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6,637 Princess Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades) Cruise Reviews

Boarding was fine - the staff was readily available and helpful. We got 2 cabins so our two kids would have more room. Our cabin steward, Elvina, was terrible. She seemed bothered whenever we asked her anything and did not do a good job ... Read More
Boarding was fine - the staff was readily available and helpful. We got 2 cabins so our two kids would have more room. Our cabin steward, Elvina, was terrible. She seemed bothered whenever we asked her anything and did not do a good job cleaning up our cabins. When my daughter had breakfast in bed, I found bread crumbs still on her sheets in the evening - Elvina did not even bother making the bed. We were assigned to anytime dining. The waiters were all terrible - they seem to think that since they were being tipped anyway, there was no reason for them to even try. The food was edible but not good. They served the same boiled chicken at lunch for 10 days!!! The entertainment on board was very limited - you either shopped or went to the casino. The shows at night were good but there was nothing to do during the day. We spent 10 days at sea watching TV in our cabins during the day!!! I had a lot more fun on HAL and RCCL. The staff at the children's club was terrible. There were a couple of heavy lazy Mexican women who did not organize any activity for the children. My daughter went to the club one evening and the staff would not do anything with her. She was stuck playing a wii game and when she wanted to change game, they were too lazy to get her another game!!! We met other parents on board and they all had similar complaints and found the staff to be extremely lazy. Princess Cays was the only fun point on this cruise. We spent the day swimming and my two kids had a great time snorkeling. We will NEVER cruise with Princess again. Next time, we might go back to RCCL or try Celebrity. Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
This was my fifth cruise (2nd on princess) and my husband's first cruise. Overall, the cruise was nice but still disappointed in the lack of friendly staff/service on this ship. The check in process was very easy and quick ... Read More
This was my fifth cruise (2nd on princess) and my husband's first cruise. Overall, the cruise was nice but still disappointed in the lack of friendly staff/service on this ship. The check in process was very easy and quick which was great! Also, the ship was very clean and beautiful. So now for the not so good......Our steward was awful! He did NOTHING to go out of his way! There were two occasions that we asked for extra towels, he acted like we had asked for a million bucks. One morning, I requested that he change our sheets, his reply "WHY?" He then responded "this is not a scheduled day to change linens". Of course, I believe his reply is totally unacceptable. There were two nights that I hung our request for fruit on the door, never did get fruit in our stateroom during the 10 day cruise. Before the cruise, I had told my husband about the animals the stewards make and leave on your bed, well that NEVER happened! I'm not sure that our room was vacuumed daily either. The only staff that we thought were consistently nice and acted like they enjoyed serving us was the staff at Crooners Bar. The staff at the pool bars never smiled and always acted like you were a bother. We do have to give a thumbs up to the servers in the Horizon Court, always there to refill your drinks. Although the morning of disembarkation, there were staff everywhere in the Horizon Court but could not get anyone to help us, I guess they weren't worried about service since we were leaving. The "blowout" sale they had was a huge disappointment. My husband and I specifically asked prices on the shirts we were looking at and were told they were all $6.99. When were checked out, we were charged $18.99 a piece for each shirt. We explained to the cashier we were told they were $6.99, he rudely looked at us and said "NO" they are $18.99. Wow, what happened to customer satisfaction? The food in the dining room was good, not great! The food on the buffet very sub-standard, always the same choices. Drinks were very expensive and lacked appropriate amount of liquor. We used room service twice, both times it took approximately 45 minutes to receive our order and then the staff was rude and didn't smile. Not to fault Princess, but the weather was horrible! It rained 8 of the 10 day cruise. We booked this cruise specifically for two of the ports, St. Kitts and St. Thomas. On the morning that we were suppose to port in St. Kitts we were standing on our balcony anxiously awaiting to dock admiring how pretty the island is. Much to our surprise the ship turned around and did not dock, the captain announced that we were unable to dock due to weather conditions. Okay, I understand safety is the first priority, but this ship is equipped with state of the art radars and weather equipment. Princess should have planned ahead and diverted our course so that we would have been able to dock somewhere else. The 10 day cruise already included 3 days at sea, adding a 4th day is a bit much! Overall, this cruise was a huge disappointment to us and not sure that we will ever cruise on Princess again. In my opinion, tipping should revert back to when the customers tipped based on the service they received! It seems since the tip is automatically charged to your account, the staff doesn't feel the need to give QUALITY SERVICE! Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
This was our first Princess Cruise. Right off the bat, we were struck with the number of loyal Princess cruisers. We were then struck with the Princess attitude that they're better than the other lines, even sarcastic comments about ... Read More
This was our first Princess Cruise. Right off the bat, we were struck with the number of loyal Princess cruisers. We were then struck with the Princess attitude that they're better than the other lines, even sarcastic comments about their competition. Hate to break it to Princess, but they don't stand out. Some things were better, but many weren't as good as other lines. They might be shocked that Carnival actually does some things better than them, despite the repeated snide comments about their parent company. The overwhelming theme of this cruise was bad weather. I don't expect them to change the weather, but I do expect them to react to it. A 10 day cruise with 2 days of sunshine -- I thought we paid them to adjust to bad weather. Here are the ports and the weather: -- Antigua - morning sun, rain around noon lasting the rest of the day -- St Lucia - morning sun, rain mid-day and cloudy the rest; we called on a Sunday when the town is mostly closed -- Barbados - the country was under a state of emergency due to flooding rains; all excursions cancelled -- WHY did we call there??? -- St Kitts - bypassed due to bad weather; obviously, all excursions cancelled; replaced by a cloudy, rainy sea day -- St Thomas - started with a downpour, several hours of sun, rain; all excursions cancelled -- Princess Cay - SUN!!! Had to leave by 3 pm, so it was a short day Of the ports, only the first two had excursions and guests found the excursions a waste of time and money. The catamaran excursion stopped at a beach during a downpour. Everyone wanted to return to the ship, but they were told they had to stay at the beach for 40 minutes even in the rain. The night we called on flooded Barbados, the cruise director encouraged us to cross our fingers, our legs, our eyes, or anything else for better weather in St Kitts the next day. Then, he very flippantly said "What can I tell you folks, it's hurricane season in the Caribbean". He knew full well we weren't going to have good weather, how about trying empathy? Also, around midnight the night we left St Thomas we hit the worst weather I've ever experienced in my 10 cruises. We had trouble with the balcony door staying closed and I thought I heard it open. I went to check and saw rain pouring off the roof. The air pressure was so great, I couldn't move the door at all. That turned out to be a blessing because I probably couldn't have closed it. I felt like I was being pushed against the door and guests told us the ship listed for a few minutes. Again, not their fault but they should have avoided this whole mess of weather. Another item that really got my blood boiling was a note that we needed to be out of our cabin from 8 am until noon the day we were calling on Barbados due to metal brite maintenance. So, we got up early only to find the country closed. We sat in a lounge, wishing we could return to our cabin, knowing we couldn't go outside in the downpour. There was a break in the rain and we rushed to the port shops, being told as we left the ship not to go anywhere because of the state of emergency. That being said, the ship is very tastefully decorated. Service is pretty good, but not outstanding. They were particularly swamped when we called off going to St Kitts. The dining room had uncleaned tables and I had to bus our table before and after while the servers brought coffee to the diners. I stood next to three servers for several minutes, attempting to hand them the dirty dishes I had just cleaned off the table so I could eat MY breakfast. The entertainment was excellent, but skip Boogie Shoes. It was the worst show by far and it was an opinion shared by many people. The Hypnotist was fantastic, but it was in a smaller lounge while the main theater showed a movie. Odd choice because all seats were filled and people were three and four deep in the hallway trying to see. We enjoyed Movies Under the Stars, except they need more variety and shouldn't schedule a movie they're only going to show once the same time as a Deck Party that will make it difficult to hear the movie. I enjoyed watching NFL games on the big screen as well. We're late risers, so the breakfast going until 11:30 was a big plus for us. Neither a plus nor a minus, be prepared for the large number of foreign guests. Evidently Virgin does a great deal of marketing in Great Britain, offering a Virgin flight to a Princess cruise. Getting to know people from other cultures was interesting, but you have to recognize cultural differences do exist. In summary, I wouldn't rule out Princess but I wouldn't put them at the top of my list. If the price and ports are right, I'd go with them again. Above all, don't expect them to adjust the itinerary to assure you have a good trip. They'll sail full steam ahead into Tropical Storms or their remnants like they did for us, sailing into Nicole and Otto. Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
Let me start out by saying that this was our third cruise, and the first one with good friends. We decided to go with another couple on a princess cruise because they are our good friends and were expecting and we had a baby the year ... Read More
Let me start out by saying that this was our third cruise, and the first one with good friends. We decided to go with another couple on a princess cruise because they are our good friends and were expecting and we had a baby the year before! The Emerald Princess is a beautiful ship, I loved the Atrium! It was nice to walk around the shops and see all the many items they had. I have never written a review before, so I will try to make this as brief and informative as possible Ship and Cabin Both were very beautiful! We had an inside room and really only spent time in there to sleep, but it was perfect for us! Our room Stewart was amazing...always smiling and happy and always willing to strike up conversation with us. The ship itself was very clean and very nice...we were impressed by the sheer beauty of the Emerald! I think it looked nicer than any Royal Caribbean ship...even though we liked them too...this ship has just a more elegant feel to it! Service Well this is one area that I have to say can be lacking. Our dining room waiter was awful...and I am not a picky person but everyone at our table felt the same way. I am not one who does not tip, but after going 2 nights in a row we decided not only not to go back to the dining room, but to take the tips off and give them all to our room Stewart. Our waiter at diner rushed us and made snippy comments about ordering too much food and really rushed the whole process. Not only that, but on the formal night he pretty much ignored us for like 15 minutes. We were one of the last tables to leave that night and its not because we choose to..it was because he was not around and we were waiting for our dinner. After those 2 days we ate in the buffet and we had great service! Food Very good! That pretty much sums that up. Ports of Call St Thomas, St Maarten, Grand Turk, Princess Cays, Been to both St Thomas and St Maarten...love both islands, however decided to go on the boat over to St John and loved it! Walked to a deserted beach and then over to Trunk Bay....great place! Went to Orient Bay in St Maarten and had a nice time. As far as Grand Turk...we took a tour through the cruise ship and had a great time...saw a shark!! The rest of the island is really a beach hang out with a Margarita ville! Princess Cays was ok...not anything spectacular...but it was kinda rainy and gloomy and then really hot so we didn't enjoy it as much. Overall we had a great time and would not hesitate to book another cruise with Princess. Every vacation will have ups and downs...and even though the service in the dining room was not good..the rest of the staff was great! We are not too picky when it comes to vacation and don't let one small hiccup ruin our time! I think that a vacation is all what you make it out to be! Anyway, hope that helps! Oh and make sure you check out the art auction...won a beautiul print and the guy really does know his facts and its interesting...although I wouldnt buy anything from there it was a neat experience! Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
The Dock Holidays was the name of our Cruise Critic group of over 140 members. My wife and I booked this cruise six months before sailing. This was our 11th cruise together, we are 49 & 52. We've cruised on five cruise lines in ... Read More
