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453 Princess Emerald Princess Cruise Reviews

This was my 5th cruise and first with Princess (been Royal Caribbean, MSC and Costa previously). Booked to celebrate our Silver wedding anniversary we chose the Baltic capitals as a celebratory trip leaving our teenage daughter at home ... Read More
This was my 5th cruise and first with Princess (been Royal Caribbean, MSC and Costa previously). Booked to celebrate our Silver wedding anniversary we chose the Baltic capitals as a celebratory trip leaving our teenage daughter at home this time. We chose Princess after comparing prices, itinerary, available cabins etc. We really enjoyed our trip, visited some great cities and were blessed by some lovely sunny weather, calm seas and spectacular sunsets. Overall Princess did a good job but my wife an I were left thinking was it really worth the premium price Princess charge compared with MSC or Costa (whom we have travelled with previously). I don't want to be too negative as this would be unfair but we probably wouldn't choose to cruise with Princess again unless there was a really good deal available or the itinerary wasn't available from others. Emerald Princess is larger ship but we found it wasn't too busy. It was possible to find a quiet spot for a drink or even a spa which provide private use simply as no one else had found the same spot. We even met some fellow passengers in the check-in queue that we never saw again until disembarking. This ship is well cared for although some of the cabin fixtures would benefit from an update. Embarkation was a disaster. Progressive embarkation emails and others delaying boarding due to extra sanitation (norovisrus on the previous cruise) were clearly ignored by most passengers and check-in took nearly 3 hours. In all that time we saw no one from Princess and we were left standing without even a bottle of water or any information. The Mayflower Terminal clearly can't cope with these larger ships and so Princess need to rethink this whole process. I mentioned norovirus. The ship had had an outbreak on the previous cruise and they had decided to do a deep clean before we boarded. We were also reminded of our own responsibilities to help avoid on going problems. Although all boarding were clearly concerned I can only say that Princess appeared to do an excellent job. We certainly heard of no one suffering illness while we were on board and both the crew and passengers did a great job of following the simple rules needed to ensure everyone stayed healthy. Service on board was very good. Waiters were attentive and bar drinks were served quickly and with a smile. On the whole food was good with some meals being very good. The ingredients were higher quality than other cruises we have been on and Princess did a particularly good job sourcing high quality beef and seafood. I particularly enjoyed their sorbets which were different every day and very tasty. We also ate in both the Crown Grill and Sabatini's and both were well worth the cover charge. Sabatini's in particular is recommended. Drinks were reasonably priced with wine starting from $26 a bottle, cocktails around $8 and soft-drinks from $2. If you like coffee buy a coffee card ($31 plus 15%). This gives you 15 espresso based coffees and as much tea/filter coffee and hot chocolate as you can drink. Coffee on board was very drinkable and always available. Our cabin (a mini-suite) was very comfortable with an extremely comfortable bed and high quality bedding. We liked the extended open balcony looked down upon by the decks above but I can understand why this isn't to everyone's taste. The only negative is that the a/c cant be switched off so you have a draft blowing on you all night. I heard many complaining of stiff necks including my wife! Overall very comfortable. Entertainment wasn't to our taste (at age 46 we were probably 25 years younger than the average age of our fellow passengers who were happy with aged Comedians, trivia quizzes and Sudoku) although the Jazz band in Adagio's bar were really very very good. I have already hinted that fellow passengers were older. Over 50% of passengers were also British so if you prefer a more youthful and more global mix of passengers don't travel with Princess from Southampton(or to the Baltic perhaps). Again not to our taste. The ports we visited were all good and some a really nice surprise (Gdansk, Tallinn). Excursions were generally very good but watch out for Russia as the tours are long and the guides move a very fast pace. If you actually want to see the Hermitage don't take a ship's tour - apply for a visa, hire a taxi and visit it yourself. Helsinki was our favourite port of call but they were all good. Disembarkation was the complete opposite of embarkation. Efficient, quick and very easy. Although we only spent a few minutes in Southampton's Ocean Terminal on the way out it seemed a marked improvement over Mayflower! To sum up a very enjoyable two weeks and a perfect celebratory holiday. We're already considering where to next but I think we'll return to cruising MSC as they are far better value for money and the crowd are both younger and more European. Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
Worst. Embarkation. Ever. Arriving in Southampton there were people everywhere. Lines were mixed in with various other lines. No one was sure what line they were in. It was as if no one had ever checked passengers onto a cruise ship ... Read More
Worst. Embarkation. Ever. Arriving in Southampton there were people everywhere. Lines were mixed in with various other lines. No one was sure what line they were in. It was as if no one had ever checked passengers onto a cruise ship before. They were confused over passports for non EU citizens and took ours. (They must have figured it out because they were returned to us a couple days later with no explanation.) When we finally got our cruise card and got through security lines, we had to walk outside in the rain around scaffolding to get onto the ship. We were waved past a group trying to figure out how to get a wheelchaired person up the very steep gangplank then waited on yet another line while they took security pictures and scanned folks in. Took over 2 1/2 hours. We have been on many cruises and have never seen anything like this chaos. We were starving but no food was in sight because it was off immediately to the muster drill ten minutes after we got to the cabin. Fortunately things looked up a bit after that somewhat. The cabin, a minisuite, was nice and the balcony huge compared to the one on the Royal Princess. We both could be out there at the same time! and there was room to stretch out. There was plenty of storage and the bed was comfortable. The room tended to be too warm and we requested a top sheet as the duvet was too hot to sleep under. We had them check the vents in the room but the temperature never changed, even set at the coldest point. Due to the weather and a tug shortage we were 3 hours late departing. We never made that up and 4 days later arrived 4 hours late into Barcelona, causing us to have an abbreviated tour which basically missed seeing Barcelona. Leaving the ship in Barcelona was as organized as the embarkation disaster. It took 45 minutes to get off further decreasing our abbreviated time in Barcelona. We wondered if this was a brand new crew. The food was good overall. We tend to eat in the Dining rooms and avoid the buffet whenever possible, although the few times we did eat at the buffet the food was also good. The pizza near the pool was surprisingly good and the milk and cookies in the afternoon is a treat. We tried Sabatini's which was good and ate at the Crown Grill twice which was very good. We tried the Crab Shack as well. It would have been better if they did not boil everything in Old Bay seasoning. A little change up of taste would have improved it greatly. Best of all was the Chef's Table. We signed up with our Cruise Critic roll call friends and had a wonderful feast. It was so much fun. It began with a tour of the kitchens and appetizers and champagne in the kitchen then moved to a private area in the dining room where we enjoyed multiple courses and multiple wines. Desserts, a guitar player and signed cookbooks concluded the fun. If you get the chance, sign up for it. You won't want to eat for the next day or so but it will be worth it! Princess has figured out that their theaters are too small for the amount of passengers and has gone to a 3 show schedule which helps. On other Princess cruises we have not been able to get to a show unless you get there a half hour early. The entertainment this time was fair. After a sampling, we skipped the shows and wandered the ship instead. The casino which is normally packed, was quiet this cruise. The majority of the passengers were Brits - I guess they do not gamble much. We have never seen a casino so empty when we walked through. The service was excellent overall. We did use the Lotus Spa this trip and while the services were good, the changing area could use upgrading. There were no slippers provided or privacy to change. The showers did not have a dressing area either. The TV in the cabins was not the best. The guide never matched what was actually showing and the channels took turns being frozen on a Princess logo. They have merged the safety channel with the navigation info channel and the result is that it takes a really long time to see where you are after you watch how to lower a lifeboat for the 12th time. The captain announced that we would be 45 minutes late getting back to port the day before we were due so that meant our tour to Windsor Castle was canceled and we would be heading straight to Heathrow to wait. Except that we did arrive on time and got to sit at the airport instead. Very disappointing. Overall it was a good cruise with a few bumps. The itinerary was great with plenty of sea days and the weather cooperated. This was our third with Princess, the first one being good, the second one very good and this one back to good. We will give them another shot, but definitely not on the Emerald again. She is ready for an updating. Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
My 77 year old Mother's first cruise and my first Ocean cruise. I was a bit nervous about the size of the ship, as my previous cruise was on with APT on a river cruise (176 guests). Embarkation was lengthy. We queued for approx 1 1/2 ... Read More
My 77 year old Mother's first cruise and my first Ocean cruise. I was a bit nervous about the size of the ship, as my previous cruise was on with APT on a river cruise (176 guests). Embarkation was lengthy. We queued for approx 1 1/2 hours. People remained surprisingly cheerful, despite nowhere to sit. It was a bit like queueing for the rides at DisneyWorld. There had been a last minute swap to the Mayflower Terminal - I can only hope the other terminals are better equipped and more efficient. Our balcony cabin was clean, comfortable, and quiet. Bathroom was very small, but adequate. Water pressure excellent, with consistent flow of hot water. Complimentary toiletries sparse - no shower cap, only a shampoo conditioner mix, and body lotion. A glass shower screen would be impractical with the current bathroom design, but bathrooms definitely need an upgrade. Our Cabin Steward, Karla, was delightful. Nothing was too much trouble, and she kept the cabin immaculate. We used room service on several occasions, including breakfast prior to an early excursion. No problems encountered - service prompt, and food/drinks at appropriate temperature. We preferred breakfast at the Horizon Court. A la carte breakfast in the Dining room was too lengthy, particularly if sat with other guests. I also liked being able to sit outside to have breakfast after running around the jogging track, and not impose my sweatiness on other guests. We chose anytime dining, and spent most evenings in the Michelangelo Dining room. The waiters seemed friendlier and more efficient than in the Da Vinci room. Our fellow diners tended to be people next to us in the queue! We met many delightful people, especially the American guests, who were well travelled, charming, and opinionated - always a refreshing, stimulating mix at the dinner table! Dinner in Sabatinis was well worth the cover charge. Our waiter and Maitre d'hotel both helpful, informative, and great fun! The food was excellent. One of my favourite dining spots was the International Cafe. Fresh salads, rolls, and yummy cakes. The Vines wine bar nearby offered free tapas and Sushi when purchasing a glass of wine. I would definitely recommend both venues for the quality of their food. I purchased a coffee card, as prefer expresso style coffee. The free coffee was drinkable though. As a nurse, i was very disturbed by the poor hand hygiene practices on the ship. Hand sanitiser was visible at the Horizon Court buffet , but staff did not encourage its use. No wonder Norovirus spreads so easily. Entertainment was patchy. Perhaps less trivia quizzes, and more scholarship@sea needed. That said, Cruise Director Kelvin Joy was a hoot! Dancing in Club Fusion ended too early. I ventured up to Sky Walkers Night Club a couple of times - very chic surrounds, and a DJ who responded to requests, and gauged her audience well. Had a massage and facial. Both excellent but expensive. My relaxed mood totally ruined with a lengthy hard sell of products immediately afterwards - not a relaxing note to finish on. The Fitness centre well appointed. Enjoyed the early morning stretch class. Treadmills don't open until 8am due to cabins below, but you can use cross trainers. Once again, Sanitiser was available, but you had to search for it. There was no encouragement to wipe the machines down after use, nor any staff to do it. Went on excursions in all ports. As a first time cruiser, I used Princess excursions which were well organised. Next time I'll organise some of my own, depending on where the ship docks as Princess did put on Shuttle buses, some of which were free. If you like cosmetics, then head for the duty free shop on board. Clinique products are particularly cheap. US$47 for moisturiser that costs AUD$80 at home! Disembarkation was quick and easy. Overall, the cruise was wonderful, and the food and service exceeded my expectations. I will be cruising with Princess again (and bringing my own hand sanitiser!)   Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
Emerald Princess is a large ship (113,000 tons) carrying around 3,100 passengers but we all felt the waves cruising in and out of Southampton in May 2014. Having booked back to back cruises, we can report that it was not a "one ... Read More
Emerald Princess is a large ship (113,000 tons) carrying around 3,100 passengers but we all felt the waves cruising in and out of Southampton in May 2014. Having booked back to back cruises, we can report that it was not a "one off" either, so we were glad not to be on the car ferry to Bilbao this time. A delayed get away and rough seas meant we arrived 3 hours late in Barcelona because the Captain needed to reduce speed to lesson the rock and roll. At one stage the use of tenders at St Peter Port seemed in doubt but it all worked out fine and we were able to join the island’s Liberation Day celebrations on 9th May. THE SHIP We liked the atmosphere on the Emerald Princess but must admit that we prefer the Diamond Princess and the smaller Ocean Princess that we experienced last year. Layout is not as good as the smaller ships, like Sea Princess, as there is only one theatre area and the Explorer's Bar was too small to cope with secondary shows. The Fusion Bar at the stern seemed under used and we believe that it would also have been a better place for the rather intrusive art sales. With the theatre at the front of the ship and our preferred Botticelli dining room at the stern, we had plenty of exercise walking between these and other venues. In poor weather the open upper decks could not be used and lower decks became very crowded. DINING We opted for fixed dining at 8.15 pm because 6.15 is too early and anytime dining is a bit of a lottery in terms of dining companions. Most bars were over-crowded by the time we had finished eating and the late show did not start until 10.45, resulting in time to kill and late nights. FOOD AND DRINK Food quality was consistently good but wines are over priced. Food presentation standards were good but meals can be quite leisurely, especially at breakfast. Meals on the formal nights were particularly good. My wife and I enjoyed a meal in the Crab Shack one evening. There was a USD 20 each surcharge and the surroundings were nothing special but the crab was really tasty, albeit enough for four hungry people. The pub lunch in the Wheelhouse seemed popular but we did not try it as we prefer to find something lighter in the restaurant, on sea days, even if it takes a little longer. We only used the busy Horizon buffet a couple of times. The International Cafe is a great addition but is poorly located in the piazza area, where there was inadequate seating. We would have liked to use the facility on several occasions but found it impossible to find anywhere to sit. With so many Brits on board, afternoon tea proved to be very popular, especially on sea days. It should really be a leisurely experience but the waiters tended to rush in with little sandwiches, cakes and scones all at the same time with no real guidance from their managers. SERVICE AND STAFF Service was always friendly and efficient with many of the hard working staff from the Philippines. Staff managers were, however, universally miserable and inefficient. TOURS AND SHUTTLES We normally avoid the overpriced tours and prefer the DIY approach, having done some prior research on the Internet. We did, however, opt for the travel and On Your Own trips to Bordeaux and Florence, which were OK. Ships of this size often have to dock in container ports, which tend to be remote and unattractive. In Marseilles, Princess charged USD 16 for a short shuttle ride and left many passengers waiting for more than an hour in the rain. ENTERTAINMENT The entertainment quality was variable, ranging from poor to very good. Princess show productions had been cut back to 35 minutes but were well produced. Kelvin Joy, the Cruise Director, is still telling the same old jokes from his days on Sea Princess. Activities on sea days were very limited and often poorly timed. The locations for many activities were around the pool areas, which became difficult during the bad weather we experienced. Lectures were very limited and the port lectures lacked practical information, being mainly slides of buildings etc. We enjoyed several Spanish lessons, with a charming Mexican Lass. Trivia quizzes seem ever popular, as was line dancing. The only sail away party, from Gibraltar, was fun but Princess had skimped on the flags and not provided any streamers. Even the drinks at the Captain's Circle lacked alcohol. SUMMARY Princess remains our favourite cruise line but we will try to avoid heading south from Southampton in future. With most of the passengers being Brits, it resembled P & O rather than our preferred mix of English speaking nationalities.   Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
A great winter get-away on a very nice cruise ship. Our stateroom was on the Lido deck (for a premium price). However, it does have the overhead walking/jogging track which is mercifully closed at night. We were able to count the number ... Read More
A great winter get-away on a very nice cruise ship. Our stateroom was on the Lido deck (for a premium price). However, it does have the overhead walking/jogging track which is mercifully closed at night. We were able to count the number of laps by heavy footed walkers while on our balcony. We were on Anytime Dining, which was never an issue. Entry to the Da Vinci dining room was always quick and very courteous after 7:00pm. Entertainment in the Princess Theatre was hit and miss, and is now only 30-35 minutes in duration, apparently to accommodate three performances per night. The ship never appeared to be crowded in any aspect, although the passenger count was 3,000+. Entry and exit for excursions was prompt. We visited 10 islands, with hi-lites being the 2 Saints on the Eastern tour and the 2 Dutch island on the Southern tour. Couple others were definitely 3rd world.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
Our problems started with the airport to ship transfer. We had prepaid ( a party of 6 ). Our names were not on the list to board the transfer, after much going back and forth we we're allowed to board. Whe. We arrived at our cabin, ... Read More
Our problems started with the airport to ship transfer. We had prepaid ( a party of 6 ). Our names were not on the list to board the transfer, after much going back and forth we we're allowed to board. Whe. We arrived at our cabin, the key would not work, back to stand in another line. Once in our room, the air conditioner was not working. 24 hours later, 4 phone calls, one trip to the front desk, and 2 repairmen, we finally had air. I have been on 10 plus cruises, this was by far the worst food I have ever had on a cruise. The best thing we could find to eat was room service pizza which came with a 3.00 charge. The last tonight we ate in the dining room, I had the lamb. It was so tough I could not even cut it, at all! When the waiter came over he explained it was the cut of meat I ordered that I should expect it not to be tender.....hmmmm, it was the only lamb on the menu, if I had a choice of tender or tough lamb which one do you think I would have ordered? The head waiter came over apologized and offered to prepare another entree just as everyone else was ordering desert. I ate in the buffet 3 times, it was worse than any lunchroom food I have ever had. The was a clothes dryer fire in the early morning, I heard the announcement for the crew to come to deck 2. They did not say anything about a fire, etc. I got up walked out on the balcony, I immediately smelled smoke, as did the lady one floor above who was also on the deck. I called the front desk, they assured me everything was fine but sent someone to our room to investigate, In a condescending manner he proceeded to tell me I had not smelled smoke, that there was no way I smelled smoke. Keep in mind at this point I had no idea there was a dryer fire. On a good note, our steward Kim was great. Room service was always hot and fast. I liked the coffee bar and the light snacks they served there. The outdoor movie theater was nice and we enjoyed the popcorn. We enjoyed all of the ports and we loved princess cays. Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
I have been a long time Princess cruiser. My husband and I have over 1200 days and 110 cruises on Princess. We are elite cruisers. I have some physical problems and use a scooter necessitating a handicap accessible room. The Emerald was ... Read More
I have been a long time Princess cruiser. My husband and I have over 1200 days and 110 cruises on Princess. We are elite cruisers. I have some physical problems and use a scooter necessitating a handicap accessible room. The Emerald was completely accessible. Our cabin was great. The cruise has a great itinerary. We take this cruise at least twice a year. We live in NY. We were on the Emerald for 20 days in Sept./Oct. going to Quebec and back. We'd love Princess to put in some 14 day cruises that don't return to Ft. Lauderdale after 7 days. The cruise staff with the exception of the cruise director JJ Ullrich were marvelous. I feel like they are family. In the dining room Jose the maitre'd saw to our every need. Luis our head waiter could not do enough for us. We had crudite and a cheese and nut platter every night. I am diabetic and must take an insulin shot before meals. It is important that I eat something soon after the shot. I order the crudite to be served as soon as we get there so I don't pig out on the wonderful rolls. Luis saw to it that we got wonderful sugar free desserts made to our specifications. Our waiter, Alan was the same one we had on our Quebec trip. He remembered all our special needs. Because I am mobility limited and many of the ports are not very accessible I am often aboard ship on port days. I originally chose Princess many years ago because they had shipboard activities while we were in port. I found these activities more limited on this cruise. Our cruise director JJ was invisible. The deputy cruise director, Lynn was very accessible. I must point out that Lynn started as deputy on our Quebec trip and has really come into herself. After a week, I spoke to Lynn about more games like Taboo, Scattegories etc. She complied, and the last 10 days of our cruise were filled with games. The overall concensus on our trip was that JJ was useless. We eat at anytime dining around 7PM each night. We found that if you are not finished dining by 8:30PM you miss out on a lot of evening activities. Those people on late seating have very few entertainment options. Cruise Classic activities like Majority Rules, Liars Club and the Newlywed games are held around 9PM and late dining starts after 8. Club Fusion should be renamed Club Confusion as it is good for very little. We can play trivia or bingo in there. The ship needs another show venue like the Vista Lounge on other ships. We were with good friends and had a great time.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
