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14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
We chose this cruise as we wanted a week's holiday without the inconvenience of airports and the dates worked nicely for us. This was our first cruise with Princess, and I had heard great things from colleagues. Embarkation was ... Read More
We chose this cruise as we wanted a week's holiday without the inconvenience of airports and the dates worked nicely for us. This was our first cruise with Princess, and I had heard great things from colleagues. Embarkation was smooth and efficient. We were onboard with time to enjoy a relaxed lunch before the muster drill. Our balcony cabin was clean and ready for our arrival. Our cabin steward introduced himself and subsequently offered a cheerful greeting each time we saw him. The decor throughout the ship, including the cabin, is very similar to other ships we have been on. We found the bed to be comfortable, although the pillows were too soft for our liking, and the bathroom was small but adequate. The toiletries provided in the shower cubicle are in a pair of awkwardly-placed pump-action dispensers, one showergel, the other a shampoo/conditioner combo. The cabin and balcony are a good size. There are no in-cabin facilities for making hot beverages. We were on fixed dining, and of the two waiters allocated to our table, we found one to be consistently cheerful and pleasant, which generally counter-balanced his colleague's lack of enthusiasm and knowledge of table etiquette. We hate an empty plate being cleared away whilst the other dining companion(s) are still eating. We have also discovered that we dislike being served coffee before the dessert has been chosen, let alone arrived!! The food in the main dining room was good throughout the day. The dining rooms all close on port days, so there is only the cafe (which was almost permanently packed) or the Horizon buffet, where we found ourselves elbowed out of the way by elderly diners intent on reaching their lunch as if it were their last, and then food goes cold on the plate while you wander around the dining area trying to find somewhere to sit down to eat. No brownie points here. The entertainment in the theatre was well below par. The onboard team of dancers etc. were on stage for half an hour on two separate nights. The other nights were singers, a 'magician' and a comedian. There seemed to be a plethora of trivia quiz sessions throughout the days and evenings, which we found tedious. The general facilities on the ship are not up to the standard we expected - there are very few places to sit and read a book without either quizmasters droning on in the background, lights being switched off so you can't see the words on the page anymore (Explorers Lounge) or cold draughts driving you away. We didn't go on any organised shore excursions, which were definitely on the pricey side, and we were quite happy to find our own way around when we got off the ship. We won't sail with Princess again unless the destination demands it. Disappointed overall. Read Less
23 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
We had balcony cabin ... nice to have the outside space but it was dirty, Both of the chest of drawers were broken . The toilet blocked up 3 times. Cabin number was B601. Only went to MDR once and that was enough ... there are too ... Read More
We had balcony cabin ... nice to have the outside space but it was dirty, Both of the chest of drawers were broken . The toilet blocked up 3 times. Cabin number was B601. Only went to MDR once and that was enough ... there are too many passengers and not enough waiters / crew. Service was slow and food was poor. We ate up in Horizon buffet or had room service. Entertainment was okish .. please have movies / films inside and not out in freezing cold or wet weather , ok in Carribean but not off England. Service was ok but lacklustre. Ports of Call we liked ., especially Guernsey and Bilbao where we enjoyed the Guggenheim Museum. We did 1 tour with ship and that was very well organised and interesting. We are Elite but won't go again with Princess as we don't like the trend for huge ships. Read Less
16 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
This was booked late at a reduced price as the timing, Southampton departure and ports not previously visited suited us. We have previously cruised about 12 times, twice before with Princess so felt confident about the cruise. However, ... Read More
This was booked late at a reduced price as the timing, Southampton departure and ports not previously visited suited us. We have previously cruised about 12 times, twice before with Princess so felt confident about the cruise. However, several aspects fell below expectations. I was unsure whether to give a 2star(poor) rating or a 3star(average) rating. Went for the 3 as I want to remember the good things. We had a mid ship balcony cabin. Good location. Bed and linen good. The bathroom needs refurbished, marked tiles and mirror and as another review mentioned yes, the toilet seat needs replaced. Had to ask our cabin steward to clean inside the drawers, they had hairs and some pieces of paper inside. Had to ask for a plastic shower hat and a replacement for the one small tube of body lotion provided after it was finished. Bathrobes not provided though I understand they could be requested. As usual we liked the generous wardrobe space but missed the settee which Celebrity has in a balcony cabin. We had anytime dining but were not permitted to prebook a time in advance though we had been told we would be able to. However, we never had to wait long. We tried the buffet breakfast and were not enthusiastic about it so mostly had the MDR breakfasts; not great there either. Omelettes paper thin, cheap bread toasted very hard, poor quality marmalade and jam spooned onto the plate by a waiter, fatty undercooked British bacon, the Canadian bacon seemed to be a very salty reconstituted product, watery orange juice. The breakfast waiters were pleasant but service very slow........but we were on holiday so no hurry. We are not big lunch eaters but found the buffet satisfactory for a small lunch for my husband. I preferred to have an indulgent sweet treat from International cafe. Biggest problem there was getting a seat. We once had a pizza slice from the pizzeria and it was very good. Dinners variable. Some of the waiters were downright surly, a few were cheerful. The pot pie in the MDR was just that, mostly pot and pie with a little meat and a big space between meat and pastry. Meals varied in temperature. Soups were not good, they were very salty.The main dishes seemed rather uninspired but we realise that they can only be as good as the products used. The desserts were good. Overall we felt that significant economies have been made with the food since we were last with Princess and the chefs cannot transform poor ingredients. We had to insist that we did not want our after dinner coffee till after all the meal and not before dessert. The pastry chefs were very good. Entertainment: We did not find the theatre entertainment to be good . Cruise director never seen by us around the ship. There seemed to be a frequent number of quizzes around the ship during the sea days and it was usually not possible to get a quiet area. We realise that because the weather was not really warm enough for outdoor sitting this contributed to causing the ship to feel crowded and noisy. Still, that will have avoided the towels on sunbeds issues. In general the service was variable and not as good as before. We fully paid our gratuities as we did not want the unseen people as well as the ones who gave us good and cheerful service to miss out. La Coruna. We had the Princess transfer to Santiago de Compostela $50 each. Unfortunately it rained and was not warm that day but worth seeing the lovely old city centre. Bilbao. Shuttle provided. Really enjoyed it here, We went to the Guggenheim and spent the rest of the time walking around Bilbao. Le Verdon. We did not want a 2 hours each way bus ride to Bordeaux so opted for the shuttle to Soulac sur Mer, a little seaside resort with tourist trinket shops. Fortunately a warm sunny day . There would be nothing to do on a wet day. The shuttle was a fiasco.Waited nearly an hour for our turn as we had done as requested ; all our party to go together to the dining room to get a numbered ticket. The man in front of our group of 4 wanted 6 tickets, the crew member asked him if all were together as requested, he said no, the crew member gave him the tickets anyway. After waiting an hour in the dining room our number was called. And then the crew were letting people on to the shuttle bus who had not bothered to get a ticket at all! I don't know how anyone could have misunderstood the instructions as they were repeated frequently. Guernsey. A tender port. We got the local bus to Sausmarez Manor, enjoyed the beautiful garden and walked back to St. Peter Port on the cliff path, about 3 miles.A scenic walk and then explored the town. Overall our view is that this fell far short of the Princess we had experienced before. Unfortunately we are unsure if we will go with them again. We usually book well ahead to get the cabin we want so would be very unhappy to pay a full price for this standard of cruise. Booked with Celebrity for October. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
Chose this cruise during the Princess 5oth anniversary sale as my wife and I wanted a short break. The cruise exceeded our expectations as we found a significant all round improvement since our last cruise with Princess several years ... Read More
Chose this cruise during the Princess 5oth anniversary sale as my wife and I wanted a short break. The cruise exceeded our expectations as we found a significant all round improvement since our last cruise with Princess several years ago. Prior to the cruise we had some concerns given some of the recent adverse reviews that have been posted and now having just returned cannot believe those reviews apply to the same ship. All aspects of the cruise ticked all our boxes from caring staff ,good entertainment and good food. Ebarkation was a breeze we boarded at 3 just in time for the drill which was in fact our only criticim of the cruise.The drill was a drawn out affair with insufficient seating leading to many passengers standing around for 25 minutes. Anyime dining worked out fine with no waiting at all if you were prepared to share a table and some short waits for a table for two if you wanted it. Note however the boat does not dock in Bordeaux but in le Verdon two hours away and there is nothing to do round the port apart fro the free shuttle to a nearby seaside town Soulac which may well be fine in the summer but not in the Spring. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2016
Apologies for the late posting – this got buried in my misc file and has only come to light having had a grand de clog of the computer! Having recently returned for a 7 night cruise 7-14th May on the Emerald Princess I felt a ... Read More
