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1,699 Princess Emerald Princess Cruise Reviews

completely agree with the Cruise Critic article about the fact that the ships are being so heavily discounted to fill them that it attracts a very different class of people on board. It not just Princess but all cruise lines do it. The ... Read More
completely agree with the Cruise Critic article about the fact that the ships are being so heavily discounted to fill them that it attracts a very different class of people on board. It not just Princess but all cruise lines do it. The buffet was packed every night which is the first time I have ever seen this on a cruise. the dinning rooms almost empty after 7pm. The staff were indifferent to us and barley spoke as if they couldn't be bothered but I can understand why as some of the people on board were so rude to them demanding instant attention and clicking their fingers at them.. And the staff know full well they are not going to make any decent tips on this voyage Formal night is a complete waste of time as people's version of formal is so very different. We ended up going to the Crown Grill dressed in our finery spending an extra $50 , the food was excellent but we didn't feel special or were made to feel special we thought we would be in there for at least 3 hours but only just managed to stretch it to 2 as the service was too quick. We would have preferred longer between courses so we could really appreciate the food. Certain bar staff were far too pushy in wanting you to order doubles which could be intimidating for any first time cruisers. A lot of the DISCOUNT cruisers would push in all the time shout their drink order at the bar without realising there was a queue (or LINE) and I think it was a completion to see how many people could fit in a lift (ELEVATOR) !! They would just keep coming when they could see it was full therefore squishing every one in side and some of them were not small people ! However we did have a fantastic holiday because most of the destinations we hadn't been to before and that is why we cruise. We don't choose cruises because of so called loyalty cards which are not really worth much, we look at itinerary dates and price and that determines where and when we go so I suppose it's inevitable that we encounter these types of cruises. It is a shame for the old cruises who like the traditions and good service. Cruising has become so popular now and reasonably priced it will be its downfall. Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
We toured the Canadian ports and also along the Eastern Seaboard ending in New York City. The trip got off to a terrible start when we were delayed by United in Chicago and missed our flight from Montreal to Quebec City. This was a ... Read More
We toured the Canadian ports and also along the Eastern Seaboard ending in New York City. The trip got off to a terrible start when we were delayed by United in Chicago and missed our flight from Montreal to Quebec City. This was a completely avoidable delay with 45 minutes being spent waiting for an airplane to be brought to the gate from a hanger. Then another 60 minute delay while crew counted and accounted for bags. Unbelievable! We have been stranded by United before. Just the sheer apathy shown by the United folks was appalling. Fortunately after trying to find transportation to our cruise ship, Princess came to the rescue with bus transportation from Montreal to Quebec City. My advice is to NEVER, EVER fly United. We had no choice from our part of the country. The United folks were argumentative and showed no compassion or inclination to help customers. We learned later that standby flights (on our originally booked Air Canada) were available but were not offered. The cruise started in Quebec City with an overnight stay. This was an excellent option because it allowed us to see Quebec City and the St. Anne Basilica. It was remarkable. Prince Edward Island (Charlottetown) was amazing as the scenery was breathtaking. Sydney and Halifax were two stops that were also very pretty although the leaves had not yet fully turned. Bar Harbor Maine was next and it had the most beautiful port yet with the fall foliage in full swing. Full access to the Acadia National Park was not allowed because of the federal shutdown and our incompetent congress representatives. Boston and Newport and were the next two stops. Boston was crowded because of the Columbus Day holiday. Buses did not move very well and this was a poorly run tour. Newport was very interesting and we took the yellow line bus #67 to the Marble House (Vanderbilt) mansion. It was very well preserved and we really enjoyed the tour. The final stop was New York City and we toured for 6 hours by bus. Very well run tour and we were allowed to shop at 30 Rockefeller Plaza for two hours. The bus took us to LGA to depart back to Chicago and Omaha. Uneventful trip home on United with fingers crossed. This cruise was one of the best we have taken (7 total cruises all on Princess). The Princess line did not disappoint. We had excellent service everywhere we went on the ship. All crew were very responsive and served with a smile always. We appreciate Princess stepping up when we were stranded in Montreal on the way to our cruise. Enjoyed a balcony stateroom despite the cooler temperatures. Weather was great with highs in the upper 50's and lower 60's. Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
great cruise overall with wonderful ports of call...i mean how do you beat stops in nova scotia, boston and the big apple??? weather prohibited stopping in Maine but considering the time of year, missing one port was not a big deal... the ... Read More
great cruise overall with wonderful ports of call...i mean how do you beat stops in nova scotia, boston and the big apple??? weather prohibited stopping in Maine but considering the time of year, missing one port was not a big deal... the emerald P. is extremely well maintained and the crew, as always with princess in our experience, went out of their way to make it a wonderful experience. food was generally good and i thought the breads were incredible...the waffles in the buffet were REALLY good every time we tried them. i continue to be amazed what some folks on board choose to complain about...the young servers in the buffet were working their tales off all the time..but when it was crowded there is always somebody ready to complain that they had to get their own ice water or coffee...in the buffet...geezzz..   Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
We love Princess, so will write nothing negative about this cruise. We were to have had ports in Greenland and Iceland, but both had to be cancelled due to extremely bad weather. We totally understood the captain's decison and felt he ... Read More
We love Princess, so will write nothing negative about this cruise. We were to have had ports in Greenland and Iceland, but both had to be cancelled due to extremely bad weather. We totally understood the captain's decison and felt he made the right call. We also missed Belfast, Ireland, again due to bad weather. Cobh, Ireland replaced Belfast and it was a wonderful port. There were 6 days at sea in a row due to the cancelled ports of call. There was plenty to do and we were never bored. We love the sea days, anyway. The food in the dining room and in Calypso Cove Buffet was fabulous. The service throughout the ship was top-notch, as well. The Princess Theater enterntainment was good, although we've seen better on other Princess ships...still a lot of fun and nothing to comlain about. People need to be prepared to possibly miss ports in the North Atlantic this time of year. So many were grumbing about not being able to stop and stating that those ports were the reason they chose this particular itinerary. Again, we were more than please with the captain's call, even though, we too, had chosen this itinerary for the same reason. Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
After months of planning and anticipation, four of us (two couples), flew to Copenhagen for a 16 day transatlantic cruse through the north Atlantic. We chose the cruise because of the itinerary which included no more than 2 sea days in a ... Read More
After months of planning and anticipation, four of us (two couples), flew to Copenhagen for a 16 day transatlantic cruse through the north Atlantic. We chose the cruise because of the itinerary which included no more than 2 sea days in a row. We decided to fly into Copenhagen, two days early so we could explore Copenhagen. We chose to use Princess transfers and hotels. Our hotel was the Kong Arthur. This is an old hotel which has had mixed reviews. The hotel was very nice. Check-in was very easy and efficient. The Princess representatives were available and helpful. The hotel staff were knowledgeable and helpful. The room was small, but adequate. The hotel had a buffet breakfast and provided a 20% discount for Princess passengers. The cost seemed high until we got use to Copenhagen prices. The buffet was very nice and very convenient. The cost at about 120 Kroners was quite reasonable for Copenhagen. Our transfer from the hotel to the ship was efficient and pleasant. We were dropped off at the ship, went through security, checked in, went to our cabin and onto the Horizon Court in a matter of minutes. The lines and waiting times were short. We found the staff of the Emerald to be friendly and pleasant. We enjoyed getting to know our steward and the waiters in the dining venue. We chose to have traditional dining at a large table. We enjoyed our dining companions. The service in the dining room was always accommodating, but at times a little slow and disorganized. The food was varied. The menu was never repeated on the entire 16 day cruise. The quality of the food was good, and the presentation was always interesting. At times we wished that the presentation would have been a little less complicated. Our cabin was a balcony cabin, on the starboard side. It was near the front of the ship. We were pleased with the size of the closet and the balcony. As usual the bathroom was small, but met our needs. The ship had a lot of activities and entertainment. We often chose to skip some of the planned activities, but still stayed engaged. Four production shows were included in the evening programs. There were also a variety of entertainers including comedians, musicians, magicians, and jugglers. We would have appreciated a more detailed description of some of these people. For the most part the Princess Theater handled the crowds at the shows, but when these guest entertainers were scheduled into other venues, the capacity was not enough. We missed at least two shows because all the seats were taken at least an hour before the shows. Princess provided three people to give lectures. These people were knowledgeable and professional in their presentations. We particularly enjoyed the talks about the upcoming ports. Our 16 day itinerary was altered by the weather. Our stops at Belfast, Reykjavik, and Greenland were cancelled due to weather conditions. Everyone was disappointed by having to skip these ports, but the 30 foot seas that we avoided were not missed. The Captain communicated well as to why the change in course was necessary. Princess also worked to add stops at Cobh, Ireland and Saint John, New Brunswick. Princess also provided additional on board credit as compensation. We believe that the changes were needed and protected us and the ship. The itinerary change required us to be at sea for 6 days in a row. This was not ideal, but not as bad as we had anticipated. Again Princess and the staff of the Emerald, did everything they could to make us comfortable. Just yesterday, Princess gave each person on the cruise, credit on a future cruise. We very much appreciated this action. I have written reviews of all the ports that were available, but we stopped at two ports that were not listed. The first was Kristiansand, Norway. We enjoyed this stop and found some very interesting things to see. We visited the Gimle Estate and enjoyed it. We also went to the Vest-Agder Museum. This is an open air museum which was very well done. They provided a costumed guide through part of the park. Our major problem in this port was that we chose to use the Hop-On Hop-Off Bus. Their published information and the salesperson told us that there were 7 stops and the buses would run every 30 minutes. In fact, they only made 6 stops and the buses ran nearly an hour apart. We spent most of the day waiting for a bus. In fact, we walked back to the ship because we did not feel comfortable that the bus would get us there on time. At the Vest-Agder Museum, the bus driver told us that the road was under construction so he could not get us any closer. Imagine our surprise when we got to the Museum and found several buses there. Kristiansand is a nice port with interesting things. However, I would never consider the Hop-On Hop-Off bus. It was Hop Off and hope you could Hop On again. The second port that was not available on the Cruise Critic list was Cobh, Ireland. The ship docked right in town so it was easy to walk to the sights. A tourist information office is about 2 blocks away and people in the center were very helpful. We walked up to the Cathedral and got a splendid view of the town and the harbor. We also enjoyed the Titanic Experience which was next to the peer. The museum is located where the Titanic left on its voyage. The next morning we took the train into Cork, Ireland. The train leaves from the peer every 30 minutes. We tried once again to use the Hop-On Hop-Off bus in Cork. It worked better than in Kristiansand, but was still not great. We enjoyed getting to see the city, but did not find any outstanding attractions. The return train to Cobh worked well and most of the people on the train were from the ship. This was an unscheduled stop for the Emerald, and the people of Cobh made us feel most welcome. Our final destination was New York City. We arrived in New York in the early morning. Seeing the Statue of Liberty as we sailed into port was neat. Our disembarkation, tour and transfer to the airport was handled well. Overall, we had a great trip. 6 days at sea does give you time to sleep in and relax.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
