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Sail Date: August 2015
We picked this cruise by price and destinations. We flew to Istanbul on an afternoon flight arriving about 5:30pm; the ship did not leave until 23:00 hrs. Take our advice and try not to travel on a weekend as the traffic is tremendous and ... Read More
We picked this cruise by price and destinations. We flew to Istanbul on an afternoon flight arriving about 5:30pm; the ship did not leave until 23:00 hrs. Take our advice and try not to travel on a weekend as the traffic is tremendous and it took nearly two hours from airport to the cruise terminal. As we were late we almost walked straight in, and within a few minutes we were in our cabin together with our cases. We had a balcony cabin next to the rear lifts handy for the buffet and the fusion lounge; we did not notice any noise from the lifts. Joel was waiting for us and with a font of knowledge and tips. We soon renewed our layout memories and after a good dinner in the buffet we turned in early. The next day was a ‘sea’ day which enabled us to adjust to the extra two hours time difference, we did all the normal activities run by a brilliant entertainments team – I was glad to see that we were giving jobs to some of the ‘Colonists’ - we were soon caught up in activities like Trivia, taboo and Scattergrams, which may seem boring but when you’ve got passengers from all over the world it became hilarious. In the evenings there were game shows very familiar to the British, copies of mr&mrs, blankity blank and family fortunes. The theatre put on some good and varied shows from Mime, comedian, vocalists and not to mention the princess dancers and singers who put on some Broadway standard shows. The weather was fabulous our complete cruise, the sun beds and pools never seem to empty. They also became handy for watching some of the latest films with free popcorn. Being a couple of pensioners we did not take part in the more vigorous activities. Including learning to dance, ball or line. I’m afraid even a well equipped Gym couldn’t temp us. We tried both types of dining, the main dining room and the buffet. The main dining room was a bit disappointing the menu selection was poor and the alternatives looked good in name but when they arrived they were often only tepid and didn’t look inviting. On formal nights we ate in the buffet on the Lido deck which we found to be hotter, more varied and you can have as much as you liked. For the weight watchers there was a good assortment of salads and loads of fresh fruit daily. On this cruise we found waiting staff to be superb willing to chat (if not busy) and tell you all about the homes, it went to show what can be done we a few friendly words. They were always willing to fetch drinks or help someone with difficulties. Having done quite a few cruises we have managed to visit all the tourist sites in the Med at least once so now we’re happy going for walks around the port area or local town and seeing how the other half lives. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2015
We have cruised many times before and therefore were quite surprised by the difference between this cruise and the others we have been on. This cruise did nothing well from the captains drinks a shambolic tacky affair, to the food which ... Read More
We have cruised many times before and therefore were quite surprised by the difference between this cruise and the others we have been on. This cruise did nothing well from the captains drinks a shambolic tacky affair, to the food which had the oddest combinations of flavours which mostly did not work. They could not even do simple dishes like pasta well which is quite amazing. The desserts and plain meats were the only highlights and both of these were good. The buffets had very odd combinations none of which went together and anyone liking any type of asian food would have been very disappointed by the flavours. Room service was prompt but could not get the orders right and never brought coffee that was hot, we gave up ordering it as it was virtually cold. Many accounting issues occurred being charged for wines when having a drinks package, and also not receiving the on board credit which was clearly on the booking from, but the customer service could not have been less helpful or interested in sorting these issues out. The desk was constantly clogged with unhappy people. Overall this cruise lacked any special feel. The entertainment was ok, the timing of trivia etc not well thought out meaning 8.00 diners virtually never able to do some of these things, but nothing was really good or memorable, anyway. The boat always docked at the furthest dock, and the company never ever put on any free transfers to town, even on one occasion charging 20 american dollars per person for a couple of kilometers in a local boat to town. The cruise was very poor value for the quality of food, staff, rooms and general experience. Many better cruise lines are out there offering, cheaper far superior experiences. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2015
We sailed on the Emerald from Istanbul to Rome. This was our 2nd cruise having sailed on the Ocean Princess last year. First, embarking was a breeze. Took us about 30 minutes. We stayed in Istanbul a couple of days before getting on the ... Read More
