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We booked this cruise without knowledge of the South Pacific destinations as this was to celebrate our 30th anniversary and all we cared about was cost/availability. If you're a previous Princess cruiser, you know what you are getting. What surprised us: Bora Bora, Moorea, and even American Samoa was incredibly memoryable, tourist worthy, and enjoyable. The warm nights made our balcony priceless and even watched multiple MUTS (never before on our previous 8 Princess cruises did we do this). Bad: This is not a rag on Princess, but there were numerous sick crew and passengers. It was totally obvious in the Princess Theatre and public spaces with incessant coughing. I saw one passenger wear mask at all times. I wish I had -- ended being sick with the flu and pneumonia. Be aware -- other passengers will undoubtedly not follow health guidelines. Dining -- typical Princess. we had anytime dining with a great MaitreD and was out in an hour (big changes from our last HAL that took 2 hours). Food was typical Princess but they changed up the sauces and sides to make it non-recurring over 28 days. Entertainment -- typical Princess. We skipped most production shows while the comics, hypnotist, magician, etc. were ok. Typical daytime activities. A little underwhelmed with the enrichment (Sharon Faff for Hawaii stuff was good, but a car guy (ok) and DNA (really?)). The "Wake Show" was very entertaining (another first for us on Princess). Excursions -- we're not big tourists so we did our own thing in Hawaii but as first timers, we jumped on whatever excursion was available at the port. Our mistake was that Tahiti 4WD excursion is not available at the port except for Princess, so instead of the boring island bus tour we skipped out but the night time food trucks was a highlight for atmosphere and food. Bang for the buck -- YES (for us). At the cost of 2 good priced LA/Hawaii trips but with a better itinerary, could it get better?

Unexpectedly great cruise! (for us)

Emerald Princess Cruise Review by gwanghoops

2 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: March 2018
  • Destination: South Pacific
  • Cabin Type: Balcony
We booked this cruise without knowledge of the South Pacific destinations as this was to celebrate our 30th anniversary and all we cared about was cost/availability.

If you're a previous Princess cruiser, you know what you are getting.

What surprised us: Bora Bora, Moorea, and even American Samoa was incredibly memoryable, tourist worthy, and enjoyable. The warm nights made our balcony priceless and even watched multiple MUTS (never before on our previous 8 Princess cruises did we do this).

Bad: This is not a rag on Princess, but there were numerous sick crew and passengers. It was totally obvious in the Princess Theatre and public spaces with incessant coughing. I saw one passenger wear mask at all times. I wish I had -- ended being sick with the flu and pneumonia. Be aware -- other passengers will undoubtedly not follow health guidelines.

Dining -- typical Princess. we had anytime dining with a great MaitreD and was out in an hour (big changes from our last HAL that took 2 hours). Food was typical Princess but they changed up the sauces and sides to make it non-recurring over 28 days.

Entertainment -- typical Princess. We skipped most production shows while the comics, hypnotist, magician, etc. were ok. Typical daytime activities. A little underwhelmed with the enrichment (Sharon Faff for Hawaii stuff was good, but a car guy (ok) and DNA (really?)). The "Wake Show" was very entertaining (another first for us on Princess).

Excursions -- we're not big tourists so we did our own thing in Hawaii but as first timers, we jumped on whatever excursion was available at the port. Our mistake was that Tahiti 4WD excursion is not available at the port except for Princess, so instead of the boring island bus tour we skipped out but the night time food trucks was a highlight for atmosphere and food.

