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Princess Cruises: Emerald Princess

Fodorite Reviews

Average Rating
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Jul 24, 2016

baltic sea

We arrived at the Southampton terminal around 12:00 and were placed in a waiting area where free cakes and coffee was available we barely had time for a drink before we were rapidly booked in. Being familiar with Emerald Princess we quickly found our cabin and were soon ensconced in restaurant having lunch. In our cabin we found that all the bedding had been upgraded with lovely new mattresses and pillows but we still had those dreadful clinging

shower curtains. Our first stop was Zeebrugh, having done this cruise before we didn't do any excursions, here we had a walk into Blankenburg as it was sunny but cool, being Sunday there were no shops open. With the rest of the ports it depended on the weather, Copenhagen we saw the Little mermaid and strolled along the waterfront. Stockholm was similar, Helsinki it rained all day so we stayed on board an were surprised by the amount of activities and games laid on by the Entertainment team so there was plenty to do. St Petersburg was again wet the first day, we hadn’t bothered with a Russian visa partly we found it very expensive, partly we'd done the excursions on a previous cruise and finally there was nowhere to stroll near the dock. By now the weather was starting to look up so at Tallinn we explored the old town. Gdynia (port for Gdansk)Was another enjoyable town to visit as it was an easy walk into town. The town was very clean with the wide main street lined with plenty of shops. The weather for the cruise was very disappointing, we booked in July hoping the weather would be fairly summery but the first week was more like March with a very cold wind and the temperature hovering about the 60 degree mark. During the second week the weather improved enough to coach the sunbathers out, and we managed to take full advantage of our balcony. I'm glad to say that the seas were friendly so that even a bad sailor like me had no qualms. There was a good entertainment staff led by Kelvin who on the most part had a good rapport with the passengers making as much fun as possible. The games they put on in the evenings always had crowded lounges, such as liarliar, marriage game and Majority rules and there were plenty of Trivia quizzes where the keen players could win fantastic prizes like a pen or key ring. But majority played for fun and the banter was much appreciated. There were plenty of aerobics classes and almost any dancing lessons with the atrium being the most popular dance floor, up at the top of the ship was a regular disco catering for young and old alike. There was even a Bingo session every day to satisfy the ardent bingo fan. For dining we had plumped for anytime dining, using the dining room for lunch on sea days and the main dining room only after we'd checked the menu for the day, some of the menus seemed to us to have strange items which did not appeal. Other nights we use the Horizon buffet we had the same items but also a lot more besides add the fact that you can have as much as you want. We did not try the speciality restaurants as we don't think the extra charges are value for money. The pool decks appeared to have ample enough loungers with plenty of tables and chairs all along the side especially by the grill bar which incidentally turned out some nice barbecue type food. Overall we found it to be a very enjoyable cruise with plenty to do on sea days and even in port we found

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Nov 26, 2015

fort lauderdale

Just come back from a two week cruise round the Caribbean, it was wonderful, the food was excellent, the cabins were very nice and comfortable, the service was second to none. These dining room waiters in all restaurants work very hard,very polite, and i found it very upsetting at the way the staff was spoken to by some American people, they tolerate these people very well snd keep their cool when they are spoken to in such a disgusting manner. However

i must give very big praises to mo the thailand waiter and katryna the ukraine girl in barchellos restsurant.These two served us for two weeks and were absolutley fantastic,nothing was to much trouble they deserve a big bonus. L. York Brilliant Very nice and clean Very good, but think there should be a animation team to do sail aways, and there should be more music played during the day The last day we did a paddle boat round fort lauderdales waterways, loved it well impressed It was lovely to see all the big pish houses and yschts

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Nov 3, 2015

Did not meet expectations

We've cruised on Carnival and RCL many times and decided to splurge for the wife's birthday and step "up" to Princess. Huge disappointment! Bad food, real bad, many times inedible. Only the breakfast in the Caribe buffet was decent. The Main dining room was horrible. Slow and sometimes rude service and served what was a well presented version of a Swanson frozen dinner. Many other disappointments in cabin steward, entertainment and the constant up-charging

at every turn. First and Last Princess cruise.

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Oct 29, 2015

Caribbean Sampler

Overall the experience was very good. Embarkation was smooth and very quick with little or no standing around waiting. We stopped for lunch before heading to our stateroom and our luggage was waiting for us when we arrived. The steward quickly stopped by and introduced himself and was able to provide us additional general information and departure activities. The wait staff, steward and boutique shop staff were professional and friendly. We

signed up for traditional dining and ate dinner every night in the dining room. The wait staff was excellent and kept the service moving without being intrusive or interrupting conversations. The food was good but not what I would call excellent and certainly not gourmet. The salads and perishable foods were fresh but quite a few of the appetizers, main courses and desserts seemed like they had been frozen. We ate lunches and one breakfast at the buffet and the food was easily as good as the main dining room. The biggest fault with the buffet is other passengers and the traffic pattern. It was very common to be moving along the buffet only to have the line jammed up by one rude and aggressive diner who absolutely could not wait for a dinner roll or piece of sausage. Not sure if Princess has a fix for rude passengers but if you are reading this please try to be considerate of others - that dinner roll will still be there in a few minutes. Breakfast and coffee most mornings was at a small café in the piazza. The International Café has light breakfasts and lunches and for the most part was better than the buffet but I still got a sandwich which had a frozen tomato in it. Service at the café was a little slower than the dining room but the staff was just as cheerful and friendly. We got a mini-suite with a balcony and were very satisfied. The mini-suites have a full size bathroom with tub/shower combination, single sink, and toilet. There is ample room for one person in the bathroom at a time but the main cabin has a vanity where my wife put on make up and did her hair while I showered and shaved. The cabin also had a sitting area with a sleeper sofa which could be used for a third traveler which would be a very good option for a family of three or four. The only problem would be opening the sofa will block off access to the balcony. We used the balcony daily whether we just sat outside reading, watched the ship come into port or having a glass of wine in the evening. To say we really enjoyed having the balcony would be an understatement. Considering the price of a full suite I would definitely recommend the mini-suite with a balcony as an option for budget conscious couples and families. We heard quite a few complaints from other passengers about lifeboats and other obstructions so I would just recommend that you be sure where your cabin is and what your view will be. If you book an interior cabin don't head up to passenger service to complain you don't have a window. The steward was fantastic and was able to provide recommendations about everything on board the ship. The room was always immaculate and the steward consistently went above and beyond our expectations. Princess provides a flyer with the next day's activities every evening but we quickly noticed omissions and inconsistencies with what was really happening. It wasn't uncommon for activities to be listed in the paper with the wrong location or times. There were lots of ship board activities but more often than not we just stumbled across them by chance. The are nightly "shows" in the piazza and Princess Theater but don't be late for the early show or you are liable not to get a seat. The later shows had plenty of seating but aren't always practical because of early morning excursions or other activities. There was a large, very "flamboyant" group of gay travelers who took over the pool at the rear of the ship and the clubs at night. It was kind of an unwritten rule that the rear pool was off limits to other groups and the times we did walk through we got nasty looks and the level of "public affection" seemed to increase. Not sure if it was always like that but the rear pool is directly underneath the child care and teen center so I imagine some parents were surprised by what their kids got to watch every day. I tend to live and let live but it would have been nice to know ahead of time that what groups were cruising along with us rather than feel ambushed. I will stay away from anything with the term "Bear Cruise" from this point on. We booked two excursions, one in Grand Cayman and the other in Cozumel. First was a bicycle tour of Grand Cayman including the Turtle Farm, Hell and then beach and snorkeling. The bikes were in poor shape - mine would not change gears and the chain would fall off when I would try. When I finally got into gear I had to stick with it both up and down hill. On the other hand my wife's bike changed gear all on it's own! The first stop was a Rum Cake shop which was a welcome break from riding broken bicycles. I would highly recommend both the Rum and Rum Cakes in Grand Cayman. The second stop was the Turtle Farm which allows you to get up close to sea turtle and hold younger ones. The next stop was Hell where we got stamps for our passports! Afterwards we went back to the bicycle rental place to catch a bus for the beach but the driver instead took us back to the pier. I think all 25 people on the tour asked the driver why we weren't going to the beach but the driver simply told us he wasn't hired to take us to the beach. My wife and I had booked a massage at the spa on board the ship according to the published timeline of the tour so faced with uncertain transportation and getting back to the pier in time we simply did a little shopping and then headed back to the ship. I filed a complaint with the Tour Desk and ultimately received a refund. The Tour Desk staff was short bordering on rude and kept insisting they couldn't tell us anything without the Tour Desk manager's permission. Of all the staff I would definitely rate the Tour Desk as the least helpful and least friendly. The second tour was the Salsa and Salsa in Cozumel - Best excursion ever! I could tell you all about it but the best thing I can say is GO - great value, best hosts. Look them up on Facebook and GO! Overall we both had a very good time - some things fell short of our expectations while some expectations were met and others were easily surpassed. Most of the staff were excellent but the Tour Desk fell well short of even basic customer service. In the future I will check to see if I can find out any groups or reunions travelling along with us and will research excursions or simply not book them. We already decided to take another Princess cruise - we would definitely go back to Cozumel but we were not crazy about Grand Cayman. Both were beautiful places but our shore experiences definitely affected our perception. I really liked the ship and the spa was fantastic. I had never run on a tread mill on a moving ship so my first trip to the gym was a little interesting. The gym is well appointed and never completely full - I never had to wait for a treadmill or other equipment. Overall I think Princess did a very good job.

