Back To Line

Princess Cruises: Emerald Princess

  • Princess Cruises

Emerald Princess Review

One of Princess Cruises’ largest ships, Emerald Princess made her debut in 2007. She follows Princess Cruises’ plan of "evolution" not "revolution" in ship design and features the most popular elements of previously launched vessels in the fleet.

With dramatic atriums and Skywalker's Nightclub (the spoiler hovering 150 feet above the stern), Caribbean Princess is a supersize version of the older Grand-class vessels with an extra deck of passenger accommodations. Not quite identical to Caribbean Princess, the younger ships in the class, Crown, Emerald, and Ruby Princess have introduced more dining options. Several signature public spaces have been redesigned or relocated on these ships as well—the atrium on Crown, Emerald, and Ruby Princess resembles an open piazza and sidewalk café; Sabatini's Italian Trattoria is found on a top deck with views on three sides and alfresco dining; and Skywalker's Disco is forward near the funnel (where it's topped with a sports court). Inside spaces on all three vessels are quietly neutral, with touches of glamour in the sweeping staircases and marble-floor atriums. Surprising intimacy is achieved by the number of public rooms and restaurants that swallow up passengers.

Princess Cruises may be best known for introducing cruise travel to millions of viewers, when its flagship became the setting for The Love Boat television series in 1977. Since that heady time of small-screen stardom, the Princess fleet has grown both in the number and size of ships. Although most are large in scale, Princess vessels manage to create the illusion of intimacy through the use of color and decor in understated yet lovely public rooms graced by multimillion-dollar art collections.

Princess has also become more flexible; Personal Choice Cruising offers alternatives for open seating dining (when you wish and with whom you please) and entertainment options as diverse as those found in resorts ashore.

Lovely chapels or the wide-open decks are equally romantic settings for weddings at sea with the captain officiating.

What You Should Know

Pros

  • Movies Under the Stars on the huge poolside screen have proven to be a big hit
  • The Wheelhouse Bar serves complimentary pub lunch at noon
  • The adults-only Sanctuary is a private deck with posh loungers for a fee

Cons

  • Priority dining reservations are extended only to Elite Captain's Circle members
  • The terrace overlooking the aft pool is a quiet spot after dark, but the nearest bar often closes early
  • Opt for Anytime dining and you may encounter a wait for a table
Ship Stats
  • Crew Members 1,200
  • Entered Service 2007
  • Gross Tons 113,000
  • Length 951 feet
  • Number of Cabins 1,532
  • Passenger Capacity 3,080
  • Width 118 feet
  • Service

  • Food

  • Décor

  • Value

Jul 25, 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

Read More
  • New

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

Read More
  • New

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.

Read More
  • New

Oct 30, 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.

Read More
  • New

May 20, 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.

Read More

Cruise Forums

Have a cruising question? Ask our Fodorite community.

Cruise News

Read our latest news about cruises.

Store

Shop our travel guides on European, Caribbean, and Alaskan cruises.

Back To Top