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Background- Our 12th cruise- DH & I - mid 50's and DS 15; prior on Princess, RCCL, Cunard. We chose this cruise for the ports and return to Princess after service issues on recent RCCL cruises.Pre-Cruise- Flew to Miami from NY day before. Took a cab ($80+tip) to Hyatt Place in FLL near port. Special rate of $105 for King suite w/sofabed. Room fine for one night. Had dinner next door at Outback; better than our local one. Walked to Total Wine for 4 bottles to bring on board. Excellent selection. Difficult to choose only 4 bottles. Bought water and liquid toiletries at Publix next door. Breakfast next morning was crowded ar 8:30. Left for port at 11:15.  Free Shuttle was packed, so we took a cab to the port for $6.Embarkation- Luggage loaded and short wait at 11:30 outside of building. Once inside, another short wait and onboard and in our cabin by 12:15PM. Kudos to Princess for great organization.Cabin-Aloha 530 BC, port, mid-ship. Originally booked BA on Caribe Deck. Noticed a substantial price drop for BC before final payment. Since trip was port intensive, balcony size not an issue. First thing we noticed- flat screen TV. We were on the Caribbean and Crown Princess in 2005 and 2006 -an improvement. Robes already in closet and room sparkling clean. Contacted our wonderful steward, Charlie for some minor issues- convert twin beds to double, nasty odor in refrig., egg crate and more hangers. All taken care of and refrig. swapped out next day. First time we noticed a Steward actually cleaning our balcony every day. He even folded a few stray articles of clothing. This was the best cabin service of all cruises and lines. We did notice some cut-backs. Our bar soap was not replaced until we threw away the old, small slivers or asked for new ones.Dining- Embarkation lunch in Da Vinci Dining Room. First time a DR was open for lunch on any of our embarkations.  What a treat. Not many knew it was open. Just a few tables occupied. What a way to start the cruise. Excellent service and food; salad, grilled salmon and apple pastry for dessert. The waitstaff frequently asked in we wanted a beverage. This became a theme on the cruise. We sensed that they are now trained to "sell" beverages.  Not subtle, as in the past, but almost a hard sell. Really noticed it in the DR at lunch and dinner. Almost appeared their performance depended on selling wine, beer, cocktails or they had a quota. We purchased beverages when we wanted them. We had traditional dining, early seating in the Botticelli Dining Room, Deck 6 Aft at a table for 3. The only way to get there were the aft stairs or elevators. Lucio was our Headwaiter, Noel our waiter and Riccardo assistant. All three are from the Philippines and are outstanding. Lucio left for vacation after our sailing.The food was very good and Noel could sense when an occasional dish was not to someone's liking. He suggested alternatives and insisted we try something else, even when we were stuffed. We found the food extremely salty on the Crown in 2006. On the Emerald, broth-based soups and beef dishes were too salty for our tastes.We always found tasty dishes; most fish entrees were very good.We celebrated my birthday on Sunday night with a cake for 1. It was delicious. Our serving team serenaded me. Other dining options: Room Service Breakfast- adequate for early port days. Prompt, usually arrived 15 minutes before requested time and orders were 100 percent correct. Coffee was fine. Dining Room Breakfast- We were pleasantly surprised. The service was excellent. On prior Princess/Cunard cruises, DR breakfast was a nightmare -poor, rude, slow service and mediocre food. This time,friendly, efficient service and orders correct. Special requests met with a smile- kadota figs, strawberries , eggs benedict without sauce. Food was fresh and hot. Pastry waiters always circling around. Kudos to Emerald Princess staff for several great breakfasts. Lunch- Wheelhouse Bar on sea days offers a pub lunch similar to those offered on Cunard. We love them. No different. Cottage Pie and Fish and Chips outstanding. Service was prompt and friendly. Pizza by the pool is still outstanding. Had a slice when not out all day in port. Horizon court always great for fresh fruit, salad and other goodies. They still have the ice cream on one side at 3:30PM daily. DS was there daily, when not in port. I finally tried the food in the International Cafe. The shrimp salad and spinach quiche were excellent. We had unused punches on our coffee cards from our Crown cruise. We used up more punches on delicious iced white chocolate mocha and grabbed a cup or two of fresh brewed java when leaving for ports. The hot cappuccino was also great.Lunched twice in Sanctuary- great fruit skewers.Dinner at Sabitini's' was excellent. Portion size cut down, so you are not so stuffed. Lobster tail, veal and chicken great entrees. All appetizers fantastic, as was the service and wine. Sanctuary-I rushed to book my cruise-long chaise at 1:15PM. I got chair 17 out of 20.The cost was $15/day for the cruise.That was my birthday gift. I chose a chair in the shade, under a "fake" tree. The attendant service was superb.I was always greeted by name and my chaise was "made up" for me each morning with a thick towel. Although port intensive, I still managed to visit daily, even if only for an hour. It was convenient to the lap pool just downstairs, my favorite. Entertainment-We skipped the production shows. Comedian, juggler and hypnotist were good. I volunteered and was hypnotized. A treat were the two nights the show band played jazz in Adagio.