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May 19, 2015

Houston - Barcelona

I wouldn't sail on Princess again. The cruise had too many things wrong, culminating in the fact that in port at Sardinia three of the tenders (lifeboats) had engine problems. LIFEBOATS WITH ENGINE PROBLEMS!!! more than 95% of the passengers were seniors and frequent travelers. Entertainment was mostly oriented toward thirty to fifty year olds. Lectures were sales pitches. Shore excursions were poor values at best. The first leg of our trip

took us from Houston to Fort Lauderdale. Meals for these first few days were adequate in preparation but the ingredients were sub-par and the portions thankfully small. When the Commodore of the Princess fleet came aboard in Fort Lauderdale for the remainder of the cruise the quality of the food suddenly got better. The balcony stateroom was clean and pleasant. Just what we'd paid for and expected. Throughout the voyage the presentations and lectures were often second-rate and designed to sell goods or services from the ship and the evening theater shows were mostly disasters. Why? Entertainers consisted of the ships band, the ships theater cast, and contract singers/musicians/comedians. The Commodore declined to perform so I cannot offer a critique, however, I can tell you a bit about the others. To begin, the entertainment seemed to have been designed to please the summer passengers after school was finished for he season. Close to 99% of our cruise passengers were 65 or older. The theater was a sea of grey and bald heads. 1920s jazz, ‘30s to ’50s swing and 60s to 90s rock and folk went over big. Unfortunately, almost all the musical performances consisted of post-2000 creations. The senior audience generally sat stone-faced and scarcely applauded. One number that received great applause was when a performer asked the audience to join in singing Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline" published in 1969. The only stage performance that seemed to please the audience was an evening of Cole Porter songs by the ships dancers and singers. Except for the ships theater dancing/singing group, entertainers on a ship generally are contract performers who change ships at nearly every port. The cruise ships don't like bored audiences. This cruise kept us at sea for almost eight days! To compound the problem the sound mixing was terrible. The sound of the remarkably good ships band generally drowned out the singers voices. The overall volume was eardrum-shattering and it was obvious that the sound control people had never been seated in the audience. The same phenomenon occurred each day in the ships six-deck tall Atrium. Many passengers avoided the Atrium and it's coffee shops because of the high-decible performances by steel pan (steel drum) and guitar players. Once I stopped at the passenger services desk on the second level to ask about a shore trip. Neither I nor the passenger services attendant could hear each other without straining. When I asked the attendant if he could request lowering the sound he shouted that he could not do anything and added that I should ask the performer. I did! I went down the steps and walked up to the performer in the middle of a number. Stay away from the ship's atrium where the constant "entertainment" is deafening and the food is charged to you bill. Unless you like to have the odds against you higher than in Vegas, stay away from the casino. Most of the ship's shore excursions are a poor value. You can find a local private tour or taxi just outside the port area and they'll be better for half the price. In many ports (on this cruise from Houston to Barcelona we found that walking around Cadiz and Civitavecchia was more interesting than what our shipboard friends told us about their tours.Only amateur cruise travelers take the ship offered shore excursions. You can see most of the comments above, but for us the biggest deal was that the three of the tenders (that doubled as lifeboats) had engine problems. That's poor attention to duty on the part of the ship' command structure.

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Apr 30, 2015

Western Caribbean

This was our third cruise on Princess. We did two weeks, two 7-day back-to-back to the Western Caribbean. We have cruised for many years. Of the cruise lines still operating that we have used Princess would rank no better than seventh out of nine. We have done our last cruise on Princess. They are not cheap. One of the enduring mysteries of the universe (along with dark matter and dark energy) is the question why people continue to support Princess

when for the same price, or less, better quality cruising is available from Holland America, Royal Caribbean and definitely Celebrity. Over three cruises food has been Princess's biggest weakness. The International Cafe was good, an 8.5 out of 10 The dining room lacked creativity and choice. What we have learned about Princess is that, if dining is good one day, do not expect it to be good the next. It has just never worked that way and we are really minimalist people in what we look for and expect. This dining room would get at best a 7 out of 10. Now let's move to the buffet. The evening buffet was quite acceptable (must have helicoptered in a new chef from another cruise line). The breakfast and lunch buffets approached horrible, horrible in selection, preparation and presentation. On the first morning I thought it was part of an April Fool's joke. But, of course it wasn't. What was offered would have been unthinkable on HAL, RC or Celebrity. In fact, the buffet was better on the Alaska Marine Highway System. The evening buffet gets 8.5 out 10. The breakfast and lunch buffets get 4 out of 10. The stateroom was very nice and our attendant Zaldy was exceptional, a 10 out of 10. The room was well presented with a pleasant and roomy balcony. However, so many times we found that Princess was intent on "cheaping out" on us. The 12th Deck Veranda Stateroom came with no bath robe (not important to me but important to my wife). Would not have happened on HAL, RC, or Celebrity. When we asked for one, the robe was so worn and threadbare it must have been a discard from the above mentioned cruise lines. No way would a robe like this ever have appeared in a stateroom on HAL, RC or Celebrity. The best days of cruising are obviously past. We took an extended break before from Princess in part because of the food and in part because every day is huckstering day, ways to separate passengers from their money. Nothing has changed. There was nothing that stood out about the daily activities, same old same old, probably because new and original things like Celebrity offered would cost money. Everything was just average with nothing to get excited about, overall about a 7 out of 10 at best. If the ship at best scored a 7 out of 10, the itinerary (including excursions) was a 9 out of 10. Roatan is beautiful. Fantasy Island and reef snorkelling were excellent. For Princess and Carnival passengers you do not need to take any excursion in Roatan There is a beautiful private beach dockside that we enjoyed on the second time around. Belize was beautiful, friendly and interesting. The Lamania ruins day trip was great and the snorkelling and swimming second time around were really good. The snorkelling at Palancar Reef in Cozumel was really good. We would definitely consider doing this itinerary again...just not with Princess. As the cruise developed a refrain kept going through my mind from what we were experiencing on the Emerald Princess. "You are trying to fool us into thinking we are experiencing a Celebrity-level cruise, but you are trying to fool us with an MSC budget." "You are trying to fool us into thinking we are experiencing a Celebrity-level cruise, but you are trying to fool us with an MSC budget." etc. etc. Note: MSC is Mediterranean Shipping Company, a cruise line that scored with us well lower than even Princess.

