Emerald Princess Cruise Review by Markbw
- Sail Date: October 2018
- Destination: South Pacific
- Cabin Type: Balcony
When booking our cruise and choosing our balcony stateroom, we selected a top floor (Lido 15th floor) balcony room at the front of the ship. When selecting our room, you select the room you are requesting and a picture pops up of what the room looks like. It showed a typical room with a balcony with the blue tinted plexiglass wall on the balcony. When we arrived on board the ship and went to our room, we discovered that it did not have the transparent plexiglass wall on the balcony, but it had a white painted metal wall instead. Our dreams of waking up in the morning with the curtains open and being able to see the ocean from our bed were dashed. Having coffee out on the balcony in the morning sitting in the chairs watching the ocean was also impossible. Having a romantic dinner catered out to our private balcony as they advertised? Not an option unless you think sitting in a metal box is romantic. There are 2 balcony rooms with this metal box configuration out of the 900 balcony rooms that are on the Emerald. These 2 rooms (L201 and L202) cost just the same as the others in their category, but they should be highly discounted due to their lack of visibility. There should be some kind of designation or remark in the description of these 2 rooms when you are choosing state rooms. We met the couple that was in L202 during dinner one night, and they were just as disappointed as we were in our balcony room. They have cruised 56 times and this was their first Princess cruise, celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary. Let me just say that they were NOT impressed with Princess. They also complained to passenger services and customer care and they at least got a phone call and a letter. Neither one of us would have chosen the balcony room that we did if we had known that there was little visibility from our balconies.
We immediately went to passenger services to complain about our room/balcony. Passenger services promised that we would receive a letter delivered to our stateroom no later than the following night. Well, the cruise was over yesterday, and we are still waiting! On the 3rd day of the cruise, I used some of my Internet minutes on board and emailed corporate customer care. I got an automated message verifying my letter and said that they would respond to complaints in the order that they were received. It has been 28 days, and I am still waiting. We have earned Platinum status with Princess and have not had issues on the 10 previous cruises. Apparently Princess does not believe in customer service or customer loyalty.
We also had another issue with Passenger services. My wife forgot to take her watch off when getting into the pool and set it on the bench at the side of the pool when she got in. Five minutes after getting out of the pool, she remembered her watch on the bench, but someone had already picked it up and taken it to passenger services. My wife went to passenger services to retrieve her watch within 30 minutes. Passenger services said that they didn't have the watch. Over the next several hours, she called passenger services 2 times about the watch, and was told that they did not have the watch. Finally after finding the woman who turned in the watch and having her come with my wife to passenger services to get her watch back.....it magically appeared. The watch had been there all along and much stress could have been avoided if they were doing their job. Not sure what happened, but it was the same passenger services person that was involved with this fiasco as well.
Other than these 2 issues, we had a good cruise. The room/balcony was quite the downer, but we made the best of it. We had fabulous dinners with excellent staff and service in the Michelangelo dining room every night. Francesco the head waiter was the best by far that we have ever had. Food was great but the menus were totally out of date. Recommended wines in the menu were not available, and some items were not available. We were told that they were waiting to print new menus.
The horizon court was typical buffet food. More on quantity rather on quality. I think that their food quality has gone down hill a little in the last year or so. Some of the quality of the food in the dining room was also not up to previous cruises. Things like the quality of the beef cuts of meat and the size and quality of the lobster were not up to par.
One thing that Princess has changed that I believe really cost them a bunch of profit was the discontinuing with happy hour in the lounges. On previous cruises, during happy hour the lounges were packed with standing room only. Now you can rarely find anyone in the lounges unless there is an exciting entertainment venue, and hardly anyone is ordering drinks. I bet that the liquor profit for Princess is WAY down due to this decision.
The entertainment in the theatre was pretty good, with some entertainers that we have seen on prior cruises. Our entertainment director, Alexander, and his staff were amazing.
Our room steward Frankie was great. Couldn't have asked for anything more from him. Our room was always spotless and all needs were eagerly met.
Hawaiian islands were great as always. THe south pacific islands were amazing. Bora Bora is as beautiful as the pictures in the magazines make it look. Moorea was too. Samoa islands were beautiful. We were a little disappointed with Tahiti as the port city was just like any other big city. Should have done an excursion and got out of the city.
Probably will not do this long of a cruise again and not with Princess. We had been happy with Princess cruise lines up to now and have earned platinum status. We were excited to earn Elite status and cruise with Princess exclusively. We now are going to try some other cruise lines after the lack of customer service that Princess gave us this last cruise.
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