This was our 30th Wedding Anniversary and our first without our kids in tow. Leaving our kids and daily world behind we embarked on our journey. We stayed two nights in Sydney at The Grace Hotel which was a lovely hotel, reasonable priced and the location was perfect. We arrived earlier in Sydney as we wanted to do the Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb. The weather was perfect for our climb, was initially worried as Sydney had been having the most awful weather conditions. The climb was expensive but really lovely and l would say otherall worthwhile experience.
We choose to walk from our hotel to the OPT to embark the Emerald Princess. It was an easy walk with our suitcase in tow as we couldn't justify the taxi trip as in most cases there is a bit of a traffic delay around the terminal. The boarding was quick and hastle free, we had priority boarding but even if you didn't I would think you would find the process well organised. You need to keep in mind that you are one of 3000+ passengers boarding so you need to put the event in prospective. They really do well!
The Emerald Princess is a lovely ship, l was super impressed by the layout and loved the deck plans and variety of pools. 4 pools to choose from, one was part of the Santuary where a cost was involved, pool two was were live music, pool games or recorded music played, pool three was were the movies screen was which played movies or other shows such as Cirque du Soleil or music concerts like PINK. Pool four was at the back of the ship and was a great place to relax and soak in the sounds of the waves adults only.
All the bars and seperate entertaining areas were great with lots of activities happening if you so wished. We didn't do much of the daily activites offered as l like to just relax on a deck chair. The shows by the ships entertainment team were good quality but were short in comparison to other ships. The theatre was packed for the earlier shows and you would need to get there at least 1/2 hour earlier to get a seat.
The Horizon Cafe and Calibre Cafe were buffet areas and pretty much operated all the time with good choices available. I think they do better than P & O with hygenine control with strict entry and exit points for the food areas and the staff are attentive with clearing away and getting your drinks. The Pizza bar, Trident Grill & ice cream bars where very popular and food there was excellent.
The main dining rooms, we only went twice as we found that the service there was not how we would expect, coming from Royal Carribean or P&O their service was better. The food was excellent but service was a little lacking. No real problem it was still good but not the same.
Cabin was lovely and our cabin steward was fantastic as they all are, how can you complain when your room is keep tidy for you morning and night! They work super hard. We choose a balcony Aft cabin B749. First time we have opted for a aft cabin and balcony. It was nice being able to take a seat out the back and watch the ports as we sail away. Definitely recommend this cabin.
We did not opt to get the drinks package this time around as we felt that we would not utilise it with all the port days that we had and l was right we didn't spend anywhere near the total cost. ($59 x 11days x 2people) we came in well under that. We took up the ships many 'happy hour' offers buy 1 drink and get another for $1. We are not huge drinkers, it one of the biggest ? always asked by passengers as to whether to get the package or not. My suggestion do your sums. (cocktails/martinis were about $14 spririts & beers $7/8)
The ports and excursions we did were great, we opted to do the ships arranged excursions which worked out fine for us. We have done our own on previous cruises as well as ships arranged. Both ways are fine and yes the cost can be more via the ship but sometimes they are just more convienent if you don't want the hassle of negotiating the people on the docks for the best trip/cost.
Gym was great, big selection of equipment, lots of treadmils and xtrainers etc. I am a personal trainer by trade so the gym is a must have for me. You can opt to do classes which you would have to pay for. I did the spin classes but was not overally impressed by the instructor. He was not my cup of tea in his style but l won't hold that against the ship. All i will say is l am more of a road cyclist working the rpm and gears and he was more soul cycle putting in squats/pushups/hovers.
Dismbarking was easy and painless. Once again they did really well moving off the thousands of people in an organised manner.
We love cruising and we will go again and l would travel Princess again.
Aft cabin with a lovely rear facing balcony. Nice to sit and take in the ocean or watch as you are leaving ports. We often had a glass of wine on the balcony.
Beds are super comfy and rooms are clean with enough space to put your belongings. Love the separate storage area. Bathrooms are compact with just enough bench space.
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lovely place to snorkel, locals were friendly.
introduction to scuba diving. very well organised, eventhough l didn't complete the actual dive, my hubby throughly enjoyed his dive. i ended up snorkeling above as l just didn't feel comfortable.View All 4 Scuba Diving Reviews
lovely spot, the snorkelling wasn't as good this time around.
we briefly stopped at a beach for snorkelling but it wasn't as good as other places. The blue hole was amazing with clear waters and a picture perfect spot.View All undefined undefined Reviews