1. Home
  2. Cruise Reviews
  3. Emerald Princess
We had been looking forward to this cruise for several years. We were celebrating a significant anniversary and we had had a wonderful experience on a previous Princess cruise. The ship sailed from Vancouver to the Hawaiian islands and back. It was a 15 day cruise. The ship itself was clean but not maintained all that well. There were mysterious wet spots on the carpeting in some areas and the occasional funky smell. There were also a lot of burnt-out or non-unctioning lights, which may seem trivial but often indicates a general lack of maintenance that may extend to areas not so visible. The seating in the Princess Theatre was atrocious. Any of you who are large might consider that there is only an 18" width to the seats and the sides are hard. (Picture sitting in a box 18" wide.) EVERYONE that we discussed this with felt that those seats were awful! To give you some idea of the width, 18" is even less than the 18.5" that airline seating allows. The food had also gone downhill siginificantly, as had the service. Everything appears to have been cost-cut to the point where it is obvious to pretty much all of the passengers. The staff in the dining rooms is running to keep up, the wait times between course servings is frequently a half hour or more, and the food delivered may, or may not match the descriptions in the menus. Much of the hot food or soup is luke-warm at best. (The Princess chefs need a Truth-In-Advertising refresher course.) In addtion, the food is generally just plain bland. The pace and working conditions of the staff show in their attitudes. Where you never used to encounter an "attitude" with the crew and service people, these days you hear not-so-subtle complaints and encounter mediocre service on a fairly regular basis. Worse yet, every where you turn somebody is trying to sell you something at an additional cost. This encompasses not only all of the regular shops and over-priced drink packages, but also periodic sales in the dining rooms between meals under conditions that would make a discount store blush as well as the purported "activity" programs offered to pasengers which are thinly disquesed sales programs. It gets really, realy old in a hurry. Lastly, the premium restaurant that we tried was the steak house on board. Bearing in mind that this meal cost an additional $29 per person, (although ours was part of our tour package), one would expect a really fine steak. However, the steaks we ordered, while beautiful and beautifully cooked, had no flavor whatsoever! Yes, there were some really fun surprises and a few really memberable dishes in the dining rooms. Yes, some of the shore trips were great. But overall, I'm thinking that this was probably our last Princess cruise.

Princess... Not what they used to be

Emerald Princess Cruise Review by Mike Kendel

1 person found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: October 2018
  • Destination: Hawaii
  • Cabin Type: Balcony
We had been looking forward to this cruise for several years. We were celebrating a significant anniversary and we had had a wonderful experience on a previous Princess cruise. The ship sailed from Vancouver to the Hawaiian islands and back. It was a 15 day cruise.

The ship itself was clean but not maintained all that well. There were mysterious wet spots on the carpeting in some areas and the occasional funky smell. There were also a lot of burnt-out or non-unctioning lights, which may seem trivial but often indicates a general lack of maintenance that may extend to areas not so visible.

The seating in the Princess Theatre was atrocious. Any of you who are large might consider that there is only an 18" width to the seats and the sides are hard. (Picture sitting in a box 18" wide.) EVERYONE that we discussed this with felt that those seats were awful! To give you some idea of the width, 18" is even less than the 18.5" that airline seating allows.

The food had also gone downhill siginificantly, as had the service. Everything appears to have been cost-cut to the point where it is obvious to pretty much all of the passengers. The staff in the dining rooms is running to keep up, the wait times between course servings is frequently a half hour or more, and the food delivered may, or may not match the descriptions in the menus. Much of the hot food or soup is luke-warm at best. (The Princess chefs need a Truth-In-Advertising refresher course.) In addtion, the food is generally just plain bland.

The pace and working conditions of the staff show in their attitudes. Where you never used to encounter an "attitude" with the crew and service people, these days you hear not-so-subtle complaints and encounter mediocre service on a fairly regular basis.

Worse yet, every where you turn somebody is trying to sell you something at an additional cost. This encompasses not only all of the regular shops and over-priced drink packages, but also periodic sales in the dining rooms between meals under conditions that would make a discount store blush as well as the purported "activity" programs offered to pasengers which are thinly disquesed sales programs. It gets really, realy old in a hurry.

Lastly, the premium restaurant that we tried was the steak house on board. Bearing in mind that this meal cost an additional $29 per person, (although ours was part of our tour package), one would expect a really fine steak. However, the steaks we ordered, while beautiful and beautifully cooked, had no flavor whatsoever!

Yes, there were some really fun surprises and a few really memberable dishes in the dining rooms. Yes, some of the shore trips were great. But overall, I'm thinking that this was probably our last Princess cruise.
Mike Kendel’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Service
Onboard Experience
Free Price Drop Alerts
Get Emerald Princess price drops
250,000+ people have entered their email

Cabin Review

Balcony
Cabin BA A519
Cabin was not roomy but space was adequate. Don't know what all of the classifications mean in the Cabin Category above but ours had a queen bed and a small balcony which was fine by us. The bed had quite a few "miles" on it as evidenced by the trench in the middle but was comfortable. The refrigerator was not working when we checked in but a call to the Passenger Service people got someone up to adjust the setting on it. However, it never got what you would actually call cold. Like the bed, the rest of the room showed some wear but was generally acceptable. The closet was actually quite roomy compared to what we have had on other ships.
Aloha Deck Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Volcano National Park & Hilo Waterfall Tour
    The tour was wonderful! The guide was great and the scenery was beautiful. The lava flows were really super interesting. The coffee mill was fun but, whatever the guide says, the chocolate dipped cuttlefish at Big Island Candies didn't taste all that wonderful. We really enjoyed this tour! Only gripe was that the van, (a standard passenger van) was too small for some of us to get in and out comfortably..
    View All 112 Volcano National Park & Hilo Waterfall Tour Reviews
  • Honolulu
    We spent the day with family at the Waimea Valley park. It was gorgeous!
    View All 641 Honolulu Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Honolulu Cruise Port Review
  • Kauai Plantation Railway
    Good tour guide, Really nice bus. Plantation Railway was not authentic but did show the plantation gardens and some of the native wildlife. In addition, let's face it, it's just fun to ride a train!
    View All 25 Kauai Plantation Railway Reviews
  • Haleakala Crater
    Scenery was beautiful on the ride out and back and the tour bus was very comfortable. However, the top of the mountain was socked-in with clouds so we could not see the crater or the rest of the island. Not complaining about that because it is something that can't be controlled. Lunch was in a beautiful location. Only downside was that the driver seemed to have designs on driving for NASCAR if they ever open a tour bus class. The ride down the mountain was, well, let's just say that it was a little too exciting! (And this come from a former hill-climb competition driver.)
    View All 85 Haleakala Crater Reviews