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This cruise was my 5th time on Princess and 3rd time on the Emerald Princess. The Emerald Princess is a beautiful ship, but there was a drop in the number of entertainment options & activities compared to my previous Princess Cruises (all within the past 2.5 years), e.g. no more golf pro on board and no support for Sunday's church service from cruise staff....the passengers had to pull it together. I hope this is just temporary as I love the Princess brand and want to take many more cruises with them. I travelled with my husband and this cruise was special to us as we got married on the same ship just a few months earlier and were now expecting our first child! What was noticeable on this cruise compared to previous cruises was the high number or senior cruisers (70+ years of age). We were among the youngest passengers and were told so by many crew members and our fellow passengers throughout the cruise. We often requested to be seated at lunch or breakfast with people close to our own age and were told it was not likely to happen..so off we went to a table for 2. Princess needs to guard against becoming the retirement cruise line: more options catering to the working professionals, such as discounted internet time, would help strike a healthier balance. Some of the shows could be a bit more modern, too (where you did not have to be born before the 1970s to "get it"). Nevertheless we had some nice conversations with our fellow passengers during the cruise and enjoyed our vacation. We celebrated a birthday on this cruise and had noted so on the Cruise Personalizer. On the day the card you hand out to the head waiter in the main dining room to get your cake arrived promptly but no balloons. My husband called later that evening as we saw many other doors had balloons and had always had these before for birthdays, our honeymoon etc. and passenger services had some sent promptly. The balloons now are "generic" congratulations balloons vs. birthday/honeymoon/anniversary etc. as in the past. I thought it was fun to see what people were celebrating and was a little disappointed by this efficiency measure. I hope they go back to the more personalized approach to celebrations! EMBARKATION DAY: We spent a few days in FL prior to the cruise and drove our rental car to Fort Lauderdale in the morning. We dropped off the car in downtown and were a little concerned about getting a taxi as there were many ships departing that day (incl. the Oasis of the Seas), but a taxi arrived within 5 minutes and whisked us to the port in about 30 minutes. We arrived at around 12:20 p.m. in the port and the embarkation process was very smooth with virtually no waiting time anywhere. We dropped off our luggage with the porter, proceeded to security, filled out the health form and got checked in. Everyone from Princess was very friendly at the terminal. We were in our stateroom by 12:45 p.m. STATEROOM: Having stayed in mini-suites and balcony rooms on earlier cruises we had decided that the room was not important this time and we signed up for the lowest cost interior room guarantee on deck 5 (Plaza). We were excited to get an upgrade to a great mid-ship location on deck 9 (Dolphin). This room was super quiet (no neighbor on the other side) and very comfortable. Our cabin stewardess was Sherrill and she stayed on top of everything - the room was always immaculate when we returned to it. DINING: We were very pleased with the quality and variety of food options. We had dinner in the main dining room (Da Vinci) every night and also ate breakfast and lunch there on most days. We enjoy being served this way while on vacation and only visited the buffet for snacks. The halibut was a little tough/overcooked one night, but otherwise everything was excellent. We love traditional dining and had signed up for it (although only 5:30 p.m. time was available), just to find out Da Vinci also served as an anytime dining room, so there was a lot more traffic than in a true traditional dining room and the staff were incredibly busy. At the end of the cruise the Baked Alaska parade was the express version of what you see in the true traditional dining rooms. A tip: the ship's policy is that you must arrive within 15 minutes from dining time or your table may be given to someone else. We noticed that nobody claimed a great window table for the first 3 nights -- it was always assigned to walk-in anytime diners later in the evening - and checked with the maitre'd on the possibility of having this table assigned to us since we were always promptly there and typically finished eating by 6:30 p.m. He was happy to accommodate us and we really enjoyed our view while dining! Great Princess service. Our waitress Natasha was also wonderful.The pizza on the ship is excellent so we also had a slice a few times during this cruise or picked up some baked goods from the International Cafe. ENTERTAINMENT: I had read on these reviews earlier that the popular shows, such as Beatle Maniacs, start filling up about an hour prior to show time. So we prioritized what we wanted to see in the Princess Theater (Beatle Maniacs and the International Crew Show) and made sure to be seated no later than 45 minutes prior to show time. We also saw the comedian Jay Mohr one night in the Explorer's Lounge (funny) and saw some performances on the Piazza. We tried to watch the movie Social Network at Movies Under the Stars one day, but it was very hard to hear. We made a couple of requests to have the volume turned up, but it was competing against music playins at the other mid-ship pool and just did not work out. The MUTS is a much better experience in the evening. It would be great if more movies could be played in the Princess Theater in the afternoons. We enjoyed going to the Lotus Spa gym and played some golf on the sports deck, but it was sad not to see anyone using the golf simulator or take lessons from a golf pro like always before...I used to enjoy the chance to take a little 30-minute lesson to work on my swing and now you are basically on your own. PORTS: We enjoyed the picnic in Princess Cays, just took it easy and enjoyed walking on the beach on a beautiful day. In St. Thomas we went shopping and found 2 beautiful pairs of blue topaz earrings. The above two were ports we were familiar with from before. In Dominica we took one of the shuttles that runs to runtown for $2 pp. It was raining as it often does there due to the rainforest climate. We were surprised by how little there was to see in the downtown area...took some photos of the crabs crawling all over the waterfront, looked at the local merchandise but did not find anything to buy and headed back to the ship after just 30 minutes. This was our least favorite stop during the cruise. In Grenada we had signed up for the St. George's Highlights tour, as it was low physical activity and being pregnant I have to take it easy. My husband and I were pulled from the line and assigned to a very old van for this tour and soon realized the van did not have working air-conditioning (although the tour is advertised as being suitable for people with physical limitations)! Long story short, the driver had to drop us off about 10 minutes into the tour and find a newer van to assign us to that had working air-conditioning. From that point forward we were very comfortable. The guide was silent for long periods of time during the excursion and did not use a microphone, so we felt like we did not learn as much as we would have liked but at least we were comfortable and saw a lot. In Bonaire we just went to downtown to check out the stores, very clean & delightful but also rather expensive. We returned back to the ship within an hour. Aruba was the best port on this cruise! We took the island tour that visits the Aloe factory and includes a 1-hr beach break and had a great time. The guide was also very knowledgeable and shared a lot of information with us. Great tour! Afterwards we went back to the ship for lunch, grabbed our laptops and went to the local Starbucks for some quality email time (no charge). DISEMBARKATION: Very easy, no lines, and off to the airport within minutes! We were comfortably seated in the Michelangelo dining room waiting for our turn. In summary, mission accomplished in terms of a relaxing cruise vacation with great weather, lots of laughs and wonderful memories to cherish during the years to come! We plan to return to Princess with our little one in a year or two.

