1. Home
  2. Cruise Lines
  3. Princess Cruises
  4. Emerald Princess Review
  5. Emerald Princess Cruise Reviews

1,700 Princess Emerald Princess Cruise Reviews

The Emerald Princess continues to be one of my favorite ships. It was an enjoyable time leaving from Houston and visiting the western Caribbean ports . The staff on this ship are simply wonderful. Cruise director Lee Childers did an ... Read More
The Emerald Princess continues to be one of my favorite ships. It was an enjoyable time leaving from Houston and visiting the western Caribbean ports . The staff on this ship are simply wonderful. Cruise director Lee Childers did an excellent job and he conducted beautiful, moving services for Good Friday and Easter ( on Saturday). Room steward was fantastic. Loved the pillows on the bed; bed was very comfortable. Staff at the International Café were always full of smiles and very cheerful. Dining room service was great...Everything just went off on schedule and very well. Princess continues to be our favorite cruise line and we have tried others. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
Having cruised 6 different cruise lines including a European river cruise, my wife and I tried not to have high expectations for the Emerald Princess sailing out of the Houston Bay Port Cruise Terminal. We were pleasantly surprised at how ... Read More
Having cruised 6 different cruise lines including a European river cruise, my wife and I tried not to have high expectations for the Emerald Princess sailing out of the Houston Bay Port Cruise Terminal. We were pleasantly surprised at how it turned out. Parking at the terminal was a breeze. There was no covered parking but we were able to rent a canvas car cover for our vehicle ahead of time from the Port Authority of Houston (and get a small discount). Once inside the check-in went speedy and you were given a boarding slip. There was plenty of seating and after about a 15 minute wait, our section was called aboard. The Emerald Princess is a medium size ship (by today's standards) but seemed well kept up and very clean. Our cabin had a large 4 person balcony and we especially liked the closet area to hang clothes and store luggage. Our room steward did an excellent job keeping our room neat and tidy. Extra towels and wash cloths were quickly delivered when needed. Room service even opened our own wine bottles and provided us with wine glasses. The in-cabin menu was sufficient to satisfy us when we didn't want to leave. The buffet had many offerings and a wide variety. It tended to be crowded at peak times so be sure to check both sides to find the less crowded one. Tons of desserts, too. We liked almost everything we tried. We did the anytime dining but reserved a table ahead of time each day to eliminate the wait. If you reserve a table when the dining room first opens, you have a good chance of getting a table for two. Once seated, the service was outstanding. We barely got settled in before waiters and servers were tending to us. The happened at all three meals. I can't remember the last cruise where the service was so attentive. The next surprise was the how delicious the food was. Even breakfast turned out to be tasty and well-prepared. This impressed us so much that we got on the waiting list for the Chef's Table. Luckily, someone dropped out and we were able to enjoy a whole evening of champagne, appetizers, an incredible multiple-course (I forgot how many courses!) dinner including filets, lamb roast and huge lobsters. All this at a special table in the middle of their dining room. Afterwards, we were given a photo of us with the chef plus a signed copy of his recipe book. Nice touch! Meanwhile, the ship cruised on. We stopped at Cozumel, Honduras and Belize. We did a chocolate and wine tasting excursion at Cozumel. This was fun and tasty. At Honduras, we did a beach and lunch excursion. Unfortunately, it was an arduous journey over the mountain to reach the beach. Once there, it was a nice beach with plenty of tree covered lawn chairs. We didn't tender at Belize since we had been there before but did the couple's spa instead which was enjoyable. Sadly, they actually charged extra to relax around the spa pool area afterwards so we passed and relaxed on our balcony. Disembarkation was well organized but the terminal was a little sluggish so if you are flying out early, be sure you fill out the card requesting an early disembarkation. Overall, an excellent experience. We were impressed with how much better our cruise was than we thought it was going to be. Based on this experience, we are planning a Princess Alaska cruise in 2016. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
Overview: This was probably one of the best cruises I have ever taken in my life. The ship was elegant and beautiful, the staff was superb with excellent service. I had the most amazing table mates possible and was even a part of a ... Read More
Overview: This was probably one of the best cruises I have ever taken in my life. The ship was elegant and beautiful, the staff was superb with excellent service. I had the most amazing table mates possible and was even a part of a Cruise Critic member's (foolds) proposal to his girlfriend. I met lots of great friends on the ship and I am so lucky to have had this experience. Embarkation/Bon Voyage Program My grandfather joined me on the ship before it left port as part of the Bon Voyage Program. As soon as we arrived we were taken in and led to the priority check-in line and were taken to board the ship. The whole process was very smooth. He absolutely loved the ship and one of the bar servers, Nhorman, helped us get him and his wheelchair on to the ship. He was exceptionally nice and friendly to us and to my grandfather. Ship Overall the ship is pretty nice. There are a few design issues such as moving between dining rooms but overall it is nice. The public areas are well decorated and somewhat elegant. Overall the ship appears well maintained. I find some people have unreasonable expectations for ships (remember that they operate 24/7/365). I saw plenty of maintenance taking place and did not feel the ship to be in disrepair or dirty. Crew/Service I must say that the crew on the ship was very helpful and kind. Dining room service was decent but not outstanding. The bar people were nice and friendly. My cabin steward (it's steward, not stewart by the way) was great. I take a medication that I have to mix with water. I usually use a fork to mix it in a cup so the first night of the cruise I went to Horizon Court and picked up a fork and brought it back to the cabin. The next morning the steward took the fork, which I figured he would, so I went to and picked up another fork that night. Well the next morning the steward brought me a clean fork and extra glass and left them in my restroom for me to use with the medicine. I find this to be extraordinary service that he did this without me having to ask. I gave him the Consummate Host card. Ports/Shore Excursions I have been to Cozumel and it is more of the same it has always been. The only excursion I took was in Belize which I really loved. I took the open air trolley tour. I am kind of torn because I loved the tour and the people seemed nice but Belize is a horribly homophobic place so I do not plan to spend any money at all there in the future. Mahogany Bay at Roatan blew me away. Let me say this now: I heard an Princess Elite member telling people on the ship that they could NOT use the beach at Mahogany Bay because it is owned by Carnival. This is 100% FALSE. The beach is free for any cruise passenger that docks at that dock. If someone tells you any different they are simply misinformed. I spent the day at Mahogany Beach and it was simply amazing. The water was beautiful and so was the atmosphere. Entertainment The only show I really attended was the magician, Michael Barron, and he was excellent. This was probably the best magic show I have ever seen and was very entertaining. I did attend the Princess Pop Star competitions as a friend I met on the ship was competing and they were amazing. We (a group I met on the ship) also went to Skywalkers most nights and had a blast. LGBT Get Together There was a LGBT get together every day at 5:30 in one of the bars, usually Wheelhouse. I met a few other guys there and we all hung out together for portions of every evening. The only thing I would like to see them change is maybe have a crew member host it (there are plenty of gay guys in the crew) and have some way of marking where the event is within the bar such as a sign. Cabin I was in cabin A403, an interior cabin on deck 12. The cabin was small but comfortable with adequate storage and closet space. The bathroom was small (as all are) but it served it's purpose. The Elite bathroom amenities were nice. Captain's Circle Elite Benefits The Princess Captain's Circle is awesome. The benefits are outstanding. I received a free mini-bar, priority service at the pursers desk, 10% boutique discount, priority tender embarkation, 150 free internet minutes and much more. These were all awesome benefits. Bad Parts Avoid the shopping show on the second sea day. You will lose part of your life if you go. There was little to no actual port info given and the whole thing was a long, drawn-out sales pitch and the man (Vince) was repetitive and not very genuine. I would not lose sleep if they did away with his position. Disability Accommodations I have some medical problems including a damaged spine. I did not ask for or sign up for any disability accommodations but the facilities seemed ample and appropriate. I did use the elevators which were usually available but sometimes had a wait. There were quite a few mobility impaired people onboard who seemed to get around easily (as easily as possible). The tender ride in Belize and the trolley were a little uncomfortable and I had to take pain meds after returning to the ship but that was the only real annoyance. Solo Cruising I have taken many cruises but this was my first solo cruise. I was nervous at first but it worked out really well. I did not attend any of the SOLO cruiser meetings as they all interfered with the LGBT get together or other activities. Summary The cruise was amazing. I absolutely loved it and am looking forward to another. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
This was my wife's first Princess Cruise. I have been on several, but none in the last 15+ years. Our boarding was delayed as the ship could not come into port due to fog. We were able to board around 5pm, however we did not get to ... Read More
This was my wife's first Princess Cruise. I have been on several, but none in the last 15+ years. Our boarding was delayed as the ship could not come into port due to fog. We were able to board around 5pm, however we did not get to leave Houston until around noon on Monday. No big deal. We were on the ship and things went on as usual. The boarding process was outstanding and the crew was awesome for our stay in Houston. Princess was able to re-arrange our ports so that we did not miss any. While Cozumel was to be our first stop it then became our last stop. We were at sea on Tuesday, Costa Maya Wednesday, Belize City Thursday and Cozumel on Friday. The Emerald Princess was in Great Shape!!! The staff went out of their way to make us feel welcomed. We had set dining and the food and service was the best. Allen, our head waiter, knew that I would want multiple shrimp cocktails each evening and made sure that I had them. He also brought me 2 lobsters on lobster night. On the final night I let him pick my meal and he picked everything that I would have picked. The entertainment was very good as well, always something going on. The "house band" Wavelength was extremely talented and could really do all types of music. The shows were all very well done. In the end in my wife's words "this was the best trip EVER!!!" We will be going again!!!! Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
