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
Sail Date: February 2019
We wanted a winter cruise to warmer climes and a chance to transit the Panama Canal. Pros: -Our Coral Princess cabin was very quiet and comfortable, entirely adequate. The Promenade Deck was a delight, great place to walk, nice ... Read More
We wanted a winter cruise to warmer climes and a chance to transit the Panama Canal. Pros: -Our Coral Princess cabin was very quiet and comfortable, entirely adequate. The Promenade Deck was a delight, great place to walk, nice deck chairs to relax in, great viewing of the Panama Canal. -Dinners in the main dining room were outstanding. Had seafood virtually every meal, the staff was fantastic. -The Theatre entertainment was also outstanding. Great shows, highly professional, not to be missed. Cons: -Abusive prices for wines purchased on board in the main dining rooms. Outrageous! -Stern Serenity Area: $20/half day!!! Seriously?! -Lido Deck Hamburgers & Pizza - awful, don't bother. Worst we have ever had. -Breakfast sausage - greasy! -Food selections in the Horizons Cafe quite limited except for salads. -Far too few port stops on this cruise, far too many days at sea for length of cruise. One port stop (Nicaragua) was cancelled due to rough weather. -No self serve of beverages except water, tea, coffee. Even lemonade is by special request! -Internet service is hardly worth paying for, marginal at best. -On-board smart phone messaging between passengers about like Windows 95. Terrible, no sound alerts, often had to be re-loaded, re-booted, exasperating! -Main doors to Promenade deck, Lido Deck, Sun Deck, Horizons Cafe are very heavy wooden things that require a huge effort for most people. Great place to transfer germs, they feel sticky and will knock you down if you are not prepared. The should be automatic! -Overall the ship had a very "Stodgy" feel and atmosphere. 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
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
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
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
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2015
Us We are working on our bucket list and Alaska was on there. We researched over a long period and were torn between this and some of the “elite-class” cruises as we tend to like a higher end experience. We have only been on one ... Read More
Us We are working on our bucket list and Alaska was on there. We researched over a long period and were torn between this and some of the “elite-class” cruises as we tend to like a higher end experience. We have only been on one other cruise before and it was many years ago. We struggled with this for a while and after many reviews thought we would try a Suite on the Princess Coral room D423. The room was very nice and spacious with a lovely balcony. We arranged for our excursions well and in advance ( 6 months) and took the paid in advanced option for tips and full bar option. Since this was a special Birthday cruise I was trying to arrange some special events including having champagne and a dozen roses in the room before we arrived. I had my first sign of trouble trying to set this up as I was told “all the rooms were open when passengers arrive onboard so you will have to call and they will send it up once you get there” Not the surprise I was hoping for. The website is very limited in allowing you to do anything in advance- they want you to call and deal with them direct or via your agent. Nice- but not very internet friendly. I even to try to log on 2 days after the cruise to review my billing and it is not online. Without getting into the minutia of the trip we were a bit amazed that premium travelers for the most part are not what Princess seems to want. Dining When we called to make dinner reservations – for either of the two select restaurants (read more money $25/pp) -you cannot go to the restaurant for this- they make you call- which you had to wait to do until on board- we were told no tables were available till after 8:30pm for the next several nights. When I mentioned we were in a suite- which I was calling from- magically 7PM opened up on any night. The strange thing was when we dined there- there was plenty of room every night. It appears that even if you were willing to pay a premium, Princess wanted you to go to the main dining hall. We tried the main dining twice and both times felt the food was subpar. Not a good feeling. To their credit, the Maitre d’s at both specialty restaurants were very cordial and attentive. But unfortunately for the entire 7 days the menu did not change. The best meal by far on the ship was the balcony dinner- an additional $100.00. The food was wonderful and service was very good. So we knew that they could make excellent food it just did not show up on except if you were willing to pay a premium for it. Staff and facilities The international staff was for the most part very good. Particular kudos to the staff at the Crooner’s bar- without them we would have not had as much fun. The staff at the spa was ok at best. It is located in the aft of the ship- right next to the children’s play ground. Not a quiet place. Also the way it is set up, people were constantly walking through on the way to elevators making the entire area not a quiet retreat. We had three couples massages the last one with hot stones. The attendants drop the stones at least 4 times on to the tile floor. Needless to say this was not a peaceful massage. Excursions When we got to Juneau at our pick up location for our excursion the XO came over and said it was canceled. When I asked what else was available he offered the lowest cost excursion on the list as the only alternative. When I mentioned what was canceled was the most expensive excursion listed then asked if he had anything comparable he said no- sorry. Fortunately the excursion company was there and they made some special arrangements for us and the 8 other passengers that had been booked. So bravo for Temsco thumbs down for Princess. The trip summary We were please to see all the wonderful sights and the views from the ship were wonderful. The Captain was able to pull us up very close to the calving glaciers and it was spectacular! Would I travel Princess again-maybe- certainly I would not purchase the most expensive cabin on board and certainly I would lower my expectations of a cruise and would certainly remove any idea of it being a premium cruise. It is a shame that with a little bit of extra effort it could have been different. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2015
