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1,700 Princess Emerald Princess Cruise Reviews

We embarked in Fort Lauderdale. Embarkation was on the whole a smooth process. We were able to go to our cabin immediately and drop off our luggage. Cabin was clean and had lots of storage space. Our cabin steward was good and tried ... Read More
We embarked in Fort Lauderdale. Embarkation was on the whole a smooth process. We were able to go to our cabin immediately and drop off our luggage. Cabin was clean and had lots of storage space. Our cabin steward was good and tried hard to please us. We had smooth sailing across the Atlantic. The captain of the ship, Commodore Romano, was very visible and seemed quite a persoable man. He left the ship during the second leg of the cruise. The captain who took command was not very visible and certainly did not keep us as informed as the commodore. Somewhat disappointing. The majority of the staff were very friendly and the service on the whole was quite good. However there were more than a few instances where the staff in some of the lounges seemed totally bored and disinterested in their job. It was quite a shock actually to see that happen as it definitely has not been our experience on previous Princess cruises. The port lecturer was excellent and very informative. The guest lecturer, Jules, also was very good. The entertainment on the whole was just so so. Had seen some of the performances by the Princess singers and dancers. Did enjoy the Russian troupe that Princess brought on for entertainment in St. Petersburg. Food was not as good as I had expected it would be. The steaks onboard were at best mediocre. We were told that Princess has decided to no longer serve escargots. A real shame as Princess always had great escargots. Somebody at the head office needs to rethink this decision. Overall a decline from the food at other Princess cruises, The coffee served, unless you paid for the privilege, was uniformly lacking in taste. Why cut corners on coffee? Appetizers and soups, as always, were very good. Princess does a good Ceasar salad. Our waiter, assistant waiter and head waiter were excellent. Never did see the maitr'd. Ports were great. We had bought the London on your own excursion. Took almost three hours to get there. Don't know why we could not have left at 7 in the morning instead of 8. Wish we had done the high speed train to London on our own. No other tours with Princess but did a lot of tours on our own. St. Petersburg was certainly the highlight of the cruise and a big reason for booking the cruise. Disembarkation was very smooth. Well organized and hassle free. One night we had quite a bit of water seeping into our cabin. We were not informed of anything and the whole incident was handled very poorly by guest services when we inquired. We were not given any satisfactory explanation . We were later told that the pool in the aft was the cause of the problem. How that could be was beyond me. Especially when there were water stains in the curtains. Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
This was our 9th cruise with Princess and our 3rd transatlantic. The weather was nice, the seas were calm and Commodore Romano ran a good ship. Embarkation: was a mess separating past passengers from new passengers but once begun we were ... Read More
This was our 9th cruise with Princess and our 3rd transatlantic. The weather was nice, the seas were calm and Commodore Romano ran a good ship. Embarkation: was a mess separating past passengers from new passengers but once begun we were on board and unpacked in 45 minutes. Cabin: with balcony located midships on the Caribe deck was clean, all items were in operating condition and the bed was comfortable. Food: Coffee in Horizon Court is awful and needs to be improved. Having "real" coffee in the International Cafe is not a solution. Entertainment: Moved to three shows per night but cut the show times to 35 minutes. Not worth waiting 20 minutes to see a 35 minute production. Commodore Romano was visible every day. He was communicative and involved in making passengers feel welcome and respected. Disembarkation: Easy and Quick. In Copenhagen with luggage in hand easily walked off the ship at 8:30 AM. The service desk tried to misinform us that we must vacated the ship between 5 and 6AM. Ports of Call:The ports included in this transatlantic were nice and even though we had been to 4 of the 8 ports before, we happily found new places to see and explore. The time in Oslo was to short arriving at 7AM and leaving at 2PM. We did 2 Princess Tours: Le Havre to Honfleur and Rotterdam to Delft and the Hague. We enjoyed the first but the second tour was too much bus time and the venues were to small to accommodate multi-bus loads of people. At the other ports (Ponta Delgada, Cork, Dover Oslo and Copenhagen) we toured on our own. We did so because the transportation is easily available and most of the people speak fluent English and are quite helpful. In summary this was a nice voyage well done. Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
This was our 22nd cruise, 10th with Princess, and the 4th time on the Emerald. We cruised this ship last April, over Easter with several of the same couples we cruised with last year. Embarkation..even though the port was under ... Read More
This was our 22nd cruise, 10th with Princess, and the 4th time on the Emerald. We cruised this ship last April, over Easter with several of the same couples we cruised with last year. Embarkation..even though the port was under construction and the normal pier for this ship was closed.. the process was smooth and easy...on the ship in no time...Cabin was ready when we got on board..dropped off our carry on's and off to eat and to the pool. Cabin Balcony on Caribe deck, mid ship... No issues other than the same one everyone has been complaining about for years...PRINCESS...ITS TIME TO CHANGE THE MATTRESS'!!! THEY ARE WORN OUT!!! Having sailed on this ship 3 times previously, I simply want to know, What Happened to My Emerald? Was A little disappointed by some of the changes Princess made to this wonderful ship...and for years telling everyone how much we loved everything about this ship, was saddened to see how far and fast it went down hill. First, The entertainment..they had the same 2 comics, and same hypnotist as last year with the same material. Time for some new comics....Beatlemaniacs was a good show...Seems like the cruise staff disappeared on this ship, with the exception of Oksana for the pool chipping contests and during the fiesta pool deck party, never saw them!! No more horse races, pool games, conga lines...What happened? The pool band played the same songs almost every set...and what happened to having music at the pool when the band wasn't playing? Muts was good with a large selection of different movies...Just recall last year that there was always something playing on the big screen during the day..whether it was sports , concerts, documentaries, movies...And when there was a sports playoff whatever it was,it played on the big screen! Too many long breaks with a still picture on the screen. Also the schedule for the big screen was not very well published... Second...The food... As always I thought the food is very good whether we ate in the crown grill, the buffet, anytime dining, or the international cafe, and even had a few bites of sushi. What Changed in my opinion for the worst, was service and options. The buffet last year on this ship was opened late night til 4 30 am..in the rear of the ship. This allowed late night people to grab a bite after dancing or the show, but now they all close at midnight. The outrigger Bar at the rear of the ship also closed very early, whereas last year it was opened til 4 am..again for late night get togethers. We spent many evenings sitting and chatting with the bartenders and friends there( its the cover picture on my phone).After Skywalkers closes usually around 2 30 am the only place open is the international cafe on deck 5. Not the best place for late night partiers to go hang out after dancing, But the only place left for them to go.These features were some of the perks that we loved about the Emerald, eating a late dinner then enjoying a show and some dancing, knowing that later if you wanted to grab a bite that there was still options opened to you.The service in the dining rooms felt harried and at best you could tell the waiters were understaffed. Long waits between courses. Food was still good , just took forever. Also drink prices are over the top and just keep getting worse. 26.00$ for 5 Bud lights is crazy. I realize that this is equivalent to a resort and understand resort pricing... but the line would make more through sheer volume than overcharging and losing sales. Cocktail prices were on the rise also. 8.99 for a Mai Tai. If the cruise lines want to know why more people are sneaking booze aboard , just look at your prices.. One good note..I did notice that the prices of wine at dinner were lower than last year, not a reduction in choice or name vintners , just a lower bottle price. They still over charge by the glass, but the bottle price was MUCH better. Okay( and I am willing to Take all the negative comments on this one, but please hear me out first) Princess smoking policy..And yes I am a smoker.I knew at the beginning of the year that Princess changed its smoking policy and you could no longer smoke in your rooms and on your balcony. We always get a balcony, and that is where i would smoke so I did not smoke in the room. While it was a bit of a pain for me, I did not have a problem throwing on my shorts and going to the designated smoking areas to have my smoke. Princess made deck 16 the smoking area, on the port side of the ship, at the pool deck and also right outside of their speciality restaurant Sabatini's( this made no sense to me , if I was spending extra on a speciality dinner with my wife, I would not enjoy my view out the window to be the smoking lounge and not the beautiful view off the aft of the ship. Also this is right above where they decided to put tables for people to eat food. Love having my breakfast and someones ashes blowing over the rail and landing in my food.) My complaint is that while using the designated areas I do not need or want the smoking police giving everyone who smoked a hard time.Asking for a Ashtray was similar to robbing a bank. I even heard one bartender threaten to call security on a elderly female who was smoking to close to the bar stool. Snookers Cigar bar is no longer there, It was changed to a conference room. So other than a few spots on deck and the cigar nook off of the casino, there is no place for you to enjoy a cigar. And on no smoking nights in the casino, it looked like Jeff Spignoli's van from Fast times at Ridgemont High every time someone opened the door to the smoking room. And Guess where Princess decided to place the sports TV's ? You got it.. in Gatsby's cigar bar!! Which is conveniently located mid ship deck 6 with doors that open to the pursers desk and into the casino..HMMM !! So it was interesting listening to people complain about the smoke while waiting in line to talk to some one at guest services about the smoke!!!Princess set up 3 tables and chairs in the casino bar area and put little placards on them stating..NO SMOKING TABLE!! Yet 2 feet on any side of those tables was acceptable smoking areas. And it did provide me with an alternative venue of entertainment watching several different groups of people sit down at those tables and then complain about the smoke. I am a very considerate smoker, I don't smoke in my house , my cars, my cabin, my balcony, and I really don't care where Princess puts the smoking section...but if I am in the designated smoking section, Please, SHUT UP!!! I cannot avoid your over use of cheap cologne or perfume, at dinner, the elevators, the theater, or strolling around on deck, but you can avoid the smoking sections. Princess is still my line of choice... The extras that they used to provide are slowly disappearing. Please understand that the Emerald is a Fabulous ship..and we had another amazing time aboard her...But when you have been spoiled and are used to something amazing and that is taken away...kinda lets the air out of my balloon..it also makes RAVING about Princess and this particular ship, that much harder to do... Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
This was our 6th cruise with Princess in 7 years and we're back to the Caribbean again, this time the Southern route. We flew from Vegas to Ft. Lauderdale and stayed at the "rustic" Ramada Inn,with several other nice ... Read More
This was our 6th cruise with Princess in 7 years and we're back to the Caribbean again, this time the Southern route. We flew from Vegas to Ft. Lauderdale and stayed at the "rustic" Ramada Inn,with several other nice cruisers also joining us on the Emerald.We got to the port about noon and it was a mess lines backed up into the parking lot, uh oh, something looked terribly wrong, and it was ? Well 90 minutes later we finally got moving and boarded about 1:45, whew ! The ship looked great just as it did last March for our East. Caribbean cruise. We got the same room,as last year near the slow elevators and stairs.It was clean, but small for 3, and after meeting Eli our steward and making some requests for hangers, mattress pads and robes, were off to find some lunch and explore the ship. We had some kind of mechanical issues with a life boat and did not pull out of port until dark 6:45 in the light rain. We're not off to a very good start I'm afraid. It has to get better right ? The "sail away" party what there was of it was also a bust ! Hope you like "art" it was everywhere and often.The crew and staff seemed very nice and happy to see us and made us feel welcome. We enjoyed meeting and playing along with the C.D. staffers JJ, Chantal,Megan,Andy & Oxsanna.As for the C.D. and his deputy, good voices, but pretty mediocre from there. Their morning "wake show" was pretty cheesy and boring, just sayin.Sure miss the Isl. Princess Billy Hygate, now that's a CD.Lot's to see & do on the Emerald, trivia, karaoke my favorite, bingo,eat,games, shows (3) per night,eat,check your daily patter and take it with you for reference.The ship looked great throughout, no worse for wear it receives.WE tried to do most activities but it's really impossible to see & do it all.The service was very good, sometimes too good, servers always trying to sell. Happy hour deals 4-7 ask your server for the "deals", or drink special of the day. The Photo studio same thing, you know if the photos were more reasonably priced they would sell more, creating higher profits. I'll bet they throw away, or re-cycle 75 % of everything they take ! Dining : Anytime is the best time ! You still need to make a standing reservation on your arrival day,asap. No waiting, go straight on in. The food was good to very good, depending on what you order. Some of the beef/meat selections were lacking, (cost cutting) measures I'm sure. The shrimp,scallops, lobster were all good, not great and many of the appetizers/pasta were better. We loved all the fresh salads, sand. and deserts in the Intn'l. Cafe in the atrium, delicious. The pizza and burgers were very tasty out by the pool if you did'nt mind waiting 10 min. or more for a burger,slow ! Loved the Pub lunches in the Wheelhouse lounge on sea days. Great Fish n Chips, bangers& Mash etc. A nice break from the crazy busy Horizon Ct. buffet. So hard to find an empty table for breakfast! Do yourself a favor, eat in the more relaxed Dining Room deck 6 the Bochelli. Great eggs benedict and the coffee is better,stronger too. Entertainment : Wow lot's going on and they have added a condensed show so there are 3 instead of 2 now, 7:15,8:30,& 10:00, good move Princess. The best show by far is definately the "Beatle Maniacs", get there early ! We also like the comedy of Al Katz, & Steven Scott, Mentalist Wayne Hoffman & Magician Jean Bouchard. I was with the famous "sisters" who were in the mentalist & magician show we got stopped and questioned quite frequently. So many extra nice people on this ship, I can't begin to tell you we meet such wonderful people on board, it was a real pleasure ! M.U.T.S. too many Muppet movies, we wanted to see "War Horse", or something better. Whoever schedules the movies needs some help in that regard.Karaoke and Princess Pop Star was great even if I was one of the main singers.Some really talented and fun people, thank you guys & gals. By the way if you tried to win a bottle of that champagne don't be concerned, it was pretty bad. In summary Princess still has a lot of little things to improve on, but overall another great vacation ! The nice folks they attract make the cruise what it is. Remember it's what you make it and the people you surround yourself with. We were lucky and met some extra special people to all of you that Hop,Karen & I met, THANK YOU and happy cruising. Next stop Hawaii March 9,2013 hope to see you all again, " ALOHA ", Monty Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
Emerald Princess cruise March 7th-17th. Southern Caribbean route. We are from South Carolina so rather than deal with the airlines we decided to leisurely drive down to Fort Lauderdale. Our first stop was in Cape Canaveral at the ... Read More
