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This is my first review. We have been on four other cruises including Norwegian, Royal Caribbean, and MSC. Forgive my blunt and concise nature, but I read USA Today. Our cruise was from Venice to Rome aboard Emerald Princess We flew into Rome, stayed the night (Hotel Aberdeen - recommended by Rick Steves was overpriced, dirty, but conveniently located. Best Western Hotel Universo was a better bet as long as expectations are low since they promote themselves as a 4 star hotel) and then took the Eurostar to Venice and stayed the night there before boarding the following day. Do not pay extra for 1st class on the Eurostar for this trip since that only gets you a plastic cup of Fanta served by an irritated steward. I do not recommend the Venice hotel, "Locanda Sturion" as it is overpriced at 260 euro (if you use Venere.com you will be tempted by the offer of 180 euro, but if you are taller than 5 feet, you will not be able to stand upright in the "attic room" that is covertly attached to that price) We did not utilize porters since we packed lightly with only one carry on sized bag each. We walked to the port. There is no signage directing one to the port. Hindsight being 20/20, we learned of a free shuttle to the port. Princess should make this known to future passengers. I doubt this will happen. The Room: (Deck 11 - balcony #B306 port side) was nice because it was new. The steward, "Niphon" was very much on the ball and should move to a better cruise line. The flat screen TV would be more remarkable if there were other stations besides the blue and black generic princess screens for every other channel. The only live feed was CNN. Commentary from the port expert could not be heard through the TV speakers when departing from each port because of a volume limiting problem. The hallway noise heard in our room was irritating and unacceptable for a new ship. We complained about the constant slamming of the service door across from our room. The Princess solution was to tape a towel to the door latch of that door. It did help, but made the hallway look like a Motel 6 under renovation. The Food: Breakfast: Be prepared for zero variety in both buffet and dining room. If you like steam trays full of runny scrambled eggs, Dolly Madison quality pastries, milk in juice boxes with the straw attached, pancakes like hockey pucks, maple syrup in a "7-11 nacho cheese pump", and Folgers coffee served from a "tap"...then you will love the buffet! The juice options include orange and cranberry. A request for grapefruit, apple, or tomato will set you back at least 15 minutes, but you can always drink it on your way out. The dining room is the exact same food with longer waits but different plating style. Lunch: Ate lunch in port all but once (at sea day) so I cannot give an honest review here. Dinner: Princess promotes their two premium restaurants daily in the Princess Patter. We ate at both Sabitini's ($20 extra per person) and Crown Grill ($25 extra per person). Yes, by paying extra you can eat dinner in less than 3 hours (since there are no other people in these restaurants) but you get pretty much the same food!!! The only advantage is that you can actually order an overcooked 4 ounce lobster tail rather than wait for it to be on the dining room menu two days later. The coffee in the dining room is as bad as the buffet. Even the pay-per-cup coffee at the coffee bar($1.75 per cup) is poor quality. Yes, I live in Seattle, but I'm not that picky about coffee! Snacks: Burgers at the Trident grill were decent. I am unsure what to make of the practice of "refrying" the french fries after being under the heat lamp - but they actually tasted good and extra crispy! Pizza is not worth your time unless you have no other option. The sauce is tomato paste with water. The ice cream bar is a rip off considering you can get a nice gelato for less money in any port. Entertainment: Quite disappointing. Having been on MSC (great entertainment, horrible food) perhaps I am biased. Norwegian and RCCL had better entertainment and food than Princess. When the venue/theater is more interesting than the entertainment, it's a problem. We walked out on one show and two comedians. Two comedians doubled up on material almost verbatim. Customer Service: - What is that? Bring quarters for the laundry room if you wish to wash clothes as the change machines are just a tease. Don't bother calling from the phone in the laundry room to have the