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By Hoyt_CR

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Mar 28, 2015

Western Caribbean

We live in Houston and selected this cruise in part because of convenience. We traveled with Princess 12 years ago and enjoyed ourselves. We had a good time despite the cruise line. I would and have given the cruise a 4 out of 10. We only can give it a four because of excellent stateroom service of steward, not room service, excellent spa/salon service.. Otherwise we would score lower. The boarding check in was not good. Seating available, but

guests are called into long lines 100 or more at a time. We stood in line for 55 minutes. This appeared to be a hardship for seniors/ small children without wheel chair assistance. Why not have shorter line and call folks up more frequently? Large group mentality. The flat fee tipping charges and 15% gratuity on all other purchases ie bar/ coffee has eliminated the personal incentive for staff to perform. We are happy to tip for services, however, the staff were for the most part, unfriendly, unresponsive, bossy, and at times downright rude!! We actually had to call out some staff for their behavior. It changed nothing. Princess has a lot of work to do with this cruise staff!! Our best meals on the cruise was one on board at Crown Grill & the other at the Grand Occidental resort in port in Cozumel. The dining room dining (we had anytime dining) was extremely. Disappointing! It was impossible to get through the reservation line. We booked our premium dining experience ($50 charge) in person at the Grill. We told them we would of enjoyed all the restaurants but getting booked was an ordeal. We agreed to seating with others in DiVinci & Michaelango dining rooms due to limited two person tables. The matre'd were indifferent at best and seated people at any available chair. Perfunctory and without charm! Don't worry about the dress code because Princess Cruise line on the Emerald disregards totally!! The two "formal" nights appear to be an opportunity to sell rentals of tuxes to gullible men. Although we dressed in cocktail evening suit& tie/ cocktail dress, very few in tux but some folks went all out. Yet, we were seated with folks in polo shirts, not even a sport coat, casual pant& top as if going golfing. On non formal nights guys were in shorts, flip flops, baseball caps; women wearing beach cover ups and flip flops. So much for elegant dining!! There are casual venues for dining. One evening we were seated at a table for 8 and dined alone ( two seat tables available in our view ) when we asked the maitre'd about the lack of dress code enforcement. Retaliatory? It was sure uncomfortable! Princess menu for dinner consists of two sides one of which is "Princess Favorites". Translation: Same things every night, cooked ahead and heated would be my guess because every time we ordered a Princess Favorite entree it was overlooked and tasteless. We felt the menus at dinner were in a word:AWFUL! They lack variety! The dessert menu selections were about the same every night: cheese cake, ice cream, cheese& fruit, cream brûlée. Not a single Key lime pie, coconut pie or macaroon..hey it's a Caribbean cruise. When we asked the dining room staff they shrugged. They could not tell you anywhere on the ship to find these dishes. If you need info ask other passengers. We found key lime tarts( sugar free only ) at the International cafe. We had been sold on the Emerald having this great pastry./ chocolatier on board. The only place we had anything remotely like that was at specialty dining at The Grill. The dining room denied seating for breakfast when we were exactly two minutes late. The coffee service with juice,rolls inc in cost of our stateroom had same dried out "Danish" every single morning BORING!! A coffee order in room for two you might get a cup & half each in the coffee carafe. We wrote notes on our " breakfast card" and tried x2 next to coffee and talked to room service and still could not get more than 10 ounces or so of coffee. As American coffee drinkers-- very unresponsive. And the fruit options: banana, orange, apple. Hey, where is the papaya, key wei, watermelon? Nothing on the breakfast made it feel like a Carib vacation. Banana bread, pumpkin bread, blueberry muffins? Nope! Another note: you can eat free of charge at the International Cafe although the coffee shop is purchase & guests have the impression that the cafe costs extra.. It does not. Our stateroom was Dolphin deck 9 on port side. This gave us great views both going and coming. We had a bathtub shower combo. Plenty of hangers and shelving. The tv's need upgrading. 27" screens? Small anyway & issues with the remote. Phone service nonexistent. We do not want to spend valuable vacation time on hold forever. Many guests complaining about this issue. Our room steward, Ramir, was a perfect gentleman and the most courteous staff member with whom we contacted. Outdoor plexiglass protection on balcony needs serious cleaning. We enjoyed the spa and the salon. Also saw two great movies on the big screen under the stars. Blankets go fast so get to outdoor movie early to secure blanket and avoid wait for popcorn. If you include performance as onboard activities, Princess should consider hiring a high school drama teacher, because we have seen better productions in high schools. Don't waste your time. On deck 5 two talented guys (trained in Jamaica & Trinidad) performed beautifully with the only steel drum on board. On the last day of cruise they performed on the main pool deck 15; the crowd loved them. Most days on Deck 15: a DJ playing crap!! He was demeaning to us when we asked him to play some Bob marley, Jimmy Buffet, Kenny Chesney with his toes in the sand hey, even BeachBoys. His response: "it's not rap". We told him, "we didn't say it was, RAP, we said it was CRAP! Did no good. There was a live band on the last day for 90 minutes or so. We made our own plans in Cozumel. As soon as we got through the cruise line shops and International Diamond, Liquor, sunglasses etc....with pushy sales pitches...just another day in Princess Commercial Enterprise. Uh. Paradise? We hopped a cab $18 went about 12 miles to Grand Occidental Resort. Had a beautiful day there at $60 per person all drinks with alcohol or not, lunch, pool, gorgeous beach and towels/ loungers/ papa huts. There were no other folks from the boat (s) there with us. This resort caters to divers and they have their own dock and diving boats come to you. One of two good meals we had for the week was here at Grand Occidental. We did notice that " beach excursions" in Cozumel were often headed to free public beaches but a cost to guest who went on "excursion. Since Roatan was unfamiliar to us we made no plans at this port. The port is a shopping village. If you wish to buy fine jewelry in a foreign country or forgot your sunglasses or flip flops you can spend your money here. There is a beach cove that may accommodate a couple hundred people. There were two 3,000 people ships in port. We enjoyed the drinks at the bar. Friendlier bartenders than on board. Good music there also. Chair lift to beach was fun. Uniformed security at beach. In Belize: Port was 45 minutes or longer by tender. We estimated to be about 10 miles from shore. Spoke to people who took an overpriced bus ride to tour government buildings. We stayed on board at adult only pool where children were present. Belize legalized pot as of next week. We travel to islands for most vacations. Have been to Hawaiian islands 9 times. Been to Caribbean 17 times. This was our third cruise. We had not cruised in 12 or so years and thought that using our home port of Houston to have a luxury vacation would be great. We paid what we felt was a fair rate for a mini suite with balcony. However, we won't cruise this Emerald Cruise or Princess again. Our money will be better spent (although we will pay more) to return to Sandals Whitehouse or Any sandals outside Montego Bay (too pushy with sales). In fact, the all inclusive at the Grand Occidental was nice although not as luxurious as Sandals Whitehouse.