Just got back today. When I read some of the reviews I was a bit nervous that this cruise was going to be bad. I am pleased to write that is was, in a word-Awesome! We stayed at the airport Marriott the night before which made cruise day a ... Read More
Just got back today. When I read some of the reviews I was a bit nervous that this cruise was going to be bad. I am pleased to write that is was, in a word-Awesome! We stayed at the airport Marriott the night before which made cruise day a little less hectic. The ride to the port is long, about 1 hour. But getting luggage and people on the bus went very smooth. Yes, there are long lines at the Port of Houston and yes, one line just became another, but how else are a few thousand people going to get on the ship-there have to be lines. But, even that went smoothly. We had a mini suite which was very roomy. Balcony was great. Food was average-nothing spectacular. Friday night is lobster and prawn night. On Wednesday and Thursday they turn one of the dining rooms into a crab shack. Wasn't bad for 20$ per person and was a nice treat away from the main dining room. It took a few days for us to become familiar with the main parts of the ship. And there were sections of the ship we did not see because we did not know they were there. I don't know if they have a tour of the ship or not. Since this was spring break there was an average amount of kids but not as many as I anticipated. The majority of people where older. But, the pools were full of the kids and adults can't even get in the pool. BUT-we discovered that there is an adult only pool by the spa. It was a Godsend. No kids allowed. Of course it wasn't perfect and I was not looking for perfect. For instance we didn't have the best cabin steward, but he did his job and if we needed something he brought it. The room was clean, the food was good, our waitress was great, casino was fun, spa was great (though expensive). And overall the staff were very friendly. I was taught long time ago that if people like their job you can tell. Well, the staff were always smiling and they really seemed to enjoy being there. So if you have chosen to sail on The Emerald Princess-rest assure, you made a good decision. Oh and if you are looking for a great beach in Roatan-Tabyana beach is wonderful. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
First time on Emerald and second on Princess. We've cruised RC and several Carnival ships but are looking for something a bit more "mature" than Carnival. We're in our early 50's and active (we run 4-6 miles and ... Read More
First time on Emerald and second on Princess. We've cruised RC and several Carnival ships but are looking for something a bit more "mature" than Carnival. We're in our early 50's and active (we run 4-6 miles and snorkel each day) but have grown tired of the noise and atmosphere of the party boats. The Princess crowd was older (we were in the younger half of the passenger list) but there was plenty of fun on board and things never felt geriatric. The service was excellent across the board (comparable to every other line we've sailed) but the food quality stood out as significantly better. To be brief, I'd describe Carnival and RC buffet fare as similar to a decent Chinese buffet in a typical city. On Emerald, the buffet quality was higher, especially among its desserts, and the availability of the International Café (free deli-style sandwiches and salads) stood out. Formal dining was also a step up over RC & Carnival. Portions were generous and flavorful. My one significant complaint was the ships inability to deliver a steak medium-rare. Despite multiple orders at our table over multiple nights, even ordering RARE in the hope of getting something close to medium-rare, everything still ended up as well done. The best they managed was a medium-well one night. Why ask how you want it cooked if it doesn't really matter? The entertainment was a bit thinner than Carnival, with comedy on only 2 1/2 nights (one was a musician that told a handful of jokes) of the seven nights versus two a night on Carnival but the quality of the comics was comparable. We don't do the song and dance shows but other events and passenger games were comparable to other lines. As runners we were thrilled with the full circuit deck on 7 allowing full laps (there were stairs up/down from 8 at the bow), as were a multitude of others runners and walkers. I was impressed with the noise control of the ship. You could be sunning at one pool and hear nothing of what was happening at the other, even the videos next door! That was significant as our big reason for leaving Carnival was the inability to escape the noise of the Videos anywhere on deck. The cabin was a bit noisy in rough seas, with a frequent ticking sound coming from who knows where, but we've had similar issues on other ships in similar circumstances and the sound went away with smoother water. Cabin size was comparable to other balconies so we didn't see a + or - there. There WERE plenty of hangers in the closet, however. Something that always makes the room more comfortable. We didn't hear much from the hallway and nothing from adjoining rooms. The mini-fridge was handy and our steward was happy to empty it when we explained we weren't interested in any for-fee sodas or waters. All in all, my wife felt the Emerald Princess was a clear step up in comfort and quality over what we have experienced previously with Carnival and RC, and it is likely we will select a new Princess ship for our next cruise. Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
This was our first time sailing out of Houston Texas. You actually embark at Bayport Terminal in La Porte Texas, about 30 miles South of Houston. We stayed in Seabrook Texas, about a 10 minute drive to the port. We found the Bayport ... Read More
This was our first time sailing out of Houston Texas. You actually embark at Bayport Terminal in La Porte Texas, about 30 miles South of Houston. We stayed in Seabrook Texas, about a 10 minute drive to the port. We found the Bayport Terminal to be easy to get into and out. On the day of embarkation we arrive about 11:00 am and got right into the terminal. At 11:30 am they started boarding and by 11:45 am we were on board the Emerald Princess. While the Emerald was showing some signs of needing some updates, I would say the staff was friendly, helpful and they did keep the Emerald looking good. Lot's of crew keeping things cleaned up and making sure we were being taken care of. Shows were "Fair" and not of the same quality of other shows I've seen on Princess ships. All worth going too, just seems like they were not as well choreographed as others we've seen. A comedy show with two black comedians is a must see, it is very funny. The two sea days out of Houston were great, nice to relax and enjoy the ship. At Belize you will be tendered into port. They do not use ship tenders, they use local tenders which are catermarans. The process is fairly quick other than this is about a five (5) mile trip each way.   Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
Cruise date February 1st 2015. My wife and myself are from Houston (about 8 Miles from the Bayport port). We had a friend drop us off at the front of the terminal for the first cruise from this location. Nothing much to look at when ... Read More
Cruise date February 1st 2015. My wife and myself are from Houston (about 8 Miles from the Bayport port). We had a friend drop us off at the front of the terminal for the first cruise from this location. Nothing much to look at when coming to the terminal but it is very functional. Note: no stores on the Port road. We had received a notice in email that said we should get to the terminal at 2 p.m for the Lido deck load. This worked out very well and we had a porter pick up our luggage strait out of the car. Very little line and we had our cruise cards. This was the fastest so far to get on the ship. We had been on the Star last year and I am making comparisons of two very nice ships. I think the emerald is laid out better than the Star Princess due probably to more space. The movies under the Stars had 3 rows of stairs to watch the movie, this gave a leveled affect and could watch the movie with more people. They did a great job at setting up the lounging chairs each day for sun bathing. The Star had a problem that all the chairs that you wanted to lay on had been stacked. We did not eat even one night in the main dining rooms because we like open dining. In the past we have gotten into dining rooms and had to wait for each table to fill up before we could even order. If you like more than an hour to eat this should be no problem but we prefer to get a good hot meal in the quick and easy food court. The food is very good and you will fill that big tray up. Princess has great food in whatever you choose. Crown Grill as usual was Awesome. Church service was great. I think his name was Kevin (cruise director). He did a wonderful job of teaching the Bible. I highly recommend you attend on Monday and Saturday of the week. The entertainment was very funny and mostly clean. The dancers are a little off of what I’m used to. Whoever put there shows together should reviewed for taste. The booty boogie or whatever it was called made me want to get up and leave. I generally love the shows but was not impressed with booty in the face dancing. The dancers are not at fault in this but the show designer is. Honduras was nice but we stayed on the compound and took the flying carpet (ski lift) to the beach. You can walk or ride either way. Check out the little nature trail as you come out of the first building getting off the ship. Loved the swing under the ticki hut. Belize city was nice but decided to take a boat ride to Cay Chaulker on the water taxi. 2 people $50 for round trip tickets on a 45 min ride to a very nice beach fishing island. We walked around and saw the very laid back and charming people of Belize. About 3000 people, and no paved roads. Lot’s of golf carts that people drive around with Taxi written on a piece of cardboard. It will cost you a dollar per person to goto the bathroom. If you buy something they may wave it if a bathroom is available. The boat ride there and back was fun and fast. Cozumel we did not take an excursion. We stayed in the compound and shopped. Great shopping in Mexico. People will barter with you. They had 6 ships that we counted in the port area. Each ship line had it’s own pier so each one had it’s own shopping compound. Not sure what downtown was like but the people of Cozumel are very nice in the past to us. Conclusion: The boat was a wonder and was very beautiful. I think the Star is a little more elegant but the emerald has a better layout. Both are above average and thank you for the crew that looked after us. I think the Star had a slightly happier crew than the emerald, but that being said we had no ugly moments what so ever. Just do it life is too short. Happy Cruising.   Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
