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Sail Date: October 2014
Myself and my wife went on Emerald Princess for our 2nd cruise. (Having previously been on the Crown to Norway in 2013) Embarkation was particularly smooth and trouble free,so that was the start we wanted. The Horizon court was ... Read More
Myself and my wife went on Emerald Princess for our 2nd cruise. (Having previously been on the Crown to Norway in 2013) Embarkation was particularly smooth and trouble free,so that was the start we wanted. The Horizon court was crowded,but always expected in the first few hours of boarding,we like to think we are patient and seats opened up quite quickly. We were informed by the Captain that we were in for a rough first 48hours...he wasn't wrong,gale force winds and gloomy skies followed.... And a touch of sea sickness for many. After the 2nd day,the weather changed,and apart from a freak day in Tenerife (Thunder, lightning, and up to our waists in rain water) it was gloriously warm. The service aboard Emerald Princess was superb.... Our room Steward was fantastic in all ways,going above and beyond a number of times for us. The food will get no complaints either,having eaten in the Horizon court during the day and de-vinci in the evenings. All the staff were exceptional,helpful and always friendly and the food in general beautifully cooked and presented at all times. Contrary to what I have read in previous reviews, I thought the ship itself was in very good condition and was a joy to be aboard. We didn't do any excursions on this cruise,but found plenty of places to go and things to do by foot,with just a little pre-homework and the really informative lectures on each place given prior to visiting. Madeira, Gran Canaria were definately our favourite's, lots to see even without excursions!! The entertainment,we thought was generally good,not all to our taste,but always something for everyone,and all really talented. Talking of entertainment, prior to this cruise I had heard and read a lot of good things on roll calls and similar about the Cruise Director (Kelvin Joy).........I can now understand the rave reviews,Outstanding is one word......to give an idea-The Explorer lounge was packed to breaking point long before the entertainment started,and this was day in,day out.......all the entertainment staff made for a great experience, all friendly,all taking time to speak to everyone on or off duty!! Disembarkation could have been better,but this wasn't down to Princess, more down to people going missing, so staff had to locate them!!! Overall superb cruise,Well done Princess...... We will be back!!!   Read Less
Sail Date: August 2014
Just returned from a 7 night cruise on the Emerald Princess along fjords in Norway. I went with my 13 year old daughter. We have both cruised on the Emerald before when we did a 10 night Western Caribbean cruise 2 years ago. Embarkation. ... Read More
Just returned from a 7 night cruise on the Emerald Princess along fjords in Norway. I went with my 13 year old daughter. We have both cruised on the Emerald before when we did a 10 night Western Caribbean cruise 2 years ago. Embarkation. We had a 2.30 slot and we arrived at Southampton at 2. There was a long queue but we proceeded through checking and security very quickly. We were on board by 2.50. Cabin. We had an inside cabin and our steward was the lovely Luney. Our cabin was A336 For the 2 of us the cabin was fine. I've never cruised in an Inside cabin before. When my husband joins us we usually book a Balcony. The room also had two upper berths so potentially it could hold 4 people. In my opinion that would have been extremely cramped. It was bad enough telling my teenager constantly to stop leaving clothing on the bed, floor etc. the bathroom though small was adequate. It had a shower, WC and sink unit. By the time we went to our cabin out luggage was already outside the room. Very impressive. We had missed lunch so we went up to Horizon Court on level 15. It was crazy busy. Vast array of good but the crowd and then trying find seating afterwards was very off putting. That was my first and only stressor of the holiday. We unpacked our clothes and went on top deck for whilst the ship was manoeuvring out of Southampton and Portsmouth. Dining. We had anytime Dining which gives us flexibility. We had dinner in the Michael Angelo dining room every night. We shared a table every night. It was lovely chatting to new people each night. The majority of cruisers were British with a few Americans and smaller amounts if people from other parts of the world. Food. Food was ok. I don't know why but the choices seemed less varied than previous cruises I've been on. And every beef dish I ordered was cooked incorrectly when received. I have never had that before and I have cruised a lot! I definitely felt that there was less crew in the dining areas and I felt service suffered for it. We had Afternoon Tea on the first sea day. The service was dreadful. The tea is only 1 hour and you are usually offered several trays of delicious nibbles. The day we did