Emerald Princess Cruise Review by nalakitty
- Sail Date: August 2011
- Destination: Baltic Sea
Dinner in the Botticelli dining room was good. We had a table for 3 as we requested and our waiter Mateo and Katarina the assistant did a fine job keeping us well fed. I have a food allergy and Mateo was very careful to be sure I had no problems. I found that the staff such as the waiter and cabin attendant were very good and showed genuine concern for our needs and preferences. I also found the general staff such as in the casino and Horizon Court was less concerned. Several times when asked a question or asked to do something they would snap back at you. I was surprised at their irritated comments. I also witnessed a shouting match between 2 deck attendants by the pool. They had a long and loud very public discussion about a difference of opinion. I was really surprised at that one.
The first morning the captain made an announcement that the stop in Germany was canceled due to high winds in the channel that would cause dangerous conditions for the ship. Many people were disappointed because they had tours to Berlin planned. I hope they were able to get their money back from those private companies. I was disappointed because I was hoping that I would be able to be reunited with my luggage. The ship also decided this would be the first formal dinner which was unfortunate for me as all I had was the same jeans and cotton shirt that I had put on Monday afternoon to fly to Copenhagen. I also had only my sneakers for shoes. The ship had promised me some generic formal clothes they keep in stock for such emergencies but when I went to collect them I was told they had run out so I was out of luck. Many people had luggage missing and they were overwhelmed. I did do some shopping in the ship stores but they do not have socks, underwear or shoes available. I made do with what I could get; needless to say we did not do photos that night.
Thursday we did stop in Stockholm and stayed there overnight till 2PM Friday. The trip through the fiords was a real treat. Stockholm was a lovely town and easy to get around. The ship had a shuttle into town but it was easy to just walk into town. Follow the blue line painted on the pavement. They do need to refresh the paint a little as it disappeared at critical moments but we were able to figure it out and find our way. It was much cooler than we expected on this trip and I wish we had packed heavier clothing. Sweden is also very expensive just a warning to those planning this cruise. The changing of the guard at the palace and the palace tour were both very interesting and enjoyable. Then good news at 10:15pm on Thursday my battered pink suitcase appeared at the cabin door. Rejoice! Lesson learned- pack a change of clothes in your carry on. I will not get caught again.
Friday afternoon we set sail for Finland and enjoyed the reverse trip through the Fiords of Sweden. My husband got some great video of the journey. Saturday in Finland we did use the ships shuttle as it was not walkable into town. We walked around Helsinki including a stroll around the flea market. There was a souvenir store right at the dock where I could get some postcards and stamps and even a mailbox to mail them. We also picked up a few trinkets to bring home.
Saturday and Sunday were days in St Petersburg. We booked the 2 day ships tour. It was great and we saw everything there was to see as shown by the 500 photos I took. A stop at a souvenir store where the prices were in Euros was a big help as we saw many items we wanted to bring home to friends. Each day the tour included a lunch including Russian Vodka. The first meal was not so great and the vodka was more like paint thinner but the second day was quite tasty and the vodka was smoother and drinkable. They also provided entertainment. It was amazing to see the beautiful churches with the beautiful mosaics. We were lucky to have cool but clear weather to do all our touring. Our guide was very informative. We had a group of 30 but they provided headphones and receivers so we were able to hear all the explanations. I confess that after a while I got my Catherine's and Alexander's confused but that's just me.
Tuesday was a delightful surprise as we visited Tallin, Estonia. It was a warmer day and we could walk around without a sweater. Tallin was a nice friendly town and we enjoyed a beer in a sidewalk cafe in the town square. The ship docked right in town and it was a very short walk to the old town.
Wednesday was an at sea day . It was cold and rainy and we really could not sit out on deck. The blah food in the Horizon Court was getting boring. My daughter wanted a plain turkey sandwich for lunch and she was told in the Horizon Ct that this was not possible. We finally went to our cabin and ordered on though room service. I know on past cruises they had a deli area where they would make sandwiches but when I asked I was told that never happened.
Thursday the stop in Aarhus Denmark was a waste of time. There was nothing bad about it but nothing great to see either. We arrived early 7:30am and left at 2pm. The stores didn't open until 10am so we just walked around and returned to the ship early.
Friday was Oslo, Norway. It also was quick stop leaving at 1:30pm. We were able to just walk into the town and see the harbor area. We also did some shopping for some Norwegian sweaters and hats. We were able to use credit cards for our purchases even though we didn't have a pin. We had been warned that this might be a problem.
Disembarkation was quick and easy. We booked a post cruise stay at the Radisson Blu Royal Hotel. The hotel was nicely located. Our room was clean and large. The transfers ship to hotel and hotel to airport the next morning were smooth and hassle free.
The entire cruise we used Euros, credit cards, and some Danish Kroners. We did not get all the Swedish or Norwegian Kroners or Rubles and we did just fine shopping.
In general it was a great trip. I would suggest bringing some warmer clothes. Reading reviews I got the impression it was warmer but Aug 9 to the 20 it was cool most days. I feel the food on Princess has sadly gone down in quality. Many people we spoke with felt the same way. This was our 7th Princess cruise and we missed the delicious cuisine we had enjoyed on past cruises. The layout in the Horizon Court was also annoying. The buffet was like a giant pinball machine with people bumping into each other trying to find what was being served and the returning to get it. The layout at the coffee area was also not right. The cups were on the far left and the coffee on the far right with condiments in the middle. It made it awkward to get the morning coffee. On most days for breakfast and lunch we had great difficulty finding a table. Occasionally a staff member would help but most days we were just on our own. The last major difference was the attitude of some of the staff members. I was really surprised when I got snapped back at. I am a happy camper on vacation and am always grateful for the hard work of others to make sure we have a good vacation. I always say please and thank you. I do not expect to be made to feel like an idiot when I ask how we could get a turkey sandwich. I was very happy when I called room service and found that staff member was "old school" and very helpful and friendly. Many fellow passengers thought that this attitude problem was due to the fact that gratuities are automatic and not based on actual service rendered. I understand that this was cause by some rude people who did not give tips or gave much less than the suggested amount. I don't know what the answer is. I am just making an observation that I notice a change and I am sad that this is happening.
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