Emerald Princess 4/9-4/19/09 Escape to New Ports

Emerald Princess Cruise Review by sealegs9

Trip Details
Background- Our 12th cruise- DH & I - mid 50's and DS 15; prior on Princess, RCCL, Cunard. We chose this cruise for the ports and return to Princess after service issues on recent RCCL cruises.Pre-Cruise- Flew to Miami from NY day before. Took a cab ($80+tip) to Hyatt Place in FLL near port. Special rate of $105 for King suite w/sofabed. Room fine for one night. Had dinner next door at Outback; better than our local one. Walked to Total Wine for 4 bottles to bring on board. Excellent selection. Difficult to choose only 4 bottles. Bought water and liquid toiletries at Publix next door. Breakfast next morning was crowded ar 8:30. Left for port at 11:15.  Free Shuttle was packed, so we took a cab to the port for $6.Embarkation- Luggage loaded and short wait at 11:30 outside of building. Once inside, another short wait and onboard and in our cabin by 12:15PM. Kudos to Princess for great organization.Cabin-Aloha 530 BC, port, mid-ship. Originally booked BA on Caribe Deck. Noticed a substantial price drop for BC before final payment. Since trip was port intensive, balcony size not an issue. First thing we noticed- flat screen TV. We were on the Caribbean and Crown Princess in 2005 and 2006 -an improvement. Robes already in closet and room sparkling clean. Contacted our wonderful steward, Charlie for some minor issues- convert twin beds to double, nasty odor in refrig., egg crate and more hangers. All taken care of and refrig. swapped out next day. First time we noticed a Steward actually cleaning our balcony every day. He even folded a few stray articles of clothing. This was the best cabin service of all cruises and lines. We did notice some cut-backs. Our bar soap was not replaced until we threw away the old, small slivers or asked for new ones.Dining- Embarkation lunch in Da Vinci Dining Room. First time a DR was open for lunch on any of our embarkations.  What a treat. Not many knew it was open. Just a few tables occupied. What a way to start the cruise. Excellent service and food; salad, grilled salmon and apple pastry for dessert. The waitstaff frequently asked in we wanted a beverage. This became a theme on the cruise. We sensed that they are now trained to "sell" beverages.  Not subtle, as in the past, but almost a hard sell. Really noticed it in the DR at lunch and dinner. Almost appeared their performance depended on selling wine, beer, cocktails or they had a quota. We purchased beverages when we wanted them. We had traditional dining, early seating in the Botticelli Dining Room, Deck 6 Aft at a table for 3. The only way to get there were the aft stairs or elevators. Lucio was our Headwaiter, Noel our waiter and Riccardo assistant. All three are from the Philippines and are outstanding. Lucio left for vacation after our sailing.The food was very good and Noel could sense when an occasional dish was not to someone's liking. He suggested alternatives and insisted we try something else, even when we were stuffed. We found the food extremely salty on the Crown in 2006. On the Emerald, broth-based soups and beef dishes were too salty for our tastes.We always found tasty dishes; most fish entrees were very good.We celebrated my birthday on Sunday night with a cake for 1. It was delicious. Our serving team serenaded me. Other dining options: Room Service Breakfast- adequate for early port days. Prompt, usually arrived 15 minutes before requested time and orders were 100 percent correct. Coffee was fine. Dining Room Breakfast- We were pleasantly surprised. The service was excellent. On prior Princess/Cunard cruises, DR breakfast was a nightmare -poor, rude, slow service and mediocre food. This time,friendly, efficient service and orders correct. Special requests met with a smile- kadota figs, strawberries , eggs benedict without sauce. Food was fresh and hot. Pastry waiters always circling around. Kudos to Emerald Princess staff for several great breakfasts.
Lunch- Wheelhouse Bar on sea days offers a pub lunch similar to those offered on Cunard. We love them. No different. Cottage Pie and Fish and Chips outstanding. Service was prompt and friendly. Pizza by the pool is still outstanding. Had a slice when not out all day in port. Horizon court always great for fresh fruit, salad and other goodies. They still have the ice cream on one side at 3:30PM daily. DS was there daily, when not in port. I finally tried the food in the International Cafe. The shrimp salad and spinach quiche were excellent. We had unused punches on our coffee cards from our Crown cruise. We used up more punches on delicious iced white chocolate mocha and grabbed a cup or two of fresh brewed java when leaving for ports. The hot cappuccino was also great.Lunched twice in Sanctuary- great fruit skewers.Dinner at Sabitini's' was excellent. Portion size cut down, so you are not so stuffed. Lobster tail, veal and chicken great entrees. All appetizers fantastic, as was the service and wine. Sanctuary-I rushed to book my cruise-long chaise at 1:15PM. I got chair 17 out of 20.The cost was $15/day for the cruise.That was my birthday gift. I chose a chair in the shade, under a "fake" tree. The attendant service was superb.I was always greeted by name and my chaise was "made up" for me each morning with a thick towel. Although port intensive, I still managed to visit daily, even if only for an hour. It was convenient to the lap pool just downstairs, my favorite. Entertainment-We skipped the production shows. Comedian, juggler and hypnotist were good. I volunteered and was hypnotized. A treat were the two nights the show band played jazz in Adagio.
sealegs9’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
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Ages 13 to 15
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Cabin Review

Balcony
Cabin BC A530
Aloha 530- mid ship. Quiet location, yet close to stairs. Two decks down from pool and buffet. A hike from the lower dining decks and entertainment, but great location. Flat screen TV's are great.