Yes this is my 3rd trip on the Emerald princess. I like leaving from Brooklyn dock since i live right near there and i do love Canada /New England as an itinerary. Last year i did go on the same week on the same ship and cruise. Last ... Read More
Yes this is my 3rd trip on the Emerald princess. I like leaving from Brooklyn dock since i live right near there and i do love Canada /New England as an itinerary. Last year i did go on the same week on the same ship and cruise. Last minute booked online for 449.00 PP Once on board i upgraded to a balcony since there was no air in the cabin and the AC did not work so well. Cost another 600. PP. Not really worth a balcony in CD/NE there is nothing to see but a few light houses. No mountains or anything like that. The ship itself is nice but starting to show signs of age. The mattresses are terrible in the inside cabins. They seem to move the older ones there from the balcony and outsides so everything inside is older. Lots of older people on this cruise. Mostly in their 80's, i didnt mind since peace and quiet is a nice thing . No wild parties in the halls. Very nice. The food was actually better then last year. Better chef better selection. They do use a LOT of butter, cream and salt in EVERYTHING. The dinner in the main dining room was very good. Tiny portions but you can order a lot of courses and if your still hungry just order more. I quiet enjoyed it. Very fast service too! One thing the shows were not that great. The dancers were not good . The singers were good and there was one male opera singer who was excellent. The shows were only half an hour long , and they had 3 of them so you could see them early or later and there were always seats. Crew talent show was funny the last night. Princess has gotten very very cheap and they nickel and dime you to death. One thing i didnt like is that they are a bit dishonest. They will tell you that the ship is full if you want to change cabins. In fact i called the main office and was told it was at 90%. They discourage cabin changing. This isnt the 1st time they did this. Last year i sailed with an employee from AMEX and they would not honor an upgrade for her and she works selling travel. Dont expect anything from them. The spa personal were probably the rudest people on this journey. They are snooty and if you are there they will try to sell you everything in the world. We had complained that the steam room was too hot and they refused to lower it even when my friend got burnt. They always had a snear on their faces. Prices so high for a massage. Crazy. Pools are nice, there is one by the gym that is quiet and there are two hot tubs there as well. Towels in the ladies dressing room near the gym. Drink prices are actually a lot lower then last year. Guess they werent selling drinks at 12$ a pop so they lowered them to 5-8$ much better on that end. Disco was empty all nights not a soul there. Danced dinner off a few nights alone. Was fun. Other than that, the ship will be better suited in the islands where you can appreciate the movies under the stars and the outdoor pools. You will enjoy it if your not too picky. Its far better then Carnival and the food and service is better then Rccl or Ncl. Depends what your looking for. Me ? Im just looking for peace, good food and relaxation so i got what i wanted, but if your looking for them to entertain you and show you a good time, id go elsewhere for sure. This aint no party cruise! Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
We have just returned from a 10 night New England and Canada cruise on Emerald Princess. We have not cruised with Princess for 9 years and sad to say we found that standards had slipped during that time. Nothing wrong with the layout of ... Read More
We have just returned from a 10 night New England and Canada cruise on Emerald Princess. We have not cruised with Princess for 9 years and sad to say we found that standards had slipped during that time. Nothing wrong with the layout of the ship, it was clean and all the staff were delightful. Firstly we were surprised to find the bathrooms to be identical in size and layout as 9 years ago, we had hoped that they might be a little larger on the newer ship. We have recently been cruising on Celebrity and their bathrooms have a good size shower and have more space and storage. Our main disappointment was the quality of the food, both in the buffets and the main dining room.Very little choice in Horizon Court at lunchtime and what there was, was most unappetising.Breakfast was OK but again the layout was poor and became crowded with long queues. The plates and mugs were plastic and you stirred your coffee with a wooden stick!! Evening choices in the Botticelli dining room again were quite uninspiring and not very well presented. Just what you might expect if you went for lunch at a local pub and certainly not the fine dining we had expected. If you opt for the early sitting you may well be allocated in the 'Botticelli'. Be warned that you get a lot of engine vibration in there as it is located at the back of the ship. Dress code was another bone of contention. It clearly states that on formal nights gentlemen should wear tuxedo or dark business suit. What a joke, about 10% wore tuxedo,70% a suit,10% sports jacket with open neck and no tie and the remainder were allowed into the main dining room in scruffy jeans,t shirts and trainers!!! We complained to the Maitre D who informed us that he could not stop them coming in dressed like that. Wrong there I think, he certainly could have denied them entrance but obviously did not want the confrontation!! Princess should address this problem and if they won't enforce the dress code they should do away with formal nights. One bright note is that we found the International Cafe on deck 5 serves lunch, lovely filled rolls, a small selection of salads, soup and quiche plus all sorts of desserts. You only pay extra for drinks there, the food is included . We were surprised by the lack of hand gel dispensers which were only to be found by the buffet. We saw none anywhere else, not even at the entrance to the main dining rooms or public washrooms. On Celebrity you get squirted when you re-enter the ship after being onshore as well. Entertainment was much as expected and we did like the small lounges where all sorts of music was played.Movies under the stars seems like a good idea but it was far too cold in late October to be sitting outside at night! Disembarcation was the quickest and most organised we have ever had on a cruise - well done to Princess for that. So we shall be returning to Celebrity for our next cruise where hopefully standards of food and dress will still be as expected. Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
My wife and I arrived in Copenhagen two days before our cruise to acclimatize ourselves and do some sightseeing in the city. This was good as it took us longer than normal to get over the jet lag this time and with our flights being ... Read More
My wife and I arrived in Copenhagen two days before our cruise to acclimatize ourselves and do some sightseeing in the city. This was good as it took us longer than normal to get over the jet lag this time and with our flights being delayed, it would have been very hard on us if we had arrived the same day as the cruise. We took the train from the airport and it was an easy experience. For 36 Kroner each (about 7 dollars) we were shuttled to Central Station with no problems. When exiting follow signs to trains, purchase tickets at a automated kiosk or at the information desk in the main hall and take track 2. To go from Central Station to the ship, purchase a ticket for zone 2 for 24 Kroner (about $4.50) and take track 9/10and go 4 stops to Nordhavn station. From there it is a bit of a walk but not unobtrusive. Just follow the signs and look for your ship, you won't be able to miss it. Embarkation was very easy and the port is not hampered with American style security so everything goes smoothly. We arrived at the port at 11:45am and were in our ready state room by 12:30pm. The ship is very similar to the other Princess cruise we took on the Ruby Princess. The layout of the ship is almost an exact replica so finding our way around was very easy. On this cruise we went to Aarhus, Oslo, Warnemunde, Tallinn, Stockholm, Helsinki and St Petersburg. Despite the rain, Oslo was a great port of call with lots to see and do. The best way to see the city is on public transit with a one day pass and museum entrance ticket. It is 216 Norwegian Kroner ($38) per person and will get you into everything you could possibly want to see. Stockholm is another great port of call. Walking to town is not obtrusive; it was only marred by President Obama's visit causing sections of the city to be closed off depending on where his motorcade was. My wife mentioned that she would like to come back and really see the city. Wernemunde is the port for Berlin. I would not recommend taking the trip there though. It is a long journey there and you would only see a snippet of the city. It is best seen on a separate trip so you can explore the city over a few days or even a week. I would take the train to see Rostock instead. It only costs a few Euros and is a very interesting medieval city. Tallinn is also a interesting place to see with things off the beaten path to explore and see. Helsinki is also easily explored inexpensively by public transit. Purchase a day pass for 8 Euros from the bus driver at the stop right next to the port. I recommend printing out a transit map before arriving. It makes it easier to plan where you want to go without getting on the wrong bus or tram (like we did). The port presentation on the TV in the state room is very informative and helpful for those who like to explore on their own and will tell you which stops to get off of but a map would have helped me a lot. The only stop that was not the greatest was Aarhus. We arrived on a Sunday and not much is open. I don't know what excursions are available as we generally don't take them, but if you walk in don't expect to see much. St Petersburg was a great port of call, the port was the main reason we went on this cruise. I just had wished that the Russian authorities made it easier to enter the country. Going through customs was a bit of a bottleneck and seemed pointless. And having either a Visa, or a ticket for either a ship or private excursion, is the only way to get to see the city. We purchased a Hermitage and on your own excursion from Princess. It allowed us to do some personal exploring without being herded the entire time we were in the city. I only purchased the one excursion so we originally were only going to be able to get off the ship once on our second day in port. Two of our table mates had purchased tickets to see the Russian folk dance on the first day but were too tired to use them so they offered it to us. It was a very generous offer that we are indebted to them for. If I am lucky to be able to visit this city again, I will not be so cheap and purchase tickets to see other sights such as Peterhof palace etc. It is a once in a lifetime experience to visit this city and should be seen without worry about cost. This was my only regret on our cruise. The food was good but not great, I find the food on Holland America a little more flavourful and varied but Emeralds was still more than palatable. I just wish that they had a more varied menu especially at breakfast in the dining room. I much prefer the dining room as I always find that by the time you get everything you want in the buffet and sit down it is cold, but the dining rooms menu only has one thing that is the special of the day. If it isn't what you feel like eating, your choice is very limited and not very inspiring. Having the buffet available later in the evening was good though, sometimes you feel like a little snack before retiring. It was appreciated. The shows onboard are very similar to many other cruises we have been on. My wife and I have seen so many of these shows that we took a pass this time. The one thing that Princess could do is offer more activities during the day that don't involve shopping or some form of exercise purchase. I really enjoy seminars and demonstrations of differing interests but unfortunately very few were offered on this cruise. I know it is becoming more prevalent on other cruise lines also, but the up selling is becoming very noticeable. We were upgraded to a window view cabin and it was very nice. We always book inside cabins so this was a nice surprise. Our cabin was located as far back and as high up as was possible on this ship. If you don't like movement, vibrations or are prone to seasickness then this is not the cabin for you. I don't mind it as it seems to rock me to sleep and would not mind being upgraded to this cabin again, but it is quite noticeable. This is the largest passenger count ship that I have been on (the Ruby Princess is the same), it doesn't seem that there are 3082 passengers onboard unless you are trying to use the elevators during busy times or when you are in port and everywhere you go it is packed. I think I much prefer lower passenger count ships especially when you are in port. I can't imagine what it would be like on those monster Royal Caribbean ships, St. Petersburg was over run with just our ship on the second day in port. All in all, Princess provided us with all we really wanted on this trip, decent food, good ports and an attractive price to a place in the world we wanted to see. In the end that is really all you can ask for. They succeeded in giving us a good vacation.   Read Less
