12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
Our 14 day cruise and land tour was an incredible experience as first time cruisers and first time visitors to Alaska. In 14 days we had only rain of any consequence 3 times and in a one of those we were in a coach (40 passenger bus) ... Read More
Our 14 day cruise and land tour was an incredible experience as first time cruisers and first time visitors to Alaska. In 14 days we had only rain of any consequence 3 times and in a one of those we were in a coach (40 passenger bus) where it's didn't really both us. So our review is perhaps tainted by the exceptional weather we experience between May 27- Jun10, Things we really liked and learned on board: 1. Sailing north you probably want to be on the Starboard (right) side. Those are the even numbered staterooms. 2.Although we had a balcony (everyone told us it was essential), we honestly didn't use it hardly at all. We were busy outside our room, and the weather was never really warm enough to just sit and enjoy. We would have been fine with an ocean view. 3. The Coral Princess never felt crowded so the Glacier Bay day when there was a naturalist on board, her comments were broadcast on several of the outdoor decks, as well as over the closed circuit TV channels in each stateroom. 4. Definitely glad we chose the traditional dining option. Officially it was set for 5:15 and that sounded too early to eat, but by the time everyone arrived at our table of 8 (we started off strangers but enjoyed getting to know the others)and we were served the it was 6:00 for the main course. We were done by 6:45 which fit well for the evening shows and programs. 5. Also glad to eat breakfast and lunch in the dining rooms rather than the cafeteria (Horizon Cafe). We could order all we wanted without the hassle of cafeteria and the temptation of overeating in the cafeteria. 6. Booked a specialty dinner at the Bayou Cafe - definitely worth it. Food was soooo good. They let us come back later in the evening for our dessert which I thought was great (who can eat a big meal and fabulous dessert all at one sitting anyway. 7. Also, we booked the Sanctuary for Glacier Bay day. Outstanding. You need to book it on-board on departure day. Normally $20 pp for half day and $40pp for full day- with Glacier Bay being $60pp for the full day. Even tho that was our coldest day at sea and a bit of rain, we still felt like it was a great time - sort of like we had our own yacht (perhaps because we managed to claim one of two cabanas) 8. The captain, cruise director and crew were all first rate. Very friendly and talented. 9. No need to buy drink package unless you are heavy alcohol drinker. They have 4:00 and 9:00 Happy hours where second drinks of same kind are just a buck, 10. We did enjoy use of our coffee card. Worth the money. 11. by the way we arrived to the embarkation hall at 11:30 on were onboard sitting down for lunch by 1:15 or so. What we didn't like on board: 1. Way too much trying to see you jewelry, fine art and photographs. 2. We thought the fun time with audience participation one night in one of the lounges featuring the cruise director and her crew was needlessly off-color and un-funny. Excursions: 1 Our priority was wildlife viewing. In that regard we chose the boat trip our of Haines (which is accessed via Skagway). It involves a ferry to Haines, a bus ride to the boat ramp and then about 2 hours of pure nature exploration on the board. We were lucky and saw 5 bears, a couple of Moose, trumpeter swans. From what we heard that was way more than most people saw on other excursions. Land portion: We ended the cruise feeling great and thinking that maybe the land portion would be anticlimactic. It wasn't. It turned out that all of us on our bus were all on the same itinerary but nobody ever really announced that, so we were well into the week before realizing we were on the junket together. Missed some opportunities to joke around. During the 8 nights on land we stayed at 4 different Princess Lodges. We differentiate them as follows: Kenai Peninsula - Princess Boutique McKinley Lodge - Princess Awesome Denali Lodge - Princess Village Fairbanks Lodge - Princess Gathering If you've read the itinerary you realize the on land transportation is all by motor coach except for the train from McKinley to Denali. The train actually goes through Talkeetna which is about 45 minutes from McKinley Lodge.... really a totally different place. Here's what's behind our descriptions: Kenai - Hey, a wood burning stove in the cabin is kinda cool. It's a pretty isolated area. Very scenic (the river is a short walk). We actually attended a local church on Sunday but most people seemed to do the white watching tour (Kenai Fjord) out of Steward and saw a lot of different wildlife. Really, your only eating option at the Lodge is on the property. It was a relaxing place to unwind. On the way to McKinley we actually stopped in Anchorage for about 90 minutes for lunch McKinley Lodge also has a wilderness feel to it. Cabins were pretty plain but, if you're lucky and get to see Mt Denali in all it's glory, it is truly inspiring. We were at the lodge less that 24 hours but felt they were pretty full.... used the hot tub, went to a lecture on Mt. Climbing, ate s'mores by a campfire and took a guided nature hike. 30% of the visitors are lucky enough to see the mountain peak. We were lucky. It would have been nice to have another night at McKinley as the property seemed to have lots to offer in terms of just relaxing and enjoying the beautiful setting. A bus to Talkeetna took us to the Denali Explorer rail cars for the trip to Denali. Princess and Holland America are actually pretty much one organization in Alaska (called HAP Alaska) and they share the train. (The Alaska railway also runs trains on the same and longer routes but I don't think the dome cars or the service is probably as first rate as the Denali Explorer.) It was listed in the itinerary as about 4 hours which I was disappointed it wan't longer - but actually it was plenty. The train stops at the entry way to Denali National Park and then motor coaches took us to the Denali... which unless the first two "wilderness lodges" actually sits in the middle of a small tourist town where everything is accessible by foot. It has many more amenities than the first two did. We booked dinner for the Denali dinner show. I suggest booking the 7:30 show as it would have been very tight getting from the train to the show in time for the early one. The show is a classic example how to feed about 150 people in 20 minutes but the food was decent and the show was fine.... a good evening of fun, for sure. Also, we upgraded to the tundra tour. It's a 8 hour round trip into the National Park and back. Lots of wildlife (and they have great zoom lens camera to help you see the distant animals on a screen in the bus). Highlight for us was seeing Mt. Denali from the other side. An even more impressive view and again we were part of the lucky ones that saw it. Dinner that night was at the pizza restaurant at the Lodge. Actually it was really, really good pizza. Okay, on to Fairbanks with a rest stop along the way. Literally everyone on a land tour with Princess or Holland America begins or ends their trip with 1 or 2 nights at the Fairbanks Princess Lodge. If you want to eat dinner on first night on the terrace overlooking the river don't wait until closing. It closed at 10:00 - we got there at 9:50 for dessert and they wouldn't seat us. The highlighted feature of the time in Fairbanks is the Gold Dredge8 and Discovery Riverboat tour. It makes for a full day - but relaxing and lots of opportunities to learn some cool things along the way. So, finally our last day. We had a late night flight so arranged a late check out and hung around the Lodge until 1:00 or so then took their shuttle to town stopping first at the Pioneer Park (not much there) and then on it's next pass took the shuttle downtown to shop and grab dinner. Flying home that night was definitely sad. Alaska is an amazing place and being able to travel from it's southern tip all the way north to Fairbanks made for a very, very special 40th anniversary celebration. It was fabulous. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
Studied the internet with reviews and decided on the Coral based on size, dining, and itinerary. This was our first cruise and it was for our 30th anniversary so it needed to be special. We did the Princess Transfer from the airport to ... Read More
Studied the internet with reviews and decided on the Coral based on size, dining, and itinerary. This was our first cruise and it was for our 30th anniversary so it needed to be special. We did the Princess Transfer from the airport to Whittier. We left Anchorage around 12pm and we were on the ship in less than 2 hours. Going in early May it was too icy to get close to the Hubbard Glacier. I was disappointed but the next day in Glacier Bay made up for it. In Skagway, we too the White Pass train ride. In Juneau, we did the Whale watch trip with Juneau Tours. In Ketchikan, we went salmon fishing with Bill Meck but ended up with Captain Jim Parrott. We didn't catch any fish so I'm thinking it was maybe too early for Salmon. The boat ride was lovely but kinda expensive for a tour of the bay. The highlight of our trip aboard the Coral was the Chef's Table dinner. It was an amazing experience and well worth the extra $95. I have 2 reviews with photos on our trip and the Chef's table. Here are the links. Trip Report: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2506371 Chef's Table: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2509574 Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
This cruise is billed as the Panama Canal cruise. If you accept that then the abbreviated shore excursions in other places become acceptable. If not, then the extremely short layovers will not be satisfactory. That being said, this is an ... Read More
This cruise is billed as the Panama Canal cruise. If you accept that then the abbreviated shore excursions in other places become acceptable. If not, then the extremely short layovers will not be satisfactory. That being said, this is an excellent cruise. It is very relaxing and the ports are excellent. CONS 1. This is an older ship, and showing its age. You can see lots of rusted areas, damaged tiles and carpets, lighting in the dining rooms that doesn’t work, broken lounge chairs, and technical glitches on stage. You can see the difference on the exterior in the ports when you compare it to other ships, which seem to show no rust at all. 2. Total mess up by Princess regarding pre-order of water and beverage service. I was constantly told water pre-ordered would be delivered, but it wasn’t. When I asked Guest Services about it, I was told that the order was lost, and could not be filled while at sea (water pre-order is before it leaves the port). Yet they were willing to sell me individual bottles at an inflated price. Disappointed on how they handled this since it was their error. 3. Very short port stays except for Panama. After 2-1/2 days of sailing, the first port was Aruba where everyone wanted to get out and stretch their legs. Unfortunately the layover is only 4 hours, leaving very limited time to do anything. On top of that, our arrival was on a Sunday and many shops where closed (at least until noon when we were leaving). It would have been better to have a longer stay here and skip Columbia. 4. Port loading and loading is a joke and extremely slow. The boarding at Colon was a total mess. No announcements that could be heard, no explanations for the considerable delay. Everyone just standing around (limited seating) for 2+ hours to re-board. (Holland was next to us and boarded in 30 minutes). Total disorganization. 5. Ship announcements from the Captain or crew during the day can’t be heard unless you are in your room with the TV on. On the 13th and 14th floors they are impossible to hear, even in quiet areas. However, the movie the play in the pool area can be heard all the way to the next port it is so loud. Need to up the volume and the ship announcements. 6. Poor excursion communication. While waiting to disembark at Grand Cayman alternate port, no staff member explained any limitations on any shore excursion. Only when you got on shore did you find out that swimming was not allowed, or other restrictions. Many people refused to go and returned to the ship to get a refund. It would have been much better to explain any limitations in the theater while everyone was waiting. Also, because of the alternate docking location, the on TV display continually showed the next port as “Grand Cayman” even when docked in Fort Lauderdale. Staff was told but no one made an effort to update the information. PROS 1. Extremely friendly staff, some of the best I’ve encountered on cruises. 2. Food was excellent. Buffet themes were not publicized anywhere, so you had to visit the buffet to see what they were serving that day. Sit down dining was excellent, and a good variety during the entire cruise. Beef was properly cooked to the individuals specification every single time. 3. Entertainment is very good. Unfortunately, the majority of the entertainment is the singers and dancers on the ship. Only the first couple of days had outside entertainment (comedian, singer). The dancers are very good, and the shows excellent, but it got old. It would have been nice to have some other entertainment towards the end. 4. The beds are the new Princess beds (soon to be on all ships) and are wonderful! 5. The WiFi access on the ship is good (very slow for outside internet). Their web page gives you the events for the day. It continually requires you to re-log on, which is annoying, but easy to do. The app does NOT have any maps or layouts for the port, which is needed. It also does NOT let you see events for the next day, even late at night, so you can’t plan the next day until it arrives! But the web page gives you the summary of your events you have planned, which is nice. No alerts for messages from your ship mates. You have to have the web page opened to see any messages. It would be nice if the phone buzzed when a message was received. Overall a great cruise with lots of wonderful people we met. As an older ship, it still was very nice, especially for the older crowd aboard. No need of cosmic slides or fancy features. Plenty of lounge chair access and not overly crowed, even on sea days. A wonderful 10-day cruise. Read Less
