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1,684 Princess Emerald Princess Cruise Reviews

I had not been on a cruise in years, and the thought of sailing out of Houston, away from the masses in Florida was very appealing to me. But I guess embarkation day, no matter where you depart from, is always going to be somewhat ... Read More
I had not been on a cruise in years, and the thought of sailing out of Houston, away from the masses in Florida was very appealing to me. But I guess embarkation day, no matter where you depart from, is always going to be somewhat chaotic, and this was no exception. I do give Princess credit for being organized about it all. That day was stressful because of the hoards of people everywhere. Initially, being honest, I thought it was horrible. But then as time went on and as people dispersed to places all over the ship, I enjoyed it. I especially enjoyed it when we were in ports and everyone got off. I stayed on and it was so nice a peaceful. I would say about 85% of the staff were excellent. My room steward, Jose, could NOT have been better and more accommodating. The room service staff likewise. The only place where I found the male staff to be consistently rude was a place called the International Cafe. But this was an exception, not the rule. The ship itself is stunningly beautiful in my opinion. My balcony stateroom was perfect. It had great air conditioning, extremely comfortable bed and excellent shower. The food was pretty good. Of course I understand that when you cook for thousands, it is a bit difficult to have a consistently high quality product, but I found it to be delicious most of the time. I will say to beware of being nickeled and dimed left and right. One of the International Cafe bar tenders deceived me into purchasing a $25 "specialty" coffee card after he told me I could not get regular coffee (which of course you can get..for free). I would suggest not buying anything until you get on board, see how much you use and then go from there. I would also suggest the same thing for excursions in different ports. I ended up not taking either one that I had paid for because I just felt like getting away from all the other passengers. This ship does have something for everyone and I think you would enjoy it. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
booked one suite and two balcony staterooms. Family cruise for 6. rooms were nice, clean and well maintained. disappointed in the buffet, unimaginative food without a lot of selection. The only redeeming feature was the Omelet cooked ... Read More
booked one suite and two balcony staterooms. Family cruise for 6. rooms were nice, clean and well maintained. disappointed in the buffet, unimaginative food without a lot of selection. The only redeeming feature was the Omelet cooked for breakfast. Formal nights were a joke. they will simply NOT enforce the dress code. I saw shorts and flip-flops on SUPPOSED formal nights. the food in the main dining rooms was top quality and we did enjoy our dinners. The CROWN GRILL was a fantastic steak house. service beyond perfect and the steaks were the best thing of the trip. sorely lacking in usual amenities. NO miniature golf course. NO full size shuffle board. they did have an idea of a shuffle board. it was crammed in an upper deck corner, about 12 feet long. they did have a croquet course which we used a couple of times. My two teenage grandsons did not think there was much for them except the pools. I have been on 2 other cruises and this one was far and away the roughest. in calm seas no less. I thing perhaps this older ship doesn't have more modern stabilizers. the trip was quite rough with rocking enough to almost throw you out of bed. Our rooms were on the very back of the ship so when they used the reverse thrusters to dock the entire room shook and rattled. We only booked this trip so we could go to Belize for the cave tubing. I have reviewed the Belize and Roatan potions of this trip on Trip advisor. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
We have traveled with Princess several times but this was our first experience on the Emerald. We were in a mini-suite which we believe is the best value for the amount of space you receive. We like the layout of the Royal Princess much ... Read More
We have traveled with Princess several times but this was our first experience on the Emerald. We were in a mini-suite which we believe is the best value for the amount of space you receive. We like the layout of the Royal Princess much better than the Emerald. The space in more functional. The Royal has a desk/dresser where you can put clothes away and out of site and a room divider if you're sharing living space. The Emerald has a rounded console that has open space to store items but seems to take up more space with less function. The Royal has two large screen wall mounted T.V.'s with on demand function. We did not realize how much we utilized this features until we sailed on the Emerald. We greatly missed the feature plus the rebroadcast Princess Live shows. The ship was clean and tidy and our steward, China, always kept everything immaculate. We still have not been overwhelmed with the food on Princess (except Crown Grill $25 pp surcharge) but appreciate the variety and flexibility. The entertainment was lacking and reminded me of a weak high school production. We will never embark from Houston again. We had to fly in the day before and it was very costly getting to the port and the local hotels did not provide shuttle service like they do in Ft. Lauderdale. In retrospect, we should have stayed near the airport at a hotel that offered shuttle service and went back to the airport the next day to utilize the Princess transfer (that would have been a steal compared to what we ended up paying). We enjoyed the snorkeling at Cozumel and did some shopping near the port. We used Shore Excursions and the staff went above and beyond to make sure your trip was enjoyable. We tendered in Belize City and went on a Shore Excursion to the Altun Ha Mayan ruins. The trip was interesting but would have like more history at the ruin site. Belize City is very third world and we have no desire to return. One of my co-workers in from there and was disgusted that the ship stopped there since there are some beautiful coastal destinations that don't have the filth of Belize City. Roatan Honduras has a very modern port that caters to tourists/divers. We went on a snorkel excursion through Princess and enjoyed the day out. The winds were too high so we could not go to the shipwreck site but the alternate site was okay. Overall, we enjoyed the cruise but kind of have a "been there done that" attitude regarding this itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
The reason for my title is only because I feel like the staff seemed "not in to it" on this one, possibly because it also seemed like the same amount of staff for almost 700 more passengers. They seemed shortstaffed overall in my ... Read More
The reason for my title is only because I feel like the staff seemed "not in to it" on this one, possibly because it also seemed like the same amount of staff for almost 700 more passengers. They seemed shortstaffed overall in my opinion. A few people were friendly, some just going through the motions and a quite a few were just not happy. On the Golden I never felt like that. The ship itself was in good shape, It seemed very clean at all times and nothing seemed to be falling into disrepair. That is a big plus. The piazza was beautiful with so much gold for the 50th anniversary. We did several activities like Bingo and line dancing and they were fine. The coffee bar was very inconsistent and you waited for what felt like forever to get served because of the way it was positioned between the bar and the IC. My coffees were good every time but never once the same. I had about a 50/50 ratio on friendliness there. The gelato was good there, only $1.50 for 3 scoops. That's amazing. We didn't enjoy the buffet at all, our family said it was fine/good for breakfast (we had Suite breakfast in Sabatinis every day) but we never enjoyed the dinners. We had lunch there once and it was pretty good. We also didn't like that they didn't tell us in the Patter what the theme for dinner was in the buffet. That could have helped us choose the right night to go. The pizza was incredible. My husband got pizza at least twice a day. We had the pub lunch in the wheelhouse bar and it was some of the best fish and chips ever. I got a knockwurst at the trident grill and it was fine. The dining room was good overall. Hit or miss on the service again but almost all the food was great. It was mostly Caribbean themed which is not my favorite cuisine and I still found something good almost every night. It seemed to go a little faster then on the golden so that was good. That was our only drawback for eating there. It was really hard to do activities if you ate in the dining room. we did not have a tv guide in our room which was frustrating. We did use the thermal spa once, it was ok. If i had more free time I would have done it more and would have liked the heated stone beds to be warmer. I enjoyed the aromatherapy sauna. I should have used the private pool. The fitness center was fine. The main pool was pretty cold, I assumed it would be heated on some level. We used the hot tubs and pools in the rear of the ship and they were slightly warmer. No kids. That bar took 30 min to get 3 drinks. The bartender was terrible there. Disembarkation was easy. We had them collect our luggage this time and that was fine. Last time we took it off ourselves. We were the last group to go and we were still done and outside by 1030. We originally planned a 230 pm flight and we would have made that no problem. We had no issues getting of the ship in any ports either. We sailed to Cozumel, Roatan and Belize. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