Sail Date August 2013
This was our second Princess Cruise, the first being in the late 1980's and we booked it due to the itinerary although we had been to St. Petersburg and Berlin on previous river boat cruises. We opted to go into Copenhagen several ... Read More
This was our second Princess Cruise, the first being in the late 1980's and we booked it due to the itinerary although we had been to St. Petersburg and Berlin on previous river boat cruises. We opted to go into Copenhagen several days early to experience the city, and we booked accommodations at the Best Western City Hotel. The location was great, the breakfast substantial, and the staff most helpful and accommodating. We took a taxi from the airport to hotel at a cost of about $50 and another to the pier at $15 per person through arrangements with the hotel. Since our initial Princess Cruise was years ago, we had not been on such a large ship, and think we prefer a smaller vessel. We found the Piazza noisy and impersonal rather than classy as on a Celebrity ship. The locations of the dining rooms, at the stern and on the lowest passenger decks, can be a challenge to get to depending on the deck and location of your cabin. We ate in the dining room most evenings and had anytime dining. There are advantages to choosing your own time to dine, however you must plan ahead if you want to attend any shows in the theater, The time required to dine is unpredictable and depends on the others at the table, the food choices made, and the conversation. Although we could have attended a couple of performances, sitting in for a few minutes made us decide to pass on it and choose other options for our evening time. The menu varied each night and there were only a few selections that disappointed. Service is generally good, although one night at table 470, we were rushed and not given some of the items requested. We did dine at Sabatini's and found it most enjoyable. From the appetizers to dessert everything was excellent and would rival some of the best restaurants in the North End of Boston. We felt the extra charge was reasonable for the quality and service. We regularly had breakfast and lunch in the Horizon Cafe, and except for an occasional rude passenger knocking you out of place, that was a pleasant experience. The selection was varied, and everything we tried we found well prepared. My only wish was that less salt was used. Other options for dining would be the pizza stop, pool deck grill, and International Cafe. One certainly would not go hungry. Our cabin was well arranged, had a comfortable bed, 2 chairs and a desk. We were on our balcony every day that the weather allowed, and although one had to be careful showering not to soak the floor of the bathroom, our room steward could not have been more accommodating in providing plenty of towels. I found the library had a decent selection of reference books on the ports we were visiting, and the onboard speaker on the ports gave advice that was useful to both the passenger taking a shore excursion with Princess or for those wishing to do it on their own. This was good, as we found the shore excursion desk, not helpful nor willing to answer questions, so having other resources was necessary when one excursion was cancelled and we did not hear from the staff when requesting a tour at another port.We really didn't see many passengers watching the movies under the stars. Perhaps the schedule and weather dampened that venue. It seemed most people were frequenting the various cubs and bars onboard. Since we are not smokers and are bothered by the smell of stale smoke, we avoided the Casino, so I cannot comment on that. Disembarkation could have been a little more convenient for passengers. We were loaded onto a double decker bus, with steps so steep that one woman could barely get up to the second level then could barely get down. Our luggage was brought to a holding area in the airport garage and after finding our suitcases we then had to determine what terminal our airline was in and maneuver our luggage through crowds to find our check-in counters. The departure terminal was the most disorganized I have ever encountered. There were only signs for SAS, and everyone else was wandering around trying to determine where and how to check in for flights. It would have been nice if some Princess Representatives had been there to assist some of the people who were definitely lost and confused. We found one woman, who needed a wheelchair, crying because she was overwhelmed, and was getting no assistance. We helped her locate the line for check-in which was snaking around the the terminal and I only hope she was able to get her boarding pass in time to board her flight. Will we cruise with Princess again? Maybe, but not in Europe. That particular ship seems more suited to the Caribbean where ports of call are not as intense. In addition, there seems to be mixed messages about bringing wine and champagne onboard. Each passenger is allowed to bring 750ml of wine or champagne on at embarkation, and told any brought on from ports would incur a $15 charge to keep in your stateroom, or would be held until the end of the cruise. Frequent cruisers with Princess said that the rule is not enforced, and some people even brought hard liquor onboard at embarkation and from ports of call. We could not get a definitive response on this. One of the niceties of cruising in Europe is to try local wine and beer, however, if you cannot bring it onboard from a port of call, you loose that aspect of the cruise. There certainly is not time to stop for a drink in port if you are on a tour.   Read Less
Sail Date August 2013
This is the first time we took a cruise tour (land and cruise) before we sailed on June 25, 2013 on the Emerald Princess. We thoroughly enjoyed visiting Budapest, Vienna, Prague and Berlin beforehand. We had a terrific tour director, Lucy, ... Read More
This is the first time we took a cruise tour (land and cruise) before we sailed on June 25, 2013 on the Emerald Princess. We thoroughly enjoyed visiting Budapest, Vienna, Prague and Berlin beforehand. We had a terrific tour director, Lucy, and a wonderful bus driver (Chaba). We only had 21 people on this tour with us and by the end we got to be one happy family! Going on the land tour afforded us the ability to see the beautiful countryside along our journey. We stayed in high-end hotels with dining that was superb, which included local restaurants. We got personalized attention with Lucy as well as answers to all of our questions about the history of the countries we visited. The local guides were good as well. Of course, it all helped that the weather cooperated, sunny and warm. Once we boarded the ship for Scandinavia and Russia, of course, the weather changed; we knew it would be cooler with rain. Then of course big bus loads on the shore excursions. Unfortunately on our first excursion to Oslo, the guide did not provide any "headset" for us to hear her with and when you have massive tourists around you it is difficult to hear anything; way too crowded at the viking ship museum. I have to say I was pretty impressed with the food on the ship. It was very good. We did first seating traditional dining, all meals were presented well and tasted very good. This was a very port intensive trip, and I'm in good shape at 62, and I was glad to get home after 3 weeks! We love the history and culture, however, towards the end of the trip all of the churches, museums, castles as well as the Scandinavian countries started to look alike. Favorite places: Budapest is amazing! Finland was beautiful as well - take the shore excursion to Porvoo (old town). We enjoyed the land tour so much that perhaps next time we will skip the cruise and take a Globus tour.   Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
I have always loved to plan vacations, so my new husband said, "plan the vacation of your dreams for our honeymoon". With pleasure, I started planning our 19 day Transatlantic voyage to Europe. Embarking was easy and efficient. ... Read More
I have always loved to plan vacations, so my new husband said, "plan the vacation of your dreams for our honeymoon". With pleasure, I started planning our 19 day Transatlantic voyage to Europe. Embarking was easy and efficient. We waited in line for about 25 minutes before the process started.The food was just a little disappointing. I had expected fine dining every evening, and though the food was not bad at all, it was not as good as I had expected. We ate in the dining room almost every evening with the traditional seating time. Our servers were excellent. Breakfast was enjoyed at the Horizon Cafe 95% of the time. The food was good and the selection was great. We had pizza once at the pizzeria which was good. The International Cafe's food was okay. We had sushi at The Vines and it was the freshest and best sushi I had ever eaten. We ate at Sabatini's, their specialty restaurant, and though the food was good, it was not great, as expected. However, the service was excellent. We are coffee drinkers and payed for a coffee card which was well worth the price of the card. Least I forget, High Tea every afternoon at 3:30 in the dining room, was excellent. We are not drinkers or dancers, so we always went to the Princess Theater for entertainment. We found the entertainment to be 50/50. Sometimes good, sometimes not so good. The entertainment in the Piazza was usually very good. The ports of call were excellent as were the excursions. I chose this cruise based on the ports of call and they did not disappoint. The next time I book a long cruise, I will choose a ship that has more recreational activities on board. The Emerald Princess does not have the bells and whistles of other ships; no rock climbing wall, no golf simulator, no skating rink. There were 2 ping pong tables, a basketball hoop and paddle tennis, but the paddle tennis was only available 2 hours a day because it doubled as the basketball court. There were movies under the stars every afternoon and evening, however don't forget that it gets very cold at sea in April/May in Europe. And remember to get there early or their won't be an available lounger or blanket to stay warm with.I tried to keep exercising while on the ship to cut down on any weight gain from all the rich foods. The Lotus Spa had every piece of equipment as my gym at home does. The only problem for me was that there were not enough stationary bikes. There were only 5 and one was broken and never fixed during the duration of the cruise. I was always waiting for a stationary bike. If you enjoy a cigar occasionally, there is a speakeasy for your cigar enjoyment. However, be prepared to be overwhelmed by cigarette smoke. The Speakeasy was used by guest cigarette smokers as well as the crew/staff. Not an enjoyable environment at all if you're a cigar connoisseur.If you're looking for a quiet, kid-free environment, with great ports of call, at a great price, this may be the cruise for you. Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
The cruise itself was awesome - itenary and number of days were perfect. Weather was great. If you are younger and looking for a party cruise - this isn't it...lots of grey-haired people who are there to relax and enjoy their ... Read More
