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My husband and I are loyal RCCL passengers but decided to try another line for our anniversary, booking the Emerald Princess. While we did relax and enjoy ourselves, this cruise only solidified our loyalty to Royal Caribbean. THE GOOD: Embarkation was smooth and efficient. From the time we exited our car (we drove, stayed the night at Embassy Suites in Boca), we were in our stateroom in less than a half-hour. Luggage was delivered about four hours later. The ship itself was, in a word, gorgeous. Tasteful colors, immaculate and well-appointed. Our stateroom was a bit smaller than those on other ships because Princess chose to take the sitting area and use the space for expanding the balcony, which we loved and preferred. Four adults could comfortably occupy the space. Also, we had more closet and storage areas. Besides the two large pools mid-ship the Emerald Princess also featured an adult-only area (in addition to the Sanctuary) aft, called the Terrace Pool. The area itself as well as the pool were smallish, and passengers were eating breakfast in deck chairs at seven in the morning to ensure a seat later. Nevertheless, we had no difficulty finding space regardless of the time of day. Hands down the very best and most consistent experiences we had were at the International Cafe and the Crown Grill. The food and service in these areas were the shining stars of our vacation. Had we known the Grill would be so exceptional (we visited on night five), we would have gone every night, regardless of the upcharge. Tim, the cruise director, and his staff were superb--probably the best team I've seen on any ship. They were upbeat, happy people and their attitudes were contagious. The activities offered on days at sea were the very best. Regardless of your preferences, they had something for everyone. THE BAD: Overall, service was severely lacking. The deck waiters were in absolutely no hurry to serve passengers. Likewise in the upstairs buffets, Cafe Caribe and Horizons Court, which was worse because only coffee and water were self-serve. I rarely had juice available for breakfast. The juices and milk were kept in pitchers at small service areas dotted around the dining room, which meant the juices were diluted from the ice and the milk was room temperature. While the service was more consistent in the dining room, our waiter knew very little about the menu and was unable to advise us in dining choices. He was unable to anticipate needs and any special request (two appetizers instead of a salad course) threw him off his game. Not only were the waiters and bar staff less than willing to speed their paces, we heard them openly gossiping about passengers and each other. They were rude to one another and also to passengers. This was also true of the ship's photographers, who were hostile to any passenger who chose to use their own cameras in lieu of the ship's services and were openly critical of the passengers' equipment. (At $20 per photo, can you blame us?) Now for the ship's boutiques. Prices were over the top, and the cruise line assumes the passengers to be complete morons. My husband was eyeing a watch and noted the price was $150, which was supposed to be 10% off USRP. Five days later, the sign on the display indicated the price to be 40% off USRP but guess what price we were quoted? You got it--$150. When we asked if the price were correct, the sales clerk confirmed it. Overpricing was also noted in the spa. Services were 30% to 40% more expensive than on other lines. The gym was very well equipped, though you should bring your own water bottle because no fountain or cooler was present. Menu choices were more expansive on this ship than others, but frankly my palate isn't sophisticated enough to eat pate' or mackeral for breakfast. Apparently, neither was anyone else's as most of these choices dried out under the warming lights. Given that our waiter knew nothing of the menu in the dining room, I was unwilling to sample the unfamiliar delicacies there. (I have a sensitive tummy.) The omelet station in Horizon Court is marked by a small sign displayed among other items atop the hot bar. Finally, Princess has a way of nickle-and-diming its passengers to death. The Sanctuary, an adult-only area costs about $150 to use for the week. Royal Caribbean offers the same service at no cost. The ice cream next to the pool area is not complimentary, and if you want juice or coffee mid-morning or afternoon, you pay for it at the bar--no machines in the buffet as noted with other cruise lines. Popcorn for Movies Under The Stars is at cost, not free. Your gratuities are automatically charged at a set rate (again, more than the recommended amount for other lines) to your shipboard account, which was dismaying considering the service we received. THE UGLY: I suppose the entire attitude of the staff belongs here; we found that pleasant, helpful employees were the exception, not the rule. The entire ship seemed to have an air of discontent. When most of the employees in a business are unhappy, one should consider the impact management has on the attitude. Also, we felt that people in key positions (such as our waiter) had been poorly trained. Sadly, the service we received in the Crown Grill is the level of service we've enjoyed in every area of our Royal Caribbean ships. The absolute worst was on our return to Port Everglades. As we pulled into the waterway, my husband noted we were not returning to the same pier as embarkation. We had chose early disembarkation, which meant we carried our own luggage off the ship and to our car. I went to the purser, who confirmed that we were docking at pier 21. The distance was about two miles by street. I asked if a shuttle would be provided to return us to pier 2 and he suggested we take a cab. (Nevermind that the cabs wouldn't show up until eight-thirty and we would be off the ship by seven-fifteen.) We moved on the dining room that served as a holding area for other passengers carrying their own luggage. Being the good citizens we are, my husband and I informed others about the change in piers. As you can imagine, it became a bit heated--particularly when the ship's employee denied the change in pier until I told him that I had already confirmed it with the purser. Mysteriously, Customs and Immigration were an hour delayed arriving at our ship, which coincided with the arrival of complimentary shuttles that would transport us to our cars. Had we not spotted the change, Princess was prepared to let us disembark without notifying us. Once off the ship, we were no longer their problem. Don't get me wrong--we enjoyed ourselves on this vacation. We do not regret going. But we will never choose Princess again. They've been reading too much of their own press. Not a lot of love on the Love Boat.

Luxury Line?? Please.

