Emerald Princess Cruise Review by MsEvolution
- Sail Date: August 2018
- Destination: Alaska
- Cabin Type: Penthouse Suite with Balcony
We wanted something we could do in 1 week (short in case we discovered cruising is not our thing). We wanted it local so we wouldn't have to fuss with flight travel. We live in WA so it was an easy drive to Seattle to embark.
Since it was for our 10 yr anniversary, we splurged. We reserved a Penthouse Suite.
Our experience was 100% wonderful! I just can't think of a single negative thing to say. From the moment we entered the gates of the port, we were whisked through the registration process and were actually standing on our deck within 10 minutes of walking through the gates. Since we had a premier room, I guess we had priority embarkation that made this possible.
The room-- fantastic! It had everything we needed. So much extra storage in the closet and the sides of the bathroom vanity that I found we didn't need the extra storage items we brought.
We had free laundry service-- so we really didn't need to bring all the clothes we brought. We simply put our daily used clothes in a bag and a couple of days later, it was in our closet hung up, clean.
All the extra little touches we had-- two little chocolates on the bed every night with turn down service, champagne and glasses on our embarkation day, a coupon for free dinner at Share or Crown Grill the first night, fruit basket and canapés in our suite that we could refresh/re-order whenever we wished. Our room steward anticipated all our needs and wants and managed to keep our room clean and tidy without being intrusive in any way.
Dining was excellent. We ate at Share, Crown Grill and the Club Class Dining area of the DaVinci dining room. Delicious-- everything we had was absolutely divine!
A favorite place to go for a treat at any time of day soon became the international cafe. Loved it! Every time we went they had a selection of 5-7 different small desserts and also quiches, sandwiches, pasta, soup, etc. On our excursion days, we would go down to the International Cafe and pick up a few cookies to take with us in case we wanted a snack during an excursion. This worked out well.
Having a balcony on this Alaska cruise proved invaluable. We slept with the curtains open and awakening to misty fjords and the gorgeous Alaskan forests floating by was magical and a sight I'm so glad we had the privilege to experience. That said, we had the chance to tour an interior cabin and we both agreed they are quite nice and we could easily book one of those (much more affordable!) on other cruises.
Initially, my husband was worried there wouldn't be anything to do and he might be bored. In fact, there was so MUCH to do, we found there wasn't enough time for it! We never watched any of the DVD's we brought. He never played any of the video games he brought. I only read for about 15 minutes. We soon developed what we called "Missing Out Syndrome." No matter what we were doing, we were worrying that we were missing out on yet another great activity on the ship! One thing that helped us was to make a list of the things that were MUSTS for us. Swim in a pool, watch a movie on the top deck, go for a walk around the decks, do some shopping. So we made a list and started ticking them off.
Since it's our 10th anniversary, I booked an appt at the salon to have my hair done and a photo shoot session with their Platinum Photo Studio. The pictures are SO beautiful. They cost a LOT of money, but I think they are well worth the results that captured us at this stage in our marriage/lives.
We went to a comedy show, we watched a presentation about whales, we went to a presentation by a logger, we went to a magic show. All were great fun!!
Ketchican: We went on the Silverking Resort Crab Feast and this was our favorite excursion of all! Fantastic! Bus ride to the little marina. A 30 minute narrated boat ride with multiple wildlife sightings along the way. Then a short hike through a forest. Back to the resort for a delicious seafood fest "Crab Pot" style. Great food, company, conversation, and all in a majestic beautiful covered outdoor setting. I would do this again-- highly recommend!
Juneau: We went on the Mendenhall Glacier with Glacier Gardens tour. We were taken to a salmon hatchery to learn of what they do there, to see the salmon and learn about them. Then to Glacier Gardens to tour the gardens and the gift shop. I wish we would have had more time there! Magical gardens!! Then to Mendenhall Glacier. Which was beautiful and impressive. Unfortunately it was raining and cold and by then we were pretty soaked. We spent most of our time at the visitor center look out tower. A ranger spent some time talking to us about salmon and bears and that was super informative. Then, back with a pleasant bus ride to the pier.
Skagway: We took a ride on the White Pass Railroad and that was gorgeous. Our only complaint was the totally fogged up windows in the trains, but everybody cooperated in wiping, wiping, wiping so we could all keep the views clear. After, we just spent a good long while walking through the picturesque downtown area. There was plenty of time to take all of that in. We felt the port time was very appropriate here.
Trying to save money, I didn't book an excursion. Instead I thought I'd be smart and order the tickets online and we could just grab a taxi there. Smart right? NO. First of all, we arrived at 7 pm. The gardens I think close at 9pm or 10pm at the latest. The area was flooded with tourists who had the same idea and TWO cruise boats that disembarked before we did. So the taxis were in short supply. By the time a taxi was avaialable for us, it was past 8 pm. Then we learned it would be a 45-50 minute ride to get there (and expensive--by taxi!). We figured it just wasn't worth the time and money to do this, so we opted for a taxi ride into downtown. A few minutes away. We walked around, did some light shopping. Went to dinner at a FANTASTIC little restaurant (Tibetan Kitchen for anyone interested) where we had wonderful lamb curry and other dishes. Portions are very generous! Then we had a leisurely walk back to the pier. It took us maybe 30 minutes to walk back slowly through a very safe, very clean neighborhood while passing The Empress Hotel and a government building, a marina. A balmy summer night and it was a perfect night for a stroll. I really think one would need more time at the gardens to explore than what is available (I've never been) but, if that were my only opportunity to see the gardens, then I would advise booking the excursion. The buses were waiting for those already booked for the excursion and left shortly after we arrived at port. Lesson learned!
What I would have done differently:
I spent too much time in the salons because we were lured in with coupons and giveaways etc the first day. The hair appointment was worthy, but I'm not a massage person so I shouldn't have gone ahead with that. Also, I could have had a cheaper and just as good manicure prior to embarkation. Note to self! I feel the extra time I spent there could have been spent elsewhere on the ship (missing out syndrome!).
We committed to too many "appointments." We spent too much time indoors at contests, giveaways, etc and I wish we would have spent more time on the decks enjoying the views, going for walks, watching an outdoor movie, going to another show, etc.
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Port & Shore Excursion Reviews
Mendenhall GlacierThis was a good excursion. Very educational and impressive to see the glacier. We were just soaking wet and hungry and wanted to get back to the ship. I would suggest bringing some snacks so you can enjoy the 4+ hr excursion that doesn't include a meal.View All 777 Mendenhall Glacier Reviews
Wilderness Tour & Crab FeastOur favorite excursion of this voyage! Personable tour guides, lots of wildlife seen. Boat ride. Short hike in a forested area. Fantastic crab feast with fellow ship cruisers in a majestically beautiful covered outdoor setting. Would do this one again! Highly recommend!View All 107 Wilderness Tour & Crab Feast Reviews
White Pass Scenic RailwayWell guided, well orchestrated and excellently narrated ride through the Yukon railroad system. Majestic incredible views. Very safe and enjoyable ride. This also gave us plenty of time afterwards to explore and shop downtown Skagway.View All 960 White Pass Scenic Railway Reviews
VictoriaBeautiful, clean, safe city to explore by foot. The dining options are quite varied, excellent and offer something for everyone. Night life was abundant. I wish we would have come to port earlier for tea time, but it wasn't to be. Still, a lovely short taxi drive to downtown, shopping, dinner at Tibetan Kitchen (amazing lamb curry!!!) and a 30 minute stroll back to the ship led us to architecturally impressive areas and through a very clean safe neighborhood.View All 1,122 Victoria Cruise Port Reviews
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