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Originally my wife and I were to be married on the Crown Princess on the 3/1/09 sailing, but some post-surgery complications caused us to cancel just two days shy of the sail date. The rest of our wedding party (ten people) sailed without the bride and groom. With the health issues behind us, we rescheduled for the 10/11/09 sailing on the Emerald Princess (same itinerary as the Crown Princess from the spring). This time, my wife's parents and my father joined us for a party of five. We arrived in Ft. Lauderdale Saturday 10/10 in the evening and went to our hotel (Comfort Inn Airport/Cruise Port South, 2520 Stirling Rd., Hollywood, FL). No complaints on the hotel, although we were only there for 12 hours or so! Room was clean and quiet. The hotel seemed as though it had a nice pool area, although we didn't use it on this visit. EMBARKATION: Due to our hotel's shuttle schedule, we arrived at the port at 1145a. We were assigned to Group 8 (since we aren't yet Elite or Platinum...this was our first Princess cruise) and we told boarding would begin at 1230p. While waiting in the embarkation lounge, the biggest problem was we couldn't hear the public address system very well...sounded like all the adults do in the Peanuts cartoon specials! Once our group was called, the embarkation went smoothly: Lines are divided up by deck. Our cabin was on Dolphin and the line there was only a few parties in front of us. The check-in process went very smoothly and five minutes later we were walking onto the ship. CABIN: Our cabin was ready for us and once we were there, we met Luiz from Mexico, our cabin steward for the trip. He asked about any special requests we had and brought us complimentary champagne prior to sailing. We had various requests for him throughout the trip (some pertaining to the upcoming wedding as my fiancee needed her wedding dress pressed, etc) and he was responsive to us. The only thing we didn't get from him when asked was on the last day: We never received our questionnaires for the trip, despite asking for them twice. As I wanted to be sure that certain staff members were recognized, I just filled out cards at the Passenger Services deck instead. SHIP: It did take us a few days to figure out whether we were walking towards the back of the ship or the front, but that's happened to me every single cruise, so I don't have any specific fault there. One helpful hint: For the floors with cabins, the carpeting has red striping on the port side; blue striping on the starboard side. This helps you figure out where you are coming out of the elevators. The EP has two adult-only pools (the Sanctuary area and the pool on Riviera Deck - 14 aft) and we used the Terrace pool, but didn't want to pony up for the extra charge for the Sanctuary. The other pools located on Lido Deck (Calypso and Neptune)tended to be most crowded on sea days -- no big shocker there. Other times although the pools were definitely used, we didn't feel overly cramped. Mornings found the pools much less crowded. I have read on other reviews about the infamous "Chair Hogs." I'm not sure how it worked on Lido Deck (as we wanted to be on the open air decks instead), but we found we could walk up on the Sun Deck (16) anytime and find chairs without issue. The Piazza area on Plaza Deck (5) had "street performers," some of which were quite good. The Plaza also has Vines the wine and sushi bar; International Cafe, which had specialty coffees and some incredible looking bakery -- I managed to resist that for once; the Internet Cafe and Future Cruise Sales. I should add that Vines and International Cafe have surcharges for items. The Princess Fine Art Gallery is located on this deck as well, but that isn't one of my areas of interest, so I don't have anything to add other than I walked through it! We ended up spending much of our time in Club Fusion -- Promenade Deck (7) aft. Here one can find various activities led by the Cruise Director Staff (line dancing, bingo, "Newlywed Game" variants, etc), but we did come in to listen to music from time to time. I have yet to figure out where all the crowds were on this voyage. Aside from the Lido Deck being busy on sea days and the line to disembark at ports, it just did not seem crowded. We rarely had to wait for an elevator in the evenings and were able to move about the ship very easily. ENTERTAINMENT: This was the first time we saw shows on a cruise. We sat through comedian Kevin Hughes, some performances by the "house band" Temperature, part of hypnotist Tim Triplett's show and comedian Jim McDonald. Of these shows, I enjoyed McDonald's act the best, but I think whether you enjoy the shows will be solely based on personal taste. I did not attend any of the Vegas-style reviews. The ship's activities include the usual assortment of daily trivia, art auctions, dancing, but Princess also includes Movies Under the Stars on the big screen above the Lido Deck. Features on our cruise included X-Men Origins: Wolverine, the new Star Trek movie, as well as football on Sunday and Monday and other recent film/concert releases. FOOD: Keep in mind that I have only cruised three times so far over ten years, so I can't speak to the changes in how cuisine on cruise lines has changed over the past decades, but in general, the food on EP is very good. My wife enjoyed her share of lobster (one of her favorites) and of the food in the Botticelli Dining Room, the only dish that didn't meet my expectations was a lamb dish. It was tender, but didn't seem as flavorful as I would have expected. Taking that aside, however, I