We flew on Southwest from Vegas the day before where we met up with my sister and nepew. We had a nice flight, on time where they met us and off to spend the night at the Ramada Inn (cruise port). Turns out several of the nice people staying there would also be fellow passengers also on the Emerald Princess. We had a tasty fresh mexican dinner that night, and visit with our nephew before our departure the next morning. Ramada did a nice job scheduling & transporting 3 large groups of us to the port, but I would not recommend the hotel, spend a little more, you will be glad you did. We arrived at noon and from the looks of the long lines not moving we could tell their were some major problems. We had heard later that someone had died, and the U.S. Coast Guard had sprung a random safety inspection witch one lifeboat failed, and had to be replaced. This caused another lengthy delay, and not much of a "sailaway party" sorry to say. We finally boarded just short of 2 pm, whew !We met our kind steward "Eli" and he took good care us throughout the cruise, the room was very clean. We finally pulled out in the dark & drizzle about 6:45. Like I said, "better late than never".Hopefully, the worst is behind us ? The weather was pretty choppy the first 2 days out and we had some overcast and drizzle at Princess Cays, but not bad, and it was warm, so it's all good.Our room was right near mid ship on Aloha deck so we were close to the stairs and the elevators, which were painfully slow, and usually packed with an avg. age of 60+, just sayin. Nice folks, some of the best we have ever sailed with.My sister and I were chosen to work with the mentalist on stage and later the magician in the Princess Theater, so we were recognized, and questioned often throughout the ship.How did he do that, etc. ?Entertainment, overall was good, not great. We really enjoyed the "Beatlemaniacs" again this year, Al Katz & Steven Scott, mentalist Wayne Hoffman and Jean Bouchard, magician. The Theater fills up fast so get there early, the back fills up the fastest. The C.D. staff were a lot of fun running all the various games, Karaoke & shows, JJ, Chantal, Andy,Megan, Oxsanna, thank you ! M.U.T.S. missed War Horse, seems like the Muppet Movie was playing all the time ? Happy hour is usually 4-7 ask your server for specials and the drink of the day, as drinks can be quite pricey.Loved the Cadillac Margarita & Mai Tai, umm good !Refer to your "Patter" as so many things going on you need it for a road map to remember it all.The dancers and singers were pretty good especially the two lead ladies, the guys, well I think some of the male Karaoke singers were as good as they were. 3 shows now in the P.T. so no need to rush dinner, a very good move by Princess on this, as the theater fills up quickly.
Dining: We had "anytime dining" in the Michael Angelo, the secret here is make a standing reservation the first day with the maitre de, same table, servers and no waiting, just walk right in, like you own the joint ! Most people do not know this and had to wait.The meat/beef selections were not all that good but loved the seafood, many of the appetizers, and pasta's. I think overall food quality has dropped due to cost cutting measures? The "service" however was excellent. Thank You Sanya & Ketut very nice fellas.We also loved the Intnt'l. Cafe in the atrium, fresh salads,sandwiches, quiche & deserts, yum ! The Pub Lunches in the Wheelhouse were very tasty on Sea days. Loved the burgers, fries, & pizza out by the main pool too, get in line early for burgers, it really backs up.Don't forget room service for am and late nights too, just a little "tip" will do ya.
Cafe, great salads, fresh sand. quiche, and mini deserts deck 5, in the atrium.The Horizon Court, alias every man for himself. Folks just too many in there every morning during peak breakfast hours. In 3 words, "not enough tables". Do yourself a favor, relax and have a nice quiet leisurely breakfast,or lunch in the Bocheli dining room. deck 6. You will be glad you did, wish we would have too.
Ports: Wow, just snorkled in P. Cays weather was just mediocre, but any beach day is better than your best day at work, right ? Saw a lot of fish & scenery there.
St. Thomas shopped and beached at Emerald beach near the ship, next time were going to make it to Trunk Bay on St' Johns Isl. for sure ! Been to Megen's Bay before, very scenic and tranquil.
Dominica: The best shore excursion ever #362. Thanks Joan & Alex. Check out Sassy falls and the tropical jungle, nicer and less crowded than Trafalgar, gorgeous !
Grenada:Took a nice catammaran over to the underwater sculpture park, wow ! Wish we had more time there, then off to Grande Anse beach, and a lot of rum punches, whew ! The crew kept pouring & pouring, a fun trip, but over way too fast.
Bonaire : Best snorkeling & diving anywhere in the Caribbean. For $10 p/p we took a short drive to the "Plaza Resort". Pool, lounges, tiki bar, restrooms, showers, hammocks, and the best snorkeling ever right of the rocky beach ! Wear water shoes, and enjoy swimming in an "aquarium", tropical fish everywhere, beautiful parrots, angel fish galore in shallow water, incredible decision !
Aruba: 100 A S.E. nice hikes in the rocks, Calif. Lighthouse visit, and Palm Beach,beach stop. Very nice but crowded with too tours stopping at the same place, same time. They need to better organize these, but still worth while.
All in all, another great Princess Cruise. Not perfect but pretty darn good, considering the crazy embarkation day and late sailaway. So many nice people we met and hope to see again someday, especially all my husbands Karaoke gang, Leeroy, Glenn, Jim, Claire, Robert,Heather & Daniele, Larry, Mayta, Bruce, Jeff,Nancy, Byron, Gordon, Barbara, thanks everyone for a wonderful vacation ! Princess has some kinks to work out, we all know it, but hey, nobody is perfect, we're all a "work" in progress". So how about "Hawaii" March 9, 2013 on the beautiful Sapphire Princess ? Be there or be square. Happy Sailing & ALOHA !!!
Aloha deck 12 A432 Small for 3 adults, but clean. Love the balconies, but there small too, and only 2 chairs.Not enough hangers and you have to request mattress pads & robes.Very small bathroom, a tub would have been really nice ! Quiet except for the loud toilet flushing, yikes !