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My wife and I sailed on 31 October 2008 for a 10-day Eastern Caribbean Cruise onboard on of the newest ships in the Princess Line, the Emerald Princess. While the ship itself was fantastic and the ports everything we hoped for on a cruise designed to celebrate my wife's birthday and my impending retirement, the attitude and performance of the Emerald Princess's crew made the experience easily the least enjoyable of any of our Princess cruises. Embarkation was a snap. My wife is a Platinum Member, so we whisked right through the check-in line. I must say that the port facilities were much better than other places we have sailed from. We were the only cruise ship in port that day, so that may have had something to do with it. Right after dropping our things off in our cabin, we headed for the lunch buffet. Not five minutes after sitting down, a server started with the pitch for the wine tasting. Inside of three hours we had received another three pitches for the event. I realize this is a moneymaker for Princess, but the hard sell was too much. Alas, this was but a harbinger of things to come. I don't want to dwell on the negatives too much. Lets just say that we felt like we were imposing on the crew the entire 10 days. We have never felt this unwelcome on any Princess cruise before. Among the disappointments: no cookie wedge in the dessert ice cream at dinner, scrimping on the alfredo sauce on the fettuccine, no breakfast potatoes at buffet (Caribe), and too few staff on duty at breakfast buffet (Caribe). The crew was not very accommodating, either. Our waiter in DaVinci dining room one night disputed my wife's claim that her bar drink (Beverly Hills ice tea) didn't taste right and huffed and puffed when we asked him to get us another one. The Waiters and Head Waiters spent less time at the tables talking to guests than any other Princess cruise we've taken; they hardly spoke to guests other than to take the dinner order. The Captain's Circle hostess seemed rude and disinterested when I wanted to change the time of our Captain's Circle party. And a bartender at Mermaid's Tail bar on Lido deck rolled his eyes and sighed when I ordered two sodas using the pre-paid soda program that they push as soon as you get on. Onboard entertainment was lacking as well. "Serious Sounds," the band for the Sail Away music from several ports was unenthusiastic. The singer didn't sing on one day, instead running the sound board. On another day, the lead singer leaned on the railing and looked bored while watching people at the pool. He didn't start singing until 30 minutes into a 60 minute set. And only one hour of music playing AFTER the ship has sailed is too late and too short. The DaVinci dining room hours for breakfast and dinner were inconsistent. They stopped seating people for breakfast or dinner at different times every day. And we couldn't find the times of any eating area in any book or notice in the stateroom. $25 for the Chop House? Previous cruises charged only $15 for the Stirling Steak House. And our cabin safe failed during the cruise. It took a lot of emphatic suggesting to get the safe repaired expeditiously. LEave our valuables in a drawer while the safe is not working? Then who would be responsible if something came up missing? The food in the Da Vinci dining room was terrific! THey had only one theme night - Italian night. But they had a variety of items every evening such that I never had to order a "Princess favorite." However, you couldn't be bashful about ordering extra if you wanted it. On lobster night, the waiter didn't offer to bring an extra tail or two. Thank goodness for the ports and tours! They saved the cruise! After the obligatory stop at Princess Cays, the cruise stopped at St. Thomas, Antigua, Barbados, St. Lucia and St. Kitts. We did tours everywhere except Barbados. It rained most of the day in Barbados, so we got lucky there. I recommend OnDeck Racing in St. Thomas. We raced 40-foot sailboats. Be prepared to work at it! We were the crew for the race. This isn't a sit back and enjoy the ride tour! Captain "Scary" Larry and Jonathan were terrific. To get a great view of the port area, take the Skyride up to Paradise Point. You won't be disappointed. In Antigua, we circled the island by catamaran. A stunning view! And you won't believe your eyes when you see Oprah Winfrey's and Eric Clapton's "weekend" homes. The crew of the "Excellence" were wonderful. Watch out though. The rum punch isn't watered down! In St. Lucia, we went to the Piton's by catamaran. Spectacular view! In St. Kitts, we went snorkeling with the Irie Green crew of Captain George, Wayne, and Kenny the Chick Magnet. The water was deep and clear. There were a few jellyfish around, but they didn't sting and were interesting to watch. In summary, the itinerary was perfect, the ship well appointed and practically new, but the overall ship experience left us (and a few others we talked to during the cruise) disappointed. I'll sail with Princess again, but not on the Emerald Princess and most probably not on a ship of that size (3,100 passengers).

