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8 Princess Europe - Black Sea Cruise Reviews

Staff very nice and pleasant. Balcony cabin b222 very good position clean and tidy. Shops on board well over priced, sale day on board like a jumble sale (junk) Food OK always found something to eat. Entertainment very poor kareoke ... Read More
Staff very nice and pleasant. Balcony cabin b222 very good position clean and tidy. Shops on board well over priced, sale day on board like a jumble sale (junk) Food OK always found something to eat. Entertainment very poor kareoke not entertainment just cheap penny pinching not putting on acts. Comedian nothing to right home about and magic show seen same old card tricks several times done better. Formal night people don't bother we felt very over dressed(disappointed) shorts don't count as formal ware. Staff were pleasant especially Richard in cafe All the ship wanted to do was try to sell sell sell. Photograph poor back drops why not use the elegance of the ship instead of false back grounds. After all of the above enjoyed cruise but disappointing as being American ship thought it would be be better. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
We really enjoyed this cruise. The ports were the main reason we decided to book this cruise, and we really were happy with the places we got to visit. We were in each port just long enough to decide if we wanted to return for a longer ... Read More
We really enjoyed this cruise. The ports were the main reason we decided to book this cruise, and we really were happy with the places we got to visit. We were in each port just long enough to decide if we wanted to return for a longer visit...or not. We had three rooms, and our traveling group ranged in age from 14 to 70. The cabins were nice, clean and well laid out. The TV system will eventually be fantastic for moments of downtime in the cabin. However, it still is working out some technical kinks. In each of our rooms the televisions "froze" multiple times while on board, and a technician had to come to reset them. Getting on and off the ship was a breeze. Dinners were good, but a bit slow in delivery...waiters seem to have too many tables. The shows were all entertaining, and the continuous entertainment in the open lobby area was very nice. The cruise staff was somewhat limited in offerings. There weather was cool, not cold, but cool enough that they never tried to do anything on the pool deck. We used SPB in Berlin and St. Petersburg. Hop On Hop off in Oslo...be sure to go to the ski jump. We missed Helsinki because it was too windy to dock. In Stockholm we rode the train to town...follow the blue line...it couldn't be simpler! Stockholm was a great stop, as was Tallinn. In Tallinn we did a bike tour...but Tallinn is not really a biking town, so I don't recommend it. Copenhagen however was the perfect town to go an organized bike tour! We also did a Segway tour in Copenhagen...be sure to take advantage of this! Great way to see a lot of the city, in a limited amount of time. Before going to Estonia, be sure to watch "The Singing Revolution." Enjoy your cruise. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
My partner and I booked a 14-day cruise on the Emerald Princess last October. Cruising out of Athens, the itinerary was to include Odessa and Yalta, Ukraine. Unfortunately those two stops were replaced with stops in Bulgaria and Romania, ... Read More
My partner and I booked a 14-day cruise on the Emerald Princess last October. Cruising out of Athens, the itinerary was to include Odessa and Yalta, Ukraine. Unfortunately those two stops were replaced with stops in Bulgaria and Romania, but they both turned out to be very interesting. After spending 5 wonderful days in Athens, we boarded the Emerald for our 30th cruise. Embarkation was fast and easy. The Princess Representatives were courteous and efficient and we were onboard within 30 minutes. The ship was fresh and beautifully decorated. We went to our balcony cabin on the Lido deck and were greeted by our steward, Jesada. He was wonderful throughout the cruise and took care of all of our requests. Our next stop was the Crown Grill to make reservations for dinner one evening. We had late seating in the Botticelli Dining Room (traditional dining), so we checked out our table which was near the front of the dining room, yet in a quiet location. After lunch, we went back to our cabin and our luggage had already been delivered, so we unpacked and were set for the cruise. After Muster Drill, we met some of our fellow Cruise Critic members at the Tradewinds Bar overlooking the pool for a Sail Away Party. We were a bit disappointed that more members did not show up for either of the two Sail Away parties (in Athens and Istanbul). Almost 100 people had signed up, but it was very nice meeting all of those that did turn out. Dining Room/Buffet We were fortunate to have a nice table for 6 with Tanya as our Waiter and Osbert as our Assistant Waiter (Table #66). They did an excellent job and were happy to bring you whatever you wanted. The food in the dining room was very good to excellent. They had Prime Rib, Medallions of Beef, Lobster Tails, Lamb Chops, as well as fish and chicken dishes etc. Don't miss out on the Goat Cheese Soufflé, Fettuccini Alfredo (with extra Alfredo sauce), Wild Mushroom Soup, or the Pasta with Fresh Clams (ask for extra clams