The cruise itself was awesome - itenary and number of days were perfect. Weather was great. If you are younger and looking for a party cruise - this isn't it...lots of grey-haired people who are there to relax and enjoy their vacation :) I would definitely check into other reviews on cruisecritic.com if you like to snorkel - we didn't plan on snorkeling in Barbados and should have...although we did take a private cab and saw Harrison's Caves - awesome place to visit! Don't bother with Magic Ice Bar in St. Thomas - you can go there directly yourself and save $$ for the same tour. Not really worth $20... Grand Turk - spend the $$ and time to go snorkeling with the sting rays - an experience of a lifetime! Did Eco kayaking in Antigua - very interesting and fun. We LOVED the anytime dining - showed up when we were ready to eat and asked to share with others. NEVER had to wait for a table! met many nice folks each evening. The weather in all ports was very WARM! i couldn't imagine how the temp would be past April. Water in the ports was in the 70's and very refreshing! Self-carried luggage out for early flight - ZERO problems! Met in theater at 7:10 am and were walking out of the ship by 7:40 am. We took taxi - $14 for two - and were at the airport by 7:50 am!! Don't forget you are allowed one bottle of wine each to carry on board. Our cabin steward brought us wine glasses so we could have it in our cabin! Loved the ship and staff - entertainment was 'ok' compared to other shows I've seen. Didn't seem to have much activities going on during sea days that we were interested in. Overall truly enjoyed this relaxing vacation and would definitely do these islands again! Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
Well we were on a cruise we were really looking forward to. We were aware of the of flight times, but the cruise was one we really looked forward to. We arrived at Fort Lauderdale terminal at approximately 11.30 a.m. Checking in was a ... Read More
Well we were on a cruise we were really looking forward to. We were aware of the of flight times, but the cruise was one we really looked forward to. We arrived at Fort Lauderdale terminal at approximately 11.30 a.m. Checking in was a breeze, until we took a seat with many hundreds of passengers to go on board. We were given numbers and as we waited a Princess representative appeared and started to call out numbers, well the strange thing was he could not be heard because he had no microphone, and no one could hear him, this was certainly not a good start, as quite a few people were quite unhappy and we could hear quite a lot of "comments" as to the efficiency of this process. Approximately 2.p.m. we boarded, we had a balcony and were very happy with it. We met our Room Steward Jim, who I must say we were and continued to be very impressed with his efficiency and competence. The ship is beautiful, but our bed was certainly hard and certainly needs replacing, the pillows were so soft that I had to use towels to boost firmness,till Jim realized the problem ( as I accidently left the towels in my pillowcase) and provided me with a third pillow. I was very grateful. Entertainment on the ship excellent. Kory Simon.a delight to listen to. The Princess dancers, Tyronne Babb on steel drums and the other entertainers great. Food, cannot complain, although dining at Michaelangelos was a bad experience for us, we found the waiters gave us the impression they really did not want to be there. We went there twice and nothing had changed. When your waiter forgets to provide you with pepper, and forgets to provide you with the desert menu, as he is too busy talking to the couple sitting next to you, then after being prompted by another waiter drops the menu on our table and walks away, and then again 15 minutes realizes we are still sitting there waiting, takes our order, it certainly not a good end to a night. We never went to Michaelangelos again. We had the same problem with Da Vinci"s the first time we visitied, but the service certainly improved the 2nd time we visitied. The Horizon Buffet on the first 10 day cruise the staff seemed cold and disinterested but given a few days we definitely saw a remarkable change in attitude. The staff seemed very approachable and much happier, and we ate there often and had a good time special thanks to Vicktorria and Iryna. Our favorite place was the Outrigger Bar. Sitting there with a few very nice people we met and Chris the barman was great and we loved it. The International Cafe great service, and a pleasure to relax in, The staff always greeted you with a smile. Generally a great cruise we did a back to back Eastern and Southern, and after 20 days the staff appeared to be more relaxed, and smiled more. Pursers office Congratulations, with all the stress you would had you always had a smile. Embarkation excellent. Quick, easy and convenient. Thank you. Thank you Princess, you have given us a lifetime of memories and the wish we could do it again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
This cruise was very relaxing and enjoyable. The food was not really to our liking in the restaurants. We do not enjoy foods that are made with a lot of spices and sauces. However, the buffet did a good job. We were disappointed that he ... Read More
This cruise was very relaxing and enjoyable. The food was not really to our liking in the restaurants. We do not enjoy foods that are made with a lot of spices and sauces. However, the buffet did a good job. We were disappointed that he Horizon Court buffet was not open on many of the evening for dinner. We also had trouble getting wine glasses delivered to our cabin. On previous cruises, our cabin steward was able to supply them each day that we needed them. This time, we were told to call room service. When we did, they didn't have any to send up to us, so I had to go to one of the bars and ask for them. The dancers and singers were not as good as we have seen on previous cruises with Princess, We had a great CC Meet & Greet and had 9 officers of the ship attend. Making arrangements for this with a Princess representative was very easy. Met a lot of people and enjoyed that part. We also saw 4 of the films that were nominatet for the Oscar. That was also great. Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
When we arrived at Ft. Lauderdale, we used the Princess transfer to the ship which makes life so easy. Once we lined up for the bus, we never worried about our luggage it showed up at our room door and it did show up in a very timely ... Read More
When we arrived at Ft. Lauderdale, we used the Princess transfer to the ship which makes life so easy. Once we lined up for the bus, we never worried about our luggage it showed up at our room door and it did show up in a very timely manner. When we arrived at the dock, we had to stand outside for almost an hour. I am not sure why it was so slow a process to enter the terminal unless it was because of the slow down of customs processing. Once we entered the building, we did not stop walking until we were on the ship. We had an obstructed view cabin which met our needs. I am not sure that with the cool temperatures that we would have used a balcony that much. As always our room steward was wonderful. We requested distilled water and a firmer pillow. I do think Princess needs to replace the pillows more frequently, but I was pleased that the bed was very comfortable. Because of the length of the cruise, I used the laundry twice $2 per wash $2 per dry and the $20 bag of laundry once. Next time I take a long cruise, I am going to pack lighter. My only complaint was that one of the dryers was not functioning the entire trip. This time you had to swipe your cruise card at the muster drill. It does improve accountability on the ship. The drill was painless. I love the layout of the Emerald. We were on the 8th floor and I tried to use the stairs. I was a frequent customer at the International Cafe for the wonderful little sandwiches, shrimp salad, and miniature desserts. I also enjoyed the pub lunch the days it was offered. We ate at 5:45 in the main dining room. We requested a large table and again was given a table for 2. Princess should not ask if it is not going to follow your requests for dinner seating. Two of the days our shore excursions did not return until after 7. I thought I would be forced to eat at the buffet. I asked the head waiter and he said no to go to anytime or come to the late seating and they would find us a table. 5 cruises on Princess and I never knew that. We purchased the drink card that included juices and nonalcoholic drinks and used it frequently. I was really nice on the 9 days at sea. Loved the Crooners Lounge and its hardworking staff. The food was surprisingly good. I had lost 20 pounds prior to the trip and did not want to gain too much back. I managed to eat healthy and remember portion control. I didn't miss a dessert at dinner and managed to lose 2 pounds on the cruise. Rico and Olga were great servers. Scholarship at Sea was nonexistent on this trip. The port lecturer missed the ship in Ft. Lauderdale. I was very disappointed in the lack of educational opportunities. This has always been a selling point for Princess. Some of the entertainment was excellent, but I am tired of the song and dance shows. After 10 cruises, they all seem the same. They had two very good comedians (one not so good). Unfortunately, they were not in the Princess theater but in the Explorer's bar. You had to arrive 35 minutes before the show to find a seat. People on the ship really enjoyed the comedians and they need a larger venue. We also had a saxophonist, piano players, and two vocalists that were wonderful. Movies under the Stars is one of my favorite parts of Princess cruises. Unfortunately, because of the temperature, it was too chilly for me to attend. I did attend movies in the Princess theater in the afternoon. I had seen most of the offerings, but the line up was excellent. One movie I had not seen in my local theater was Hitchcock. What a delight! I was surprised R rated movies were shown. Good for Princess! I think there were only 5 children on board. We took shore excursions in every port and had good experiences. In Copenhagen we took a shore excursion and our luggage met us at the airport. Overall it was a good trip. It would be nice if transatlantic ships had covered pools. My cruises are starting to blend together so I think one more cruise that we are booked for and then try something different for a few years until we get old enough that a cruise is all we can do. Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
Having cruised previously with Celebrity and had a great trouble free experience I was looking forward to Princess which has good reviews. My stateroom (B424) was difficult to access, my wheelchair had to be folded and due to a lack of ... Read More
Having cruised previously with Celebrity and had a great trouble free experience I was looking forward to Princess which has good reviews. My stateroom (B424) was difficult to access, my wheelchair had to be folded and due to a lack of space storage was difficult. Exiting the stateroom was even more difficult. Regretfully many staff seemed uncaring and unhelpful (including the Officers). I am wheelchair user and found it difficult to get around the ship without assistance (in a party of 5 adults who helped). The only areas where staff offered to assist was in the restaurants, and self service areas. On previous cruises it has been a rest for all the family as staff always offered to assist but not on the Princess Emerald. Doorways were often blocked by sun beds and twice the US passengers refused to move to allow me through. Staff used the wheelchair accessible rest rooms some of which were not cleaned very well. Bar staff and waiters around the pool areas on deck 15 only walked around the edges of the deck or upstairs to the sun deck (16), Access to this deck (and accessible rest rooms was very difficult due to heavy doors and deck surfaces, yet two Officers offered no help whatsoever. These issues were reported to Passengers Services but nothing changed. Overall my family and I were disappointed by the lack of customer care demonstrated, it seems that there was a lack of training and a small number of unhappy, uncaring, unhelpful staff. On a positive note the food was as expected...no complaints and good service, the entertainment good except for the annoying repeated programmes on the big screen. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
The initial trip by cab into the cruise port was long and congested. Don't think that's Princess' fault but they ought to look at that as other lines don't have huge lines for cabs or cars to drop off. Once out of ... Read More
