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Sail Date: February 2019
As a scientist and biologist, I wanted to explore the Galapagos Islands for myself to witness the uniqueness of species that motivated Charles Darwin to advance his factual theories on evolution and natural selection. The National ... Read More
As a scientist and biologist, I wanted to explore the Galapagos Islands for myself to witness the uniqueness of species that motivated Charles Darwin to advance his factual theories on evolution and natural selection. The National Geographic team aboard the Endeavor II gave us an exceptionally motivating expedition of the most unique location on our planet. The experience was enhanced by the warm, friendly, motivated and well-informed staff, especially the expedition leader, Carlos, who was also a comedian. There was no shortage of excellent Ecuadorian food and snacks and drinks. There was even time for early morning stretching on the observation deck and a work out in the gym. One of the most exciting experiences on board was meeting so many new people for the first time. The Lounge and Dining Room were large and cozy enough to make this possible. The frequent visits by zodiacs to the different islands highlighting the unique species was breathtaking to say the least. I've never seen so many beautiful creatures in my life. There's no doubt that I will do this expedition again, soon. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
Star is just waiting to be turned over to new buyers . . ., in 2 - 3 years . . ., and it shows. Excursions/getting off the ship needs better "organization". Number of groups meeting in dining room exceeded space available. ... Read More
Star is just waiting to be turned over to new buyers . . ., in 2 - 3 years . . ., and it shows. Excursions/getting off the ship needs better "organization". Number of groups meeting in dining room exceeded space available. Last Debark tour personnel at least provided update info, rather than no info at all for tender service. Why does Princess charge $50 for an "on your own" excursion, compared to a one way $5 taxi ride? Really really overpriced excursion. Although we realize all cruise lines are watching their $$$, the menus could be improved upon on the Star (we just got off the Regal and are comparing our meals to that ship). Menus between 1st leg and 2nd leg of our B2B cruise appeared to be a major difference in menus, with both being pretty basic. Also, why does it take two reports of a maintenance issue to occur, before repair is made on the Star? e.g. a balcony door that wouldn't lock on a previous cruse on the Star, and a water leakage on our latest cruise on the Star. On the positive side, handling of our lost luggage was handled quickly and positively, thanks to Ghandi at Customer Service Desk. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
I chose this ship because of the itinerary. I wanted to see South America especially the end of the world. First the good things...Great Food, friendly staff , comfortable cabin. But...many of the stops were at container ports with ... Read More
I chose this ship because of the itinerary. I wanted to see South America especially the end of the world. First the good things...Great Food, friendly staff , comfortable cabin. But...many of the stops were at container ports with strict security so just walking off the ship was often not possible. Many ports were tender with long tender rides, long wait lines to get a tender, things just generally seemed disorganized with no concern for passenger time wasted. I had any time dining which worked well for me. While there was a swimming pool and hot tub that were supposed to be adult only the rule was not enforced, nor was the no jumping or diving rule enforced. Never a problem getting a deck chair there were always plenty. The dining area is not open for lunch on port days which required one to use the buffet which is never my choice. I booked my air with Princess which was American Airlines. My return flight required 3 flights not in the logical direction but I did get home eventually..Next time apparently for a fee one can book this way but have a choice of itinerary. I did see most of the things on my list however it would have been preferable if Sunday and holidays ( Christmas & New Years) would have been sea days , being in port when most venues are closed is poor planning. There is supposed to be a library and a sign says there is one but it is basically a room with shelves, one must rely on other guests to donate a book as they finish reading. I was not impressed with the lectures. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We liked the idea of a cheap cruise. So did everyone else in board. We did not find any compatible cruise companions. Mostly old or cheap travelers. The cruise line cut corners. Cheap food (no smoked salmon, all the good stuff on the ... Read More
We liked the idea of a cheap cruise. So did everyone else in board. We did not find any compatible cruise companions. Mostly old or cheap travelers. The cruise line cut corners. Cheap food (no smoked salmon, all the good stuff on the formal nights only) The real problem was the ports. Or lack of ports. And parking in the cheapest, furthest away berths in commercial ports, not cruise ports. I have been to several of these ports before with Celebrity so I know there are other places to park a ship. So... we got what we paid for. A cheap cruise, cheap food, bad location for parking. But wait.... Did I mention the awful embarkation and disembarkation? Top hour wait sitting around in Lima, an equal number of hours to get on the ship in LA. A real dealbreaker as far as I am concerned. And prepaid gratuities is a bad idea. Poor service throughout. On the positive side the entertainment was excellent and lots of room in the tiny cabin (no sofa) to put away out clothes. Bottom line: my second and last Princess Cruise. Celebrity and Royal Caribbean are simply better, even if the entertainment is less professional. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
We choose this cruise is because we have never been to South America. We took an excursion in Puntaeranes, Costa Rica and could not find the bus that was supposed to take us to St. Jose. There were no guides at the terminal and we ... Read More
We choose this cruise is because we have never been to South America. We took an excursion in Puntaeranes, Costa Rica and could not find the bus that was supposed to take us to St. Jose. There were no guides at the terminal and we asked the bus drivers where our bus was and was directed to outside the gates of the terminal but the bus was actually the first bus in the terminal closes to the cruise ship gate. The food was very salty especially the soup which cannot be consumed. In the Royal Princess, there were 2 pots, one salted and the other not salted and we could blend both soups to make it not too salty. The food is also very salty, not like on other Princess ships. The menu was always the same especially at breakfast. The entertainment was excellent and we enjoyed the production shows. Service was sometimes lacking especially in the early mornings when half the staff was not on duty yet although the restaurant was open. The cabin was comfortable. I would avoid Star Princess in my future cruises. I will stick to Royal or Regal which are better managed although the Captain of Star Princess was very attentive and resolve problems on the spot. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2018
Ever since hubby went on his first cruise two years ago, he's been constantly on the lookout for bargain cruises that might fit our budget. (We're based in Asia, and the steep air fare to/from the embarkation/disembarkation ports ... Read More