Emerald Princess cruise March 7th-17th. Southern Caribbean route. We are from South Carolina so rather than deal with the airlines we decided to leisurely drive down to Fort Lauderdale. Our first stop was in Cape Canaveral at the Radisson Resort At The Port. If you ever decide to sail out of Port Canaveral this is an awesome hotel to stay at. For $160 we stayed in a suite with king sized sleep number bed, a full separate eating area with second TV, a hot tub next to the bed and a nice marble shower. The pool is done up to look like a tropical oasis with large stone arches covered with vines and a waterfall in the middle. The service there is top notch. We ate at Kelsey's pizza right next door and had delicious pizza and Greek salads. We then ventured on to the Springfield Inn and Suites Ft Lauderdale Airport and Cruise Port. We got a king sized room with all the amenities for $193. This included a free shuttle to the port and the ability to park our car for the duration. With a 10 day cruise the savings really added up. You can book a return shuttle back from the port for $10 a person. We enjoyed yummy pizza from Carcione's pizza (large 1 topping with 6 garlic knots and a cold 2 liter...$14). Embarkation: We took the 10:30am shuttle to the port. Arrived inside around 11am and were put into group 4. It took about an hour before our group was called but once we were called things moved relatively fast. We went to our cabin and found our luggage had already arrived! We decided rather than fight the hordes at the Horizon court we would have lunch in the dining room. It was a decision well made. The dining room was not crowded and a perfect place to relax. My wife and I enjoyed a delicious cheese ravioli appetizer and then beef tenderloins in a rich gravy with red mashed potatoes. It was one of the best meals on the ship. I would highly recommend doing this instead of the horizon court. There are even cheese burgers available if you have picky little eaters. We did muster at 3pm and met in the casino. They now scan your room key card at muster so trying to hide from it won't work. It was quick and painless and soon we were ready to "escape completely". Cabin: We stayed in E 316. An inside cabin on the emerald deck. This cabin had it's ups and downs. On the upside we were conveniently located close to just about everything. The elevator was just around the corner and were were very near the theater, bars and dining venues. The room was spacious enough not to feel cramped and offered more than enough storage space. The bathroom was small but workable with a nice shower with good pressure and temperature variation. On the down side our first night we hit some rough weather with high seas and wind. The walls of cabin creaked so long and so loud sleep was almost impossible. Fortunately when we reached the calmer Caribbean waters the creaking subsided. Also we could never seem to get the cabin very cool. We didn't opt for a top sheet and later regretted it as it got pretty warm under the comforter with the little AC the room provided. We did get the egg crate mattress which made the bed more comfortable. What made our cabin stay the most bearable was taking my WDTV with portable hard drive along. WDTV is a small black box which allows you to watch Netflix, Youtube, Facebook and various other video, picture and music services with WiFi connection. We didn't utilize these since WiFi is very expensive and spotty on the ship. However I downloaded a DVD copier program (Ideal DVD copy) and burned 120 of my favorite movies to a 1 gig portable hard drive which I could plug into the WDTV. I then plugged the WDTV into the stateroom TV and by switching the sources with the TV remote was able to watch our DVD movies in our cabin. It was really great to be able to relax and watch a movie at our leisure right in the room. WDTV is $99, a 1 gig portable hard drive is $150 and the DVD burner program cost $40. So for a one time investment of $300 I can take my DVD library everywhere I go! Dining (my favorite part): We ate all our breakfasts in the dining room (except) for the last day. You should really avoid the horizon court as the food is not as good. The breakfasts in the dining room were very good. We enjoyed Eggs Benedict, blueberry pancakes, crispy french toast, and other yummy samplings. Each breakfast has 2 specials of the day and then the standard fare of eggs, pancakes, cereal, fruits, meats, etc. I disagree with other posters who said the coffee was bad. The horizon court coffee was nasty but the dining room coffee tasted just fine to me. The international cafe also makes a great breakfast stop. They have loads of pastries, donuts, coffee cake and muffins all of it tasty and fresh. For lunch we went to the dining room when available. The food was consistently good and the hamburgers outdid the Trident grill in both size and flavor. Hamburgers, cheeseburgers and bacon cheeseburgers are available on every dining room lunch menu. The Trident grill was not bad. It featured hamburgers, cheeseburgers, chicken sandwiches, brats, and hot dogs as well as a vegiburger for non meat eaters. You may want to be in line a little before 11:30am as the lines get long. I do wish they had more offerings as well. I have seen other lines offer taco bars with nachos and chili. It would have been nice to make a chili cheeseburger or chili dog to break up the monotony. The pizza grill was another great staple with some of the better pizza I have had at sea. The crust is tasty and crisp and the ingredients fresh. They offer cheese, pepperoni and a pizza of the day. My favorite was the "surf and turf" which was tenderloin and lobster bits on a pizza. Again my only complaint is wishing the had more choices. Only 3 choices with 2 of them being staples gets old quick. The international cafe offers small sandwiches and salads with a quiche of the day and soup of the day. The sandwiches include ham & cheese, Mozzarella and Prosciutto, chicken salad, and others. The sandwiches are small but light and refreshing. The quiche of the day is usually cheese with either mushroom, onion, spinach, leeks or tomato depending on the day. I didn't try the soup and the Gelato was still unavailable. We never ate in the horizon court which is available as well. For dinner we stayed with the dining room. Here is where we encountered another Princess problem. Anytime dining. Which by all definition was certainly not. When cruising with princess before we were able to make a standing reservation for a table for two for the duration of the cruise. We were told that this was not allowed by the reservation line only to discover other couples were allowed to make this arrangement. We were told to arrive at 5:30 every night and we would be seated but that isn't "anytime" dining in my book. Other lines could accommodate us "anytime" and any seating arrangement we liked. All said our meals were generally very good and the wait staff friendly and attentive. The prime rib is a must try as well as the Goat Cheese Souffle, Lobster was sweet and tasty. Do have the Chocolate Hazelnut souffle as it is very good. One other complaint is the way tables for two are set up. There is a long community couch with chairs spaced out along it to create makeshift tables for two. The problem is you don't have any privacy as there are people at both your elbows. People who want tables for two usually wish to dine alone and not be subjected to forced conversations. I would like to see Princess create real tables for two instead of trying to pass this off as such. The international cafe has yummy dessert bites in the evening which we found outdid some of the desserts in the dining room. They are also smaller and less filling. Now for my favorite. The Crown Grill. We ate there twice and can't recommend this place enough. The steaks are some of the best I have ever tasted and always cooked to perfection. I would recommend the Scallop appetizer with perfectly cooked scallops. The Black and Blue soup with tangy Roquefort cheese. I had both the 8oz fillet and the 16oz Kansas city strip both delicious. The scalloped potatoes are a must try. They are swimming in cheesy goodness. You can also add as many 4oz lobster tails as you can handle. The only throw away about the meal was the signature salt collection. The salts were too strong tasting and really not needed. The Cafe Caribe was available for dinner but we never ate there. We also never tried room service as the menu and food quality are the worst at sea. Entertainment: We skipped all the song and dance shows. We saw Al Katz and he was pretty funny. He did the usual stand up and we found getting a seat in the theater at 7:15 was not hard. We also saw Steven Scott and thought he was very funny combining sound effects with his various funny stories. He did a dead on impersonation of the captain that had everyone rolling. I would highly recommend seeing him. Our most common night activity was sneaking off to our secret hot tub. I will now share with you the secret. In the spa area is a pool and two hot tubs which are virtually abandoned at 7pm-8pm. These hot tubs are really hot, not luke warm like the ones in the main pool area. They also have powerful jets. It was very relaxing to have the place to ourselves at night with the night sky, cool night breezes and the lights of the Sanctuary giving a nice glow. Seek this place out! Just take the elevator to deck 16, make sure you get robes to wear from your cabin steward. Ports: Princess Cays: We stayed on the ship as we had been there before and it rained most of the day. I felt bad for the people who took the rough tender ride over only to be rained on with no place to find shelter. If you have been here I would recommend a day of having the ship to yourself. Nice to avoid all the cattle lines and just relax. St. Thomas: Got off briefly to purchase alcohol. If you plan to do so on this cruise buy it all here as they have the best prices and selection. We were surprised to find that they didn't take our liquor and hold it till the end of the cruise. I can't say if you will be so lucky but it was a nice way of keeping our bar tab low. The other ports had little to no alcohol stores and they were more expensive with poor selection. Dominica: Stayed on the boat. We have toured it already and once you have been there you have been there. Grenada: Had planned to go to magazine beach but it was overcast. We decided to venture into town which was a mistake. Every 3 feet some guy would try to peddle his cab tour. It usually went like this... Do you want a tour? No thanks. Let me show you my beautiful island. No thanks. With all it's waterfalls and cliff divers. No thanks. And historic forts. No thanks. I will take you to Grand Anse beach. No thanks. Repeat this with every guy you pass on the street. We did find a very nice spice store in the mall called D#1 spice shop. She had the best prices and wasn't a tacky tourist shop. Bought spices and retreated back to the boat. Bonair: One of the best stops of our trip. We chose to take a free shuttle bus to the Plaza Resort Bonair for some snorkling and relaxing on the beach. When you get off the ship just look for a set of white tents featuring tours. The Plaza shuttle driver is usually there about every 10 minutes. The shuttle is free and the resort costs $10 a person for use of their beach chairs, pool, bars and restaurant. Bring towels as none are provided. This was the best snorkel spot I have ever been to. The water is glass clear. The sea floor is a mixture or rock and coral so there are tons of fish. The best part is you don't have to be a great swimmer to snorkel here. In waist deep water you can literally stick your face in the water and see all kinds of sea life. We saw Parrot fish, angel fish and even an eel poking his head out of his hole. I do recommend some water shoes to keep your feet from getting cut or slipping. The beach itself is small and relaxing. When you are ready they will contact the shuttle to take you right back to the ship. Here is a video I shot, please excuse the shakiness since my flip cam lacks image stablization... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5pK5LkuZ0DI&list=UUWFaowMaC-ERNs2OSSFidug&index=1&feature=plcp Aruba: After reading the various Cruise Critic boards we decided to venture to Eagle beach for a nice beach day. The weather was perfect, sunny with a nice breeze blowing. Originally we were going to take a taxi there, $13 one way per cab but a tour driver said to us "Why do that when the city bus will take you there both ways for the two of you for $5?" The bus station is right outside the port terminal. The busses are clean and modern and very safe. We purchased our bus tickets and headed on our way. On the bus we met up with "Myrtle Beach", a Boston snow bird now living in, you guessed it. She told us all about Eagle beach and what it had to offer. She was quite the character. She also introduced us to beach towel clips which we are going to have to get next time. She bought them at Bed, Bath and Beyond and they seemed to hold the towels neatly against the chairs. We arrived at the yellow exterior of the Amsterdam Manor which is right across from the beach and we got off. The beach was pristine with soft sand and clear blue water. Chairs were $10 a person and they had bar, changing area and port-o-lets. Myrtle Beach clued us in that we could use the Manor's restroom and that there was a Coke machine in there with $1 Cokes and Water. We stayed on the beach so we never found out if this was the case. Had a great day and decided to leave at 1pm which was good since the busses were getting a little crowded. All in all a perfect beach day. Sea Days (one early and two at the end): We spent our sea days lounging in the sun. We tried a number of places on the ship. The Mutts pool area seemed to lack a good breeze due to the tall glass windows all around it. We sat by the main pool upper deck area which had decent breeze but a lot of other people packing in like sardines. I wish some of these people grasped the concept of " personal space " We tried the highest deck by the Doplar radar globes but ended up naming it the frying pan due to the heat coming off the floor since they didn't put down the blue turf carpeting. I will now reveal to you the sweet spot. The best spot to spend an entire day sunning. Grab this spot early and guard it like a pitbull. Just outside the Sanctuary there is a glass wall that leads to a series of chairs. If you take your chairs and position them right next to the edge of the ship facing the dolphin shaped Sanctuary sign you will catch both a breeze from the side of the ship and a breeze blowing in from the front of the ship. Also you can use the pool located in the Sanctuary which is very cool and if you go into the spa area there are some very nice bathrooms close by. This is the same area with the awesome hot tubs. Disembarkation: Self debarked and were off the ship by 7:15. Shuttle back was prompt and the driver parked right next to our parked car. We were on the road by 8:00. Closing notes: We had an enjoyable cruise but feel that Princess has lots of room to improve. Anytime dining needs to be refined maybe by adding more dining venues. The Trident grill and pizza grill should expand their menus. The room service menu needs to be retooled and improved. Vines is a complete waste of space. Nobody used it except as overflow from the Piazza. The staterooms need better temperature control. Not to be missed sunrises and sunsets. Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
We flew on Southwest from Vegas the day before where we met up with my sister and nepew. We had a nice flight, on time where they met us and off to spend the night at the Ramada Inn (cruise port). Turns out several of the nice people ... Read More