19 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
We sailed on the Coral Princess for the partial Panama transit from January 17 to 27, 2017. This was our twelfth cruise and our ninth with Princess. Having encountered a poor all around experience on the Star Princess in April 2016 for a ... Read More
We sailed on the Coral Princess for the partial Panama transit from January 17 to 27, 2017. This was our twelfth cruise and our ninth with Princess. Having encountered a poor all around experience on the Star Princess in April 2016 for a 10 day coastal cruise we were on guard as to what to expect on this cruise. Previously, we have had enjoyable experiences on Princess except for the Star. The Coral Princess cruise exceeded our expectations and renewed what we have always enjoyed on Princess. We were located in cabin D629 which was a balcony unit. Even though towards the stern of the ship being a smaller ship we found it very easy to get around. All of the staff that we passed or had dealings with were extremely pleasant. Thank you Boylyn for being such an attentive and friendly cabin attendant. Our waiter Manuel and his assistant Francis provided excellent service. It was a breath of fresh air to have a waiter with a great personality, sometimes he kept us in stitches. Their character and service made us look forward to dining each night (traditional second seating). Their service was so efficient we always had time to catch the evening shows at 9:45. The Cruise Director (Cory), Assistant (Mikey) and other staff developed a schedule that was full of fun activities for those looking for that. I can't believe their high energy. Our past few cruises have been on large ships, it was a breath of fresh air to be on this smaller ship. I think such enhanced the intimacy. The cruise and ports were great, just a perfect mix of ports vs. sea days. The only negative was the short period of time in Aruba (four hours). This short time either resulted in you taking an excursion or walking around town; there wasn't enough time to do both. Also, somewhat of a waste of time to get off in Colon. The only thing that is worthwhile in doing that is to say you stepped foot on ground in Panama if you stayed on the ship during the transit. It earns the name colon. We stayed on the ship through the partial transit. We watched it from our balcony going up then from the public viewing area on deck 10 bow going back down. A narration was ongoing during the transit by Chris Roberts. It was very informative but also worthwhile to attend his seminar a couple of days before. Throughout this cruise we were fortunate enough to have Project 5 as the house band. They were the best house band we have ever encountered. Unfortunately, there was only one production show called Encore performed by the dance and singing troupe in the Princess Theater. It was spectacular. They did perform at Explorers Lounge and at the Love Boat Disco Night on the Lido. The rest of the entertainment was very good especially pianist Tom Franek and comedian Scott Wyler. The food was well prepared, fresh and always had a nice presentation. I can safely say there wasn't one meal that we were disappointed with. Don't forget to have pizza in Sabatini's at lunch. The specialty restaurant is free for pizza lunch on sea days. Way to go Princess and the crew of the Coral Princess. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
My wife's 60th BD loomed large in our planning and we always wanted to go to the Panama Canal so this was a great way to combine the two. On top of that, she was and still is a New Year's Baby so just any old First Night party ... Read More
My wife's 60th BD loomed large in our planning and we always wanted to go to the Panama Canal so this was a great way to combine the two. On top of that, she was and still is a New Year's Baby so just any old First Night party would not do. The Coral Princess met and exceeded our expectations at nearly every point along the way. Embarkation at Port Everglades was smooth and 99% hassle-free. Our EZ Air flight early on embarkation day eliminated any angst over possibly being late due to bad weather. Our first two sea days were a great break from the post-Christmas frenzy. Bloody Mary's were a bit on the spicy side but we managed. Second one was much better. (TIP #1: I left a nice tip for the bartender on the first drink, about 25%, so on second drink I did not leave one. However, in my final bill, they graciously added a tip for me which I had so obviously overlooked. In the future, always leave at least a small tip on your $10 cocktail so you don't get dinged later.). Food was on par with most cruises we've been on. We had flexible dining so we could go when we wanted, but only ate in the dining room about half the time. Other nights were spent at the buffet where the food was just as good as the main dining room, and better in some ways because there was more to choose from. First port of call was Aruba. It was New Year's eve so our stay was less than 6 hours. Although it turned out to be our only rain day, we had a great time because we opted for the Atlantis Submarine excursion which took us down to 140 ft. Got pretty wet walking back to the ship, but it was well worth it. Felt sorry for people who had never seen Aruba before, but we had a great time. New Year's Eve on board was lots of fun. Party hats, noise makers and libations kept the party going. My wife and I joined the party crowd packed into the Atrium and did our best funky chicken till well after the midnight balloon drop. No one noticed my dismal shuffling, because most people noticed my wife's flashing 60th BD tiara which got her the attention she richly deserved. New Year's day was stop #2 in Cartegena. Took the walk through the old city. Bought coffee in the Juan Valdez Cafe (TIP#2. Nobody spoke english in the cafe and they don’t take USD, but a MasterCard and my elementary spanish saved the day. If you no habla espanol, go with someone who does or you will get frustrated.) It was really hot so we wormed our way into a small bar down a narrow alley by the Cathedral and drank cheap beer till we went back to the ship. Princess celebrated my wife's birthday by giving us a complimentary dinner for our party of four in one of the specialty restaurants. The next table was full of friendly Quebecois who even sang Happy Birthday to my wife in French. January 2 was the big day going through the Canal. By 5:30 a.m. I was on deck with a pot of coffee front and center on deck 15. The entire transit was truly wonderful but was marred by chair hogs who insisted on trying to save a dozen spots for people who wanted to sleep in. At one point, the worst of the lot even put one of those little flimsy plastic deck tables on TOP of his chaise lounge pulled right up to the tall glass railing blocking everyone else’s view. Harsh words were exchanged when someone bumped his chair almost causing him to fall, which we were all secretly hoping for anyway. (TIP #3 - Get a spot early by the railing, toss away your sense of personal space and be polite. 99% of everyone else there is too.). After the transit we signed up for a tour of the old and new canals and even got to see the Coral Princess going back through the old canal on her way to dock in Colon. That was a bonus. Our tour included a drive through the old former Canal Zone in the suburbs of Colon. We got back to the port of Colon just as the Coral Princess was docking and left us with an hour or so to kill. There’s not much to do in at the Port area of Colon. A few shops and a restaurant but my favorite spot was the Super 99 market where you could buy reasonably priced snacks and booze. Again, no one speaks english but the touristas and they don’t take USD. Be polite, smile, use your best grade school spanish and pay by credit card and you’ll be fine.. The next stop was Limon Costa Rich and the Eco Adventure Ziplining tour in the Veragua Rainforest. Like everything else the Ticos do, this was a top notch tour. Completely safe, Great company. Upon returning to the port of Limon, we went outside of the terminal area to one of the many coffee shops where for $5 USD you could get all the wifi and coffee you wanted all day. Best deal of the trip. The next day was a much needed sea day where we finally went to the BOGO free drink happy hour in the Wheelhouse bar. (TIP #4. The second drink is not really “free”.) You have to get a second drink of the same type you buy and when you get the bill, they add a $2 “service fee”, Still, it’s cheaper than paying full price for the second drink. Last port was Ocho Rios Jamaica where we signed up for the river tubing adventure. The trip was very fun but we were only on the river for a bit less than an hour. Short, but the guides were good and did a good job of keeping everyone together. They were pretty aggressive asking for tips so just be sure to have a pocket full of dollars to give a little to each of them. We then spent a couple hours at a beach where we were treated to a good variety of munchies (jerk chicken, fried breads, plantains) and strong rum punch. Bob Marley music was ubiquitous even though there are many other fine Jamaican musicians like his son Ziggy and Third World, but you will only hear Bob Marley. Interestingly enough, not one statue or picture was anywhere to be seen of Usain Bolt. Really? The most famous living Jamaican and he was nowhere to be seen. I at least expected a cardboard cutout of him hawking some brand of rum. Our last day of the cruise was greeted by the news of the mass shooting at the FLL airport. The cruise staff didn’t have any more news than we did about changes in arrangements. Although we signed up for the EZ Check baggage program, we had to pick up our bags in the cruise terminal and Princess promptly refunded the money for the baggage handling. The airport was crowded, but in the end, we arrived back home only 2 hours later than planned. Considering what that airport went through, we counted ourselves lucky. Bottom line: Great cruise and great excursions with only a few minor bumps along the way, Keep your sense of adventure intact and you will have a great time. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
This was our first cruise with Princess and our first cruise over 7 days in length. We found Princess to be gracious and comfortable. The embarkation at Port Everglades was quick and efficient. The days at sea were relaxing and ... Read More
This was our first cruise with Princess and our first cruise over 7 days in length. We found Princess to be gracious and comfortable. The embarkation at Port Everglades was quick and efficient. The days at sea were relaxing and ports were interesting to us for the most part. We chose a partial transit of the Panama Canal because the extra days of the full transit would not fit in our schedule. A partial transit gives enough of the feel of the experience to satisfy the curiosity. The Coral is a mid-sized ship and was almost full for this cruise. There were less than ten children on board as this was early December when schools were in session. The “Anytime Dining” experience was confusing. On other lines, any time meant any time. We found one entrance to the dining room to be for “reservations”. When we call to inquire about reservations, we were either told they weren’t making reservations or the only times available were after 8pm. A few times we had to wait for a table. They use a pager system. As this was an anniversary trip for us, we preferred a table for two but only were able to have one about half the time. Tables for two were often so close together, it felt like shared table for four. It was not what we had in mind. However, on our actual anniversary, the maître d Alejandro took us upstairs to the Provence dining room so we could have a private table. We often ate breakfast and lunch in the Provence dining room. We enjoyed the service. For breakfast trays of pastries were offered. I had the chocolate croissant every morning. It was so delicious. The menu was not extensive but had all standard breakfast items. Each day there were two specials for the day, one entrée and one started of some kind. The lunch menu was like it with standard items every day and special items each day. Service was quick and efficient. The Horizon Court buffet was not huge. It had stations for breads, fruits, salad, and sandwiches at lunch. Breakfast buffet offered unusual items such as rice and other entrees that I would consider lunch or dinner fare. I guess this would appeal to cultures were eggs and bacon are not the standard breakfast. I didn’t try any of these. Breakfast and