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Emerald Princess Cruise Review
4.5 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
1,737 Reviews

A great cruise marred by poor behaviour!

Emerald Princess Cruise Review by madasmad

7 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Jul 2016
  • Destination: the Western Mediterranean
  • Cabin Type: Mini-Suite with Balcony

We chose this cruise as we wished to go from the UK rather than fly and we had cruised with Princess twice in the past. Emerald Princess and P&O's Ventura are identical ships built in the same shipyard. I looked to go with P&O on the 22/07/2016 on a near identical itinerary in a mini suite but it was over £6,000 more expensive than Emerald Princess!

Embarkation was a breeze, considering the ship was 29 people short of being at full capacity, using the parking services of CBS who valet parked the car, while the porters took our bags and we next saw them outside our room. Although we had priority boarding due to our Platinum status with Princess check in was quiet and we were on the ship within 10 minutes at 12.30. Our cabin was ready - a mini suite on deck 8 aft.

The cabin was very well appointed and the décor looked fresh. As sated by others the beds are very good but very firm! There are two flat screen TV's with various TV & movie channels along with sales channels for the shops and tours. The TV is not interactive as is the case on Ventura but you can easily get to the back of either TV to put in a HDMI cable to play DVD etc. There is also no curtain between the bedroom and the lounge area making it difficult for two people to watch two different TV's at the same time. The 3rd bed is made up using a pull-out section of the sofa and the 4th bed is a drop down bunk above the sofa. The bathroom has a full size bath with shower over it and a basin with ample storage. The lighting could be better in the bathroom though. Toiletries were poor but we used our own so this did not bother us. Soap was provided a plenty to make sure noro virus was kept at bay. The fully covered glass fronted balcony was large with two reclining chairs, two footstools and a table. The balconies on Deck 9 were the same size for the mini suites but were not covered and were overlooked by all those above.

However the walls were not thick enough to stem the noise from our neighbours which could only be described as horrendous at times. Young, poorly behaved, children were left in the room alone during a port visit and the youngest (@8 years old was locked out on the balcony where he was standing on chairs looking over the side shouting his head off. He was lucky he did not fall and the crew quickly came to his aid and found his parents. The captain then made an announcement about parents being responsible for their children and that they should not disturb others. I have cruised nine times and never heard an announcement like that! However the noise continued night after night when they came back from the entertainment. Some people have no consideration and I would be horrified if we as a family disturbed others like this.

We chose anytime dinning for the first time and were impressed by the flexibility of it. We never waited more than 10 minutes for a table for 4 and we were given a buzzer to notify us our table was ready. The food was of a poorer quality than we had previously experienced with Princess as would appear to be the case with most cruise lines. The choice was not as broad and the portions were smaller which I thought was a good thing as you could always ask for more if you wanted it meaning less waste. The waiting staff were helpful and in particular Princess dedicated a head waiter to my son to help him choose food from the menu due to his nut allergy. The self serve Horizon Court was ok but chose was poor as was quality. The Salty Dog Gastro Pub was superb and good value at $19 per person as was the Crown Grill at $29 per person. We did not us Share as the menu was uninspiring and at $39 each seemed very expensive. The pizza bar was excellent and the burger bar was good but far too busy. We had breakfast every day delivered to our cabin and enjoyed a varied mix of different items on our balcony in the lovely weather. The international café served good speciality coffee and teas. We bought the good value coffee card which gave you 14 coffee's and unlimited tea.

The entertainment on the whole was good with a wide variety of different entertainers in various venues - magic, hypnotism, comedy, Broadway style shows, singers and bands. The house band Starlight(burst) whatever were very poor with a male singer that sounded like he had strangled a cat! You can't please all the people all the time. The movies under the stars was a great hit which made it tough to get a seat. However the films were always replayed on the cabin TV the following day. There was also films shown in the Princess theatre. The "Magic to go" show was the best my wife and I had ever seen at sea. For me there were too many quiz based things to do and there could have been more guest speakers. However, the Q&A with the Captain was very interesting as was the bridge presentation by the 3rd officer. The galley tour was interesting.

My nine year old enjoyed the kids club and the activities were broad - making goo and dissecting an octopus - and varied. However my 14yr old had less fun and found that groups formed quickly and became quite a cliché. He spent most of his time with us.

Our ports were;

Barcelona - we did an open top bus tour which was ok. I don't get Barcelona??

Corsica - This is a beautiful little port and we enjoyed a lovely lunch in the local marina.

Rome - We had a fab tour with Princess that did the whole of Rome in a day. It was very expensive but we did an awful lot so probably worth it.

Livorno - Again we did a Princess tour to Pisa to see the tower. I would not do the tour again and I would either get a taxi or a hire car.

Genoa - Not a great stop and I would not recommend this to anyone. We went for a little walk but did not feel safe and returned to the ship.

Marseille - We docked @5 miles from the centre of the old port and took the shuttle bus in. The port is beautiful with great bars and restaurants flanking the U shaped marina. There is a giant wheel with spectacular views for €7 each. There was a high security presence in light of the recent terrorist attacks in France with heavily armed soldiers walking the streets but this actually made us feel very safe. I would go again.

Gibraltar - This was our first visit to Gib and we thoroughly enjoyed it. We did not book a tour and were pleased we had not. As we left the cruise terminal there were many taxis's offering tours of the island for £22 each for adults and £12 for kids which included the £10 entrance fee to the sights - a bargain and well worth doing.

Overall a good cruise slightly spoiled by a particular family but this was no fault of Princess and could happen anywhere.


madasmad's Full Rating Summary
Cabin
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Service
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Cabin Review

Mini-Suite with Balcony
Cabin MD E729

The cabin was very well appointed and the décor looked fresh. As sated by others the beds are very good but very firm! There are two flat screen TV's with various TV & movie channels along with sales channels for the shops and tours. The TV is not interactive as is the case on Ventura but you can easily get to the back of either TV to put in a HDMI cable to play DVD etc. There is also no curtain between the bedroom and the lounge area making it difficult for two people to watch two different TV's at the same time. The 3rd bed is made up using a pull-out section of the sofa and the 4th bed is a drop down bunk above the sofa. The bathroom has a full size bath with shower over it and a basin with ample storage. The lighting could be better in the bathroom though. Toiletries were poor but we used our own so this did not bother us. Soap was provided a plenty to make sure noro virus was kept at bay. The fully covered glass fronted balcony was large with two reclining chairs, two footstools and a table. The balconies on Deck 9 were the same size for the mini suites but were not covered and were overlooked by all those above.


Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

Barcelona

Not all it is cracked up to be. We did the open top bus tour which is ok.


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madasmad
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