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Emerald Princess Cruise Review
4.5 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
1,737 Reviews

Overall, good cruise

Emerald Princess Cruise Review by Jaysee25

2 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Sep 2018
  • Destination: Alaska

I would give this cruise 3.5 stars rather than 4. The embarkation was a breeze and didn't take long at all. It was very efficient. We boarded the ship in Seattle. The cruise ship could use some updates and remodeling. Overall, the cruise ship was okay. Our first stop was in Ketchikan. I don't remember the exact name of the shore excursions, but the one in Ketchikan involved a scenic tour and a seafood feast. We got very lucky with the weather and the tour was beautiful. The feast needs to include more seafood for the money you are paying for that excursion and the fact that you have to share with other people. There were a lot of potatoes and corn though that nobody was interested in. Our next destination was Juneau. Beautiful weather there as well. I was really looking to whale watching. However, when we got on shore from the ship, we learned that the whale watching portion was cancelled. We had to make a spontaneous decision on what to do. I did not appreciate it. If you cancel something, notify people in advance, so, they have time to research their options. This was very poorly handled. We ended up getting on another whale watching tour, but it was not worth it. The guides were good, but I just wasn't educated enough about whales. I have nobody but myself to blame. We saw three backs of whales slightly out of the water and a few tales. That's it! If I could go back, I would never had selected this tour because I saw more whales from the balcony of our cabin. For those of you considering the balcony, definitely get the cabin with the balcony. It is so worth it! What I didn't know was that the whales fully come out of the water only when they are frightened or irritated. Luckily or sadly, none of the whaled during our cruise were either of those. The next destination was Skagway. There, we took a train and also did a tour of the city. Ok, the city can be covered in 30 minutes on your own. The cruise ship docks and there's the city. You can buy your own ticket to the train which is totally worth it and it would be much cheaper than booking an excursion through the cruise like. The train station is probably a 10 minute walk. Longer if you are elderly. We then sailed to Victoria arriving at Victoria at 7 pm. The itinerary can easily be modified. We did not have much time in beautiful Victoria at all, and by the time we got on a tour bus it was dark. Such a waste. We went to the gorgeous Butchart Gardens, but were very limited on time. Only 1.5 hours. At night! The gardens are lit up, but we had to rush through them and it was very hard to see at night, so, some gardens got visited twice solely because of the challenge of navigating at night. If you walk slow or require assistance, you will not be able to cover the gardens in the time frame provided. It would be nice if the cruise line revamped the itinerary and arrived in Victoria in the morning with plenty of time for people to tour the gardens and the city. By the way, our originally planned excursion in Victoria, also got cancelled. A note the was left in our room indicated that it was due to the fact that not enough people had booked the tour. When my husband and I went to book a different tour, we noticed that our original one was sold out. Clearly enough people had booked it. So, I didn't appreciate the dishonesty. It also seems that cruises these days try to push more sales on people: jewelry, art, ridiculously overpriced pictures, and more jewelry sales daily. This one was no exception. Overall, it was a really nice cruise. We got lucky with the weather and all destinations were sunny with no rain. Gorgeous weather. Food was decent. We dined at SHARE as well, and it was great. Service was good and prompt everywhere. Ship was clean but outdated. Entertainment was good but targeted towards people in the age group of 60 and above. There was a fantastic Irish duo on the ship and a naturalist. We enjoyed them a lot. I will definitely consider Princess cruise lines for my future cruises, but will do a better research about the excursions we select. If you wonder what to wear, layering is key! It's chilly in the mornings but gets nice and warm around noon. In the evening you may want to add a sweater and a wind/rain jacket. I brought my hiking boots, but didn't need them. Tennis shoes did a beautiful job. If your jacket doesn't have a hood, I recommend bringing a hat to protect you from winds especially when you are at sea an decide to spend some time outside on the ship.

Jaysee25's Full Rating Summary
Onboard Experience
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Public Rooms
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
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Cabin Review

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews


Did not take an excursion here; embarked the ship. It was a gorgeous weather in Seattle.

Whale Watching

Part of our excursion was cancelled, but we only found out about it once we were off the ship. We did not receive a timely notification. Had to make a decision on the spot about what tour to do. Went with a different tour. It was not worth it. I saw more whales from our balcony. Had I known, I would have chosen to spend more time by a glacier which had some beautiful hikes. There was a two mile hike to a waterfall that we couldn't take due to time limitation.

View All 906 Whale Watching Reviews
Butchart Gardens

Once again, our original excursion to the Butchart Gardens was cancelled due to not enough people booking. However, when we went to book another excursion to the Butchart Gardens, our original one showed that it was sold out. Not very nice. Victoria was gorgeous. It's a shame that we only got to see it at night. I still highly recommend the gardens. We toured them at night. There were light, but visibility was poor. It was difficult to navigate and we were rushed. Very poor value for the money. I definitely want to come back and visit the gardens during the day at my own pace and not have to run as you only get 1.5 hrs in the gardens.

View All 308 Butchart Gardens Reviews
Wilderness Tour & Crab Feast

Gorgeous day, scenery, fresh air, and not enough crab, but plenty of fillers such as potatoes and corn. Buyer, be ware! Ha ha

View All 129 Wilderness Tour & Crab Feast Reviews
White Pass Scenic Railway

Save money and don't book through the cruise line if you want to go on a railway tour. It's absolutely worth it and the railway is RIGHT by the port. Maybe a 10 minute walk; maybe longer if you walk slow. Just buy your own ticket and board the train. We didn't realize how close it was.

View All 1212 White Pass Scenic Railway Reviews

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