machine restocked with quarters. Don't even bother calling 7 (yes seven) times. After the 4th call I was just amusing myself. Just go wash your clothes in the sink and save yourself $3. If you choose "any time dining" and are told the room is full, don't take the pager. Just go to the other dining room or step back in line and wait for another host/hostess. Don't expect the front desk to be forthcoming with information about where you disembark. If you disembark in Civitavecchia DO NOT BE SUCKERED INTO BUYING A PRINCESS TRANSFER TO ROME. Take the train. If you don't want to walk to the station, spit a cab with fellow passengers. Princess will tell you that there is limited taxi service. Bull! Ports: Do not take a Princess sponsored shore excursion in Kusadasi. Shame on Princess for turning it into a "hard sell Turkish rug bonanza" at the end of the excursion. They should PAY passengers to go on ANY tour in Kusadasi that includes an unexpected and unwelcome herding into a rug store. Get to Ephesus on your own by taxi and hop on one of the cruise ship charter buses on the way back but step out of line when they try to herd you in a rug store at the end. Don't let Princess nickel and dime you to death when you get to a port. They always want extra money to actually get you to where they say they are docked - Venice, Olympia, Mykonos, Rome, Dubrovnik, etc. Do your own research. You can get to Rome for 4.50 euro by train if you are willing to walk 15 minutes to the train station in Civitavecchia (free shuttle from ship to edge of port). Princess wants $75. The local taxi wants 20 euro just to get you to the train station. Room Service: If you fill out the form for daily fresh fruit, expect it about 2 days later. Run of the mill orange, kiwi, and banana. Pears were quite good. Room service was timely despite VERY limited menu selection. Internet: Never worked so it was "free". Flights: Avoid Air Canada if you are over 5 feet tall or not a contortionist - especially if you fly Toronto to Rome as they have packed more seats into a Boeing 767 like no other airline I have been on. My wife is 5 feet 4 inches (I am 6 feet 4 inches) and have NEVER heard her complain about leg room on an airline flight until Air Canada. I stood most of the flight as did the 6 foot 9 inch basketball player who plays in the Italian leagues. Be aware that it is habit for Air Canada flight attendants to restock/unload the beverage/trash cart while it is lodged between the lavatory doors in the rear of the plane. Be prepared for an argument if you have no choice but to use the first class lavatory because of this. Or, be prepared to squat in the isle and do your business. Also, if there happens to be a row of empty seats on the way from Rome to Toronto, don't expect to be able to use them. Instead, expect the flight attendants to be napping there. Best Values: 1 - Scooter rental in Mykonos (10 Euro for the day) 2 - Jeep in Santorini (35 Euro for the day) 3 - Metro in Rome (1 Euro will get you anywhere) 4 - Public water bus in Venice (1.20 Euro will get you anywhere) 5 - Knock off belts in every port (2-3 Euro) 6 - Wine tasting in Santorini 7 - Pay toilet in Ephesus (worth the 0.50 Euro just for the photo of the sign) 8 - Kumquat and Pomegranate liquor in Rhodes 9 - Local wines (when purchased at supermarkets) Biggest Rip-Offs: 1 - Princess shuttles (especially Civitavecchia to Rome transfer but second only to Venice water shuttle service) 2 - Venice "Tourist Pass" 3 - Princess "Sanctuary" 4 - Rugs in Turkey 5 - Lemonade in Capri (hydrofoil from Naples) at 6 Euros (i.e. always inquire about price before ordering ANYTHING. 6 - Art auction 7 - Dubrovnik city walls entrance fee 8 - Pay restaurants on board, food in Dubrovnik Biggest Pleasant Surprise: 1 - Despite trying, never was pick-pocketed (though watching them in action at the Spanish Steps in Rome was a hoot!) Biggest Disappointment: 1 - Ruins in Olympia Biggest pain in the butt: 1 - Public bus in Capri Overall: For the money paid this was a horrible cruise value. Tips for Future Passengers: 1 - Request a room far from the service door 2 - Avoid Princess shore excursions - buddy up with fellow passengers - FUN! 3 - Ask for the "good" robes 4 - Avoid the pay restaurants

Emerald Princess - Eastern Mediterranean

Emerald Princess Cruise Review by vfrifr

Trip Details
This is my first review. We have been on four other cruises including Norwegian, Royal Caribbean, and MSC. Forgive my blunt and concise nature, but I read USA Today.
