Emerald Princess - Norway & the North Cape August 2016

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Jan Rosser
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Emerald Princess - Norway & the North Cape August 2016

Post by Jan Rosser » 06 Sep 2016, 22:28

At last I’ve finished my report so here goes folks - travelled down to Southampton by Eavesway coach - only eight passengers - and a lady driver - apparently the first in Eavesway’s history. She handled my cases with ease - I was impressed! Journey went without any problems - the obligatory stop at Leigh Delamare services and arrived at the terminal 1’ish and on board before 1.30 pm. My son and family arrived just after and he was surprised to find that although this was only his sixth cruise he is now Platinum on Princess and so had priority boarding too.

I had booked an obstructed view cabin on deck 8 - I did check out the cabin on the P&O website as the Emerald is identical to Ventura and was pleased that it wasn’t actually as obscured as I thought it would be - plenty of light and good views to the one side. I think as part of the refurbishment they had replaced all the beds - they were so comfortable and the bedding was lovely but the towels were inadequate - I like a bath sheet. I had the usual perks of being Elite - mini bar - most of the contents of which found their way to a cabin on deck 14 (my son likes a tipple before dinner), 250 minutes of free wifi and free laundry. I also found a credit of $50 on my account. One thing I do miss however is having a kettle in the cabin. The steward Miguel was yes you've guessed Mexican - very friendly and efficient and always happy to chat.

After meeting up with the family we went up to the Horizon for a bite to eat - very crowded and difficult to sit together - we decided there and then to breakfast in the dining room and use the Horizon as little as possible although I must admit we didn’t find it too bad at lunchtime on the few occasions we did use it and the crew are so pleasant and helpful with drinks etc. After the safety drill the cases had arrived and we unpacked and then went down to dinner - we were on anytime dining and from the first night we were recognised as the “table for 7” gang and went straight in - the same delightful girl also manned the Oriental restaurant at breakfast time. There are far more nationalities serving on Princess ships - a lot of Eastern Europeans, Mexicans and South Americans and they are all so happy and welcoming.

The ship had been refurbished end of 2015 - Princess ships tend to be a bit glitzy and busy - the atrium in particular is a hive of activity - we liked the International Cafe for snacks and coffee although getting a seat wasn’t always easy and we often had takeaway drinks and sat somewhere else. My son purchased a coffee card and this entitled you to free tea and hot chocolate as part of the package plus cakes. He also purchased a soda package for the girls and they made good use of this - the 15% tax was added on to this package too.

Food:
Food generally was okay although portion control particularly with meats is ridiculously large and some of the vegetables are typical of American cuisine - a bit strange!! My youngest granddaughter looked at both the children’s menu and the adults and ate pasta fettuccine in a parmesan basket most nights with chicken strips on top as an extra followed by choc chip cookies. The desserts were nearly always chocolate based and far too rich but my son loved the ice creams - so many flavours to try. The waiters were very pleasant and seemed to have more time to introduce themselves, offer recommendations from the menu and always made a fuss of my youngest granddaughter calling her “princess”. Wine is expensive even before they add the 15% tax but we indulged after all we were on holiday ;)

We ate breakfast in the dining room and were always seated promptly - I like the breakfasts on Princess - the waiters coming around with croissants and pastries and muffins and honestly I could live on the bread - it is absolutely delicious and I’m a big fan of the crispy American style bacon but not the maple syrup. Lunch was usually in the buffet and unlike our difficulty on the first day we always seemed to manage to get a table for the 7 of us - plenty of choice - I particularly liked the salads and of course the waiters brought us cutlery and napkins and they are always happy to make you tea and coffee or bring you soft drinks. We went to the Great British Pub lunch twice - it was very good and the best pudding of the cruise IMO was a bread and butter pudding with cream - so light - it was delicious.