This was our first Princess cruise after 12 on RCCL, 5 on NCL, and 2 on Celebrity. I was hesitant to go on Princess (not my choice) because it is in the Carnival family and there have been too many problems on Carnival lines for my ... Read More
This was our first Princess cruise after 12 on RCCL, 5 on NCL, and 2 on Celebrity. I was hesitant to go on Princess (not my choice) because it is in the Carnival family and there have been too many problems on Carnival lines for my comfort. Nonetheless, we went and had a very good time. I would say that it was quite comparable to RCCL and NCL and a notch below Celebrity. We (hubby, me, and 3 year old) stayed in a a mini-suite, which was wonderful. I particularly enjoyed the 2 TVs in the room (hubby could watch March Madness on mute while daughter watched a very good selection of family films on the other). The balcony was large, as was the bathroom. The room steward was very much on top of things, though I got the feeling that he was in charge of more rooms than he probably should have been. The food on the ship was generally good, not great. The buffet was good, but not particularly inspiring (and the crowd flow of the buffet was disastrous--seriously, Princess, do a usability study on that). Breakfast got old quick, and the dinners were okay. The best part was that they generally had the same dessert as the main dining room. The pizza and the grill were very good. The fish and chips in the Wheelhouse on sea days were also very good. The steakhouse was fabulous, though you paid for it. The food and the service at the steakhouse were outstanding. The MDR, however, left much to be desired. The food was generally okay, though bland. But the service was a nightmare. We were a table of 10 and service took three hours (which is too long for anyone, especially for a family with a three year old). On the first night, I talked to someone who I thought was a head waiter, and he promised me it would be better the next night. The next night, it was 40 minutes from when the last person sat down until we got any food. I drank the last drop of my water, and 30 minutes later, my glass still not had been refilled. I then talked to the manager of the dining room and told him that this was my 20th cruise, my first on Princess, and thus far they were not doing a particularly good job at making me want to take another cruise with them. Well, from that point on, service was impeccable. We got a new waitress, who was phenomenal. But I should have to cause a fuss to be treated in a timely manner. We were impressed with the Princess Pelican Club for the three year old. We thought she would hate it, but she wound up asking us when she got to go back to the Club. They had dance parties, painted t-shirts, got their faces painted, and more. I was impressed with the security. The door was always locked (parents had to be buzzed in) and an ID had to be presented to pick up the kids. After the first day, the staff knew my daughter by name and knew that I belonged to my daughter. Impressive. Also, one night when they went to the buffet and to a dance club, two large security guards went with them. This was the first cruise my daughter went on in which she could go to the club, so I can't compare it to others, but I was impressed. We were on the Spring Break cruise, and they had many more kids than usual (to the disdain of many of the older crowd on the ship), but the kids club seemed to handle the influx well. The only frustrating thing about the Pelican Club was that dinner started at 5:30 and the kids club didn't open until 6. So, to avoid the long dinners in the MDR, I would feed her at 5:30 in the buffet, drop her off at 6pm, and then run down to the MDR to join the group for the main dish that my husband ordered for me. I feel as though Princess could have done a better job timing everything to make things work more seamlessly. I thought the ship itself was in good shape. I loved that muster was inside. Overall, we had a good trip and would consider Princess again (especially since Houston is so convenient), though, to be fair, we already have two more cruises booked for the next two years, and neither is on Princess. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
We just got back from a week long cruise to Cozumel, Roatan and Belize. We booked our cruise late (Tuesday before sailing on Sunday). Had a nice cabin, we were upgraded from a cabin with obstructed view to cabin with view. The three ... Read More
We just got back from a week long cruise to Cozumel, Roatan and Belize. We booked our cruise late (Tuesday before sailing on Sunday). Had a nice cabin, we were upgraded from a cabin with obstructed view to cabin with view. The three Princess ships we have been on do not have couches. Only seat other than bed is desk chair which when pulled out seemed to be in the way. Our cabin always felt a little warm to us. We bought a small clip on fan with us to help dry our workout gear and diving gear. At night we set up the fan to blow over the bed and that made life much more tolerable. During the day we set up the fan to blow over stuff hanging in head and on the door to the head. During the check in they put the sticker for the soda card on the wrong cruise card (mine instead of hers). Told them it was wrong and was told they had to fix on board. Went to guest services and the lady was perplexed as to fix this problem. Told her to peel it off and put on my wife's card.. I did not want to do it because if the sticker got damaged I did not want to have to pay again. She got the sticker on the right card after consulting with the supervisor. This is the first time we have checked in early (before noon) and were allowed to board before noon (11:45). As we were getting on board everyone (crew & terminal personnel) said to get some lunch. So we dropped off our carry on luggage we went in search of something to eat. Tried the burger grill and told to come back in half an hour. Found one side of the Horizons buffet open and two separate lines to get in. The gate keeper to the buffet was overwhelmed. All she is used to doing is saying please sanitize your hands. They needed crowd control there. Then once we got into the food area the selections was very limited. Food was cold and not very good. We went to someplace where they were selling the soda card to get my wife's cup. They sent us on our way telling us we had to get the cup from Guest Services because we pre paid for the card. On the way back to the cabin we stopped at Guest Services to find out about the soda cup. We were told to wait until after 4pm. It was only 1pm at this time. I asked about my pre-paid coffee card. I was told we have to check with steward. We went and wondered about and decided to go to the gym for a walk on the treadmill. Well the belts on the treadmills slipped with every other step. Not too good. The ellipticals were great. Good workout. Came back and took a shower. By this time was after 4 so we check on the soda cup and the steward told us to go to guest services. Guest services told us to check with steward. GRRRRR!!!!! Finally my wife got a hold of the hotel manager and he delivered the cup himself. Dinner that night was good not great. Overall I would say the ship was clean and they were taking care of the rust bubbles. Disappointed that they did not have a chef's table. It is not widely advertised and the price is steep compared to Carnival. But each person gets a $28 cookbook which for a couple would be over kill. Why would a couple need two of the same cookbook. Also disappointed in the big promotion for Chocolate Journey. This was a joke. They had a couple of deserts. One desert in the Crown Grill stated in the description the base was developed by Norman Love. Really, all that promotion for the base of a desert? I believe one night they had a desert in the main dining room that was part of the chocolate journey. I'm talking they promote this "Chocolate Journey" on tv, brochures left on your pillow, everywhere it was promoted. They describe a cooking demo developed by "Norman Love" and they only have it on one or two of the ships. In the past we have always had personnel to recommend for the Consummate Host program and this time we did not feel there was on person deserving of the recommendation. For some reason, Princess Cruises charge more for there excursions than Carnival. One dive excursion was $40 more than what Carnival charges. My wife used shoreexcursioneer.com for an excursion and it was $3 more for an extra hour tour than what the Princess offered. I was going to book a dive excursion in Belize with them but did not feel comfortable flying in a small plane after diving yet. But it was $50 cheaper than the one Princess offered. Will do next time. Entertainment on the cruise was lacking. We enjoy the production shows. The last three nights they did not have one. They brought in a ventriloquist. We were told the shows were great but not our cup of tea. We don't understand why they did not have shows. The cast was still onbaord but nothing. Also the Friday after all the port calls we found there was not a lot to do. For the first time on a cruise we got board. Spent a lot of time playing cribbage. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
