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

Poor - Emerald Panama cruise - everyone is STILL talking about it :(

Emerald Princess Cruise Review by WalterP2020

10 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Apr 2019
  • Destination: the Panama Canal & Central America
  • Cabin Type: Balcony

As you will read from many other reviewers; this was "the worse" Princess cruise I have been on -- and I have been on many, many Princess cruises.

Something was terribly wrong with 50% of the interactions on this cruise. To be fair, I would like to give you a balanced overview.


Our room steward "Randy" was THE BEST we have ever had. He should be training for Princess on how to take care of Guests.

The International Cafe people were very friendly and helpful - but they need more staff for the service - everyone goes there.

Two casino people really stood out (Hans and Mario) - they were very professional and helpful to guests (more on the casino later)

I liked the new market place for eating and for the layout, colors and seating - the food -- that will be later too.

The Crown Grill - excellent Chilean Sea Bass and steak for others. Best food and service.

The fitness center - the dry dock brought mostly new equipment. I'm always at the gym on shore and the cruises - they did an excellent job here. And, there were 45+ people in the gym at all time -- just goes to show - if you build it, they will come ;)

Traditional dining - good fish, nice salmon, excellent asparagus.


Customer service desk - clueless people, no help or service. It seemed that half the crew must have been new to the cruise industry and all the guest were the guinea pigs. And they were just plain rude at times. You would be talking with them about a problem - the phone would ring and they would cut you off and spend 5-10 minutes on the phone before coming back to you.

Casino manager ( I won't mention names - I do have them, but it's not worth mentioning) shut the casino craps table down around 11 or `11:30 and forced everyone to leave - over and over - who does that? (more on the craps table under horrible)

Drinks - every night the same thing at the craps table - hour to an hour and a half before they would come to ask if you wanted a drink. If you wanted one before that, you had to stop gambling and go to the bar to buy one. Why would they do that?

The food in the new market place - average - and that is being generous. I did like their sandwiches for lunch. Food over all here was far below what you would normally expect from Princess Cruises. I will say their salads were fresh !

Traditional dining - this is the sad part - 50% of the time the meal was good, the other 50% of the time - I couldn't eat the food. The beef stroganoff - couldn't cut the meat with a steak knife - much less chew it. Braised beef - let's just call it braised fat. Their steaks - I wanted medium rare - it took them four times - each one was rarer than the previous one. People at my table were "mooing" because it was such a joke. The 4th steak was perfect. Their lamb - one bite was all I could do - so bad.

The excursion for snorkeling at our 2nd port was nice - but the boat was way too small for the number of people who went on the excursion.


Two main things stand out that really ruined this cruise. As others have said, the excursions were ruined for people and Costa Rica was the worse. Hundreds of people missed their buses because Princess wouldn't let you off the ship - seriously - they kept people in the Princess Theatre with no stickers or organization - when they finally let people out - row by row, dozens of buses had already left. So yes, hundreds of people missed their excursions in Costa Rica !! They reimbursed everyone - but it was the one big excursion I wanted to go on. People were standing in the heat of the day on the dock while they waited. Most excursions were cut in half for their time. Someone mentioned that this happened near the beginning of the cruise and people talked about it for the next week and a half - that is an understatement - people were furious - including me. I will give credit to Gary McNeil - he owned up immediately for all the problems and took full responsibility. Princess should be happy to have people like him.

Craps table in the casino - okey, something is up with this and Princess needs to look into the issue. The table was "re-done" in the dry dock and new dice were added. 14 days of playing and every player lost every night. The dice would land and bounce at 90 degree angles. The dice would stop rolling and then "suddenly" flip over one more time. Many players there were commenting on what was up with the dice and table. We've played craps for years in Vegas and on cruise ships. NEVER have I seen the dice act so weird AND have 100% of the people loose at the table for 14 days straight. I'm not accusing them of anything - BUT - they need to look into this. We will not be playing craps on our next cruise with Princess. This is serious folks.

FINAL WRAP UP: We did not come back "RENEWED" you will find from other reviewers, this cruise really hurt Princess's reputation in so many ways. Which is sad for me, I really liked them a lot until this cruise :(

WalterP2020's Full Rating Summary
Onboard Experience
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Public Rooms
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
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Cabin Review


The cabin was fine and the beds were comfortable - no complaints here.

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews


Snorkeling was a nice surprise. Their boat needs to be bigger next time to fit the number of people on the excursion.

Coffee Plantation

They forced us to stay on the ship until AFTER the buses had left - it was a disaster !

View All 38 Coffee Plantation Reviews

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