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We chose this cruise because of the following points: 1) it departed from Sydney 2) it was at a time of year when we could take leave 3) it wasn't too long (11 nights) 4) it was going somewhere we hadn't been before (NZ) 5) it was a good price with a balcony upgrade offer for $100 pp. We had not cruised on Princess before but I had heard it was very good. The ship itself was very elegant, but it was hard not to compare it with out last cruise on Royal Carribean Mariner of the Seas - a similar size ship. The Emerald Princess felt difficult to navigate around and even after 10 days I still got a bit lost sometimes. The 'Piazza' area was elegant but very tight and small. There weren't many shops to choose from compared with the huge 'mall' that is on Mariner of the Seas. Maybe I was imagining it, but it felt that every 'seminar' or 'free raffle' was designed to get you there to sell you something. I actually got a bit sick of it after a while and being the cynic I am, I started to guess in advance what they would be trying to sell at the "how to get a flatter stomach" session, or the "how to walk without hurting your back" session. And lo and behold these sessions were trying to push some sort of (costly) treatment/product etc. on to unsuspecting passengers ready to hand over their hard earned money in a euphoric high of holiday emotions. The demographic was mainly aged 60+, although there were young families on board too. The activities were mainly limited to trivia, bingo, silly game shows etc. Not much else to do on board other than drink in the bars or lay by the pool. Sadly our last 3-4 days were very rough and cold, so we bounced from one trivia quiz to the next. I don't think I would go with Princess again, I need something a bit more exciting. Shore tours were much more expensive than I have ever paid before. We had a nice time, but it wasn't amazing.

Slightly Underwhelming

Emerald Princess Cruise Review by TrinaS

6 people found this helpful
Trip Details
We chose this cruise because of the following points: 1) it departed from Sydney 2) it was at a time of year when we could take leave 3) it wasn't too long (11 nights) 4) it was going somewhere we hadn't been before (NZ) 5) it was a good price with a balcony upgrade offer for $100 pp.

We had not cruised on Princess before but I had heard it was very good. The ship itself was very elegant, but it was hard not to compare it with out last cruise on Royal Carribean Mariner of the Seas - a similar size ship. The Emerald Princess felt difficult to navigate around and even after 10 days I still got a bit lost sometimes. The 'Piazza' area was elegant but very tight and small. There weren't many shops to choose from compared with the huge 'mall' that is on Mariner of the Seas. Maybe I was imagining it, but it felt that every 'seminar' or 'free raffle' was designed to get you there to sell you something. I actually got a bit sick of it after a while and being the cynic I am, I started to guess in advance what they would be trying to sell at the "how to get a flatter stomach" session, or the "how to walk without hurting your back" session. And lo and behold these sessions were trying to push some sort of (costly) treatment/product etc. on to unsuspecting passengers ready to hand over their hard earned money in a euphoric high of holiday emotions.

The demographic was mainly aged 60+, although there were young families on board too. The activities were mainly limited to trivia, bingo, silly game shows etc. Not much else to do on board other than drink in the bars or lay by the pool. Sadly our last 3-4 days were very rough and cold, so we bounced from one trivia quiz to the next. I don't think I would go with Princess again, I need something a bit more exciting. Shore tours were much more expensive than I have ever paid before. We had a nice time, but it wasn't amazing.
TrinaS’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Balcony
Cabin BF L226
Quite a tight space compared with our last cruise in a Balcony Cabin on Royal Carribean Mariner of the Seas. Bathroom quite small too. Very tidy and the bed was amazingly comfortable. The balcony was a decent size.
Lido Deck Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Akaroa
    This was excellent. The boat tour was run by 'Dolphins Akaroa',our skipper was Stew and he was friendly and helpful. You get a complimentary beer or wine when you get on board. Stew made sure we saw dolphins, seals and a couple of little penguins too. Akaroa itself is a gorgeous little seaside town and we had beautiful weather which made it perfect. Best part of the NZ cruise in my opinion.
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  • Speights Brewery
    While over-priced this tour is still pretty good. You get a good tour of the brewery and lots of tasting at the end. Then on to the Duke of Wellington for a (basic) pub lunch then two more pubs which were slightly less exciting. You are given vouchers for either beer/wine/softdrink where you can use one at each pub, so not bad.
    View All 15 Speights Brewery Reviews
  • Winery Tour
    Very over-priced for what it was. Visited two wineries (one gave us a nice little tour) then a boutique chocolate factory then back to the ship. I would have rather gone on my own and visited the wineries I wanted to (and more than two). For $200 pp this was a very expensive bus trip!
    View All 14 Winery Tour Reviews
  • Sydney (Australia)
    Departing out of Sydney Harbour is as amazing as I expected it to be.
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  • Wellington
    Very windy! The port where the ship docks is a commerical port because apparently the wharf near the town is damaged due to the earth quake. So they have shuttle buses (free) to take you from the port into town. You have to get a numbered ticked on board the ship and wait for it to be called before you can get off...this was a little long-winded in my opinion, then the bus dropped us in town where some pensioners in black and yellow shirts were supposed to help us find where we wanted to go. We just grabbed a map and did our own thing. Nice city, all the shopping is quite spread out on a very long street and there are no real malls or plazas.
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