Our cruise was from Venice to Rome aboard Emerald Princess We flew into Rome, stayed the night (Hotel Aberdeen - recommended by Rick Steves was overpriced, dirty, but conveniently located. Best Western Hotel Universo was a better bet as long as expectations are low since they promote themselves as a 4 star hotel) and then took the Eurostar to Venice and stayed the night there before boarding the following day. Do not pay extra for 1st class on the Eurostar for this trip since that only gets you a plastic cup of Fanta served by an irritated steward.
I do not recommend the Venice hotel, "Locanda Sturion" as it is overpriced at 260 euro (if you use Venere.com you will be tempted by the offer of 180 euro, but if you are taller than 5 feet, you will not be able to stand upright in the "attic room" that is covertly attached to that price)
We did not utilize porters since we packed lightly with only one carry on sized bag each. We walked to the port. There is no signage directing one to the port. Hindsight being 20/20, we learned of a free shuttle to the port. Princess should make this known to future passengers. I doubt this will happen.
The Room: (Deck 11 - balcony #B306 port side) was nice because it was new. The steward, "Niphon" was very much on the ball and should move to a better cruise line. The flat screen TV would be more remarkable if there were other stations besides the blue and black generic princess screens for every other channel. The only live feed was CNN. Commentary from the port expert could not be heard through the TV speakers when departing from each port because of a volume limiting problem. The hallway noise heard in our room was irritating and unacceptable for a new ship. We complained about the constant slamming of the service door across from our room. The Princess solution was to tape a towel to the door latch of that door. It did help, but made the hallway look like a Motel 6 under renovation.
The Food:
Breakfast: Be prepared for zero variety in both buffet and dining room. If you like steam trays full of runny scrambled eggs, Dolly Madison quality pastries, milk in juice boxes with the straw attached, pancakes like hockey pucks, maple syrup in a "7-11 nacho cheese pump", and Folgers coffee served from a "tap"...then you will love the buffet! The juice options include orange and cranberry. A request for grapefruit, apple, or tomato will set you back at least 15 minutes, but you can always drink it on your way out.
The dining room is the exact same food with longer waits but different plating style.
Lunch: Ate lunch in port all but once (at sea day) so I cannot give an honest review here.
Dinner: Princess promotes their two premium restaurants daily in the Princess Patter. We ate at both Sabitini's ($20 extra per person) and Crown Grill ($25 extra per person). Yes, by paying extra you can eat dinner in less than 3 hours (since there are no other people in these restaurants) but you get pretty much the same food!!! The only advantage is that you can actually order an overcooked 4 ounce lobster tail rather than wait for it to be on the dining room menu two days later. The coffee in the dining room is as bad as the buffet. Even the pay-per-cup coffee at the coffee bar($1.75 per cup) is poor quality. Yes, I live in Seattle, but I'm not that picky about coffee!
Snacks: Burgers at the Trident grill were decent. I am unsure what to make of the practice of "refrying" the french fries after being under the heat lamp - but they actually tasted good and extra crispy! Pizza is not worth your time unless you have no other option. The sauce is tomato paste with water. The ice cream bar is a rip off considering you can get a nice gelato for less money in any port.
Entertainment: Quite disappointing. Having been on MSC (great entertainment, horrible food) perhaps I am biased. Norwegian and RCCL had better entertainment and food than Princess. When the venue/theater is more interesting than the entertainment, it's a problem. We walked out on one show and two comedians. Two comedians doubled up on material almost verbatim.
Customer Service: - What is that? Bring quarters for the laundry room if you wish to wash clothes as the change machines are just a tease. Don't bother calling from the phone in the laundry room to have the machine restocked with quarters. Don't even bother calling 7 (yes seven) times. After the 4th call I was just amusing myself. Just go wash your clothes in the sink and save yourself $3.
