On 11/6/21 we set sail on the Emerald Princess for a 10 day cruise. We had not cruised on Princess in a long time but we wanted to do the Panama Canal so we chose this cruise. There were 1714 passengers on this cruise on a ship that has a capacity of 3080 so it did not feel crowded. This is our fourth cruise this year and each time getting onboard is a cumbersome process. In order to board you have to go through several stations and they want to see you COVID vaccination record, passport, and COVID test results. Even with doing that it didn’t take us more than 30 minutes to get onboard. When boarding they issue you a medallion which does about the same as a sea pass card with some exceptions. In some respects it works similar to your cars key FOB as when you approach your cabin it automatically unlocks your door or when you go to a bar the waitress sometimes doesn’t have to scan it. We also downloaded the Princess Medallion app.
The biggest problem with the app is that many functions in the app do not work all the time including the one where you make reservations for supper on future nights. Once onboard it is easy to see that this is an old ship and needs to be updated. All the ships now have apps that they want you to use for just about everything. However the app for this ship on a number of occasions was not working. I tried to book some excursions thru the app and was not able to do it and ended up going to the excursion desk. I know on Celebrity and Royal Caribbean you are assigned a table in the dining room and it is on your sea pass card. On this ship they want you to book a reservation for supper using the app. In our case we just wanted a table for two and there were none but there did not appear that there were a lot of tables for just two available in the dining room and none available for us until 7PM or later. Because of COVID we did not want to sit with people we didn’t know so we went to the maitree and finally got a table for 2 at 5:30 PM. The staff on this ship was very friendly. We had a balcony room on deck 10. I thought the room was fine with one exception, it had only one chair to sit on which was at the desk. I had to call guest services on two occasions, once because we could not regulate the hot water and the other because the toilet would not flush. It had a big balcony but we were not aware when we booked it that the upper balconies could look down on part of our balcony and we could look down on part of the balcony directly below us. It appears that you have to be on deck 11 or higher to avoid that. My wife and I both had the WiFi package and the WiFi on the ship was the best we have had on any ship. We had a nice room steward but they only service your room once a day and if you want ice you have to order it through room service. This was not a problem for us since we had the drink package and got bottled water from the bar and put it in the refrigerator in the room. In the hallway next to your cabin door is a digital panel which identifies who is assigned to that cabin and it allows you to activate a message telling the room steward that you want your room cleaned. Everyday they publish a bulletin called Princess Patter which tells you the activities for the day. On port days it would be nice if they told you what deck you got off the ship, forward or aft, and what documents you need to take with you when you get off the ship. On sea days sometimes we would go up the the Sky Walker lounge on deck 18 in the very back of the ship and noticed a distinct vibration while sitting there.
Overall I thought the entertainment was very good. The show in the theater on the first night was a vocalist called Connor Bogart. He sang a lot of fifties, sixties and seventies music and was very good. The second and the fourth night they had a comedian, George Casey, in the theater who was also good. On the third night we saw the first production show, Rock Opera, which was a good show. On the fifth night we saw the second production show called Sweet Soul Music and if you like the songs of the sixties and seventies you will enjoy this show. On night six in the theater was another comedian, Marc Gaffney who was not funny at all. For the seventh and tenths night in the theater they had a vocal impressionist, Travis Turpin. We thought he was very good with hit songs out of the fifties, sixties and seventies. On night eight there was the third production show called “Blame It On The Boogie” which had a disco theme. It was a high energy feel good show with a lot of great songs from the seventies, great show. On night nine they had a performer named Janice Martin who sang and played the piano, guitar and violin. She was very talented and put on a good show. All of the shows involving music was provided by a live seven piece Princess orchestra who were very good.