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Emerald Princess Review

4.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating
1673 reviews
7 Awards

Grand Med, a dream come true!

Review for Emerald Princess to the Western Mediterranean
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houch
First Time Cruiser

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Sail Date: Aug 2008
Cabin:

Jan and I booked this cruise in Aug 2007 and Deb joined us in Jan 2008. Our original cabin was an outside on Plaza deck. Less than 2 weeks before our cruise we found out we had been upgraded to a balcony on Baja deck. We were so excited about that. We booked everything with Princess except our flights which we used our miles for. We went out early with an overnight in Barcelona.Our Delta flight was uneventful but late. We walked around Barcelona on our own in the afternoon and early evening. Our hotel was the Grand Central, very nice. We were up early, bags out at 7am and 10 am transfer to ship. The port terminal was new and very nice. We waited in the VIP lounge till we could board at noon. The ship was beautiful, I liked the changes made from the Star and Grand. Huge but fairly easy to navigate after a day or two. I liked the adult pool aft, although there weren't a lot of kids on this cruise and that was nice. The Wheelhouse bar was the largest I've seen and very comfortable. It had a nice smoking area which I liked. We aren't much for the bar scene but did enjoy a drink before dinner when we had time for it. Our cabin was nice with plenty of room for the 3 of us to unpack and store our luggage. There were 2 beds down and 1 upper bunk. The balcony had enough room for 3 comfy chairs and a small table. We loved it. Our cabin steward was just fantastic, best we've ever had, she went above and beyond her duties. We had early dining in the Botticelli dining room. Our wait staff was excellent and also fun! Midway through the cruise I had said I wished they had creme brule for dessert every night. After that I had it every night! We always prefer first seating but this trip we missed a few nights as we had such long tours. We didn't mind as the Horizon Court always has good food. Our first port was Marseilles. We took the $5 round trip Princess shuttle to town and walked around on our own. We took the Petit-train tour for 5 euros to the church Notre-Dame de la Garde high up on a hill. A nice ride through part of the city and a beautiful view of the port from the church! Next port was Livorno and we had tour Florence and Pisa for 9 1/2 hours and included a good lunch with wine. I enjoyed Florence but the highlight for me was Pizza. When I walked through the gate and saw the tower, basilica, and baptistery all glistening white against the blue sky, it took my breath away! I am so glad we went there. Next was Civitavecchia and we had tour Treasures of Rome for 9 1/2 hours including lunch with wine. We saw much including the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, the Vatican, St Peter's and many ruins which Rome is full of. Next was Naples with the tour Amalfi Coastal Drive and Pompeii for 9 1/2 hours. Also included lunch with wine and a nice view of the Med.The coast was beautiful everywhere you looked and Pompeii was very interesting. After a sea day which included our first formal with the Captain's Welcome cocktail party, we were in Mykonos.We had the Mykonos Island Tour for 3 hours and then had time to walk those winding walkways on our own. This was a tender port and all went smoothly. A cute island. Next was Istanbul and the tour was Istanbul Highlights/Cruise and lunch. An amazing city with so much to see and so little time with 8 1/2 hours. We saw the Blue Mosque, St Sophia, Topkapi Palace, shopping in the Grand Bazaar. Our lunch with wine was on a boat cruising the Bosphorus with beautiful views of both East and West Istanbul. Our next port was Kusadasi with tour Ephuses/St John's Basilica/Virgin Mary's house for 4 1/2 hours. We saw much in Ephesus including the Odeon, Celsus Library, Temple of Hadrian, Fountain of Trajan, and the Great Theater where Paul preached to the Ephesians. This theater seats 24,000 and is used today for a local spring festival. We went across the valley to St Mark's Basilica, saw the alter where he preached, and his grave site. This tour was awesome and very moving for me. On to Athens with tour Acropolis, Ancient Corinth and Canal for 9 hours with lunch and wine. There were 80 steps up the Acropolis to the Parthenon and an amazing view of Athens when we got there. We also stopped at the Olympic Stadium used in the 1894 games. The ruins of Corinth weren't as well preserved as folks had been taking the stones for their own use. Another sea day and our second formal with the Captain's Circle cocktail party. It was a welcome day of resting and relaxing but we also had to start to pack. Next morning we slept in a bit as weren't to arrive in Venice till 1pm. Our last port, Venice and our tour Gondola Ride, Doge's Palace and Glass Factory for 5 hours. The cruising into the Venice was one beautiful site after another, an amazing journey into the city. After lunch on board we boarded a water shuttle to the Grand Canal entrance and began our walking tour. The Gondola ride was a highlight and not to be missed. The glass factory I could have done without. We got back to the ship about 7 pm and missed our last dining room dinner. After eating in the Horizon Court we did last minute packing, got our bags out and enjoyed our balcony one last time. I did go up top and watched the movie screen which had the Venice chamber orchestra which was playing in the ships theater. I loved the classical music under the stars. Next morning after breakfast in the Horizon court we waited in a lounge for platinum members until our time to disembark. A bus to the airport, picked our luggage, and waited in line for boarding passes. This airport is quite small and extremely crowded with all the cruise passengers. Our flight home was on KLM, by far the best airline I have ever been on! I booked all our tours on line and love the convenience. Total per person, a little over $900 for all and well worth every penny. The tour guides were walking encyclopedias, I couldn't absorb all they had to say. We knew we couldn't see everything but are very happy with what we did see. The temps were in the high 90's with high humidity every day and we returned to the ship soaked to the bones and tired, but happy. There was a lot of walking in every tour. The seas were the most calm I have ever seen. A few white caps around Mykonos, otherwise you hardly knew you were on water. I missed the "motion of the ocean". When we missed dinner the first time our waiter told us to just come as we were right from the tour, it would be ok. So we did, in casual capri's and shirts. He made us feel very comfortable and we were able to be there to enjoy the great meal choices and wonderful service our waiters provided. I'm sure some folks here would be mortified that we came to dinner that way but we were glad we were able to do that. I didn't talk about the entertainment as the only thing we did was to see the production numbers in the theater with the Princess singers and dancers. We always enjoy their shows and weren't disappointed this time. The first night in the theater was a comedian/juggler who had us laughing so hard we were crying and our guts hurt. The cruise director, Neil Chandler was one of the best ever, as were his assistants Martin and Colon. Neil was friendly and nice to chat with as we would run into him. We don't go to the bars much so can't speak of the other entertainment there. Also don't go to the specialty dining or the spa. I did use the interned cafe as I have free minutes, but it was slow. I did get to the casino, which was big and roomy, a few times and left my donation. Jan and I did play bingo a couple of times and I managed to win $200 which was nice. This cruise has come to the top or our list as our all time favorite!

Cabin Review

Pleasant pastel colors, comfy duvet, pleanty of storage room for the 3 of us in the closet and drawers, no noise in the hallway, wonderful balcony, and the usual small bathroom but big enough.

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