This was our third cruise , the second with Princess, and from the moment we stepped on board we were thoroughly impressed. Our cabin had ample space for all our needs and the cabin staff wonderful. The room was serviced at least three ... Read More
This was our third cruise , the second with Princess, and from the moment we stepped on board we were thoroughly impressed. Our cabin had ample space for all our needs and the cabin staff wonderful. The room was serviced at least three times per day and done while we were absent from the room so it didnt interfere with us. The meals at the dining room were good if we didnt like something the waiters had no hesitation in getting something else for us. We were seated on a six table and had the same couples every night and found them to be great dinner companions. We only did one tour of the princess and that was to St petersburg. We did the 2 day tour and found that it served the purpose and we saw everything that we had wanted to see with that tour. All other ports we did on our own and found the cities very easy to get around and had no problems at all. Do some research on the internet so you have some idea of where to go and what to see. We would recommend the princess line if you are looking for a quiet cruise ...It isnt a line that encourages young children and most passengers on this cruise were aged 45 and above. Read Less
Sail Date August 2013
We flew into Copenhagen from London after self drive holiday. Arrived mid morn, taxi to Port and expecting to have to wait a while before could check luggage as there were still people disembarking, but were pleasantly surprised when our ... Read More
We flew into Copenhagen from London after self drive holiday. Arrived mid morn, taxi to Port and expecting to have to wait a while before could check luggage as there were still people disembarking, but were pleasantly surprised when our luggage was tagged and whisked away! Entered embarkation building and process from there was smooth and efficient. We were on board before 1300, directed to out Mini -suite, which we found out to our delight we had been upgraded to 2 days previously. All welcoming crew were very professional and everywhere. Very impressed with cabin layout and big balcony with 4 seats. Cabin steward very obliging and cabin well cared for. Needed more EU power points, only 1 to charge media devices in bathroom. Went off armed with maps to explore and found our way to Horizon buffet for lunch, very well set up. Thus begun a great cruise with very few complaints except breakfasts taken in Horizon where the food always seemed to be cold. We ate most meals in either of the Anytime dining rooms and every meal was lovely, the waitstaff and Maitre D very attentive and we rarely had to wait long for a 'share' table and met some lovely, interesting people from many corners of the globe. We were one of the very lucky 11 people who enjoyed the SUPERB Chefs Table dining experience which was worth every dollar and more. One of the highlights of our cruise. Also ate at Sabatinis to celebtrate a birthday and we loved the ambience and the food and superb service, especially 'corny' rendition of 'Happy Birthday', sung by our waiter! We enjoyed the Pizza outdoors when we needed a quick snack, loved 'Afternoon Tea' on the days we got there after getting back form day onshore and on at sea days when we had light snack lunch. We made full use of 'Coffee' card in International cafe, and I enjoyed delicious non-coffee cold creations introduced to me by Johannes, Customer Service Director we met there on day 2 who was more then hospitable towards us our whole cruise. We met some other Aussies whilst 'sailing away' from Oslo whom became firm cruise buddies.and met on back deck bar every afternoon for drinks, sometimes in wild weather. The Wheelhouse became our favourite bar and were very well looked after there by friendly familiar crew and enjoyed the Jazz Duo . Also moved on to other bars depending on Princess Patter music programme. Only made it to a couple of shows in Princess Theatre but enjoyed those. We booked our selection of port excursions after purchasing John Lawrences DVD prior to cruise. A definite MUST! We walked around Oslo, Aarhus, Tallin and did excursions in Warnemunde, to Rostock, St Petersburg, Catherines palace 1st day, canal cruise 2nd day but traffic made it a long drawn out day. Did excursions in Helsinki and Stockholm as big cities to explore on own in a few hours. Overall, our best cruise experience so far with each past cruise quite different. Big plus was Laundromats, downside there having to have enough American dollars, would be much easier to buy tokens or swipe cruise card. Found all crew very obliging and courteous, with minimal language barriers considering the many nationalities. Chose independent disembarkation which we changed on last evening as didn't want to get off too early as were checking in Copenhagen hotel for 5 nights post cruise. Our luggage was waiting for us on dock and we had a reasonable wait for taxi which we expected. Have already decided on Regal Princess Mediterranean cruise next July but a bit concerned re reviews on Royal Princess so far. Will keep eye on them.   Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
The Emerald Princess still has a "new" feel even though it came on line in 2007. With the exception of the buffet, we never felt crowded even though there were about 3000 passengers on board. That said, some shows in the theater ... Read More
The Emerald Princess still has a "new" feel even though it came on line in 2007. With the exception of the buffet, we never felt crowded even though there were about 3000 passengers on board. That said, some shows in the theater and clubs required you to get there early to get a seat.Overall, the food was excellent. I always think it humorous that folks complain about the food. Let's face it--when you eat at a restaurant that fixes food for 3000 people 3-times a day, perfection simply cannot be guaranteed. We ate at the Crown Grill (steak house) twice--definitely worth the $25 dollar surcharge.The entertainment was terrific. There were a number of different comedians who acts were among the funniest we've heard. The sting quartet was amazing--they seemed to play somewhere all the time, and were quite accomplished. The Beatles impersonators were a delight--close your eyes and you'd think the "Fab-4" was on board. The EP singers and dancers were generally good--but we had to laugh when the 4-singers attempted to sing the "Lover Boat" theme in 4-part harmony--oops. Might want to practice that a bit.The cabin was small, but ample. Our only complaint is the shower is tiny, and we're normal-sized people. Nice large closet area, with plenty of storage. Suitcases slide under the bed. Since we live in Florida and could drive to Ft. Lauderdale, we brought a box with a queen size 3-inch foam mattress topper for our bed which we gave to our steward at the end of our cruise. What a difference!!! Our bed was super comfortable.We brought 10-bottles of wine on board in a carry-on suitcase. No one said a thing. Two bottles were small (750 ml), and the rest were larger--1.5 L. We fully expected to pay a $15 corkage fee for the 1.5 L bottles when we boarded, but that wasn't the case. When we took a 1.5 L bottle to the dining room, we paid the corkage fee. Those we drank in our cabin cost us nothing. Our waiters teased us a bit about the "big" bottles of wine, but we just smiled, knowing that our bottles lasted twice as long as those purchased in the dining room. The Captain cancelled our scheduled port call in the Azores because of ugly weather. That said, we still visited 13 different ports. The transatlantic part of the cruise was very relaxing, almost 10 straight days at sea. However, the rest of the cruise is port-intensive. The ports are amazing, but be prepared for lots of walking and standing on the tours. Speaking of tours, we used Princess for some tours, and went out our own for a few. We would highly recommend SPB Tours for the Baltic ports. About 300 EP passengers used SPB in St. Petersburg. We booked the SPB 5-Baltic Pearl Deluxe Tours before we left--Berlin, Tallinn, St. Petersburg, Helsinki and Stockholm. The tours were all professional, comprehensive, superbly guided...and less than half the cost of comparable Princess tours...Also, we booked a Princess debarkation tour in Copenhagen. These tours end at the airport where your baggage will be waiting for you, and the tour only cost a few dollars more than the Princess shuttle bus to the airport. Be prepared to get acquainted with many different currencies. We thought most of Europe had embraced the Euro...wrong. England, Denmark, Norway, Russia, and Sweden use their own money. The ship has machines that will change your money...for a reasonable fee. Suggest you check on the various currencies of each country, and how much of each you'll need. We were happy to note that our VISA worked everywhere we tried to use it.My only personal complaint is the awful coffee served by Princess Cruises, which I'm told is made from a syrup... If you're a coffee nut like me, then you'll buy the Princess coffee card which enables you to get brewed coffee at a few locations on the ship, usually the International Café on the Piazza. The card sells for about $30 and gives you about 15 specialty coffee drinks along with the free brewed coffee... And, while I know that dress codes have relaxed a lot over the past couple of decades, men wearing shorts, torso tee-shirts, ripped jeans, etc. are hardly appropriately dressed for shipboard evenings, even if the dress code is the usual smart casual. Lastly, in addition to checking out SPB Tours, check on Iceland Air for your return to the US. If they fly to a destination that works for you, you might save a bundle. We used them to fly from our debarkation port--Copenhagen--to Orlando (Sanford) airport--about half the cost of one of the major airlines.Bon voyage!!! Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
Three years ago we went on a Mediterranean cruise for our 40th anniversary. On that Princess cruise we met a couple from England who was also celebrating their 40th anniversary. We were seated together in the dining room. We had such a ... Read More
Three years ago we went on a Mediterranean cruise for our 40th anniversary. On that Princess cruise we met a couple from England who was also celebrating their 40th anniversary. We were seated together in the dining room. We had such a wonderful time with them, that we kept in touch for the last 3 years and decided that we needed to go on another cruise with them. Therefore, after many e-mails back and forth, we decided on the Emerald Princess Southern Caribbean tour. The cruise was everything that we were hoping it would be and more. Our interior room was always ready for us and our cabin stewardess was always accommodating. My husband has a bad back and she was able to find a foam mattress to add to our bed to make him more comfortable very quickly. Also, our toilet wouldn't flush all the time, and that problem was quickly resolved. Entertainment on board was wonderful. We especially loved to watch and interact with Kory Simon, the piano man. He was so funny and engaging, that we went back to see him almost every night! All the performances that we saw were great, including the Emerald dancers, comics, and hypnotist. We enjoyed the afternoon triva's and walking thru the art auctions and admiring all the pictures. Shopping was also a lot of fun with many great buys and bargains. We ate dinner every evening in the Da Vinci dining room with 6 other passengers and had a wonderful time getting to know our friends from Canada and USA along with our old friends from England. The menu was also very delightful and the food was very yummy. Most of our excursions were very informative and fun. The only one we did not care for was Bonaire, but the other countries were very nice. Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
