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158 Princess Emerald Princess Cruise Reviews

The embarkation went exceptionally well as did the debarking. We enjoyed the ports, since we had not been to several of them. We were extremely disappointed with the layout of the ship - it was all chopped up and made moving around the ... Read More
The embarkation went exceptionally well as did the debarking. We enjoyed the ports, since we had not been to several of them. We were extremely disappointed with the layout of the ship - it was all chopped up and made moving around the ship very frustrating. We were also disappointed with the quality of the food and the service in the buffet areas. I have been on many cruise ships, but I have never seen such rude employees as those at the buffet areas. We are used to getting juice and frozen yogurt anytime on Carnival cruises. It was very difficult to get anything to drink other than water, coffee or unsweet tea unless you bought it from the ship. We are southerners, we like our sugar. We enjoyed our dining room staff and our room steward was very good. However, our bed was hard and lumpy and our pillows had seen better days, flat and lumpy. The entertainment was obviously low budget, as shows were done twice and with little imagination, which meant that if you did not care for the entertainment one night you were just out of luck. Compared to Carnival shows, Princess is a poor second. It was also a very boring ship, with very little to do unless you like bingo and eating. We will stick with the fun ships and learn our lesson about choosing by itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date March 2009
My wife and I sailed on 31 October 2008 for a 10-day Eastern Caribbean Cruise onboard on of the newest ships in the Princess Line, the Emerald Princess. While the ship itself was fantastic and the ports everything we hoped for on a cruise ... Read More
My wife and I sailed on 31 October 2008 for a 10-day Eastern Caribbean Cruise onboard on of the newest ships in the Princess Line, the Emerald Princess. While the ship itself was fantastic and the ports everything we hoped for on a cruise designed to celebrate my wife's birthday and my impending retirement, the attitude and performance of the Emerald Princess's crew made the experience easily the least enjoyable of any of our Princess cruises. Embarkation was a snap. My wife is a Platinum Member, so we whisked right through the check-in line. I must say that the port facilities were much better than other places we have sailed from. We were the only cruise ship in port that day, so that may have had something to do with it. Right after dropping our things off in our cabin, we headed for the lunch buffet. Not five minutes after sitting down, a server started with the pitch for the wine tasting. Inside of three hours we had received another three pitches for the event. I realize this is a moneymaker for Princess, but the hard sell was too much. Alas, this was but a harbinger of things to come. I don't want to dwell on the negatives too much. Lets just say that we felt like we were imposing on the crew the entire 10 days. We have never felt this unwelcome on any Princess cruise before. Among the disappointments: no cookie wedge in the dessert ice cream at dinner, scrimping on the alfredo sauce on the fettuccine, no breakfast potatoes at buffet (Caribe), and too few staff on duty at breakfast buffet (Caribe). The crew was not very accommodating, either. Our waiter in DaVinci dining room one night disputed my wife's claim that her bar drink (Beverly Hills ice tea) didn't taste right and huffed and puffed when we asked him to get us another one. The Waiters and Head Waiters spent less time at the tables talking to guests than any other Princess cruise we've taken; they hardly spoke to guests other than to take the dinner order. The Captain's Circle hostess seemed rude and disinterested when I wanted to change the time of our Captain's Circle party. And a bartender at Mermaid's Tail bar on Lido deck rolled his eyes and sighed when I ordered two sodas using the pre-paid soda program that they push as soon as you get on. Onboard entertainment was lacking as well. "Serious Sounds," the band for the Sail Away music from several ports was unenthusiastic. The singer didn't sing on one day, instead running the sound board. On another day, the lead singer leaned on the railing and looked bored while watching people at the pool. He didn't start singing until 30 minutes into a 60 minute set. And only one hour of music playing AFTER the ship has sailed is too late and too short. The DaVinci dining room hours for breakfast and dinner were inconsistent. They stopped seating people for breakfast or dinner at different times every day. And we couldn't find the times of any eating area in any book or notice in the stateroom. $25 for the Chop House? Previous cruises charged only $15 for the Stirling Steak House. And our cabin safe failed during the cruise. It took a lot of emphatic suggesting to get the safe repaired expeditiously. LEave our valuables in a drawer while the safe is not working? Then who would be responsible if something came up missing? The food in the Da Vinci dining room was terrific! THey had only one theme night - Italian night. But they had a variety of items every evening such that I never had to order a "Princess favorite." However, you couldn't be bashful about ordering extra if you wanted it. On lobster night, the waiter didn't offer to bring an extra tail or two. Thank goodness for the ports and tours! They saved the cruise! After the obligatory stop at Princess Cays, the cruise stopped at St. Thomas, Antigua, Barbados, St. Lucia and St. Kitts. We did tours everywhere except Barbados. It rained most of the day in Barbados, so we got lucky there. I recommend OnDeck Racing in St. Thomas. We raced 40-foot sailboats. Be prepared to work at it! We were the crew for the race. This isn't a sit back and enjoy the ride tour! Captain "Scary" Larry and Jonathan were terrific. To get a great view of the port area, take the Skyride up to Paradise Point. You won't be disappointed. In Antigua, we circled the island by catamaran. A stunning view! And you won't believe your eyes when you see Oprah Winfrey's and Eric Clapton's "weekend" homes. The crew of the "Excellence" were wonderful. Watch out though. The rum punch isn't watered down! In St. Lucia, we went to the Piton's by catamaran. Spectacular view! In St. Kitts, we went snorkeling with the Irie Green crew of Captain George, Wayne, and Kenny the Chick Magnet. The water was deep and clear. There were a few jellyfish around, but they didn't sting and were interesting to watch. In summary, the itinerary was perfect, the ship well appointed and practically new, but the overall ship experience left us (and a few others we talked to during the cruise) disappointed. I'll sail with Princess again, but not on the Emerald Princess and most probably not on a ship of that size (3,100 passengers). Read Less
