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453 Princess Emerald Princess Cruise Reviews

Just returned from a 7 night cruise on this ship and really enjoyed it. The. ship was very clean and well presented and the crew were extremely friendly and professional. The only fault which we had - was the delay in bussing passengers ... Read More
Just returned from a 7 night cruise on this ship and really enjoyed it. The. ship was very clean and well presented and the crew were extremely friendly and professional. The only fault which we had - was the delay in bussing passengers to La Rochelle as you are not permitted to take a taxi or walk into port. Tendering to Guernsey was also a slow process though to be fair- there was a heavy sea fog that day. The entertainment on board was quite good and my only fault would be the timings of some of the alternative fun shows, which clashed with the 8:15 set seating dining, meaning that we missed numerous good shows. This needs to be looked at so that all passengers can benefit from all of the entertainment - after all we all paid the same price for our equivalent cabins, so should all receive the same benefits! This was a cold weather cruise, and unfortunately the SkyWalker bar did not open until 10 pm. This would have been fine if you could watch "sail off " on top deck, but as it was cold, it would up have been nice to have a good indoor viewing venue , to watch the sail off in the comfort of indoors, and with bar facilities open. We only booked one shore excursion to Estoriil beach In Lisbon, which really was too early in the season. I did check before booking that the seafront promenade was open- and was assured that it was . However when we got there NOTHING at all was open on the sea front - not even one restaurant or toilets. As It was a cold rainy day, we therefore had to simply return to the bus.! Otherwise a pleasant and enjoyable cruise. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
To take my elder mother (88years) to Santiago de Compostela. It was her first cruise and she was very impressed with the ship. As usual we found all the crew to be most helpful and friendly. We took the Princess tour to Santiago from ... Read More
To take my elder mother (88years) to Santiago de Compostela. It was her first cruise and she was very impressed with the ship. As usual we found all the crew to be most helpful and friendly. We took the Princess tour to Santiago from Vigo about an hour on the bus each way, so didn't have time to explore Vigo. The ships tour of Lisbon Highlights took us to the Alfama Quarter, Belem Tower, Monument to the Discoveries, 25April bridge. The town was very busy and we didn't really have enough time at Jeronimos Monastery, only visiting the church. The Maritime Museum was closed for renovation so we went over the 25April bridge, the same design as the golden gate bridges in San Francisco, to the base of the Christ the King monument, 100m high which was very impressive. Ken Broadhurst gave the destination lectures. He is very knowledgeable, gives a sense of the history with slides and appropriate music with gentle humour and useful information for today's visitor. La Rochelle was my favourite port, the small harbour with Street cafes narrow roads with specialist shops and a relaxed atmosphere Sea days on board were spent at various quizzes shopping 'events' and eating! Some venues were rather overcrowded at times especially the International Cafe. We had lunch in the Wheelhouse Bar but waited until after 1pm by which time the queues has dissipated. We had anytime dining meeting different people each night which I much prefer and did not feel the need to try the speciality venues maybe we would on a longer voyage. The wait for a tender to visit St Peter Port was long - nearly an hour but it was very foggy which seemed to slow everything down but we got there in the end. Embarkation and disembarkation was very smooth and quick. Now looking forward to cruising the Baltic on Emerald Princess later this year with my husband. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
We chose this cruise based on the transatlantic itinerary. Embarkation and lifeboat drill were flawless. We particularly like the inside lifeboat drill where you are able to sit in air conditioning for the 20 minutes or so. Other lines ... Read More
We chose this cruise based on the transatlantic itinerary. Embarkation and lifeboat drill were flawless. We particularly like the inside lifeboat drill where you are able to sit in air conditioning for the 20 minutes or so. Other lines force you to stand in the heat awaiting the arrival of other passengers. Our cabin on Aloha deck (234) was good as well as the steward, who always kept everything neat and clean. It was forward which was only an issue when it was very noisy during particularly rough seas. We chose anytime dining, but elected to dine every evening at 7:30 pm. Carlos, not sure of his title, reserved our favorite table 412 nightly. Carlos was the most upbeat member of the staff. In fact his bubbly personality was contagious making each evening great. Our waiter were extremely pleasant and efficient, always making sure that we had everything that we needed. Food was good, but nothing spectacular. For the most part the food at both the buffet and dining room could have been hotter. Port were all good as were the tours in Lisbon, Bilboa and LeHavre. The tour guides were both enthusiastic and knowledgable. We were happy to book ship tours prior to sailing, thus saving money and time. The entertainment schedule was lacking. The theater should have been utlized more often. We tried on three occasions to see the magician in the Explorer Lounge. The lounge was always filled to overflowing. I complained and was told that the entertainers were new and needed the theater for rehearsal. We were looking forward to viewing Movies Under the Stars, but the weather never cooperated. Luckily, the theater was used for movies later in the cruise. I attended Zumba classes with an excellent instructor. All and all it was a very good cruise and I wouldn't hesitate to sail again with Princess. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
Was pleasantly surprised that the complaints about the Emerald Princess were rectified for our stateroom D727 and throughout the ship. I did here people complaining about some of the most nitnoid items that I had to laugh. To the 19 ... Read More
Was pleasantly surprised that the complaints about the Emerald Princess were rectified for our stateroom D727 and throughout the ship. I did here people complaining about some of the most nitnoid items that I had to laugh. To the 19 year old chubby boy whose day was ruined because the plate in the Horizon Court buffet wasn't hot and to the 40 year old lady who pitched a fit in Cafe Caribe because the coffee was brewing and she "didn't think she should have to walk 15 feet to another station" - get over it. There are more of these types but I won't bore you with them here. And these are the people who will write Nast reviews here. Background - we travel solo extensively throughout Europe and the service on this cruise was equal or better than what we expect - so no complaints at all. 1) Karn, our steward, was very welcoming and efficient and kept the room in tip top shape. 2) all of our servers were very engaging and fun from risqué jokes to card tricks to remembers our names. 3) food was great, well presented, tasty and warm. 4) essentially while on the ship everything that was promised was delivered. Now - we are in a digital age and Princess has to catch up as their pre-cruise information sharing is horrendous. "Additional Charges Apply" is NOT an acceptable answer when I'm looking for the cost of a beer, the charge for the Crown Grill, or the charge for the thermal spa package. Knowing that prices can change is one thing but Princess should be able to come up with a price list on the website maybe 2 weeks before the cruise. Also when a booked customer sends an email requesting this information the at the minimum should get a response! Princess GREAT job on the cruise HORRIBLE job with getting information to this first time cruiser pre-cruise. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
All in all, a very nice time! The Spring Breakers were partying up a storm, but never got obnoxious or intrusive...there were just ...em...a LOT of them. That being said, it was my bad for not taking this into consideration; my kids are ... Read More
All in all, a very nice time! The Spring Breakers were partying up a storm, but never got obnoxious or intrusive...there were just ...em...a LOT of them. That being said, it was my bad for not taking this into consideration; my kids are grown and Spring Break hasn't been an issue for a number of years, so...oh well. I'll know better next time. We stayed on the Lido Deck (15) in L102 - pretty much directly on the center point of the bow...AND IT WAS FABULOUS!!! OMG - I will never stay in the lower decks again after this! Lido is where it is all happening, and I didn't have to wait for elevators, etc. Just walk out of the room, and BAM! ALL the fun! Didn't feel any ship sway, slept like a BABY and zero overhead noise! The upcharge restaurants (Crown Grill and Gastro Pub - did not do Share) were well worth it, but the Dining room selections were meh, and so was the Horizon Ct buffet. Food does not seem to be the star on Princess as it is on other lines. The Casino (in my opinion) is pretty lame - all slots and table games - a couple of sad pusher machines. No claws, no throwers. I like slots, but I want coins spilling out, not "credits" on the face of the machine. ESPECIALLY when I am paying cash to play them, not my ship-board account. Again, just me. (DH did a job on the Blackjack tables tho - came back w/ $350 after betting only $40 - but he's good at that kind of thing). Embarkation to Princess Cay (Bahamas) was a long and boring proposition waiting for the tenders, and it was all just a big beach party...I should have just stayed onboard. But Grand Turk was easy as pie and great fun! We booked a Segway tour which was completely hilarious! Our Guides KJ and Manny were so patient and thorough - the Segway can be intimidating at first, but really, it's easy! And COMPLETELY fun - do it, you won't be disappointed! All in all, it was a nice cruise. We had much better service on Carnival, but again, it was Spring Break, so I'm not going to down Princess on this - they were packed full. We'll try Princess again, but we'll probably go with Carnival first. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
A bit of background, I have had somewhere around 13 cruises, mostly on RCI, so still a newbie by many accounts. I have enjoyed all the cruises I have taken, and I don’t really have a preference for a particular line. I have mostly been ... Read More