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Apr 24, 2011

Southern Carribbean

!0 day cruise. Overall, we enjoyed it. However, we were somewhat disapponted in some things on this ship. Had a balcony cabin that was very nice. We were celebrating our Anniversary on this cruise and had a great time. We have done enough cruises to know that there is no such thing as the "Perfect" cruise, but some are certainly better than otheres. Not the best. We never went hungry. But we have had much better on other cruise ships. On Lobster

night we were ONLY allowed ONE Lobster with no seconds. Princess appears to have really cut back on their food budgets. The coffee was HORRIBLE! Had to pick up a jar of instant at one of the ports. The food was the BIGGEST disappointment as we had done other Princess cruises where the food was awesome. Very nice. One of the better rooms we have had. However, Princess no longer does Towel Animals on this ship. Otherwise, the cabin steward was really on the job. They seemed to be mostly geared towards a younger crowd. The entertainment was not very good and the Cruise director was a real dork. The only good thing was the band. The water in Aruba and Bonaire is crystal clear. Great place to do any type of water excursion. Did not care for Princess Cays. All the beaches are covered in coral and you need water shoes to get in the water. We choose this cruise to celebrate our 28th wedding anniversary. We are experienced cruisers and know what is good and what is not. This cruise was OK at best. However, we would not go on this ship again.

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Apr 8, 2011

Southern Carribean

This was our first Princess cruise. We have sailed predominantly on Holland but also enjoy Celebrity. We were very happy with the overall experience on Princess. We felt the food was superior to Holland and Celebrity. We are already planning our next cruise on Princess. The food was excellent. Choices were varied and presentation was great. Stateroom was well maintained however the storage was disappointing. We enjoyed the activities

offered onboard.

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Mar 8, 2011

Caribbean

We were impressed by the ship. It is a new vessel and has all of the things that you would expect. The food was excellent but many of the staff were a little cool and aloof. Service was good but 'unsmiling'. Beware, the cost of drinks were extortionate at around 8USD each and had an automatic 15% gratuity added to every bill. There is also a daily gratuity of 10.50 USD charged to every one aboard and charged to your account each day.. You can

opt out of this if you wish and tip those from whom you get the best service. Overall, it wasn't much fun and expensive. We had far more enjoyment, better entertainment and cheaper drinks when we cruised with 3 star cruise lines. The food was excellent, we had breakfast and Lunch each day in the buffet and a 4 course dinner each evening in our allocated dining room. There was a tremendous variety of freshly prepared good quality food and an interesting and varied menu each evening. We had a cabin on the Plaza deck 5 with a sea view. Compared with previous cruises with a lower star rating, It was very small and was equipped with an additional 2 foldaway bunks above the double bed. It was almost impossible to get out of bed without bumping your head, my wife had a number of bruises on her head by the end of the cruise! The wardrobe was a good size but the shower room was also very small. As we were only a little way above the waterline it got noisy when the sea was a little rough. The only way to look out of the window was by kneeling on the bed. The activities were mainly aimed at passengers older than us (there were a great many). Entertainment was very poor compared with other cruise lines, whilst they were enthusiastic the singers, dancers and groups were of a low standard which was surprising in view of the cost of the cruise. The theatre is a 'cinema' style arrangement where everyone in a row had to stand when people moved around We were very disappointed with this aspect of the cruise particularly as little of the entertainment was timed to start at the end of each of the 2 sittings for dinner. The excursions were very expensive and most could be purchased ashore for half of the price, which we did. We were at many of the key sights at the same time as the 'official' excursions. My advice is to speak to several of the tour company's ashore, there are many stood by the dock gates, and choose the one that you feel comfortable with. opt out of this if you wish and tip those from whom you get the best service. Overall, it wasn't much fun and expensive. We had far more enjoyment, better entertainment and cheaper drinks when we cruised with 3 star cruise lines.

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Jan 20, 2011

souther Carribean

Very similar to the Ruby Princess last year. Service was a little better, food maybe not quite as good, entertainment unfortunately no better. Still a very good cruise line if you have reasonable expectations. One needs to consider dinner and buffet food differently. We do not expect 5 star dinners on any reasonably priced cruise line, and I don't think anyone should, especially experienced cruisers. At a dinner table of 6, two would have an

excellent meal, three would rate theirs very good, and one would express disappointment. A suggestion or two for dinners. One, if you have a favorite food, steak for example, and the best steakhouse in town greats you by name, do not order steak on a cruise. You will surely be disappointed. If your mother makes the best Fettucini (I know i spelled that wrong) Alfredo in the world, do not order it on a cruise. Get the picture? Try things you do not normally get at home. Two, do not hesitate to tell your server if you are unhappy with the meal. They will try very hard to make it right. Buffet food was excellent. Perhaps it is because they prepare it in smaller batches, or have a little more time, or you can just pass on anything that does not look appealing. We did not use either of the premium resturants, but found the poolside grill fine, and the pizza OK. Princess has not changed stateroom design or decoration since the Grand Princess over ten years ago, so we got exactly what we expected. The room was spotless, and the steward perfect. We had a standard balcony stateroom, so it was small but functional and comfortable. The bed was fine, the television service, not so much, but we don't cruise for the TV service. Non-existing to minimal. We ignored the art auction, which seems to go on forever, and visited the shops only to wonder at the high prices. Princess has entertainment in the Piazza, but the best act was the hula-hoop girl. We did attend one production show in the Princess theater. The effects were excellent, but these shows now use canned music and lip syncing. More of a dancing show instead of a musical show. Disappointing, and we were glad we didn't attend any more. Think cheap, cheaper and cheapest for all the other musical presentations. Most groups consisted of a drummer, one guitar and one multipurpose keyboard. Most couldn't get a gig playing for a wedding. The comedians were funny. Where's Burt? (inside joke) We skipped Princess pop-stars, line dancing lessons and DJ entertainment. At sea courses were good introductions to various things, but very basic unless you paid an extra fee. Be prepared to entertain yourself. Some popular excursions with specific activities such as zip-lining sell out, so you can only get them through the cruise. You can arrange your own tours at dockside, but these usually mean nothing more interesting than a bus or taxi drive around the island. We had specific activities we wanted to try, so we booked through ship in every port but St Thomas. We arrived at the ship at 2:30 and were wisked on board the ship a fast as we could walk, or in the case of my mother in law, as fast as she could be pushed. Even a missing boarding pass did not slow things down. We were in our cabin by 3:00, and our bags were delivered sometime during the lifeboat drills. At first we tried reservations for anytime dining, but soon found they were not necessary. Never a wait at 6:00, but we did observe short lines for later arrivals. For some reason the ship seemed less packed than before. We were able to get poolside chairs and good tables for lunch each day, and the buffets were less taxing, even with the infamous Princess buffet traffic patterns. My wife and I are early risers, so running out of things to do and see by 10:00 at night was OK. We did spend some time giggling at what must be the worst "art" we have ever seen. Also notably less annoying were the photographers. A simple "no thank you" was all it took to send them on their way. Princess has a policy that allows you to buy one bottle of wine ashore to enjoy in you cabin, but confiscates the harder stuff until the last day. At one port, I placed two bottle of rums in a backpack for easier transport. The bag was x-rayed, but nothing about the bottles was said and we just walked them past the confiscator. It seems as if the rule was not well enforced. Disembarkation would have been smooth except for some new port workrules. It seems that Princess wheelchair pushers must leave their charges at the top of the elevator to baggage claim. Port pushers are supposed to take over for the rest of the process. My wife and I took the escalator down, claimed our bags, engaged a porter and went looking for my mother in law. I finally found her at the top of the elevator waiting, along with 12 other wheelchairs, for the port pushers to arrive. A flustered Princess employee was trying to follow procedures but couldn't find any port pushers. Finally she said "Maybe my radio isn't working, I'll go find my supervisor. If you are not here when I come back I'll assume something worked out". As soon as she was out of site there was a flood of wheelchairs pouring from the elevator, with family members as pushers. By far, the most rude people we met on the entire trip were the Customs "Officials" at Ft Lauderdale. The one we had responded to a cheerful "good morning" with a "what's good about it" Well, you have a probably overpaid Federal job, with excellent benefits, no physical risk (like a cop), no accountability, a part-time work schedule, and, unlike the porter next to you tossing around 60 lb suitcases, dragging a hand cart with 4 or 5 60 lb suitcases working for minimum wage plus tips, no physical effort. And by the way, our Customs Official would not extend himself to reach for my mother in law's passport, which she was holding out from her wheelchair. He waited until she stood up out of the wheelchair and placed it in his hand.

