Should you not read all this letter, you should read the last 4 paragraphs.
We chose this cruise on Emerald Princess because we wanted to try a Baltic cruise and the date fitted in with our visit to England from our home in Tenerife. It was our first cruise with the Princess line and unfortunately will almost certainly be our last.
We found that during the day while the ship was at sea the atmosphere reminded me of what a Butlins Camp would possibly like. There was not enough quality things to get involved with, but if you liked constant loud music round the main pools, when this was not blaring out loud films were shown, bingo, constant quizes, Mr and Mrs competitions etc etc then you were fine.
The food was excellent but limited. What we didn't like about our eating experience was the fact we like waiter service which was no problem in the evening, Kateryna and Khomenko our waiters were excellent, but for breakfast the only restaurant with waiter service had limited opening times from 7am - 9am.
When the ship was in port which was 7 days on our cruise the restaurant was not open at all for waiter service breakfast, which caused complete overcrowding in the only main self service restaurant. In the past breakfast on cruises has always been a relaxed experience to look forward to, not having to jump out of bed, keep an eye on my watch and make sure I managed to negotiate my way down to the 6th deck, then walk the full length of the ship and finally get to the waiter service restaurant before 9am, and then finding it was closed if in port. Never have we been treated in this way before and not what you expect, our cruising has always been stress free in the past.
The main entertainment was ok, and some nights quite good but we actually enjoyed some of the side entertainment just as much if not better, especially when the volume of some of the singers in the main theatre made us run for cover. Tetiana on the piano in the Piazza was very good and was a lovely lady. The X-Trio were good, Katya and Egor the acrobats were excellent, and last but certainly not least , we very much enjoyed the resident Jazz Band who played in the Piazza one day.
There was a mix up with the daily guide left outside our cabin each evening which was in Spanish. I can understand the initial mix up because we have a Spanish address, however it shouldn't have taken 4 visits and 4 days to customer services to sort it out.
Our cabin was good and our steward was pleasant and helpful and kept our room very clean, in fact all the crew we came in contact with were professional and well mannered.
I am sorry Princess but now comes the final punchline. On the 21st July a sizeable amount was taken from my debit card and bank account for my spend on board and the various excursions we booked, however it did not show as a credit on my daily ships statement.
I asked 3 different people at customer services why this was because I was afraid the money would be taken twice. Each one of them assured me the amount was on hold and said not to worry I definitely would not be charged again but I still had my doubts. For the next 2 final days every time I spent something however small the amounts were taken individually from my debit card which should have left me with a nil balance. The last day was the 23rd July and my statement now showed the full amount of everything I had spent, Again I was assured everything was in order. A couple of days later I checked my account and all was well, or so I thought, however, ( you guessed it ), when I checked again I found that on the 27th July the total amount of everything I had spent had been taken out of my account a second time. When I contacted them I got a message that it could take 28 days to rectify, however I replied that it had probably only taken seconds to swallow up my money a second time either by mistake or fraudulently and I was not prepared to wait so long to get my own money back, especially when it was no fault of my own and I had taken every precaution to stop this happening. I paid in euros however the exchange rate they calculated I thought was also outrageously biased in their favour.
To their credit my money arrived back in my bank 4 working days later. However I previously asked them to email me confirmation of the refund and an explanation as to how it happened, and suggested that an apology might be in order. As of the date of this letter in August I have not received any communication from them whatsoever, which I feel is very bad for customer relations.
Sorry Princess we have had several cruises with Royal Caribbean which we very much enjoyed and had no complaints, and although Thomsons are generally older and smaller ships, the one cruise around the Canary Isles we had with them was also a great and satisfying experience. You may now draw your own conclusions as to where we go from here.
Bon Voyage to all who read my review.
Very good as per above, and we had a great steward.