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My husband and I, along with 9 other people, sailed on the Emerald Princess on its maiden voyage from Rome (Civitavecchia) to Venice. We picked this cruise because we were very interested in cruising the Greek Isles and this itinerary offered absolutely the best itinerary we had seen. None of the people in our party chose to fly through the cruise line, as we all found that we could do much better on our own. Those who booked independently found that they saved about $500/person on the flights offered by the cruise line. We found the embarkation process extremely easy and were looking forward to an equally satisfying cruising experience. Our outside cabins were wonderful - fresh and new. By comparison to our many other cruises, they were spacious and amenity-filled, even the bathroom which seemed positively huge compared to most cruise lines. The closet had plenty of space for everything we had brought. Our cabin steward was fantastic and was always at our beck and call quickly and with a smile. After settling in, we made our way up top for the sail-away, which was nothing special - considering that this was the first voyage of the Emerald Princess. No free specialty cocktails, no free glasses of champagne. We were surprised, considering what we have been treated to on other sailings which were ordinary and not a major event, as this voyage was touted. We were not able to enjoy the beautiful sail away from the port, as we had reservations in the main dining room at the early seating and we anticipated a wonderful meal. Were we ever wrong!! This was just the first of many MAJOR disappointments in the cruise and I must say that I don't believe I was sailing on the same ship as the other reviewers. This was the most awful dining experience we have ever had on a cruise ship and it continued that way for 12 days straight. Food arrived cold, over or under-cooked, and one time as a blob of pasta, hard as a rock. There were major problems in the kitchen and these were never addressed. Our waiter and his assistant were highly embarrassed but there was nothing they could do. They couldn't get the food out quickly enough or hot enough and on more than one occasion, the Captain visited our table and all the other tables in our area to apologize for the problems and to see what the major complaint of the night was. We heard from many passengers that they experienced the same thing, night after night. The buffets didn't offer much better, as the food was uninspired on the entire ship. Those who did the dining at any time found the restaurants crowded and the food poorly prepared. The specialty restaurants were poorly rated by those in our party who went. To put it mildly, the food was absolutely HORRID, all the time. We loved every port we visited and had marvelous weather. We arranged our own private tours and these were exceptional in every way. Our private tours were cheaper than the ship's offerings and from talking to other passengers, we got a much better feel for all ports and were not subjected to large buses and herd mentality. I highly recommend private tours. The entertainment was OK but not phenomenal. The first night's comedian was abominable and not fit for children. We were worried that the other nights would only get worse. That was not the case. The big review nights (tributeto Motown and the Beatles night) were fabulous. A comedian brought onmid-cruise was hilariously funny and totally clean. A magician was right up there with the best of them. Of the 12 nights of entertainment, there were really good ones, 3 mediocre ones and 3 real snorers. All in all, the itinerary was outstanding, with amazingly beautiful and interesting ports of call. We toured Pompeii and climbed Vesuvius, two things not to miss. We had a fabulous tour of Santorini that left us breathless with the beauty of this tiny island. Ephesus was another highlight and boggled our minds beyond belief. We rented a car in Kotokolon and drove to the ancient site of the Olympics and those in our party who did not, missed a gorgeous place. Dubrovnik sparkled and was full of history both ancient and modern. I would repeat this itinerary in a heartbeat but NOT on board a Princess cruise. In summary, we will never sail Princess again because we found it to be disappointing in so many major ways. The ship was beautiful but the dining experience ruined it for all in our party. The service was good but not exemplary. The parade of Baked Alaska was a joke (fake cakes with electric candles – come on!!!) and the tower of champagne was another big bore. These two nights were so highly promoted that we couldn’t believe we had been so shortchanged. In addition, every time we turned around, they were charging for something. There was no free ice cream in the ice cream bar – how did that happen? The only time ice cream was free was from 3:00-4:00 PM and then you couldn’t get close to it to get any. Never was a free drink offered (except at the Captain’s Cocktail Party) and that was another joke. The internet didn’t work EVER and they finally gave up and refunded all the charges they had written to the passengers’ accounts the first 2 days. We ended up finding internet cafes at each port. Horrendous in every way to treat passengers like this – maiden voyage or not. Did I sail on a different ship?

