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442 Princess Emerald Princess Cruise Reviews

This was a round trip cruise to Hawaii. Great itinerary. PROS We have done 44 cruises and this was the first time I could understand the captain, he was excellent in his reports and explanations. The whole crew was very friendly and ... Read More
This was a round trip cruise to Hawaii. Great itinerary. PROS We have done 44 cruises and this was the first time I could understand the captain, he was excellent in his reports and explanations. The whole crew was very friendly and helpful. A great attitude by all of them.Probably the best service we ever had. The public areas are well maintained, traditional, and comfortable. Entertainment par to other cruises. Food typical cruise quality and maybe slightly better than Celebrity. CONS Embarkation in San Pedro was a disaster due to weather. People lined up outside in the pouring rain. Our mini suite balcony was a rusted mess, it was very depressing and we did not use it! Cruise director a shrieking annoyance. Debarkation aimed at getting you out of the cabin, but no off the ship. We were told to meet in the theater at 7:45, sat there for 45 minutes. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
Would have been a really great Cruise if it wasn't for the weather. The rain in LA caused Princess to really fall down on the job as far as caring for it's customers during this storm. We were forced to line up outside in the ... Read More
Would have been a really great Cruise if it wasn't for the weather. The rain in LA caused Princess to really fall down on the job as far as caring for it's customers during this storm. We were forced to line up outside in the rain to get through security before check-in while our luggage was left out in the rain for over an hour. Unpacking was a nightmare looking for places to hang up all the wet clothing. Once underway, things calmed down abit but we battled rough seas for the first two and a half days. The food was actually much better than we anticipated since the last time we were on a Princess ship (The Ruby) we were very disappointed in all the food including the specialty venues. The internet was vertually non-exsistant and minutes were used with no actual results. Laptop worked best when I took it to the internet café. The cabin was in need of refreshing but the layout is very well thought out. Room could use more electrical outlets. Fortunately, I brought my own extension cord so I could use my CPAP each night and not have to unplg it. Entertainment was very good including some very talented individuals. Enrichment seminars were very well received.Our room steward was excellent and overall the service was very good. We were very happy to be able to all the scheduled ports and enjoyed all our shore excursions especially in Kauai where we had never been before. This was our second trip to Hawaii, our first being on the Celebrity Summit in September. The weather was much better and we felt that the ship and the service was much better on Celebrity. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
Ports and excursions. Great way to see 4 islands in Hawaii without the hassle of plane rides, car rental, accommodations, food, etc. Each island is unique. Maui had an unbelievable number of whales. There were about 10,000 in the area ... Read More
Ports and excursions. Great way to see 4 islands in Hawaii without the hassle of plane rides, car rental, accommodations, food, etc. Each island is unique. Maui had an unbelievable number of whales. There were about 10,000 in the area and we were there in peak whale watching season. Oahu was crowded but we did the hop on hop off experience. Saw and climbed Diamond Head, Boy for snorkeling as well as the north part of the island with the blow hole; past the area where Obama grew up and went to school. The big island of Hawaii was probably the most disappointing. Because of the recent eruptions, the tour could not get to where we were expecting to go. Not the cruise line's fault. If you like to be at sea the 4 days going and 5 returning were as expected. In all a great way to see the islands without the hassle mentioned earlier. The days at sea were filled with the usual cruise activities. There was plenty of trivia. Tai Chi was offered early in the day followed by a 45 minute Zumba class that was geared to all people (with various physical levels within the song ). Line dancing was very basic; but the learn to dance classes (7 dances - waltz, tango, swing, etc) were well taught. The entertainment by the cast was well done (Magic To Do is great); the guest performers were average but the 2 comedians were among the best we have seen. The room steward was excellent and very attentive ; the food at the fixed dining was excellent as was the service. In all a very enjoyable cruise. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
This is our third Los Angeles to Hawaii round-trip cruise - two on Princess and one on Celebrity. The Stateroom and Dining room service were excellent - equal to or better than any we have had before (35 cruises). We arrived in Los ... Read More
This is our third Los Angeles to Hawaii round-trip cruise - two on Princess and one on Celebrity. The Stateroom and Dining room service were excellent - equal to or better than any we have had before (35 cruises). We arrived in Los Angeles the day before the cruise and stayed in the DoubleTree Hotel in San Pedro. It is a really nice place to stay and they run a free shuttle which will take you to local restaurants and then to the ship on the day of your cruise (sign up the night before). The taxi ride from LAX to the hotel was $75 and takes about 40 minutes. The Hawaii cruise is something everyone should take at least once in their cruising career. Plenty of Sea days and time to chill out. Once you reach the Islands, the pace becomes more hectic, with port arrivals about 7AM four days in a row. We rented an SUV in each port for about $70 a day (Enterprise offered shuttles from the pier in every port except Maui) and created our own tour itinerary. To celebrate birthdays, we dined in the Share restaurant and the Crown Grill Steak house - both are nice venues and we had great service, but at Share we had to send our steak back because it was full of gristle. Princess needs to change the name of Share, because you really don't share anything. There is more sharing in the crown Grill. There were a couple of problems worth mentioning: Internet connectivity was basically nonexistant and our stateroom frequently smelled of ship exhaust. Neither of these problems were resolved during the cruise. Despite the problems we enjoyed the cruise but rate Celebrity above Princess. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
The Only reason I rated this cruise with 4 points rather than a barely average "3" is due to the wonderful enrichment activities developed and run by TikiDave & his wife Alohalei. I was one of the lucky 70 cruisers who got in ... Read More