Ever since hubby went on his first cruise two years ago, he's been constantly on the lookout for bargain cruises that might fit our budget. (We're based in Asia, and the steep air fare to/from the embarkation/disembarkation ports is an important factor in calculating overall cost.) A big plus was that this cruise was long on sea days, which are both busy with onboard activities, and relaxing. The ship was repositioning from Los Angeles to Buenos Aires, but we sailed only on the first leg (16 nights), from L.A. to Santiago. The itinerary allowed us a taste of two metropolises new to us: Lima (2 days) and our disembarkation city Santiago. We didn't go on any ship's shore excursions, choosing instead to spend our port time walking around the areas where the shuttle bus dropped us off. Actually, we had bought the "Salsa and Salsa" excursion for Cabo San Lucas, but we were informed the day before that it had been canceled. No reason was given for the cancelation. This was the first time we chose a mini-suite class cabin, and we very much enjoyed the larger sitting area and especially the bathtub shower instead of the tiny shower stall we've endured up till now. The mattress and bed linens were extremely comfortable. Each of the three table lamps had a built-in USB connector. There's a thermostat control in the sitting area and another in the "bedroom" section. A second large flat-panel TV is in the sitting area, but unfortunately there's no on-demand video. I did notice some mold in the shower tile grout. The bathrooms are dated due to ship age, but even so are in good condition. Everything in the cabin felt clean, clean, clean. The balcony did not get much use, due to cooler temperatures than we expected and very windy conditions. Having cruised on two other Princess ships of the same class, we were by now thoroughly familiar with the basic deck plan. Our Deck 9 cabin was just two decks above the Princess Theater, and four decks below and on the opposite end from the Horizon Court buffet--a good hike to burn off some calories. Our cabin steward Remus, though young and a bit shy, was diligent about keeping our ice bucket filled and requested wine glasses replaced. We ended up spending a lot of time in the aft Vista Lounge, doing zumba, line dancing, merengue and Argentinian tango classes, occasional Bingo, and game shows. (Don't miss the side-splitting Liars Club game show!) In the Princess Theater, we thought the "Born to Dance" production show with the Star Princess performers was outstanding! As this was an Argentine-bound cruise, there were several Latin America themed entertainers. Professional Argentinian tango dancers Fernando and Cecilia were onboard for the entire cruise to give progressive lessons and as well as to perform in the Piazza. An instrumental group of varying number performed tango music daily, also in the Piazza. "Duo Olé," billed as a "musical flamenco" act, was very good. There were a couple of other acts and shows that we're glad we didn't miss. Overall, we felt that the entertainment was pretty good. As for other areas of the ship, the library and Internet center are combined in one room, with the computers taking over most of the space. The library's few shelves were almost bare of books. Plan on bringing your own reading material, and maybe even consider donating your paperbacks to the empty shelves. Dining: Love the pizzeria. Chef made pizza with a couple of cheeseless slices for me, no problem. For vegans, the lunchtime selections in the Horizon Court were pretty much limited to salad and fruit, as almost every dish contained fish and/or dairy. Occasionally I'd find a vegetable curry there, but only after we'd already had dinner in one of the dining rooms. We opted for anytime dining but were lucky to find a table with a great wait staff in the Capri Dining Room on the first night. From the first night, I was shown the menu for the following night so I could pick out dishes for the next dinner that would fit my dietary plan. However, a few times I was happy just to have a nice salad, some avocado slices, and a baked potato. As for dessert, sorbet every night is just fine with me, but chef went out of his way to make something special in addition....a fruit parfait, poached pear, chocolate muffin, or several times a whipped concoction that I have to trust was made from aquafaba! The dining service was always EXCELLENT. Finally, a couple of pros on this particular cruise: The very entertaining Captain Michele "Nevertheless, bye bye!" Tuvo, which whom we also sailed last year.Unfortunately for passengers who continued to Buenos Aires and later, Capt. Tuvo also disembarked at Santiago. And also cruise directors Fernando, Veronica and Nat; A+ for availability and personality. They constantly kept us entertained. As for Cons: Being bombarded daily with wasteful ads for the EFFY store and the art auctions. Does anybody appreciate these two cruise ship "features"??? Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2018
I only went on this cruise because I was invited and paid for by family. I don't want to know how much it cost them, considering how laughable the cruise was. The buffet was generally gross. Breakfast items like scrambled eggs and ... Read More
I only went on this cruise because I was invited and paid for by family. I don't want to know how much it cost them, considering how laughable the cruise was. The buffet was generally gross. Breakfast items like scrambled eggs and bacon were average (how can you mess those up?), and "advanced" items like salmon fillets were revolting. Almost all the food was lukewarm, nothing ever being actually hot. No wonder everyone on the ship gets sick. It's all breeding grounds for bacteria. Food is definetely on par for the 70+ crowd. Think IHOP. The dining rooms were fine, the food being what I like to call "fine-industrial". It's fine-dining, but it somehow manages to still have that industrial, mass produced flavour. It's an enigma. Maybe I am used to a higher standard of cooking, but none of the fine dining food was on par with a restaurant on land. Maybe Olive Garden? The only time on the ship that I anticipated eating was at the pizzeria as it was actually normal tasting. It didn't have a weird "off" tinge. It was just average pizza. Better than Dominos and Pizza Hut, mind you! Staff were apathetic and not really keen about serving you. I don't exactly expect them to be joyful, seeing as their job is to serve people on a tacky boat. But a smile goes a long way. However, our steward, Job, was very kind and I got to talk to him quite a bit as a I sought refuge in my cabin from the hoards. The only exception to the apathetic staff was one of the pizza chefs, who always seemed to be smiling, and the adjacent bartender, who late at night would play ukelele for everyone. That was one of the rare good parts of the cruise. The ship captain, Michele Tuvo was cheerful too. The bartender at the very end of the ship, with the pool, was also kind, and he always gave me free sodas, probably because he knew how much of a rip-off it was. You've paid for the cruise and they don't even have the decency to give you free soda? It's sugar syrup and water. Seriously? What a joke. He made my cruise somewhat better. Cabins were outdated, tacky. The bathroom was astonishingly small. I don't expect it to be full size but c'mon. The soap and shampoo/conditioner were terrible. Makes your hair rough and smells weird. Very industrial. The TV was fine. One positive is the balcony, which was a relaxing place to sit. I loved to hear the water crashing. I enjoyed sitting in the hot tubs and swimming, but found it frustrating how there were no change rooms nearby any of the pools. I don't really want to walk back to my cabin completely soaked, dripping water down the hallway. Surely there is a more logical solution to this... And the pools closed quite early. 10 pm, and they were blocked off. I think midnight would be more appropriate, but of course, as senior cruises go, everything shuts down after 8. Movies Under the Stars was something I always looked forward to. I only wished they played more interesting movies and less family movies, I mean there weren't any families on this cruise. Maybe a handful of children, but it was mostly elderly. What's the point? I would have liked to see more movies in general, a lot were repeats. Programming was ABYSMAL. NOTHING for people below 50. And I mean it. Everyday there were the same old health seminars. "Rejuvenate wrinkled skin!" "Lower Back Pain and How to Treat It" "Arthritis 101". Are you actually kidding me? This is the entertainment? THIS is what costs thousands of dollars? The science-related slideshows were amateurish and slow. Information that could be said in 10 minutes was turned into a sluggish hour. With ugly slideshows that could have been done better by a highschooler. It was so sad. Theatre seats were uncomfortable. All in all this cruise sucked even more than I had anticipated. It was by definition, LAME. Lame food, lame entertainment, and lame people. The whole ship was a drag. Sorry, but hanging around 80 year olds, as a 19 year old is not fun whatsoever. Save your money, and by god do your research. I wouldn't recommend Princess cruises one bit. Shameful cruise. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We booked air fare and transfers with Princess to simplify our process. The embarkation in LA process was good up until boarding the ship. It took 2.5 hours to board. Standing on cement for my wife was difficult as she had hip surgery ... Read More