Everything was wonderful. No real complaints. There were 13 of us traveling together and we all had a great time. Embarkation was fast and smooth. We had anytime dining which we had never done before and probably won't do again. The ... Read More
Everything was wonderful. No real complaints. There were 13 of us traveling together and we all had a great time. Embarkation was fast and smooth. We had anytime dining which we had never done before and probably won't do again. The food was very good. The Crown Grill was excellent. We ate there two nights. The Horizon buffet was fine. Breakfast room service was very good. The cabin (A527) was very nice. Roomier than RCI cabins. Balcony was sufficient. We did not go to any of the shows because we were having too much fun at the Crooners bar with the piano player Darren. He kept us laughing the whole cruise. Stephen Burk was also an amazing entertainer. He moved all around the ship for his performances. We did not use Princess excursions. We went to Nachi Cocom Beach in Cozumel. It was great!!! In Roatan we went to Little French Key. I don't think you can beat it. It is beautiful and A LOT of fun. The food and drinks are great too. In Belize we went to Goff's Caye. I would not go there again. There is NO shade and not much to do. The snorkeling was nice but not worth the trip. Pool time was good. No problems with chair hogs! Bar service at the Neptune Bar was not so good. Only one waiter behind the bar most of the time. We did not get back to Houston until about noon due to fog. Disembarking was a bit of a mess but I think they handled it as well as they could under the conditions. This was our first cruise on Princess and we will cruise with them again. All in all a fantastic week!! Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
Around Christmas time, there were a couple of cold, dreary weeks in North Texas, and in the midst of that, Princess sent us an email (as they often do) advertising Sale Prices! on cruises in January and February. With a great price on a ... Read More
Around Christmas time, there were a couple of cold, dreary weeks in North Texas, and in the midst of that, Princess sent us an email (as they often do) advertising Sale Prices! on cruises in January and February. With a great price on a cruise out of Houston, we took the bait, and started looking forward to a week escape from winter. I've seen several reviews panning the Port of Houston, and wish to offer a different view. We had no weather problems or delays, so that was nice, and it was interesting on departure to observe the ship threading its way through the channel in Galveston Bay passing several other ships at close range along the way. In general, I think I can understand why people flying into Houston for departure might be less than enchanted with the port. It is pretty literally in the middle of nowhere, a good 45 minutes to an hour drive from the airport, with no hotels adjacent, and nothing much convenient to the nearest hotels that are available. But, coming from the Dallas/Fort Worth area, we were driving in, and it was great! It is 30-40 minutes closer to the rest of Texas than Galveston, it was easy to find, with no traffic problems, easy to unload, and easy to park. With your own car, the proximity issues are not problems: you can come to Houston the day before, stay anywhere in the city you want, have a great time, and then its an easy drive to the port. We arrived about 12:30, and the traffic flow was impressively efficient. We followed the well marked directions, drove right up to the curb, where a waiting porter helped us unload the trunk, circled around to park, and then strolled about 200 feet to the front door of the building. Zip, Zip, Zip. Once inside the building, the security line had a few switchbacks, but the line moved quickly, and there was virtually no waiting for check-in. We were on the ship by 1:00 or so, discovering our stateroom. We requested traditional dining, early seating, at a table of 6, and got just that, in the Da Vinci dining room. With two delightful couples joining us at our table, dinner was a highlight every day. We've never tried the anytime dining options, and with as much fun as we had with our table-mates this time, will certainly go traditional next time, too. On previous cruises we've been at a table of 4, and it was nice, but this was so much better. We've also had seatings at breakfast or lunch at larger tables with 8 or 10, but currently, I'm thinking 6 is optimal. It's small enough to be able to chat easily, but with enough variety to have lots of interesting conversations. Plus, if one of the other couples misses a dinner in the dining room for some reason, you aren't left by yourselves, as has happened to us (and our table mates!) on our previous cruises. The food was good throughout, and a couple of the dishes were outstanding. My wife raved about the Beef Wellington served on Friday night. I opted for lobster and prawns that night, and wasn't as impressed. Deserts were great. Overall, I'd say the food was probably the least impressive feature of this cruise. Don't get me wrong, I haven't gotten on the bathroom scale yet, but I suspect I've gained five pounds, so obviously the food was good, and plentiful. But, I felt more like I was at a "perfectly good" restaurant, rather than a "great" one most meals. We had most breakfasts and lunches in the Horizon Court buffet, often eating out by the pool, since the weather was so pleasant most of the cruise. I found the buffet food OK, but often not as hot as it should be. We went to the Princess Theater show every night but one after dinner. This included two shows with the ship singers and dancers, two with commedians, and two with the band and a featured "star" musician. The production singing/dancing shows were - like so much of this cruise - fine, but not spectacular. The comedy acts were better. The first comedy show featured "Alfred and Seymore". I wasn't sure about this duo at first, but they turned out to be really funny, and a nice change from a traditional stand-up routine. The second comedy show featured Robbie Printz, and was more traditional stand-up. While some of his material was pretty cliched (e.g., men don't notice their wives new hairdo's, etc.), he also had some pretty funny stuff. I appreciated that both comedy shows stayed "family friendly" while still being quite good. On the last two nights of the cruise, the shows were outstanding, featuring Tom Franek on the piano, singing, and generally being super entertaining. I'd pay good money to go see this guy if ever I had the chance. His piano playing is amazing in multiple ways, and his showmanship is terrific. I gather that he is not a regular on the ship, but it shows that Princess does have a commitment to bringing on really good guest talent. Franek received two well-earned standing ovations at both of the shows I saw him in. One of the two shows was just Franek and the cruise band; the other also featured Andrew Phipps, the regular lead singer on the ship crew, who did a fine set reminicent of The Rat Pack style. One of the highlights for me was listening to the house band - "Gordon and the Emerald Princess Orchestra" - these guys are great! They impressed me on the first night with their performance of "The Saints go Marching In" during the "Welcome Aborad" show, and they wowed me even more in the Adagio Lounge doing a Jazz show (billed as "Gordon and the Orchestra Jazz Cats" for that show). That show was not well attended, but it deserved to be. If you have the chance to see this group in that sort of a performance, and you enjoy jazz at all, don't miss it. Other than the main shows each day, there were plenty of other venues with music and/or fun & games each night. We sat in on one of these - try to remember the lyrics to popular songs, old and new - which was a lot of fun. We spent more time playing Scrabble, often in one of the lounges, while some piano and/or vocalist was performing. Those performances were good, but more as background music for a lounge than something you'd make a point to want to go see. One thing we missed that we had enjoyed on previous cruises was a true "piano bar" with an intimate relationship between the pianist and the audience. While there were a couple of piano players that rotated through the venues, they both seemed to just sit off on their own and play a set, rather than interacting with the audience. Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
My wife and I took a western Caribbean cruise on the Emerald Princess. When we take our children, Carnival has more entertainment for the kids. But, when we want to relax the two of us chose Princess. We stayed on the Aloha Deck A-709. ... Read More
My wife and I took a western Caribbean cruise on the Emerald Princess. When we take our children, Carnival has more entertainment for the kids. But, when we want to relax the two of us chose Princess. We stayed on the Aloha Deck A-709. Our cabin steward made the bed and straightened the room when ever we left for any time at all. We heard no noise from the floors above or below us. The room came with a refrigerator and a safe. The shows were enjoyable although a little short at about 40 minutes each evening. We would have liked to see a piano bar and more dance lessons. The dining room was provided great meals and our waiters did everything they could to keep it that way. We got fish and chips at the pub and they were good. The pizza was great as I had it a few times for lunch. The buffet could have had a few more choices, but it was normal buffet style. We paid to use the exclusive spa area. I don't think I will do this again. They sell it to forty people and at times there were more people than spots for them. Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
My wife and I sailed on the Emerald Princess, departing from Houston on 1/4/15 with port calls at Cozumel, Belize City and Costa Maya. Fortuitously, our departure ensured we missed the below zero weather in Chicago. We’ve traveled with ... Read More