The Only reason I rated this cruise with 4 points rather than a barely average "3" is due to the wonderful enrichment activities developed and run by TikiDave & his wife Alohalei. I was one of the lucky 70 cruisers who got in line early enough on the first day to participate in Dave's progressive ukulele classes throughout the duration of the cruise. Given a loaner uke to keep for the entire trip, this was the most enjoyable activity I can remember having on any previous cruise! Dave is an incredibly masterful teacher and made the classes so much fun. Even practicing during down-time in my cabin was enjoyable. Dave also was the Cruise port expert who gave the port talks in great & helpful detail Alohalei gave progressive hula lessons throughout the cruise; and the 2 classes combined to give a performance on the last day before Ensenada. On sea days, the 2 of them provided a daily Hawaiian craft activity for nominal fees depending on what craft you chose. The most strikingly negative thing about this cruise (reflected in my subject line) was that for a ship dedicated to an itinerary with just 5 ports and a whopping 9 sea days, the main theater is simply too small to accommodate the passengers attending 2 evening shows. The previous reviewer correctly stated that all seats were completely filled 30-45 minutes before the start of most every show. This is a LONG time to sit and wait every night. And there seemed always to be about 50-60 people packed standing in the back or along the side stairs. This situation really needs to be fixed. Obviously, the sea days are when everyone is looking for entertainment opportunities. And the Explorer Lounge and Piazza were similarly packed unless you arrived way early and waited for 30+ minutes. The ship seems dated to me, with the smallest shower stall I've had in a long time in a standard verandah cabin, and just 2 electric outlets with no recharging USB ports. The bamboo chair frames in the buffet dining area are worn out and grimey. Very expensive wifi was worse than dial-up speed, and often completely non-functional for any internet task. I have been on many cruise ships with many different lines, and have Never had wifi this bad. It wasn't funny, but I had to laugh at the signs in the Internet/Computer room that read "Faster than ever Internet Wifi"!! The rate charged for this abysmal "service" is disgusting. Having said all this, I have to say that the staff I encountered everywhere on the ship were awesome----helpful, friendly, and going above and beyond to be of assistance. Thanks to all of them for making the trip pleasant and running smoothly. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
Wanted a holiday cruise to be with family and began a new tradition. The ship was beautiful and well maintained. Had no issues with maintenance. Really enjoyed all the food offerings regardless of where we chose to eat. The main dining ... Read More
Wanted a holiday cruise to be with family and began a new tradition. The ship was beautiful and well maintained. Had no issues with maintenance. Really enjoyed all the food offerings regardless of where we chose to eat. The main dining room was nice and the food and service were superb. The buffet had a lot of varied choices that were good. I chose the main dining room often to avoid having to deal with hustling through the people at the buffet and finding a table. Sometimes a single person would take a table for six. During busier times, it was a hassle to deal with too many people, some with less manners than others, and finding a place to sit and eat. We also had a person with a wheelchair so we had to consider her ability to get around. There was no way she could go through the buffet so we had to get her food for her. The pizza was good. The "free" ice cream was ok. Better ice cream was offered in the main dining in the dessert options. Even room service was nice. Too bad there was a charge for hot chocolate though. The staff was always friendly and helpful. Embarkation went very smoothly as did disembarkation. They were organized and we didn't have long wait lines. There was too little time in the ports so we didn't get to do as much as we would have preferred to do, making us feel we only got a glimpse of the ports before having to rush back to the ship. Will consider how long a ship is in port in the future. Having to use tenders in Lahaina was a nightmare coming back. The lines were half a block long, and it was hot. Staff finally resorted to passing out water and cool cloths. The line moved, but it was not a good experience. We didn't do any excursions, preferring to rent a car in advance and explore on our own. Didn't care for the offerings in the onboard shops and refused to go to the 3 hour sales. My opinion is the purpose of those sales were to create a frenzy and have passengers act like fools to get a discount. There were plenty of activities, lectures, and entertainment options including lessons. I would have liked to learn to play the ukulele but that was a progressive class and if you didn't attend the first one, you missed out. The lei making class was so full you had to go at a specific time and place to get a ticket to a class. Well, I missed out on that. When I went, the ticket folks were gone. Too much trouble to participate in the worthwhile lessons so I unfortunately missed out. Also, regarding entertainment, if you didn't show up at least 45 minutes early for a production show, then forget about it, seats were full. There were too many people trying to see shows and not enough seats. This was a problem in the piazza also. People would arrive and start arranging and saving the few seats so attending those entertainment offerings became an uncomfortable hassle too. It also interfered with the ability to just go to International Café or Vines for coffee or wine because all the seats had been taken or occupied to view the entertainment. I think it defeated the ideal of a piazza. The entertainment should not be scheduled on th3e patter. and instead seem more impromptu so if you happen to be in the piazza, you can catch the entertainment without fighting for seating. The ship simply has inadequate seating for entertainment and this distracts from the ability to relax and enjoy yourself. We did not travel with children and frankly had issues with parents who let their children run wild all the time. The ship became an enclosed baby sitting trap for children of all ages, including teenagers, who were inconsiderate of others. There was running down the halls at night time, groups of unruly kids pushing ahead in lines when the older people were more mannerly, and therefore, at a disadvantage. In the future, I will look for more time at ports, and I will read reviews for adequate opportunities to participate in entertainment and activities, including seating and crowd control. Overall, however, the experience was positive and enjoyable and very much worth the value. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
This was the first time we sailed from L.A. to Hawaii. Somewhat of a bucket list experience to cross such a distance. It was 4 days at sea going and 5 days at sea coming back. Two days in each direction were as our captain reported, ... Read More
This was the first time we sailed from L.A. to Hawaii. Somewhat of a bucket list experience to cross such a distance. It was 4 days at sea going and 5 days at sea coming back. Two days in each direction were as our captain reported, "a little lumpy". It was not bad, just very slow rocking but we never felt seasick. Loved looking at the sea. Nothing out there, just water and sky, but very peaceful and loved having a balcony to meditate on the ocean. Three miles of deep ocean under our large ship. Glad we did it. Hawaii was great. Loved Wikiki. Take your suit and take a dip in the ocean. Get a drink at one of the beach bars. Kaiwai was boring but quiet and laid back , A country feel. Maui is striking. Didn't expect the steep mountains, in the back round. Loved Lailana. All kinds of places to eat, drink and shop, Wanna go back. ( Yum, coconut ice cream or coffee ice cream) Tender was way too hot going back. Don't sit where there is no air. Hilo was cool. Make sure you eat at Pineapples restaurant. Great local avocato salad, Used uber to get from ship to town. Two standouts, all the shows including atrium live music and "culture and nature" lectures. Learned a lot about Hawaii. Low points: Food on ship was boring. Think school lunch, blaa. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We've been on this cruise before, and it is by far the best cruise for pure relaxation. The ship was showing its age a bit, but everything was still nice. The rooms (balcony A317) were roomy, comfortable, and the balcony was great. ... Read More