We booked air fare and transfers with Princess to simplify our process. The embarkation in LA process was good up until boarding the ship. It took 2.5 hours to board. Standing on cement for my wife was difficult as she had hip surgery 10 months ago. I would have liked some hydration stands especially if the weather got warmer. The disembarkation from ship to airport was great. However, the airport in Buenos Aires was painful 3.5 hours of lineups, suitcase drop-off, security, immigration, and boarding. The ship was clean and had lots of sanitizing stations. As seniors ,we chose the early seating as it fit our schedule better and we like sit down meals. It also enabled us to catch the early perfrmances in the Princess Theater. Our normal routine was to have breakfast in the Horizon Court (buffet), then go to the International Cafe for soup, salad, and/or sandwhich for lunch. We did try the speciality reastaurant, the Crown Grill. For activities we played duplicate bridge, played trivia, and enjoyed the Spa We did Princess and private tours at the Ports. CABO SAN LUCA - MEXICO Our Princess tour Salsa and Salsa got canceled. We took the tender to the port and caught the elevator up to the 2nd floor and enjoyed a couple of beers from the Wizzle Restaurant. This got us away from the street hustle and noise. PUNTA ARENAS - COSTA RICA We booked a private tour through Alvaro of Odyssey Tours. It was called 10 in 1 adventures. It was very good. Two of our favorites were watching the guides feed chicken to the crocodiles and watching the sunset at the top of a restaurant sipping an Imperial beer (local Costa Rican beer) CALLAO – PERU (LIMA) Lima is supposed to be a gastronomic delight with two of the top 10 restaurants in the world. We bought 3 pairs of alpaca socks (best socks for those that have cold feet) This is a two day stopover. We took a Princess excursion one day to the President’s square and the Indian Market. There are 11 million people that live in Metro – Lima It was nice to get out of the bus considering it was bumper to bumper traffic (30 minutes at each stop). We canceled our private tour because we were worried about our safety. We were told that taxis have no regulations so the drivers may not be taxi drivers. SAN MARTIN – PERU (PARACAS) We booked a private tour through Rocio of Bahia Tours. We were picked up at the Port of San Martin by a taxi. The driver took us to the boat center. We then boarded a slipper (an open passenger speed boat) and began by going to see the Candelabra – a huge figure in the sand. Next we continued to Ballestas Islas (Peru’s answer to the Galapagos). The colonies of birds, such as, Humboldt penguins, comorrants, terns and the sea lions were phenomenal. When we got back to shore the same taxi driver had our English speaking guide who took us on a tour of Paracas National Park. Part of which is going through a desert which doesn’t get any rain. Then we did a pisco tasting. COQUIMBO – CHILE (La Serena) We took a private tour through Mayorista tours. The Pisco in Vicuna – Cabel distillery (was great) . We stopped for 15 minutes at the La Serena market and stopped for 15 minutes at the Lighthouse monument SAN ANTONIO - CHILE We booked the City Drive tour through Princess. As the Chilean kids were on summer vacation we were in an area of their vacation homes and we were also on the Poet’s Route. We saw the second largest swimming pool in the world PUERTO MONTT – CHILE We booked a private tour through Puerto Montt excursions via Denis Putrov. His email is www.puertomontt-excursiones.com/en Some of the highlights were travelling alongside Lake Llanquihue, seeing the Osorno volcano, enjoying the beauty of Esmerelda Lake (Chile’s Lake Louise), enjoying some Chilean sweets in Cassis restaurant in Puerto Varas, and visting the Angelmo fish market. It was a great private tour. AMALIA GLACIER, We were fortunate enough to see it as most days it is fogged in PUNTARENAS – CHILE We arrived on Christmas Day and walked up to the main square as we had canceled our Princess excursion to Magdelena Island. (Falkland Islands is a better place to see penguins) We did stop in a souvenir shop. Chilean Peso is the best money, although USD are nice, USHUAIA – ARGENTINA Here we realized how close we were to Antarctica. We took the $10 USD double decker bus ride. It lasts 1 hour and the first one leaves at 1:15 PM. We enjoyed it. CAPE HORN Another treat as we did not have rough seas as we rounded into the Atlantic Ocean. The desolate island with no trees and cool temperatures (even in summer" time") STANLEY – FALKLAND ISLANDS We got lucky. We connected with the game warden or caretaker of Volunteer Point Sanctuary. Derek Pettersson knew the shortcuts so we got to the site first so we were able to walk among the penguins without stressing them too much. The sanctuary had King, Gentoo, and Magellan penguins His tour included a lunch. His email is drp@horizon.co.fk . The roads are only for “4 x 4 ing”. Your body will be bounced around. PUERTO MADRYN-ARGENTINA We walked the streets along the beachfront. First we walked 4 blocks to the turismo information where they said the best thing to do is to go 17 km down the road. Then, we went to the adjacent 2 story mall and walked 3 blocks west to the town square. We stopped in at a supermarket on the way MONTEVIDEO- URUGUAY We went on the Princess city tour knowing that the city streets would be empty on Jan 1. Our tour guide said some of the inhabitants partied until 7 am. Don’t know about currency although we did use USD to get a fridge magnet. We drove by their 80000 people soccer stadium BUENOS AIRES -ARGENTINA If you have extra days before boarding in Buenos Aires, we enjoyed the Princess excursion City Drive (saw Eva Peron’s Mausoleum) and Tango Show at La Ventana and a Princes excursion to Tigre Delta. The Opera House is supposed to phenomenal. As soccer season had not started a Boca Junior or River Platte game would be fun The traffic around the terminal is slow because a freeway is being constructed. Also when you get to the terminal you will be shuttled to the ship. Many guests stayed longer by going to the Sofitel Hotel. Argentina Peso is the best currency in Argentina, Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We bought the cruise last winter as a 30 cruise. We were not informed that it changed to a B2B Cruise. All ship experiences were a repeat the second half. There were many unhappy customers!! Classic Bait and Switch. Embarkation was a ... Read More
We bought the cruise last winter as a 30 cruise. We were not informed that it changed to a B2B Cruise. All ship experiences were a repeat the second half. There were many unhappy customers!! Classic Bait and Switch. Embarkation was a nightmare. Never experienced anything like the confusion, being bullied by people taking your luggage, 2 hour wait, etc. The crew was wonderful! Food OK but repetitious. A little more variety would be appreciated. I actually lost weight on the cruise. Crossing the equator ceremony was very fun! The Captain on the first 1/2 was great!! Very visible and funny! The ship excursions were just OK. Some better than others. The ship needs some updating and maintenance but the overall condition was good. The Christmas decorations were beautiful!! My daughter is disabled and the crew were fantastic with her!! She has a wonderful time thanks mainly to the caring, sweet and funny crew. Everyone knew her name and went out of their way to make her smile! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
The basics: Howdy. I went on the 30-day encompassing travel from Los Angeles to Buenos Aires. Travel was part of a family/family friends unit accompanying passengers in their 60s and 70s, one with mobility, non-wheelchair ... Read More
The basics: Howdy. I went on the 30-day encompassing travel from Los Angeles to Buenos Aires. Travel was part of a family/family friends unit accompanying passengers in their 60s and 70s, one with mobility, non-wheelchair considerations; we're mostly a group that wanted to see the sights and hopefully get an inkling of the life of the region with less emphasis on the bells and whistles of cruise life/services and holiday cruising. Some, but not extensive cruising experience prior to this one. All in all, I feel that our days were lucky and well spent with very comfortable service/passage, interesting ports, and fortunate weather with the caveat and advice that the experience is also more driven by your own efforts, energy, and embracing come what may of the cruise experience. Ship: Ship spaces are generally pleasant. The Star feels more of a modest environment: There are few-to-no grand visual statements and often swaths of low ceiling, unexciting carpet, and mild patterns; the best of what decor offers is more in some updated spaces that are intimate and comfortable (Wheelhouse Bar, and the fee-dining areas of Sabatini's and Crown Grill - perhaps my gravitation for polished wood and booths, here). Other areas feel a little more perfunctory and are deflated a little by what feels to be almost consistently cramped design: The flow and available space in the Horizon Court dining areas, for example, seem to subdivide yet compress traffic flow, and the Piazza/shopping area feels a tad compact and cold in comparison to other cruise experiences. There are also some awkward moments, such as locating the nearest bathroom of the Amalfi 6th-floor dining room one floor up, the random corridor/dead end in navigating from one side of the ship to the other, and what came to be called 'elevator roulette' in trying to figure out which door opened (sometimes behind you) - small details and decisions that don't necessarily make sense or feel accommodating to the passenger. Cabin: Cabin space continues the