A bit of background, I have had somewhere around 13 cruises, mostly on RCI, so still a newbie by many accounts. I have enjoyed all the cruises I have taken, and I don’t really have a preference for a particular line. I have mostly been on RCI only because if I travel with my sister in law, or some friends of ours, they are loyal royal. I am not. Variety is more important to me. So, I have a goal to try all of the mass lines. So far, from my vantage point, they are all more alike than they are different. I sometimes travel with my husband and our two children, and sometimes I travel with friends. This time it was myself, and my college roommate from many moons ago. This was my first Princess experience. For reasons I can’t explain, I thought that this line would prove to me that there are some lines that are superior lines. I didn’t really come away with that idea being validated. However, I did very much enjoy Princess, and will certainly cruise with them again. And, I do realize it isn’t fair to compare any line with just one voyage under the belt. Two voyages on the same line are often night and day in comparison. At any rate, on to the review of this sailing: So I think it is very safe to say this isn’t considered a “typical” Princess sailing. (very likely another reason why it didn’t deliver the experience I expected.) This was a 5 night sailing on Emerald Princess, leaving FLL and sailing to Princess Cays and Grand Turk. It was also the peak of spring break, and many, many young adults (and I use “adult” very loosely here) were on board. I am only 44, but I felt WAY old on this sailing. Which I think from all the research I have done, is not the norm on Princess. Embarkation: A breeze, but only because my friend had some status with Princess, so we got to skip the long line and pretty much get right on board. I usually am up and ready to get the port by 11, but on this voyage we didn’t arrive until closer to Noon. We got right on the ship, and the room was ready! That is something I am not used to, and I LOVED being able to check out the room and leave my carryon items. AND, our luggage was delivered right away. We were all settled in and unpacked before muster! A first for me. Another small thing I really liked, is they provided us with maps of the ship that are little fold up paper maps with a cardboard front and back to keep it protected. It was great to have in my pocket. When I was sitting in my lounge chair I could pull it out and refer to it. A small, but nice touch. I also appreciated their ap, Princess at Sea. I was able to do all kinds of things on that ap. I usually turn my cell phone off and toss it in the safe for the voyage. This time I decided to try the ap, and I really liked it. I can’t compare it, as I have not an ap yet on any other line. Muster was interesting. You still have to bring your life vest on Princess, I have not done that for a long time on other lines. And they took a lot longer to go through the process than I expected. It was made a little better by sitting in a lounge instead of being packed like sardines on the deck, but we sat there for about 40 minutes, and couldn’t hear half of what was said. The Emerald Princess is a beautiful ship in my opinion. It was clean, and the décor was pleasing and beautiful. The only thing that drove me nuts about this ship was the lay out of the Horizon Court buffet. What a nightmare it was getting in and out of there! But the food was fine, and there are lots of other options. The pizza was very good, there were several excellent choices at the International Café, and we attended a PUB lunch that was complimentary in the Salty Dog on one day, so our exposure to the buffet was limited. We ate at the MDR each night, and the service and food was very good. We shared a table with others most nights, and enjoyed the company of meeting new folks. I did not enjoy the shows on this voyage. There was a hypnotist, who was not to my liking for entertainment value, and there was a comedian that was sort of funny, but mostly just kept cracking up at himself. The CD was a bit of a snore as well. Nice man, but not very engaging IMO. One thing that I really did enjoy was movies under the stars. This concept is excellent. They put soft coverings on the lounge chairs, offer blankets, and have popcorn available. We saw a couple of recent releases and I really liked this option. I don’t have time for movies when I am home running from work to my kids various activities and such, so this was something that I appreciated being able to do. They also had some other good entertainment on the screen, like Elton John, and Bon Jovi. That is of course my opinion, but I liked what they had going on the screen. I made my usual donation at the casino, as far as casinos go, this one was not any better/worse than any other ship casinos IMO. Our cabin seemed bigger than I am used to for an inside. I book all over the map as far as room type. It depends on the itinerary and cost as to whether or not I am going to spring for a balcony or suite. I went with an inside this voyage. The room was plenty big enough for two with plenty of storage. I much preferred the layout of this cabin over any other ship inside that I have had. And the beds, my word the beds…. I have never slept in a more comfortable bed on a cruise ship in my life! A big thumbs up for the beds. Two very nice oversized pillows, super comfy bedding, and the mattress was perfect. I wanted to bring it home with me. Our room steward was excellent. Perfectly attentive. The only thing that I did not enjoy with our cabin was the shower. On most, if not all of my cruises to date, the shower nozzle has a way to lift it up and down, or totally off so that with limited space, you can take the shower nozzle in hand. That makes things so much easier. This one did not offer that convenience. Not a huge deal, but shaving was an adventure in this shower. I am glad I am somewhat flexible and short! This voyage stopped at the Princess private Island, Princess Cays, and at Grand Turk. Princess Cays was your typical private island. A very nice beach area, with lunch served and a bit of local shopping. We had to take a tender to the beach. This was pretty much just a wonderful, lazy beach day for us. Weather was beautiful. They offered plenty of activities, but we were content to lounge under the shade of a palm tree and nap, and read. The other stop was Grand Turk. I can’t comment on the actual island, as we did an excursion that left right from the beach. So we didn’t venture into Grand Turk itself. The ship docked here, so it was easy to get off and on. As soon as you depart the pier, there is a Jimmy Buffet restaurant, and shops. Also there is a beach right at the pier area. Along the beach there all kinds of companies selling excursions. I had done some prior research, and we walked down the beach and bought a snorkel/swim with sting rays excursion with lunch for $50.00 that had been recommended. We very much enjoyed this! Very small group. 6 of us total. We were well taken care of. I am glad we did the excursion, the beach was way too crowded for my liking. There was a Carnival ship that arrived a few hours after we did which made for a very busy day at the beach. A few more random thoughts: I am unsure if it was just my cabin, but the hairdryer they provided was a little better than horrid. I am glad I brought one. I wish there had been more trivia, we did this one afternoon and it was fun, but I didn’t see that they offered much in the way of trivia. The jogging track on this ship was pitiful. Very, very small. I used it once. Then I just settled on walking the promenade on deck 7. The gym is not well designed in that there are cabins directly underneath, so they do not allow people to use treadmills until 8 am. By then I want to be done with my exercise! That was a bummer. Walking the promenade and doing all stairs instead of the elevator was good enough for this sailing. All in all, this was just what I wanted, a nice relaxing vacation. I will definitely sail on Princess again, I am interested to see what a longer voyage not during spring break would be like. For now, I am going to give Celebrity a try next spring. Happy Sailing! Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
This is my 41st cruise and my first review on Cruise Critic. Princess is an outstanding cruise line and one of my favorites, but, they need to work on a few things. As I stated, I have been on 41 cruises, so I consider myself a bit of an ... Read More
This is my 41st cruise and my first review on Cruise Critic. Princess is an outstanding cruise line and one of my favorites, but, they need to work on a few things. As I stated, I have been on 41 cruises, so I consider myself a bit of an seasoned cruiser. Princess has the worst embarkation process I have ever encountered. I have only been on four Princess cruises and for each cruise there has been a line outside of the terminal- the wait was almost an hour just to get into the door! WOW!! Yes- Princess is worth the wait, but there are a number of people that find the wait difficult. Once inside, only one security line was open causing a longer backup. After you received your key, we were told to sit in another waiting area, once that area was filler, we were allowed to board the ship. The employees were rude with nasty and unnecessary comments ( I made the mistake of standing up because I was tired of sitting and I was told to sit and wait, the ship isn't going anyplace so just sit). Once on the ship I was amazed at her beauty! The Emerald Princess is a lovely ship and has a lot to offer. First, I must note that most employees aboard the ship are outstanding! They are very hardworking and will do almost anything for you. I traveled with my spouse and some friends. My friend wanted a pickle for her Bloody Mary and Jaime went out of his way to find her some pickles- something that he did not need to do! The staff made the trip enjoyable. My hubby and I stayed in balcony cabin A406 and it was roomy, clean and comfortable. The balcony had room for just a small table and two chairs, but it was mid-ship and covered. Our room steward kept our room tidy and took care of us the entire time. Dining- the food was good. I have had better on other Princess ships, but once again, the staff made the difference. They were outstanding. The top award would go to entertainment. I was very impressed with the entertainment aboard the Emerald Princess. The Illusionist show took my breath away. If you will be cruising on her soon, make sure you do not miss the shows. The comedians were hilarious! This was a short four day cruise, we had two days and a day at Grand Cayman. The pools were clean, the pizza delicious, the malts were the best! It was one of the most relaxing and memorable cruises I have taken. I was very relaxed until disembarkation! Disembarkation was just as bad as embarkation. Due to the port needing to close the parking garage at Terminal 2, this is where we parked our car, the ship returned to terminal 19 and everyone was shuttled back to terminal 2. Once again, the line snacked around the building, the staff was rude and it was very slow going. Princess had one person telling people which bus to take, the driver did not get off the bus to help load luggage- my husband loaded the luggage for our bus, he just happened to be the youngest gentleman (he is 57) on the bus beside the driver who did nothing. Once we were at the parking garage, once again my dear husband unloaded the luggage for everyone, there was no way we were going to have any of the older gentlemen (some with canes) unload those heavy bags. The driver just sat and did nothing. Shame on Princess for allowing this to happen. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