The Dock Holidays was the name of our Cruise Critic group of over 140 members. My wife and I booked this cruise six months before sailing. This was our 11th cruise together, we are 49 & 52. We've cruised on five cruise lines in the last six years. We usually cruise twice a year. Embarkation was amazingly fast and efficient. We arrived at Fort Lauderdale pier #2 at noon. Dropped off our bags with the porter, and went to park the truck ($15 a night in the 6 story garage at pier #2). When we got back to the embarkation point the line was out the door but moving very fast we were inside within 10 minutes. We were directed to line up according to what floor your cabin was on. This line also moved very fast. We were on the ship and in our cabin by 12:45. Our luggage started arriving within minutes and we had all our luggage by 1pm. The ship was very clean, and well kept for an older ship. The public areas weren't to crowded with furniture. It was easy to find out way around the ship. I spent a lot of time in the Speakeasy (Cigar bar) smoking cigars and sipping rum. The cigar room was next to the casino. It was a small room but it was never too smokey even when it was full. The wheelhouse bar was smaller than most. They hosted the English Pub lunch, which we enjoyed on sea days. For dinner we dinned in the Botticelli dinning room (traditional early seating). Our waiters Ionut from Romania, and Albert from India were very attentive. The food was excellent every night. Every morning we ate breakfast in the Horizon Terrace (the buffet). The selections were always good and plentiful. They made cooked to order omelets. Most days we also ate lunch in the buffet. The pizza at the pool on the Lido deck was excellent. We did our laundry on board. there were 4 washers and 4 driers in each room, and a laundry room on every floor. It cost $1.50 for a was and $1.50 to dry ($3 a load). Bring quarters. They also had irons and ironing boards in the laundry room. The piazza area had a number of performances, and previews going on all day. The international cafe had great free eats. We had a formal meet and greet with our Cruise Critic group (The Dock Holidays)on the first sea day in Skywalkers lounge. We sent out formal invitations to the ships officers. The Cruise Director, Executive Chef, Head Matre d', Hotel Manager, and Beverage manager all showed up. We all had a great time. MUTS (Movies Under The Stars) had horrible selections. We didn't get to enjoy MUTS at all. Overall we had a very relaxing cruise and felt very pampered throughout. Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
Embarkation - 5 stars (Fast and Easy) Stateroom - Dolphin mini-suite (uncovered balcony) 5 stars. Liked the open, airy feel of the uncovered version. Was nice to look up and see everyone hanging over their railings as we went in and out ... Read More
Embarkation - 5 stars (Fast and Easy) Stateroom - Dolphin mini-suite (uncovered balcony) 5 stars. Liked the open, airy feel of the uncovered version. Was nice to look up and see everyone hanging over their railings as we went in and out of ports. Meals - 5 stars. I loved breakfast in a main dining room (love being catered to), while my wife liked the buffet. We both got what we liked. We were one of 4 couples (of 30 that signed up) able to do the Chef's Table on Wednesday evening. ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS! While I suppose the buffet selection could have a little more "Upscale" to it - it was still just fine. Forgot and wore shorts to the Da Vinci one evening...the hostess tracked me down...had to put on long pants. :^) Except for the Chef's Table we ate every evening meal with our tablemates - we liked them all so much we made sure to be there every evening. Sanctuary - What a disaster. They only sign up 19 for the week-long package...even though 90% of the time, the place is practically empty. So, if you don't go straight there on boarding...hang it up. I chose to call for the chef's table first, which made me just two people late getting to sign up for the sanctuary. Ah well...they didn't get my money. Thermal Suite - Very nice...signed me and wife up for the week. Dry sauna was a little spotty (hot one time/cold the next) Entertainment - Was fine. We liked the juggling comic - I thought the comic magician was a little, ummm stacatto, in his delivery. But, DW thought he was great. Ports - Princess Cay - C; St. Maarten - B; St. Thomas, B; Grand Turk - A (thought it the cleanest with the most beautiful beaches I have seen). Crew/hospitality - A+ Coffee/Coke Card - I got them both and found them well worth the expense. The coffee in the dining rooms/buffet is acceptable...until you taste the brew at the International Cafe. By the way, the IC was marvelous. Smokers - No problem for us. But, wow, non-smoking nights in the Casino were absolutely the best. Casino - What can you say? Table games at least gave a chance to win. But, my poor DW loves slots - and the ones on the Emerald were so tight it was disgusting to watch. Ship - Beautiful, although the layout takes a bit of navigation and getting accustomed to. Having cruised NCL, RCI and now Princess - I really like Princess, but RCI is right there. NCL? It's the Motel 6 of the industry, IMO. Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
We flew all the way from Los Angeles to board the Emerald Princess on September 5, 2010. The check in process at the cruise terminal in Fort Lauderdale was so easy! We were on the ship by 12:15pm. This gave us a chance to run around the ... Read More
We flew all the way from Los Angeles to board the Emerald Princess on September 5, 2010. The check in process at the cruise terminal in Fort Lauderdale was so easy! We were on the ship by 12:15pm. This gave us a chance to run around the ship and wait for our luggage to be delivered to the room, in fact, it didn't take long for the luggage to come! Our Room was E619 which was a fully obstructed view. I was kind of dreading this room but actually, even though it was the worst obstructed view with a lovely tender sitting outside, it was nice. The natural light always came in. It was quiet too when they pulled the tenders down for Princess Cays. Once or twice, I did see a crew member working on the tender, so if you have this room, be cautious, you might have a surprise visitor outside your window :) Every dinner was fantastic, the service from the waiters was incredible. Speaking of service, ALL the crew on the ship were so sweet, always said Hello, Good Morning, Good Night, etc. We went to Princess Cays, St. Maarten, St. Thomas, Grand Turk...each place we berthed in was so clean and the locals were super nice. We did a shore excursion in St. Thomas, and would HIGHLY recommend it! CATAMARAN SAIL AND SNORKEL to TURTLE COVE was unbelievably the highlight of my vacation. Not only did we snorkel with tons of endangered sea turtles, but we also saw many stingrays and beautiful fish. The crew aboard the CAT (catamaran's name) were hilarious, great, and supportive as someone in my party was not a good swimmer or snorkeler. All the activities aboard ship were pretty neat too. At sea they had a Rum Tasting, it was free...fun to try different types of Rum. I enjoyed the daily trivia! THE PIZZA aboard ship is sooo delicious!!!!! It's a must try..every day! This vacation was simply wonderful and would recommend it to anyone with families, couples, etc. The Emerald Princess is a beautiful ship, and I miss her already. Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
This is our 8th cruise, the 3rd on Princess. First on the Emerald after sailing the Ruby in Europe last year. Knew the layout of ship so that helped. Had 2 side balcony cabins on the Aloha deck and room steward opened the connecting doors ... Read More
This is our 8th cruise, the 3rd on Princess. First on the Emerald after sailing the Ruby in Europe last year. Knew the layout of ship so that helped. Had 2 side balcony cabins on the Aloha deck and room steward opened the connecting doors for us. Arrived at cruise pier about 12 noon and were in our cabin before 12:30 and luggage arrived by 2 pm. Always get a balcony as it suits us very well for gathering for evening cocktails etc. Did the 2nd seating for dinner as always. Ship was very clean...only thing we did not like was the fact that they allow smoking INSIDE the cabins and we were next to 4 people who constantly smoked. Think they should NOT allow inside the room smoking. All ship personnel were very friendly and helpful. Food was very good, not outstanding. Always were able to choose something very tasty. Did both the Italian (Sabbatini"s) and the steak (Crown Grill) specialty restaurants one night. Italian was great but not so with Crown Grill. Service was sub par and steaks were not very tender. After explaining to Maitre D, he took off the cover charge (very nice of him) Food in Horizon court was not bad either. We did sit down dining twice for lunch and it was very good also. Shows in Theater were very entertaining and fun. Private Island stop was great...as were St Maarten, St Thomas, and Grand Turk. Having been to all of these stops before we chose to do no tours and enjoy the islands on our own. Got a great deal of exercise on the Prominade Deck as always enjoy that. All in all it was a great cruise and we all had a great time. When we cruise we always try to not expect too much in the way of WOW factor. Princess does everything well without the WOW. I think some folks always want to look for the negative and can't enjoy themselves. That is not what you do on a vacation. We enjoyed and will do Princess again. We have also sailed Royal and Holland and they all have their good and not so good features. Planning a Scandinavian cruise next and cannot wait! Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
We are first time cruisers and chose a back to back 14 day cruise on Princess going to both Eastern and Western Caribbean. We were celebrating our 10th Anniversary and wanted a vow renewal as well. We got that, and MORE. On the advice of ... Read More
We are first time cruisers and chose a back to back 14 day cruise on Princess going to both Eastern and Western Caribbean. We were celebrating our 10th Anniversary and wanted a vow renewal as well. We got that, and MORE. On the advice of our travel agent we booked a "guaranteed" room, obstructed view. It's a bit of a gamble as you might get an upgrade, and you might not. The worst that can happen though is that you get what you reserved. We got lucky and were given a HUGE upgrade. Perhaps it was also the vow renewal package we purchased, I don't know, but whatever the reason it made our first cruise amazing! We stayed at the Embassy Suites the night before embarkation. I was disappointed to find out there is no shuttle from the airport to the hotel. NOWHERE on their website did I find that information and for such an "upscale" hotel I expected better. I could have stayed at the Day's Inn and gotten a shuttle. I was also disappointed in the "buffet" breakfast. It took forever to get your food, and then there was nowhere to sit. However, this was the last thing in which I was disappointed, although one other event I'll discuss later happened, but like the hotel it was not the fault of Princess. From hotel to stateroom was all of maybe 30 minutes? Princess has certainly figured out how to move people quickly and efficiently. Once you are through the terminal and check in process and board the ship, they reserve all but one elevator both forward and midships to move people with their luggage and have an attendant giving you directions. Our luggage arrived about 3 hours later, but as we were off having drinks and meeting friends this wasn't a big deal. Our stateroom was on Lido deck (deck 15), right up at the front of the ship, one level above the bridge. We had an amazing view at every port. The first week we stopped at Princess Cay, then a sea day, then St. Maartin, St. Thomas, and Grand Turk, a sea day and back to Port Everglades. The second week was Ocho Rios, Grand Cayman, and Cozumel. (Also a 2nd stop at Princess Cay.) At Princess Cay we shared a cabana with friends although we ended up spending most of the day in the water, so I'm not sure the cabana was necessary. The lunch was "bar-b-Que" - pork spare ribs, burgers, hot dogs, sausages and all the trimmings. It was QUITE good. They have a nice covered area with picnic tables and a nice breeze was blowing making it rather pleasant. The beach right at the dock is mostly sand. The beach down by the cabanas is mostly big round rocks making entry and exit from the water rather difficult. We heard several people fell there, but none of us had a problem. Mostly that was sheer luck I think. Tuesday was a sea day, and we had received a letter in our stateroom the day we sailed that our vow renewal was scheduled for 4:30 pm. This was just fine with us - we didn't care when, just that it happened. Several of our friends from Cruise Critic came which we appreciated. My husband's brother emailed us a song he wrote for us and if we'd let the crew know ahead of time they could have played it from my iPod. Instead, we solved the problem by bringing my laptop and using it. The Captain was very tolerant of all this as well. After his little "set" piece for a vow renewal, he gave us the time to say things we'd planned. I wrote a poem for my husband, and he had a memory he wanted to speak about - it was a very sweet moment. Afterward we returned to our stateroom to find a lovely bottle of champagne and some delicious chocolate covered strawberries. The flowers the ship provided we placed in the champagne bucket and they stayed nice all week on our window ledge. Later, we had dinner in the Crown Grill to celebrate. In St. Maarten we wandered around and shopped a bit, then met friends at the Blue Bitch Bar for a drink. My husband and I have dogs, so the name of this bar was hilarious to us. Right across the street was a small band that ad libbed lyrics about the tourists and people at the bar. We very much enjoyed them. Their sense of humor was very funny. In St. Thomas we took a Princess tour - the Catamaran sail to Turtle Cove. This turned out to be "the" excursion for us although we enjoyed them all. We saw lots of turtles and marveled at their grace and beauty in the water. Somehow the idea of "turtle" and "grace and beauty" don't quite go together til you see these animals up close. And our tour boat crew made sure we did, however, they warned us the animals are very protected and there is a huge fine to even touch one. It was difficult not to reach out, but I hid behind my camera and took lots of photographs instead. The turtles for their part were remarkably unconcerned about all of us hovering over them and would surface very near us. I watched one bob up, then down, then look back up and come up again as if to see what we were. The next day was Grand Turk where we had booked a stingray swim. For sheer grace these animals outshine the turtles but I wasn't so thrilled with them later. Our handler helped everybody that wanted to hold a stingray and touch one do so, which was very cool. We held one, then got a "stingray massage" and then if you wished you could kiss the barb. I don't kiss fish, so passed on that part. I more enjoyed the swimming around and watching the rays and taking pictures. Stingrays it turns out have a very oily substance on their skin that smells very, very strongly of fish. We took the handlers advice and scrubbed with sand, but when we re-boarded the Emerald I was suddenly overwhelmed by the smell. I got on the elevator and strangely, people moved away from me. I admitted it was me and got a laugh. But it took 2 washings and hubby scrubbing my back to stop smelling the fishy smell. Worth it, but when we did another stingray tour later I didn't touch them, just took photos. Saturday is a sea day, and we filled it easily. There is so much to do on the ship you could do nothing else all week and still be busy. We had dinner in the dining room with our friends who were leaving the next day, then gambled a bit in the casino and turned in rather early for us. Sunday we arrived back at Port Everglades. For those remaining on for another cruise you meet in one of the dining rooms, then the staff takes you as a group to the terminal, a visit to customs, then back on board if you wish. I heard later there were about 500 people remaining and from