My husband and I took a 15 day escorted cruise tour. The land portion was stellar but basically unescorted. Our quite seemed to disappear one we got our room keys. Our disappointed was reflected in his minimum tip. We boarded the ... Read More
My husband and I took a 15 day escorted cruise tour. The land portion was stellar but basically unescorted. Our quite seemed to disappear one we got our room keys. Our disappointed was reflected in his minimum tip. We boarded the Coral Princess in Whittier on June 3, 2015. We left Rainy Whittier into a gale. The first night and sea day were a little rough. This ship goes in for refurbishment in early 2016, but should have gone a few years ago. While spotlessly clean, its age was showing. We had a mini suite on D deck mid-ship and felt little motion in our cabin. The extra room was handy. I've cruised Princess before and the entertainment, food, and some staff didn't meet my expectations. The food was boring and always seemed covered in sauce. Our waiter didn't seem to understand the concept of on the side I planned and arranged all of the shore excursi and they went off without a hitch. I heard horror stories of Princess canceling tours at the last minute or people paying large sums of money for a trip that wasn't as advertised. If you are interested in dog sledding on a glacier do it from Skagway if possible. Juneau and Ketchikan have more than 300 days of rain annually. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2015
This was our 4th cruise, 3rd on Princess. We have been on the Golden Princes to Alaska, Island Princess through the Panama and up to Vancouver as well as a Miami to Vancouver on the Celebrity Century. We were on board to celebrate our ... Read More
This was our 4th cruise, 3rd on Princess. We have been on the Golden Princes to Alaska, Island Princess through the Panama and up to Vancouver as well as a Miami to Vancouver on the Celebrity Century. We were on board to celebrate our 30th Wedding Anniversary, we had no expectations other than a new experience on land. From the first day we felt a different vibe on board ship that we had never experienced. It is one of those things you know is missing but can't put your finger on. The one thing we had looked forward to was the sail up the inside passage, the ship spent just about two hours in the Vancouver area doing a compass check, taking us through the passage sometime after 1 a.m. Our room Steward was a happy, bubbly person, our dining room staff was excellent after the first night--there had been something going on between our table steward and another steward, after th it was ok. Everywhere else we went though, it was difficult to get a smile out of the other staff. We raatrely saw any of the officers wandering through the ship making contact with passengers as we have on previous cruises. It seemed that there was some underlying issue. The food was not up to the standards that we have previously experienced on a Princess cruise. The entertainment was not as good as we have enjoyed in the past, we only went to two productions in the theater and opted for other venues. Land Excursions - we walked around Ketchikan and took the free bus. Juneau we took a Photo Safari to Mendenhall Glacier, then whale watching, sadly we did not get a spectacular show of whales breeching but we saw many backs and tails and considered ourselves very lucky. Skagway we went on the Yellow Bus tour, it was so much fun, the drivers were very entertaining and informative, then we went to the Soapy Smith 1898 show, which was fun as well. The Glaciers were SPECTACULAR!!! We spent much of the time on our deck and the captain swung the ship broadside for Port then around for starboard so that everyone could see these magnificent wonders of nature. On the way to the glaciers we sailed through peaceful waters filled with sea lions, lots of birds and some of the prettiest country I have ever seen. We had some great weather as well, no real rain until Whittier. Disembarkation for the land tour was reasonably well organized by staff we had never seen before and who were very happy for that early in the morning. Our land portion started off on the train, not the one we were told we would be on, there was no outside observation areas on any of the cars as we were assured there would be. My husband - a photographer was quite put out about that. We arrived at Talkeetna at 2:45 after a 5 hour trip where we could not move around very much. The bus ride to the hotel was interesting thanks to Sandra our bus driver, but once there, our hotel room was not ready until 2 calls and just about 2 hours later - all the other rooms had been done and the cart was outside our room. Bed was uncomfortable did not care for that lodge much. Denali was much better, bed also uncomfortable but the amenities were great. We had the most amazing Natural History tour, our bus driver was the best, he would stop as often and whenever safe if we saw animals, even backing up so that everyone had the best opportunity to take pictures. We saw 11 moose, two grizzlies and some cariboo, when we left the park, the bears had taken down one of the moose calves - we were right there, did not see the gory details but saw the mother take off with her other baby and the bears eating. Life wow. If we ever did this again we would do the Land Portion first and cruise back to Vancouver as flights out of Fairbanks to Canada were non existent for our time frames. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2013