Salty Dawgs know to expect Spring Break hounds aboard from mid-March to mid-April. The math is predictable: Spring Breakers plus frequent Happy Hours equals? On this cruise the Spring Break pack generally stayed around the main pool ... Read More
Salty Dawgs know to expect Spring Break hounds aboard from mid-March to mid-April. The math is predictable: Spring Breakers plus frequent Happy Hours equals? On this cruise the Spring Break pack generally stayed around the main pool convenient to the bar, Trident Grill and the buffet. Itinerary: Emerald Princess - March 10~14, 2016: Ft. Lauderdale-at Sea-Grand Cayman Island-at Sea-Ft. Lauderdale Parking at the terminal is $15 a day. Savvy dawgs know to search for cheaper alternatives offered at some hotels or long term parking lots with shuttles to the ship. Something Princess knew but did not tell guests: the ship would depart from terminal 2 and return and berth at terminal 19. Princess did provide a bus shuttle back to terminal 2, but it looked like it would be a slow process. Salty dawgs expect embarkation will be a slow process regardless of their Captain's Circle status or stateroom category, and the Port Authority and Princess appear by their inflexibility to be satisfied that the current procedure won't or can't be improved anytime soon. Disembarkation was more organized, though poorly trained dawgs complicated the procedure by ignoring rules. Emerald Princess gleams after dry-dock and public venues look new. Staterooms were available upon boarding. Staterooms do not appear to have received much updating with one important exception: the new bedding is terrific. Sea Dawg kept the lowest possible AC setting and his stateroom stayed moderately cool. But a friend's AC couldn't keep his sunny stateroom cool. Most stateroom bathrooms appear unchanged except the cold water is tepid and the water in the toilet is warm! Fussy pooches know to bring their own scented bar soap and specialty hair shampoo and conditioner. We prefer having no minibar in the fridge. The room TV has more movie, news, music and Princess channels. The daily guide Princess Patter and other brochures greeted our arrival. There's a Princess smart phone app to keep dawgs aware of events, announcements and accounts. Our always pleasant steward kept our stateroom immaculate. There's a mandatory muster before sail away and dawgs must bring their life jackets. Crew members scan every ship card and muts who skip will have a private muster party later. I'm wondering if the ship will sink before everyone gets to their muster station ... or worse, the crew is jumping into the lifeboats while guests assemble in their assigned muster station. It seemed to me the crew exhibited a Titanic overconfidence of this top heavy ship's "unlikely" sinking. One muttered factoid easily missed: there were NOT enough lifeboats for everyone. Some guests would be evacuated via MES: Marine Evacuation System ... down a "seven-story slide" (actually a free fall down a vertical chute) into an inflated raft! The central Piazza is the hub of activity and feature talented musicians and performers throughout the cruise. Unfortunately, seating is limited and mongrels sometimes compete for chairs. Sea Dawg appreciated that photographers were less pushy and their photo shoot set-ups seldom restricted passageways. The grub: It takes some effort for foodie hounds to determine where best to eat. The 24-hour International Cafe, home of the best complimentary sandwiches and gelato aboard, and Vines, hosting the best wine list aboard, surrounds the Piazza. Pointer dawgs habitually fault the chow, but Sea Dawg loved the food. The complimentary Horizon Court buffet offers dawgs the widest variety, all-you-can-eat, self-serve meals aboard. You might see a Rottweiler piling her platter high with bacon here. In contrast, The premium SHARE by Curtis Stone restaurant offers pedigrees exquisite high flavor if small portioned culinary artistry. Sharp dawgs are keen to know when the Salty Dog Wheelhouse Bar presents complimentary "pub day" lunch: the fish and chips lunch and bangers and mash lunch are favorites. The complimentary poolside Prego "best pizza at sea" seems an exaggeration because the choices are limited and the toppings are thin. The complimentary Ice Cream Bar is right beside the pizza ovens, but the flavors are also limited. Complimentary milk and cookies are served mid-afternoon. Otherwise, complimentary snack foods are scarce (savvy dawgs pack their own). Between meals complimentary water, tea and sometimes lemonade can be fetched (savvy dawgs pack drink mixes to stir into their water). There are three complimentary main dining rooms: the "anytime" Di Vinci and Michelangelo and the fixed time and seating Boticelli. (It was nightly entertainment to watch silly dawgs prance into Boticelli demanding this or that table already assigned.) They publish the same menus. Patient dawgs will be rewarded with elegant table settings and fine service. The loosely interpreted dress code is smart casual, there is no formal night on this short cruise. The menus featured red snapper, duck, crawfish etouffee, lamb, shrimp and steak. There were some ingenious "soups" (think smoothies) and incredible desserts. Sea Dawg admits he doesn't eat this well during most weeks ashore. Lobster is served during long cruises and in premium restaurants. Well-heeled dawgs will probably find more satisfaction dining in the premium Crown Grill. And for a premium, Caribe Cafe hosts a "Crab Shack" seafood night. The shows: The star dawg was sick, and I figure no understudy was available because in spite of "the show must go on" mantra, our big production shows were canceled. Princess tapped its headline performers who proved very entertaining. Though Emerald Princess has many talented performers aboard, there was not an abundance of planned activities. This seems intentional to draw unwary hounds into revenue generating bingo, shops, bars, art auctions and, of course, the casino. Sea Dawg enjoyed "Movies Under the Stars" and was lucky to find the complimentary popcorn and blankets. The sail: A tug pulled the Emerald Princess clear of the berth and the bow of a Celebrity ship. The open seas were "rough" (waves up to 15 feet) the first night and first sea day. The long, narrow, "Pan Max" Emerald Princess jolted and pitched just enough to send landlubber pooches without sea legs to their sea patches, bracelets and remedies. Those in cabins fore and aft felt the ship movement most. The wind was strong enough to keep most off the open decks. Interesting to me how the published "Log of the Cruise" mentioned none of this, only hinting "Wind SSE 7" (Force 7 is about 30 mph; "Near Gale"). The wind and waves were more calm on the return trip. Grand Cayman: This is a tendering port (boats shuttle between ship and dock). Those with shore excursions are tendered first. Sea Dawg has been to Grand Cayman several times and did not desire to go to Hell and back again. Informed shopping hounds know that the cruise lines helped develop the ports so their stores occupy prime real estate ashore. The bargains are in lesser known shops further down the street. Shore excursions are cash cows for the cruise line. Independent dawgs can usually negotiate similar trips for much less once ashore Grand Cayman. Two other large ships were in George Town, so shops were crowded. Sea Dawg walked down the road to Seven Mile Beach; not far down the beach Sea Dawg came to Emerald Princess cruisers who had purchased the beach day excursion. I hope they enjoyed their lounge chair and weak drink. Sea Dawg walked to a hotel bar and bought a cold beer for a buck and reclined in a covered hammock. Thoughts of life spent here in Paradise is tempered by the fact that hurricanes hit Grand Cayman Island more often than any place in the Caribbean. Leave early to avoid long waits for a tender back to the ship. The two main pools sprawl across mid ship. There are also two small, adults only pools. Forward is the tranquil Spa Pool. Lounges are limited and "saved", but there is an easy access to the free gym and sauna, the pricey spa, and the underused, overpriced (and often windy) Sanctuary. Astern is the Terrace Pool next to a bar and short trot to the buffet. Dawgs can find more tables, chairs and lounges here. During most days the nearby Adagio offers a peaceful place to read or relax, provided some un-housebroken muts don't arrive. Sea Dawg appreciates that bar waiters were respectful and not pushy. They were also efficient and quick to clear your table if you left it unguarded while you dashed to the head. There are more security cameras aboard. Security, which is more about protecting company property, employees and liability, was not as obvious as dawgs might expect during this start of Spring Break cruise. In fact, I think there were more over 60 guests than under, and more families with children than college Spring Breakers. Most dawgs Sea Dawg stopped by Guest Services and obtained an accounting statement early the final sea day to avoid the long lines that would form there that afternoon. I had time to carefully inspect it and found that our statement was thankfully but disgustingly accurate. This is the moment inattentive dawgs discover they spent more aboard than on their cruise ticket. Our final statement arrived at our door 5 a.m. the last day and it was very quick and easy to verify. Sea Dawg is astounded how so many dawgs over-pack for this casual dress, short cruise! Things to consider packing: sunscreen, insect repellent (Zika virus protection), sunglasses, hat, an insulated resealable drink container, bar soap, specialty shampoo and conditioner, power strip extension cord, good walking map of ports, favorite snacks, hard candy, drink mixes, band aids, and over-the-counter remedies you often need. Princess publishes a list of items (like colas) not to pack. Take the advertised perfect vacation cruise with a good dash of sea salt. Dawgs who board with realistic expectations (i.e., the start of Spring Break), that not everything will go their way, who can adhere to their budget, and be flexible in their schedule will find this escape to paradise very pleasant. That's why I booked, and that's why I enjoyed this cruise and recommend it to you. Bon Voyage, Sea Dawg Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