We are older, ages 63 & 58, this was our 15th cruise, 4th on Princess. We live in Houston and were dropped off at the ship. Having cruised with Princess before on a similar ship we knew what to expect. Getting on and off the ship at ... Read More
We are older, ages 63 & 58, this was our 15th cruise, 4th on Princess. We live in Houston and were dropped off at the ship. Having cruised with Princess before on a similar ship we knew what to expect. Getting on and off the ship at Bayport was a breeze. Luckily, fog was not an issue, though we have dealt with it before in Galveston. The overall experience at Bayport was positive, way better than Galveston. I'll start with the food. We thought the main dining room food was good, but the buffet was not so good. We never had dinner in the buffet, only lunch and breakfast. Breakfast was decent, but the buffet lunch was lacking. There was good pizza by the pool and we enjoyed going to the International Cafe on deck 5. In the Botticelli Dining Room we had tables 66 and 76 located right next to each other. Sandra was outstanding. The staff seemed shorthanded so service was hit & miss on the busier nights. We never tried any of the specialty places on this cruise. Friends did the Crab Shack thing and they liked it a lot. Let's talk entertainment. We went to some, but not all the shows. We thought most of them were below par. Having recently cruised the MSC Divina and having been on the Oasis of the Seas maybe we're spoiled. Shows were better than Carnival shows, but worse than Royal Caribbean. The Princess Theater seemed a little old too and smaller than other ships we have been on. The DJs and live bands did a good job throughout the ship, however. Went to Skywalkers every night and took advantage of the two for one drink special between 10pm and 11pm. Pool deck and outside areas. We enjoyed the Lotus Spa pool and hot tubs almost every day. The Sanctuary, located above the pool towards the front seemed stupid. Looked like a ghost town to me. Just a wasted space that very few people paid to use. Spent time at the aft too near the Horizon Pool. The pool itself is small, but the aft area is a great place to hang out, especially above the pool. Never watched MUTS at the main pool, but the sound was not overpowering like it is on Carnival. I spent time outside on the Promenade Deck each morning and totally enjoyed the peace & quiet. We've been to all the ports, but Mahogany Bay in Roatan was a new dock for us. If you don't want to go to West Bay or the West End the port is fine for spending time off the ship. It's not cheap, however. In Belize, the wife shopped and I planted my butt at the Wet Lizard. We both had fun. Paradise Beach was our stop in Cozumel. Had been there before and would go back. We had a balcony cabin. I thought the balcony was rather small. The cabin was set up well, with a table and chair instead of a little couch. The storage area of HUGE. Biggest closet we've had on a ship. The bathroom was a cruise ship bathroom. Our room guy, Rocard did a good job. We like our cabin cold and it was cold. No cabin complaints. (Posted this cabin review in the deck plan section too.) Overall, we had a good cruise. We still like Royal Caribbean better and Carnival worse. For the right cruise, we'd cruise Princess again, but we'd never cruise Carnival again. The prices out of Houston were very cheap, that alone makes this cruise worth taking.   Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
My family of four had a great time on the Emerald Princess from 8-15 Mar 15. Rather than go through the minutia about what was good, I thought it might be more helpful to explain where we saw some things lacking. ENTERTAINMENT: As ... Read More
My family of four had a great time on the Emerald Princess from 8-15 Mar 15. Rather than go through the minutia about what was good, I thought it might be more helpful to explain where we saw some things lacking. ENTERTAINMENT: As discussed on this board previously, my family also found the entertainment to be mediocre at best. I expected a higher quality of nightly performances. DINING: Food was excellent but always seemed to bother me after dinner.... maybe I'm just not used to eating foods so rich. KIDS CLUB: Although this was spring break and there were many kids on the ship, the activities weren't that robust. My 12-year-old grew bored with her group the first day and my 14-yr-old was disappointed compared to other cruise line programs. Again, there just were not enough quality activities. BAR SERVICE: Woefully undermanned. It should never take 20 minutes to get a drink at any bar on a ship (in my opinion). As I said, we generally enjoyed this cruise although I believe we would rather cruise with other lines who offer activities more in line with our own personal tastes. The alcohol program was worth it for my husband and I -- him for quantity and me for the ability to order something different, not like it, and not feel guilty about not drinking it. When you add in the kids beverage program (including malts and mocktails), we more than got our money's worth. Excellent value. My review would be remiss without a shout out to the EXCELLENT medical service. Unfortunately, my oldest daughter was sick the first day at sea but the medical staff took wonderful care of her, even calling during the day to ensure she was getting better. The Houston port was uber efficient and I will definitely cruse out of that port when we go again. Luckily, we experienced no fog. SHORE EXCURSIONS: Booked by ourselves. Little French Key (Honduras) was wonderful and cave tubing (Belize) was a lot of fun. However, at the port, we were "sold" to another trip company and things went downhill from there. Although our river guide was EXCELLENT (Javier's Adventures), the remainder of the experience was lacking.   Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
This was our 4th cruise with Princess and our 2nd out of Houston. We had experienced fog on our first cruise out of Houston and were a bit worried sailing out of that port again, but the price was right and we had no fog issues this time. ... Read More
This was our 4th cruise with Princess and our 2nd out of Houston. We had experienced fog on our first cruise out of Houston and were a bit worried sailing out of that port again, but the price was right and we had no fog issues this time. This was the quickest time we have been on a ship in our 10 plus cruises..took the princess shuttle from the airport..checked in and on the ship we were...in less than 20 minutes..same getting of the ship..we always take our luggage with us...no wait time at all. First to the food...we had the late seating...the food was outstanding..no complains...but Princess has cut back in staffing..only 2 waiters to serve...including getting drinks from the bar...one evening we waited 40 min to get our appetizers..no fault of the waiters at all..they work the butts off. We went one evening to the crown grill...food was excellent, but the service was also slower than on the last cruises. We also tried anytime dining one evening...only waited 15 min to get a table, but the same slow service. Overall the staff on board is very friendly and work very hard. We visited the ports of Cozumel...went tequila tasting on our own...Roatan..took the snorkeling and nature walk tour on Paradise Island...can highly recommend this..and Belize...just went into town and did some sightseeing. We did watch the comedian and the illusionist shows which were very entertaining. If you are looking for a quick and easy embarkment..this is the port for you...other than that the port of Houston is nothing to look at.   Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
Everything I have read good, about the Emerald Princess is true. Some of the bad, my jaw dropped as I thought, wow, some people can be on the same cruse at the same time and come away with con's that I did not see at all. either the ... Read More
Everything I have read good, about the Emerald Princess is true. Some of the bad, my jaw dropped as I thought, wow, some people can be on the same cruse at the same time and come away with con's that I did not see at all. either the people are extremely hard to please or I am easy!!! The ship was relaxing and the most relaxing cruise I and DH have ever had. Even the color scheme and the décor are relaxing. We did ATD for the first time and loved it, met really wonderful people. We did the Chef's Table (which was wonderful and the Chef is as cute and entertaining as we have ever met.) We also did the UST (ship tour on the last day), and it was wonderful. The Captain spent a lot of time with us and everyone was very professional. Love the Scotsman in engineering, what a hoot, had us all laughing. To celebrate our anniversary, we ate at the Crown Grill and it was a wonderful meal. We purchased a bottle of really good wine and had them decant it for us. Wow was it wonderful. We did the $25 wine tasting and it was great. We sat at a table with a sommelier , and he actually told us more about the wine we drank than the ships, wine experts, but he enjoyed the wines which made us enjoy them too. The appetizers they served with the wines were great!! I did the cycle classes and they were fantastic, great work out, well worth the money for the class and I did tip the instructor, it was that good!!! We had booked this cruise through a TA and they were kind enough to gift us a bottle of champagne and the dinner at the Crown Grill. These came to us as pieces of paper from our cabin steward on the first day of the cruise. We had to call room service to deliver the Champagne to our room and take the paper with us to the Steak house. since it was our anniversary, a couple had hinted that they might do something special for us, so