in the shell). Also, the Head Waiter Missimo was fantastic. He stopped by our table every night and assisted the Waiters and Assistants. On several evenings Missimo also brought our table special appetizers, which was a very nice touch. If you are going to make a reservation for Crown Grill or Sabatini's, the specialty restaurants, do it as soon as you get onboard. There is a $25 cover, but well worth the experience. We dined in the Crown Grill during the first week and highly recommend it. The food was excellent, and the service was very good. You can select whatever you like. In the Crown Grill, we shared several appetizers, but the Spicy Shrimp with the Thai Chili Sauce was outstanding and we had the Scallop appetizer and a half portion of the mussel entree – both very good. My partner and I both had the Filet Mignon and added a lobster tail (no add’l charge) and did have several of the side dishes, which were properly portioned for two. I had the S’mores dessert and my partner had a Molten Chocolate dessert – both excellent. The Horizon Buffet was generally good to very good. The buffet area at the back was only open on sea days. There are different items on the back buffet area that are not on the main buffet area, so always check it out before you make your final dining decisions. We never went away hungry as there was a variable selection of food. Pizza and burgers at the outside grills were very good. Soft ice cream is available mid-deck. Entertainment The production shows were adequate, but not exciting. The shows “I Got the Music, “ “Disco…Blame it on the Boogie,” “What a Swell Party” and “ Boogie Shoes” tend to have musical numbers linked together with little rhyme or reason. The singers and dancers were talented, but they deserve better productions. Ventriloquist Kieran Powell was quite entertaining with an amazing closing. Nik Page, actor-singer from London’s West End was enjoyable. Many activities took place in the Piazza --The Champagne Fountain, The Captain's Welcome Party, various entertainers throughout the day, etc. The Officers were not as visible and mingling with guests as we always see on the Ruby Princess, with the exception of Roy Harley-Kelly, the Food and Beverage Director. Roy was always available to assist passengers. He printed out some information for us prior to arriving in Istanbul, since it was our first time there….very thoughtful and much appreciated. Captain Marco Fortezze was at the helm and Tim Donovan was Cruise Director. Bars/Disco/Casino There were several other venues for entertainment-- the Crooners Bar was a wonderful Martini Bar in a great location. A bartender we met on the Caribbean Princess last summer, Vladamir, was at the Calypso Bar on the Lido Deck. It was good to see him again. He also was part of the Martini Demonstration in the Piazza. The Skywalkers Disco was active every night and the DJ played a nice selection of music. We have been on some ships where it was Hip Hop most of the time which turns off middle-aged guests and leaves the disco practically empty. At Skywalkers, our favorite bartenders were Jigs and Fidel. Fernando was a very good Bar Manager. They all did a wonderful job. They were also there at Elite/Platinum Cocktail Hour. The waiters were warm and personable; all were sad to say goodbye on our last night. Other lounges had piano players and smaller ensembles, which was nice. Casino staff was also quite welcoming, especially Akshwan who always greeted us with a friendly handshake and a big smile every night. Black Jack tables were busy and amounts to play were generally $5 - $10 per hand. They also had Three Card Poker, Caribbean Stud, Let It Ride, Dice, etc. My partner enjoyed the slots and I was a very happy camper at the Three Card Poker table. Cruise Stops/Excursions Athens - Too many sights to mention, but we saw most of them. The food was outstanding wherever we went. Try restaurants in Monastiraki. Though a bit touristy try Tabpena - excellent. Shop in the Plaka, but look around as prices vary widely for the same items. We found the subway safe and convenient and quite nice. We bought a 5 day pass for 10 Euros PP. It was a great deal. Volos, Greece- Took an independent tour of Meteora monasteries. DO NOT MISS. This was one of the highlights of the trip. Khios, Greece- Explored the port village and spent the afternoon at a local beach. Constanta, Romania- Booked a 12-hour excursion to Bucharest. We toured the People’s Palace, 2nd largest building in the world (Pentagon in Washington is largest); Parliament was in session at the time; toured the city and major sights. We had a lovely lunch through the ships’ tour. Pleasantly surprised and would like to go back sometime. Nessebar, Bulgaria- A charming resort on the Black Sea. The city had many historic buildings and ruins, shops with local arts and crafts, and sidewalk cafes. Istanbul, Turkey- It was our first time here. On the 1st day, we took the Princess shuttle bus to the Grand Bazaar-- 4,000 amazing shops to choose from; be careful to mind your entry point, as it is easy to get lost inside. The next day, we took a tour which included the Blue Mosque, the Hagia Sofia, and back to the Grand Bazaar for more shopping. A word of warning—Avoid taxis. Drivers are ruthless and will rip you off. We were out 100 Euros, and so were the folks in the taxi behind us. They are poor representatives of the city. This was our only