lunch seemed to be mostly the same daily, although I didn’t check it every day. I did enjoy the afternoon snack. Fresh guacamole and chips were available by 2 each afternoon. The biggest surprise to me was the International Café on deck 6. At first I thought it was only a coffee bar, but I soon learned that the food offered was complimentary. In the morning, sweet treats and breads were offered, but the rest of the day, sandwiches and salads were available. The service here varied by individual. We found that coffee to go was cheaper than coffee in a cup to dine there. The location, near our stateroom and the casino, made this a favorite spot. Although we did not dine in the evenings at the specialty restaurants, we did take advantage of the lunch offerings that were complimentary. Sabatini’s offered pizza at lunch a couple of time. It was excellent pizza, completely different than the pizza offered pool side. Only two other couples were there when we were. We also did the “pub lunch” at the Bayou Steakhouse choosing, as most did, the fish and chips. It was extremely crowded and we had to sit at the very small bar. Go early if you want a table. I think this was only offered once. The main activity we enjoyed was trivia. This was held in the Wheelhouse Bar. At first glance, this is a huge space, but since after trivia occurred just as Happy Hour was ending, there were often no seats left. We made a group of friend who liked to play too and struggled to find six chairs together. Morning sessions were not at crowded. Questions varied between the easy and truly challenging. Prizes consisted of key chains usually. The casino was very small. There were smoking and non-smoking areas. On several nights, the entire casino was non-smoking which I appreciated. I found the Princess Theater to be very congested as the only entrances were on deck 7. I’m used to theaters with multiple entrances on several decks. It seemed claustrophobic and almost hazardous. I only attended two events there and preferred the Universe. It had more comfortable seating and entrances on both decks 6 and 7. There was a variety of entertainment. We don’t care for magic so we didn’t attend those shows. We enjoyed the Bayou show and the comedian. We did not purchase a shore excursion for Aruba. We were only in port for a few hours. We walked down the main street and visited a casino. We were not impressed and headed back to the ship. In Cartagena, we took the City Highlights tour. It was oppressively hot that day and the climb to the fortress was very challenging. Vendors were very aggressive. The area was very crowded (two other ships in port that day) and I could not hear our guide very well. Las Bovedas was simply a shopping stop and should be described that way. Most goods were too expensive anyway. The walk through the old city was beautiful but again, very crowded and hot. I felt as if I spent the entire tour trying not to lose my guide in the press of people. I did not learn much, but I would love to go back and spend more time on my own. We tendered in Gatun Lake to go to Panama City and the Miraflores Locks. The drive was quick and comfortable. The “snack” provided was a chicken sandwich from Subway, just meat and bread. There was another shopping stop before going to the old city. It was uncrowded and two guides split our group so it was easier to hear. However, guides need to judge their groups to take it slower when elderly members cannot walk as fast as they would like. I found this almost disrespectful. Free time was welcome and no vendors harassed us. The visitor’s center at Miraflores was a nice new facility. It was interesting to see ships passing through that part of the canal. When we arrived back at the ship, I was glad I had bought my souvenirs already instead of having to go into Colon. In Costa Rica, we took the Animal Planet recommended tour of the sloth sanctuary. It did not disappoint. The bus ride was not long and we got to see the animals right away. The tour was given in rooms where the sloths were. The guides were informative and passionate about their work. The boat ride in the canal behind the sanctuary was not explained so we just got in the small aluminum boat and paddled away. Our boatman did not speak English so we just drifted along in silence until we encountered wildlife. Fortunately I speak enough Spanish to translate for the others. He pointed out iguanas and then we arrived where the howler monkeys lived. He positioned our boat where we could watch them for a substantial time. We also saw sloths in the wild. It was a great look at the rainforest. Our regular tour guide taught us a great deal about his country and also showed us how banana plantations worked which was a bonus. I found the craft market at the dock the best opportunity for shopping on the trip with genuine crafts, nice vendors and reasonable prices. As we are going back to Grand Cayman next year, we chose not to get off the ship. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2016
This was our 17th cruise and the longest one my wife and I have taken. It was also our first (but not last) cruise with Princess. It was wonderful! The Ports visited were beautiful and the excursions were great. Everyone on the ships ... Read More
This was our 17th cruise and the longest one my wife and I have taken. It was also our first (but not last) cruise with Princess. It was wonderful! The Ports visited were beautiful and the excursions were great. Everyone on the ships staff treated us like we were special. The ship was beautiful and completely relaxing. We had a mini-suite that was all we hoped for and more. It was very spacious and comfortable with a nice balcony. Food was great and the specialty restaurants were outstanding. We took in a couple of the entertainment events during the cruise and they were both very professional and completely entertaining. The photo people were very good, my wife does not like her picture taken yet we left the ship with more photos than any other cruise we have taken. We even had our picture taken in the Platinum Studio, which was an amazing experience, and ordered a spectacular black and white photo that will be prominently displayed in our living room. We were totally surprised at how fast and easy both embarkation and debarkation was. I highly recommend this cruise and cruise line. We have already booked and Alaskan cruise with Princess for 2016. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2016
We choose this cruise as it was one we had wanted to do & it worked out to be very conveniently for us. It went to all the places we wanted to see esp. the Panama Canal. It started where we wanted it to & on the day we wanted ... Read More
We choose this cruise as it was one we had wanted to do & it worked out to be very conveniently for us. It went to all the places we wanted to see esp. the Panama Canal. It started where we wanted it to & on the day we wanted & ended on the day we wanted. So it worked out great for us. The Islands we stopped at were great, the weather, food on the ship was fantastic, & the people at our table & the ones we met at other tables were also so nice. Entertainment was fantastic!!! The people that did the entertainment are so good they could perform on stage. We really enjoyed the tour of the kitchen & I was sorry I didn't have my camera to take picture to show family how great & clean it is. Look forward to my next cruise if I can think of one. Read Less
22 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
It was my husband and my 3rd honeymoon (2 were not enough) as we are both widowers in our 50's who found one another 3 years ago and are celebrating every minute of life together in love. So, on both our bucket lists was the Panama ... Read More
It was my husband and my 3rd honeymoon (2 were not enough) as we are both widowers in our 50's who found one another 3 years ago and are celebrating every minute of life together in love. So, on both our bucket lists was the Panama Canal. Princess delivered an extraordinary experience. (And I am a pretty experienced traveler for business.) There were just a few negatives. Boarding on Princess' timed schedule was a breeze... not one person in line. We zipped through empty roped cattle shoots onto the ship. Our cabin was ready. Attendant Toffee came by shortly after to greet us. But then the first blip occurred... an officer appears with my wheeled carry-on cradled in his arms in what looked like a body bag. The front zippered panel was completely severed off... with greasy tire tracks across the front of the bag. My cosmetic bag... handle ripped off and tire tracked. Extra underwear... black tire treads across it. An evening bag... crushed. My hard-bound book inside the front zippered pocket? Covers marled. But otherwise, most other things in tact. Clearly, the bag fell off the pile, and someone ran over it with a fork lift or some other vehicle. The officer handled it smoothly, apologetically. We completed a report, and they gave us a free carry-on to get us by, but also took the damaged one to try to repair it. 3 days later, a wobbly, tire-tracked war-torn roller bag reappeared- all patched up. They did their best. But it's in the trash already. And what's important is how they reacted to it. All other luggage arrived fine. If that's the worst thing that happened - and it was - it was going to be a great voyage. And it was. Sea days are fabulous, and two days tuning the world out, and enjoying the ship's amenities was glorious. The food was terrific... not the best we've had, but very good quality. We thought we'd try Anytime Dining, but switched to standard. Our servers Randy and Ryan from the Philippines were fantastic. Great sense of humor, and so attentive. Loved lobster night, and the chicken pot pie! The buffet was hit or miss. Breakfast - how can you go wrong? But often so crowded, hard to find a table. Lunch and dinner... standard favorites with some international dishes. Desserts were just OK. Actually the sushi was terrific, as well as eggplant parmesan, and the bread pudding divine. The shows... the comedian Try Thorngill was FANTASTIC. We could have watched him every night. When my skeptical husband belly laughs on both performances, and gives a standing ovation, you know he was great. The production show On the Bayou was one of the best production shows I have ever seen on a cruise ship (and I have produced shows in my career.) The others, such as "It's a Swell Party", well, err... I felt sorry for the dancers and performers... sooooo boring... outdated numbers with songs my grandmother may have heard before (and I am 50 years old.) This cruise definitely catered to the OVER 60 crowd. Average age: 65-70. And the production shows reflected that. The two showcased singers who had their own shows were LOUSY. Tom Jones-copy cat singer-impressionist and a country-western crooner guitarist - both tried to hard. The guitar-playing was great... singing - so phony and over-acted. My husband and I walked out of both. But music is subjective, and I heard some people liked it. Cringe! I know I am tough on performers. The crew show was fantastic. John the assistant cruise director was a hoot... a ham who was very entertaining in every activity he participated in... made you want to participate as well. Singer Muhammed was spectacular... clearly the strongest player, but other vocalists and dancers were good as well. The Love Boat Dance Party on pool deck was fun, as well as the balloon drop party. Disco gets you dancing! (My era, my music. My rock-loving husband people-watched.) Other activities? I felt they were lacking (other than "sell-you-stuff" presentations or drawings or sales) - OR - they were overlapping. Several shows/movies on top of one another? Spread them out, people! Princess... please add more interactive hands-on sessions, such as fruit carving, sushi-making, cooking demos, roundtables where you can meet others with similar interests on sea days. We don't just want detox, accupuncture, shopping tours, bingo, casino games or art gallery hard sells. That was 80% of the activities line-up. (And when I heard one art dealer rep quote $5200 for one painting, and 10 minutes later, the next rep quoted the same painting $6700... you know what's going on there. Not worth the free champagne!) The historical and port talks were very informative. Now, the ports. Aruba? Nice island. We did our own excursion we heard about from others - NOT a Princess excursion. Trikes of Aruba. AMAZING. The best of the trip. Since we were only there 5 hours - from 7 AM to 12 PM... what do you do on a tropical beach island? We were picked up at the cruise ship, and taken to their offices where we rented those 3-wheeled motorcycles. After a brief lesson, we followed the ever-smiling leader/tour guide Zeus in a caravan, drove practically the entire island. What a blast! Stopped at several key spots for a rest, refresh, photos, see cool scenery. Fantastic experience. Exhilarating! Hot but sooo cool with the wind blowing. Others were jealous of our fun, waving to us on the way. And so safe... even with me afraid of traditional motorcycles. But Cartagena, Colombia... we loved our tour operator, but the country? NOT IMPRESSED. We took a private tour with Duran Duran. He was everything people said... an expert, kind, informative. We did a cooking lesson with him and his wife which included a market tour of a local labyrinth of vendors to pick out our ingredients and taste some local fruit. What a 'colorful' trek, to say the least! We were definitely out of our element... and