The initial trip by cab into the cruise port was long and congested. Don't think that's Princess' fault but they ought to look at that as other lines don't have huge lines for cabs or cars to drop off. Once out of the cab the staff that greets you (and I use that term lightly) did not direct anyone. You just followed the crowd and hoped it was going to the right ship. I kid you not! The lines were long and slow. Once you got up to the check in point there was no real greeting from Princess there either....just "okay your set". NO ONE directed you or really greeted you until you were past the cold check in process. Then there were a couple of "greeters" and the usual photo people who WOULD NOT let you pass without making you look like a boob. We've got sooo many cruise pictures....please just let people walk by if they choose. Once on the ship, to our delight, our room was ready. We had a mini suite and it was nice to be able to go there and drop our carry on so we could explore the ship. They had given us a map at check in. THANK THE LORD because we found the Emerald very compartmentalized and difficult to find our way around. We thought at first that it was our first time confusion but even after day 10 we were still using that stupid map. Not so on other lines we've cruised with. Horizon Court - buffet cafe. We found a bad design there as well. It's small and people bump into each other. Food was really mediocre. Was it awful...no but we grabbed breakfast but didn't bother to go back during the day because it's so lack luster. Wait staff is very helpful to keep your drinks filled etc. Our room was a mini suite and we found it ample. The only thing I'd knock them on is ....where are the drawers? Did I have enough space, yes. Bed and pillows very nice. Room steward very good. Beach towels in the room and refreshed everyday. I have to say Princess does that well. RCCL you have to go to the pool, give them your card, and bring them back to the pool area (all the time showing them your card) or you'll get charged $20 a towel. We were so pleased Princess doesn't do that. TV selection, except for the premier movies is dreadful. They show reruns of the Love Boat. ENOUGH! Main Dining Room was Botticelli and it was lovely. Head waiter is so pleasant as well as our wait staff. Food was good. Wasn't extraordinary but I really couldn't complain. Crown Grill (steak house) there is an up-charge but this was OUTSTANDING. We ate there two nights and Sabatini's once. Sabatini's was good. However had we not felt bad about leaving our MDR table mates too many nights, we'd gone at least 2 more night to the Crown Grill....it was that good! We only did a couple of nights of the entertainment. Comedians and a Mentalist all who were very good. The ship was full so getting into the theater was tough. You really couldn't run in at the last minute. Casino is fairly common. The only thing we weren't really informed of is that you have to use your card to gamble. Not a big deal but setting up the account was a little confusing just because the instructions weren't clear. However once it was set up.....no big deal. Emerald staff is friendly. Did not see an officer at any time. Other lines they see to be around to greet. All there stops were the usual and I won't comment only because the span of every one's interest is different. I will say however, the island they use for their private use "PRINCESS CAY" was heavenly. We had to be tendered in but that process was extremely efficient, making it no big deal. Emerald seems to be an extremely stable ship. Captain would come on and say there was going to be "bumps" (and you could see the rougher seas) but really they really did a great job because seldom did I feel a thing. There are multiple pools on the boat and deck chairs are easily found. Also they have small tables between every two so you don't feel your lying in bed with a complete stranger. Really liked that. There was your share of lounge chair hogs but were there are so many, it was no big deal. I tried not to like Princess because we had sailed RCCL and Celebrity so much I think we got comfortable. I definitely would sail Princess again. Would it be my "go to line"....no, and only because we cruise for the itinerary mainly but it was nice we have another line to choose from. We chose to walk off first thing in the morning at the end because we had an early flight and it was THE best thing we ever did. Whole process was over in 15 minutes and we were in a cab. Could we get breakfast, no....coffee yes and we were back in Boston mid afternoon. No hanging around in a lounge till your number is called and then the mad search for another black piece of luggage! Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
Having cruised before on 2 other lines, this was not the best but it was not the worst. We traveled with friends who were first time cruisers and for the most part, enjoyed ourselves. The ship was very clean and our cabin steward was ... Read More
Having cruised before on 2 other lines, this was not the best but it was not the worst. We traveled with friends who were first time cruisers and for the most part, enjoyed ourselves. The ship was very clean and our cabin steward was excellent. I was disappointed that he was so busy there was never a single towel animal on our bed during the entire cruise. I'm sure they've cut back on the number of staff which also cuts into their time alloted for each cabin. After boarding the ship we found our cabin but for the first time ever had to wait until early evening for our luggage to arrive at our door. We decided to check out the spa and signed up for the "first 40" for the spa package that included any time visits to the thermal/dry sauna/heated beds at a cost of only $99 for the 10 days. This proved to be an excellent choice. However, when I signed up for the seaweed massage for a fee of $210 which included the water bed instead of the regular table, in the middle when it came time for my scalp massage, I was asked by the tech if I wanted to have the scented oil at an additional cost of $30 and could take the bottle home with me. I declined which proved to be very uncomfortable since my hair had not been shampooed yet, was dry and very difficult for the tech to even move her hands around and through. Upon completion of the massage, she then tried to hard sell me for an additional day/night skin treatment at an outrageous cost for a 1 month supply. I declined saying I needed to discuss this extra fee with my husband to which she replied, "does your husband make all your decisions?" At that point I said I was done and signed the receipt after her telling me she expected a $32 tip. WoW! As a side note, my husband doesn't make my decisions, and it wasn't about the money. It was her condescending manner of speaking to me. My husband signed up for a detox test at a cost of $50 for the both of us. We went to our appointment, got a briefing on how our bodies work, etc., then were asked if we were planning to sign up for their algae products at a cost of approximately $1200/year/each. My husband stated that he wanted to research it further to which we were told, and I quote, "if you're not going to sign up for the products, I'm not going to waste yours or my time." We went there for the test certainly not expecting to be pressured into buying products. We did not pay the $50 fee. In the past I've had my nails done and enjoyed that experience very much - in and out with no pressure or expectations to purchase more. This cruise I decided to treat myself to a spa treatment. In the future I will not be making any spa appointments for which there are hidden costs. We signed up for the 6 p.m. dining. Our waiter was very unorganized the first night. Having had excellent service on all prior 8 cruises, my husband brought this poor level of service to the attention of the head waiter. He was told to give him another night to improve. For the balance of the cruise there was slight improvement but never at the level we have had before. Our food was always hot and the presentation was imaginative. Not the best cuisine but not the worst. The International Cafe was always great and tasty. When it came to the evening show entertainment, I have to say I was highly offended by the dance troupe doing all the bumping and grinding gyrations and breast squeezing in a crowd including many children. The dancing and singing was great but why the show producer thought this would enhance the show is beyond me. It immediately went from a class act to only missing the pole and hooker shoes. I booked one shore excursion outside of the cruise line and paid much less for our zip line/beach lunch combo tour. The rest of our excursions we booked through Princess. Having been on a Mediterranean cruise in 2010 I had booked 2 shore excursions outside Princess, I felt very comfortable doing this. We will cruise again, in fact we put a deposit for a future cruise. These speed bumps won't deter us form this type of vacation. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
Embarkation: We embarked in Fort Lauderdale. The line looked very, very long as we exited our shuttle. However, the line went pretty fast as we approached the counter. So, embarkation was fairly fast and efficient. Cabin: Once ... Read More
Embarkation: We embarked in Fort Lauderdale. The line looked very, very long as we exited our shuttle. However, the line went pretty fast as we approached the counter. So, embarkation was fairly fast and efficient. Cabin: Once getting aboard the ship, we instantly went to our cabin to check it out. We had a nice mini-suite on the Dolphin deck. It had lots of room for storage. The bath included a tub and full size shower. Yippee!! The balcony was a good size. We didn't like the open balcony (no ceiling). People on decks above us could see us when we were on the balcony. My husband especially did not like that. But, we thought we would try it to see how we liked it. Now we have our answer. Our cabin steward, Florian, was excellent!! He was the best steward we have ever had. I can't say enough about the service he gave us. Dining: The dining room food and staff was sub par at best. It seemed like the portions were very small and not the best tasting. The waiters were okay, not great. They always seemed to rush everything. We did not have any relaxed dinners there. The Maitre'D did not come to our table. So we did not even know his name. Medical Center: My husband got sick two days into our cruise. The doctor and nurse gave us the best service. They did confine my husband to our cabin for two days because he had a fever. They checked on him a few times. So we were very happy with the service they gave him. Tours: We bought all of our shore tours through Princess. While my husband was sick, they were happy to refund both of our tours we purchased. No hassle, no problem. We appreciated that. Summary: Will we go on Emerald Princess? Probably, depending on the itinerary. But, they do need to improve the dining room. Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
11th cruise.2nd w/ Princess on same ship/itinerary as 2008.Arrived Ft.Lauderdale 1 day early.Heavy rains that night and steady drizzle day of embarkation.Arrived port 11 am and took about 1 hr to board w/ no problems.Ship recently ... Read More
11th cruise.2nd w/ Princess on same ship/itinerary as 2008.Arrived Ft.Lauderdale 1 day early.Heavy rains that night and steady drizzle day of embarkation.Arrived port 11 am and took about 1 hr to board w/ no problems.Ship recently refurbished in Dec so carpets etc looked great. Cabin: tiniest shower ever but great amt of storage.Requested eggcrate already on bed.Deck 10 forward and cabin was quiet and comfortable. Dining: food good in general.Chose anytime dining.Slow service most nights as we ate early (5:30) nightly.We were unable to obtain a window seat as EVERY 2 person table w/ window was RESERVED?? by back to back cruisers in the ANYTIME dining room.We did not eat in any surcharge restaurants but did eat in Horizon court and Caribe for breakfast/lunch (very disorganized) but good variety and generally good quality.Princess offers sushi/tappas but only if alcoholic beverage is purchased?Great pizza and grill items. Entertainment: only 2 comics in 10 days, both were great.Theater shows were O.K.,MUTS movies were pretty good.In general not our style. Public area's:ship is beautiful w/ many nice area's and features.Enjoyed pool deck's and had little trouble getting chairs though there was a lot of saving going on w/ NO enforcement.Pretty easy to navigate the decks. Service:cabin steward Dusit was exceptional.Nice not to be continually asked for drink service.Slow dining room service.Front desk staff were great.Cruise director did a good job.My wife and I were embarrassed by Michelangelo's entrance staff woman on 1st formal night as I do not were suits nor wish to have to dress up on vacation, but did wear appropriate dress pants/shirt but not long sleeved.We left and went to Horizon court that night but warned her we would insist on eating in main dining room on 2nd formal night and did not have problem then. Ports:no food service and very limited bar service at Princess Cay d/t weather? even tough there was no problem tendering in people t/o the day.St.Thomas: went to Water island for the day on ferry.Nice beach w/ so-so snorkeling.Dominica:joined group of Canadians on bus to Mero beach (black sand) and then Champagne reef for some incredible snorkeling, $25 pp so a great deal. Grenada: took cab to Great Anse beach for the day and water taxi back to port.So-so snorkeling but nice beach.Bonaire: all day at Klein Bonaire for incredible snorkeling and then back to port for drinks and shopping.Aruba: took local bus w/ nice Canadian couple to beach up past resorts and had some so-so snorkeling and then down to ship wreck off the beach for more snorkeling.Then back to port for drinks and shopping.Great weather and warm waters. Summary:nice ship,great itinerary,good food.Will not cruise Princess again r/t: too formal, too old a crowd, not our style entertainment, staff were unwilling to allow us window seating in the dining room even though we arrived early in the ANYTIME dining room.Will stick w/ NCL/Carnival as they are more our style as we are not "young" 51/54, but are young at heart and like a bit more excitement and informality.To each his/her own I guess.Met some really nice people and saw a few rude overbearing people as well. Disembarkation: did the walk off and caught a cab to our hotel for 2 days to unwind prior to flying home. Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
