8 Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades) to British Columbia Princess Coral Princess Cruise Reviews

This is not to be taken as a criticism of anyone on the ship.  I think the problem starts on land.It's long, not complete, and it happened to real people, 8 adults and 2 children.This 17 day cruise through the Panama Canal and up to ... Read More
This is not to be taken as a criticism of anyone on the ship.  I think the problem starts on land.It's long, not complete, and it happened to real people, 8 adults and 2 children.This 17 day cruise through the Panama Canal and up to Vancouver on the Coral Princess was to be a perfect family vacation. My wife and I were celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary, her 70th birthday, and my 75th, all in 2011. We had booked and paid for three side by side mini suites. My son and his family completed the embarkation paper work in a separate line from us, and my daughter and her partner. My son registered a Master Card, and my daughter a Visa. They were in separate rooms. No problem getting on, and from then on it was a great cruise. Our rooms were better than expected and our room steward, Rosalie, was a real gem. My wife and I have had a number of cruises (Platinum Level) and no one could compare, or even come close, to Rosalie.We enjoyed tours in Aruba and Cartagena, and the Canal crossing was great despite the rain. The clouds and rain probably saved us northerners. Fuerte Amador and Puntarenas tours were great, and so was the tour with Libby in Cabo San Lucas, the dolphin swim for my granddaughter, and snorkeling for the rest of them. Three of our group visited Alcatraz and were very,very, pleased with the tour.Everybody was always happy with the food, service, and room service. After we left San Francisco it turned colder and cloudier, but that's not the fault of any cruise line.But what had already started to happen can't be blamed on the weather, just PRINCESS CRUISE LINES.When the credit card statements came before San Francisco ALL my daughter's charges were on my son's Master Card. My daughter went down and signed in her Visa again. How they got mixed up I can't imagine, But the same thing happened again when we got to Vancouver. My daughter HAD to go and register her card again, a THIRD time. (Imagine what a comedian could do with this on stage!) We were just lucky this happened between family members. Others may have experienced this.My son and I were more than a little ticked off with PRINCESS. He later decided to ask that the $11/day charge for his two children be reversed for the last two days. He was told it had been. I witnessed this. But it seems it hasn't been. Typical???Then there was the matter of services paid for the cruise, assuming it was for 17 days as shown on our itinerary. Our son bought stickers to put on his two children's room cards. This showed that pop, chocolate milk, hard ice cream, non alcoholic drinks, etc. were prepaid. They ran out in San Francisco. My granddaughter asked for hot chocolate at lunch and, no, we'd have to pay for that. She had lemonade instead.Out of 8 adults in our party of 10, 6 bought tickets for the Sanctuary at the stern, $210 per person.I know my receipt said for the "full cruise". It turned out that PRINCESS had a different interpretation for that, one that hadn't been communicated to myself, or the girl who sold the space to me.That 'payment for a privilege' also ended in San Francisco! If I had wanted to sit in the 'Sanctuary' to watch the city fade away like a bad dream, I would have had to pay for the space I took up. Later on the next day we were advised by the captain that due to adverse currents, and leaving the last port late, we weren't going to get to Vancouver on time. 10:00 became 11:30. Passengers with flights out before 4:00 p.m. would have to make alternate arrangements. Phone calls were free, but soon swamped. Internet was free but with only less that 12 public computers and very slow internet service, you'd have to be very lucky. My daughter-in-law did find there was a later flight out, but that was it. My time on the internet had run out and no mention was made of it being free to all.I just couldn't accept the adverse currents being that "unexpectedly" strong. For a ship as powerful as ours?? And later I found out on "Cruise Critic" that we were late leaving the last port due to the complete failure of the security system when boarding the many people who were travelling to Vancouver or Alaska. Some had to wait in line for an hour and a half. Little did they know what they were all in for.Some time after we went for our last dinner and a show, someone delivered luggage tags and directions for putting luggage out to be collected. The directions advised us to put out what we could by 10:00 p.m., and the rest out by 10:00 a.m.. On this four page set of directions it also showed the time and place we could meet on the ship to be taken down for our departure. Our tags indicated we were last in the group of, "INDEPENDENT ARRANGEMENTS WITH EARLY AFTERNOON FLIGHTS", to meet an hour and twenty minutes after the first group who had a 11:30 meeting time. Any hope for four of our group who had a 2:10 flight was gone.Besides that one of our group was given a different coloured tag, indicating a time 40 min. later that the rest of us.Now some days prior to this we had been given a form to fill out and hand in. Our group were in four different cabins so I collected four forms and filled them all out the same. I requested an early time off the ship for each cabin. When I took these to passenger services these were stapled together. I offered to write on an explanation for the request but was told that wasn't necessary. I wish I had ignored her. Later I was to find it was all ignored.Anyway, we three men hurried down to passenger services to see if we could make some changes. There we found two people at the desk and a line stretching half way across the ship. During the 30 min. wait there was lots of time to study the schedule of passenger departure times.It really annoyed me to see that the first off had a "PRINCESS CRUISE HOTEL PACKAGE - 3 NIGHT TO VICTORIA". Then "SEATTLE BUS TRANSFER". This was followed by two groups who could get there own luggage off. Then three groups "YVR FLIGHTS TO USA PRINCESS AIR" , another walk off, a "YVR FLIGHTS WITHIN CANADA/NON-US WITH PRINCESS AIR", another couple of walk offs and two organized tours, and then "PASSENGERS WITH PRINCESS TRANSFERS TO YVR AIRPORT". One walk off group was next, and then 1 hr, and 10 min. later than the first PRINCESS group the people who hadn't paid anything but the price of their cruise, plus some people who could obviously be late.This understandably led to thoughts of discrimination on the part of PRINCESS CRUISE LINES. We finally got to the counter and tried to get on the early group as previously requested.  We were given a story about customs requiring it to be that way and threatening fines if it were changed.  We were given a time 20 min. earlier to appease us. As for the charges for changed flights, it was suggested that perhaps our flight insurance would cover it.As well the person with the later departure tag was given one that put him with the rest of us.We got off the ship about 1:00 and started the search for our luggage. My wife and I found ours last, about 1:30. It came out with a mixed set of tagged luggage, some which should have been off well before.By 2:00 we were all in the van we had arranged to take us to the airport, and then home.NOTE THIS:Now I had looked out at 6:30 that morning. The ship was sitting still off Victoria in calm seas. About 7:00 it started to move slowly. Later it was going faster, but not hurrying. When I was home I looked up the website for the dock we eventually tied up at and found no indication of a 10:00 booking, only an arrival at 11:32.Later a retired police officer, a fellow passenger, informed my son that he had looked out about 4:30 a.m. to find us in the same position I witnessed two hours later.Makes you wonder!Makes you want to travel with PCL again doesn't it.With all our cruises with PCL we only had one problem, and this seems to have been corrected.Obviously more needs to be done, and the buck stops at head office. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
Well I am Benjamin. I'm 24 from Montreal, Canada. Its was my first cruise with Princess but did three others with Carnival, the differences are pretty big. The Coral Princess his a awesome ship really nice and new with a lot of pool ... Read More
Well I am Benjamin. I'm 24 from Montreal, Canada. Its was my first cruise with Princess but did three others with Carnival, the differences are pretty big. The Coral Princess his a awesome ship really nice and new with a lot of pool and hot tubs to relax and they are open 24 hours. That's amazing and you can dive in those pools cause they are more than 7 feet depth for 2 of them. For the kids center really nice but there was no kids to play in cause this cruise, this we have to say more mature old people but nice and really enjoying for lot of them but if you want to go party at night that's not the boat to go on 10 days cruise cause longer so its people who have time to travel compared to 7 days cruise. People were up until 1:30am. There wasn't any activity after, just the casino, if you like to play, actually the casino was really nice the nicest a sea so far and I didn't lose this time. For morning persons excellent there his all those morning activities free and paying ones and of course always every day at see those seminars about different stuff you can learn about, its really cool and funny most of time. For those who love good food you're on the right boat. Yes was amazing and you can choose the time you want to go diner between certain hours, and different country specialities every day. The tours and all the stops especially when you pass in Panama Canal it's really impressive those big gates. Limon, Costa Rica this a amazing stop, people are really nice like Cozumel friendly. If you want to shop Limon and Cozumel really nice and Panama Canal Colon is really nice to shop when open.  Now I have to talk about the crew and staff. I have to say they are amazing everyone seem to love what there doing and they really have a good relationship between each other that seems to reflect on their work the best crew I saw. Ok ladies especially if you have to go fixed your hair or a cut the best hair stylist in the world his on that ship his name Nathan Woodley -- that guy knows what is doing and done it for a long time is gonna make you laugh so bad, if you can have a appointment cause hes really busy all the time. And don't forget all the ladies working in the spa amazing too, you will really feel comfortable. For the show and entertainment they are really in to it and make all people dance and have a good time. I remember Sarah really entertaining. The passenger desk service was amazing really fast and serviable. So i really have to say that was an amazing time i had with the crew and passenger even with the big age differences but I totally recommend that cruise to anyone. Have a good cruise. Read Less
Sail Date March 2004
Photos http://community.webshots.com/album/104034426eQjXll Our Background: We are a married couple, ages 32 and 30. We consider ourselves pretty experienced travelers having vacationed throughout Mexico (Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta ... Read More
