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We paired two 10 day cruises into a 20 day back-to-back and were far from alone.....at our turn-around day in Port Everglades, it was announced that approximately 600 other passengers were staying aboard for another (at least) 10 days. This was our 10 cruise and our fifth with Princess and it met all our expectations. On our last trip we had qualified for Platinum status and although it offers several "perks", the most useful ones are the 250 minutes of free internet per person, and priority boarding. Although we arrived a little early at the ship and expected to have to wait for at least an hour, in actuality, we were ordering lunch in the Da Vinci dining room less than an hour after arriving at the port. We prefer the traditional dining and had the 5:30 seating in Da Vinci, which gets you out in time to make the first show in the Princess Theatre. I am not sure why some other critiquers would claim the food was "inedible". Sure, not every dish on the menu will appeal to everyone, but with at least six entrees on each of the daily and "always available" menu, there should always be something to satisfy the most discriminating palate. Yes, I did get some tough lamb, and occasionally I found the vegetables a bit undercooked, but overall, very good to excellent. Horizon Court, where we usually ate lunch, was another story. The food is not bad--but not great. It suffers from cafeteria style cooking where dishes sit on the steam table for extended period. That notwithstanding, there was still adequate choice to make an appetizing meal. One of the things that was missing from our previous Princess cruises was the deck buffet. On each of the other trips, there was a regional/ethnic buffet. On the Hawaiian trips (2) there was a deck buffet with Hawaiian foods, on a Caribbean one, we had such island dishes as pulled pork, jerk chicken, etc., and on our far eastern trip, we had two deck buffets of oriental dishes. We found the entertainment aboard to be of a good calibre. Sure, it is not Broadway, or Las Vegas level, but then, one didn't pay $100+ for the seat. I did find the production numbers quite professional, but there were some lapses, as though the choreographer ran out of ideas how to end the routine and left the dancers with a few seconds to ad lib their own end to the routine. One thing we did find a bit annoying was use of the Explorers' Lounge, rather than the larger Club Fusion for a second (or sometimes third) performance by an act that had previously appeared in the Princess Theatre. If you didn't have a seat 40-45 minutes before the start of the show, forget it. The ship's internet is slow and cumbersome to use and the 250 "free" minutes does not actually get you much. Just to print our airline boarding passes and pay baggage fees took 43 minutes. However, if you are using gmail, and just want to send and receive e-mail, it is possible to do it using the ship's wi-fi on an android tablet or i-pad without actually logging on to the internet. I do not know if this works with Windows or other e-mail programs. Last autumn, Princess canned their own art auction system and sub-contracted the job to Park West Galleries, an organization that has a less than stellar reputation for fair and honest dealing and has faced more than its share of lawsuits. However, Park West and the cruise line obviously make a lot of money from this revenue stream since Park West can afford to place four salaried employees aboard the ship and pay for a number of part-time assistants. Personally, I would never buy anything at a shipboard art auction. Another annoyance was the shipboard photographers. I know that this is also a significant revenue generator and it appears that the number of photographers has been increased and they are everywhere. When leaving the ship, it is like running a gauntlet, having to pass through several layers of photographers who are not averse to actually grabbing your arm to haul you into camera range. We were particularly annoyed one night in the dining room when, in the middle of our entrees, a photographer insisted on taking several pictures---individual couples, men standing behind their spouses' chairs, groups, etc. all while our meals cooled off. We did not take any ship's tours. Having been to most of the locations on previous trips, we preferred just to wander on our own, although we did arrange two excursions privately. The one on Antigua was with a Canadian snowbird---he is a native Antiguan, but a Canadian citizen who spends his summers in Toronto and winters in Antigua, operating a taxi service. He does only one tour per day for a very reasonable fee (Sonny, web site AntiguaTours@live.com). Our stateroom was a partially obstructed oceanview on Emerald deck, and these are probably the best value for the money on the ship. We had a couple of minor problems but these were resolved completely to our satisfaction within minutes of calling the passenger services desk. While I have listed some minor annoyances, they are just that and don't detract very much from the overall enjoyment of the trip. Sure, Princess isn't perfect, but then, neither are the other cruise lines. However, we find that they do most things just a little better than the other five cruise lines we have sampled, and are pleased enough that we have already booked our 2015 trip.