I was on the look out each day for something to come from them. I would search through the many pieces of paper left in our cabin each day with ads and patter alike in case it was left in with other pieces of paper. We did not want to miss a gift. When none came, we just thought, they did not give us a gift, no big deal. The day we got off the ship, we called our sons on the way home to let them know how wonderful the cruise was. One of our sons asked how we enjoyed the bottle of wine and appetizers he and his wife had gifted us???? We had to tell him, we did not receive any gifts, other than what the TA had provided. I assured him that I looked through every pc. of paper in our cabin, knowing that was how the gift from our TA had come.........and I was thinking that our friends had given us something too so I really tried not to throw anything away. Our son was charged for the gift. I then had to mention to our friends then about what happened with our sons gift and had to ask them if they did anything for us on our anniversary that we did not get it. I got an email from them that they had gifted us the Ultimate Balcony champagne breakfast and they asked us if we really did not get it??? I felt so bad that we did not receive either gift as they were both amazing gifts!!!! I really did go through each pc. of paper in our cabin and was really disappointed, not only for not receiving the gifts, but that our sons and our friends were disappointed in not sharing in our anniversary. It kind of tainted a wonderful cruise. DH and I did a lot this cruise and we really did enjoy the ship and took advantage of a lot of add on's but were sad that we could not celebrate with others from home. Princess had charged both our son and our friends for the gifts we did not receive. I posted this comment on CC under Emerald post, seeing if this is a Princess problem or an Emerald problem. I have also written Princess and they called to let me know they are investigating this matter. No harm was done as everyone was reimbursed the cost of the gifts but it was just sad. We have given gifts on other cruise lines for friends and family and they come as gifts, not pieces of paper that can get mixed in with other ads and mail. I was careful, so I feel that someone else with a similar room number probably got our gift notices and may have thrown them out thinking it was ads. We have never seen so much paper on any cruise line as this one had. There has to be a better way of presenting gifts to passengers than a piece of paper??? The Emerald Princess is a fine ship, with a wonderful crew. The whole Princess experience was wonderful and we will sail with them again. BUT, our friends and family will never gift us again when we sail Princess. They feel, that the cruise line lacks in their gift department and they cant trust them, which frankly, we feel the same way. I am just hoping that no one else tried to give us a gift that we did not get...............shame to have to tell this story to our friends and family over and over in case anyone else gave us something we did not get, you know what I mean? Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
The terminal at Houston, Tx is fairly new and very cruiser friendly. The parking lot is ample for the ships that depart from this port. The embarkation was the smoothest and quickest I have ever had on any of my cruises! They were ... Read More
The terminal at Houston, Tx is fairly new and very cruiser friendly. The parking lot is ample for the ships that depart from this port. The embarkation was the smoothest and quickest I have ever had on any of my cruises! They were organized and we arrived at the terminal, got luggage unloaded, checked in and got to our stateroom in less than an hour!! We had requested queen bed in our interior cabin and when we first arrived to our cabin, saw that there were twin beds in the cabin, as well as two berths on the walls! Surprise! Since there were only two of us, we certainly did not need the extra berths. PLUS, we had received an email from Princess a few days after we booked and paid for our trip, stating they had upgraded our room and gave us a cabin number at that time. In looking at ship layout maps and descriptions of rooms on several sites, including Princess', not one of them shows R331 to have berths in addition to the twin beds. In fact, Princess' website shows a small table and chair in the cabin, which certainly was not there, nor would have been any room for anyway. We went to customer service immediately to inquire about a different room and to request that we have a queen bed rather than the two separate twin beds. The staff was courteous and took down our information and said she would see that the beds were put together, but said there were no other rooms available. The cabin steward did put the beds together later in the evening, per our request. However, that created a whole new problem...there is only about a foot of space between the wall and the bed, on each side. With the berths protruding from the wall about 10 inches, it made it very difficult to get into bed. Once again, we made our way to customer services to inquire about a change. We received a letter later that day stating, 'Sorry, but no rooms. Enjoy your cruise,' No offer of any compensation or apology for not informing us of the annoying berths prior to embarkation. Entertainment was fairly good and entertaining during the cruise. The ship was in good condition and clean. The pool stewards made sure chairs were out around the pools for lounging, as well as watching movies under the stars, which was great. They also served cookies and milk in the afternoon. We only saw them with cookies one afternoon, but supposed to be every day. Had nice service in the dining rooms, with different servers, since we had anytime dining. Vados was the assistant waiter for a couple of evenings and he was great and very charming. Maitre d came around to diners and made conversation most nights and was very friendly. He definitely made a point to stress the ratings we give on our post cruise surveys and hoped that we all gave high marks! Food in the dining room was very good most nights. Steak overdone on the night they served them, but tasted OK. Food in the Horizon court buffet was only mediocre every time we ate lunch or dinner in there. The temperature was warm and most times the meat was dry and nondescript. Breakfast omelettes were good, and most breakfast food was good. Took shore excursion to Tabayana Beach in Roatan, Honduras. The bus ride there was quite long and along some very bumpy roads. The beach was nice, with lots of chairs and shade trees to park underneath, if you preferred to be out of the sun. They did not have water toys or shades to rent while there. The excursion included lunch while there. It was mediocre barbecue chicken, rice and beans and fruit. I would say find a tour that did not include paying for a lunch, because it really was extremely disappointing. The sand was beautiful white and smooth and the water was great. We explored the Mohagony Beach right next to the port when we returned from our excursion. In retrospect, I would have stayed at that beach to swim and sun and walked back to ship for lunch, or ridden the chairlift back and forth, which was $10 for all day, as many trips as you wanted to do. There were water floats and toys to rent. as well as shades. Fewer trees and the sand was not quite as nice as Tabayana Beach, but it was still very nice and way lots closer and didn't involve long bus ride. We took the River tour and Altun Ha ruins in Belize City and really enjoyed it. The tour guides, Ken and Sally, were great on the bus ride to the ruins. They were very informative and fun. After touring the ruins, we were taken to an outdoor area for lunch before boarding the boats for the river tour. Again, there was chicken, beans and rice and bottled soft drinks. Unfortunately, the Cokes were room temperature and the food was mediocre at best. Ken was our tour guide on the boat and we did see some crocodiles, a few howling monkeys in the trees, some iguanas and bats and some herons. No colorful birds as we had hoped, but was still very enjoyable 22 miles motoring back to the cruise port. I would do this tour again. I will say it was next to impossible to get an audience with the future cruise representative. She is only in the office a few short hours. They seem to encourage everyone to simply complete a form and drop it in the box rather than speaking with the representative to discuss future sailings. The staff did a great job of informing us what to expect for disembarkation and were well organized. Again, it was the best disembarkation that I have ever had at any port. We were very pleased with the ease and speed. Had the best porter to take our bags and got us through customs in record time. Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
Prior to the cruise, we stayed at the Best Western Plus at Seabrook. They provide parking and breakfast as part of the room charge and the Port is less than five minutes from the hotel. They move passengers back and forth with cheerful ... Read More
