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Why not cruise on Princess? Here's why not. Cruised January 10th-17th on the Emerald Princess from Fort Lauderdale. It was our 6th cruise (1 Holland America, 4 Celebrity). Overall, disappointed in Princess Cruises. Why? Major irritants: 1. Early morning announcements over the ship's public address system. We are starting in EST, we're used to CST. After day one, the ship is an hour east of EST. So, with the ship's time being 8am (or once, 7:30am), body time 6am, we don't want to hear announcements that woke us up all but one morning way too early. We couldn't sleep in due to these announcements, and most of the information was useless: docking times are printed in the Daily Patter and posted at all gangways. Recreational activities are also published and we don't need to be awakened to be reminded. Finally, there's a ton of marketing going on ("don't forget the art auction/junk sale on Deck Five") that is tiresome, tacky, and annoying. Cruise director Tim Donovan was more like a drill sergeant, bellowing announcements ("Hope you had a cracking good day at sea; don't forget to buy stuff on board in the blah-blah-blah") and being intrusive many times a day. 2. Limited, slow room service: unlike Celebrity, there's no TV-screen menu and ordering. In the mornings or other times (after embarkation time at a port, for example) the hold time for a call to room service is measured in minutes (we usually put the phone on speaker to wait), sometimes ten or more minutes. The items are very limited; no appetizers or light snacks and worst—no alcoholic beverage service (just bottles, not drinks). 3. Plain, small cabins. Austere—some bare walls; too small for a dresser or any furniture save one small seat and a desk chair. 4. Cramped, miniature bathroom. Barely RV-sized shower; tiny vanity. 5. Room steward attention spotty. Not like Celebrity, where they're constantly slipping in to tidy up; no such thing as the Carnival "folded towel animals." 6. Recurring and unavoidable mob scenes: at ports (3,336 passengers on board), at dinner (huge mob crammed into a small waiting area near the Boticelli Dining Room) and all buffets; disembarking was a mob scene requiring much waiting. 7. No real sailaway observance. In Port Everglades, they tried, but it was too cold. In St. Maartin, tried again, but they decided to wait for a couple who'd missed the boat in Port Everglades, so the band finished its set and everyone just walked away; departed a couple hours late. 8. Dull island night: should be a big, fun and festive island party in the tropics. Drill Sergeant/Cruise Director Tim Donovan starts it out with funeral dirge music ("Claptop's "You Look Wonderful Tonight" and one other tired slow song), then basically browbeats people to imitate his linebacker blitzing dance style; we left after 20 minutes of his pained, forced "fun." 9. Constant hawking of sales of "art," junk, salon services, pay-dining, jewlry, you name it. 10. Loud, forced "fun" on the main pool deck—constantly some cruise staff exhorting passengers on the P.A.; movie always blasting on the second pool; barely room on the quiet, yet smoky aft pool deck. 11. No smoking control on the pool decks. Just have to bear the stink, not like Celebrity (smoking side, non-smoking side). 12. Blah buffets: breakfast, lunch; sameness, and the chaotic layout (islands of food items rather than a buffet line) made for constant traffic jam. Also, there are 5 buffet areas, but they open and close sporadically—finding the one that's open is a pain. 13. No dress code enforcement in traditional dining room (we did Botticelli 8:15 ever day): jeans, polo shirts on formal nights. 14. No midnight buffet. 15. Less than optimum location on St. Thomas (NOT near Frenchman's Reef; crammed into a tiny quay on the opposite side of Charlotte-Amalie. 16. Early departure from St. Thomas (3:30pm). Late arrival (1:00pm) in Grand Turk. 17. Disembarkation: deliberately assign you an early room-vacancy time and waiting spot. We were required to be at our "disembarkation spot" (in our case, the smoke-stenched casino) at 7:50. Waited there till almost nine with a restless crowd, nowhere near enough seats, then finally had to drag our bags down the grand stairway (what a clumsy, bad idea) to disembark. Clearly, Princess realizes they can't disembark you when the say, but they want to prepare for the next set of passengers. Perhaps they need to sail later (6pm rather than 4pm) because they really don't have enough time to turn the ship around without making the disembarking passengers simply wait in holding areas. Poor logistical planning, lack of consideration for those disembarking.

