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Back from Emerald Princess - Panama Canal


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Hi CC friends,

 

I'm well and truly back from my last minute Xmas and NY Panama Canal cruise - 15 nights on the Emerald Princess. All in all a wonderful time was had. After booking solo, I ended up with a friend travelling with me, plus friends onboard who I met on the NCL Jade 14 years ago in the Med! Booked an inside guarantee, put in a small upgrade bid and was bumped to an obstructed oceanview mid ship. I was very happy with some natural light and ocean and sky glimpses and one of the best room stewards I've ever had on a cruise. I think that's a hidden benefit of the medallion - they know when you leave the cabin and when you're heading back. It creates such a seamless room servicing experience.

 

I made it to the USA and back on staff travel (standby) without any issues but, alas, no business class seats available. Damn those points upgrade people! Going over Bris - LAX we had 4 economy seats for the two of us and returning on the A380 LAX - Sydney we had Premium Economy on the upper deck. I also had a spare seat next to me on that flight but its pretty useless with the fixed arm rests in Premium. On such a long haul flight I can happily say that 4 economy seats shared by 2 is more comfortable than one PE seat.

 

In terms of the "deal", with all things added in - including a Plus Package I purchased onboard and the horrible AUD - I saved over AUD500 per person by booking through a US agent rather than here in Oz. 

 

I was more than impressed with the dining room food onboard - even the buffet food was a very high standard. We had one meal in Sabatini's (too much food, it's ridiculous) and a lovely meal in Crown Grill. I didn't even use my two free casual meals from the Plus Package because the venues didn't really appeal to us. Staff were absolutely excellent except, ironically, Guest Services. The ship was in pretty good repair for its age and the furnishings etc were all fresh. The dining room booking system didn't work at all because even those with reservations had to line up every night to wait for an available table just like the walk ups. I don't know why they waste their time letting you make reservations.

 

The Panama Canal was a lifelong dream for me and I'm already planning another bucket list cruise for this New Year, Antarctica I hope! But with my last minute tendencies who knows where I will end up!

 

Next up is a quick Tassie/Kangaroo island cruise on the Royal Princess, B2B with the 2 day leg (Syd - Bris) of the Sydney - Japan end of season relocation cruise which kindly drops me home in Brisbane. Nothing better than disembarking in your home town.

 

I did write a "proper" review awaiting approval by CC but I thought some of the above snippets might be of interest in this group.

 

Edited by mum and son
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