Prior to the cruise, we stayed at the Best Western Plus at Seabrook. They provide parking and breakfast as part of the room charge and the Port is less than five minutes from the hotel. They move passengers back and forth with cheerful efficiency. I plan to stay there again. Waffles were great! This was my first time going through the Port Of Houston Cruise Terminal. I am used to the hell and confusion at other ports, the snaking lines, the cranky people, the whole messy obstacle course of getting to my vacation on the ship. I have never experienced such easy embarkation/disembarkation. It was like silk. The logistic arrangement is primo. Drive up, drop the bags, drive 150 yards, park the car, walk in. Drop off the health questionnaire, check in, and I think we sat for maybe fifteen minutes before walking on board, and getting off the ship was even quicker. We walked off the ship at 750 am, caught a shuttle and at 810 am were already on our way out of town. This is a wonderful terminal, new, clean and attractive and compared to the Galveston chaos, it's a dream. Goodbye Galveston, I love you Port of Houston. This was my first Princess cruise and given the fact we were coming out of Dallas and the big ice storm, the ease of boarding was a relief. We didn't even care that there were delays due to fog. And some geniuses among the passengers thought you could/should do something about fog. Big fans? Fairy dust? Yes we were delayed but the Princess staff rearranged our port schedule and we missed nothing. Impressive. Safety drill came up. Instead of the dire, subliminally worrisome drills I have experienced on other lines, we took our life preservers to our muster stations, inside not on deck, and actually learned to on a life preserver while the supervisor explained that we would stay in a safe area and that if there was a problem we would be shepherded to the boats. Impressive. We took a tour of the spa and prices are much, much higher than other lines I have travelled on. A massage was 50 percent higher than I have paid on other lines. Perhaps Lender.com and Princess should talk. Even a mani/pedi was $100. Impressive price, but totally ridiculous. Dinner service in the main dining rooms was pleasingly prompt. (I nearly starved on Holland America waiting for courses that seemed to take forever and we sometimes ran out of our appointed dining time before dessert was even ordered. ) the wait staff were helpful, quick and attentive. Prettiest desserts I have ever seen. A richly red sorbet heart filled with chocolate mousse with a chocolate decoration was gorgeous. Second place went to a dark chocolate dome with a solid lime sorbet center and white chocolate printed with lime green designs was also breathtaking. Lest you think I am just puffing Princess, I do have one thing to ding them on. The food in what they call Horizon Terrace is awful. Instead of long, easy access, well lighted serving lines, they have little pods behind wrought iron gates that you enter a cramped and congested maze that contains tasteless pasta salads, soggy half-sandwiches, pale pieces of chicken drowned in a sauce that was inedible, and very few choices. I guess the lighting is poor to keep you from really seeing what you are going to consume. Other lines I have been on have large mainstream and international selections that are attractive and delicious instead of the dry Indian roti wraps and lasagna standing in puddles of oil. Ick. Hard to get to, hard to see, congested and irritating because you feel trapped in a maze with dozens of other equally confused guests. Half the time I didn't eat what was on my plate and instead raided my store of protein bars in my suitcase. The staff is better than this and should not be represented by such awful food in the Horizon Terrace. The Crew Culinary Show is not to be missed. The Maître d' is a very distinguished looking gentleman who hides his comedic talents. He, the Executive Chef, and a Deputy Cruise Directory, along with the rest of the wait and kitchen staff put on cooking demonstrations that had cooking information, side splitting goofy pranks and pratfalls, and great singing and dancing. There is a Shopping tutorial about vendors in the various stops that includes discount cards and information about safety. We saw none of the rotten behavior we have seen on Carnival. Announcements were made telling parents that they needed to be attentive to their children's behavior and one nearly inebriated passenger in the process of embarrassing himself was cautioned that he would be put off the ship if he repeated his drunken behavior. The general demeanor of fellow passengers was pleasant, genial and friendly. Our room was well set up so that it felt bigger than it was, there was ample storage and our steward, Efren, was wonderful. We enjoyed the shows, the games, the Movies Under the Stars. Belize City and Costa Maya were not great. Cozumel, we loved the shopping, the atmosphere, and attractions. I have never experienced such a relaxing cruise and except in one case, every Princess crew member showed great willingness and generosity to meet customer needs. So Trivia Hostess who was talking smack about Texas and being snarky to some guests you were mad at, take a clue. No matter what they were doing or how annoyed you were, your insults at them were not camouflaged by the big fake smile and the "hey I am just kidding" nonsense. We really didn't like your attitude and felt it was ill-advised. All in all, I am impressed by Princess, it's programs, the cabins, and the overall service. Really enjoyed my trip and will be traveling on Princess again in October.   Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
This was our 11th cruise. We have cruised on Celebrity, Holland America, and Carnival, as well as Princess. To us, the key criteria for a good cruise are the food, service, entertainment, and ports. We ate most meals (including breakfast, ... Read More
This was our 11th cruise. We have cruised on Celebrity, Holland America, and Carnival, as well as Princess. To us, the key criteria for a good cruise are the food, service, entertainment, and ports. We ate most meals (including breakfast, lunch, and supper) in the main dining room, fixed seating, 5:30pm. We found the food well-prepared, delivered quickly and hot, and enjoyable. I especially enjoyed the Caribbean choices on the supper menus. The soups were very good (something I found to be a weakness on previous Princess cruises) and the french onion soup was the best anyone at our table ever tasted. Our waiter, Fin, was friendly, humorous, and very efficient. Breakfast in the MDR was a real treat, with Arnold as our waiter, and he was outstanding. We like hot milk with our coffee, and after a day or two he remembered to bring it without being asked. We enjoyed the nightly entertainment, and found the Princess dancers to be energetic and entertaining. Including a show in the British pub, they did four performance during our week, and we enjoyed all of them. A real highlight was the a piano entertainer--Thomas Franek! He put on two different shows the same night. Comedian and ventriloquist Bart Rocket was good the first night, but not as good after that when he was pressed into service to do another show after an entertainer missed the ship in Belize, where we failed to visit (it being a tender port and there being rough weather). Service in our stateroom by Traichko was flawless--room always serviced by the time we got back from breakfast and when we got back from supper. A few cons with this cruise. We like to learn about the ports we visit, but they had no location specialist on board to give lectures. We only had two ports (Roatan and Cozumel) after missing Belize, and we found time hung heavy during the four sea days. The library was tiny and had no comfortable chairs or ocean views. There was no games room. We found the public areas somewhat lacking, with no comfortable places inside to relax and enjoy the view. Also, the walking track didn't go all the way around the ship--it was "U" shaped. We didn't really find any lounges with entertainment we liked for later in the evening. One "problem" mentioned by another review of our cruise was "screaming children." However, we think this misleading because we didn't see any sign of that at all! The few children on board were well behaved. Overall, the staff were pleasant and helpful. In sum, an enjoyable cruise overall! Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
We cruised from the Houston Port (an industrial no man's land) to Mahahual, Belize and Cozumel. The Emerald Princess is a fine ship, very clean and with all the usual amenities. The staff was pleasant. We enjoyed the excursions to ... Read More
We cruised from the Houston Port (an industrial no man's land) to Mahahual, Belize and Cozumel. The Emerald Princess is a fine ship, very clean and with all the usual amenities. The staff was pleasant. We enjoyed the excursions to the Mayan temples in Chacchoben and Belize (do NOT miss the Lamanai temples in the jungle !). Breakfast and lunch at the buffet was plentiful and reasonably varied. The only real problem with the cruise was the dinner : 1- the 'filet migon' was NOT filet migon but a cheap generic tasteless cut. 2- the 'ceviche' was not edible. 3- the mussels were old and overcooked ... certainly the worst I have eaten (I have cruise over 18 times, travel to Europe at least 20 and live in a city of fine dining : Montreal). The 'fries' serve with them make McDonald's seem delicious by comparison ! B- The entertainment was unremarkable except for the excellent magic show by Michael Barron. As mentioned, the dinner was not up to par with Royal Caribbean, Holland America. Celebrity or Costa. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
We just returned from a wonderful New Years Eve Cruise on the Emerald Princess. Stateroom: B327 & B322 Small...no sofa and the shower still has the old fashioned shower curtain that does not protect the floor ! Balcony nice but also ... Read More
