We first cruised the Emerald in 2008 and found it to be a lovely ship. We have since sailed with Princess many times and have logged over 100 days at sea.
We weren't after waterslides and dodgems, just a lovely seat by a quiet pool, a comfortable balcony room, and some great destinations.
It was still NSW school holidays (just), and rather than limit children to one of the four pools they were everywhere and six children virtually incapacitated a pool for adults as you would get jumped on and screamed at.
One of the pools was closed most of the time, as it tends to flood the spa (what a shame...) Bar service at the pool was almost non existant - if you have a soda card they dont want to know you.
Deck chairs were at a premium - it was virtually impossible to find one in the shade on days that were incredibly hot.
They were also at a premium at night - not once did I get to see a movie on deck as all seats were taken.
Our room was similarly disappointing - same furnishings at in 2008 (carpet and all) and it smelled of urine. No matter how many times the steward cleaned the bathroom it was the same. We had the manager of housekeeping come to visit and she agreed it was not up to scratch and this was not what we had paid for. After some carpet shampooing and rigorous cleaning it was marginally better, but not good enough. The beds are new as are the pillows - we even requested new pillows as they were smelly. I assume they may have a wool filling that made them offensive smelling because the new ones smelled the same - just giving them the benefit of the doubt.
The food was okay and the only real thumbs up I could give it was for the International Cafe with fabulous pastries and good coffee.
Their Captains Circle cocktail party is a joke - the worst beer and vinegar-like sparkling wine and nothing interesting happening.
Also, make sure your insurance covers missed ports. Princess reimbursed us $4 for missing Mystery Island due to strong winds. One out of 5 ports lost. And their prices have gone up while everyone else's has gone down.
My advice - don't bother with Princess - they have definitely lost their sparkle and would have to try much harder for my dollar in future.
As above - poor
Convenient at Circular Quay
Princess charged more than local tour operator but matched price in advance.
Did not berth
Spent the day with Iririki.
Great day beautiful place