Photos http://community.webshots.com/album/104034426eQjXll Our Background: We are a married couple, ages 32 and 30. We consider ourselves pretty experienced travelers having vacationed throughout Mexico (Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta and Playa del Carmen), Europe (Paris and London) and throughout the U.S. in our 3+ years of marriage. Our only other cruise experience was an Eastern Caribbean itinerary on the Golden Princess in February 2003. We were pretty devoted land-based vacationers until we were introduced to cruising and especially Princess' version of cruising! Some of the things we love about cruising include visiting new ports of call, the convenience and options tied to dining and being treated very, very well by all members of the ship's company. Itinerary: Saturday, February 21: Fort Lauderdale, Florida Sunday, February 22: Sea Day Monday, February 23: Montego Bay, Jamaica Tuesday, February 24: Sea Day Wednesday, February 25: Panama Canal Thursday, February 26: Limon, Costa Rica Friday, February 27: Sea Day Saturday, February 28: Grand Cayman Sunday, February 29: Cozumel, Mexico Monday, March 1: Sea Day Tuesday, March 2: Fort Lauderdale, Florida Embarkation - Ft. Lauderdale We booked the Renaissance on 17th Street in Ft. Lauderdale through Priceline. I probably bid a little too early to secure a room but did get what I thought was a good price ($95) for one night. We flew into Ft. Lauderdale and arrived to the hotel after midnight on Saturday, February 21. On our previous trips into Ft. Lauderdale (this was our third time) the time it took to get our luggage seemed excessive. This time, our luggage came out quickly. The cab ride was inexpensive ($10). The Renaissance was fantastic! We had previously stayed at the Pier 66 (Lanai rooms) and at the Embassy Suites on 17th Street. Although nothing can top the Pier 66 (and we paid rack rate there), the Renaissance was just a bit classier than the Embassy. It was bright and clean and the desk staff was exceptionally friendly, especially considering the hour! We were given a room with two queen beds, which was fine considering we were only going to be there for about 10 hours. The room was comfortable and had a view looking east. When we woke the next morning we could see the Grand Princess at her berth (Pier 2). We grabbed breakfast in the touristy part of Ft. Lauderdale. We ate at a great restaurant called The Deck right along Seabreeze Boulevard (A1A). We had an outdoor table that overlooked the Boulevard and the beach. We arrived at the pier at about 12:30 PM and were fairly quickly through the check-in procedures and security screening. We could tell pretty quickly that the average passenger age aboard this particular cruise was going to be older. We spotted more than a few wheelchairs and walkers in the cruise terminal. We were in our stateroom no later than 1:00 PM. Our bags were quickly delivered on this cruise - we had both our checked bags before 3:00 PM. We did put some of our embarkation essentials (swimsuits, shorts, toiletries, etc.) in our carry on bags so we could have them immediately upon arriving to our stateroom. Stateroom We had booked a mini-suite on the Dolphin Deck (Deck 9). We were given D512 (category AB) and found it to be wonderful. We had previously sailed on the Golden Princess in a mini-suite and had an exact duplicate of our stateroom, except reversed! We knew what to expect and were pleased with the size of the closet and shelf space, the size of the bathroom and the additional seating area (with sleeper sofa) by the balcony door. Our beds were pushed together in a queen configuration. The beds were hard, which was fine. However, what I missed most during the cruise were my natural feather pillows. The pillows we had simply did not "mush". They certainly didn't spoil our cruise, however. A couple of things we brought that made our stateroom even more comfortable were: -An inexpensive shoe organizer that hangs over a door; kept the limited counter space in the bathroom neat and free from clutter -A power strip for additional outlets. After reviewing Cruise Critic, I could not determine whether one needed a 3-prong adapter or not (a device that turns a 3-prong plug into a 2-prong plug). I brought one along but was pleased to find that the outlets in the stateroom were standard U.S. 3-prong types. The power strip offered additional outlets for such things as a laptop computer and battery charger used for my digital camera. -A corkscrew -Our own supply of wine and beer. I know the issue of "smuggling" booze aboard a Princess ship is a topic of heated debate on the message boards. Here's my take: I'm simply not going to order a glass of wine or a bottle of beer from room service to enjoy on my balcony. It's simply not going to happen. However, when I am in the public areas of the ship, I order from the bars. We averaged 2 to 3 drinks per person per person from the ships' bars during the entire cruise so I don't feel Princess lost any significant revenue because we had our own stash in the stateroom. And, we did not bring or try to bring hard liquor aboard, either in Ft. Lauderdale or from any port. Our stateroom steward, Sonny, was exceptionally polite and efficient. Our room was always tidy when we came back to it and Sonny made sure that we had clean wine glasses each evening (we had to initially ask for the glasses at the beginning of the cruise). Sonny did a great job for us and earned an additional tip from us at the end of the cruise. We do enjoy spending time in our stateroom, sometimes to simply watch a movie that we may have missed. The television selection aboard was limited: CNN, CNNfn during the week and CNN Headline News on weekends shared the same channel, TNT, ESPN (the international version) and the usual Princess television channels. The movies shown during our cruise on TV included: "Bruce Almighty", "School of Rock", "Whale Rider", "Lost in Translation", "S.W.A.T.", "In America" and many more. Because we were at sea on Sunday night (Academy Awards night), they did lock onto the satellite feed and showed the event on the channel reserved for TNT. The feed was not 100% however and portions of the show were missed during "blips". They also had movies throughout the cruise in one of the public lounges. Some of those titles included: "Seabiscuit", "Master and Commander" and "Radio". Our balcony was fully exposed to those above us but this did not bother us. We rarely saw others on their balconies except for the Panama Canal transit and upon entering or leaving a particular port. We had two plastic (heavy duty) chairs on our balcony and a good-sized round table. We felt the Coral handled very well, even in rough seas. The roughest seas we had on our 10-day cruise were classified as "Rough" (7.5 - 12 feet) with near gale winds. We never felt the Coral pitching or rolling. There were times either in the Princess Theater (far forward) or the Universe Lounge (far aft) where we felt swaying, but nothing too dramatic. If anything, I would say we felt the Coral shudder under heavy seas and nothing too severe. Yes, there is some creaking, popping and groaning in the stateroom during active seas but it's only enough to let you know you're sailing! The Coral's Public Spaces -Princess Theater: A nice venue on Deck 7 forward. There are only two entrances/exits to the theater at the top and back. This was a change from what we had on the Golden with exits at the back on a higher deck and exits at the front on a lower deck. The reason this was significant is because due to the advanced age of many of the cruisers, it wasn't necessarily fun to be seated at the front of the theater. Exiting seemed to take just a little longer getting everyone up the steps and out of the exits on Deck 7. A word of advice: most people appeared to use the starboard entrance to the theater, as the port entrance was less open due to the Wheelhouse Bar. Therefore, it appeared throughout the cruise that seats on the left side of the theater were more plentiful as people were not using that entrance. The left aisle was also clearer of passengers. -Universe Lounge: A very nice venue on Decks 6 & 7 aft. On the Golden, this would have been the Vista Lounge, a pretty standard lounge. However, on the Island class vessels, the Universe Lounge has two tiers and plenty of good sight lines. The theatrical technology in the Universe Lounge allowed for some pretty spectacular shows throughout the cruise, including a singing and dance revue called "Tribute". The Universe Lounge used intimate sofas and chairs that made up the seating area. -Explorer's Lounge: Deck 6. We only used this lounge for the art auctions that were held primarily on sea days. Apparently they used the lounge for a disco at night although we were never there to witness it. -Wheelhouse Bar: Deck 7 forward. This was one of the spaces on the Coral that really surprised me. I was expected the Golden version of the Wheelhouse, which was an intimate space but certainly not grand. However, the Coral's Wheelhouse was large and very clubby. It was paneled in darker woods and held a variety of nautical memorabilia, especially from the P&O line. Even the hallways leading to the Wheelhouse were memorable in that they carried out the theme. If you are a cruise fanatic and enjoy history, stop into the bar and review the display cases and walls. There is a somewhat hidden niche just off to the side from the Atrium entrance where vintage cruise posters, postcards and even menus from past cruisers can be reviewed. The Wheelhouse Bar was also a good place to look for drink specials throughout the cruise. There were frequent 2-for-1's on margaritas, daiquiris, etc. -Princess Casino: Deck 6. We're not gamblers but even we enjoyed people watching in the casino. The casino has a London-theme and faithfully carries out the theme in using the Queen's Guards to watch the starboard entrance, a colorful carpet with London themes throughout and phone booths and double-decker busses to house slot machines. The casino was much more open feeling than the one on the Golden and was far less smoky than what we experienced on the other ship. -Crooner's Bar: Deck 7. The bar wrapped around the atrium and was styled with Rat Pack images and themes. It was a very nice bar to congregate in before a dinner or during the evening for live piano music. Crooner's also had frequent drink specials during the cruise, including $3 martinis from their "Bond Collection". This was a menu of traditional and more contemporary martinis that were delicious. Service was excellent at Crooners. -Princess Fine Arts Gallery: Deck 7 aft. We really enjoyed the art experience aboard the Coral. The Art Gallery itself is an intimate space with works from all eras and artists. The collection did change from day to day although major pieces remained in place. We enjoyed talking with Michael, the Coral's Art Director, and picking up bits of knowledge about the pieces aboard. We would frequently attend the art auctions (mainly held on sea days) and would definitely recommend previewing the art beforehand (approximately 1 hour before an auction a wide selection of art was displayed in the Explorer's Lounge and made available to be requested for auction). We ended up purchasing two pieces of art during the cruise (Jean Vollet's "Soleil Sur La Seine" Zamy Steynovitz's "Musical Bouquet in Paris"). Both were signed lithographs that we felt were quality pieces and