1. Home
  2. Cruise Reviews
  3. Emerald Princess
On the whole this was a fantastic cruise. Gibraltar, Marseille, Genova, and even Pisa (once you manage to leave the port of Livorno) were all fantastic. I can highly recommend the itinerary. Buffet areas were busy but we always managed to find a table for the four of us. Food was good, generally no complaints, although they were running out of basics like honey and muesli by day 5 and the watermelon were past their ‘use by date’ by then. Waiting staff were great, all of them although I could hear a rather heated work discussion from the ‘kitchen’ area which was a bit awkward. We embarked straight after our flight in Barcelona at 2 p.m. planning to head out to the city afterwards. This plan fell through because we were told we had to attend the safety demonstration at 5 p.m. with all the usual threats about not attending. They didn’t tell us there would be a second safety demo at night, which would have suited our plans much better. So we missed out on Barcelona. Gibraltar was perfect as a cruise port. The town entrance is a 15 minute walk from the pier. Another 15 minutes walk to the cable car. Took a shared taxi (as advertised everywhere on bill boards everywhere for 35 euros) up the mountain due to long cues for the cable car. The driver/guide was fine but spoke in as few words as possible. The monkeys/apes/macaques/whatever they are were present. The caves worth a short visit and the view stunning. Sailing away from Gibraltar is a sight worth seeing. I did not expect much from Marseille but the city proved us wrong. Finding your way through typical French streets leading to the steps all the way up the steps to the Notre Dame de la Garde Cathedral was one of the highlights of the cruise for us. Took a City bus tour in Genova, but you can see the same sights by foot if just head out from the cruise terminal to the aquarium and then enter the inner city. You can enter the city straight from the terminal but the area looked a bit ‘rough’ at first sight. I could be wrong. I loved walking through the narrow streets and alleys of Genova and the aquarium is one of the best I’ve seen with an impressive dolphin tank. Make sure to take a picture from the ship of the city just before sunset. The light is stunning. Now onto Livorno. The shabby port of Livorno left us with a very sour taste and we will avoid this port in the future. Why? Because you have to pay to get off the ship. Even though the town centre is less than a mile away, passengers still have to pay five euros per person for a shuttle bus. I get it, the harbor area doesn't lend itself to pedestrians, but at least offer the shuttle service for free (like in Marseille and many other ports). It's a matter of principle. But what really ruined this day for us is how we and others were treated by the shuttle staff: -As is my custom on almost any cruise destination, I like to start the day with a morning run through town as soon as the ship is docked. It's a great way to get a feel of the town while the wife and kids are still asleep. At least that was the plan till a local member of staff rudely blocked my exit from the terminal: you cannot exit the terminal by yourself, you have to pay for a shuttle. So far for my morning run. -Due to a small miscommunication both my wife and I ended up buying those shuttle tickets for the family.Totally our fault and we spotted the mistake immediately. But guess what, the shuttle service flatly refused to reimburse the two surplus tickets. We were the ONLY passengers in the terminal, the tickets were bought less than a minute ago form the same employee, so it was obvious we did not use the tickets. But nope, they flatly refused to take the tickets back. -We rented an extravagantly overpriced car from Avis. There were 3 ships in town, so yeah, I get it, the price goes up. But at least clean the diesel fuel spill that covered most of the rear passenger door and booth. Driving is fine if you are used to Southern European roads or confident enough behind the wheel. -Pisa was fine. The tower is there. It leans. We took the same cliché pictures as every other tourist and went back to the port, returned the rental car, and waited, waited, waited, 10, 20 30, 40+ minutes for the paid shuttle to arrive. In the sun. At least five other shuttles passed us by, just not the very specific one for our ship. Our ship which was just a stones throw away.. -Oh and a fellow shuttle passenger got shouted at for not presenting his ticket on the spot. I'll end my rant here. We had six fantastic days during this cruise. Just not in Livorno. If you buy an official tour then you will probably be just fine. But if you like to do your own thing like us, then you know now what to expect.

Six amazing days and then there was Livorno.

Emerald Princess Cruise Review by JAVT

8 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: June 2019
  • Destination: Mediterranean
  • Cabin Type: Balcony
On the whole this was a fantastic cruise. Gibraltar, Marseille, Genova, and even Pisa (once you manage to leave the port of Livorno) were all fantastic. I can highly recommend the itinerary.