We've been on this cruise before, and it is by far the best cruise for pure relaxation. The ship was showing its age a bit, but everything was still nice. The rooms (balcony A317) were roomy, comfortable, and the balcony was great. Our steward, Ricardo Hernandez was beyond great. On the first day, when I met him, I requested ice 2x daily, as well as bathrobes for my wife and I, and this was done immediately, and he never failed to put the ice in the room. My wife had a problem with the pillows, and he helped solve this by the 3rd day. I find the dining on Princess in general, and this trip was no different, to be excellent but not really outstanding. (If it were, I'd probably give a 5.) We enjoyed all meals, and the Crab Shack dinner was well worth the price, lots of fun and our Jr. Server, Madhu, was excellent. We had some requests for dessert, like can he get some cookies from the buffet and lots of whipped cream for me. it would've been very easy for him to say that we were limited to what was on the menu, but he didn't. Off he went to the buffet to get exactly what we wanted. The entertainment was great also. I only have one complaint with PCL's entertainment. If you don't like to dance or go to the casino, the ship pretty much closes up after the main show. We LOVE what Carnival does, with their comedy routines late at night. Having been of a number of cruises, I must say that the service from top to bottom on this ship was way over-the-top outstanding.The best Ive ever experienced on a cruise, and we would definitely go again--on this cruise and on this ship. Only real problem was the internet. Like on many ships, it sucked. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
Whenever my only child informs me that she won’t be spending Christmas with us, I immediately look for a trip to Hawaii. This is the first time we cruised there. Cruise ship is one we had been on before, and it was leaving from my home ... Read More
Whenever my only child informs me that she won’t be spending Christmas with us, I immediately look for a trip to Hawaii. This is the first time we cruised there. Cruise ship is one we had been on before, and it was leaving from my home city. We had a lovely time. I was on a mission to see the parts of Kauai that can’t be seen by car. Our Christmas gift to each other was a Sunshine Helicopter excursion, booked personally. We were tendered to port on Maui. Perhaps this would have been easier if we had booked an excursion through Princess, but it was excruciating for those of us who just wanted to go ashore. Captain Lewis made a ship wide apology, which was very nice. I can’t say why it made such a difference, but it did. We are not people who care about on board entertainment, but did go to a Vegas headliner’s “Soul” show. Great band and great singer. Food was good to great in the Botticelli main dining room. Service all over the ship was great. But, I also took special caramel candies In beribboned bags as gifts for crew and I tip people, even if gratuities are added automatically. (We had “pre-paid” gratuities for the cruise.) There is one bar — the Wheelhouse — that has top shelf whiskeys (and whiskys). But we couldn’t get iced tea for my non-alcohol drinking husband in the bars or in the Crown Grill, the steakhouse that one pays $28 per person. But the food is great. Lobster and steaks and sauces and special salts. Celebrations for Christmas and New Years were wonderful. Lots of fun, music, balloons, and great parties! I stayed on the ship at most ports, but my husband found the Farmers’ Market in Hilo. He manages markets in Southern California. Cruising to Hawaii is quite the experience. Not as warm and “pacific” on the open ocean in December! Good thing we don’t get sea-sick! Internet never did work. We need more satellites up there. But TV was fine. Good selection of movies. I love the free room service. Oh, one more thing about alcohol: wines by the glass are different in every venue. Very limited choice in Crown Grill. Okay choices in dining room, but best red wines were only available at Vines where I tried sushi for the first time. It was very fresh and tasty. We always love our balcony room. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
For a holiday cruise we chose the Hawaii trip. We enjoyed the ship but it was crowded. Lines were often formed at the coffee shop and restaurants. I don’t like how the Lido Buffett is situated because it’s so congested and crowded ... Read More
For a holiday cruise we chose the Hawaii trip. We enjoyed the ship but it was crowded. Lines were often formed at the coffee shop and restaurants. I don’t like how the Lido Buffett is situated because it’s so congested and crowded and there is no real traffic pattern. The captain was the best! Very congenial and always visible. The entertainment was great and good movies too. We loved the Ukelele instructor and his wife. Excellent people and wonderful teachers. Our steward was the best too. Our room was ok but we sure could have used a new mattress. Our bed had several packing quilts under the sheets to take away the slump. The ports were fine. We have cruises to Hawaii before. Embarkation was excellent but debarkation took a bit longer. We also enjoyed the voice of the ocean and karaoke. The use the atrium for a lot of things but really is too small and very congested. Doesnt seem fair to the performers or audience. The ship was meautifully decorated too. I’m going to add some photos of the CC meet and greet. It was a lot of fun. Some folks said it was the best one they had ever been to!! Door prizes were donated by myself and the ship and another CC member. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
The service was very good and the food was good. Our stateroom was huge and our view was excellent. The ship looks good but needs a refit. Many staterooms had water problems including ours. The elevator buttons wouldn’t always work. ... Read More
The service was very good and the food was good. Our stateroom was huge and our view was excellent. The ship looks good but needs a refit. Many staterooms had water problems including ours. The elevator buttons wouldn’t always work. The jucuzzi jets didnt work in the solarium area. I love to dance but found the music selection poor plus no singles. I did the hula class which was fantastic and did the dance classes but again no one to dance with. I enjoyed using the gym and the jucuzzi. This was a xmas and New Year cruise so there were many children and the cruise was full. Entertainment shows didn’t interest me I did go to 3 I liked. Night time entertainment not so good. More of a cruise for families and couples and events were oriented to those groups. Barking and Embarking went smoothly. Did own excursions off the ship. Enjoyed the ports. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
This was our first cruise. We had a mini-suite--the bedding was extremely comfortable and our Attendant Alex was perfect. Lots to do, we missed most of the shows. The comedian on the last night was great, the dancing was fun. Buffet was ... Read More