have no complaints about the food in the main dining room. There is a Pizza and Ice Cream Bar located on Lido Deck. The pizza was good but I can't speak to any experience with the ice cream. Specialty Restaurants: If you go to Sabatini's, my advice is GO HUNGRY. Primarily, you pick your main course and then all other dishes are offered to you in small quantities. I should note, however, several "small quantities" add up to one big meal if you partake of most of the courses! There is a cover charge of US$25 per person. Crown Grill: Also a cover charge of US$25, but add an additional $9 per person if you want lobster. The food in the Crown was very good, but since I had such good experiences in the main dining room, I'm not sure I would make the trip again. Don't take that as any slight against the Crown; I was just perfectly satisfied on the whole by dining in Botticelli. DINING STAFF: We were at Table 25 in Botticelli. Our waiter, Eduardo from Portugal was, by far, the best waiter I have had on any of my cruises. He was great to talk with, very knowledgeable about the items on the menu. He was assisted by Junior Waiter Eddie from the Philippines. This duo was just outstanding at meeting our needs and I hope that Princess does indeed recognize them for fantastic service to passengers. BAR STAFF: Overall the staff was polite; we had no instances of staff treating us with anything less than respect. Eileesha, who was working on Lido Deck near one of the pools, and Nikloshe in Club Fusion were two of the people that stood out. I did purchase a soda card and made a point to make sure that was a money-maker for me: I have to admit I did up my soda intake a bit until I was sure I had enough sodas to justify the US$29 charge (approximately 15 sodas over the course of the cruise will get you even); sodas are another "additional charge" item for Princess. CRUISE DIRECTOR STAFF: On our voyage, Cruise Director Lisa Ball and Deputy Cruise Director "Hollywood" were very visible from early in the morning until late at night. The other members of the CD staff (Hi, Renee!) were great as well. I certainly couldn't keep up with their schedules. OTHER: As mentioned at the beginning of the review, my wife and I were married on this voyage. Timing worked out a bit strange as we were married on the second sea day which was the last day of the voyage. We were married in the Hearts & Minds Chapel on Sun Deck (16) by the ship's captain, Giorgio Pomata. Asst Purser Michelle Holbrook was our contact on the ship and she was simply fantastic in dealing with our endless assortment of questions. As part of our wedding package, we purchased "The Eternal Collection," which is a fancy way of saying "all our wedding photos on CD." I have to say we were NOT disappointed. Rachel, one of the ship's photographers, did an amazing job. We had over 330 pictures and we consider more than 80% of them to be great pictures. I have to admit, I didn't expect the quality or quantity of our pictures to be as good as they were! Speaking of pictures, one has the option to purchase the candid or posed photos on board, of course. Pictures run in the US$15-20 range, depending on size of the picture. While we did purchase two photos on-board, for the majority of them we decided to save the money instead. The weather for this voyage (October 11-18, 2009) was fantastic. Temps ranged from 85-93F (29-33C) during the day and I think we had about four hours of rain the entire trip. Our stop in St. Thomas was cloudy, but otherwise sunshine...and a lot of it! DISEMBARKATION: Well, not my favorite time to begin with, but this is the area that fell short. We were scheduled for an 8am and I think we finally were allowed to get off the ship at 9:30am. I believe part of the delay was due to a medical emergency that occurred on the Plaza near the walkway to the pier, but we were well into a delay before that occurred. The process, once we left the ship, took approximately 20 minutes for us to get our bags and clear customs. We were able to get a cab after only a few minutes waiting in line. OVERALL: I have cruised on Carnival, Celebrity and Princess in the past. While one needs to guard the wallet -- or rather the shipboard account -- for charges on some items, overall, I would cruise with Princess again without question. Maybe that is due to the special occasion of my wedding on-board, but I feel that we had a great cruise on the Emerald Princess, October 11-18, 2009.

Married on the Emerald Princess

Emerald Princess Cruise Review by greenfieldwi

Trip Details
Originally my wife and I were to be married on the Crown Princess on the 3/1/09 sailing, but some post-surgery complications caused us to cancel just two days shy of the sail date. The rest of our wedding party (ten people) sailed without the bride and groom.
With the health issues behind us, we rescheduled for the 10/11/09 sailing on the Emerald Princess (same itinerary as the Crown Princess from the spring). This time, my wife's parents and my father joined us for a party of five.
We arrived in Ft. Lauderdale Saturday 10/10 in the evening and went to our hotel (Comfort Inn Airport/Cruise Port South, 2520 Stirling Rd., Hollywood, FL). No complaints on the hotel, although we were only there for 12 hours or so! Room was clean and quiet. The hotel seemed as though it had a nice pool area, although we didn't use it on this visit.
EMBARKATION: Due to our hotel's shuttle schedule, we arrived at the port at 1145a. We were assigned to Group 8 (since we aren't yet Elite or Platinum...this was our first Princess cruise) and we told boarding would begin at 1230p.