general idea of functionality without much flair - for three passengers, ours was an obstructed view starboard with two twin beds and two fold-down options. Sharing for three is possible, but dependent on traveling style. Storage includes a small safe (not for anything larger than small electronics - maybe one camera, a footprint not much larger than a paper sheet) and cabinet column next to an open closet (with plenty of hangers) and then a few open shelving corners, drawers, and a night table per twin bed. There was some fair space in the closet for standing luggage, but at the same time there was barely desk space for two and open floor was very limited - seating and rest were pretty much constrained to the beds which were happily comfortable. (Note that the upper berth has a light switch that is permanently lit in green.) Unfortunately we didn't check the lamps for USB ports; we relied on the two available room outlets to rotate between charging our gadgets. The bathroom is basic with a shower stall and again some limited open shelving and one outlet. TV and phone were without frills and fine - ultimately, our cabin only served for rest and recuperation as needed. Service: Professional service was the norm - overall, the impression was attentive and dedicated, particularly despite the extensive hours and scheduling being worked by some staff. The weaker points come from the instances of when service fell through, most prominently in information distribution and scheduling and handling of port day organization. Causes seemed variable - a lack of confidence in providing/committing advice, an outdated piece of information here and there - but it also felt almost structural - never had I been more aware of feeling like the staff somehow needed more resources and bodies to address the needs of the passenger audience. Nevertheless, those thoughts don't diminish that we had wonderful stewards and waiters during our month on board, with great conversation and care that made traditional dining always a highlight to wind down the day (many thanks to Julius and Fitri!). There are many teams hard at work on board - dining, bar, entertainment, photography, to name a few - and the sparks of friendliness helped to create a sense of consistent community on the ship, especially in the cheerful atmosphere set from LA to Santiago under the command of Captain Michele Tuvo (a definite highlight - passengers on the Sky Princess will be in good hands). Dining: Mostly traditional, no-fee for our experience; for the most part (along with our excellent service) we were pleased with the various menu ideas and items if equally occasionally disappointed in the execution. Appetizers - a wild mushroom tartlet, crab cake, for example - were probably the most satisfying, with dessert second. Cold soup options like one with crystallized ginger and a lychee-coconut drink and sorbets in honeydew and apple cider were among our favorite and most surprising discoveries over the whole course. On the other hand, savory soups were frequently salty, and over the course of two menu cycles it was possible to encounter variance in quality in any item (a disappointing, fibrous vegetable quiche to a fantastic slice; a supremely sweet mousse to one well balanced). For traveling along South America, fruit itself also seemed inconsistent, perhaps a necessity of cruising but still perplexing. Outside of dinner, the options were serviceable: Secondary notables included the reliable and satisfying Prego Pizzeria slice for lunch and the often overlooked afternoon tea on sea days (tea, scone with jam and cream, sandwiches, and desserts in a brief window). The Horizon buffet options were standard with a clear orientation towards quantity production - a good option for a do-it-yourself sandwich, but for most items often featured idea over execution with a few finds. Paired with tight spacing and inconvenient seating, it was less favored than a formal dining room or grab-and-go. Late-night grub is also limited to one option after 11 p.m., which ties a bit into the overall ship life... Entertainment, Programming, and Ship Life: Programming/ship life unfortunately was probably the flimsiest portion of our cruise experience, whether navigating past the cascade of jewelry and gallery events to queuing for limited seating in craft sessions to the early morning scheduling of enrichment lectures and so on. Personally, I was a little disappointed by how promotional activities wanted to be, with art lectures that tried to tie into the auctions, craft sessions with purchasable kits, and port lectures with excursion ops: these seemed less suggestive of personal enrichment and kept events from feeling as professional, educational, or enjoyable as they should have. Intentions, demographics, and target audience aside, many ship activities never seemed to really gel, dogged by a feeling that resources and space were never really meant to accommodate the audience that arrived. Easier options included Movies Under the Stars (which sometimes allotted three showings of the same film), but seating, preparation, and planning otherwise for events would have benefited with more attention - not placing an event at the same site as a sale or an auction, ensuring that passengers waiting for an event had an alternative to sitting on the floor, checking that equipment compatibility did not delay a start for twenty minutes - the cumulative details felt unrefined. Entertainment quality was also mixed - musical entertainment outside of evening shows held up well with performers providing enjoyable listening (what felt like nightly Tango music with the Bujacich Quintet was very in-theme and well appreciated) whereas mainstage acts could impress (magician Alex Ramon, guitarist Nestor Santurio) or less depending on the evening. One major miss for me was a silent run through Glacier Alley: whether simply unscheduled or maybe a technical malfunction, the Star Princess sailed through the area without announcement and a far cry from the Alaskan Glacier Bay experience on a different cruise line. Port/Itinerary/Excursions: The port schedule serves to balance out the unflattering as-you-go nature of sea days - the itinerary, particularly in the main leg of San Antonio/Santiago to Buenos Aires, is filled with singular experiences of landscape, wildlife, history, and culture, paced often with an alternation between port days and sea days to rest and prepare. The repositioning from Los Angeles to Santiago is deceptively slow, with two sets of three sea days back-to-back, but its ports of call can also provide for some expansive offerings to those traveling first-time like we were (San Martin was a spectacular surprise in providing terrain and wildlife we'd never seen before). As strong as the itinerary is (and our schedule also saw us as the only ship in most ports), a warning that doing research on the ports and vendors available can be well worth the time and money saved. Skip out of what might seem like a convenient bus-based city tour for taking the courtesy shuttle and/or walking the path directly (San Martin, Punta Arenas, and Montevideo come to mind) and also realize that comparable and reliable options do exist at sometimes less than half the price. Another major shortcoming is the management of tender and shuttle ticketing: we were ill-prepared for how poorly operations went for Lima shuttle tickets and not-insignificant wait times were involved for most tender operations without personal planning. (Aside from the iconic Captain Tuvo, nothing unified the ship more than the antipathy towards the WiFi and tender services.) Odds and ends: For repositioning to the first run of the season, the 30-day sailing does encompass the winter holidays and New Year's. Nods in the decor were trees, wreaths, and other decorations for the entirety in addition to some light scheduling of holiday events (card making, gingerbread houses, caroling, etc.) and a special dinner menu for each occasion. A piazza balloon drop celebrated the turn of the year - enough late-night fun for me! - but other cruisers might have preferred something that felt more extensive and encompassing. Young adults on this cruise should be prepared to find or prepare their own entertainment. The two portions of the cruise were markedly different in composition, so finding a similar cohort was even more challenging before the family groups and end-of-year cruisers arrived for Santiago to Buenos Aires. There are all-ages activities and enrichment opportunities, but nevertheless, targeted activities were scarce. Embarkation from Los Angeles went smoothly with friendly service. Disembarkation was more reflective of the organizational ambivalence that emerged through the course of the cruise with disembarking excursion passengers called very early in the morning to assemble before waiting further to disembark. Nonetheless, the excursion itself was a very smooth process (be warned - EZE was not). In any sort of going on and off the ship, those with mobility issues were often lost in the crowd. Conclusion: In hindsight, we all had a memorable experience with the essence of what we had hoped - new experiences, culture, land, and people with hopefully more revelation of how little we do know. In that regard, I'd like to say that it was excellent. Nonetheless, for the purposes of this review, I can't really say that we lay that claim to the Star Princess, however grateful we are for the excellent instances of service and the privilege for the convenience and comfort of the ship. Depending on what you're looking for, this could be a very good cruise - one where you form friendships and memories and travel affordably - but if it is, it will likely be because of your own efforts, investment, and objectives as opposed to the experience of the vessel. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