Apologies for the late posting – this got buried in my misc file and has only come to light having had a grand de clog of the computer! Having recently returned for a 7 night cruise 7-14th May on the Emerald Princess I felt a review coming on! I've never cruised with Princess before I went with an open mind ! Taking with me for her first ever cruise, my younger disabled sister. Embarkation for us was excellent - although there did seem long queues , we went straigth through - many thanks to our wheel chair pusher. My sister thought it was a wonderful ship and the flat and easy access everywhere with hand rails galore meant she felt confident enough to leave her walker in the cabin most of the time whilst she was on board We had an inside cabin which was fine although the toilet seat looked in need of replacing - clean but with chips out of it.! We were on deck 10 - Caribe deck which seemed a long walk from anywhere - having never been on such a large ship before ! Although we were several decks above the theatre the sound seemed to funnel into our cabin. We cruised out of Southampton with a very short sail away party for the first night at sea. Having opted for the dine anytime we duly presented ourselves to the Micheal Angelo restaurant at the ( for me ) early time of 6.15 - table for 2 ? sorry you will have to wait - please have a pager unless you don't mind sharing ! So shared we did. Our meal was fine but really nothing special as my sister had the pre paid soda package she was served a soft drink - I was just ignored ! So water and an average meal later - although the rib of beef was nice - corn on the cob, jacket potato and half a tomato wasn't quite the accompanying veg I was expecting. ! Onwards and upwards , we must see the first sitting of the show in the theatre I told my sister Debs - it will tell us all the types of shows we can expect for the week ..BIG disappointment! The dancers did their thing briefly , The Cruise Director did the usual hype bit and then this Magician took to the stage - I fell asleep and I wasn't alone ! 35 mins later and that was it ! Throughout the week the shows were well below what I was expecting and on one night had I been sitting at the end of a row I'd have got up and left - the 'entertainer ' ( and I use that title very loosely) started off making rude comments about the audience -he then got a lady up on stage and as she walked up the step starting making raspberry noise as if she was Farting HARDLY what I was expecting from the prestigious Princess Line , I know others around us were equally unimpressed. My sister was delighted with the dancers and thought they were fab - They only did a 35 min show ! so were hardly into their stride before it was over. I was disappointed having seen far better acts /shows on older, smaller and cheaper vessels.! After 2 meals in the MDR we decided to use the buffet , at least there I was asked if I wanted some wine ! And we could eat when and with whom we wanted. Downside - the plates were plastic ! I understand the reasoning behind this but there were glass water glasses on the tables, however and when my wine arrived it was in a plastic glass ! I was too stunned to do anything about it , the following night I was ahead of the game - Sauvignon Blanc in a real glass please - back he came with it in a water glass ! Our ports of call were La Coruna - having been there several times before and mindful of sisters walking abilities we took the 2hr Hercules tour - which was very interesting and not that expensive at 15 euro each. Bilbao - New port for me , took the shuttle bus into the city which was a fair old trip , meandered around and did a little shopping. Didn’t bother with the Museum as modern art not our thing. Le Verdon – billed as Bordeaux (ish) a lovely little French seaside town , the sun came out and we had a mooch about. Wasn’t prepared to do the 2 hour trek into Bordeaux. The dock at Le Verdon was tightly controlled as it was a container terminal rather than Cruise one. We had specified walkways and the trek from Ship to coach was a good half mile – not nice in the pouring rain. We were late away from here owing to latecomers - shame on them ! Onwards to St. Peter Port – another place I’ve visited many times and I did worry how sister would manage with the tender transfer. I didn’t need to – as usual the staff were most kind and professional and my sister was very pleased with herself . We did the noon day gun here at the castle ( not the most disabled friendly location – but glad we made the effort ) Disembarkation Day Given the ship holds 3000 I expected a bit of a wait on disembarkation but it was ok - only marred by – in my opinion selfish or simply thoughtless able bodied persons seemingly unable to walk down some flights of stairs. Thus preventing the less able to get in the lifts. On our deck 3 persons in wheelchairs , plus myself with debs and her walker waited over 30 mins - I finally jammed Debs in a fairly full lift and walked down . We were not the first off and hadn’t opted to self-disembark , I understand if you have several bits of hand baggage the desire to use the lift – but if you are a couple it’s not rocket science - one uses the lift with the bags and the other the stairs. Overall we enjoyed the cruise, the food was fine, the service was good, though our maid seemed to have a lots of cabins to service – perhaps that was why ring marks from glasses were not wiped off the dressing table for 4 days ! The entertainment let it down for me, although I must say the selection in the Karaoke books I thought was very good – far better than Cunard.! Would I cruise Princess again ? well I did put down the £75 deposit for future cruise BUT as I now know they don’t have any adult only ships I may well ask for my money back.! Especially since the court ruling on no children out of school in term time appears to have been relaxed now. There were only a few children on board – but they took over the two main pools and the Jacuzzis with the parents choosing to ignore the signs saying their children must be supervised. At the end of the day children will be children and I know some people like the extra life and noise they bring - I don’t . Having said that I did meet 2 beautifully mannered and behaved boys who were a credit to their parents. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2016
speedy boarding ship was clean did not seem crowded. Mini suite was comfortable well looked after by Raymond our steward. Shows were ok saw Bernie Flint comedy/singing act for 3rd time he gets better with time. Did not use any shore ... Read More
speedy boarding ship was clean did not seem crowded. Mini suite was comfortable well looked after by Raymond our steward. Shows were ok saw Bernie Flint comedy/singing act for 3rd time he gets better with time. Did not use any shore excursions that were organised by cruise company so cant comment on them Most of the staff were pleasant only problem was when we came to dine in the Da Vinci restaurant which is anytime dinning except the time you want. We asked for a table for two but the Hostess that was in control pressurised you into sharing with others. On the second night we had same problem with her but this time held out for a table for two she was not pleasant this time. We had a 20 minute wait which was fine. For the Rest of the cruise we used Michelangelo restaurant and this Hostess was most welcoming she did ask if we would share but accepted we wanted a table for 2 we had between a 10 minute and a 25 minute wait most nights which is fine/ We spoke to a number of other people who had same problem at Da Vinci one couple said they were seated at a large table where the other dinners had finished their starter and were unable to get into the conversations going on at the table as other guests were well into various subjects. would not use Princess Cruises again have booked next cruise with Royal Caribbean. Read Less
30 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
This was our second Princess cruise in 6 months (we usually cruise with Celebrity) and our first on the Emerald Princess. Although we’d lowered our expectations after our first Princess experience – this one week cruise was liberally ... Read More
This was our second Princess cruise in 6 months (we usually cruise with Celebrity) and our first on the Emerald Princess. Although we’d lowered our expectations after our first Princess experience – this one week cruise was liberally peppered with disappointments. We were excited to have booked a mini suite, and whilst my husband was happy to have a bath to use (I prefer showers), the bathroom was disappointing in that the same basic toiletries were supplied, with no extra frills. Additionally, although the ship is supposed to have had a major refit, they obviously forgot the toilet seats as ours was scratched and had dubious looking brown stains ingrained within. Needless to say, much extra paper was used in covering it on each visit! We were offered a fruit choice to be delivered to the room, but after 2 days it still hadn’t arrived and had to be re-requested. We also expected a larger balcony, and whilst the seats reclined and had footstools, there was barely enough room for two of us to sit comfortably at the same time. Our major source of disappointment with this cruise, however, stemmed from the various dining opportunities - involving both quality of food and the service provided. We knew from our previous cruise that the Horizon Court and Café Caribe buffets were both small and overcrowded with limited choices, but we didn’t expect such poor quality of food. Whilst looking appealing, we soon became familiar with the saying ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’. The cakes and muffins were beautifully decorated, but were often dry and inedible. Toast at breakfast was mass produced in advance and resembled hard and dry floor tiles (not that I’ve ever eaten a floor tile) and the French bread could have been used as a secret weapon if we were attacked by pirates. Being vegetarian, the lunchtime options were very limited (more about this later) and in the end I settled for a sandwich and chips. We, along with most passengers it seems, selected anytime dining. During our last cruise in November, after the first night, you could request a dining time for the following night from the maitre d’ and all seemed to go smoothly. On our way out of the dining room on the first night, we requested a table for the following night, and Romeo (a surly man whose name does not fit his personality) barked that we had to telephone the ‘dine line’ to book a table. As a rule abiding person, I duly telephoned the dine line at 8am the following morning, only to be told most emphatically, that tables could not be requested in advance. Even when I said that I was following instructions, we were told that we couldn’t request a table. We again mentioned it to the charming Romeo who was adamant that we should phone the dine line. We didn’t bother again. Instead, we had to queue each night, often being given a table buzzer to let us know that we could be seated. Now, whilst we are friendly people and like meeting new people on cruises, we prefer to eat at a table for two, so that we may or may not chat to people alongside. On one particular evening, we, and the couple behind who also requested a table for two, were seated at tables that were so close to each other (no more than two inches apart) that we might as well have been seated at a table for four. As it happens, they were friendly and we had a very enjoyable conversation, but still….. As mentioned earlier, I am a mainly vegetarian, (I will eaten some limited fish) and the options for dinner were extremely limited. One evening the chef ‘forgot’ to prepare a vegetarian option (although the maitre d’s equally surly assistant argued that this wasn’t so – perhaps she couldn’t read a menu!). In fact, Miss Misery, Romeo’s sidekick, liked to argue most things we said. It was only thanks to a lovely trainee manager called Maria from Peru that I managed to get a meal most nights as she took great pains to bring me forward menus and to arrange alternatives if necessary. However, the chef was either very poor at making ‘off piste’ meals, or simply couldn’t be bothered as a vegetable soup consisted of cut up vegetables floating in salty water and a mushroom pasta dish was so watery it needed its own flotation device. There was also the mystery of the magical appearing broccoli. One evening my husband Malcolm requested some broccoli with his main course (how unreasonably demanding of him). The waiter, on bringing his meal and being asked where the broccoli was, told my husband that there was none left on the ship. Anywhere. The following evening, being seated at a different location, with a different waiter serving us, Malcolm again requested broccoli. Amazingly, a large portion appeared with no difficulty at all! You may think that perhaps the ship had taken another delivery of broccoli, but as we had been at sea that day, we think it unlikely to have been helicoptered in especially for us. We leave you to draw your own conclusion to this. However, our greatest criticism must be reserved for the Afternoon Tea Incident. I love formal afternoon teas, but can rarely persuade my husband to go to them, so I was delighted when he agreed to join me and another couple we befriended, to tea on a rainy sea day afternoon. After we had been seated at a table for 8 (with four people we had never met before), Malcolm quickly nipped back to our room for something. The waiter appeared and started pouring out tea for everyone. I asked if he could pour tea for my husband too as he would be back in a minute. After shouting aggressively, ‘Who?’ and my repeating this three times, he refused to pour out the tea, saying that he would do it when my husband returned. He then proceeded to pour out the tea, wagged his finger at me and shouted ‘And don’t complain if it’s not hot!’ I was left speechless (an unusual event for me) and the others on the table (who I had never met before) said that he had been ‘unbelievably rude’ and one American lady said ‘Well, you’ve been schooled haven’t you!’ They all agreed that I had done nothing to warrant this outburst and were shocked by it. When my husband returned a couple of minutes later (his tea was still hot) I told him what had happened. At that moment the Head Waiter came along to ask if everything was alright and Malcolm told him what had happened, and pointed out the waiter to him. Malcolm asked if the head waiter would deal with him, or would he like him to. The head waiter was apologetic and said that the waiter would be dealt with by him. Later that day, the Food and Beverage Manager (Sildui) called the room to apologise for the incident and said that the waiter had been disciplined. He seemed to think that a second hand apology would suffice. It won’t. I said how embarrassed I had been by his behaviour and how it had ruined my tea experience. He didn’t seem too bothered by this and just apologised again. The following day, Luciana (the supervisor at Passenger Services) also called to apologise. She said that it was all they could do and thanked me for bringing this to their attention. When I said that I was dissatisfied with this, she said that she could do no more (no mention of a face to face meeting, or a meeting with senior staff). When we said that we will bring it to the attention of Head Office she said that was fine! Don’t they care about leaving the customer satisfied?? We will certainly be communicating with Head Office! One other thing that was apparent, and may account for the poor service, food and the fact that the staff seemed totally disinterested in the passengers, was the fact that there were no senior officers or staff in attendance on deck. We only saw the cruise director twice, on stage, when we attended shows, and his staff were only present when they were running quizzes. The captain was conspicuous by his absence. Unlike Celebrity where the officers make themselves known to passengers and can really see what is happening on the shop floor (or deck in this case). In order to get some on board credit, we have put down a deposit for a future cruise. However, we checked that it is totally refundable, as unless there are serious improvements made, and our ongoing tea issue is resolved, we will be availing ourselves of this refund. Read Less
72 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
Caribbean Princess 12 Night British Isles Cruise May 6~20, 2016 Itinerary: Southampton-Guernsey-Cobh-Dublin-Belfast-Greenock-Kirkwall-Invergordon-South Queensferry-Zeebrugge (not Le Harve)-Southampton Caribbean Princess embarked ... Read More
Caribbean Princess 12 Night British Isles Cruise May 6~20, 2016 Itinerary: Southampton-Guernsey-Cobh-Dublin-Belfast-Greenock-Kirkwall-Invergordon-South Queensferry-Zeebrugge (not Le Harve)-Southampton Caribbean Princess embarked in Southampton, which is about 80 miles from the center of London, about 65 miles from London Heathrow, and about 90 miles from London Gatwick. Fortunately, dawgs have several transportation options to the ship: Princess shuttle, taxi, bus or train. Sea Dawg left from central London and pre-booked a National Express Bus from Victoria Coach Station to Southampton Coach Station (about 15 GBP/21 USD – bus and train ticket prices are determined by date and time of travel.). There are trains from central London to Southampton (about 38 GBP/56 USD). Southampton has four cruise ship terminals spanning about two miles across the waterfront. Healthy dawgs who know the direct route to their cruise ship terminal and have minimal luggage can manage the 15-30 minute hike from the bus or train terminal. Many dawgs hire a taxi (about 9 GBP/13 USD). Caribbean Princess, a modified sister to Star, Grand, and Golden Princess, was intended for Caribbean/southern climate so it lacks a sliding roof over a pool deck for shelter in poor weather. It begs the question what were Princess top dawgs thinking when they scheduled Caribbean Princess for northern climate British Isles and Baltic cruises? For that matter, what was Sea Dawg thinking when he booked Caribbean Princess for an early season British Isle cruise? The weather on this particular cruise was predictably chilly, windy and rainy and Caribbean Princess was not designed for this climate, though I suspect by mid-summer this will not be a concern. Embarkation: Sea Dawg checked-in after 3:15 p.m. There were no lines and no waiting. Our ocean view stateroom was available upon boarding. We debated booking a balcony stateroom and our decision proved correct because the weather was too chilly, windy, cloudy, rainy, even foggy to enjoy a balcony very often. Our stateroom did not appear to have received any updating. Our bedding was at the end of its useful life. Fussy pooches know to bring their own scented bar soap, specialty hair shampoo and conditioner, and toilet tissue. The liquid stuff in the shower and the scratchy single-ply toilet tissue in our stateroom might be suitable for two star dawg kennels, but not what dawgs pay for on a “premium” cruise line ship. Welcome aboard Stingy Princess! (I’m hoping suites and Aqua class fared better.) We prefer having no minibar in the fridge. Our TV programming was mostly repeating Princess infomercials, classic movies, and news commentary channels. The daily guide Princess Patter and other brochures greeted our arrival. For a cruise line that touts its environmental consciousness, we probably discarded enough advertisements throughout our cruise to housebreak a litter of puppies. There's a Princess smart phone app and a laptop website that supposedly helps keep dawgs aware of events (if and when they are updated), announcements and accounts. Our always pleasant steward kept our stateroom immaculate. There's a mandatory muster before sail away and dawgs must bring their life jackets. Crew members scan every ship card and muts who skip will have a private muster party later. During the muster talk an alert dawg will hear “… in the event of an evacuation passengers will board their life boat or raft.” Say wha-a-at? Passengers in a raft? Can’t Stingy Princess afford to buy more lifeboats? A pointer dawg will locate the canisters beside the lifeboats that hold the rafts, ropes, and ladders/chutes. Some believe rafts are only for the crew, but others count the lifeboats and do the math. Whatever, the directions for deploying the life rafts and climbing down the hull into the inflated raft are clearly displayed for passengers or crew. Let’s pray a muster is the only time anyone needs to wear their life jacket aboard this ship. The central Piazza is the hub of activity and feature talented musicians and performers throughout the cruise. Unfortunately, seating is limited and mongrels sometimes competed for chairs. On the first day and during peak hours, the elevators were jammed and getting one proved a challenge. One Pekinese fancied worming onto a loaded elevator only have to exit for causing a weight overload. Sea Dawg appreciated that photographers were less pushy, but their photo shoot set-ups sometimes restricted passageways. Dawgs should consider the value of the high quality DVD’s cruise videographers are creating. Sea Dawg agrees with salty dawgs who growl that Princess has changed, and not for the better. Many classify Princess, Holland America, and Celebrity as “premier” cruise lines. Show dawgs for Princess may be offended, but it seems there is evidence to make a case to classify Princess down to “low premium” status. Sea Dawg is Captain’s Circle Platinum and I’ve watched this “best loyalty program at sea” devalue to almost worthlessness. Insolent Captain’s Circle host, Colin Sim, sponsored one, and only one, gathering on this 12 Night Stingy Princess cruise. (There were two gatherings on Emerald Princess’s 3 Night cruise in March, 2016!) The grub: It takes some effort for chow hounds to determine where best to eat. Horizon Court buffet posts the main dining room menu, but not their own. One night Horizon Court had fried shrimp, another fried scallops, and another Peking duck that were not available in main dining. The complimentary Horizon Court buffet offers dawgs the widest variety, all-you-can-eat, self-serve meals aboard. You might see a Rottweiler piling her platter high with bacon here. There are three complimentary main dining rooms: the "anytime" Island, early fixed/late anytime Coral and the fixed time and seating Palms. (It was nightly entertainment to watch silly dawgs prance into Palms demanding this or that table already assigned.) They publish the same menus. Patient (sometimes very patient) dawgs will be rewarded with elegant table settings and fine service. The loosely interpreted dress code is smart casual; there were two formal nights on this cruise. The menus featured prime rib, duck, an awesome seafood chowder, coq au vin, scallops, lamb, pheasant, shrimp, lobster, and steak. Most entrée portions arrived small and sides smaller, but chow hounds could request seconds. There were some ingenious "soups" (think smoothies) and incredible desserts. Sea Dawg admits he doesn't eat this well during most weeks ashore. Inexcusably, when an inattentive chef dawg sent meals that arrived with undercooked meat, undercooked rice or break-all-dente-noodles they were sent back to the galley. In the Palms main dining, Stingy Princess even watered down the A-1 Steak Sauce! The 24-hour International Cafe, where Stingy Princess does not offer complimentary coffee, is home to the best complimentary sandwiches aboard. Vines host the best wine list aboard and serves tapas and sushi. Both surround the Piazza. Sharp dawgs are keen to know that crossed Union Jacks in the Crown Grill mean complimentary “pub day” lunch: the fish and chips lunch and bangers and mash lunch are favorites. (Here Stingy Princess watered down our Heinz “thick” catsup!) Prego Pizzeria (once the “best pizza at sea”) now hands out wilting slices with limited and thin toppings. Trident Grill doled out burgers and, after 6 pm, BBQ. The complimentary Ice Cream Bar now has quite limited flavors. Not that many dawgs took notice because the chilly, windy and sometimes rainy weather kept many dawgs away from these outdoor venues. On the other paw, the complimentary afternoon tea, sandwiches and sweets in the indoor Coral was well attended. Otherwise, complimentary snack foods and candy were scarce (savvy dawgs pack their own). Between meals complimentary water, coffee, and tea might be fetched when Horizon Court is open (savvy dawgs pack drink mixes to stir into their water). Well-heeled dawgs will probably find more satisfaction dining in the cover charge Crown Grill (steaks and seafood - $25) or Sabatini’s (Italian - $25). The shows: More misses than hits. Early shows were more crowded than late shows. The entertainment on your cruise may be different than ours. The theater sound hound kept the volume uncomfortably loud. There were two outstanding headliners: Beatles Celebration and Celine Dion impersonator Tracey Shield. Afternoon “Folkloric” shows featured quality Irish singing and dancing or Scottish pipes and dancing. Some sail aways were accompanied by pipes and drums on the dock. Even the popular "Movies Under the Stars" was plagued with chilly, windy and wet weather. Only a few Siberian huskies watched under the clouds movies huddled under the blankets munching cold popcorn. In this port intensive itinerary there were not an abundance of planned onboard activities. This seems intentional to draw unwary hounds into revenue generating bingo, shops, bars, spa, art auctions and, of course, the casino. The sales were more hype than substance. The Final 3-Hour Onboard Outlet Sale had the same merchandise at the same price as the previous sales. The two main pools sprawl across mid ship. There are also two small, adults only pools. Forward is the tranquil Spa Pool near to the free gym and sauna, the pricey spa, and the underused, overpriced (and often windy) Sanctuary. Astern is the Terrace Pool next to a bar and short trot to the buffet. Pools, hot tubs, and loungers went begging most days because, as I keep writing, it was too windy, chilly, cloudy, and sometimes rainy to use them. Sea Dawg appreciates that bar waiters were respectful and not pushy. They were also efficient and quick to clear your table if you left it unguarded while you dashed to the head. Security cameras can be spotted most