I will start by saying,this was the most relaxed and enjoyable cruise we have ever taken! the negatives,if ever so little are as follows. 1.The eggs in the Horizon Court were cold every single day.A way around this is to order your eggs ... Read More
I will start by saying,this was the most relaxed and enjoyable cruise we have ever taken! the negatives,if ever so little are as follows. 1.The eggs in the Horizon Court were cold every single day.A way around this is to order your eggs done the way you like them.A short wait. 2.Entertainment is now shorter than in the past,but will pass. 3.There were comedy shows,but no magic shows,or hypnotist,,that I enjoy. 4.The outdoor MUTS was pathetic,James Bond Movie,Sky fall was on one night in 10 and not 1seat left to watch,and never on again.Weird!The rest were Crap! 5.Caribbean deck party was pathetic.They played a lot of Zumba dance music,which was good for about 10% of the passengers.They need to play 50,60,70's dance music since the ship is full of 50 something's,not 20 year olds.After the streamers were thrown,everyone left!!Everyone around me felt the same.Whoever the crew director was,he needs to transfer to Carnival or not. Boarding was fast and efficient as usual.Arrived about 12:30 and on ship by1pm.No problem bringing on wine and beer. Luggage was very late this cruise on deck 10,arriving.Everyone was getting worried,but it came.Damage to suitcase,but Princess is sending a check right away for $150.00. Edward was a great room steward,fast and very efficient and friendly.(hope u get him one day) The International Cafe is amazing. Fixed dining was great at 8:15.The food was perfect.I gained 15 pounds,my DW gained 5 pounds in 10 days. The islands and weather were great. The ship was spotless and every crew member friendly and helpful. Leaving ship was very fast At 4:20 one afternoon my DW announced to me that we were being re-married by the Captain at 5pm.I had 50minutes to get ready and it was formal night anyway.I guess she figured the first one did not take,,lol. Anyway,it was a very happy,enjoyable cruise. I really loved this cruise if you do not enjoy this type of vacation ,there is something wrong with you. Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
The not so good: We did not arrive at the ship until 3:30 because the shuttle bus stopped every few yards to pick up other passengers. Due to arriving relatively late, we were at a loss as to where to meet for our safety meeting. When we ... Read More
The not so good: We did not arrive at the ship until 3:30 because the shuttle bus stopped every few yards to pick up other passengers. Due to arriving relatively late, we were at a loss as to where to meet for our safety meeting. When we went to the desk to ask, we found out that our cabin had been upgraded which was nice, but then our luggage was not sent to the new room. These were small glitches that did not ruin our good moods. Alcoholic beverages were a waste of money. Very little, if any alcohol in the drinks for about 8 dollars a piece. Bring on your own wine (2 bottles from each port allowed). The good: For the most part, the staff was extremely friendly and accommodating. Things like walking into the dining room...everyone welcomed us like we were royalty. The food in the dining room was very good. Our waiters bent over backwards for us. People raved about the buffet at the Horizon, but I was not impressed. It doesn't help that I do not like buffets (especially on cruise ships were illnesses can be a problem.) We ate at the Crown Grill on the last night and it is worth the $25 bucks. I found the entertainment to be,well,very entertaining. The comedy shows were some of the best I have seen. Music and dance entertainers were very good. The ports we visited were absolutely beautiful. We did not spend a fortune on excursions and they were wonderful. If you are interested in buying jewelry on the islands, I highly recommend going to the shopping seminar hosted by Marty Frost on the first full sea day. He is a wealth of information. Overall, a wonderful cruise! Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
This was our second cruise, but the first with Princess. Our first cruise was in 2009 on the new Celebrity Solstice. We wanted to try out Princess, plus we were interested in the specific ports visited on this cruise. EMBARKATION: There ... Read More
This was our second cruise, but the first with Princess. Our first cruise was in 2009 on the new Celebrity Solstice. We wanted to try out Princess, plus we were interested in the specific ports visited on this cruise. EMBARKATION: There were many ships in port on March 17th. Our journey from the airport La Quinta to the port via All Stars Transportation was a long, tedious process as the driver dropped a crowded van of passengers at various ships. Given the crowded port, we might have done better with a cab. When we arrived at the Emerald Princess, there was an endless wait in line. Eventually it seemed that princess added more staff to process passengers, but it still took an inordinately long time. I had hoped to make it on board in time for lunch in one of the dining rooms at (1:30 p.m.), but we were cutting it close, so we went to the Horizon Court buffet. CABIN: Our cabin was E730, a mini-suite with an extra-large covered balcony. We liked this room and spent quite a bit of time enjoying the space and the balcony, though it was windy at times. The bathroom tub area and the balcony showed a slight bit of wear. We thought the flat-screen TV's were too small for the space, and of course the lack of high definition limited the viewing experience. Still, it was fun to have two televisions, and we did enjoy the first-run movies. Our toilet quit working one afternoon. After about an hour, a maintenance person appeared and fixed the problem - the result of an air lock. Our room steward Jose did a most thorough and professional job each day. The evening noise from Club Fusion below has been mentioned in other reviews, and we did sometimes hear this at a low level, but it was not a problem for us. The location of the cabin (aft) placed us at quite a walking distance to elevators. DINING ROOMS: We chose anytime dining. We were eager to experience this option after the limitations of traditional dining on our previous cruise. It took a day or so to learn how the system worked. On most nights, we were seated within a reasonable time, although we did have to carry a pager sometimes. We learned that it is possible within the anytime dining choice to reserve the same table at a definite time for more than one night. The dining room food was very, very good. Although there were a couple of entrees we enjoyed less than others, overall the food was very tasty and beautifully presented. Service was always excellent. The portions were just the right size. My spouse enjoyed different ice creams every night, and I sampled all the dessert offerings. We also had breakfast one morning in the dining room, and afternoon tea was offered each day - a very nice experience! The baked alaska parade on the last night was festive and impressive. HORIZON COURT/CARIBE CAFE: The buffets were more than adequate, although by the end of the cruise we were a little tired of some items. We agree with others that the juice is very watered down and the coffee could be improved. Among the good things at the buffet were fried shrimp, the breakfast offerings, including made-to-order omelets, and fresh fruit and salads. OTHER FOOD & FOOD IN GENERAL: We thought the pizza was quite good, and we also had burgers/french fries when we wanted a change. The International Cafe was really delightful and just suited us on several occasions. The overall quality and availability of the food on Princess was one of my favorite things about the cruise. SHORE EXCURSIONS: All three of our shore excursions - Bonaire, Grenada, and Dominica - were good and were reserved through Princess. Bonaire and Dominica were our favorite stops of the cruise PROS: Overall friendliness of staff who all seemed to be working very hard. All of our contacts with customer service were positive. At 6 years old, it is a beautiful ship. We enjoyed the warm wood tones and the attention to detail. We did see the occasional scrape or bump, but nothing to detract overall from our appreciation of the Emerald. CONS: High pressure sales of alcohol, spa packages, and other offerings especially during the first few days. We understand that the cruise line makes money this way, but alcohol is completely exorbitant after the tip is added, and we did not plan to spend money on much else besides an occasional drink, a photograph or two, and our excursions. We did not use spa facilities, fee restaurants, or the casino. ACTIVITIES: I attended an orientation to the ship's public areas (good); a name that tune contest (too bad one had to be part of a group of 6 to participate); a cooking demo that ended with a visit to one of the galleys (fun and I loved seeing the galley). My spouse went to an astronomer's talk and a seminar on speaking basic French. ENTERTAINMENT: We attended a couple of musical shows in the theater, which was nearly full on every occasion. These were just okay. We thought Mark Preston was very talented and we enjoyed his show. We also attended a female hypnotist's demonstration one evening. This show was fascinating and slightly disturbing. ADDITIONAL NOTES: It was crowded around the pools, but we managed with only one unpleasant encounter when my spouse was caught between two women in a disagreement over a chair. We enjoyed the promenade deck, which had a nice old-fashioned feel, although it was very windy. We learned that passengers could bring one bottle of wine per person back to the room, not just at embarkation, but at each port! FELLOW PASSENGERS: Very few children, and generally an older crowd, although there were a few passengers from all age groups from the U.S. and several other countries, including Britain and Canada. DISEMBARKATION: We were assigned a time we thought was too late, but the passenger service desk changed it readily for us. There was a short wait in the Casino before we left the ship and found our transportation to the airport.   Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
We have just returned from our 10-day Southern Caribbean itinerary aboard Emerald Princess and had a wonderful cruise. We are in our early 50's, reasonably fit and active and it was our third Princess cruise (7 day Western Carib on ... Read More
We have just returned from our 10-day Southern Caribbean itinerary aboard Emerald Princess and had a wonderful cruise. We are in our early 50's, reasonably fit and active and it was our third Princess cruise (7 day Western Carib on Crown P in 2010 and 10 day Eastern Carib on Emerald P in 2011). We had a wonderful time and have nothing but praise for Princess and for the crew of the Emerald. Booking We booked with an agency that had good consumer feedback and provided very close to the best price/OBC quote for the cabin category (Inside Double) that we wanted. Unfortunately there was confusion in the telephone conversations between me and the Agent and the OBC amount was $100 less than I was expecting ($250 vs $350). Over several weeks I tried to work through the problem, first with the Agent and then with the President of the firm. In the end we agreed to disagree on who was right/wrong, but I commend the company for their willingness to interact with me (multiple email and phone calls including audio files of all our telephone calls!). A bit of a rocky start to the cruise but from then on everything went exceptionally well. Pre-Cruise Due to the vagaries of weather in our part of the world (New Brunswick is in eastern Canada), we booked our flight south on Friday for a Sunday cruise departure. Flight to FLL via Montreal was uneventful and luggage arrived without incident. I booked a car through priceline for pickup from Avis at the FLL airport (with drop off near Port Everglades) and the pickup process went very smoothly. We were en route to our hotel quickly. Price was very reasonable - $20.99 per day plus taxes and fees for a 2 day rental grand total of $65. Two night pre cruise accommodations for the 15 and 16 of March was difficult to book at a reasonable price but ended up with a diamond in the rough. The Ocean Holiday Motel was $100 per night, included free parking and was right on the beach in Fort Lauderdale. It's not the Ritz - basic accommodation but clean, comfortable, well situated and very nice owners. Wrote a review on Trip Advisor if you are interested. While in Fort Lauderdale we ate at Joe's Cafe (it may be Joe's Diner?) and the Gilbert 17th Street Grill and both were great. Wrote reviews about them on Trip Advisor too. Return of the rental car was to the Avis