This report covers ten day back to back sailings aboard the Emerald Princess departing Fort Lauderdale the 6th of January 2013 and returning 26th Jan. These were our 17th and 18th sailings with Princess. We traveled by car from Ottawa, ... Read More
This report covers ten day back to back sailings aboard the Emerald Princess departing Fort Lauderdale the 6th of January 2013 and returning 26th Jan. These were our 17th and 18th sailings with Princess. We traveled by car from Ottawa, Ontario departing December 29th and arrived in Fort Lauderdale January 3rd after visiting friends en-route. In Fort Lauderdale we stayed at the Cambria Suites located just off I-95 and Stirling Ave. We took advantage of their Stay and cruise package which allowed for up to 30 days of parking. We were very pleased with this hotel and its proximity to other facilities. We highly recommend this hotel option. After using the hotel's shuttle our boarding in FLL was very efficient. We were checked into our C753 cabin by noon. This is our favored corner aft cabin. We were soon greeted by Jayson our cabin Steward. All of our cabin Stewards have been good but Jayson exceeded our expectations. Although our departure was for around 4:30 we did not leave until about 5:30. We were disappointed to discover that this ship does not offer the "wine card" or "power hour" promotions. We were told that the ship offers the "Clean Sweep" promotion instead. This is a card with 30 places for hole punches. Depending on bar purchase, beer =1, bottle of wine =6, holes are punched until card is full. Completed card goes into draw to have full bar charges removed from your bill. We do not consider this promotion to be equal to "Power Hour" or the "wine card". Why is there no standardization between ships? This is our only real complaint with our Princess experiences. We managed to get one of our favorite seating locations for our anytime dining in the Michaelanglo dining room. Our waitress, Tassanee, was very delightful and efficient but not fully supported by Peter the assistant. We enjoyed the location and service so much that we made a standing reservation for this table for the duration of the cruises. During the first sea day the ship ran a very active entertainment program. This was the most use of Piazza area we have seen. Many senior officers present. We are not active tourists and are happy to just enjoy the ship. We did do a high speed boat and snorkel excursion out of Barbados and a "Champagne" cruise out of St. Thomas on the first cruise. The Champagne cruise was the better of the two. For the second cruise we booked a private scuba dive with Aldive out of Dominica and did a snorkel Cat cruise out of Grenada. The dives were exceptional and the snorkeling in Grenada was unique. They took us to an underwater park were numerous statues and objects had been placed in about 10 feet of water. We were led around in a circle to discover all these objects and told of their meaning. Following the snorkeling the bar was opened en-route to Grand Anse beach where we stopped for about an hour. This tour was the best value of all the ship's tours we have ever taken. Observations: Aft hot tub was closed for the last two nights of the first cruise. Why? Many lights on upper decks are not functioning including stairway lighting. Why? Energy conservation or lack of maintenance? Head waiter, Michael in Michelangelo dining room, was never visible. Where was he? Second cruise beginning 16th Jan. Much the same. Head waiters changed in Michaelanglo's. New assistant waiter for Tannasee named Abdul. He is very personable and likes magic. At the end of every dinner he presents us with a new trick. Great fun. Went to Crown Grill for last formal night. This is what I expect of a Crown Grill not the poor excuse of a Horizon Court makeover found on the Sapphire and others. Great dining experience although my favorite Grill experience is found in the Bayou Grill on the Coral and Island. With the exception of the last day where we had overcast skys and strong winds and moderate seas we were fortunate to have very good weather throughout. Overall this was a delightful cruise and Princess did not fail to please. If the Emerald had offered the Wine Card and Power Hour promotions she would have tied with the Sapphire as our favorite ship. Congratulations to Captain Giorgio Pomato and his outstanding crew. Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
My wife and I have sailed with Princess numerous times and this was a last minute trip, planned in early December 2012.....Wish we had looked up the airfare from ORD TO FLL beforehand booking the cruise (duh momemnt...) ALWAYS look up the ... Read More
My wife and I have sailed with Princess numerous times and this was a last minute trip, planned in early December 2012.....Wish we had looked up the airfare from ORD TO FLL beforehand booking the cruise (duh momemnt...) ALWAYS look up the airfare BEFORE you book the cruise.....I should know that by now.. anyhow booked the cruise, got assigned Rivera Deck Cabin R224....very nice, deck 14, up on port side near the front of the ship....as a matter of fact saw many of the top brass walking down our hallway all during the cruise....especially a very nice BIG Irish nautical guy, who was ever so pleasant and very friendly...stopped to ask about the cruise, our names etc...saw him many times.....he has some nice nautical tattoos on his forearms and my wife joked, that he probably had more.... SO, spent next few weeks using kayak and other websites to find cheap airfare without aggravations.......also we checked the forecast for the weather and saw that snow was possible, in our area and in areas flying through...Indy, Ohio, Penn etc......so I mentioned to people on CC boards to book your flight a day or two earlier......just in case...we never fly in anymore on the cruise day.. so this year Christmas was the 25th, and the 26th, we were still trying to enjoy Christmas, but airborne....luck would have it that on the 22nd we finally find airfare going to FLL, stopped in Charlotte, NC, via UNITED/US AIRWAYS..... flights were easy and good, then got to Charlotte to see the horrors of air travel delays......IT WAS THE BUSIEST AIRPORT area that we had ever been too... after having the US AIRWAYS guys straighten out our flight.....and then told the flight was oversold...but we had seat assignments..luckily but other flights we delayed due to poor weather in INDY and PENN etc.....so this caused such a delay in flying out on the 26th out of Charlotte...... We ran into several other Emeralders going on our cruise and we wished them luck finding flights out......from Charlotte down to FLL.....so it nice to visit the Amex lounge in the Charlotte airport....it was delightful and cozy, had nice mags to read, snickety snacks, quiet, clean bathrooms and places to doze off before our delayed flight out... So, arrived in FLL, caught the shuttle bus taking us to the La Quinta Inn & Suites Ft. Lauderdale Airport 2620 North 26th Ave Hollywood, FL 33020 1-954-922-2295 it was the BEST hotel ever in FLL that we had ever stayed in, clean quiet, nice safe area, free shuttle pickup from FLL airport, and they had a special $8 pp to the cruise port the next morning......FREE hot breakfast of waffles and cereals and rolls and hot coffee/tea/OJ it was very very nice. We had learned a few days back and posted on CC about the NORO on our very ship, we were not concerned.....since we knew it would take time to get onboard...and it did....... Took shuttle bus to FLL cruiseport and it was chaotic.....our poor driver stuck in a traffic nightmare and we just begged to be dumped off anywhere so he could get out of there and drop off his other cruise passengers...waiting patiently for their sailing on the HAL ship...... SO, we snuck out when the cruise cops were not looking....took a few secs....and paid our driver and ran into the terminal..... WHEW! we would still be sitting there.....traffic was a nightmare due to cabs in and out of the port.....and noro cruisers and repeat or back to back cruisers getting checked out before reboarding....scary stuff this noro... Checkin was slow and stopped, we have ELITE status...so we got into a special room without drinks or nibbles (they always have that) and then finally got onboard the Beautiful EMERALD around or right after 3pm.....YEP 3PM we did not sail out finally until 6 630pm and it was nice...seeing the port in the darkness and all the people waving and flashing their lights in those condos right by the port entrance....great send off.... -Ship Info The ship just had been drydocked a few weeks before to have some general things done.....carpeting etc...it was rumored that the workers in drydock the guys who do not wash their hands, brought the NORO onboard with them....who knows? Others speculated that it began with some sickly kids from Christmas cruise previous week and spread through deck 14 Rivera (our deck) We were happy with the room, nice and clean and comfy......hobbit sized as we call it...but very much appreciated.....our room steward was Rizza, a delight. Ice bucket in the fridge with fresh ice all the time.....beds always made etc...we kept a clean room the whole 10 days to save her some time for the kids, lots of kids and teens on this cruise...heard almost 400? Ship was so beautiful, clean and staff was friendly and very very accomandating...advised everyone all the first few days to wash hands and use purell and etc etc...was over repeated again and again.....when you poop, wash your hands....