Entertainment:
Now this is where I feel I should say before carrying on that the quote of the cruise was from my youngest granddaughter Phoebe aged 9 - she frequently said either “it’s not like this on P&O” or “they wouldn’t do this on P&O” or “it’s not as good as P&O” and often quite loudly and always in the right place of course. The entertainment was one of the things she criticised or compared and to be fair she was right. The theatre group of singers and dancers were ok - they only performed three shows over the two weeks and the last was combined with a magician who quite honestly was awful - the tricks were so amateurish but the worst show was a mime artist who was positively creepy and unfortunately that night we were three rows from the front. The night was memorable because I think my youngest granddaughter had “overdosed” on soft drinks that day and was a bit hyper - couldn’t sit still - needless to say the following day she and her sister were on water - detoxing - they are simply not used to so much sugar. The cruise director (I think that’s what he was called) was British and very funny - I suppose he was fortunate that the majority of the passengers were British and understood his jokes. I have never played Bingo but sat in the lounge during a game and he was so funny - we were trying not to laugh because the passengers who were playing do take it quite seriously and I’m not surprised when you see how expensive it is to play but we were in stitches. Princess don’t do sailaways - another criticism by Phoebe - the kids enjoy them although get embarrassed if we dance and sing along.

The girls went to the children’s clubs and my eldest granddaughter who is now 13 spent most evenings there with newfound friends - she had dinner with them a few times although usually ate with us and then changed out of a lovely dress into hoodie and jeans - standard uniform and to be the same as her friends. Her sister was not as keen on the club this time but she did take part in a masterclass in cooking arranged by the club - she decorated a cake and had her photo taken with the chef and the group of children taking part and also had a pinafore and hat - all for $25 and we had the cake for our dessert that night in the dining room - it was delicious.

Ports:
The first day at sea was sunny and warm but the rest of the week was wet and windy and we were stranded so to speak in Stavanger and had an enforced overnight stay - we couldn’t get out of the harbour and had we done so would have been subjected to some really bad weather so unfortunately we missed Flaam and sailed to the next port of Olden. Bit disappointed for the kids as they had not been on the Flaam railway but there’s always another time. We walked the Briksdal Glacier on our last visit to Olden so just pottered around this time. Our next port Trondheim we walked to the Cathedral and purchased a ticket to visit the Archbishop’s palace and Museum and saw the Crown Jewels (not a patch on ours) again wet so were glad to get back to the ship. Funny thing was that the sun always seemed to come out when were leaving the ports.

Our next port was a new one to us - Honningsvag - the North Cape - as far north as we were going and a bit bleak but not cold - apparently something to do with the Gulf stream - the temperatures don’t get too low during the winter months but the wind makes it seem much colder. This is where we visited the ice bar - great fun - my DIL had booked it online though you could buy tickets at the shop. We were given hooded capes and boy did we need them - we all had drinks in ice glasses and sat on furs on ice benches - yes absolutely everything was ice - well it was a novelty. There was a Christmas shop upstairs - my DIL was in 7th heaven and bought several ornaments. We had a walk around the town which is very small but had a lovely shop selling jumpers, coats, hats etc. and the usual tat - I hate those bloody trolls. There were stalls on the dockside and my DIL and her parents bought Norwegian jumpers and cardigans - quite expensive but they were delighted with their purchases. My eldest granddaughter fancied a down quilted hooded jacket and I bought it for her as an early Christmas present - I don’t think she took it off for the rest of the cruise.

The next port was Tromso and we were on an excursion to the Arctic Cathedral and the Polaria Centre - both worth seeing as was the trip around the city. We sailed next for the Loftonen Islands - a new port for all of us - we had to use the tenders to go ashore and did an excursion to the Viking Museum which we really enjoyed but by the time we got to the next stop the Fishing Village museum we were dying of thirst and didn’t get to see that much of the museum itself. We all felt it was a long trip without refreshments and said so on the comments. The weather over the last few days had been drizzly at best but not too cold - we had a day at sea to our next port - Alesund - and the weather improved - we had a lovely sunny day exploring the city and then returned to the ship - my granddaughter couldn’t wait to get into the pool and we were able to sit and enjoy the sun. From now on the weather improved and we had a sunny day in Bergen - we left early afternoon as the Captain had reports of rough weather in the Channel - we actually sat on deck watching a film although I must admit it did get a bit chilly. The next day was at sea and again it stayed fine although a bit windy up on deck and of course there was the inevitable packing to do. We were warned by the Captain that we had a rough night ahead of us but truthfully it didn’t affect us and after an early breakfast we waited until the call to disembark - the bus ride home was uneventful and I was home by 1.30 pm.

