Emerald Princess Cruise Review by Clampram
- Sail Date: December 2015
- Destination: Eastern Caribbean
- Cabin Type: Mini-Suite with Balcony
Our last cruise (Zuiderdam) was a few years ago and just did not live up to our expectations. This year, we chose the Emerald Princess because we thought that we would try a different cruise line. Additionally, the 5 day cruise was the perfect fit for our already planned Fort Lauderdale vacation.
We flew down to FLL one day early and stayed the nite at the Hollywood Beach Marriott. Cab fare from the hotel to the cruise terminal was $15.00 without tip. We arrived about 11:30 and there was quite a few people in line ahead of us but everything moved very quickly and we were sent into a waiting area post check in for about 20 minutes before being allowed to board the ship. Everyone was very friendly and helpful during this process. Somehow, my coffee card which I pre-purchased was not included but I was given correct info as to how to get the card once on board. It is very helpful to have a pen/pencil to fill in the health questionnaire while in line.
We were allowed to board just about 12:30. It was our intention to go to our stateroom but we found ourselves just outside of the MDR and they said "come on in and have lunch", so we did. Right away, we became aware of just how close those tables for 2 are in the MDR. We rolled with it and had some nice conversations with folks seated on either side of us. Lunch was very good, but I am not used to having courses at lunch!
After lunch, we made our way to our cabin D602 - a mini suite on the port side of the ship. Our bags arrived shortly after we did and unpacking was pretty quick. The cabin was very nice and we really appreciated the balcony as we had a great view of the port and ships that departed before us. There was no overhang above our heads so we could see other passengers and they could see us. I had read about this ahead of time on CC but I must say, it didn't bother us at all. In fact, we talked to a few neighbors this way over the course of the cruise. The balcony was a bit run down. The sides of the doors and the walls were pretty stained and the blue floor covering was stained with what looked like white paint from above. Nevertheless, we really enjoyed sitting out there first thing in the morning and later in the day. The beds were comfy but I was bothered by the shortness of the blankets. I am tall and the blankets only came chest high on me. Our cabin steward was excellent and he got me a set up from a larger bed that was great for the entire cruise. I was able to snuggle up and nite without running out of bed covers.
The A/C was good but our room temp was never less than 72 degrees. My travel alarm has a thermometer on it that's pretty accurate. Since both of our thermostats were set at their lowest, there was nothing we could do about that. We just prefer our room to be a bit cooler than that at night. The bathroom/shower was good with plenty of space for all of our stuff. The water temperature in the shower remained a mystery for the whole cruise. No matter how you turned the knobs, the water temp stayed exactly the same. I would have liked a little less hot but there is no way to regulate this. Some folks did have serious water issues on this cruise, but we were not impacted. The cabin was very quiet at night and there were no issues with noise from others at night. The TVs in the room were very nice but the channel choices were not very nice. There is no published channel guide. Channels went from 21 - 49 and half of these were Princess channels that advertised more cruises, art shows, and jewelry. We did catch one good movie but that's about it.
During the cruise, there were two medical emergencies and both occurred at night. Unfortunately, the emergency staff are summoned by a general broadcast into all rooms and public areas. This occurred twice on successive nights and was enough to wake up the dead. While I understand the need for getting staff summoned quickly, I do not understand the choice to wake up the entire cruise ship. With all of todays' technology, emergency staff should be supplied with personal pagers or other available equipment to get them summoned promptly in order to help the injured/sick passenger and to allow them to respond that they are "on the way". I was surprised to see that the staff working on the lifeboats had pagers and wondered why this wasn't so for emergency medical staff.
Following the lifeboat drill on our first day, I did feel that not enough info was given. We were not informed of our actual lifeboat number nor was there any info given about other potential emergencies - like how to get help if someone is injured, is there an emergency phone system, where are life preservers on the decks etc. Much more education could be done in this area.
The food overall was very good and we ate in the MDR, the Crown Grill, and the buffet, and the International Café. The best experiences were at the Crown Grill which is outstanding. We ate there twice and really enjoyed it. The buffet was fairly good with lots of choices. Because of the closeness of the tables for two in the MDR, we did not choose this area very much for meals. I very much appreciated that everyone is asked to use the hand sanitizers when entering the buffet area. This is a great idea to help prevent infections.
I am a coffee person so I did miss "good" coffee. The coffee in the MDR and room service was just not good. International café was better but not great. My coffee card was never punched....saving it for future cruises. Why isn't there some interest in a Starbucks on board these ships??? I for one sure would use it!!!!
The ports were good and we enjoyed beaches and a little shopping at both Princess Cay and Turks and Caicos. The staff does a tremendous job getting people on/off these destinations safely and quickly.
Overall, we were both very happy with Princess and we found this ship to be roomy, comfortable, and always could find a comfortable quiet spot to sit and read and enjoy the ocean going by!! We also could always find some nice entertainment...loved the violin duo at the IC. The library is good sized with plenty of choices. Staff service is exception with the exception of the service desk. We called several times with questions and this phone is never answered. You can physically go to the service desk area but there is always a long line. When we couldn't get answers, we always asked our room attendant and he was great and full of info. He should get a raise!!
We are beginning to plan our next Princess cruise because we were so pleased with the Emerald Princess!!!
250,000+ people have entered their email
Port & Shore Excursion Reviews
Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)Enjoyed the week post cruise in Fort Lauderdale at Harbor Beach Marriott.View All 1,962 Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades) Cruise Port Reviews
View Cruise Critic's Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades) Cruise Port Review
Grand TurkNice beach !!View All 2,145 Grand Turk Cruise Port Reviews
View Cruise Critic's Grand Turk Cruise Port Review
Princess CaysEnjoyed the beach and our sun shade!View All 588 Princess Cays Cruise Port Reviews
View Cruise Critic's Princess Cays Cruise Port Review