This was our first Princess cruise - we have been doing Celebrity, but decided to try Princess primarily for the Baltic itinerary (Celebrity does not visit Gdansk Poland). The Emerald Princess was quite nicely finished, the common areas and dining are attractive and clean. The ship layout and size is very similar to the Celebrity Solstice class vessels. Embarkation at Southampton was very smooth and fast. We arrived at the pier at around 12:30 and were in our room by 1:15pm. Luggage arrived very shortly after.
Our veranda stateroom was on the stern and had a large balcony with 4 chairs and a side table - it could have easily accommodated 6 people. The room itself was nice and featured a large closet. Overall, the room was similar to what we have been booking (concierge class balcony) on Celebrity, but it was touch smaller and didn't have a couch.
We had traditional dining in the Botticelli dining room and were matched up with 2 great couples. Service in the dining room was attentive. Food on this cruise was a mixed bag - the best was as good or better than anything we've had on other cruises. Highlights included lobster (twice), prime rib and chateau briand in the dining room, fish and chips in the Wheelhouse Bar (the ship offered 3 "pub lunches" in this bar during the 2 week cruise)and the meals we had in the Crown Grill (ribeye) and the Share (Lobster and all the courses). The Horizon food court generally felt rather crowded - worsened by an inexplicable daily closing off of half the seating in the evening. Another highlight was the buy one, get the 2nd drink for $1 happy hour in the Wheelhouse bar. Misses @ the Horizon included no free gelato bar, no sushi (yes, Celebrity has both in their food court) and the fact that the pizza was located one pool area away from the Horizon seating area.
We loved the Movies Under the Stars (do beware of seemingly dry seat cushions really being wet), and the Starwave Band, who played in various venues all over the ship. The shows that we saw in the Princess Theatre were pretty lame, with the exception being the finale of the Voice of the Sea contest. The Princess Theatre and Explorer Lounge are undersized for the 3,080 passenger capacity - no seating available unless one arrived very early.
Excursions were disembarked very efficiently and the gangway never felt crowded when leaving the ship. We had remarkably good weather for this time of year in the Baltic, sunny or partly cloudy in all ports except for Helsinki (drizzle and 2 big cloud bursts during the day). All the ports were delightful, with the exception of St. Petersburg. If I were to make a repeat visit to the Baltic, I would prefer to skip this port -its residential areas are drab, dreary, depressingly poor in stark contrast to all its baltic neighbors. The showy palaces and museums, churches and the like are very shiny and well kept, but also very crowded. Beware - the Hermitage Is not air-conditioned or ventilated - extremely crowded and very hot. Russia requires an expensive visa or the use of a ships tour - what an unfriendly country! Gdansk and Tallinn were the star ports of call - full of history, well kept and full of places where one could happily spend lots of time exploring, eating and drinking.
We will be back with Princes for a British Isles cruise (better itinerary than Celebrity) and possibly a Western Mediterranean cruise (I want to visit Gibraltar). But, our main line will remain Celebrity.
2 1/2 hours walking through a warm city with no washroom breaks, followed by a 1/2 canal ride.View All 39 Canal Boat Tour Reviews
Nice tour, good guideView All undefined undefined Reviews
Nice bus ride and a good area near the largest church on the route.View All undefined undefined Reviews
Hot and boring - go see the Louvre instead.View All 377 Hermitage Museum Reviews
The Old town area is a hoot! We ditched the boring tour guide early and totally enjoyed our time in the area, met up at the meting place and rode the bus back. Why excellent? This was an inexpensive way to get from the pier to the city.View All 60 Gdansk Old Town Reviews
Great fun and very inexpensiveView All undefined undefined Reviews
stops not numbered and the prerecorded narration was mostly history that had little to do with what you were seeing.View All undefined undefined Reviews
Why is this app asking me to rate an excursion when we didn't take one????