a good value. The art auctions were also a great way to drink on Princess! A champagne auction was held during the 1st sea day as well during the last auction on the 4th sea day. -Bordeaux Dining Room (Personal Choice Dining Room): Deck 5 forward. We had selected Personal Choice Dining during our cruise and were not disappointed. Although we had wait staff that were wonderful and whom we'd like to have gotten to know better, our dining times varied extensively throughout the cruise. For us, it just didn't pay to have a reserved time or table. We got the sense during the cruise that people were eating earlier. We would often catch one of the earlier shows and then eat later. We were always immediately shown to a table and never had to use the pagers. The dining room itself reminded us a lot of what we saw on the Golden. One of the changes, however, was how tables for two were arranged. On the Golden, the tables for two were completely separated from other tables. A lot of tables for two on the Coral were actually placed in close proximity to other tables for two. We actually liked this a lot. There was enough space between the tables to suggest intimacy but they were close enough that conversation with neighbors was natural. We met some great couples dining this way throughout the week. Just a recap of some of the menu items we had during the week: -Appetizers: Spring rolls, shrimp cocktail, crab quiche, smoked supreme of duck, escargot, prosciutto with melon, baked eggplant parmigiana, Turkish lamb and eggplant turnover, baked clams casino, asparagus with puff pastry, avocado boat with mixed seafood salad, Vol-au-Vent (creamed chicken and sweetbreads in puff pastry) -Soups: Pina Colada splashed with rum (chilled), lentil soup, yogurt and tamarind (chilled), fish gumbo, pumpkin and turnip puree, vichyssoise choid (chilled leek and potato), papaya and kiwi (chilled), capon broth with vegetables, pasta and fagioli red bean soup, Won Ton, tropical fresh fruit cream (chilled), lentil puree with garlic, apricot (chilled), lobster bisque, asparagus puree, pumpkin puree (chilled) -Entrees: SautEed filet of Zander (white fish), prime rib, medallion of beef tenderloin, salmon filet with dill sauce, scallops and shitaki mushrooms, pasta with salmon strips, roast duckling with orange and curacao sauce, glaze, roast center cut of pork loin, sea bass, shrimp flambEed in brandy and served with a spicy tomato sauce, veal chop with sautEed mushrooms, Thai snapper fillet, filet mignon and grilled jumbo shrimp, twin lobster tails, Beef Wellington, lamb chops, linguine with poached clams, Mediterranean sea scallops -Deserts: Profiteroles with mixed berries, Mohr im Hemd (baked chocolate pudding with glaze), apple tart, chocolate hazelnut soufflE, croquembouche, almond soufflE stuffed in baked peaches, Austrian chocolate cake with apricot layers, Princess Love Boat Dream, chocolate gateau with cherries, New York style cheesecake and a variety of ice creams in unique and complementary flavors (cinnamon, strawberry daiquiri, champagne, etc.). We simply don't have a specific review for each and every dish we had aboard the Coral. In short, everything we ate was fabulous! Perhaps it's because we were not shopping, preparing, serving and cleaning up what we ate but everything was marvelous. In the days since we've returned we've come to the conclusion that the individual dishes that may not have tasted absolutely superb to us had less to do with the preparation and more to do with our own taste buds! "Special Nights": Formal Night 1 (sea day 1), French Night (sea day 2), Italian Night (Costa Rica), International Night (sea day 3), and Formal Night 2 (Grand Cayman) -Horizon Court: Deck 14 forward. We liked having the Horizon Court at the front of the Coral instead of at the back as we had on the Golden. This was truly a different dining experience. There are slanted windows in the Court at the very front of the ship allowing one to see forward from up high. This was especially popular during the Panama Canal transit. The Horizon Court also had a dedicated bar with bar stools and a stage for performances by a pianist or guitarist during different times of the day. We ate many of our breakfasts and lunches at the Horizon Court. Sometimes the offerings were better than at other times. There were lunches when the pickings were very slim and we resorted to using the Grill or Princess Pizza for the main part of our meal. However, some standards that always worked for us were the selection of fresh fruits and cookies! Breakfasts were always good: enormous steam trays full of bacon and sausage daily, fresh egg selections (including Eggs Benedict and Eggs Florentine regularly) and plenty of breads. I was actually somewhat disappointed in some of the bread and rolls on the Coral. I know it's difficult to maintain freshness in a buffet setting, but often the bread was hard. Not stale by any means, but not fresh tasting or in texture, either. Because the average age of this cruise was higher, there were difficulties in navigating the buffet. I was always looking over my shoulder or to my side to make sure I wasn't running anybody down. We also noticed that the Horizon Court was exceptionally busy between about noon and 1:15 PM. There were times when we simply could not find a table to sit. However, the longer you waited to eat lunch, the better it got! Finally: the coffee. I will agree with others who have said the coffee is not all that great but I did not find it completely offensive either. It comes straight from a concentrate (in a bottle that looks a lot like a motor oil container!). However, the coffee had a mild taste to it and wasn't as acidic as a lot of fresh-brewed options are. -Fitness Center: Deck 14 aft. We like the Coral's gym! We managed to get up to the facility on 6 occasions during a 10-day cruise. I believe the Coral had more weight machines to work more parts of one's body than what we had on the Golden. They were also arranged much better so that there wasn't a traffic issue between the weights and the aerobic equipment. There were plenty of treadmills in addition to six low-impact aerobic machines and several more stationary bikes and stair-steppers. The gym never got entirely full or crowded. There were mornings when we spent more time on the weights waiting for an aerobic machine to open up but it wasn't excessive. Gym towels were available daily. -Lido Pool: Deck 15 midship. We like the pools aboard Princess ships! We enjoy the fact that they are freshwater and deep! The pools aboard the Coral were no different. The Lido Pool tended to be the center of activity on Deck 14 for such things as wacky pool games, ice carving demonstrations, music by steel drum band Sugar Cane on most days and the Island Night party. We found that we could always find a lounger in the sun and we did not really see evidence of chair hogging or saving. Drink service was always available but wasn't intrusive. The one thing we noticed on this cruise was that the pool water temperature was brisk at times. I'm guessing that due to rough seas at some points during the cruise, the staff may have emptied the pools during the evening and then refilled them during the mornings. -Lotus Pool: This was a very serene pool and also offering a place to be by the pool but remain out of the sun. We did notice the retractable roof in the closed position one evening and the pool deck nicely air conditioned, probably due to steamy conditions outside! -Pelican's Pool: We never swam or even lounged around the aft pool. It is a smaller pool and does not have a deck ringing the pool (you have to go up one level to get to loungers). The deck above also has the ping pong tables. -Alternative Restaurants: we never dined at Sabatini's or The Bayou Cafe. They appeared to be empty on most nights with plenty of tables available. We did like how each venue was distinctively decorated, however. -Internet Center: Deck 8, midship. The Internet Center wrapped around the Atrium on Deck 8. We used it twice while onboard. We found the connection to be extremely slow but this may have been due to the ship's position. -Library/Card Room: Deck 8, midship. Both of these venues were beautiful and cozy. Both had large windows for viewing the ship's progress at sea or during a port visit. The library had a pretty extensive collection and using the facilities was easy. Entertainment -"Dance"/"Da Beat"/"Up Curtain"/"Tribute". I don't mean to shortchange any of the full dance and singing shows by lumping them together, but in short, they were all fabulous! The shows (either performed in the Princess Theater or Universe Lounge) were unbelievable! The use of the theater technology aboard is simply impressive. Set refreshes and props were delivered in amazing ways, the lighting and audio were flawless and the feel was close to Broadway. The dancers and singers aboard this cruise were wonderful. They were exceptionally talented and energetic. We probably enjoyed "Dance" the best out of all the shows during our cruise but each one is simply not to be missed. -Billy Vader. Vader did a brief routine during the Welcome Aboard show but also did his own 1-hour act later in the week. He also MC'd the final show of the cruise. He is not to be missed. He is extremely funny and does a variety of stand up material, singing and impressions. He was a riot. -Duncan Tuck. Duncan performed only one evening in the Universe Lounge. He is a guitarist/vocalist who does what he calls 'singing comedy'. He was very talented. -Dan Horn. Dan is a ventriloquist who we had previously seen on the Golden. He used a variety of puppets. At times his routine seemed to stall but he more than made up for it when he brought up a passenger for a very funny scene. The Ports of Call -Montego Bay, Jamaica: After a full sea day we arrived to Montego Bay. We had nothing formally scheduled for the port so decided to take a shuttle bus ($3 per person each way) to the main shopping area. We were dropped off at some jewelry shops that did not appeal to us. I could see the city center just a few blocks away and headed in that direction. A local calling himself Steve approached us on the street. Steve would not leave our side for the next hour. He would point out some of the main sites in downtown Montego Bay and led us to an outdoor craft market that was big but off the beaten path. The market was made up of dozens of individual stalls, each selling the same thing! If you're looking for a wooden carving of Bob Marley's face (in a variety of sizes) this is your place! Each vendor would attempt to lure us into their stalls although they were very kind about it. Steve, of course, expected a tip at the end of about an hour and I gave him $5, although he was looking for more and suggested as much. We caught another shuttle bus from downtown back to the Coral. On the way back we let off some passengers at Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville on Gloucester Avenue. It appeared to be a nice place and perhaps a better way to spend the day in Montego Bay! We were not all that impressed with what we saw in Montego Bay. Perhaps an organized excursion to Dunn's River Falls would have suited us better. -Panama Canal: after another full sea day, we arrived at the Panama Canal on the Wednesday of our cruise. I awoke at about 6:00 AM and found that we were already in the 7-mile channel that leads to the Gatun Locks. I caught the sunrise over a very surreal and primeval-looking