looked like tourists... told "Put your phone away" for safety reasons. Also, you must be good on your feet and be able to keep up with Duran and his wife Maria going through the hot stalls. They then took us to their home and gave us a cooking lesson where we helped prepare an authentic Colombian meal. Delicious! We learned a lot. Their family was lovely. Wonderful hospitality, and everything he advertised. We then asked to return to the port, where there was a lovely wildlife exhibit and air-conditioned shopping. To sum up this port.... it is not the way we would choose to live. Crazy drivers and motorcycle taxis cutting you off everywhere - even the police. Barbed wire everywhere. We didn't feel safe in the inner city. Others had different experiences in the downtown areas by the old forts and churches. But we did not wish to look at old forts, churches or museums, but see how the people lived. We got our wish. It was eye-opening, and to be frank - a relief to be back on the ship. The Panama Canal... AMAZING. I am not one to marvel over mechanical wonders. But THIS? Once you learned the history and ingenuity, and how the US triumphed doing the impossible... you get this amazing feeling of pride! And then when your ship begins to go through the locks, and you see this "water elevator" lifting a cruise ship up 82'... with just one meter to spare going through the locks on either side of the ship... it was amazing! The photo team offers you the chance if you are a balcony cabin to be photographed while going through the locks inside your cabin. We did, but just know it is not the general portrait price, nor can you get them in your $199 package... it's separate. We bought 2 photos of all the ones they took and it came to $49. But they were good, showing you and the locks. During the first part of the trip, you are encouraged to make posters reflecting your family or sentiments of the trip - to display during the canal lock crossing. It's for the camera, and the video! (Yet you can't even read most posters!) They have produced this wonderful video - and drop in the footage of all the posters and wavers during this passage. A great memento... but for $70? How often would you watch THAT? They also add in several other historical Panama Canal videos in the package, but who wants THAT? We said NO to the video, but if it was $25, we would have purchased it. They have screenings to show you the video and then try to sign you up for it, before they tell you the price. Ouch! The photo crew worked their butts off during the voyage, shooting every imaginable event. Bottom line: Formal portraits on the black backgrounds were done well, and we bought several. The other backgrounds were cheesy. The all-inclusive $199 package - who needs all those photos? Perhaps great for a family. But not for a couple. And it does not include the Panama Canal balcony shots nor the videos. Excursion: Gatun Lake & Embera Indians. Loved it! This man-made lake for the canal was gorgeous - and filled with wildlife. Next a trip on a boat (not a canoe) to visit the Embera Indian Village. What a treat! Learning about their culture, meeting their families, photographing their beautiful children, their costumes, seeing them dance, dancing WITH them, then buying their wares was fascinating and so entertaining. LOVED IT! And the women were not topless, which my husband was worried about being uncomfortable. They wore ceremonial large necklaces which covered their chests. A relief for all. The port of Colon was just a few Indian vendors and one duty-free shop. Too scary to walk anywhere else. Costa Rica. GORGEOUS! This is the nature-lover's spot. We did a private tour with Jorge Morales Ramirez with his driver Vic. What a wonderful day. First the Jaguar Rescue Center - far, but so worth it. Sloths up close, monkeys and many other animals. Gorgeous countryside, learning about organic bananas and male-female banana plants. Next a canal boat ride to see wildlife, a beach stop and terrific lunch, then a scenic drive overlooking the city and through it. Nice shopping back near the ship at a market of vendors. Good prices, cheap coffee. Warning... bring your own toilet paper for public bathrooms in most of these countries... NO TOILET PAPER. Have your own stash. Seriously! Final stop: Grand Cayman: The postcard. Gorgeous blue water. Fabulous beaches. Very civilized shopping. We took a taxi, where they group shove you to the gills to get the most people they can in the bus before they budge... we waited 20 minutes... but the ride to the beach was only $4 a person. We rented a private Cabana at the Royal Palms Resort for $100. Not worth the expense... it was just a framework with sheer curtains, table, chairs and 2 loungers... but it was a splurge. Gorgeous views and swimming. Good burgers and drinks. Th ultimate beach day. Then T-shirt shopping before the tender back to the ship. No worries about this port at all... the safest of all. Then sea day back. A glorious and restful way to end the trip. Disembarkation was easy - delayed a bit, but we went straight through to our luggage. Many taxis there waiting. No worries. Final notes: - Movie choices were iffy. Knowing you have an older crowd... showing a film like "Miles Ahead"... about drug addiction with constant cussing... terrible choice. The theater cleared by the first 30 minutes. Better choices and timing! Did not go to Movies Under the Stars once... not good features. - The Love Boat channel was cool. But showing the same episode over and over each day, until the next day... TERRIBLE!!! How about 30 episodes that repeated on a loop? - The drink package for sodas, milkshakes & mocktails was well worth it... $7 per day. - Burgers at the grill were great at the beginning of the cruise, but not so much at the end. We wondered why. - The library had a nice variety of books, including some travel guides. All free to borrow. - Lots of hangers in the closet, even for clothes-horses like me who overpack. Lots of storage for luggage under the bed and in the closet bottom. - The shower was TINY. Make sure the shower curtain stays in. Or flood-time! - Deck chair hogs! A perpetual problem. When you're through, take your towels and GO! 80% of the chairs went empty most of the time, with only 40 people in the pool. So what does that tell you? Pool and hot tubs were great. - When you go to one of their "clearance sales" - sometimes the registers go down. They end up hand writing your orders down and entering them later on. Check your receipts. They over charged me, and then I had to wait 35 minutes while one of the shop folks tried to figure out what went wrong, even when I pointed everything out, had the merchandise there, showed how it was probably mis-entered. Just credit it and re-ring it, for God's sake! Sheesh!!! Check your receipts and your onboard account for mischarges. I hope you all have voyages as wonderful as ours. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
This was a Pacific coastal cruise--somewhere I wanted to see. It was vintage Princess, but the Coral Princess is very nice no matter what you may read in these reviews on Cruise Critic. Yes, there are a couple of chips, etc here and ... Read More
This was a Pacific coastal cruise--somewhere I wanted to see. It was vintage Princess, but the Coral Princess is very nice no matter what you may read in these reviews on Cruise Critic. Yes, there are a couple of chips, etc here and there, but it's very nice, very clean. The size is good. I hardly every had to wait in line for elevators or food at the buffet. My husband's leg started giving him trouble while walking when we were gone and Princess staff couldn't have been nicer even going so far as to bring up a wheelchair at Santa Barbara tender port out of nowhere and loaning us a cane from the desk until the medical area opened. The food was so-so, and I thought more varied in the buffet than in the dining room. Why can't there be some regular food like ordinary cake or pie or fried chicken or a casserole? The shows were much, much better than before that I've seen on Princess. They were modern with modern music and enthusiastic singers and dancers and a very funny comedian. The northwest area of the continent is beautiful. We stayed at the Pan Pacific in Vancouver. It's the way to go if you can swing it. The hotel takes your bags to the ship, and you just go downstairs to board. Nanaimo has a beautiful harbor and a great Dollarama store close by. There's also a grocery store and drug store. Just hop on the free shuttle and get off at the harbor. The mall is across the street. Volunteers couldn't wait to showcase their town. Astoria, Santa Barbara, and San Francisco were all pretty and have their own things that you would want to see. Alcatraz, the wharf, vineyards, scenic views--all beautiful. If you use Gray Line in San Francisco, make sure you know exactly where you are going and the address. We and several other passengers had trouble finding it even with a taxi. It's a very small place on a corner. Book your tour of Alcatraz from home. You'll be sorry if you don't. Also Alcatraz is a long winding, slanted (13 story) walk uphill. It's doable, but, again, know your abilities. In Santa Barbara, it is a 3-4 block walk to any shopping or eating after you get off the tender. Most of the walks from the ship to the ports themselves are long. I say this not for those who are used to walking, but for those who may have physical limitations. Santa Barbara is a tender port where wheelchairs are not permitted unless they fold and the person can walk on to the tender. There aren't many activities on the ship. That was a bit of a disappointment since I like to stay busy and not just read and relax although some of that is nice too. Maybe historical classes, free smaller tours of the kitchen. The one tour was much too large to hear what was said. Tours of back stage? Information on the towns we are visiting? Of course, no one wants to get off, but it has to be done. It's my most unfavorite part of the cruise. Get your bags out before bedtime then sit and wait for awhile the next morning. But it was a smooth disembarkation. We had an extremely long wait to get on Super Shuttle at the port. The shuttle was there, but the driver would not leave until the van was totally full. I'm ok with that except in this case we sat there full except for two people for 45 minutes. No one was happy. He ignored us wanting to go ahead and leave. The shuttle people there were on our side, but he refused to leave. There aren't many of these cruises during September and I know sometimes it's rainy. We had beautiful weather the whole way. We were very lucky. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
We chose this cruise because it was one of a few that went north from Vancouver to Anchorage and we wanted a midsize ship with a balcony rooms that left on a specific date. After reading the reviews on Princess, we felt it was the right ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it was one of a few that went north from Vancouver to Anchorage and we wanted a midsize ship with a balcony rooms that left on a specific date. After reading the reviews on Princess, we felt it was the right choice to make. Food: We signed up for the 5:45 dinner seating. What we didn’t know was there were only 2 seatings: 5:15 and 7:30 (or 8). 5:15 was a little too early for us. So, we went to the 'reserved 5:15 seating' dining room for 3 nights, the cafeteria for 3 nights and then the steak and seafood dining room for 1 night. Although we had to pay extra for the steak and seafood dining room - it was worth it. They were incredibly careful with my allergies, the food was excellent and the server was very attentive. The 5:15 seating dining room was very attentive to my allergies also but insisted that I order dinner the night before - no spontaneity there. The cafeteria had most of the same food minus the special of the day. Plus it allowed us the freedom to eat when we wanted and not have to change clothes. They served a fabulous variety of fish that was always good. There was always fresh fruit and salads for breakfast and lunch. The last night in the main dininig room the food was excellent. Given the selection of food available and the workout room, it was possible to take the cruise without gaining any weight. The service in all of the restaurants (and the cafeteria) was excellent and attentive. To our surprise, not everyone dressed up for dinner. People were dressed in evening gowns to jeans on formal night. For the rest of the dinners, people wore a mixture of business casual and very informal. The excursions seem to be standard across all the regular cruise lines (NCL and Holland America seemed to be with us at most ports). We loved the Animal Planet Alaska’s Whales and Mendenhall Glacier Trail. There were multiple whales that dove and came up near us. We took one kayak excursion that we booked based on a suggestion in Trip Advisor. It was slightly cheaper and we found out the cruise lines had contracted with the same firm to run the same kayak excursion. We had 6 people in our group and the cruise group had about 12. Overall, we truly enjoyed the cruise. We might try a different line next time but that is only to see what would be different. Our ship had about 2000 people. The ship was big enough that it provided a variety of entertainment and restaurant offerings but it wasn't so big that you got lost or were not able to find a romantic corner to sit and watch the coastline- without a lot of people joining you. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