We flew on Southwest from Vegas the day before where we met up with my sister and nepew. We had a nice flight, on time where they met us and off to spend the night at the Ramada Inn (cruise port). Turns out several of the nice people staying there would also be fellow passengers also on the Emerald Princess. We had a tasty fresh mexican dinner that night, and visit with our nephew before our departure the next morning. Ramada did a nice job scheduling & transporting 3 large groups of us to the port, but I would not recommend the hotel, spend a little more, you will be glad you did. We arrived at noon and from the looks of the long lines not moving we could tell their were some major problems. We had heard later that someone had died, and the U.S. Coast Guard had sprung a random safety inspection witch one lifeboat failed, and had to be replaced. This caused another lengthy delay, and not much of a "sailaway party" sorry to say. We finally boarded just short of 2 pm, whew !We met our kind steward "Eli" and he took good care us throughout the cruise, the room was very clean. We finally pulled out in the dark & drizzle about 6:45. Like I said, "better late than never".Hopefully, the worst is behind us ? The weather was pretty choppy the first 2 days out and we had some overcast and drizzle at Princess Cays, but not bad, and it was warm, so it's all good.Our room was right near mid ship on Aloha deck so we were close to the stairs and the elevators, which were painfully slow, and usually packed with an avg. age of 60+, just sayin. Nice folks, some of the best we have ever sailed with.My sister and I were chosen to work with the mentalist on stage and later the magician in the Princess Theater, so we were recognized, and questioned often throughout the ship.How did he do that, etc. ?Entertainment, overall was good, not great. We really enjoyed the "Beatlemaniacs" again this year, Al Katz & Steven Scott, mentalist Wayne Hoffman and Jean Bouchard, magician. The Theater fills up fast so get there early, the back fills up the fastest. The C.D. staff were a lot of fun running all the various games, Karaoke & shows, JJ, Chantal, Andy,Megan, Oxsanna, thank you ! M.U.T.S. missed War Horse, seems like the Muppet Movie was playing all the time ? Happy hour is usually 4-7 ask your server for specials and the drink of the day, as drinks can be quite pricey.Loved the Cadillac Margarita & Mai Tai, umm good !Refer to your "Patter" as so many things going on you need it for a road map to remember it all.The dancers and singers were pretty good especially the two lead ladies, the guys, well I think some of the male Karaoke singers were as good as they were. 3 shows now in the P.T. so no need to rush dinner, a very good move by Princess on this, as the theater fills up quickly. Dining: We had "anytime dining" in the Michael Angelo, the secret here is make a standing reservation the first day with the maitre de, same table, servers and no waiting, just walk right in, like you own the joint ! Most people do not know this and had to wait.The meat/beef selections were not all that good but loved the seafood, many of the appetizers, and pasta's. I think overall food quality has dropped due to cost cutting measures? The "service" however was excellent. Thank You Sanya & Ketut very nice fellas.We also loved the Intnt'l. Cafe in the atrium, fresh salads,sandwiches, quiche & deserts, yum ! The Pub Lunches in the Wheelhouse were very tasty on Sea days. Loved the burgers, fries, & pizza out by the main pool too, get in line early for burgers, it really backs up.Don't forget room service for am and late nights too, just a little "tip" will do ya.  Cafe, great salads, fresh sand. quiche, and mini deserts deck 5, in the atrium.The Horizon Court, alias every man for himself. Folks just too many in there every morning during peak breakfast hours. In 3 words, "not enough tables". Do yourself a favor, relax and have a nice quiet leisurely breakfast,or lunch in the Bocheli dining room. deck 6. You will be glad you did, wish we would have too. Ports: Wow, just snorkled in P. Cays weather was just mediocre, but any beach day is better than your best day at work, right ? Saw a lot of fish & scenery there. St. Thomas shopped and beached at Emerald beach near the ship, next time were going to make it to Trunk Bay on St' Johns Isl. for sure ! Been to Megen's Bay before, very scenic and tranquil. Dominica: The best shore excursion ever #362. Thanks Joan & Alex. Check out Sassy falls and the tropical jungle, nicer and less crowded than Trafalgar, gorgeous ! Grenada:Took a nice catammaran over to the underwater sculpture park, wow ! Wish we had more time there, then off to Grande Anse beach, and a lot of rum punches, whew ! The crew kept pouring & pouring, a fun trip, but over way too fast. Bonaire : Best snorkeling & diving anywhere in the Caribbean. For $10 p/p we took a short drive to the "Plaza Resort". Pool, lounges, tiki bar, restrooms, showers, hammocks, and the best snorkeling ever right of the rocky beach ! Wear water shoes, and enjoy swimming in an "aquarium", tropical fish everywhere, beautiful parrots, angel fish galore in shallow water, incredible decision ! Aruba: 100 A S.E. nice hikes in the rocks, Calif. Lighthouse visit, and Palm Beach,beach stop. Very nice but crowded with too tours stopping at the same place, same time. They need to better organize these, but still worth while. All in all, another great Princess Cruise. Not perfect but pretty darn good, considering the crazy embarkation day and late sailaway. So many nice people we met and hope to see again someday, especially all my husbands Karaoke gang, Leeroy, Glenn, Jim, Claire, Robert,Heather & Daniele, Larry, Mayta, Bruce, Jeff,Nancy, Byron, Gordon, Barbara, thanks everyone for a wonderful vacation ! Princess has some kinks to work out, we all know it, but hey, nobody is perfect, we're all a "work" in progress". So how about "Hawaii" March 9, 2013 on the beautiful Sapphire Princess ? Be there or be square. Happy Sailing & ALOHA !!!   Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
We went on the Emerald Princess on February 6th for a 10 day cruise. It was our first time with Princess. We were nervous about trying another line after the horrible time we had with MSC. We read trip advisor for all our travels. ... Read More
We went on the Emerald Princess on February 6th for a 10 day cruise. It was our first time with Princess. We were nervous about trying another line after the horrible time we had with MSC. We read trip advisor for all our travels. Especially the negative comments about Princess and Emerald, in particular was the "hard" beds. This was not evident to us. Just to be on the safe side we pre ordered the mattress toppers. They were so thin I do not think they were of much benefit. But we did not find the beds to be "hard" They were not as nice as the beds on HAL but we had no problem sleeping on them. The food was another area that was of concern as mentioned here as well. We found the food to be good. It is not quite as good as HAL but we had no problem with the meals. There will be somethings that are not to every ones taste, but that does not make it horrible food. We found the staff very friendly and helpful. We lucked in to the best waiter in the dining room we have ever had on any cruise. His name was Romeo (assistant Ariel). We had traditional seating. We have never had a waiter who was so funny and friendly and still was professional!! We miss him still. Our room attendant was o.k. Not as knowledgeable as some to your comings and goings. We have been HAL fans for a while but Princess came in a close 2nd! We are booked to do the 16 day South Pacific Cruise on the Ocean Princess in March 2013. We had a great time. NO complaints with embarking and only a "snag" on disembarking. When we are still in the terminal we were constantly being yelled at to "keep on moving". How fast did they want us to move? A running Jog?. It's not like we were standing still. Do they forget you have all your luggage with you? (we needed a self disembarkation for one member of our party so we all decided to go at that time) My 85 year old mother was having trouble with her luggage and I started to go back to help her and was yelled at to keep on moving! The people who wear the "Princess" name tags that work on the pier should take a lesson from the staff on the ship. The lady organizing the people to the proper buses for airport transportation was a b...h. She was rude, rude, rude. Yelling at people unnecessarily. She ordered us to "hurry and get on the bus"!. There was only 4 people on the bus at this time. The bus never left for 20more minutes!The luggage handler was also rude and grabbed the bags and told to "GET ON THE BUS!" as well. These two must have been having a really bad day earlier that morning. It made me fell like now we have your money, your cruise is over so now we want you out of our faces. ASAP! This was the only down to the cruise. Just wonder if Princess knows that this is the way these "off ship" people are treating their customers? Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
We stayed at the LaQuinta Airport. It is inexpensive, free breakfast, free shuttle to port, and free parking while you are gone. It can't be beat. Ate dinner at Coconuts on waterfront. Great precruise dinner spot or probably any ... Read More
We stayed at the LaQuinta Airport. It is inexpensive, free breakfast, free shuttle to port, and free parking while you are gone. It can't be beat. Ate dinner at Coconuts on waterfront. Great precruise dinner spot or probably any night of the week. Had a wonderful cruise. Probably the best dining experience on any cruise we have been on. Cid was our waiter and he was the best. Entertainment was weak and the cruise director was obnoxious trying to get applause for himself. He needed to get out of the way and let the hired talent entertain the guests. Only really good entertainment was a Beatle group. The sailaway group was pretty good but too loud. Everything on the deck was too loud. And the MUTS is nothing but wasted space other than for the football playoff games. Unfornutely cruise ended with me getting norovirus the last night. I knew immediately what it was as had read about it before. Believe everything you may have heard about it. I was able to get off the ship the next morning but added several hours to my drive home as I had to stop every 30 minutes or so. As soon as I got home I emailed Princess several times to make them aware as I did not want the next occupant of our room to become ill. After several weeks I received a form letter from them. Left me pretty underwhelmed at their response. If someone got sick eating at my house I would certainly want to know how they were doing. Will definitely keep that in mind when booking in the future and picking a cruise line. My wife had mentioned how they did not seem to be cleaning the ship during cruise as we had observed with RC and Celebrity on recent cruises. Anyway it will take me a while to get over their lack of response. Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
This was the Southern Caribbean Medley starting in Ft. Lauderdale with stops in Princess Cays, St. Thomas, Dominica, Grenada, Bonaire, Aruba. I was travelling with a friend and this was her first cruise so I thought Princess was the best ... Read More
This was the Southern Caribbean Medley starting in Ft. Lauderdale with stops in Princess Cays, St. Thomas, Dominica, Grenada, Bonaire, Aruba. I was travelling with a friend and this was her first cruise so I thought Princess was the best line to start with. We flew into Ft. Lauderdale the day before just in case of bad weather in the north and stayed at the Crowne Plaza near the port. The hotel was great although the location was in an industrial area and not convenient to shops or restaurants. We chose to eat in Kiki's in the hotel and had a lovely meal, reasonably priced. It was a bit chilly to use the pool although the pool area was terrific with great views of the Port and of the Emerald Princess the next morning sitting in her berth. Embarkation: We arrived at the port before 11 and had to wait until noon to start the registration process but once that started, we were on board quickly. The room was ready when we boarded so we dropped off the carry on luggage and headed to Horizon Court for lunch. We sat on the Outriggers Terrace and enjoyed our first meal watching the yacht traffic around the 17th St. bridge, very enjoyable. Accommodation: I am of the belief that you don't spend sufficient time in your room to warrant the extra cost of a balcony or oceanview room so chose an inside. This room while the typical Princess standard with lots of storage space and well appointed, the noise coming from the Horizon Court kitchen during the night was not nice. Lots of banging and dragging and rolling of carts. After complaining to Passenger Services, we had a couple of people come up and listen and then told us that it was coming from the kitchen 2 floors above. Not much resolution unless the kitchen staff would be told not to work during the night. Definitely would not chose that location again. Food: The food was very good to excellent in all dining venues. I personally love the salads and coffee at International Cafe and we were there at least once a day for the cappuccino. We opted for Anytime dining and that was a Nightmare!!!We like to eat between 6 and 7 and the first night we arrived at 6 to find an hour long lineup with beepers being given out. They actually ran out of beepers. The second night we arrived at 5:45 to find another lineup and beepers so we went to Horizon Court. The third night we arrived at 5:15 to find another lineup with beepers and a 40 minute wait. The problem, they accepted so many reservations between 6 and 7pm that there were no tables for folks who did not make reservations. So Anytime Dining is not really Anytime Dining, it is reservations only. After much complaining to the Maitre D as well as Passenger Services over the course of the first 3 days, they sent 6 of us to the Traditional Dining room on that 3rd night since they had available space there. The 6 of us got along so well that we kept that table and the 6pm Traditional dining for the duration of the cruise. This Anytime Dining issue has made me rethink cruising with Princess again unless they change the way they handle the reservations. Entertainment: The production shows were well done although I had seen all of them before except the Beatle Maniacs. I don't enjoy hypnotists or comedians so I did not go to those shows. Since dinner generally took almost 2 hours each night, we never made the first show and the lineups for the second show were well down the hallway 30 minutes before showtime. Sammy Goldstein entertained in Crooners every night and had a big following, standing room only most nights. An excellent entertainer and crowd pleaser. There was a Pianist who moved around to different venues, Jan Gulbicki (sp?)and he was excellent as well. We enjoyed the Trivia events and Cruise Control quartet that played in Wheelhouse Bar. Hated the steel drums daily in the Piazza, just not our kind of music and we did not go to Club Fusion except for the Pop Star Finals. The 6 finalists (passengers with singing talent) were excellent. The Entertainment team worked very hard to keep the cruisers entertained. Tim Donovan was the CD but that was his last trip on Emerald, he was moving over to Pacific Princess I think. Really enjoyed the cooking demonstration with the Head Chef and the Head Maitre D. Shore Excursions: Princess Cays was a delightful day, my first time there. Lots of loungers with plenty of shade if that is what you wanted, although you did have to get there fairly early in the day. We took Princess tours in Dominica and Grenada that were good value and good tours and would recommend. I also booked a snorkeling tour in Bonaire, one that I had done several years ago, but we were not dropped at the best part of the reef, it was raining and very windy that day so not a very pleasant experience. It was a wonderful cruise, with the exception of the Anytime Dining issues and the noise at night that required ear plugs. I have to agree that the food continues to be very good to excellent although some of the high end items like rack of lamb was only available in the Crown Grill, not in the main dining rooms. The Surf & Turf is not a lobster tail and large Scampi although you could still order the steak if you wanted. Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
A long BA flight from Heathrow and then a night's stay in Fort Lauderdale which was a waste of time realy. Off to the ship next morning and quickly on board. Nice inside cabin but as I am only going to change and sleep in it so ... Read More
A long BA flight from Heathrow and then a night's stay in Fort Lauderdale which was a waste of time realy. Off to the ship next morning and quickly on board. Nice inside cabin but as I am only going to change and sleep in it so what. Ship is huge, 19 floors for the lifts and stairs to the 20th for mini golf. Quite a few bars but only Stella on draught in one or two and that was nothing like you would expect or want. Fosters in big cans wasn't too bad and Jamesons whisky was quite cheap. Entertainment was OK but the karaoke got quite boring by the end of the voyage. Same old voices that couldn't sing... Trips ashore a bit short on time and expensive on ships own ones. Taxi trips - Antigua was great, Barbados was boring as the driver wittered on about who with millions lived or stayed where. St Kitts was useless as driver was an idiot who kept trying to speak through a distorted PA system. Ruined a good day out. Food on board in the main restaurants was nearly all Italian or just over fancy and not to our humble tastes. After two nights we all moved permanently to Cafe Caribe. Speedy disembarkation at Port Everglades and sight seeing trip of Miami and then the Mall. They have a lot of concrete in Miami and not much else. Dolphin Mall was a load of rubbish. Miami airport, the less said the better and then 9 hours on a 1 hour late flight. What did I think over all. I'm glad I did it but I wouldn't do it again. Too long flights and not enough time to see the places. 9000 miles and I need another holiday. Have booked again but this time its the Mediteranean. Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
My boyfriend and I went on the New Years Cruise aboard The Emerald Princess.I personally have been on many cruises prior with Family and friends, but this was the first time for my boyfriend. We arrived in Ft. Lauderdale the night ... Read More