While waiting in the embarkation lounge, the biggest problem was we couldn't hear the public address system very well...sounded like all the adults do in the Peanuts cartoon specials!
Once our group was called, the embarkation went smoothly: Lines are divided up by deck. Our cabin was on Dolphin and the line there was only a few parties in front of us. The check-in process went very smoothly and five minutes later we were walking onto the ship.
CABIN: Our cabin was ready for us and once we were there, we met Luiz from Mexico, our cabin steward for the trip. He asked about any special requests we had and brought us complimentary champagne prior to sailing. We had various requests for him throughout the trip (some pertaining to the upcoming wedding as my fiancee needed her wedding dress pressed, etc) and he was responsive to us. The only thing we didn't get from him when asked was on the last day: We never received our questionnaires for the trip, despite asking for them twice. As I wanted to be sure that certain staff members were recognized, I just filled out cards at the Passenger Services deck instead.
SHIP: It did take us a few days to figure out whether we were walking towards the back of the ship or the front, but that's happened to me every single cruise, so I don't have any specific fault there. One helpful hint: For the floors with cabins, the carpeting has red striping on the port side; blue striping on the starboard side. This helps you figure out where you are coming out of the elevators.
The EP has two adult-only pools (the Sanctuary area and the pool on Riviera Deck - 14 aft) and we used the Terrace pool, but didn't want to pony up for the extra charge for the Sanctuary. The other pools located on Lido Deck (Calypso and Neptune)tended to be most crowded on sea days -- no big shocker there. Other times although the pools were definitely used, we didn't feel overly cramped. Mornings found the pools much less crowded.
I have read on other reviews about the infamous "Chair Hogs." I'm not sure how it worked on Lido Deck (as we wanted to be on the open air decks instead), but we found we could walk up on the Sun Deck (16) anytime and find chairs without issue.
The Piazza area on Plaza Deck (5) had "street performers," some of which were quite good. The Plaza also has Vines the wine and sushi bar; International Cafe, which had specialty coffees and some incredible looking bakery -- I managed to resist that for once; the Internet Cafe and Future Cruise Sales. I should add that Vines and International Cafe have surcharges for items. The Princess Fine Art Gallery is located on this deck as well, but that isn't one of my areas of interest, so I don't have anything to add other than I walked through it!
We ended up spending much of our time in Club Fusion -- Promenade Deck (7) aft. Here one can find various activities led by the Cruise Director Staff (line dancing, bingo, "Newlywed Game" variants, etc), but we did come in to listen to music from time to time.
I have yet to figure out where all the crowds were on this voyage. Aside from the Lido Deck being busy on sea days and the line to disembark at ports, it just did not seem crowded. We rarely had to wait for an elevator in the evenings and were able to move about the ship very easily.
ENTERTAINMENT: This was the first time we saw shows on a cruise. We sat through comedian Kevin Hughes, some performances by the "house band" Temperature, part of hypnotist Tim Triplett's show and comedian Jim McDonald. Of these shows, I enjoyed McDonald's act the best, but I think whether you enjoy the shows will be solely based on personal taste. I did not attend any of the Vegas-style reviews.
The ship's activities include the usual assortment of daily trivia, art auctions, dancing, but Princess also includes Movies Under the Stars on the big screen above the Lido Deck. Features on our cruise included X-Men Origins: Wolverine, the new Star Trek movie, as well as football on Sunday and Monday and other recent film/concert releases.
FOOD: Keep in mind that I have only cruised three times so far over ten years, so I can't speak to the changes in how cuisine on cruise lines has changed over the past decades, but in general, the food on EP is very good. My wife enjoyed her share of lobster (one of her favorites) and of the food in the Botticelli Dining Room, the only dish that didn't meet my expectations was a lamb dish. It was tender, but didn't seem as flavorful as I would have expected. Taking that aside, however, I have no complaints about the food in the main dining room.
There is a Pizza and Ice Cream Bar located on Lido Deck. The pizza was good but I can't speak to any experience with the ice cream.
Specialty Restaurants: If you go to Sabatini's, my advice is GO HUNGRY. Primarily, you pick your main course and then all other dishes are offered to you in small quantities. I should note, however, several "small quantities" add up to one big meal if you partake of most of the courses! There is a cover charge of US$25 per person.
Crown Grill: Also a cover charge of US$25, but add an additional $9 per person if you want lobster. The food in the Crown was very good, but since I had such good experiences in the main dining room, I'm not sure I would make the trip again. Don't take that as any slight against the Crown; I was just perfectly satisfied on the whole by dining in Botticelli.