If you choose "any time dining" and are told the room is full, don't take the pager. Just go to the other dining room or step back in line and wait for another host/hostess.
Don't expect the front desk to be forthcoming with information about where you disembark. If you disembark in Civitavecchia DO NOT BE SUCKERED INTO BUYING A PRINCESS TRANSFER TO ROME. Take the train. If you don't want to walk to the station, spit a cab with fellow passengers. Princess will tell you that there is limited taxi service. Bull!
Ports: Do not take a Princess sponsored shore excursion in Kusadasi. Shame on Princess for turning it into a "hard sell Turkish rug bonanza" at the end of the excursion. They should PAY passengers to go on ANY tour in Kusadasi that includes an unexpected and unwelcome herding into a rug store. Get to Ephesus on your own by taxi and hop on one of the cruise ship charter buses on the way back but step out of line when they try to herd you in a rug store at the end.
Don't let Princess nickel and dime you to death when you get to a port. They always want extra money to actually get you to where they say they are docked - Venice, Olympia, Mykonos, Rome, Dubrovnik, etc. Do your own research. You can get to Rome for 4.50 euro by train if you are willing to walk 15 minutes to the train station in Civitavecchia (free shuttle from ship to edge of port). Princess wants $75. The local taxi wants 20 euro just to get you to the train station.
Room Service: If you fill out the form for daily fresh fruit, expect it about 2 days later. Run of the mill orange, kiwi, and banana. Pears were quite good. Room service was timely despite VERY limited menu selection.
Internet: Never worked so it was "free".
Flights: Avoid Air Canada if you are over 5 feet tall or not a contortionist - especially if you fly Toronto to Rome as they have packed more seats into a Boeing 767 like no other airline I have been on. My wife is 5 feet 4 inches (I am 6 feet 4 inches) and have NEVER heard her complain about leg room on an airline flight until Air Canada. I stood most of the flight as did the 6 foot 9 inch basketball player who plays in the Italian leagues. Be aware that it is habit for Air Canada flight attendants to restock/unload the beverage/trash cart while it is lodged between the lavatory doors in the rear of the plane. Be prepared for an argument if you have no choice but to use the first class lavatory because of this. Or, be prepared to squat in the isle and do your business. Also, if there happens to be a row of empty seats on the way from Rome to Toronto, don't expect to be able to use them. Instead, expect the flight attendants to be napping there.
Best Values:
1 - Scooter rental in Mykonos (10 Euro for the day) 2 - Jeep in Santorini (35 Euro for the day) 3 - Metro in Rome (1 Euro will get you anywhere) 4 - Public water bus in Venice (1.20 Euro will get you anywhere) 5 - Knock off belts in every port (2-3 Euro) 6 - Wine tasting in Santorini 7 - Pay toilet in Ephesus (worth the 0.50 Euro just for the photo of the sign) 8 - Kumquat and Pomegranate liquor in Rhodes 9 - Local wines (when purchased at supermarkets)
Biggest Rip-Offs:
1 - Princess shuttles (especially Civitavecchia to Rome transfer but second only to Venice water shuttle service) 2 - Venice "Tourist Pass" 3 - Princess "Sanctuary" 4 - Rugs in Turkey 5 - Lemonade in Capri (hydrofoil from Naples) at 6 Euros (i.e. always inquire about price before ordering ANYTHING. 6 - Art auction 7 - Dubrovnik city walls entrance fee 8 - Pay restaurants on board, food in Dubrovnik
Biggest Pleasant Surprise:
1 - Despite trying, never was pick-pocketed (though watching them in action at the Spanish Steps in Rome was a hoot!)
Biggest Disappointment:
1 - Ruins in Olympia
Biggest pain in the butt:
1 - Public bus in Capri
Overall: For the money paid this was a horrible cruise value.
Tips for Future Passengers:
1 - Request a room far from the service door 2 - Avoid Princess shore excursions - buddy up with fellow passengers - FUN! 3 - Ask for the "good" robes 4 - Avoid the pay restaurants
vfrifr’s Full Rating Summary
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