Alaska was the draw, it is a great destination. Did the land portion after the cruise and enjoyed it as well. Princess is changing and not for the better. This is our third Princess cruise and next time I think we will try another company. ... Read More
Alaska was the draw, it is a great destination. Did the land portion after the cruise and enjoyed it as well. Princess is changing and not for the better. This is our third Princess cruise and next time I think we will try another company. No more midnight buffet, chocolate buffet, baked Alaska parade, lines and waiting for the any time dining, personalized service on the decline too. It's just not special anymore even though we love cruising. Enjoyed the shore and land based excursions and some of the educational talks. Husky Homestead with Jeff King of Iditarod fame was great. 32 puppies to hold and enjoy, plus a superior talk from Jeff. Alaska is worth the trip and Princess does make the land portion run smoothly. Embarkation, on and off at the port locations and disembarkation went very smoothly. Delays and lines were minimal even though the ship was full. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2016
My husband and I celebrated our 30th anniversary in 2016 with Princess Cruise Lines. We flew into Fairbanks to begin our 3 day ground trip. It was our first time on Princess cruise lines. It was a great experience. We were well taken ... Read More
My husband and I celebrated our 30th anniversary in 2016 with Princess Cruise Lines. We flew into Fairbanks to begin our 3 day ground trip. It was our first time on Princess cruise lines. It was a great experience. We were well taken care of from arrival until we boarded the ship. I was in awe from observing the midnight sun. The ground lodging was was wonderful at all three locations. The train ride was great with windows large enough for viewing and taking pictures. This allowed us ample view of Mount Denali. The mountain view come in better and larger with each mile traveled.The quality of the food on board was better than other lines I've been on. But I wanted to comment on the shopping experience and it is this: the prices become more reasonable at the ports towards the end of the trip. Save some money! The furs were not as inexpensive as I wanted, but all the ports offered comparable prices. I would definitely do it again. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
Coral Princess was an excellent cruise ship for Alaska. Embarkation from Vancouver went smoothly for American but we heard that for foreign citizens it took much longer. Went to the ports of Ketchican, Juneau and Skagway. Cruised Glacier ... Read More
Coral Princess was an excellent cruise ship for Alaska. Embarkation from Vancouver went smoothly for American but we heard that for foreign citizens it took much longer. Went to the ports of Ketchican, Juneau and Skagway. Cruised Glacier Bay and College Fjord. The First night onboard.. I would go to early dinner in the dining room but get there early because it can get very crowded that first night. The Dining room food was very good. The Buffet for breakfast and lunch was excellent. Service was excellent by all the Princess staff. Entertainment shows by the Princess singers and dancers was very enjoyable. There was a naturalist who gave a number of excellent talks on nature and wildlife in Alaska. Also, in Glacier Bay a number of Park rangers came onboard to talk about life in Alaska. The ship had a laundromat on every floor ( a nice feature) but they didn't always stock the room with detergent or coins. Shore excursions-- we didn't book them from the cruise line but did it online with independent operators at a cheaper rate. Disembarkation went smoothly as we took the Denali extension with Princess cruises. Went with the Alaska railroad to Talketna were we took a bus to the Mckinley Princess Lodge. From there we went to the Denali Princess lodge for trip to the Denali National Park. I would look into if an optional food package for the Denali trip as food was very expensive. Read Less
18 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
We had a fantastic time on our Alaskan cruise! We arrived the night before and stayed at The Captain Cook hotel. Nice, large room with a great view. Easy walk to the Egan Center to check in for our transfer to Whitter. We had an hour so ... Read More
We had a fantastic time on our Alaskan cruise! We arrived the night before and stayed at The Captain Cook hotel. Nice, large room with a great view. Easy walk to the Egan Center to check in for our transfer to Whitter. We had an hour so walked around for a little while. The hour and a half drive was nice. Our driver narrated for us. Embarkation was pretty quick. We were given a map of the ship and our cabin info. Security was fast and then on to our cabin. We were in a mini suite D529. Very nice size with lots of room. Even our very large suitcases fit under the bed. We were met by our cabin steward with a very good glass of champagne. The sail away from beautiful. Some of my best pictures were taken that night. We had anytime dining and usually ate at 8:00 or later. Never a wait for a table for two. Reservations were available, but we never needed one. Since we ate late we went to the late shows and could always find a seat. We loved all the ports and excursions. My advice; choose an excursion that gets you out of town and away from the tourist shops. There is so much more to each city. Service was great from everyone we dealt with. Our best sail away was when we were leaving Ketchican. We were in the outdoor spa with a drink, watching the scenery go by and an eagle flying overhead, perfect! Debarkation was the smoothest in ten cruises. We had breakfast, walked off, found our luggage right away and just a ten minute wait for a cab. Now it's time to plan the next cruise. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
Connoisseur Escorted Cruise Tour My wife and I traveled from San Antonio to Vancouver the day before our cruise started. No hitches or glitches during travel to Vancouver, other than the amount of time it took to get there from San ... Read More
Connoisseur Escorted Cruise Tour My wife and I traveled from San Antonio to Vancouver the day before our cruise started. No hitches or glitches during travel to Vancouver, other than the amount of time it took to get there from San Antonio. I don’t travel as well as my wife and the extended time in the airplane kind of got to me. I am very glad we decided to arrive a day ahead of our departure. We stayed at the St. Regis Hotel in downtown Vancouver. We took the train from the airport to the city center station and walked to the hotel, a very nice short walk. The downtown was busy and full of life. The city itself seemed clean and cared for, quite beautiful. I cannot say enough about the hotel staff at the St. Regis, they had answers to questions we didn’t know we would ask and we asked a lot of them. The front desk staff was the best we had the experience of dealing with at any hotel we have every stayed at. To say the least we were very impressed with the front desk staff. The service staff was also excellent and available to ask extras of anything, or help with whatever. Breakfast the next morning was free, and good, and the waitresses were way above average. After we checked into our room we decided to go to the Vancouver Aquarium, located near the entrance to Stanley Park. And after talking with the front desk staff we decided it was too far to walk, and I didn’t feel like riding a bus that didn’t get us all the way to our destination, so we took a taxi. It didn’t take long and the cost was minimal, to us, that is. We wondered about the displays, watched a show of a whale species I was unfamiliar with, ate lunch and wondered about some more until about 4 PM. We had reservations at “The Teahouse,” a restaurant also located in Stanley Park, but all the way across from where we were, near the entrance. Since our reservations were for 6 PM we decided to walk across this large wonderful park. We were very glad we did. We met some of the most wonderful people of Vancouver. They helped us with directions, took our picture standing under a tree, so enormous it made me look thin. We took our time and still we arrived a bit early at the restaurant. Since there was an open table near the windows looking out over the water, they seated us right away. The restaurant is mainly a seafood restaurant and our choices were very good. After our meal we decided we didn’t want to walk all the way back across the park, so called for a taxi from the restaurant. When we got back to the hotel we were really tired, I was actually falling asleep. We got to the room, readied for bed and I think I fell asleep while lying down, what a comfortable bed. I did wake once for about three seconds due to some siren noise in the street. We got up on time the next morning got ready and went downstairs for the free breakfast. It was a real breakfast that one orders from a menu. Then went back to our room packed up. I noticed I had forgotten some toiletries. We asked at the front desk and were told that a drug store was right across the street. So we went shopping. Then checked out, caught a taxi to the cruise ship terminal. It was bad, very bad. There were four cruise ships in port, all unloading and loading passengers, traffic to the cruise terminal and within the cruise terminal was awful. There were people everywhere trying to get into the cruise terminal and processed onto their cruise ship. Once we turned our baggage over to a porter, tipped him, and made our way into the cruise terminal things went a bit smoother. We actually missed our call as it took a bit extra time for people to process their passports. So we didn’t sit and wait at all. We went from one room to the other processing whatever we had to process there and onto the ship. I don’t think the whole thing took a half hour, even with the large crowds. When we boarded we went to eat lunch at Horizon Court. Horizon Court was really nice, crowded but nice. They had a good selection of foods, hot and cold. I ate more than I should have. I didn’t notice that they had regular sized plates, as well as the platters at the entrance to the food lines. At about 3 PM it was announced that we could go to our cabins. When we entered we were surprised by the size. We had previously gone on a river cruise and that cabin was almost half the size. Our luggage had not been delivered yet, nor had the bottled water I ordered. We checked with the purser and he said he would get right on it. Then we went wondering a bit. When the announcement was made for the muster drill we went to our cabin to get our life jackets and the water was there, the luggage arrived within minutes. Muster drill had some start and stop fits. It seems our departure time was delayed, so they delayed our muster drill for a half hour or so. But it finally got done. We put up our life jackets and went wandering again, to find our any time dining restaurant. We also found that taking the stairs, if one is able, is a lot faster than the elevators. All I can say about dining is that it was wonderful. Everything I ordered was excellent, done the way I wanted and time between courses was rather quick, not fast, but quick. We ate breakfast in Horizon Court, usually lunch also. There was a blueberry desert they had for lunch that was the best I have ever had. I cannot remember the name of it. I am sort of glad I can’t, or I would be making it at home and weigh about a hundred more pounds. All the food was, as far as I can tell, and what the chefs told us, from scratch, all of it. And you could taste it, you really could. I started taking pictures of what we ordered but after a day or so was so impatient I couldn’t wait to start eating it. The picture taking went by the wayside. Except for the Chocolate covered Pistachio Pudding, International Café, and our meals at Sabatini’s. Nope I didn’t take a picture of the blueberry desert I talked about. I didn’t have my camera and I wasn’t going to go get it. I even ate two of the blueberry deserts, the only one that I did, promise. The service everywhere was excellent, even getting off and on the ship, I didn’t keep a list of the names of all the people that helped us, gave us information, or gave directions, but I should have. No matter what the question, or how many times it was asked the people at the cruise service desk always smiled and were pleasant, every time, really. The entertainment was usually good. There was one show that my wife said was loud to the extreme, I didn’t go. It didn’t seem, from the write up that I would like it. I am glad I stayed away, and napped. The rest of the shows were very good to excellent. Even the ones that were just advertisements for shore excursions. We liked the lumberjack show in Ketchikan. The Best of Juneau was OK, but a bit over priced for what we expected. I was excited and thought we would see whales breaching every five minutes, but it didn’t happen and it was a bit rainy and cold. The water was a bit choppy. We saw lots of eagles, sea lions and a mother whale with baby. Also the lunch was really not great, it was OK, but, like I said, I was excited and expected more. Skagway was very good. We did the sled dog ride, which was a pretty good van ride away from Skagway. We got to pet the lead dogs and then later some of the puppies. Glacier Bay was fantastic. I really envy people that get to go there and stay to fish or do research. The sun was out, it was near 70 degrees