Sail Date October 2008
Emerald Princess February 4, 2008 By Host Joe My first impression of Emerald as we boarded is what a beautiful ship it is. The furnishings and themes are gorgeous. As we toured the ship we became more impressed with her immense size, ... Read More
Emerald Princess February 4, 2008 By Host Joe My first impression of Emerald as we boarded is what a beautiful ship it is. The furnishings and themes are gorgeous. As we toured the ship we became more impressed with her immense size, however a little disillusioned with the layout as it is a little hard to get around (and we have cruised a lot on many ships!). With 19 decks it is a real adventure to get from one part of the ship to the next. All in all, though, Emerald is a an amazingly beautiful ship with many amenities. As the passengers boarded, it became increasingly crowded, which was kind of a shock to us. It was like being in a popular mall the day after Thanksgiving! At most meals at the Horizon Court you stood in long lines followed by having a very hard time finding a table to enjoy your meal. On many occasions I saw people standing up eating their meal, unable to find a table. That is just unacceptable! Princess has done a disservice to the beauty of the ship and to all of her passengers by packing it so full of people. It seemed that almost every time you wanted to go somewhere onboard you were in a herd of people, which gets very annoying. According to guest services, the ships regular capacity is 3070 passengers; however the maximum including triples and quads is 3700. They informed me that we had 3700 aboard on our cruise. Our table mates had been onboard for the past two sailings and they reported that the crowds had been the same each cruise. This leads me to believe that they must pack it at the maximum on most cruises. The food and service onboard was good. Once you got to the food at the Horizon Court (and found which station was open out of the 4 stations!). I was impressed with the staff at Horizon Court and how eager they were to offer you a beverage which was nice. We had late traditional seating as we always do and the food and service there were quite good and we enjoyed it very much. Our wait staff team was great. I am very happy that we did not have anytime dining because we heard endless comments on how the large church group that was onboard had taken up all of the anytime dining slots from 6pm to 8pm and it was a nightmare. Sabatini's, the Italian themed specialty restaurant onboard, is absolutely wonderful. The $20 service charge per person is definitely worth it in my opinion. Once seated they tell you to only pay attention to choosing your entrEe, as they bring the rest of the menu out for you to sample! They kept coming by with little samplings of everything and it was out of this world. The service was flawless and this was a truly wonderful experience. We both had the sea bass as our entrEe and it was fantastic. Our experience at the other specialty restaurant onboard was not very good. The service charge was $25 and in my opinion was not worth it at all. The appetizer and salad were good but it went downhill from there. We had a filet mignon and a porterhouse steak as entrEe's. The porterhouse was over half fat and grizzle and average in flavor. The filet mignon was a little dry and not very good quality. The worst part was the desserts. Both of our desserts were fluffy and had little flavor. The service was very sub-par as well. Our waiter could not even remember who got what at each course and there were only two of us! I am sorry, but when I go to a specialty restaurant and pay an extra fee, I expect it to be special! The Crown dining room did have very nice furnishings and was decorated very well. We heard others say that they had a good experience there, so maybe we had just an isolated bad experience. They put the internet cafe (the only one onboard for some reason!) all the way down on deck 5. It is small and adequate, but most passenger cabins are on upper decks. Our cabin was on deck 12, so you had to trot down 7 flights of stairs to get to it. There is no wireless in the rooms, so you must go to a public area such as the atrium to get access to it. If you are Platinum or Elite as we are, the internet package does not include wireless for some reason and you must use the computers on deck 5 only. A ship this size should have another internet cafe located mid ship, higher up like most others do. A true design flaw is for people that are somewhat tall (6 feet or above) that want to use the gym equipment. I use an elliptical for exercise and was shocked when I found that they made the ceiling height too low in the gym to use it unless you are shorter. When I got on the elliptical I instantly hit my head on the ceiling, unable to stand straight up. I did one workout in the gym and ended up with a back and neck ache from having to slouch and duck my head while exercising. I saw several other taller men having the same issue that day, a couple just walking away shaking their heads. What on earth were the designers thinking? Our stateroom was A633, which is a standard balcony cabin. It was very nicely appointed. The furnishings and the duvet were great. The flat screen TV was a nice addition. I loved the walk-in style closet. When it came to the bathroom, though, the shower is the worst I have ever