My boyfriend and I went on the New Years Cruise aboard The Emerald Princess.I personally have been on many cruises prior with Family and friends, but this was the first time for my boyfriend. We arrived in Ft. Lauderdale the night prior and stayed at The Embassy Suites Hotel.The following day we arrived at Port Everglades. From my previous experience I have found that if you check in later, there are no line ups and you will board with NO WAITING.We got acquainted with the Ship and enjoyed the sail away party. We are both fitness buffs and went to the gym the first day. In order to use the equipment, we had to dodge the Spa and Fitness people who were trying to sell all their wares on the first day of the Cruise.The Gym was very well equipped and we went there everyday of the cruise. We basically enjoyed the food but found ourselves at the buffet for the majority of our meals.We prefer to dine casually and the buffet had many choices daily. We really enjoyed the Steak House and Sabatinis Restaurant. Both restaurants were well worth the surcharge with excellent service and Meal options.The Continental Cafe is a great place to relax and have a cappuccino.We purchased the coffee card as we don't like the coffee served in the buffet areas and it was supposed to save us money. Unfortunately this was not the case as most of the time the espresso machine was not operable.So much for saving money... We like to go and see all the entertainment the ship has to offer, so we attended most of the Broadway style singing and dancing shows, however, I realized quickly that my boyfriend was not a fan of those shows as he wanted to leave those particular shows as soon as they started...We missed the first Comedian, but did see Al Katz. He did a good job, but his material seemed a little dated and geared for an older audience.There was a hypnotist named Fernandez who was excellent. This show was hilarious. I have personally seen many hypnotists during my university years and I appreciated that he did not do any offensive material with the people who volunteered. The bands in the Explorers Lounge and Club Fusion were very good with lots of musical variety. We really enjoyed the 70's night party. The Cruise Director Tim and his staff were very friendly and did a great job.We ran into him all over the ship. We are not gamblers, but did play the slots a few nights, unfortunately Lady luck was never on our side. The casino seemed to have a lot to offer if you played table games. Because our cruise was during the Holidays, there seemed to be a lot of children running around the deck unattended, on some Sea days the Hot Tubs were filled with kids, making it impossible for adults to even get near. The moral of the story is don't cruise during the Holidays if you expect any relaxation time on the pool decks, too many kids splashing, screaming and running around. We didn't take any of the shore tours offered by Princess and elected instead to go beaching on every Island.We just hopped in cabs and made our own way. We especially liked the beaches in Antigua. The disembarkation was very smooth and well handled, no delays. All in all, we really enjoyed This cruise, and will definitely be booking Princess again. Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
We are back on land after a great 10-day cruise on the Emerald Princess. We departed Port Everglades (Fort Lauderdale) on Jan.17th 2012. We had a great time, where we escaped completely. In an attempt to escape completely, we only ... Read More
We are back on land after a great 10-day cruise on the Emerald Princess. We departed Port Everglades (Fort Lauderdale) on Jan.17th 2012. We had a great time, where we escaped completely. In an attempt to escape completely, we only brought our electronic readers, our MP3 players, a camera and a HD camcorder. all told, we took nearly 1,000 pictures and 2 hours of HD video. No phones, no computer, no email disturbed our day-to-day life. How great it felt! ABOUT OURSELVES: we are 2 cruising buddies, average age 60. We shared an inside cabin on Emerald deck, 8th floor. I will not bore you with details that are not attributable to Princess. Suffice it to say that we live in Delray Beach (FL), 35 miles North of Fort Lauderdale. On departure morning, we loaded our 2 suitcases into the car and drove to Port Everglades on our own, parking the car at the Convention Center's parking garage. From there, we wheeled our suitcases to the Princess terminal, which is located next door. We left Delray Beach promptly at 9:30 AM, arrived at the terminal around 10:15AM, gave our luggage to the porters and made our way into the terminal. We waited until 10:45AM to collect our keycards and make our way to the ship. We were on board at 11:00AM. We were informed that our cabin was ready, so we proceeded to check it out. THE CABIN: This was an inside cabin on deck 8 Forward. Three cabins further forward and we would have been outside the ship. Below us was the Princess Theater. We loved the cabin. It featured loads of storage; more that we could use. As you entered, there was a hallway to the left with the bathroom, a cabinet with shelves and a safe and an 8-foot rod to hang our clothes. There was no need to stow our luggage under the bed because they fit very comfortably on the floor, under the hanging clothes. An 8-foot shelf sat above that rod, where the life jackets, pool towels and spare sheets were stored. All this is completely separate from the rest of the cabin. In the living section, there was a desk with 2 shelves at one end and the refrigerator at the other end. The TV hung from the ceiling, with a shelf positioned below it. We used that shelf to recharge our electronic readers and MP3 players. Electrical outlets were sparse in the room: 2 outlets could be had, no more. There was also a chair, a circular table, 2 very comfortable twin-size beds and 2 night stands. The bathroom featured a vacuum commode, a nice-size shower, a molded counter and 3 shelves. The room was immaculate. I did not perform a white glove test because I must admit that I am not 3 sesame seeds and a speck of dust away from living in a plastic bubble. In retrospect, I must admit that this was one of the best-designed inside cabins I have had in my 26 cruises to date. One thing I didn't approve about the cabin: Both our full names were printed onto a card and displayed in a special slot outside the cabin. I don't want everyone to know my name, or my Captain's Circle level. The label was quickly removed and I promised myself I would have terse words with the cabin's attendant if another identical label was placed there again. Thankfully, it didn't reappear and for that, I was thankful. THE SHIP: The Emerald Princess is clean from stem to stern, flotation line to top of the stacks. However, you have no need to pack an alarm clock on that ship. Whenever you arrive at a new port of call and the thrusters are activated, the whole ship shakes, rattles and groans like you are in a category 5 earthquake. Our cabin creaked so much, one night I thought someone had entered the cabin after we had gone to bed. There was no intruder: the cabin was just creaking: creepy! In rough seas, the ship sometimes hits a wave head-on, which sounds like a cannon being fired. Leave the alarm clock at home and bring some ear plugs and some sleeping aids, if you are a light sleeper. We also lived near a family of sasquatch, or were they yeti, or Fantasia's dancing hippos? They stomped their way up and down the hall at all hours of the day and night. When our neighbor closed his cabin door, the whole wall shook. Soundproofing between the cabins was all right. We never heard the neighbor's conversations or their TV. The soundproofing did provide some relief from the hysterical cruise director who got on the public address system 7 or 8 times a day to announce some can't-miss, once in a lifetime, knock your socks off, unbelievable event being held somewhere on the ship: jewelry sales, bingo, slot machine tournament, hairy back contest, spa treatments, art auction, teeth whitening, massage, more jewelry sales, ad nauseam. I must confess to having precious little patience with those people. THE FOOD: We dined at the Michaelangelo or Da Vinci dining rooms 5 times during our 10-day cruise. Two more evenings were spent having dinner at Sabatini's and here's the best-kept secret on the ship: When you want to have dinner in a quiet corner, without the hub-hub of the dining room or the expense of one of the specialty restaurants, head to Cafe Caribe for delicious buffet food. Every time I sat down to eat on the Emerald Princess, I knew that the meal would be great. Never did I have to send back anything for whatever reason. Everything was fresh, nicely presented, appetizing and tasted good. I added a bit of salt because I like a bit more salt on my food. Basically, everything I sampled was very good. We heard comments from people who said the food was not good. That only left us wondering where they had eaten, what they had ordered and what they eat at home. There is no accounting for taste. As a rule, I stay away from beef during a cruise because I like mine "bleu" - less than rare. We ate fish, seafood, turkey, duck, chicken, roast pork and so much more and it was all very good. THE STAFF: The staff was always very polite, eager to serve and please. We never encountered rude or gruff staff. However, on a couple occasions, I had the impression that a few of them either did not understand English, or that I had suffered a stroke and had lost my command of English. One memorable incident occurred at the photo gallery, when we enquired about a photo album and the gentleman who answered us answered me something like: ruler, phone, tire, cardboard, please, yes thank you? We finally concluded the transaction, but each sentence was an uphill battle. The same thing happened when attempting to book lounge chairs at The Sanctuary (more about that later). We did cause a bit of a concern among the staff when we requested postcards with a picture of the Emerald Princess. There was no such thing on board. It was like asking for something totally novel, as if nobody before had ever asked for that. The souvenir shop didn't have any. The purser's desk didn't have any and could only refer us to the Photo Gallery for assistance. For Heaven's sake, Princess... one used to get a few of those in the cabin at the beginning of the cruise. We ended up buying a few stock 8x10 inch pictures. Upon returning home, we scanned them, resized them to postcard size and emailed them to Costco for printing. We mailed them and they looked marvelous; no thanks to Princess Photo Gallery. ABOUT THE SANCTUARY: Deck 17 Forward is home to The Sanctuary, an adult-only, relaxed area of the ship featuring wonderful lounge chairs and very attentive attendants who bring you lemony water, cold towels, the lunch menu and can even lend you MP3 players with your choice of music, if you didn't bring one with you. This is a for-fee venue: $10 for a half day, $20 for the whole day. However, making a reservation at The Sanctuary is an adventure in itself. You have to line up at the hostess' desk before 8AM to secure reservations. Reservations are on a first-come, first served basis. They can't take reservations for tomorrow, or any other day during the rest of the cruise. They don't have a computer system to keep track of reservations. The process couldn't be more disorganized if you tried and we got the definite impression that the person who listened intently to us did not speak English. Perseverance finally paid and we managed to book the last 2 days of the cruise in The Sanctuary. A few notes in passing about The Sanctuary: there is no bathroom on that floor and the 17th floor is only accessible to handicapped people by means of an elevator, which had been out of service for a while. Be forewarned: The Sanctuary is still subject to public address announcements by the hysterical cruise director. Someone should give that guy a shot of morphine, already. ABOUT SMOKING: Princess has just implemented new smoking rules. You can't smoke in your stateroom. You can't smoke on your balcony. You can only smoke in certain outdoors areas, on the port side. The casino allows smoking on most nights, but some nights are smoke-free nights. You can't smoke a cigar anywhere on the ship, with the exception of the ship's cigar club: the Speakeasy. Some nights were standing room only in there. Smokers grumbled about the new smoking rules, while discussing the political debates shown on the cigar room's TV. Even worse than political debates were the cricket matches. At some point, I would have settled for reruns of The Golden Girls, or Gilligan's Island. Still, my cigars tasted great with a double Drambuie neat. The rest, as they say, is irrelevant. ABOUT DEBARKATION: My buddy and I signed up for walk-off debarkation, where you disembark and carry your luggage under your own power as soon as the ship docks in Port Everglades. Originally, that was scheduled to take place at 7:00AM on January 27th. Three days before the end of the cruise, we were advised that the walk-off debarkation would take place between 6:00AM and 6:30AM because it suited the good people at Customs and Immigration better. Well, I have news for you, Princess: at 6:00AM, we were not docked yet. We were in the channel that leads to the terminal. Pretty soon, it's going to be a swim-off procedure. We were herded into the Michaelangelo dining room. You would have sworn that this was the first time ever that they had organized a walk-off debarkation. We really felt as if they were making up rules as they went along. Finally, the ship was made fast at the terminal and we were allowed to disembark. We were sitting in the car at 6:40AM, happy to be home. We got home around 7:30AM and the world was still spinning gently upon it axis. We had a great vacation. We managed to isolate ourselves from the rat race that has become our daily life and we felt good about it all. We would do it again in a flash. Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
My wife, son ( 8yrs) and I just returned from a 10 day Eastern Caribbean Cruise on board the Emerald Princess. This was our 7th cruise with Princess so we are pretty familiar with their product and service. We booked our flights ... Read More
My wife, son ( 8yrs) and I just returned from a 10 day Eastern Caribbean Cruise on board the Emerald Princess. This was our 7th cruise with Princess so we are pretty familiar with their product and service. We booked our flights independently and left the Edmonton International Airport on Boxing Day. The cruise was set to depart on December 28th so we always like to leave a couple days early to allow for any unexpected delays and have a chance to unwind a bit before embarking the ship. We have stayed in Ft Lauderdale before and this time we decided to stay at the Sheraton Beach Hotel. The hotel is in a great location right on the beach and is close to several restaurants and shops too. The room was unremarkable but good enough for two nights. The staff were very friendly mind you and made the experience that much better. We had booked Princess Transfers from the hotel....but in hindsight it is such a short distance to the port it really is not required. We also like to board after the rush and with using the Princess Transfer we were right in the middle of the big rush to get on board... It is really painless to board if you show up past the first hour or so of boarding. Mind you...I never get too bothered by the wait as after all we are on vacation .. Our stateroom was exactly what we expected when we booked. Small room with a large balcony. Storage is not an issue mind you as they do use what limited space they have very well...with the exception of the bathroom. Seems of all the ships we have been on Princess has the least amount of space in this department ! Obviously not a big deal for us as we have continue to book with Princess. As we were cruising as a family this time our son had a great bunk above our bed which he always thinks is pretty neat. Our room steward Tavorn was quite simply...awesome ! He kept our room spotless and treated us and our son 1st class all the way. He really was a one of the best we have ever had on any ship. The ship is quite nice and very welled laid out. It doesn't have a huge wow factor to it like a large atrium on some other lines. For some reason the ship felt crowded on this cruise...we have sailed with Princess numerous times and never had that feeling. I do know they had a complete sell out and had lots of kids on board, which is great but it did feel crowded. The activities on board were ok. Usually they is one or two enrichment lectures I like to take in during the day,,,but quite frankly the schedule had really nothing that peaked my interest at all. We still had a great time on board as a family and managed to get our fill of laughs and good times ! Our son did check out the kids club a few times. The staff are really good but as it was a holiday cruise it had almost 600 kids on board and it was crowded there as well. He is still a bit of a shy lad and I think the large numbers turned him off a bit. The entertainment on-board was ok to good to really good. The Beatles's tribute band was by far the best, but it went downhill from there. Actually I thought the cruise director Tim Donovan was pretty funny and good at what he does. I know he has been slagged a bit on here, but I thought he was pretty funny. As we were with our son are entertainment schedule was pretty much set by him and there were not many late nights. I never made it to the casino or was able to check out the night life after 11:00 p.m. ! Lots of stuffed planned