This was our fourth Princess Cruise in three years, and 14th cruise overall. For this experience, we were somewhat disappointed. Our mini suite was a good sized, but the furnishings were in need of replacing. For example, the sofa was ... Read More
This was our fourth Princess Cruise in three years, and 14th cruise overall. For this experience, we were somewhat disappointed. Our mini suite was a good sized, but the furnishings were in need of replacing. For example, the sofa was dirty and cushions fairly beat up. Our room steward (Ramon), while seemingly pleasant, provided basic cleaning but nothing special. On embarkation day, I asked for robes, which he delivered that evening. Upon our arrival, the chairs and the hand railing on our balcony were filthy, and called Ramon's attention to it. He nicely explained that embarkation day was a difficult turnover day to get everthing done, but he would tend to it. However, the next day after he cleaned but never touched the railing or the chairs, I cleaned them all myself. But on day 4 of our cruise, Ramon entered our locked cabin while we were inside with the "do not disturb" sign in the door (ugh) and said he was there to clean the balcony. In fact, on a couple of occasions Ramon walked unannounced into our cabin while we were there when our "do not disturb" sign was on our door. Separately, mid cruise during an at-sea day, my husband lost his on board cruise ID card which you use for all purchases. He went to the customer service desk, and they issued him a new card. When he questioned what if someone found his old card, the attendant told him it would not work because the actual card had been deactivated in their computer system. My husband then questioned about the services on board where crew members simply jot down your folio number, rather than swipe the card. The crew member curtly stated that no one on board does that, and that all crew swipes through the card reader. At that point the crew member got an attitude as if my husband was bothering them. For the next few days, my husband and I chuckled with each other about how many times we both used our ship ID card when each crew member just jotted down our folio number without swiping it. Additionally, we daily checked our on board account. On the last night of our cruise, a CHARGE (not ours) for Sabatini's (specialty dining) for $25 showed up on my husband's account, Apparently whomever snagged my husband's lost card decided to use it and have a special dinner "on us"; and yes PRINCESS CRUISE LINES it was charged to us by your crew jotting down the folio number and not swiping the card as we had feared. Luckily, my husband caught it and promptly went to the customer service desk and disputed the charge, which they credited back to us. Perhaps your processes need to be revisited????? For me, itt's not that passengers have issues while on board (that's assumed), it's how the cruise line deals with the customers that is our complaint. And the customer service desk crew on board the Coral Princess FAILED both on process and tone, to the point that we will select a different cruise line for our next cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2012
The Coral Princess is not a huge ship, which is fine by me. However, there was so little to do that we found ourselves sleeping more than any cruise ever before! My husband and I are 29, and some of the youngest aboard. Again, this is ... Read More
The Coral Princess is not a huge ship, which is fine by me. However, there was so little to do that we found ourselves sleeping more than any cruise ever before! My husband and I are 29, and some of the youngest aboard. Again, this is fine. We get along very well with an older crowd - better, in fact. It was the lack of activities and places to go that was disappointing. During the sea days, there were lectures and seminars that did not pertain to us; "Fear of outliving your money" - things like that. Last year we went on a 14 night Hawaii cruise on the Golden Princess, and that ship was great! The Coral had NO shopping. The perfume and makeup selections were pitiful. (saved me money, though). The duty free liquor was abysmal. (First time my husband did not buy a fine liqueur onboard - there were none!) The casino was very shabby. We like to play craps, and this is the first cruise we've ever taken where craps is not open in the day on sea days, and the casino was this tiny. While the dealers were nice, as soon as midnight hit, they couldn't wait to get out of there and made it well known. A bit uncomfortable. Our cabin steward was nice enough, but little touches that we've experienced on other cruises just weren't there. No towel animals (not that I really care, actually, just noticed it). VERY slow to refresh the room. We were gone one day from 7am until 2pm and it still wasn't refreshed. We brought on champagne and must have asked for champagne flutes 3-4 times at least, but he never left any in the room unlike our last cruise. The food on Princess is better that, say, Carnival. But it was not as good as it was on our Hawaiian cruise. There were the same selections most of the time, and not many specialty stations. On the last Princess cruise, there were specialty stations every day along with chocolate buffets and 24hr snacks in the horizon court. Not here. Overall, we had a great time (vacation is what you make it!) but were not a fan of the ship. We could cover it top to bottom in 20 minutes. Never slept out of boredom so much on vacation before. Also, very few decent shows. BUT - Panama Canal was excellent. Worth the boring ship in the end! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Over all we enjoyed our first cruise very much and felt like it was a great value. We give the highest scores on most categories except dining (very good but not excellent). The dining rooms were beautiful and service was very good. We ... Read More