experienced. Not only is the shower small and you have the cling-on shower curtain, but the shower head was too low like an old 70's hotel and there was no room to store toiletries, etc that you use during showering. Overall I was very pleased with our stateroom. We loved the itinerary of our 10-day cruise. The first stop was Princess Cays, which we enjoyed a wonderful BBQ lunch and swam in the ocean. Next we had a day at sea. We found most places outside on the decks to be fairly loud with either the Movies Under The Stars or the pool band. Next was St. Thomas, where we went to Coki beach on our own. The cost was only $9 per person each way for the taxi. The chairs on Coki were $5 each and there were bar and food servers everywhere. We snorkeled, swam and enjoyed laying in the sun. Dominica was our next port, where we were booked through the ship for the Champagne Reef snorkel. This was one of the very best ship-sponsored snorkel tours we have ever done. We usually avoid them, but we were very pleased with did this one. We had over 2 hours in the water and the snorkeling was very pleasant. The Champagne part is where the bubbles come up from the old volcano crater and shimmer like diamonds in the water. In Grenada we decided to just go in on our own and walk around. We were only in port until 1pm. We walked around for a couple of hours, buying lots of spices. I can understand why they call this the spice island, as there was the smell of spices everywhere! The spices were offered at very good prices, too. Next up was Bonaire. We arrived at noon, and booked passes to Klein Bonaire (little Bonaire) through the ship for $29 per person round trip, including a beverage on the island. We did this on our own last year and paid $20 per person round trip but the transportation was a rickety old boat that was packed full and uncomfortable. I will gladly pay Princess the extra $9 for the nice boat we went over to the island on! Klein Bonaire is strictly a beach with no amenities and some of the best coral reef that the Caribbean has to offer! We walked down the beach towards Bonaire and watched for a break in the reef, which is just a few feet from shore. We entered the water in that little break and did a drift snorkel along the edge of the island back towards where we were dropped off on the beach which is where the reef breaks again. The current is fairly strong and provides a very nice pace as you go along the outside edge of the reef. Below you is the DEEP big blue of the ocean! The fish are huge and abundant and the coral is amazing. I repeated this snorkel process three times, taking up our whole afternoon on the island. What a day! On our last two days at sea we found a wonderful slice of heaven onboard Emerald Princess. The sanctuary is located all the way forward on the top deck. They charge $10 per person for a half day, and reservations are taken day of only on a first come, first serve basis. Both mornings I went up mid-morning and reserved the afternoon session for us. At first the thought of paying $10 to use a section of the ship made me a little angry, but once I enjoyed it I understand. First of all, you choose a seat inside, under a series of shades or outside directly in the sun. The chaise lounges are heaven, with really thick pads. You are greeted by a who shows you to your chair, fills a glass full of ice water that is infused with citrus fruits and a cool towel. The stewards come around regularly, refilling your ice water all day long as well as offering fresh cool towels. Talk about being spoiled! They also have a menu that you can order from so that you don't have to join the 3700 other passengers trying to have some lunch! Both days were pure bliss for me. I sat and listened to my Ipod and gazed out at the ocean (you can have your chaise lounge face the ocean). If you do not have an Ipod, they offer the use of theirs that are accompanied by Bose noise-cancelling headphones. If you feel like a dip in the pool, the spa pool is one deck below the Sanctuary, and is easily accessible. The new debarkation that is very similar to what Celebrity has been doing for quite some time worked pretty well. We were scheduled to meet at 8:40am in Michelangelo and we left there about 9:10am. All went smooth from there. We were booked on a sister ship to Emerald for next year but cancelled it before we departed the ship, rebooking on a Celebrity cruise. I will always consider a Sun or Island class aboard Princess, but this is the last Princess mega ship for me. The interesting thing was that we talked with many people onboard, and inevitably the comments would start flying about how crowded the ship is and that this will be the last Princess for them. I am very sad by this, as I have always enjoyed the Princess product and I am afraid they are ruining it with these mega ships being packed too full. We would love to go on Emerald again as she is such a beautiful ship, however the memories of the crowds everywhere will stop me from booking it. Read Less
Sail Date February 2008
If you are interested in a relaxing, enjoyable Caribbean cruise, rethink the Emerald Princess (or its sister ship, the Crown Princess) as the choice. We embarked from Fort Lauderdale on January 15th for a ten day Southern Caribbean Cruise. ... Read More