Overall we enjoyed the cruise and it seems petty to criticise strange vegetables and having to get to the theatre early to get a reasonable seat. Princess has many good points but it is more expensive for drinks and excursions nevertheless we were aware of this before we went and the itinerary was what we wanted - Norway never fails to impress - it really is one of those places I would never tire of seeing again and again - I would have just liked better weather. While we were waiting to disembark we spoke to the Loyalty manager who told us that Princess are now finding that the number of Platinum and Elite passengers is causing problems - we were waiting in the "priority lounge" which was fuller than the rest of the waiting areas - he said Princess was trying to find a way of revising their loyalty scheme without losing clients - not an easy task! He told Phoebe that by the time she is 18 when she will be able to join the Captains Circle she will be Elite straightaway :crazy:

Next August we are going on Aurora to the Med - Venice and Croatia principally - again new ports for my son and family - I’m quite happy to tag along and I imagine the weather will be vastly different.
Janis

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towny44
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Re: Emerald Princess - Norway & the North Cape August 2016

Post by towny44 » 06 Sep 2016, 22:47

Good review Jan, sorry you did not enjoy better weather, we cruised the southern fjords during your second week and the weather was glorious.
John

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sunseeker16
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Re: Emerald Princess - Norway & the North Cape August 2016

Post by sunseeker16 » 07 Sep 2016, 10:17

Thanks for your review. I enjoyed reading it
Isn't it a shame we can't take bits we love from all cruise lines and ships and make our own super-cruise?

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Re: Emerald Princess - Norway & the North Cape August 2016

Post by Meg 50 » 07 Sep 2016, 11:48

Jan Rosser wrote: .....

Entertainment:
Now this is where I feel I should say before carrying on that the quote of the cruise was from my youngest granddaughter Phoebe aged 9 - she frequently said either “it’s not like this on P&O” or “they wouldn’t do this on P&O” or “it’s not as good as P&O” and often quite loudly ..........
She's a "It wasn't like this on Canberra" in training!
Meg
x

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Gill W
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Re: Emerald Princess - Norway & the North Cape August 2016

Post by Gill W » 07 Sep 2016, 14:31

Great review, Jan. Thanks for posting it

Would like to try Princess at some point
Gill

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Re: Emerald Princess - Norway & the North Cape August 2016

Post by oldbluefox » 07 Sep 2016, 20:40

Pity about the weather Jan but interesting to read how Princess do it. Perhaps P&O need to have a look at their loyalty scheme which looks much more attractive and probably only costs pence to operate (and what they spend on the perks they probably reap back in other ways!!). Swings and roundabouts but nice to have.

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Jan Rosser
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Re: Emerald Princess - Norway & the North Cape August 2016

Post by Jan Rosser » 07 Sep 2016, 21:14

oldbluefox wrote:Pity about the weather Jan but interesting to read how Princess do it. Perhaps P&O need to have a look at their loyalty scheme which looks much more attractive and probably only costs pence to operate (and what they spend on the perks they probably reap back in other ways!!). Swings and roundabouts but nice to have.
We added up the value of the mini bar and that came to just short of $100, the laundry came to around $50, not sure how much the 250 minutes of wifi would have been worth plus an unexpected $50 OBC and anything I bought in the shops had 10% knocked off so nice little bonuses derived mainly from cruises taken with P&O.
Janis

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Re: Emerald Princess - Norway & the North Cape August 2016

Post by qbman1 » 08 Sep 2016, 12:23

Very nice, Blod. Glad you enjoyed it.

