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This was our 15th cruise - the second on Princess - the first being a Panama Cruise on the Coral which ended a few days before we embarked on the Emerald. EMBARKATION After spending 5 days in Disney World following the Panama cruise, we flew back to Fort Lauderdale with a taxi from the airport to the pier. This embarkation was quite a contrast to that experienced on the Coral in Los Angeles. It really was quite a shemozzle. The ship was docked at Pier 29 which quite obviously was too small to handle the number of passengers disembarking from the previous Emerald cruise and those who were endeavoring to go on board for this cruise. SHIP We found this ship just too big for us. Even after 10 days on board we still managed to have difficulties in finding the various public bars, etc. With over 3,000 passengers, I thought that the shops on board were very poor with a limited stock of items. PORTS OF CALL Antigua - Sadly, we missed this port. We were advised that the winds were to strong to safely dock. This was a disappointment and we wondered whether a smaller ship might have made it into the port. Dominica - Booked with Beno over the internet. Travelled to Emerald Pool and waterfalls. This gave us a good idea of the island. Having had this extensive tour of the island, we are unlikely to include this port in any future Caribbean cruise itinerary. Barbados - Nothing planned prior to arrival. Picked up a tour at the port with Carson St Claire. Pretty good tour. Would consider returning to this island. St Kitts - Booked with Thenford Grey over the internet. This was our best tour of the trip. It lasted the whole day and was only $40 pp. He was very informative about the island's history and extremely obliging. A number of fellow passengers left the bus in town so missed out on the trip to the other side of the island which was very different and where we all enjoyed swimming at Turtle Beach. A nice touch from Mr Grey was his Valentine's Day wishes naming all his customers written on the back window of his bus. Would consider coming back here. St Thomas - Nothing planned prior to arrival. Picked up a tour at the port with Sean (007). Toured the island and was able to take some beautiful photos. Would consider coming back here. Princess Cays - Lovely to look at but too crowded. Just seeing all those deck chairs along the beach was too much for us. Only spent a short time here, returning to the ship where we had a very restful afternoon around the pool. Fort Lauderdale - Much better with disembarkation than embarkation probably due to the pier location. We took a taxi direct to the airport. ENTERTAINMENT We enjoyed the showtime performances but hypnotist and comedian are not our cup of tea. Did enjoy the Movies under the Stars a couple of times. DINING We were glad that we had fixed dining in the evening. After a couple of days doing battle at the buffet at lunchtime we chose to eat all our meals in the dining room. RED ALERT We received advice that ship was on Red Alert due to outbreak of gastric virus for the last two days. Our dining partners advised that they were aware that there were 70 people on their level who had been quarantined. Whereas on previous cruises with HAL passengers were required to use the preventative gel prior to entering the dining room, this was not done on either of the Princess cruises. CONCLUSION This was the biggest ship on which we have sailed. Will stick with the smaller ones such as the Coral and HAL. Being Aussies - we really dislike the daily gratuity charges imposed on our account. We believe that such gratuities should be earned and rewarded accordingly. I truly believe that passengers should be given the flexibility of rewarding cabin stewards and dining room waiters personally for services rendered rather than have this gratuity charge imposed upon them. Can someone explain why there is a 15% service charge imposed on each and every drink yet there is this additional blanket daily gratuity charge ?

Valentine's Day Cruise - Pity about the Virus

Emerald Princess Cruise Review by aussietravels

Trip Details
This was our 15th cruise - the second on Princess - the first being a Panama Cruise on the Coral which ended a few days before we embarked on the Emerald.
EMBARKATION
After spending 5 days in Disney World following the Panama cruise, we flew back to Fort Lauderdale with a taxi from the airport to the pier. This embarkation was quite a contrast to that experienced on the Coral in Los Angeles. It really was quite a shemozzle. The ship was docked at Pier 29 which quite obviously was too small to handle the number of passengers disembarking from the previous Emerald cruise and those who were endeavoring to go on board for this cruise.
SHIP
We found this ship just too big for us. Even after 10 days on board we still managed to have difficulties in finding the various public bars, etc. With over 3,000 passengers, I thought that the shops on board were very poor with a limited stock of items.
PORTS OF CALL
Antigua - Sadly, we missed this port. We were advised that the winds were to strong to safely dock. This was a disappointment and we wondered whether a smaller ship might have made it into the port.
Dominica - Booked with Beno over the internet. Travelled to Emerald Pool and waterfalls. This gave us a good idea of the island. Having had this extensive tour of the island, we are unlikely to include this port in any future Caribbean cruise itinerary.
Barbados - Nothing planned prior to arrival. Picked up a tour at the port with Carson St Claire. Pretty good tour. Would consider returning to this island.
St Kitts - Booked with Thenford Grey over the internet. This was our best tour of the trip. It lasted the whole day and was only $40 pp. He was very informative about the island's history and extremely obliging. A number of fellow passengers left the bus in town so missed out on the trip to the other side of the island which was very different and where we all enjoyed swimming at Turtle Beach. A nice touch from Mr Grey was his Valentine's Day wishes naming all his customers written on the back window of his bus. Would consider coming back here.
St Thomas - Nothing planned prior to arrival. Picked up a tour at the port with Sean (007). Toured the island and was able to take some beautiful photos. Would consider coming back here.
Princess Cays - Lovely to look at but too crowded. Just seeing all those deck chairs along the beach was too much for us. Only spent a short time here, returning to the ship where we had a very restful afternoon around the pool.
Fort Lauderdale - Much better with disembarkation than embarkation probably due to the pier location. We took a taxi direct to the airport.
ENTERTAINMENT
We enjoyed the showtime performances but hypnotist and comedian are not our cup of tea. Did enjoy the Movies under the Stars a couple of times.
DINING
We were glad that we had fixed dining in the evening. After a couple of days doing battle at the buffet at lunchtime we chose to eat all our meals in the dining room.
RED ALERT
We received advice that ship was on Red Alert due to outbreak of gastric virus for the last two days. Our dining partners advised that they were aware that there were 70 people on their level who had been quarantined. Whereas on previous cruises with HAL passengers were required to use the preventative gel prior to entering the dining room, this was not done on either of the Princess cruises.
CONCLUSION
This was the biggest ship on which we have sailed. Will stick with the smaller ones such as the Coral and HAL.
Being Aussies - we really dislike the daily gratuity charges imposed on our account. We believe that such gratuities should be earned and rewarded accordingly. I truly believe that passengers should be given the flexibility of rewarding cabin stewards and dining room waiters personally for services rendered rather than have this gratuity charge imposed upon them. Can someone explain why there is a 15% service charge imposed on each and every drink yet there is this additional blanket daily gratuity charge ?
aussietravels’s Full Rating Summary
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