422 Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades) Princess Coral Princess Cruise Reviews

This was our fourth Princess Cruise in three years, and 14th cruise overall. For this experience, we were somewhat disappointed. Our mini suite was a good sized, but the furnishings were in need of replacing. For example, the sofa was ... Read More
This was our fourth Princess Cruise in three years, and 14th cruise overall. For this experience, we were somewhat disappointed. Our mini suite was a good sized, but the furnishings were in need of replacing. For example, the sofa was dirty and cushions fairly beat up. Our room steward (Ramon), while seemingly pleasant, provided basic cleaning but nothing special. On embarkation day, I asked for robes, which he delivered that evening. Upon our arrival, the chairs and the hand railing on our balcony were filthy, and called Ramon's attention to it. He nicely explained that embarkation day was a difficult turnover day to get everthing done, but he would tend to it. However, the next day after he cleaned but never touched the railing or the chairs, I cleaned them all myself. But on day 4 of our cruise, Ramon entered our locked cabin while we were inside with the "do not disturb" sign in the door (ugh) and said he was there to clean the balcony. In fact, on a couple of occasions Ramon walked unannounced into our cabin while we were there when our "do not disturb" sign was on our door. Separately, mid cruise during an at-sea day, my husband lost his on board cruise ID card which you use for all purchases. He went to the customer service desk, and they issued him a new card. When he questioned what if someone found his old card, the attendant told him it would not work because the actual card had been deactivated in their computer system. My husband then questioned about the services on board where crew members simply jot down your folio number, rather than swipe the card. The crew member curtly stated that no one on board does that, and that all crew swipes through the card reader. At that point the crew member got an attitude as if my husband was bothering them. For the next few days, my husband and I chuckled with each other about how many times we both used our ship ID card when each crew member just jotted down our folio number without swiping it. Additionally, we daily checked our on board account. On the last night of our cruise, a CHARGE (not ours) for Sabatini's (specialty dining) for $25 showed up on my husband's account, Apparently whomever snagged my husband's lost card decided to use it and have a special dinner "on us"; and yes PRINCESS CRUISE LINES it was charged to us by your crew jotting down the folio number and not swiping the card as we had feared. Luckily, my husband caught it and promptly went to the customer service desk and disputed the charge, which they credited back to us. Perhaps your processes need to be revisited????? For me, itt's not that passengers have issues while on board (that's assumed), it's how the cruise line deals with the customers that is our complaint. And the customer service desk crew on board the Coral Princess FAILED both on process and tone, to the point that we will select a different cruise line for our next cruise. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
For starters, let me say everyone should visit the Panama Canal, via a Cruise Ship. It is one of the most spectacular places on earth. However, be cautious of the WHOLE Itinerary. Our itinerary looked great, Aruba, Cartagena, Panama, ... Read More
For starters, let me say everyone should visit the Panama Canal, via a Cruise Ship. It is one of the most spectacular places on earth. However, be cautious of the WHOLE Itinerary. Our itinerary looked great, Aruba, Cartagena, Panama, Costa Rica, and Jamaica with 4 days at Sea. When the shipped Docked in Aruba, we were there for 4.5 hours. We didn't have enough time to really enjoy the island. PLUS, the Tour Guide never shut up. He spoke aimlessly about nothing. Caratgena was nice, but the shore excursion added to much fluff. We didn't need to pay to see local cultural dancers for 10 minutes, break dancers for 10 minutes, and a torture chamber on vacation. I would avoid the Palace of Inquisition. When our tour guide explained how they would tie the ropes to a certain part of the man, then stretch them out, let's just say I didn't need to hear that. Colon, Panama was nothing more that a supply stop. We also had to wait for those folks that did shore excursions. The Panama Canal was AWESOME!!!!!!! Limon, Costa Rica. The Shore Excursion described was NOT the one we got. While we visited the Banana Plantation, the Scenic Drive and Photop was NOT what we expected. It was nothing more that the bus racing to get back on time. We were shown some beautiful coastline, but NO stopping. It was awful. Jamaica was OK. We had been there several times, so this was no biggie. The Photo Team was fantastic. Very informative and ALWAYS willing to answer questions. Some of the Cruise Director's Staff, including the Cruise Director herself, were terribly boring. Some of the Junior ones were great! The Wait Staff, for the most part was Horrendous.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