We just returned from a wonderful New Years Eve Cruise on the Emerald Princess. Stateroom: B327 & B322 Small...no sofa and the shower still has the old fashioned shower curtain that does not protect the floor ! Balcony nice but also small. When the two twin beds were made into a queen, there was a huge gap. Dining: We had the 8pm traditional dining. Table was next to busy area and quite loud. The waiter was nice but was in a huge hurry. They seemed very understaffed. The food was just ok. Entertainment: We had fun... it was not a Broadway production but it was ok. Staff: The cruise director..Kelvin, is amazing. He really has a great attitude. The staff was awesome, all over the Ship..except for dining room. We opted to leave the main dining room for the Anytime room or the buffet. Excursions: Roatan.....we went to Tabyana Beach. Long drive and boring beach. You are better off just walking to the beach close to the port. Very easy. Belize.......... AMAZING trip with Exoctic Eco Adventures. 4 hour tour to the barrier reef to snorkel, then time at a private beach. Super great crew. This is a private tour, not associated with Princess. Let me know if you want info. Cozumel....... OMG.... we did the Cave excursion and it is amazing. Ship: Clean but rather choppy !!! We have cruised for many years and yet this ship was hard to wrap our brains around. Just very chopped up with small areas the lead to larger. Disembarkation: We had carry on luggage so it was super easy. Transportaion: Flew into Hobby Airport....took a cab to the Courtyard Marriott across from the NASA SPACE CENTER so we could tour it.....This hotel has NO van service so you cannot get a ride. Took a cab to Bayport....then set up another cab to Hobby when we came back. The whole transportation thing is a pain !!   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
First time sailing with princess after sailing with carnival in the past on several cruises. Was very impressed with the condition of the ship, attitude of the crew, and food compared to carnival. Ship seemed less packed with passengers ... Read More
First time sailing with princess after sailing with carnival in the past on several cruises. Was very impressed with the condition of the ship, attitude of the crew, and food compared to carnival. Ship seemed less packed with passengers than the carnival cruises and crowd probably were in mid 40's and older (I'm mid 50 so better fit with music, waits at the bar, etc). Still plenty of night life and stuff to do- just without the hoardes at the bars and techno music in the nightclubs. Only negative comment was we had late seating for dinner and missed all the shows since they didnt provide a late show option for late dinner guests. Houston departure was the fastest and most organized I've experienced and the debarking only took ~ 20mins to gather bags and get through customs. Very nice overall experience. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
We were on the 5 day cruise to Mexico on the Emerald Princess from the Port of Houston. We had a balcony, category BF, on the Lido Deck, L235. It was a cozy cabin with a great view and a wonderful cabin steward. We watched a tug boat keep ... Read More
We were on the 5 day cruise to Mexico on the Emerald Princess from the Port of Houston. We had a balcony, category BF, on the Lido Deck, L235. It was a cozy cabin with a great view and a wonderful cabin steward. We watched a tug boat keep us on track as we left the port. It was pretty exciting as it seemed to be at full power at one point, shoving us as hard as it could against the strong north wind. Boarding at the Port of Houston was not as good as other ports we have experienced. At one point, they opened a huge metal door and announced that all handicapped passengers and those who need assistance should board at this time. You can imagine the crowd that came forward. Then they boarded the elites, the suites, the platinums, etc. We’ve never seen anything like this before. The ship is beautiful, but it is full of small, intimate places, so it’s a little chopped up for us. We encountered no bad smells. Our favorite activity was Movies Under the Stars because it was in a large, open amphitheater. We watched Thursday Night Football and several movies. They served popcorn and had blankets for the chilly nights. The deck attendants took great care of us. The food and waiters in the main dining room were fine, but the Horizon Court was a daily disappointment. Breakfast was great, but lunch & dinner were not. The selections were generally not appetizing and often the food was not hot. The salad bar was the worst we have seen on a ship. Most of the meat was tough, especially the beef. The arrangement of the food was not in stations, so a long line formed and blocked the whole serving area. The resulting congestion of people was unpleasant. We never knew if Café Caribe was open or not, so we had to walk down the entire length of both serving areas to find out. A simple sign like the one they posted for the Horizon Court would have been so appreciated. Also a sign would alert the passengers that there is an option to standing in line at the Horizon Court. Café Caribe never had a long line when we were there, but it was sometimes closed or hosting an extra charge Crab Shack meal. The crew was consistently pleasant and helpful. There were plenty of activities to keep us very busy. The Horizon Court staff promptly took our drink requests and delivered them to us cheerfully. Our biggest disappointment was the disembarkation procedure. Getting to port late was not the problem. We were in the “Self-Assist” group who carried all of our luggage with us into the terminal. Those with colored tags were to be called by groups after their luggage was unloaded into the terminal and arranged in rows with colored signs. “Self-Assist” people were told by announcement to proceed to Deck 7 and sit in any lounge. When we all cleared the ship, those with the colored tags were to proceed to Deck 7 and wait to be called by color. What actually happened was that everyone crowded onto Deck 7, no one from Princess was there to monitor what was happening, and it was a “free for all”. No announcements were made for 2 hours during the time we were standing in line, inching our way off the ship. At one point we were held for 20 minutes because the “terminal was full”, the security person growled at us. Once inside the terminal, we could see what the delay was: all of those people with the colored tags were waiting in a huge crowd with nowhere to go because their luggage had not been unloaded off the ship yet. And that is why the “Self-Assist” people were supposed to go first, but Princess did not check your exit ticket to make sure you were getting off in the right order. And the people with colored tags ran over us to get off the ship. Come on, Princess, you can do better than this!   Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
One thing from this cruise - you can't control mother nature! The toilet in my cabin (R706) was broken the whole week - so would avoid that cabin... Embarkation: Arrive to the Port about 11 AM. Passengers were still getting off ... Read More
One thing from this cruise - you can't control mother nature! The toilet in my cabin (R706) was broken the whole week - so would avoid that cabin... Embarkation: Arrive to the Port about 11 AM. Passengers were still getting off because the ship arrived two hours late due to weather (yellow light flashing here). The captain announced we would be leaving late due to passengers boarding late because of the late arrival (from my balcony it appeared that all the passengers were on board but the people loading the ship were moving very slow). The dock employees must not be used to cruise ships: a whole thing of luggage was dropped into the water (the ship was good about getting the clothes laundered once supervisors were talked to); a whole palate of champagne was broken by a forklift driver. So... we missed our departure time... then we had to wait for cargo ships that were in the very small channel. After the cargo ship traffic was done - it suddenly became too windy and foggy to sail - although we still saw cargo ships coming and going... they likely had a more shallow draught I would I would guess. Woke up Monday morning - and ala... we were still in port. We finally and thankfully left Houston around 11:00 AM. Captain announced we would miss Roataan because of the late departure (fine by me - not a big fan of that port - but was looking forward to the excursion). We sailed to Costa Maya to make up for Roataan... the ship had trouble parking at Costa Maya due to the weather - then the waves were crashing over the dock. So another announcement and fast away we sailed with a cheery wave to Costa Maya.... Belize: Awesome excursion to the ruins! Had signed up to go cave tubing and thought it would be the highlight of the trip - but due to rain the caves were flooded. I headed on an excursion to Xunantunich - great sights. Would highly recommend the excursion - the bus ride was a bit long - two hours each way - but well worth it. Cozumel: Best day of the cruise 82 and sunny! Great shopping (of course better prices away from the pier). Finally felt some sun. Disembarkation: Went smooth. We were an hour late getting to the port due to weather (again, avoid Houston like the plague). Service: The employees on the ship were super friendly and helpful. Food: The food was average - in my opinion much better than some other cruise lines - and not quite as good as others. The last night I had turkey in the dining room and do have to say it was the best turkey I've ever had - very juicy and the gravy was sooooo good on it. Overall: I had a great time with my friends and had many laughs... it was vacation - how bad can vacation be when you don't have anywhere to be and food available 24 hours... The weather is not Princess' fault. I do fault Princess for investing in the Houston port and not using Galveston. I will stick to sailing out of Florida for Caribbean trips in the future. A working toilet would have been nice - my cabin mate and I joked about having our alternative toilets since ours worked randomly. The crew on the ship was amazing! Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
