I just want to share with you my latest diagnosis that many of you will have! It’s called PCB – Post Cruise Blues and there is a cure but that involves booking another cruise as soon as possible.
I returned last week from a 14 night Mediterranean Cruise on board the Emerald Princess which is operated by Princess Cruises. The 113561 ton ship entered service in 2007 but was refurbished last year with the addition of the most amazing beds ever in all staterooms. with over 3000 people on board I expected it to feel crowded but have to say we always found a sun lounger somewhere.
We chose this cruise originally to do in the school holidays however my husband was unable to have time off work so we had to move it to two weeks later which meant taking the kids out of school. Contrary to some schools I was lucky that my children are doing well and normally have 100% attendance as they were granted leave and I was issued with no fines at all!
In my party was myself, Molly- aged 47 on the day of travel, Bruce my husband – aged 46, Janet my mum- aged 71 on the day we got off, Cliff- my Dad aged 70, Conor my son aged 19, Ashley my daughter – aged 17, Logan my son – aged 12 and Frazer my son – aged 9.
As we were in the North of England we set off from Morecambe, Lancashire at 5am and arrived in Southampton at 10.30am. We had booked car parking direct with CPS at Mayflower Cruise Terminal and I have to say I was extremely impressed. We were ushered into a lane ,where before I could even get out of the car my cases had already been taken. A lovely lady took my car key and issued me with a bar code and then we made our way to the terminal.
As we have travelled with Princess before we are whats called Elite status on their loyalty program which gives us priority embarkation. Check in was smooth and before we knew it we had been issued with priority boarding passes 9. Elite members get a sectioned off area with coffee and pastries however as we were entering they called group 2 so I cheekily mentioned it was my birthday and hey ho we were on board by 11.15am.
Our cabin was in a great location at the aft end on the starboard side and we had taken two cabins next to each other – A701 and A703 – they were also straight out to the lifts. For the first time ever we had booked balcony cabins and I really do not think I can now ever go back to an Inside Cabin.
As there were four sharing each cabin we had twin beds with an upper berth and a rollaway bed which was great as the rollaway bed and upper berth were only placed after dinner.
Its hard to rate a ship as we did not use all the facilities so I will only comment on the areas that we used.
As we had chosen anytime dining our dining rooms were Michaelangelo and Da Vinci. The main dining room for traditional dining was the Botticelli. I have to say we had lovely waiters and never had to wait for a table even though we needed an eight. The menus tended to have a Princess Favourites section such as Caesar Salad and Shrimp Cocktail along with a few Pasta dishes then there would be a choice of 3 starters, 2 soups and perhaps 4 main courses. Years ago you could have had steak every night as a New York Strip Sirloin but I think that there have been cutbacks as this was only on formal nights. Have to say my biggest disappointment was the Baked Alaska Parade because due to health and safety they now use battery operated candles!! No flair or excitement- I was gutted by this!
During the day we tended to eat in the Horizon Court or Caribe Cafe where self service buffets were the name of the game. The food could sometimes be a little hit or miss but we always found something we liked. Failing this at the aft end is a Grill Area where hot dogs and burgers can be ordered from 11am to 11pm – the kids loved this.
There are four speciality dining venues on board – Crown Grill, Share, Salty Dog and Crab Shack. The only one we did not get to was the Crab Shack.
Crown Grill was visited by my husband and my 19 year old son whose mission was to demolish the 22oz porterhouse steak! He managed this hands down and even managed a starter and dessert. With a cover charge of just $29 per person my husband reckoned this was fantastic value for money.
Share by Curtis Stone is a restaurant where it is all about sharing however as there was just myself and my middle son Logan we just asked for a taste of all the dishes. Curtis Stone is an Australian Chef and was discovered by Oprah Winfrey and is always a guest chef on Australian Masterchef. The chicken liver parfait was amazing and the waiters told me that the recipe is 50 pages long!! The cover charge in here was £$39 for me and 1/2 price for children and again was exceptional value for money.
The Salty Dog can be found in the Wheelhouse Bar and I have to say when you read the menu you kind of think that you will not bother but please book a table as at $19 per person it is worth the experience. Tables are tall long tables and my first achievement was managing to get on the chair. Starters are brought out to share and consisted of garlic sweet potato chips and bread sticks with dips then you choose three main courses and they are brought to you in small bowls. I chose Lobster Macaroni as one of mine and it was amazing.
Next blog I will talk about the bars, pool areas and entertainment as well as our special visit to the Bridge……..