We sailed on the Emerald from Istanbul to Rome. This was our 2nd cruise having sailed on the Ocean Princess last year. First, embarking was a breeze. Took us about 30 minutes. We stayed in Istanbul a couple of days before getting on the ship. If you have concerns about Istanbul, don't. What a beautiful city. We set sail at night. The ship is beautiful. Our room was a perfect size with nice closet space. We were on Caribe deck C515 with a very large balcony. 4 chairs and a table. Perfect. Dinner was the 2nd seating and Na was our server. She was brilliant and the food was consistently good. I only had one meal that was not great. They tend to cook beef longer so Americans beware on medium vs. medium rare. The nightlife was ok. The Skywalker Lounge was large but the DJ kept playing annoying pop music that was not appropriate to the age of the people that were in the room. He did not seem to care. The other venues were great. Don't miss the Fish and Chips lunch during the cruise. Best lunch on the ship!! Used the Sancuary and this is certainly worth the extra $$ when you are a day at sea. Very relaxing. Ports of call - Mykonos - wow - Malta (go to Mdina) - Sicily (go to Taromina) Naples (go to Capri) and finally Rome. We did some of the excursions but they were very long days. Next time, we may just do our own thing. Also - note that the internet connection was very poor and expensive. Unplug and unwind. You know you had a good cruise when you are already looking to book your next cruise. Enjoy the Emerald! Read Less
Sail Date: July 2015
From the moment we stepped onboard Emerald in Istanbul there was a complete lack of elegance and sophistication we had found on numerous cruises before aboard the Princess line. The ship was tired, the crew burned out and there was a ... Read More
From the moment we stepped onboard Emerald in Istanbul there was a complete lack of elegance and sophistication we had found on numerous cruises before aboard the Princess line. The ship was tired, the crew burned out and there was a complete lack of concern. The bedding looked like they had cleaned the floor with it and the bathroom towels were ragged and tattered. We have cruised Princess several times before although it had been three years ago this time and the difference was shocking. For those of us who enjoy the late seating dining this unbeknownst to us eliminated the evening shows. Show times were 6 and 7:30 instead of the traditional 10 PM show after a nice dinner. The entertainment was nonexistent. The Princess Employee Talent Show are you kidding me you could hear the dogs barking 60 miles away in Istanbul. The first full day was a day at sea and we tried to go up to one of the pools but there were no towels left so we got to sit on the dirty deck chairs and watch the unsupervised children strangling one another as the played some version of "King of the Mountain". Jumping, diving, screaming and carrying on it was a complete free for all. The toilet in our stateroom stopped working and the list continued. We were in shock as I began to think that somehow I wound up on a Carnival ship. I wrote a letter and emailed it to Princess corporate. About 48 hours later I received a telephone call from the Customer Services Director stating that he had heard from the home office and want a meeting with me. With nothing to lose and hopefully something to gain I agreed. We discussed the aforementioned issues along with horrible food both overlooked and undercooked, the free for all buffet on the Horizon Deck and the fact that you had to just about beg to get a glass of lemonade from the staff. There were people complaining every time we turned around. These were legitimate complaints and for the many that tried to speak with someone on staff they told how they were ignored and dismissed. At the end of my meeting the Customer Services Director requested that I meet with him again the second week which I agreed to do and I never heard another word from him. We decided to purchase a photo taken on one of the Formal Nights and as usual we saw the $19.95 sign but when I went to pay for the picture I was charged $24.95 and when I asked why the increased price the response I got was that it was a portrait. Seriously? How about the dry cleaning that came back in a ball of wrinkles? The ship is due to go to the yard in October which is probably about 6 months later than it should have. They requested that we complete a post cruise survey and as you can probably imagine I was more than happy to respond albeit not what they wanted to hear. I even attached a letter elaborating on our experiences leaving the door open for some type of resolution but all I got was a telephone call from someone in California identifying himself as the people in charge of dissatisfied passengers thanking me for my input. Are you kidding me over $10,000.00 spent and I get a "have a nice day." In a nutshell the cruise was a disaster and Princess completely dropped the ball this time. I cannot begin to tell of the frustration I feel with this cruise and this company. If your considering a Princess Cruise don't until they get straightened out if they get straightened out. Simply put we got ripped off! I will never ever do another Hop On Hop Off "Medley" cruise again and I'm very doubtful we will set foot on another Princess Cruise due to their give a heck attitude. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2015
We enjoy the entertainments, the services and the food. We like the Violin playing by the musician from England (forget his name). Dining at Da Vinci, the food is excellent and the waiters provide excellent services. Julian and Angelo are ... Read More
We enjoy the entertainments, the services and the food. We like the Violin playing by the musician from England (forget his name). Dining at Da Vinci, the food is excellent and the waiters provide excellent services. Julian and Angelo are polite, patience and helpful, they have good personality. The disembarkation to every ports are efficient and well organized. Every time when we return to the ship, the cruise members greet us with refreshing cold water and cool towel after a long hot day of sightseeing. Watching the sun set from deck 7 is amazing and romantic. These two weeks are unforgetable cruise ship experience. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2015
I have been on many cruises with different cruiselines, but never on a princess cruise before. Because of many excellent reviews Princess was on my bucket list so I was more than happy to book this cruise. I booked a balcony and was ... Read More