Emerald Princess – Western cruise – 2/27/2016 We had a mini-mini suite – D732 – at the very aft. The balcony was oversize with two lounge chairs and 2 footstools. There is no cover from the sun and rain. The suite had a ... Read More
Emerald Princess – Western cruise – 2/27/2016 We had a mini-mini suite – D732 – at the very aft. The balcony was oversize with two lounge chairs and 2 footstools. There is no cover from the sun and rain. The suite had a large (uncomfortable to sit on ) sofa, one club chair, two 2tv’s, and best of all….VERY comfortable beds. Plenty of closet and storage space with room under the bed for our suitcases. A full bathtub with a good shower and plenty of hot water was ideal. Our thermostat worked perfectly. Our room steward, Raymond, was friendly, always there for us and went beyond our expectations. Kudos, to Raymond!! Food – the next most important cruise element. We took all of our dinners in the DaVinci dining room at a set 5:30pm hour. We found the food very acceptable. Our waitress had a bad cold and should have been excused, as we did not want to get sick with her handling our silverware, etc. Otherwise, she tried hard to please us. Lunch and breakfast was usually in the buffet. Our advice is to get a table first and then get your food. The “one way” buffet line is a pain, but at least they are enforcing the Purell dispenser – thank God! The hamburgers out by the pool are usually overcooked and the pizza is just ok. Bars: Crooners Bar has always been our favorite on Princess and MELODY from the Philippines treated us royally. Entertainment: our favorites were Michael Minor the Ventriloquist and Erik Bryan of the “Magic to Do” cast. Erik is a star by himself. The Stephen Schwartz (Godspell) musical was not my favorite, but the costumes and cast did a good job. Eric Lyden, comic, was clean, but not funny. We really enjoyed “The Voice of the Ocean” – the judges, Michael and Erik (a great team) and who was that super winner that sang “Ride Sally Ride”? Great show! We liked the movies shown in the Princess Theater at 1pm each day as we didn’t go ashore. One problem: the theater is kept very cold, so dress warm. All in all, a very nice cruise!! Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
This was our 6th Cruise with Princess. Once again, I was concerned with some of the reviews. And Once again, Princess met all our expectations. We had a marvelous time. I would like to address some of the negative comments. Our Cabin ... Read More
This was our 6th Cruise with Princess. Once again, I was concerned with some of the reviews. And Once again, Princess met all our expectations. We had a marvelous time. I would like to address some of the negative comments. Our Cabin was what we expected. The cabin steward kept it very clean. The temperature and AC worked very well. The new beds and bedding was extra nice. There were complaints in previous reviews about the size of the shower. IT IS A CRUISE...the showers will not be the size of home. The water temperature was good, no complaints. The food was good. We only ate in the buffet for the breakfasts and one dinner. To all the complaints about the buffet. It IS A BUFFET. I do think that the breakfast could be improved upon, but the dinner variety was good, food temp was good. The dinner's in the Michaelangelo were always very good with the exception of one night. I would like to see however, more snack type foods. Like nachos, chicken wings and popcorn through out the day. We only had to somewhat cranky bartenders. The rest were friendly and funny. I would like to say thank you to Jamie (casino bartender) and Melody (Corooner's server). These two people really made our trip. The remaining staff was great. Princess is very organized with the embarkation and debarkation. They move a lot of people with ease. And the ports of call were wonderful. I would like to recommend this cruise line for everyone. One can find anything to complain about, things will never be perfect. My husband and I thought the trip was delightful. The shows in the theater was good, Comedian was very funny. The one production show , I think it was called Magic of the Mind, was outstanding. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
After reading reviews, we were nervous, but there was no need. We had a great experience with no major issues. I'm always amazed that 2 different families can experience exactly the same thing and come away with polar opposite ... Read More
After reading reviews, we were nervous, but there was no need. We had a great experience with no major issues. I'm always amazed that 2 different families can experience exactly the same thing and come away with polar opposite opinions--expectations and perspective are powerful. Our expectations were lower--based on some previous reviews. Our perspective comes from our previous cruises--most recently on 4 different Celebrity Cruises--the larger ships. Our perspective also is based on the price we paid for our Balcony. Total cost for 2 people including all fees and taxes - $1600 U.S - no on board credit (+ gratuities). We definitely received good value for $$ spent. My perspective would be much different if we had paid much more. There really isn't anything to complain about, but here is my attempt to help you manage your expectations. Embarkation and Debarkation were perfect. CABINS: All rooms are ready as soon as the first person boards. Our luggage also came immediately. Our room with balcony was just fine. Refurbished? Not sure what was done - carpet, draperies and bedding perhaps. Beds were quite comfy. Of course the bathrooms are small, but if you've been on other ships, this bathroom will seem smaller than ever. No wine glasses, corkscrews or bottle openers provided. You must call room service each time you need a bottle opened or to get a wine glass (this is not a speedy process, and the first evening, wine glasses were not available). It would be so much nicer if the cabin steward could provide this service, but next time, we would just bring our own corkscrew. Once again, this isn't really a big deal, but our expectations based on previous cruises was that all these things were provided. Bathrobes also need to be requested, so request yours as soon as you see your cabin steward so you have something to put on when room service brings your morning coffee the first day! Our balcony on the 15th floor had a roof, but others below us did not, and we could look down into their balconies--beware!! Other reviews mentioned trouble with the AC and water temperatures. We had no problem with either of these. Their printed info in the room states that the cold water comes out of the tap at 90 degrees F. This is true--you cannot have a cold shower. There is always a cold pitcher of water provided in your fridge if you need a cold drink. FYI, no mini bar in fridge. No electrical plugs near bed. A little frustrating if you like to use your phone as your clock, and it needs to be charged. We used our phone during the day because Princess has a wireless network onboard that allows you to message other passengers, look at daily schedules, check your account, etc, so our phone needed to be charged at night. Glad I brought my own hair blow dryer. Bring your own hair conditioner if your hair depends on it. The product provided is an 'all-in-one' shampoo/conditioner. Balcony at the rear of the ship really does vibrate. Didn't bother us much--just beware. FOOD/DINING: we did anytime dining and were quite pleased--no reservations needed as stated in their printed materials. We were mostly happy with the food--no major complaints. The buffet was definitely our biggest disappointment. We used the buffet for breakfast and lunch. Just be prepared knowing that it is small and lacks variety and has very little fresh fruit--pineapple, melon, grapes and whole kiwi--I do believe I overdosed on the kiwi. Cut them in half with a knife and scoop each section out with a spoon--delish! We were comparing this buffet to previous cruises, and it just didn't come close to those comparisons. Ice Cream and Pizza available at the pool was perfect. There is also a pretty good grill near the pools with burgers/sausages and french fries--ice cold buns though. The pools were very warm--the last day the pool was actually too warm! I estimated that it must have been at least 95 degrees--seriously--felt like a very warm bath. I think they do have some trouble with water temps in general. You could actually feel the heat coming up from the toilets in the ladies' washroom near the pools. The public bathrooms could use a little more attention from time to time. Pool towels were often unavailable during the day. They suggest that you take your towels back to your room each day and they will be refreshed by the room steward--this is not always convenient. ENTERTAINMENT. Better than expected for sure. It's funny, because I just read a review to say that the "Magic Show" was incredible. However, in our opinion, it was a huge disappointment. The illusionist was involved on 2 evenings, and he really wasn't that good. It's just a good example of perspective and how opinions differ. There is no pushy sales people--no pushy photographers, etc. We found three happy hours so we were happy, happy, happy about that. We don't think the drink packages are worth the price, and obviously that depends on how much you would like to drink. We are happy with the free water, free iced tea and free lemonade--although you had to ask for the lemonade. We only saw iced tea at the beverage stations to serve yourself. All in all, we got good value for our $$. If we had paid more, we would have been a little disappointed in this ship. We would definitely consider booking again with Princess but would stick with the bigger newer ships depending on price. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
This was our first Princess cruise and was booked based on price alone). We kept our expectations low based on other reviews and decided we would make the best of whatever came our way. However, our expectations were exceeded in most ... Read More