it, the waiter offered food to two people on our table and then walked off. re hello? There are 6 more of us? Service was very slow and we were offered 2 trays of nibbles in the 40 minutes we were there. Very disappointed. Our table was asked by the Head Waiter if everything was ok. He got an onslaught of complaints from everyone. It was quite funny. Ports. The ports were Stvanger, Arlsund, Skjolden, Bergen. All were gorgeous, scenic and relaxing. I literally felt my stress melt away. I loved the evening sails ways just sitting on the deck and absorbing the panorama along the fjords. Very similar to the Scottish a Highlands but it didn't feel bleak. I suppose because we were there during the summer. Movies under the Stars. Weather wasn't conducive for enjoying outdoor viewing but Million Dollar Arm was good. I didn't do evening entertainment, I tend to find it a bit old fashioned for me. Overall, it was an enjoyable cruise, but I think the Nickle and Dime cost cutting measures are tainting the overall standards on Princess. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2014
We were looking forward to travelling on a Princess ship again after a 5 year break during which time we had 2 cruises on P&O's Azura. It was our perception that Princess were better than P&O purely based on our experience. ... Read More
We were looking forward to travelling on a Princess ship again after a 5 year break during which time we had 2 cruises on P&O's Azura. It was our perception that Princess were better than P&O purely based on our experience. Sadly we can now say that Princess's standards have slipped when it comes to food in particular and to some extent on service although that decline is not so marked. The departure from Southampton was smooth and efficient and our mini suite was ready and spotlessly clean. Our luggage took a long time to appear as did that of others on our deck to the extent that I was beginning to get just a little anxious as to whether it was actually on board. This was our second cruise since the Costa Concordia disaster and it was good to see that attendance at the Muster is now monitored by 'zapping' individual cruise cards. A second drill was held 30 minutes later for those who had missed (deliberately or otherwise) the first and this was completed before the ship sailed. This was in contrast to a previous cruise we were on where those who missed the Muster had to attend the next morning which as we now know would have been too late for the passengers on the Concordia. We had opted for Anytime Dining which has become very popular but were not at all impressed with the choice of meals and the standard of presentation which at times showed obvious signs of the food having been plated well in advance and having sat under a hot lamp. Silver service has also disappeared. The Horizon Buffet also did not impress us as it had before. However as with everything there are exceptions. We had two evenings dining in the Crown Grill and one at Sabatini's and the food in these venues was fantastic. Also, mention must be made of the International Café which became our favourite place for a light lunch or, if we fancied, one of their delightful cakes. The only problem here was that it is so popular it was survival of the fittest to grab a table! Entertainment on all cruise ships now seems to be increasingly 'in house' using members of the Cruise Directors team. Daytime activities seemed to range from the very juvenile (bean bag tossing competition - for adults!!!) to that which might be found in care homes specialising in dementia care (name these tunes from the 1960s). You could understand why one of the two guest comedians (both very funny by the way) kept referring to his audience as patients rather than passengers! Those on board who joined the Princess Choir clearly enjoyed themselves but it was obvious that while she did her best the leader was not at all musical judging by her style of conducting! I must mention Kelvin the Cruise Director with his Deputy side kick. They were so funny during their morning tv show with just the odd inoffensive and subtle innuendo thrown in. Also Kelvin's throwaway lines at the end of theatre shows were very much on my humour wavelength although I'm not sure many folk 'got' them. Lines like 'tomorrow we are not in port so please don't get off the ship'! On that showing I guess I should have enjoyed the 'juvenile' entertainment more! In general the ship's crew were very friendly especially the room stewards and the waiting staff but some people in positions where they should have been customer friendly were anything but. One lady whose job was to promote future cruises was not a good advertisement for Princess with her aggressive attitude. The ports we visited were all delightful but it seems that courtesy shuttle buses are now relegated to history. I do think that if the ship visits Venice then passengers have a right to expect free travel in to the city instead of the $25 charged. Of course you could look round Venice docks if you wish as it seems that is where Princess wipe their hands of