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By Mary_CR

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Sep 5, 2010

Caribbean

If you don't want to spend your ENTIRE cruise buying jewelry, DO NOT get on THIS boat!!!! The crew, buffet chefs and servers, THE BUFFET??!! and cabin was great. Food in main dining room was lousy, the activities were marginal, and the ship was awful about communicating ANYTHING to the passengers. We had to run around and ask everyone what there was to do and what was going on. The cruise itinerary they provide was always late and short of information

about ANYTHING excpt SHOPPING and JEWELRY. Princess Cay is beautiful and they do a good job on the island - make sure you buy a shaded shell thing or you will fry!! Surprisingly, this August of 2010, they started a new entertainment schedule at night that was really good!!! They have a new cruise director, but he needs about another 6 months to revamp a really lousy event schedule during the days and nights. If you aren't prepared to BUY BUY BUY BUY - then don't go on this ship! The food in the dining rooms were absolutely inedible!! Everything was dry and overcooked and TASTELESS!!!!!! The buffet food was made out of dining room leftovers - BUT - the chefs at the buffet were PHENOMENAL - GREAT!!! The buffet food was SUPERB!! Most nights, we'd have to hit the buffet AFTER dinner just to get something good to eat! Stateroom was upgraded without request and was very very pleasant. HOWEVER, THE WORST MATTRESSES ON ANY CRUISE EVER!!! They are thin and worn out (and the ship is only a COUPLE of years old!!). We go on cruises in order to SLEEP and recharge (we both work VERY hard). I didn't have more than THREE hours of good sleep a night before my back and legs were just ACHING!!! Who knows??? They don't promote them at all??? There are definitely NOT as many onboard ORGANIZED activities as other cruiselines. They have a big movie theatre screen outside over one of the pools, but it was so loud, it was too uncomfortable to sit out and watch anything. Also, the movie schedule DID NOT match the audience at all - not during the day - or at night time. They didn't have very many or very interesting movies to watch either.Same four movies over and over and over again. Not Princess's fault - the island of Jamaica is just a pit of vagrant beggers coming up to you in droves and BOTHERING you. However, Princess DID NOT assist in the process of trying to help ANY of the passengers navigate the hell hole they dropped us into. The excursion crew was very limited for such a large ship with so many passengers and they didn't have very many OR ANY crew to help you if you didn't sign up for one of the paid for excursions (which of course - WERE MOSTLY ABOUT SHOPPING!!!). One of the poorest excursion teams on any ship anywhere. However, I am sure they stop there because of the Dunn River Falls - a must see - but you need to be in shape to climb them - they don't tell you how incredibly DIFFICULT they are to climb!! The ship is beautiful, thank goodness, and the spa is to die for. It really should be marketed as a spa cruise becuase the spa and fitness areas (and the pool areas) are the only part of the cruise that was enjoyable besides walking around enjoying the beautiful ship. But, for the most part, the crew is very very friendly and talkative - and bright enough to talk with - moreso than on other ships. The entertainment was also very good - not just in the main theatre, but the music was very, very good everywhere (but we are older - not for the under 50 crowd on this ship!!).

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Aug 24, 2010

Eastern and Western Carribean

Cabin was totally blocked by life boat, be sure you don't book on the ship with obstructed view, you won't be happy. OK clean but workmen outside window on several occasions taking the life boat up and down to use as a tender to reach some of the ports. Not really good. AC in room not working for two of the seven days, and room with obstructed view and noise was unbearable.

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Aug 21, 2010

Western Caribbean

My first cruise was a millions times better than I could have imagined! From the moment we arrived at the Embarkation in FTL, the experience was smooth sailing all the way. Staff was multi-cultural and they were attentive to our every need. Our cabin Steward was beyond caring...he went out of his way to help us and just make our experience all we expected and more. Food was good, Specialty Restaurants were FANTASTIC. The only downside was the

coffee served with meals, but once I purchased a coffee card, all was well in the land of Java. I loved the variety and was pleased with the safety of the food service experience. Hot foods were hot and cold foods were cold. Everything seemed fresh and tasty. No matter your pallet there was something for everyone. The specialty restaurants were mnd blowing, best steak and lobster I have ever had and the service is second to none. Our evening meal other than the two nights we were in the specialty place, we ate all our meals in the Dining room where the food was terrific!!!! Not a single complaint. We had a mini suite with a private balcony and the room was perfect!!!! I spent many hours on the balcony watching sunrises and sunsets!! I did not take part in many of the on board activities, we basically used the cruise to recoup from a stressful tax season. We did the wine tasting which was awesome!! Do the research yourself and book your own or even take a cab, they were a bit pricey and I feel we could have done just as well planning on our own It was a trip of a lifetime, a dream come true!!!

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Jul 26, 2010

Western Caribean

Our cruise was just plain terrible. The service is average at best, the ship is nice but certain sections are always closed. The food is just plain awful. The worst part is because of all the selling to you that goes on you end up feeling like you are trapped at a timeshare meeting. There literally are 5 channels on TV devoted to getting you to buy more things on the ship. We will NEVER cruise on Princess again. The worst I have ever had.

