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As seasoned cruisers we weren't sure what to expect from the Emerald or the Houston Port, based on prior negative reviews. We are happy to say we didn't experience any of the negatives reported by prior naysayers. Port Pros:Road construction around the port is substantially done, but the road signage was still inadequate as of Dec 14, 2014. The parking lot has been enlarged, and appeared to be big enough now. Cons: Parking lot directional signage was absent. Cops and parking attendants gave contradictory instructions to those arriving. Embarkation Pros: We experienced none of the embarkation process problems (identified in earlier reports). Signage was improved, but could be beefed up even more to match other ports like Ft. Lauderdale. Cons: They allow queue lines to cross in two areas (Check-in area and Plat/Elite/Suite waiting areas) which adds confusion.They also need more wheelchairs and pushers for mobility challenged folks at the start of embarkation. Ship/Excursions Pros: All crew was polite, eager to assist, and generally pleasant from top to bottom. Captain is fun, runs a tight ship of which he is obviously proud. The Emerald is starting to show her age (worn carpeting, bits of rust here and there, worn toilet seats, etc.) but the crew was constantly working on her- she is not neglected in any way. We had a cracked bathtub and a few toilets in public spaces overflow. Cons: Our only complaint surrounds the Excursions themselves, not the staff that facilitates them. We found details in the descriptions frequently inadequate, incomplete or just plain wrong. It appears Princess has sacrificed the "traveler" and suboptimized for larger "cattle call" tourist like experiences. Competitors are doing a better job in this area, and we believe Princess needs a significant revamp to compete with the burgeoning options. We've stopped using Princess excursions entirely, but booked two events for my independent, yet mobility challenged Mom. Both attempts were busts for her, as they failed to describe obvious impediments that prevented her access. Sadly, we were not credited in either instance. Dining/Bar/Entertainment All Pros, no Cons. Staff, food service and bar entertainment absolutely met our expectations in every way. We ate late each night and caught MUTS rather than going to the theater shows on this trip. Cabins All Pro: The Dolphin floor is entirely comprised of Mini Suites, which we successfully upgraded to right before we sailed. Cabin steward, "Reynaldo," was awesome and we had NO issues what so ever. Shopping Pros: The Effy store is a great addition. The prep for onshore shoppers is always well orchestrated. The addition of J Ribkoff, Tommy Bahama and Nautica clothes is FABULOUS. The tanzanite selection was incredible- onboard and on-shore. Cons: The jewelry choices onboard should be balanced between low, med and hi. Currently its too weighted at the extreme low and high ends, and the mid range options are suffering. For instance, I buy gold and silver charms for everyone on each cruise, but sadly I had no options on the Emerald from which to chose. (Ruby was better in this regard.) Overall, Emerald is doing a great job at meeting the expectations of it's patrons. Princess will remain our preferred cruise line, even if we don't like how they manage their excursion options. They cannot expect us to pay a premium for their excursions when they don't return the value for the cost: they are too short, have too many people, or are too often inaccurately described to be deemed reliable.  

We experienced none of the negatives.

Emerald Princess Cruise Review by CruzinDNA

Trip Details
As seasoned cruisers we weren't sure what to expect from the Emerald or the Houston Port, based on prior negative reviews. We are happy to say we didn't experience any of the negatives reported by prior naysayers.
Port
Pros:Road construction around the port is substantially done, but the road signage was still inadequate as of Dec 14, 2014. The parking lot has been enlarged, and appeared to be big enough now.
Cons: Parking lot directional signage was absent. Cops and parking attendants gave contradictory instructions to those arriving.
Embarkation
Pros: We experienced none of the embarkation process problems (identified in earlier reports). Signage was improved, but could be beefed up even more to match other ports like Ft. Lauderdale.
Cons: They allow queue lines to cross in two areas (Check-in area and Plat/Elite/Suite waiting areas) which adds confusion.They also need more wheelchairs and pushers for mobility challenged folks at the start of embarkation.
Ship/Excursions
Pros: All crew was polite, eager to assist, and generally pleasant from top to bottom. Captain is fun, runs a tight ship of which he is obviously proud. The Emerald is starting to show her age (worn carpeting, bits of rust here and there, worn toilet seats, etc.) but the crew was constantly working on her- she is not neglected in any way. We had a cracked bathtub and a few toilets in public spaces overflow.
Cons: Our only complaint surrounds the Excursions themselves, not the staff that facilitates them. We found details in the descriptions frequently inadequate, incomplete or just plain wrong. It appears Princess has sacrificed the "traveler" and suboptimized for larger "cattle call" tourist like experiences. Competitors are doing a better job in this area, and we believe Princess needs a significant revamp to compete with the burgeoning options. We've stopped using Princess excursions entirely, but booked two events for my independent, yet mobility challenged Mom. Both attempts were busts for her, as they failed to describe obvious impediments that prevented her access. Sadly, we were not credited in either instance.
Dining/Bar/Entertainment
All Pros, no Cons. Staff, food service and bar entertainment absolutely met our expectations in every way. We ate late each night and caught MUTS rather than going to the theater shows on this trip.
Cabins
All Pro: The Dolphin floor is entirely comprised of Mini Suites, which we successfully upgraded to right before we sailed. Cabin steward, "Reynaldo," was awesome and we had NO issues what so ever.
Shopping
Pros: The Effy store is a great addition. The prep for onshore shoppers is always well orchestrated. The addition of J Ribkoff, Tommy Bahama and Nautica clothes is FABULOUS. The tanzanite selection was incredible- onboard and on-shore.
Cons: The jewelry choices onboard should be balanced between low, med and hi. Currently its too weighted at the extreme low and high ends, and the mid range options are suffering. For instance, I buy gold and silver charms for everyone on each cruise, but sadly I had no options on the Emerald from which to chose. (Ruby was better in this regard.)
Overall, Emerald is doing a great job at meeting the expectations of it's patrons. Princess will remain our preferred cruise line, even if we don't like how they manage their excursion options. They cannot expect us to pay a premium for their excursions when they don't return the value for the cost: they are too short, have too many people, or are too often inaccurately described to be deemed reliable.
 
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Cabin Review

Cabin D218
Our tub had a crack in it and needs to be replaced.
  Emerald Princess Deck Plans

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Snorkeling
    We opted for the Shark/Ray Alley and Hol Chan with Caulker Cay excursion. It was AMAZING. The reef was teeming with life. We had only 15 on our boat and the personalized experience was truly memorable. I wish Princess sold excursions based on experience levels.
    View All 177 Snorkeling Reviews
  • Snorkeling
    We are repeat customer's of Rosi's and her team ALWAYS provides an amazing experience. I cannot recommend her highly enough- the small number allowed on her excursions guarantees a memorable event even in less than ideal weather conditions. They go above and beyond to insure a positive experience. I wish Princess sold excursions based on experience levels.
    View All 435 Snorkeling Reviews
  • Scuba Diving
    The service we received was exceptional. We had 4-5 hours of water time, enjoyed with only 8 other people, at a value price point. We were picked up and delivered in a timely way, and we were even served lunch and given info about the native plant and animal species. The smaller and more personalized experience is the difference between booking with Princess and going independent. Driving past the people living atop the dump was heart breaking, however. I wish Princess sold excursions based on experience levels.
    View All 41 Scuba Diving Reviews