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Re: Emerald Princess - Norway & the North Cape August 2016

Post by oldbluefox » 09 Sep 2016, 10:17

Jan Rosser wrote:
oldbluefox wrote:Pity about the weather Jan but interesting to read how Princess do it. Perhaps P&O need to have a look at their loyalty scheme which looks much more attractive and probably only costs pence to operate (and what they spend on the perks they probably reap back in other ways!!). Swings and roundabouts but nice to have.
We added up the value of the mini bar and that came to just short of $100, the laundry came to around $50, not sure how much the 250 minutes of wifi would have been worth plus an unexpected $50 OBC and anything I bought in the shops had 10% knocked off so nice little bonuses derived mainly from cruises taken with P&O.
The savings to you are worthwhile but I would say it would actually cost Princess relatively little especially wifi and laundry, and the cost could be absorbed into the price (which no doubt it is!!).
It is certainly a more generous package than you get with P&O and even better that it is transferable from one line to another. :wave:


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Re: Emerald Princess - Norway & the North Cape August 2016

Post by daib GC » 09 Sep 2016, 12:02

Enjoyed the review interesting about the large meat portions. :D

Not keen on the high booze prices, including wine. :evil:

Good job the Princess people have given us a free booze package for our cruise with them next May. 8-) 8-)

Happy Cruising


Dai

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Re: Emerald Princess - Norway & the North Cape August 2016

Post by Happydays » 09 Sep 2016, 19:44

I enjoyed reading your review, you have given good information.

I have a question for you, the free laundry you get on "elite" how often can you use it?
We are going in two weeks time, flying to New York to join Regal Princess and trying to keep the luggage with in the weigh limits!

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Re: Emerald Princess - Norway & the North Cape August 2016

Post by Jan Rosser » 10 Sep 2016, 00:04

Happydays wrote:I enjoyed reading your review, you have given good information.

I have a question for you, the free laundry you get on "elite" how often can you use it?
We are going in two weeks time, flying to New York to join Regal Princess and trying to keep the luggage with in the weigh limits!
I don't think there are any limits on how often you can use the free laundry but my cabin steward told me that the Tuesday of the second week was the last day he could accept laundry to make sure it was back by the Friday - we disembarked on the Saturday. Hope you have a great time and you let us know what you think of Regal Princess.
Janis

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Re: Emerald Princess - Norway & the North Cape August 2016

Post by Raybosailor » 10 Sep 2016, 08:01

Enjoyed your review Jan, we would love to take our grandkids on such a cruise but their parents have difficulty getting the time off work to do such a thing, one day maybe.

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Re: Emerald Princess - Norway & the North Cape August 2016

Post by oldbluefox » 10 Sep 2016, 08:21

Happydays wrote: trying to keep the luggage with in the weigh limits!
I don't think you can take the contents of your washing basket from home. :lol:
Have a great cruise Happydays. :wave:


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Re: Emerald Princess - Norway & the North Cape August 2016

Post by daib GC » 10 Sep 2016, 11:04

oldbluefox wrote:
Happydays wrote: trying to keep the luggage with in the weigh limits!
I don't think you can take the contents of your washing basket from home. :lol:
Have a great cruise Happydays. :wave:

Why not, from what I have been reading that is what some Americans do.

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Happydays
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Re: Emerald Princess - Norway & the North Cape August 2016

Post by Happydays » 10 Sep 2016, 22:06

daib GC wrote:
oldbluefox wrote:
Happydays wrote: trying to keep the luggage with in the weigh limits!
I don't think you can take the contents of your washing basket from home. :lol:
Have a great cruise Happydays. :wave:

Why not, from what I have been reading that is what some Americans do.
I'm trying to keep the luggage down not up;)

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Re: Emerald Princess - Norway & the North Cape August 2016

Post by Happydays » 10 Sep 2016, 22:12

Jan Rosser wrote:
Happydays wrote:I enjoyed reading your review, you have given good information.

I have a question for you, the free laundry you get on "elite" how often can you use it?
We are going in two weeks time, flying to New York to join Regal Princess and trying to keep the luggage with in the weigh limits!
I don't think there are any limits on how often you can use the free laundry but my cabin steward told me that the Tuesday of the second week was the last day he could accept laundry to make sure it was back by the Friday - we disembarked on the Saturday. Hope you have a great time and you let us know what you think of Regal Princess.
Thanks for your help. The cruise is only for a week but we are having a couple of days in New York before and after the cruise for sight seeing and thought if I could use the free laundry it would keep the luggage down as we could use the t-shirts etc again :clap:

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