This ship is in need of overall remodeling, there are so many maintenance problems, toilet not working, ceiling drip water,smells in the walkways, toilet backflow,,, And the food quality is poor, I think they use leftovers for buffet ... Read More
This ship is in need of overall remodeling, there are so many maintenance problems, toilet not working, ceiling drip water,smells in the walkways, toilet backflow,,, And the food quality is poor, I think they use leftovers for buffet dishes, the meat dishes are all very dry, the fishes are ok except after on buffet line for too long they are sometimes salty. They put raw fish at room temperature instead of covering them and keep them cooling, is somewhat strange to me. The services also terrible, most of the staff have bad manner. And DON'T choose "ANYTIME DINNING " we never could get a table for 2 before 9:00pm, they force us to share table, which we hate. I told customer service manager this he referred me to restaurant manager, but the restaurant manager told me there is nothing he could do. This kind of customer service is a shame for princess cruise lines. How could they rate themself 4.5 stars is beyond me, I would rate them 1 star Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
Yes; I am/was a first-time cruiser. While I was a bit concerned that a big ship would feel crowded (wasn’t), I booked this at the urging of friends who think highly of the Princess Cruise Line. I was not disappointed in the least with ... Read More
Yes; I am/was a first-time cruiser. While I was a bit concerned that a big ship would feel crowded (wasn’t), I booked this at the urging of friends who think highly of the Princess Cruise Line. I was not disappointed in the least with this adventure. I had an exceedingly comfortable mini-suite and one terrific cabin steward (thanks, Chris, for your diligence and sense of humor). The dining options were great — appreciated the any-time dining option, the International Cafe and the Horizon Buffet, especially, as I tend toward a ‘movable feast’. I really enjoyed the tapas and the Filipino dinner at Horizon. Wait staff, all around, were gracious and helpful. I also enjoyed a few traditional dinners with newly-made friends. A thank-you to Hernando (I believe his name) for the lectures pertaining to ports-of-call. You had an good influence on what excursions I chose, especially in Peru. Segue: I heard a number of complaints re the cost of excursions through Princess. Yes, I’m sure one can lower the cost by hiring a private tour, but I was not-at-all disappointed with our guides, transportation and destinations. Really recommend the tour of the archaeological museum in Lima, moving to the Pachacamac ruins next, followed by a lovely (seriously) lunch at a hacienda and a Paso horse demonstration. Also recommend a tour of Islas Ballestas off the coast of Paracas. Nature in action there - seals, Humboldt penguins, cormorants, etc — and a wild, slightly-wet ride to get there. Fun! I appreciated all the forms of entertainment on the ship, esp the Latin and classical music. Looked forward to trivia times and the commaraderie there (thanks, Gabi, for being such a pleasant and low-key host — you had a tough crowd, sometimes!) So, I may appear to be gushing in this review but my impressions are sincere. I’d book another re-positioning ship with Princess again. And, wouldn’t mind having Captain Tuvo as our ‘fearless leader’ again — professional and a sense of humor! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Great price and great itinerary. First time in south America and enjoyed the heck out of it. we enjoyed this trip and met a lot of friendly people. Embarkation process went smoothly even though our bus from the airport was late arriving to ... Read More
Great price and great itinerary. First time in south America and enjoyed the heck out of it. we enjoyed this trip and met a lot of friendly people. Embarkation process went smoothly even though our bus from the airport was late arriving to the port. Disembarkation also went smoothly. Our waiters (Renato and Nikki) at Portofino Dining Room are very professional and the Head waiter Sebastian was superb. These people took care of us for 30 days. Our cabin was always very clean. Our steward (Michael) always go out of his way to make sure our cabin was cleaned and sanitized. All ports were exciting even though lots of guest were scared to go out to one specific port because of the letter sent to all guests by the ship. My wife and I are planning to take another 30 day cruise this coming April 2019. Have a happy New Year to everyone. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
Emerald Princess – South America 31-days December 3, 2017 to January 3, 2018 ... Read More
Emerald Princess – South America 31-days December 3, 2017 to January 3, 2018 Los Angeles to Buenos Aires Two recently retired couples who are avid ballroom dancers take a cruise to the birthplace of their favorite dance. Mary and Alan [yours truly] with Dante’ and Myrna embark on a pilgrimage to the birthplace of the Milonga and the original sensuous tango. We have had extensive lessons in Standard and American tango, which is very different than the earthy sensuous Argentine variety, and we wanted to learn. But let’s start earlier. Embarkation was a breeze. We had three luggage and a duffel of Coke Zero. D and M had four luggage, a backpack and a laptop stroller. They were really packed! Well, so were we. Luggage came to the cabin in quick order. We had booked quite late, but Mike got us cabins which we were happy with. We were booked into the very front balcony, Emerald 101, and D and M were booked into Caribe 202, an oceanview. Yes, it is about a quarter-mile walk to the Lido for buffet lunch, but we needed to burn off all the calories we put on with all the yummy desserts. The cabins are standard fare with Princess, and we had to forego the mini-suites as they were sold out. A word to the wise: book early Food: a problem with longer cruise as the food started tasting the same toward the end as the fish is cooked the same way with the same saltiness and spices, and even though the taste was good, every day is every day and then multiply that by 31 and, I believe, you can figure what I am saying. Toward the end a hot dog and fries tasted great for lunch. You can guess the first order of business on any excursion is fine dining. Yup yup. Lost in my complaining, the food was good enough. The International Café is a life saver. We became friendly with the whole staff with Mary giving the girls inexpensive necklaces for Christmas. The yoghurt parfait and lattes for breakfast was indeed a nice daily opener. Come early as the almond croissants were continuously gone and baked again and again as they were greedily ordered. Excursions: We took private tours for the first half of the cruise. A trip to the volcano in Costa Rica +1, diver and tour guide in Lima for two days, the same in Pisco, and the same in La Serena. All were truly one of a kind experiences. Yes, take time to do your research into private tours and negotiate the prices. For example, the tour of Lima for two days came to US$500 for the four of us, which comes to $62.50 per day per person. That is all day, 10 hours or more, with a private tour guide. The drivers parked and waited and when we were done we were whisked away to the next location. La Serena, we were probably the only passengers from the ship to enter into Elqui Valley. We saw a few buses at the entrance town, but none as we ventured further. I’ve made mistakes on a few excursions, but after 75 cruises and hundreds of private excursions, I am getting to learn what and how to book through the internet and find references. Disembarkation and post-cruise: The disembarkation was picking up the luggage and walking out! The immigration was done a day earlier as we stayed overnight in Buenos Aires. We took two taxis US$ 25 [rip-off] to the hotel which was ten minutes away. We then parked our luggage there for free [474 Hotel] and took another taxi to AEP airport. We then took a plane to Iguazu Falls. We stayed for three evenings. The 474 Hotel was great! We paid US$ 90 for the night, they stored our luggage during our stay in Iguazu, and had really a nice buffet breakfast. I can heartily recommend staying here over all other Buenos Aires hotels. There are lots of places I didn’t review as there was just too many to mention. Penguins? Sea life, Ushuaia and the End of the World, abalone in Chile, and much much more. Stars – Emerald Princess 4-stars, mainstream ship, nice décor, tango dance lessons and a tango quintet made me give a half a star more for the entertainment. Excursion stops 5-stars as the stops have all the essential ones and the rest are nice. Lots of sea days make for a relaxing cruise. Food – 3 ½ stars. You will need to spend extra at the Crown Grill and at the excursion stops to break up the monotony. Overall? 4-stars. After so many cruises I can better give a review which I can compare to different cruise companies and itineraries. Take this cruise. I will again. Perhaps we will be companion cruisers! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