This was our first cruise. We had a mini-suite--the bedding was extremely comfortable and our Attendant Alex was perfect. Lots to do, we missed most of the shows. The comedian on the last night was great, the dancing was fun. Buffet was mediocre but got the job done in the mornings. Evening anytime dining was good. We paid extra for Share (Curtis Stone) and it was absolutely worth the extra $29. It was the best meal of our vacation and the service at Share was impeccable. (Service from all dining rooms was great.) We also bought the Salty Dog Gastro Pub, not our favorite. Pizza from 11 am to 11 pm was my fiance's favorite feature, and the soft serve was my daughter's favorite. Shore excursions were made easy through the transfers. I recommend the Tortilla Workshop and my daughter loved swimming with dolphins in Cabos. Spa was pricey, but my nail tech Anna was fantastic--probably the best manicure I've ever received, and 2.5 weeks later it's still holding strong. Craft program for adults could be upgraded, as it was "sold out" (although free) every time. They added second classes to accommodate. Kids program seemed empty most of the time. My child was on the cusp between kid and teen and so she didn't use the service. It wasn't a kid cruise, but seemed like enough for all ages to do. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We needed one more cruise to put us into the Elite membership tier for our 30 day South American cruise February 2019, so we added a 5 day Cabo onto our existing 15 day to Hawaii. We were curious how we would like all the sea days. The ... Read More
We needed one more cruise to put us into the Elite membership tier for our 30 day South American cruise February 2019, so we added a 5 day Cabo onto our existing 15 day to Hawaii. We were curious how we would like all the sea days. The ship was in fairly good shape considering its age, plenty of places to get away from everyone if you wanted. We never really felt crowded unless there was a big deal in the Piazza. The shops had plenty of current fashions and the jewelry shop carries exclusively Effy. Quality at a fair price. It seemed they were always having a new line to showcase. The food was presented well, in reasonable portions, warm and most meats were cooked as requested. We found that most often if you asked nicely you could have whatever you wanted.Not all of the offerings were something we would eat at home, but you could always order from the standards if needed. We had requested the 7:00 dinner time and on all our precruise paperwork it was confirmed. When we boarded the ship our cards said 5:00. We spoke with the Maitre d"Hotel Neville and we were assigned the 7:15 dinner at a table for 4. The first night we arrived to have dinner with a nice couple. The next night we arrived to find the early sitting were still there and hadn't ordered dessert yet. We were seated at another table.The 3rd night we had an excursion that kept us from getting back in time for dinner, we had let our waiter know this was a possibility. The following night we showed up at 7:15 and the table was still occupied. We left, letting the head waiter know we would not be back. The next morning we received a letter from the Maitre d'Hotel letting us know he had reassigned us to another table. When we started the next cruise, we showed up at 7:15 and were escorted to our table to find that there were still people eating, at this point Larry the Head waiter (who knew our past experience) had us wait a few minutes when he escorted us to a table for 4 and told us that this would be our table for the remainder of the cruise. It would be ready for us by 7:00 every night. We told him we didn't mind sharing, but he insisted we had been through too much. It was a quiet area in a corner with water views, Our staff Herman and Jay treated us like royalty! The rooms are quite comfortable. We had an obstructed OV for the 5 day and took an upsell to a balcony for the 15 day. The configuration of the OV E405 was amazing giving us more room than previous OV that had the bed under the window. We were able to sit in chairs and look out the window. We never did see why it was obstructed, nothing in front, left, right or below that was disruptive. For the balcony we were in B415. Both of these rooms were midship, close to the elevators which made getting to places a snap. We were required to get off the ship as an "in transit" group about 10:00, go through customs, walk outside and come back in the entrance, up the escalator and were checked in, given new cards and waited in a separate area for about 30 minutes before being invited back onboard. Our cabin steward moved all of our belongings for us. We were able to leave hanging clothes as is and we packed the rest into our suitcase which they delivered to our new room. We were eating lunch by noon! The Elite lounge Happy Hour was moved from Skywalkers to Fusions, a little bigger room, and with the curtains open we still had the water views. Because they moved the dinner times to 5 and 7:15, they moved the cocktail hour up to 4:30-6:30. I'm sure it was a struggle for the 5:00 to get to dinner on time. The drink menu was changed and we found that if you asked they would make several drinks less sweet. We hope that they will revamp this menu a bit. We do miss the Chairman of the Board! Because we ate dinner at 7:00 and were done by 8:15 or so we didn't want to wait around until 9:45 for the shows to start. We did see one or two acts that started around 9:00 but mostly we went back to our cabin and enjoyed our left over wine on the balcony or watched a movie on TV. Because we have been to Hawaii so much with our timeshare we did not do any excursions. In Cabo I did book the sunset sail on a 55' catamaran which was an amazing time. There were 16 people on our boat, we enjoyed champagne as we motored out into the ocean, pictures being taking on the bow as the sun set. Cocktails or wine were offered as well as "heavy snacks" which was more gourmet than snacks. We then hoisted the sails and sailed around for 90 minutes, watching fireworks off one of the hotels in celebration of their new president that week. We were back on the ship by 8:30 so had pizza in our room. I think our one major gripe is that when we went to Vines to enjoy a glass of nice wine, we had a hard time finding a table that wasn't occupied by people playing card games or eating their food from the International Cafe. The internet was horrendous, to say the least. I used 80 of my free 250 minutes trying to pay 2 bills. Constantly getting kicked off. Needless to say I should have used my Verizon Mifi when we were in port instead of relying on the ship. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We are platinum members of Carnival and always love our Carnival cruises. We were told to try Princess so we did this on the Emerald for a 5 day cruise. We got on ship with no problem and straight to our room. We usually get a balcony ... Read More
We are platinum members of Carnival and always love our Carnival cruises. We were told to try Princess so we did this on the Emerald for a 5 day cruise. We got on ship with no problem and straight to our room. We usually get a balcony room, but as it was a short cruise decided to save a bit of money and get inside room. The room was clean, bed super comfortable and our steward kept it clean. We liked the ship very much, found it to be clean. The food in buffet was good, no complaints. We loved the lox every morning along with the excellent servers! The staff was very accessible and always offered their services. Lunch was basic. Dinners were great! Choices were fine, I am a sweet freak so I really enjoyed the desserts. I did miss a lobster dinner and refuse to pay money for a specialty restaurant. I feel all food should be special. Pool area was great, especially enjoyed the big screen and watching Sunday football. I was not impressed with cruise director and entertainment staff. Very little energy. I am used to carnival and party ship. Emerald did not have that same feel. But, I did enjoy Pinnacle the live band. They were great! Overall we really enjoyed our experience on the Emerald. We will return to Princess. Our choice between princess and carnival will be price. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
