We left from Los Angeles on our adventure aboard The Coral Princess on February 21, 2013. The boarding process was pretty uneventful and quick. We were able to go to our rooms as soon as we boarded and our luggage arrived not much after that. As to the general impressions of the cruise: The ship was well cared for and kept in beautifully clean shape throughout the trip. All of our staff, from room steward to waiter, were excellent. The food...great! Our only concerns were as follows: The use of tenders at two ports (Cabo San Lucas, Mexico and San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua) ate up several hours of our time in port. The way the line handled it was to have everyone go to the formal dining room and wait around (sit) for hours until all the "Princess Cruise Excursions" and "preferred" passengers were tendered. Then (after two hours in Cabo and an hour and a half in San Juan Del Sur) the remaining passengers who wanted to go ashore were taken in small groups (depending on the number on a ticket you were given when you entered the dining room). You were unable to wander around the ship while you waited. You had to sit in the enclosed dining room on a beautiful day and wait. Very disappointing. We had scheduled a tour in Nicaragua and because of this missed two hours of it!
Also, when we did go on Princess tours, which we did in Costa Rica, Columbia and Aruba, we were usually herded into jewelry stores even when those were not on the tour. We all felt like we were constantly being "sold" things while on board the ship and while on the tours organized by the ship. While in Costa Rica we went on the "Rainforest Canopy" tour from the ship. Immediately we were told by the tour guide that although the tour states that you will be hiking to 5 bridges through the forest canopy, we will only be including 3 today. No refund, just a shorter tour. The tour took a turn for the worst when we got to the hiking trail and one of the men on the tour (who clearly should not have been there) collapsed and couldn't walk any further. So for the next 2 hours our tour guide and driver along with two of our fellow passengers helped this man make the "hike" though the rainforest. All of us had to wait and the entire tour was altered. He was fine but I wonder why the ship doesn't make it clearer that those who can't walk very far shouldn't be signing up to go on a "hike" through the forest. We went on another tour in Columbia where the tour guide rushed us up and down the beautiful streets of the "old city" at breakneck speeds so that he could try and force us all into, what I'm sure was, a "friends" jewelry store. Those of us who simply said "no thank you" went on about our tour of the streets but he went inside with the others and was none to happy with us.
More of a variety of musical entertainment on board the ship in the evening would have been nice. Honestly unless you wanted to listen to one of the "oldies" bands you didn't have much to chose from. I admit the crowd was mostly older but there should be some variety. How much can you play trivia games and do the Foxtrot? There were younger people (say 30's, 40's & 50's) on board and they had nowhere to go for fun music at night. The one exception was the "deck party" at the end of the cruise.
Another problem is the lack of any snacks in the lounges at night. When you go for a cocktail before or after dinner shouldn't there be some offering of chip, nut, snack...anything on the tables in the bars. We asked one evening and were brought a little container of peanuts that was mainly dust from the bottom of the bin. When we asked if there were any more the waitress reluctantly said "no" but must have felt badly about it because she went over to the "preferred" (there's that word again) cocktail party and brought us back a few shrimp from their table. Also, the drinks leave a lot to be desired. They are not made well. In the two weeks we had very few that were actually good with the exception of a couple of martinis. The others were either terrible or void of alcohol. There are no drink specials, ever. Princess does a good job but they seem to be going the way of the "nickel and dime" lines. Suggestion: Charge a decent price and don't try and open the passenger's pocket the entire time they are on their trip.