This was my longest ever cruise, at 15 nights aboard the Emerald Princess. I got to be reacquainted with the good, so-so, and bad in the 2+ weeks.
Embarkation was a nightmare. The inbound arrival was 5 hours late in disembarking. Check in actually stopped, as they had no place to put anymore people without violating the capacity for the fire escapes. Unfortunately, the Los Angeles vendor staff made very few announcements, and what was mad was in that condescending and shouting tone on the PA.
After 3 hours of waiting, we boarded to find they didn't keep the dining room open, and that pushed everyone to the buffet. The captain apologized and issued all of us a voucher for $12.00.
Being a Panama Canal cruise in early December, the median age was in the 70s. This is either good or bad, depending on your perspectives. The pools were never full, plenty of deck chairs, and never a line for dinner after 700pm!
There were plenty of underused spaces on board, so finding a place to chill and relax was NEVER a problem. The Emerald Princess hides her 3000+ guests very well.
The Sanctuary up front never seemed to have more than 10 people, regardless of the time of day. The rate is $20 for a half day, and $40 for a full. Great service and the staff will move you from sun to shade as you wish.
Princess needs to fix the dreaded nylon curtain situation in the showers. My curtain had mold growing on the bottom. It was addressed immediately and replaced.
Crown Grill was excellent, and worth the $29 upcharge in my opinion. The filet mignon was almost butter smooth to cut through! Service was spot on, with the waiter and maitre d checking in frequently.
We had anytime dining, and had no issue getting a table for 2, or sharing. If we had a time factor to consider for a show, we let the waiter know in the beginning, and always made it out on time.
The cruise staff was great, and truly seemed to enjoy their jobs! On a side note, this cruise did not push BINGO BINGO BINGO every hour like some lines (you know who they are)!
[ ] There was a medical emergency on board after leaving Cartagena. Early in the morning a request was made for guests with a certain blood type and donor card to give blood. Mid morning the captain advised we would be diverting to Kingston, Jamaica and offload the ill person. About 2 hours later it was announced their situation was critical and they would be evacuated by helicopter. The crew was excellent on how this was handled! They had obviously trained for this before.
Disembarking was rather painless in Ft. Lauderdale. Many were worried about a repeat of embarkation, which didn't happen.
I purposely waited to write my review of this for a few days and let my thoughts and views not be so negative. Sadly, it wasn't the standard that I hold of Princess. It was obvious towards the end of the cruise when the staff started mentioning the guest comment cards and reviews. I don't believe in that type of implicit bias.
I would have to think a little harder before I would sail on the Emerald Princess again.
Great trip to Isla Baru!