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My wife and I took our 5th and longest cruise this time, choosing Princess per itinerary and length.3 previous on NCL and 1 on Carnival and this our 1st on Princess.I am 51 and my wife 47.Went alone this time w/ high expectations as our cruise planner recommended Princess highly. Flew into Miami 2 days prior to embarkation and took Super Shuttle to Ft.Lauderdale to the tune of $66 for a 24 mile ride.Stayed at the Courtyard by Marriot.What a beautiful hotel w/ great location and fantastic views.Only complaint that there is no shuttle to airport/cruise port but caught the local bus for $2.50 and walked into the port area.We aren't cheap but a cab is $10-15 for a 1.5 mile ride. Embarkation: arrived at port at 1200 noon to a huge line.Met a great Canadian couple who had been there since 10:45 and were told ship would not start boarding until at least 2pm as there had been an Noro-virus outbreak and the ship was being "sanitized".No brainer there, sanitize away.Once line started moving it went very fast and we were on the ship in our cabin in about 30 min. Cabin: KK on deck 10, inside forward C-244.Nice decor.Large storage area made so by the smallest bathroom we have ever had.The shower can't possibly get any smaller.Living/bed area was about the same as other ships.Very firm mattress and had egg crate placed on 2nd day per other post's on C.C..Our cabin stewart was very cordial and efficient. Ship:as per other reviews the theater is way too small for # of passengers (our cruise was sold out 3100+)and getting there 30 min prior to shows was a must to get a seat.The Explorers Lounge where other acts took place had the same limitations and was considerably smaller than the theater.Grand Atrium was beautiful/elegant w/ often a 4 person string quartet playing classical music.The ship is large and poorly laid out.It seemed as if it was cut up and difficult to get around.We heard this complaint over/over during our cruise.The MUTS idea is a big hit w/ us and we really enjoyed the movies day and night.There seemed to be ample lounge chairs available even w/ the ever present "saving" going on.But frankly we had no problems finding 2 chairs pretty much when and where we wanted.There are 2 main pool areas mid ships and 1 small pool at the stern.These didn't seem to get used a whole lot.No pool slides but I doubt there were more than 20 children on board anyway and very few young couples either.My wife enjoyed the gym but was quite upset they didn't open earlier due to being built over cabins below.Shops were about the same as on other ships.Live band at pool side was good.Overall ship seemed in good shape and was clean though already showing signs of wear in carpeting etc. Food:had high expectations and were disappointed.3 main dining rooms, 1 traditional seating and 2 either/or anytime/traditional.No wait EVER w/ our anytime option.But all 3 dining rooms had the same menu each night so there was no variety to speak of unless going to buffet or one of the 2 upscale dining options.The morning buffet style breakfasts were chaos.There is no flow to these area's and though there are 4 area's they are all relatively small.We did not have breakfast/lunch in any main dining rooms.The variety at lunch/dinner in the buffet area's were good though.And the pizza was very good as was the grill at poolside.We ate one night in Crown Grill at $25 pp.The meal was good but not overly so as it should have been.Quite frankly we both felt the overall food is superior on NCL and we did in fact meet several devoted Princess cruiser's who felt as if this particular cruise was just off a bit.One couple had even been on Emerald 1 year prior and felt there was a big difference this time. Crew: in general the entire crew were fantastic.Cruise director was funny and energetic as were his asst's.Almost every crewman we met seemed happy and energetic. Shows:the comedy shows were very funny and the 2 shown in the theater we were able to get into were also well done.We both felt though that the shows in general are better and more contemporary on NCL.We do not do art auctions,bingo,etc. Drinks: they just seem to get more and more expensive each cruise we go on.On NCL when you buy the souvenir glass you get $2 off each drink you buy when you have that glass in hand, not on Princess.