Buffet areas were busy but we always managed to find a table for the four of us. Food was good, generally no complaints, although they were running out of basics like honey and muesli by day 5 and the watermelon were past their ‘use by date’ by then. Waiting staff were great, all of them although I could hear a rather heated work discussion from the ‘kitchen’ area which was a bit awkward.

We embarked straight after our flight in Barcelona at 2 p.m. planning to head out to the city afterwards. This plan fell through because we were told we had to attend the safety demonstration at 5 p.m. with all the usual threats about not attending. They didn’t tell us there would be a second safety demo at night, which would have suited our plans much better. So we missed out on Barcelona.

Gibraltar was perfect as a cruise port. The town entrance is a 15 minute walk from the pier. Another 15 minutes walk to the cable car. Took a shared taxi (as advertised everywhere on bill boards everywhere for 35 euros) up the mountain due to long cues for the cable car. The driver/guide was fine but spoke in as few words as possible. The monkeys/apes/macaques/whatever they are were present. The caves worth a short visit and the view stunning. Sailing away from Gibraltar is a sight worth seeing.

I did not expect much from Marseille but the city proved us wrong. Finding your way through typical French streets leading to the steps all the way up the steps to the Notre Dame de la Garde Cathedral was one of the highlights of the cruise for us.

Took a City bus tour in Genova, but you can see the same sights by foot if just head out from the cruise terminal to the aquarium and then enter the inner city. You can enter the city straight from the terminal but the area looked a bit ‘rough’ at first sight. I could be wrong. I loved walking through the narrow streets and alleys of Genova and the aquarium is one of the best I’ve seen with an impressive dolphin tank. Make sure to take a picture from the ship of the city just before sunset. The light is stunning.

Now onto Livorno.

The shabby port of Livorno left us with a very sour taste and we will avoid this port in the future. Why? Because you have to pay to get off the ship. Even though the town centre is less than a mile away, passengers still have to pay five euros per person for a shuttle bus. I get it, the harbor area doesn't lend itself to pedestrians, but at least offer the shuttle service for free (like in Marseille and many other ports). It's a matter of principle.

But what really ruined this day for us is how we and others were treated by the shuttle staff:

-As is my custom on almost any cruise destination, I like to start the day with a morning run through town as soon as the ship is docked. It's a great way to get a feel of the town while the wife and kids are still asleep. At least that was the plan till a local member of staff rudely blocked my exit from the terminal: you cannot exit the terminal by yourself, you have to pay for a shuttle. So far for my morning run.

-Due to a small miscommunication both my wife and I ended up buying those shuttle tickets for the family.Totally our fault and we spotted the mistake immediately. But guess what, the shuttle service flatly refused to reimburse the two surplus tickets. We were the ONLY passengers in the terminal, the tickets were bought less than a minute ago form the same employee, so it was obvious we did not use the tickets. But nope, they flatly refused to take the tickets back.

-We rented an extravagantly overpriced car from Avis. There were 3 ships in town, so yeah, I get it, the price goes up. But at least clean the diesel fuel spill that covered most of the rear passenger door and booth. Driving is fine if you are used to Southern European roads or confident enough behind the wheel.

-Pisa was fine. The tower is there. It leans. We took the same cliché pictures as every other tourist and went back to the port, returned the rental car, and waited, waited, waited, 10, 20 30, 40+ minutes for the paid shuttle to arrive. In the sun. At least five other shuttles passed us by, just not the very specific one for our ship. Our ship which was just a stones throw away..

-Oh and a fellow shuttle passenger got shouted at for not presenting his ticket on the spot.

I'll end my rant here. We had six fantastic days during this cruise. Just not in Livorno. If you buy an official tour then you will probably be just fine. But if you like to do your own thing like us, then you know now what to expect.
JAVT’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Ages Under 3
Ages 3 to 6
Service
Onboard Experience
Free Price Drop Alerts
Get Emerald Princess price drops
250,000+ people have entered their email

Cabin Review

Balcony
Cabin BB B306
Cabin was clean and the beds felt new and comfortable. The two extra bunk beds were on the small side for an adult. If you are taller than 170 cm, you will be sleeping in a slightly foetal position. This is an issue for families with kids who are still too young (
Aloha Deck Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins