This was our first cruise. We decided to do a back to back cruise that was a repositioning cruise from Vancouver to Fort Lauderdale. The ship took 3 days to sail to LA and then 14 days to go the rest of the way.
Embarcation in Vancouver was beautiful. We booked a princess hotel package and stayed in the Pan Pacific Hotel. The hotel overlooks the cruise ship pier and was perfect. The weather in Vancouver was incredible-sunny and 70-75F. Boarding was no problem as we were checked in at the hotel. At about 10:30 am, we were led down to the cruise ship waiting room and were whisked through customs to the waiting area. Being first time cruisers we had to wait until the priority passengers boarded-but we were in the first group in the peon class.
We boarded and went right to our room. Princess had split boarding-those with cabins forward took one gangway and those aft took a rear gangway.
We went to lunch in the buffet. I have a wight problem so buffets are a threat-but I found plenty to choose from. After muster we went up to the sun deck which overlooks the pools. My wife is a nervous sailor and is prone to sea sickness. As we departed she was busy watching the party on the lido deck. After several minutes, she looked up and saw the lions gate bridge and realized that we were moving. She never once suffered from sea sickness.
The cruise to LA was beautiful. The Coral has a full promenade deck and we did 6 laps in the morning on sea days. We got to meet some nice people walking on that deck.
The food was unbelievable. We ate every evening in the MDR and they had brought out a whole new menu. I found it delightful and my wife couldn't get enough. Of course many dishes were not to my taste, but there was always something good waiting for me.
It was 5 days to Costa Rica, our first stop. We had so much to do on the ship we had no time to be board-my wife actually complained she didn't have a chance to catch a nap!
We took all princess excursions and found that the excursions info on the website was first rate. THe excursions were also handled very well with knowledgeable and very pleasant guides.
We took the 2 day Panama Canal experience. Here, we anchored off Panama the first day and tendered to shore. We took and excursion into the jungle to visit an Embera Indian village. It was the highlight of the trip.
The Panama Canal came next. It was also a thrilling adventure. Going through the locks there were other sips alongside and the crews waved to us. People were waiving to us from everywhere. At the end of the day we passed through the last of the locks and said off to Colombia.
We next went to Cartagena Colombia. We took a short city tour that was interesting-although as soon as we got off the bus we were surrounded by vendors trying to sell us stuff.
Our last port was Aruba-a beautiful little island. We also took a tour of the island and the butterfly farm-very interesting.
Then, it was 2 days at sea to FLL.
This was a long cruise, but the Coral Princess was up to the job. We had a great cruise director who kept us busy with shows, comedians, singers, games, and lectures.
The Coral is a beautiful ship with lots of room -we never felt crowded.
The crew was magnificent and happy. Everyone we met gave us a smile. When we re-boarded in LA I noticed that the hotel manager was standing on the gangway greeting the passengers and asking how things were going.
The food was magnificent from breakfast to luck to dinner. We only ate in the buffet a few days for lunch and breakfast. When we ate there, the food was good, not high gourmet, but good.
I heartily recommend the Coral Princess for a Panama Canal transit. It is a really great ship!