you! As you may have read there was a Norovirus outbreak as in all probability there is on most cruises. It did not affect us and I must say that Princess did step up precautions to counteract the possibility of further infections. It is open to discussion as to whether some of these precautions should already have been in place as standard procedure anyway. I would say though that as much as the Captain and the Ship's Doctor urged people to use their private facilities we witnessed many, many passengers who chose to ignore that advice. Time after time the cruise ships get the blame for these outbreaks but in all honesty there are many passengers who should carry much of the guilt and who no doubt are their own worst enemies. We returned to Southampton an hour or so early presumably so the ship could be deep cleaned. We were given a time to meet for disembarkation (which incidentally is still so much better organised than P&O) and returned to our room 30 minutes before that time to collect our hand luggage to find our names had been removed from the door and had been replaced by the next passenger's. Nothing like making you feel they'd had your money now off you go - a little thing I know but it grated. In spite of what might seem some criticism of our cruise we did enjoy ourselves and accept that there will always be things about any holiday that could be improved depending on everyone's expectations. For us cruising is definitely a pleasurable experience and the ability to avoid airports is a further plus. Sadly Princess have cut back on their UK departures for 2015 and are doing more fly-cruises - one wonders if they have shot themselves in the foot with that as the UK market appears to be very lucrative. Time will tell. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2014
My husband, 8 year old son and I just returned from this cruise. We loved the ship as it is similar to the Star Princess. This is a large ship. Our cabin was in the front and the hallway was so long that I couldn't see the other end. ... Read More
My husband, 8 year old son and I just returned from this cruise. We loved the ship as it is similar to the Star Princess. This is a large ship. Our cabin was in the front and the hallway was so long that I couldn't see the other end. We found this to be both a good thing and also a not so good thing. We loved the food on the ship. From the International Cafe to the Monticello Dining Room to the buffet, we found the food very good. Our son really enjoyed the kids club. There were only 26 kids in his age group so it was not crowded and made several friends. The ladies were all very sweet and I felt totally comfortable leaving him there for a few hours. The ship has two main pools that are open to the elements. They were heated and several people enjoyed them. We had decent weather. Rainy to sunny and an average temperature of 60 degrees. We were excited about the itinerary and had only book a few excursions as they were extraordinarily expensive. So, that left us to either explore on our own or stay in the port city. This ship does not dock in each big city so you have to find your own way or Princess will sometimes provide a shuttle for a large fee. Just get your details down first. If money isn't an option and you don't get motion sickness, take the coach tours. The two we took were very good and our guides were excellent. The internet is EXTREMELY slow and while I was glad to still be able to run my business and check emails, it would sometimes take me ten minutes to log in. The staff was amazing. All friendly and caring. The ship had 50 different nationalities on it but over half were American. While that was nice, I really enjoyed the British passengers. The ship is very clean and has sanitizers everywhere but there was definitely illness amongst the passengers. We really enjoyed the shows, comedian and magician. I would definitely sail on the Ruby again but not with this itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2014
After reading other reviews of this cruise ship and this particular cruise, I wanted to add some comments: Yes, the internet sucked! I pre purchased and got an additional 40 minutes BUT to get my minutes, I had to purchase and then get a ... Read More
After reading other reviews of this cruise ship and this particular cruise, I wanted to add some comments: Yes, the internet sucked! I pre purchased and got an additional 40 minutes BUT to get my minutes, I had to purchase and then get a refund and lost my free minutes!I It normally took a good 10+ minutes to get connected and see my e mail list. Just do the port Wifi's I pre purchased wine and liquor but they refused to deliver it all to my room so I had to call room service again and again and that also involved a tip each time. The cruise director Martyn, was awful. I could barely make it through the morning " news" because he was so arrogant. In person he was worse! Where did they find that one??? BOX WINES? SERIOUSLY???? I would go to the bars and ask for a Cab or a Merlot and they would fill my glass right in front of me from a BOX! I was then charged $7-$8 a glass. Back in London, I saw that wine and it was ten pounds! Boy, did they make out! Shameful! It was apparently a secret whether there would be shuttles at the ports...luckily we are very versatile and made each port work but it would have been nice to know ahead of time. To go to the dinning room, we had to walk the length of the ship to the only elevator that took us to the dinning room otherwise you could not get there. Ridiculous! HINT! I read a lot of reviews about people going from the airport to the ship and being tired. Go in a few days early...we left London and stayed at the Blue Keys for two nights and got up refreshed, had a good breakfast, and took a cab to the ship. EASY!   Read Less