start to finish was a total of 35 minutes. I was extremely impressed. Monday we again visited Princess Cay, and this time we shared a cabana with another friend in The Sanctuary area - no children allowed. The beach there needs steps down to it, but at least not all of the entry area is rocks. It was much easier to get in and out. Again, we spent most of our day in the water so I don't know why we bothered with the cabana. However, there were way fewer people in the water at that end and so snorkeling was much nicer. I wasn't always running into people and saw a lot more fish. Tuesday, another sea day and this week we had arranged a couples massage, and then I had a Mani-pedi. Ohhh the decadence of it all. It was so fun to feel so pampered. Wednesday was Ocho Rios, Jamaica. I was up early and went to breakfast while my husband slept in. It was only 6:15 am and the humidity was really bad already so I decided not to take my planned tour but to stay on the ship and enjoy some quiet time. My husband went on the Chukka Canopy Zipline tour and positively had a ball. He enjoyed the jungle and saw some lizards fighting over territory in one of the trees. I'd never have been able to step off the first platform, so it was just as well I didn't go. However, I also did not leave the ship. I thought I might do a little shopping, but the security officer at the gangway told me I shouldn't go alone, so I went to the end of the pier just to see, then went back on board. I took a very long, luxurious nap though so didn't feel at all cheated. Hubby was hot, tired and sweaty when he returned, but I was relaxed and refreshed. I'll take the relaxing over hot and sweaty any day. Thursday we visited Grand Cayman. We again had a tour booked to visit the stingrays and also the dolphins. I remembered my last visit with stingrays however and instead of handling one I just snorkeled about the area and took pictures. I found a conch that was inhabited and quite large and brought it up to share with anybody else wanting to see it. The kids seemed particularly interested. Everybody who wanted to got to handle it and take pictures but I then made sure it was put back into deeper water by the crew. On the way back we stopped for one of the crew to dive for starfish - that was pretty neat. They brought it around for everybody to see and handle, then put it back in the water afterward. I liked this stingray excursion better. There were many many more rays to see. The dolphins are in a pen at Dolphin Cove, and are trained, captive animals. We were divided into groups and everybody got a chance to visit with the dolphins, but it wasn't...like the turtles or rays, so I ended up being a bit disappointed. I also didn't like that we couldn't take our own photos but had to purchase one if we wanted it. We elected to just take our memories and a couple of stuffies home with us. Friday was Cozumel, Mexico. Our booked tour was to visit the Mayan ruins at Tulum, which was a religious center rather than a residential city. It was still quite impressive. Our tour guide gave us a rather quick 45 minute or so guided tour and pointed out things we shouldn't miss and then let us explore on our own. The ruins sit right on a bay of the Caribbean sea and if we'd known we could have snorkeled for awhile. My bad for not doing my homework. It was fascinating and I was impressed with our guide's knowledge of the site. He told us, among other things, that the site is rapidly decaying since it's been cleared of the protecting jungle and opened for tourism. Good intentions gone awry. The Mexican government is doing what it can to restore and protect the site however so hopefully it will continue to be a place others can visit and enjoy. I will say though, it's a very very hot, long day. Very worth the time and discomfort of the heat. We were returned to Playa Del Carman by bus to catch the catamaran ferry back to Cozumel and this was where our ONE problem happened. The air conditioning on the ferry had stopped working. The crew boarded everybody, then waited another 20 minutes for one couple that was late and finally closed the doors and we left the pier, only to turn around to pick up the last couple and leave a second time. With over 400 people on the boat it quickly became unbearably hot. Most everybody was already dehydrated from the excursion. By the time the crew got permission from the captain to open the doors one man had fainted and shortly after, a woman. Quite a few people suffered from sea sickness. In all, a miserable trip. Thankfully a Spanish speaking nurse was on board and quickly gave instructions to the crew on how to help the ill. Nobody seemed in any great hurry however, which dismayed me. When we finally docked, the ferry crew had informed our ships medical staff we had "one" ill passenger. So the ship sent ONE medical team and ONE wheelchair. This was not their fault and they remedied the situation as fast as they could. Then, I was extremely dismayed by our fellow passengers more concerned with their own agenda who clogged the aisles trying to be off the ferry faster. This hampered the medical personnel and many of us had to keep yelling to "make a hole" so they could reach the ill passengers. It's one of very few times in my life I've been very very glad to have a rather LOUD voice and no reservations at all about using it. Princess staff lined the pier and ushered us as quickly as possible back on the ship. Later, we checked on the ill with the Purser's desk and were glad to hear all were recovering nicely. Princess's actions here were most impressive. Everybody on that ferry received a 50% refund of their tour fee, which honestly was the last thing on my mind. I did complain about the ferry crew however and I sincerely hope they are no longer part of the transportation offered. My complaint was more for my fellow passengers sake than my own as neither of us were more than uncomfortable from the heat nor bothered by the motion of the boat. Saturday was another sea day, and after all of our exertions of the previous two weeks we needed a nice day of rest and relaxation. We also spent a few hours pulling out the suitcases and buying a few last minute gifts to pack away. We had a lovely dinner in the Michelangelo dining room and said good bye to our wait staff who were awesome throughout the cruise. I want to detour a bit here and tell you about various things. The first is our room steward. That man worked so hard, and we enjoyed him so much. I don't know if he was aware of a little battle I waged with him or not because I never mentioned it. Apparently there is some rule somewhere that the room trashcan must be under the little table. I found that extremely awkward to use so every day I moved it where I wanted it. And when we left the room, even for just a few minutes, in would sneak Dani to put away anything we might have gotten out, and replace the trashcan under the table. I got annoyed with this once, then became greatly amused. So I tried putting the trashcan in various places just to see what he'd do. Every time it was back under the table when we returned. Our room was only less than immaculate when we left it. Any time we returned he'd have straightened it up again. I'd requested towel animals and every night but the one night he was ill I had some. I kept all of them and at the end of our trip I piled them all on our bed for a group photo. It was just silly how much I enjoyed them. Of all the wonderful crew on this ship, Dani was the most important to us. He never failed to fill our ice bucket, replace used towels, get me an extra pillow when I asked...no matter what it was Dani had the answer or the item I needed. I still haven't quite figured out how he did it, but when we wanted him he appeared, and other than that, we never saw him. I never paged him. He was just amazing and I've only been home a day and already I miss him. Some days we showered twice - once before leaving the room and once before dinner after our excursions, and never once did we have wet towels as he replaced them almost before we'd finished using them. The second thing I want to mention, as does everybody on a cruise I think, is the food. The dining options on board are nearly endless. Hungry at 2 am? Room service. Want to eat in your swim suit?? The buffet line, the pizza place, the burger or hotdog counter...all are available. Want to be waited on and dress up in your finest glitter? The dining rooms will fit the bill. Our first week we enjoyed the buffet for most of our meals. The second week we ate in the dining room every night. I'm not much for dress up, but found myself looking forward to choosing my outfit and jewelry to match. We discovered part way through the first week we could make a "standing" reservation for a table in the "anytime dining" dining rooms (there are 2) and we found a wait staff that suited us. There are 2 restaurants on board, Crown Grill and Sabatini's that have a surcharge for them and while we never made it to Sabatini's everybody we spoke to who did raved. I know we loved the Crown Grill. The last thing I want to comment on are the passengers. Many mornings tables were hard to find, so my husband and I took to walking up to a larger, partially full table and asking to join them. Nobody ever told us no, and we enjoyed talking with whoever we happened to find there about their week. We always enjoyed the conversations. We might then see these people later around the ship and stop to chat. 3000 people sounds like a lot, but we found it quite comfortable. The elevators were the most fun for me. One day I got on and found two people with plates with something gooey and chocolatey on them from the International Cafe. I went OOHHH and one immediately pulled her plate closer. So I turned to the gentleman who immediately surrounded his with his arms and told me to find my own. Everybody laughed. Another time we encountered an older lady in a gorgeous sequined wrap after dinner. My friend and I were admiring it and her husband piped up with "With the lighting in here, why don't you spin around and give us the disco ball effect." She stared right at him and without missing a beat said "But of course." And spun several times. His eyes were so big, and I thought I'd fall over laughing. Alcohol is abundant of course, but only once did we encounter what I'd call a rude drunk. It was so bad we left the pool. The pools are another joy we found. On the aft deck is the adult only public pool (not the Sanctuary one), and we discovered going there after dinner for an hour or so of just floating around in it was a very pleasant way to unwind. Another night we climbed higher and sat in a hot tub for awhile. Another night we watched a Tina Turner concert from a hot tub amidships and got in the pool once in awhile to cool off. Basically, there is fun to be had almost everywhere, even on elevators. Our disembarkation day arrived all too soon. Princess has this down to an art. From stateroom to airport was maybe 45 minutes. This being our first experience we had planned a later flight so ended up sitting at the airport for quite awhile, but we read and chatted and had some lunch so it wasn't all bad. We were able to check our bags at the pier too, so we didn't have to lug them all over with us, and the next time we saw them was our home airport. We're already planning our next cruise but we're having trouble deciding between the Eastern route again, or trying the Southern Medley for 10 days. I wish all our problems were so difficult. Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
We are a family of four with two young children 3 and 5. This is only our second cruise the first being with Royal Caribbean about 8 years ago. So we were really looking forward to this vacation! We flew in the day before the cruise left ... Read More
We are a family of four with two young children 3 and 5. This is only our second cruise the first being with Royal Caribbean about 8 years ago. So we were really looking forward to this vacation! We flew in the day before the cruise left from Colorado. We had booked the Crowne Plaza Airport/Cruise Port Hotel, due to the fact that it offered a free shuttle pick up at the airport and also a free shuttle to the cruise port. The shuttle was great! This hotel is new and I would highly recommend it to anyone going on a cruise! We arrived at embarkation at approximately 12:30 we made it through all the initial check-in easily. The lady who gave us our room cards and checked our documents was really slow, however all the lines around us were moving quickly. It was just our line! When we boarded the ship we were blow away. The ship is spectacular, so beautiful and classy. We had booked a category (I) inside stateroom on the Aloha deck mid-ship (A335). All of the crew that we initially met were warm and helpful we were in our room by 1:15. Our luggage arrived by 2:00. We were actually surprised by how roomy the room felt even for the four of us. Our kids got a kick out of the beds that folded down out of the wall. The cabin closet and bathroom were awesome! Plenty of room for all four of our stuff and a stroller. The bathroom was large compared to our last cruise. We also noted during our cruise how quiet the cabin was. We never heard any noise from other cabins or the hallway. Our room steward was HORRIBLE! The first day right after getting into our room we asked if she could configure the two twins into a queen and remove the ladders from the bunk beds (they take up too much room). She said yes. After dinner that night the beds and ladders were still not moved so I finally did it myself, and I just put the ladders in the closet. When we moved the beds there was about a 1/4 inch of dust and debris under the bed, this was never vacuumed or clean the entire week. We had also told our children about the towel animals prior to the cruise. Well Elizabeth never left one towel animal in the room. Not a big deal for us but the kids were disappointed. On the last night of the cruise my son had made a clay snake in the kids club that was drying on our shelf. We had also booked a post cruise shore excursion and had the instructions on the same shelf. When we came back for dinner she had thrown the instructions and the snake away. Needless to say our child was upset as were we. I don't think this is indicative of this ship or Princess I think we just had a lazy steward. Next we registered our children at the kids club (Princess Pelicans) we didn't plan on using the service much but after the first day our kids loved it so much that all they wanted to do was go to the kids club. The staff was wonderful! Everyday they had new activites and each day the kids left with some sort of "treasure" that they loved. And they looked forward to going there everyday. The food in the main dining room was fantastic! We loved everything we had there, far superior to the food we had on RCCL. We choose to do anytime dinning, which worked out great for us, we could go anytime the kids were ready. We never had to wait longer than 3-5 minutes. The hostess always helped keep the kids entertained while we were waiting. The waitstaff was wonderful! They were always very quick with everything and very attentive. They even made animals and such out of napkins etc. to entertain the kids. We had worried about taking the kids to dinner but the