Background: We did a family trip (6 adults) for thanksgiving. My husband and I have only sailed previously on Disney Cruise Line to the Caribbean, so admittedly have little to offer in terms of comparison. We chose this ship/itinerary ... Read More
Background: We did a family trip (6 adults) for thanksgiving. My husband and I have only sailed previously on Disney Cruise Line to the Caribbean, so admittedly have little to offer in terms of comparison. We chose this ship/itinerary because of the length (5 nights) and sail date (over Thanksgiving). The fact that half of the group was in driving distance of LA helped us choose as well. Port: there are no car rental agencies on site. We dropped off half the group and all the bags at the terminal (approximately 1030am), then dropped the car at Hertz in San Pedro. The weather was nice so we walked back to the port (approx 1 mile). Post-cruise, we rented from Avis so had to Uber to Long Beach Airport (about a 20 minute drive). Had we chosen to park a car, it was under $20/day at the port. Embarkation: tagged our bags with our preprinted tags and the porters took them. We walked into berth 93 with our carry-on luggage (including 4 bottles of wine). The check-in process was pretty quick and the agent checked passports and gave us our keycards and boarding group number. They didn’t take a photo (for the keycard) until we actually boarded the ship. We then went through security and the X-ray scanners. From there, I was directed to the alcohol desk/table to register my wine. Because we were 6 adults through 4 cabins, we had no corkage fee, but I had to have someone from another’s cabin come with me to show we had multiple cabins to avoid a fee. It was actually really easy. Then we waited for the boarding process to begin. There were several folks continuing on from the previous cruise (a 28 day Hawaiian trip!) who were able to reboard first. We had group 4 so had to wait a few minutes. When called, we boarded through the aircraft jetbridge-like walkway up to the ship. There were photographers taking group photos in front of a green screen. When we got to the ship, a Princess employee scanned each keycard and took a photo (no glasses) before allowing us on the ship. We were onboard by 1230pm and headed to the buffet. Cabin: wasn’t ready until 2pm and our bags didn’t arrive until closer to dinner time. We stayed in B757 which is a balcony cabin in the rear of the ship. The rest of the group were in inside cabins on the Aloha and Baja decks forward. All the cabins were quite roomy. Our cabin had a massive balcony with two chairs and a table, two chairs inside, a small tv (note that most channels showed a loop of two shows or a movie each day all day; if you happen to be sick and stuck in your cabin, you will become bored of the limited selection quickly), a queen sized bed, a small refrigerator, and loads of storage in the closet area as well as the desk/nightstands. The view from the balcony watching the wake was really nice, especially later in the trip leaving Cabo. Dining: we chose late dining but tried two specialty restaurants as well. Share - was fantastic, I can’t recommend it enough. Our server was Magdalena and she recommended ordering several from each course and sharing. We did that for a few courses but eventually each just ordered what we wanted. Everything was delicious and we’d all go back without hesitation. Crown Grill - also delicious, but honestly the Share steaks were better in my opinion. Still, no real complaints. Botticelli (dinner) - Princess offers some entrees every night and then has special entrees only available on a given night. Again, no complaints, everything we tried was great. On the final night, the seas were rough and I was feeling it, so I ordered the beef consommé which helped tremendously and tasted good. The only negative at the restaurant is the kitchen was really slow, reportedly because they share a kitchen with another dining room. Botticelli (breakfast) - again, slow kitchen, but since Michelangelo doesn’t serve breakfast, I don’t know what the rationale was. The pancakes and the French toast (especially the James Beard cornflake crusted version) were excellent. On one morning where I was feeling sick, I asked our server, Wellington, for a box of Frosted Flakes to take with me and he actually had to go up to the buffet to get it for me. I appreciated the effort on that since I wasn’t able to easily get up there with the seasickness. Horizon court buffet - most of the food was really good. I didn’t care for the chili, but everything else I tried (including some Indian dishes I hadn’t had before) were delicious. Afternoon tea - I don’t like tea, but enjoyed the tea service nonetheless. Servers come around with different pastries and scones with quite the large selection. I would recommend it. Spa: I didn’t try the workout area but did get a massage. I probably wouldn’t do that again on this ship since my treatment room was right next to the hair salon so was loud, plus faced out to the deck so my therapist kept struggling to get around my table in the small room and kept knocking into the blinds. It wasn’t exactly relaxing. Wine tastings: we tried two of the wine tastings. The first was an additional $25 per person and included 6 wines and canapés. I would highly recommend the tasting. The one later in the trip was under $10 per person with 5 wines and prepacked crackers and some cheese cubes. I would probably skip that one. Both tastings had sommeliers and servers explaining the wines in detail, but honestly I would have preferred a shorter explanation on most of the wines. Some speakers were long winded. Entertainment: I only watched one of the game shows, part of an art auction, and a few of the musicians in the lounges, so I can’t accurately comment on most of the entertainment. The musicians were hit or miss. Ports: we only went to Cabo, so had mostly sea days. Cabo was a 24 hour stay, so some passengers chose to stay in a hotel/resort overnight. The tenders began around 2pm and continued throughout the day/night until 1130am. (Every half hour overnight.) I found the tender process to be a bit disorganized. Again, I don’t have a ton of experience but the line to get a tender was so long, we decided to wait on the ship until 4pm. (Note: this was where we decided to go to afternoon tea to wait it out.) My parents chose an excursion in Cabo to a resort for the day, so they didn’t have the long tender wait that the rest of us without an excursion faced. The rest of us ventured to land around 4pm and yelped taco shops. We enddd up at Tacos Guss, which was just a short walk from the main tourist walkway/boardwalk/malecon. After lunch, we walked around a bit more and over to the mall by the aforementioned tourist walkway. The mall has seen better days but looks like they’re renovating most of the second floor. From there, we kept walking to the end, then turned back to walk around the harbor back to the tender area. Lots of people trying to sell everything from bracelets to cigars to pictures with an iguana, but no one was rude about it; a polite “no thanks” was sufficient. Upon return to the tenders, the line was several hundred people long (approximately 645pm). We