Emerald Princess Cruise Review by jbarker1414

Trip Details
My husband and I are loyal RCCL passengers but decided to try another line for our anniversary, booking the Emerald Princess. While we did relax and enjoy ourselves, this cruise only solidified our loyalty to Royal Caribbean.
THE GOOD:
Embarkation was smooth and efficient. From the time we exited our car (we drove, stayed the night at Embassy Suites in Boca), we were in our stateroom in less than a half-hour. Luggage was delivered about four hours later.
The ship itself was, in a word, gorgeous. Tasteful colors, immaculate and well-appointed. Our stateroom was a bit smaller than those on other ships because Princess chose to take the sitting area and use the space for expanding the balcony, which we loved and preferred. Four adults could comfortably occupy the space. Also, we had more closet and storage areas.
Besides the two large pools mid-ship the Emerald Princess also featured an adult-only area (in addition to the Sanctuary) aft, called the Terrace Pool. The area itself as well as the pool were smallish, and passengers were eating breakfast in deck chairs at seven in the morning to ensure a seat later. Nevertheless, we had no difficulty finding space regardless of the time of day.
Hands down the very best and most consistent experiences we had were at the International Cafe and the Crown Grill. The food and service in these areas were the shining stars of our vacation. Had we known the Grill would be so exceptional (we visited on night five), we would have gone every night, regardless of the upcharge.
Tim, the cruise director, and his staff were superb--probably the best team I've seen on any ship. They were upbeat, happy people and their attitudes were contagious. The activities offered on days at sea were the very best. Regardless of your preferences, they had something for everyone.
THE BAD:
Overall, service was severely lacking. The deck waiters were in absolutely no hurry to serve passengers. Likewise in the upstairs buffets, Cafe Caribe and Horizons Court, which was worse because only coffee and water were self-serve. I rarely had juice available for breakfast. The juices and milk were kept in pitchers at small service areas dotted around the dining room, which meant the juices were diluted from the ice and the milk was room temperature. While the service was more consistent in the dining room, our waiter knew very little about the menu and was unable to advise us in dining choices. He was unable to anticipate needs and any special request (two appetizers instead of a salad course) threw him off his game.
Not only were the waiters and bar staff less than willing to speed their paces, we heard them openly gossiping about passengers and each other. They were rude to one another and also to passengers. This was also true of the ship's photographers, who were hostile to any passenger who chose to use their own cameras in lieu of the ship's services and were openly critical of the passengers' equipment. (At $20 per photo, can you blame us?)
Now for the ship's boutiques. Prices were over the top, and the cruise line assumes the passengers to be complete morons. My husband was eyeing a watch and noted the price was $150, which was supposed to be 10% off USRP. Five days later, the sign on the display indicated the price to be 40% off USRP but guess what price we were quoted? You got it--$150. When we asked if the price were correct, the sales clerk confirmed it.
Overpricing was also noted in the spa. Services were 30% to 40% more expensive than on other lines. The gym was very well equipped, though you should bring your own water bottle because no fountain or cooler was present.
Menu choices were more expansive on this ship than others, but frankly my palate isn't sophisticated enough to eat pate' or mackeral for breakfast. Apparently, neither was anyone else's as most of these choices dried out under the warming lights. Given that our waiter knew nothing of the menu in the dining room, I was unwilling to sample the unfamiliar delicacies there. (I have a sensitive tummy.) The omelet station in Horizon Court is marked by a small sign displayed among other items atop the hot bar.
Finally, Princess has a way of nickle-and-diming its passengers to death. The Sanctuary, an adult-only area costs about $150 to use for the week. Royal Caribbean offers the same service at no cost. The ice cream next to the pool area is not complimentary, and if you want juice or coffee mid-morning or afternoon, you pay for it at the bar--no machines in the buffet as noted with other cruise lines. Popcorn for Movies Under The Stars is at cost, not free. Your gratuities are automatically charged at a set rate (again, more than the recommended amount for other lines) to your shipboard account, which was dismaying considering the service we received.
THE UGLY:
I suppose the entire attitude of the staff belongs here; we found that pleasant, helpful employees were the exception, not the rule. The entire ship seemed to have an air of discontent. When most of the employees in a business are unhappy, one should consider the impact management has on the attitude. Also, we felt that people in key positions (such as our waiter) had been poorly trained. Sadly, the service we received in the Crown Grill is the level of service we've enjoyed in every area of our Royal Caribbean ships.
The absolute worst was on our return to Port Everglades. As we pulled into the waterway, my husband noted we were not returning to the same pier as embarkation. We had chose early disembarkation, which meant we carried our own luggage off the ship and to our car. I went to the purser, who confirmed that we were docking at pier 21. The distance was about two miles by street. I asked if a shuttle would be provided to return us to pier 2 and he suggested we take a cab. (Nevermind that the cabs wouldn't show up until eight-thirty and we would be off the ship by seven-fifteen.) We moved on the dining room that served as a holding area for other passengers carrying their own luggage. Being the good citizens we are, my husband and I informed others about the change in piers. As you can imagine, it became a bit heated--particularly when the ship's employee denied the change in pier until I told him that I had already confirmed it with the purser. Mysteriously, Customs and Immigration were an hour delayed arriving at our ship, which coincided with the arrival of complimentary shuttles that would transport us to our cars. Had we not spotted the change, Princess was prepared to let us disembark without notifying us. Once off the ship, we were no longer their problem.
Don't get me wrong--we enjoyed ourselves on this vacation. We do not regret going. But we will never choose Princess again. They've been reading too much of their own press. Not a lot of love on the Love Boat.
jbarker1414’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
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Dining
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Cabin Review

Cabin C 615
Quiet--oversized balcony--near two stairways/elevators
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