Emerald Princess - Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2017 (Berlitz Cruise Guide) (2016)

Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2017 (Berlitz Cruise Guide) (2016)

Emerald Princess


Berlitz’s Ratings

Ship: 382 out of 500

Accommodation: 147 out of 200

Food: 250 out of 400

Service: 285 out of 400

Entertainment: 80 out of 100

Cruise: 298 out of 400

Overall Score: 1442 out of 2000

Emerald Princess Statistics

Size: Large Resort Ship

Tonnage: 113,561

Lifestyle: Standard

Cruise Line: Princess Cruises

Former Names: none

IMO Number: 9333151

Builder: Fincantieri (Italy)

Original Cost: $500 million

Entered Service: May 2007

Registry: Bermuda

Length (ft/m): 951.4/290.0

Beam (ft/m): 118.1/36.0

Draft (ft/m): 26.2/8.0

Propulsion/Propellers: diesel-electric (42,000kW)/2

Passenger Decks: 15

Total Crew: 1,200

Passengers (lower beds): 3,114

Passenger Space Ratio (lower beds): 36.2

Passenger/Crew Ratio (lower beds): 2.5

Cabins (total): 1,557

Size Range (sq ft/m): 163-1,279/15.1-118.8

Cabins (for one person): 0

Cabins (with private balcony): 881

Cabins (wheelchair accessible): 25

Wheelchair accessibility: Good

Cabin Current: 110 volts

Elevators: 14

Casino (gaming tables): Yes

Slot Machines: Yes

Swimming Pools: 3

Hot Tubs (on deck): 9

Self-Service Launderette: Yes

Dedicated Cinema/Seats: No

Library: Yes

Onboard currency: US$


This is a very comfortable, family-oriented large resort ship

Overview. The ship is a fine resort playground in which to roam when you are not ashore, and Princess Cruises consistently delivers a well-packaged cruise, always with a good degree of style, at an attractive, highly competitive price. With many choices and ‘small’ rooms to enjoy, the ship has been extremely well designed, and you should have an enjoyable time.

The Ship. Emerald Princess has the same profile as sister Crown Princess (similar to half-sisters Diamond Princess, Golden Princess, Grand Princess, Ruby Princess, Sapphire Princess, and Star Princess). Although the ship takes over 500 more passengers than the half-sisters, the outdoor deck space remains the same, as do the number of elevators, so waiting time will increase at peak periods. The Passenger Space Ratio is also considerably reduced.

One nice feature worth booking on days at sea is The Sanctuary, an extra-cost adults-only retreat located forward on the uppermost deck. It provides a ‘private’ place to relax and unwind and includes attendants to provide chilled face towels and deliver light bites; there are also two outdoor cabanas for massages. It’s worth the extra charge, calculated by the half-day.

There is a good sheltered faux teak promenade deck - it’s actually painted steel - which almost wraps around (three times round is equal to one mile) and a walkway which goes to the enclosed, protected bow of the ship. The outdoor pools have various beach-like surroundings, and Movies Under the Skies and major sporting events are shown on a 300-sq-ft (28-sq-m) movie screen at the pool in front of the large funnel structure.

Unlike the outside decks, there is plenty of space inside - but there are also plenty of passengers - and a wide array of public rooms, with many ‘intimate’ (this being a relative term) spaces and places to play. The passenger flow has been well thought-out, and there is little congestion.

Just aft of the funnel housing is a ship-wide glass-walled disco called Skywalkers; it’s in a lower position than in some of the half-sister ships, but still has fine views from port and starboard side windows - it would make a great penthouse.

The interior decor is attractive, with lots of earth tones. An extensive collection of artworks complements the interior design and colors well. If you see something you like, you may be able to purchase it.

Emerald Princess also has a Wedding Chapel, with a live web-cam to relay ceremonies via the Internet. The captain can legally marry (American) couples, thanks to the ship’s Bermuda registry and a special dispensation (which should be verified when in the planning stage, according to where you reside). But getting married and taking close family members and entourage with you on your honeymoon may prove expensive. The Hearts & Minds chapel is also useful for renewal of vows ceremonies.

Gamers should enjoy the large Gatsby’s Casino, with more than 260 slot machines, and blackjack, craps, and roulette tables, plus games such as Let It Ride Bonus, Spanish 21, and Caribbean Draw Progressive. But the highlight could be the linked slot machines that provide a combined payout.

