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This was our first Princess cruise after 12 on RCCL, 5 on NCL, and 2 on Celebrity. I was hesitant to go on Princess (not my choice) because it is in the Carnival family and there have been too many problems on Carnival lines for my comfort. Nonetheless, we went and had a very good time. I would say that it was quite comparable to RCCL and NCL and a notch below Celebrity. We (hubby, me, and 3 year old) stayed in a a mini-suite, which was wonderful. I particularly enjoyed the 2 TVs in the room (hubby could watch March Madness on mute while daughter watched a very good selection of family films on the other). The balcony was large, as was the bathroom. The room steward was very much on top of things, though I got the feeling that he was in charge of more rooms than he probably should have been. The food on the ship was generally good, not great. The buffet was good, but not particularly inspiring (and the crowd flow of the buffet was disastrous--seriously, Princess, do a usability study on that). Breakfast got old quick, and the dinners were okay. The best part was that they generally had the same dessert as the main dining room. The pizza and the grill were very good. The fish and chips in the Wheelhouse on sea days were also very good. The steakhouse was fabulous, though you paid for it. The food and the service at the steakhouse were outstanding. The MDR, however, left much to be desired. The food was generally okay, though bland. But the service was a nightmare. We were a table of 10 and service took three hours (which is too long for anyone, especially for a family with a three year old). On the first night, I talked to someone who I thought was a head waiter, and he promised me it would be better the next night. The next night, it was 40 minutes from when the last person sat down until we got any food. I drank the last drop of my water, and 30 minutes later, my glass still not had been refilled. I then talked to the manager of the dining room and told him that this was my 20th cruise, my first on Princess, and thus far they were not doing a particularly good job at making me want to take another cruise with them. Well, from that point on, service was impeccable. We got a new waitress, who was phenomenal. But I should have to cause a fuss to be treated in a timely manner. We were impressed with the Princess Pelican Club for the three year old. We thought she would hate it, but she wound up asking us when she got to go back to the Club. They had dance parties, painted t-shirts, got their faces painted, and more. I was impressed with the security. The door was always locked (parents had to be buzzed in) and an ID had to be presented to pick up the kids. After the first day, the staff knew my daughter by name and knew that I belonged to my daughter. Impressive. Also, one night when they went to the buffet and to a dance club, two large security guards went with them. This was the first cruise my daughter went on in which she could go to the club, so I can't compare it to others, but I was impressed. We were on the Spring Break cruise, and they had many more kids than usual (to the disdain of many of the older crowd on the ship), but the kids club seemed to handle the influx well. The only frustrating thing about the Pelican Club was that dinner started at 5:30 and the kids club didn't open until 6. So, to avoid the long dinners in the MDR, I would feed her at 5:30 in the buffet, drop her off at 6pm, and then run down to the MDR to join the group for the main dish that my husband ordered for me. I feel as though Princess could have done a better job timing everything to make things work more seamlessly. I thought the ship itself was in good shape. I loved that muster was inside. Overall, we had a good trip and would consider Princess again (especially since Houston is so convenient), though, to be fair, we already have two more cruises booked for the next two years, and neither is on Princess.

About par for the course for cruising these days

Emerald Princess Cruise Review by princessebird

Trip Details
This was our first Princess cruise after 12 on RCCL, 5 on NCL, and 2 on Celebrity. I was hesitant to go on Princess (not my choice) because it is in the Carnival family and there have been too many problems on Carnival lines for my comfort. Nonetheless, we went and had a very good time. I would say that it was quite comparable to RCCL and NCL and a notch below Celebrity.

We (hubby, me, and 3 year old) stayed in a a mini-suite, which was wonderful. I particularly enjoyed the 2 TVs in the room (hubby could watch March Madness on mute while daughter watched a very good selection of family films on the other). The balcony was large, as was the bathroom. The room steward was very much on top of things, though I got the feeling that he was in charge of more rooms than he probably should have been.

The food on the ship was generally good, not great. The buffet was good, but not particularly inspiring (and the crowd flow of the buffet was disastrous--seriously, Princess, do a usability study on that). Breakfast got old quick, and the dinners were okay. The best part was that they generally had the same dessert as the main dining room. The pizza and the grill were very good. The fish and chips in the Wheelhouse on sea days were also very good. The steakhouse was fabulous, though you paid for it. The food and the service at the steakhouse were outstanding.

The MDR, however, left much to be desired. The food was generally okay, though bland. But the service was a nightmare. We were a table of 10 and service took three hours (which is too long for anyone, especially for a family with a three year old). On the first night, I talked to someone who I thought was a head waiter, and he promised me it would be better the next night. The next night, it was 40 minutes from when the last person sat down until we got any food. I drank the last drop of my water, and 30 minutes later, my glass still not had been refilled. I then talked to the manager of the dining room and told him that this was my 20th cruise, my first on Princess, and thus far they were not doing a particularly good job at making me want to take another cruise with them. Well, from that point on, service was impeccable. We got a new waitress, who was phenomenal. But I should have to cause a fuss to be treated in a timely manner.

We were impressed with the Princess Pelican Club for the three year old. We thought she would hate it, but she wound up asking us when she got to go back to the Club. They had dance parties, painted t-shirts, got their faces painted, and more. I was impressed with the security. The door was always locked (parents had to be buzzed in) and an ID had to be presented to pick up the kids. After the first day, the staff knew my daughter by name and knew that I belonged to my daughter. Impressive. Also, one night when they went to the buffet and to a dance club, two large security guards went with them. This was the first cruise my daughter went on in which she could go to the club, so I can't compare it to others, but I was impressed. We were on the Spring Break cruise, and they had many more kids than usual (to the disdain of many of the older crowd on the ship), but the kids club seemed to handle the influx well.

The only frustrating thing about the Pelican Club was that dinner started at 5:30 and the kids club didn't open until 6. So, to avoid the long dinners in the MDR, I would feed her at 5:30 in the buffet, drop her off at 6pm, and then run down to the MDR to join the group for the main dish that my husband ordered for me. I feel as though Princess could have done a better job timing everything to make things work more seamlessly.

I thought the ship itself was in good shape. I loved that muster was inside.

Overall, we had a good trip and would consider Princess again (especially since Houston is so convenient), though, to be fair, we already have two more cruises booked for the next two years, and neither is on Princess.
princessebird’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Cabin D604
You know how they say once you book a balcony, you can never go back to a lower grade cabin? Well, I'm afraid Mini-Suite is the same for us. We loved the space. The two tvs were heaven. I thought that the room was thoughtfully laid out. The bed was a little uncomfortable, but the pull-out couch was surprisingly comfy. Loved having a bathtub for the little one.
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