Sail Date: May 2014
This was our 7th Princess cruise but our first since 2009 and sad to say we did notice that standards had slipped in a number of areas. Mainly little things like they no longer produce the daily newspapers for US, Canadian and UK ... Read More
This was our 7th Princess cruise but our first since 2009 and sad to say we did notice that standards had slipped in a number of areas. Mainly little things like they no longer produce the daily newspapers for US, Canadian and UK passengers, a box of tissues in your cabin is no longer standard, but available if you ask, the sun decks were not cleaned to previous high standards and used crockery etc. was not cleared away as rapidly, and, unlike other US lines sailing from the UK, they don’t provide tea or coffee making facilities in your cabin. But by far the biggest disappointment was in the standard of the food, we always found that dining on Princess was exciting with each course savoured, this was no longer the case and the quality of some of the cuts of meat was well below our previous experience. Probably the biggest deterioration was in the breakfasts, we found a lot of the food items in the buffet were at best only lukewarm, whilst in the MDR we experienced very slow service. I highlighted some of these issues during the cruise and to be fair passenger services did take them seriously and we ended up with 3 boxes of tissues! But more importantly the buffet breakfasts did get much hotter. Overall the cruise was still very enjoyable, especially since we were with our 2 sons and their families, and we did get some very good service from most of the bar waiters and those in the MDR. Was it good value, well yes but only because we got 2 price drops honoured by Princess which resulted in the overall cost reducing by 40% from the original booking fee. Whilst Princess continue to give price drops they will likely remain competitive, but their launch prices in the UK are much higher than RCCL/Celebrity or now, on this year’s launch, even their partner company P&O, and as we need to book early to secure an accessible cabin then they would need to be providing a must have itinerary for us to give them our future business. Entertainment. This was typical cruise ship fare with production shows and guest artists in the theatre, but unlike P&O there were no guest artists in the other venues only the ships staff musicians, DJ music or the entertainment staff organising trivia type shows or the Princess Pop Star passenger talent contests. There were however some guest acts performing in the Piazza as well as a couple of pseudo shows from the ships singers and dancers. But Princess do try to pack more features into their Piazza area, as a result it can get very crowded at some times and finding a seat is well-nigh impossible. The lack of guest artists in the other lounges was probably fortunate for us since we found that both the lounges had poorer viewing access of the stage areas than their P&O equivalents, but for canned music this is not a problem. We also found that Explorers lounge had worse access for wheelchairs than P&O’s Tamarind or Malabar equivalents, and as a result we did not use this lounge. There were a fair mix of musicians on board including a string duo, a couple of pianists, a C&W duo, a guitarist and a party band, generally sufficient to find some bar with your type of entertainment. Ports of call. All the Ports of call were our first visits, at none of which did we take any ship’s excursions, mainly because Princess did not offer any accessible tours at all on this cruise, but they did provide free accessible shuttles where needed. La Coruna – The ship berths close enough to the town centre so that a shuttle bus is not needed. It is quite a large town on a peninsular, similar to Cadiz but much bigger and more modern, with a promenade, the Paseo Maritima, following the coast line and providing a reasonably level walk whereas the town centre is quite hilly in places. We did not venture as far as the Tower of Hercules but wandered around the old town and then into the town hall square which has sidewalk cafes all around it. We enjoyed a tapas lunch and then a short stroll back to the ship. Bilbao – The berth is at Getxo which is about 3 miles from Bilbao centre and requires a shuttle transfer of 20-30 mins, provided free by Princess. Unfortunately