and looked like fun but with the sun and early mornings our son never made it too late into the night. We had the early sitting in the Botticelli Dining room. Our wait staff Gary and Galdino were fantastic ! The head waiter Daniele was also very engaging and made the effort to come by and say hello each night. He also made some special pastas on a couple of nights that were fantastic ! The food served in the dining room was good but not what we normally expect with Princess. There were few wow moments with the food which is how I base the quality...don't get me wrong it was good but it has been better in the past with Princess. I still managed to clear my plate each night. We had been to most of the ports before but were looking forward to going back. Princess Cays has changed quite a bit since our last visit. We rented a private bungalow and had a private lunch served to us which was nice. On a hot day it would be nice to have the air-conditioned retreat but we actually had to turn it off ! Weather was just ok. We still had a lot of fun here and were one of the last people to get back on board. We booked all all excursions through Princess. In St Thomas we booked the Sea Lion Swim at Coral World...it was one of the best excursions we have ever done ! It was an awesome family activity and left us with memories for a lifetime ! Great staff and really neat to get that much interaction both in and out of the water with the Sea Lions. Expensive ...? Yes but worth it. In St Kitts we took a 4wd tour and beach tour. Great way to see the Island in an old British Army Truck. Note it was rough and some folks were bothered by the smell of diesel.... Our family had no problems and enjoyed it. Barbados was a bust...no fault of the ships. We booked the submarine tour which was canceled... it did tick me off a bit that the tour operator told that they informed the ship two hours earlier and no attempt was made to contact us... We took a cab downtown but all shops were closed for a National Holiday...so not much happening. We went back to the ship early and hit the pools etc. St Lucia we booked the Whale watching tour.... If you have been to Alaska and have done whale watching the service and boats up there blow this tour out of the water...that being said we did see some Pilot Whales and Dolphins but there was absolutely nothing said on-board the tour that would enlighten us about the island or the wildlife...basically it was a four hour float with 15 minutes worth of sightings. We never got to see much of the island after the tour. Antigua is the one spot we have not been. It is a beautiful spot. We did another Island 4wd tour which was much better than St Kitts. Nice Land Rover vehicles and some great stops for sightseeing and photos and an incredible beach at the end. They say Antigua has 365 beaches..one for every day of the year and after seeing some of the island I believe them. Very nice place. I did notice that there is a clear divide between rich and poor on the island after having traveled through a ghetto style area on the island. Lots of young kids near the ships asking for change etc...a bit sad indeed. BTW...the ships literally dock right in town.... can walk off very easy here. I do wish Princess would have made Princess Cays the last stop on the iternary...2.5 sea days at the end of the cruise were ok but it seems as the moment we left Antigua they started telling everyone what to do for disembarkation....kind of set a bummer tone to the last two days...having the stop at Princess Cays would have broken this up. The Gym was great. Both my wife and I used it regularly and had no problems. I see some people say it was crowded and too small....I did not think that at all and in fact thought it had lots of machines etc. Disembarkation was a breeze...even though there were 9 ships in port. They do have this down to a science and it works well. Overall this was a good cruise...not the best Princess Cruise we have done but the level of service and product was exactly what we expected. We had a great time as a family. One of my pet peeves would be with some of the parents. We know if we are traveling with our son we are responsible for his behaviour and we make every effort to do family activities...there were a lot of kids running around unsupervised which does tick some people off who are traveling without kids.... a small thing yes but it could make a big difference for everyone if you actually kept tabs on your kids once and a while. We will continue to cruise with Princess but have also started to like what Celebrity has to offer after having cruised with them in the summer so will be looking into sailing with them some more.. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
Overall I am a pretty easy going person and had a great time on the Emerald Princess. A few minor complaints about this cruise that could be worked on were that we did not see the Captain at all except for the Captain's Night ... Read More
Overall I am a pretty easy going person and had a great time on the Emerald Princess. A few minor complaints about this cruise that could be worked on were that we did not see the Captain at all except for the Captain's Night introductions, not even see him at the Captain Circle's Happy Hour. Hoping he was on the bridge driving the boat. Also, they had the Captain's Circle Happy Hour on an off night, not on a formal night which took some of the fun out of it. Might have been just a scheduling conflict but was better on the Ruby last year. Saw the Cruise Director at the Meet & Greet and at the shows, but that was about it. The cruise was over Veterans Day and so they had a very tasteful service and were selling poppies for donations which, a great way to show support and overall nice day. Pickup/Embarkation: The embarkation process could be refined as the queues that are set up a little disorganized, but overall the process didn't take that long. Debarkation was a breeze with the set times and shuttles to the airport. We left out of Ft. Lauderdale but flew into Miami (direct flight) and used the Princess shuttle service, worth the $10 per person, they greeted us by the baggage claim and took over from there, finally dropping us right at the terminal hassle-free. Dining: Had the anytime dining option in the Michelangelo dining room, if you get Carlos from the Philippines, you will be in for a great dining experience from beginning to end, ask for him if you can. Shared tables each night with other travelers and always got great people and great conversations. Overall the food was great and did not have any complaints. Cruised with Princess before and the food was the same standard as the last, only a few dishes were under seasoned that I came across (one was the Native Fish in Tomato broth.) I am not a picky eater and like to try different things. I usually ordered two entries to try something different and ended up eating both because they were that good. For breakfast and lunch, usually ate at the buffet at Horizons or got a pizza/burger on deck. Each of them were great and had a bunch of different options to choose from, almost everything was good. Did not try the specialty restaurants on board, heard from other passengers that they are good. Cabin: Had C723 on the Caribe deck which has a larger balcony, definitely would advise if you are going to get a balcony cabin, get it on this deck. The chairs were definitely great as they were the recliner type, which were definitely nice when you are sitting there in the mornings as you are arriving in ports or grabbing a glass of wine or cocktail as the ship is leaving port. The cabin was the normal cabin for a cruise, the beds could always be more comfortable, but room was clean and always made up per usual. We did hit some rough waters on the first few days on our way to St. Thomas because of the storm that was in the Atlantic. Could definitely feel the ship move at night, mainly the first few nights of sleep were interesting, then the seas calmed down. One thing about having an aft cabin is that you felt the thrusters in the morning and at night when we were docking. In the future, I might check into getting a cabin more towards the midship to see if it would make a difference. Was on the Ruby last year and did not feel the boat move, but was in the Mediterrean which did have calmer seas. Outside of that, really didn't have any complaints. The entertainment was alright, the Beatle Maniacs were great cover band that were spot on and both shows were great. The comedians were good and some of the street performers were good. The production shows weren't the greatest. Two out of the four shows were good, the Motor City and Boots one were ones I could have passed on, maybe they were just off on the shows that I caught. Also make sure you show up about half an hour early or you won't find a seat for the early show. Ports Princess Cays: First time I was here, neat little island. We hit it on a windy day with choppy seas so the tender ride were an experience, kind of like a roller coaster of sorts, waves were about three to four feet and got bounced around a bit. Nice beach but a storm rolled in in the early afternoon, so we hopped the tender back to the ship for lunch. St. Thomas: I did the BOSS underwater scooter excursion, which I highly recommend since this was one of the five places that you can do it in the world and positively a great experience as you are able to breathe under the water without a mask, just in a bubble while steering this underwater scooter around. They take you down about eight feet and once you get over the initial shock of being able to breathe under water, it is great being able to steer your scooter and grab some great underwater shoots. Worth it for all ages, the oldest lady on our excursion was 80 years old and had no issue with it. Dominica: Did the rain forest tram excursion, a definite must see. The island was hit recently by storms and the roads are somewhat washed out, but currently being repaired. Going through the rain forest at tree top level at a slow pace with a guide was a peaceful experience with great scenery and there was a great walking tour at the top that took about 25 minutes. There was also an extra zip line excursion which looked like fun, but did not partake in it. Other passengers said it was worth it and a lot of fun. Amazing how the temperature change was from the pier where it was in the high 80's, up in the forest it was in the 70's with a breeze. Also, definitely need to try the Ginger Wine that they make there, reasonable priced and made a great mixer with Sprite. Grenada: I did the underwater sculpture park snorkel tour, was pretty neat even though the currents were strong that day and it was overcast so the visibility wasn't as good as it could have been since it had rained the day before, we were still able to see plenty of sculptures once the guide pointed them out to us...they have become part of the reef itself now and it really is amazing to see something that is part from our world and part from the sea. The boat ride after to the beach was great and was able to spend an hour or so at the beach in the water just relaxing and there was a cool little bar on the beach that had a great local brew, not to mention the tour guides kept coming around with the rum punches. Bonaire: Prime spot for snorkeling as I researched, after I did snorkeling in the last few ports, I wanted a day to recoup and ended up doing an island tour by private taxi, just walked off the ship and there were four people hopping into a cab and we jumped in as well as another couple (eight people in all) $20 a person for a two and half hour tour around the entire island. The salt production was neat to see and the whole tour was worth it. Definitely a great cost effective way to see the whole island, only thing we didn't get to see was the Flamingo preserve, but we saw a few on the northern part of the island. One word of advice, if you are planning on doing a snorkeling or diving adventure, it is worth paying the money for a reputable guide. There was a couple that was coming up behind up on the pier where they rented a car for the day, which got broken into and everything they had in the car was stolen: their IDs, money, cruise cards, cameras, etc. If you are going to go out on your own, get a guide. Aruba: Did a pirate boat snorkeling excursion which was a lot of fun. Great reefs and plenty of tropical fish and being able to experience it on an old wooden ship was neat. When we were at the shipwreck(1st boat there in the morning) with 26 of us were in the water, we almost got run over by the flat bottom boat driver that was going over the shipwreck, thinking some people just shouldn't be driving a boat. We stopped at a couple other reefs with plenty of tropical fish and great snorkeling and really good rum punch. The days at sea were packed with things to do if you wanted, but it was nice to just relax by the pool, did a few things here and like the wine tasting, and worked on napping much of the time. Overall it was a great trip and ready to do it again. Definitely would recommend the Emerald Princess for a cruise in the future. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
Emerald Princess, ten days in the Eastern Caribbean. Great service, especially in the bar areas and cabin stewards. Very clean at all time, and all crew members were extremely helpful and always gracious in their manner. Food pretty ... Read More
Emerald Princess, ten days in the Eastern Caribbean. Great service, especially in the bar areas and cabin stewards. Very clean at all time, and all crew members were extremely helpful and always gracious in their manner. Food pretty good for a vessel of this size, but gourmet in the specialty restaurants - one night in the regular dining room, and we opted for the specialty areas the remaining nights. A great selection of ports, with easy get/off, get/on in each. Plenty of choices in excursions. A large Internet Cafe with ample terminals and a support staff member there nearly all the time. As expected in the ocean, connectivity to the Internet was spotty at times. Otherwise, very functional and accessible. And yes, the usual "art auctions", and always a photographer in your face - even in the specialty restaurants. I guess we're a little spoiled by the all-inclusive tours - I can understand the nickel and dime bit every time you want a cocktail - but charging for coffee and tea each time? - "May I see your card, please?" At lease some of the bar stewards would suggest running a tab during the evening for cocktails and wine. My wife and I, and my cousin traveling with us, were extremely disappointed, however, with the advertising of the "Chef's Table". The "Chef's Table" is advertised as a gourmet meal served an unusual setting, and the courses described by the Chef. This was one of the features that I was really anticipating. A healthy upgrade charge, but it included the meal, cocktails and wine, as well as the Chef. Indications were that we were to call for reservations immediately upon arriving on the ship. I did so, and was told that reservations were closed. Only by pressing was I able to be told that I would be on a "waiting list". The next day I received a letter in my suite saying that the waiting list was closed. Being told there were ten table settings with about ten per table - meaning about 100 settings on a vessel that carried 3,000 passengers! What's wrong here? We feel that the advertisement was very misleading What's Princess thinking to advertise something so desirable like the "Chef's Table", and then make it so very inaccessible? The last stop of the voyage was at Princess Cay - a spot in the Bermuda Islands set up by Princess. A lot of great sand and sea activities. My wife and I are not sun/sand enthusiasts, but we took the tender over to the Cay for lunch. When we arrived at the food service area at 1:25, it was closed. Not only closed, but food was already packed away. A sign was posted at the food area stating the hours it would be serving, but there was no mention of the serving time listed in the on-board daily paper, "Princess Patter". We were extremely disappointed - especially with the attitude of the steward barring the entry - saying that we should have checked the1:30 serving time ending. And, the same steward was not wearing a name tag - said he had "lost" it somewhere. When I mentioned the discrepancy of service notice to the Customer Service personnel, she said that it was an "oversight" and that they'd do better posting the serving period time the next cruise. Sure didn't help our lunch! Overall, an enjoyable cruise, but still a "cattle call" with so many, many passengers. Be prepared to spend time in a line quite often! Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
Introduction A friend and I were on the Emerald Princess for its Southern Caribbean Cruise from September 29 to 8 October 2010 out of Ft. Lauderdale with Ports of Call at Princess Caye, Bahamas; St. Thomas, USVI; Dominica; Grenada; ... Read More