Coral Princess Cruise Report Panama Canal (partial) Dec 28, 2013 ARRIVAL – Ft Lauderdale is a zoo, perhaps it was just because it was holiday season or because it was a Saturday Cruise day departure (several boats in port) or maybe ... Read More
Coral Princess Cruise Report Panama Canal (partial) Dec 28, 2013 ARRIVAL – Ft Lauderdale is a zoo, perhaps it was just because it was holiday season or because it was a Saturday Cruise day departure (several boats in port) or maybe this is normal. Shuttle busses ever where with little trailer in tow for the luggage. We got a shuttle from our hotel, (candlewood suites) the scheduled “All Stars Shuttle Service” appeared at the holiday inn express next to us but did not stop at our hotel for some reason even though we book this the night before with the reception desk. 15 minutes later the clerk called and they had another shuttle picking up a group at another hotel and they just stuffed us in there. Ok here the shocker, as we were first on the new shuttle our luggage was on first, when we were dropped off at the terminal we were second to get out and the traffic was too complex for the driver to drop the other people off first. So getting to our stud he was climbing over other peoples luggage and jumping up and down on somebody’s else’s bag… thinking of the four bottles of wine and the bathroom toiletries in our luggage we were speechless. This goes back to be careful what you put into your bags. DEPARTURE – speaking of wine, we had four bottles one in each of our four checked bottles of luggage, we were prepared to pay the corkage, nope not a notice of it. We enjoyed the bottle of champagne New Years Eve and the others in our room. Ok poured it in our room and took it on deck. We got there on our 10:00 shuttle at 11:30 and was loaded on the ship about 12:10, quick easy and seamless, avoided the first waive of photos. Wanted to bring in a case of Water and Diet Pepsi but got turned around and never got a chance to purchase it, was planning on putting in my carry on. Could have taped together and checked it. THE ROOM – Ours was a mini suite, mid aft deck 9th deck D606 and was awesome. Although the buffet was 4 decks up and ½ a km forward, a lap of the ship is under a km or 1/3 mile (more on this later). Metal walls so bring magnets to hold up your notices and such, bathroom hangers to put in the toiletries. Safe was small but sufficient and easy to program great for cash, wallets and passports. Loads of hangers, was surprised as we brought extra but not necessary. An absence of drawers but there were shelves in the closet that worked out fine, bags under the bed and we were off to explore. DAY 1 THE SHIP – you are accosted the first day with buy a coffee card or a pop card or the ultimate ++ smoothie card, and wine package. We got the silver wine package for 10 bottles AWESOME DEAL, got the Coffee card as I like the good coffee, AWESOME DEAL and spouse got the pop/smoothie card,,, not so much a good deal. With shore days and recovery days she found herself ordering more then she wanted just to get her value and that was a lot of extra calories that she had to pay penance for. First thing first get a bucket of beer and make sure you have a full beverage for the 3:00 mandatory muster meeting. Yep I was the envy of the entire group, didn’t mind it at all. SCOOTERS VS STROLERS – Tons of silver hair, blue hair and no hair (the last would be me) but being on the younger side of the 50+ crowd. There was an absence of kids this event but it seemed that what once they made their appearance at the pool their parents were nowhere to be found, I get it kids will be kids but without parents there, they became nutbars. If you really choose to bring your kids on a cruise, do not let them run amuck so you can have your “me time”, that is what a Disney Cruise line is for. THE POOL - I know the chair game and will play along but seriously one couple had a set of chairs in the pool area, the shade and then under MUTS… seriously reserved 6 chairs for two people, this was not an isolated incident. Sea days at the pool is like a collage kegger, save some aggravation book the Sanctuary on Dec 15, peaceful bliss. HOWEVER on a port day the pool deck is awesome, we chose to stay back one day and it was empty and perfect. Until 3:00pm when the parentless kids started to show up… UGH DINNER/FOOD – the horizon buffet was just the worst choice you could make, the food was intuitional, don’t get me wrong, it was edible, but it was steam tray food made for the masses. The Main Dinning Room, this is where you need to eat breakfast and lunch, food was fresh made to order and very nice. We chose early seating traditional with 8 person table. Our table mates were incredible and very interesting the food was spectacular and we often doubled up on appetizers and deserts, a few people doubled on entrees and shared the extra. There was always something interesting on the menu. The share an intimate