plain. There was a haze covering the plain and I could hear the sounds of birds calling to each other. It was far-less industrial than I thought and very, very quiet as the Coral made slow speed toward the locks. As we approached the Gatun Locks, we began moving around the ship for better vantage points. The doors leading to bow observation decks were open on Decks 10 and 11. We were surprised at how few people were actually on these decks that morning! Do not be intimidated by the "authorized personnel only" signs on Panama Canal morning - boldly use the doors at the front of each deck for a great vantage point! We had great views forward of the lock operations and all the activity laid out below us. We actually went up to breakfast (Horizon Court) during the transit between lock chamber 1 and 2. The forward-looking windows in the Horizon Court were jammed with people but otherwise the crowds were tolerable. We had a guide on the bridge that was giving information over the ship's loudspeakers. We could just make out his narration while on our stateroom balcony but found that the audio was also being played on channel 35 in our stateroom. We simply cranked up the TV's volume and kept the balcony door open so we could listen to the narration. We were through the locks and anchored in Gatun Lake by about 9:30 AM. At that point, the excursions in Panama began to organize in the Princess Theater. That day's Princess Patter had listed approximate times for tours to meet at the Theater (based on actually Canal transit information relayed to the Coral the day before). The staff were making announcements for various tour groups to come into the Princess Theater so entire excursion groups could be tendered ashore together. We actually could not hear these announcements in our stateroom so loitered around the Princess Theater even though all prior notices had suggested not doing just that. Once our entire tour group was assembled, we were led down to the tender deck and took one of the survival craft to shore - it was a very short tender ride from ship to shore! We actually used the piers at the Gatun Yacht Club to disembark the tenders and to organize into the various tour busses. We booked the Panama Canal Railroad tour. I had pre-reserved the Deluxe Car (dome observation car - $156 pp) very early on using the Cruise Personalizer feature on the Princess website. I would highly recommend pre-reserving this tour sooner than later as we talked to many people who wanted the Deluxe car but got closed out. Once we got ashore, everyone with deluxe accommodations was bussed together, separated from those who had booked the Executive Car (standard) excursion. One of the nice perks in booking the Deluxe car was that we were given preferential boarding on and off the train. Our group was the first to board the train in the morning and when we returned to Colon later that afternoon, we were the first group allowed to exit the train and re-board our bus for the short trip back to Cristobal. Our tour guide Maria was extremely friendly and knowledgeable. As we bussed to the train depot at Colon, she made an effort to point out the biodiversity of Panama, even stopping the bus at one point to let us look at iguanas lounging on rocks in the sun. The dome car was beautiful! Nothing I had read prior to booking the excursion did the dome car justice. Upon entering, there was a lower lounge portion with a bar and club-style seating. A short flight of stairs led to the observation portion of the car. Seating was in booths along both sides. They were tight accommodations. Even though it was a bright and sunny day, the air conditioning did a good job keeping the car cool. However, it was always cooler in the lounge portion downstairs by the bar. We had 3 girls in the deluxe car serving as bar tenders and waitresses. We were offered complimentary coffee or could purchase sodas & juice ($1) or beer ($2). There were also snacks available for purchase. The local Panamanian beer was excellent (even at 11:00 AM)! The train tour along the canal took just about 50 minutes. Along the way, we paralleled Gatun Lake (and could see the Coral still at anchor), marshes (where you occasionally saw turtles resting on logs), rainforest and plains. The train moves away from the Canal at the Culebra Cut so you don't really see much of that portion of the Canal, which was unfortunate. However, we did get to see the Pedro Miguel locks in passing and did catch glimpses of several ships making the entire transit through the Canal during the train ride. Once we got to Panama City the tour took a slight turn for the worse. We were loaded into tour busses (fully air conditioned and comfortable) and taken to the Panama Canal administration building and the monument to Goethals (the chief engineer during the American effort). This was okay as was our next stop to view the Bridge of the Americas at a park on the Pacific side. However, we were next taken to a nice-looking but practically vacant shopping mall for 45-minutes. The only retail store in operation was a large duty-free store that was nice...except it had much of the same merchandise you could buy on the Coral for the same price!! 45-minutes was simply too long to be there. We got some nice pictures of Panama City, but otherwise this stop was a joke. Once we re-boarded our bus, we were next taken to a large craft market for another 45-minute stop. This was actually a little better than being dropped at a shopping mall but each vendor tended to have the same items. And, the market was un-air conditioned. At this point, many in our tour group decided to stay on the busses or find a spot in the shade near the market. You could sense that at this point in the day most on this excursion were either tired, hungry or both. Mercifully, the busses next took us back to the Panama City train depot where we were able to relax in the dome car. The depot actually has a nice selection of Panama Canal Rail Road merchandise, including high-quality t-shirts. In short, the highlight of the day was the train ride. However, the round-trip train ride made up only about 1 hour and 40 minutes of the 6+ hours we were away from the Coral. We felt the cost was excessive given that we were taken to shopping venues while ashore in Panama and did not get to see the Canal in operation up close as I had previously thought. I was glad that I had booked an excursion for Panama thus allowing me to step foot ashore. However, this particular excursion was a disappointment. I have since written a letter to Princess expressing my disappointment in this particular tour in the hopes that 1) it could be tweaked to have more focus on the Canal or 2) that the literature describing the tour is updated so folks are fully aware of what they're getting. Maybe one could simply lobby to stay aboard the train and ride it back and forth across Panama couple of times?!?! :) -Limon, Costa Rica. We woke up the following day to the smell of smoke in our stateroom. I had no idea what was going on until I went to the balcony. Apparently, small fires around the port were used to burn either garbage and/or vegetation. Mercifully, the winds shifted a short time later and the smoke was directed inland. We had no formal tours scheduled for Costa Rica so stayed close to the ship. There was a craft market set up at the end of the pier and we ventured there in the late morning. There was a nice selection of goods, including beautiful hand-carved bowls made from exotic woods. We picked up a salad bowl carved from rosewood for about $60. Otherwise, our general thought about Costa Rica: hot! We literally dripped just walking around the pier and craft market and enjoyed most of day by the Lotus Pool. We did hear from folks who took organized excursions into the heart of the country. More than one couple said the Rainforest Aerial Tram was one of the best things they ever did! I heard that the guides were phenomenal and the sights unbelievable! I now know a return trip to Costa Rica is in order to experience the rainforest! -Grand Cayman. We scheduled to anchor just offshore Georgetown but were diverted to Spott's Bay due to rough seas. I woke up that morning and tried to make the map of Georgetown I had received the night before match up with the view from my stateroom! It simply didn't work! Despite our detour, the tendering operations were extremely efficient. We were told that tender tickets were required for this port. Passengers were supposed to go down to Explorer's Lounge on that morning to get tender tickets. However, we were up and moving by 8:30 AM and were told there was no need for tickets to tender at that point. I believe as more and more people wanted to go ashore, the tender tickets were required. Even though we were diverted to an alternative anchorage, there were plenty of vehicles waiting for us ashore to take us into Georgetown. We got on a shuttle bus for $4/pp and took about a 20-minute ride into Georgetown. The seas at the Georgetown tender piers were unbelievably rough and we considered ourselves very fortunate to even be on the island! I had actually scheduled a Stingray City snorkel tour with Soto's Cruises (http://sotoscruises.com/index.shtml) prior to departure. I had contacted them via e-mail several months before our visit and reserved two spots. They had asked for a credit card to hold the reservation only used the card as a security deposit if you failed to show up or cancel the tour without enough advanced notice. We were given clear instructions on how to meet up with Soto's representatives once ashore Grand Cayman. We waited about 30 minutes at the appropriate spot (right in the downtown shopping area). We never did make contact with Soto's while on the island and wondered if perhaps all boating excursions were cancelled due to the rough seas. I e-mailed my contact at Soto's after returning and confirmed that my credit card was not going to be charged but I never did get an explanation of why I never made contact while ashore. We spent the rest of the day exploring the main shopping area in Georgetown. We found Georgetown to be very pleasant! It is apparent that there is money on Grand Cayman and I think it shows in how the public areas are kept up and how you are treated. We bought various souvenirs at several stores and even strolled into Kirk Jewelers to look around. According to my wife, Kirk Jewelers had an excellent selection of David Yurman jewelry (I wouldn't know David Yurman from David Schwimmer). We were on the way out the door when we spotted a good display of gemstone (Lapis) globes in the store's window. We have always loved globes and even considered buying them aboard the Princess Boutiques. The clerk assisting us could not have been nicer. We were actually dressed pretty scruffily (assuming that our day was going to be spent snorkeling) yet we never felt put down upon. We were made to feel important and walked away thinking that Kirk Jewelers was a class operation. We got what we considered a good deal and the clerk assisted us in safely packing our globes for transport home. We had a light meal while in Georgetown at Breezes by the Bay. This beautiful restaurant had a 2nd floor deck overlooking the port in Georgetown and main shopping district. We had delicious conch fritters along with a great mudslide and a rum punch! Prices at Breezes were a little high but we know part of what we were paying for was the view. We very much enjoyed our stay in