waitstaff were so wonderful with them that they enjoyed going to dinner and were very well behaved. Food at the Horizon Court was good I would say above average buffet food same at the Cafe Carribe. The only complaint that I have with Cafe Carribe was that they have theme buffets each night but the information as to what the "theme" would be was never publicized unless you went up and looked in the restuarant. One night we were lucky enough to catch Bavarian night and it was wonderful. The pizza was great, as were the hamburgers and hot dogs. We also had room service a couple of times and it was very good as well. We loved the International Cafe for a quick bite. Everything we tried there was delicious. I must say that the food on Princess Cays was mediocre at best. MUTS seemed like a cool idea, except that they really didn't play anything that good. We went to see Ironman 2 one night but the wind was blowing so hard we couldn't enjoy it. Also they never served popcorn or snacks. We used the fitness center everyday and it was nice and had eveything we needed. We even signed up for the thermal suite, which was something we had not planned on, nor was really in our budget, but we were so impressed with the facility we went ahead and did it. We considered it a treat for ourselves! Throughout the week we tried to use the facility every day. I say tried because the "gentle sauna" never worked the entire week, it was always ice cold. Several nights we used the other steam rooms and were only able to use the steam rooms for a couple of minutes because the temperature was so extremely high. On all of those occasions the front desk asked us why we were in there for such a short period of time. We explained about the temperature and were told that they were having trouble regulating the temperature. This was very frustrating to us that we paid extra for a service that we were unable to really enjoy or use. But the most unbelievable thing that happened to us was the last night of our cruise. We had spent the day at sea and my wife and I worked out and then went to the front desk to get a robe and a locker and check in. It was around 8:45 PM. When we approached the desk the gentleman setting behind the desk informed us that the spa was closed. We were shocked! When we bought the package we were told that the spa was open until 10:00 PM every night! But they neglected to tell us or post it anywhere that on the night before "turn around day" the spa closes early. The thing that was most shocking to me was the attitude this gentleman had. He was actually very nasty when telling us the spa was closed. When my wife and I showed our surprise and asked why they closed early he said, and I quote, "We close everything early, tomorrow is turnaround day, face it your vacation is over!" I was completely floored I have never had anyone be so nasty and condescending to me anywhere. We played BINGO one time and saw several of the shows and enjoyed all of them. I do think that Princess should have more activites on sea days. One afternoon we dressed up and took our almost four year old daughter to afternoon tea and had a great time. She loved every minute of it! The "Kids and Family Deck" at the back of the ship was a very nice area, a great idea. My only complaint were the non-kids or families (usually elderly) people who hung out back there and then acted all put out when our kids would get in the pool and splash around. Apparently they didn't realize that there are two other adult only pools on the ship. Overall this ship and cruise were wonderful! We would definatly do it again. We were able to overlook the small snafus and have a wonderful time! Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
This is was our third cruise with Princess, and as always we couldn't have been happier.Our first port of call was Princess Keys. What a great place to start. This is the kind of start to a holiday that really puts you in the mood. ... Read More
This is was our third cruise with Princess, and as always we couldn't have been happier.Our first port of call was Princess Keys. What a great place to start. This is the kind of start to a holiday that really puts you in the mood. The island was clean, lots of loungers for everyone, great bars and a wonderful barbecue. Things only got better from here. Having been to all the islands on our itinerary before, it was more about the ship than the ports for us. The Emerald is a lovely ship. Embarkation was quick and pain free. We were on board in no time drinks in hand. Service was wonderful. Our cabin was well maintained by Bryan, and always made up quickly. Turn down was nice. Lights dimmed, chocolates on the pillow etc. The same can be said of the dining room staff, bar staff etc., always on the ball. The food was amazing and our last night we dined in Sabatini's and it was just a great experience. We always come back to Princess, because no detail or request is to big or small. Clean ships make happy trips. Love Princess! Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
We flew to Ft Lauderdale the same day as the cruise and landed at 3:15. The ship sailed at 5:00 and while this made me nervous, all connections were on time. We normally fly in the day before but it didn't fit our schedule this time. ... Read More
We flew to Ft Lauderdale the same day as the cruise and landed at 3:15. The ship sailed at 5:00 and while this made me nervous, all connections were on time. We normally fly in the day before but it didn't fit our schedule this time. Getting on the ship was a breeze with no lines. I did miss the photographer that takes your first picture but he wasn't there since we were late arrivals. The upgrade fairy gave us a room with a window, a first for us. We actually didn't use it since the curtains were always drawn, but it was a very nice gesture. The room was a little small for the three of us. We've sailed the last two times on Carnival and it seems their rooms are a little bigger as well as the bathrooms, but the room was ready for us and we found the ship beautiful. The room steward, Paola, greeted us with a warm smile. The Horizon buffet was easy to maneuver. Actually the whole ship was easy. Our room was close to the middle elevators which made it very easy. I also remember about the carpet being a different color on the port side vs the starboard which made things easier. The comedians were wonderful on this ship. I love the time of the shows with the first showing at 8:30 and the second at 10:30. I always feel Carnival's shows are too late leaving you nothing to do if you are early diners. We only went to one production show as once you've seen one, you've seen them all. We did the anytime dining and always seemed to eat early. The first night we ate in the upstairs and the rest we ate downstairs or in the buffet. We found the food was a little too fancy for our taste and the buffet was a better choice for us. We also noticed that you have to wait between courses until everyone in your section is ready to move on. This causes quite a break sometimes between courses. The waiters seemed a little frustrated that we didn't want anything from the bar or bottled water. Also, you can't get the lemonade in the dining room. Overall, we felt the waiters in the Horizon Court much more accommodating and friendlier. I did notice that around the poolside, Princess does a better job with getting drinks not from the bar, and with keeping tables cleaned. We had no problems with chair hogs and we love, love, love the pools on Princess. Much bigger than on Carnival and I love the fresh water. We also loved the movies under the stars. They had a good selection of movies and sports and the cookie and milk man and the popcorn made it even better. Excellent job Princess! We did some gambling. It was fascinating to watch a Russian family gamble such high stakes at blackjack. The dealers were all friendly. There is quite a difference between Carnival and Princess on dress codes. Princess is much more formal. My DH, who uses a wheelchair wore shorts with a polo shirt the first night (pants hurt his legs) and they advised us he'd be okay for that night, but would need pants in the future. No problem mate. Princess is also much better at helping with wheelchair assistance. Princess Cays - Nice beach day. Very clean and beautiful beach. Not alot to do here but enjoy the beach. St. Thomas - we did the Screamin Eagle Jet Boat thru the ship. This was great fun and would definitely recommend it. Dominica - We have been here before and did the Champaign snorkle. This time we did the river tubing thru Antours. This was the most fun excursion we did. The boys that keep you out of trouble were excellent. Many rapids as the water was high due to rain. Grenada - Did the tour thru Mandoo. He is very informed. I wouldn't recommend more than a 1/2 day tour as the bus rides get tiring. Bonaire - we booked the landsailing thru the ship. We failed to see the paper they left us the night before (they give you so much ) and didn't realize it had been cancelled due to a death in the family of the people who run it. We sat in the hot sun for sometime before someone finally told us. We ended up hiring a taxi to take us to see the island. Crazy driver was great. I was really disappointed in the cancellation as this was an excursion we were really looking forward to, but you have to understand when a death occurs. Aruba - We booked Jolly Pirates direct and this was our biggest disappointment of the cruise. I would not recommend booking direct with them as they do not always honor it. They cancelled but we did not know this until we had taken the city bus to the hotel row, walked about 1/2 mile down the beach (with two people that have trouble walking distance) and then was informed that our trip was cancelled due to engine trouble, but they said they sent an e-mail a couple of days before. (hello, we are on a cruise ship and not getting e-mail). We could see the two ships off the beach. The one thru the cruise sip went out. We tried to find another snorkle trip, but since it was Sunday, no one was going out and returning in time for our ship departure. When I got home, I read the e-mail and it did not mention engine trouble, but said the cruise ship bookings were more than they expected. We had booked and paid for our trip months in advance. We had saved snorkeling for this port and therefore did not get to snorkel. Very unprofessional of Jolly Pirates. Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
We are a couple on our 50's (actually was celebrating my 50th birthday while onboard) and this was our 10th cruise with Princess, 33rd cruise when counting them all. The cruise on the Emerald far surpassed our expectations as we ... Read More
We are a couple on our 50's (actually was celebrating my 50th birthday while onboard) and this was our 10th cruise with Princess, 33rd cruise when counting them all. The cruise on the Emerald far surpassed our expectations as we thought the service was superior to many of the cruises on which we have sailed. Everyone from our room steward, John, to the staff in the dining areas, room service, purser's desk, etc. was great. We chose this cruise mainly because of the itinerary to the Southern Caribbean and really not because of the ship itself. We much prefer ships with a maximum of 2400 pax but were very happy as everything was handled well for the number of pax onboard. We boarded in Ft Lauderdale where there was a long line to check in. We were whisked by this line to the platinum /elite check in and it was a breeze. Before we knew it, we were onboard to find our digs for the week. We entered the elevator to be taken to our deck. Gone are the days where they deliver you to your room, but that is just fine. Soon after setting down our carry on luggage, the room steward came to our door to introduce himself and ask if we would like some champagne. We also requested bathrobes, an extra pillow, wine glasses and such and that the beds be placed back together (they were originally made up as twin beds when we boarded) ...but all when it was convenient for him. He was back with a bottle of champagne for us to begin our celebration. We investigated the ship a bit, went and had lunch and upon our return, the beds were already made up into a queen, the pillows and robes and wine glasses had arrived, as did our luggage. Everything was off to a great start...yoohoo!! Our room steward never slacked off throughout the entire cruise...he was simply fantastic. We booked a mini suite on the Emerald deck (we definitely wanted a covered balcony) because all mentioned they were the most coveted mini's on the ship. We did find the room design a bit inefficient. The area with the tv's stuck out into the room - caused kind of a bottle neck, but really only while packing and unpacking. Otherwise it was not too obtrusive. The bed was very comfortable (we preordered an egg crate topper). The shelving was very plentiful and the rooms have a good closet design. Our bathroom had a full tub which was fantastic. The toilet had a bit of trouble once in awhile when trying to flush it but would always work if given a try 5 minutes later. Sometimes the cold water from the sink would only come out warm. The extra room made up for all of this! The balcony had two reclining chairs and two regular chairs and a table. It wasn't as big as the Caribe deck balconies but sufficed just fine for the two of us. We had very boisterous neighbors towards the back of the ship so sometimes made our relaxing on the balcony all but relaxing. Thankfully, there were really no smokers on our area so weren't bothered by that. My biggest complaint about the aft cabins on this ship is that they vibrated and rattled like crazy. We have been in aft cabins on other ships that were barely affected, but this one was something else. It actually sounded like they were running a jack hammer when we were pulling into port. When moving along at night, there was a rattle behind the headboard that was quite annoying....anywhere else might have been ok, but it was right behind your head. We reported this to purser's desk and she mentioned we would have to call right at the time it was happening. Well, we just learned to live with it as it wasn't all the time. Think it happened more when the ship really got moving...which is at night. Although kept immaculate, the ship's design itself is not well thought out but knew what to expect as we have sailed on the Crown a couple of times. Our room was close to the aft stairwell but if you wanted to go to a lower deck, you would have to walk to the midship stairwell and then down. There was the nastiest smell of smoke coming from one of the oceanview rooms on our deck...day and night!! If I could smell it in the hallway (and it was thick), I cannot even imagine what that poor room steward had to put up with going inside. We adjusted our path to get to a lower deck...down one, then across and then down another. The lounges / showrooms were not built to handle 3300 pax. We were lucky enough to get a place to stand for the hypnotist show...but worth it, he was hilarious. We saw he was there two more times but every show was overflowing with pax in the audience. The buffet design is also awful, no direction, everywhere running into one another and sometimes nobody manning the purell dispenser. Silverware