bad experience on the entire trip. Mykonos, Greece- Our favorite island. Take the water taxi to Village center across from the ship docking area. The water taxi is much less expensive than the ships’ bus that you must buy on the ship before exiting. From there, we took the bus to Elia Beach (clothing optional). Other popular beaches are Paradise and Super Paradise (clothing optional). Buses go to all (2 Euros each way PP). Valletta, Malta- Keep your camera ready as you approach Valletta; lots of photo opportunities. Once docked, we took the elevator up to the city (1 Euro RT). It was a truly charming city. Messina, Italy- We took the ship’s excursion to Taormina, a mountaintop village and site of a partially restored Greek/Roman theatre; fantastic view of the coastline and Mt. Etna which, when we were there, was spewing smoke; excellent tour. Naples, Italy- Had been to Pompeii and the Amalfi Coast before (both great excursions), so we took the Princess excursion to Capri via hydrofoil. It was an all day trip and do not recommend doing on your own, as we were late coming back (90 minutes) and the ship had to wait for us because it was their excursion. Rome, Italy- The end of our journey. We took Princess’ transfers (which we highly recommend and have used previously as well) to the Rome airport, stayed at an airport hotel and flew home the next morning. Miscellaneous The Princess Gem Series of ships is our favorite. We have been on the Ruby four times and Crown and Caribbean 1 time each prior to this cruise. The service on Emerald overall was very good to excellent. There were some wonderful standouts on the ship, as noted above, and they were rewarded accordingly, beyond the daily automatic tips. Overall it was a wonderful trip and we highly recommend the Emerald Princess. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
We took a 14 night cruise in June 2015 from Rome to Istanbul. The itinerary included Rome, Naples, several Greek islands, Athens, Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey. We traveled on the Ruby Princess in 2012, and the Emerald Princess is its ... Read More
We took a 14 night cruise in June 2015 from Rome to Istanbul. The itinerary included Rome, Naples, several Greek islands, Athens, Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey. We traveled on the Ruby Princess in 2012, and the Emerald Princess is its sister ship, featuring many of the same amenities and services. We were impressed by the quality and variety of the food, the service of the staff and the cleanliness of the ship. The itinerary was also very good, with only one minor niggle - Khios, Greece, while a quaint port, doesn't really have that much to see. We would suggest eliminating that port, and, instead, add a second day to Athens. There are many day trips around Athens, including Delphi, for those travelers who have previously visited historical sites in Athens. The only other complaint was that Princess had been promoting the Discovery Night Sky talks - those did not happen on this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
My wife and I are Elite members of Princess's Inner circle club. We picked The Pacific Princess because of it's itinary and it's smaller passenger capacity. Our embarkation was smooth and easy. We went a day earlier and ... Read More
My wife and I are Elite members of Princess's Inner circle club. We picked The Pacific Princess because of it's itinary and it's smaller passenger capacity. Our embarkation was smooth and easy. We went a day earlier and stayed overnight in Athens. The crew of the Pacific Princess was exceptional. The service in the dinning and buffet areas exceeded our expectations. The food was excellent, well presented and very tasty. Our room stewardess Mila made our stay very pleasant by keeping the room clean and well kept. The ship itself is showing it's age. You can see rust, and repair needs throughout. The pool had to be shut down to make much needed cosmetic repairs. The hot tubs are disgusting and also should of been painted. The entertainment was very good, especially the production shows. All in all we had a good time, only wished Princess took better care of this Ship. Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
These smaller ships are much more pleasant than the 2000+ passenger ones and you get to know your fellow passengers, as you meet them around the ship much more often. Getting on & off the ship's quicker, the restaurant is far ... Read More
These smaller ships are much more pleasant than the 2000+ passenger ones and you get to know your fellow passengers, as you meet them around the ship much more often. Getting on & off the ship's quicker, the restaurant is far superior and there's plenty of room on the top deck (never any need to worry about getting a sunbed at any time of day). OK, the entertainment is not so good, but it's still enjoyable and at least you're never too far away from the stage. The restaurant is particularly pleasant and the food/choice of was excellent - much better than the sister ship Ocean Princess, that we sailed on in May. Choice at the buffet breakfast was superb and freshly cooked eggs to order. The only let down as far as staff were concerned, were the rude Reception staff - but we've found this on other ships and it must be something to do with the job. Our cabin & restaurant staff were excellent. The cruise itself was interesting - good to see some of the places in the Black sea, but I'm not sure I'd want to back. we couldn't get into Yalta (Ukraine) because if high winds & rough seas, which was a shame. Weather in mid Sept was generally fine, but I'd not want to go any later. Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