I have been on many cruises with different cruiselines, but never on a princess cruise before. Because of many excellent reviews Princess was on my bucket list so I was more than happy to book this cruise. I booked a balcony and was upgraded to a minisuite, nice surprise. At Istanbul I had a transfer organized by Princess; worked perfect. We arrived at the ship something around 1 pm, dropped of the luggage and went to the check in. 5 minutes later I was onboard and on my way to my cabin. Within a few minutes my steward came, introduced himself and offered me a glass of sparkling wine. Now I was ready to "move in". The size of the minisuite was really nice, but there were some signs of wear. In the bathtub there were many chips and deep scratches, the sofabed was beat-up and it was impossible to push it together properly. At the steel-covering of the balcony there was rust...a lot of rust. Carpet needs some shampooing. Now I grabbed something to eat at the horizon buffet, and I was a little bit disappointed about the food quality and choice. But I thought the limited choice resulted in the fact it is embarcation day. Big fault. The fruit selection was more than poor. I like a nice selection of sliced fruit in the mornig. What we got were melons. Every single day melons. Except of 2 days; one time there were pineapples (which were more than fully mature, brown at the paring) , the other one papaya. Fruitsalat contains.... melons. Mostly JUST melons. Cutted into squares of 3 inches. This cruise was during the season you can get everything everywhere: strawberrys, peaches, apricots, berries, think of whatever you want. We´ve got nothing. There were some whole fruits at the buffet, but I don´t want to cut 2 pounds of fruit into slices to have some fresh fruitsalat with my yoghurt. Same for the lunch buffet. Salad buffet contains cabbage.... a lot of cabbages. Some mashy tomatoes, some cucumbers. No nice condiments. Same for dinner. Food looked like in a cheap canteen. Quality of meat was more than mediocre, pasta was overcooked and tasted boring. Cheese platter contains 2 kinds of sliced cheese, cheapest industrial cheese ever, cutted from squares into triangles.... every single day the same. Surprisingly, the quality at the main dining rooms was really really good. This discrepancy was hard to believe. Although I prefer a more casual dining at some days I decided to avoid the buffet whenever possible (took a look every day and refused to eat there). Pools were well maintained. Shows were disappointing; boring. At the end of the cruise there was the same entertainer at two consecutive days. So I had a lot of time reading. I missed some nice workshops during the days, something like crafts, scrapbooks or anything like that. Ports were nice as expected. (Mykonos, Malta, Messina, Naples). Disembarkation was perfect; choosed my timeslot, left the ship within minutes. I enjoyed my cruise, but I see a lot to improve comparing this cruise to my previous ones (RCL, NCL, MSC and HAL). Read Less
Sail Date: May 2015
It's really all about what kind of traveler you are and what your expectations are for a good trip. In May we took a 7 night Western Med Cruise (our third with Princess) from Istanbul to Rome. Our ports of call were Mykonos, Valletta, ... Read More
It's really all about what kind of traveler you are and what your expectations are for a good trip. In May we took a 7 night Western Med Cruise (our third with Princess) from Istanbul to Rome. Our ports of call were Mykonos, Valletta, Messina and Salerno. Embarkation: was a bit of a bummer. We got an email the day before saying that due to a lot of cruise ships in port and Turkey's lengthy immigration clearance procedures, they needed to stagger passengers and asked us not to come until 4PM. When we got there, we were the only passengers there! The terminal was empty except for us and the ship's reps! Pretty annoying to get on the ship that late and go straight to muster. Cabin: Our Penthouse, R412, on the Riviera Deck, was larger than our last PH on the Ruby Princess but standard other than the general wear and tear others have noted. I liked the spaciousness and the layout of the bathroom. But as others have noted here, we heard the scraping of deck chairs on the Lido deck early in the morning. Overall it was fine and didn't disturb us too much. A fun quirk was the Love Boat A Thon running on television. A bummer was the lack of slippers (our attendant said they didn't have any) and the cheap recycled bag (three years ago we got a nice canvas tote). Also, Princess eliminated free internet for PH suite passengers, replacing it instead with complimentary specialty dining on embarkation night. I preferred the free internet. And this is the second time we've used their complimentary dry cleaning service where a garment was damaged when it was returned. Dining: We had late seating in the Botticelli dining room and both our head waitress and her assistant were terrific, friendly and on the ball. The maitre d' was also lovely. Food overall on this cruise was better than what we experienced on the Island Princess during our Alaska Cruise or the Ruby Princess, which we sailed three years ago. That being said, beef of any kind in the main dining room is poor. Even when they recommend it -- don't do it! We had the toughest prime rib of our lives on the first night, after waitress' enthusiastic recommendation. They did serve both lobster and escargots on this cruise on our second formal night, and it was delicious. Really surprising how good the lobster was on a mainstream cruise line. I can't comment on desert other than the fresh fruit, which I always ordered -- cold and refreshing. As usual, coffee is weak and you must buy a coffee card if you want a decent brew or an espresso drink. Overall, the food and variety/options on the Emerald Princess were better than either of the past two trips I've taken on Princess. I always like the