We chose this Scandinavian cruise as it is a part of the world I have always wanted to visit, and Emerald Princess happened to be there. We visited Zeebrugge, Copenhagen and Oslo, and had a visit to Helsinborg in Sweden aborted due to bad weather. I had not heard much about Princess before, and I was nervous about travelling with an infant after reading articles on this site warning about what an awful experience I was likely to have. Turns out, this could not have been more wrong. This was our third cruise, and hands down the best. The service was second to none - easily the best service I have ever experienced, not only on any cruise before, but in any leisure or hospitality environment. My baby daughter was treated like a celebrity across the ship, so much so that on our last day we had to take her on a "tour of duty" to say goodbye to each and every waiter and bar person who had fallen for her charms over the week! The team onboard could not do enough to make sure we had everything we needed, and the food and presentation was exceptional. There was plenty of choice food wise - we ate in the Michaelangelo anytime dining room every night, and even my fussy teenage stepdaughter found something to eat off the menu. My 6 month old was quite happy chomping on breadsticks and steamed veg, although I was regularly offered baby food. A high chair and a clean, film-wrapped tray were provided quickly for us each time we arrived at either the dining room or the Horizon buffet for breakfast and lunch. The buffet was more than adequate for breakfast and lunch with plenty of hot and continental options available - my teenage stepdaughter was quite happy to have Belgian waffles with chocolate sauce for breakfast every day!
Embarkation was smooth and speedy (we were onboard the ship less than 45 minutes from pulling up in the car in front of it), and our bags beat us to our room. There were plenty of areas, inside and out, to sit, and at no point during the day did anything feel crowded. This was despite the fact that due to bad weather stopping us from going ashore in Sweden and leading to an unexpected sea day - there was still plenty to do.
Evening entertainment was varied and we found something we wanted to do every night - my stepdaughter took a shine to the house band, Starwave, so we watched them in a number of venues around the ship on different evenings. The theatre shows were lots of fun, including a musical written for Princess by Stephen Schwartz, a Robbie Williams tribute, and a version of The Voice. The only nights they were really crowded were the formal nights when more people were out and about, but we arrived 15 minutes before showtime and had no problems getting seated.
We didn't purchase any official excursions so I can't comment on those, but we found something to do in each port - there was a shuttle at Zeebrugge which took us to the nearby town of Blankenberge for 10 euro each, We walked into Copenhagen, and we jumped on a hop on hop off bus in Oslo for around 30 euro each. Shuttles etc were all available from just outside the ship.
Overall - I don't think I've ever been so sad for a holiday to end, and I would happily return to Emerald Princess tomorrow. I've already started looking at Princess again for next year!
Our cabin was spotlessly clean, and refreshed twice a day. We used one pull down bed from the ceiling, and were provided with a travel cot for our youngest daughter. The beds were incredibly comfortable - certainly as comfortable as the nicest hotels I have stayed in. There was plenty of room to store our luggage and pushchair, but I would say the room was probably slightly smaller overall than cabins I have stayed in before with Royal Carribean. Probably the best thing about the room was the large balcony - plenty of room for the 4 of us to be out on there to watch sail away.
We didn't undergo any excursions in Southampton
We took a local shuttle to Blankenberge for 10 euro each, the journey was about 15 minutes. It was a lovely seaside town and we had a nice walk around the shops and along the beach, and a go on the carousel in town. Plenty of shops, and lots of beach front bars.
We walked into Copenhagen which took a little longer than expected - it took us a few hours to reach Tivoli gardens, but we were pushing a pushchair and did get a little lost! With hindsight I would have got on one of the sightseeing buses that were plentiful when we jumped off the ship. The Little Mermaid statue was a 5 minute walk from where the ship was docked.
We got on a red open top bus for around 30 euro each, and a sightseeing tour around Oslo that lasted around 90 minutes. I would highly recommend this as a cheaper alternative to the official excursions, and the bus was available from right beside the ship. We got off at the sculpture gardens, which was free to enter, and lovely to walk around on a sunny afternoon.