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Emerald Princess Review

4.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating
1678 reviews
7 Awards

Emerald Princess - Western Mediterranean

Review for Emerald Princess to the Western Mediterranean
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First Time Cruiser • Age 70s

Rating by category

Public Rooms

Additional details

Sail Date: Sep 2007
Cabin: Balcony

Having sailed on much smaller ships, we were apprehensive about our cruise on this very large one, but I must say that with few exceptions, our fears were unfounded. The length of the passageways (which seemed to stretch interminably) was a bit daunting at first but we soon got used to navigating our way around and were never conscious of being part of a group of over 3000 passengers. The cabin size was perfectly adequate and we were delighted to find that our balcony (on Caribe deck) was much larger than comparable ones on Holland America and Oceania. One problem though with larger balconies is that it may encourage partying and we were bothered by quite a bit of noise from the adjoining balcony where our neighbors seemed to be out partying every night. The shower was much too small and it was very difficult to have a decent shower in the space. We are not large people and I can only imagine how difficult it would be for some people. Closet space (not enclosed) was very generous and we had no problem hanging all our clothes. We liked most of the public areas in he ship - and really liked the piazza area where we often found good entertainment e.g. a string quartet or a pianist. We also LOVED the Sanctuary where we were able to escape for a quiet read and to listen to some music using the Bose headsets which are available on request. Our only peeve was that on one occasion there were very noisy people in the swimming pool below (just outside the Spa). There is a sign saying that it is a quiet area but it was completely ignored by the noisy chatterers in the whirlpool. I also found that the Spa staff who were giving treatments in the tent within the Sanctuary were often loud and seemed to be unaware that people in the Sanctuary were there to escape noise. We opted for Anytime Dining. In general it worked quite well but we were annoyed to find that many people were permitted to book tables at the same time every night which seems quite contrary to the concept of Anytime Dining. Princess needs to look into this and to see how many fixed-time diners are opting to go to Anytime dining. We found the food was very good - just as good as Holland America but not quite up to the standard of Oceania. There was a pretty good selection of reasonably priced wines - much better than on Holland America. On the negative side we encountered quite a few wait -staff who seemed rather rough and ready. Often the interaction verged on rudeness and I think Princess needs to do more to make sure that its wait staff is properly trained. We took only one ship's excursion and instead opted to join a private group for most of our excursions. The one ship's excursion we took to Cinque Terre was excellent but it arrived back late. Thankfully we had taken a ship's excursion or the ship would have left without us! Entertainment is very low on our list of priorities. We don't like Vegas shows and so we didn't really pay much heed to the shows. Those we tried we didn't like very much and left early. However we did like the opera singer who sang on our first night and one of the highlights was a film about Pavarotti which was also shown on our first night. We used the Adagio and Crooners bars once each and found them very pleasant but with such a packed itinerary there really isn't much time or inclination to sit around drinking in the evening. With the notable exception of our cabin steward, Henry, who was simply wonderful, we didn't find the staff particularly pleasant or helpful. I think this may be due to the automatic tipping policy and we would prefer to tip individually. The future cruise director was condescending and unhelpful and I would expect Princess to do a better job of choosing someone for this important position. One thing I really quibble about is the policy of not allowing passengers to bring liquor on board. One can bring liquor to an hotel room and there is no reason (other than profit motive) to have a different rule on the ship. Of course no-one wants to encourage drunken behavior but why not allow each passenger to bring one bottle of liquor on board? I certainly missed having a gin and tonic on our balcony! Overall impressions? We loved the itinerary (even though it was packed) and the only regret was not including Santorini. Barcelona is a wonderful destination (it was our first time there)and is highly recommended. We loved all the amenities on this larger ship and we would have no hesitation in recommending the cruise to our friends. One final point. We love Venice and stayed there for a few days before the cruise. Although our hotel was only a few minutes from the Princess dock we still had to pay 90 euros for a water taxi... Sheer daylight robbery....so be prepared - if you have a few suitcases it's the only way to go.

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