I'm a long time cruiser in my 50s traveling with my husband and have traveled on many cruiselines. This was my first Princess cruise, and I was very pleased overall. By category, here are my impressions:
EMBARKATION: Easy and fast.
THE SHIP: The Coral is a beauty. She's well decorated in a subtle, mostly neutral style. Very elegant. I am not a fan of the overly flashy gaudy styles of many cruise ships and Coral is a class act. The layout is well done as there was a good flow to it. Passengers were seldom crowded into some spaces leaving other areas empty. This also speaks to good activity and entertainment planning which spread everyone out. I was glad to see others making good use of the game/card room and the library, myself included.
CABIN: Ours, a balcony on Deck 9 starboard, was roomy and nicely designed as well. Very comfy bed and pillows, good closet space, adequate bathroom-typical for a ship- and we enjoyed the balcony and the big view from it.
THE STAFF: Great! Very professional, pleasant, positive, helpful in all areas. We loved the cheerful exuberance of our cabin steward, Marcialito, in particular. More detail on other staff by categories below.
FOOD/DINING: There were plenty of choices and options in both the Lido cafeteria and main dining for every meal. Appreciated: the plethora of fresh fruit and veggies. Some of the dishes were great, some were very good, and some were, well, not bad. Only a couple of them really wowed me. I was, however, very happy with the dining staff. Very attentive and professional. Big shout out to our waiter and assistant, Edward and Caroline. We had a lot of fun with Edward who somehow combined outstanding service, elegance and a quirky sense of humor.
ACTIVITIES/ENTERTAINMENT: I can only speak to the things I did but there were many choices so sometimes I had to choose between two that I wanted at the same time. I went to at least one game a
day and often more including Trivia, Scattergories and Pictionary. Had a blast playing with and against passengers I got to know thoughout the trip. I also enjoyed the game shows like Pyramid and Yes/No Game. The Cruise Director staff were great fun especially James Goodall who had a knack for making a fun thing even more so, and started calling us by name after a couple of days. Impressive. Other entertainment we liked: the magic act, comedian, and the mentalist -who was incredibly impressive. We went to Movies Under the Stars one night which we enjoyed, especially the popcorn, milk and cookies they pass out. Cute touch. Lastly we really enjoyed the classical strings trio who played frequently throughout the ship as background music and topped it off with a concert in the Princess Theater. Very classy. For exercise I mostly did satirs and the promenade walk which was helpfully marked with mileage-2.8 around equals 1 mile.
PASSENGERS: Mostly an older crowd from many different places and walks of life. Most over 50, white, U.S. American or Canadian. Very few teens or children. Our table mates were all Canadian and very good company.
PORTS: We chose this trip for the Panama Canal and it really was worth it. It's a partial transit which means we went through the Atlantic side locks then stayed in Lake Gatun the rest of the day. The locks were really interesting. We woke up early and got a good seat in the Lido cafe near the windows in front to see it all. Most passengers got off to go the a number of excursions and everyone we spoke to said good things. We stayed inboard relaxed and enjoyed the quiet and lovely view all afternoon. We enjoyed a Safari tour to the Natural Bridge and pool in Aruba, a Segway tour in Cartagena's Old City, and the beauty of Costa Rica and Grand Cayman. Note that Limon Costa Rica is sort of a struggling town. We hired a licensed taxi- look for the red cars with the yellow triangle in the side- who drove us to Cahuita National park, lovely drive and place.
DISEMBARKATION: We very much appreciated the organization and attention here. They have you sit comfortably in a designated area while giving frequent updates and providing coffee, tea, juice and water while you wait.
MISCELLANY: The Positives: when we returned to the ship after a day in port, crew members are there passing out cold water and cool washcloths. That's a first, and much appreciated.
The Negatives: Surprisingly few crew members constantly cleaning surfaces around the ship. The ship never looked dirty but it's now standard to see constant cleaning, and i didn't here. Also fewer antibacterial dispensers around the ship than I am now used to. A notable oddity: lack of prominent signage for the public restrooms. I know I sound nitpicky here but there it is.
Overall I would definitely do Princess again. Great staff, great activities, relaxation, lovely people and places, & beautiful ship. What else do you need?