Emerald Princess - Eastern Mediterranean

Emerald Princess Cruise Review by 9singer27

Trip Details
My husband and I, along with 9 other people, sailed on the Emerald Princess on its maiden voyage from Rome (Civitavecchia) to Venice. We picked this cruise because we were very interested in cruising the Greek Isles and this itinerary offered absolutely the best itinerary we had seen. None of the people in our party chose to fly through the cruise line, as we all found that we could do much better on our own. Those who booked independently found that they saved about $500/person on the flights offered by the cruise line. We found the embarkation process extremely easy and were looking forward to an equally satisfying cruising experience.
Our outside cabins were wonderful - fresh and new. By comparison to our many other cruises, they were spacious and amenity-filled, even the bathroom which seemed positively huge compared to most cruise lines. The closet had plenty of space for everything we had brought. Our cabin steward was fantastic and was always at our beck and call quickly and with a smile. After settling in, we made our way up top for the sail-away, which was nothing special - considering that this was the first voyage of the Emerald Princess. No free specialty cocktails, no free glasses of champagne. We were surprised, considering what we have been treated to on other sailings which were ordinary and not a major event, as this voyage was touted. We were not able to enjoy the beautiful sail away from the port, as we had reservations in the main dining room at the early seating and we anticipated a wonderful meal. Were we ever wrong!! This was just the first of many MAJOR disappointments in the cruise and I must say that I don't believe I was sailing on the same ship as the other reviewers. This was the most awful dining experience we have ever had on a cruise ship and it continued that way for 12 days straight. Food arrived cold, over or under-cooked, and one time as a blob of pasta, hard as a rock. There were major problems in the kitchen and these were never addressed. Our waiter and his assistant were highly embarrassed but there was nothing they could do. They couldn't get the food out quickly enough or hot enough and on more than one occasion, the Captain visited our table and all the other tables in our area to apologize for the problems and to see what the major complaint of the night was. We heard from many passengers that they experienced the same thing, night after night. The buffets didn't offer much better, as the food was uninspired on the entire ship. Those who did the dining at any time found the restaurants crowded and the food poorly prepared. The specialty restaurants were poorly rated by those in our party who went. To put it mildly, the food was absolutely HORRID, all the time. We loved every port we visited and had marvelous weather. We arranged our own private tours and these were exceptional in every way. Our private tours were cheaper than the ship's offerings and from talking to other passengers, we got a much better feel for all ports and were not subjected to large buses and herd mentality. I highly recommend private tours. The entertainment was OK but not phenomenal. The first night's comedian was abominable and not fit for children. We were worried that the other nights would only get worse. That was not the case. The big review nights (tributeto Motown and the Beatles night) were fabulous. A comedian brought onmid-cruise was hilariously funny and totally clean. A magician was right up there with the best of them. Of the 12 nights of entertainment, there were really good ones, 3 mediocre ones and 3 real snorers. All in all, the itinerary was outstanding, with amazingly beautiful and interesting ports of call. We toured Pompeii and climbed Vesuvius, two things not to miss. We had a fabulous tour of Santorini that left us breathless with the beauty of this tiny island. Ephesus was another highlight and boggled our minds beyond belief. We rented a car in Kotokolon and drove to the ancient site of the Olympics and those in our party who did not, missed a gorgeous place. Dubrovnik sparkled and was full of history both ancient and modern. I would repeat this itinerary in a heartbeat but NOT on board a Princess cruise. In summary, we will never sail Princess again because we found it to be disappointing in so many major ways. The ship was beautiful but the dining experience ruined it for all in our party. The service was good but not exemplary. The parade of Baked Alaska was a joke (fake cakes with electric candles – come on!!!) and the tower of champagne was another big bore. These two nights were so highly promoted that we couldn’t believe we had been so shortchanged. In addition, every time we turned around, they were charging for something. There was no free ice cream in the ice cream bar – how did that happen? The only time ice cream was free was from 3:00-4:00 PM and then you couldn’t get close to it to get any. Never was a free drink offered (except at the Captain’s Cocktail Party) and that was another joke. The internet didn’t work EVER and they finally gave up and refunded all the charges they had written to the passengers’ accounts the first 2 days. We ended up finding internet cafes at each port. Horrendous in every way to treat passengers like this – maiden voyage or not. Did I sail on a different ship?
9singer27’s Full Rating Summary
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