Emerald Princess Island Hopping 02/26-03/08

Emerald Princess Cruise Review by PrincessCatarina

Trip Details
This cruise was my 5th time on Princess and 3rd time on the Emerald Princess. The Emerald Princess is a beautiful ship, but there was a drop in the number of entertainment options & activities compared to my previous Princess Cruises (all within the past 2.5 years), e.g. no more golf pro on board and no support for Sunday's church service from cruise staff....the passengers had to pull it together. I hope this is just temporary as I love the Princess brand and want to take many more cruises with them. I travelled with my husband and this cruise was special to us as we got married on the same ship just a few months earlier and were now expecting our first child!



What was noticeable on this cruise compared to previous cruises was the high number or senior cruisers (70+ years of age). We were among the youngest passengers and were told so by many crew members and our fellow passengers throughout the cruise. We often requested to be seated at lunch or breakfast with people close to our own age and were told it was not likely to happen..so off we went to a table for 2. Princess needs to guard against becoming the retirement cruise line: more options catering to the working professionals, such as discounted internet time, would help strike a healthier balance. Some of the shows could be a bit more modern, too (where you did not have to be born before the 1970s to "get it"). Nevertheless we had some nice conversations with our fellow passengers during the cruise and enjoyed our vacation.



We celebrated a birthday on this cruise and had noted so on the Cruise Personalizer. On the day the card you hand out to the head waiter in the main dining room to get your cake arrived promptly but no balloons. My husband called later that evening as we saw many other doors had balloons and had always had these before for birthdays, our honeymoon etc. and passenger services had some sent promptly. The balloons now are "generic" congratulations balloons vs. birthday/honeymoon/anniversary etc. as in the past. I thought it was fun to see what people were celebrating and was a little disappointed by this efficiency measure. I hope they go back to the more personalized approach to celebrations!



EMBARKATION DAY: We spent a few days in FL prior to the cruise and drove our rental car to Fort Lauderdale in the morning. We dropped off the car in downtown and were a little concerned about getting a taxi as there were many ships departing that day (incl. the Oasis of the Seas), but a taxi arrived within 5 minutes and whisked us to the port in about 30 minutes. We arrived at around 12:20 p.m. in the port and the embarkation process was very smooth with virtually no waiting time anywhere. We dropped off our luggage with the porter, proceeded to security, filled out the health form and got checked in. Everyone from Princess was very friendly at the terminal. We were in our stateroom by 12:45 p.m.