This cruise ticked a few items on my bucket list giving me the opportunity to visit Macchu Pichu and Iguaza Falls. I've been on the Emerald Princess before and she's my favourite ship in the fleet. The cruise was part of a ... Read More
This cruise ticked a few items on my bucket list giving me the opportunity to visit Macchu Pichu and Iguaza Falls. I've been on the Emerald Princess before and she's my favourite ship in the fleet. The cruise was part of a package with flights, transfers and hotel accommodation so everything was done for me. I was in an interior cabin on Deck 10 which didn't worry me as I love the absence of light creeping in through a window and preventing me from an extra couple of hours' sleep. I also love the walk-in wardrobe set-up outside the bathroom for a bit of privacy. Don't miss having a drink at Skywalkers on deck 18 to check out the water views from the rear of the ship. The food was exceptional, especially if you love steak like I do. I only ate in the restaurant (anytime dining) and avoid the buffet because of lines and looking for tables. There was two sectors; a lot of Americans left the ship at Santiago and were replaced by Spanish people to Buenos Aires. Princess did her best to accommodate both nationalities but obviously there were problems with two languages. Activities were split into two with different venues, one for the English speaking and one for Spanish. Announcements were made in both languages. While this was a little annoying, there was an advantage when dining in the restaurant - Spanish people eat very late so the dining room was practically empty for the early seating. Guest entertainers were a bit disappointing although the Princess dancers and singers were fabulous as always. I loved the cruise director and his staff. Service was great as always. I don't use Princess shore excursions they are very expensive, but booked a number of tours through the Cruise Critic roll call. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2017
Enjoyed the mix of sea and port days, but felt they could of offered more on sea days. There was one lecturer on board, who delivered a good variety of talks. The weather wasn’t great so unless you like to gamble and play trivia there ... Read More
Enjoyed the mix of sea and port days, but felt they could of offered more on sea days. There was one lecturer on board, who delivered a good variety of talks. The weather wasn’t great so unless you like to gamble and play trivia there was not much to entertain. The ship doesn’t have TV on demand, so I they play movie over and over and you have catch it right. Our room furniture was very uncomfortable and ship could use an upgrade. They did bring in some great performers, and rotated several throughout the 2 & 1/2 weeks, but shows were standing room only, we stood for several. Club class dining was excellent! Sevice and food were both top class. Overall ship service was very good. Port tours which we mostly did on our own where very interesting. I wouldn’t repeat this specific cruise but am glad that we had the experience! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2017
We took the 31 night cruise from LA to Buenos Aires. First time on a ship for that long! The ports were excellent & we enjoyed our time on the ship. The first 17 days were a repositioning cruise and we were at sea 10 of those days. I ... Read More
We took the 31 night cruise from LA to Buenos Aires. First time on a ship for that long! The ports were excellent & we enjoyed our time on the ship. The first 17 days were a repositioning cruise and we were at sea 10 of those days. I find activities to be scarce on sea days if the weather is not good. Not a fan of bingo, the casino or bean bag toss! It's mostly shopping and spending money! Lectures about aromatherapy turned out to be a sales pitch. It was all about selling Effy jewelry, art auctions, portraits, future cruises. Got extremely annoying! People sure dropped big coin though! Easy to do! The library is very poorly stocked and not at all inviting. No comfy seats to relax & enjoy a good read. Quite disappointing on such a large ship. The ship was full for the entire voyage. 3000 got off in Santiago & 3000 got on! The ship is in fairly good shape. Ongoing maintenance was be done while we were underway. Public rooms on the ship are small & got very crowded at times. Embarkation was smooth. We were the only ship to depart at San Pedro that day. Disembarkation at Buenos Aires also went smooth. The port was very crowded after we left the ship. If you do not prearrange transport you can be waiting some time for a cab. We had our hotel take care of that for us. There was the usual long wait for services the first day of the cruise. The worst was the Internet Café. People waited as long as two hours to get their internet hooked up. I found some of the staff to be abrupt and rude to passengers. Princess needs a better system to get passenger's internet sorted out! Internet was generally very slow and the network is NOT user friendly! Many people were told they did not log out and their minutes were used up. This is just not acceptable. I would not recommend purchasing internet on Princess. You can find free WIFI at the ports. Much less aggravating! Our cabin was Aloha 234, balcony. We enjoyed the port side balcony during good weather & when cruising around the Cape. The room is a good size with plenty of storage. The bathroom smells musty. The base of the shower had cracked & water accumulated there. I feel a thorough cleaning needs to be done...more than a cabin steward can do each day. Our cabin steward, Jayson from the Philippines, did a great job keeping our room tidy. Whenever maintenance was needed, Jayson arranged it to be done promptly. He was always pleasant and helpful, and worked really hard. Horizon Court & Café Caribe had good, although sometimes repetitive, selections for all meals. Some guests were greedy when it came to special items, such as fresh raspberries & macadamia nuts! There were a few special themed dinners. Indian was excellent! Coffee is weak, and at one point the ship ran out of cream! If you like good coffee you are almost forced to buy a coffee card for a better selection at the International Café. At the start of the cruise some food was just too salty. The chef seemed to resolve this later in the cruise. Botticelli Dining Room offered a sit down breakfast and lunch daily. A nice change on sea days. We enjoyed anytime dining generally at Da Vinci Dining Room. We often reserved a table so no waiting was necessary. Bernardo or Jeff were often our waiters. They, along with their team, were excellent & went out of their way to please. Food was good. Chocolate Journey desserts were decadent. Beautiful & delicious! Trident Grill was not too busy when the weather was cool. People loved the fries! Prego pizza was not as good as I remembered it from other cruises. Really salty! We celebrated a special occasion at Share. It costs $39/person. Excellent 6 course meal, beautifully presented. Lots of food. Gabby, our server, was a delight! Bartenders made good drinks. Prices are fair compared to any bar in a major city. Bruno was our bartender at the Wheelhouse Bar. We did not buy the beverage package for this cruise as we were off the ship so much. It's almost $70/day after gratuities. We'd buy a bottle of wine at dinner & enjoy it over a few days. They ran out of some Chilean wine in Chile...go figure! You were permitted to bring one bottle of wine per adult at the start of the cruise to consume in your cabin. More bottles entailed a $15 corkage fee. Destination lectures by Chris Becket were informative. Chris was available for personal questions for two hours in the afternoon. His lectures were repeated on Princess TV if the original was missed. Enrichment lectures by Derek were interesting topics. Fred took over the second leg of the trip...not a fan of serial murders! There were a number of tender ports. Tendering in Los Cabos was a disaster if you did not hold elite status. It took two hours to get ashore, with a