there was only one accessible bus and it did not run to the provided timetable, as a result we just missed it and decided to let the rest of our party use the normal bus and we went back on board, so I have no real information on Bilbao, other than the family enjoyed it and said it was very pleasant. Le Verdon (for Bordeaux) – The berth is a 3 hr. drive away from Bordeaux and Princess only provide shore excursion tours to Bordeaux or the vinery’s, but they do provide a free shuttle to Soulac sur Mer, however the shore excursion team and even the Captain go out of their way to disparage Soulac, and one of the team even told me that it had little to offer and any beach Soulac had was quite poor and too far away for an easy walk, all of which is quite wrong. The town is only about 20 mins away and although fairly modern is quite a charming little seaside resort. The main shopping street is about a quarter to half mile long leading from the main square where the shuttle drops you right to the sea front which has a magnificent beach and a pleasant promenade. It obviously began as a tourist resort back at the start of the last century and has one or two interesting old hotel buildings on the sea front, and quite a large old market building along the main street with the usual shops selling all sorts of interesting food produce. We thoroughly enjoyed our visit. St Peter Port, Guernsey – This is a tender port and since I was informed that my wife would need to be able to take a few steps in and out of the ships tender and that there were also steps from the dock in the town we decided to stay on board. So we were rather disappointed to find that Princess were also using a larger shore based tender and we saw at least one wheelchair and passenger carried on board this vessel, but by this time the rest of our family had already gone ashore. Conclusions. We had a very enjoyable cruise and cruising still provides a high quality holiday at a reasonable price, but for those of us who have been cruising over the last 10 – 20 yrs. the cutbacks in quality of food and standards of service are quite noticeable. Comparing Princess with other lines we sail, we think they are now very similar to P&O, but have fallen behind Celebrity’s standards, and are probably closer to RCI and CCL itself. This is perhaps not surprising as both Princess and P&O are part of Carnival, but this now leaves Carnival without a main stream high end offering since HAL is a much smaller operation.   Read Less
Sail Date: September 2013
My first view of the Crown Princess was awesome and totally took my breath away! Embarkation went smoothly especially as I use a wheelchair and I was very impressed with the car parking arrangements and the care the attendants took to take ... Read More
My first view of the Crown Princess was awesome and totally took my breath away! Embarkation went smoothly especially as I use a wheelchair and I was very impressed with the car parking arrangements and the care the attendants took to take down the mileage and photograph the car all round to stop any disputes when getting back to it later. My balcony cabin was very spacious and well adapted for a disabled person. Food was excellent and far too much of it! If you were not careful you could go home having put on several pounds...and the room service was always quick and the food, if it was meant to be hot, it arrived hot.The speciality restaurants were wonderful but the cover price a bit steep at $25 per person. There was plenty to do on board on sea days and my friends and I especially loved the port lectures done in the main theatre. All praise given to the lecturer. Entertainment? It's always difficult to find entertainers that will suit everyone's taste but it was always of a great, professional standard and was always well attended so you had to get to the venue to get your seat well before start time. The ship was always clean and tidy and the staff always friendly and polite. I cannot review the shore excursions as we organised private tours that would cope with a wheelchair, but they always looked very interesting, taking in all the main sites and interests of the nearby area that could be fitted in with the time constraints, always bearing in mind the time you had to get back on board without security looking at his watch and tutting at you! The only negative point I want to add is that the ship did not accept debit cards and this is all I possess. I do not own a credit card and it was very fortunate that my friend did so all my expensives went on her credit card for me to pay for on return later. I was REALLY upset about this as I have seen nothing in the literature to warn me of this eventuality. Forgive me if I am wrong. However, it was a wonderful experience especially as it was my first cruise. I have been to places I would not have otherwise been able to visit and been waited on hand and foot...thanks to my wonderful stateroom steward who did a grand job every day. What more can I say ? Thank you Princess Cruises!   Read Less
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