My wife and I sailed on the Emerald Princess, departing from Houston on 1/4/15 with port calls at Cozumel, Belize City and Costa Maya. Fortuitously, our departure ensured we missed the below zero weather in Chicago. We’ve traveled with Princess before so we recognize this is, umm…a more mature crowd. Not to say it’s all blue hairs, as there was a pretty good mix of ages on this cruise. This is the first time that we scheduled our flight and cruise departure on the same day, although it worked out, it was stressful since we had a bit of bad weather leaving Chicago which could have been an issue. Next time we'll go the day before even if it's just staying near airport as port of Houston has no nearby hotel facilities and transferring from airport to hotel to port is expensive and a lot of other steps. We used the same day cruise line transfer from Houston Bush (IAH). The Cruise Line representatives were in the baggage area to handle check in and provided tags (if not using your on-line tags) and directions. You’re required to take your bags to a separate van for loading and sorting at the port facility. We had a short wait and boarded the bus for the 40 min drive to the port of Houston. Other reviews have pointed out there is NOTHING to see along the entire route to the port unless you’re into industrial/oil refinery facilities. Sorry Houstonians, maybe there is something but just not on this route? The actual cruise terminal is at the end of the quay and pretty basic but functional. There is on-site parking if you drive, check out the port web page for details, especially prepay discount. The Embarkation process went very smooth, typical X-ray screening, wine check in (none for us) and health question/inspection prior to check in. The Princess staff were very efficient and the whole process from off the bus to on board was maybe 30 minutes. Granted it was a bit later in the process, 2PM ish, so there may have been more lines for the Noon start time. Princess suggests check in times based on the Cabin floor, not sure if that is really policed. The Emerald Princess is a pretty big ship, 3000+ and our previous experience has been with ship in the 1900ish range so we were a bit concerned about crowding on board. With the exception of a minor back up at the Buffet on sail away (let the feeding frenzy begin!) we did not find crowds to be a problem at all. Plenty of public space across several decks, pools and lots of stairs to climb (gotta work off a few calories). Our stateroom was on Baja deck, forward, balcony room. The info on the web site accurately reflects what you can expect. Nicely sized for two, functional and consistent with our other trip (they must be standardizing décor to get some savings). We really enjoy the balcony so it’s worth the upcharge for us—not that the view of the port of Houston is really all that interesting per say. Our baggage showed up late afternoon and there is plenty of storage space including in room safe. Housekeeping was superior and unobtrusive; room refreshed in AM and PM including supply of ice, fruit on request and evening sweet. Princess does a great job providing activity options for varied interests. You can be as busy as you like! Our cruise directors, Kalvin and Dan, as well as their team, were outstanding and they really appear to like their jobs. We looked forward to seeing them on the Wake Show, the daily TV update of the day’s activities. We really enjoyed the hosted “game” shows and musical performances which were fun and entertaining. The Movies under the Stars is also a neat option and they had some good films that we enjoyed while munching on freshly made popcorn. Princess has a new web version of the Princess Patter, the daily activity newsletter and we found it to be very handy. It utilizes the ship’s wireless network and there is no charge to access through your phone or tablet. For those who need to be connected, the ship has internet access packages and I understand you can have cell/data coverage (at absolutely outrageous price), neither of which we choose to use—on the cruise to “disconnect from electronics and reconnect with my wife. We took full advantage of the “any time dining” plan which allowed us to use any facility of our choice. The main dining rooms are elegant and cuisine was varied and tasty. The buffet is a staple, good quality, variety and easy access. There are a couple of casual options, outstanding freshly made pizza, a grill with hamburgers, hot dogs and brats as well as the international café which has Panini and desert treats. You can also opt for the extra cost specialty restaurants, $25 per person, which had an Italian and Steak theme. We did not do the specialty restaurants on this trip as there are so many options we could not justify the extra cost. We’re not big drinkers, so we don’t do the beverage options; alcohol, specialty coffee or pop. You get tea, coffee (tip, order coffee from room service in AM as it is MUCH better than the buffet and bring a water bottle with top big enough to put ice through), tap water and milk included “free”. The quality, variety and service in all of the restaurants were excellent. The in room dining options are the only area where we were a bit disappointed in section, specifically breakfast options. I can understand limiting choices on port arrival days due to demand, but otherwise wider cooked breakfast options would be appreciated. Surprised my wife with a Spa treatment for her and she said the service was great and very relaxing. Of course I was trying to win a few bucks back down in the casino while she enjoyed her treatment. I actually ended up $20 and took the money and ran. We do a bit of research for shore excursions and make arrangement accordingly. We’ll compare the cruise line offerings with the on-line providers as well as trip advisor to validate pricing and itinerary. There are some savings as well as different venue options that can be found if you do the research. We also prefer to try more local options if possible. On this cruise we utilized the cruise ship tours of Belize City and Isle of Cozumel tour/tequila tasting/Folkloric show. These were handled in professional fashion and we enjoyed them. We made our own arrangements in Costa Maya with excellent results. One observation; each of our port of calls landed us in the midst of cruise line operated (controlled?) shopping villages. If you want to see the real local population, you need to do a little research and take the effort to get out of these shopping villages (in some cases it can be a bit of a challenge to find the exits). The only complaint, if that, is the constant barrage of “shopping” promotions. While I realize this may appeal to some on the cruise, in my opinion it is a bit over board (no pun intended). There are constant sale events in the Piazza area (which constrains pedestrian space), constant coverage on the on board TV and mentions at most events. We pretty much tune it out but the whine is constant, especially in conjunction with arrival at the shore ports. If the cruise line ever reads these, please tone it down… The crew was professional and the timing for our arrivals did not tax the capabilities of the vessel. The Captain provided a warm welcome and timely updates to adjustments to our schedule; we pushed off about 4 hours late as we needed tug assistance to navigate the Houston ship channel and we made an unscheduled stop to transfer a passenger for medical reasons. None of these incidents impacted the port of call schedule. The Navigator gave an interesting presentation about shipboard operations including navigation. There is also a behind the scenes ship tour, but it’s rather expensive at $150 per person. One item we do recommend is the on-board future cruise credit. You can put a $100 down, per person, to gain future on-board credits and reduced deposits that are combinable with other promotions so you can leverage your best deal. It’s good for up to two years (we don’t plan on waiting that long) and then refundable if you don’t use. Overall this is a win-win, low risk deal so go for it. Disembarkation was handled in an efficient and timely fashion. You’re assigned a color and number which will designate your que area and time for disembarkation. Baggage to be put out in hall at dinner time on the day before arrival, and you won’t see till you claim port side so remember to keep items and a bag/case for that last nite stuff. You’ll claim your bag in the port facility then proceed to US Customs for processing. As info; the State of TX will tax all booze and cigarettes, if you’re a state resident or not, that you bring back. Transfer busses were waiting to return us to Houston Bush (IAH). Loaded up quickly and we’re dropped back in plenty of time to hit the airline lounge and make our 2:30PM departure. Overall a very relaxing trip, a week goes amazingly fast when you’re being pampered on the Emerald Princess. We are already thinking about our next cruise with Princess! Happy Cruising.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
Our total experience on Princess was just great. This was our third time with Princess. We have sailed previously on Disney, Celebrity, Holland America and Norwegian. Staff was very friendly and very efficient. The Emerald Princess is ... Read More
Our total experience on Princess was just great. This was our third time with Princess. We have sailed previously on Disney, Celebrity, Holland America and Norwegian. Staff was very friendly and very efficient. The Emerald Princess is decorated in a more subtle fashion than most ships. Did not have the "Las Vegas" over the top look. Dining: The food in the dining room was about as good as we have seen on any previous sailing. On 7 day trips, we normally eat in the alternative dining venues around four nights. We opted for Sabatini's this year on the second night. Very good food and service. We are at the age that we are just not eating much at night, so we had a difficult time justifying the additional $50 per night cost. That said, anyone eating a full evening meal should take advantage of this option. Sanctuary: We tried the Sanctuary on the second day at sea; The day was a little chilly. Although it was certainly nice and the service was solicitous, we could not see much more value than just sitting on our balcony. Ports: The ports were not a big draw for us. We use this sailing as an opportunity to get out of the cold for a week in January. Please see port reviews below. Entertainment: Entertainment is not high on our criteria for sailing. The entertainment segment usually fills the 45 to 60 minute period after dinner prior to going back to the room to read. Although our expectations for entertainment on any ship are low, unfortunately this experience was poor. The productions seemed to over reach the talent of the performers. In our view, the finished product was sub standard. Overall: The dining, staff, public rooms and our room were all Very Good. One of our best sailings. We would highly recommend this cruise line, staff, and ship. Hope this helps.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
We were lucky to spend a week on the wonderful Emerald Princess January 25-February 1. We enjoyed every moment on board. It was our first Princess experience. We sailed with Celebrity and Norwegian before. We liked everything: the friendly ... Read More
We were lucky to spend a week on the wonderful Emerald Princess January 25-February 1. We enjoyed every moment on board. It was our first Princess experience. We sailed with Celebrity and Norwegian before. We liked everything: the friendly smiling staff, the entertainment every evening was very professional, the food was very good and the service was prompt. We did traditional dining in the Da Vinci restaurant , never had a problem! Our cabin was always clean and ready for us. I took 2 shore Princess excursions (Maya ruins and city drive in Belize and Tequila experience in Cozumel). Very good guides, tons of information,fun! My husband preferred to stay on the ship and enjoy the sea breeze. I attended 3 Zumba sessions and loved it! Also I liked the Cruise Director conducting the interdenominational services on Monday and Saturday, very interesting perspective! Thank you Princess! We'll come back. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