long wait to return as well. We were told this was due to a busy port with minimal area to dock tenders. A number of ports were working ports & were unsafe to wander through. Buses took passengers to the main gate & back. Pisco was on the itinerary only to pick up passengers who went on the Machu Picchu excursion. It's a working port in the desert, with sand blowing everywhere! Buenos Aires is also a working port. We were docked right next to equipment loading container ships. Loud, ugly & an unpleasant way to end our cruise. Again, buses take passengers to the main gate for taxis or tour buses. If you venture into the street to walk to nearby sights, you pass through construction by a train station. Very crowded & we witnessed pickpocketers going through the wallet of a tourist! Be careful in crowds! We did an excursion at every port. Most were booked privately prior to the cruise. Never had any issues with getting back to the ship on time. The costs were about 50% less than Princess for similar, or identical, excursions. We were also in mini-vans, not huge buses that Princess uses. We booked Machu Picchu, Magdalena Island, and two others with Princess. We paid a premium for these, but all were done well. Machu Picchu was top notch in accommodation, food & guide the entire time. Akorn Destination Management did the tour. Eyner was our fantastic guide. Only negative...some folks who booked this tour were seriously mobility impaired, having great difficulty negotiating the many & irregular steps to explore the ruins. People clearly did not meet the criteria to do this tour safely. It could have turned out badly for a few. Thankfully all went smoothly. No regrets at all. Timothy at the excursion desk was always helpful & smiling. My biggest issue with this cruise was the size of the ship. I prefer smaller ships, but believe the itinerary required a larger ship. Because of the number of passengers (3400) I sometimes felt like one in a heard of cattle. Always on line for something! Service was, at times, impersonal. Although I'd not book another cruise on the Emerald, I would book a smaller Princess ship. Good value for money. But kinda vanilla...not alot of personalized service. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2017
We chose this cruise for the itinerary, we like taking cruises during Christmas and New Years. We have been on the Emerald before in 98 i had hoped it had been upgraded more than it has our Suite had one of the new Princess beds which was ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary, we like taking cruises during Christmas and New Years. We have been on the Emerald before in 98 i had hoped it had been upgraded more than it has our Suite had one of the new Princess beds which was nice but the couch was worn out and very uncomfortable TV system needs to be upgraded to interactive and larger TV's in Suites. Bathroom i would do away with Tub put in bigger shower and double sinks. We had the new club class dining venue which was nice never any wait and great service unfortunately the food on this trip was a 5 out of 10 at best. Breakfast in the Crown Grill for Suite guests was the best meal the buffet was pretty bad, we only went a couple of times, overall this was not Princess at its best! We are Elite with Princess and will just try her again, but not on the Emerald unless they make major upgrades, Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
South America was one of the last places on our to-cruise list. Was a mini-disaster. The ship was packed with rude people. Lines everywhere for everything. Loud people. Line jumpers. Angry, politically intense people with ... Read More
South America was one of the last places on our to-cruise list. Was a mini-disaster. The ship was packed with rude people. Lines everywhere for everything. Loud people. Line jumpers. Angry, politically intense people with election-night hangovers ready for a fight. Hall running kids. Hallway blockers slowly and aimlessly walking, weaving back and forth, arm-in-arm down hallways. A zillion scooters driven by food-crazed grossly overweight people going back and forth to the buffet. The weather was cloudy, chilly, and rainy forcing people inside where they clogged up every hallway. Excursions were way over-priced. Typically $150-$250 for drive-a-rounds hitting a few tourist traps. Food was bad. Breakfast was terrible. Dried out cold scrambled eggs. Two day old tough pancakes. Tasteless oatmeal. Good fruit selection. Pastries same everyday. Gave up on it 2 days into the cruise and ate cold cereal with banana. Pizza was really bad. Burgers, hot dogs, etc. were good. On the plus side. Best service by dining room and room steward staff ever. Decent ice cream. Officers were semi-rude. One wildlife announcement the entire cruise. The bridge evidently didn't see that large pod of whales we went by at one point. Entertainment was mediocre. Daily activities were jammed packed with ship's money making efforts. Hallways were semi-blocked daily with tables loaded with jewelry, clothing, cameras, etc. for sale. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
We chose Princess because of prior positive experiences on other ships like the Royal and Regal. We sailed 25 times on Princess before this cruise. We paid a premium for the full South America cruise. Unfortunately the ship was ... Read More
We chose Princess because of prior positive experiences on other ships like the Royal and Regal. We sailed 25 times on Princess before this cruise. We paid a premium for the full South America cruise. Unfortunately the ship was disappointing compared to other Princess ships. Embarkation was smooth and fast. My stateroom was outdated and worn. The carpet was stained and old. The bathroom was worn out and old. The hot water was not working and it took five days for them to fix it plus four different technicians to verify that it was broken. The TV was old and did not have any on demand capabilities. I remember sailing on ships in late 2000’s with on demand TV so it was shocking this ship did not have it. The hallway carpeting was also old and stained. The only evidence of updating was the dining rooms and main atrium. The food was the worst I ever experienced on Princess. The beginning of the cruise was worse. The portions were tiny and quality poor. Shockingly, Princess did away with the wine package on this cruise. After restocking in Chile, the food was markedly better. The service was good and the wait staff always tried to make you happy. The specialty restaurants were good but now the Crown Grill charged an extra $10 for surf and turf. Share restaurant was good but not worth $39 per person. I miss the Italian restaurant. The Horizon Court was packed for breakfast and it was hard to find seating. We did the sit down for breakfast after looking for seats the first week of the cruise. The entertainment was average. I wish they showed more movies in the theatre on sea days. The casino was fine but newer slots and a more upbeat casino staff would have made it a better experience. The shore excursions were extremely overpriced on the ship. There were always long lines to ask them questions. The same tour prearranged online before the cruise was 2/3 cheaper then the cruise ship. Tendering in Cabo took too long. Even after four hours you’d still needed tender tickets. The tendering to return to the ship in Chile took over two hours in line. The internet was so slow, I don’t understand why Princess even offers it. Most people complain about it. I don’t understand how speeds have decreased over time. Don’t waste your money in buying it. I get 250 free minutes and most times it took more then 10 minutes for an email to send. Disembarkation in Buenos Aires was a breeze. Overall, I was extremely disappointed in my cruise based upon the price paid. The Emerald Princess felt so outdated and old compared to the Regal, Royal and Pacific ships. There is no excuse for Princess not to update the rooms, TVs and provide the same quality of food as compared to those ships. I would not sail on the Emerald Princess until those items are addressed. Plus, I will research each ship more next time. Before this cruise I was expecting the same quality on the Emerald as other Princess ships. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2017
Interested in the ports of call. They were ok but, not ones I would definitely return to. However, we did stay a few days in Santiago and enjoyed it there. The entertainment was fine, different than on other Princess ships, were ... Read More
Interested in the ports of call. They were ok but, not ones I would definitely return to. However, we did stay a few days in Santiago and enjoyed it there. The entertainment was fine, different than on other Princess ships, were enjoyable. Food was good, I think on the salad bar in Horizon it needs to be better organized. Room Steward I had, Joseph, was great. I was disappointed with the Chanukah dinner they had. They should not have told us it was a dinner because all they had was potato latkes an donuts, we then had to go to dinner which this was at same time as our normal dinner seating. The person that did the service was good. I was pleased overall with the cruise. We had a problem with a tour however, Excursion Desk took care of that and refunded everyone some money because of the problem unknown to them. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