Over all we enjoyed our first cruise very much and felt like it was a great value. We give the highest scores on most categories except dining (very good but not excellent). The dining rooms were beautiful and service was very good. We felt the regular menue at each meal was a bit limited and felt somewhat tricked by the pay-extra choices at our first dinner. We didn't know better and ordered entrees that had a fee. We discovered this a couple days later when reviewing our onboard statement. We felt tricked. However - the steak and lobster we had was fantastic! The rest of the cruise we felt we had to be on our guard so as to not order something with additional charges. There were these intimidating men with blue jackets at each meal in the dining rooms. They were intense and stern looking and you could tell the staff were terrified of them. We called them "the goons". They gave an uncomfortable vibe to the dining room. They need to lighten up! Unless we were in a hurry, we skipped the Horizon buffet dining room. The mass feeding- frenzy was kind of gross to deal with. We had a couple room service meals that were nice and easy, and quick. Ate on our balcony. Almost all the staff were encountered were wonderful and gave us great service. They all seemed overworked however, and spoke of 12-15 hour shifts, everyday. They were all from oppressed countries and it seemed they were being taken advantage of by Princess. Did not encounter a single American staff member on the ship. Princess doesn't have ultimate control over this but we found the port stops to be extremely touristy - a big turn-off for us. Ketchikan and Juneau were especially bad. Lots of people, souvenir shops and jewelry stores!! Everything else was wonderful. A great way to see some Alaska highlights! Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
We chose this cruise to go through the Panama Canal and it ended in San Francisco which is home for us. The ship, Coral Princess, had been in dry dock for 12 days prior to our cruise and the contractors were not finished with the upgrades ... Read More
We chose this cruise to go through the Panama Canal and it ended in San Francisco which is home for us. The ship, Coral Princess, had been in dry dock for 12 days prior to our cruise and the contractors were not finished with the upgrades such as new carpet and flat screen TVs in the rooms. Nice upgrades, but there were rolls of carpet about the ship and painting still being done. Embarkation was delayed for 4 hours as the ship was late coming from dry dock so we sat in the waiting area until we could board. Our cabin had a new TV and the room was thoroughly functional, but the wi fi was not working properly and there were tech's throughout the ship working on it. Cosmetically the ship was not up to the standards we have experienced on Princess. For instance there were speaker covers sitting on the floor in the Princess theater and seats around us were broken and wobbly. Our cabin was a balcony unit and other than the minor cosmetics we were overall happy with it, it was clean and the bed was comfortable. Dining was excellent, the food was great and a nice variety to chose from. The dinners were a little long, averaged about two hours to finish our meals. We had the early seating for dining, the shows are staggered so we could still see them after dinner. We really enjoyed the Production show, well done. The guest entertainers were excellent, I recommend seeing them, comics, magicians, singers. Lots of activities daily on the ship, we never got bored. The service was excellent, the crew is friendly and works hard. We took a shore excursion at every port through Princess and they were well organized. Only drawback is on ports where you tender in took a long time waiting in tender lines both coming and going. Some ports were short on time and some of it wasted waiting in line. Only one of the excursions we took was misleading in the Princess tour listings description. In Cabo San Lucas, MX we took tour SJD-500 that is titled "4 x 4 Desert and Camel Adventure". There was NOT a 4 x 4 ride "on a guided off-road safari adventure". It is also listed there is a tortilla-making presentation which did not happen, very misleading. We did have a tequila tasting as described and the traditional Baja meal was excellent. The camel ride was fun and unique, well organized. The description says "cameras may not be used whilst atop a camel", however we were prevented from taking photos while greeting the camels too. Disappointing since the vendor had there own photographers taking photos, unfortunately their photos were expensive starting at $40 for one! Way too expensive, we returned without a photo of us on the camel. Guests we dined with took the Whale Watching by Zodiac in Cabo San Lucas and they really liked it, said it was fantastic and they saw about 30 whales and several were up close. If we are able to do this cruise again we plan on doing this excursion. This was a great cruise and we would do it again (probably will in a few of years). Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2018