outlet in the Hyatt Pier 66 hotel on Sunday morning and then we took their free shuttle to the cruise port. The port was a bit of a gong show with 7 or 8 ships doing turnarounds but we eventually snaked our way through all the traffic and the various pickups and drop-offs until we got to pier 21 where the Emerald was berthed. Embarkation Estimate that we got to the terminal just after 11 o'clock and by then there was a queue already well formed. We gave our bags to the porter, watched them load into one of the hoist cages and joined the conga line. It moved quickly and we were into the building, up the escalator ("Hold onto the hand rail" we were politely told by an elderly Princess rep ? ) and into another queue for check in. Stood in this line for quite a while but we were shuffling forward and chatting with folks around us. There sure were a lot of dour faces in the line up. Come on people, you're going on vacation. Look a bit more cheerful!! Once the early arrivers were able to move from the seating area onto the ship, our queue moved very quickly and sometime between 12:30 and 1:00 we were on board. Everything was just as we remembered it from two years previous. Piazza is beautiful, International Cafe is beckoning, staff are welcoming, their uniforms are spotless, B2B-ers are lazing about, newbies are wandering around with their jaws agape, etc., etc. We went straight to our cabin (D104 at the VERY VERY VERY front inside of Deck 9 -- more about this later), dropped our carry-ons, changed into swim suits and headed for the Outrigger area to enjoy sail away from the back deck and the hot tubs that overlook the stern of the ship. When we returned to our cabin a couple of hours later (with a brief stop at the grill for a hot dog and at the ice cream counter for a swirl cone ? ) , our luggage had arrived so we unpacked and settled into our cabin. Cabin We booked an Inside Gty and were assigned a Category K, D104 which is located at the very front of Deck 9. It is identical to other Insides that we have had so it was like coming home when we moved in. We did notice more of the ship's motion being in this location and more noise than usual. Not sure if it was from water against the hull or from something clanging on the forward deck but at times it sounded like there was something about to come through the roof! While I would not choose this location again, it was not a huge problem for us. By the end of most days my wife and I were so exhausted that the noise didn't bother us. I would prefer an Inside on Plaza deck to this location. As almost always seems to be the case, our room steward, Robertino, was fantastic. Food We enjoyed the food that we had in all venues. We did not eat in either the Crown Grill or Sabbatini's on this trip. We had Anytime Dining and never waited more than a minute or two to get into the dining room. We always asked to share a table and our table mates ranged from good to great. Met physicians, farmers, police officers, teachers, business owners, etc ., from all parts of America, Canada, Oz and the UK. Service in the dining room was first rate although there were a couple of nights where it seemed the pace was slow. Just gave us more time to talk!! Had one breakfast in the MDR (very civilized!) and one evening meal in the Cafe Caribe (excellent) and most lunches at the International Cafe or the Trident Grill. The IC is, without doubt, our favourite venue on the ship. Chocolate dipped donuts every morning with a cappacino is THE way to live!! The servers in the IC -- Gina from Indonesia & Anastasia from Ukraine were wonderful. On board activities Took part in many more on-board activities this trip than on previous cruises. Joined the Pop Choir which was great fun. My wife and I took three ballroom dance lessons -- merengue, jive and foxtrot -- and it turns out I don't have 2 left feet!! We took every chance to dance so by the end of the cruise I was tickled pink when someone referred to us as the dance couple! Also went to Zumba which was fun. The gym on board is great so was able to keep up my commitment to active living. Formal Nights Both my wife and I really like to get dressed up so formal nights are something we really enjoy. While there is a range of attire to be seen, a reasonably large proportion of folks were in semi-formal or formal wear. Ladies -- it is always a pleasure to see you looking so FINE and Gents -- you looked great as well!! Loved seeing a number of 20-somethings in tuxes with their dates in long gowns! Of course, none looked as lovely as my wife did in the gowns that she wore ;). Also really enjoyed seeing youngsters and teenagers all dressed up and looking sharp. Entertainers The great -- comedian Sarge, singer Mark Preston (of the Lettermen), band Sol Provider, pianist Cory Simon, the Princess orchestra (jazz and big band sets) The good -- steel drum player, Princess production shows, International Crew Show, piazza pianist, hypnotist Michelle The bad (actually BRUTAL) -- comedian John Ferrentino Crew From the captain (Nick Nash) on down, they were uniformly excellent. Met the Captain and the Maitre'D at our CC M&G and they were very pleasant and stayed around to answer questions for a good length of time. The cruise director staff -- CD was Lee, others included Frenchie, Cory, Lexi, Leesh, Stephanie , Sarah -- were omnipresent, cheerful, engaged and friendly. Attended a portion of the chef/maitre d show in the Princess Theatre and they were very entertaining. The servers were referred to by one comedian as "Ninja's" because they are so fast to clear things away that you don't see them only feel a swoosh of air. That was indeed my experience! Always seemed to be crew cleaning, polishing, painting, refinishing, etc. Only complaint -- the public washrooms were sometimes less than perfect. Mostly though they were in good shape. Excursions Through a lot of research on CC and TripAdvisor, I found and booked all of our excursions: 1. Aruba -- Trikes Aruba -- approx $200 for a 3 ½ hour tour of the island on chopper-style motorized trikes. It was a total blast and worth every penny. Took a cab from the port to their location near the Westin hotel, short instruction on how to operate the machine and off we went. Visited the California Lighthouse, the first church, a waterside restaurant/bar, etc. Afterwards we walked to a nearby beach, hung out for a while and then walked back to the ship. In retrospect we should have taken a cab as it was a LONG walk but we managed OK. 2. Bonaire -- Woodwind Snorkeling -- this was a fantastic excursion. Great instructions by email in advance. Met co-owner Ulf at the pierside and he directed us to their location near the Casino, about a 5 minute walk. Trip left exactly on time. Co-owner Dee led the trip with 3 or 4 other guides and a professional photographer plus catamaran skipper. Great equipment, good safety briefing. Reef in Klein Bonaire is spectacular. Saw too many types of fish to name but the highlite was seeing multiple sea turtles. Free beverages -- beer, punch, soft drinks, water and some great nibblies as we sailed back. Trip arrived back exactly on time per the guarantee that we had been given so no worry about missing the all-aboard time. 3. Grenada -- took the water taxi to Grand Anse beach. $8 round trip pp which you pay upfront and receive a ticket for the return trip good on any watertaxi. At the beach we headed to the far left and obtained an umbrella and 2 loungers for $20. There were servers walking back and forth. Beer was $3 and frozen dacquiri's were $5. No pushy vendors. There was a fellow strolling with a guitar who would stop and play/sing hoping for a donation. After the beach we went to the market and looked around. Stopped to speak with a charming older lady who told us all about the various products. We bought a small sampler of spices plus the cocoa balls and some cinnamon sticks. On the walk back to the ship I bought some spice necklaces (3 for $10). 4. Dominica -- took a tour with Bumpiing. Met us just outside the gate and we left promptly. First stop was Champagne Reef where, as the name suggests, bubbles ascend from the ocean floor. Lots of coral and fish to see as well. Then it was off to a scenic overlook of the city. We could see the ship, the cricket stadium and much of the residential area. Third stop was Titou Gorge. A short walk led us to a stream flowing through the rocks. Water was cccccold but once we were in we were able to wade upstream into the canyon. Climbed up two small waterfalls and then floated back out to the starting point. We were told that a couple of scenes from Pirates of The Caribbean were shot in the Titou Gorge. Final stop was Trafalgar Falls, a national park. Slighly longer hike in to see the Falls and for those interested and capable, we climbed down into a hot spring. Absolutely lovely to relax in the very warm water and to find the various places where it cascaded over rocks and would give you a nice shoulder massage! Tour was $52/pp and lasted 6 ½ hours so very good value. Free beer, pop, water along the way too! 5. St Thomas -- it was a Sunday and we were moored at Crown Bay so we decided to simply enjoy staying on the ship rather than rush off to a beach. We did spend a few minutes browsing the shops in the port area. My wife bought a pendant of a sea turtle to remember our time at Klein Bonaire. 6. Princess Cays -- I know that some love this stop but I have never been a big fan. So, once again we stayed on board, watched a movie on the MUTS screen, lazed about the pool and hot tub and snoozed/read. Disembarkation Since our flight was not until 2 pm, we were amongst the last groups off (1010). I now know why they ask people to arrive in the afternoon to board. The B2B folks weren't scheduled to get off the ship until 11:30 or so. Everything went smoothly for us -- found our bags quickly, the customs line moved steadily and within 30-40 minutes we were in our cab en route to the airport. Final Thoughts By now I'm sure you've figured out that we really enjoyed our trip. Until 3 years ago I never imagined that I would enjoy cruising but after three cruises, there is no doubt that I'm a convert. Not sure when we'll be able to go again but hopefully it'll be within the next couple of years. Two itineraries that I would really like to do - #1 is the Baltics and #2 is the Panama Canal. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
The ports enticed us back to Princess Cruise Lines. THE GOOD (and it was mostly Excellent:) The Emerald is one absolutely gorgeous ship offering a plethora of first class entertainment options. No disappointments here! Embarkation ... Read More
The ports enticed us back to Princess Cruise Lines. THE GOOD (and it was mostly Excellent:) The Emerald is one absolutely gorgeous ship offering a plethora of first class entertainment options. No disappointments here! Embarkation was routine and efficient. Food was delicious, plentiful and available 24 hours. The bi-tri-lingual Lido deck staff made every diner feel special. Our verandah cabin had a large closet across from the washroom instead of a poky storage cupboard. Gorgeous ports with lots of options for sightseeing. The photography staff Carin and Carly were exceptionally personable and knowledgable,as were all of their talented team. Our steward, Eric, was one of the best in the business. The laundry area with ironing board was useful. The spa was clean and relaxing. Easter and Fri Sabbath services were respectfully available. We found our fellow cruisemates to be friendly, interesting, and fun to spend time with. All in all a great ship and a great cruise. Would we sail Princess again? A qualified "Most likely". THE BUMPS: We learned quickly to shout "Coming Out" when opening the washroom door into the closet vestibule to avoid hitting each other! There was a thin line of mould in the washroom due to the extreme humidity. Problem is that some spores are airborne and potentially allergenic. Next door had some major plumbing problems which resulted in our cabin losing toilet usage twice for a few hours each time. We would have appreciated a quick note under the door, to say the least! We had 2 minor issues that were quickly and courteously resolved by Johnny,the Boutique Manager,once we had his ear. One involved misrepresetation of a product at the rum tasting and the other an attempt to promote a higher priced item as the only available option. Caveat emptor... The only other issue involved the stench in the casino which passengers must walk through when going from one end of the ship to the other. Unfortunately this was our assigned area for disembarkation. Obviously the air cleaner systems are not efficient. We reeked of stale smoke the rest of way home. THE UGLY: NEVER be late back on ship. ALWAYS give yourself extra time to get back to the ship. On the first occasion my husband`s new watch battery died and we had no idea we were late. On the second, our taxi driver assured us he would get us back on time and then headed in the other direction to find more fares. Apparently this is a common practice. We had to jump out of the cab and run a few blocks down an alley until we were able to flag down a reliable cabby. We were 12 minutes late, upset, and were met at the ship by a very angry manager who barked "so what`s your excuse this time" in front of other passengers and the crew. We understand the pressure he was under, however he didn't win any PR points in our books... We took this verbal spanking higher up the chain of command where it was immediately dealt with by a superior officer. We hesitate to say more because the situation was referred to Head Office. IN SUMMARY: Beautiful ship, comfy cabins, fabulous entertainment, great food, caveat emptor in some of the boutiques, and ALWAYS give yourself extra time to return to the ship when you go ashore. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