Georgetown and on Grand Cayman. Our only regret was not snorkeling with the stingrays and having to weigh anchor so early (3:00 PM) for an arrival in Cozumel the next day. -Cozumel: We were securely berthed in Puerta Maya, Cozumel by 9:00 AM the next morning. We had previously been on Cozumel two years prior and were impressed with the changes to Puerta Maya. The port now boasts an entire shopping district and would satisfy most shoppers! We wanted to explore the main shopping district, just 3 miles (and $6 per taxi) away. As occurred two years ago, we simply were not that impressed with the main shopping venue. Even though it was a Sunday morning, vendors were already persistent in getting us into their stores to see their "almost free" wares. Plus, there was nothing unique in the main shopping district. We had already decided to take one of the ferry lines on Cozumel across the 12-mile stretch of water to Playa del Carmen on the Yucatan Peninsula. We had previously visited Playa two years earlier and fell in love with the town. We caught the 11:00 AM ferry from Cozumel to Playa. We used UltraMar, which boasts a sleek-looking and very modern ferry. We were completely enclosed and enjoyed the stability of a catamaran hull. The ferry ride was extremely short (25 to Playa and 30 minutes on our return). The ferry docks on the south end of Fifth Avenue in Playa. The area surrounding the ferry dock hosts a collection of pretty typical Mexican souvenir shops and vendors. However, as you walk further north along Fifth Avenue, the shopping and the restaurants get a little more upscale. We enjoyed window shopping along Fifth Avenue and killed some time before our main reason for being in Playa was fulfilled: lunch at La Parilla. La Parilla is an open-air restaurant on Fifth Avenue (kitty corner from a TGIFridays!). We grew to love the food and atmosphere two years ago and this year was no different. La Parilla has some potent margaritas and delicious food. We're especially drawn to their use of cactus in some of their dishes, which is delicious. On this particular day we had steak and cactus fajitas, fresh guacamole and plenty of refreshments! We enjoyed people watching on the streets of Playa and just soaking in the atmosphere. We took the ferry back to Cozumel and wandered the shopping area at Puerta Maya. We had more beers at the Crazy Pelican, an open-air bar set up right off the pier. Disembarkation - Ft. Lauderdale Disembarkation is always sad but Princess handles it as well as anyone. We were initially given rose-colored luggage tags, which were meant for passengers who had Princess transfers. We went down to the Passenger Services desk and switched our tags for the standard tags designed for Dolphin Deck passengers: Aqua. We were told our disembarkation would be around 9:10 AM and it actually happened at 9:25 AM. We had a 12:00 PM flight and were not terribly worried about making our flight as we knew the airport was very close to Port Everglades. We cleared immigration very quickly and then had to retrieve our bags. We had neon luggage straps put around our two checked bags but, unfortunately, one was missing when we went to look for our bags. The bag with the luggage strap was easy to spot. However, I really had to search the Dolphin section for the other bag. Once all bags were collected, then you had to be cleared through Customs. The line for Customs was unbelievably long! It snaked throughout the terminal building. However, at the Customs table itself I noticed that porters were passed right through. Therefore, I hailed a porter and had our bags loaded up on his dolly. We were out of the terminal building and to a taxi in no time! This was well worth the money! We definitely enjoyed this 10-day cruise. Our last cruise aboard the Golden was 5-days and simply felt too short. This was just the right length. Princess continues to impress us with her beautiful ships, warm and welcoming staff, fantastic entertainment and delicious food. While on board the Coral, we met with the Future Cruise Specialist, Jayne, and put down deposits for a future (yet named) cruise. We've decided that Princess is truly where we belong! Read Less
Sail Date February 2004
We have been on over 12 cruises over the years. 6 with Princess. Overall the cruise was nice. We had problem with check in and had to wait for 3 hours to board because of a virus on the previous cruise. That was fine and nobody on the ... Read More
We have been on over 12 cruises over the years. 6 with Princess. Overall the cruise was nice. We had problem with check in and had to wait for 3 hours to board because of a virus on the previous cruise. That was fine and nobody on the cruise got sick. We had our children with us and when we booked our trip, we were told there were no rooms available for 4 people so they said we had to book two rooms. We booked a mini suite for ourselves and they assured us the kids room would be assigned nearby. Our room was the very front of the ship on deck 11. Their room was the very back room on deck 8. To say the least we were not happy. My wife talked to the front desk and they first suggested we all share the same room. This after we were told we could not do that when we booked the trip. She explained we can not have our children that far away from us. They ended up giving us the mini suite next door, and I will say I was pleased with the way it ended up. When we booked the cruise, we asked for a mini suite. They informed us there were none left with decks, but the mini suites had floor to ceiling windows. We felt that would be fine. We had a standard outside window and was not as advertised. The mini suites were roomy, but nothing special. None of the amenities we have come to expect with a mini suite. The cruise was very nice and we enjoyed great service for dining staff and our room steward. Our largest disappointment was the end of the cruise. We had a noon flight and when we got our bag tags, we would be the third group off the ship. I went to the desk 2 times the day prior to departure and asked if we could get on an earlier group. They assured me we would have no problem at all getting to our flight. We arrived in port. We were required to go though customs at 6:45 am. I stood in a long line until 8:30 am when they finally showed up. There we no chairs for the elderly. No beverages offered. It was frustrating for all. After we completed that, we went to wait for our group to be called. Usually, they cannot wait to get you off the ship, but we were still on board at 10:00 am. They said they were having some difficulties, no official explanation, just rumors and different information from different staff members. Again, I went to the desk to see if we could get off with an earlier group. They again said we would have no problem making our flight. They finally let the first group go. Then there was a delay of about a half hour. Again, no explanation. We knew it would go quickly once they started calling groups. We could not have been more wrong. The next group they called were the people booked for local tours. They were originally scheduled near the end. They called the next group at about 11:00 am. We were still 2 groups away. We were finely able to get tags so we could leave the ship. When we got to the baggage claim, it was organized and our bags were easy to find. Then the nightmare began. Once outside, there was a mass of people waiting for transportation. We were instructed to stand in line for a taxi which were in short supply. We waited patiently, got near the front at which time the sheriff came and said what was the front is now the back of the line. I finally had to hold up a $ 20.00 bribe to get a taxi as all organization was gone and it was a free for all. We got to the airport and missed our flight by 7 minutes. We ended up stranded for 4 hours waiting on standby, and not getting on. We then spent $ 200.00 for a hotel. Food etc. We ended up spending about an additional $ 500.00. We also lost a vacation day from work and our children missed another day of school. We bought the insurance, but we were informed it only covered getting to the cruise, not home. Princess was absolutely NO HELP. In summation, loyalty means nothing to Princess. They spend a fortune to get us there in the form of advertising. Once they let you off board, they could care less. They do a good job of getting people on board and directing traffic on board. Could they not take the next step and provide organization for the trip home? It's like getting a date, enjoying all they can and being dropped off in the country once they get what they want. My wife and I are in sales. It takes a lot to get a new customer. You would think they would want to retain as many customers as possible. A good experience is shared with few. Bad shared with many. Out of 6 cruises with Princess, 4 were very good. 2 left us feeling upset. We take one or two cruises per year. We even picked out our next cruise with Princess prior to leaving the ship. We may sale with Princess again, but it will have to be the best deal going. There are many many lines out there other then princess and sister lines. We have tried to be loyal customers, but no more. We will no longer let them redirect their problems as ours. We spent over $12000.00 with them for this trip and have referred many new cruiser in their direction. No more. Saintjon Read Less
Sail Date January 2004
Embarkation: The process of getting on the Coral Princess was very quick and efficient. We arrived at Port Everglades at around 11:20am and we actually were on board at 11:50am ! Upon arrival at Port Everglades, my guess is that there ... Read More
Embarkation: The process of getting on the Coral Princess was very quick and efficient. We arrived at Port Everglades at around 11:20am and we actually were on board at 11:50am ! Upon arrival at Port Everglades, my guess is that there were 200 to 300 people waiting to get inside the building. When the doors opened, everyone got inside and since there are 2 desks per deck, with 2 lines per desk, it went fairly well. When the lady behind the desk saw our golden Captain Circle cards, she said to us "Welcome back to Princess." I thought it was a gentle thing to say... After the security check, we went to the waiting room on the second floor. We then were able to board the ship (with the usual "welcome aboard" picture taken by the ships photo crew). Since I am the kind of person who thoroughly studies deck plans before going on cruise, I didn't need help to find our cabin (C427). But, for those who can easily get lost, there were many crew members all around the ship ready to help. Public rooms: Lets go from bottom (Plaza deck 5) to top (Sports deck 16). Plaza deck 5: When you enter the ship, you are in the Princess Plaza. It is a beautiful place with an open view of decks 5, 6, 7 and 8. There are 2 panoramic elevators. You will find there: the passengers services desk, the tour desk, the future cruises sales desk, la patisserie and the Captain Circle desk. There is also the Bordeaux dining room for those who have chosen the "personal choice dining" option. The first thing that I remember when I entered the place was its cleanliness. Everything shines. And under the stairs going to the upper decks, there are changing color lights. Very fascinating to look at... Compared with the atrium of the Sun class ships (Sun Princess and Dawn Princess), the atrium of the Coral (and Island) is a bit smaller. Therefore, when