I enjoyed the cruise, but the Effy jewelry personell conducted a raffle for those buying jewelry. I bought my wife a ring that cost almost 3 grand. There were 3 prizes. The same person won all of the prizes. This is almost certainly ... Read More
I enjoyed the cruise, but the Effy jewelry personell conducted a raffle for those buying jewelry. I bought my wife a ring that cost almost 3 grand. There were 3 prizes. The same person won all of the prizes. This is almost certainly impossible to happen if done randomly, i DID NOT EXPECT TO WIN BUT I DID NOT EXPECT THE SAME PERSON TO WIN ALL PRIZES. Also no drink container delivered to my room even though we ordered drink package for soda and virgin drinks. I was therefore unsure where these could be obtained until after third day, I finally took my own container and asked the person behind the drink counter in casual dinning room, who told me. I would go again but please correct these problems for a perfect score. Disney has drinnk stations free throughout ship. It would be nice to have an onboard movie theatre with current movies. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
My husband had always wanted to see the workings of the Panama Canal! It was an item on his bucket list. The Coral Princess is a lovely ship - we loved the formal dining and met some great new people onboard. We did the full passage of ... Read More
My husband had always wanted to see the workings of the Panama Canal! It was an item on his bucket list. The Coral Princess is a lovely ship - we loved the formal dining and met some great new people onboard. We did the full passage of the Panama Canal on an excursion on a smaller ship. We were able to see the workings of the canal and learn more about the history and function. If you are looking for something for everyone, probably not the cruise for you. It was definitely an older group with few children and young adults. Food was great and the room was very comfortable. We had a mini-suite without a balcony. We found that we really liked the additional space. The entertainment could not compete with some larger ships that we have sailed on, but enjoyable and creative. Nightly movies under the stars were very fun! Very friendly and attentive staff. A pleasant surprise was in Cartegena - a great nature park right at the port! Monkeys, parrots, iguanas, flamingos roaming around. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2018
At 60 days, this was the longest cruise we've ever sailed on. I found it interesting that by day 2 I was hearing such a strong undertone of dissatisfaction from a number of frequent cruisers, one of whom was already "adding to ... Read More
At 60 days, this was the longest cruise we've ever sailed on. I found it interesting that by day 2 I was hearing such a strong undertone of dissatisfaction from a number of frequent cruisers, one of whom was already "adding to my list of complaints when we get back".. Ridiculous, we had barely gotten under way. This aside, here is the good, bad and the unfortunate in my humble opinion. The good - - Embarkation and disembarkation went flawlessly. - The crew could not do enough for you. Our steward, Glad, was well named. He was quick with a smile, greeted us by name every time he saw us and most importantly he kept our Mini Suite immaculate. The public spaces, particularly the bathrooms were immaculate throughout the ship.We could have asked for nothing more from the crew that tried to keep the ship clean. - As far as food, here's my take. We opted for Anytime dining because we enjoy the flexibility. We were often given a beeper and asked, by a lovely friendly hostess, if we would like to wait for our table for two. We never waited long enough to finish one cocktail and we almost looked forward this pre dinner ritual. My point is that the wait was very reasonable. Once inside the restaurant, the wait staff was consistently excellent and we experienced many, many servers on this trip. As far as the food itself, the menu was repetitive, again as one would expect over 60 days. We never went hungry, always able to find one or two choices that appealed to us. We found the temperature of the food to be inconsistent and often not quite hot enough and that was an ongoing frustration. We did find the food tasty and well presented and, very important to us, served in rationale portion size so that if you opted to eat a full four or five coursed you did not walk away stuffed - we liked that. The wine was a bit pricey but we reduced our cost by buying wine cards throughout the trip. - We typically ate continental breakfast in our cabin from the International Cafe, where they did an outstanding job. The fact that Princess is now issuing coffee cards that are good for this voyage only, and not forever seemed to get people crazy. $31 for unlimited brewed coffee along with 15 specialty drinks seemed to me to be the best buy in town yet people bitched for 60 days - so boring. They did run our of large cups, twice, and that was troubling and someone needs to be spoken to. - Lunch was usually at the buffet where the salads were great and the food was just what you would expect. We also love the pizza and burgers on the deck. The Irish Pub Lunch and pizza at Sabbatinis were not special and we only went to each one time. No need to revisit. - We ate at two specialty restaurants, Bayou and Crab Shack - both were ordinary, no better than the MDR. The main difference was very large portion size and as I said earlier, I don't view that as a benefit. - We missed a port due to weather, oh well. We missed a second port due a bad screw up, either by Princess or the folks supplying the ship with fuel (or by weather). Either way, we made the best of a bad situation on our unscheduled day in Yokohama by seeing going to a Miyajima which ended up being a highlight of our visit to Japan. We regret missing Kyoto that day but we made lemonade, if you know what