$6.95 + gratuity for regular drinks and 4 for the price of 5 buckets of beer that were just plain too rich for our pocketbooks.The cruise lines should note that in this current economy lowering the price even just a little would probably dramatically increase consumption.We did not spend much on board on drinks and chose to drink more when ashore where prices were more reasonable.We are not rich and simply have to budget somewhere in order to cruise each year. Excursions: only did 1 in Greneda.Way over priced for what we got, but had a good time and we know better but time there was very limited. Ports.Princess Cays: nice area but seemed extraordinarily crowded w/ just our 1 ship.Was a windy day and water seemed quite cool/cold.Good food at BBQ.Little else to do and were not allowed out of the general area.St Thomas: took cab to Coki beach and while small and crowded, had decent snorkeling/swimming.Drank a couple buckets of cold Presidente and enjoyed the sun.Dominica:took a 3-4 hr bus tour of interior to waterfalls etc and had a great time.Cynthia our tour guide was exceptional and only cost $50 at the pier. the took $5 cab ride to black sand beach to finish off the day.Would come back.Greneda:too short a time (see excursion above).Bonaire: took water taxi to Klein Bonaire to snorkle.What an incredible place, the best snorkeling we have ever had including in Hawaii.Did a little shopping prior to leaving.Aruba: what a total disappointment.1st time there and with all the hype about the place was shocked when got a few streets away from port area.Up by the resorts it is pretty nice and up past to the lighthouse but the other side and end of island are rugged and barren.Just flat expected more beaches and beauty. Debarkation: pretty well organized, no real complaints except that the cabs in Ft.Lauderdale are flat overpriced.$15.00 for a 2 mile 10 min ride is outrageous.And then they want a gratuity on top. Overall: our expectations were not met and we were disappointed.But wanted to branch out and try another line.Will probably go back to NCL next time as they seem to be more our style.We met many wonderful people (hi to Sandy and Leroy from Toronto) and still had a great time as weather was good and afterall, it's hard not to have a good time in the Caribbean in winter.

EMERALD PRINCESS 1ST TIMER

Emerald Princess Cruise Review by gsande3006

Trip Details
My wife and I took our 5th and longest cruise this time, choosing Princess per itinerary and length.3 previous on NCL and 1 on Carnival and this our 1st on Princess.I am 51 and my wife 47.Went alone this time w/ high expectations as our cruise planner recommended Princess highly.
Flew into Miami 2 days prior to embarkation and took Super Shuttle to Ft.Lauderdale to the tune of $66 for a 24 mile ride.Stayed at the Courtyard by Marriot.What a beautiful hotel w/ great location and fantastic views.Only complaint that there is no shuttle to airport/cruise port but caught the local bus for $2.50 and walked into the port area.We aren't cheap but a cab is $10-15 for a 1.5 mile ride.
Embarkation: arrived at port at 1200 noon to a huge line.Met a great Canadian couple who had been there since 10:45 and were told ship would not start boarding until at least 2pm as there had been an Noro-virus outbreak and the ship was being "sanitized".No brainer there, sanitize away.Once line started moving it went very fast and we were on the ship in our cabin in about 30 min.
Cabin: KK on deck 10, inside forward C-244.Nice decor.Large storage area made so by the smallest bathroom we have ever had.The shower can't possibly get any smaller.Living/bed area was about the same as other ships.Very firm mattress and had egg crate placed on 2nd day per other post's on C.C..Our cabin stewart was very cordial and efficient.
Ship:as per other reviews the theater is way too small for # of passengers (our cruise was sold out 3100+)and getting there 30 min prior to shows was a must to get a seat.The Explorers Lounge where other acts took place had the same limitations and was considerably smaller than the theater.Grand Atrium was beautiful/elegant w/ often a 4 person string quartet playing classical music.The ship is large and poorly laid out.It seemed as if it was cut up and difficult to get around.We heard this complaint over/over during our cruise.The MUTS idea is a big hit w/ us and we really enjoyed the movies day and night.There seemed to be ample lounge chairs available even w/ the ever present "saving" going on.But frankly we had no problems finding 2 chairs pretty much when and where we wanted.There are 2 main pool areas mid ships and 1 small pool at the stern.These didn't seem to get used a whole lot.No pool slides but I doubt there were more than 20 children on board anyway and very few young couples either.My wife enjoyed the gym but was quite upset they didn't open earlier due to being built over cabins below.Shops were about the same as on other ships.Live band at pool side was good.Overall ship seemed in good shape and was clean though already showing signs of wear in carpeting etc.