Embarkation: Unloading baggage and parking was incredibly easy at the Houston (Bay Port) Cruise Terminal. The only delay was waiting for a wheel chair that my wife needed to get aboard the ship. After twenty minutes delay, the ship ... Read More
Embarkation: Unloading baggage and parking was incredibly easy at the Houston (Bay Port) Cruise Terminal. The only delay was waiting for a wheel chair that my wife needed to get aboard the ship. After twenty minutes delay, the ship provided the wheel chair. From then on the embarkation went very smoothly. We were registered and in our cabin within fifteen minutes. Whether this was because we had assistance from a crew member helping my wife board or not, guests seemed to move through the lines quickly and efficiently. Cabin: We were in a balcony cabin on the Baha (11th) deck. The cabin was faily spacious and laid out to our liking. There was plenty of storage space. The bathroom and shower were a bit cramped, however. The balcony was roomy and well-appointed with two chairs and a small table. The cabin and balcony were clean and well-maintained. The only material deficiency I noticed was the inability of the TV remote controller to turn the TV on or off. This was reported to maintenance by our cabin steward but was never rectified during our cruise. The location of the cabin was far aft, starboard side of the vessel. It was convenient to dining but a very long way from the theater and fitness center. The room was quiet but susceptible to ship movements. Ship’s Condition: Emerald Princess was commissioned in 2007 and refurbished in 2012. Overall, the interior spaces were in excellent condition. There was some rust on exterior surfaces. The maintenance crew worked throughout the cruise painting, scraping, etc. The exterior of our cabin (balcony) was washed down including doors, windows, and railing. Food: Meals in the dining rooms and the Horizon Food Court were above average for cruise fare. Menu selection was varied and the dining room presentations were excellent. Fast food included hamburgers, hot dogs, pizza, bratwurst, and knockwurst. All items were above average to excellent. The International Café offered salads, pastries, and some sweets. All were very good. A word to the wise: do not eat in the Horizon Food Court on the day of departure. It is much too crowded, very difficult to find seating, and some food items run out. A better alternative is to eat in one of the dining rooms upon arrival to the ship. Service: Service aboard the Emerald Princess has markedly improved since we last sailed on Princess. Even though we were assigned AnyTime Dining, the waiters and assistant waiters were friendly, attentive, and efficient. Our room steward, Allen, was one of the best we have ever had over our 25 cruises. The room was always clean and towels were replaced twice daily. Pool towels were allowed to be left by the pools and were replaced in our cabins daily as well. Assistance for my wife with her wheel chair was wonderful in all venues. Princess should be very proud of their crew; they were wonderful. Entertainment: The ship’s production numbers were awful; much below the standards set by most cruise lines. The singers reminded me of some amateur hour talent show. The dancers were never in sync and the productions themselves were weak at best. Henry Hood played in several venues and was fair at best; he had an annoying way about him and was a consummate self-promoter. The only saving grace was singer/guitarist, Duncan Tuck, who was excellent. Princess really needs to work on this aspect of their cruises as they are being far outclassed by Holland America, Celebrity, and Royal Caribbean. Fitness Center: The ship’s fitness center was well-outfitted with adequate cardio equipment, excerpt for upright bicycles. There were only two for a passenger load of 3100. Use of the treadmills was limited to the hours of 8 AM to 8 PM since there were some cabins below the workout area. Not a bad idea. Ports: We visited Costa Maya, Belize, and Cozumel. My wife and I choose to remain on board for most of the ports. I did walk around Cozumel and found it safe and clean for a Caribbean port. Cannot comment on ship sponsored excursions. But in talking with other guests, I didn’t hear of any significant problems. Ship’s Officers: Most of the ship’s senior officers were readily available and quite visible throughout the cruise. I had occasion to speak to the ship’s captain several times during the voyage. He was always friendly and quite informative. Debarkation: We again required wheel chair assistance for my wife. It was handled efficiently and courteously. The crew member who helped my wife even stayed with her until I brought the car around, and helped load our luggage. We couldn’t have been more pleased. It is little things like the above that made our experience most memorable.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
This was my 55th cruise, but only my 3rd cruise on Princess. We arrived at the pier around 11am and quickly found the Preferred Check in Line and were quickly checked in. We were directed to a lady at a round table to get a boarding card. ... Read More
This was my 55th cruise, but only my 3rd cruise on Princess. We arrived at the pier around 11am and quickly found the Preferred Check in Line and were quickly checked in. We were directed to a lady at a round table to get a boarding card. She looked at out Cruise Cards and handed us a number 6, which we objected to since we were in a full suite. She told us to go sit in the green chairs. My husband found someone else in the terminal and she directed us to the Elite Lounge to wait and said we should have been given one of the boarding cards for the lounge, but invited us in without them. She said we would board at 11:30am and at 11:30 on the dot she escorted us to the gangway. We went straight to our cabin and put our bags down and went to see which dining room they were using for the sit down embarkation luncheon. The first dining room we tried was closed, so I picked up the phone by the elevator and called Guest Services. The girl who answered the phone flat out lied and said the only lunch option was on the Lido. We found an employee down in the piazza who directed us to the dining room that was open. We had a nice lunch and then explored the ship. The safety drill was easy as our muster station was in Club Fusion. It did seem kind of ridiculous to have to bring the life jacket, but they made everyone put them on to make sure that they knew how. At least we did not have to go out on deck in the cold, as we have done on RCCL. They did scan the cruise cards to take attendance. We booked an aft S6 Suite and were very pleased with the Cabin. C-751 is larger inside than others in the same category, but does have the obstructed balcony. It was no problem at all and we were able to use the loungers and have meals out on the balcony at the table. The bathroom was larger than the S3 suite we had last year. We were assigned table 27 at Late Dining in the Botticelli Dining Room. It was a table for 4 at the window that was set for 2, since that is what we requested. We liked having the extra room at the table. Our waiter Jorge and his assistant Amir were very nice and very efficient. We are gluten free and Jorge went out of his way for us. One evening the Head Waiter, who handled the gluten free orders was tied up and we were ready to leave. Jorge told us he would leave the menus for the next evening at the entrance to the dining room serving breakfast and we should stop by and ask for him. The menus were there and he spied us and came over and took our orders. Manuel, our Head Waiter was great and made arrangements for special Gluten Free desserts every night. Breakfast in Sabatini's was the highlight of our day. The Maitre'D, Gianni, was delightful. He only asked for our cabin number the first morning and after he greeted us by name every morning. Our favorite waiter was Madgalena from Poland, but we also had great service from Adrian, Lemus and Aga. The first night of the cruise we had our complimentary suite dinner in Crown Grille. Our waiter, David, was great. We had him the previous year on the Caribbean Princess in Sabatini's and he remembered us and that we were gluten free. He took great care of us. We were on the cruise to just chill and this is the first time that we did not see any of the shows, attend the Champagne Waterfall or go to any of the venues to hear the music. We relaxed in our cabin, up by the pool or out on our balcony. We slept late and went to bed early. For us it was a perfect cruise. Disembarkation was super easy. We were assigned luggage tags that were to be called at 8:25. We waited in Club Fusion with the other Suite and Elite guests. They actually escorted us to the gangway at 8:15. We found our luggage, had no wait at all to get through Immigration and Customs and were in our car and on the way home by 8:30am. The only complaints I have were about the girl in the terminal giving out boarding cards who clearly did not know what she was doing and the person at Guest Services who flat out lied about there only being lunch at the buffet. Everyone else was very friendly, knowledgeable and provided great service.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
We returned Sunday from a week of pampering aboard the Emerald Princess! From embarkation to debarkation, everything was great. This was our second (of hopefully many more) with Princess and truly believe Princess is the line for us. From ... Read More
We returned Sunday from a week of pampering aboard the Emerald Princess! From embarkation to debarkation, everything was great. This was our second (of hopefully many more) with Princess and truly believe Princess is the line for us. From parking the car to entering our Lido Balcony stateroom, 25 minutes!! We were greeted by our cabin stewardess, Erika (who was great!), dropped our carry-ones and headed to Horizon Court for a bite to eat. We met people we had recently sailed with other lines that were amazed at the difference in the level of service provided by Princess. We've experienced that ourselves on another line. It is refreshing to know that Princess still regards outstanding customer service from every crew member as a top priority. We saw smiling faces and friendly greetings from every crew member we encountered, what a treat!! After all, who wants to be surrounded by a bunch of sour grapes when you're on vacation? We got a late start due to high winds in the channel but no one minded as we watched football on deck. 2 days at sea and we reached our first port of call, Costa Maya. Beautiful weather greeted us as we docked and went ashore for a bit of sightseeing. Next port was Belize and with heavy rain and tenders to shore we decided to stay onboard and enjoy the empty ship, relaxing in the uncrowded spa:). On deck we met Marvin, from Grenada, best F&B supervisor on board! He made the rest of our cruise the best it could be. We enjoyed the casino and brought a little of Princess' money home with us and even split a jackpot in Bingo!!:) Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
I booked a cruise to celebrate my parent's 60 wedding anniversary. Since we live in Texas, it's so much easier and cheaper to drive to Houston than fly. The cruise went to Roatan, Honduras, Belize City and Cozumel. My husband and ... Read More
