I don’t think Emerald Princess Captain Martin Stenzel is giving up his day job anytime soon to pursue a stand-up career. But his practised, but still priceless response to “This is my first cruise” with “Yes, mine too. I was a truck driver last week” gets a hearty laugh from all on our bridge tour.
Also a first time cruiser, I’m continually surprised by the countless ways there are to enjoy sea days. On board the premium luxury Emerald Princess for a leisurely 6 night cruise meandering across the Tasman with 3,079 others it ended all too quickly.
Princess Cruises promise ‘Big ship choice, small ship feel’ and I decide to take them up on the challenge. It would take a world cruise to complete all the activities on board the Emerald Princess. There are art auctions, Sudoku, Go Pro seminars and basketball shoot-outs. For those who like a flutter, you can try your hand at Texas Hold’em or the Casino.
There are endless kick back and relax options for those looking to take Princess Cruises’ up on their tag line ’Come Back New’. A few hours on your balcony, viewing the densely forested cliffs and snow-capped mountains of Dusky, Doubtful and Milford Sounds is magical. The social media ready Sounds require no filters and at twilight the sky and ocean melt into one.
Fjiordland National Park does make the most scenic backdrop for a romantic albeit solo Balcony Breakfast. A silver service start of eggs, smoked salmon, pastries, and a little Nicolas Feuillatte makes me wonder why I’m not breakfasting like this everyday.
The Sanctuary costs a little extra but is a serene escape with plenty of staff on hand with cool drinks as you watch the ship churn through the choppy blue. Passes for this ‘pocket of tranquillity’ are for half or full days.
The extra comfy Princess Cruises Luxury Bed is soo good – dressed in Candice Olson crisp jacquard 100% cotton – where better to watch a movie or TV. Or maybe I should be more sociable and get on deck to watch Movies Under the Stars with popcorn and a cosy blanket. Or devour some surprisingly good pizza poolside.
The Lotus Spa has an answer for nearly all your ills with a range of treatments, rejuvenations, facials and massages. The thoroughly indulgent Thai Coconut Poultice Massage doubled as an exceptional hair treatment. Emme worked her magic and 50 minutes later I was blissed to the max.
Princess Cruises has partnered with the National Museum of Australia for a floating exhibition of the Defining Moments in Australian History. The Museum designed and produced 20 panels that showcase the history of Australia. A number of artifacts including convict leg irons and First Nation stone tools are also on display. Even Australians find the exhibition totally absorbing.
Besides the excellent Specialty dining there are so many ways to explore food on board. There are culinary demonstrations in the Princess Theatre, followed by a galley tour or a chance to pair chocolate with wine at Vines for a delectable Chocolate Journey.
You will need to work off all that delicious Emerald Princess food, and that’s why there’s line dancing, Zumba and Pilates every day. Take a few laps on the walking/running track or start the morning with Yoga or Pilates. Exploring the ship thoroughly guarantees your 1,000 steps.
Don’t miss pre-dinner cocktails. Adagio on Deck 16 Aft is best for a quiet glass or Vines wine list is not only extensive – they throw in complimentary tapas or sushi too.
Voice of the Ocean is exactly that – TV’s popular talent show at sea. From guest auditions, to a Princess Theatre finale where 800 guests vote for their favourite it is standing room only. On our cruise an unassuming Ronan was crowned ‘Voice of the Ocean’ after a heart felt and low-key performance.
If you prefer your entertainment over a glass or two, Crooners Bar presents ‘The Scottish One’ from 9pm. The forthright pianist has a razor-edge patter and takes you on a musical ride all the way from Frank Sinatra to Tom Waits. Not to be missed.
I think my defining memory will be the crew. They seemed to be enjoying every minute. They were enthusiastic, energetic and always ready to help. Another Princess Cruises catch cry is C.R.U.I.S.E – Courtesy, Respect, Unfailing in Service Excellence. The Emerald Princess crew has that down pat.
Liz Bond was a guest of Princess Cruises.