Introduction A friend and I were on the Emerald Princess for its Southern Caribbean Cruise from September 29 to 8 October 2010 out of Ft. Lauderdale with Ports of Call at Princess Caye, Bahamas; St. Thomas, USVI; Dominica; Grenada; Bonaire and Aruba. I am a 55 year old male and my friend is a 48 year old female from Mexico that speaks little English. We are new to cruising with only one other seven day cruise on Carnival Conquest out of Galveston in May of this year. Arrival We flew from Dallas/Ft. Worth to Ft. Lauderdale, arriving at 3:30 p.m. on the 28, a day before the scheduled cruise departure because I no longer trust the airlines. Flight was uneventful. I had done quite a bit of research on Ft. Lauderdale, the location of the cruise terminal and hotels and other amenities in the area of the cruise terminal. The cruise terminal is very close to Ft. Lauderdale International Airport and about a 15 minute taxi cab ride from the airport which costs $12. Departure Port Hotel We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express at 1500 SE 17th Street Causeway, 954.728.2577. I had booked the hotel about a month before our stay and had no trouble with getting a room. The hotel was fairly new, comfortable and moderately priced at 109.89 with taxes. It is two blocks west of a Walgreens if you need any last minute items for the cruise and there are a number of shops and restaurants in the area, as well as a number of hotel choices. Best of all it was only an $8 taxi ride to the cruise terminal from the hotel. We had dinner at Kellys Landing, 1305 Southeast 17th Street, without reservations and the food was outstanding and the service excellent. It is an Irish Pub with an excellent seafood menu. Coming from Texas, the seafood was a great change of pace from BBQ and Mexican food! Embarkation Process The next day we slept in and headed to the cruise terminal at 11:30 a.m. which took only ten minutes from the hotel. There were many people already there and I wished I had gotten there two hours earlier to beat the rush. Princess says to be there at noon on the day of embarkation. The process went very smoothly. I had filled out all forms immigration and boarding pass - before the cruise on-line. After going through security, we were given a colored piece of plastic and you could only go to a service desk when your color was called. We waited for about ten minutes before our color was called and preceded to the service desk and waited in line for about 15 minutes to get our Cruise Cards, and then preceded to another line to board this ship. From the time we arrived at the cruise terminal to the time we had our pictures taken on the cruise ship and were free to explore took about an hour and fifteen minutes, but keep in mind we did arrive early. We were very impressed after experiencing the Carnival boarding process. First Hours As soon as we boarded the ship we went to our stateroom. Before entering, I saw our stateroom steward, Fernando, in the hall and introduced myself and asked for a couple of ashtrays as my friend and I are both smokers. He proceeded to tell us that smoking was not allowed in the stateroom or on the balconies, but that he would look the other way if we smoked in the bathroom. I had checked out Princesses smoking policy on-line before booking the trip and again verified the policy with the Princess travel agent that took my reservation and booking. Needless to say, I went ballistic with Fernando. Fortunately, there was another steward in the hall that overheard our conversation and corrected Fernando by telling him the new policy of no smoking in staterooms and balconies did not take effect until 15 January 2012. This was not the way I had hoped to start off my cruise and left me very angry. Smoking Policy Princesss smoking policy states, Clearly marked Designated Smoking Areas are available onboard and include a sufficient number of ashtrays that are emptied regularly. Smoking areas were NOT clearly marked. Ashtrays were the only indicator as to where a smoking area was located. After my confrontation with Fernando, I asked three people at the service desk over a two day period to explain their smoking policy and provide me with a map of the designated smoking areas. I also asked three uniformed crew members and no two answers were the same. The only consistent answer I received was smoking was allowed on the Port side of the ship, but when I lit up there, other passengers complained and of course there were no signs or ashtrays to be found anywhere on the port side of the ship. When I tried to smoke in Skywalker Lounge, one of the areas of the ship where crew said I could smoke, smoking was only allowed on the starboard side and I know I offended some people who were on the Port side of the ship. I am a considerate smoker, but was extremely frustrated as I could never understand where smoking was allowed. I counted only 80 seats in public smoking areas (36 by Neptunes Reef Pool; 16 Speakeasy Cigar Lounge; 28 Horizon Terrace). I never did figure out whether Skywalker Lounge was smoking or not. In the day there were no ashtrays. At night, there were ashtrays on tables. And no one could tell me the policy. Its hard to be a respectful smoker when none of the crew could answer policy questions! The Ship The ship was big, laid out well, and never seemed crowded, even in the dining areas. My only complaint was on the Lido Deck by Neptunes Reef Pool there were structural steel members and tables and chairs making a very narrow corridor for those walking. It seemed like one in seven people on board were in wheel chairs or other mobility devices and if you got behind one of these, traffic jams occurred. The tables and chairs along the port and starboard side around Neptunes Pool should be removed to aid in wider and better pedestrian walk ways. I consider this a serious safety hazard in an emergency. Stateroom Although I had requested on my Special Requests form on-line I wanted two twin beds and not a queen, the queen bed had not been prepared as requested. When our steward broke the bed apart, he removed all linens and mattress pads and stuck them under each of the now separated twin beds allowing little room for our suite cases. After three days of tripping on my luggage protruding from under the bed, I tossed all of the bedding out in the hall and it magically disappeared. My twin bed had no mattress cover and was very uncomfortable. We were in Dolphin 115 (9115), a mini suite, and were three staterooms from the bow of the ship on the starboard side. We encountered small waves during the voyage and at night you could hear the waves slam into the ship and feel a shudder. I cant imagine what moderate to large waves would sound/feel like. I will never book a room that close to the bow for this reason. The balcony was good size with four chairs, but there was no ceiling and it was uncomfortable sitting outside when the sun was on that side of the ship. We also had like an island separating the beds from the small sitting area that I felt was wasted space. There were two TVs, one on each side of this island and the one remote controlled both TVs, so when youd try to turn the TV on or off, the other would come on or go off, too. Princess needs to automate their TV system so you can access your charges like almost all hotels do now. Dining Our seating for formal dining was for 8:15 p.m. in Botticellis. The food was good and the service was good, but it was very obvious the servers were overworked and it affected their attitudes. They were so busy and always in a rush that they never had time to be friendly and make you feel welcome. I blame this more on Princess and not the hard working staff. We dined in Botticellis for only three nights and then dined at Michelangelo for three nights and then in the Caf Caribe and Horizon Court the other nights. I thought the food was very good, but the service in the Caf Caribe and Horizon Court left much to be desired. One would load up with food and by the time the wait staff got to your table, took your drink order, and returned from the bar with a soda or other drink, you were almost finished with your meal. I just opted for the iced teas at the self-service bars. Orange juice in the morning was another ordeal. The wait staff would bring you this small 8 oz glass, filled to only five or six ounces, never to be seen again. When I asked for two glasses of OJ, the waiter said it was policy to bring only one juice at a time! And the coffee in Caf Caribe and Horizon Court just sucked. It was horrible! It had to be instant. Even though it bordered on putrid, I drank my fair share before I discovered the Calypso Coffee Bar on Deck 5. But at $2 to $6 a pop for a coffee or cappuccino, the costs added up. I do not understand why Princess would skimp on good coffee what a disappointment! Room service coffee and coffee in the dining rooms were very good. And I dont understand why they didnt have milk dispensers or cartoned milk or soda/juice fountains in the drink stations. I was not pleased with the drink accommodations on board. Of course, Princess does this for revenue. I am amazed at how Princess reaches into your pocket at every turn to make a quick buck. Talk about corporate greed on Wallstreet Princess is the epitome of profit maximization. If hotels can create all inclusive packages, why cant the cruise lines? Id easily pay more on the front end, rather than being nickeled and dimed every time I turned around. We really enjoyed the Pizza and Ice Cream Bar. The staff here were the friendliest on the entire ship. Kudos for the staff! The ice cream was good, but very rich. Carnival has a number of self-serve ice cream machines on the Conquest and their ice cream is yogurt which I enjoyed much more. Room service was OK but had a very limited selection of items. Two mornings we waited for room service way past the time we had designated on the cards we hung outside on the door the night before, and finally gave up and went to Caf Caribe or Horizon Court. I was very disappointed in room service compared to Carnivals room service. Kudos for Princess for having menus in other languages. My Mexican friend was very happy about that! Carnival only had menus in English. Soda Card I had purchased two soda packages at $11.75 each and was very dismayed when I found out the only diet soda you could get with the cards is Diet Coke! If you wanted Sprite Zero, you had to pay $2.00 a can! I spent several hours in ports trying to find any clear, diet soda and finally was able to buy some diet Mountain Dew in Bonaire, but this was another strike against Princess. I did, however, receive a full credit for each soda card at the end of the cruise, but never requested one. Not sure how that happened as I never complained or mentioned it to anyone. Entertainment Because my friend didt speak English, we didnt do too many of the Entertainment venues, however I did step in to the Beetles show for about ten minutes and it looked and sounded excellent. I very much enjoyed the String Quartet in the Piazza. We did attend a Big Band Concert, at least that was how it was billed in Princess Patter and the only Big Band Tune played was Moonlight Serenade, the very first song. Everything else was from the late 50s or 60s. Apparently, the band was not familiar with the era in which Big Band music was popular. I looked forward to this event all day and was very disappointed. Activities Because my friend doesnt speak English, we did not do many on-board activities. We did enjoy the swimming pools and hot tubs, but wished the ship had a water slide. I watched part of a movie at Movies under the Stars and wished I had seen more. It was really cool, but very loud. We didnt find too many good deals on board from a shopping perspective. They did hawk some neat T-Shirts but they all had Princess Cruises written on them and I wont be a walking billboard for any company. The perfume was priced the same as back home at Dillards. The jewelry was overpriced, but they did sell a lot of imitation stuff for cheap and my friend bought a lot of that. Shore Excursions 1. Princess Cayes One of the biggest tourist traps I have ever seen designed to get passengers to part with their dollars. All excursions were at least double the price of those in other ports. Princess hopes to cash in on your dollars by making this the first port of call on the cruise. Talk about corporate greed! I tried to take a picture of my friend in front of a plastic shark and was told I couldnt because the shark was private property. A Princess photographer would take your pic and try to sell it back to you for $25 bucks. Absolutely amazing. When I went to snap a pic of my friend in front of the shark, the lady photographer pushed (yes, pushed) my friend out of the way and stood in front of the shark to block the shot. Incredible! Absolutely incredible! 2. St. Thomas Castaway Girl Shipwreck Cove Sail and Snorkel. This was a great and inexpensive shore excursion. The crew and staff were more than friendly and helpful, plus they were happy. Not many of the crew and staff on Emerald Princess seemed genuinely happy. I would highly recommend this excursion. After the snorkel we taxied into Charlotte Amalie and went straight to AH Rise where I bought a Rolex watch. I dont think I got any kind of a deal, though, compared to anywhere else. Buyers beware. If you buy more than $1,600 in the Virgin Islands, it is subject to duty when you get back to the States. I had to pay $250 in duty for the Rolex. Had I bought it where I lived, the tax would have been $675, so I did save a little. For you smokers, AH Rise sells dirt cheap cigarettes. I paid $125 for five cartons, or a little under half the price per carton I pay in Texas. 3. Dominica Titou Gorge Swim and Hot Springs and Scenic Drive. This was another excursion I thought was well worth the money. At the Titou Gorge, you swim to a waterfall through steep canyon walls. I had my wallet and two cameras with me and did not want to leave them unattended, so we did not see the falls. The hot springs were awesome and I could have spent a couple of hours there very relaxing. (Left all valuables in the van this time.) We then shopped downtown and wasted about an hour trying to find clear, diet soda. 4. Grenada - Grand Etang Park, Ft. Frederick & Annadale Falls. Well worth the money. Ft. Frederick was like any other old fort but had excellent views of the island. Then we drove around the island and saw coco pods, passion fruit and breadfruit. We stopped in St. Andrew and I was able to buy 8 oz. of saffron for $4. Then we went up on a mountain and saw an extinct volcano crater good photo op. After the excursion we shopped downtown for a bit. 5. Bonaire I had not booked this in advance like all the other excursions and we were disappointed. We did a snorkeling cruise to Klien Bonaire dont have the exact name in front of me. We began at 3:30 p.m., sailed to Klien Bonaire and snorkeled. The lady in charge of the boat was a witch very bossy and not friendly at all. She treated my Mexican friend terribly to the point I had to tell her if she said another word to my friend, Id throw her overboard. She seemed to get the point. Skip this excursion. For years I have heard about how great Bonaire is for scuba and snorkeling, but we didnt see much of interest. Got back to the ship with just five minutes to spare. 6. Aruba I did the Certified Scuba Dive and it was excellent. Saw the Antilla ship wreck and a lot of wildlife and coral. My friend did the Snorkeling Cruise and Antilla Ship Wreck. She said it was a great experience. After the cruise were shopped in Aruba. We bought an underwater camera from the photo gallery for $23, and it seemed to work under water, but none of the pics came out. Im sure Princess bought these for $5 each and made a ton of money on faulty equipment. Disembarkation We had to be out of our staterooms at 8 am and were assigned to wait in the Windjammer Lounge until our group was called at 9:30 a.m. At 9:40 am our group was called and by 10:20 am we were off the ship, had our luggage and on our way to the airport by taxi. Princess really tries to get you to take their transfer to the airport for $18 per person. We took a cab for a total price to $12. Just one last attempt by Princess to separate you from your money. Dont fall for it. Overall Experience Overall, the cruise was very pleasant and we did enjoy ourselves. But several factors really detracted from the experience like the lack of a smoking policy, only one diet soda option on the soda card, the deplorable coffee, and not being able to get much to drink in Caf Caribe and Horizon Court. The ship was beautiful, the ports and islands were awesome, and most of the shore excursions were well worth the money. Overall, the staff were hard working folks, but seemed overworked and not happy. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
My wife and I are in our early 50's and we chose this cruise because it was 10 days long instead of the usual 7 day cruises that we have been on in the past. It always seems like 7 days is just a little too short. This was our first ... Read More