Fahrenheit, it was marvelous. I wanted to stay the whole rest of the cruise. As we crossed the Gulf of Alaska we saw a lot of Orca and other sea life. It was also the only time we walked the promenade, which I really liked. It was cold, windy, and rainy but I didn’t care, I liked it very much. Disembarkation was a snap, no luggage to handle ourselves, except our carry on. Just walk off the ship and onto the train at Whittier. At Whittier the cruise ended and the tour began. We had to get up early because we were the first group off the ship and onto our train to Talkeetna; and the Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge for two nights. The big mountain, Denali, was clouded over for the two days we were there. On the first day you could barely see about two thirds of the mountain through the clouds and mist. Since the weather around the lodge was kind of misty, we decided to go tour Talkeetna. How funny weather can be. It was partly cloudy and the sun shown bright in Talkeetna. We walked about the town, went to a couple of museums, ate lunch; saw a movie about the mountain, Denali. Then caught the buss back to the lodge. During supper the power went out. I am glad we went early; we were supposed to eat later. Some people didn’t get what they wanted because of the power outage. The next day was cloudy and rainy all day. We stayed about the lodge and walked the trails. We went to a presentation about snowy owls. The man doing the presentation had a live snowy owl with him. The owl had an injured wing that healed badly so it could not be released back into the wild. The presentation was very good and I got a couple of decent pictures of the owl. The next morning the people that came to pick up the luggage, to transfer it to the Denali Lodge, came a bit early, too early for us. We missed their pick up. It was supposed to be at eight in the morning, but they picked up the luggage about fifteen minutes early. We got our luggage to the front desk and they got it to the Denali Lodge before the other luggage arrived, yea. I started to get sick from what I thought was the Birch Tree pollen when we were at the McKinley Lodge. I was coughing, sinuses and, ears clogged up. I couldn’t sleep all night and was usually up at about 3:30 AM to cough up blow out, yuck. I went to the emergency medical clinic in Denali and they gave me an anti-biotic, guess they thought it was something more than allergies. Anyway, it didn’t seem to help much. We went on the bus ride into the Denali Wilderness area and saw Moose, Bears, Dahl Sheep, Caribou, but not one wolf. We also saw many eagles, and birds of relatively hard to find species. Some I have pictures of and some were just blurs. I forgot my tripod at home, ugh. It was hard enough to get pictures on excursions from the ship but now, through an open window on a bus and, no tripod, bad, real bad. I am amazed I have as many decent pictures as I do. It was a long behind weary bus ride for our average age group, which was, I believe, over 60. But I am very glad I went, feeling bad, full of anti-biotic and allergy medicine I am still very glad I went. We also saw some humans hiking the wilderness area, amazing to remember that we were once that young, and had that much energy, I envied them a bit, but not too much; it was cold, and snowy. The naturalist that drove our bus was very good. He usually spotted the animals before we did and put real time videos of them on the buses’ video system. When we got back to the lodge we rested a bit, got up and ready to go to the dinner theater. It was a good show, better than we expected. The food, however, wasn’t that good. Guess we had gotten used to the food on the ship, because we kept comparing the service and food at the lodges with what we got on the ship. The lodges always came out real bad. The lodges use seasonal contractors and they need a much longer training period before going to their respective hotels. Instead it seems they get to practice on the guests instead. Perhaps Princess could put them on the ships as extra crew for a month or so before the Alaska tourist season starts. That way they could see what real service, and real food is. Then it was on to Fairbanks by bus. It was still cloudy and rainy, I was feeling a bit worse, but enjoyed the stop, I forget where it was, huh. It was interesting because it was where they have a device that is placed o n the river ice during winter and one buys lottery tickets guessing the day the ice will break. It is worth a good bit of money. In Fairbanks I was sick and didn’t want to go to dinner. When my wife got back to the room I was laboring a bit to breath. We went to the front desk to ask for a taxi to go to the emergency room. They called our tour escort and he arranged to pay for the taxi to and from the E.R. At the E.R. they gave me an inhaler, after several tests, which helped a great deal. I was able to go on the last tour to the gold dredge and riverboat, Indian village. To me these were the second best of the whole trip, Vancouver and the ship being tied for first. We did gold panning and got $38.00 in gold. Lunch was included in the riverboat tour but I can’t say too much about it, being kind of under the weather, I didn’t like it. Over all I would say take the land tour first, then the cruise back to Vancouver. You would have time to build relationships with the other, Connoisseur Escorted Tour, members. And, be able to enjoy a continued camaraderie on the ship and perhaps in Vancouver. If I were to do it all again that is the way I would book it. It was a wonderful tour, our escort was good to excellent, me being a tad sick, he was probably excellent, I just couldn’t tell, or didn’t care. We flew out of Fairbanks to Seattle and stayed overnight at the Cedarbrook Lodge, near the airport, but away from the traffic noise. It is a beautiful hotel, and grounds with walking trails. By this time I was feeling a bit better away from all of the Birch Tree Pollen, at least I wasn’t getting worse. We had a great lunch at the hotel, expensive but great. We rested until dinner and decided to walk to a nearby restaurant. It was much like a Denny’s that we have in Texas. It was enjoyable and the walk helped me a great deal. I am very glad my wife picked this for her 65th birthday present, and let me come with her. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2016
Full transit of Panama Canal, after Aruba and Columbia, and before Costa Rica , Nicaragua , Cabos San Lucas , LA , Victoria and Vancouver . 19 days with 10 days at sea and many things to do on the ship , from lectures to magic lessons ... ... Read More
Full transit of Panama Canal, after Aruba and Columbia, and before Costa Rica , Nicaragua , Cabos San Lucas , LA , Victoria and Vancouver . 19 days with 10 days at sea and many things to do on the ship , from lectures to magic lessons ... Great day experience on the Canal , with commentaries all day on public areas and TV ... very informative and interesting . Near to no kids on board , except from LA to Vancouver , so no running around and noise ... Very pleasant sailing . Chairs always available on decks . Dining for two easy everywhere , without reservation . Service very friendly . Cabin A515 on Aloha Deck has shade from the upper floor extending long over the other balconies . Excellent when sunny , but also when raining ... you can stay on your balcony whatever temperature ... ... Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2016
Just returned on thurs feb 25.. stayed at HAMPTON INN PORT N.. take note there are 2 hamptn inns in the port area..ours had pink lawn flamingos ontop, 2301 sw 12th .they upgraded us again for HHonors.. please see trip advisor for ... Read More
Just returned on thurs feb 25.. stayed at HAMPTON INN PORT N.. take note there are 2 hamptn inns in the port area..ours had pink lawn flamingos ontop, 2301 sw 12th .they upgraded us again for HHonors.. please see trip advisor for positive reviews. Upon arrival (via shuttle from hotel), note, this is a big port we dropped some folks at pier 22 then headed to#2..a 10 min drive. LONG LINES..mis information ie checking bags Again.. (were here in july 15) seems a issue w the port not necessarily the cruise lines.. We bought our 2 bottles of wine registered them, all good. Onto the ship! 1st impression, not pushy w selling things like liquor packages & specialty dining, you go to the venues or call from cabin..while exploring, take the massage teaser its free & a good way to get into vacay mode. We made our sabatinis & steakhouse reservation, which we could have skipped easily, but of the 2, steakhouse better overall. truly the food in Bordeaux ( main) anytime was best we've had; Celibrity came closest. Even the sugar free desserts were good! Grabbed a quick bite at horizon ct buffet , good not a big variety , but remember this is not a huge ship all things r on a smaller scale, including CASINO which was less crowded after 10:30 pm , also dont expect free drinks from pitbosses on this line, even highrollers complained.. On our cruise , ship went to sleep 11:30 ish ( given time of yr & lack of nightclub) this sailing average age 60's & up , a few families, but mostly well traveled well educated. we met some lovely people, dont b afraid to strike up conversation w table nxt to you ! Seems formal nights have scaled back too, no more mother of bride / sweet 16 gowns, a nice cocktail dress or flowy pantsuit ..men leave the tux out. CABIN on ahloha 12.. we were under buffet but only heard a little chair scraping ..mostly lunch so sleep was fine. Shower IS laughable, prefer sliding partition (some other lines) to cold curtain sticking to u. Closet space very good. Balconly was nice for viewing canal transit up CLOSE!, but plenty of spots for photos w/o added expense. SMOKERS... since ur balconies r off limits theres Churchills , but it gets very hot & even smokers couldnt take it..poor ventilation ugh! Also, deck 14 forward (look for silver boxes on walls) , back L corner of casino, but not everynite..& deck 7 aft..which was dopey since this is also promenade deck for joggers.. The potty odor is still very noticeable especially near atrium everyone commented on it, perhaps some airwick stuck aroud.. but it was not good. Also, this was post drydock and heard of a few more burst pipes on D deck. Met some independent contractors replacing copper pipes but that wasnt there area.. If ur plannning to use the Sanctuary, go up in the morning & check.. probably wont b full in advance ..that way u dont wind up stuck w bad weather.(refund if pouring) .ours was fantastic 90 & sunny. did the full day $60 pp for canal day was great! Summer mths maybe crowded though . BOGO Wheelhouse bar, 2x's 3 & 9pm by one drink /beer incl, get one for $1.. comedian & ventriloquist best of the lot. Husband & I split coffee card , worth it.. Excursions. .we hopped a bus to 7 mi beach grand cayman 7$ ea way Cartagena bus tour old city w 2 hrs free time. $39 pp..the hawkers really detract from this lovely walled city, just say " Gracias pero no" & they'll move on. Costa rica..5 1/2 hr rainforest ..saw toucans, leaf cutter ants, 1 sloth. The 350 steps r 125 ea way Ochos rio..walked to margaritaville (wound up at nxt bar better drinks) nice little beach.. We all sprayed repellent and I never even heard the buzz of mosquitoes during entire trip but this was the dry season. All in all good trip ;pretty ship, interesting ports , great dining staff (hi leah..table 30-35) & best of all we got away from the bitter winter! Oh..if u made ur own flights, u can sign up for your luggage to be taken to & checked in at airpt...info in ur cabin mailbox towards end of cruise. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2016
After being informed that this ship was dry docked for 14 days prior to our departure, I am a bit confused as to what they were doing!? Aside from being stuck floating in Cuban waters for two days because of engine failure, missing 2 of ... Read More
After being informed that this ship was dry docked for 14 days prior to our departure, I am a bit confused as to what they were doing!? Aside from being stuck floating in Cuban waters for two days because of engine failure, missing 2 of our ports and receiving little information for what was happening, the entire experience was a disaster. Had it not been for the amazing people we met on the ship and a constant flow of drinks because there was nothing else to do, this would have been a horrible trip. For the first 2 days the only pool that was open was the largest middle pool, with no working jacuzzis and hours of silence between a band and DJ that was a staff member working from a computer. As for embarkment, while watching the other ships leave port with music and dancing the Coral Princess simply sat there with low energy staff standing around to hours of silence. The promoted Big screen TV for "Movie under Stars" did start working correctly until the middle to end of the trip. Trash blowing all over the place, ceilings tour apartment and minimal entertainment throughout the day. I can get past the entertainment set up however, non working toilets, lack of sleep from no A/C and missing our excursions was a major disappointment. The biggest insult of all was the lack of understanding that many of us used our vacation time, may have been on special occasion trips and used funds that may not be available again for a while and expect that we would use a small discount to spend more money on another cruise with them. Extremely disappointment and concerned that this is how Princess as a corporation responds to inconsistencies with their product. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