Houston Bayport is a great option for us in the Midwest. We loved the relaxed pace and boarding was efficient and smooth. Great facility, only wish there were more itineraries out of there. Having traveled on the Royal in Feb, we fell in ... Read More
Houston Bayport is a great option for us in the Midwest. We loved the relaxed pace and boarding was efficient and smooth. Great facility, only wish there were more itineraries out of there. Having traveled on the Royal in Feb, we fell in love with the Belini Bar and the Sushi Bar. I wish Princess would expand Vines to include pay Sushi and Belini like the royal. The way it works now (on ships other than the royal) is that you have to buy wine and you get some very basic Sushi. I notice that it is empty a lot of the time. Our evening dining service was very slow. Late sitting dinner typically took several hours, with appetizer being served 45 min after sitting. I was curious as to why that was and I noticed that my waiter spent many round trips getting wine and bar drinks for all the tables in the area. That extra duty, not typical of our other cruises, took him out of the area for 40% of the time. No wonder so slow. I recently read that they have eliminated wine stewards, perhaps that is the issue? Horizon Court was bland, over salted and smelled very dank. Apparently a prior cruise had flooding due to bad weather so I was o.k. to overlook. Lines were long during normal times. My wife and I decided to use the formal breakfast more often just to avoid the issues. This was a rare Princess cruise with 700+ children on board. Very fun atmosphere compared to the typical crowds. Youth departments did a great job of providing entertainment so hats off to them. We were disappointed with the shows as there was a lot of muscle clad guys ripping off shirts and skimpy dancers. I saw more than 10 families walk out each night. Comedian was pretty much for adults as well. Having been on Princess for 5 cruises, I have come to expect this but I would ask that if more than 10% of the cruise are children, can you not tone it down just a tad. Maybe not rip off shirts? Raunchy Vegas is old and expired. Cruise lines that provide more wholesome entertainment are thriving. Time to step it up a tad (my opinion). Tired of dance tributes with ex-Russian ballet dancers. After a while, it is just repetitive and boring. Lost one island due to weather, staff on board did a good job of coming up with another days worth of events. Watches and jewelry were surprisingly affordable. We were on board for our 20th anniversary. Worth looking at if you are in the market. A little more rust than I am accustomed to. Balcony was pretty rusty and so were the doors when disembarking. Having just come off the Royal, I guess I was just spoiled. Room Steward was great! Extra tip and a comment card. Overall, pretty good trip… Not amazing nor excellent. Seem like the crew is beginning to suffer under cutbacks? Carnival Corp (owns Princess): People take Princess for the elegance and service. This is starting to really suffer. Had a long talk with some folks on board about their experiences with Disney cruises. Family and I may just shoot for Amazing next time.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
My wife and I are experience cruisers, having been on over 15. This cruise by far was the worst one we've ever taken. We were schedule to depart the Houston Cruise Terminal on Sunday, November 16, 2014 at 4:00 p.m. Passengers were ... Read More
My wife and I are experience cruisers, having been on over 15. This cruise by far was the worst one we've ever taken. We were schedule to depart the Houston Cruise Terminal on Sunday, November 16, 2014 at 4:00 p.m. Passengers were told the ship arrived late at 9 am because of fog, therefore we would be leaving later than the scheduled time. Our stateroom on deck 9 overlooked the dock thereby giving me a view of the loading of the luggage and ships provisions. To make a long story short, it too way longer to load the ship than I've personally ever witnessed. A crew member later told me that the longshoreman dumped 15 pieces of luggage into the bay, retrieved them, and sent them to the unlucky passengers staterooms. The captain made an announcement later that evening that due to marine traffic in the channel we would not be able to leave until Monday morning. Our ship stayed tied to the dock until 11 a.m. on Monday when we finally set sail. The captain made another announcement later stating that due to our late departure our itinerary had to be changed and we would miss Roatan, Honduras. Our ship diverted to Costa Maya Mexico. After a full day of sailing we arrived in Costa Maya on Wednesday. Our ship pulled along side the pier, but high winds forced the captain to abort the docking. We set sail for Belize City. Our last two ports, Belize City and Cozumel were mostly uneventful except for late arrivals at both ports, thereby causing some problems with the shore excursions. On day 2 of the cruise the toilet in our stateroom overflowed causing several feet of carpet to get soaked. We were told the pluming had failed after a repair. After two days of an industrial sized fan to dry the carpet, and the replacement of the carpet pad our room was made whole again. We discovered after boarding that Chumley's Bear Cruises had booked over 450 middle aged gay men on this cruise. Now it wouldn't have been so bad had this group not taken over the pool at the stern of the ship for the entire cruise, and a few of these "men" dressing in drag and parading around the ship. The tee shirt the group wore depicted the face of a bearded man with the caption Hello Sailer. Anyway, if you plan on going on a cruise and don't want to explain to your children why that man is dressed like a woman you might want to check out Chumley's website prior to selecting your date. Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
We have just return home from holiday and i would like to thank the staff of the Emerald Princess for excellent service and hospitality. We travelled by eavesway coaches to southampton and i would highly recommended the service. It takes ... Read More
We have just return home from holiday and i would like to thank the staff of the Emerald Princess for excellent service and hospitality. We travelled by eavesway coaches to southampton and i would highly recommended the service. It takes the stress out of travelling and the holiday starts once your on the coach 10/10. Both myself and my husband are in our fifties but most couples were much older and there were a lot of elderly travellers which initially surprised me and if I am honest i would have liked to see more families and younger folks in the mix. The food was excellent and varied and i would say it was the best i have experienced whilst on holiday. We also went to the crown grill one night and the meal was excellent and very good value and i would highly recommend 10/10. We booked anytime dining but it did get busy and a bit frantic at times. The entertainment was a bit hit and miss. we enjoyed Bernie Flynn ex Opportunity Knocks winner and we also enjoyed Mercury rises a Freddie Mercury impersonator.He sang well, played the piano and engaged well with the audience and was up for a laugh. The voyage from southampton to madeira was a bit rough and people on board were experiencing seasickness.However that lasted for the first few days only.we enjoyed watching films under the stars.the films were new releases and a few family favorites thrown in for good measure, there were lots to do from interesting talks, learning to play the ukulele,keep fit ,talent contests,bingo and much much more.The entertainment staff did their best to keep people entertained and were themselves talented and engaging people. The excursions appeared to be good valued but you could go most places independently. We found the open top buses good value and a great way to take in the sights. My only grumble was the day we spent in tenerife the weather was horrendous and there was major flooding and there was no weather alert or guidance given to passengers. On hindsight i think this was wrong as we later learnt from fellow passengers travelling with another cruise line, in port at the same time as emerald princess that they had been advised to stay on ship and the excursions had been cancelled for safety reasons and they had received a refund. Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
We fancied a change from Celebrity Eclipse and booked a couple of weeks off in September, so had a window with 3 cruise options available. Basically - who would provide the best deal. Princess won! In a nutshell: Although smaller than ... Read More