My high school cafeteria had better food. Bottom line, if you are going on a cruise for food, avoid Princess like the plague. Lets start with breakfast. The choices are the same everyday and there are NO non-breakfast substitutes like you find on other ships. Undercooked scrambled eggs, eggs over easy, hard boiled eggs, a pre-made omelet of the ships choosing and 4 or 5 types of pork. Every other ship I have been on had at least a omelet station...but not princess. Lunch, pasta but here's the catch with stuff mixed in, like tuna, or sausage. Some sort of casserole, which is awful every time. pre-made sandwiches with mayo or some other sauce on it every time. Fruits and burned cookies. Dinner is horrendous. Chicken with a beef gravy (really?), fish so old you could smell it coming to the table. Oh my personal favorite, Mignons of Beef Fillets which is in fact sirloin steak (aka hamburger). It just goes on and on, and the menu just rotates, it is the same every night. There is also premium dining (aka you pay more). We went to crown grill. I asked for a medium fillet, I got a well done, so I sent it back and got rare (and when I say rare, I mean cold inside), not wanting to embarrass my wife I ate it, and then went to the cabin and vomited. I am a simple guy, give me a sandwich and let me determine if I want the condiment on or not. Give me a choice of at least one non-breakfast item (sandwich would be fine). Give me simple pasta and sauce, I'll add the tuna (no I never would tuna and red sauce...yeck). There are no choices on Princess, its as simple as that. Every other cruise we went on had at least a mid-night chocolate buffet or something to accommodate late night eating, at princess they just close everything down but 1 crappy buffet. Fine, clean. No towel animals like other cruises. The TV was filled with princess infomercials. Lame. The "shows" we awful. We went to the "pop music" show, they played Barbara Streisand, Tony Bennett and Neil Diamond...I guess Princess still thinks we live in the 50's. We tried the "Real Live Rock Band" show, but the band sounded so terrible we left after the second song (along with about 30 other people). The only cool thing was the movie under the stars, which was filled every night. I thought it was pretty bad that on a ship the best entertainment was showing a movie. Twister Boat in Cozumel is very fun. You do 360's in a speed boat then go to a private island that is beautiful, you return to the ship doing more 360's. Very cool. Stay away from Jamaica. This is just an awful destination, the street vendors will hound you like you have never seen before. We had one follow us for 1/4 of a mile trying to sell us drugs, we kept saying no go away, finally we had to get a cop to get him off of us. Really, no cruise line should go to Jamaica, it is just a nasty place. In summary. If you want great food, don't go on Princess, if you want great entertainment, don't go on Princess...basically just avoid Princess Cruises altogether...that is our plan.

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Jul 19, 2010

Eastern Carribean

I was very pleased with our experience. It was much better than anticipated after reading reviews from others. I think mostly disgruntled people write reviews. We had a fabulous time. The food was excellent and abundant. Our waiter brought us extra appetizers and desserts without us requesting them just so we could taste them. After the first night they knew our preferences. The stateroom was clean and adequate. Our only complaint was we were

directly under a tile floor in the buffet and we heard carts rolling over that spot all hours of the day and night. We could also hear the balcony doors being opened and shut constantly but, that was not Princess' fault just inconsiderate neighbors. Fair. There was lots to do but, variety of entertainment was lacking. You've GOT to go on the catamaran, snorkel and swim excursion in Grand Turk. Absolutely the best one we've ever done in five cruises. They know how to have a good time and the snorkeling was awesome!!!

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Jul 4, 2010

Eastern Carribean

This was a surprise trip for our 15th wedding anniversary. It was our first cruise and we will be using this cruise line again. We didn't run into any unfriendly staff members they were always ready to help. We went for 7 days and wished we had done another week. Most of the individuals on this cruise were in there upper 20's and on. If you are looking for a "party" ship this is not one I would recommend. All the ports we stopped in were great

except I could do without St. Marrten. We did an excursion there and was not impressed at all. Next time we will just get a taxi and go to the resort for the beach area. Princess Cays was wonderful except they said all we would need is our room card. We didn't take any money so therefore was not able to buy some items for sale at the little stands by the beach. St. Thomas I could stay for 2 days there. We did an excursion and it was great. We ate at Cuzzins on back street and the food was great. If you go eat early there it does get packed and it's small. I could also spend 2 days at Grand Turk. That was the place to be Jimmy Buffet Margaritaville is awesome. The food on the trip was awesome. We had the 8:15 seating which worked out great. We had dinner every night at the Botticelli. The sushi and wine was great at Vines. We would go about 7 and have a little sushi and wine until dinner. The pizza and ice cream was great at the pizza and ice cream bar. I could not find a good margarita at any of the bars. I like strawberry and of course they use a mixer type so it was not good, so I tried a regular one and it didn't taste any better. The ultimate mai tai's are excellent. We gained about 4-6 pounds the whole week we were there!! Our steward was AWESOME!!! We always had a clean room and clean towels. They clean once in morning and then at night they would come and clean again. We were in a suite w/balcony oceanview. It was so nice at night having our covers turned back w/chocolates on our pillows!! They don't make animals with the washcloths that's another cruise line we were told, but they do make a fan out of your washcloth and then place it in the handtowel. We fell in love with the band Fusion so we followed them most of the time. The ship always had some kind of activity and that was nice especially for the days at sea.

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Mar 14, 2010

Eastern Caribbean

This was our honeymoon cruise and we were very VERY excited to go. But from the moment we arrived to our cabin and they called us by the wrong name...we knew it was going to be a mess. We can't blame the cruise for bad weather...or what they called bad weather and that they couldn't stop at the first location...but we can't help and feel jipped on what should have been a great day at Princess Cays. Since we didn't want to learn napkin folding or play

