Joined: 05/27/2015
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maxim0512's Past Cruises

Emerald Princess

May 2015 - Emerald Princess to Europe - Eastern Mediterranean

It was fine

This was the first cruise for my wife and me. Overall, we thought it was okay, not great. With 3000 passengers on board, it was hard not to feel like a sheep. Lots of standing in line (e.g., for passenger services or the tour desk) and large excursion groups (enough to fill a tour bus). Service throughout was attentive, but not exceptional. The ready availability of food (including a decent variety) was really nice, but it didn't stand out. If anything, it felt old-fashioned - lots of down the middle American food like you would expect in a family restaurant anywhere in the U.S. The exception was the extra cost steakhouse, where we had some very nice steaks and lobster tails one night.

With the exception of one very good show featuring Turkish musicians, folk dancers, and a belly dancer on the last night, it was hard to tell that we were in Greece or Turkey while on board the ship. It would have been nice to see a bit more connection to the destination. For example, instead of the DJ playing "sounds of Miami Beach," perhaps "sounds of the Mediterranean" would have worked. Similarly, a few more menu items in the dining rooms and/or buffets that captured the flavors of Greece and Turkey would have been welcome.

It's also difficult to escape the constant selling going on throughout the ship. There's always a focus on getting you to buy something: photos, jewelry, clothing, art, drinks, special meals, etc.

It was certainly convenient to move from one destination to another (particularly the Greek isles) without packing/unpacking. And the international crew was professional and pleasant throughout. However, this experience didn't inspire us to want to go on another Princess Cruise anytime soon.

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maxim0512's Tips

Rhodes, Greece - The Palace of the Grand Masters was really neat to tour.
Kusadasi (Ephesus), Turkey - Ephesus was incredibly cool. The size of it, and the extent to which things are still in tact, is mind-blowing.
Santorini, Greece - Beautiful, but very touristy. Not much to do but ogle the gorgeous buildings and landscape.
Iraklion (Heraklion), Crete - The ancient ruins of Knossos were pretty neat to see, though overcrowded in a way that made it difficult to walk through some of the areas.
Piraeus (Athens), Greece - We arrived in Athens a couple nights in advance, so we had some time to sightsee. It's a bustling city with plenty of good restaurants, and of course fabulous ancient sites like the Parthenon (visit the nearby Parthenon Museum first).

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reviewed their Europe - Eastern Mediterranean cruise on Emerald Princess and gave it 3 stars!