Why NOT cruise on Princess? Here are the reasons NOT to:

Emerald Princess Cruise Review by CruzeFan2010

Trip Details
Why not cruise on Princess? Here's why not.
Cruised January 10th-17th on the Emerald Princess from Fort Lauderdale. It was our 6th cruise (1 Holland America, 4 Celebrity). Overall, disappointed in Princess Cruises. Why?
Major irritants: 1. Early morning announcements over the ship's public address system. We are starting in EST, we're used to CST. After day one, the ship is an hour east of EST. So, with the ship's time being 8am (or once, 7:30am), body time 6am, we don't want to hear announcements that woke us up all but one morning way too early. We couldn't sleep in due to these announcements, and most of the information was useless: docking times are printed in the Daily Patter and posted at all gangways. Recreational activities are also published and we don't need to be awakened to be reminded. Finally, there's a ton of marketing going on ("don't forget the art auction/junk sale on Deck Five") that is tiresome, tacky, and annoying. Cruise director Tim Donovan was more like a drill sergeant, bellowing announcements ("Hope you had a cracking good day at sea; don't forget to buy stuff on board in the blah-blah-blah") and being intrusive many times a day. 2. Limited, slow room service: unlike Celebrity, there's no TV-screen menu and ordering. In the mornings or other times (after embarkation time at a port, for example) the hold time for a call to room service is measured in minutes (we usually put the phone on speaker to wait), sometimes ten or more minutes. The items are very limited; no appetizers or light snacks and worst—no alcoholic beverage service (just bottles, not drinks). 3. Plain, small cabins. Austere—some bare walls; too small for a dresser or any furniture save one small seat and a desk chair. 4. Cramped, miniature bathroom. Barely RV-sized shower; tiny vanity. 5. Room steward attention spotty. Not like Celebrity, where they're constantly slipping in to tidy up; no such thing as the Carnival "folded towel animals." 6. Recurring and unavoidable mob scenes: at ports (3,336 passengers on board), at dinner (huge mob crammed into a small waiting area near the Boticelli Dining Room) and all buffets; disembarking was a mob scene requiring much waiting. 7. No real sailaway observance. In Port Everglades, they tried, but it was too cold. In St. Maartin, tried again, but they decided to wait for a couple who'd missed the boat in Port Everglades, so the band finished its set and everyone just walked away; departed a couple hours late. 8. Dull island night: should be a big, fun and festive island party in the tropics. Drill Sergeant/Cruise Director Tim Donovan starts it out with funeral dirge music ("Claptop's "You Look Wonderful Tonight" and one other tired slow song), then basically browbeats people to imitate his linebacker blitzing dance style; we left after 20 minutes of his pained, forced "fun." 9. Constant hawking of sales of "art," junk, salon services, pay-dining, jewlry, you name it. 10. Loud, forced "fun" on the main pool deck—constantly some cruise staff exhorting passengers on the P.A.; movie always blasting on the second pool; barely room on the quiet, yet smoky aft pool deck. 11. No smoking control on the pool decks. Just have to bear the stink, not like Celebrity (smoking side, non-smoking side). 12. Blah buffets: breakfast, lunch; sameness, and the chaotic layout (islands of food items rather than a buffet line) made for constant traffic jam. Also, there are 5 buffet areas, but they open and close sporadically—finding the one that's open is a pain. 13. No dress code enforcement in traditional dining room (we did Botticelli 8:15 ever day): jeans, polo shirts on formal nights. 14. No midnight buffet. 15. Less than optimum location on St. Thomas (NOT near Frenchman's Reef; crammed into a tiny quay on the opposite side of Charlotte-Amalie. 16. Early departure from St. Thomas (3:30pm). Late arrival (1:00pm) in Grand Turk. 17. Disembarkation: deliberately assign you an early room-vacancy time and waiting spot. We were required to be at our "disembarkation spot" (in our case, the smoke-stenched casino) at 7:50. Waited there till almost nine with a restless crowd, nowhere near enough seats, then finally had to drag our bags down the grand stairway (what a clumsy, bad idea) to disembark. Clearly, Princess realizes they can't disembark you when the say, but they want to prepare for the next set of passengers. Perhaps they need to sail later (6pm rather than 4pm) because they really don't have enough time to turn the ship around without making the disembarking passengers simply wait in holding areas. Poor logistical planning, lack of consideration for those disembarking.
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Cabin Review

Cabin A509
Tiny, austere. The bathroom was RV-sized.
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