Food:had high expectations and were disappointed.3 main dining rooms, 1 traditional seating and 2 either/or anytime/traditional.No wait EVER w/ our anytime option.But all 3 dining rooms had the same menu each night so there was no variety to speak of unless going to buffet or one of the 2 upscale dining options.The morning buffet style breakfasts were chaos.There is no flow to these area's and though there are 4 area's they are all relatively small.We did not have breakfast/lunch in any main dining rooms.The variety at lunch/dinner in the buffet area's were good though.And the pizza was very good as was the grill at poolside.We ate one night in Crown Grill at $25 pp.The meal was good but not overly so as it should have been.Quite frankly we both felt the overall food is superior on NCL and we did in fact meet several devoted Princess cruiser's who felt as if this particular cruise was just off a bit.One couple had even been on Emerald 1 year prior and felt there was a big difference this time.
Crew: in general the entire crew were fantastic.Cruise director was funny and energetic as were his asst's.Almost every crewman we met seemed happy and energetic.
Shows:the comedy shows were very funny and the 2 shown in the theater we were able to get into were also well done.We both felt though that the shows in general are better and more contemporary on NCL.We do not do art auctions,bingo,etc.
Drinks: they just seem to get more and more expensive each cruise we go on.On NCL when you buy the souvenir glass you get $2 off each drink you buy when you have that glass in hand, not on Princess.$6.95 + gratuity for regular drinks and 4 for the price of 5 buckets of beer that were just plain too rich for our pocketbooks.The cruise lines should note that in this current economy lowering the price even just a little would probably dramatically increase consumption.We did not spend much on board on drinks and chose to drink more when ashore where prices were more reasonable.We are not rich and simply have to budget somewhere in order to cruise each year.
Excursions: only did 1 in Greneda.Way over priced for what we got, but had a good time and we know better but time there was very limited.
Ports.Princess Cays: nice area but seemed extraordinarily crowded w/ just our 1 ship.Was a windy day and water seemed quite cool/cold.Good food at BBQ.Little else to do and were not allowed out of the general area.St Thomas: took cab to Coki beach and while small and crowded, had decent snorkeling/swimming.Drank a couple buckets of cold Presidente and enjoyed the sun.Dominica:took a 3-4 hr bus tour of interior to waterfalls etc and had a great time.Cynthia our tour guide was exceptional and only cost $50 at the pier. the took $5 cab ride to black sand beach to finish off the day.Would come back.Greneda:too short a time (see excursion above).Bonaire: took water taxi to Klein Bonaire to snorkle.What an incredible place, the best snorkeling we have ever had including in Hawaii.Did a little shopping prior to leaving.Aruba: what a total disappointment.1st time there and with all the hype about the place was shocked when got a few streets away from port area.Up by the resorts it is pretty nice and up past to the lighthouse but the other side and end of island are rugged and barren.Just flat expected more beaches and beauty.
Debarkation: pretty well organized, no real complaints except that the cabs in Ft.Lauderdale are flat overpriced.$15.00 for a 2 mile 10 min ride is outrageous.And then they want a gratuity on top.
Overall: our expectations were not met and we were disappointed.But wanted to branch out and try another line.Will probably go back to NCL next time as they seem to be more our style.We met many wonderful people (hi to Sandy and Leroy from Toronto) and still had a great time as weather was good and afterall, it's hard not to have a good time in the Caribbean in winter.
gsande3006’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin C-244
Tiny shower.Great storage.Hard mattress.
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