If you are interested in a relaxing, enjoyable Caribbean cruise, rethink the Emerald Princess (or its sister ship, the Crown Princess) as the choice. We embarked from Fort Lauderdale on January 15th for a ten day Southern Caribbean Cruise. Let me summarize my observations: 1. The ship is much too large. With over three thousand passengers, you are always in a crowd. In order to maximize revenue producing franchises, such as the art auction, the photo gallery, and the casino, Princess has eliminated the card room, cut the library down to a closet size room, and created a Internet Lab where you almost sit on the lap of the next terminal user. Public areas are also downsized making lounges, Galleria,and other locations as crowded and "enjoyable" as a Airport waiting area. 2. The worst feature of this ship is the most touted "Movie Under The Stars." The loud blaring sound from the sixteen speakers make it almost impossible to sit in the Neptune Pool area. For some reason, Princess has decided to play loud James Bond type movies during the day producing even more deadly noise. Our attempts to have the sound level reduced were met with impolite disdain from the Deck Manager. People were constantly leaving this area and going to the other pool, the Calypso which was overcrowded with limited shade areas. In addition if you should take a cabin with balcony in the forward section of the ship on the higher decks you will constantly hear the blaring the the sixteen speakers! Princess must realize that they have created a noisy environment. For a charge of $20 a day per person, you are allowed to sit in The Sanctuary and enjoy the cruise. Obviously, Princess is more interested in increasing its revenue then providing for your comfort. By the way, very few people actually watch the Movie. In the evening there is never more then ten to twenty souls viewing the large screen. 3. The Horizon Court has a low ceiling creating a closed in and very warm environment. The staff was excellent and courteous. However the food items were unimaginative and below previous standards. Particularly bad was an area where sandwiches were stacked in an unattractive manner and where passengers had to reach in with their hands to get one. It was obvious to our party (six people) that the standards of Princess have slipped since their acquisition by the Carnival Corporation. I would make the following suggestions. 1. If price is your main criteria, I would consider Carnival against Princess since the amenities and service of Princess have now approached the lower level of Carnival. 2. If you must travel with Princess, avoid the Emerald and Crown and any other Princess ship with over 2,600 passengers. 3. If you are willing to spend a little additional money, consider Celebrity. Celebrity provides a level of customer satisfaction similar to what Princess was previously known for. An aside; If you are planning to rent a car at Fort Lauderdale before or after the cruise, we found out the hard way, not to consider Enterprise. All the other rental agencies provide free shuttle transportation to and from the Terminal. Enterprise does not participate in the program. It cost us $30 for two trips back and forth to the Terminal. Any savings that you may think that Enterprise is providing is lost in the inconvenience and additional cost of a taxi. We hope this information helps you with your cruise planning. Read Less
Sail Date January 2008
I read the reviews of others who took this same 10 day cruise and concluded that my wife and I, our grandson, and our traveling companion must have been in a Twilight Zone episode. Embarkation was a nightmare caused in part by the ... Read More
I read the reviews of others who took this same 10 day cruise and concluded that my wife and I, our grandson, and our traveling companion must have been in a Twilight Zone episode. Embarkation was a nightmare caused in part by the Norovirus on the previous sailing BUT this in no way excuses the herding of boarding passengers into a building at the port that had about 1000 seats fewer than the number of people inside. After waiting for more than 2 hours, we were ushered across the street into a massive traffic jam at security where we again waited for about 20 minutes before being pointed to another room with yet another massive line that ended with the clerks for the various deck names on the Emerald. We were Caribe deck; when we approached that line a Princess or Port employee told us to change lines to Baja since it was shorter. That's when we found that several deck lines were supposed to be manned by 3 clerks; each desk had 3 computers but only 2 people were working. We arrived at the Port at 1230 to park our car; we made it aboard ship at 345pm. Dining. We had previously sailed Golden and Emerald and opted for anytime dining after cruising on Emerald in June 2007. Slight difference this trip. When I called for reservations at 830am I was told we could have anytime we wanted...530pm, 545pm or 6pm. I wanted 8pm; nothing available but 530, 545 or 6pm. I asked the young lady taking reservations if I could speak to her supervisor after 3 consecutive days of this. I was told, "I have no supervisor, I am God!" and then she hung up. Next day, and every day thereafter, a male (Alan Fuentes) answered the reservations telephone...530, 545 or 6pm available, nothing else at any other time. I approached the DaVinci dining room head waiters and maitre d' after our first chaotic night and tried to make a standing 8pm reservation and was told by Augoste and Rui that I had to call reservations in the morning. This was NOT the same procedure as on Golden or Emerald previously...on those prior cruises, the DaVinci maitre d' accepted the reservation as we left the dining room every evening. Apparently ANYTIME now means anytime of your choice at 530, 545 or 6pm. After several nights of this process, my wife and I went to DaVinci without a reservation and we were told we could take a 'buzzer' and there would be a 1-2 hour wait for service. I lifted my video camera to the maitre d's face and asked him to please repeat his statement as I videoed him and the dining room. Lo and behold, we were seated immediately! As we entered DaVinci, I counted 35 empty tables but I could only see about 1/2 the room. From that evening on, I carried the video camera and we were seated moments after arriving...and there were ALWAYS at least 2 dozen empty tables. After several conversations with other passengers we discovered that the maitre d's were "selling" tables...tip them and you were seated, no tip, you wait...interminably. Wonder if Princess knows the staff is in business for themselves? The wait staff...they ranged from Denny's and Shoney's castoffs to superb. Unfortunately, the ratio of castoff to superb was about 10 to 1. We received wrong entrees, incomplete platters, and sometimes unrecognizable matter on the plates. Prime example, I usually order Eggs Benedict for breakfast. On 3 separate days I was served the egg, the English muffin, something that might have been Canadian bacon (but I could never be sure) and all covered with BROILED TO CINDER BLACK something that was supposed to be hollandaise sauce on top. On the other end of the spectrum, omelets were served piping hot and correctly filled. Too bad I never got a single piece of the toast I ordered with them each day. The New Year's Eve menu was extraordinarily fine food, well prepared and served with aplomb. It almost made up for the cacophony of screeching adults(?)and their heartily imbibing teen-age children who surrounded our table and drowned out the waiter as he tried to describe the various menu items to us. Princess' signature dish, the Alfredo pasta, was delicious; the filet mignon was outstanding, the fruits almost impossibly fresh and tasty, the smoked salmon plentiful and excellent, the vegetables invariably well-prepared and well-presented. But for the first several days of the cruise, there was no salt or pepper on the table, the wait staff poured the catsup onto your burger or fries, there was neither sugar nor sweet'n'low on the table, and there was no butter on the table for your bread or rolls. Your hands were sprayed with cleansing jelly before you entered the dining rooms. Of course, you were than handed a leather or cardboard encased menu that several hundred passengers had touched before you. LUDICROUS AND UTTERLY STUPID PROCEDURE. If you intend cleanliness and no disease spread, use PAPER menus and destroy each as soon as the passenger places his or her order. And then there was the Captain's Party for returning guests. It was the ONLY time during the 10 days that we saw any senior officer or staff member. It featured flat champagne and watered down drinks. The Bourbon on the rocks that I ordered was nothing but brown colored water, totally lacking in alcoholic content. If I had wanted a Shirley Temple, I would have ordered one. Entertainment. The singers and dancers were VERY good. We saw 2 production shows and there were the equal of or better than most of the previous productions on our 15 prior cruises. My wife and our traveling companion enjoyed the comedian's antics. Spa. My wife and I bought the Couples Thermal Suite package almost immediately upon boarding Emerald. We had learned about it on our prior Princess trips. We used the sauna, the aromatherapy steam room and the heated benches almost daily. We were not enthralled with the tropical rain showers in the thermal suite...on the first day out someone had dropped a large tube of sun block on the floor of one shower and it lay there, undisturbed, for 4 consecutive days before finally disappearing. On a ship stricken with Norovirus on it's immediate prior cruise this was appalling! Needless to say, we, and almost every other thermal suite guest used the other shower...and about day 5 there appeared a wadded paper tissue on the floor of that shower and it did not disappear until 3 days later. On the next to last day of the cruise during a late afternoon heated bench nap I was enjoying, the false French door screen fell off the door to the cleaning supply room and crashed into the heated bench on the opposite side of the suite. Let me assure you, that will wake you in a hurry! Teenage Activities. They must have been absolutely the best ever provided on any ship sailing anywhere. Our 17 year old grandson went upstairs right after we boarded the Emerald. We saw him for the life jacket drill, supper the first night, supper on the first formal night, and about midnight every night when he returned to the room to sleep. He did go ashore with us a couple of times; at least he started with us but he met some friends while walking and they all went off together. He ate most meals with his shipboard friends. For the first time in the 8 cruises he's taken with us, we did not play a single round of miniature golf! Cabin. We had a Caribe deck balcony cabin midship. It was precisely what we expected insofar as size and amenities but our cabin steward was above and beyond the norm. We never wanted for anything! Our cabin was immaculately kept. The beds were made up and turned down while we were away from the cabin. Our steward knew our comings and goings and never once did we disturb him or he us. We had clean towels and ample bathroom supplies without ever having to ask for anything. Overall commentary. We sailed Emerald in June 2007 on a Mediterranean cruise. The ship and crew were outstanding and the food was exceptionally good. It is hard to believe that a ship could change so drastically for the worse in just over 6 months. It is like an Olympic luge careening downhill at breakneck speed...beautiful to look at but requiring serious consideration before boarding as a passenger. Read Less
Sail Date December 2007
This was my wife's and I 6th cruise and was our first one on Princess. We have done 4 RCL and one Carnival. We are both in our early 30's along with the other couple who came along with us. Embarkation: We live only 30 minutes ... Read More
This was my wife's and I 6th cruise and was our first one on Princess. We have done 4 RCL and one Carnival. We are both in our early 30's along with the other couple who came along with us. Embarkation: We live only 30 minutes from the port so getting to the port was no issue at all. Arrived at around 1130 and found there was a line already extending out the door. This is where we got a taste of how the rest of the cruise was going to go. Standing in line we felt as we were out of place because of the big age difference between us and the rest of the passengers. This does not bother us at all because we like to do our own things and we had friends along our age to keep us company. But I think it bothered others because we received countless number of looks as if we did not belong here and actually overheard a couple behind us whisper to another couple that "oh, they must be lost, Carnival is parked over there...hope there's not more". As much as I wanted to say something I just bit my tongue and just realized that some people are like that. Well, I would say we were on probably around 1245 to 1pm about an hour and a half or since we got there..not impressive. Ship/Cabin: We stayed in cabin B748 which is an aft facing cabin. We loved the room as we really like the view from the back. The