CruiseMates' Readers Cruise Reviews

Princess Cruises Emerald Princess by Nina Desai Mediterranean July 16, 2007

Emerald Princess: Brand new ship, lots of hype and a huge disappointment!

This was our fourth cruise and we thought a switch to this "elite" cruise line would be a nice change. Big mistake. The ship itself was nice although it had none of the "wow" factor of Royal Caribbean. Rooms were just barely adequate for four people. Promenade very small; nice but not impressive. Very few shops. Nice library and bars. Outdoor movie screen fun. Pools small and not fun for kids-no slide, shallow areas, etc.

Food service and the buffet lunches and dinners were extremely mediocre. We travelled with some vegetarians and the menu selection in this department was extremely poor. Veteran cruisers would especially notice the meager fare at the midnight buffet! Anytime dining was the one feature we did appreciate as regards dining-nice not to be locked down to a particular time.

The shipboard entertainment and activities also fell short. Very few dancing classes-just ballroom and country. No huge outdoor party by poolside. Music and bands were definitely geared towards the taste of the older crowd. Dance revues fair, again old time artists like Tom Jones don't really do it for the under 40 crowd. At least two nights the main entertainment was orchestra or piano-again not for most of the young people in our group. One of the comedian acts was excellent but the cruise director needs to bring in a lot more high caliber performers to even compete with other cruiselines.

The worse part of this 12 day Mediterranean cruise was by far the shore excursions. The tours were extremely expensive and gave very little value for the fees charged. We had several guides who spoke such poor English it was impossible to understand them. The temperature during our time in Europe was well over 100F almost every day, and reached a high of 113F when we visited the Acropolis. The guides just raced us through making no concessions for the fact that it was hot. There were small children and some of us had difficulty keeping up under these conditions. Imagine 40 people racing through the busy streets of Florence chasing after the tour guide and stressing about being left behind. Arranging a meeting point up front would have allowed the weaker of our group some respite and maybe we could have actually enjoyed the excursion! Smaller groups would also have helped.

The included meals were terrible and not at all reflective of the nice food available in the countries we visited. These all day excursions cost from $150-$200 a person. The cruise operators and ship made a lot of money at the expense of us poor naive tourists who were too afraid to make arrangements of our own to tour the ports. When we tried to complain the staff at the tour desk were extremely rude-to them it was all about money, not customer satisfaction or improving the tours so we would actually have fun. We paid $7600 for an inside cabin with 4 people, another $6000 for airfare and another $4000 onboard the ship for shore excursions, and bar tab, so yes our expectations were definitely high. Bottom line: I would NOT recommend this cruiseline. Very expensive and very mediocre!!!

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