Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
We arrived at the terminal expecting long delays as we had received emailks stating that due to a bought of norovirus on the ship, passengers would be boarding late. At 2pm we were cleared to board and made our way to the horizon buffet on ... Read More
We arrived at the terminal expecting long delays as we had received emailks stating that due to a bought of norovirus on the ship, passengers would be boarding late. At 2pm we were cleared to board and made our way to the horizon buffet on deck 15. It was apparent that the ship had received a deep clean and was looking in good shape. The food in the buffet was varied each day and the choices good. Stilton was available every night and a good selection of meats, turkey etc. Service and food in the restaurants could not be faulted and the staff helpful and attentive. We booked tours in most ports but did find them expensive compared to previous cruises we had taken with Princess. We were disappointed to find that $12 charges were made for use of shuttle buses for a 5 minute trip into town. Being Captain Circle Elite members, on arrival in our stateroom we had been given $50 'welcome back' OBC. A complimentary mini bar had been set up and we were given 500 minutes internet time free of charge. During the cruise we made use of the free laundry facility and came home with all our clothes clean and ironed. Entertainment on the ship was varied and although we only had 4 sea days, each day had enough activities to keep us continuously 'on the go'. We thoroughly enjoyed the cruise and when you walk away feeling happy, refreshed and find it hard to find fault, i think Princess Cruises speaks for itself. Read Less
Sail Date June 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

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