room had plenty of space with plenty of room under the bed for your luggage. The balcony was very spacious with 4 chairs and a table. Our room steward introduced himself right away and was very nice. The ship in general was very nice but everything felt confined because of the low ceilings everywhere you went..it just felt small compared to the public rooms on the voyager class for example on RCL. Dining/Service: This is where the Emerald was lacking. We chose to do anytime dining which at the end we decided next time we would do traditional. Honestly, we maybe enjoyed one dinner out of what 10 or so we had onboard. Not all of it was because of the food but rather more because of the service or should I say lack of it. On several nights we were sat and waited for several minutes before anyone would even come over and ask for our drink orders. I'm not talking about 5 or 10 minutes folks, I mean like 20 minutes. We are very patient people and understand that these waiters are busy but at least come by and say something and introduce yourself. Out of all the waiters we had only one actually introduced themselves to us. It actually became a running joke between the four of us on how long we would wait every night. Food orders would come out wrong and instead of them saying I'm sorry I will get you what your ordered it was more like getting an attitude from them. Enough of that because I can complain all night about the service. Food wise like I said was just ok. Nothing really caught our attention on most nights and on two nights we actually had to get different dishes because what we ordered was not very good at all (Halibut tasted and felt like a hockey puck). The buffets were pretty good..good variety on some things. They really, really need to add more seats in the buffet area's. You honestly had to circle around the tables for like 20 min to find somewhere to sit for breakfast. Half the time we brought the food back to our rooms to eat on the balcony because there was just not enough room up there. The most annoying thing is people would not even be eating at half of those tables. They would just sit there and socialize as others circle looking for somewhere to put their food down. Bar service was great at Crooners and at the Wheelhouse Bar.(Tom at Crooner's is awesome). Entertainment: We went to most of the shows..I think we only missed one. Most of them were really good..didn't really understand the Boogie Shoe's show. Started out about being shoes then kind of drifted off into something else. I really wish they had more activities top side by the pool like RCL. Most of the activities were inside and marketed towards an older crowd. The CD was pretty much nonexistent and would maybe hear from him only about twice a day. Just a very boring atmosphere. Would also be nice to hear from the captain once in a while. Ports: Did not book any excursions through Princess. We just go ashore and get tours and all that stuff from the vendors there. We enjoyed most of the ports in exception of Grenada. We took about 10 steps off the ship and got right back on. You could not take a single step without some cab driver hounding you for a tour. The first one would not even be finished before another one would come up and ask you the same thing. Just flat out annoying. Everything else was pretty much standard with the cruise. Honestly, to us this cruise was not what we expected and we got off really disappointed with the Emerald and with Princess. The biggest reason the service..just flat out bad. Maybe it would make a difference if they had to work for their tips instead of getting the automatic tips which Princess does. This was just one persons review but I'm sure others had a flawless cruise and I'm glad they did. All in all we had a good time because any cruise is better then work but we wont be sailing Emerald or Princess anytime soon. Maybe in the future..BIG maybe... Read Less
Sail Date October 2007
This is my first review. We have been on four other cruises including Norwegian, Royal Caribbean, and MSC. Forgive my blunt and concise nature, but I read USA Today. Our cruise was from Venice to Rome aboard Emerald Princess We flew into ... Read More
This is my first review. We have been on four other cruises including Norwegian, Royal Caribbean, and MSC. Forgive my blunt and concise nature, but I read USA Today. Our cruise was from Venice to Rome aboard Emerald Princess We flew into Rome, stayed the night (Hotel Aberdeen - recommended by Rick Steves was overpriced, dirty, but conveniently located. Best Western Hotel Universo was a better bet as long as expectations are low since they promote themselves as a 4 star hotel) and then took the Eurostar to Venice and stayed the night there before boarding the following day. Do not pay extra for 1st class on the Eurostar for this trip since that only gets you a plastic cup of Fanta served by an irritated steward. I do not recommend the Venice hotel, "Locanda Sturion" as it is overpriced at 260 euro (if you use Venere.com you will be tempted by the offer of 180 euro, but if you are taller than 5 feet, you will not be able to stand upright in the "attic room" that is covertly attached to that price) We did not utilize porters since we packed lightly with only one carry on sized bag each. We walked to the port. There is no signage directing one to the port. Hindsight being 20/20, we learned of a free shuttle to the port. Princess should make this known to future passengers. I doubt this will happen. The Room: (Deck 11 - balcony #B306 port side) was nice because it was new. The steward, "Niphon" was very much on the ball and should move to a better cruise line. The flat screen TV would be more remarkable if there were other stations besides the blue and black generic princess screens for every other channel. The only live feed was CNN. Commentary from the port expert could not be heard through the TV speakers when departing from each port because of a volume limiting problem. The hallway noise heard in our room was irritating and unacceptable for a new ship. We complained about the constant slamming of the service door across from our room. The Princess solution was to tape a towel to the