STATEROOM: Having stayed in mini-suites and balcony rooms on earlier cruises we had decided that the room was not important this time and we signed up for the lowest cost interior room guarantee on deck 5 (Plaza). We were excited to get an upgrade to a great mid-ship location on deck 9 (Dolphin). This room was super quiet (no neighbor on the other side) and very comfortable. Our cabin stewardess was Sherrill and she stayed on top of everything - the room was always immaculate when we returned to it.



DINING: We were very pleased with the quality and variety of food options. We had dinner in the main dining room (Da Vinci) every night and also ate breakfast and lunch there on most days. We enjoy being served this way while on vacation and only visited the buffet for snacks. The halibut was a little tough/overcooked one night, but otherwise everything was excellent. We love traditional dining and had signed up for it (although only 5:30 p.m. time was available), just to find out Da Vinci also served as an anytime dining room, so there was a lot more traffic than in a true traditional dining room and the staff were incredibly busy. At the end of the cruise the Baked Alaska parade was the express version of what you see in the true traditional dining rooms. A tip: the ship's policy is that you must arrive within 15 minutes from dining time or your table may be given to someone else. We noticed that nobody claimed a great window table for the first 3 nights -- it was always assigned to walk-in anytime diners later in the evening - and checked with the maitre'd on the possibility of having this table assigned to us since we were always promptly there and typically finished eating by 6:30 p.m. He was happy to accommodate us and we really enjoyed our view while dining! Great Princess service. Our waitress Natasha was also wonderful.The pizza on the ship is excellent so we also had a slice a few times during this cruise or picked up some baked goods from the International Cafe.



ENTERTAINMENT: I had read on these reviews earlier that the popular shows, such as Beatle Maniacs, start filling up about an hour prior to show time. So we prioritized what we wanted to see in the Princess Theater (Beatle Maniacs and the International Crew Show) and made sure to be seated no later than 45 minutes prior to show time. We also saw the comedian Jay Mohr one night in the Explorer's Lounge (funny) and saw some performances on the Piazza. We tried to watch the movie Social Network at Movies Under the Stars one day, but it was very hard to hear. We made a couple of requests to have the volume turned up, but it was competing against music playins at the other mid-ship pool and just did not work out. The MUTS is a much better experience in the evening. It would be great if more movies could be played in the Princess Theater in the afternoons.



We enjoyed going to the Lotus Spa gym and played some golf on the sports deck, but it was sad not to see anyone using the golf simulator or take lessons from a golf pro like always before...I used to enjoy the chance to take a little 30-minute lesson to work on my swing and now you are basically on your own.



PORTS: We enjoyed the picnic in Princess Cays, just took it easy and enjoyed walking on the beach on a beautiful day. In St. Thomas we went shopping and found 2 beautiful pairs of blue topaz earrings. The above two were ports we were familiar with from before.



In Dominica we took one of the shuttles that runs to runtown for $2 pp. It was raining as it often does there due to the rainforest climate. We were surprised by how little there was to see in the downtown area...took some photos of the crabs crawling all over the waterfront, looked at the local merchandise but did not find anything to buy and headed back to the ship after just 30 minutes. This was our least favorite stop during the cruise.



In Grenada we had signed up for the St. George's Highlights tour, as it was low physical activity and being pregnant I have to take it easy. My husband and I were pulled from the line and assigned to a very old van for this tour and soon realized the van did not have working air-conditioning (although the tour is advertised as being suitable for people with physical limitations)! Long story short, the driver had to drop us off about 10 minutes into the tour and find a newer van to assign us to that had working air-conditioning. From that point forward we were very comfortable. The guide was silent for long periods of time during the excursion and did not use a microphone, so we felt like we did not learn as much as we would have liked but at least we were comfortable and saw a lot.



In Bonaire we just went to downtown to check out the stores, very clean & delightful but also rather expensive. We returned back to the ship within an hour.



Aruba was the best port on this cruise! We took the island tour that visits the Aloe factory and includes a 1-hr beach break and had a great time. The guide was also very knowledgeable and shared a lot of information with us. Great tour! Afterwards we went back to the ship for lunch, grabbed our laptops and went to the local Starbucks for some quality email time (no charge).



DISEMBARKATION: Very easy, no lines, and off to the airport within minutes! We were comfortably seated in the Michelangelo dining room waiting for our turn.



In summary, mission accomplished in terms of a relaxing cruise vacation with great weather, lots of laughs and wonderful memories to cherish during the years to come! We plan to return to Princess with our little one in a year or two.
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Cabin Review

Cabin D508
D508 is an indoor stateroom gem: you feel hardly any movement due to the midship location, do not hear any noise from the Explorer's Lounge 2 decks below and are close to the elevators (yet not too close).
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