there are some special offers from the boutiques on deck 6 (with many tables out of the boutiques), there is not much space to move around, especially when you are there at the time when people are going out of the dining room or out of a show from the Princess theater or the Universe lounge. Fiesta deck 6: From bow to stern: you will find the lower section of the Princess Theater; the Provence dining room (for those with fixed seated dinner option); the 2 boutiques (Calypso cove and Meridian bay) in mid-ship around the plaza atrium; the Princess casino with the adjacent boutique "Facets"; the photo gallery and photo boutique; the Explorers lounge; the lower level of Universe lounge. The two dining rooms (Bordeaux and Provence) are almost identical to those on the Sun and Dawn Princess (I can't compare with those from the Grand class ships since we had never cruised on those before). If you plan to see a show in the Universe lounge, go to the lower level. In the upper level (on deck 7), the view is obstructed by the rails. I heard that Princess is planning to replace these rails with some kind of glass in the near future... Universe lounge is a great place with the three revolving stages. The shows there were magical and the sound system provides surround effects... Promenade deck 7: From bow to stern: there is the Princess theater; the Wheelhouse bar; the crooner's bar and Churchill lounge in the atrium part of the ship; the wedding chapel; the Princess fine art gallery; Sabattini's restaurant; the Bayou cafe; and finally, the upper level of the Universe lounge, and, of course, the wrap around promenade (1 mile = 2 7/8 tours). Comparing with the Sun class ships, I can say that the Princess theater est almost identical in size while the Wheelhouse bar is a bit bigger. At the back of the Wheelhouse bar (between the bar and the atrium), there is a little maritime museum showing many artifacts from P&O... It is quite interesting to see. Churchill lounge is the place of choice for those cigar smokers. And even with people inside, there is no smell outside the lounge. Now, about Sabattini. I highly recommend that restaurant ! You won't regret it. There is only one thing to know about Sabattini: when you plan to go there, don't eat two days prior to going there !!! Why ? Because you will have plenty of food and you will feel like you have to roll out of the restaurant... There is so much food there and it is so good, you won't believe it ! It took us 3 hours to eat our dinner. The 20$ cover charge per person is not exaggerated. At the Bayou cafe, you won't eat as much as in Sabattini, but it is absolute heaven ! Try the gator ribs ! Emerald deck 8: There is the internet cafe; the library and the card room. The charge for using internet is 0.35$ per minute, and it's free if you are a Platinum Captain Circle member. The internet speed is fairly slow, and sometimes, the satellite link cuts. On our cruise, it happened once and the internet cafe was closed for almost the entire day. You can not download things from internet since there is only a screen, a keyboard and a mouse. No pc's, no diskette drive or cd drive, no hard drive... There is a printer and if you would like to print something, remember that it is 1.00$ per page. The library and the card room are quiet places. Dolphin deck 9; Caribe deck 10; Baja deck 11: these are stateroom deck and there is no public area. Aloha deck 12: There is the fun zone and the Pelican playhouse. This area is for children and youngsters. Lido deck 14: From bow to stern: There is the Horizon court (identical to the Sun class ships); the lido bar; the lido pool and 3 spas; the Lotus pool and 2 spas; the Lotus bar; the Lotus spa; the gym. This is the place where people go on sea days (specially if it is a hot sunny day !). The Lotus pool area can be covered. This is the "swim against the current" pool. This feature is not always "on" since you can find a button at the end of the pool to activate it. On the ten days we where on the Coral, we had no problems finding empty chairs. So, you do not have to be up early to "reserve" a chair... The Horizon court is a buffet style restaurant. You won't find "high class" food there, but it is ok. Really nothing to complain about. Sun deck 15: Chairs, chairs and chairs ! Just over the Lido pool, there is the Grill with burgers, hot dogs, and, of course, a bar. Between the Lido pool and the Lotus pool, you will find the golf simulator and Princess Links 9 hole miniputt. Sports deck 16: Just over the Horizon court, there is the Splash pool with chairs. If you look at the web cam from the Coral Princess on the Princess web site, this is what you see. Further back, there is the Center court (for tennis and basketball), a giant chess game and two shuffle board. Expect the place to be very windy when the ship is at sea... Stateroom (C427): We had an oceanview double with balcony stateroom (cat. BD) on the Caribe deck 10. Since we were in the mid-ship section, where the cabins are "pushed" out, we didn't have the problem of being overlooked by the people in staterooms above us. The cabin is average in size. Since we are not the kind of people who stay in their cabin the entire cruise, we didn't care about the size of it. We go there to change and to sleep. That's it ! There is enough space for all your belongings. Shore Excursions: On this cruise, our ports of call were: Nassau, Panama canal (Colon), Limon, Grand Cayman and Cozumel. In Nassau, we had an excursion into the city and on Paradise Island. The city tour was quite interesting with a visit to the fortifications. Paradise Island was very fast. We went there, took a few pictures of Atlantis Hotel and out we go ! All in all, I rate this tour as below expectation. Not recommend. In Panama canal, we had chosen the "Gatun locks & eco cruise" tour (tour A1). This was great. In the eco cruise part, you are on Gatun lake and the guide goes around the little islands found there. We saw alligators, turtles, monkeys... It was very interesting. For the "Gatun locks" part, you have to climb some stairs to go to the 3rd lock level. We had the chance to be there just as the Coral Princess passed through the locks. Very impressive ! In Limon, we had chosen the "Pineapple plantation: taste of tropics" tour (tour Q1). Unbelievable ! This was THE BEST tour we had. After that tour, you know all about pineapples ... and bananas ... Highly recommend it. The stop at Grand Cayman was cancelled because of dangerous conditions in the harbor. In Cozumel, we had chosen "Cozumel sail & snorkel" tour (tour S1). It was our second time in Cozumel and it was the second time we took this tour. Snorkeling with all those colorful fish is awesome ! If you like fun, this is the tour to choose ! Dining: We were on the traditional first sitting option. Our waiter (Ricardo, from Mexico) and our junior waiter (Frankie, from Italy) were great. Especially Frankie. Ricardo was, at first, a bit shy and we didn't know why... Finally, he told us that it was his first cruise as a waiter (he was junior waiter for 11 years with Princess). Frankie gave us very good advice on wine selection (Italian, of course !!!) and we are sure that he should get a promotion to be a waiter very soon. By comparing with previous cruises we had with Princess, we found that the waiters (not only Ricardo, but others too), were pushing us to finish our meal as soon as possible. We talked with other passengers and they felt the same way. On previous cruises, we felt that we could stay there for as long as we wanted... Not anymore. I don't know if Princess wants everyone to go with the "personal choice" dinner option... but for us, we are thinking seriously about it. On the other hand, the food was as great as it was. Of course, no two person have the same feeling about food, but for me, it was fabulous. All in all, I rate our dining experience on the Coral as average because of the waiters pushing us. Entertainment: We generally go to the Broadway style shows. So, there were quite a few of them on this cruise and we enjoyed each and every one of them. As I said earlier, the sound systems of both the Princess Theater and the Universe lounge can produce surround sounds. There were some new Princess Cruises Productions Shows and we recommend them ! They are not to be missed ! Of course, there is many more entertainment all around the ship during the day. In fact, there is so much to do that you have to make choices and you won't be able to do everything... There is one complaint I would like to tell you about: the music on the lido deck near the Lido pool is so loud that you can't hardly talk to each other. When the musicians were there (Sugar Cane: great Trinidad en Tobago duo), it's not as bad. But when they take a break, go somewhere else or you will end your cruise being deaf ! The cruise director, Richard Joseph, is quite a guy. If you're on a cruise ship where he is the CD, go see his "Ships - where are they now" lecture. It is really interesting. And he is very accessible. You can talk to him and he likes to talk with passengers. On previous cruises, I liked the other CD but I never had the chance to talk with them as much as I did with Richard. The best CD ever ! Fitness & Recreation: I didn't use these facilities but my wife did. She said it was very good. It seems there was enough equipment. Value for price: We find this cruise to be an excellent value for the price paid. Overall cruise: Excellent ! The best cruise we ever had so far. We highly recommend it ! Don't hesitate to ask questions. We will try to help everyone who plans to cruise the Panama Canal with Princess. Read Less
Sail Date January 2004
First I would like to say thank-you Princess Cruise Line for restoring my faith back in your company. I was on the Island Princess back in October of 2003 (you can read the review on this web site) and out of 18 cruise's I finally ... Read More