is now set out on the tables instead of upon entering the buffet...so a bit harder to take your plate to the pool or your room. OK...that is it for the lists of negatives for this ship. The food, the service, the casino, the entertainment and activities...they were all fantastic. Even the tender service for the one port for which we needed to tender to was set up very well. We had anytime dining, which I will take whenever it is available, but ended up in the MDR only 3-4 times. The service was great and we were always able to get a table for two. They were bench style tables but just enough room between you and your neighboring diners to have a conversation if you wanted to without having to actually eat with them. One thing Princess nails it on every time is their food, but this was an exception....it was even better than I remember from my past Princess cruises. The fish was great every time and I think I had it almost every night. Even in the Cafe Caribe, which is where we ended up eating another 3-4 nights for dinner, the food was great. In all of our cruises, we have only missed dinner in the MDR about 10 times, but the Cafe Caribe offered such a great alternative that we will probably change our dining habits from now on. We were going to go to Sabatini's for my birthday celebration but saw they had scallops on the menu in the MDR that night, so never made it to to Sabatini's. They brought out a special dessert for the celebration after a most fantastic meal and sang to me. All this after a perfect day in Aruba....what a great day!! We love MUTS so watched a game or two but never did sit down for an entire movie. Really do love the popcorn / pizza nearby ....so that is what we had for dinner a couple of the nights. The international cafe is so great and oftentimes grabbed a sandwich and salad to enjoy on our balcony for lunch. We ordered room service every morning and it was prompt and always delivered by a friendly steward. The Trident Grill was usually busy but they handled the crowd like champs. This is a great option when hanging out by the pool while listening to the band up on center stage. The cruise director was so so....not bad, not great...just a different sense of humor. As mentioned above, the entertainment was great. We saw a couple of comedians that had us roaring, the hypnotist, the newlywed show and one production show. The casino was fun and actually paid out a jackpot or two, although left more than I took out. They had several non-smoking nights, which pleased us. All in all, this was one of the better cruises we've done...mainly due to the great staff and crew. The splurge on the mini was worth it for this trip but don't think I would have to book one again and probably wouldn't sail in an aft cabin again before researching a particular room on this site a bit more. I won't really go into the ports of call, but can tell you this was a fantastic itinerary and would definitely consider a repeat cruise of this most beautiful region. Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
My DH and I took this cruise for my 55 birthday and our 25th anniversary. We flow in the day before and stayed at the Hilton Marina. It was a great hotel,great room. The only thing that I thought was funny was as a gold member I get a ... Read More
My DH and I took this cruise for my 55 birthday and our 25th anniversary. We flow in the day before and stayed at the Hilton Marina. It was a great hotel,great room. The only thing that I thought was funny was as a gold member I get a free breakfast, you only can get 1 breakfast sandwich and a banana. I travel all over and that has never happened but no big deal. The next day we were first in line, I was so happy to get away and relax. Boarding was not problem it went very smooth. We were in out cabin by 12.15. This is one thing they do well. We put our things away and went to the buffet for lunch. This is where I started to get a little worried. The lunch was just the worst. I just thought that maybe it was the first meal and things would get better. Wrong! The meals were for the most part the worst I have ever had on any cruise I have been on, and this makes 6 for us. The breakfast was cold and few choices. Lunch was not any better. I hate mushrooms and they were in everything. We had 3 good dinners out of the whole cruise which isn't saying much. I have never eaten so many burgers and pizza on a cruise. The weather was just rotten. This was not there fault however there was nothing to do and no where to go. The people on the cruise we mostly from other countries other than the USA and not very nice, again not princess fault. So if your 65 or older and don't like to do much this will be the cruise for you. When the sun was out which was not often there was just one dull day after another. I think even the crew was bored. The staff was okay nothing to go on about they did there job and that was it. I didn't feel that anyone went out of there way. I will not be back on Princess which is a shame since my first princess cruise was on the crown and had a great time, so BYE-BYE PRINCESS.................... Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
This was a mother-daughter cruise for us. Although we are experienced cruisers, my mom had never tried Princess and I had not seen two of the four ports and thus we chose this particular sailing. If you're looking for faults, read no ... Read More
This was a mother-daughter cruise for us. Although we are experienced cruisers, my mom had never tried Princess and I had not seen two of the four ports and thus we chose this particular sailing. If you're looking for faults, read no further - we had a marvelous time. We arrived around 11:15, and being as I am Elite with Princess we were whisked directly to the front of the line, thru security and to the Elite lounge. We were first in the Aloha deck line to check in and were on board at noon. Had we arrived at 11:50, I'm sure we would still have been on board at noon, however I always like to arrive early just in case they start super-early boarding! We proceeded directly to our Aloha deck balcony stateroom which was ready for us. I had stayed on the Caribe deck in the past so I was most curious as to the size of these smaller, completely covered balconies - but I must say we enjoyed the 100% privacy and I wouldn't hesitate to book it again. You won't hold any parties on these small balconies but there is plenty of room for two chairs and a little side table and still room to stretch out. The sun does reach your balcony at certain times of the day. I had imagined it to be in shade all the time. I always love the 'walkin' style closets Princess is known for and I appreciated the upgraded washroom amenities offered to Elite - although it doesn't consist of too much more than a nail file, loofah and a shower cap! Dining Room - We tried Anytime Dining, a second time for me. It worked 100%, 100% of the time. We never once had to wait, even a minute and we always asked for a table for two. The tables are mostly on top of each other (!) but I understand. However, we always ate relatively early, around 6pm. By the time we left around 7 there was a line up. Also we ate in the Michelangelo, which is on 5th deck. Da Vinci on 6th deck seemed to have a line up right from 5:30. We'd often take a look at Da Vinci, see the line up and then run down one deck to Michelangelo - no line up!! No complaints about food or service whatsoever. Of course we all have our preferences and favorites - I still think Princess makes a terrible turkey dinner and yet I keep trying it. Their salmon is always terrific though and I love the huge shrimp that come with the lobster - they are better than the lobster by far! Desserts seemed exceptional this time. Horizon Court/Caribe Cafe. I have to comment that service was mostly impeccable. We never had a problem finding a table and if it appeared busy a little walk back to the Caribe Court area would always find us lots of space. The table attendants were always refilling coffee, offering water etc - almost to excess. One tip, is that if you ask, they will bring you lemonade - no charge - and it is delicious. We were addicted! The coffee is swill as it's always been but I still need my coffee anyway! We commented numerous times that the buffet quality seemed far superior to times previous as well, although we only ate b'fast there once, lunch 4 times and dinner once, we did have lots of snacks here and many 'run ins' for lemonade! International Cafe - I hesitate to comment on this gem again as it appears to be a hidden treasure. I don't understand why it isn't packed all the time? Perhaps people still think there is a charge. Of course there is a charge for lattes etc but the food is free!! The pastries at b'fast, salads/sandwiches at lunch and snacks in the evening are all wonderful. Plus the ambiance is great. I like to buy a coffee card for my lattes which is convenient, as well as a savings and can be carried over from sailing to sailing. Although we had Crown Grill booked for the last night, we decided to cancel as we honestly didn't feel like we need a 'treat'. The dining room food had been so good we were content to return there for our last meal. Thus I can't comment on that topic this time. Entertainment: not to sound snobbish in any way, but we really don't cruise for the entertainment anymore. I used to love the shows but now they all seem the same. All three of the productions shows I had seen before, in fact much of the cast I had seen before. However my mom had not seen them so I went for her sake. But really, I did enjoy 'I've got the Music' a lot!! much to my surprise. The comedian was funny AND clean. A nice combination. There was also an 'adult' comedian who performed in Explorers which we took a pass on. Bert who usually plays in Crooners played in the main theatre on the last night. I'm actually embarrassed to say that I found him funny. I've heard about him in the past and he sounded so ridiculous that I never bothered to listen - but he is so, so, so stupid you just can't help but laugh. Another time, I'll definitely be in his Crooner's audience. We also enjoyed the piano player Monika and the quartet. It would be nice to see more varied and more frequent entertainment in the Piazza. Pools/ Decks/Movies What a busy area! We had very hot, hot sea days and if you wanted shade on the main deck you were definitely out of luck if you wanted to watch a movie too. It is SO frustrating to see all the chair hogging. Yes, I know I should have just thrown people's cameras and towels overboard but I didn't. I'm afraid they are going to have to resort to Royal Caribbean's tactics of putting your towel on your shipcard. It seems to help a lot. I would estimate that in mid afternoon only 20% of the chairs were actually being used around the pool but 100% had a towel on them. In conclusion, this was my second time on Emerald - the first being when she was brand new. I was delighted with what great shape she is in. I would not hesitate to recommend an Aloha deck balcony stateroom, and we found food and service and entertainment to be terrific. Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
Boarding was a qualified fast and easy - as Elite and Platinum members, respectively, my wife and I enjoyed preferred boarding that hastened our embarkation. The cruise terminal in Fort Lauderdale is not the most accommodating I've ... Read More
Boarding was a qualified fast and easy - as Elite and Platinum members, respectively, my wife and I enjoyed preferred boarding that hastened our embarkation. The cruise terminal in Fort Lauderdale is not the most accommodating I've seen. It is little more than a glorified airplane hangar - concrete floors, portable chairs, little to no air conditioning. The weather in Florida was hot and humid, so getting on the ship expeditiously was a relief. We had difficulty with our stateroom safe right off the bat, but it was repaired quickly ( Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
Nights Before: Night 1 was at the Cocobelle. It was great as always. Night 2 was at Mariott Harbor Beach. This place was excellent and very close to the port. Embarkation: Our recent Emerald Princess cruise (our 5th cruise and 3rd on ... Read More
Nights Before: Night 1 was at the Cocobelle. It was great as always. Night 2 was at Mariott Harbor Beach. This place was excellent and very close to the port. Embarkation: Our recent Emerald Princess cruise (our 5th cruise and 3rd on Princess in 3 years) (9/12/10 - 9/19/10) was excellent. We are two 31 year olds, married with no kids. We brought along our two 31 year old married friends as well. We planned months in advance to get in line at Port Everglades at exactly 10am. This would ensure that we would be one of the very first non-platinum, non-elite cruisers to enter the ship when the doors opened. We left our hotel room at 8am on Sunday morning to get our bags and my wife to the rental car terminal, to pick up our friends at their hotel, to drop off the car at the rental car terminal and then to make it to Port Everglades at 10. We succeeded! We were the 10, 1, 12, 13th person in line with a purple card #1 in the terminal. We were excited. So here we are, 12pm on Sunday the 12th of September. Group 1 is called. We rush through the gates and get our boarding passes. We go up the escalator and bypass the boarding photo area, scan our cards and calmly but quickly walk to the sanctuary. We get there and there are 2 in line in front of us. Ok, no big deal. As we look around, many of the Sanctuary seats are already filled with people in their bathing suits. We were in the first 15 people on the ship and took 10 minutes to get from the waiting area all the way to the Sanctuary. So, we stood there thinking, ok, no big deal. Then, the first person in line walks away and the attendant says to the person (married couple with Elite status) in front of me "I'm sorry folks, but the weekly passes are sold out." WHAT???? We planned everything perfectly and were one of the first on the ship. How could this happen? If this wasn't bad enough, the attendant kept repeating himself. He just kept saying that all of the passes were sold and we could come back at 8 am each day. I did the 8am thing each day the last two times. I actually did the 6am thing because I wanted to ensure my wife had a seat. Every day we were somewhat uneasy about the following day and whether or not we would get the pass. We found out by looking at the chart of seats one day, that there are between 10 and 15 "Week long passes" available per cruise and 32 day by day passes. What we don't understand is that we and other people were in line willing to buy the week long passes for full price right at the beginning of our cruise. We made the effort to get there and were not rewarded with this opportunity. This is NOT COOL! The main reason we chose Princess (for the 3rd year in a row) was because we knew we'd be able to get a full week Sanctuary pass. And what we found out is that the passes were taken by the back to back cruisers that stayed on the ship and the passes were sold out by 10am. We didn't even get the opportunity to board until 12. The Sanctuary pass sale should open once everyone has the opportunity to board. Better yet, since there were 32 daily passes open and we were willing to pay, we should have been able to get the week long passes at 12:15 just after boarding the ship. Dining: As usual, the buffett was a huge cluster and the food was just ok. The dining room food (we had anytime dining) was excellent as was everything from the International Cafe. Remember - the I.C. is free except for the gelatto. Katerna @ Da Vinci dining room was great and remembered us from our 2009 Emerald cruise. Sanctuary: Although we got the daily passes and not the week long pass (see above), the Sanctuary was awesome. The Lotus Spa pool was very crowded and loud this time but was still nice. No kids allowed as well. Cruise Director(s): Maraschal was just alright. He was not overly entertaining but did not detract from the cruise. Collette on the other hand is awesome. She should be the main cruise director as far as i'm concerned. Entertainment: The comedian, Troy Thurdgill was hilarious. The other entertainment was just adequate. We had a good time. In 2009, there was a "pub night" in Club Fusion. It was excellent. There was nothing like that this year. Ports: Princess Cays was nice as always. We did a clam shell & float. It is very relaxig. However, you do not get enough time on the island. Jamaica: Dirty dirty dirty. The dock is gross and you have to walk along a very narrow road to even get to anything. People offered drugs to us and were very annoying. I will never go to Jamaica again. Grand Cayman: This island was beautiful, old and clean. Everyone was very friendly on the island and no one was pushy. We never felt unsafe. We will consider going to GC for an entire week in the future. Cozumel: This was similar to Jamaica but not as bad. There were many people that were pushy. We just said no and walked on by. It is annoying to have to take a taxi into town although it is only $7 per couple. The food was great in Mexico. Disembarkation: This was super easy as always. Once our color & number was called, we were in a cab in 10 minutes. Great cruise! Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