were concerned we’d miss our onboard dinner at 745pm, but the line moved fast enough that we were on a tender by 715pm and back on the boat around 730pm. We didn’t choose to return to Cabo the following morning, so we really only spent 3 hours in the town. Disembarkation: everyone who didn’t purchase Princess airport transfers was assigned a walk off group based on cabin number. With 4 cabins and around 7 bags, this was not a great way of doing things. We spoke to the front desk and they put us all into one of the later groups and gave us some luggage tags to put on our bags. We had to have the bags out by midnight before disembarkation. We had to be out of the cabins by 800am but our group wasn’t scheduled to exit until 945am. We had breakfast at Botticelli and then hung out by a table in the Lido Deck for a while before heading to the Wheelhouse Bar for our meeting location. This process seemed far more difficult than necessary and we ended up waiting about half an hour extra in the bar until we actually got off the ship. Customs was easy (we are all Us passport holders) and bag claim was very quick (likely because most people had to carry their own bags when they walked off). Overall thoughts: Cons - I struggled to understand many servers/speakers/other personnel. They spoke English, but many had very thick accents. The deck plan is strange - i continually walked into dead ends all over the ship. I’m not sure if it was a retrofit that caused it or if that’s original. Also, there are many parts of the upper decks that effectively require stairs. There’s only one elevator on the ship that goes to some of the aft top decks but it can be quite slow. Public restrooms on the main decks were hard to find. The cruise line seems to have chosen to keep the signs small and discreet, but that left me continually asking people where the restrooms were or going back to my cabin regularly. Compared to DCL, the staff were a bit less friendly (though not rude) and the ship’s upkeep wasn’t as good (though not unsafe). The price for this cruise was significantly less, so I expected some decline in service, but many times I was still left wishing I was on the Disney Fantasy. Tendering/disembarkation - given that this ship has been sailing for years to ports around the world, I don’t understand why the tendering and disembarkation processes were so slow and disorganized. Photos - all the photos the ship photographers take are out up on deck. I’m surprised they don’t have a feature where they scan your keycard so you can easily find/access your pictures. App - there is no app, only the Princess @Sea site. You can message others only if you know their unique id number. Also there are no push notifications so you are forced to continually refresh the screen to see if your family/friends messaged you. As this was a holiday cruise, there were many kids (especially teenagers) onboard. I actually found them much more obtrusive in this ship than I have on DCL. Pros - The food was fantastic. There are bars and lounges throughout the ship as opposed to Disney where most are tucked into one part of the ship. The Piazza (atrium) is a nice place to relax but is a bit small for some of the events they use it for. Overall, I’ll probably sail Princess again but not in the immediate future. I think it was a fairly good choice for our group, given our constraints on geography and timing. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
As a frequent cruiser, I tend to expect a lot. I travel on various cruise lines and am on Princess at least half of the time. The service and food on this ship was noticeably superior. Ship management and staff should be congratulated. ... Read More
As a frequent cruiser, I tend to expect a lot. I travel on various cruise lines and am on Princess at least half of the time. The service and food on this ship was noticeably superior. Ship management and staff should be congratulated. Attentive wait staff and overall food venues were exceptionally good. Pastry,bread,soup, buffet, dining room presentations were available and at the right temperatures etc. We choose this cruise to get away for a while and the itinerary was perfect for that. The ship handled the long sea days well and was about the right size for a 28 day trip. The ship is scheduled for a facelift which should make the experience even nicer. Keep it up Princess and we will be back! Shore excursions were good but like most ships, the price seems to go up along with drink prices. Overall, it was a memorable experience. Most passengers were very happy with the cruise. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We chose this cruise for the itinerary and met several cruisers who had been on this same cruise 3-10 times. I'd never been to Hawaii, Samoa, or the South Seas islands of Tahiti, Moorea or Bora Bora, so this was a big thrill for me. ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary and met several cruisers who had been on this same cruise 3-10 times. I'd never been to Hawaii, Samoa, or the South Seas islands of Tahiti, Moorea or Bora Bora, so this was a big thrill for me. Embarkation and disembarkation were a breeze. It probably helped that we were some of the last people on (2:30pm) and off (10:30am). With a 28 day cruise, there aren't many children and we perhaps saw 15 under 20. A few things to address that I read comments on in prior reviews: there were three evening shows - 6:30pm, 8pm and 10pm. They were packed (particularly the two earliest shows), but still, if you really wanted to go, you could. You just go early and get a seat (many did and brought something to read) or go to the late show. There were plenty of lounge chairs. We could always find two together. There was plenty of room to sit and eat in the buffet. Sometimes you'd have to not sit at a window or sit with others, but you could always find a seat. There was plenty of activities to keep you busy all the time. We enjoyed the Enrichment lectures, Tai Chi, football games on the big screen, World Series games, movies, working out in the gym, checking out makeup and facial tips, trivia games, Pop Choir, Voice of the Ocean, Talent show ------etc., etc. There was a band that played familiar tunes you could listen to by the pool or dance to in the evening. They always had great energy and played a wide variety of music. I must say tho that the female singer frequently sang flat and so sort of butchered some songs. The lead male was pretty good and very energetic. Princess varied events so that you might have ballroom dancing one hour in one room, then the next hour might be a trivia game, then back to dancing, then something else. There were two great hardwood floors - which we really liked to dance on - even tho the one at the stern frequently moved with the ocean waves and sometimes felt like your feet were not below you. The staff were just friendly, always helpful, and called me Madame. I loved that. Dining - some people complained and I understand now what they were talking about. The quality was excellent; it's just the choices were sometimes odd. We ate in the Horizon buffet almost exclusively. They frequently served lamb, duck, various kinds of fish, bok choy, had two German nights with bratwurst, sauerkraut, stuffed fish, etc. We don't care to sit for hours in the dining room, but just about every afternoon, I'd check the dinner menu and 9 times out of 10, there was nothing that would draw me in to want to go eat there anyway (Frog legs? Duck? Pheasant?). Sometimes even the 1st course items were just..........odd. Cold soups, odd salad combos, just weird stuff. Now, my husband isn't as picky as me and loved the fact that there were tons of