I mean. - The ship did run out of lettuce for several days - a bad screw up and someone should be taken to task. The end of the world - no. We eat salad every day and managed to survive. The tome of some of our fellow passengers was ridiculous. There was so much to eat. - The shows were standard fare, a few great shows, a few shows not to our taste and a great many good ones. The shows where they brought local performers on the ship were very fun and a nice change of pace from typical showroom headliners. The orchestra was terrific and the singers and dancers always did a fine job. - A real highlight of the trip for us was the nightlife in The Wheelhouse where the band, Blue Jade, had us dancing nearly every night (that's why we missed a number of shows). They were the best ballroom band we've seen on any ship and we couldn't wait to get in there every nigh to dance and mingle with our new friends. The party band, The Sound, were also really good. Along with a good piano player, a nice guitarist/singer, the string duo and a fine singer in crooners music was not a problem. The piped in music pre dinner in Explorers could have been much better. - As far as the itinerary, holy cow, it was great. The excursions were good for the most part, They met our expectations. We had one bad experience and were disappointed that the excursion desk did nothing to answer my complaint. They suggested I write head office on my return and I did. I'll update my review if they respond. - WE had a mini suite, B22, and while it was tired we liked the extra space, the roomy balcony, the bathtub and everything worked well. As I said earlier, it was kept immaculately. - A big complaint of mine centers around the elimination of Happy Hours and a very poop effort in the nightly Elite/Platinum parties. Princess eliminated every opportunity to reduce our drinking expenses. More importantly, by eliminating Happy Hours the venues during typical HH times are empty instead of filled with passengers having a good time. This was a major misstep. I wrote management before the cruise on this issue and was told to wait and see the replacement promotions, well there were none. My informal survey would indicate that many passengers simply drank less, spent less money, and had less opportunity to connect with other people. This brings me to my biggest concern with Princess and that's my belief that accountants are in charge and that these accountants in particular do not understand this business. I don't know how much better the food was in years past, I've only been cruising for 10 years or so, but I do know that happy hours fill lounges or deck bars and people have fun and that's the idea. It's sad to see musicians play to an empty room, which we saw every day between 3 and 4. To close - Despite the warts, we enjoyed the cruise thoroughly and were sorry to see it end. The ship was not new but we loved the deck plan, our cabin, the service, the music, the itinerary, etc and would sail on her again in a heartbeat. I hope Princess decides to step up the game regarding some of the issues that are beginning to make this look like a bargain cruise line. If they do that, we'll continue to sail this line for a long time, if not, we will have to explore other opportunities. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
Chose this cruise because we wanted to do a full Panama Canal transit, and chose Coral rather than Island Princess because it had had a more recent refit.However, the ship is still tired looking. The furniture in the cabins is shabby, the ... Read More
Chose this cruise because we wanted to do a full Panama Canal transit, and chose Coral rather than Island Princess because it had had a more recent refit.However, the ship is still tired looking. The furniture in the cabins is shabby, the hairdryers are from the dark ages, the showers are the smallest I’ve ever encountered. However we still had a great time. Most of the staff are great, yes you get a hard sell if you have a spa treatment, but on the whole the staff try really hard. The food was mixed, the buffet was sometimes great, other times really odd combinations of food. Did anytime dining and most days I rang early to reserve a table, without a reservation we found we had to wait, maybe up to half an hour. Met some lovely people, enjoyed the ports, especially Huatulco. The expert who talked us through the transit was extremely knowledgeable and my husband found the whole transit fascinating- be warned, you have to be out on deck by 6am! Drinks fairly priced. We did the ultimate balcony dinner which was fantastic for £80 extra, had 2 dedicated waiters, cocktails, canapé, champagne plus 4 course dinner and then birthday cake for my husband, all whilst evening in port in Aruba. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
We chose this cruise because it was our 40th wedding anniversary. After research and talking with our travel agent we found out that Princess had it's own lodges for the land portion we wanted and was one of the few cruise lines that ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it was our 40th wedding anniversary. After research and talking with our travel agent we found out that Princess had it's own lodges for the land portion we wanted and was one of the few cruise lines that could cruise Glacier Bay and get up close to the glaciers. We had previously done 2 cruises with Oceania but their itinerary did not work for our time. We knew Princess would not be Oceania but had heard good things about them also. We did have a wonderful time but some things I wanted to write about. We flew into Fairbans and Princess was there to meet us and take us to their Lodge in Fairbanks. We had a long travel day so we just walked the grounds of the lodge and had dinner outside on the deck to enjoy the