We chose this cruise primarily because it has been a dream of ours to see Alaska and it didn’t disappoint. The scenery was outstanding and the excursions we took, were all amazing and gave us a real taste of what Alaska has to offer. We booked our Juneau and Skagway excursions before we left and Ketchikan on the dock near the ship. The Emerald Princess was the second cruise ship we have been on, the first being Celebrity Reflection, weeks after it first sailed and there was a huge difference in both ships in terms of standards, Celebrity really had the upper hand as their ship was brand new. Emerald Princess is quite dated but it still has a lovely charm about it which we liked. We stayed on deck 10, Caribe balcony room 722, loads of space and a fantastic room steward Reynaldo! We chose an anytime dining package and ate mostly in the buffet restaurants. Here’s a few reasons why I think the trip failed for us though. The food really wasn’t great. It was tasteless and oftentimes looked like slop especially the curries and casseroles. I got sick mid week after eating breakfast, I had scrambled eggs and half way through the meal I knew they weren’t tasting great. It put me off the food for the rest of the cruise. We ate later in the week in the Botticelli twice, however we found the waiter to be pushy about selling us a wine tasting package for the following evening as we were having our meal!!! On that note, there really is a ‘sell, sell’, policy on board. We just felt under pressure constantly to cough up cash! Before departure we were offered a cocktail on the deck with no mention of a charge until we had both taken sips of each drink (we weren’t fooled again!!) when we were asked for our room keys to charge us!! We didn’t purchase a drinks package because we don’t drink a lot but when we did purchase sodas we were told by bar staff we’d be better off buying the packages and why hadn’t we done so!!!!! There’s plenty of lemonade, ice tea and water in the dining areas and also tea and coffee making facilities so we were happy with that! The entertainment was very good and varied. We especially loved the on board naturalist, her commentary as we cruised was superb throughout as she pointed out so many wonders along the way.
The only other big issue we had was with our stateroom bathroom. We thought our shower was leaking as the curtain wasn’t very strong so we were mopping up after each shower but we couldn’t figure out why there was water pools on the bathroom floor all of the time! We realised to our horror though on returning to our room unexpectedly one morning there was an engineer replacing our toilet bowl! So we were mopping up leaking toilet water rather than shower water!!!! Only for our untimely return to our room we would have been none the wiser. We complained about this being a health and safety issue twice at the guest services desk. On both occasions the staff were uninterested and despite logging our complaint and promising that a supervisor would contact us, no one did.This was the second last Alaskan cruise of the season and I just felt the staff were ‘tired’. In particular the guest services desk team appeared to be withered from dealing with people. We went to the gym most days and it’s very well laid out with great views. The spa is located on the way into the gym but like the reception desk, the girls at the Spa reception desk never had a smile or a quick Hello as we passed, so that put me off trying one of the treatments which in fact were heavily discounted towards the end of the week. The ship was extremely full but we never felt overwhelmed. We had a time change as we traveled further North but the wall clocks on each deck were either wrong or not working.
All in all though, we had a fantastic week, we will certainly return to Alaska to explore more of the beautiful landscape. It really is a trip of a lifetime. We enjoyed our Princess experience despite the issues detailed and would cruise with them again.