This was our first Princess cruise and was booked based on price alone). We kept our expectations low based on other reviews and decided we would make the best of whatever came our way. However, our expectations were exceeded in most areas. Our biggest concerns after reading reviews were the food and the entertainment. Our any-time dining room experience was very acceptable!! The ice cream and pizza available at the pools was awesome. The grill at the pool had great burgers and french fries--except the buns were stone cold. The buffet at breakfast and lunch was a huge disappointment. Small with no variety. Strange set up compared to others we have experienced. We loved the entertainment at the Princess Theater. The only show we were disappointed in was the 'magic' show (word on the ship was the magic show was the one show you needed to go to). The illusionist, in our opinion, would be better suited doing birthday parties--not cruise ship shows--we were quite surprised (and he was involved in 2 shows). Other entertainment around the ship was quite good as well. We knew the ship had been refurbished recently so were surprised at the outdated room furnishings and accessories. Bed was comfy. Plenty of storage. Blow dryer old and wimpy. Only 2 plugs in room--none near the bed to plug in phone and use the clock and alarm. You can connect to Princess Wireless and have access to a variety of things like their messenger service to stay in touch with members of your party on the ship or look up your account, or see the daily schedule, so it was necessary to charge your phone while you slept. Smaller bathroom/shower than we have been used to. You can sit on the toilet and use the sink at the same time!! If you depend on a great hair conditioner, bring your own. The one they provide is an 'all in one' shampoo/conditioner. Bathrobes need to be requested, so request them as soon as you see your room steward the first day so you have something to put on when room service comes!! Pool towels are often not available at times during the day. They suggest you bring your towels back to your room with you, and the room steward will replace them with fresh ones each evening. We found this to be inconvenient at best, and the towels are not the greatest. We were happy to find a few "Happy Hours" one at 3 pm, one at 5:30 pm and one at 11 pm. Photographers were less pushy than on others ships we've been on and no one pushing you to book other restaurants or buy drink packages. All in all, we feel we got a good value for our dollar ($810 U.S. each including all taxes for a Balcony - no on board credit). We would be willing to try the bigger Princess ships in the future if we found a good deal, but would probably prefer not to go on the Emerald again. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
We (4) just returned from a 5 night Western Caribbean cruise with port destinations of Cozumel and Costa Maya Mexico, leaving from Port Everglades Ft Lauderdale Florida. Embarkation- was a nightmare. The line was unbelievably long, ... Read More
We (4) just returned from a 5 night Western Caribbean cruise with port destinations of Cozumel and Costa Maya Mexico, leaving from Port Everglades Ft Lauderdale Florida. Embarkation- was a nightmare. The line was unbelievably long, never ever seen a line like this. My husband and I are platinum members which entitles you to priority boarding. We could not find a Princesses representative until after waiting over an hour. Then there was only one checking for over 3,000 passengers which is absolutely ridiculous and unexcusable! Due to the disorganization, wew were ~ 1 hour delayed in leaving. Emerald princess - well maintained, clean, large over 3,000 passengers. Dining- Horizon Court Buffet - we had breakfast each morning as well as a few light lunches. The food was very good as was the service, keeping in mind this is a buffet and not av5 star restaurant. The head waiters rounded frequently inquiring with passengers about The food and service, and wanting to make sure everything was excellent, which was a nice change. There is a entrance and exit for the buffet. The entrance has an antiseptic gel machine as well as someone to hand you a plate and utensils....always friendly and smiling. The need to add an antiseptic gel machine to the exit area also for those passengers that can't read, as many were oblivious to signs. Both Asif and Ronnie were exceptional, friendly, personable, funny and professional at the same time. Main Diining Room - we had traditional late dining in the main dining room. We requested a large table (8-10) as we love to meet new people and have gun laughs together. We were shocked when taken to a table for the 4 of us. We explained to the head waiter that we had requested a large table and was basically told there was nothing he could do. He had us moved to a table for 10 with 6 empty chairs and told they would try find some others to join us. We were not happy, why request something in advance only to have it ignored??? The food choices were great as was the food though we were shocked that lobster was never a menu item. When asked why, was told because it was a short cruise and only one formal night......wow....that's a first and an indication of how the Princess quality is slacking. The waiter and assistant waiter were very good and friendly. Pizza - we had pizza for lunch one day which is freshly made and excellent. There's a reason why Princess is known as the best cruise line for pizza.- Ice Cream - the soft serve ice cream was excellent as usual. Cruise Director - our cruise director was Neil from Australia. He was very boring and lacked the outgoing personality you expect as a cruise director. Cruise directors really can set he mood for cruising. He is the worst we've ever had on any cruise line. Needs to retire. Entertainment - the shows were very good, musical magician who was AWESOME, 2 comedians both great especially the last one which we saw on a previous cruise. The games put on by the cruise staff were fun and entertaining. Cabins - we has an inside cabin on the Aloha deck (A724) aft which is great and close to the Horizon court and club fusion. The beds were comfortable, we heard the mattresses were recently replaced. The A/C was cold. The room steward was good but not exceptional and never seemed to go over and beyond. He never once called us by name which was a first. Disembarkation- was very disorganized. One staff member told us to go downstairs as our number was called. When we went down stairs we were told to wait in a dining room. My husband spoke to another staff member who said we are to disembark upstairs! Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
We had a great time and will definitely sail Princess again. Princess is an excellent value, and really takes care of their loyal cruisers. But I have to say that the quality is slipping, particularly in the food department. Now, I ... Read More
We had a great time and will definitely sail Princess again. Princess is an excellent value, and really takes care of their loyal cruisers. But I have to say that the quality is slipping, particularly in the food department. Now, I understand that to be competitive on price you cannot serve lobster and steak every night. I get that, and I am happy to see fares stay reasonable than have fancy food every night. There are other lines for that. But what has been disappointing me is the steady decline in the quality and variety of the food. It is just uninspired. The Curtis Stone menu is a disaster. Breakfast in Lido was repeated twice on a four night cruise. About the only thing that changed was the flavor of pancake. Can Princess really not vary the breakfast a little more? Or put out some new fresh fruit or oatmeal toppings? Lunch in Lido was similarly uninspired, with a lot of repetition. The buffet layout also is very poor, requiring people to queue up to get any food. RCL does a much better job of putting food stations out to break up the lines. Princess could learn a lot from RCL in that regard. Dinner in the main dining room was better, but still nothing to write home about. The entertainment staff was excellent, led by the perky Frenchie. This made the passenger shows, like the marriage game, very entertaining. Unfortunately, the cruise director Neil was a real bore and clearly is just mailing it in with the same tired jokes year after year. The shows were typical cruise ship shows, meaning not very good. But the singers and dancers tried. There was a forgettable mentalist and the highlight was Troy Thirdgill, who is probably the best comedian at sea. Troy is clean but a bit edgy and had a lot of fresh material. The lounge acts were generally bland. We have gotten so accustomed to Bert Stratton in Crooners that it was not the same sitting in Bert's living room without him. But we experienced Henry Saxby for the first time and he was phenominal. We probably overlooked him before. He is unassuming and has not developed a sthick (perhaps intentionally, as he is a serious musician). I must admit I would have liked to see more personality out of Henry, but his musical skills are way beyond any piano bar performer we have seen on our 14 cruises. The truth is that the guy is way too talented to be a cruise ship performer and he knows it, but hopefully for our sake he will keep sailing for at least a little while longer. The ship looked great and, while some recent cruisers have complained about A/C, hot water, etc. after the dry dock, everything in our cabin worked fine (with the exception of an occasional lack of toilet vacuum pressure). The cabin and dining service was top notch as always. Princess may have slipped a bit, but not in the service department. Disembarkation was a disaster and many people missed flights. It was probably 90% the fault of the port and customs (five ships were in port), but Princess should have anticipated the problem better and reacted better. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
My wife and I booked this trip for her birthday. Shortly after we booked it the real bad reviews came out and we almost cancelled the trip. Glad we did not. The ship is beautiful and the crew is very good. Oh yeah you will run into one ... Read More
My wife and I booked this trip for her birthday. Shortly after we booked it the real bad reviews came out and we almost cancelled the trip. Glad we did not. The ship is beautiful and the crew is very good. Oh yeah you will run into one that may be having a bad day but really they do a great job to make you feel like your on vacation. Got on board very easy and room was ready early. Spent the afternoon exploring the ship. We sail on Ruby so this was very familiar. While sitting by the pool a crew member told us about the maitre d' wine tasting, he said it was a one time opportunity to experience some very expensive wines. We booked it and here is some advice. At $25.00 each its a waste of money. They try but each speaker is very hard to understand as english is not their first language. The wine samples were small, take my advice - skip this one and go to Vines and if your lucky Cherry will be there. She is hands down the best crew member on board! Had interior room and was fine. A/C was jusssstttt good enough. Could have been colder. Shower water was great and room steward was very good. Food - now here is the issue. Buffet was never good, breakfast, lunch or dinner. It was cafeteria grade at best and a lot of it was cold and poorly prepared. The main dining room was slow and just ok. We like to eat well on a cruise ship and maybe if you went to a pay dinner you might find it but we choose not to pay extra. Pizza was as always very good. MUTS was good - however people reserved chairs for that and the pools with a towel and book. The crew should monitor this and it's a problem on all ships (Just me Venting). So all in all the ship and crew are very good, the people in charge of the food are really letting down the ship and the crew. Both deserve better from the kitchen. You must go to Vines and enjoy wine and tapas. International Cafe is ok for a light snack. Bar service overall was good. When the bar is slammed just go to the next bar for quick service. All the bars on board are good. Getting on and off the ship was as good or better than any ship we sailed before. I would recommend this ship to anyone, however there is not a lot for the younger sailors on board to do. Entertainment was not that great. Cruise Director was never around, but thinks he's a TV star as he and his girl are on TV every morning trying to sell you something. Some advice for him would be get better acts booked and get out with the people. One guitar act was so bad about 3/4 of the people left after 2 songs. Not many classes or seminars either on this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