different kinds of choices. And believe me, I never starved. Loved their oatmeal. Creamy good. Always salads, breads, a carved meat, a hot dessert (as well as many others), variety of cheeses, etc. Ports - we did our own thing. I rented cars on the Big Island, Kauai, and Tahiti. They were around $50 each and first two had unlimited mileage. Budget picked us up at the cruise terminal and brought us to the airports where we got our cars. We drove to the Volcano Natl Park (don't forget your Senior Natl Park pass - it'll save you $50). On Kauai, we drove up to the north coast as far as we could and both were quite doable in the time we had. On Tahiti, Hertz was there to get us at the port, but Expedia failed to tell me they would do that - and we went to the airport via bus. It took a lot of time. That being said, we drove from Papeette to Teahupoo (Tahiti-iti) and back in 4 hrs. Small islands. Tahiti was neat in that we docked right in town, could walk around for a few hours, go back on the ship for lunch, then back out. There's a beautiful walk along the malecon of gardens. When we got off the ship, there were vendors there for Moorea offering tours for the following day. In Moorea, there were basically the same three vendors all selling essentially the same thing - unlimited beach time at a private beach, a 1/2 hr snorkel with the rays and sharks, and fresh fruit and water/punch at the beach for $50pp. You could stay all day or a few hours. We stayed about 5 hrs. Moorea is GORGEOUS. Sales pitches - as with any cruise, you get these. Mail with champagne parties at art auctions, the jewelry store, photos, etc. Easy to throw out. Some of the talks during the day (like Learn about Acupuncture) were really an attempt to get you to sign up for treatments. But, again, you can always walk away. Didn't care for the Spa personnel always being at our elevators just waiting to write your name down for a massage or something - but, you can say hi and walk on by. Did not participate in the rip off Art Auctions nor buy expensive jewelry. Oh - I was told by the front desk that my onboard credit would not apply to tips, but it does. The tips are just a debit on your account and the credit is a credit. So, it goes towards any charge on your ship account. All in all - we had a wonderful time and felt that Princess did a great job having to please 3000 passengers. My cabin review is below. Very few complaints. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
I initially chose the cruise for the dates and the aft patio stateroom availability, which was taken from me. I booked the room and after they charged my american express card and sent me the info, they had assigned a room to us that we ... Read More
I initially chose the cruise for the dates and the aft patio stateroom availability, which was taken from me. I booked the room and after they charged my american express card and sent me the info, they had assigned a room to us that we did not book. That was very disheartening. When i called them about it they said it was an "upgrade". They said that there was nothing i could do about it and since they already charged my amex, what could i do? The ship was in surprisingly good shape for its age. The staff as usual was great. The entertainment director was super proud to be gay with a young husband and continually let us all know it, that was getting old. Otherwise he and his team did a reasonably good job for the 28 day cruise. The food seemed super duper salty and i had never spent so much time in the restrooms. Had to visit the infirmary and they did a great job for a reasonable price. The DR told us he was going to provide a referral letter for an MRI, but never did. The spa was a huge let down. The mens area was terribly neglected. The steam room had tons of mens hair on the walls that had obviously been there for a while.... There were no shoes in the mens room and after my super brief visit there, my feet itched the whole time until i bought some athletes foot powder in Hilo. Gym was really nice, dining was really good and again, the staff do an amazing job. Hats off to all of them. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
Choose this cruise for a few reasons. First didn’t have to fly which was great then for the destinations. Wife and I took cruises before but this was First with Princess, it was ok, different from others. Have to admit that our ... Read More
Choose this cruise for a few reasons. First didn’t have to fly which was great then for the destinations. Wife and I took cruises before but this was First with Princess, it was ok, different from others. Have to admit that our experience was better with Royal Caribbean, food selection, cabin and buffet layout , entertainment and theatre. Cabin was small, shower curtain was smelly and had to have it change. Balcony was large that was great. Steward was good. Dinning room (anytime dining) was very good, staff was smiling and courteous every night. Maître D (George)was moving to sit people the best he could accommodate request. Lectures throughout the were very pleasant and informative. Nightly band Pinnacle was very very good, thank god cause the entertainment in the theatre most was average. Theater for nightly show was small for the number of cruisers(3000) space was good for the 10pm show only... Overall we had a good cruise. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We're pretty savvy on Princess, having sailed with them multiple times, previously. My impression is that service is excellent (i.e., if they're having a bad day, it rarely shows). Add to that, now, the excellent and dedicated ... Read More
We're pretty savvy on Princess, having sailed with them multiple times, previously. My impression is that service is excellent (i.e., if they're having a bad day, it rarely shows). Add to that, now, the excellent and dedicated Medical Staff. 7 days into our 28 day cruise, my wife became ill with a kidney stone which refused to pass; her pain was extreme! For two days, we were in and out of the Medical Center at all hours, as they made her comfortable and gave her anti-spasmodic medication, in the hopes the stone would pass. Finally, the day before we reached Maui (the last stop in Hawai'i for this cruise), the doctor suggested that we pack our suit cases that afternoon, because, IF she had to return that night due to extreme pain, without passing the stone, we would need to be medically disembarked the next day. That night, we had to return, and she was admitted as an inpatient, and the next morning, there was an ambulance waiting at the tender port to take her to the hospital. The care we received on board was both compassionate and efficient, and the communication with the ambulance team (a nurse accompanied us on the tender, to hand her off to the ambulance) as well as the hospital Emergency Room was excellent. Because they recognized their limitations, we were able to procure care in the USA (hint: they accept Medicare and supplemental insurance), and we are so thankful that we purchased travel insurance (they were most helpful in arranging flights home, etc.). The only glitch in the system was that the shore agent in Maui wasn't especially helpful, but in all honesty, she likely doesn't have to deal with these situations often. We are scheduled to be on the Emerald Princess again in 2019, and feel very comfortable that, in the unlikely event a health issue comes up, we are in excellent and caring hands. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
Overall good experience with mini-suite D120 in forward part of Emerald Princess.. Had a round trip walk of .4 mile to International cafe each morning for coffee and similar walk to Michaelangelo dining room at dinner. Good exercise. ... Read More
