Very Nice Cruise, but don't go for the Entertainment or Activities onboard
Emerald Princess Cruise Review to Caribbean - Western
Sail Date: February 01, 2015
Ship: Emerald Princess
Cabin Type: Inside
Cabin Number: R339
Traveled As: Couple
Reviewed: 3 years ago
The new port of Houston makes it very easy to embark and disembark. We were in and out in 15 minutes or less. The port building is also clean and new. The only problem is that it costs a lot to get there from either of the airports. We took a cab from Hobby Airport and with tip it cost us around $75 one way. Next time we will check more closely into Princess transfers and hotels.
It appeared to us that this cruise employed many first-timers. It made for some chaos the first day or two, and especially with dinner on Superbowl Sunday. Even the "supervisors" were confused. But eventually things smoothed out. All in all, the staff were very friendly and accomodating.
We enjoyed excursions on Roatan Island, especially the Garifuna Indians and the Mayan Ruins in Belize. We traveled to Cozumel many times so just stayed on the ship soaking up the sun. It was peaceful on board with so many passengers out and about.
The most disappointing part of the cruise was the entertainment and activities on board. The activities were old and outdated. There was nothing exciting or new. The evening "shows" were even worse. The ship's productions were shows we had seen 5 years ago and they were poorly performed. The costumes looked like something out of a no budget high school musical.
The only show that was innovative and fun was a short show with two young men who were comedians,dancers, and singers, all rolled into one, who used recorded music. It was a low-budget show, but they were creative, contemporary, and clean.
Even the "scholarship at sea" seminar was terrible. They used to be focused on teaching the participants something. My husband went to one on using light and shadow with cameras, thinking he could learn something, and all the presenter did was tell them how she uses special lighting to take photos for the ship's photo gallery. Utterly useless!
The winner for best staff person was the future cruise director, Amanda. She was extremely helpful, customer friendly, and upbeat! She worked overtime to help us and other passengers. We have worked with other onboard future cruise directors who could care less about you and just took your future cruise deposit as if they were disinterested cashiers. Amanda was awesome!
The food in the dining room was very good. Horizon Court buffet was acceptable in a pinch. We did not go to any specialty restaurants. Fruit in our cabin was a treat, don't forget to request it, as well as ice, and a bathrobe, all of which are complementary, but you have to request it.
All in all, we had a very good time.
My feedback to Princess is to re-invent your entertainment and activities. You are not even close in comparison to Norwegian, Royal Caribbean or Disney. Most cruisers do not want to play trivia games any more and are bored by mediocre entertainment when they can now see spectacular entertainment (dancing, singing, comedy) on TV from "amateurs".
Food and Dining
Service and Staff
Cabin / Stateroom
Don't worry if you don't have a tuxedo for formal nights. Many men were wearing suits and ties. The soft drink package is worth the price if you are a moderate Coke, Sprite, Diet Coke drinker. The future cruise deposit is a must if you think you might be cruising again with Princess in 2 years.