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Emerald Princess
Western Caribbean
August 15-22, 2010

by Mary & Vincent Finelli

This was an encore cruise on the Emerald Princess. We sailed on her in May 2010 and published a review on her wonderful atmosphere and facilities at that time (click here for that review). This review will be a different one for us, since it will not be of the usual structure and content: embarkation, ship description, service and food discussion, ports of call, etc. Rather, we will focus on what may occur on board if a passenger is not feeling well.

We were so happy to see Maitre D' Daniele Saredi and Head Waiter Francesco Di Tullio, who welcomed us back with a beautiful table for two in the Michelangelo Dining Room by the window overlooking the sea. From the first evening, they along with our waiters Manuel Batista of Portugal and his assistant Sorat and Head Waiter Bertrand Zarate made us feel very special! Thus began what looked to be another terrific cruise.

Just two days into the cruise Mary began experiencing excruciating back pain. She spent most of the time in the cabin. Lino, our cabin steward, went out of his way to make this cruise comfortable for us. He added a special mattress pad to the bed, additional firm pillows, and a special commode to the bathroom for Mary's comfort. Moreover, he put a nice recliner on the balcony for Vincent. He went above and beyond the call of duty. Thank you, Lino!

Vincent was stymied about what to do and then he decided that acupuncture may be a palliative treatment that couldn't hurt. He arranged four sessions with the lovely Sarah and Mary got to know the wonderful Spa people quite well. If there is something in 'mind over matter,' then the acupuncture was enough to tide Mary over until the end of the cruise.

Our daily routine was scaled back. Breakfast was in our cabin and room service was kind enough to bring additional items we penciled in on the daily menu (i.e. eggs, bacon, and hot chocolate).

Whenever Mary went to the Piazza in her wheelchair, her favorite “Cookie Man” from our first Emerald cruise, Abdul Shaikh always smiled and waved to her to indicate he wanted to give her warm cookies. When he heard that she had back trouble he also added his prayers to the cookies. Both were much appreciated.

When Vincent went to lunch or dinner alone, both Bertrand and Francesco saw to it that he could order especially for Mary and they sent delicious items to our cabin. Well, if one has to be incapacitated during a cruise, there is no better place than on the Emerald Princess. Unfortunately, we did not get to meet Captain Giorgio Pomata in person as per his kind invitation, but maybe next time.

We debarked on Sunday August 22nd and on Monday the 23rd Mary was hospitalized and Wednesday underwent spinal surgery. Now, she is at home and doing well with physical therapy.

The moral of this story is unexpected things can happen on vacation. So go with the flow, rise with the tide, and live.

Thanks to all the crew of the Emerald Princess for their extra solicitude and attention. We carry a warm spot in our hearts for all of them.

Due to this unexpected problem we had to cancel our next cruise on the Liberty of the Seas for Sept. 5th, but we hope that Mary feels better for the next one on the Norwegian Epic, Oct. 2nd. Happy Cruising!

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