bingo, we went to our cabin to sleep. Which is most of what we did on our Emerald Princess cruise. None of the excursions made us say "YEAH! Let's do that!." And if we did decide to go on an excursion...we'd find the office that booked them closed.. later to find out that what we wanted to do was on the "SOLD OUT" list...along with 12 other excursions. I don't recall having this problem on Royal Caribbean when i booked swimming with dolphins, feeding the stingrays or zip-linning the jungles in Jamaica. Emerald Princess seemed to have booked 90% old people...maybe it was the time of year they cruise...or they all jumped on the good deal in late January...but we were so disappointed to go to the pool deck at 10:30pm for a "party" and find 1,000 elderly people doing the macarena. The people we dealt with when we booked the cruise were so nice and excited about it being our honeymoon...they made a special note in our account and said that they do "special things" for honeymooners and special events. I guess we missed the "special things"...we didn't get a balloon, not a 'congratulations' card, not a song during dinner...others did, but not us. We really had our hopes set too high when we booked it. The ship itself is really really nice, very clean and new...but all the parts that make a cruise great weren't there. Grand Turk was a waste of a stop...its not a real island, at least not the part they dropped us off at. It was a set of shopping stores and a man-made beach, Margaritaville restaurant, Ron Jon surf shop...really not what you would think as of an exotic caribbean island. I've been on 6 previous cruises...so I haven't lost the excitement about cruising and don't want to keep complaining...but i was really disappointed. They didn't even make towel animals! C'mon...EVERYONE makes it fun and does towel animals. The food was ok, just ok. We tried to dine at Sabatini's...hoping we could come home and tell the family how amazing this restaurant was inside the ship...because we heard great things even if we did have to pay $20 extra each...but we never had the chance. We found out too late that you have to make reservations and 9:30pm was a little too late for dinner on the last night there. Due to overcrowding on the Lido deck for the lunch buffet, occasionally we had to sit with other guests to share a table...which wasn't a problem for us, and were surprised to learn that we were no the only ones with complaints... almost everyone else had the same exact complaints. We heard more than once, "this is my last Princess cruise." Which is really sad, because i was 9 years old when I went on my first cruise.. the Crown Princess...and i remember it as the BEST time of my life. Movies Unders the Stars gets some credit though, it is a great idea, and it was very nice that they would occasionally bring snacks to us on the chairs. We never caught a full movie but enjoyed the time out there, even if the same movies were played over and over and OVER again. Compared to the Royal Caribbean Cruise we did 2 years ago, the Emerald Princess casino was small and uneventful, though it was wonderful that they did have smoke-free nights. There were no ice-sculpture displays or events that displayed the chef's artistic talents with food, no midnight chocolate buffets... really...no fun. The photographers claimed a "no sitting fee" but for $25 PER PICTURE...one can't ignore that maybe, just maybe an imaginary 'sitting fee' was included in the hefty price of $25 for an 8X10. My new wife and I mostly enjoyed each other's company, playing basketball on the 15th floor at 1am and miniature golf...it was nice that that was available at all times of the day. The man who maintained our room wasn't very friendly, didn't know our names, never said more than a 'hello', and worst of all (besides not making towel animals).. we made ONLY ONE friendly request on the first day.. we told him very lightheartedly that we LOOOOVE those little chocolates they leave on the pillow every night..and wanted lots of them. Nope, we never got more than 2. I drank a Sprite in the room the very first day there and he never replaced it. Our last night on the Royal Caribbean Cruise...after having almost a drawerful of chocolates that built up from the days prior...our stateroom guy left us a full bag. There's no comparison. And I think I know why there was no interaction with us, no 'going the extra mile'...it's because they took $10.50 per person per day to divide amongst everyone on the ship...so our room attendant didn't have to do anything special, not even listen to our requests...he's getting paid either way. Overall, maybe to be bored and sleep all day in our stateroom was what I personally needed, especially after being so overwhelmed with wedding stuff months prior...but I can't see that being the case for everyone. It would take a miracle for me to ever book a Princess cruise again. Now have to find a way to make it up to my new wife, who had a less fabulous time than I did.

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Feb 23, 2010

Eastern Caribbean

Very disappointed with Princess Cruise Line. This cruise was booked because of the price, which I was led to believe was an excellent deal. Unfortunately, all I can say is, you get what you pay for! I will not cruise Princess again, and I will most certainly not be able to recommend Princess Cruise Lines to anyone. The food choices were inadequate in the dining room. The dining service was poor. The food was warm at best, and none of the

wait staff knew how to serve meals. Platting was very poor, as I received more than one meal with my food slopped on the edge of the plate. Our stateroom was adequate, however, the cabin was not cleaned well at all during our 7 day cruise. On day 2, there was a hair on the shower (mine) that remained there for the entire cruise. Our toilet was not working on the 1st night and we called to have it repaired. The desk clerk asked if it needed to be done "tonight", or could it wait until tomorrow. Definitely take the Magen's Bay excursion in St. Thomas. Our guide was incredible and Magen's Bay is not to be missed. This vacation was taken with friends to celebrate 2 birthdays and 2 anniversaries.

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May 16, 2009

Southern Caribbean

Emerald Princess April 19-29, 2009 We started off our trip at the Renaissance Hotel in Ft. Lauderdale on 17th street the night before our cruise. You can see the ships from this hotel; just ask for the view when you check in. We did, and it was great. There is a Walgreens, as well as other shops and restaurants, within walking distance of this hotel. Onboard the Emerald Princess we had cabin B752. This cabin is a category BB, full AFT view