Other features include a small library, and a decent Internet-connect room. Ship lovers should enjoy the wood-paneled Wheelhouse Bar (a good place for cocktails and beer), finely decorated with memorabilia and ship models tracing part of parent company P&O’s history. A sports bar has two billiard tables, and several television screens.

As with any large resort ship it will take you some time to find your way around, despite the company’s claim that it offers passengers a ‘small ship feel, big ship choice.’ There are several points of congestion, particularly outside the shops when bazaar tables are set up outside on the upper level of the atrium lobby.

Families. There’s a two-deck-high playroom, teens’ chill-out room, and a host of trained counselors. Children have their own pools, hot tubs, open deck, and sports court area at the stern of the ship, away from the adults.

Accommodation. There are six main types of cabins and configurations: (a) grand suite, (b) suite, (c) mini-suite, (d) outside-view double cabins with balcony, (e) outside-view double cabins, and (f) interior double cabins. These come in many price categories (the choice is bewildering), depending on size and location.

For a comprehensive description of the facilities available in each type of cabin, see the entry for Crown Princess.

Dining. Of the three main dining rooms - Botticelli, Da Vinci, and Michelangelo - one has two-seating dining and the other two have ‘anytime dining’ that allows you to choose when and with whom you want to eat. All three are split into multi-tier sections in a non-symmetrical design that breaks what are quite large spaces into smaller sections for better ambience.

While four elevators go to the deck where two of the restaurants are located, only two go to Plaza Deck 5, where the Michelangelo Dining Room is located - this causes waiting problems at peak times, particularly for anyone in a wheelchair.

Specially designed dinnerware, high-quality linens and silverware, Frette Egyptian cotton table linens, and Hepp silverware are used in the main dining rooms. Note that 15 percent is added to all beverage bills, including wines.

Other dining options. There are two extra-cost venues: Sabatini’s and Crown Grill. Both are open for lunch and dinner on days at sea. Sabatini’s is an Italian eatery located on a high deck aft of the funnel housing, with colorful tiled Mediterranean-style decor; it is named after Trattoria Sabatini, the 200-year-old institution in Florence. It includes Italian-style multi-course antipasti and pastas and Italian-style entrées, including tiger prawns and lobster tail, all provided with flair and entertainment by the waiters. It’s by reservation only and has a cover charge.

The Crown Grill, located aft on Promenade Deck, is a reservation-only, extra-cost steakhouse, offering premium-quality American steaks and seafood.

Others include a poolside hamburger grill and pizza bar (no additional charge), while extra charges apply if you order items to eat either at the International Café (a coffee bar/patisserie) or in Vines seafood/wine bar in the atrium lobby. Other casual meals can be taken in the Horizon Court (open 24 hours a day). It has large ocean-view on port and starboard sides and direct access to the two principal swimming pools and Lido Deck. Although there is a wide variety of food, there is no finesse in presentation as plastic plates are provided.

For something different, you could try a private dinner on your balcony, an all-inclusive evening featuring cocktails, fresh flowers, Champagne, and a deluxe four-course meal including Caribbean lobster tail - all served by a waiter on your balcony. Of course, it costs extra.

Entertainment. The 800-seat Princess Theater is the main entertainment venue; it spans two decks and has comfortable seating on both main and balcony levels. It has $3 million worth of sound and light equipment, plus a nine-piece orchestra. The ship has a resident troupe of almost 20 singers and dancers.

A second entertainment lounge, Club Fusion, is located aft. It features cabaret acts and karaoke contests at night, and lectures, bingo, and horse racing during the day. Explorers Lounge, a third entertainment lounge, can also host cabaret acts and dance bands.

A variety of other lounges and bars feature live music, including a string quartet, and ‘street performers’ in the main atrium lobby.

Spa/Fitness. The Lotus Spa is located forward on Sun Deck, one of the uppermost decks. Separate facilities for men and women include a sauna, steam room, and changing rooms; common facilities include a relaxation/waiting zone, body-pampering treatment rooms, and a gymnasium with packed with the latest high-tech muscle-pumping, cardio-vascular equipment, and great ocean views. Some fitness classes are free, while others cost extra.