door latch of that door. It did help, but made the hallway look like a Motel 6 under renovation. The Food: Breakfast: Be prepared for zero variety in both buffet and dining room. If you like steam trays full of runny scrambled eggs, Dolly Madison quality pastries, milk in juice boxes with the straw attached, pancakes like hockey pucks, maple syrup in a "7-11 nacho cheese pump", and Folgers coffee served from a "tap"...then you will love the buffet! The juice options include orange and cranberry. A request for grapefruit, apple, or tomato will set you back at least 15 minutes, but you can always drink it on your way out. The dining room is the exact same food with longer waits but different plating style. Lunch: Ate lunch in port all but once (at sea day) so I cannot give an honest review here. Dinner: Princess promotes their two premium restaurants daily in the Princess Patter. We ate at both Sabitini's ($20 extra per person) and Crown Grill ($25 extra per person). Yes, by paying extra you can eat dinner in less than 3 hours (since there are no other people in these restaurants) but you get pretty much the same food!!! The only advantage is that you can actually order an overcooked 4 ounce lobster tail rather than wait for it to be on the dining room menu two days later. The coffee in the dining room is as bad as the buffet. Even the pay-per-cup coffee at the coffee bar($1.75 per cup) is poor quality. Yes, I live in Seattle, but I'm not that picky about coffee! Snacks: Burgers at the Trident grill were decent. I am unsure what to make of the practice of "refrying" the french fries after being under the heat lamp - but they actually tasted good and extra crispy! Pizza is not worth your time unless you have no other option. The sauce is tomato paste with water. The ice cream bar is a rip off considering you can get a nice gelato for less money in any port. Entertainment: Quite disappointing. Having been on MSC (great entertainment, horrible food) perhaps I am biased. Norwegian and RCCL had better entertainment and food than Princess. When the venue/theater is more interesting than the entertainment, it's a problem. We walked out on one show and two comedians. Two comedians doubled up on material almost verbatim. Customer Service: - What is that? Bring quarters for the laundry room if you wish to wash clothes as the change machines are just a tease. Don't bother calling from the phone in the laundry room to have the machine restocked with quarters. Don't even bother calling 7 (yes seven) times. After the 4th call I was just amusing myself. Just go wash your clothes in the sink and save yourself $3. If you choose "any time dining" and are told the room is full, don't take the pager. Just go to the other dining room or step back in line and wait for another host/hostess. Don't expect the front desk to be forthcoming with information about where you disembark. If you disembark in Civitavecchia DO NOT BE SUCKERED INTO BUYING A PRINCESS TRANSFER TO ROME. Take the train. If you don't want to walk to the station, spit a cab with fellow passengers. Princess will tell you that there is limited taxi service. Bull! Ports: Do not take a Princess sponsored shore excursion in Kusadasi. Shame on Princess for turning it into a "hard sell Turkish rug bonanza" at the end of the excursion. They should PAY passengers to go on ANY tour in Kusadasi that includes an unexpected and unwelcome herding into a rug store. Get to Ephesus on your own by taxi and hop on one of the cruise ship charter buses on the way back but step out of line when they try to herd you in a rug store at the end. Don't let Princess nickel and dime you to death when you get to a port. They always want extra money to actually get you to where they say they are docked - Venice, Olympia, Mykonos, Rome, Dubrovnik, etc. Do your own research. You can get to Rome for 4.50 euro by train if you are willing to walk 15 minutes to the train station in Civitavecchia (free shuttle from ship to edge of port). Princess wants $75. The local taxi wants 20 euro just to get you to the train station. Room Service: If you fill out the form for daily fresh fruit, expect it about 2 days later. Run of the mill orange, kiwi, and banana. Pears were quite good. Room service was timely despite VERY limited menu selection. Internet: Never worked so it was "free". Flights: Avoid Air Canada if you are over 5 feet tall or not a contortionist - especially if you fly Toronto to Rome as they have packed more seats into a Boeing 767 like no other airline I have been on. My wife is 5 feet 4 inches (I am 6 feet 4 inches) and have NEVER heard her complain about leg room on an airline flight until Air Canada. I stood most of the flight as did the 6 foot 9 inch basketball player who plays in the Italian leagues. Be aware that it is habit for Air Canada flight attendants to restock/unload the beverage/trash cart while it is lodged between the lavatory doors in the rear of the plane. Be prepared for an argument if you have no choice but to use the first class lavatory because of this. Or, be prepared to squat in the isle and do your business. Also, if there happens to be a row of empty seats on the way from Rome to Toronto, don't expect to be able to use them. Instead, expect the flight attendants to be napping there. Best Values: 1 - Scooter rental in Mykonos (10 Euro for the day) 2 - Jeep in Santorini (35 Euro for the day) 3 - Metro in Rome (1 Euro will get you anywhere) 4 - Public water bus in Venice (1.20 Euro will get you anywhere) 5 - Knock off belts in every port (2-3 Euro) 6 - Wine tasting in Santorini 7 - Pay toilet in Ephesus (worth the 0.50 Euro just for the photo of the sign) 8 - Kumquat and Pomegranate liquor in Rhodes 9 - Local wines (when purchased at supermarkets) Biggest Rip-Offs: 1 - Princess shuttles (especially Civitavecchia to Rome transfer but second only to Venice water shuttle service) 2 - Venice "Tourist Pass" 3 - Princess "Sanctuary" 4 - Rugs in Turkey 5 - Lemonade in Capri (hydrofoil from Naples) at 6 Euros (i.e. always inquire about price before ordering ANYTHING. 6 - Art auction 7 - Dubrovnik city walls entrance fee 8 - Pay restaurants on board, food in Dubrovnik Biggest Pleasant Surprise: 1 - Despite trying, never was pick-pocketed (though watching them in action at the Spanish Steps in Rome was a hoot!) Biggest Disappointment: 1 - Ruins in Olympia Biggest pain in the butt: 1 - Public bus in Capri Overall: For the money paid this was a horrible cruise value. Tips for Future Passengers: 1 - Request a room far from the service door 2 - Avoid Princess shore excursions - buddy up with fellow passengers - FUN! 3 - Ask for the "good" robes 4 - Avoid the pay restaurants Read Less
Sail Date April 2007
My husband and I, along with 9 other people, sailed on the Emerald Princess on its maiden voyage from Rome (Civitavecchia) to Venice. We picked this cruise because we were very interested in cruising the Greek Isles and this itinerary ... Read More
My husband and I, along with 9 other people, sailed on the Emerald Princess on its maiden voyage from Rome (Civitavecchia) to Venice. We picked this cruise because we were very interested in cruising the Greek Isles and this itinerary offered absolutely the best itinerary we had seen. None of the people in our party chose to fly through the cruise line, as we all found that we could do much better on our own. Those who booked independently found that they saved about $500/person on the flights offered by the cruise line. We found the embarkation process extremely easy and were looking forward to an equally satisfying cruising experience. Our outside cabins were wonderful - fresh and new. By comparison to our many other cruises, they were spacious and amenity-filled, even the bathroom which seemed positively huge compared to most cruise lines. The closet had plenty of space for everything we had brought. Our cabin steward was fantastic and was always at our beck and call quickly and with a smile. After settling in, we made our way up top for the sail-away, which was nothing special - considering that this was the first voyage of the Emerald Princess. No free specialty cocktails, no free glasses of champagne. We were surprised, considering what we have been treated to on other sailings which were ordinary and not a major event, as this voyage was touted. We were not able to enjoy the beautiful sail away from the port, as we had reservations in the main dining room at the early seating and we anticipated a wonderful meal. Were we ever wrong!! This was just the first of many MAJOR disappointments in the cruise and I must say that I don't believe I was sailing on the same ship as the other reviewers. This was the most awful dining experience we have ever had on a cruise ship and it continued that way for 12 days straight. Food arrived cold, over or under-cooked, and one time as a blob of pasta, hard as a rock. There were major problems in the kitchen and these were never addressed. Our waiter and his assistant were highly embarrassed but there was nothing they could do. They couldn't get the food out quickly enough or hot enough and on more than one occasion, the Captain visited our table and all the other tables in our area to apologize for the problems and to see what the major complaint of the night was. We heard from many passengers that they experienced the same thing, night after night. The buffets didn't offer much better, as the food was uninspired on the entire ship. Those who did the dining at any time found the restaurants crowded and the food poorly prepared. The specialty restaurants were poorly rated by those in our party who went. To put it mildly, the food was absolutely HORRID, all the time. We loved every port we visited and had marvelous weather. We arranged our own private tours and these were exceptional in every way. Our private tours were cheaper than the ship's offerings and from talking to other passengers, we got a much better feel for all ports and were not subjected to large buses and herd mentality. I highly recommend private tours. The entertainment was OK but not phenomenal. The first night's comedian was abominable and not fit for children. We were worried that the other nights would only get worse. That was not the case. The big review nights (tributeto Motown and the Beatles night) were fabulous. A comedian brought onmid-cruise was hilariously funny and totally clean. A magician was right up there with the best of them. Of the 12 nights of entertainment, there were really good ones, 3 mediocre ones and 3 real snorers. All in all, the itinerary was outstanding, with amazingly beautiful and interesting ports of call. We toured Pompeii and climbed Vesuvius, two things not to miss. We had a fabulous tour of Santorini that left us breathless with the beauty of this tiny island. Ephesus was another highlight and boggled our minds beyond belief. We rented a car in Kotokolon and drove to the ancient site of the Olympics and those in our party who did not, missed a gorgeous place. Dubrovnik sparkled and was full of history both ancient and modern. I would repeat this itinerary in a heartbeat but NOT on board a Princess cruise. In summary, we will never sail Princess again because we found it to be disappointing in so many major ways. The ship was beautiful but the dining experience ruined it for all in our party. The service was good but not exemplary. The parade of Baked Alaska was a joke (fake cakes with electric candles – come on!!!) and the tower of champagne was another big bore. These two nights were so highly promoted that we couldn’t believe we had been so shortchanged. In addition, every time we turned around, they were charging for something. There was no free ice cream in the ice cream bar – how did that happen? The only time ice cream was free was from 3:00-4:00 PM and then you couldn’t get close to it to get any. Never was a free drink offered (except at the Captain’s Cocktail Party) and that was another joke. The internet didn’t work EVER and they finally gave up and refunded all the charges they had written to the passengers’ accounts the first 2 days. We ended up finding internet cafes at each port. Horrendous in every way to treat passengers like this – maiden voyage or not. Did I sail on a different ship? Read Less
Sail Date April 2007
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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