Just back from (10) night cruise on the Coral Princess which included a partial transit of the Panama Canal. This was our 11th cruise (3rd on Princess ships)Prior to booking, I read lots of Cruise Critic Member reviews of this ship and I have to wonder if I was on the same Coral Princes ship as some of the other reviewers. We were more than pleased with the condition of the ship and the service received from all crew member. No, the ship is not new (launched 2002), but it is well maintained. It is small by today's standards, with just under 2000 passengers. We (wife and I) booked an Inside Cabin, but were upgraded to a obstructed view Outside Cabin #E520. The cabin was small, compared to other larger ships we've been on, but big enough for two people with ample storage space. Self service laundry facility available.
We had an unusual event of a MAN OVERBOARD experience one afternoon during our cruise. A woman either fell or jumped from the 10th deck of the ship into open waters. Someone saw her fall and tossed an orange colored lifesaver overboard to try and mark the spot close to where she went into the water. There was an immediate "Man Overboard" announcement by the Captain. The crew immediately initiated the drill required for this emergency and the ship was turned around and search boats were launched. After locating and retrieving the orange life saver, the search began in that area, with the search boat going back and forth in a grid pattern. All passengers were asked to return to their cabins so that they could do a cabin by cabin visit to determine the missing person. After searching for over two hours the Captain announced that the body had been located and retrieved. The performance by the Captain and all Crew members during this somber emergency was exceptional. The past detailed training of the Crew was very evident in the professional and serious attention to the duty at hand. Can't compliment them enough. The Coral Princess Captain and Crew proved to be up to handling any emergency.
The Itinerary for this cruise included (1)Aruba, (2)Cartagena, Columba, (3)Panama Canal (partial transit), (4)Colon, Panama, (5)Limon, Costa Rica, (6)Grand Cayman and four days at sea. The stop in Aruba was disappointing in that we were there only 7 1/2 hours (7 AM to 12:30 PM). By the time we got off the ship and the time we had to re-board, it didn't allow enough time to fully enjoy Aruba. Our past cruise stops here were much longer. In Cartagena, Columba we took a taxi into Old Town section and visited two very old cathedrals. Advise here would be to stick with the Yellow Cabs, they are much newer and cleaner. Four people into Old Town and back to port cost $5.00 per person each way. We then sailed partially through the Panama Canal to Lake Gatun. We took a five hour excursion to observe and learn about the canal and locks and how they operate. Also visited an Indian Village and re-boarded the ship in Colon, Panama, which was not a very pleasant city for site seeing. The stop in Limon, Costa Rica did not offer much either. Grand Cayman is a very clean and more modern port and city area if you like shopping.
The food in the main dining room was very good and the selection was adequate. Our waiter (Francisco) and Asst. Waiter (Faye) were very attentive to our needs and requests and made the dining experience very enjoyable. The food in the Horizon Grill (buffet) was also good and we never had trouble finding a table or being attended to.
We would definitely sail on the Coral Princess again.