Another Great Cruise with Princess

Emerald Princess Cruise Review by Ray23

Trip Details
We paired two 10 day cruises into a 20 day back-to-back and were far from alone.....at our turn-around day in Port Everglades, it was announced that approximately 600 other passengers were staying aboard for another (at least) 10 days.
This was our 10 cruise and our fifth with Princess and it met all our expectations. On our last trip we had qualified for Platinum status and although it offers several "perks", the most useful ones are the 250 minutes of free internet per person, and priority boarding. Although we arrived a little early at the ship and expected to have to wait for at least an hour, in actuality, we were ordering lunch in the Da Vinci dining room less than an hour after arriving at the port.
We prefer the traditional dining and had the 5:30 seating in Da Vinci, which gets you out in time to make the first show in the Princess Theatre. I am not sure why some other critiquers would claim the food was "inedible". Sure, not every dish on the menu will appeal to everyone, but with at least six entrees on each of the daily and "always available" menu, there should always be something to satisfy the most discriminating palate. Yes, I did get some tough lamb, and occasionally I found the vegetables a bit undercooked, but overall, very good to excellent. Horizon Court, where we usually ate lunch, was another story. The food is not bad--but not great. It suffers from cafeteria style cooking where dishes sit on the steam table for extended period. That notwithstanding, there was still adequate choice to make an appetizing meal. One of the things that was missing from our previous Princess cruises was the deck buffet. On each of the other trips, there was a regional/ethnic buffet. On the Hawaiian trips (2) there was a deck buffet with Hawaiian foods, on a Caribbean one, we had such island dishes as pulled pork, jerk chicken, etc., and on our far eastern trip, we had two deck buffets of oriental dishes.
We found the entertainment aboard to be of a good calibre. Sure, it is not Broadway, or Las Vegas level, but then, one didn't pay $100+ for the seat. I did find the production numbers quite professional, but there were some lapses, as though the choreographer ran out of ideas how to end the routine and left the dancers with a few seconds to ad lib their own end to the routine.
One thing we did find a bit annoying was use of the Explorers' Lounge, rather than the larger Club Fusion for a second (or sometimes third) performance by an act that had previously appeared in the Princess Theatre. If you didn't have a seat 40-45 minutes before the start of the show, forget it.
The ship's internet is slow and cumbersome to use and the 250 "free" minutes does not actually get you much. Just to print our airline boarding passes and pay baggage fees took 43 minutes. However, if you are using gmail, and just want to send and receive e-mail, it is possible to do it using the ship's wi-fi on an android tablet or i-pad without actually logging on to the internet. I do not know if this works with Windows or other e-mail programs.
Last autumn, Princess canned their own art auction system and sub-contracted the job to Park West Galleries, an organization that has a less than stellar reputation for fair and honest dealing and has faced more than its share of lawsuits. However, Park West and the cruise line obviously make a lot of money from this revenue stream since Park West can afford to place four salaried employees aboard the ship and pay for a number of part-time assistants. Personally, I would never buy anything at a shipboard art auction.
Another annoyance was the shipboard photographers. I know that this is also a significant revenue generator and it appears that the number of photographers has been increased and they are everywhere. When leaving the ship, it is like running a gauntlet, having to pass through several layers of photographers who are not averse to actually grabbing your arm to haul you into camera range. We were particularly annoyed one night in the dining room when, in the middle of our entrees, a photographer insisted on taking several pictures---individual couples, men standing behind their spouses' chairs, groups, etc. all while our meals cooled off.
We did not take any ship's tours. Having been to most of the locations on previous trips, we preferred just to wander on our own, although we did arrange two excursions privately. The one on Antigua was with a Canadian snowbird---he is a native Antiguan, but a Canadian citizen who spends his summers in Toronto and winters in Antigua, operating a taxi service. He does only one tour per day for a very reasonable fee (Sonny, web site AntiguaTours@live.com).
Our stateroom was a partially obstructed oceanview on Emerald deck, and these are probably the best value for the money on the ship. We had a couple of minor problems but these were resolved completely to our satisfaction within minutes of calling the passenger services desk.
While I have listed some minor annoyances, they are just that and don't detract very much from the overall enjoyment of the trip. Sure, Princess isn't perfect, but then, neither are the other cruise lines.
However, we find that they do most things just a little better than the other five cruise lines we have sampled, and are pleased enough that we have already booked our 2015 trip.
Ray23’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
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Dining
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Entertainment
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