Black Sea cruise, Aug 2013. Husband, wife and 8 yr old child. We have cruised MANY times on a larger ship but this was the first smaller one. Let me start by saying that it is still big and rides great. Service was excellent and food was ... Read More
Black Sea cruise, Aug 2013. Husband, wife and 8 yr old child. We have cruised MANY times on a larger ship but this was the first smaller one. Let me start by saying that it is still big and rides great. Service was excellent and food was too. The staff seems to know you quickly and you will see some of the same passengers often. Returning to the ship we were always greeted with cool water and cool cloths to ease your day. The staff truly did look after each passenger. Now for the one problem - our suite was at the stern of the ship and just under the Lido deck, where meals are served. EACH morning the staff would bang around and since we are not early risers, wake us up. After one morning of ENOUGH, I spoke rudely to the lead person and it got much better. IT WAS A GREAT CABIN, large, 1 1/2 bath, large deck, great view, with this one problem. Of course, if you rise early - it is irrelevant. We did enjoy and will sail with Princess again. Jer and Family in Texas. DO NOT TAKE THE DANUBUE RIVER CRUISE, DIRTY, MUDDY, RIVER, WITH LITTLE TO SEE FOR THE LONG TRIP. Take Toilet Paper-EVERY WHERE you travel since many places don't have anything, also take hand cleaning stuff and WATER! :) Read Less
Sail Date August 2013
We flew into Athens the same day as our cruise, not something that I like to do because of the "variables" of travelling but we flew on a charter and so we arrived on the same day. We booked the Princess shuttle pre and post ... Read More
We flew into Athens the same day as our cruise, not something that I like to do because of the "variables" of travelling but we flew on a charter and so we arrived on the same day. We booked the Princess shuttle pre and post cruise as we expected to be jet lagged and it was just an easier way for us to get to the ship. The Princess rep was waiting at the luggage carousel and most of the people taking the bus were on the same flight as we were so the transfer went smoothly and we did not stop at another terminal for passengers, we went right to the ship. Checking in was a pain, the check in itself was fast but the counters are set up so that the line for the Customs clearance blocked off some of the check in counters. There were 3 booths open for Customs but only one booth was open. There were 2 agents in the booth and the one processing the passengers was a trainee! It took over 40 minutes to clear Customs after getting our room key. We went straight to the room and had a 2 hour nap, our things put away and then out onto the deck to explore. The Pacific Princess is a small ship (approx 670 passengers) and is very east to get around. We are used to the larger ships and found it odd that there is no real lobby sitting area. The pursers desk is on deck 4 as is the port lecturer and nothing else. It certainly was not an area to enjoy a drink and people watch as it is on the other ships. We bought a coffee card which is good for 15 speciality coffees. It is also good for specialty tea and regular coffee without having to use a punch on your card, you simply show it to the barista. Coffee cards are a must for us just as many people buy the soda card. If you don't use up all of your coffee card you can use it on your next cruise for specialty coffee only...the brewed coffee and specialty tea is only good on the ship where you purchased the card. The room was spacious, it had a small love seat and coffee table, a desk with a small bench that fit under the desk, 2 night stands and the bed. The mini fridge was in the closet beside the clothes and had lots of storage under it. The t.v. was a small flat screen and located there was the safe as well as a lot of storage. We had ample hangers and had to ask for robes. The robes were very small; we have never encountered robes like it. They were more like jackets than robes! The bathroom had a medicine cupboard as well as 3 shelves in the corner and space under the sink. There was a hair dryer HOWEVER I suggest that you bring your own. I have very short hair and had trouble drying it with the snorkel wand that is attached to the wall. The hair dryer is my only complaint as the hose type dryers went out in the 60's! The balcony is a little different as it has a solid panel at the bottom and around the sides. It made the balcony feel very private. One night we did not have the balcony door closed properly (the handle must be turned all the way up or all the way down) and we had a noise like the cabin on top of us was being vacuumed and something was caught in it. It got louder as we sailed away and I finally discovered that the door was not secure. Others were commenting on the same thing so it is a common occurrence. Our Cruise Critic meet and greet was the first day and I was disappointed that Princess did not provide us with anything, not even a jug of water! They did allow us to use the Grill and provided a sign at the door