We wanted to go to Machu Pichuu, and the the tour company who handled this 72 hour excursion was wonderful--pricey but worth it. I wish I could say that about the rest of the cruise. My husband and I have been on 60+ cruises between ... Read More
We wanted to go to Machu Pichuu, and the the tour company who handled this 72 hour excursion was wonderful--pricey but worth it. I wish I could say that about the rest of the cruise. My husband and I have been on 60+ cruises between us, from the high end (Regent, Oceana, Asimar) to the low end (Carnival). This was our first (and last) Princess cruise. Some of the reasons include: mediocre food (my generous description, my husband called it terrible. Cheap, tough with grissle cuts of meat, dinners and soup served cold (had to be sent back 3-4 times).Soups were mostly broth with barely visible pieces of vegetables. (Once they had wonton soup and all four of us at the table had zero wontons in our bowl of soup. Don't know if they were never there or others fished out all the wontons. Once I told the server the olive oil bottle was empty. He just removed it without replacing it with a full one. When the nut bowls at breakfast were emptied, they were not replaced. We got mixed messages from staff at the service desk, and once they said they would get back to us and never did. At one point, they couldn't find our passports. I joined a book club and about 30 of us were given the same book to read, but there was no follow up meeting scheduled for us to discuss it! We ended up leaving out books on a table in the library as there was never anyone there to check books in or out or get information from. Erroneous information was published in the daily newsletter. Formal night was a joke. My husband in his tux and I in my evening gown sat next to people in the dining room dressed in jeans and tennis shoes (even on Christmas and New Years Eve!) We were encouraged to sit for black and white photos for a studio photographer and told the cost was $150. When we went to look at the pics, several minutes into the "presentation set to music" we learned that the three pictures we were interested in would cost us $1200! The "professional" photographer was using photoshop to edit them, the same software we use at home. My husband was upset we were charged for hot chocolate (which is free even on Carnival) when we were sailing through glaciers! The buffet layout In Horizon is arranged in such a way that people are going in various directions--it's a mess. On the second leg, the entertainment was mostly repeats, and since the theater could not accomodate the over 3000 passengers in the two shows offered, if you didn't get there 30+ minutes ahead of the show to get a seat, you were out of luck. Oh, and some of the bathrooms--in fairness, those near the pool area which might not be used that often--were less than clean. I'm talking black rings in the commode at the water line. Very disappointed. Princess Cruise failed to deliver. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2017
Decent itinerary. I would sail this itinerary again This ship needs new staffing and DEF new Princess singers! By far, some of the worst singers are on the ship at this time.. The lead male, dark hair an olive complexion, on the ... Read More
Decent itinerary. I would sail this itinerary again This ship needs new staffing and DEF new Princess singers! By far, some of the worst singers are on the ship at this time.. The lead male, dark hair an olive complexion, on the short side, is HORRIBLE! We walked out of two shows, so did others! The tall lead male is decent, but no range. The female that wears the blond wig is the best singer. Maintenance is severely lacking and properly trained techs are almost non existent on this ship. Many of the cabins have the orig carpet, stained, sun bleached, smelly.. There is NOT reason that this lack of updating should be noticeable by guests! Employees in food services talking non stop in their language, is also not allowed by Princess and other cruise lines, but is OUT OF CONTROL on Princess! Staff diversity is gone:( Princess use to be much better about hiring a diverse staff. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2017
I had a great cruise on the Regal princess in April 2017. Since then, Princess raised my cost for a bottle of Korbel Champagne with tip from $23 to $39.10. That is a 70% cost increase! They raised wine prices greatly and did away with ... Read More
I had a great cruise on the Regal princess in April 2017. Since then, Princess raised my cost for a bottle of Korbel Champagne with tip from $23 to $39.10. That is a 70% cost increase! They raised wine prices greatly and did away with their wine card program which allowed you to pre-purchase a number of bottles of wine at a discounted price. I really think they blew it as the reasonable wine prices of the past were a very positive point of distinction. i talked with a Canadian couple that was devastated by the loss of the wine card program. They noted that their Canadian dollar didn't go far and that the wine card program had allowed them to enjoy a bottle of wine nearly every night on past cruises. They said they could no longer afford wine with the new extremely high prices and would have to look at other vacation options. In the Elite lounge, the drink of the day price was increased 30% from $5 to $6.50. It is cheaper to drink at happy hour (whose prices are about twice what you would pay on land at happy hour). Throughout the ship service was great. Food quality was good though some favorites (parm bowls and medallions of beef (on the everyday menu) are gone. Hamburgers replaced the medallions of beef in the formal dining rooms. Escargot was offered once on the 17 day leg of the trip but not on the following 14 day segment. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
I have always sailed Princess, am elite status now after about 18 cruises. I do this for the same reason people stick to a particular airline. I have in the past been on Carnival, Holland America, and NCL. It was almost as if this ... Read More
I have always sailed Princess, am elite status now after about 18 cruises. I do this for the same reason people stick to a particular airline. I have in the past been on Carnival, Holland America, and NCL. It was almost as if this cruise was doomed from the beginning. I arrived beforehand at the cruise hotel and then had me listed as an employee rooming with several other employees. I like the line but not that much.. The agent in the lobby seemed to know little about time and departure for the ship the next day....we finally loaded onto a bus for the half hour trip on a Sunday to the cruise port but we're told to wait on the bus off on the side because the front of the terminal was too conjested to unload. We waited for about 1/2 hour while more busses, taxis, and autos made it even more conjested...when the passengers begin to revel at this foolish plan our bus leader finally got permission to pull up and unload (this is the first and last Princess pre cruise I will ever purchase). As we got off we literally were pushed from one side of the side walk to the other as we waited in a line a couple of hundred feet long...later when I complained I was told these were not princess employees but rather belonged to the port....I told them they must be wearing stolen uniforms. Inside was a complete madhouse ... The elite usually wait in a 3 minute line but this one was 45 minutes to get the cruise card. Later some who were at a lower level told me they had to wait in line for over 3 hours. The agents kept telling us it was the worst they had ever seen(they hadn't been to Rio) and all were given a variety of reasons e.g. A computer problem, a long morning meeting, and the most likely they could not account for three persons who had no disembarked upon arrival. The Captain Justin Lawes is the best and he did attend the Cruise Critic meeting the next morning (about 200 of us present) but none us had the pesence of mind to ask him what the problem...really was. I am running out of space but did want to highlight the other really awful line for the 5pm ,anytime dining. By 430 everyday it snacked around the atrium sine people wanted to attend the first show at 8 and not wait until 10. I don't know if the company, the Captain, or the cruise director sets the schedule but please for the sake of the passengers return to,three shows an evening. There are no crowds at dinner or at the shows if there are three. They have been tampering with number and time for the past couple o years. Read Less

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