Overall good experience with mini-suite D120 in forward part of Emerald Princess.. Had a round trip walk of .4 mile to International cafe each morning for coffee and similar walk to Michaelangelo dining room at dinner. Good exercise. Ship could use some updating. Tahiti was a disappointment, i.e., seedy. Moorea was the best port of all. If I had a "do over" I would take ferry from Tahiti to Moorea after docking in Tahiti and spend night there and pick up ship when it docked in Moorea. Friendly staff, excellent enrichment lectures. Wished they had a stir fry operation. Food and service in dining rooms was excellent. We were anytime dining. Staff was eager to please. Liked the bathtub in mini suite. Entertainment was excellent (singers, dancers, comedians. Had to get to theater half hour before start time to get good seat, i.e, crowded which says something about the quality of the entertainment. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
Good times on the Emerald! We were celebrating a big birthday & a wild & crazy 2nd wedding. Very good time had by all. The Skywalker lounge was a great meeting point for everyone. I found the staterooms were rather small so ... Read More
Good times on the Emerald! We were celebrating a big birthday & a wild & crazy 2nd wedding. Very good time had by all. The Skywalker lounge was a great meeting point for everyone. I found the staterooms were rather small so definitely book a mini suite with a balcony! Beds were incredibly comfortable. Service was very good, too. We had a minor issue with our bathrobes NOT being in the room when we arrived even though we had requested them previously. We got them on the 2nd day though. The restaurants were well appointed. The maitre de always tried to seat us wherever we wanted. (had a picky friend that was being moved constantly) but they took everything in their stride!!! The cruise director Alexander & his assistant, Ruby were outstanding. They were "personalty plus." The most hilarious activity of the entire cruise (only 4 days) was the dance contest. OH SO hilarious!!!i The dancers in the evening shows were very good, too. The singers were mediocre except for the trio, 2 brothers & another friend. Jonathon & his brother + a friend were the best act of the entire cruise. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
Embarkation went smoothly; there was consideration for our limited mobility (we both had walkers) and did not wait in long line-ups. Our cabin was on Plaza deck and as we approached we heard a considerable level of noise in the hallway ... Read More
Embarkation went smoothly; there was consideration for our limited mobility (we both had walkers) and did not wait in long line-ups. Our cabin was on Plaza deck and as we approached we heard a considerable level of noise in the hallway which was a mystery to us at first. The cabin was spacious and met all our needs. Accessibility aboard the ship was never a problem, except in the hallway outside our stateroom. We were disappointed with getting around the steward's laundry and service carts; the hallway is narrow. We enjoyed our dining experience. Staff was considerate of our limited mobility and sat us near the entrance.Similarly in the buffet, the staff assisted us with our plates taking them to our table, as well as providing us with our beverage requests. We did go to one show, which was entertaining, however in choosing to sit in the accessible seating area at the end of a row, I had to get up six times to let people pass by so they could sit with others. I finally started to say no and directed the people to go to the other end of the row. We discovered a great entertainer in one of the bars and spent most evenings enjoying his talent instead of going to the theater. Similarly assistance was provided as went ashore in Astoria. It was the attitude which impressed us; we were never hurried along, the staff was always patient and helpful. Disembarkation was disappointing in terms of walking-we could have been directed to a closer exit even though we did not request wheelchair assistance (I noted that those passengers who were in wheelchairs, appeared to exit closer to the gangway). Next time, I will ask. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We chose this cruise for being round trip from Vancouver. Embarkation was very fast since we were almost the last to board the ship. Our luggage arrived inside our cabin very quickly. The seas were rough leaving Vancouver and we ... Read More
We chose this cruise for being round trip from Vancouver. Embarkation was very fast since we were almost the last to board the ship. Our luggage arrived inside our cabin very quickly. The seas were rough leaving Vancouver and we couldn't sit by the pool till day 5 where we watched Mamma Mia! We were disappointed with the selection and food in the dining room. The Crown Grill and Share were excellent! The staff in the Wheelhouse knew our evening drinks. Now that is service. We enjoyed the deck party with the video of the staff of the original Love Boat with Jen and the cruise staff. Disembarkation took longer and when our color was called not all our luggage was in the specified area. It probably was due to arriving a little late due to the medical emergency which happened on board. A good time was had by all. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We took this cruise because of all the sea days plus the ease of getting to Vancouver. As there was only the Emerald in port, embarkation was a breeze. We booked a Suite so there was a dedicated line for check-in. Speaking of ... Read More
We took this cruise because of all the sea days plus the ease of getting to Vancouver. As there was only the Emerald in port, embarkation was a breeze. We booked a Suite so there was a dedicated line for check-in. Speaking of Suites, here is where I get snooty. We have cruised many times, usually atthe Suite level. Princess does not treat their Suite passengers with nearly enough care,compared to other lines we have travelled on. Although we did get the Crown Grill forbreakfast every day, which was excellent, there were few other Suite perks. The ClubClass dining was available as part of the Da Vinci dining room for Suite and CC mini-suiteguests but the area was crowded and noisy. Moreover, the Head Waiter, Jelena, was overly friendly to the point of being pushy and made us wonder just how genuine she really was. Otherwise, being in a Suite meant we had a nice cabin, but not a lot else. We miss having a Concierge or even a dedicated phone line for reservations. Princess is a mass-market cruiseline. The other big disappointment: we are readers, especially with 10 sea days. EmeraldPrincess has the worst library I've ever seen on a crusieship of any size. There was nolibrarian or cruise member to answer questions. No inventory of books. Not many booksanyway, except those that other passengers left. No daily printed newspapers, summaries from Canada, USA, Britain, etc. And no one to complain to. Very sad. Re the food: Hardly ever went to the buffet; too crowded. The dr menu was okay butthe "always available" left much to be desired. Not even a steak, as had always been thecase. Instead there is a deluxe hamburger but I never saw anyone eating one for dinner. Princess has cut back. There are too many other lines that present a better product. We'll only travel Princess again if they have a particular itinerary to which no one else travels. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
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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