Embarktion: Had to wait in line longer than usual and was a little difficult to stand for that length of time. But finally got on board and luggage arrived promptly. Was on Plaza 232 inside and would book this room again. Dining: Had ... Read More
Embarktion: Had to wait in line longer than usual and was a little difficult to stand for that length of time. But finally got on board and luggage arrived promptly. Was on Plaza 232 inside and would book this room again. Dining: Had dinner in Michaelangelos every evening (freestyle) but did sit at same 2 person table with same waiter Jolene and Vladameer. Cannot say enough of the fabulous service and the food was excellent. Lobster served 2nd formal night. Assistance by the staff in Horizon Court was excellent. Always someone there to help. Trident Grill Hamburgers the best you can find. Disappointed in Crown Grill. Ate there last night and filet was tough and lobster too salty. Have ate in Crown Grill numerous times on other ships so was very surpised. Fellow cruiser had rib eye and said it was great. Entertainment: Shows were short but no big deal. They were entertaining. Ports: Enjoyed them. Did island tours of the ones we had not seen before. Had sailed last year with NCL on Epic. Had a good time but the service and food on the Emerald by far surpassed NCL. I have cruised with Princess before and had thought to try another line for comparison and I think in the future I will be staying with Princess. Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
We began the day before, flying into Ft. Lauderdale from cold, snowy Michigan. The sun and heat felt so good and being near the water wasn't too bad, either. We had dinner at a local seafood restaurant with newly found friends from ... Read More
We began the day before, flying into Ft. Lauderdale from cold, snowy Michigan. The sun and heat felt so good and being near the water wasn't too bad, either. We had dinner at a local seafood restaurant with newly found friends from our Roll Call and, like other cruisers, went to bed anticipating our cruise the next day. We sailed with another couple whom we had sailed with twice before. We got to the cruiseport at 10:30 Friday morning hoping to board in time to have lunch in the Dining Room. Check-in involved long lines, as usual, but we were on board by noon, in time to head down for lunch in the Da Vinci Dining Room. Unfortunately, our sailaway was rained-out so we went up to the Horizon Court to sail away behind the glass. We had a mini-suite and love the extra space and especially the bathtub. The bed was very comfortable, unlike the rock hard mattresses we've had in the past with Princess. Most of the meals were wonderful. We had dinner one night in the Crown Grill. The meal was one of the best I've had onboard a cruise, including the dessert, and we were impressed with the food presentation. The Creme Brulee is to die for if you're a fan; the fish and seafood menu choices are also good. We stayed away from Horizon Court wherever possible, mainly because of the crowds and table-holding. We often ate breakfast there. Burgers, pizza and ice cream topped our lunch menu. We determined that table hogs, like chair hogs, are just plain annoying. We had cookies and milk every day at the International Cafe and made sure we all had our fill of the delicious gelato. The staff and crew were very helpful. They all were happy and quick to help however they could. We found out we had the same Room Steward for this cruise as we had on the Island Princess last year. He took good care of us, remembering who liked which soft drinks and keeping our ice bucket filled on a regular basis. When we had a problem with the rented tuxedo, he made sure we had the right size parts when it came time for the two formal nights. This cruise was very port intensive. We had scheduled non-cruise sanctioned tours on all but two ports and they were all superb. I've recommended two in particular on the forum. Disembarkation was as usual, disappointing and quick. We had a nice breakfast in the Botticelli Dining Room and took our time. No searching for an empty table to seat four of us, as is common in Horizon Court. All in all, this cruise tops our list. We met plenty of good friends, ate plenty of good food, had lots of laughs, and decided there's nothing like a good Caribbean sunset! Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
During this review, I will not address my impressions of the ports, because your feelings of these places depends on what you are going to do while docked there. As an example, those that only shopped in Antigua found it to be a very hot ... Read More
During this review, I will not address my impressions of the ports, because your feelings of these places depends on what you are going to do while docked there. As an example, those that only shopped in Antigua found it to be a very hot & dirty place, but those that snorkeled said the island was fantastic. My advice is to research the ports prior to sailing, and decide what is best for you. This was our 20th cruise and our 8th with Princess, and we couldn't have been any happier. The Entertainment One advantage to large ship sailing is that they have a larger budget for entertainment, and on this ship they did an excellent job with their resources. Although we are not a big fan of production shows, the ones on this ship were a cut above the usual 'Salute To Broadway' type, and very well done. Mark Preston's show was excellent (he was one of The Lettermen), and the lounge performers did a very nice job. One pleasant surprise was that most nights there was a show after the 2nd dinner seating, which a lot of the lines have stopped doing. The Food The food aboard was also very well done. Dinner service in the main dining room was outstanding, as was the food quality and presentation. The food in the Horizon Court buffet was above average, but you have to keep in mind that it is a buffet and you will never find outstanding food in such a venue. Where the Horizon Court really shines is the service by the wait-staff. They are totally on top of everything, and your water/coffee/ice tea glass is never half full; when a table is vacated, it is cleaned instantly. The Ship The Emerald Princess is a very large ship, however the stability is outstanding, unlike the Golden Princess. On this ship, the movement over the sea is hardly felt, even in 8 foot swells. Overall cleanliness of the ship is also outstanding, with hand sanitizers in abundance. One notable exception was there were no sanitizers at the entrance to Botticelli's Dining Room, which was very strange. The upkeep of the ship was very good, with no threadbare furniture or dirty carpets, although some of the chair seats in the Horizon Court need replacing. You can't walk through a public area without seeing a crew member cleaning something. Most areas on the ship are smoke free (including cabins & balconies), making the ship smell pretty fresh. The internet connection on this ship is the fastest we have experienced at sea. Most connections are usually like a slow dial up speed, but this is like a slower broadband connection. Most cabins and public areas have reception. The Room Our room was a standard balcony cabin (#R626) on the 14th deck port side. It was large enough for our needs, with ample storage in the closet area. The bathroom is very small, and the shower is ridiculously small. I am 6'-3" tall, and my shoulders touch both walls, with the shower head at the height of my chin. Showering is by no means impossible, but it takes some thought. If you are larger than I, you might consider up-grading to a mini-suite. The mattress was very comfortable, the bed linen was acceptable, and the general layout of the room was fine. Although we did not spend time watching TV, the 19" flat screen was adequate. The balcony was large enough for 2 chairs and a small table, but you will not be hosting any parties out there. Our room steward, Emilian, was efficient and responsive to any requests we had. You simply could not ask for better service. Embarkation & Debarkation Both were pretty poor. Princess Cays This is an excellent stop, even if you are not into water sports. Do not miss it if you get the chance Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
This was the 28th Cruise for my wife and me on 23 different Ships and 8 Cruise lines, mostly over the last 14 years or so. This was our 6th Cruise on Princess and 2nd on the Emerald having sailed on her back in '09. Both times we ... Read More
This was the 28th Cruise for my wife and me on 23 different Ships and 8 Cruise lines, mostly over the last 14 years or so. This was our 6th Cruise on Princess and 2nd on the Emerald having sailed on her back in '09. Both times we chose a Lido level Balcony as we like the closeness to the Pool areas, and also like a cabin near an Elevator and in the Mid-ship to bow area. We like the sound of the waves crashing off the bow of the ship and the motion of this area more than the aft. We flew down to FLL two days early as we have come to do lately and stayed at the Embassy Suites on SE 17th Street. We have stayed there a few times in the past when the rates are decent and enjoy the location for the many restaurants and the good shopping options in the area. It is also a short taxi ride to the Beach area if you want to head down that way. This trip we rented a car for one day from Gold Coast Car Rental, who picked us up at the hotel to get to the rental location nearby and also took us to the Pier the next day when we dropped off the car. The price of the car was less than taxi fares would have been to get to the spots we wanted to visit and the ride to the pier was a bonus. Embarkation day had us arriving at the Pier just before 11:30am as we typically try to do. Normally the process has been very smooth on our last few Cruises, not quite so lucky on this visit though. Boarding was delayed and the first folks who arrived much earlier did not start to board until about 11:30. They stopped check in for about 20 minutes or so while we were in line and we ended up boarding around 12:30. No real reason was given for the delays. Nice thing is, the cabins were ready and we were able to drop off our bags before getting a bite to eat. The cabins on this class ship have a very large closet and plenty of storage space to handle everything we brought with us for the voyage. Closet even had enough space to handle a couple of the suitcases with the rest being placed under the bed. Only improvement I would like would be a shower door in place of the curtain and perhaps a bit larger shower similar to some of the newer Solstice Celebrity ships. The Emerald is very well maintained and very clean. She looked much as we remembered her from our cruise in 2009. The Crew was very outgoing and friendly and very eager to make sure everything went well for everyone on board. The food in the MDR was ample and very well prepared and our waiter Ray made sure we were very happy with whatever was served. Ray and the Headwaiter Luis also took very good care of my wife's Gluten Free issues by bringing the menu for the next evening so she could pick out her selection that could be adapted to the GF issue. This class of ship does make getting from here to there a bit more of a challenge than some vessels, especially back in the MDR area and on the upper decks but you learn to figure it out as you go along. I do like the ships as a whole, and really enjoy the International Cafe area for a lite lunch or breakfast. On this trip we actually learned to enjoy the MUTS movie area, especially the padded lounge chairs in the area. I did not find it near as loud in the area this time as I have in the past few cruises on Golden Princess, etc. The Itinerary for this Cruise was Southern Caribbean which included Princess Cays, St. Thomas, Dominica, Grenada, Bonaire, and Aruba with three Sea Days along the way. The only new stop for us was Dominica where we took a tour with some of our Cruise Critic group with Pepper's Tours. It was a full tour of the island with stops at Trafalgar Falls, Emerald Pool, a nice fruit stand, and Champagne Reef for snorkeling. Cost was $57pp and was well worth it for a full day of activity. We stayed on board at Princess Cays and for the half day visit to Grenada. It was nice to have a quiet ship mostly to ourselves. Entertainment on the ship was ok overall. The Production shows are very typical and we do not attend many of them, but those that did enjoyed them. The piano player did a nice job and had a big following and the comedians were also fairly good overall. The crew talent show had some highlights and worth checking out in most cases. There were lots of Trivia events on board also which many enjoyed on a regular basis. Our Cruise Critic group had a very active thread leading up to the trip and had a few things planned for on board. The Sail Away Gathering was lightly attended, which sometimes happens but the Meet and Greet in the Sky Lounge had a nice turnout and some folks also took part in a Gift Exchange toward the end of the get together. We also had a group Slot Pull on the first Sea Day, only about 16 of us took part but we had a good time and ended up only losing $1, pretty cheap entertainment and a good way to mingle. Disembarkation went very smoothly. We used their EZ luggage system so did not have to find our bags or take them to the airport. They were checked through to our final destination and worked very well for us. It is really nice on Saturdays and Sundays when you cannot check your bags at the airport until two hours prior to your scheduled flight times. You do have to be out of your cabin by 8:00 which is a bit early, but the Lido Buffet is open for breakfast until 10:00am. Taxi to the airport is about $15 plus a tip and a much better deal than Princess transfers, or a little better than a shared van. This was a very good Cruise on a beautiful ship with a wonderful crew. We booked the Sapphire Princess while on board for a 28 day Hawaii, Samoa, and Tahiti Cruise which goes RT Los Angeles in the fall of this year. Booking on board got us the $150 pp. OBC for this upcoming Cruise. Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
This was our 4th time on Emerald Princess and I think the best. We are partial to corner aft balconies and really enjoyed this cabin. Embarkation was delayed just a short while to allow the 400 intransit passengers to reboard. Once this ... Read More
This was our 4th time on Emerald Princess and I think the best. We are partial to corner aft balconies and really enjoyed this cabin. Embarkation was delayed just a short while to allow the 400 intransit passengers to reboard. Once this was accomplished we boarded quickly. Cabin was clean and in good condition. We called to have mini bar changed to all vodka and room service was there within 10 minutes. Our cabin steward was Felix and he did a suburb job. Any requests were taken care of. We found the bed to be much more comfortable than other times. Cabin temp was good. We had anytime dining and this worked out fine. First two days we went around 6:15 and had about a 20 min wait. All other nights we went around 7:15 to 7:30 with only a few minutes wait. All the waiters we had were friendly and efficient. They all worked very hard. Food is very subjective so I can only speak for my spouse and myself. We were very pleased with the food. Soups were outstanding. Entrees were all very good. I had fish almost every night and it was cooked just right and never dried out. We celebrated our anniversary at the Crown Grill and were very happy with the fine service and supurb food. It was a very enjoyable experience. We do not usually go to the shows so I can't comment on them but we did go to Crooners every night for a nightcap and enjoyed Kory the piano player. Very upbeat and entertaining. Kathie the bartender and her waiters were great. We found the staff at all venues to be very friendly and helpful. I did see some rude behavior by some passengers toward crew members and it is really disturbing. It seems some people don't know how to say please or thank you or look people in the eye when they request something. Thankfully , these people were in the minority. The weather was warm and sunny the whole time except for the last sea day which was overcast and cool. Seas were calm. Enjoyed the ports. Took short cab ride to Emerald Beach on St Thomas. Great beach with nice restaurant and bar. In Aruba we took the public bus to Palm Beach. It was quite easy to take bus and fee was only $2.30 per person. Ride took 20 minutes and drops off by the Radison. No problem getting return bus back. This was a very relaxing and pleasurable vacation and a great way to get away from the cold weather. We look forward to cruising on the Emerald again Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
Our cruise on Princess was a wonderful holiday treat. We would give it 5 stars. Princess is a conservative line with very traditional cruises. There are no transparent showers, or blue man shows, just a traditional cruise done very ... Read More
Our cruise on Princess was a wonderful holiday treat. We would give it 5 stars. Princess is a conservative line with very traditional cruises. There are no transparent showers, or blue man shows, just a traditional cruise done very well. It is the friendliest line we have cruised on. I am not referring to fixed smiles, or cheery good mornings. I am talking about a professional staff that really seems to like the passengers and their jobs, and does their best to be compassionate and helpful. We saw the same thing on a Med cruise on Princess several years ago. It is not as rigid or formal as most. For tours, you did not have to meet in the theater, and be marched off in lockstep. You just walked ashore at the right time and tour personnel were waiting to show you where to go. The captain was more willing to wait for late passengers returning from tours than most lines, and we had that same experience with them in the Med. It is really more "laid back" than most. The mix of passengers was truly great. Americans may have been a "plurality" but were not a majority. There were many, perhaps more, Canadians. Also a number of Brits, with some Aussies and even a family from New Zealand. We had "shared table lunches and breakfasts in the dining rooms, and met folks from all over including Switzerland, Germany, and Eastern Europe. Ages ranged from several infants to some very senior citizens. There were a lot of preschooler, grade schoolers, high schoolers, and young adults. Everyone, children included were very well behaved, friendly, and made a Christmas cruise so much better for us old folks. The food and service in the main dining room was the best we have seen in some years; at least as good on a 6 star Crystal cruise in the Baltic 8 years ago. The menu was quite varied. We had one night of lobster and two nights of excellent prime rib, and a couple of nights of small steaks. If you wanted a large rib eye, however, you needed to go to the Crown Grille. There was beef, chicken and sea food every night. Appetizers, soups and salads ranged from standard to exotic and were excellent. The MatreD was very helpful and they did the best job of accommodating my wife's gluten intolerance. They even had gluten free pancakes. They had sugar free and gluten free deserts every night. The breakfasts and lunches were also fine, and service was great for all three meals. We ate most meals in the dining room. We used traditional, but folks using anytime said they got seated with only a short wait at worst. The International Cafe, their coffee shop (extra cost) was excellent, and had a good light meal (free) three times a day. We used it at lunch; they had several excellent salads, a quiche of the day, and several small sandwiches. The only discordant note was the Lido deck. The food was fine, and they had lots of happy diners with plates filled high enough to make me slightly ill, but the selections were somewhat more limited than most. They had no "deli counter" to make sandwiches. They did have an omelet bar. There was a separate Pizza place, soft serve ice cream station, and a trident grill for burgers and dogs. Our rooms, ocean view unobstructed, was one of the smallest we have seen but very well designed and comfortable. No couch but the excellent flat screen TV was well positioned to be seen from the bed. Plenty of storage and closet space, and a decent bathroom with shower. We like the room very much but there was one problem. Our cabin had fold down bunks over the regular bed. If the cabin is made up as a double, access along the sides of the bed is partially blocked by the bunks, making access rather difficult; I had to face and hold on to the bunk while side stepping. I guarantee you will bump your head more than once. Bad design. The solution is to have the cabin made up as twin beds with the aisle down the middle. The room then works out very well. Entertainment was traditional but good. The production shows had four excellent singers and 11 quite good dancers. On non show nights, there were the usual range of comedians, singers, jugglers et al. All fine but I did tire of flatulence jokes. There was also good entertainment in the lounges, and in the main atrium (the Piazza) there were often musicians or performers. We were on a Christmas cruise to the Southern Caribbean. Aruba and Bonaire have good snorkeling and/or diving, with the usual overprice shops, and very little else. Never want to go back. Grenada is a great stop with both historical sites and some great natural scenery. Dominica is the most primitive and most beautiful of the windward/leewards, and a great spot for eco tours. St Thomas is St Thomas. Princess Cay is very well done but quite standard. We have done all of the lesser Antilles on sailboats and know the islands. The alternate Princess Souther Caribbean itinerary is better, but we wanted to go over Christmas. Interestingly, we saw few activities, only a game room, for the kids. There may have been more but they all enjoyed the lovely pools. The pools could not be covered but that was no problem in the Caribbean. Enrichment activities were a bit limited. A number revolved around the spa. There were French lessons from the Assistant Cruise Director. The best was a series of lectures by a lawyer. It may sound like an improble subject for a cruise line, and likely to be boring, but Michael Beshay was very interesting and very enjoying. He was not lecturing on the law, but using legal cases to entertain. Don't miss him if you have chance. One disappointment was the loss of the traditional afternoon tea. There was tea served at 3:30 in the main dining room, with background music, and all the sandwiches, pastries et al you could eat. However, the afternoon tea served in an intimate lounge setting with musicians playing classical music is apparently dead. Actually, there were no classical musicians aboard. Second year on two different lines we have seen this. Victim of the economy? I read the reviews on the Emerald before we left, and saw everything from one to five stars. I was a bit worried, but then I saw the same pattern for all th other lines. Different people want different things and that partially explains it. I do think some folks would give only one star to heaven, and others would give five stars to a garbage barge. Be interesting to see a graph drawn by Cruise Critic showing number of people giving each star rating. Certainly a bell curve, and the area under the curve would show the relative performance of each line. I would give Princess five stars. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
We selected the cruise out of Ft. Lauderdale to the Southern Caribbean from 12/17 - 12/27/12 because we had never been to Aruba, Bonaire, Grenada. The ship was decorated nicely for the holidays. It has numerous pools, and we truly ... Read More
We selected the cruise out of Ft. Lauderdale to the Southern Caribbean from 12/17 - 12/27/12 because we had never been to Aruba, Bonaire, Grenada. The ship was decorated nicely for the holidays. It has numerous pools, and we truly enjoyed the adult's only pools and hot tubs. We loved the thermal suite, utilized it almost every day. Our room was a balcony room with a bathroom a bit small; however, very functional when Noro-Virsus hit (See below). The mattresses on the beds seemed old and worn out, a bit lumpy, and no top sheet I found it not as comfortable as on other cruises. The staff we very friendly, prompt, and extremely helpful, service in main dining room was prompt and the food was excellent. The Horizon Court and Cafe Caribe offered a nice variety of very good dishes; however, we were on vacation and wanted sit down meals service with a wait staff. We selected the champagne balcony breakfast for Christmas Day; however, we had to reschedule (you will understand why below). They were very accommodating with our re-schedule, unfortunately even with the re-schedule I had no appetite; however, my husband devoured a good percentage of food and said everything was awesome. Well worth the money spent for this extra service. Despite careful attention to hand washing, using antiseptic gel, etc. the Noro-virus struck me like a Tsunami Christmas Eve night. I had never been so ill. I spent Christmas Eve night and Christmas day in the tiny bathroom going at both ends simultaneously luckily my husband never got sick. I decided to tell Noro-virus you DID NOT ruin our Holiday Cruise. I told my husband; hey, it was a very painful way to take off those extra Holiday pounds I gained the first part of the cruise (LOL). What else was I going to say, it happened and I hope I never get it again; however, I was not going to let a few days of major discomfort take my joy/peace. In summary, we are still a bit young for Princess; however, we had the time of our lives. We take a cruise every Christmas to re-connect with each other and shut out the busy day-to-day life activates we come home like newlyweds every year and 2012 was no different. This was our first Princess cruise and we would consider them again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