everywhere aboard. Security, which is more about protecting company property, employees and liability, was not very obvious. Sea Dawg stopped by Guest Services and obtained an accounting statement early the final sea day to avoid the long lines that would form there the next day. I had time to carefully inspect it and found that our statement was thankfully but disgustingly accurate. This is the moment inattentive dawgs discover they spent more aboard than on their cruise ticket. Our final statement arrived at our door 5 a.m. the last day and it was very quick and easy to verify. Like most cruise lines, Princess offers a variety of overpriced shore excursions available at all ports. Averaging about $100 per person, inattentive dawgs can spend more on Princess shore excursions than on the price of the cruise. Shore excursions are cash cows for the cruise line but, as the cruise line warns, independent sightseeing comes with risks. The extra cost of the cruise ship shore excursion purchases (1) convenience (your tour bus is usually near the ship, unless tendering) and (2) an assurance the ship will wait for your tour group to return before it sails away. Dawgs have to decide for themselves if the convenience and assurance is worth the surcharge. Sea Dawg has not found cruise line shore excursions to be consistently higher quality or safer than independently booked tours offered by reputable and established companies. Salty dawgs will tell you cruise line shore excursions often divert to an overpriced souvenir market (whose owner often paid a promotional fee). On this itinerary, Caribbean Princess usually docked within walking distance to public transportation stations, but dawgs with limited mobility may not have a choice. At each port you have four options: (1) hop on an awaiting tour bus to enjoy the expensive guided excursion you purchased from the cruise line; (2) meet a private guide at the port who you pre-booked on your own; (3) bravely venture into the unknown — hopefully with a guidebook and good map — and using whatever public transportation is available and affordable; or (4) stay aboard the less crowded ship. Sea Dawg has done all four and there were times I made the right choice and times I regretted my decision. Hopefully dawgs are aware Cruise Critic is a great source of valuable information, advice, and experience that facilitates making the right choices for your pack. Announcements pertaining to going ashore were followed by a warning not to eat or drink anything away from the ship unless it was factory sealed, canned, or bottled. This is experienced traveler precaution, but salty dawgs familiar with statistics know most Norovirus outbreaks on a ship are attributed to unsanitary conditions aboard and careless handling of uncooked, "fresh" food. There were also warnings about pick pockets and cautions against bringing valuable jewelry or large amounts of cash ashore. Though it was mid-May, the British Isles weather was not comfortable. The temperatures ashore were usually in the 40’s in the morning and about 55 degrees by mid-afternoon. Dawgs came to expect a rain shower or two each day. Though the summer tourist crowds are larger, Sea Dawg advises taking a mid-season British Isles cruise. If you prefer the cooler shoulder season, book a British Isles cruise aboard a ship designed for cruising in a northern climate. The ports: Guernsey Channel Island: This was out first port and it was a tendering port. Castle Cornet is beside the dock and is an easy self-guided tour (compared to Cruise Tour $89). We arrived on Liberation Day when the German garrison surrendered to the British. Most shops were closed for the celebration and parade. We took the 1 (one) GBP around island hop on/off public bus. It began to rain. Captain Nicolo Bommarco halted tendering to move anchorage into deeper water as the tide went out. Hundreds (no exaggeration) of dawgs lined up and waited up to two hours (again, no exaggeration) in the rain for a tender. Only when the Captain realized his sail away time would be delayed a few hours did he launch more tenders, ultimately hiring a 400 passenger ferry to get cold, soggy dawgs back aboard. Did our “Consummate Hosts” Maitre d’Hotel, Angelo Balbiani, or Hotel General Manager, Andreas Pitsch, provide towels or a hot tea for his cold and wet guests? No! In fact, there was never an apology nor even an acknowledgement that this happened or that Princess was in any way accountable. Many dawgs expressed that passenger health should be as great a concern to the Captain (and the Princess company he represents) as passenger safety. A special commendation is owed the port hosts from Guernsey who stayed with stranded passengers until all were tendered. Cobh (Cork), Ireland: Non-European Union passports were collected by our cabin steward the night before as “required by Irish Immigration Authorities”. Dawgs received a receipt and their surrendered passports would be returned a few days later. The currency is the Euro. Savvy dawgs will have researched how to obtain the most favorable currency exchange rate using their bank card. Sea Dawg booked a Paddywagon Shore Tour (an unmistakable big green bus in sight of the dock) going to Blarney Castle, Cork English Market, Kinsale and Cork churches (49 Euros/54 USD includes Blarney admission). The local bus and train stop is within sight of the dock so independent dawgs have easy and affordable access to touring options. Our day was mostly cloudy and a chilly 55 degrees high. Dublin, Ireland: Princess provided a $16 round trip shuttle from port to downtown where dawgs had access to public transportation and a hop on/off sightseeing bus. Savvy dawgs will have researched and pre-planned or pre-booked tours. The local currency is the Euro. There is a 3 Euro Dublin bus from the ferry docks that serves Dublin County, but it can be very crowded during rush hours. In Dublin tour options include the Dublin Hop On Hop Off Tour Bus, a light rail LUAS (serving Dublin), Irish Rail DART (serving coastal Ireland), Irish Cycles rentals, and Dublin Discover Boat Tours on the River Liffey. Sea Dawg booked Paddywagon Shore Tour waiting within sight of the dock for Glendalough, St. Kevin’s Monastery ruins, Wicklow Mountains and Dublin for 39 Euros (Trinity College and Book of Kells admission 11 Euros not included). Our day was too foggy to see Wicklow Mountains clearly and we managed through a chilly 53 degrees high, rainy day in Dublin. Belfast, Ireland: Again Princess provided a $16 shuttle from port to downtown. Paddywagon Shore Tours went to Giant’s Causeway and Belfast (49 Euros). The local currency in Northern Ireland is the British pound, not the Euro. Sea Dawg opted for the Titanic & City Tours narrated hop on/off bus (two separate tour loops for 10 GBP). Our day was a welcomed partly cloudy, windy, and a mild 61 degrees high. Greenock, Scotland (Gateway to Glasgow). Savvy dawgs study a map of Scotland. Glasgow and another destination on Caribbean Princess’s itinerary, Edinburgh (South Queensferry), are only 42 miles apart. Dawgs have decisions to make to avoid disappointments because some cruise ship shore excursions overlap (for example, Stirling Castle is offered from Glasgow as well as from Edinburgh). Glasgow is Scotland’s largest city, is on the River Clyde, and we found its buildings darkened by pollution, grime and soot. So dawgs might consider a private tour through the lush landscape to Loch Lomond and Stirling Castle. Or while in the neighborhood, research a private tour to Inveraray Castle. In Greenock, dawgs can walk to the Greenock Train Station (go through the shopping mall) and ride to Glasgow Central on the blue ScotRail Train for 6.40 GBP/9.30 USD “with return” versus $79 Princess "Glasgow On Your Own" transfer. Ask the ticket agent for a return schedule from Glasgow Central (which has 17 platforms). There is a red, double decker, open top, Hop On Hop Off narrated tour bus in Glasgow (13 GBP all day). Our day was cloudy, windy and a chilly 51 degrees high. Kirkwall, Orkney Islands, Scotland: The town provided a free shuttle from the port to Kirkwall. Dawgs will discover Kirkwall is an easy walking tour featuring the 12th century St. Magnus Cathedral, but our walk was challenged by a windy, rainy, and quite chilly 46 degree high day. Dawgs may take a 3 hour round the island local tour bus, or ferry to Shapinsay Island for a look at Balfour Castle, or check out a tour to the prehistoric Skara Brae. Invergordon, Scotland (Gateway to Inverness): Sea Dawg took local bus 25X (a courteous local guide will point you to the local bus stop near the port gate) from Invergordon Port to Inverness City Center. Then take local bus 217 into the beautiful highlands to Urquhart Castle Car Park. There is an entrance fee for very picturesque Urquhart Castle ruins located on the banks of infamous Lock Ness. As our Scottish driver remarked, “If ya sees the monster-r-r, say hello to me mother-in-law for me.” Take local bus 219 back to Inverness City Center, then bus 25X back to Invergordon Port. Total cost: $40 versus Princess Tour $200. Our day was partly cloudy and a chilly (especially down by the lake) 54 degrees high. Dawgs may also research and book a Loch Ness boat tour (this day it would have been a cold ride), a private tour to Fort George and Cawdor Castle, or a private tour to Chateau-style Dunrobin Castle. South Queensferry, Scotland (Gateway to Edinburgh): Caribbean Princess is too tall to go under the high Firth of Forth Railroad Bridge so this is a tendering port. Dawgs are instructed to get a ticket to board the tender, but no one checked or took the ticket. There is an information booth at the dock where dawgs can get directions to the train station (4.60 GBP with return) or local bus (10 GBP with return) into Edinburgh Center. Both train and bus stop near Edinburgh Castle atop Castle Rock. Savvy dawgs pre-purchase tickets online {http://www.edinburghcastle.gov.uk/visit/tickets-prices} into Edinburgh Castle (16.50 GBP/24 USD) and bypass the really long lines that form at the ticket counter. Start early at Edinburgh Castle then walk down the Royal Mile checking out the landmarks and shops along the way. The Royal Mile ends at Holyrood Palace (10 GBP). There’s an Edinburgh double decker, open top, Hop On Hop Off narrated tour bus (15 GBP/22 USD) but it can’t travel down the Royal Mile. Le Harve, France (gateway to Paris): Cancelled mid-cruise due to Le Harve dock workers joining a strike. Of course Princess refunded those who had purchased Le Harve shore excursions. Derided Captain Bommarco probably heard the howls all the way to the Bridge as he made this announcement. Le Harve was one of the featured ports in this itinerary and dawgs had planned excursions to Paris, chateaus, and the beaches of Normandy. Though Princess has no control over the weather or dock strikes, for many hounds already disappointed with Caribbean Princess, this development robbed them of their last bone. A broken dawg sitting near us during the announcement disclosed this was his first, and probably only, chance to visit the grave of a father he had never known who was killed on D-Day. Zeebrugge, Belgium (gateway to Bruges and Brussels): This port was a bone Princess added to the itinerary to substitute for Le Harve. Zeebrugge port is a busy freighter port with minimal cruise ship facilities. Cruise ship pedestrians are not supposed to walk to the port gate so the port authority operates a shuttle to the port entrance, if dawgs can find it. Bruges historical center is about 10 miles from Zeebrugge. Getting to Bruges is not yet so simple, but adventurous dawgs can take a train or bus from Blankenberg, about a mile from the port. There is a coastal tram service about every 15 minutes from Zeebrugge Kerk (church) bus stop (go right at dock gate) to Blankenberg train (and bus) station (3 Euros). The ticket from Blankenburg to Bruges costs 3 Euros. There is a train about every hour. The Bruges station is close to the historical center. The trip is only 15 minutes. Look for a two way shuttle from Zeebrugge to Bruges and back for cruise passengers (20 Euros round trip), but dawgs will need to check to determine if and when it is operating. In the Princess kept it a secret category: the King and Queen of Belgium were hosting the King and Queen of Jordan on an official visit to Bruges on our partly cloudy and mild day. So in addition to the pomp and circumstance, there were enormous crowds, high security, and closed streets and venues. Sea Dawg recommends taking the canal boat tour (8 Euros). Horse drawn carriage rides are also available (50 Euros per couple/family). The “Bruges Madonna” (1504) by Michelangelo (and popularized in the movie Monuments Men) is in the Church of Our Lady (admission 4 Euros); the sanctuary is undergoing renovation. Shopping dawgs will find amazing varieties of Belgian chocolates, waffles, lace and over 300 available Belgium beers … be mindful of the bringing alcohol aboard policy and customs limitations … or as a St. Bernard barked, “Why wait?” Debarkation: Sea Dawg had only carry-ons (yes, for a 12 Night cruise) so he selected express departure, by-passed luggage claims, breezed through customs and was out the terminal by 7:00 a.m. Sea Dawg had pre-booked National Express Bus from Southampton Coach Station to London Heathrow Terminal 5 (about 20 GBP/30 USD). There was no direct train from Southampton to London Heathrow. The airport security check-in took about 40 minutes, but wait times increased during the day. Things to consider packing: a waterproof and hooded jacket, long sleeved outerwear, hat, an insulated resealable drink container, bar soap, specialty shampoo and conditioner, toilet tissue, power strip extension cord, good walking map of ports, waterproof walking shoes, favorite snacks, hard candy, drink mixes, band aids, and over-the-counter remedies you often need. Princess publishes a list of items (like colas) not to pack. Take the advertised perfect vacation cruise with a good dash of sea salt. Dawgs who board with realistic expectations (i.e., British Isles weather), that not everything will go their way, who can adhere to their budget, and be flexible in their schedule will find this British Isles cruise pleasant. That's why I booked, and that's why I enjoyed this cruise and recommend it to you ... provided you book a ship designed to cruise cooler, northern climates. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
Emerald Princess, 2nd July 2016, Northern Europe. This was our 3rd cruise having been twice with P&O on Aurora in 2014 and Britannia in 2015. We won’t be using Princess again and I would like to share our experiences. I am sure ... Read More
Emerald Princess, 2nd July 2016, Northern Europe. This was our 3rd cruise having been twice with P&O on Aurora in 2014 and Britannia in 2015. We won’t be using Princess again and I would like to share our experiences. I am sure plenty of people had an enjoyable week and I am pleased for you if you did. I found many things to be totally not up to standard and as such my review will not be positive. I’ll break it down into categories: Embarkation: Very, very smooth. Yes, it is a bit odd to have numbered cards as you wait in line, but it is a system that appears to work. Good for the suite and elite passengers to get to queue jump...I find that to be absurd and a little demeaning, but it is what it is. Those extra 5 minutes must be worth the pushing in, eh? Cabin. We had an outside cabin with a fully restricted view. This did not bother us as we rarely used the cabin other than for sleeping and changing. You could see the sea or the quayside to see if we were docked, etc, so no problem and a fair bit of cash saved for spending elsewhere; cash you’ll need, by the way, the ship is very expensive. The shower is small, as per expectations, but the shampoos and soaps are a bit cheap to say the least. The bed, as reported elsewhere, was magnificent. Food. Dire. We are generally quite easy to please and my wife is a vegetarian, but not a fussy one, if you know what I mean. But the non-meat options are so poor, she barely had what you could describe as a full plate for most of the cruise. She had to ‘piece together’ suitable meals and all had to be fish with no special vegetarian meal on offer. The buffet is way too small and there are nowhere near enough seats in the Horizon restaurants with breakfast being particularly shambolic. We shared tables, often, which is fine, but it is not a good set up at all. The buffet food was a bit strange, we felt, and the concept of vegetables is misunderstood. If there is a carvery, for example, have carrots, peas and green beans instead of just one with several potato variations. Strange. We only went to the anytime dining restaurants on one occasion and had that been a paying restaurant (well, I suppose we did pay up front...) I would have challenged a number of items on the bill, not least the ‘gourmet burger’, which was poor. We sat down and were asked if we wanted sparkling or still water. I asked for sparkling and so had to pay, though I didn’t know this at the time and no-one said anything...the sharing table guests got still water...free. This sort of mealy mouthed money grabbing leaves its mark and I hope they are pleased with themselves for it. Ports of call: Really, just really? In a nutshell: Bruges. It is not Bruges, it is Zeebrugge, a soulless container port. Bruges is miles away and Princess made it very clear in their port description that taxis from the port exit were ‘not plentiful’. Plus, as Zeebrugge is a container port, you cannot just walk off the ship and make your way to the exit. You could, of course, buy their trip into town for an amazing, amazing, amazing price of $179...each. This is laugh out loud ridiculous. Money grabbing, did I mention that? We stayed aboard, fed up, not knowing how to get to Bruges. Many people went to Blankenberge for about €10, I think, but the itinerary said it was Bruges...no, it was a container port and the sales pitch for a Princess partial excursion monopoly. Copenhagen: Fine. Helsingborg: Nope. Too windy for tenders, so we carried on towards Oslo at walking pace. Safety first, we have no problem with that, of course not. We also got $18 each refunded for the missed port as a port tax rebate. That bought a single drink! Lol. Oslo: Fine, but it left at 15.30 hours...we had missed the previous port, so why not extend this one? Oh yeah, it would probably have cost Princess more, of course. So, 4 ports...well, we got 2 and a container port. Useless. Entertainment: We only checked out the theatre on the last night and saw the very talented Neil Lockwood, very good he was too. We generally avoid cruise entertainment as it is not really our thing, but he was excellent. The theatre is large. Staff: In general they were a delight. However, the more ‘elevated’ staff were not, particularly the Cruise Director, who I found to be generally awful. I’m sorry to be specific, but I was unsure what he brought to the show other than his starring in his own intergalactic movie attitude. Tune in to Channel 29 in your cabin and you can watch him and his sidekick embarrass themselves each morning. We watched it as it was so bad, you just had to. Self-indulgent and childish, it was at best patronising, at worst a pair of adults behaving like gushy school children. Truly dreadful and I’d be all over this if I was running the ship. Haha, that’s likely! Do you really need to have his young woman sidekick being quizzed about not having a boyfriend? That is plain creepy. Am I interested in how the Cruise Director ‘keeps an eye’ on his favourite football team? No mate, I am not. The worst bit about them is how they are totally on-message with the Princess trademark upselling. When asked about the best restaurants aboard, the woman started to pretend to be thinking before coming up with 3 choices...all of which ‘she loves’. Which 3 do you reckon, then? Correct, the extra charge ones! Do me a favour the pair of you...One assumes she doesn’t join the fist fights in the overcrowded buffet then or, indeed, is not a vegetarian or a lover of fresh vegetables. Ridiculous and just out of touch with many passengers. I know some people will like the skittish banter but it is just endless and vacuous, it really is a tired formula. Holiday camp?...maybe. On the extra sea day because of the Helsingborg issues, they came up with a great idea for entertainment...making paper planes...I kid you not. The front desk staff were surly and unhelpful. Sorry, but that is how we found them. I loved the separate velvet rope section for elite and suite passengers...again, really? Do they actually push in like this anyway? Shopping: Awful. Expensive and lacking in choice. My wife bought a bag which was reasonably priced once they had applied the advertised 30% discount to bring it back to the price on the mainland, groan. We found another bag for my daughter back home, but we noticed it appeared to be damaged as we took it to the till. They whisked it away without any offer to knock a bit off. I raised this with the Retail Manager who brushed it all off a little too easily; fact is, I think, the same bag will be back on the shelf on the next cruise or back to the retail outlet village it came from. Buyer beware, that’s all I’m saying. The fragrances are more expensive than on the mainland and everything, everywhere is in dollars, by the way. It is an American ship, so fair enough. But it does slightly affect the cruise experience for Brits sailing from, erm, Britain. Go figure. The art auction: This needs its own section because it was so totally dreadful. Our ‘invite’ was received and the idea of free bubbly definitely got my wife’s interest. Sure, you can choose not to go, but it was a sea day and we were intrigued as to what this auction would be like. I have asked Princess directly to talk to me about our experience at the auction because what I saw does not sit well and I wish to establish what was going on. It was pressure and squeeze and foam and blather, laughable from start to finish except for the bit when bidding started after the auctioneer had taken an age to butter up the increasingly bored audience before she started her comedic selling patois as well as the hyper speed auctioneering spiel. Honestly, we were giggling like kids...perhaps good enough for Channel 29. The art work itself was a mix of horrendous garish coloured works together with stuff you can see in any school art department, no better. Just our two cents! Bars: Wow, expensive. They whack on a service charge on every drink, so we felt miffed about being asked for an additional $12.95 per day, per person for gratuities. We removed these and tipped our room steward ourselves, a lovely guy called Michael. Just increase the price of the cruise by $100 and do away with this contentious gratuity issue, it really does nobody any favours at all. There is a happy hour (2nd drink for $1) in the Skywalkers ‘nightclub’, which is worth taking advantage of if you are late up each night, as we were, though you’ll need to be able to withstand the same standard playlist of music each night...the opening hours of the bars is a little skitty and seem subject to alteration without notice. Generally, they are fine, it is the prices that are not, they are way out of order. Disembarkation: As easy as getting on, absolutely first class. I guess the suite and elite people get carried off on thrones...who knows! The only gripe is that they want everyone out of their room by 08.00. which leads to everyone piling for food in the already inadequate Horizon area...well, not everyone but a lot of people. Given that fellow cruisers love to place bags on chairs designed for actual humans, an act of selfishness that too many cruisers seem to enjoy (not all, but too many), you will find it hard to get a seat. Very hard. The weather was mainly superb and we had plenty of laughs. But it was not great, not by a long way. Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
We picked this cruise to get a break and some spring sunshine. After 400 plus previous nights with Princess including several cruises on Emerald, and other cruises on Royal Caribbean, Ocean Village, Cunard, Discovery, Nobel Caledonia, ... Read More