We were on the Crown Princess for a Western Caribbean Cruise. This was my second time on Princess and I had a great time. We have cruised in the past on Royal Caribbean and Celebrity. We started out with a pre-departure night stay in ... Read More
We were on the Crown Princess for a Western Caribbean Cruise. This was my second time on Princess and I had a great time. We have cruised in the past on Royal Caribbean and Celebrity. We started out with a pre-departure night stay in Fort Lauderdale at the Embassy Suites near the cruise port. The hotel was very conveniently located. There were several restaurants within walking distance as well as a grocery store to buying last minute vacation needs and a bottle of Champagne that we too on board with us to toast the sail away. Embarkation was very quick and easy. They staff working the port seemed to be of an older generation but they could not have been nicer. For this cruise we managed to pack light and had luggage in wheels so we carried on all our bags our selves. This saved time and the cost of a tip. Also no issue of lost luggage! Our cabin was a mid-ship mini-suite. Simple and clean. Plenty of storage space. The suite also had a mini refrigerator which was great to have. In the afternoons we would buy the "bucket of beer" special by the pool and any left overs went into the refrigerator. The bed was vary hard the first night so we asked to have a pad added. Once this was done, the bed was great and we slept like baby's! The Crown Princess is huge! A floating city. Every area was very well maintained. I would say that it was above average, but not luxury. The was perfect for us since this was a trip to relax and unwind. We never felt under dressed or a need to be formal. The general service staff were wonderful. The food was great. We did the "Chefs Table" one night for a fee of $75 each, it was nice but not really worth the fee. I highly recommend the Steak House style restaurant, it was well worth the up-charge. The only thing that bothered me with the staff and service was that the LBGT Get Together was never attended by a staff member. In the daily listing it said that the gathering would be hosted by a staff member but one never showed up. I guess this means that the LGBT community are welcome but not really valued enough to have staff attention. Back in Fort Lauderdale, the disembarkation was very smooth. All in all, I would recommend the Crown Princess to anyone that want a very relaxing yet fun filled experience. Read Less
Sail Date August 2010
We are annual all inclusive land travellers and have never taken a cruise because of the large expense involved. Our financial picture has steadily improved over the years and have visited all of the affordable caribbean locations over the ... Read More
We are annual all inclusive land travellers and have never taken a cruise because of the large expense involved. Our financial picture has steadily improved over the years and have visited all of the affordable caribbean locations over the past 6 years. Our most recent was the Mexican Mayan Riviera...5 star Bahia Principe. Because of the swine flue scare, we got an amazing deal for 2 weeks in August 2009...$3000 (for 2) approx ALL IN! We have heard nothing but positive things about cruising and knew that the next islands we want to go to are on the eastern and western legs of the cruise so we decided to cruise so we could check them out. We arrived at the terminal of Ft Lauderdale and our first experience of service was excellent, not much different from the conferences we have both been on in the past. Check in was very efficient and we were able to go immediately to our room and check it out. It was nice...but not a WOW for a suite (no coffee machine and empty fridge)...imagine what an inside cabin is like... The ship is beautiful and most definitely has Wows everywhere. We went for lunch at the buffet and was somewhat surprised as it was small, little selection and nothing really special. I knew that we were going to have to pay for non-alcoholic bevs but thought they would be included with your meals but no...The bus personnel in the dining area are sales people as well, they sell you your non-alcoholic cards $29 and if you want juice, coffee...its only $50 per person per week. We only took the non-alcoholic bevs... The next morning we went to the breakfast buffet (not knowing that you can be served in the restaurant)and it was jammed packed. We couldn't find a seat (3000 people on the ship with 1000 crew)and had to sit at a table on the deck which wasn't very comfortable. I ordered coffee and when it arrived I understood why they were trying to up-sell us with the coffee...its garbage! Its syrup coffee not ground. Its the coffee you can store in the freezer frozen...fast food restaurants use it. You have to go half coffee and half hot water to kind of enjoy one cup for the day! very disappointed! The buffet was ok but fortunately we discovered that you can be served in the restaurant for breakfast, lunch and dinner (of course)which we did for the next 2 weeks. There is no water in your room and if you want it you can either buy a big bottle for $3.50 and fill it every day and refrigerate or use the tap which is only warm water. You mean to tell me you can't supply water???you have to be kidding me! My wife and I have worked in food service for approx 25 years and have very high standards and of course a cruise is going to deliver? The first night featured prime rib. It was excellent as was the service. We selected any time dining and chose to sit with others for dinner. It was excellent. Dessert is excellent at all times so if you are a dessert eater you will love it. We aren't, but we always had some and it was fabulous. I quickly discovered the soup is the same broth every night (2 wks) with a different name (ingredients) each night (7 dinners). Come on, get chef Ramsay in that kitchen. I know I could rotate 3 different soups through the menu. At least put some ingredients in the soup. I love soup and considering the cruise kitchen is head up by a Chef (so they say)you would think there would be some great tastes for dinner. The only other night to look forward to was the lobster and shrimp dinner. Now the ship features 2 other restaurants which you have to pay for $25/person. The Crown Grill is suppose to be an experience! They were suppose to pamper you for over and hour and a half and just stuff you with all the amazing items on their menu. The server we had (there are only 2 in the restaurant) had an attitude and was training someone else. I waited for her to take the ball and just WOW us. Giant Black Tiger Prawns was an entree as well as all the steaks and lobster. I asked if I could have the prawns as an appetizer and then have steak (rib eye med rare) and lobster as a serf and terf for main course. My wife ordered lobster only and an appetizer (can't remember). My Giant Black Tiger Prawns arrived on a bed of rice. They were lg cocktail shrimp (16-18 cnt), the lobster and shrimp night had giant black tiger prawns (which were amazing)and you are serving me this! The server said that they were Giant Black Tiger prawns...sorry...then came my steak! It was in some wine sauce which was horrible, half my plate was full of blubber/fat when I was done pulling it away from the meat. The lobster was good. My wifes potato was suppose to be twice baked...not! Don't waste your money people. Liz the shopping girl...please don't be rude, we pay you to have this job. My wife and I were in the theater for her shopping presentation which she tapes. She was preparing the audience to respond in a certain way prior to getting started. Someone in the crowd responded out of turn and she scolded the person to not do that when she is taping. Get your head out of the clouds, who really watches the show on TV anyway and isn't this our show not yours! Finally, make the prices cheaper for drinks. Waiting till 8pm just doesn't cut it ($2.99 after 8pm). This is our vacation where we are suppose to "escape completely" for triple the price! I don't think we will ever cruise again! Read Less
Sail Date August 2010
I have cruised with Carnival, Norwegian, Royal Caribbean and now Princess. I had been under the impression that Princess would be a step above the others, but after a week onboard, can't really say that. What WAS impressive was ... Read More
I have cruised with Carnival, Norwegian, Royal Caribbean and now Princess. I had been under the impression that Princess would be a step above the others, but after a week onboard, can't really say that. What WAS impressive was arriving on board to find friendly crew members in the lobby, elevators and on our deck, welcoming us and directing us where we needed to go. My first impression was "Wow! This is going to be great!" First time ever being greeted and helped to that extent. The ship itself was beautiful, well maintained, and very easy to "negotiate." I have been on cruises before where it took me almost the whole week to find my way around, but not the case this time. I'm guessing because of the price point, there were not as many children on board as my prior cruises. It was, however, the noisiest cruise I've ever been on. There were teenagers on our floor, who RAN the halls at night. And twice we were trying to get out of the elevators, when as the doors opened, children came rushing in. Both times accompanied by parents, who said nothing to them. Our cabin was just "okay." My mom didn't like it, (she is a frequent cruiser), and we were surprised at the size of the balcony after looking at the photos online. I would have expected three chairs on the balcony, since they knew there were three of us in the room, but we had to request and wait until late in the day for an extra chair. We had requested robes in the cabin online prior to arrival, and they were not there. The bathroom was standard, the cabin was standard, but the closet space was exceptional, especially for three of us. The refrigerator in the room did not work, and after several phone calls, we got a replacement. Our cabin steward, Jesus, was absolutely a gem, and went above and beyond for us the entire trip. We had traditional dining, early seating, and were placed at a table with another couple traveling with their adult daughter, who faulted just about everything except the desserts. We only ate dinner with them three times, as we opted for dinner one night at Sabatini's, one night at Crown Grille, and the buffet one night as we were still in port in Grand Turk at dinnertime. The food in the dining room was good, not great, and our server was informed, not terribly attentive, not overly friendly - just okay. The first night, prime rib, I ordered medium and received well done. Had it been undercooked I may have sent it back, but it would have had to be redone and everyone else would have been finished, so I just ate it. The best night was the lobster tail, which was perfect. Two of the three nights there seemed to be a long time between main course and dessert, where no waiter was anywhere near. Not what I expected at all. My mother disliked the food onboard, everywhere. My daughter, a "foodie," loved Sabatini's and the Crown Grille, but didn't care for the dining room or the buffet. My opinion - dinner at Sabatini's was incredible, well worth the $20 extra. Superb food, service and atmosphere. Dinner at the Crown Grille was not nearly as good; food, service or atmosphere. The ribeye was huge, but tough, tasteless, and served on a pool of wine sauce I didn't care for. Nowhere near worth the $25 surcharge. Side dishes were unimpressive, although plentiful. The buffet was overcrowded, and the food was plain. Seating was sometimes a problem. The absolute jewel of the ship was the International Cafe in the beautiful Piazza, which served various pastries and salads, and the best gelato I've ever had. After the free soft-serve ice cream on deck the first night, and discovering the $1.50 gelato the next day, I never went back for the soft-serve. What a bargain the gelato is at $1.50! Three scoops of heaven. The coffee shop is right next to the International Cafe, and well worth the extra charge, although it could be better staffed. There were routinely long lines. As far as the shows - the comedians were fabulous; can't say enough about them, and my mother and daughter both agreed with me on this. The other "variety" type shows were good, not great, for my daughter and I, but my mother is a fan of the "Vegas" type shows from cruises past. I had read complaints about people saving seats for the shows, so we just arrived early, but all of the shows were full, so if you didn't arrive early, you would have a problem with this. We purchased a pass for the "thermal suite" in the spa for the week, which was great and a good value. Took advantage of the sauna and steam rooms, and the incredible "stone beds" almost every day. But whoever planned this part of the ship made a huge mistake placing the workout area on the floor above the thermal suite. There's a sign stating "quiet area" when you walk in, but people jumping on the floor above you and dropping weights on the floor is hardly quiet while you're trying to relax! The Sanctuary on the top floor was very nice, and although there was a small surcharge, we took advantage of it several times. My daughter went for a facial, and was happy with the result, but didn't enjoy the smoker's breath from the technician who performed it. We spent our pool time at the pools on the front and back of the ship, but not the main "family" pools, and didn't attend any of the Movies Under the Stars. Some movies were shown over and over, but the one we wanted to see was only shown once, during a time we couldn't go. The ship's first stop was Princess Cays where passengers were tendered to a little island for the afternoon. My daughter and I did not go over, but my mother did, and it was as expected. Little booths set up selling straw items, and a luncheon on the beach. I didn't care for the itinerary overall - too little time spent in each port, I guess. Our first and last days on board were at sea, but the middle of the week went quickly with all three ports three days in a row. Overall - I would probably cruise Princess again, although I was disappointed it wasn't a little more upscale as it's pricing indicated it would be. My mother would definitely not, and neither would my daughter. Read Less