My wife and I are in our early 50's and we chose this cruise because it was 10 days long instead of the usual 7 day cruises that we have been on in the past. It always seems like 7 days is just a little too short. This was our first time on Princess and we were interested on how it compared to Royal Caribbean, which is the only line we have cruised on before. The demographic was definitely much older than RCL and probably had something to do with the length of the cruise and it being during the school year. I swear there were only about 6 kids on the whole ship. Flew into Ft Lauderdale the night before, stayed in a hotel, and was efficiently shuttled to the pier by the hotel. Boarding was efficient, no long lines, and we were aboard and checking out our stateroom in a matter of minutes. Plenty of ship employees offering directions and assistance. We went up to the Horizon to have a bite of lunch and by the time we got back to the stateroom, all the luggage had arrived. The ship was beautiful as well as clean and well-maintained. Although this ship is the same size as the RCL ships we've sailed on in the past, where the RCL ship is very open, Princess divides the ship up into a lot more separate and intimate areas. First time we've ever booked an inside room and it worked out fine. We've found in the past, we spend very little time in the room and any extra features just go to waste with us. Wall to wall mirrors at each end of the room make it appear much larger than it actually is. We went with the scheduled 8:15 pm dinner in the dining room because we like to have plenty of time from playing on the islands to get ready for dinner. We had 2 other great couples at our table and thoroughly enjoyed their company the entire cruise. The waiters were great, attentive, courteous, and friendly, with some personality. The food was delicious, well prepared, and there was a good variety. We ate breakfast everyday in the Horizon and the food was very good. There were several staples that you could count on every morning, but they offered some different items each day as well. We did not go hungry. Breakfast was somewhat challenging when looking for a table to sit at once you had your food. But, we were able to share tables with others, and quite often met some pretty interesting people. Although breakfast was quite busy, we never really stood in any long lines to get our food. We would often have lunch or snack from the café in the atrium. The shrimp salad is awesome and of course, they had all kinds of desserts available from the bakery. Sometimes lunch was pizza or burgers by the pool, which was very good. Get a big plate of fries and finish it off with some soft ice cream from the ice cream bar. The one place where we feel that Princess fell down pretty severely was the entertainment. After cruising with RCL we were kind of spoiled by the quality of the production shows and the quality of the musicians and groups. Other than the Beatles show, most of the shows were pretty average and mostly lip-synched. We have always enjoyed a good piano bar guy, but the one on this cruise was pretty bad. If you like 30's show tunes he is your man, but his voice is not very good and probably should have retired a few years back. There was one band that seemed to play all the time. They had them play during the day and were the one group that played well into the evening. They were very, very average at best and were way over exposed, as we heard some of their tunes over and over. There was one good jazz band, but they always finished right about the time we were finishing dinner. We got to hear them once for 15 minutes and they were excellent. And this is where the main problem lies. The scheduling was terrible. It seemed like a lot of the shows and music conflicted with dinner and each other. We've never been on a cruise where we had so much difficulty with the schedule. Yes, you usually have to make choices, but that wasn't the case here. The schedule is simply not well thought out. And, I don't know if it's because of the age of most of the folks on board, but any nightlife after 10 pm was severely limited. A bright point was the string quartet that played in the atrium every day. They were quite good. We made 6 ports on the cruise. We found something to enjoy on each one. We're not big shoppers, so we pretty much turn a deaf ear to all the sales pitches, both on the ship and on the shore. In the past, we've taken excursions through the ship, but this time we decided to go out on our own. I just googled info for every island we were going to visit and decided on the best beaches to visit. Then it was simply a matter of getting a taxi, water taxi, or public bus to take us where we wanted to go. Most of the time this took us away from the rest of the tourists and often it felt like we had the island to ourselves. We never felt uneasy or unsafe at any of the locations. Princess Cayes -��" only stop where we had to tender to the beach. We walked all the way to the end of the beach and were all by ourselves. People have a tendency to walk a few feet from the dock and stop. Walk a little more and you will have a lot more quiet and you can relax. St. Thomas -��" taxi to Koki beach. A little bit more of a locals beach, but absolutely beautiful. White, sandy beaches and some pretty good snorkeling. Bring your own gear and you never have to worry about renting or finding a place to rent. Dominica -��" taxi to Champagne beach. Not much in the way of sandy beaches on this island, but some pretty decent snorkeling. Bubbles come up out of the ocean floor from volcanic fissures. Grenada -��" walked around the town, soaked up the scenery, perused the fort on the hill, and enjoyed some time with the locals in the marketplace. Then a water taxi to Grand Anse, a nice, white sandy beach away from everyone else. No decent snorkeling, but some nice relaxation in the surf. There are so many very nice beaches on Grenada. Bonaire -��" a little walking around the town while we waited for our turn on the water taxi and then we were on the boat and headed out to Klein Bonaire. The best snorkeling and an awesome beach as well. The water is crystal clear and the reef is pristine. Aruba -��" much more commercialized than any other island. But, we hopped on the public bus and for $1.50 it took us all the way to the end of the island where we plopped down on Arashi beach, another beautiful sandy beach. Snorkeling wasn't bad either. We relaxed, away from the hotels and Burger Kings, and pretty much all the other tourists. The two sea days on the way back to Ft Lauderdale allowed us to relax and take in some of the amenities of the ship that we had missed when we were on the islands. The big screen over the pool is pretty cool. Make sure to have the afternoon tea and absolutely have the scones. Getting off the ship was a breeze and we went ahead and had Princess shuttle us and our luggage to the airport. Bottom line, it was a nice, relaxing, enjoyable cruise. We never felt on edge or that we needed to be somewhere at a certain time. Probably because we didn't book excursions or worry about the shopping demo's. The food was very good, the service was excellent. I can honestly say I did not have one ship employee act anything less than helpful and friendly. The ship-board entertainment was disappointing, but the islands more than made up for that.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
Stateroom We were in room A534, which is a balcony room, mid ship, port side. It was a very nice room. The view was excellent at every port and we loved having breakfast on our balcony. We didnt have any issues with our neighbors smoking ... Read More
Stateroom We were in room A534, which is a balcony room, mid ship, port side. It was a very nice room. The view was excellent at every port and we loved having breakfast on our balcony. We didnt have any issues with our neighbors smoking or anything like that. The bed was horribly uncomfortable as most of the other reviews indicate. We requested, and received, the egg crate topper and top sheet from our room steward, which might have helped though my back wasnt too convinced of that! Food & Dining We originally signed up for traditional dining, second seating, which was 8:15PM in Botticellis Dining Room. We kept this seating for a few nights but quickly realized that we were missing a lot of shows. There are two shows every night, one in the theatre and one in Explorers or Fusion, each of the shows is scheduled twice a night at 8pm and 10pm. The people that had the first seating for dinner could eat at 6pm, see one show at 8pm and a different show at 10pm. Since our dinner was at 8pm, we could only make the 10pm show. After a few nights, we asked our head waiter if we could switch to the first seating. It turned out that our same table was available for the first seating, so we were easily able to switch and keep the same table and waiters, which was great. As far as food quality goes, it was random. I was hoping to see a lot more grilled veggies and fresh fish. They did serve fish a few nights, but it was not very good. Once, I had salmon, which was excellent. I had the rockfish, which was okay and the tilapia was just okay. Since I dont eat red meat or pork, I tried the chicken off of the alternative menu and it was very dry, so I didnt have that again. There were a lot of really good soups served; some of my favorites were the black bean, split pea and cream of tomato. The salads were not all that great; there was an overall lack of veggies at every meal. Occasionally, we had grilled zucchini or eggplant, but the salads tended to be a few pieces of lettuce with one cherry tomato. I was able to order green beans on the side and they brought me a HUGE bowl of beans. It was so funny, everyone at my table had green beans! My husband really liked the lamb and on the second formal night we had lobster and prawns. Everyone thought the lobster was dry but the prawns were delicious! The waiters brought over extra prawns and they were quickly gobbled up. The deserts were amazing, sometimes too good ;) We ordered room service for breakfast on our early port days and had no issues writing in what we wanted, along with checking off the boxes for the standard items. Also, we wrote in the preferred delivery time and the food was pretty close to that schedule. We went to the International Caf every day for our specialty coffees. We always ordered a large, which came in a paper cup. In the dining room, they only had the glasses, which were for the regular sizes (not enough caffeine for me). We were able to order a large from the dining room, but I think someone had to run down to IC to get the paper cups for us. On-board activities We were a little disappointed with the lack of onboard activities on the sea days. Im not really sure what I was expecting, Chris seems to think we never had anything to do on sea days, no matter which cruise line it was. My opinion is that the average age on this cruise is probably 55, and the activities are geared more to that age level. So we had our choice of crocheting, napkin folding, line dancing or afternoon tea. There were also a lot of glorified sales pitches; for example, the free foot analysis is really trying to sell you insoles. We had our choice of multiple sales pitches every day. There were a few games of dodge ball or water volleyball and zumba. I went to Zumba once on the last day of the cruise and was very impressed with the workout that I got; I was pouring sweat by the end and definitely recommend taking a bottle of water and just keep moving for the most cardio benefit. Other than that, we played a lot of board games and hung out at the pool deck and read books. Entertainment The shows were so disappointing, probably the worst Ive ever seen on a cruise ship. The comedy shows in the lounges were much better than the theatre shows. There were a couple of good shows in the theatre (Beatle Maniacs band, Rootberry jugglers, and the last production show was good), but overall, it was better to skip the theatre and go directly to Explorers or the Fusion club for their shows. There were a couple of really good short shows (15 min) in the Piazza during the day. Also, the Newlywed game show is not to be missed we ve seen in on all of our cruises and its always hilarious! Princess Cays We woke up around 8am, got our lattes from IC and went to Horizon Court for breakfast. By about 9:30, our group of four was ready to hop on the tender and make our way to Princess Cays. We went to Michelangelos and picked up our tender ticket, got on the boat and started our journey to the island. About half way through, the engine died and we floated around in the water for about 45 min turning in circles and bouncing with every wave that came by. A lot of people started to feel seasick; luckily, no one threw up but a few were very close, including our friend, Casie. We eventually made it back to the Emerald around 10:30, but Casie was so sick that she needed a break from the tendering scene. It was 11:30 by the time we tried again. By that time, there were tons of people in line to get a tender, so we had to wait. It was probably about 12:30 by the time we actually made it to Princess Cays. At first, we were concerned because the last tender back to the ship was at 3:15pm, but we soon discovered that 2-3 hours of snorkeling, swimming and exploring is about all you can take anyway. I tried to find the little cemetery on the beach, but did not make it. I walked along the beach until it turned rocky, walked along the rocks for a while and realized that I didnt want to walk along the rocks for as long as it seemed that Id have to, so I cut through the woods, hoping Id find the road. I found a sandy road and followed it for a while but it had a swampy section that I didnt feel like walking through, so I turned around and went back to the Princess area. I decided I should take a dip in the ocean and, almost immediately after I stepped in, I sliced open my toe on a rock or maybe coral. That was the end of my ocean time :) After hanging out on the beach, we went outside of the Princess area (directly behind the first aid station where I picked up a Band-Aid) and looked through the items the vendors were selling. I bought a straw purse and we were done. We only needed to show our cruise card to the security guard at the gate to be let back in. Besides the tendering incident in the morning, Princess Cays was very nice and relaxing. Ports & Excursions We had the most fun at the ports of call. On two of them, we used the Princess excursions and on the other three we arranged our own plans. The Princess excursions were good but pretty crowded. The excursions arranged on our own were awesome and I highly recommend going this route if you can adequately plan ahead, take everything into consideration and try to mitigate the risk of not making it back to the ship in time. We had absolutely no problems with getting back in time, in fact, we werent even close to the all-aboard time except for while on a Princess excursion! Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
This was the first time we had a balcony and it was wonderful to be able to open our doors at anytime and breathe in the fresh air...not sure I want to go back to an interior room after this holiday. The staff were all very pleasant and ... Read More
This was the first time we had a balcony and it was wonderful to be able to open our doors at anytime and breathe in the fresh air...not sure I want to go back to an interior room after this holiday. The staff were all very pleasant and greeted us with a smile. The room was cleaned to perfection twice a day with chocolates on the pillow each night. Room service,when used, was prompt and the food was as requested and hot. We tried the Princess theatre but decided it wasn't really how we wanted to spend our time. The smaller venues were much more appealing and featured bands for dancing and an excellent vocalist that was flown in for 2 nights to entertain. We went to 2 of the restaurants that required a $25pp charge. Sabatinos and Crown grill were excellent. The extra cost was a hit to the pocket book but the quality of the food surpassed the regular dining areas and was quieter for a special meal away from the crowd. We were too busy with excursions to enjoy the Santuary pool area but I could see this area would be worth paying for if the cruise had more days at sea or for those not interested in getting off the ship. Embarkation was painless but the disembarkation had us leave the ship much sooner than we would have liked. The ride and getting our luggage was very smooth but... We had to wait over 2 hours at the airport for the service counter to open. They said taxis would be a huge problem and taking their shuttle was the smartest plan. This was not so! The taxis were lined up waiting and would have been available at a proper time for us to relax on board and leave the ship at a sensible time yet still be off the ship before 11 am. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
We cruised the Baltic with the Emerald Princess in June 2011. First, the non-cruise stuff. We went to Stockholm for three days, then Gutenberg for a day and a tour of the Volvo factory, and finally Copenhagen for three days. At the ... Read More