We just got back from the 5 night first portion of this cruise and we had a great time. The cruise was very rough for several days, however, we just carried on and had a great time. We are not drinkers, so please do not look for ... Read More
We just got back from the 5 night first portion of this cruise and we had a great time. The cruise was very rough for several days, however, we just carried on and had a great time. We are not drinkers, so please do not look for booze facts here, except the free sampling of rum products in Ocho Rios at 9 am was nice. Service was great, we had a wonderful cabin Steward, Allan, who made sure we had plenty of ice, fruit and towel animals in our cabin. Travel to Port Everglades: We drove for 3 days through beautiful weather to get to Florida and enjoyed our time together. This was part of our first vacation in 23 years without kids. Hotels in Ft. Lauderdale: We stayed at my wife's father condo in Pompano Beach and had some fun times with the in-laws and cousins who were waiting to go on the same ship but 1 week later. Embarkation: Embarkation was quick and easy, from the time we got dropped off at 1 pm until we dropped off our carry-ons in the cabin until we were eating in Horizons Court was about 25 minutes. Shore Excursions: Due to rough seas, Georgetown in the Grand Caymans was off limits, so we were put ashore at an alternate pier and the tenders were not easy going. I had hurt my back prior to the cruise and re-hurt it getting onto the tender from the ship. Still a great time was had with the sister in law and visiting her at Seven Mile Beach. Thank you Princess, we have already started our search for next years' cruise. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
We sailed on the Emerald Princess from Port Everglades to Grand Caymen and Ochos Rios Jamaica.WE arrived at the Port about 10am they told us to line up to wait there were benches .They were not to clear and it wasn't marked at all ... Read More
We sailed on the Emerald Princess from Port Everglades to Grand Caymen and Ochos Rios Jamaica.WE arrived at the Port about 10am they told us to line up to wait there were benches .They were not to clear and it wasn't marked at all where to go if you needed wheelchair assistance.Then we were told i needed to wait in the front on a bench for the handicapped .They told my wife to stay where she was then when i got to the bench i was told i was #2 and they told me my wife should be here with me so i texted her to meet me.Then they came by to have us fill out a health questionnaire and then we waited about 12 o'clock George came with the wheelchair wheeled us right in he handled everything giving us our boarding passes and wheeling us to the waiting area for handicapped we then were wheeled right on to he ship bypassing the picture taking .They brought me right to our cabin where my scooter was all ready there.We were on thee ship by 12:15.We met are cabin steward Felix he apologize for the cabin not being totally ready we understood and had no problem with that. We called room service to take our mini bar out and bring us two coffee cards we then proceed to the international cafe and had lunch there. The worst part of the trip was the muster drill for us .They did a excellent job of getting us to our muster station using the elevator for my scooter. They were very coordinated .The problem occured after the muster drill .They opened up the elevators right away not giving wheel chairs or scooters time o ge on and back to there cabin. We waited a hour for a elevator and it wasn't just us it was all of us in wheelchairs and scooters. That was the worst part of the cruise.That night we ate at the Crown grill it was empty food was great .This is the only night of the cruise the crown wasn't sold out. I highly recommend doing this the first night of your cruise . Highlights of our cruise . The superbowl it was great to watch it with friends and fans in club fusion.Ultimate balcony dinner was awesome ill right more in cabin review. Salty dog pub was well worth the $19.00 pp and was interesting food the bourbon dessert has 2 ounces of jack daniels in it and the jack was not cooked off it was a excellent dessert. Overall we had a great cruise the food was great the crew were very friendly and always smiling.There were no a/c or water problems as some have stated in earlier reviews.Disembark they were again un organized for wheelchairs.room service was great ordered pizza a couple of times and a burger. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
My husband and I and my daughter in her twenties cruised to Eastern Caribbean for 7 days with Emerald cruise embarked on Jan 30th 2016. We had a fantastic time. Our steward Edward was very polite and efficient. We didn't see him ... Read More
My husband and I and my daughter in her twenties cruised to Eastern Caribbean for 7 days with Emerald cruise embarked on Jan 30th 2016. We had a fantastic time. Our steward Edward was very polite and efficient. We didn't see him much, just a few times in the hallway, but our room always got cleaned in the morning and the up bed was put down for us in the evening. We were amazed how he knew that were not in the room and got everything done so well. Our waiter Narisak, who is from Thailand, was very fast and knowledgeable and considerate, took his job very seriously. Food was good, service was unbeatable. Neal, the cruise directer, was on TV everyday, and showed up on the performance in the theater each evening, he was really funny, had us laugh a lot. The beach at each port was beautiful. We didn't book any excursions, just got off ship whenever we were ready and took a taxi to tour the island ourselves. Of course, we payed much more this way. We had a good time for our first cruise, will cruise often with princess in the coming years. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
Emerald Princess Jan 23-Feb 6, 2016 As Jan 23d came closer we read a number of post from those on the Emerald Princess following completion of the recent dry dock and the issues with water, plumbing and air conditioning. We hoped that ... Read More
Emerald Princess Jan 23-Feb 6, 2016 As Jan 23d came closer we read a number of post from those on the Emerald Princess following completion of the recent dry dock and the issues with water, plumbing and air conditioning. We hoped that any issues would be addressed and corrected by our Jan 23d embarkation. During our 14 day cruise we had no issues with water or plumbing however it did seem that at times the air conditioner was having trouble keeping the cabin as cool as we would have liked it. Embarkation: We drove to the port, as usual, and upon arrival followed the traffic headed to the luggage drop off area. As we waited our turn, we noted that the traffic line was unusually long and taking a lot of time. We got to the area where the porters are usually located and heard the police officers yelling out, “drop and go”. We pulled up and I began unloading our luggage and quickly noted that there were no porters, none, zero! The officers continued to yell for drivers to “drop and go” but no one wanted to let their luggage sit there with no porters around to take control. After several minutes three porters showed up, one of which was obviously a supervisor who attempted to explain to an obviously new porter what he was suppose to do. The other walked to the far end of the line and began taking luggage from those waiting. The new guy was so unsure of what to do after the supervisor left, those of us waiting walked our luggage down to the end where the other porter was loading luggage into the carriers. After dropping our luggage, we proceeded like always to the end of the garage to make the left hand turn up the ramp to park but other vehicles were at the top of the ramp trying to turn around and finding the gates closed. Vehicles began circling the garage until we found a person who advised that we needed to leave the garage, go to the traffic light, do a U-turn and re-enter the garage by going up the ramp. Once done, we parked and headed for the terminal building. Once at the terminal building we usually find two lines of passengers; one for regular check in and one for preferred check in but no; what we found was one long line that stretched from the pickup area (for returning passengers) all the way down the length of the building and then returning to the entrance doors. One line for all passengers and once preferred boarding passengers made it all the way back to the entrance doors, the lines were separated into regular check in and preferred check in. We got to the separation point and things began to move more quickly. Got through the scanners, check in and then up to the preferred boarding lounge pretty quick and once there were headed onboard within minutes. We made a couple of stops to make some reservations and then up to our cabin, D735 aft facing. Typical cabin with a very large balcony. Now before we get into some particulars about the ship, we must say that having spent 14 days onboard the Regal Princess just a month ago, where we got really spoiled, the two ships do not compare. First food: We all know that this topic is subjective so we’ll just say that the food was good at the buffet and grill. Pizza the best and International Café great. Must also under this topic speak about the Ultimate Balcony Breakfast: we had this gift once before and had asked about changing some of the menu items for other foods and we were told we could; we did place the order for other food and what we got the next day was the full menu as published as well as all the food that we ordered. Even the delivery person from room service asked how many people would be eating. This time the Emerald Princess room service was WONDERFUL: we attached