DINING STAFF: We were at Table 25 in Botticelli. Our waiter, Eduardo from Portugal was, by far, the best waiter I have had on any of my cruises. He was great to talk with, very knowledgeable about the items on the menu. He was assisted by Junior Waiter Eddie from the Philippines. This duo was just outstanding at meeting our needs and I hope that Princess does indeed recognize them for fantastic service to passengers.
BAR STAFF: Overall the staff was polite; we had no instances of staff treating us with anything less than respect. Eileesha, who was working on Lido Deck near one of the pools, and Nikloshe in Club Fusion were two of the people that stood out.
I did purchase a soda card and made a point to make sure that was a money-maker for me: I have to admit I did up my soda intake a bit until I was sure I had enough sodas to justify the US$29 charge (approximately 15 sodas over the course of the cruise will get you even); sodas are another "additional charge" item for Princess.
CRUISE DIRECTOR STAFF: On our voyage, Cruise Director Lisa Ball and Deputy Cruise Director "Hollywood" were very visible from early in the morning until late at night. The other members of the CD staff (Hi, Renee!) were great as well. I certainly couldn't keep up with their schedules.
OTHER: As mentioned at the beginning of the review, my wife and I were married on this voyage. Timing worked out a bit strange as we were married on the second sea day which was the last day of the voyage. We were married in the Hearts & Minds Chapel on Sun Deck (16) by the ship's captain, Giorgio Pomata. Asst Purser Michelle Holbrook was our contact on the ship and she was simply fantastic in dealing with our endless assortment of questions.
As part of our wedding package, we purchased "The Eternal Collection," which is a fancy way of saying "all our wedding photos on CD." I have to say we were NOT disappointed. Rachel, one of the ship's photographers, did an amazing job. We had over 330 pictures and we consider more than 80% of them to be great pictures. I have to admit, I didn't expect the quality or quantity of our pictures to be as good as they were!
Speaking of pictures, one has the option to purchase the candid or posed photos on board, of course. Pictures run in the US$15-20 range, depending on size of the picture. While we did purchase two photos on-board, for the majority of them we decided to save the money instead.
The weather for this voyage (October 11-18, 2009) was fantastic. Temps ranged from 85-93F (29-33C) during the day and I think we had about four hours of rain the entire trip. Our stop in St. Thomas was cloudy, but otherwise sunshine...and a lot of it!
DISEMBARKATION: Well, not my favorite time to begin with, but this is the area that fell short. We were scheduled for an 8am and I think we finally were allowed to get off the ship at 9:30am. I believe part of the delay was due to a medical emergency that occurred on the Plaza near the walkway to the pier, but we were well into a delay before that occurred. The process, once we left the ship, took approximately 20 minutes for us to get our bags and clear customs. We were able to get a cab after only a few minutes waiting in line.
OVERALL: I have cruised on Carnival, Celebrity and Princess in the past. While one needs to guard the wallet -- or rather the shipboard account -- for charges on some items, overall, I would cruise with Princess again without question. Maybe that is due to the special occasion of my wedding on-board, but I feel that we had a great cruise on the Emerald Princess, October 11-18, 2009.
greenfieldwi’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Cabin D424
Dolphin 424 is located just off the midship elevators. Despite its location, the cabin was very quiet. As it is a mini-suite, the balcony is fully exposed (not covered by the next deck as with most of the balcony cabins. This is a Category AA cabin on Emerald Princess.

This room was clean and didn't show any signs of wear with the exception of a few light luggage marks on the walls near the door. Otherwise, a fantastic cabin experience for us.
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Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Grand Turk
    The weather was HOT that day and we did not have any official shore excursions planned, but I did do some snorkeling before the heat forced us to retreat to Margaritaville. The Tour Center seemed nice, with a large pool complex.
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  • St. Maarten
    We took a private taxi to spend the day at Maho Beach, just off the main runway for Princess Juliana Airport. If you've never seen how close the planes come to the road, go to YouTube and look up the airport! A simply amazing day being buzzed by planes as you play in the ocean.
    The Sunset Bar & Grill located at Maho Beach had inexpensive drinks and a great staff.
    View All 4,745 St. Maarten Cruise Port Reviews
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  • St. Thomas
    We purchased tickets to the skyride to Paradise Point directly from Princess, although transporation to and from the site was our responsibility. We jumped on one of the jitneys running from the cruise port and were dropped off directly at the skyride. It is a seven minute ride to the top and the view is spectacular. We could see the Emerald Princess in the distance, but since we were docked at Crown Bay and not Havensight (almost right in front of the base of Paradise Point), we didn't get a bird's eye view of our ship directly.
    As I mentioned, the weather was cloudy this day and the longer distance view was partially obscured because of this. Apparently on a clear day, one can see Puerto Rico from Paradise Point, but we had no such luck.
    Following a "World Famous Bailey's Bushwacker" drink at the top, we headed back down and took a cab back to the ship.
    View All 4,667 St. Thomas Cruise Port Reviews
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