Sail Date August 2010
We boarded the Emerald around 12pm on Sunday and carried on our luggage. Went straight to our stateroom and everything was ready for us. Since we had our luggage with us, we went ahead and unpacked and freshened up before exploring the ... Read More
We boarded the Emerald around 12pm on Sunday and carried on our luggage. Went straight to our stateroom and everything was ready for us. Since we had our luggage with us, we went ahead and unpacked and freshened up before exploring the ship. The room was beautiful and the balcony was HUGE, plenty of room to relax. Our steward, Gerald, was fantastic and took care of all our needs without even being asked including bringing ice each day, extra pool towels, and anything else we thought to ask for. The ship was beautiful, all the public areas were clean and very inviting. We had 2nd seating traditional dining and our waiter, Placido, and assistant waiter were wonderful. We did eat in the anytime dining room two nights and did not have to wait at all, the service was good both times. We enjoyed 3 comedians on the ship, each one was excellent. We attended one production show 'We Got The Music' which was good but most of the songs were from the 70s which is not our taste in music. We never had any trouble getting seats in the theater or any of the other entertainment venues. There was an excellent martini demonstration, ice sculpture demonstration, rum tasting, ballroom dancing lessons, and many other fantastic activities. We were definitely not bored at all. MUTS was wonderful and always crowded, there was a short rain shower at the end of one movie which did cause everyone to run for cover. We used the pools and hot tubs and never had any problems with chair hogs, we always got loungers exactly where we wanted them in sun or shade no matter what time of day we went to the pool. The fresh baked cookies and milk were awesome, they came around the pool deck with a cart each afternoon. The food was all really good, with the dining room food being much better than the buffet food. We did the coffee card and the soda card and they were definitely worth it. The International Cafe was a great place to stop for a snack anytime of day. The champagne waterfall and captains party were great. We enjoyed the after 8pm drink specials most nights and they were never watered down, definitely worth the $2.99 price. Went to Skywalkers for Eighties Night and had a great time dancing and watching the eighties music videos. It got pretty busy in Skywalkers late at night but was empty most of the day which was great for a quiet place to relax and enjoy the view. Read Less
Sail Date August 2010
Our August 22 Eastern Caribbean cruise on the Emerald Princess was wonderful. As background, this was my 19th cruise, 3rd on Princess. My daughter and I have also cruised on NCL, Celebrity, HAL, Costa, and RCL. We met many great people on ... Read More
Our August 22 Eastern Caribbean cruise on the Emerald Princess was wonderful. As background, this was my 19th cruise, 3rd on Princess. My daughter and I have also cruised on NCL, Celebrity, HAL, Costa, and RCL. We met many great people on this cruise, many from Cruise Critic. We arrived the day before and stayed in the Marriott Courtyard Ft. Lauderdale Beach Hotel. Both the hotel and the location were perfect. It was a $20 taxi ride from the airport as they did not have a free shuttle. We wanted to stay at the beach this time and made a good choice. We ended up leaving the hotel earlier then expected and arrived at the pier around 10:00. We were not the first ones there and joined others with #1 cards in a lounge with chairs. The main door (by the soda machine) was receiving early and elite passengers - the door that would be used as the main entrance later was not yet open. At exactly 12 Noon they opened the doors and we went immediately to the desk. Check-in took less than 60 seconds. We walked past the photographer, used our cruise card for the first time to check on the ship, and went straight to our cabin. We were there by 12:10. This could not have been easier. It was rumored that the ship was not quite sold out, and there did not seem to be as many children as earlier summer cruises we have been on. For this cruise we chose a mini-suite on Dolphin Deck. This was a great choice! A bathtub - yippee! The room was comfortable, with a large closet, safe, and full size couch. Three suitcases can fit under each bed. The balcony was smaller than those on Caribe deck, but bigger than the balcony cabins on the higher decks. On this deck the balconies are uncovered. Honestly, this did not bother us at all, except when it rained. Our cabin steward, Thomas, was excellent and always in the hall. He got us extra hangers and more pillows, and added the egg crate pad to the beds the second night. He also brought us four beach towels every day and filled the ice bucket frequently. Dining Room: We chose Traditional Early Seating on this cruise, having done Anytime Dining on our two previous Princess cruises. I like having the same wait staff and tablemates every night - and our tablemates were great! Service was ok, but not as attentive as past cruises. We did have to ask for our drinks (always soda and tea) every night and they did not stop back after serving us to see if our selections were to our liking. Food was fine, some nights better than others. The choices on Caribbean Night were not appealing to any of us so we chose from the alternate, always available, side of the menu. The Princess Dream dessert continues to be my favorite! Horizon Court: I found that I had completely forgotten how crowded this area is. Certainly not big enough to hold 3000+ passengers for breakfast or lunch. Finding a table was an art, but the wait staff was always at the exit to the line asking if they could help you find a seat. Once seated the waiters brought you your choice of drink and would stop by the table often to see if you needed anything. Navigating the crowded buffet area is difficult at crowded times. The food choices were similar everyday and we chose to do the Trident Grill (cheese burgers, hotdogs, chicken sandwiches, and veggie burgers) and the Pizzeria several days. The pizza is absolutely delicious, with cheese, pepperoni, and one daily special available everyday from 11:00 a.m. until 1:00 a.m. every day!!! Crown Grille: We made reservations as soon as we boarded on Sunday for two nights at the Crown Grille. Once again, we were not disappointed by the food or the service. We had NY strip steak, filet mignon, lobster tails and the giant prawns over the two nights. On our second visit our tablemates from the dining room joined us and between the four of us we ordered all the available side dishes. The corn casserole and the scalloped potatoes were my favorites. Our table by the window looked like a buffet!!! On the second night our server had them make me a special dish with the prawns and it was perfect. For dessert we had the lava cake (very chocolaty), the dessert sampler, and a very light and fluffy cheesecake. All were delicious. Sanctuary: We had read a great deal about the Sanctuary and how the chairs sell out quickly, so we went directly there after dropping off our carry-ons in the cabin. We were the first people to select our two chairs for the week. This was the best money I have ever spent on a cruise! The staff was very attentive all week, bringing us cold water and cool, wet towels throughout the day. We were greeted by name every morning and they made our chairs up while we waited. I was even able to change my chair at the end of the week to one in the shade - I had had enough sun! You need to be careful where you select your chair, as you are not allowed to move them. The area was very quiet and the adults only Lotus Spa pool was just a short walk away. The first several days the pool was empty, but then it was "discovered" and we were joined by many others! Having a chair at the Sanctuary allowed me to actually leave and do other onboard activities and then come back - something you can't do at the pool or you will be labeled a "chair hog." We really loved the Sanctuary and would recommend it to anyone who really wants to relax. Wine Tasting: We chose to do the Maitre d' Wine Tasting session for $25 each on the first day at sea. I have to say we were disappointed in this. The dining room seating made seeing and hearing the presentation very difficult. It didn't help that all the passengers were talking throughout the entire tasting session. There were six wines to taste with canapEs to pair with each. Entertainment: We only saw two shows, the comedian in the Princess Theater and a magician/comedian in the Explorer Lounge. Troy Thirdgill, who performed in the theater, was hysterical; he kept us laughing from beginning to end. James Michael in the Explorer lounge was labeled as PG13 in the Princess Patter and his comedy was certainly very adult in nature. Unfortunately, at 8:30 there were many young children in the audience. Some of his show was funny, but we were, in fact, offended when he "mooned" the entire room at the end of his show. We saw also the hula hoop lady and another comedian in the Piazza and both were very entertaining. We only saw Oceans (a documentary) on MUTS this trip. Most of the other MUTS choices did not interest us or the show times were not convenient. The Ports: As always, floating on a raft in the beautiful sea at Princess Cays was very relaxing. We decided not to stay for lunch on the island and returned to the ship for a quiet lunch and an afternoon at the Sanctuary. St. Maartin was hot, as always, so we took the excursion to Orient Bay and thoroughly enjoyed this day. Our guide, Toni, was delightful, pointing out interesting things as our bus drove to and from the beach. We paid an extra $3 for an umbrella and enjoyed the waves and lunch. Although this worked out to be a little more expensive then doing it on our own, we agreed that we liked taking the bus instead of the usual hot taxi. In St. Thomas we spent the morning shopping and then returned to the ship for lunch and the pool. We have been to St. Thomas many times and this was a perfect day for us. Finally, we had our first visit to Grand Turk. We rented a golf cart and along with our dinner tablemates we spent the afternoon touring the island (and getting lost) on our own. The island is beautiful and the people were all very friendly, always waving as we went by. We ended the day at the Margaritaville pool and beach. Weather: Cruising during hurricane season is always a risk, and this week there were two hurricanes, Danielle and Earl, out there with us. Danielle was ahead of us and Earl was just getting organized off of Africa. In spite of that the cruise was very smooth, no rocking, and sunny everyday except one. Overall Impressions: The entire staff on this ship was friendly and helpful. Everyone greeted you as you passed them, no matter where you were. The ship was spotless, with cleaning taking place constantly. Yes, you can still see workers polishing the railings every morning! We purchased the soda card ($34.00, including tip) and definitely got our money's worth. We took advantage of the reduced price drinks between 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. while at the Explorers Lounge. The International Cafe is the place to go for delicious breakfast treats and warm cookies at night. I still haven't tried the gelato, which is said to be fabulous. The Cruise Director was new to the ship and we only saw him on TV. Our only disappointment was the Passenger Services' Desk being unable to answer questions about the duty free guidelines for St. Thomas. There was no information on this topic in any onboard literature and three trips to the desk resulted in three different answers. The result was a trip to the "duty room" on the pier after we went through customs. Overall, this was a wonderful, very relaxing cruise and we can't wait to cruise on Princess again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2010
This was our 24th cruise (7th with Princess)We live in Orlando and stayed at our son's place Saturday night in Bal Harbour Sunday morning after a quick breakfast we took the elevator down to the beach, and stayed there for a couple of ... Read More