a substitute menu, hung out the card and the next morning sat around wondering what would show up; what we got was everything we ordered on the substitute menu! And it was hot, fresh and we were so happy. Entertainment: We were a little disappointed in the production shows, which were ok but nothing to write home about; the comedians just weren’t funny. As an example, during the first week, one, Carl Banks, came out and appeared to not have any material so he carried on a conversation with two men sitting near the front of the stage for most of the show. Week two, Jammin Jay Lammont and Mike Siegel were pretty much the same. Comedian Al Katz, who we have seen so often that we know most of his routine, had nothing new. Excursions and tours: St. Thomas, we made our first trip over to St. John’s Island. This is a very small island, several very nice beaches and a small area for shopping and restaurants. We walked around the small town center, ate lunch and shopped. It was very nice but for us, one and done. In Cozumel we did the Salsa and Margarita Making Class (our second time doing this) and it is still a lot of fun. In Roatan we took a tour with Victor Bodden, sightseeing around the island with a stop at Bananarama Resort Beach, which was very nice. We also decided before this cruise to try and get on the Ultimate Ship’s Tour, a behind the scenes tour of areas of the ship where passengers are not allowed as well as several other area. The tour, $150.00 per person, started in the medical center where the ship’s doctor explained how the center worked, showed us the treatment areas and explained the capabilities of the medical staff. The most interesting thing to me was their capability to take x-rays and once done, have the x-ray transmitted to a major hospital in the US where a radiologist reads the x-ray and recommends treatment. Next, we were taken back stage of the theatre where the production manager explained how shows are put on and the effort necessary by the performers and assistants. Next up was the galley tour by the Executive Chef. We were shown the galley for the deck 6 restaurant and crew galley. A conversation on Cruise Critic in the not too distant past concerned the food served to the crew. This topic came up during this part of the tour and the Executive Chef explained that the crew galley was next to this restaurant galley for the purpose of being able to complete menus that were exactly the same. The other interesting information was that the food prepared and placed “out” such as in the buffet, International Café, etc. by regulation can only be left on display (out) for 4 hours at which time it is trashed, can not be served or kept. The tour continued to the food storage and preparation area where we were shown the “butcher shop” that was a smaller version of the butcher shop you would see at home; a fish preparation area where all the fresh fish was prepared per the menu of the day. We were then introduced to the print shop and photo shop managers and learned how they operate. Next stop was the laundry where we were greeted by each and every worker with a smile and a “good morning”. Gave us a completely different perspective of the hard work going on below decks. Our last two stops were really cool. First the Chief Engineer’s Office where he explained the working of the ship, from fuel, engine capacity and functions, sanitation and making of fresh water. He also explained that even though the Captain was going to tell us something different, it was he who was in control of the ship. Sure enough our last stop was the bridge and a meeting with the Captain who began his information by stating that we should disregard everything the Chief Engineer told us, followed by he, the Captain ran everything. (It was actually the best comedy we had seen all week). The Captain explained the duties of the Officers on the bridge and the other personnel. It was a great tour and we finished at the Adagio Bar where we were presented with Champaign and snacks. The tour left us with a new perspective of what goes on behind he scenes and a respect for those working below decks. The tour is expensive however, later in the afternoon we each received in cabin, a plush new Princess robe, a Princess apron, large personal note pad, a large wooden picture frame and 5 large photos taken during the tour including a personal picture siting in the Captain’s Chair with the Captain standing next to each person. Well with the cost! The ship is in very good shape, well maintained and the crew was great. All in all another great Princess cruise aboard one of our favorite ships. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
We sailed on the Emerald Princess from Ft Lauderdale 1/23/2016 - 1/30/2016 into the Western Caribbean with stops in Grand Cayman, Roatan, Cozumel and were scheduled for a stop at Princess Caye but that was aborted due to weather. The ... Read More
We sailed on the Emerald Princess from Ft Lauderdale 1/23/2016 - 1/30/2016 into the Western Caribbean with stops in Grand Cayman, Roatan, Cozumel and were scheduled for a stop at Princess Caye but that was aborted due to weather. The cabin was typical for a Princess balcony room, the beds had been recently replaced and were comfortable (although too soft for my taste but that is a personal issue). The cabin steward was helpful and provided good service. This was a "theme cruise" for us and about 750 of the total passengers with Concerts At Sea. We had private (for 750 people) entertainment shows with Gary Lewis, The Cowsills, Bill Medley and Paul Revere's Raiders as well as private access to Club Fusion in the evenings (and Skywalkers) for dancing and music. I highly recommend checking into the Concerts At Sea offerings, they are done once a year and have been going for 23 years now. The food on every Princess cruise I have taken since my first in the late 1990's has steadily gone downhill ... where initially there was boiled shrimp at every buffet for example now it is only available in the dining rooms and is of pretty poor quality. The Horizon Court offerings (except for breakfast which has maintained a very good offering) is "adequate" at best and really very "institutional". Except for the Salsa & Salsa excursion in Cozumel (which was good) we booked our excursions independently as we always do and I believe get better value in every case.. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
After 8 Carribean cruises in as many years on Carnival, Princess, and Celebrity, we took a 5 year break from cruising as everything had become same old same old. Since we've retired and relocated to Florida, cruising is easier - no ... Read More
After 8 Carribean cruises in as many years on Carnival, Princess, and Celebrity, we took a 5 year break from cruising as everything had become same old same old. Since we've retired and relocated to Florida, cruising is easier - no flights to catch - so we decided to give it another try and chose a short itinerary on the Emerald Princess - 5 days, 2 ports. Embarkation was a breeze and we were in our cabin just a few minutes after boarding. We watched sailaway from our balcony - I highly recommend the Caribe deck balconies - they are substantially larger than other decks. Emerald is a lovely ship, but showing her age. We had a balcony cabin, C619, which is billed as aft, but only 1 cabin away from midship. The cabin was lovely, tight, but not unusually so for a cruise ship. The bed was comfy, and Princess has done an outstanding job on storage space, with a large rack and lots of hangers for things that need to hang, and storage cubbies for things that don't. There is a safe in this same area. There is underbed storage for bags, etc. Good job Princess. Bathroom sink space and shelves were adequate, but the shower was laughable. I'm a 5'4" brunette with dark leg hair I shave every day to keep looking my best, but that was impossible in this shower. It is miniscule, I could barely turn around. I dropped my washcloth and bent to retrieve it and banged the back of my head on the huge soap and shampoo dispensers mounted in the shower. Maybe hotel style bars of soap and shampoo and conditioner would help, they could be kept in the sink area and be brought in as necessary. A hand held shower would be an improvement also, especially for the ladies. The ship itself is lovely, with beautiful public areas and dining rooms - if you can get to them. My only negative about the public areas is somebody please reprogram the elevators - it was common to wait 10 mins for an elevator to show up, only to have the doors open to a packed car, while other elevators in the same bank were parked up on Lido or down on Plaza. Food on Princess is uniformly good in the dining rooms and they did an outstanding job in preparing gluten free food for me, as I have celiac disease. We always eat in the dining rooms for this reason - the risk of cross contamination is too high at buffets. They even made gluten free tea sandwiches and scones for me at afternoon tea - thank you Princess for the personalized attention. The head waiter and a sous-chef introduced themselves the first night and assured me they would be very careful while ensuring I would be well and truly fed. The International Cafe also has an outstanding selection of salads, sandwiches, and desserts, all of which are free except for the $1.50 charged for gelato. I can't comment on excursions as we do our own as long as we are somewhere English is spoken. I will say I don't think Grand Turk has not recovered from the most recent hurricaine and shouldn't be a port of call for awhile, but I'm sure tourist dollars support the economy and they need the ships. Not to worry though, lots of duty-free shopping available right off the ship. Princess's real shortcoming is entertainment. Aside from comic Al Katz on the first and last night, it was a snooze. The new production show Magic to Go, which was prominently plugged, was disjointed and forced - Broadway songs wrapped around a painfully contrived story line. Some passengers liked it, but most of the comments we heard were ho-hum. Our cruise director was Neil Roberts - friendly enough and trying very hard to hype mediocre entertainment. Far and away, I have to give high marks to our cabin steward Jessy. I swear he was in the room 24/7, invisible when his services weren't needed, but right there with anything we needed or asked for. Our cabin was kept spotless and made-up and always looked as it did on embarkation day. We did walkoff disembarkation and it was flawless, although the announced we would be delayed by a shortage of customs inspectors. We were off the ship by 830 and in our car by 9. This was a good return to cruising for us, I just wish ships weren't so big. For me, the best cruises have always been on smaller ships, and bigger isn't better. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