balcony cabin. We were instantly in love with this cabin! The view was fantastic, the sides of the balcony were private, and they blocked the wind. There is also a full roof covering this balcony. By late afternoon each day around 4:00pm the sun was low enough to be on the balcony and it was perfect. We could enjoy it during the day without worry of sunburn, and then get some sun, late in the day. We enjoyed both sunrises and sunset from the balcony many times during our 10-day cruise. The cabin had plenty of storage. The room also had a mini fridge. We asked the steward to take away the sodas and we stocked it with our own. A couple of 2 liters that we picked up in Ft. Lauderdale fit in perfectly, as well as a couple of 1-liter water bottles. This always works out great since there is always ice and glasses in the cabin. There is a flat screen TV with remote. We bring our own Mp3 players and speaker set up to listen to music. We also brought our laptop for the first time on a cruise. We were able to get a wireless connection in the cabin. Princess has you sign into their site and then you buy a package for however many minutes you plan to use. Since we are platinum past passengers we each received 250 free minutes to start and ended up buying one additional package of 250 minutes for $100.00. It is pretty costly, but it kept us in touch for 10 days. I also liked having the laptop to upload our pictures from our camera each day. The speed and connection was pretty good most days. A lot of questions always seem to come up regarding the food options on the ship. Let me say, we tried them ALL! I figured it is my duty to report back you all, clients and cruise critic friends, so I tried them all. We made sure to walk the promenade deck for exercise, and walked around in all the ports to try to defer all the eating….lol. First a word about breakfast, after reading in advance about the International cafe, I knew it was for me! I purchased the coffee card on the first day for $24 plus 15% gratuity. With the card you get 15 punches for specialty coffee, either hot or cold, in a small or large size and you can have it there or to go. With the purchase of a coffee card, the regular brewed coffee, and the hot chocolate are free and unlimited as long as you have at least one punch left on your card and will not cost you a punch. The International cafe had fresh baked croissants and donuts and varies pastries each morning. The chocolate, almond croissant was the best! There is no charge for the pastries. In the afternoon, this spot has Greek salad, and shrimp salad, and tuna and sub sandwiches. Again, no charge. This area does also have a few treats that you can pay for. Chocolate strawberries are $1.00 each, a chocolate fondue set up is $5.00 and they have tapas in the evening for a few dollars each. They also offer out of the world gelato for $1.50 for three scoops! It is easy to miss this spot, because most people just head up the buffet or dining room for breakfast, so it was never crowded. It is located on the main floor of the atrium by the piano player. Deck 5. We had the anytime dining, so we had the flexibility to eat wherever, whenever we wanted. We had dinner in the main dining room 3 times during our cruise, we ate in Sabitinis, the Italian specialty restaurant one night ($20 p/p) and in the Crown Grill one night ($25p/p) and the rest of the nights we had dinner in the Caribe Grill buffet restaurant. The Crown Grill was probably our favorite choice. The room is incredible, large leather booths, or nice tables for larger groups. The menu was incredible. The French onion soup is not to be missed and filet minion was oh so tender. They also bring several side dishes served family style. The dessert sampler with the molten chocolate cake is to die for!!! I have a copy of the full menu if anyone has questions about the rest of the choices in this restaurant. Sabitinis, the Italian restaurant, was also a beautiful setting on the 17th floor of the ship at the back. We enjoyed dinner in there with some new friends and had a stunning view of the sunset! I had read in advance to be sure to check out the "pub lunch" in the Wheelhouse bar on sea days, it did not disappoint. There is no charge for this, just show up and be seated. The fish and chips were terrific! They also had some other pub favorites like Shepard’s pie and bangers and mash! A word about the Caribe buffet at dinner, they had plenty of choices, and on a few nights, they were carving a turkey, which we really enjoyed. During the day we had lunch anywhere from the Horizon buffet to the grill by the pool, to the pizza place. Just so you don't think all we did was eat - we also went to the movies under the stars or MUTS. We saw Mama Mia! It was a lot of fun and like being at a drive in at night. The chairs are padded and they have free popcorn and cookies. Princess also shows movies in the main theater and we saw Frost/Nixon in the theater. They also show movies in the room and we saw Doubt. This ship has a large casino with all the games. I did notice that one of the nights they did have a non-smoking night, which I was glad to see. There was also bingo, horse racing, and art auctions. They had the regular port and shopping talks and on our sailing we had a special guest lecturer series of talks put on by "Pharmacist Phil." We thought he was both entertaining and informative on the ports of call. He talked about the history of the islands and then some of the things that are native to the islands. Hopefully we will see him again on a future cruise. Ports of Call: Aruba: In Aruba we took a taxi over to the Radisson Hotel. It cost us $15.00 one way. After we got to the hotel and met up with some of our cruise critic friends, they told us to take the bus back to the port for $1.50 each! The bus was a van that stops right out in front of the hotel at the bus stop and worked out perfectly! They said there was a bus (van) stop by the pier, but we did not know to look for it so I am not sure where it was. The Radisson was a great choice for a day at the beach in Aruba. When we got to the hotel we told them we were interested in a day pass. They charged us $16 per person and gave us armbands and told us to go to the towel hut. The towel hut gave us towels and assigned us each a chair on the beach. There was also plenty of shade available at the beach if you desired it. We were also able to enjoy the two pools at the hotel. They rented floats for $5.00 that you could take in the beach or the pool. They also had lots of other water sports available for purchase at the hotel. Bonaire: In Bonaire we decided to go on the Woodwind snorkel boat. It was $50.00 per person and they met us just outside the gates of the pier. The ship does not stay in Bonaire for very many hours, so our guide told us we could walk to town to shop a bit if we wanted and then be back by 9a to walk over to the boat. This worked out great since we did not have anytime for shopping when we returned. The snorkel trip was well organized and they spilt the group of 25 into 2 groups. One for experienced and one for those who where first starting out or need more assistance. They went to two different spots and then served lunch and drinks aboard the boat. Grenada: I would recommend that if you are going to Grenada that you pick a tour from the ship. We did not, and thought we would just walk around the shopping etc. Well, the natives are pretty restless in Grenada and they never stop hassling you to take a tour with them either by car or walking. I am a pretty experienced traveler and had not been to this island before, so I did not know what to expect. We could not shake the guys that follow you around, so I decided we should just go with it because he seemed to be able to shake off everyone else that was trying to get us to go with them. It turned out he walked us to the best places in the market for shopping and then walked with us up to the fortress that is near the pier and showed us around a bit. We did tip him, as it turned out around $15 a person. That night was the Caribbean deck party aboard the ship and we had a great time listening to the music and watching the dancing and games. Dominica: In Dominica we did not plan a tour in advance. It was raining when we arrived and there were amazing rainbows in the sky for the sail in and for the sail away! We took our time getting off the ship and then just walked around the shopping in the pier area. St. Thomas: We have been to St. Thomas before and had decided we were going to go shopping. The Emerald Princess came into Crown Bay in St. Thomas and there were shuttles that ran into town for $4.00 per person each way. Princess Cays: We enjoyed our day in Princess Cays. Once on the island there were plenty of chairs and shade. The cruise line reminds you to take your cruise card, but forgets to tell you to take any money; there is a local craft market on the island that takes cash. The buffet lunch on the island is free and there are many bars if you want a drink. The beach was nice and the water was a little cool. I was very glad I had brought and worn my aqua shoes as it there were a lot of rocks going into the water. The spa area has a lot going on. I did take a tour and saw the spa pool, the thermo area, the salon and treatment areas. I also took a tour of the Sanctuary area. All looked great! It was very relaxing in the Caribbean, the weather was great, and after 7 days, I was really glad there were 3 more to go! If you have any questions about this ship or any other, or need help planning your cruise, please email me. Bon Voyage!

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By Duke_CR

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Apr 8, 2009

Caribbean

Wonderful cruise. Great food, top notch service couldn't ask for a better R&R cruise! The food in the main dining rooms ranged from good to excellent. If you found something you didn't like, they would bring you something else. The desserts were to die for. The Horizon Court and the Cafe Caribe had excellent buffet offerings. They had 2 nights of hot and cold seafood buffets, including a carving station. The pizza was wonderful as well as the hot

dogs, hamburgers and fries at the pool...yum. We ate at the Crown Grill which is an extra charge venue. We can rate it 5 star all the way. Food was subpurb as well as the A1 service. We had a balcony stateroom on the Lido deck. Stardard size room, small bathroom. Our room steward took wonderful care of us....best we ever had. Something to do all day and all night long. Loved all of the fresh water pools and the hot tubs seemed to be just perfect. Casino slots were tight. Production shows were good and the comedian was great. Good music venues and Skywalkers really rocked some night. So much to do and so little time to do it!! We didn't do many excursions on this cruise. Mainly did some things on our own as this was a strictly R&R cruise. Loved Princess and would highly recommed this line to all who want a beautiful ship with wonderful ambiance. Have sailed Princess before as well and Carnival and my least favorite NCL.

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By Stan_CR

  • New

Mar 22, 2009

Eastern Caribbean

We have cruised several times, this was our first and probably last Princess Cruise. We have cruised on Carnival and NCL both and I can say that they have Princess foods beat hands down. We cruised during Thanksgiving and there was no Thanksgiving Dinner at all on the Emarald Princess. Perhaps we were expecting too much from our Princess Cruise, but we were dissapointed. Not as good as Carnival. Our stateroom steward was fantastic! Average

food. To me St Thomas was not nearly as organized as the other ports we visited in the Eastern Caribbean.

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  • New

Mar 20, 2009

Southern Caribbean

Disappointing at best. If you are looking for good food and service this should not be your pick. Show productions were high schoolish. Good talent poor production and costumes. The capacity for customers is over 3,000 and outside seating was about half of that. UGH. From our experience the Emerald Princess is not a provider of quality food, service or entertainment. In reality it is discount line providing a discount product. We will never

cruise with Princess again nor would we ever reccommend them. Go Holland or RC. We have been on Holland, Royal Caribbean and Carnival. Princess definitely is all alone on the bottom of the list of quality of dining experience. Frankly, we were shocked by the dining room menu on our first night. A very limited menu with fish and chips, as well as, fajitas being two of the 5 or so options. In all of our cruises we have never seen such poor selection and quality. Service was right on the same page. A dinner with tableclothes. Breakfast the next morning was equally as bad. We did not go back to the dining room for the remainder of the cruise and went to the Lido instead. Food selection and quality were on the same page with the dining room. The one bright spot was the service on the Lido, which was good. Food was so poor in the dining room that so many folks ended at the Lido it was overwhelmed, producing congestion and shortage of tables. Stateroom was fine, but don't plan on any towel animals. We didn't get a single one in 10 days. Every other cruise line the room steward new our names the first day. This cruise the steward never used our names. The only activity that we enjoyed onboard ship were the movies under the stars, which was great. Other than that the entertainment was nohwere near any cruise line we have been on, including Carnival. We did not participate in any cruise line excursion.

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