Sabatini breakfast, un-rushed, serene and cooked to order. On mornings we had super early excursions, we got takeaway from the international cafe: egg mcmuffin sandwiches! Horizon court had enough fresh fruits and simply cooked vegetables for me to enjoy healthy dinners when we opted out of main dining, but the entrees were always the weakest link (poor protein quality, lots of sauces and cheese) in the buffet. Crown Grill: I wish the filet mignon had been better, but they served us a huge plate of complimentary lobster tails, which were sensational. Still, both previous Crown Grill experiences on Princess were better in terms of the quality of the beef served. Information: The Princess Patter is very comprehensive. I didn't care for the morning show because, to be honest, I didn't care for the cruise director or her deputy and their banter. It's a matter of personal preference and I'm sure she was great at her job but I would have preferred a smarter morning show led by grown ups (and ship's officers in addition to the cruise directors). Activities: Dance lessons were a lot of fun. My partner and his daughter played bingo and had a ball. I think cruise ship activities are a hallmark of the cruise tradition and even when I don't participate, I love reading about them or hearing about others' experiences. I never go to the shows since I live in NY and see a lot of Broadway theater. My partner went to one comic's performance and reported that the poor guy was a nervous wreck. Service: Most people were friendly and helpful, particularly in dining venues. I did feel like the level of interaction with customers was on the cutesy and overly familiar side, but appreciated their general warmth. Customer service desk was uneven; the reps were either harried and inexperienced or cold and put out. The guy at the internet cafe was the coldest, most unhelpful guy on the ship. Good thing I'm pretty tech savvy and my dealings with him were a minimum! One more thing I noticed was the general lack of visibility of crew officers throughout the ship. Except for the welcome evening, I never saw the Commodore. Interestingly, he'd also been our Captain on our Ruby Princess cruise 3 years ago and on that voyage he was always on the gangway greeting guests as they came 'home.' Up-selling: I have to make a note of this here because all of the flyers for art auctions, gold by the yard, watches, Greek gods popping out of the gangway door imploring you to take a picture with them, bric a brac specials, spa specials, hard sell for wine tastings, etc, etc, is wearying. Moreover, it cheapens the experience. End of my rant on that topic... Port Excursions: All of the port excursions we booked through Princess were good except the Valletta excursion. A guide can make or break the visit and our guide in Malta simply wasn't up to par. Moreover, the meal included there was bottom of the barrel dreadful (as it was on our Amalfi Coast excursion, too). Disembarkation was smooth and painless. In summary, while I think the Princess experience is solid and we enjoyed ourselves, I think we want to try a more upscale line for our next cruise. Princess doesn't line up with how we otherwise live and travel and that is probably why I take issue with uneven or overly familiar service, boisterous cruise directors, and hordes of people milling around tables of watches and costume jewelry. While I have a certain level of comfort in knowing what to expect with a Princess cruise, there are too many variables from ship to ship, too much cost cutting and too much up-selling, and I'm ready to branch out and see what line(s) might be a better fit for us. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2015
I have travelled with Princess for 30 years often defending and promoting this company as times & cruise expectations have evolved & changed. I booked a 2 week cruise from Istanbul to Barcelona. I received 2 one week cruises ... Read More
I have travelled with Princess for 30 years often defending and promoting this company as times & cruise expectations have evolved & changed. I booked a 2 week cruise from Istanbul to Barcelona. I received 2 one week cruises with food, entertainment, in-room entertainment and public announcements duplicated from one week to the next. Different ports of call but the exact same onboard mediocracy. Oh, and noro-virus (the ship went to 'RED' status). The ship is in rough condition with mold and mildew growing around the whirlpools, elevators not functioning, decor pealing, burned out lights and an "EFFY Store." As an Elite passenger, we were greeted with an obviously dirty toilet with skid marks. As the sun entered the room, we could also see the antics of a previous passenger splattered on the artwork hanging on the wall. The table on the balcony did receive a cleaning 12 days into the cruise and the room was vacuumed once. We did of course receive our invitation on week one for the Captain's Party. No handshaking as the virus was throughout the ship. We also received a second invitation to a Captain's Party (same Captain's name on the invite) the following Thursday. However, we did not attend because the Captain disembarked for a 2 month vacation and a new Captain took the helm that very day. We are still curious why we received the second invite from a Captain and a system that must have known he was leaving. The system is broken. I felt we were simply a credit card number. Minimum effort by a system needing a radical examination & overhaul. I compliment the staff (not the head-office, not the accountants, not the system analysts & definitely not the senior management) in trying to provide a great cruise experience to each and every passenger but are handicapped by a dysfunctional, antiquated corporate culture. After 30 years, the question arises if I will travel on the Love Boat again (....by the way, the episodes were repeats & repeated too!)? Read Less
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