While I agree that the Coral Princess had the best production show cast I have seen on a cruise ship I was quite disappointed with the Coral Princess. I wonder if it had something to do with the Captain leaving the ship before the end of ... Read More
While I agree that the Coral Princess had the best production show cast I have seen on a cruise ship I was quite disappointed with the Coral Princess. I wonder if it had something to do with the Captain leaving the ship before the end of the cruise. What is it that caused my disappointment? Let's start with the water in the bathroom. All too often you either had cool water or hot water but rarely both. It certainly was not only our cabin. This complaint was a recurring theme in conversations with other passengers. One lady I spoke with had nothing but steaming hot water for 3 straight days in her room. She had to shower in another location because the water was too hot for a shower. As long as I am on the subject of water there was hardly a hallway that did not have evidence of a leak. Carpets were wet everywhere. Fans were blowing up and down hallways trying to dry out the carpets. In addition to the hallways passengers were experiencing leaks in thier rooms. Bottom line was that the plumbing had exceeded its life expectancy and was just being patched awaiting drydock in January, 2016. Then there was the dining room. In days gone by, there was the Maitre 'D; Head Waiters over sections of the dining room; Table Waiters having a section of tables; and, two Assistant Waiters assigned to each section under the Table Waiters. A while ago Princess, in an effort to cut costs, reduced the Assistant Waiters to one per section. I also think they added at least one table to each section thereby further reducing the staff in each dining room. In our section the only Assistant Waiter left the ship after two days and was never really replaced. Someone on occasion came to help our Table Waiter but those times were few. The result of the staffing problem was inordinate delays at dinner. The Waiter failed to get the dinner order of one person at our table on one night. On another night he forgot to get the items that were ordered for one person at our table. Why didn't we say something to the Head Waiter you might ask. I did early on in the cruise and the Head Waiter did absolutely nothing! In case those of you on this cruise of the Coral Princess didn't notice, there was no butter on the table. Apparently in another short-sighted Princess cost cutting move, the butter dishes are no longer allowed to remain on the table. The Head Waiter (yes, the Head Waiter who is already over tasked with the reduction in personnel) is required to personally place a pat of butter on each bread dish and then take away the butter dish. At our table this required the repeated request for butter and the resultant back and forth waste of motion and time of the Head Waiter. Turning to debarkation. eZCheck was offered and we signed up for it. I fully understand that acceptance by the company that runs eZCheck is discretionary with them. However, communication with the passenger is the responsibility of ship's personnel. I was told that if I did not receiving debarkation information by 9:00 pm the night before debarkation I was to contact Passenger Services. I did as I was told and so did a hundred or more passengers. The best that I could tell was that no one received eZCheck and the problem was exacerbated by the fact that we were not notified by Princess personnel. We did not have luggage tags or any information concerning debarkation. This resulted in all of "us" either converging on Passenger Services at approximately the same time or calling Passenger Services. The three (yes only three) people at the passenger Service counter were totally overwhelmed. They did the best they could but there was no superior officer present to assist, direct, or call out more staff. The aggravation was palpable. Phones rang continually and went unanswered because the meager staff present was attempting to assist those who waited in line for an hour or more. It was a very unpleasant way to ean a cruise. Did I hate the cruise? Absolutely not! After 40 overall cruises and 26 on Princess, I was very disappointed in what I see as a diminishment of the excellence service and the overall diminution of what was a really, really good product. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2015
This was our 10th cruise with Princess, our 2nd on this ship. My wife and I were not part of a group so we had a good chance to interact with the staff and the other guests. Most of the guests were older but there were a couple of families ... Read More
This was our 10th cruise with Princess, our 2nd on this ship. My wife and I were not part of a group so we had a good chance to interact with the staff and the other guests. Most of the guests were older but there were a couple of families on board. Maybe the combination of kids being at school and the length of the cruise (15 days) was the cause for the generational mix. There was one lucky little girl. My comment was that she had a thousand grand parents on board. We arrived in Ft. Lauderdale the day before departure and stayed at the Mariott on Hollywood Beach. It is more expensive than the other options in the area but I was looking for a sure thing. Mariott delivered so no complaints there. Embarkation was very smooth. The drive to the cruise terminal was not too bad although traffic was backed up a bit on the way. Once in the terminal, there was practically no wait. We got through the embarkation process in less than 5 minutes. I think the secret here is to arrive at the time Princess suggests, in our case about 1:30. We ate at both of the specialty restaurants, Bayou Café and Sabitini's At the Bayou Café, we both had a filet steak. It was prepared exactly the way we liked. An interesting wrinkle is the 3 types of salt we were provided. I enjoyed the different tastes but for the life of me I cannot recall their names. I do remember one of them was black. Give it a try if salt is not a problem for you. Our waiter, Witold, was very interesting. It turned out he comes from the same area of Poland from which my family originated. Small world. Our dinner at Sabitini"s was also very good. We both selected the lobster 3 ways and were very pleased. The buffet was smaller than on some of the larger ships but I always found plenty of dishes that I enjoyed. Often, depending on the time of day, many of the tables already had diners. However, there were usually open chairs and folks were very ready to share and strike up conversations. What a great opportunity to meet people from all over the world. We signed up for anytime dining. The Bordeaux restaurant is reserved for this choice. If one insists on a table for 2 or 4, there is a good chance there will be a wait during peak dinner hours. My suggestion is to make clear that you want to share a table and meet new people. We hardly waited, had some marvelous dinners and made new friends to boot. We usually checked out the entertainment in the Princess theater in the evening. The nights that featured the ship dancers were a bit hit and miss. We enjoyed the first show, called Dance a great deal but felt the others fell a bit flat, at least for us. We got great laughs from the comedians and particularly enjoyed Karen Grainger, a vocal impersonator, although I liked her natural voice best. In addition to the main attraction, the Panama Canal, the itinerary included 5 port days. We did excursions arranged through Princess at all 5. These are all hot and humid locations. Be sure to bring and drink plenty of water. The first stop was Aruba. We took the California Lighthouse and Moomba Beach tour. We did not have a lot of time here so that colored our decision to take this tour but for my money skip the lighthouse and go straight to the beach. It is right next to the Holiday Inn so a taxi or a bus for the adventurous should be an easy alternative. The 2nd port of call was Cartagena. We took the mangrove swamp and old city tour. Our guide, Sergio, was very informative and a lot of fun. We were there on November 11, a day a big parade was occurring. We had to make a small change in the order that we saw things so that the bus would not get stuck in traffic. We stopped outside the old fortress but did not have time to go inside. To be honest, the fortress is so large that it would be worth a tour all by itself. The mangrove swamp was a little way out of town so it gave us a chance to see the more modest part of the country. The wooden canoes were handled by experienced boatmen that grew up in the area. We also saw the way a local fisherman casts his net then hauls it back. He is not in a boat by the way, just standing in water where there were no mangroves. After this, we returned to the old part of the city and got to see some of the parade. It was very colorful. We did see a lot of police and military in town, probably due to the parade. I hasten to add that I felt very safe and that everyone was very friendly. The 3rd stop was Puntarenos in Costa Rica. We took the garden and crocodile tour. We were supposed to have a sky walk component of the tour but Princess changed things and we did not notice in time to raise an issue. There were 3 main portions. There was a chance to see crocodiles from a bridge, a walk through a rain forest, and lunch and a walk in a garden up in the mountains. On this tour, there were 2 guides. Both were familiar with the plant and animal life we saw and also provided a good description of the history of their country and its culture. On this tour there were also a couple of chances to do some shopping. There is not much shopping at the end of the pier so these tours are a better bet if shopping is important. Right at the end of the pier across the street, I checked out the local beer at a bar. I can recommend it. It is very safe and also has free WIFI. The 4th stop was San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua. This is a tender stop so there is not any support for guests with mobility issues. Tendering started an hour late so that threw schedules to the winds. We took the tour to Marsaya, the active volcano. Our guide was informative, the bus comfortable, the scenery on our route providing a glimpse of local color. Along the way, we stopped long enough at Lake Nicaragua for some photos. We drove through but did not stop in Grenada. Folks we ran into at dinner, who took the Grenada tour, complained that they felt rushed. A festival was being set up so the operator likely suffered from the late start more that our group. Lunch was at a very nice establishment and the volcano very interesting. There is a wall right along the rim so you get a chance to look into the caldera. Sulfur fumes are constantly released but on this day, luck was with us as the wind blew the smell away from us. The tour concluded with a stop by a crater lake. There was plenty of shopping here and the view of the lake breathtaking. There were a lot of families out for the day so it was very festive and safe. There is not much shopping were the tenders land but a market is under construction so buy stuff while on your tour. There seemed to be more shops further up the beach but we did not have time to investigate. We did talk to a couple who was on the tour to Nicaragua's capital city. They complained that the police boarded the bus and checked everyone's ID. The process took half an hour or so they said. One look and the authorities should have realized the bus contained nothing but aging tourists. Oh well, it is their country. The last stop was Cabo. This is also a tender stop. We took the El Arco tour with lunch by a beach. Big mistake. The tour itself left late and was comprised of a ship crew that seemed more interested in collecting a tip. There was a very dated recorded narrative by Michel Cousteau but it just did not work for me. At least the guide that joined us for the bus and beach portion of the tour was better. I have no complaint with him. You can get great pictures of El Arco from the ship and it is easy to take a water taxi to several beaches. There are also many good restaurants so get out and explore. It will come as no surprise to anyone reading this but Cabo is a heck of a party town. Oh yeah, we also went through the Panama Canal. What an engineering marvel. Be sure to be up early so that you can get the best viewing spot. Forward views on decks 14 and 15 fill up fast. Aft is less congested and also provides an interesting view. There is blue glass that is intended to shelter guests from the wind but it messes up photos. The best photo spots are at the top of the stairs leading from deck 14 to 15. Decks 10 and 11 forward also offer larger common area verandas that allow better photos than higher decks. Bill, the destination expert, gave a series of great lectures about all the stops but especially about the history of the canal. Bet sure to attend these. So, if this was the best cruise ever, why only 4 stars? Well, the fact of the matter is this ship really needs a visit to dry dock. Our cabin was on the Dolphin deck (9), port side. Several times during the cruise a leak developed somewhere on a higher deck resulting in a shower of leaks out in the hall. There was one time a light fixture was filling with water. The good news was that the water seemed clear if you get my drift. The crew worked hard at fixing the problem. Water was vacuumed and fans set out to dry the carpet. It was clear however that a more complete solution is needed. Our cabin steward, Conrado, did a wonderful job working around the chaos in the hallway. I am happy to report that no water got into our stateroom. In spite of the leaks in the hall, I really like this ship. It seems to be the right size. Sure the buffet and casino are smaller than other ships but it just feels right. This ship also has a large enclosed area aft of the pool (deck 14) that makes it perfect for Alaska cruises or on days when the weather is poor. I suggest a stateroom on deck 9. If you can swing it, get a mini suite. The extra room is nice on a long cruise and the balcony very roomy, easily large enough for 3 or 4 people. Deck 9 is quiet but close enough to the main activity areas so that it is not always necessary to take the elevator, at least if there are no mobility issues involved. I also totally enjoyed the itinerary because there were so many sea days. If I wanted to read, great. If I wanted to do something, I checked the daily Patter and found something to my liking. My wife, who reads books at a lightning pace, was able to find plenty of selections that suited her in the library. The library is not huge for sure but adequate for a cruise ship. Watch the Patter for the Buy One Get One (BOGO) special. It happens twice a day. Disembarkation was very smooth. We found our luggage quickly, went through customs and immigration with no hassle, and were whisked to the airport. All very efficient. So yeah, as far as I am concerned, this is our best cruise ever in spite of the blemishes. I would definitely do it again. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