This was our sixth cruise for our family of four. It was our second with Princess and we found it to be an extremely enjoyable cruise with great weather and ports of call. The food and service was excellent at the Botacelli and DaVinci ... Read More
This was our sixth cruise for our family of four. It was our second with Princess and we found it to be an extremely enjoyable cruise with great weather and ports of call. The food and service was excellent at the Botacelli and DaVinci dining rooms that we frequented. The Horizon buffet was adequate but often crowded -- the sit-down dining is a much better choice. Our waiter and assistant waiter, Johnry and Arturo were fabulous, providing good recommendations (for food and entertainment) and service. The head waiter, Manuel, was always friendly and checking on our needs. We made good use of the gym, which had a good selection of exercise equipment. It was crowded one or two times during the cruise, but most often not. We had an inside cabin on the Carib Deck and found it quite spacious as staterooms go. We also had excellent service from our stateroom steward, Angelo. We greatly enjoyed the entertainment. We had two very funny comedians and an excellent performance from the BeatleManiacs. We also enjoyed many cruise staff-led events -- including trivia and an excellent "Liars Club" which we had never seen before -- worth checking out! We also enjoyed events in the Piazza including Christmas caroling, flamenco dancers, and a holiday cooking demonstration. This was the first cruise that had "Under the Stars Movies". We enjoyed a few movies plus NFL football games. Being a sports fan, this was a real treat! They also had servers that brought popcorn, pizza, and cookies/milk during the movies & football -- a very nice feature. One evening was a bit cold, but they provided blankets to the movie audience. We also took part in the 3-part "Survival French" class. We enjoyed all the ports of call. On Aruba, we caught a taxi (from Carl an entertainer who played his music for us on the ride) that took us to Eagle beach which is among the most pristine that we have ever seen. For $5 the adjacent hotel will provide you with a lounge chair and towel. At Bonnaire, we hired a taxi to take us to the Plaza Resort which was quite rocky -- should have brought water shoes -- but excellent snorkeling there. At Grenada, we hired a taxi (from Morgan who gave us a history of Grenada as we made our way up the elevations) to take us to the Seven Sisters Falls which was a more strenuous hike that took about an hour each direction. It had rained that morning, so the path was muddy and slick which added to the difficulty. The falls were beautiful with two cascades set in a rain forest. There was a local diver by the name of Super Butterfly who performed a back-dive off the first falls and also did a hop, skip, and jump off the second falls -- both quite daring! At the next stop, Dominica, we tried to book a whale watching excursion but we missed the boat by a half-hour, so we did a small tour of the town and found an internet cafe. We missed out on some eco-tours through their rainforest, but were a bit tired after the hike the previous day. At St. Thomas, we booked a sail/snorkel excursion through Princess -- offered by "Castaway Girl". It was fantastic! A very pleasant and relaxing sail out to an offshore island and then about an hour of snorkeling over a shipwreck and a coral reef -- and then a sail back with rum punch offerings. Highly recommended! Our final stop was at Princess Cay where we rented a cabana from Princess. It was a little pricey, but a five course catered lunch and free drink were included. The cabana was air conditioned which made it easy to spend five hours on the beach. There was an outbreak of norovirus that the ship's crew responded to appropriately to contain. We had been careful from the start of the cruise to frequently wash hands and use the purell dispensers found throughout the ship -- so escaped. There was a bit of a wait to get on the ship -- we arrived about 1:30 which may have been peak boarding time. Recommend arriving earlier. We chose the walk-off option which went fine and we had pre-booked a taxi to meet and take us to the airport. All-in-all, this was a very satisfying, entertaining, and relaxing cruise. Thanks, Princess! Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
This was our first cruise and we were fortunate to be able to go on this with family members that cruise regularly. This meant that we were better prepared than most first time cruisers in what to expect. We enjoyed the ship, the ports ... Read More
This was our first cruise and we were fortunate to be able to go on this with family members that cruise regularly. This meant that we were better prepared than most first time cruisers in what to expect. We enjoyed the ship, the ports and what activities we did get involved in. The ship was lacking in some areas for new empty nesters interested in fun and activities like night life. Very few people at the "clubs", but overall it was an excellent cruise. The shows were enjoyable, but I do wish they were a bit longer. We loved having access to the movie theater and the casino when interested. The crew and staff was wonderful and always looking our for our interests. Food was great all around. We went to a combination of dinners, specialty restaurants and buffets, so we had a variety of food types and selections to enjoy. Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
First off let me say to all of those absurdly picky travellers with complaints on minor issues like standing in a line or your room not being made up exactly when you want it to be...GET LOST! LOL I swear my wife and I go on vacation to ... Read More
First off let me say to all of those absurdly picky travellers with complaints on minor issues like standing in a line or your room not being made up exactly when you want it to be...GET LOST! LOL I swear my wife and I go on vacation to have fun and we have fun every single time. Unfortunately we had to listen to a passenger complain loudly about something he or she hadn't received. LOL It is a vacation and you are damn lucky to be able to afford such a nice cruise...enjoy it! Okay back to positive stuff. Our balcony guarantee paid off in a big way as we received an upgrade to Caribe 534 awesome balcony room with a giant balcony which we used everyday. From morning coffee to evening cocktails to even some spur of the moment Whoopee; yes I said it. PS- Our cabin steward Sigfreid was awesome and we tipped him well. (They truly work hard) The cruise ship was immaculate and all we saw was crews continuing to clean, paint, and fix things throughout the cruise. Nice job Princess. All the pool areas were fun and clean and never a problem finding a chair or someone to get us a cocktail. In terms of activities there was something for everyone. My wife loved the Zumba classes, dance classes, and Bingo which she won $100 bucks. I loved the football games on the giant movie screen by the pool and I loved my fellow cruisers. I met a ton of nice people from all over the world. We really enjoyed both Sabbatinis (too much food but delicious) and Crown Grill(fantastic steak and top notch service) specialty restaurants; a great treat. We also did the Ultimate Balcony Dinner which was too good for words. Absolutely phenomenal; a must do if you have a balcony. In terms of the Main dining room it would be nice if princess mixed it up a bit with theme nights in the dining room; Caribbean night, Italian night, Mexican night, etc as the dining room was good but it did get a bit stale. Entertainment was fine and first night show and the marriage game were the best. They had great live music throughout the cruise. Everything on the trip went fine the usual delays here and there but nothing to bat an eye at. PS- Loved the Cosol tour company in St. Lucia; highly recommend them. This was our first 10 day cruise and we are now planning our first 14 day cruise and of course it will be with Princess. Happy sailing everyone! Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
A little bit of background info. Our last cruise was in November of 2011 on the Emerald. That cruise was SO good that we booked it again as soon as we got home. Although a different itinerary, it is the same ship and we were hoping for ... Read More
A little bit of background info. Our last cruise was in November of 2011 on the Emerald. That cruise was SO good that we booked it again as soon as we got home. Although a different itinerary, it is the same ship and we were hoping for another excellent experience. Over the course of the year while waiting for this cruise, life happened. Among the funny game of life were conflicts with my job and my spouse Brad's job and where exactly our future was. Luckily this worked out very successfully in our favor. Another was the sudden loss of one of our dogs. His name was Captain and he was a Jack Russell. We woke up one morning at the end of September and, out of the blue, he wasn't able to walk. The vet thought it might be a slipped disk or some kind of spine problem. They kept him overnight to monitor him, but as the day progressed they began to notice different changes. He was barking constantly, wasn't responding to reflex tests, staring at walls and was walking into things. The following day the doctors did an MRI on his brain. He had extreme swelling caused by encephalitis. They immediately started treatment, which had a 50/50 shot of working. It did not. After 4 days of not eating, drinking, or responding to meds, we put him to sleep. He was only 7 years old. The doctor assured us that we did everything possible. His encephalitis was autoimmune which means his body did it to himself. And in the doctor's opinion, this is very rare. As was his symptoms which seemed to come out of nowhere and progress rapidly. Captain (Cappy for short) was a part of our family for the past 6 years. We adopted him from a shelter when he was one year old and nursed him back to health. We don't want kids so Captain was essentially our 4-legged child. Those of you reading this who have owned pets (and subsequently lost them) know how hard it is. They become a part of your family. A part of you. To say we were devastated would be an understatement. We had him cremated. Unfortunately, every time I would walk by his little box where the ashes are held I kept thinking how much I failed as a parent. I am a control freak. Why couldn't I just control this whole situation? Why couldn't I make this right? This wasn't supposed to happen. This wasn't in my life plan. The month of October passed us by. We were in a daze. Before we knew it, it was time to cruise. There is something about being at sea that helps us heal. We needed this badly. Precruise-- We drove down the day prior to embarkation and stayed at our favorite place, the Hyatt Pier 66. We enjoyed an afternoon tanning by the pool and then watching the sunset from our balcony on the 13th floor. A great start to vacation. Day 1, embarkation-- After a leisurely morning having breakfast and coffee on our balcony we headed to park and fly at 10am. We parked, unloaded our bags and was dropped off at the port by 10:15. Terminal 2 was still under construction so we were at terminal 4. We checked in, got our cards and were ushered to a seating area. Then we were ushered upstairs to another seating area. Besides a few select individuals who thought the buffet was going to run out of food and decided to push their way to the front of the line, embarkation was VERY easy and organized. We were in our cabin by 11:30. We booked the same cabin as last year, C752. Love this cabin. Love this location. Love this balcony. Our private little piece of the world. And surprise surprise, our cabin steward was the same as last cruise. Great!!! He just came on board actually. We loved Angelo and are so happy to see him again. We spent the afternoon wandering around our new home, taking pictures and eating a light lunch in the atrium while watching everyone come on board. For sail away we decided to enjoy it from our balcony. Brad got us a bucket of beer and some