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We have taken multiple cruises with Princess, Celebrity, & Royal C. Living in the Midwest always has us looking at winter temperature relief. We decided on a holiday cruise with kids directly after Christmas to experience New Years in the Caribbean for the first time. We have in excess of 5-7 cruises on each line and before reading this review, I would still honestly give Celebrity the edge in quality both in entertainment & food quality. Having reviewed some earlier Emerald Princess posts just prior to our trip had us very concerned with the quality of the ship and whether Princess has "downgraded". While I'm sure some of the prior posts detailed major disappointments, we had a wonderful time. Emerald is certainly not new and not as large as others, but not a ship to avoid by any means. Princess hospitality was excellent. We had two adjacent balcony rooms, one for the well-behaved teens and one for my wife & myself. The room steward was excellent, efficient, and very friendly. Room temps were fine and the bathrooms worked perfectly which again was a problem stated in prior posts. The staff in general was great. Rooms were level 14 aft and very convenient to a pool, a single floor below the breakfast buffet, and in close proximity to a pool bar. Ports were St. Kitts, Antigua, St. Thomas, & Gr Turks with 3 at sea days. We were upgraded to platinum status for this cruise with Princess with the standard return guests cocktail party, nice but nothing incredible and no appetizers like celebrity, but ok. The nice new perk was nightly special invite to happy hour in the lounge on 18th floor as platinum. Entertainment was ok and that's a bit generous. A musical disco show was great but short only about 35 minutes and I feel should have been twice that, they also has a great singer single guy with band one night. Great voice and rendition of "get my kicks on route 66" was outstanding. They could have used a wider variety of side bar music venues. They had a nice violinist but they coupled them with a guy on steel drum that was irritating to listen to for long. Also lacked decent singer/band in the side lounges at least early evening. Game shows were given too much emphasis instead. We chose anytime dining as the main seating is either too early or late for our liking. Early morning reservations gave us perfect times every night. Main dining was good. Great would be an exaggeration, but always one very good main course every night. Wait staff in anytime can be hit or miss, but we had one particular waiter so good we asked to sit in his section again. We chose the steak house for one special dining that the entire family thought was excellent. Not sure why prior reviews from some rated it poor? It was very good, really. We also chose to have one dinner at SHARE, the new restaurant. This meal at SHARE was good, but at $39 per person I think it was overpriced and would not do it again. $25 per person for the steak house is a much better value. Pizza at lunch near pool was very good thin style and short wait time, the lunch buffet had decent variety, and there was the standard grill for burgers/etc. The excursions were all good. We chose the lobster/champagne catamaran at Antigua which we have done before and still great. Great snorkel excursion at Grand Turk. Also was pretty cool to have some NFL on the outdoor movie screen and a couple good movies during the week though we did not stay to watch entire shows at night. The casino was a bit disappointing. It is a very large casino, but a lot of the space is unused and they could have easily accommodated more slot varieties. Although there is a non-smoking night, the casino has the general suffocating smoke most of the time. Sea days meant large demand for deck lounges. We already know, so finding the perfect seat early was not an issue, but those showing up at the pool around 11am were challenged for a seat. The ship was extremely clean and well kept considering it's age. We have sailed on her before, and see no reason to suggest avoiding Emerald or princess lines in general as they continue to do a quality job of providing a very nice cruise experience.

First Holiday Cruise

Emerald Princess Cruise Review by najanaja

1 person found this helpful
Trip Details
We have taken multiple cruises with Princess, Celebrity, & Royal C. Living in the Midwest always has us looking at winter temperature relief. We decided on a holiday cruise with kids directly after Christmas to experience New Years in the Caribbean for the first time. We have in excess of 5-7 cruises on each line and before reading this review, I would still honestly give Celebrity the edge in quality both in entertainment & food quality. Having reviewed some earlier Emerald Princess posts just prior to our trip had us very concerned with the quality of the ship and whether Princess has "downgraded".

While I'm sure some of the prior posts detailed major disappointments, we had a wonderful time. Emerald is certainly not new and not as large as others, but not a ship to avoid by any means. Princess hospitality was excellent. We had two adjacent balcony rooms, one for the well-behaved teens and one for my wife & myself. The room steward was excellent, efficient, and very friendly. Room temps were fine and the bathrooms worked perfectly which again was a problem stated in prior posts. The staff in general was great. Rooms were level 14 aft and very convenient to a pool, a single floor below the breakfast buffet, and in close proximity to a pool bar.

Ports were St. Kitts, Antigua, St. Thomas, & Gr Turks with 3 at sea days. We were upgraded to platinum status for this cruise with Princess with the standard return guests cocktail party, nice but nothing incredible and no appetizers like celebrity, but ok. The nice new perk was nightly special invite to happy hour in the lounge on 18th floor as platinum. Entertainment was ok and that's a bit generous. A musical disco show was great but short only about 35 minutes and I feel should have been twice that, they also has a great singer single guy with band one night. Great voice and rendition of "get my kicks on route 66" was outstanding.

They could have used a wider variety of side bar music venues. They had a nice violinist but they coupled them with a guy on steel drum that was irritating to listen to for long. Also lacked decent singer/band in the side lounges at least early evening. Game shows were given too much emphasis instead. We chose anytime dining as the main seating is either too early or late for our liking. Early morning reservations gave us perfect times every night. Main dining was good. Great would be an exaggeration, but always one very good main course every night. Wait staff in anytime can be hit or miss, but we had one particular waiter so good we asked to sit in his section again. We chose the steak house for one special dining that the entire family thought was excellent. Not sure why prior reviews from some rated it poor? It was very good, really.

We also chose to have one dinner at SHARE, the new restaurant. This meal at SHARE was good, but at $39 per person I think it was overpriced and would not do it again. $25 per person for the steak house is a much better value. Pizza at lunch near pool was very good thin style and short wait time, the lunch buffet had decent variety, and there was the standard grill for burgers/etc.

The excursions were all good. We chose the lobster/champagne catamaran at Antigua which we have done before and still great. Great snorkel excursion at Grand Turk. Also was pretty cool to have some NFL on the outdoor movie screen and a couple good movies during the week though we did not stay to watch entire shows at night. The casino was a bit disappointing. It is a very large casino, but a lot of the space is unused and they could have easily accommodated more slot varieties. Although there is a non-smoking night, the casino has the general suffocating smoke most of the time. Sea days meant large demand for deck lounges. We already know, so finding the perfect seat early was not an issue, but those showing up at the pool around 11am were challenged for a seat. The ship was extremely clean and well kept considering it's age. We have sailed on her before, and see no reason to suggest avoiding Emerald or princess lines in general as they continue to do a quality job of providing a very nice cruise experience.
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Cabin Review

Balcony
Cabin BA
nice, very clean, all electronics worked perfectly. A/C initially not super cold, but one statement to the room steward and we had a very cold room. Fresh pitcher of ice in the room fridge every day was nice. Our guy was at the top of his game, always came back to a clean room and fresh towels.
Aloha Deck Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews