February 2015 - 7 Night Western Caribbean (Houston Roundtrip) Cruise on Emerald Princess
I expected A LOT more out of a 4.5 star ship
I've cruised 3 other lines for a total of 11 cruises. This was by far the worst. However, I will give credit where credit is due. The embarkation/ debarkation was smooth and fast! No problems with parking or luggage. The 2 excursions we went on (through the ship's planner) were great. We didn't have one scheduled for the middle stop, but we were unable to dock due to weather anyway. I liked that they had 2 happy hours a day (1 hour happy hours twice a day). I only attended 2 of those, but i thought offering half price drinks 2 times a day was a good idea. Our wait staff in the dining room was superb. If i could have, all my tip money would have gone to our lady there. Excellent service with her. This was my first trip with Princess and I was excited to go on a classic line with a rating of 4.5 stars. The Bon Voyage party was non-existent. No music played, nothing really going on. I was less than impressed with the evening shows. They were pretty much the same and to be honest, boring. I usually did the outdoor movie. However, I am unsure why there were children's movies offered at night and adult movie showings occasionally during the day. One location of entertainment was the main area where you can look down several floors. I will call it the lobby area. several activities went on there. Neat and fun activities but in an area that couldn't hold the onlookers- standing room only. Yet there were several club/ bar areas that could seat multiple people where they could watch/ participate very easily. Not to mention the noise level in this common area was entirely too loud. The 2 times I needed to go to the customer service desk, you could barely communicate because of the loud activities below. Same in the shops around that area. The deck layouts were fair. On board Princess, you don't check towels out. However, people would leave their towels around the deck chairs so you never knew which chairs were taken. Usually you had to check several of the common deck areas to find space to sit. Staff rarely cleaned the towels/ dishes up from these areas, so you didn't know if a seat was taken. There was very little music played in the deck areas, and though the quiet peaceful feel was nice sometimes, it would have been nice to have some music. In the back of the ship is a lovely area to sit that spans several decks. However, there are only tiny amounts of space there due to poorly planned space. People would rush back there and save seats at daylight. Never was I able to sit at the back of the ship. I was completely opposed to the "pay serenity area". Very unsure why a prime spot for serenity was a location you had to pay for. That was probably the most ridiculous thing I experienced.NEVER did I see more than a few people in this area, yet the prime location and large area could have seated a lot of guests. I am a laid back person and can be quite content with mundane things. However, this ship was extremely boring to me.