We fancied a change from Celebrity Eclipse and booked a couple of weeks off in September, so had a window with 3 cruise options available. Basically - who would provide the best deal. Princess won! In a nutshell: Although smaller than Eclipse - 500+ more passengers. Public rooms and bars seemed dark and gloomy - though clean. Horizon food court a bit of a bun fight - nowhere near the selection and choice on the Eclipse Drinks cheaper - but drinks package more expensive!! All staff were polite and friendly - but not a lot of sincerity Entertainment poor, with the Cruise Director continually apologising for it saying he had no choice like in the 'old days' and had to make do with what he was sent! Production shows were OK, taped music backing and lots of enthusiasm, but 30 mins long and nothing else/support act. Not really a show!! Thankfully no Broadway/West End songs from the shows! Food was pretty good - almost on a par with Celebrity, couldn't justify the Speciality Dining options, which was good. Anytime Dining worked well, sometimes we'd share and sometimes took a pager - 20/30 mins wait while we had a drink. We liked the 'formal' afternoon tea - only did it a couple of times. Pizza bar was pretty good!! Cabins a bit smaller - but perfectly ok. Our Steward was great and totally unobtrusive. Adagio Bar was a hidden gem - we loved it for pre-dinner cocktails. Formal nights seemed far more 'informal'. Fewer people bothered to dress - which is OK, probably not such a thing with Princess. Fresh ice every day in our cabin - great to cool our GnTs - easily smuggled on from Morrisons in Gib!!! Getting off and on in ports was quick and easy. Photographers a bit over enthusiastic. International Cafe was great, get a coffee card for $35 which gives you 15x premium coffees and as much tea/filter coffee/hot chocs as you like. Food these was also good at any time of the day. No kettles in room so we used room service for early morning tea - a bit crap, but after day 3 we just went down to the IC and got good tea to take away - no problem, nice and hot and fresh! No interactive TV to view your bill etc. All sounds a bit negative but on the whole we enjoyed it!! Not in the same league as Celebrity but you get what you pay for. We paid not very much, for an inside cabin but I would have been annoyed if I'd paid an extra £800 per couple for a tiny balcony and got the same food and entertainment. Lots of people we spoke to were Princess Elite members who believed they were getting great value, free cleaning, a mini-bar and their own little queues for things - it was hard to tell them they were paying for it!! Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
Having never cruised with Princess before I was initially disappointed with the standard, however, following this cruise we had a Royal Caribbean cruise which made me revise my opinion! Check in at Southampton was busy but still got ... Read More
Having never cruised with Princess before I was initially disappointed with the standard, however, following this cruise we had a Royal Caribbean cruise which made me revise my opinion! Check in at Southampton was busy but still got through without too much waiting and found our cabin easily enough. Our interior stateroom was comfortable but as stated in previous reviews the little coffee table is of no use and we had it removed. Of note is that the 3rd and 4th bunk are the type that fold down and when not in use protrude from the wall so that when you have a twin bed situation in your room as we did, you have to be careful not to bump your head. There was plenty of hanging space but found the bathroom a little dated and small with the old fashioned shower curtain causing an occasional flood if not careful. Food - the International Cafe provided a bit of variety from the food court but always seemed to be crowded and tables were scarce to come by especially as people tended to sit and read or play cards. The Horizon Court food was hit and miss and I notice that there doesn't seem to be as much variety as previous cruises and this seems to be across the board with most of the cruise lines. I understand that to keep the queues down that some foods need to be pre prepared such as toast, eggs, etc but on the whole the most of the meals were lukewarm and only hot if you were lucky enough to be there when being topped up. However we did have a meal in the Crown Grill and I must say it was one of the best I have had in regard to food and service and could not fault it. Worth the extra $25. Entertainment was quite good with the guest artists quite entertaining. One point which we found amusing was that all the comedians that do the cruise circuit must share the same joke book as some jokes were often repeated on this cruise and the next one we took! The Princess singers and dancers were excellent and the production of the shows were fantastic. All of the ports were fantastic, we booked an independent tour for the two days in St. Petersburg (TJ Tours) who were absolutely brilliant. In fact the only Princess tour we used was the shuttle to Brugges as we didn't feel like stressing about making trains and connections.   Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
We are Elite level with Princess and Diamond Plus with RCCL. This gives us a good perspective about what to expect. We recently became grandparents and took our daughter, husband and 9 month old granddaughter. We thought it would be a ... Read More
We are Elite level with Princess and Diamond Plus with RCCL. This gives us a good perspective about what to expect. We recently became grandparents and took our daughter, husband and 9 month old granddaughter. We thought it would be a good opportunity for them to have some quality time and for us to have time with the new addition to the family. It worked perfectly. Our daughter a regular cruiser when growing up, was shocked at the drop in standards and all the 'add ons'. Interesting that we as regular cruisers get used to the lowering standards. Princess don't want infants which is reflected in the price, 90% of adult fare and we had to bring our own carry cot for her! I do understand this policy of using price to deter very young passengers. Embarkation was swift, as Elite we had a much shorter line and were on the ship within 40 minutes of arriving at the port. The cabin a mini suite was perfect, opposite our daughter who had an inside cabin found it a squeeze with the carry cot. Having the bath in the mini suite was perfect for bathing the little one. Anytime dining worked perfectly, there was never a line irrespective the time we went. We don;t believe that small children should be in the dining room in the evening and therefore she was in bed by 7pm. We shared checking the cabin every 20 minutes which was no hardship. Food was to a good standard. The ports of call were all interesting. It would have been nice to have more time in Bergen, a half day stop. We were incredibly lucky with the weather and saw very little rain. The scenery is stunning. The casino was always quiet, closing early and on the last night closed at 9.20 which was ridiculous. Not that I'm a big gambler but it is something I look forward to after supper. No explanation was given apart from 'The Captain has requested it to be closed' from the casino staff. Entertainment was to a good standard. This week worked perfectly for us as grandparents getting to share our granddaughter and allowing our daughter to have some quality time with her husband. It was a win/win situation. Disembarkation was as smooth as silk with no passport control. From leaving the ship we were in our car in 10 minutes! Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
You have to know that a ship will never be cleaner than when it is coming off a cruise that had a norovirus outbreak which delayed your sailing - and it was so. Check in was delayed by 2 hours, and then there was a further 2 hour lineup ... Read More
You have to know that a ship will never be cleaner than when it is coming off a cruise that had a norovirus outbreak which delayed your sailing - and it was so. Check in was delayed by 2 hours, and then there was a further 2 hour lineup since everyone seemed to arrive at once. We walked on with our carry on bags (which is all we take) and found our cabin without difficulty. Several things were not yet ready - pillows, bed not made, pre-purchased gift cards not there, etc... but these were rectified before bedtime. We made a reservation in Anytime Dining Room - Da Vinci for 6:30 and were pleasantly greeted by the area wait staff and maître d'. Dinner was enjoyed and we were asked if we'd like to keep the table for the duration of the cruise - we gave a hearty yes from our entire group of 6. Next day was up and at it for Bruges - the first of 8 ports. Only 4 sea days on this cruise, so you need to be ready to be active, unless of course you're one of those who sleeps on deck all day and could be anywhere (don't really get that!). All ports were fantastic, we did not use any Princess Shore Excursions as their offerings and pricing can easily be bettered by local providers. Do not fall for the story that you can't get off in Russian unless you are on a Princess Shore Excursion - that is simply NOT TRUE - all you need is to be on a tour with a real tour guide who will provide all the visa/paperwork you will need. Entertainment was not up to our previous experiences with Princess. The Cruise Director was way funnier than any of the comedians. Several teams were Trivia Killers! who got all questions right on almost all quizzes - suspect they may be multiple time cruisers who've heard all the questions before. Cruise Director staff was good, but not the best we've ever seen. Lots of crew were from Eastern Europe - especially Serbia. They were friendly and helpful as needed. Would we cruise with Princess again? Probably, they still offer the best itineraries at reasonable prices - but when money falls from the sky, take a Regent Cruise, you'll never be the same. Read Less
Sail Date June 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

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