Lido Deck Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Antigua
    We took a private island tour with some CC members on our roll call with Gordon. It was Easter Sunday, so many locals were in church or having family gatherings at home. We passed many churches full of people. Gordon took us to many towns, described the history and current life, and answered all our questions. He even led the others in singing Happy Birthday to me. He provided use with locally made cheese sandwiches and chicken wings- delicious. Gordon frequently offered us cold beverages- water, soda and local Wadadli beer. We visited Nelson's Dockyard, the interpretation center and Shirley Heights. Then we did some snorkeling at Long Bay Beach- beautiful. Our last stop was the famous Devil's Bridge. All in all a wonderful day. One of the best tours ever. All this for $40pp.
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  • Barbados
    The ship excursions we wanted to book were sold out a couple of months before sailing, so we looked for excursions on-line. Most operators wanted full payment ahead, via the internet. We found the prices high, so decided to go it alone when we got there. We did not expect 5 ships in port. We were late in getting off -10AM. Lines for buses to town. We opted for a "tour". It took a while for the van to fill. Were promised a 3 hour tour, which was 2 hours, for $75 for the 3 of us. We did get to see a glimpse of the west side beaches and stopped at a church. We then went inland and saw a few small towns. We stopped on a hill, overlooking the atlantic side. It was a tourist trap. We wound our way down the hill and into Bridgetown. We walked around, nothing special. We took a cab to Mt. Gay visitor's center and enjoyed the tour there. The cab was expensive; $5pp one way; it cost $30 plus tip to go round trip about 2 miles. Next time, we'll go to a beach.
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  • St. Kitts (Port Zante)
    Our least favorite port. We decided to go to Frigate Bay beach. When we were in the port area, we were approached every few minutes by tour operators, all trying us to go on their tours, at high prices. We walked out of the port area to the "circus" and found a small cab to take us to the beach for $10. At the beach, a man summoned us over to rent chairs. We paid $12 for 3 chairs and a "free" umbrella. The chairs were broken and the umbrella was dark-not good in the hot sun. The water was murky and the sand was grey, so it was HOT. DS and I went in the water for a few minutes. It was not refreshing, like other beaches, but murky. We stayed for a couple of hours and had lunch at "Monkey Bar".Great flying fish sandwiches and friendly staff. Took a cab back to town and shopped at Island Hopper for Caribelle Batik clothing. If we ever port here again, will go to Caribelle Batik (it was a choice between there and the beach this time).
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  • St. Lucia
    We took a private island tour with CC members with Cosol. We actually had Cosol as our driver. He had about 6-8 vans that day to accommodate everyone. As with Gordon, this was a highlight of the vacation. Cosol took us to many places, told us about the island's history and current life and fed us. We had so many photo stops with beautiful scenery. We stopped at a banana field and Cosol explained all about the banana industry. St. Lucia bananas are small and exported to England. We also sampled one- delicious. We also went to the drive in volcano, a waterfall and botanical garden and had a lovely, scenic and delicious breakfast stop. All the food was prepared by a local woman. At each stop we had cold beverages. We boarded water taxis to Jalousie Beach, the one between the Pitons. A wild ride, but we had fun. The snorkeling was great, as was the beach and the view. We then took the water taxi back to the van and had lunch. A great time was had by all. All this for $65pp
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  • St. Thomas
    We went to St. John -Cinnamon Bay, for the first time. We usually go to Trunk Bay, with the crowds. Cinnamon Bay was not crowded, beautiful, peaceful. I did have to swim out a bit to the reef to snorkel and the winds were strong. It was worth it. Chair rental reasonable. Went into town to Woodys for our mahi sandwiches and Bushwackers. Heaven. We did have an incident on the cab to the ferry. We clearly told the dispatcher and the driver we wanted to go into town, CA, for the 9AM CA ferry and NOT to Red Hook. It was one of the open air taxis. They crammed 20 people in and as we approached town, the driver made a right turn and then went up the hill. We were screaming for him to go back. Everyone in the taxi wanted to go into town. He ended up taking us to Red Hook. We missed the 9AM ferry from there, but took the 10AM. He had a bunch of unhappy campers left in the cab. Our 3PM ferry back broke down and we had to limp back to Red Hook. Lucky the ship sailed at 6PM.
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