This was pretty much a bucket list trip for us. We are frequent cruisers but had not been to this part of the world before. We thought that the itinerary that Princess had put together was terrific for a first time visit and it proved to be so. We visited Buenos Aires for 4 days beforehand on people's advice and it proved to be very worthwhile. We walked and walked and walked the city, saw everything and felt very safe and the people were friendly. The main streets of the city were very clean but the side streets were under repair and not particularly clean. People need to clean up after their dogs! We stayed in a boutique hotel that was about 6 blocks from the obelisk and was a great deal for $85 a night with breakfast.
We were warned about pick pockets but were never bothered. We also do most of what's recommended for safety in any big city, like wearing backpacks on the chest and dressing inconspicuously. We did see a few people carrying their Princess bag around - not a good idea since it screams "tourist with money". We did visit the La Boca section and loved it - very artsy, fun, good deals; but best to take a taxi over and back or take an introductory tour that includes La Boca. Had a meal one night at La Nazarene - probably the biggest and best t-bone ever! MUST be there for a Sunday and wander the the market, and for sure go to the cemetery.
Back to the ship. We take 3/4 of our cruises on Princess, mainly for the itineraries and consistency. We had been on the Emerald on a transatlantic when it was new (2008). It is showing it's age a little (some rust) but a solid ship. We were proud of the way it handled Cape Horn. 12 foot seas and 70mph winds - no problem, in fact very stable. We even did a 360 around the Cape for the first time in the season. We usually eat in the Horizon Court buffet and it is not very well designed on this ship - usually crowded in the food serving area. As opposed to later Princess ships like the Royal where the Horizon Court has a fantastic design. We found the food good, however and generally better than our occasional trip to Any Time Dining. The Emerald was one of the early offerings of Movies Under the Stars, which we love.
The Emerald got staterooms right. The bed and pillows are great. Good closet space, room to get around, and even the shower is adequate. Updates needed on this 11 year old ship
Great place to wander on your own. Lots of interesting history
Lake Nicaragua and town of Granada - worth doing, even with 1 1/2 hour bus trip.