My DH and I are long time Princess cruise fans and this was our 43rd cruise with them. We have literally sailed the world and now are enjoying some low stress/sun filled days. We cruised this same itinerary last year and returned to check out the new improvements on the Coral. We do like the ship and it's size seems about right for us. We stayed overnight before boarding at the Embassy Suite on 17th st. It was adequate. There were several weddings taking place in the Atrium and some renovation/construction going on there in the atrium. A $10.00 TAXI took us to the pier as the hotel does not provide transportation.
Embarkation was a breeze and we were seated in the Elite lounge at 11:30AM. We boarded promptly at 12;OO noon. We were on the Carib deck ( our very fav one) and the room was configured just right for us. The balcony is the largest on the ship and in the past had the most comfortable chairs in any fleet but they have been replaced by a reclining straight chair that has a bottom just like concrete. I won't take this trip again without a cushion. Our Steward (Raul) was attentive and checked in with us right away. Emergency drills were promply at 3:30pm and sailaway was at 4:30pm. Dinner first night was at Sabitini's.We do enjoy the Italian speciality restaurant and the meal was extra good but we very much miss the dessert Tiramisu. Waiter told us they don't serve it anymore but it will be on the menu Italian night...wrong! It seems they have it on alternating trips through the Canal. How can a first class Italian restaurant not serve Tiramisu? We did spot some new and improved changes... the International Cafe, and the expanded Horizon Court. both are nice additions. We had dinner in the Provance DR and food was, in my opinion, only average. No variety in vegs, food extra salty. Breads extra good.
The Captain and crew were very personable and everyone kept us informed daily re: weather, location, and arrival/departure. It seems a happy ship with everyone smiling and anxious to make the trip a good one. Staff were congenial with passengers and each other. Entertainment was good, Library was staffed daily with good selection of books, some movies were not recent bur most were enjoyable. Princess shows were entertaining and scheduled well. Disembarkation was easy and we used the EZ check for our luggage. We will cruise Princess again but do see a diminished quality in food...not in service. Staff are Princess' strongest asset.