We picked this cruise to get a break and some spring sunshine. After 400 plus previous nights with Princess including several cruises on Emerald, and other cruises on Royal Caribbean, Ocean Village, Cunard, Discovery, Nobel Caledonia, and so forth, this was a bitter disappointment. Some aspects were very good - embarkation, our cabin (a minisuite) and our excellent cabin steward, friendly staff, disembarkation. Many other aspects were not good. Food - wonderful food to remember is one of the big features in Princess' advertising. Three examples to give the general flavour. On night two I picked chicken from the menu. It was as tough as old leather. I asked for salmon as a replacement - arrived with the outside barely cooked and the inside almost raw. Night four, we ate up in Horizon Court and I picked what looked to be nice beef stew. Now, I cook beef stew to be tender enough to cut with a fork. This, I couldn't even cut with a knife. Night seven, as my main course I picked the 'famous chef special' chicken and leek pie which arrived on its own, no vegetables, no nothing. On removing the top I found the innards to be half air, no leek at all, and the chicken bits were tough and grissly. By this time another chap at our table was rejecting the unsatisfactory replacement for an unsatisfactory replacement for an unsatisfactory first choice, so I gave up. My basic impression is of an inability to cook basic meat, fish, poultry properly and consistently together with poor supervision of food leaving the galleys. We complained verbally and in writing. By reply, we received a printed 'sorry' card together with six chocolate coated strawberries. All very nice, except the six strawberries were instead of and not in addition to the canapes we had ordered. There was a plus point. We didn't gain weight. Entertainment - general standard far below what we are accustomed to on Princess ships. Only two production shows for this 11 night cruise. The length has been cut from the hour plus of a few years ago to only 35 minutes. The standard of solo entertainers was variable - some good, some poor. Many daytime entertainments seemed geared more to making on-board sales than to entertain. Much was made of the ship running a 'The Voice' competition - which, basically, is getting the passengers to entertain themselves. Lotus spa - grossly overpriced Staff training - many, many times I formed the impression of staff trained to 'deliver an item' in one particular way irrespective of what the customer wants Drinks -weak and expensive. Another matter. For our previous cruise, Princess deducted the final payment from my bank account twice, making me unexpectedly overdrawn. Luckily I noticed just before a couple of direct debits were about to bounce. My bank was very nice about it and Princess said they would give (me and my wife) a meal at a speciality restaurant on my next cruise in recompense. Guess what? Yes, a meal for one.. Front desk.... Oh dear. Some staff's English was too basic for their task Other passengers' impressions. For me, the 'killer' was several experienced cruisers each who was on a Princess ship for the first time all telling me they will never cruise with Princess again. They were comparing with Thomson, Royal Caribbean, P&O, Silver Seas. My big question ......We hadn't cruised with Princess for over a year. Is our poor experience typical of current Princess, or is it unique to this particular freshly refurbished ship at this particular time? I don't have an answer. . Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
Hi went on Emerald Princess 26/04/2016 from Southampton getting onboard brilliant cabin excellent new beds are fantastic entertainment acceptable condition of ship even after refit average then lets break down the actual living on ship ... Read More
Hi went on Emerald Princess 26/04/2016 from Southampton getting onboard brilliant cabin excellent new beds are fantastic entertainment acceptable condition of ship even after refit average then lets break down the actual living on ship buffet restaurant is the best place to eat although food could have been hotter choice and standard good the sit down dining is terrible we ate twice in the di vinci restaurant waiters want to take your order the exit you as quick as possible not allowing both diners to finish their meal then straight away next course then when completed start to clear table while you sit there absolutely disgusting Drinks the prices are terrible I had a single whiskey with 15% tip worked out to £6.82 a good cruise to cure you if you are an alcoholic we brought the soda package all right for first drink when they see pre paid tend to give you a wide berth maybe they get commission on sales There are lots of staff from different countries some very difficult to communicate with due to their lack of English onboard were 99% English Always trying to sell you something upmarket prices average service the best way you can sum up Princess Cruises 3 star hotel in Benidorm As stated we brought soda package you could have pump soda but not itns of coke you had to pay for these Cinema on deck very good good choice of films Embarkation is a joke shut several lifts down causing chaos took my luggage down the stairs otherwise would have missed embarkation slot Read Less
23 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
This was our 17th cruise - the 4th with Princess, the remainder with P&O. Our previous Princess ships were the Island, the Regal and the Royal, so we knew what to expect - or so we thought! It's my fault - I should have done ... Read More
This was our 17th cruise - the 4th with Princess, the remainder with P&O. Our previous Princess ships were the Island, the Regal and the Royal, so we knew what to expect - or so we thought! It's my fault - I should have done my homework better. The Emerald Princess is smaller than the Island, yet carries almost 1000 more passengers. It really should be renamed the 'SS Sardine'. The good - our cabin was very good. Immaculate and kept so by a very friendly and efficient cabin stewardess. It was on C deck, so had a very generous balcony, only half of which was overlooked by the deck above. So far so good. The crew were (mostly) very friendly and helpful - although some were clearly quite new to the job. I say mostly friendly. The security staff retain their facial impressions of a bulldog chewing a wasp at all times of course. No change there. And if you had a query which resulted in 'computer says no' you were in for hours of fun. All very polite incompetence of course.... Clearly the Princess 'suits' don't like their staff using their own initiative. The dining staff were very good...the food mostly OK, but not as good as the Royal or Regal. The bad - Overcrowding. The Emerald Princess is seriously under-resourced for 3000 passengers. 2000? - maybe, but 3000? - no way! The Horizon Buffet is way too small, both in seating capaclty and serving areas. Unless you took breakfast at 6.30 sharp - or after 10.15 - you stood virtually no chance of finding a seat without using very sharp elbows. This is not a ship for the meek. The seating in public areas - around the Piazza for example - is woefully inadequate. If the weather was less than perfect, you constantly encountered hoardes of lost souls wandering aimlessly looking for that elusive seat, giving up and taking their tea and cakes back to the cabin to eat on their own. This overcrowding is a serious problem on this ship, which will probably backfire on Princess eventually - although there are probably several thousand new potential customers who will need to discover it all for themselves, so they'll not change anything, I suspect. Such a shame, after the excellence of the Island Princess in 2013 (before they added another 121 cabins to that ship!) The worst example was the Skywalker 'disco'. Because the trip was Southampton to Southampton, there were a lot of Brits on board, but sadly rather too many 'Ronnie Pickering/Reggie Kray wanabee' types, with their attendant partners. These folk simply took over the very small disco, the female of the species reserving their seats with little handbags, and returning to 'dance' on teetering heels with Ronnie/Reggie on the tiny dance floor. Ordinary folk who deigned to visit this enclave stood no chance.. and usually just walked around forlornly for a bit, sighed and left. The ugly - this overcrowding seriously affects the ambience of the ship. On more than one occasion, I witnessed snarling altercations over individual chairs. The Ronnie/Reggie 'ladies' usually won. The meek may inherit the Earth. They are certainly very unlikely to find anywhere - other than their own cabins - to sit down on the Emerald. That's for the chosen few. Had it not been for the overcrowding it could have been a very good cruise. As it was, it was our first and last on the Emerald Princess. Shame. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
Emerald Princess had just undergone a major refit, so we were interested to see what had changed. Sabatini's had become “Share” (now 29 USD extra) and part of the Wheelhouse had become the “Salty Dog Gastropub” (also an extra) ... Read More
Emerald Princess had just undergone a major refit, so we were interested to see what had changed. Sabatini's had become “Share” (now 29 USD extra) and part of the Wheelhouse had become the “Salty Dog Gastropub” (also an extra) but we were not tempted to try them. Nor the updated gym. We did, however, love the comfortable new luxury mattresses. The addition of 100 communicating doors might be fine for families but if you are allocated a four berth cabin having requested two single beds it is like being in a tiny dormitory. GENERAL The ship was 100% full with 3,100 passengers, mostly from the UK, making it more like P&O or Saga. With the Caribbean on their doorstep, there was not the usual mix of 50% Americans and other nationalities. As always, the service was universally excellent and everybody was made to feel very welcome. PORTS Having stayed on the various islands several times, this was more of a reminiscence trip than an adventure but it was interesting to see how the destinations had developed. After 3 days at sea, it was good to go ashore at Las Palmas when we reached Gran Canaria. Tenerife is more interesting and we discovered that the Tourist Office runs a shuttle bus to Puerto de la Cruz (19 euros return), which is easier than using the local bus. Lanzarote was rather deadly and even the Arrecife Tourist Office on the dock remained closed. Had we realised it was a May day holiday, we would have explored the geology of the island instead. Madeira is still a delightful place and we enjoyed visiting the market then the botanical gardens via the cable cars. We had visited Santiago de Compostela recently, from La Coruna, so decided to look around Vigo instead. We obtained four self-guided walking tours but gave up after plodding around the Old Town, which is not very exciting. LECTURES With several days at sea, we attended lectures in the theatre and some excellent Spanish classes. Rod Repton gave some entertaining talks about his experiences in the police force but the port talks were mediocre and delivered in a condescending manner. Slide shows of places Ken had visited during his 17 years in the job were of no practical use to the many passengers who prefer to “do their own thing”, so we were pleased that we had browsed the Internet before embarking. ENTERTAINMENT Theatre entertainment in the evening was of variable quality, starting with a really poor comedian but ending with the lead singer of the Hollies, who was great. There were two female singers, who seemed well received and a couple of other acts that were quite entertaining, including Mike McClean, who was really funny. The resident singers and dances only performed on two nights and the second show was new to us. Unfortunately, the production team had made it look more like a video arcade, so the artists were poorly lit and the audience were dazzled by flashing lights. They also still fail to understand that the band should not drown the singers and that nobody enjoys having spot lights shone in their face. There was no show for second sitting diners on the last night and the timing of Princess’s version of The Voice was not smart with a 7.30 pm start. FOOD AND DINING We had opted for second sitting dining at 8.15 pm and enjoyed each evening with two other couples. We also chose the Boticelli dining room for breakfast, lunch and even afternoon tea whenever possible. We noticed that steak had been down-graded to beef-burger on the alternative evening menu but there was generally a good choice for each course. The food was of a consistently high standard and the waiters were cheerful, friendly and efficient. Our only criticism was that breakfast was rather leisurely and frustratingly slow at times. The Managers appeared to recognise this but helped by re-laying tables rather than organising their staff. SUMMARY Sailing from Southampton is very easy and this is a good cruise if you can get it at a competitive price. The destinations are not wildly exciting but it made a timely Spring break. Princess remains our preferred cruise line and with over 500 Elite level passengers on board others seem to like it too. Having re-read my earlier review from May 2014 (“Rock ‘n Roll from Southampton”), it seems that little had changed but at least the weather was calmer this time. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