beautiful weather and sunshine. The Princes RIverside Lodge sits on the Chena River. The our room was very basic but clean, This lodge could use some updating. Our dinner was very good. They told us that we could pack a bag that they would take ahead to the ship. We would then pack another bag with enough clothes for the next 3 days and our necessities we needed to stay with us. If someone would of told us this before we left it would of simplified our packing at home. The next day we had a morning excursion on The Riverboat Discovery for a narrated cruise along the Chena and Tenana River. We enjoyed this very much. It was a beautiful day and we sat up top of the boat. The narrator was terrific and staff very friendly. You get to watch a sea plane take off and land on the river in front of you. The PIlot talked by radio and it it piped over the loud speaker. Along the way you stop at Susan Butchers Iditarod sled dog kennel. Her husband brings dogs to the shoreline and you watch from the boat. Later at the Athabasca Village they bring dogs to the village and a musher gives a talk. You can also purchase the book of her famous dog Granite, makes a great gift especially for a grandchild. Coming back you get off at the Athabasca Village and young Alaskan Native Guides give talks on native lifestyle, clothing, and fishing. They also tell you about all the homes along the river. The river was kind of muddy but the scenery was beautiful. After you dock they have a gift shop and box lunches for purchase or if your tour includes lunch they have a restaurant. Ours did not and the box lunches were picked over by the time we got to them. They needed more staff at registers and a better system of getting the lunches. We ate outside on a beautiful day. We then boarded a bus for our trip to Denali Princess WIlderness Lodge. This took about 3 hours and we arrived very late afternoon. Our bus driver was Steve and he was great. The Lodge and grounds were beautiful. Our room was just fine. We had to repack and have our bags out early in the morning. We then went for a walk and enjoyed the late sunshine and dinner at The KIng Salmon restaurant. It was very good and we enjoyed our server who was delightful. We had time to do a little shopping in the gift shop and order our box lunch for after our tour the next day. The next morning we went to the coffee shop for breakfast and they told us they didn't serve some of the hot items any longer even though they were up on the board. We then left to go into the Park on our tour. Our guide was extremely knowledgeable about so much of the Park. He was very personable and we enjoyed him. The only thing we didn't like was the part of the tour where you walked to a cabin and a lady talked about what it was like to live there many years ago. I think she thought she was performing a play instead of talking to us, also the mosquitos were so bad you could hardly pay attention. The rest of the tour we saw moose, bald eagles, a bear, way off in the distance and a native Alaskan gave a talk about culture. If we ever get to go back we would love to go further into the park. After retuning to the Lodge we picked up our boxed lunch we ordered and then took a 3 hours bus ride to Mt McKinley Lodge. Our bus driver was ok she seemed to forget quite a bit of what she was talking about and rambled. We went and heard a talk by a lady who was on a expedition to climb Denali. After 3 weeks and an 11 day storm they had to go back. She was very interesting to hear. We loved the Princess Lodge at Mt McKinley. The flowers were beautiful and we sat on the large porch outside. Denali was in the clouds so we did not see it, as most people don't. They had an outside fire pit area which looked very cool but very crowded. At our restaurant we did not have a good experience. We sat at the bar and our server was not polite to us, she was very busy. Finally another man came and helped us and by that time we were getting unhappy. The food was just ok and not worth the hassle of we had to go thru to get it. Our room was nice and in a separate part away from the main lodge. THhe next morning we took a bus ride to Talkeetna, it was pouring rain but our driver was fantastic!. SHe was a young lady with spunk and an interesting story. We LOVED Talkeetna. If we go back again we would stay there and do day trips from there. It is a quirky, colorful town and definitely tourist friendly. We had breakfast at The Roadhouse. You sit at a family style table with anyone. We sat with several local people and another couple traveling like us. The breakfast was great and huge. The bakery was amazing. We got a raspberry cinnamon roll to go and ate it as we walked thru town and did some shopping. They then took us by bus to the train station where we then went to the cruise ship in Whittier. It was an enclosed glass train car and you are assigned seats so you don't now who you are sitting with. The trip is 6 hours to the cruise ship port. We were able to order lunch and drinks on the train. They do a narrative along the way. The scenery is beautiful and we were glad we did it, it's just a long trip. We arrived in the rain at the port. After going thru security, we were the last people on board the ship. Our luggage was in our room, Dolphin Deck Room 333. We had to immediately go to the muster drilll in the Princess Theater. AFter that we went to dinner in the MDR. After a long day of travel we ordered a glasss of wine and they said they did not have that wine. It seemed odd to us since it was the first day of our cruise and they were already out of something. We purchased the beverage alcohol package. They then said they had a bottle of something similar. At this point we were tired and just said ok. Something seemed off, the staff kept trying to sell us things all along, like a