(I am a guy and can tell you 7 out of 10 guys using the bathroom while standing upright or sitting down, DO NOT WASH THEIR HANDS) sorry....almost everywhere we go....people irked to have to stop their vacations to wash their hands...... just do it..... Had a terrible waiter, Johnry in Bottacelli dining table 84? he was awful, we hardly ate in their, did not complain either....our choice...we wanted a nice quiet cruise and relaxation....got it too.......sorry Johnry, you should be fired....never brought water to table, never listened to our needs, wants or offered suggestions etc....... -Activities The daily Princess Patter aka the _hitter Patter as we fondly nicknamed her...cause it came to your room every night at 9pm when you were in the cabin or changing or using the toilet...bring a hi lighter there are so many events... did we do them all, no....... I let my wife do her thang and I did my thang...which is sitting on the deck, people watching and chatting, watching the world sail by......being so lucky to have gotten the chance to be on this cruise.... Once I got my deckchair, and yes the deck chair savers are on board this cruise too....but they are enforcing the policy saying if you don't use that deck chair in 30-45 minutes OFF your towel or stuff went to the pool guys desk and you lost your spots....hahaha I really really enjoyed this part of the cruise...I loathe deck chair savers....... SO, wife went light shopping, went to chats and shopping shows.....Marty is the best, he is the shopping guru on the Emerald and he was the BEST....he helped us find a nice new ring fitting for my wife's diamond setting at the DI in St Kitts.....one of the better ports we visited...... -Service Pretty awesome, except for the rude coffee guy (I reported him) he was so rude to me waiting for a coffee, and waved me off.....and not it nice way.....enough said about that... Highly recommend the International Cafe right there in the piazza.....man it was awesome........all free except the ice cream....go down every morning for the best DONUTS, chocolate, sugar and the bavarian and the best beignets I have ever had...YUMMY... Lunch and breakfast was good.....and dinners were very tasty..... wife did not like the pot roast one night and our lousy waiter never replaced her meal or offered her something else...great service NOT. If you don't want to fight to find a table or hunt for food.....I would suggest going AFT to the rear dining room always a table and such and if not have the lunch in the dining room.......always a treat! The hot tea days were awesome....could not do them all......met some lovely people.......especially the Brits and the Canucks..... -Port & Shore Excursions We did not do any shore excursions other than, finding a nice couple from Stuart, Florida Lori and Dave and we went to the best beaches with them everyday and soaked in the ocean for 3-4 hours each time...doing nothing but floating, swimming and talking...it was awesome....and they knew everything about cruising and the best beaches.... Unfortunately all the ports we visited right around the new years...so everything was closed.....that was disappointing..... Was not impressed with any of the ports cities....all run down and needing some tourist money to build them up and spring them to life....(ST THOMAS) is the king of the ports....we think....,they have so much money and established island etc......the other islands need to learn from them....... St Kitts was awesome great beaches and shopping...... the other ports alright to goto the beach, but honestly.....run down areas... take the cab...we walked in one port city after the beach and it was scaryness, even the police station was closed......got lost trying to find the road to the cruise ship in a not so safe area........finally did our CHICAGO WALK...which means, do not get in my way or bother me or else.........like the New Yorkers how they walk like they mean business.....finally got to the port....1.5 miles to the beach...take the cab, trust us....its worth it and set a return time with your driver....... -Summary It is sad to celebrate NY Eve on the cruise ship...I told my lovely that they were setting up tables....and they would be selling the champs aka champagne this time and not free like on other NY Eve cruises.......PRINCESS this was so bad and in poor taste.......I am very saddened and did not drink any of the $7-20 glasses of champs, or buy a bottle of $175 Veuve Cliquot......huh? at least the band music rocked and the confetti was free...well this time... Everything else on the cruise was wonderbar aka wonderful...... You could stroll the decks for a nice breather, shop the shops, watch people lose their money to the casino....never saw anyone win....but they just kept giving money to the casino....STOP...hehehehhee the coin lock game is rigged I played and studied it for days.....you insert a buck and get a shot to stick a key into the slot to win cash or an ipad...its rigged......nobody won in our ten days cruise and everyone said they blew 10-25 bucks on it per try....and that was alot of people..... We carried on our own luggage so could not find the porters....I recommend this if you have just a few bags.......easy and you get your luggage right in your room..... When disembarking the cruise ship......wait in your assigned area for your group to be called....if you live nearby you are the last off the ship...am flights get dibs on first off the ship.....and once you clear customs and go outside to get your cab...the cab line was over 45 minutes long look for a few guys with white vans and they charged $11 pp taking you right to the FLL airport....more for MIA airport...but they are right when you walk outside and you are hit with the onslaught of cabs, buses and traffic and lots of people....its then when the cruise is finally over..... And if you are travelling in a large group and not everyone is together please don't hold 20 seats for the other party members to arrive....please its rude... you don't always have to sit with your family and friends......why is this so commonplace every cruise that we take??? for Christmas sakes, go off and explore the ship, goto the library (get daily crosswords) and have your own adventures.......We never hang with family and friends...we tell them we are NOT offended and go off and do your own thang and if you want to meet up great.... The 35 member family who insisted on trying to pick a fight with us over breakfast tables....buzz off......I sat down and ate my breakfast and NONE of your clan EVER came to breakfast, even at nearly 10am......so there you go.... WONDERFUL EMERALD CRUISE....Lee was the cruise director, but he did not do much, he let his staff do everything and they rocked...sorry Lee. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
We were excited about taking a Christmas Cruise, believing that it would be special. However, in our opinion, it fell far short of anything special. Christmas Day at sea was incredibly flat and we truly were disappointing. There were four ... Read More
We were excited about taking a Christmas Cruise, believing that it would be special. However, in our opinion, it fell far short of anything special. Christmas Day at sea was incredibly flat and we truly were disappointing. There were four of us travelling together and our ages varied from 37 to 71 and although we enjoyed our trip, we all felt it wasn't as exciting as we had envisions. We took an Alaskan Cruise last year and everything about that cruise was 90% better than this one. Please be advised however, that we only have that particular cruise to compare with - although one of our group members has other cruises to compare with. We will stay at this point that we will cruise with Princess again but likely will try others. The issue is, however, if you stay with one cruise line, you build up perks for the next cruise - so it becomes more difficult to change to another cruise line. Question to ask is whether this is important or not and if it is, how important is it. Embarkment: Booked transportation from the hotel through the cruise line and won't do that again as it took an incredibly long time to board the buses (3), load luggage, travel to the ship and line up to embark. It reminded us of the long lines at Disney World! We believe it would be faster (much) and cheaper to take a cab to and from the ship and to do it on your own. Cabin: on 10th floor and we were satisfied with our cabin and very large balcony. Our Steward kept the room spotless and did everything he could to make sure we were well equipped with whatever we needed. He was warm, gracious and happy and always interested in our day. The job is a thankless one and I think we all should give more attention to them as persons and as well to express our gratitude for what they do...if they do a good job. Service: Some really great and some not so much. Activities like games, flash mob dance, etc. were led by excellent and enthusiastic people. Personnel Devinci were excellent, from Michelangelo's not as much, from Horizons was really mixed and other areas relatively good. As mentioned, our steward was truly wonderful. Food: The food was hit and miss with some exceptional items and some not so great. "They" say people gain a couple of pounds a day (?) but my husband lost 4 and I remained the same. So if you don't make food the central part of the cruise, you needn't worry about putting on weight. a. Michelangelo's Dining Room (where any time diners could eat prior t0 7:30 p.m.)was extraordinarily slow and on some nights, some of us just got up and left. b. DeVinci Dining room (fixed dining time) appeared to be more efficient without rushing you, and appeared to have better quality of staff. We had any time dining but when they were too busy at Michelangelo's, they would bump us up to DeVinci. c.The Horizon Buffet wasn't the best although there were lots to choose from. Personally, I primarily ate the fruit, porridge and salad because I found the other items too greasy to consume. Will admit the buns were good! d.Other areas: We didn't eat at the speciality restaurants that cost $25.00 extra per person so can't comment on the quality of food there. Near the pool they offered pizza which we didn't try and ice cream that believe it or not, didn't care for. We did like the bakery in the piazza but tried not to indulge there too much. What we didn't like was that we had to pay for a so called better cup of coffee if we wanted to have a coffee with our dessert item from the bakery. Drinks from the bar were expensive. Entertainment: We all thought that the entertainment was very flat and frankly boring. a. Theater - The Princess Cruise Productions were very antiquated and although we don't fault the singers and dancers, we do question the producers thought process in creating these productions. We did, however, enjoy the comedians and the some of the Christmas program that included letters to Santa and Santa's 'response'! b. Piazza - truly a hit and miss! We enjoyed the steel drums but then when he appeared over and over again, it became a tad repetitive. Enjoyed the dancers but it was too short and they left the ship. The piano player (over and over again) was very uninspiring and not great. A cruiser took to the piano one day and was fabulous. Should have hired that person. Other areas: illusionist and others were nothing to write home about. Activities: Games and Mob Flash Dance were fabulous and helped make the cruise much better - thanks to those cruise members who had energy, humour, laughter and creativity! Excursions: Personally, we don't like to book excursions through the ship. On this trip one of our party did at the last minute and it worked out but it still was more expensive than if they had done it on their own. We find the ship excursions are too crowded, too expensive and too impersonal. If you do your research, you can find great tours before hand on your own. Also, you can find approved tour guides at port side and should be less expensive, more intimate and more relaxing. If you do it this way, I think the key is to book through approved people at the countries information center....at least that is our experience. Shopping: Well this is a dicey subject! For those who are interested in buying expensive jewellery (get it less) than you likely will appreciate what the ships and ports have to offer. You likely also will appreciate the information sessions offered on board for onboard and port shopping. However, we quickly got tired of it and as it wasn't high on our priority list, we bypassed as much as we could. We did like the clothing offered on board and purchased a fair number of pieces and were very happy with that. Costs: The cost for the trip was quite good but we didn't appreciate the nickel and dime approach to some areas. All inclusive resorts (and we have done many) include alcohol in the package but on the cruise ship are charged for and are expensive. There was also an up charge on coffee and soft drinks outside of the restaurants and of course the specialty dining rooms to the tune of $25.00 each. I mention this because people should be informed if they haven't cruised before. One irratating aspect of cruising is that they take photos for every occasion, post them and encourage (lol) the purchase of them. You constantly pass them on your journey somewhere else and at the end of the day, if you don't buy them, they are thrown away! What a waste and we found the costs for the pictures very expensive. We suggest that if they reduce the price, they likely would sell more and there would be less waste. Personally, we would be willing to pay a bit more for the cruise if there was less nickeling and diming involved. Appearances of Public Rooms and the Piazza: Excellent Overall: We were a tad disappointed but we believe life is what you make it and we are people that choose to have fun so that is just what we did. We met wonderful people including crew members, we participated in whatever we could with great energy and humour and we embraced the journey - worbles and all. We will do it again so please use our comments as a guide, only, to make your trip even better. Read Less
Sail Date December 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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