Something Amiss

Emerald Princess Cruise Review by Ray W

Trip Details
My wife and I sailed on 31 October 2008 for a 10-day Eastern Caribbean Cruise onboard on of the newest ships in the Princess Line, the Emerald Princess. While the ship itself was fantastic and the ports everything we hoped for on a cruise designed to celebrate my wife's birthday and my impending retirement, the attitude and performance of the Emerald Princess's crew made the experience easily the least enjoyable of any of our Princess cruises.
Embarkation was a snap. My wife is a Platinum Member, so we whisked right through the check-in line. I must say that the port facilities were much better than other places we have sailed from. We were the only cruise ship in port that day, so that may have had something to do with it.
Right after dropping our things off in our cabin, we headed for the lunch buffet. Not five minutes after sitting down, a server started with the pitch for the wine tasting. Inside of three hours we had received another three pitches for the event. I realize this is a moneymaker for Princess, but the hard sell was too much. Alas, this was but a harbinger of things to come.
I don't want to dwell on the negatives too much. Lets just say that we felt like we were imposing on the crew the entire 10 days. We have never felt this unwelcome on any Princess cruise before. Among the disappointments: no cookie wedge in the dessert ice cream at dinner, scrimping on the alfredo sauce on the fettuccine, no breakfast potatoes at buffet (Caribe), and too few staff on duty at breakfast buffet (Caribe).
The crew was not very accommodating, either. Our waiter in DaVinci dining room one night disputed my wife's claim that her bar drink (Beverly Hills ice tea) didn't taste right and huffed and puffed when we asked him to get us another one. The Waiters and Head Waiters spent less time at the tables talking to guests than any other Princess cruise we've taken; they hardly spoke to guests other than to take the dinner order. The Captain's Circle hostess seemed rude and disinterested when I wanted to change the time of our Captain's Circle party. And a bartender at Mermaid's Tail bar on Lido deck rolled his eyes and sighed when I ordered two sodas using the pre-paid soda program that they push as soon as you get on.
Onboard entertainment was lacking as well. "Serious Sounds," the band for the Sail Away music from several ports was unenthusiastic. The singer didn't sing on one day, instead running the sound board. On another day, the lead singer leaned on the railing and looked bored while watching people at the pool. He didn't start singing until 30 minutes into a 60 minute set. And only one hour of music playing AFTER the ship has sailed is too late and too short.
The DaVinci dining room hours for breakfast and dinner were inconsistent. They stopped seating people for breakfast or dinner at different times every day. And we couldn't find the times of any eating area in any book or notice in the stateroom.
$25 for the Chop House? Previous cruises charged only $15 for the Stirling Steak House.
And our cabin safe failed during the cruise. It took a lot of emphatic suggesting to get the safe repaired expeditiously. LEave our valuables in a drawer while the safe is not working? Then who would be responsible if something came up missing?
The food in the Da Vinci dining room was terrific! THey had only one theme night - Italian night. But they had a variety of items every evening such that I never had to order a "Princess favorite." However, you couldn't be bashful about ordering extra if you wanted it. On lobster night, the waiter didn't offer to bring an extra tail or two.
Thank goodness for the ports and tours! They saved the cruise!
After the obligatory stop at Princess Cays, the cruise stopped at St. Thomas, Antigua, Barbados, St. Lucia and St. Kitts. We did tours everywhere except Barbados. It rained most of the day in Barbados, so we got lucky there.
I recommend OnDeck Racing in St. Thomas. We raced 40-foot sailboats. Be prepared to work at it! We were the crew for the race. This isn't a sit back and enjoy the ride tour! Captain "Scary" Larry and Jonathan were terrific. To get a great view of the port area, take the Skyride up to Paradise Point. You won't be disappointed.
In Antigua, we circled the island by catamaran. A stunning view! And you won't believe your eyes when you see Oprah Winfrey's and Eric Clapton's "weekend" homes. The crew of the "Excellence" were wonderful. Watch out though. The rum punch isn't watered down!
In St. Lucia, we went to the Piton's by catamaran. Spectacular view!
In St. Kitts, we went snorkeling with the Irie Green crew of Captain George, Wayne, and Kenny the Chick Magnet. The water was deep and clear. There were a few jellyfish around, but they didn't sting and were interesting to watch.
In summary, the itinerary was perfect, the ship well appointed and practically new, but the overall ship experience left us (and a few others we talked to during the cruise) disappointed. I'll sail with Princess again, but not on the Emerald Princess and most probably not on a ship of that size (3,100 passengers).
Ray W’s Full Rating Summary
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
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Cabin Review

Balcony
Cabin BA A235
Spacious closet, average balcony, away from most of the noise.
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