March 2015 - 7 Night Western Caribbean (Houston Roundtrip) Cruise on Emerald Princess
This cruise, unlike our experiences on Carnival in terms of "sexually" crude and "party" atmosphere, rivals that of NCL. An amazing experience! Checkin and checkout was a breeze (though check out was a bit delayed due to changing out some equipment on ship). The ship was beautiful!
The food was good (sufficient). Formal dining offered a very nice presentation. Small portions but rich. Service and attention to details could not be better! Amazing service! Excellent service! Very impressed with how all the staff anticipated, met, and exceeded our needs.
The Lotus Spa was amazing! Loved the experience there.
My greatest criticism is with the gym. As a person who works out, I recognize the need to expend the caloric intake. But the gym was too small. So many people fighting to get on treadmill. Basic weight machines and some free weights, but not enough of them. So, if I could redesign gym, I would move it else where. As a result, I was only able to workout once. Once again, it was a difficult fight with lots of people waiting to workout. I also wish it was offered 24 hours but one can't even get on treadmill till 8am.
Word of caution when booking excursions not using cruise line options. My wife and I booked our excursions through this travel agency and not Princess cruise lines. When it comes to places like Belize, where the ship does not dock onto a pier/port, and tenders (boats) are used to take you from ship to shore, you need to beware that you have to be on first tenders in order to make your excursions if you booked outside of the cruise ship. It can prove challenging to be on first tenders because a cruise company may not feel that they need to push you to the front of the lines since you did not use them. Now, we checked with Princess and they put us on the first tender. They were awesome! But other cruise lines may not be so thoughtful (according the guide we met who was waiting for us).
Overall, the experience was most excellent given serve, ship, and attention to detail. Four stars given gym and food. I would not hesitate taking the same itinerary again and board this particular ship if given the opportunity.