The Good: The food and the entertainment were all excellent. A nice variety of meals and every venue we dined at was equally good. Even the buffet was excellent. The entertainment was varied and top-notch, including two comedians and ... Read More
The Good: The food and the entertainment were all excellent. A nice variety of meals and every venue we dined at was equally good. Even the buffet was excellent. The entertainment was varied and top-notch, including two comedians and two different singers (these were the headliners). The cruise staff also gave two very good performances. The cruise director is to be commended for the good choice of entertainment. The Bad: The embarkation could be handled much better. After standing in line to check in, we had to stand in line again to have our pictures taken for the ship's passenger pass. On other cruises, the ship's pass is given when you check in. Debarkation was okay. The ship definitely needs to be refurbished. We noticed wear in the carpeting in several areas, but the worst thing was leakage in the two hallways, far aft on Emerald Deck. There was "water" leakage from the ceiling in both of these areas. We were told it was the cooling system but it smelled suspiciously like urine. We only took one ship's excursion in Panama (we made private arrangements in other ports) and we disappointed. The excursion was to see both the working and new locks. The tour started out great, spending about 1 hour watching ships traverse the canal (including the Coral Princess). Then we went to visit the new locks. We spent nearly two hours here (at least one hour too long) - I suspect because they wanted to "waste time" until the Coral Princess was docked in Colon. The UGLY: Our waiter (in the Bordeaux Dining Room) attempted to sell us a "complimentary" Princess 50th anniversary glass in a very deceptive way - telling us it was free and then saying it would cost only $5 with a shot of something in it. Very distasteful! The other embarrassing situation occurred when a lounge waiter occurred asked us to take our card game to the card room. This occurred in the Martini Bar, where there were several other tables available and we were not disrupting anything. We felt like school children being scolded in front of other passengers! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
We were treated so wonderfully by everyone. The men at the International Cafe, where I would go at 3:00 AM were always so thoughtful. The staff at the Horizon Court were cheerful and acted like we were doing them a favor letting them get ... Read More
We were treated so wonderfully by everyone. The men at the International Cafe, where I would go at 3:00 AM were always so thoughtful. The staff at the Horizon Court were cheerful and acted like we were doing them a favor letting them get us things. Our waiter at dinner gave me helpful hints on ways to make our trip more enjoyable, like going to the Sanctuary. We made friends and enjoyed meeting them at the Wheelhouse for Happy Hour. Afterwards we played trivia with them. We had a booked schedule since I had rebooked excursions at every port. We learned so much on all of them. We did go with a private tour in Cartagena and there was a noticeable lack of quality. People who say they get the same tour from private vans don't know the difference. We also had to pay to get into the nunnery, and other places, no lunch was included. I was hesitant to go someplace that had not been checked out already. It verified what I had heard that Princess screens the venders they use for excursions. Many people praised Sabatini's so we went there and it was well worth the surcharge. The enrichment lectures were useful. There was even one on the Camino de Santiago. It was so difficult to leave the ship. I booked two more cruises as soon as I got home, Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
Stayed the night in Pan Pacific Vancouver & they took care of our luggage the morning of embarkation, so bypassed the luggage cue. No need to pass through U.S.A immigration check until we arrived in Seattle which was another unexpected ... Read More
Stayed the night in Pan Pacific Vancouver & they took care of our luggage the morning of embarkation, so bypassed the luggage cue. No need to pass through U.S.A immigration check until we arrived in Seattle which was another unexpected bonus & were onboard Coral princess by 12.15pm.Prior to leaving New Zealand we pre-purchased shore excursions,unlimited soda & more package & pre-paid gratuities to help save time once onboard.Upon check in we had our drink package sticker on our room card & all our shore excursion vouchers were promptly delivered to our stateroom. Our first port of call was Victoria where we done the Craigdarroch castle etc excursion and the tour guide was excellent with plenty of history & local knowledge.Seattle was o.k but unfortunately we were late arriving for the Boeing factory tour & it got cancelled.Personally I was more disappointed with the folks off the ship as they were more interested in returning than finding a solution to the problem.Not everyone but 80%.The problem arose due to a immigration delay at port.Princess were fantastic at refunding & apologizing for the inconvenience.Leaving Seattle the stern of deck 10 was a excellent vantage point.Astoria Oregon was a beautiful place along with it's interesting history & antique shops.San Francisco was one of my personal highlights with a memorable trip to Alcatraz,be sure to book early in advance or you'll miss out.Made our own way to the Golden Gate bridge by local bus & enjoyed every minute.Took in some local suburbs on the way back & were intrigued at the authenticity of China town.Los Angeles is a big place so be sure to book a excursion if you want to see the highlights.The USS IOWA is tied up at port which was impressive on it's own.Cabo san lucas Mexico was interesting,we got a water taxi around to the beach & made our way back to the ship,highlights being got hands on with some Macau parrots & Iguana reptiles.Nigcaragua was o.k whilst waiting for our excursion we got a $5 taxi ride around the seaside town that was worth every penny & enjoyed our excursion out to a farm with views of volcanoes & enjoyed the entertainment along with refreshments all included by the lake.Very beautiful place.Costa Rica was a wow factor,be sure to take your binoculars & a good camera.On the excursion to the Macaw sanctuary we had a boat tour where we were lucky to spot three crocodiles in the wild,two of them being huge man eaters.Be sure to check out the Macaw sanctuary the folks there are doing an outstanding job.Be sure to take insect repellant though.Of course the biggest highlight is the Panama canal being a huge engineering feet 100 hundred years old,costing over 5000 lives many due to yellow fever.A great vantage point is the bow & stern of deck 10 where we spent all day from 6am till 5pm taking photos with a lunch break in between.The old city tour in Colombia was pretty good & wasn't as third world as people make out.The fortress was cool along with the museum of the Spanish inquisition.The emerald museum was just a jewerlly shop.You can get some bargains on souvenirs so don't jump on the first guy you see.I'd never heard of Aruba before but see it's a blip on the map off the coast of Venezuela.Was beautiful sailing into port noticing the enticing seaside resorts.We got a taxi to the beach & enjoyed swimming in the clear aqua waters,fantastic.Two days later we were in Fort Lauderdale & our holiday was just about complete.We're happy we took 22nights from Vancouver,or there's 17nights from San Francisco or 15nights from Los Angeles.The food & service onboard was faultless & very professional.Dinner times we ate mostly in the Bordeaux dinning room,where you can order as much or less as you prefer,so if you're a big eater don't be shy.Horizon court was the buffet self service which was also very nice with different selection daily & professional prompt service.If time was on myside though I preferred the silver service where you were made to feel special.Theirs no pleasing everyone though as one lady commented on the chicken broth that it tasted like yesterdays chicken,how she could tell was beyond me.The entertainment onboard was also great.I felt the Princess dancers could have preformed longer shows but the comedians & magicians were outstanding.Being down the front of the theatre at show time was a great place to be for detail.Overall I felt this holiday was great value for money,now I'm home I enjoy browsing for future cruises & are sure to enjoy Scandinavia & Russia in 5 months time onboard the glamorous Regal Princess ;-) Read Less
18 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
I would like to provide an unbiased review of certain aspects of this company and cruise ship. Alaska is unbelievable in its beauty and I now believe any of the other lines can provide an equal or better experience to the one my family ... Read More
I would like to provide an unbiased review of certain aspects of this company and cruise ship. Alaska is unbelievable in its beauty and I now believe any of the other lines can provide an equal or better experience to the one my family and I experienced. This was our first time on Princess and I had a business acquaintance pushing me for years to take princess. We wanted to have a great experience and splurged for a suite D704 on Caribe deck. The ship is in good order and I believe, very attractive. Certainly a positive. We booked the suite as well as an inside for my son and grandson.we figured they'd hang in our room mostly. The suite was of nice design and well appointed. The balcony was very large, hag wooden furniture and was situated towards the aft, about 10 rooms forward. We have recently decided to spend the up charge in order to receive some of the perks. I just don't want to worry about everything. The cabin turned out to have an ac thud in the ceiling that blew through earplugs or headphones. The floor supervisor was helpful after two days of no sleep. Jimmy the steward didn't have time to worry.i was given a small credit for the two days after asking on the fifth day. I should have fought for more, as it was annoying and we paid plenty. Food on this ship was the most disappointing. Il comparing it my normal life food, other cruises that range in the average price. I personally would not cruise on princess again for this fact.now breakfast at sabbatinis and one other dinner, but that's it. As far as service, my family got the impression that I high percentage of crew were done emotionally, or as they say, nearing their contract end.only one outstanding waitress in Bordeaux/ anytime was great. She was from Macedonia.Tours were well run throughout and the weather was almost perfect. A little rain in Ketchikan and some during glacier national park, that's all' we did take the tour after the cruise and should alert all that it is a 10 hour train ride set up on a "kitchen" table with four chairs, two and two.if there's two of you, you'll make new friends. What I had problems with Is they tend to get uncomfortable and I believe strictly designed so you will spend about $100per family. Recliners that were comfy with room downstairs for dining would have been better for us aging ones. Try to do the deeper tundra tour in Delano. We saw bears, wolves a caribou in the street, Eagles. Phenomenal. Whale watch and glacier was great. Lumberjack for kids. Movies under the stars is a nice feature, and if they clean up there food, maybe again' Read Less
Coral Princess Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.4
Dining 4.0 4.0
Entertainment 4.0 3.9
Public Rooms 4.0 4.5
Fitness Recreation 4.0 4.1
Family 5.0 4.1
Shore Excursion 3.0 4.0
Enrichment 4.0 3.9
Service 4.0 4.5
Value For Money 4.0 4.0
Rates 4.0 4.2

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