wine tasting, photos. We just wanted to eat dinner and have a glass of wine at leisure and not be rushed. We felt that way every time we went to the MDR. We even had to tell our waiter one time to just slow down we didn't want to be rushed that way. Our next day was a sea day and it was cruising Hubbard Glacier. We enjoyed the day very much. Then Glacier Bay National Park was next. The Park Service brought a ranger on ship and she gave a talk and then pointed out high lights as we cruised. Our captain got as close to the glacier as he could and stayed on each side about 45 minutes. It was raining so we went to our room balcony and got fantastic views!. We loved this day. The first day into a port was Skagway. We had booked our excursions ahead of time and 2 planned for that day. The morning we did the White Pass Scenic Railway Tour. If we would have known our train ride previously was 6 hours we would not have done this. It was just ok, didn't need another train ride. The afternoon we did the CHilkoot Train HIke and Float Adventure. They took you out of town in a van to start the hike. This was a 2 mile hike in with a guide who was wonderful and told us all about the rain forest we were in. Then we floated back down the river to meet the van. We loved this. We saw several bald eagles, beautiful scenery and felt like we were experiencing Alaska. It was a Discovery Exclusive Excursion. We got back to town with no time to see the town. It looked nice from the van as we rode thru. We would go back to Skagway. The next day was Juneau. We had booked the Alaska Whales and Mendenhall Trail Animal Planet Recommended excursion. We had another great day!. Our guide met us and we drove out of town to the Mendenhall Glacier Trail. It was a 1 mile hike, really a walk to a lake with a beautiful view of the Mendenhall Glacier. Annie was fantastic, She was very knowledgable and funny. She follows the whales from Alaska in the summer to Hawaii in the winter. She encouraged questions and gave us ample time for photos. We then took the van to a marina and picked up a whale watching boat. It was a smaller boat with only about 25 people on it. The windows all opened and there was plenty of opportunity for photos. They took us as close as possible to the whales we saw and it was AMAZING! Our captain was very good and took us several places and moved with the whales. On our way back in Juneau we drove thru the town and it looked great. I had time to check out a few of the shops before the boat left, it was an early day to leave. Our final stop was Ketchikan. Again we loved it here. Our excursion was The Misty Fjords Wilderness Flight and Cruise. There was about 10 of us on the small flight. Our pilot was great and got us as close as possible to the mountains to take photos. Plenty of beautiful scenery. We then landed at a boat marina in the middle of a fjord. We took a scenic catamaran back to town. The cruise was longer than we expected. They did have light snacks but it was very long. We did have time to go shopping in Ketchikan and ate a late lunch at Annabelle's Chowder House. This was recommended by a local shop merchant who owned a great gallery called Arctic Spirit Gallery. They have beautiful local jewelry and gifts. MIchael is the owner and is wonderful. His wife also owns the store next door. It was nice to have a quality local store to shop in and not just touristy jewelry and souvenir stores. The last day was a sea day. It was beautiful and we spent most of the time outside by the pool. We pulled into Vancouver on our last day early. We had been there before so we were going home. It was a beautiful skyline going into the harbor. Disembarkation was smooth and they had our bags at the airport. Something's about our boat: The Coral Princess is the smaller of 2 boats that cruise Alaska. It was clean but it big need of updating. Our cabin was a balcony cabin. It was clean but definitely needed updating. The shower/tub had a gouge in it and needed to be recalled. The bathroom tile did not match. There was a updated different tile strip on the wall but old harvest gold tile on the floor. Our steward, Raymond was fantastic. Very nice, friendly and did a wonderful job every day. One day they came to so some painting on our balcony when we were gone all day. They never did come back to clean up their paint chips where they had scraped and repainted. You could also see other areas of rusitng and areas where they just repainted over old paint. The 2 shows we went to were good and we enjoyed them. The buffet was very good. We had breakfast, lunch and dinner there during our trip. All the food was good and looked fresh. The staff had a hard time keeping up with cleaning tables. There was also the annoying people selling bellini's constantly going by. All in all we had a very nice trip. The land portion was too much moving for us and bus time. If we did it again we would structure it differently on land. We enjoyed the towns and would go back. The Captain and Cruise Director seemed very good. We enjoyed the Crooners Bar for cocktails, and the pizza and grill for lunches. The outside bar also served good pool side drinks. I am not sure we should of bought the drink package I don't think we drank enough to make it worth while but it was convenient. I don't think we would cruise Princess again. For what you got it seemed expensive and they were constantly trying to sell you more but we wanted this itinerary and the dates were what we needed so we tried it. 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
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
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
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
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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