I booked a cruise to celebrate my parent's 60 wedding anniversary. Since we live in Texas, it's so much easier and cheaper to drive to Houston than fly. The cruise went to Roatan, Honduras, Belize City and Cozumel. My husband and I booked 2 staterooms with balconies and was pleasantly suprised to see we got upgraded to a mini-stateroom with $50 ship credit from Princess and $50 from Vacations To Go! My parent's room (Caribe 10 Deck) had a larger balcony with four chairs so we liked to sit outside with them and shared their complimentary champagne. I was able to bring my own wine (1 per person) and kept it in the mini-fridge. We were treated with such friendliness, starting with the parking people at the Houston Port cruise terminal to every single Princess employee! Parking (paid on-line,) embarkation, customs and debarkation were super smooth! We have twice sailed on Holland America to Alaska before but the Emerald Princess was larger and just as nice. However the Gulf of Mexico and Carribean are rougher seas and I was seasick a few times. I tried the ginger tablets, essential oil, and wristbands, and reluctantly used Dramamine on the last day only to fall asleep for two hours! I did feel better the rest of the day. I even felt seasick while snorkeling in Belize. Our room steward, Robert, was quite efficient and friendly -- wish I could sneak him home with me and my house would magically be clean! We opted for the early 5:45 pm seating for dinner and totally enjoyed the food and impeccable service. Our waiters, Chaiyut and Kiattisan, from the Philippines, were prompt and professional. My parents had dinner in the Crown Grill one night and raved about the lobster. My husband and I went to Sabbatinis which was equally good and very romantic. We never skipped dessert either! Needless to say, I'm on a diet now. One morning we had breakfast in the Da Vinci dining room where it's nice to sit down and order from a menu and dine with other folks. On port days, we opted for the buffet breakfast because it was faster and we had excursions booked. We enjoyed eating breakfast from the Caribe Cafe and sitting outside on the bow deck, enjoying the fresh air and view. Lunch was just okay, nothing special. We are not big drinkers, but occasionally bought a glass of wine or beer. Not a great selection so I'm glad I brought my own favorite wine to sip on before dinner. Once, I got the Drink of the Day in Cozumel -- a delicious frozen margarita. Unfortunately they ran out of straws. One thing I was surprised about were all the sales promotions for jewelry, art, spa services, etc. -- pages of ads in the daily newsletters, PA announcements. If you attend an informative seminar, there was a sales pitch to endure. When you get off the boat in port, you walk through all the duty-free, Tanzanite and diamond shops. When you get back on, the spa people were there to entice you for their services. On-board activities were definitely geared to an older crowd although younger people might like Knitters, Bible Study, Bridge, Bingo, Speed Sudoko, seminars on non-surgical face lifts and footprint analysis. I would have preferred more cultural, historical, wildlife presentations with a naturalist that doesn't have anything to sell! I participated in Zumba one morning but there were too many people crowded on the dance floor of the Fusion Night Club. The Brit instructor looked a bit out of shape too. Since I had my husband captive on the board, so to speak, and he hates posing for photos, I booked a session to take those beautiful black and white portraits in the Platinum Studio. Our photographer, Rozanna from South Africa, played music, offered a glass of wine, and got us laughing -- all in 30 minutes. As a result, the poses were very natural. The next evening she presented us with nearly 80 images in a slideshow where we narrowed our choices down to 4 poses and got a free 8X10. Before the photo shoot, I had my hair styled in the salon by Sushant from India. I thought it was well worth the $49 because my hair is always frizzy and Sushant transformed it! Quite a sweet guy, only 21 years old, and he's seeing the world! Afterward he did try to sell me two expensive hair products that I declined. For entertainment after dinner, we enjoyed Tom McTigue, an excellent comedian who happens to play the photography teacher in the Oscar-nominated film, Boyhood! The magician was okay, not David Blaine-caliber, but a fun show. If you want to see a show, make sure you get there 1/2 hour ahead of time. We skipped the song & dance and disco shows and watched recently released movies on TV instead. There's a good band that plays rock, country and pop covers out by the big pool during the day -- my 83-year old dad really liked it! On sea days I would find a quiet spot on deck, stretch out in the sunshine and read a book. Bliss! I did yoga in my room because the offered class ($12) was too early for me. Excursions -- In Roatan, we got a private tour with Victor Bodden ($25 for 4 people) plus $10 at the iguana farm where you get to feed them. Iguanas are ALL over the place, even in the trees. Another $5 at Monkey Business where the little cappuchins and macaws jump on your shoulder, plus $10 for lunch. Our guide was informative and drove us all over the island. However, he did take us to an souvenir shop that was twice as expensive as the shops at the Mahogany Bay cruise terminal shops. In Belize City, we used Sun Kissed Excursions, also known as Ecotours, for Goff's Caye Beach and Snorkeling. $40 each, not including lunch. It was a 35-minute boat ride from the port to the beach where we were provided the equipment, then jumped off the boat and snorkeled half-way around the island in turquoise blue water. I did see a lion fish but not much else. Plus I was getting seasick. After 45 minutes of snorkeling, we had about a couple of hours to lay on the board. It started getting crowded as we were leaving around 1 pm. Cave tubing and zip-lining would have been fun too but we had already done that at a previous trip to Belize. My parents also used Sun Kissed Excursions to go to Lamanai Mayan ruins by way of a speedboat on the river. They loved it! No need to book expensive excursions in Cozumel. We just hired a taxi and for $25 each, the driver spent 3 hours driving us all around the island, stopping at Playa Palancar for a hour where we sat on the lovely beach before the crowds came around 10 am. In all, the crew on Emerald Princess works really hard at trying to provide a vacation for all kinds of people, even LGBT, singles, children and seniors. The only drawbacks were all the sales pitches and not enough active activities geared to younger people.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
We just returned from our first cruise and had a very good experience. The Emerald Princess was in good shape, but in need of some TLC.The food in the dining room was very good and the staff was amazing. The buffet food was horrible as was ... Read More
We just returned from our first cruise and had a very good experience. The Emerald Princess was in good shape, but in need of some TLC.The food in the dining room was very good and the staff was amazing. The buffet food was horrible as was the food at the fast food areas. The pools were never crowded but could have been heated the first two days out of Houston. Our room steward was Florentino and was exceptional. He attended to every need. Karino from Peru and Ferdinand from Portugal in the dining room were always with a smile and good cheer and gave great service. The negative was the shopping staff. Vince in his speech said diamonds are mined in Belize, cut in Costa Maya, and sold in Cozumel. I have never heard of diamonds being mined in Belize? Also not sure if the savvy traveler coupon book was worth the $25.00 paid. Beware of the sales pressure and fast talker! But the rest of the staff was amazing- with no problems not even a funny look. Kelvin, Dan and Mark were at the top of their game, always entertaining.The ship with 3,000 passengers never seemed crowded at all. If so inclined the shore excursions were easily booked once at port and were much more reasonable than through the Princess Lines. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
This was the second time we've been on the Emerald. We were on it during its second year in the Mediterranean and now it is seven years old. She still looks very nice and they take good care of her, painting, replacing carpet, etc ... Read More
This was the second time we've been on the Emerald. We were on it during its second year in the Mediterranean and now it is seven years old. She still looks very nice and they take good care of her, painting, replacing carpet, etc that we saw while on board. Our mini suite, cabin D114 (portside), was very nice, but we were very forward and did feel the movement a little more than the mid ship staterooms we were accustomed to, but it wasn't real bad by any means. The Christmas decorations were beautiful around the ship! The added room in our cabin was nice with three of us sharing the space. Having a tub is also something you don't get in a regular balcony stateroom, and we enjoyed the bigger bathroom. The sofa bed for our grown daughter was great because the long sofa still had a portion to sit on even though the bed was open. Good idea! Our large queen size bed was comfortable for me but not as comfortable for my husband. The dining staff was the best of any of our 7 other cruises (4 th on Princess) They went way out of their way to please us, no matter what we requested! If we wanted a bottle of wine that we had not finished in a previous dining room for Anytime Dining, they tracked it down. If we wanted to try two different desserts, they just brought them without us even asking for both. They were all so friendly and never acted as if we were troubling them in any way. Many had a super sense of humor and made our dining experience a real pleasure. Entertainment we saw only on some of the evenings, so can't judge them all. The trivia game in the Explorers Lounge was very fun, the comedian illusionist was terrific, and the Casino non- smoking nights were good for just a little while, so as not to lose too much. Dancing in the Wheelhouse Bar was nice. We even learned some new dance steps in the Club Fusion. Bingo was well attended and was more reasonable to play than on other cruise lines. When you think about the chef having to plan for 15,000 meals per day, it is amazing what they are able to accomplish. We ate one evening in the Crown Grill Steakhouse and thought it was outstanding, well worth the $25 surcharge. Also on our last evening, we dined in the beautiful Sabatini's restaurant and had a wonderful meal, also a specialty restaurant. We never bought the alcohol package because we didn't feel it was worth it. You are allowed to bring a 750 mL bottle of wine per person in each cabin without a corkage fee. It was nice to sip a glass of wine on our balcony before dinner. At dinner we'd order a glass of wine and a pina colada by the pool, but never would have spent the amount of the alcohol package. The exciursions were okay except that in Belize we had to use local catamarans that held about 200 passengers to tender us to shore instead of the tenders from our ship. Because of that, it was open air and cooler on the morning trip to shore. The 2 hour river cruise was in an open air boat that was not very comfortable, it rained on us and we were cold, but we saw many crocodiles, iguanas, birds, and even bats on trees. Interesting. Tulum in Mexico was a long trip from the ship because you had to take a 30 minute big enclosed speed boat trip before taking a 45 minute motorcoach ride to the Mayan Ruins of Tulum . I felt it was worth it to see this ancient civilization on the gorgeous turquoise sea, but felt that I also missed a day on the beautiful beaches. You can't do it all! I figured that you can't always see the ruins on this magnitude. I loved this particular cruise because there were 3 full days at sea and it was so relaxing to just do your own thing! Whether it be walking the Promenade deck 3 times around for 1 mile of exercise or going to the big fitness center or just lounging under the huge outdoor screen to see a Beatles concert or see an NFL game, there was always something to see, eat, or do. I truly believe that it is up to each individual's attitude as to whether you will enjoy yourself or not. Some people complain about very minute things when on the whole picture, the cruise was wonderful and the staff was terrific in every way! Would we cruise with Princess again? Absolutely. It is very economical for what you get and if you paid a lot more on a high end smaller cruise line, you would expect more. Free liquor with dinner, smaller numbers at dinner, no waiting, etc., but we didn't break the bank and were very pleased ! We had a great time.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