First I would like to say thank-you Princess Cruise Line for restoring my faith back in your company. I was on the Island Princess back in October of 2003 (you can read the review on this web site) and out of 18 cruise's I finally decided to write my 1st review. With out going into too much detail about that cruise I was approached by upper Management in an email with regards to this review, they wanted to speak with me about my time on the Island Princess. Approximately a week later I received a call from Princess Management and to my surprise we talk over half an hour regarding all of my sister and mine concerns regarding the food and service on the Island. Also at that time I mentioned that I was thinking about canceling our trip on the Coral and the one on the Tahitian Princess. After our conversation I was asked not to cancel this trip but let Princess redeem itself when I was to set sail on the Coral Princess. So here is my review of the Coral Princess, please keep in mind that this is my husband's personal opinion and mine, my sister her husband could not be with us on this trip. ARRIVAL - We flew in the day before and had a beautiful time at the Hyatt Pier 66, we took the Water Taxi around the Intercostals and spent some time shopping on Las Olas Blvd (a fabulous place to shop), then we had an excellent meal at the Pier 66 Restaurant. Day of embarkation we left the hotel around 12:00 PM and were in line to register by 12:15 PM. We waited in line about ½ hour then were given our keys to our Suite (D702) and told to get in line for the usual Security Check. The line had grown and was not moving when we found out that the boarding was not going to start until 1:00 PM because they were "still cleaning the ship". I notice that a lot of people had a piece of paper in their hands when I asked the person behind us what it was she told me it was regarding the outbreak of the Norwalk Virus on the cruise that just arrived. After another half and hour some one else came out to say we would be boarding around 2:00 PM, we actually started the boarding process around 2:15 PM which was fine with us I was much more comfortable with fact that Princess was doing such a through job to insure our cruise would be an wonderful experience instead of being sick and lock in your cabin. Once on board we proceed up to deck 9 (Dolphin Deck) to off load the carry on bags and out to the Lido Bar to have a cocktail. The ship is beautiful just as its sister ship the Island Princess, full of beautiful art and gracious lines. It was very easy for us to navigate around the ship seeing that we just did this same trip, the only problem I had was I kept going to our old cabin because it was on the other side on the Island (D703). I finally figured it out about 5 days into the cruise. Our cabin was excellent along with our cabin stewardess Lilliana; this lady was top notch one of the best in the industry. Anything we wanted she was right there with her smiling face; she always complimented us and kept our room perfect. We had a lot of room and the layout was easy to move around in, the whirlpool bath was fantastic, I used it quiet a few times. The deck is a wonderful size great for being able to sit back and watch the world go by on one of the 2 lounge chairs, we also had a table and 2 regular chairs where we were able to have breakfast everyday. FOOD—The food was excellent!!! We decided to have traditional dining on second sitting and have decided that for us this is the only way we will have our meals. We like the structure of having the same waiter and assistant waiter, ours was excellent by the second night they new just what we liked and always bought more. We had a table of 8 and we all enjoyed each other's company. The Hotel Maitre'd Francois found us every night including the night we ate a Sabatini's and twice at the Bayou. Francois made sure that we were happy with every thing, if there was anything extra we needed he was there providing it. That brings me to one night in the Bayou, my husband likes his steak rare (I mean blue) and his steak came out Medium Rare when he mention it to the waiter the waiter took it back in a matter of 8 minutes he was served with a perfect (blue) steak. The manager that night went in and cooked it himself, now that is SERVICE.... I wanted to make sure that we were not the only ones treated this special so I started watching how the staff was interacting with the other passengers on board and making sure the other passenger were receiving the same treatment. I also spoke with several people over the next 9 days and they too all were having a wonderful time and could not say enough about the food and service they were receiving on board. The food in the Lido for lunch was not bad, there was a lot to offer and it was always warm and tasty, but I have to say my favorite is the pizza along with an Ice Cold Beer sitting by the pool and having fun watching the pool games.... SERVICE—The service was top notch, everyone had a smile on their face and always went out of their way to say either good morning, afternoon or evening. Sometimes they just wanted to hear about your day. With all the stress that they had to be under because of the last cruise having over 130 people sick with the Norwalk virus they were fabulous, as if nothing ever happened. EXCURSIONS - We played golf in Jamaica and Grand Cayman, we loved Jamaica we had a wonderful caddy that really help out my game. When we returned back to the ship we were approached by a few people that were on this excursion with us that were not happy with the way things were handled. I am not sure what actually happened but I was told that the tour company took them off the course early and they were not allow to finish their round. Later that night I received a letter in my mailbox with an apology from the Tour Desk and they stated that they were looking into it. The next day we received another letter stating we were getting back 40% of our money because of what had happen. We then played in Grand Cayman the Manger at the golf course treated everyone pretty bad when we had arrived, I guess there was some confusion as to when we were actually to be there ready to tee off. We received another letter of apology from the Tour Desk and they were checking into the problem we never heard what actually happened but we still had a wonderful time. In Cozumel we swam with the Dolphins, I can't say enough about this excursion. It was one of the best excursions I have ever been on and I HIGHLY recommend it to everyone. I know it is expensive but it is well worth the experience, to able to hold on to their fins and let them pull you around the lagoon there is just no words to explain the excitement. All I can say is "JUST DO IT". In Limon we did our own thing. We went Zip Lining at Almonds and Corals and they are really great people. The owner is Aurora very genuine, sweet and hard worker, her son Dani and Raffel picked us up at the dock around 8:30 AM and whisked us to Almonds and Corals. Along the way Dani and Raffel gave us so much information about their country, rainforest, animals and all the activities to do in costa Rica. After we were done with the Zip line, which took about 1 ½ hour to do, they had juice and fresh fruit waiting for us. After that Dani took us sightseeing and show us beautiful butterflies, sloths, toucans and monkeys. We were back at the ship 2 hours before we had to be. This was another excursion that is something not to be missed the only problem is that you have to do it on your own. We actually had 2 other couples that ended up joining us and one gentleman was 76 years old and he had a ball.... ENTERTAINMENT—We only went to a few of the shows, I still think the entertainment on any cruise ship can use some brushing up on. The Island Party was excellent; it was especially nice seeing James the Deputy Cruise Director again. James was on the Island the same time we were and I know someday in my travels we will run into him again but this time he will be the CD on board, funny, energetic and a very down to earth person. This cruise was fantastic, I want to send out a special thanks to Mr. Caluori, Adam Gorst, Francois and the entire staff for making this cruise one of our best. My sister and her husband are still having their reserves but I think once they get back from our future cruise to Tahiti in November they will have to agree that Princess Cruise Line is "where I belong"..... If any one has any questions please do not hesitate to email me. Read Less
Sail Date January 2004
The following review is an account of our cruise January 12, 2004 on the Coral Princess sailing from Ft. Lauderdale Florida for 10 days in and out of the Panama Canal. My wife and I are Platinum members of the Princess Cruises repeaters ... Read More
The following review is an account of our cruise January 12, 2004 on the Coral Princess sailing from Ft. Lauderdale Florida for 10 days in and out of the Panama Canal. My wife and I are Platinum members of the Princess Cruises repeaters program, as we have sailed on Princess seven times including this sailing. There were some good things and some bad things of which we shall attempt to point out and hopefully give you future cruisers something to think about, look forward to and avoid in your future travels. This was sailing number 33 for us. Embarkation Our trip started January 12, 2004. The embarkation process was very swift and pleasant. Our travel to the ship was by Cruise Connection Bus from Ft. Myers Fl. We boarded the bus at 8:00 am and arrived at Port Everglades at around 10:15. The building was not open for check in until about 11:00 am, so we waited outside in line for about an hour and a half. Once we got inside, it was very smooth. Lines moved fast and before you know it we were aboard. We were assigned cabin # A312 a verandah cabin located on Aloha deck. We had signed up for PERSONAL CHOICE dinning, as we had excellent experience on the Grand Princess, just a few months before. In fact this was the third sailing in which we taken PERSONAL CHOICE dinning. In reviewing the information in the cabin, we found a precautionary health advisory regarding Norwalk Virus. Our luggage came rather quickly and we were able to get unpacked and settled early in the day. So we then proceeded to the Horizon Room for lunch. The next thing on the agenda was the safety boat drill. We were assembled in one of the show rooms with life jacket in hand. The entire exercise took only a short time. Sail Away That evening we went to a bar before dinner to have a drink. As we entered the dinning room, we were greeted by on of the staff. We requested a table for two. We were seated in a most uncomfortable table that had another table for two only 6 inches between them. The people at that table were looking for privacy, as were we. But we found none that evening. We did find a most attractive ship, well appointed and very elegant. Day Two. Nassau The day started of good, We had breakfast in the Horizon Court. While waiting for the ship to be cleared, we did a little more exploring. We found ourselves in the forward enclosed pool area. A really beautiful space on the ship. I also noticed a bar selling $3.00 Bloody Mary drinks. After about 15 minutes a young waiter stopped and asked if we wanted a drink. I said yes, we would like two of the $3.00 Bloody Mary drinks. He then asked what kind of vodka we wanted in them. I assumed we had a choice so I said we would take Stoli or Absolute. After a 30 minute wait, he returned with the drinks and I signed the ticket without looking. While drinking the drinks I reviewed the ticket and noticed they wee much higher about $6.00 each. I then went over to the bar tender, ticket in hand and asked her to explain, as there was a misunderstanding. She did explain that when you order a "called liquor" in a drink, it is much higher. I explained what had happened and what I had ordered, and she advised to come to her in the future. That evening we went to the Bayou Restaurant, one of the select extra cost dinning rooms. The meal was OK, until the dessert came. The waiter brought my wife's dessert and told me it would be a minute before mine came out. After a 30-minute wait and after my wife had finished her dessert, and we did not see one waiter person, we left the restaurant, rather disappointed. We had paid $10.00 extra each for the dinner, plus $10.00 each for the day's tips. All in all, not a great experience. Day Three and Four at Sea. Days at sea were very pleasant, for the most part. We did experience two run ins with the Dinning Room Staff in our table selections for dinners. The second night a young fellow seated us next to the kitchen door, no doubt to retaliate for our complaining about the seating situation the night before. Again on one evening we went to the Martini Bar and requested two vodka martinis on the rocks made with absolute vodka. We got two gin martinis on the rocks made with bar gin, but charged extra for the called liquor. The second evening we went to the Explorers