Emerald Princess Cruise Review by RubyRenee
- Sail Date: January 2019
- Destination: Hawaii
- Cabin Type: Balcony
Wanted a holiday cruise to be with family and began a new tradition. The ship was beautiful and well maintained. Had no issues with maintenance. Really enjoyed all the food offerings regardless of where we chose to eat. The main dining room was nice and the food and service were superb. The buffet had a lot of varied choices that were good. I chose the main dining room often to avoid having to deal with hustling through the people at the buffet and finding a table. Sometimes a single person would take a table for six. During busier times, it was a hassle to deal with too many people, some with less manners than others, and finding a place to sit and eat. We also had a person with a wheelchair so we had to consider her ability to get around. There was no way she could go through the buffet so we had to get her food for her. The pizza was good. The "free" ice cream was ok. Better ice cream was offered in the main dining in the dessert options. Even room service was nice. Too bad there was a charge for hot chocolate though. The staff was always friendly and helpful. Embarkation went very smoothly as did disembarkation. They were organized and we didn't have long wait lines. There was too little time in the ports so we didn't get to do as much as we would have preferred to do, making us feel we only got a glimpse of the ports before having to rush back to the ship. Will consider how long a ship is in port in the future. Having to use tenders in Lahaina was a nightmare coming back. The lines were half a block long, and it was hot. Staff finally resorted to passing out water and cool cloths. The line moved, but it was not a good experience. We didn't do any excursions, preferring to rent a car in advance and explore on our own. Didn't care for the offerings in the onboard shops and refused to go to the 3 hour sales. My opinion is the purpose of those sales were to create a frenzy and have passengers act like fools to get a discount. There were plenty of activities, lectures, and entertainment options including lessons. I would have liked to learn to play the ukulele but that was a progressive class and if you didn't attend the first one, you missed out. The lei making class was so full you had to go at a specific time and place to get a ticket to a class. Well, I missed out on that. When I went, the ticket folks were gone. Too much trouble to participate in the worthwhile lessons so I unfortunately missed out. Also, regarding entertainment, if you didn't show up at least 45 minutes early for a production show, then forget about it, seats were full. There were too many people trying to see shows and not enough seats. This was a problem in the piazza also. People would arrive and start arranging and saving the few seats so attending those entertainment offerings became an uncomfortable hassle too. It also interfered with the ability to just go to International Café or Vines for coffee or wine because all the seats had been taken or occupied to view the entertainment. I think it defeated the ideal of a piazza. The entertainment should not be scheduled on th3e patter. and instead seem more impromptu so if you happen to be in the piazza, you can catch the entertainment without fighting for seating. The ship simply has inadequate seating for entertainment and this distracts from the ability to relax and enjoy yourself. We did not travel with children and frankly had issues with parents who let their children run wild all the time. The ship became an enclosed baby sitting trap for children of all ages, including teenagers, who were inconsiderate of others. There was running down the halls at night time, groups of unruly kids pushing ahead in lines when the older people were more mannerly, and therefore, at a disadvantage. In the future, I will look for more time at ports, and I will read reviews for adequate opportunities to participate in entertainment and activities, including seating and crowd control. Overall, however, the experience was positive and enjoyable and very much worth the value.
RubyRenee’s Full Rating Summary
We had connecting balcony cabins. The cabins had adequate space and the layout allowed privacy in a dressing area. The beds were as comfortable as advertised and a pleasure to get into at the end of the day.
Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins
Port & Shore Excursion Reviews
We didn't know what to expect here because none of us had ever been here. The plan was to get off the ship and do a little shopping then return. But we ended up hiring a really nice taxi and venturing to the blowhole where we shopped and ate before returning to the ship. This was a nice surprise and a good ending to the trip. (Bring cash to negotiate deals with all the hawkers)
View All 520 Ensenada Cruise Port Reviews
View Cruise Critic's Ensenada Cruise Port Review
Again, with the time limitations we rushed to get our rental then rushed to the southern most point in the U.S.A. and witnessed the blowhole for a couple of minutes, then hurried back to stop at a favorite coffee farm stand. We had to cancel the plans to stop at another coffee farm and the macadamia nut factory store so we could run into Walmart and get souviners. This is where I loaded up on coffee, macadamia nuts, and cookies. We ran out of time before I could get to the Hawaiian souviners though so that added to the disappointment. We would have enjoyed so much more if we had the time.
View All 569 Hilo Cruise Port Reviews
View Cruise Critic's Hilo Cruise Port Review
This was the only port with an extended time, however, if you choose to go on your own rather than do excursions, then remember the car rentals close earlier than the time at port ends so you have to plan to be back at port earlier than the 10:30pm cut-off time to return the rental. After that, you can stay close to the ship until you decide to go back on. The port is busy and in the Honolulu so if you want a relaxed experience then you may as well get back onboard early. That's what we did. I was disappointed that we couldn't spend more time away from Honolulu.
View All 673 Honolulu Cruise Port Reviews
View Cruise Critic's Honolulu Cruise Port Review
Because of limited time, we raced to get our rental. Thank goodness we reserved in advance because they sold out. We then raced to the canyon and on the way back we ate at Bubba's burgers which was good. There simple wasn't enough time to stop elsewhere and because it was Christmas day, most businesses were closed. We did get to go to Hilo Hattie's for a short time though.
View All 537 Kauai Cruise Port Reviews
View Cruise Critic's Kauai Cruise Port Review
Although Maui is my favorite island, because of the tender service and limited time, it was a real disappointment. First of all, my mom couldn't go onshore because she needed her wheelchair. Secondly, since time was limited we chose to do a whale watch which was only ok. The boat we were in moved twice and we saw a mom and calf. They let the clock tick away. I've been on much better whale watches. To their defence though, this is early in the season so sightings aren't as frequent as later in the season. After the whale watch, we decided to use our little time to shop instead of eating, so we rushed up and down Front Street, as did everybody else, which made the stores crowded. The worse part of this port was going back to the boat. The line was horrendous. If my mom would have been able to come on land, we would have had major issues with the line. It took a long time to get back onto a tender and get onboard. I will pay closer attention to ports where you have to use a tender, in the future.
View All 618 Maui Cruise Port Reviews
View Cruise Critic's Maui Cruise Port Review