As seasoned cruisers we weren't sure what to expect from the Emerald or the Houston Port, based on prior negative reviews. We are happy to say we didn't experience any of the negatives reported by prior naysayers. Port ... Read More
As seasoned cruisers we weren't sure what to expect from the Emerald or the Houston Port, based on prior negative reviews. We are happy to say we didn't experience any of the negatives reported by prior naysayers. Port Pros:Road construction around the port is substantially done, but the road signage was still inadequate as of Dec 14, 2014. The parking lot has been enlarged, and appeared to be big enough now. Cons: Parking lot directional signage was absent. Cops and parking attendants gave contradictory instructions to those arriving. Embarkation Pros: We experienced none of the embarkation process problems (identified in earlier reports). Signage was improved, but could be beefed up even more to match other ports like Ft. Lauderdale. Cons: They allow queue lines to cross in two areas (Check-in area and Plat/Elite/Suite waiting areas) which adds confusion.They also need more wheelchairs and pushers for mobility challenged folks at the start of embarkation. Ship/Excursions Pros: All crew was polite, eager to assist, and generally pleasant from top to bottom. Captain is fun, runs a tight ship of which he is obviously proud. The Emerald is starting to show her age (worn carpeting, bits of rust here and there, worn toilet seats, etc.) but the crew was constantly working on her- she is not neglected in any way. We had a cracked bathtub and a few toilets in public spaces overflow. Cons: Our only complaint surrounds the Excursions themselves, not the staff that facilitates them. We found details in the descriptions frequently inadequate, incomplete or just plain wrong. It appears Princess has sacrificed the "traveler" and suboptimized for larger "cattle call" tourist like experiences. Competitors are doing a better job in this area, and we believe Princess needs a significant revamp to compete with the burgeoning options. We've stopped using Princess excursions entirely, but booked two events for my independent, yet mobility challenged Mom. Both attempts were busts for her, as they failed to describe obvious impediments that prevented her access. Sadly, we were not credited in either instance. Dining/Bar/Entertainment All Pros, no Cons. Staff, food service and bar entertainment absolutely met our expectations in every way. We ate late each night and caught MUTS rather than going to the theater shows on this trip. Cabins All Pro: The Dolphin floor is entirely comprised of Mini Suites, which we successfully upgraded to right before we sailed. Cabin steward, "Reynaldo," was awesome and we had NO issues what so ever. Shopping Pros: The Effy store is a great addition. The prep for onshore shoppers is always well orchestrated. The addition of J Ribkoff, Tommy Bahama and Nautica clothes is FABULOUS. The tanzanite selection was incredible- onboard and on-shore. Cons: The jewelry choices onboard should be balanced between low, med and hi. Currently its too weighted at the extreme low and high ends, and the mid range options are suffering. For instance, I buy gold and silver charms for everyone on each cruise, but sadly I had no options on the Emerald from which to chose. (Ruby was better in this regard.) Overall, Emerald is doing a great job at meeting the expectations of it's patrons. Princess will remain our preferred cruise line, even if we don't like how they manage their excursion options. They cannot expect us to pay a premium for their excursions when they don't return the value for the cost: they are too short, have too many people, or are too often inaccurately described to be deemed reliable.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
We decide a month before the sail date to go away for Christmas on a short cruise from an easily accessible port. We had been on the Star Princess in 2007 to the Greek Islands. We chose the Dec 21 departure from Houston on a 7 day journey ... Read More
We decide a month before the sail date to go away for Christmas on a short cruise from an easily accessible port. We had been on the Star Princess in 2007 to the Greek Islands. We chose the Dec 21 departure from Houston on a 7 day journey to the Western Caribbean with stops in Roatan (Honduras), Belize, and Cozumel. The food was good. We especially liked the Crown Grill, Crab Shack and the Pizza and Ice Cream bar. The 7 bottle Gold wine package was a good deal. The entertainment was excellent as was the service. The transfer from and to Hobby airport was easy and well organized. There were plenty of choices for shore excursions. The ship was well decorated for Christmas and the crew sand several Christmas carols. Santa Claus showed up on Christmas Day. video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vHGMaJ7Y4Hc All in all we had a great time. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
I was initially concerned about cruising on the Emerald Princess at Christmas for fear that: 1) the ship would be overrun with unsupervised children, 2) we'd have problems departing and arriving in the Port of Houston due to fog and ... Read More
I was initially concerned about cruising on the Emerald Princess at Christmas for fear that: 1) the ship would be overrun with unsupervised children, 2) we'd have problems departing and arriving in the Port of Houston due to fog and 3) that the number of passengers would make for a crowded ship. I am happy to report that none of my fears materialized and that our Christmas cruise was very merry indeed. Embarkation: We (two adults in late 50's and two adults in mid 20's) stayed the night prior to the cruise at the Springhill Suites at Hobby Airport. The hotel offered free shuttle service from the airport and to anywhere within 5 miles of the hotel. This worked our great for us because we had family members arriving at Hobby at 3 different times and they just came to the hotel on the shuttle. Also, the shuttle was great for taking us to restaurants, Walmart, etc. The next day we called Pasadena Taxis and they sent a nice minivan for our party of 4. The cost, as they estimated beforehand, was around $50. We arrived at the time Princess requested we do so (noon - 1pm) and the line was rather long, but moved at a good pace. We were onboard the ship within 30 minutes of arriving at the port. The ship departed the Port of Houston almost on time--no fog problems. Public Rooms: This was the largest Princess ship I had ever sailed on, so I was a little concerned that it would feel crowded. Not so. There were plenty of public places to go which were uncrowded. In fact, this felt as one of the most un-crowded ships I've ever been on. Because this was a Christmas cruise, all of the public areas were decorated which made it especially nice. The Piazza was wonderful and we enjoyed the champagne waterfall, Christmas caroling and other programs here. Another of our favorite spots was the area outside the Explorers Lounge. There were always some tables and chairs there where we could play our Scrabble game. The outside areas were equally uncrowded. Our go-to place for breakfast was the Caribe Cafe and the area behind the cafe and our go-to place for sunning and swimming was at the Terrace Pool. This area seemed to be a secret from most of the passengers because they were crowded in the Horizon Court and around the Calypso and Neptune Pools. The only public area that was a disappointment to me was the library. For such a large ship, this was a pitifully small library. Cabin: Our party had both a balcony room and an inside room. The rooms on Princess are somewhat smaller than their counterparts on other cruiseships, but they are still fine. I will say that we had more than enough storage space for all of our clothes and luggage. And having a mini-fridge in all of the rooms is a big plus for Princess. The beds on Princess have always been so comfortable to me. Our cabins were on the Aloha Deck and we never heard a thing--no sounds from the ship, no sounds from the passengers, no sounds of the stewards' carts. This was the quietest room I've ever had on a ship. Fitness and Recreation: The fitness room was similar to most fitness rooms on other cruise ships. Treadmills were the most popular machines but were available for use only after 8am due to the fact that there were cabins underneath. The gym was open from 6am to 10pm. There were lots of other recreational areas--putting course, croquet, half-size shuffleboard, and basketball. Enrichment Activities: I don't recall any on this cruise. On previous Princess cruises, there have been educational talks about the ports-of-call, but not so on this ship. There were also not any "Scholarship at Sea" programs. Dining: Our dining experience (late traditional) started out poorly when we were assigned a table in a highly-trafficked area next to the waiter's service area. We could see several other tables in quieter areas which were empty, so the next day I contacted the head waiter for the Botticello dining room and we were immediately re-assigned to a quiet table next to the window. (I wonder why passengers were seated at less-desireable locations when prime locations were available?) The breakfasts in the Caribe Cafe were fine, but we were never able to get any grapefruit despite being told we could. For lunch, we always had pizza, hot dogs or hamburgers and they were all delicious. We never waited for the grilled foods and there was never more than a 5 - 10 minute wait for pizza. The dinner menu was OK, but I have always found the food on Princess to be rather bland. Since this was a cruise out of Texas, I would have expected some spicer food as we love our Tex-Mex and BBQ. Even the food choices that were supposed to be spicy were not. Princess would do a real service to their customers by providing a "spicy" option at each meal. Entertainment: There was lots