informing people that it was a Cruise Critic function but that was all. Usually there is water, coffee and tea at the least. Our first port was an overnight stop in Istanbul Turkey. The ship offered a shuttle for $10USD or 8E per person and the shuttle dropped us off right in front of the Grand Bazaar. The return area was about 1/2 a block up the pedestrian street (right across from the Bazaar entrance) and we came upon it by accident on the way back from visiting the underground cistern. The driver who let us off in front of the Bazaar did not speak English and there was nobody on the bus to tell us where we caught the bus back so look for the Princess Cruises sandwich board about 1/2 block up from where you get off. The rep will walk everyone to the bus...and the bus runs every 1/2 hour. The next day we got off the ship and walked to the end of the pier and took the hop on hop off bus. We visited Constanta Romania and took a ship tour. Princess should reconsider visiting this port...and this is not only my opinion...as there is little to do or see. We were there on a Sunday and the tour that we were on took us to 2 monasteries, one for monks and one for nuns. Each had a service going inside so we felt like we were intruding on the worshippers. The toilet at the monks monastery was disgusting, it was a squat toilet like most toilets in this part of the world but it was so stinky that I couldn't stand in line to use it. Most women had to use it as there was no toilet on the bus and it took 2 hours from the ship to the monastery. We continued onto our Danube River cruise that lasted 4 hours and there was nothing to see except men fishing on the banks of the muddy brown river. In Odessa Ukraine we took a Cruise Critic tour that I arranged to the Catacombs. It was an interesting tour with a good guide. We also had a walking tour of the city. Yalta was another Cruise Critic tour to the Sevastopol submarine base. We also visited a church on the way back that had a panoramic view of the area. The sub base was very interesting and interesting to know that it was used up until 1997. Nessebar Bulgaria..yet another Cruise Critic tour went out into the countryside and to an old village where we were invited into a home and able to take pictures of the rooms. We were given a sweet somewhat like Turkish delight and a drink of yellow soda. We continued on to a village that used to have 4000 residents and now has 400 people living there. We went into a garage attached to a house where we saw an 82 year old man demonstrating his wool making machine that was over 100 years old. His wife took the wool off the machine and made it into the kind of wool we would by in the store. They had socks, vests etc for sale at the end of their walkway but of course no obligation or pressure to buy. We wandered down the street and entered a shed at the side of a house. A woman there was bottling home made lemonade. We were welcomed into her home where she had the local Ukrainian dresses on display in one room; the other room had all of the preserves that she had put down for the winter lined up on shelves. We had lunch at a restaurant (we were the only 8 there) and were entertained by some elderly women in costume who sang for us. Santorini is a lovely place but the lines for the cable car can be very long. This is a tender port so you need to allow for the cable line as well as tender time. You can also take a donkey up and down a path beside the cable car or you can opt to walk up the stairs. We waited in line for about 1/2 hour to take the cable car up, the problem is that the cable car can take 36 people each trip (six people per car) and there is only 6 cars going up and 6 cars coming down. At the top are many shops and restaurants as well as places to take pictures. We missed Sorrento as it is a tender port and it was too rough to use the pontoon for the tender so we sailed into Naples and docked there instead. Naples is a big dirty city and watch out for pick pockets. We walked to the train station where we bought tickets to go to Herculaneum. During the walk there a man stopped one of the people in our group and started the diversionary tactic of wiping off "something" on his shirt. We knew what they were up to and we started yelling don't touch us and they melted into the crowd. Herculaneum is wonderful to see and having been to Pompeii twice and Herculaneum once I really wanted to see Herculaneum once again as it is much smaller and so well preserved. We took the train back to the station and instead of walking back to the ship (about 3km and 50 minutes walk) we took the local bus. It stops right at the port so all you have to do is cross the street and you are at the ship. We took the Princess transfer from the ship to the airport in Rome. It is about 1 hour from the pier to the airport. Our flight was at 6:15 pm but because we bought the transfer Princess allowed us to stay on-board until 2 pm when the bus left for the airport. We had to be out of the room by 8 a.m. so that it could be prepared for the next guests but we enjoyed our breakfast and our lunch in the buffet and passed the time reading in the library until it was time to go. Many of the passengers were doing back to back cruises, the average age would be about 60 and there were no children on this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
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