pizza. Even more good news... While he was walking through the buffet he ran into a familiar face. Suttipong!! Our amazing wonderful fantastic great waiter from the last cruise waved Brad down from across the buffet. He is working in the same dining room and in the same section as last cruise. This is beyond perfect! We wandered around the ship for the evening, did some penny slots (big spender!) and showed up for dinner around 8:30. It was great catching up with Sutti and we made a standing reservation at 8:30 for the rest of the cruise. Table 290, a 4-top right by the window in his section. After dinner we enjoyed a nice red on the balcony and watched the world sail by. Day 2, sea day-- We lost an hour of sleep. Ugh. So we ended up sleeping till 9:30. After a slow start we made our way to the atrium and had a light breakfast at the International Cafe and lots of coffee. Brad went to the gym. I went to my perch on the balcony and started a new book (The Kite Runner). Later in the afternoon we laid out by the pool sipping (pronounced 'gulping') Bloody Mary's then grabbed a light lunch at the international cafe. I didn't care for the dinner menu so we made an 8:30 reservation for the Crown Grill. We had a nice leisurely evening and headed to dinner around 8. To kill time we walked around the Promenade Deck for a bit and stumbled upon a very humorous domestic dispute. At one point the wife (who was clearly wasted) screamed out, "At least he could get it up you 'bleeping bleephole'." Hahahahahaha. You stay classy! Our dinner at the Crown Grill was as good as we remembered from last cruise. We both did surf and turf. And managed to finish it all. Success! Got back to the cabin around 10 and enjoyed more wine and a quiet evening at sea. Day 3, sea day-- Ok so we slept till 9:30 again. Can't blame it on a time change. So I'll just blame it on the wine. Or maybe it was the Bloody Mary's? Or both? Enjoyed our usual morning activities. Then slathered on the sunblock and made our way to the pool. Seemed to be cut throat to get a lounge chair. As usual we noticed the deck attendants standing around doing nothing. Had a lovely day in the sun and an equally good nap. Tonight was formal night. Blegh. Brad loves it. I don't. But in all honesty it wasn't as bad as I remember. Maybe it was the new suit Brad bought me. Or the 3 glasses of cheap champagne. Dinner was divine and we finished our evening with a show called "I Got The Music." We have seen it before. But this was the first time seeing it shortened to thirty minutes. Brad liked it. I thought it was meh. Day 4, Antigua-- We were up early. Booked a private beach resort tour called something like Rex Halcyon. We had a very nice time despite the screeching child behind our lounge chairs. Got a lot of nice pictures and the weather was stunning. While we were lounging a local dude wanted to make me a coconut drink. It's some kind of aphrodisiac. He told me it would help me attract the ladies. Needless to say, I passed on that. He couldn't understand why... After lunch on board we took a nap and relaxed on the balcony for sail away. Antigua is a beautiful island. Especially at dusk with the sun setting behind the clouds. This evening for dinner Pad Thai was on the menu. I LOVE Thai food and have many recipes I enjoy making. I asked Sutti what he thought of the dish. He flat out said it wasn't good. So we ordered it as an appetizer to split. He was correct. Not good at all. Oh well we didn't starve. I was craving salmon so I had that as my entree. Even after 8 cruises I had never had this dish. It was delicious! So glad I tried something so "boring" according to Brad. It is now one of my favorites. We took an evening stroll on the Promenade deck then headed back to the cabin to enjoy our balcony. Once outside, I noticed we were cruising VERY close to a large island, called Guadeloupe I think. It was all lit up and the city lights flickered like diamonds. No sooner did I turn to look in the sky and I saw a bright shooting star streak across the night. I have a favorite quote that I share with a friend. It says, "Everything will be ok. This is your sign." This was my sign. It will all be ok. What a truly enchanting evening. Day 5, St. Lucia-- Didn't book a tour here. We slept in, had a nice breakfast in the buffet and made our way to shore. Walked around the small shopping area then headed back on board to lie in the sun and gorge ourselves on pizza. Saw a beautiful rainbow and Princess did a nice tribute to the Veterans. Dinner and our evening rituals were wonderful as usual. Day 6, Barbados-- Woke up to clouds and rain. We had a beach excursion booked. Not the best weather at Carlisle Bay, but a beautiful beach indeed. About an hour into the excursion I started to feel like crap. I mean really bad. Clammy and hot. I don't know if the drinking caught up to me. Or exhaustion. Or the little demon child who kept screaming at the top if its lungs and running between Brad and I's lounge chair (attention parents-- it's not cute). I decided it would be best to head back to the ship just in case. So we went back to the bar area of the beach and the owner called us a cab back. Went straight for the cabin and ended up sleeping for 3 hours. I woke up refreshed and normal. This evening after dinner our junior waiter, Somphong, who hasn't said more than 5 words for the entire cruise, said that Brad looked shorter than usual. He seems like a very shy and quiet guy. And his English isn't the best. So when he said that, it totally came out of right field and had us all laughing. Day 7, St. Kitts-- We were most excited about this port. Booked a 4 hour hike through the rainforest and it was spectacular. Despite being listed as a "very active" excursion, many individuals on the tour complained that the walking was too much. Perhaps if they read their tickets they would have been more prepared. Ironically what we liked most about the tour was that it was so active. It was a nice change of pace working up a sweat while hiking instead of lying in a lounge chair like a sloth, which we did for the 6 previous days. Dinner tonight was the Chef's Dinner. We have been pretty happy with the food up till this point but tonight's dinner was absolutely abysmal. For the first time in many cruises we had a hard time finding at least one thing to order. The icing one the cake was having fried chicken on the menu. I couldn't find anything else to get so this is what I ordered and it was inedible. I really should have just ordered the salmon again. Brad said it best..."If this is a Chef's dinner, why is there fried chicken on the menu? Shouldn't there be dishes that showcase his talents?" Dessert was equally as bad with only 2 specialty items, and 1 was sugar-free. The bright side this evening was the new show, "Boogie Shoes." Wow! Great job Princess. Everything about this show was great and I hope it makes it way to the other ships. Day 8, St. Thomas-- Having been here many times before we didn't book any excursions. We slept late and woke up to find that we docked at Havensight instead of Crown Bay. Excellent!! Enjoyed a leisurely walk into town, great shopping and a delicious lunch at Cafe Amici. Unfortunately we were 1 of 5 ships in port today so by early afternoon the streets were far too congested. We headed back on board and enjoyed a quiet pool for the rest of the afternoon. Dinner tonight was Italian night. No more eggplant parm. No more tiramisu. No more limoncello sorbet. Sucks that they're gone but all the new things we tried were delicious. SO much better than the previous night. One observation on this cruise is that the headwaters have done NOTHING. They stand by the door and chitchat with their staff. Perhaps I'm wrong but maybe the headwaiters should be going to tables and checking with their guests to see how dinner is. We are very happy with our servers. But not a single headwaiter has come to our table for 8 days to see how things are. Oh well. Not everyone can be as good Antonio. We were spoiled with him on the last cruise. He was fantastic and saw to it that each table in his section (not just ours) received exceptional service. Such a polar opposite on this cruise. Day 8, sea day-- At some point last night we sailed through a storm. Woke me up from a sound sleep. I went out on the balcony and watched the thunder and lightening. A very beautiful sight. Today being a sea day, it is another cut throat day for lounge chairs while the deck attendants stand uselessly to the side. Great weather for tanning and we did just that, or at least tried to. We both agreed that we had never seen a sea day SO busy as it was today. People crammed on top of people. Walkways were blocked by lounge chairs. Empty cups on the floor. Dirty plates on almost every table. Just a complete cluster. We spent maybe an hour attempting to tan, but there was nothing relaxing about that experience. So we gave up and made our way back to the cabin dodging lounge chairs, plates of food, hoverounds and oblivious passengers in the process. Tonight was formal night. Good news is that escargot and the surf and turf are still on the menu. Bad news is that I have to dress up again. But it was worth it. I left fat and happy. And a little tipsy off of the red we ordered too. The show tonight was "Blame it on the Boogie." Love this show. Great music too. Day 9, Princess Cays-- Awoke to partly cloudy skies. Oh well. Princess Cays is still our favorite beach day. We were tendered over by 10:00 and relaxed in our clamshell by 10:15. Enjoyed our floats, a light lunch and a little exploring. Got a lot of nice pictures too. But the best part was no screaming demon child. Yay! The island definitely had some damage from Sandy. Mainly erosion. But it wasn't nearly as bad as I thought. Afternoon was spent enjoying the spa pool and packing up our cabin. Our last dinner was bittersweet. The food was excellent but we said our goodbyes to Sutti. Sad to leave him but we have his email and hope to dine with him in the future. Day 10, disembarkation-- Always a hectic day. This was the first cruise where we didn't do walk off because we booked a hotel instead of driving home. We were out of the cabin by 8 and off the ship by 10:15. And there are 8 ships here. Such a busy and chaotic day. Luckily made it back to Park and Fly by 10:45. No problems at customs or with the car. Guess this means vacation is over. Postcruise-- We checked back into the Hyatt around 11:15. Our usual room was ready so we unpacked and relaxed for a bit. For lunch we hiked over the 17th street bridge to Chipotle and then picked up subs for dinner at Publix. Enjoyed an afternoon of yacht spotting and people watching. And at 4:00 we made our way to our balcony in the sky to watch all the ships leave. Bye bye Emerald Princess. Until next time... We left the Hyatt Sunday morning to head home. Set the cruise control to 90 and laughed hard with the windows down. We talked about our new adventures, fabulous food, attentive service and new friends. The last cruise on the Emerald we were amazed by everything. This cruise felt like coming home. Same ship. Same cabin. Same staff. Similar itinerary. Everything just felt right. So here I sit. Typing away on the couch curled in a blanket. Our other dog Skipper (a 60 pound terrier hound mix) is asleep with his head on my knee. Thank you to Princess for another fabulous vacation and for putting life into perspective for us. We are so thankful we can afford to cruise. So thankful for supportive family and friends. So thankful to have found each other. And for the unconditional love of Skipper. He just stretched out and stuck his paws on my chest and scratched me. That's true love... "All of my sadness was taken by the sea." -Darren Hayes Odds and ends. **Never took the stairs once in 10 days. I was super proud of that. Now my legs are killing me. **HORRIBLE pillows in our cabin. Random. **While we didn't starve, we found a lot of the food on this cruise to not be as good as our last cruise on the Emerald. Even things we've always liked didn't taste as good. With that said, some things were out of this world. **Such a friendly staff on board the Emerald. We saw so many familiar faces and everyone we encountered said hello to us. **We noticed a lot of people who just STOP walking. This happened in the buffet. On the staircases. In the cabin hallways. By the pools. In the entry ways to lounges. Everywhere! Really started to bother us towards the end of the cruise. Please be conscious of the individuals around you and move out of the way. Ughhhhh. **Our buddy Antonio emailed Brad a few days ago. He is currently on the Crown Princess and will be back on the Emerald in April. We have sorely missed him and want to cruise with him again. **Lots of sharply dressed people on the cruise. And so many following the dress codes. That was a nice change. Here is a link to my pics - http://flic.kr/s/aHsjCJDTpn Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
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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