Great Cruise, but lacking fun on the ship

Emerald Princess Cruise Review

Cruises: 2-3 cruises
Reviews: 2
Helpful Votes: 16

Overall rating:

3.9 out of 5
Emerald Princess

15 Night Panama Canal - Ocean To Ocean Eastbound (Los Angeles To Fort Lauderdale)

Sail date: January 02, 2020

Ship: Emerald Princess

Cabin type: Balcony

Cabin number: R525

Traveled as: Singles/Friends

Reviewed: 9 months ago

Review summary

Ports and the Canal made up for lacking ship fun.


4 out of 5
We had an almost 2 hour delay in boarding, but the cruise line did what it could to keep people comfortable. If anyone is to blame it’s the guests that can’t follow the directions that are repeated 10,000 times.

Ship experiences

Food and Dining

4 out of 5
We ate at the buffet and main dining room mostly. Sometimes the food was either a bit more adventurous for my pallet or a lot of deep fried was the majority of what was available. I liked that they had an attendant directing people to wash their hands before entering the buffet (This cruise was in January before COVID-19 came to the US) It’s too bad I still saw poor hand washing by grown adults. Seriously, it takes 30 seconds, people. Nevertheless, nobody is starving on a cruise and you can always pay for finer dining if you want to be a picky b about it all.

Crown Grill

5 out of 5

We never bother going to pay restaurants normally, but we were celebrating my sister’s birthday. Our server was amazing and made our night. The food was fantastic and my steak was cooked perfectly. It is worth the extra bucks regardless of having a special occasion.

Onboard Activities

1 out of 5
I absolutely hated the cruise director and took comfort sticking to the pool side bar. Our group was in our early forties and we were by far the youngest people. The ship was dead by 8 pm (all my posted photos of this cruise look like we had the ship to ourselves) and every show was family friendly even though we counted a total of 15 kids on this two-week cruise. There was very little live entertainment by the pool and when that was over we were stuck listening to the same loop of music. In a nutshell, it was super boring being on the ship. Luckily, we had so many ports and I made quite a few friends to pass the time. However, it was bad enough that I will try other cruise lines again before bothering with Princess.


1 out of 5
I went to two shows and gave up. They were so clean that they became cheesy and full of dumb puns.

Service and Staff

3 out of 5
Our steward was a bit stressed from the day we arrived. For a few days, we had a different steward who was awesome, but it switched back to our frazzled gal after a few days. We felt bad for her and passed on evening turn downs, hung and reused our towels, and tidied our room as best we could to help lighten her load. She did her best, but we could see she was overwhelmed the entire two-week cruise.

Ship Quality

5 out of 5
Things were clean and plenty of places to wash your hands without having to find a restroom. I’m not a snob about decor, so I generally find all ships to be pleasing. As long as it’s clean and in good repair, we got no problems.

Cabin / Stateroom

5 out of 5
The balcony was the perfect level to go through the Panama Canal. The cabin was great for two people with twin beds. We both had enough space for our stuff to keep it tidy. Closet space was plentiful. The room lay out made it easy to change if you are sharing a cabin and still want a little dressing privacy without stuffing yourself into the tiny bathroom.

Ports of call

Panama Canal Transit

5 out of 5
It takes hours to get through the passage so you have time to wander around the ship getting different view points. They did a wonderful job of narrating the adventure and diving into the history, as well as pointing out things (we saw a gigantic crocodile) that come up along the way. This is a bucket list cruise you shouldn’t miss. I plan to do it again it was so cool.

San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua

5 out of 5
We went on a guided tour that took us all over the place and we even got to peer inside an active volcano (yes, we could see magma). Loved this port!

Ft. Lauderdale (Port Everglades), Florida

5 out of 5
Not really a port for, it was easy to get to the airport to go home.

Cartagena, Colombia

5 out of 5
We got to run around the fort from Romancing the Stone. Taxi drivers are madmen. If your car fits, it’s a lane to drive in. Totally bonkers.

Fuerte Amador, Panama

1 out of 5
I wasn’t all that impressed. The whole area was like visiting any big city mall in the US. If I cruise again through this port, I won’t bother getting off the ship because it’s that lame.

Puntarenas, Costa Rica

5 out of 5

Huatulco, Mexico

5 out of 5
I think this is my favorite place in Mexico now. Beautiful city.

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

5 out of 5
Didn’t bother booking an excursion because we had a great time just walking around the Malecon. Police are friendly and will happily talk and answer any questions you have.

San Pedro (Los Angeles), California

5 out of 5


5 out of 5
Easy and smooth if you are capable of listening and following directions.
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