Lounge to watch passenger Jeopardy show. We again ordered two drinks and mine was ok, but my wife's drink was again not what she had ordered. At that point, we gave up. It did seem the problem was a staff of waiters that were inexperienced and had a problem with the English language. Day Five. Panama Canal What an experience, We would recommend to everyone who has not seen it to do so. Additionally, we took a tour to Panama City. It was without a doubt, one of the most informative tours we have taken. This did make the trip worthwhile. It is a true marvel. One that each person should experience. The people are very friendly and the guides are really caring and informative. Well worth the money. When we returned to our cabin, again there was a new warning about Norwalk Virus from the Ship's Doctor. Day Six, Limon Costa Rica We had booked an early morning tour through and around the city of Limon. We had an early breakfast in the Horizon Court and made our way to the mustering area for the tour. We boarded a large bus, which ended up only half full. Our guide was a local female, who was not fluent in English. The bus pulled out and truly there is not much to see in this port. We stopped along the roadside to look at bananas with plastic bags covering them. And to look for monkeys in the trees at another location along side the road. Then all HELL broke loose. My poor wife had contracted the Norwalk Virus and lost everything from breakfast and likely dinner from the night before. We received little aid from the tour guide, and had to pay for a cab to return to the ship. The ship did send an ambulance to meet us in route back to the ship. The medical staff was very accommodating and provided us with medication and a list of do's and don'ts regarding the virus. The rest of that day we spent in our room. Food and drink were not issues. Day Seven, at Sea. We spent day seven in our cabin and again, no interest in food. Surprisingly, we never heard from anyone in the Medical Office after our initial encounter. Day Eight, Grand Cayman We were again pretty much confined to our cabin. Our ship stopped in the harbor, but were called off. The Captain reported over the public address system, as the ship was sailing off, that the seas in the Harbor were too rough to unload passengers. I found that interesting, as at least one more ship was there that did not sail away. Others reported that there were three ships in the harbor. Day Nine, Cozumel Finally, we were able to eat again and did take a cab downtown to do some shopping and get some air. Cozumel is a neat island and one of the best for anyone on a Western Caribbean Cruise. That evening at dinner, we were fortunate enough to meet some really nice passengers from New Jersey. We did end up in the dining room and as luck would have it, we were seated at one of the 6-inch separated tables and they at the other. A most fortunate peace of luck for us. Day Ten, at Sea. We were instructed by the Medical Department not to eat in the Horizon Court on Lido Deck, as that environment is conducive to the Norwalk Virus. The ship had the wait staff getting the food for you. All you did was walk around carrying your tray. The first day out they had positioned a device at the entrance and stationed an employee there to instruct all who entered to wave there hand under this bowl and a spray of some type disinfectant would drop. This you were to rub your hands together, and it would eliminate the virus from you hands. It probably worked well, but it was a bit too late to help most passengers who contracted the virus. In any event, the last day on board was a most pleasant one for us, although we were both quite wore out from the previous several days and the virus. Day Eleven, Ft. Lauderdale Our arrival at Port Everglades was welcome; we had really had enough at that point. The debarkation was smooth as usual with Princess Cruises. We were off the ship by 9:30am. We waited for over an hour before the Bus came and loaded us for the return trip to Ft. Myers. We finally arrived home in the afternoon. Conclusion The illness was just one of the many things that we experienced on this trip. I failed to mention that we had taken a seven-day cruise on the Grand Princess in September of 2003. That trip was altered by an approaching Hurricane. We had purchased the trip to go Eastern Caribbean and at the last minute the itinerary was switched to Western. This cruise was sold with the first port being Cartagena Columbia and it was dropped because of a restaurant bombing. I had called the Captains Circle Club just after I found out Cartagena had been dropped and spoke with a young lady who advised me that if I had a problem I should write a letter to Customer Services. I called my travel agent and she suggested and provided a telephone number for me to call. I did call and spoke with a nice young man. I explained that we had suffered disappointment when the Grand had to be re routed to the western Caribbean and now this one was already changing a port. He was very asymptotic and told me that all he could do was get us a cabin change and that we should expect to see the change come across the internet in about 7 to 10 days. We told him that would really be nice as we really enjoyed Princess Cruises and it would relieve some of the disappointment. We did not get the change in cabins. We did however, decide that we were not going to let that ruin our trip. It seemed to us that everything that could go wrong went wrong. From the Bar service, to the alternate dinning experience, to the Personal Dinning aggravation, and then topped off by the Virus and missing three days of our vacation. When we arrived home, I wrote a letter to Princess Cruises Customer Services Department explaining our concerns. It took one month to get a reply, and the Customer Services Representative said in the letter that they regret to learn of our illness and that it was an unfortunate situation caused by a very common illness currently prevalent in many areas and beyond the control of Princess Cruises and while they sympathize with our unfortunate experience, they find no negligence on the part of Princess Cruises and cannot offer compensation. We were flabbergasted. We had NOT expressed a desire for any compensation, and rather we were upset and disappointed do to the dropping of Ports of Call. The fiasco in Personal Choose Dinning, the dessert situation in the Bayou alternative dinning room. The Bar Waiter Service that screwed up so many drinks and now the total lack of customer service when you have a problem or complaint. We also told him that we would likely not take Princess Cruises again, if a sincere apology were not forth coming. We also sent a letter to the CEO of Princess Cruises, to date, no apology has not come nor even an acknowledgement of receipt of our latest letter has surfaced. It has been almost 6 weeks. We can say that we enjoyed the first five cruises on Princess Cruises. And as long as things are good on board and you do not have a problem they do a very good job. But God forbid you have a complaint or problem, they will not deal with it. We are still waiting to hear from them. Likely, we will be a lot older and a lot grayer before we do. Also, They will be a lot older and grayer before we go on their lines again. It is a real shame that one or two representatives of an organization can totally turn a formerly great product into such a distasteful experience. We have very fond memories of our past accounts with Princess Cruises. It takes years to build a reputation and moments to destroy it. Read Less
Sail Date January 2004
Just got back from an amazing adventure. We sailed from Ft Lauderdale round trip, passing through partial Panama Canal. Our stops were Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Costa Rica, Panama and Jamaica. We were at first very sad that Colombia was ... Read More
Just got back from an amazing adventure. We sailed from Ft Lauderdale round trip, passing through partial Panama Canal. Our stops were Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Costa Rica, Panama and Jamaica. We were at first very sad that Colombia was cancelled because we have done Jamaica several times. But hey, better safety first. We loved our ship. It turned out most of the people were quite old, but we were there to enjoy each other so we didn't really care the age of the other passengers. They were all very nice and we were mostly just with each other. The ship has almost all balconies, our first. The room was a little larger than I remembered my other cabins on Princess. I loved the configuration and found room for everything. We ordered coffee each morning and sat on our balcony and "watched the waves go by". It was so peaceful. The food was as good as we remembered. I do not like seafood so it is more of a challenge for me to find something. I ended up eating a lot of beef. But everything was cooked perfect and my husband, who adores seafood, seemed to think he was in food heaven. He tried several new dishes and enjoyed each one of them. And the desserts. Don't get me started! I think we had souffle five nights!! We did think we were in heaven on the dessert issue. They are always amazed and how good they all are on every single night. We had great waiters that added to the enjoyment of dining. We chose to do shore excursions in Grand Cayman, Costa Rica and Panama. Anyone who loves to snorkel or just wanting to try needs to do it here. We snorkeled practically in front of the ship. But it was wonderful and I think better than Hawaii. In Limon we went on a Jungle Train. It was fun and informative. We wanted to do the Aerial Tram in the Rainforest but worried about the time. The only shopping is in front of the ship so go ahead and do a long excursion. Next time we will be in the trees. In Panama we watched a ship go through the locks and then took a boat around part of Gatun Lake and saw many kinds of monkeys. It was fun, but again, next time we will get a little braver and go on a larger excursion. Spend the money, you may never get back. The shopping for Panama and Limon was just in front of the ship but lots of great deals and fun to buy. We bought a little bit of everything. Did walk in to town in Limon to mail postcards but the shopping wasn't any better than by the ship. In Jamaica we went in, thinking of a little shopping and then back to the ship. Well, I ended up getting a surprise from my husband. He bought me a diamond and a ring to have it set into. What a surprise that was. Guess everything happens for a reason and there was a reason for us to return to Jamaica. Told you it was a romantic cruise!! I can't wait to return to visit the Panama cruise and this ship. Coral Princess was wonderful. It had all the other "usuals" for a ship, the bingo, games and gambling but we didn't make it to any of them. They had the Wheelhouse Bar hopping with excitement every night that looked fun, but by the time we ate and raced to all the entertainment, we just didn't have the energy. But whatever you are looking for, I am sure you would find it here. Coral Princess is a 5 star ship for me. Let me know if you have any questions. Jan Read Less
Sail Date October 2003
Coral Princess Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.3
Dining 4.0 4.0
Entertainment 4.0 3.9
Public Rooms 4.0 4.5
Fitness Recreation 4.0 4.0
Family 5.0 4.0
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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