This was our 24th cruise (7th with Princess)We live in Orlando and stayed at our son's place Saturday night in Bal Harbour Sunday morning after a quick breakfast we took the elevator down to the beach, and stayed there for a couple of hours...Vacation starts now....WEEEEEEEEEE...We arrived at the pier at noon and were in our room 15 minutes later. I wanted the opportunity to be there early enough in order to make a reservation for "the chef's table". we were on Dolphin 525, mini suite close to the elevators in the middle of the ship...Nice. ( The balcony is out in the open but trust me well worth it to be in the sun all the time. Yes it is true that people above can see you, but I don't care, breakfast on the balcony every morning, wow.... ) Immediately called to make reservations for Sabatini's and Crown grill, and of course the chef's table...(I have to be honest...Two weeks ago I knew nothing about the chef's table, didn't know it exists)...So there the important stuff is done...Now we can unpack my one suitcase and my wife's four (one was full of shoes, unreal)Anyway, I know better, so just go with the flow...After sitting down in the explorers lounge during the drill we went to visit the ship...It is big. Our last two cruises on Princess were on the Island Princess and the Coral Princess (a bit smaller). We had 2712 passengers on board, and never felt crowded. For all those mega critics who did not like their cruise, it was always about not fast enough, or too much waiting...I just have one question...Not fast enough???Where are you going??? We are on vacation, so time should be relative...And if you miss a show or a comedian, it will be repeated twice, so relax, enjoy life...Shows and comedians are at 8:30 and repeated at 10:30 and again the next day at 8:30 pm...This from an avid cruiser, don't go to the first show, it's jammed packed..The second one is about 80% full and the repeat the next day is wide open...Get the anytime dining, so you are not pressed by time (your wife can take 1 and 1/2 hour to get ready, you won't mind) If you like specialty coffees, but a coffee card, you'll save about 30%...We never tried burgers and hot dogs, not our thing...Sabatini's: $20.00 cover charge, but well worth it.Dinner takes about 2 1/2 hours with several courses, this was our fourth time in this specialty restaurant in the past 3 years, and the first time we were able to finish the meal...Simply astonishing. Leave room for desserts...The Crown Grill: $25.00 cover charge, and again great..everything was impeccable, service, food, and location..On Wednesday we met at 7 pm outside the International cafe for the Chef's table... (there is a charge of $75.00 per person for the chef's table, with max of 10 persons, and it only happens once)We were met by Daniel the Maitre D' and proceeded to the galley (kitchen) for a visit by the executive chef Christophe. We had champagne with the following appetizers: Blue crab margarita with avocado and mango, salmon tartare, mini cheese quiche with truffles and cherry tomatoes, and roasted new potatoes with sour cream and caviar. We then went to a special table in the main dining room and the meal started...Asparagus risotto with lobster tail and claws, then a strawberry sorbet with (a lot of) Grey goose vodka, mmmmmmmmm. Now I'm starting to feel good...Then chef Christophe prepared and flambe a roast veal shank and veal tenderloin, carved in front of us. A baked camembert with pined nuts and finally a passion fruit dome cake with a whiskey soaked raspberry and mango glaze finished this gargantuan meal. Pictures were taken as a group and individual couples with the Executive Chef..Christophe then gave us an official autographed Princess cook book. This was the best experience I had in 24 cruises, well worth the $75.00 per person... Ports of call: Princess cays: shower and cloudy...did not use, we stayed on board. Ocho Rios: been there several times and we knew to avoid locals who harass you every 5 seconds. We did the chair lift, it was nice, nice view and a quiet ride for 15 minutes (put sunscreen on prior to getting on )Cayman islands: we did the 7 mile beach...That was horrible, super mega crowded, over two hundred people on a 50 yard beach by 20 feet. We live in Florida so we are used to beaches, but never so crowded that we felt like sardines....Cozumel: visited the San Gervasio ruins, interesting, learned a lot...When we returned to the pier I asked our guide where do the locals eat a quick lunch. She pointed us to an SUV tent area where locals get their real Tacos etc...Boy what a difference, the food is great and so different from our Taco bell and others...If you get a chance, try the tent near the general taxi stand across the street from the main pier..Tacos are $1.00.. (fish, shrimp, pork, or chicken tacos)...Bet you you can't eat more than two. we used the Sanctuary, and it is relaxing and quiet, no music blasting...The entertainment was nice but we had already seen the shows on previous cruises...The comedians were funny. Remember this is not Broadway, and they do not try to be...They do entertain us and it should be taken that way, and in that spirit, we enjoyed it... Service on board was very good as usual for Princess...The room attendant, the F&B team, everyone real nice. Arrived in Ft Lauderdale on time (unfortunately, sniff sniff time to go)left at 8:15 and were done with immigration at 8:35.... Read Less
Sail Date August 2010
This cruise was initially booked as a 14-day Eastern/Western Caribbean cruise and not back-to-back so we were able to get the same mini-suite for the entire two weeks. We booked our air independently, but after booking, Princess ... Read More
This cruise was initially booked as a 14-day Eastern/Western Caribbean cruise and not back-to-back so we were able to get the same mini-suite for the entire two weeks. We booked our air independently, but after booking, Princess implemented EZ Air, which now allows you to have control in making your own air arrangements. We arrived in Fort Lauderdale a day early and stayed at the Sheraton Fort Lauderdale Beach Hotel. The room was large and had the most comfortable beds I have ever slept in at any hotel. We arrived at the port at 11:30 a.m. and they were already boarding. Our room was ready so we were able to unload our carry-on bags and put our valuables in the safe. We opted not to have the buffet lunch but instead went to the DaVinci dining room. Most cruise lines only offer a buffet lunch on embarkation day so this was a very nice relaxing way to start our cruise. Our stateroom was quite large with a full-size sofa and two televisions and large closet space. The bathroom had a bathtub which made it larger than the normal size. We have been on the Crown and Ruby Princess so it was easy finding our way around the Emerald as it has the same layout. The ship was clean and in excellent condition. Thankfully Princess has three non-smoking nights in the casino to allow non-smokers a chance to go there but the smell still lingers. My only problem on the ship was with smokers who would go out on deck at night to smoke and flick their butts overboard although numerous announcements were made as to the danger of this practice and there are designated smoking areas provided. There were numerous dining options but we selected Anytime Dining. We ate all our dinners in the Michelangelo Dining Room and our host Francesco did an excellent job of making sure we were taken care of for the entire two weeks. We also loved having coffee at the International Cafe. The activities were almost identical for the two weeks and I thought since they marketed the cruise as a 14-day cruise there would be some variation. Not a problem though as we would instead go to things we missed the first week. Service was excellent as always so no complaints there. Princess seems to have cut back on staff so cabin stewards and waiters seem to have a heavier load but they managed to cope quite efficiently and always with a smile and sense of humor. Wine stewards seemed to be a thing of the past. Our cabin steward, Rudy, did an excellent job of keeping our cabin spotless. We unpacked everything since the closet was large and we would be on board for two weeks, which was much more convenient than living out of a suitcase. Again the entertainment was almost identical for the two weeks but not a problem as we would alternate and attend things we missed the first week. The cruise director, Marahscalh Stanton, is truly an asset to Princess as he was an awesome host. He greeted passengers with a smile each day and would always stop and inquire about how our trip was progressing. The comedian Troy Thirdgill was amazing. We went to see him every time he performed. We visited the offered ports of call many times before so we did not purchase any shore excursions but would just take a taxi to visit friends or go to the beach. The weather on the Western itinerary the first week was rainy but the Eastern did not disappoint. My favorite port was Ocho Rios, which always gets negative reviews but that is always our favorite stop as the island has more to offer than any of the other islands. A polite no thank you and keep walking always worked for us. Grand Cayman is another great stop. St. Maarten was great as always and we spent the day at Orient Beach. St. Thomas was beautiful as always and we spent the day at Magens Bay. My only problem at Magens Bay is that in addition to paying an entrance fee and a deposit for a chair, you have to drag your own chair to your desired location. At every other port the attendant will bring the chair to you or it is already laid out and waiting. This time we just used the picnic table and were quite comfortable there. Grand Turk was awesome, with a picture-perfect view from the ship. We did not stay in the section with the chairs provided but walked down to the end of the beach where the water was free of seaweed, much clearer and less crowded. Margaritaville is on-site with a very large pool so there was a lot to see and do. Disembarkation was just as organized as embarkation, however at the end of the first week, we were given an in-transit pass and a new card for the second week. We had to pass through immigration and stay ashore until the ship cleared. We took a nice leisurely walk to and from the beach in Fort Lauderdale and were able to board immediately upon our return. Overall this was our best cruise ever but sadly the powers that be at Princess have no itineraries to the Caribbean in August 2011, which is the time of year we like to cruise. Hopefully they will change the following year if enough people complain.   Read Less
Sail Date August 2010
We flew in from Atlanta on the day of the cruise - which is a first for us! Our flight out was at 9:42 and we arrived in Ft. Lauderdale around 11 am. After finding our luggage we went to the Princess desk for our transfer to the port ... Read More
We flew in from Atlanta on the day of the cruise - which is a first for us! Our flight out was at 9:42 and we arrived in Ft. Lauderdale around 11 am. After finding our luggage we went to the Princess desk for our transfer to the port (another first for us, ship transfers) and we're on our way to the Port by 11:30. The transfers were well-organized and friendly. The one thing to note is that unless you hire a porter for your bags you will be conveying them to the desk, then to the bus yourself. And when boarding the transfer bus you will have to take care of your own carry on. There were two elderly getting on before us and each of them were struggling up the steps on the bus with a large carry on bag. When we arrived at the port the line was really, really long! The nice thing about the transfer is not having to worry about your bags getting to the ship (well, not worry TOO much). So we dutifully went to the end of the line, filled out our Health Questionnaire, and proceeded to wait. A kind gentleman working with the line noticed my boarding pass and said "you are Preferred - you don't have to wait in the front of the line" and told us to go to the "other" entry. Well, there was no "other" entry and after a few wrong starts and with a group of other Preferreds we found our line before security where they shoved aside all of the "regular" people and let us go through first. I wasn't really excited about doing this because it seemed a bit rude to me but was in a group by then just moving along. It would be nice if the Preferred status was handled in a quieter manner with a little less fanfare. We went straight up to the counter, were checked in quickly and on-board in our cabin by 12:00. We checked out our first inside cabin (hmmmmm) grabbed the Patter and headed down to the Dining Room for a nice quiet lunch. There were very few people there and we sat at one of those tables for 2 that seat you next to other couples. We chatted with 3 nice couples and had a good lunch. After lunch we headed out to explore the ship which is the sister to the Caribbean Princess which we had been on last year. The ship was in excellent shape and very clean and well-maintained. We headed back to our cabin and met our room steward, Freddie, who was nice and courteous. He did a fine job throughout the cruise but wasn't exceptional in any way. We asked that the beds be moved into twins to give us more room, and for the mattress toppers to be put on each. He had it all done when we got back pre-muster. Muster was no big deal and our station was in the Princess Theatre. After muster DH battled the crowd and took the life preservers back to the cabin while I headed to Crooner's - the Martini Bar - to watch sail-away. Since we've done this departure many times before we decided to stay out of the heat and sun and begin our vacation relaxing. We had Traditional Dining at 6:00pm with two other couples who were very nice. We normally do anytime dining but we tried traditional this cruise. It was a little early for us to eat and because we were the first seating we always felt pressure to finish and leave so the next shift can come eat. We would be chatting away with our new friends and the waiter, Noppy, and his assistant would be clearing the table in front of us...we took the hint and left. He was a good waiter but again, not exceptional. When asked for anything special he seemed annoyed but got over it quickly. The food was always good but not remarkable, the service quick and efficient and the company wonderful. On two nights we chose to miss our assigned dinner and ate at Cafe Caribe and it was very good. There are many choices of vegetables there and that made our night sometimes. A note on the cabin - the twin bed setup worked really well for moving about the cabin. Since it was our first time in an inside, I was concerned about the lack of light (I sleep with a nightlight) and when the lights were off it was dark in there for sure! But still some light coming in from the outside hallway through the cracks in the door so it was fine. But, surprisingly, DH and myself slept the best we had in a long time! It was either the dark or the single beds but we will definitely do some experimenting when we get home! lol We always found lots of things to keep us busy and on the sea days there were many activities we went to, including the Pub Lunch which was very good. Our worst experience on the ship was for our Anniversary Celebration at the Crown Grill. Our waiter was Sebastian from Poland and he was abrupt, hard to understand, unfriendly, rushed, and just plain rude. I did not feel welcome there or treated well. We had sparkling water to drink and after Sebastian poured the final bit of it into my glass, the other waiter came over and quickly filled the glass with tap water - ick! Since Sebastian was watching I know he was aware of it and only shook his head and walked away....when this has happened other places, they have replaced the sparkling with a new bottle. No mention of it was made. We will not dine there again. It was not a lovely anniversary dinner. The food was excellent though. The other problem was with Vines. On the Caribbean Princess Vines was a quiet wine bar that served tapas with your wine. The focus was on the wine and the servers were all well-trained and efficient. We really enjoyed the ambiance and the lovely wine. On Emerald the focus in Vines is the Tapas and Sushi bar where people of all ages and manner of dress come in to eat. It is like a cafeteria. We did do the wine flight but were surrounded by loud, noisy people going back time and again for sushi. Maybe a split between the two might be in order? The wine bar is nice with just maybe a snack but please focus on the wine again? We did the EZCheck for disembarkation - our first time. We received our instructions and luggage tags the evening before, put our luggage out and at 8:30 am we went to the Crown Grill and disembarked with a very small group about 8:45. We did not have to claim our bags to take through Customs. We boarded our transfer bus and were at the airport by 9:30. Our flight was not until 12:30 - and was delayed by weather - but when we arrived in Atlanta our bags were there! Best $40 we ever spent! It was a very nice vacation, the Emerald is a beautiful ship and we had a wonderfully relaxing, stress free time. Read Less
Sail Date August 2010
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