26 April 2016, Southampton to the Canaries. The Imbarcation and disimparcation was very orderly and efficient, Onbord I noticed that the East European staff are not as friendly as staff from other nationalities, the food in the dining ... Read More
26 April 2016, Southampton to the Canaries. The Imbarcation and disimparcation was very orderly and efficient, Onbord I noticed that the East European staff are not as friendly as staff from other nationalities, the food in the dining room and buffet was extreamily good and the dining room waiters where very friendly and efficient, at peak time the buffet areas was very congested as there wasn't enough tables, the theatre performances where poor in comparison to other cruise companies only lasted 30 minutes and lacked variety, there were no activities around the pool areas, there was too much time dedicated to art auctions and wine tasting, overall too much time was dedicated to try and get more money from you. A big disappointment regarding the gratuity system, on top of the 15% per day per person charged, each time you make a bar or dining room purchase you will be charged another 15% gratuity, the good thing is that if you go to the front desk you can opt out from paying the 15% daily gratuity, almost all I spoke to had opted out, I feel that this extra 15% gratuity charge is not fair and is creating a negative effect on the staff because the majority of people are opting out from it, the staff are not receiving a top up on their very low wages. A small effort was made to remove towels from the unoccupied deck chairs, on my previous Golden Princess cruise to Hawai this didn't happen and by 9 am all deck chairs had towels on it and not been anoccupid until after lunch. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
The embarkation was the best we have had. The evening meal got off to a poor start. Steak pie in a pot was on the menu, and that was all you got - no potatoes, no vegetables. Was told there were vegetables in the pot. The pastry was cut ... Read More
The embarkation was the best we have had. The evening meal got off to a poor start. Steak pie in a pot was on the menu, and that was all you got - no potatoes, no vegetables. Was told there were vegetables in the pot. The pastry was cut open - no vegetables to be seen. Had to ask for some. Breakfast next morning, waited over an hour to get it. Breakfast next day, waited over an hour again. Thought it was time to complain. Maitre de said , come and see him personally next morning. Shouldn't have been necessary. The meals, without going into a lot of detail, were no where near the standard on previous cruises on Princess Line. We felt there were signs of penny pinching. The shows in the Theatre were also third rate. The dancers, out of 12 nights were on twice. There were some good individual performances, but overall the entertainment was of a low standard. We have been on cruises before, so we are experienced in comparing one against another. The food lacked variety, however, we did enjoy some of the meals. Drinks on board are exorbitant, probably the most expensive of most cruise lines. There was a veterans meeting on board for former servicemen. It was arranged in a restaurant at lunchtime with live music in th background. The organiser arrived and we had to move to a quieter area. Just a lack of foresight and planning. There were far too many instances like this throughout. Maybe small things to some, but we paid good money for better service. There was a lot of complaints about similar things when we spoke to other passengers. It could well be our last cruise on the Princess Line. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
Embarkation was excellent. We were soon aboard and no huge queue for security. Cabin was as expected. Steward, Conrado, was excellent and kept it spotless. Requests were soon carried out. Muster drill was dragged out and exhausting for ... Read More
Embarkation was excellent. We were soon aboard and no huge queue for security. Cabin was as expected. Steward, Conrado, was excellent and kept it spotless. Requests were soon carried out. Muster drill was dragged out and exhausting for those who had had long journeys and couldn't find a seat. Weather was mixed and seas a bit choppy round the islands. We were fixed dinner, early seating. Our table for 6 was great and we had a great time with the other folk there. The waitress and waiter were very good. Nothing too much trouble. However they had far too much to do as they now have to provide the drinks as no more wine waiters. Food on a whole was ok but lacked the wow it used to have. No longer steak to choose from on the always available menu. However the chocolate journeys on the dessert menu were wonderful. The entertainment was very very disappointing. Only 2 shows of 35 minx with the singers and dancers. The comedian was dire and folk walked out. There was no alternative act on in one of the lounges as there used to be. Far far too many silly game shows one of which was obscene. We walked out of that. It was very difficult to get seats in the lounges in the evening. After a fruitless search one evening we ended up in Skywalkers to find there was not even a bar open there until 10.00 pm. Princess is missing out as there were a good number of people sitting there. The coffee bar was always packed too. The ports were fine but in Tenerife and Lanzarote most places were closed due to Sunday and Bank Holiday. We took the ship's excursion to Santiago. That was very good. Overall all Princess seems to be interested in us getting you to part with your money. Expensive drinks and too many pay extra eating places. Most were never busy. Staffing seems to be cut all over and there was often long waits for drinks. The cruise director did very little but his staff worked hard. Overall this was the poorest Pricess cruise we had been on and it did not make us rush to book again. We will certainly be looking and comparing with others in the future. Disembarkation was not good. The Platinum/Elite lounge was far too small for the number of passengers trying yo get in. We were travelling by coach and our cinch company were assigned times over an hour after the other company travelling to the same destinations. It meant we did not get home until 10.00pm. Not good enough. Wake up Princess and give us the type of cruise what we are used to getting. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
This cruise was selected because 1we enjoy the canaries 2 we had travelled on princess previously and had be very satisfied. the transport (eavesway) were two hours plus late in picking us up. not a good start. wehad to be rushed ... Read More
This cruise was selected because 1we enjoy the canaries 2 we had travelled on princess previously and had be very satisfied. the transport (eavesway) were two hours plus late in picking us up. not a good start. wehad to be rushed through embarkation(not princess line fault). once on board as usual we found that the cabin was excellent, clean and comfortable. the staff were attentive and friendly. diningroom staff that I was served by were excellent and help to make dining a pleasure. Entertainment I felt was mediocre.princess own troupe, on the night I went to see them on stage for only 35 mins. the first 3 days were spent at sea,and as another passenger said to me"it was like being at butlins". it was noisey. obviously the ports of call suited me and hopefully they did others. it is taken that these liners are a commercial organisations, but it was a little upsetting that whilst having a drink you touted for one of the franchise restaurants. THE CREW COULD NOT HAVE BETTERED AND PRINCESS LINES SHOULD BE PROUD OF THEM. disembarkation was well organised and went smoothly in my case. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
We chose this cruise as we had never been to The Canaries. Ship was very busy and like others on this cruise we could not get a seat in International cafe or crooners bar and had great difficulty getting a seat in Horizon at breakfast and ... Read More
We chose this cruise as we had never been to The Canaries. Ship was very busy and like others on this cruise we could not get a seat in International cafe or crooners bar and had great difficulty getting a seat in Horizon at breakfast and lunch. Our biggest complaint are the Tips. We paid the tips but feel cheated as it seems that others did not. Princess should increase the price of the cruise and include the tips. The staff do an excellent job and deserve to be fairly compensated. Good choice in all restaurants. Share specialty restaurant was a great experience - plenty choice of seating there. Excellent choice although expensive. We only attended 2 shows, one was very good , one was not so good. It would be good if the food theme for the Horizon evening buffet was intimated in the Princess Patter the night before. We stumbled across an excellent Indian buffet which we could easily have missed had we gone to the traditional dining option. Our steward Raymond did an excellent job looking after us. Cabin excellent, kept scrupulously clean with a bath and spacious balcony. Very comfortable bed and pillows. Not much to see in the ports which were mainly industrial due to size of the ship. We did not take any organized tours. One shuttle bus was free, another we were charged $10.00 each when the distance was readily walkable. Overall a nice cruise but it would appear we paid more than most due to the gratuity system. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
My wife and I were looking for a different cruise from the norm to celebrate our anniversary. We had sailed on the Emerald previously (and her sister ships) so the ship was quite familiar to us. Embarkation was one of the easiest we ... Read More
My wife and I were looking for a different cruise from the norm to celebrate our anniversary. We had sailed on the Emerald previously (and her sister ships) so the ship was quite familiar to us. Embarkation was one of the easiest we have ever experienced. We started our trip five days early in London and took the transfer from Victoria Motor coach Station to the ship. We arrived at the port around 11:30 and I figured that we would have to cue up for a while before getting on the ship and being guided to the buffet till our room was ready. No line and the cabin was ready before we got on. Total time from bus to cabin was fifteen minutes, fantastic! Our cabin was E220 and was better than I had expected. The beds were placed on the side of the room instead of the back and it made the cabin seem larger that it was. The room was an obstructed port hole room but it was not overly obstructed. The lifeboat outside the cabin was a smaller one and not one of the tenders which gave us a pretty good view. The only thing that you have to watch out for is the frequent crew going past the window for maintenance or testing. The shows were pretty good but not fantastic, The first comic though was not to my liking. I am one of the people who really enjoys the trivia contests, so having lots of them was great for me. I do wish that the prizes hadn't become so cheap. We do play for fun but a prize other than a key chain, fridge magnet or pen would be nice. The ships on board activities (Princess in general) don't overly excite me, so besides the trivia, I mostly find quiet places to read. The Skywalkers lounge is a pretty good place for some quiet time during the day. The pools are all open air on this ship and with the cool air for the first three days meant that going for a swim was out of the question. The pool was well heated which would have permitted swimming but getting out of the water would have not been nice. This is not the fault of the ship, except that they could have used one of the other ships which have a convertible roof over one of the pools, for this cruise knowing that it is cold in April in Britain at this time of year. I mostly try to avoid the buffet as I prefer to go to the dining room for my meals. Days in port the dining room is closed but there are other options besides lining up in the Horizon buffet for your lunch. We were ashore at every port (that's why we went on this cruise in the first place), which meant that we sometimes didn't get back till the afternoon and didn't feel like ruining our dinner. On a few days at sea they had pub lunches in the Wheelhouse bar where you can enjoy a nice British pub meal. The ship's shore excursions were pricey (aren't they always) so we did our own. Princess Cruises generally have a higher content of older passengers (as do Holland America which we have also cruised a lot on), but for some reason this cruise had a higher percentage of mobility challenged patrons. I have not seen the quantity of scooters that I saw on this cruise. If you can use the stairs I highly recommend it or you will be waiting for an elevator for quite a while. All in all the ship gave us exactly what we were looking for, a good vacation to a place we hadn't been to yet. Read Less