Bang for the buck -- YES (for us). At the cost of 2 good priced LA/Hawaii trips but with a better itinerary, could it get better?
gwanghoops’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Service
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Cabin Review

Balcony
Cabin BC L306
Typical balcony cabin with these differences:
- underneath the big "Emerald Princess" lighted sign -- if you sleep with the shades open (of course you would, you could see the stars easily at night), the sign's light is a little annoying.
- location: next to the elevator (you don't hear any difference) -- ease of access to elevators, fitness center, Trident grill, Pizza, etc. is awesome
- L308 next door had some kind of weird door malfunction causing it to slam easily. They were Platinum members also, but we had to remind them not to slam doors.
- we didn't have any rough seas at all, so we can't comment about seasickness, but we typically get the highest deck anyway
- FYI -- port side is awesome for sunrises/darker afternoons going to French Polynesia but has super sunny afternoons (not our preference) on the way back.
Lido Deck Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Bora Bora
    Took a recommended "Patrick's Tour". Typical lagoon tour -- snorkel stop with reef sharks, snorkel stop with sting rays, snorkel stop at a small coral reef, Polynesian feast at their own little lagoon. Really nice and easy to do for all ages.

    Next day took a cheap 4WD tour (not the full blown tour, just had additional lookouts) with multiple stops around the island. Sightseeing was incredible. Ended up at Bloody Mary's -- service was horribly slow and probably not do it again.
    View All 148 Bora Bora Cruise Port Reviews
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  • Hilo
    I'm biased -- always loved the Big Island the most.

    just did the hoppa-on-hoppa-off as a quick downtown excursion. The Pacific Tsunami Museum was good with information overload. watch the movie minimally. Ate at "Kozmic Cones" for local food and busted our guts.
    View All 544 Hilo Cruise Port Reviews
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  • Honolulu
    We didn't do anything touristy since we have relatives here.

    places on this trip: Chinese food from Char Hung Sut (downtown Honolulu), dinner at Haliewa Joe's (Kaneohe), and dessert at Leonard's (Honolulu).
    View All 646 Honolulu Cruise Port Reviews
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  • Kauai
    Big time rain ruined any chance of a good port stop.

    Took the free shuttle to Hilo Hatties (it's not supposed to be WalMart shoppers) and we did shop there and then walked next door to Walmart and resupplied. Last real chance to buy stuff at reasonable prices until the South Pacific.

    Had a nice experience at Duke's although pricey (MaiTais, fish and chips, Hula Pie).
    View All 517 Kauai Cruise Port Reviews
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  • Maui
    Took a non-Princess 2.5hr quick West Maui SUV tour (covers the northern end). Something we hadn't seen before. It was nice.

    Ate local food at 808 Grindz.
    View All 589 Maui Cruise Port Reviews
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  • Moorea
    took "Captain Taina" lagoon excursion pre-booked. Family/friend run with their own family private island. It had 2 snorkeling stops (statues, rays and reef sharks), drifted around waiting to see rare turtles, and spent a couple of hours at their private island where they prepared an awesome BBQ and we relaxed afterwards by lounging in the waters. Highly recommended.

    Moorea is the non-tourist version of Bora Bora. So spectacular and the calmness of just lounging around is incredible.

    This was the crown jewel of the cruise and I can easily imagine people getting off at Bora Bora and immediately taking a ferry to Moorea.
    View All 138 Moorea Cruise Port Reviews
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  • Pago Pago
    First ever being there without any prior knowledge.

    Took "VJ's" tour bus (randomly selected from the port) to see the east end of American Samoa for $25/pp. Family run. Awesome tour with lots of cultural information. She even stopped at her own home. Highly recommended.

    Even though it appears American Samoa is dirt poor, it's a cultural and lifestyle difference.

    So eye-opening this visit and so different from French Polynesia.
    View All 51 Pago Pago Cruise Port Reviews
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  • Tahiti (Papeete)
    They had the typical island bus tours and lagoon snorkel trips off the stop. We really only wanted to do the Papanoo Valley 4WD excursion but apparently all available tour 4WDs were allocated to Princess. So beware!

    Did the food trucks for dinner. The "food trucks" are really just mobile kitchens that serve you like a sit down restaurant. Beware that "water" may mean bottled water (bring your own). Great ambiance and perfect temperature. We had awesome Chinese fried rice that was enough for dinner.

    Wouldn't care to visit Tahiti again.

    We did notice that several people went from Bora Bora to Moorea, apparently skipping Tahiti and Bora Bora.
    View All 170 Tahiti (Papeete) Cruise Port Reviews
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