This ship restored our interest in cruising. The staff was exceptional. If you go on this boat, go to the Wheelhouse lounge and ask for Villiam, one of the premier servers we have ever encountered. From Christian at Share, and Edwin at the ... Read More
This ship restored our interest in cruising. The staff was exceptional. If you go on this boat, go to the Wheelhouse lounge and ask for Villiam, one of the premier servers we have ever encountered. From Christian at Share, and Edwin at the Crab Shack, we were blown away. YES< our AC did not get the room cool enough by our standards, But everything service wise from the staff was exceptional. we only ate at the specialty restaurants. Crab shack was only available one night. In order of food quality, tasting, and portions: 1. Share 2. Wheelhouse 3. Crab Shack 4. Crown Grill. we had a mini suite and for a 4 night cruise very nice. We don't typically utilize shore excursions we create our won. They do offer a children's club, there is plenty of space around the 4 - 5 pools. We only received our fruit basket one of the 3 days. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
My spouse and I took this 4 night cruise for a short getaway on January 14, 2016. I had read many negative reviews and was a bit skeptical about sailing on the Emerald Princess again. The past two sailings both were 7 nights and we had a ... Read More
My spouse and I took this 4 night cruise for a short getaway on January 14, 2016. I had read many negative reviews and was a bit skeptical about sailing on the Emerald Princess again. The past two sailings both were 7 nights and we had a wonderful time. Princess is a great cruise line, we have sailed with them 11 times. The food was excellent. I love fish and every night it was cooked to perfection. Other cruise lines that I have sailed Royal Caribbean(25), Celebrity(2), Carnival(6), Norwegian(8), Holland America(1), Costa(1) and Disney(1) all had problems with over cooking fish. Even the fish on the buffet was very good. Princess has the best pizza at sea, their grill has the best selection of any other cruise line. Service was great as on other Princess cruises, staff was very friendly and helpful. "Movie under the Stars" is something not to miss, they put special covers on the lounge chairs with blankets and they serve fresh popcorn and cookies with an up to date movie. The only thing that I will agree with past reviews is that the water in the shower is not hot, but it was warm enough not to be considered a big problem. This was a wonderful cruise as every other Princess ship we encountered, The Grand Princess(1), The Caribbean Princess(3),The Emerald Princess(3), The Ruby Princess(2), The Royal Princess(1), The Regal Princess(1) and we are booked to go on the Coral Princess for a cruise to the Panama Canal and considering going back on The Regal Princess in March. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
We've been on 8 Princess cruises and 12 with other lines. it's been my favorite until this cruise. It's not that it was bad but it wasn't as good as others we've taken with Princess and I think it's because ... Read More
We've been on 8 Princess cruises and 12 with other lines. it's been my favorite until this cruise. It's not that it was bad but it wasn't as good as others we've taken with Princess and I think it's because they are cutting back, especially on the entertainment. I can remember watching the show in the Princess theatre and then rushing to catch another show in the Explorer's lounge. on the few occasions they had an actual show in the lounge, it was scheduled so it was near impossible to get a seat in there. I also noticed some of the games that were once played in the afternoon were now in the evening. Now, if you're a trivia fan - this is the cruise for you! at least 5 times a day including evening. it obviously is a cheap way to entertain the masses. Also, if there is a production show or comedian in the theatre, you need to get there as early as possible or plan on standing. we would go directly from dinner and people were already seated. sometimes 45min - hr. the show didn't last that long! the shows were scheduled around 8 & 10 pm. you might want to keep that in mind when scheduling your dinner. There were 3 production shows on a 10 night and 2 comedians. Don't miss the "newlywed game" or the "cooking show". Mostly, I thought this cruise was a bit boring during the day. what happened to the early afternoon movies inside? the food was very good on this ship. We ate in the Botticelli dining room. the bread was fantastic - crunchy and airy. our table had a hard time pushing the bread basket away. the Steak was hit and miss. we never eat in the specialty restaurants - i'd rather take that money and use it off the ship at home. The buffet always had something good. just one day, I noticed the salad was rusty and they seemed to run out of items but it was as you'd expect for a buffet. it struck me odd that every morning they had mortadella and salami for breakfast but never for lunch. The BBQ on Princess Cays, they ran out of some food early like the cheese for the hamburgers. Service in all areas was excellent. we had a great room steward and our wait staff was fantastic. she always brought us an extra dish at dinner "just to taste". Our head waiter, Carlo always came by to see if there was anything special we wanted for the next night and he delivered. they were all a lot of fun as well. I had a couple of requests for our room steward, such as removing the duvet and replacing it with a top sheet and blanket, no problem. I knew what to expect from our room so there were no surprises. I noticed in other reviews, there were lots of complaints about rooms being too hot. I had no complaints but our friends a few doors down said their room was too warm and no one seemed able to fix it. we attributed it to being down the hall from the International Café but now I wonder. they also had a problem with plumbing. the pool area was as expected except they were always out of towels but I blame that on towel hogs who take several to use as pillows, etc. they do leave towels in the room tho. one of my favorite places is the International Café. great spot for a quick bite and the food is good and free. There is a $1.25 charge for reg coffee and tea and $1.50 for 3 scoops of gelato. of course, coffee and tea are free in the buffet and restaurant. Even tho we are platinum now and I love the quick embarkation and free internet minutes (which I didn't come close to using) I probably won't take another Princess cruise. For many of you this may seem trivial but my biggest gripe was - there was no Sunday service whatsoever. It was a 10 day cruise and I've never been on a cruise where the day was totally ignored. I was deeply offended. I wasn't expecting a mass or even a service but "something". we were in port and if they didn't want to do anything then they could have at least given us some info where to go in port. We were over an hour late disembarking due to a shortage of custom agents. then the skycap brought us to the wrong area to meet our shuttle. these weren't a big deal tho because we are seasoned travelers. I didn't schedule any tours with the ship as I know there are always plenty of tour operators and taxis available off the ship and much cheaper and much more flexible. the only one i'm going to comment on is St. Lucia. we hired a van for $100 for 4 people to take us to the volcano and Soufriere and to see Marigot Bay and the Pitons. It was an absolutely terrible ride on terrible winding roads. When we finally reached the volcano hours later, all we wanted to do was return to the ship - we were exhausted from the ride and lost all interest. we did see the Pitons and Marigot Bay from a distance, definitely not worth the money or drive but Soufriere was an incredibly poor town and none of us could understand the desire to be there. As I said, it wasn't bad or great. It really depends on your expectations from a cruise. I think for our next cruise, we will do Celebrity again. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
We were on the starboard side, mid-Caribe deck as well. Yes, the air conditioning wasn't able to bring the room down to 'meat locker' temperatures, but our room was mostly comfortable. Room was clean, room steward was very ... Read More
We were on the starboard side, mid-Caribe deck as well. Yes, the air conditioning wasn't able to bring the room down to 'meat locker' temperatures, but our room was mostly comfortable. Room was clean, room steward was very attentive and the overall cruise was awesome. We always travel to the embarkation city a day early. Ya never know about the weather in the 'great white north'. We went to the boarding area around 11 on the day of departure. Waited a short time (15 minutes in the waiting area) and moved right on board. The Crown Grill was fabulous as usual. We went to the new GastroPub (Salty Dog). Significant other thought that it was 'ok'. I loved it. They offered a choice of 3 appetizer sized entries. A burger, lobster mac-n-cheese entre' and crab cake (odd combo) were all wonderful. Bread sticks with a cheese fondue and sweet potato fries came with the experience. The beers (can't remember the name of it), brewed for Princess, were a little heavier than your typical miller lite, but good. We did not try the new Share restaurant. Ports were Antigua, St. Kitts, St. Thomas and Grand Turk. It was too windy to dock at St. Kitts, so we tendered out. We stayed on board, since we have been to St. Kitts on a number of occasions. Other than the Christmas winds, the weather was fabulous. We had never been to Grand Turk before. They have a huge Margaritaville there with a large pool. Excellent food, Friendly service. Really enjoyed the port area right by the dock. Our bar of preference on board is Crooners. The entertainment was just 'ok'. The musician did have a huge following, so I suppose it just wasn't my genre'. He was one of those singers that talks a lot during a song, trying to get audience participation. He clowned around, and every once in a while, performed a song. But to be fair, he did pack in a crowd every night. The main event of the cruise was New Years Eve. Princess did not disappoint. At least 3 venues going on all the time, including a Lido deck party and an atrium balloon drop. We chose anytime dining with no wait times. We used the room service on several occasions, all event free with good food. Disembarkation was a breeze. We carry our luggage off and as such, was at the airport at 8am (use a taxi). We will be back next year for NYE. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
Emerald Princess Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 4.5 3.8
Entertainment 4.0 3.5
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.9
Family 4.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 5.0 3.7
Enrichment 4.0 3.4
Service 4.0 4.2
Value For Money 4.5 3.8
Rates 4.0 4.0

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