of entertainment on this ship. We did not attend any of the production shows, but the performances by the guest performers, singer Lovena B. Fox and magician Michael Barron were excellent! The Christmas caroling by the staff was such fun and there were other programs in the Piazza which I enjoyed. My only gripe about the entertainment was that there was a nightly game show (trivia, etc.) each night at 9:15 pm, but those who had traditional late dining could not participate because we were never finished with our meals until 9:30 pm or later. Shore Excursions: We had 3 port stops and we did a ship's excursion in Belize. I prefer private tours, but since this was a tender port and since we were only in port until 4:30 pm, I was afraid to book a private tour for our destination, the Lamanai Mayan Ruins. Like all big tours, we waited around a LOT but the excursion met our expectations. I will say Princess does a good job on their website letting you know exactly where you will go on your excursion and how much time you will spend there. The lunch, however, on this excursion was poor. The meal consisted of 2 small pieces of chicken, rice and coleslaw. I barely had enough to eat and my 6'4" son certainly did not. Service: The service on the Emerald Princess was excellent. The staff was friendly and seemed to do all that they could to ensure you had a great experience. My interactions with the head waiter and with the pursers desk were productive. Debarkation: We arrived in the Port of Houston about an hour later than scheduled due to weather. However, they made up some of this time and we debarked only 30 minutes later than scheduled. The debarkation was pretty good, but our assigned area, the Crown Grill, was too small for everyone who was supposed to be there. We ended up waiting in another area and ocassionally walking over to the Crown Grill to check on our debarkation time. Going through Customs and Immigration in Houston was easy and we quickly got a taxi (Pasadena Taxi again) to Hobby airport. The cost was around $60. Value for Money: Because this was a Christmas cruise, the cost was much higher than the cost of this same cruise at other times. Therefore, our "value-for'money" was less. However, this was a great cruise and I would recommend both the Emerald Princess and doing a Christmas cruise. A Final Note: As previously mentioned, I was really concerned about booking a Christmas cruise for 4 adults for fear we'd be overrun by children. When we were in the embarcation line, I commented to my spouse as to how few children there were. During the entire cruise we saw relatively few children and we did not experience ANY rude, misbehaving or unsupervised children. I was very pleasantly surprised.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
Let me start by saying that this is our 5th cruise on Princess. We had read all the negative reviews posted recently on this ship and its cruise. And quite frankly, they concerned us. But we were already booked and there was nothing we ... Read More
Let me start by saying that this is our 5th cruise on Princess. We had read all the negative reviews posted recently on this ship and its cruise. And quite frankly, they concerned us. But we were already booked and there was nothing we could do about it. NONE of the horrible things those other reviews said happened to them--happened to us...NONE OF THEM. Lets start with the only thing that really did go wrong. We had signed up for Princess to provide transportation from Houston Hobby Airport to the embarcation dock on Sunday morning, Dec. 7th. We arrived in plenty of time that morning at the airport. For some reason, the bus was running over an hour late....and nobody knew why...not even the agents. So, that was frustrating. But the busses did eventually show up and they took all of our luggage and we never saw our luggage again until it was delivered to our room onboard the ship. So, that was cool. Lets make one thing clear from the top. If you want belly-flop contests, kids screaming, running, splashing and be annoying..... cruise with Carnival. If you like conga-lines...cruise with Carnival. If you want non-stop partying and drinking...cruise with Carnival. If you want an elegant ship...cruise with Princess. You you want good entertainment geared towards adults...cruise with Princess. If you want very good food....and alot of it...cruise with Princess. If you like to lay next to the pool, and not be splashed by 100 kids...cruise with Princess. If kids screaming is not your definition of peace and quite...cruise with Princess. Most importantly, if you want to relax...and enjoy peace and quiet... and be treated like royalty by the staff....cruise with Princess. This is exactly what you will and will not get on the Emerald Princess. Embarcation was a breeze. The only complaint was that they passed out a form at the beginning of the line that had to be returned before you can actually go onboard. It was a struggle to fill the form out and keep up with the line moving. For those of us who used Princesses transportation from the airport...it would have been much better to have been given that form when we boarded the bus so we could have filled out the form during the 35 minute bus ride to the dock. The Ship. The Emerald Princess is an elegant ship. Beautifully constracted with extensive use of varnished wood throughout the ship. The Atrium is truly elegant...as opposed to Carnival where the Atrium is all splash and glitter. The Vines venue in the Atrium is a 5-star venue by anyones definition. Our balcony cabin was A435. And we loved it. It was only a few steps away from the elevators midship....so we never had to walk far to get back home. It was very quiet...no outside noises whatsover. Our cabin Steward, Christian, was excellent...just excellent. He provided us with everything was asked for. He referred to us by our names when we met him in the Halllway, our room was cleaned 3 times a day. I asked him to iron my suit and shirts for formal night and requested that they be returned by 5PM the next day. At precisely, 5PM the next day, Christian knocked on our door with our freshly ironed suits and shirts. I wish I could remember his last name, so I could give him the credit he deserves. The crew was from all over the world. Some were from the Ukraine. I was amazed at how they could be so happy and smile at us when their country is at war...but they did. Everyone who serves on that ship made you feel like family....so friendly, so happy to see you. The entertainment onboard was must better than others have described it. The singers and dancers were excellent. The comedians and magicians were very good. The Emerald Princess does not have a dedicated "comedy club" and I did miss that. But however, there was always plenty of things to go see and do at night. Their cruise director Kelvin was especially HILARIOUS. Do not miss a chance to hear him. He is very funny, and you can't help but to like him. The food in the main dining room was very good and the service was faster than what we had experienced on other ships. We chose "anytime dining" and the key to making this work is to call for a reservation that morning. We always called and reserved our table for 5:15 OR 5:30, and we walked right in. Those that did not, they did have to stand in a very long line waiting for dinner. YOU MUST use Exotic Eco Adventures in Belize to take you to Goff's Caye. They will meet on the dock in Belize and after a 30 minute boat ride equipt with 2-200 HP outboards. They will dock on the most beautiful spit of land you have ever seen. Trust me, go the trip advisor and search for Exotic Eco Adventures in Beize....and Goff's Caye. Many called it PARADISE....and that is what it is...PARADISE. Everyone in our group loved this little small island. They serve FREE fun punches throughou the day. They will even bring you your own bottle to your chair. Barbeque chicken and lobster lunches are $12.00 This small island IS NOT TO BE MISSED. The ship does not offer it as an excusion...so please do yourself a favor and contact Exotic Eco Adventures and have them take you to Goffs Caye. You will never forget it!!! In Roatan, we contracted with Juan Carlos with "Islandertours". He drove us around the Island and took us to the west end at Bananrama. You will learn everything you wanted to know about the island and many things you would have never known if you had not gone with this company. He is highly rated to Trip Advisor and he treated us wonderfully. Our group of 4 adults paid him $100 for the day.. ($25.00 each) ..and we tipped the driver $40.00. We recommend him highly. In Cozumel, we dove with Alison who runs "Scuba with Alison" There were many reason why we chose her. She runs a small boat..never takes more than 7 divers on her boat. We have been on "cattle boats before---and we hate them. Alison is personable, and excellent dive guide and she will take care of you. $90 for a two tank dive with all the equipment including a computer. They will set up all the gear for you and you will never set it up yourself...even between dives. You can look her up on trip advisor. Her reviews are all very positive and she will write you back very quickly if you decide to want to go scuba diving with her. And $8 taxi ride will get you to where her boat the Maximus is docked. The disembarcation went smoothly as well as the bus ride back to Houston Hobby. Overall, all four of us really loved this cruise. And we would recommend it to ANYONE that wants a quiet, peaceful, relaxing cruise. But you REALLY HAVE TO GO SEE GOFF'S KEY in Belize!!!!   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
This was our 10th cruise but only second on the Princess. Before we left I read many reviews that had me a bit worried. I decided to forget about the bad reviews and try it out for myself. I am so glad I did. I think this cruise was my ... Read More
This was our 10th cruise but only second on the Princess. Before we left I read many reviews that had me a bit worried. I decided to forget about the bad reviews and try it out for myself. I am so glad I did. I think this cruise was my most favorite one next to the cruise I took with mom and day in 1964 from England. The ship was clean and the staff was friendly. I noticed there were not any towel animals in the room and I was ok with that. The sea was smooth so I did not get nauseated one day which is very unusual. Our room was clean everyday. There were a few things I was not happy with. I slept in a top bunk and the bed was uncomfortable. The railings were rattling and it was hard to get off and on because of how it was positioned. I usually love sleeping in the top bunk and had a wonderful comfortable bed on a Royal Caribbean ship and hoped this one would be as good but it was not good at all. The bathroom was very, very small I was grateful that each member of my family was not over weight or else we would have hung out of the shower stall. My daughter is very slim and it was tight for her. All in all it was a great trip, I did not sleep as well because of the bunk and I was afraid I maybe a bit cranky but the staff was so genuinely nice that it all worked out well. The food was exceptional. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
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

Find an Emerald Princess Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click