We cruised the Baltic with the Emerald Princess in June 2011. First, the non-cruise stuff. We went to Stockholm for three days, then Gutenberg for a day and a tour of the Volvo factory, and finally Copenhagen for three days. At the end of the cruise, we went to Bergen and took a six day tour of Norway. I'll comment in port reviews on the length of time the ship spends in ports. Air arrangements: we used miles, except for SAS from Copenhagen to Bergen. Embarkation took a little time. No champagne on boarding. We had a balcony room. The balconies are not as useful as in the Caribbean, so we took a room with a smaller balcony. We were on it on occasion, usually for breakfast. Our steward was outstanding and usually invisible. Room service was just average. For the first time, Internet was reliably available in our room. (We used about 850 minutes as we had to keep in touch on business matters.) We had the late seating for dining. I think the food was a notch lower than last year. In particular, the beef was of a lower grade. Service was great. We ate in the dining room for breakfast and a few lunches. Service was decidedly less than with our regular waiter for dinner. One waiter refused my wife's request for grilled chicken for a chicken Caesar even though, according to a sign in the kitchen, "chicken is always available." We had the Chef's Table dinner. Tour of the kitchen, hors d'oeuvres and champagne in the kitchen, dinner in the dining room. $75 per person. Well worth it. I tried to do the ultimate ship tour, but it was cancelled. We renewed our vows, with a crowd of 12 people we met on the ship. We did Sabatini's one night. Not as impressive as the Crown Grill. You dine at their pace. Everyone in the room eats at the same pace. If the food is not to your liking, it is still what's on the menu. When we ate breakfast in Horizon Court, things went smoothly until we needed a table. And we're not bashful about asking to share. Some of the folks we shared with were talkative, some were really stand-offish. The ship was sold out. There really was never a problem or a crowd, other than in Horizon Court for breakfast. We used the spa and spa pools. Never crowded. One massage, which was good, and my wife had her hair done twice. I'll cover ports in other reviews. We took the Princess tours in Stockholm, Helsinki, Berlin and Tallinn. All Tours in St. Petersburg. (Great!). On our own in Arhus and Oslo. We purchased Princess transfers to CPH for a flight to Bergen. $34 each. A bargain. Less than one hour from stepping off the ship to tying my shoes after airport security. We're trying to figure out next year's cruise. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
We enjoyed our cruise on the Emerald Princess. Our meals at 8:15 in the Boticelli Dining Room were good, the choice varied and service was good. The air conditioning and cold draft at our table made it uncomfortable during dinner. We ... Read More
We enjoyed our cruise on the Emerald Princess. Our meals at 8:15 in the Boticelli Dining Room were good, the choice varied and service was good. The air conditioning and cold draft at our table made it uncomfortable during dinner. We mentioned this several evenings but nothing was done to improve our comfort level in the room. Our cabin was well located and well serviced. Clean towels were always provided and our ice bucket kept full of ice. Our room attendant always had a kind word to say to us. Even though the weather was cool, rainy and cloudy a lot of the time, we enjoyed relaxing in the hot tub and swimming in the heated pool. At times the buffet was very crowded and it was difficult to find seating. We were impressed with the cleanliness and freshness of the food at the buffet. Our group of six arranged a private tour with White Nights to tour St Petersburg. We corresponded with Kate on line to set up the package. Kate was prompt in her replies and adjusted the tour to suit our wishes. When in St Petersburg, our tour guide, Dasha, was a delight. Dasha spoke perfect English, was on time, polite and very knowledgeable about St Petersburg. Since it was her place of birth she had a special love for the city. We were able to bypass line ups, find quiet places for her to speak to us when viewing the very crowded Hermitage and Catherine's Palace. The van we used was very comfortable and the driver excellent. When touring Berlin our group of six hired SPB Tours. We travelled by tour bus with about 40 people to Berlin, a 3 hour ride, met our tour guide in Berlin, had a 4 hour tour in a small van for the six of us, 3 people faced forward and 3 faced backward making visibility poor. We returned to the ship by tour bus, a 4 hour ride due to heavy traffic. Our tour guide spoke excellent English, since he was from Australia, but his love, knowledge and enthusiasm for Berlin was not nearly as good as we experienced in St Petersburg. We joined a Princess Cruise Tour in Oslo which had 40 people in the group. It was difficult to hear our guide and we missed the intimacy we experienced on our other tours. The on board shore tours lecturer John Lawrence was very good. If we missed the talks we watched them on TV in our room. We also enjoyed the TV play by play description of points of interest as we left Stockholm. On board all public areas and washrooms were always clean. An enjoyable vacation. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
We have cruised with many different cruise lines and itineraries, but this was our first time with Princess and with the Baltic. I must say that both are pretty darned impressive. As experienced cruisers, however, we found ourselves making ... Read More
We have cruised with many different cruise lines and itineraries, but this was our first time with Princess and with the Baltic. I must say that both are pretty darned impressive. As experienced cruisers, however, we found ourselves making some mental comparisons with previous experiences. Hopefully this review will help others get a sense of expectations. THE GOOD: Somehow Princess has really figured out the embarkation and disembarkation process. This may be a function of some proprietary magic Princess has or with the Danish authorities in Copenhagen, but getting on the ship for the first time and off for the last was a breeze. We arrived at the port at noon, were directed to the waiting staff for processing, were issued room card keys and got on the ship. Period. The stateroom was ready for occupancy so there was none of that hanging around the lunch buffet with 3,000 other folks with all manner of carry-on luggage. We were ready to sail. Getting off was just as easy and from the time we left the stateroom and arrived at the Copenhagen airport was no more than 40 minutes. Of note is that we had pre-processed on-line and had purchased shuttle service from the port to the airport...this is highly recommended. Other items such as service/ attentiveness of the wait staff and room attendants, cleanliness of facilities, quality/quantity of food,entertainment and overall cruise experience are on par with other premium cruise lines and we consider them the price of entry to the category. Really good...but not remarkable. THE BAD: One baffling fact is that Princess prides itself on being the industry leader in food service by introducing 24-hour dining; yet access to their health club facilities is very limited being open from 7a-10p every day (in the interest of the war on obesity, you'd think these two would be reversed) . This fact coupled with a pretty aggressive Baltic itinerary put some logistical strain on our daily work-out regime as many of the port tours start around 7:30 or 8:00 am. Additionally, while casino and food court opening/closing times are listed in the daily "Princess Patter", there is no mention of the work-out facilities, nor are there special "walk-a-mile" programs as found on other ships. Deck 7 which is the Emerald's official walking deck, includes two sets of stairs and is usually being hosed down by maintenance folks early in the morning. The treadmills in the facility are in dire need of regular maintenance. Please be aware of this if this type of thing is important to your vacation experience. We had pre-arranged locally-based tours for Berlin and St Petersburg, so our experience with the Shore Excursion Desk is limited to a very mediocre (and expensive) city highlight tour of Helsinki. This is where we found out that most of the ports we visited have "Hop-On; Hop-Off" bus tours available with excellent recorded commentary in a variety of languages for a fraction of the Princess tour price. This became our preferred mode of city touring. Tour desk personnel were obviously trained to steer people to their proprietary offerings to the point where they would give us incorrect and conflicting information. Off-setting this bias however was John Lawrence, the on-board port lecturer. He really knew his stuff and provided valuable historical and practical information on each port of call. John kind of looks like Kelsey Grammer and kind of sounds like John Houseman. I'm not sure John is available throughout this cruising season, but he really added value to our cruise experience. By the way, Cruise Critic was very useful in helping us connect with TJ Tours in Russia. While the process of signing up for one of their tours may seem a little confusing at first, this is a top-drawer outfit which offered smaller tour groups better access to some of the most crowded tourist sights at a cost of some $100 cheaper than the Princess offering. The Princess information is written in a manner that would lead one to believe that the only way to get off the boat in Russia is to have a privately arranged visa or to use the Princess tour. Not so. Do yourself a favor and check this out. THE TRULY UGLY: For those interested in accessing the internet on your cruise, please be aware that the ship's offering is expensive and almost worthless. You'd expect slower service than DSL with a satellite-based system. What you wouldn't expect is to pay hundreds of dollars for a service that works only occasionally with non-responsive screens that read "service not available. Too many users are logged on". This seems like a fairly simple fix...build in more capacity. This was an unexpected disappointment. Overall, we truly enjoyed our experience on the Emerald Princess and its various ports of call in the Baltic. Given the above, however, we may look to another cruise line for our next adventure. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
Overall we were very satisfied with this cruise. We traveled with 2 other active couples like ourselves who are all in our early 60's. We chose this cruise because of the itinerary. We know what to expect from Princess and have found ... Read More
Overall we were very satisfied with this cruise. We traveled with 2 other active couples like ourselves who are all in our early 60's. We chose this cruise because of the itinerary. We know what to expect from Princess and have found them to be consistent in all areas. The food ranges from good to very good. The entertainment is okay. We never feel pressured to make purchases on board like we did on Norwegian. They ask once if you would like a drink, put a napkin down to indicate you were asked and do not bother you again. We never take pictures anymore and saying no thanks one time is sufficient. There is still pressure to take shore excursions through Princess but we know how to get around it and I will talk more about this when I talk about the ports. Our room steward Tarahut from Thailand was very attentive to detail and Juan in the Michelangelo dining room was outstanding. We had anytime dining, never had to wait and requested Juan each night and half the time he had an open table. Otherwise we found the service to be very good from anyone. Getting on and off the ship was a breeze. We arrived after 2PM to embark as Princess suggested and there was no line. Princess offers a transfer to the airport for $34 pp when leaving. We took the train for $8.00 pp US money which Princess never tells you about. It is a 17 minute walk from the ship on a well marked sidewalk. You change trains once. The person selling tickets will tell you where to change. People in Denmark are amazing. It is a total of 45 mins from the ship to the airport via the train. We were very lucky on this cruise as the weather was very warm and sunny. Many people only packed for cold weather. Big mistake. Check the forecast before you leave as we did. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
Copenhagen was the worst city I ever visited in Europe. It was dirty, hard to find a garbage bin, even you found one, they were all full to the top with a lot of garbage around it on the floor. We arrived 4 days earlier which was a big ... Read More
Copenhagen was the worst city I ever visited in Europe. It was dirty, hard to find a garbage bin, even you found one, they were all full to the top with a lot of garbage around it on the floor. We arrived 4 days earlier which was a big mistake. We booked a junior suite at the Radisson Royal Blue hotel which is in a good location. But for a five star hotel, there was no turn down service, no bottle water, nothing special for US400 a night...Room rate including breakfast, but no one told us we could have breakfast on the top floor, until 3rd day. Breakfast on the ground floor was chaotic, lots of empty tables and long line up, but no one clear the tables... Just don't expect any service... Same thing for other restaurants... Lousy service all around town...Including expensive restaurants... Staying in Oslo will be a better choice than Copenhagen which is not a tourists friendly city... Near the little Mermaid, there was no sign whatsoever, and we made a wrong turn, ended up in a park full of dog waste, you can't avoid stepping on the dog waste as it was just full of it, the whole path... I have never seen anything like this... Weather was lousy and rained a lot during the cruise. Embarkation was nice, the service and the food was the best princess cruise I have ever taken. This was our fourth princess cruise, but the food and service was almost as good as the celebrity cruise we took last year, which really surprised us as I did not expect much from Princess. The best port is St Petersburg. Tallinn was the second best port. The rest ports are just waste of time. I would advise people not to take a cruise to Northern Europe, just join a land tour for a week in St Petersburg. Most of the ports are not worth to visit, either too short, such as Oslo which is much nicer than Copenhagen, only three hours ferry ride, we stayed there from 8-2, but the museum and art gallery don't open until 10 or 11. Whoever designed this itinerary should be fired. If you are retired and has nothing to do and don't mind to waste your time, this is a good cruise as the food and service are both 5 star. By the way, we had 4 dinners at Sabatini, and we loved the food and wine selection. However. being our annual vacation, and it took me more than 6 months to plan this trip, it's a big disappointment because of the lousy weather and itinerary. By they way, it's too cold to go to Northern Europe in June, I think July and August will be better. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
Most interesting cruise we have ever taken. Not a cruise for sea days....almost every day was a port of call, and as we had never been to any of the countries visited, it was very exciting. Boarded in Copenhagen after spending the ... Read More
Most interesting cruise we have ever taken. Not a cruise for sea days....almost every day was a port of call, and as we had never been to any of the countries visited, it was very exciting. Boarded in Copenhagen after spending the night at the "Admiral" hotel. Very nice and close to the port.....( short cab ride ) ..... Ship was immaculate, and the staff very friendly. Weather was unpredictablem and we had an equal amount of rainy and sunny days....temps were cool for June, mostly in the low 60's. St Petersburg was the highlight. We contracted with a local Russian tour agency ( SPB Tours ) and it was fantastic. We saw musch more than the Princess tours offered at half the price. They were on time, responsive to our requets, and I can't say enough about the experience. Our guide, Eugene, was fantastic.....our small group of 11 was whisked around for two days in a Mercedes van, avoiding traffic and never waiting to see all the sites. Especially loved the subway experience that brought us face to face with all the images of the Communist era in the Soviet Union. ( One complaint about Princess....they tried to make everyone believe that they may be left on board if not tied to an official Princess tour....this is NOT TRUE ) .... as long as you book with a local agency authorized to come to the pier, you do not need a VISA or an authorization from princess. ) Tallin was our second favorite port......Beautiful mid evil city and beautiful smiling people.....Loved it. No tour required....easy walking throughout the city. One scary event on board occurred on the night of June 22/23..... Woke up in the middle of the night to the ship listing heavily to the port side. I literally had to walk up hill to close the balcony doors and keep out the rain and wind. We remained like this for a couple of hours. In the morning, it was the talk of all the passengers, but no statement was made by the crew. "I feel they should have offered an explanation"....in the end I approached an officer and was told we encountered Hurricane force winds that caused the ship to list.......it was pretty scary ......They should have posted something on the TV so as no to alarm passengers....it was clearly unusual and discomforting. Lastly, aside from the listing experience, it was an amazing adventure, and one I would recommend to all.......Be sure and say hi to Marina and Goce in the Crooners lounge if you take this trip. They were Awesome! Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
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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