23 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
We had never been to the Channel Isle and thought this was an ideal way of combining seeing Guernsey, enjoying a short cruise and trying out a new ship and cruise line. What an mistake. The passengers were so many that we unable to find ... Read More
We had never been to the Channel Isle and thought this was an ideal way of combining seeing Guernsey, enjoying a short cruise and trying out a new ship and cruise line. What an mistake. The passengers were so many that we unable to find anywhere to sit, bars didn't cater for non drinkers if they required a coffee when we were able to find seating. Queuing for up to 25 minutes in the Horizon buffet at breakfast when they closed a servery 1 hour and 10 minutes prior to lunch. By the time we found somewhere to sit to eat, the food was cold. Eating and drinking from plastic crockery. Waiting up to 45 minutes for a seat in anytime dining for an evening meal. The international cafe where coffee was served must have only seated approximately 60 -70 people if that. There were several hen parties on board and people walking round the ship with bottle of beer and glasses of wine, making it look like Blackpool at sea. The cabin, although small had no natural light as there was a tender straight outside the window, an 'obstructive view' - be careful and check your cabin before making the booking. Was comfortable with plenty of wardrobe and drawer space. The steward didn't clear away anything that had been left in the room, like dirty plates or used glasses. The first night entertainment the with the ships singers and dancers was excellent, after that the entertainment went down hill. There were many first time cruisers on board and I don't think the ship has done itself any favours, as there was so many like us would never book with princess again. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
We choose Emerald Princess on a taster cruise to try the Princess line, we were bitterly disappointed. Embarkation and disembarkation was good The cabin was basic and the toilet smelt of stale urine, the shower curtain was very old. ... Read More
We choose Emerald Princess on a taster cruise to try the Princess line, we were bitterly disappointed. Embarkation and disembarkation was good The cabin was basic and the toilet smelt of stale urine, the shower curtain was very old. Our cabin steward kept the cabin clean and was very helpful. The Botticheli restaurant was ok but the food on an evening was just 3 courses, no cheese and biscuits as an extra and you had to buy any coffees. The Horizon buffet food was cold every day we visited in the hope it would get better. The breakfast was terrible, the sausages were either under cooked or burnt, the choice was minimal. The show in the theatre was only 35 minutes long. It was difficult to get a seat in any of the bars and the service was slow. We were disappointed as they advertise that you come back new !!! This wasn't the case. We will stick to P and O in the future as they give a much better service. We have sent a review to Princess but have not received a reply. We choose Princess as we thought they would be an enjoyable few days in the hope we could book a full cruise in the future. Even the shopping arcade was disappointing with a very limited supply of perfumes. There was no kettle in the cabin, you had to go and buy hot drinks, we tried this but there were no seats in the small cafe area. It is such a shame. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
First of all, we have travelled many times with Princess and I normally rate them highly. I was so disappointed to find the usual Princess standards had fallen off a cliff onboard Emerald Princess. What happened to all the crew? The ... Read More
First of all, we have travelled many times with Princess and I normally rate them highly. I was so disappointed to find the usual Princess standards had fallen off a cliff onboard Emerald Princess. What happened to all the crew? The ship was so under staffed it was annoying. It took ages to get a coffee in the Piazza... there was always a queue... it was ridiculous. The same can be said of the many bars around the ship, just not enough staff. We had the drinks package, but I don't think we got the most out of it because it took so long to get another drink etc! Embarkation was good and we were on the ship in no time. We found our balcony cabin (Baja 307) which was fine. A standard Princess cabin. It did feel old though and I think Princess needs to up it's game (excluding the new Royal Class). I've travelled on Celebrity and the newer Royal Caribbean 'Quantum' class.... both are way ahead in terms of interior design. One thing that they have got right is the beds! Wow! Wonderful! We ate in the main dining room, which was only just fine. Clearly the food quality has dropped and again, the lack of staff was visible. The second night, we ate in the Crown Grill. The food was good, but the service was far too slow. My steak was very over cooked, but I had already waited too long, so didn't complain about it. The weather was good for the first 2 days, a lovely sail away from Southampton and the following day we used the Gym in the morning followed by a good run on the Promenade Deck... it was bliss. Our day in Guernsey was let down by the weather - showers, cold and windy! However, we made the most of it and enjoyed our look around St Peter Port. The trip on the tender was not so nice and I was very glad to get off! Yes I would sail with Princess again, if the price and itinerary was right. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
Cruised with Princess for the first time and doubt I would go with them again. Emerald is a large ship with plenty of things to do and places to eat, drink or just sit and relax, generally the ship was clean and tidy. The cabin was okay ... Read More
Cruised with Princess for the first time and doubt I would go with them again. Emerald is a large ship with plenty of things to do and places to eat, drink or just sit and relax, generally the ship was clean and tidy. The cabin was okay although not cleaned very well, there were stains on the cupboard doors, dust on the light switches, a broken mirror, the same crumbs on the table all week long, the carpet never vacuumed, the bathroom floor stank of urine, there is no kettle or iron in the cabin. Dining in the dining rooms, de vinci and michelangelo was poor, food was below restaurant standard, I'd give it 3 out of 10, had steak pie one night that had no steak, beef wellington with raw pastry, if they served veg at all it was tasteless and over cooked, eventually gave up on dining rooms and ate in horizon buffet where food was a little better but finding an empty table was always a challenge. Entertainment was average, nothing special and like many of the activities things only ever lasted half an hour! Service from the staff was again average and most of the time too in your face, the second you finished your food they'd swipe away the plate and constantly hover over you to sell you drinks. The ports were good though excursions very expensive so made our own arrangements, the day in La Rochelle was spoilt slightly by the very long queue and 45 minute wait for the bus back to the ship, the tenders to Guernsey were a disaster, total lack of organisation, waited over an hour to leave the ship - they tried to blame fog but visibility across to Guernsey was not a problem, the crewe and staff were amateurish and simply poorly organised. Everything on board was very expensive, there was a 15% gratuity charge added to everything you brought including drinks at the bar. They also charge ever passenger $25 per day for gratuities including the children which is an utter disgrace - be warned and have this taken off on your account immediately. Overall Princess are too sloppy, standards are too low, staff poorly trained, food below average, poor organisation, prices way too high, their strap line is 'come back new' - it should be 'come back poor', I came back but would not sail with them again. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2016
Very disappointed the entertainment was very poor nothing like the tv show the cruise only had 2 short shows with the dancers and couldn't believe that there was no show on last night just a film the food wasn't very hot and the ... Read More
Very disappointed the entertainment was very poor nothing like the tv show the cruise only had 2 short shows with the dancers and couldn't believe that there was no show on last night just a film the food wasn't very hot and the queue to get food but you had to wait most of the time to find a table even in the waiter service restaurants you had to queue to get in also the organisation to get us on and off the ship at 2 port was a nightmare we got handed a ticket and you had to wait for your number to be called we waited over a hour both to get off the ship and to get back on the ship it wasn't just me complaining a lot of people were I'm disabled and most of the ports we went to was very hilly that is not emeralds fault the cabin was very nice and i liked going on the balcony there was a lot of wardrobe space and the beds were very comfy the maid was always wanting to come in our room when we were in she even woke us up after a late night talking with friends which we was not happy about as we wanted o sleep it was my husbands first cruise and he said he doesn't want to cruise again but if he did he wouldn't go with emerald again we saved up for this cruise and we were gad to get home. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
the embarkation process at Southampton was excellent, after checking in at the desk we only sat in the waiting lounge for 5 minutes maximum, everyone of the staff we spoke with at Southampton was friendly and kind. We boarded the ship but ... Read More
the embarkation process at Southampton was excellent, after checking in at the desk we only sat in the waiting lounge for 5 minutes maximum, everyone of the staff we spoke with at Southampton was friendly and kind. We boarded the ship but no one to direct you to your cabin which seemed a shame as loads of people not knowing which way to go. we found our cabin and it was excellent. unfortunately the food in the main dinning room was not up to the usual standards we have come to expect, but the waiters were very good but no wine waiters, the drinks are served by the assistant waiter and if you want a second drink with your meal it comes just as you finish your meal. Entertainment was most nights a guest act and the shows only last 35 minutes, the on-board entertainment dancers and singers only did two shows all week, there was only three waiting staff taking drinks orders in the theatre, so if you want a drink while watching the show best take one with you. also the service in the other lounges was very slow, in the international plaza it took us 20 minutes before a waiter came and took our order and after no drinks arriving after another 20 minutes I went to find out what had happened only to be told be with you in 5 minutes, we finally had a drink after 50 minutes of waiting. the ports of call were all very good, we did our own thing in each port, there was free shuttle buses in France to take you the 20 minute drive in to town. the shuttle bus and tender ticketing system was not very well organised we heard people talking about not getting into town until four and half hours after docking. the disembarkation back in Southampton was again excellent but you had to have your case outside your cabin door by 10 pm at the latest on the last night , most other cruises we have been on this has normally been midnight. this was our second cruise with Princess. have also cruised with P & O, saga, Celebrity, Fred Olsen and Thomson. Read Less
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