evening we also dined at Sabatini;s and the Bayou Café, both a premium price of $20 each and worth it. Service and food was impeccable and worth the extra coin. The late night pizza hit the right spot watching the movies under the stars. Breakfest room service… AWESOME…. Tried to do the chef’s table but it was a no go as there was not enough interest. PET PEEVE PRINCESS--- stop jacking up the prices and then don’t put it on because there is not enough interest… SERIOUSLY think that one through… JERKS… ENTERTAINMENT – Stand up productions shown, well worth attending all of them, enjoyed them immensely. We also hit the bingo, a spousal mandatory function, why I’m not so sure. And I hit the texas hold’em tourney. With only one table this was sold out in a line 15 minutes before signup was open, needless to say we did it only once. The feature of the cruise was MUTS movies under the stars, this was a really cool way to wind down the evening. Football game on the big screen was perfect with a bucket of beer and mucho fans. Never got to the wheelhouse bar but heard it was nicknamed the “wheelchair bar” not sure appropriate but a little funny. Had a martini (or two) at Crooners and the choices were fantastic. Had a grey goose dirty with blue cheese stuffed olives…. to die for… was cool listening to the music in the atrium, very classy. We did an art auction but bailed 10 minutes into it, thank goodness Wanted to have a cigar in the Churchill Lounge but it was seriously over crowded, seen smokers out on deck 7, could not blame them, ventilation in the little lounge was sub par at best. Or you could have a smoke in early morning but it’s not the same. EXCURSIONS – we did a private trip in Aruba tried to get on the trikes but that was sold out. Booked Madi’s tour, she was awesome but it’s not a recommend or a repeat. Booded the Princess canal tour to the pacific and that is a MUST DO… there was something about being able to touch the canal locks as we descended to the Pacific Ocean. Booked the Hacienda tour in Costa Rica, as a photographer have never seen so much eye candy, I could have spent days there. The traditional methods of agriculture were shown, bananas, macadamia nuts, coffee, and sugar cane… well worth this sleeper trip. LOTUS SPA – Booked two appointments there a double close shave and scalp treatment for me and some therapy facial thing for her. Ok for a guy’s point of vie who has not paid more then $20 at a barber, this was pretty cool, the whole hot towel thing, the face paste and scalp message was very relaxing, not sure it was worth the coin but well worth the life experience. Spouse was very satisfied with her treatment, didn’t go into details, don’t need to know. Afterwards we were presented a list of absolutely need to have products, I was recommended the guck for puffy eyes and shaving oil scalp treatment and $550 later, it was all so necessary. After I regained my breath from choking and laughing at the same time I passed on the offer to purchase, Spouse got a $440 sell up which she passed on as well. DOWNERS- did I mention the Chef’s table or lack there of… Parentless kids, Greedy lounge hoggers at the pool, $12 per person per day auto tips +15% of anything we purchased, then the bill presented to you to offer another gratuity on top of all that. Overselling products at the spa after a treatment, still have a pulled muscle from all the laughing and choking on that one. Way too many photo options at steep prices UPPERS – Our room steward Nick… awesome job dude, slipped him a $20 for a job well done. The 24 hour international Café, perfect coffee and snacks and free herbal tea for the spouse… Breakfast room service on time, every time, the entire friendly staff, OVERALL IMPRESSION – very happy to have selected the Princess Cruise Lines, not sure I will hit the 50 cruise mark, would like to do the Alaskan cruise next but that’s a few years out….   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
We have sailed Princess before and been very happy with great food and entertainment. This cruise was very nice but we did not feel it was up to par with the one to Alaska. That could be because now I am on a gluten free diet and while the ... Read More
We have sailed Princess before and been very happy with great food and entertainment. This cruise was very nice but we did not feel it was up to par with the one to Alaska. That could be because now I am on a gluten free diet and while the dining room head waiter was extremely helpful and made suggestions to tell me what the chef could fix for me or how he could adapt the meal to be gluten free, we did not always eat in the dining room. The food choices in the Horizon Buffet were numerous for the average eater but I did not see anything gluten free other than some of the fish, cheese, salad and fruit. That was pretty limiting for that amount of time on a ship. The gluten free pizza cooked to order was good for the first two slices. After that, I didn't like the taste. I know I read on a review that the person on a GF diet loved the pizza. I didn't. It is possible she had them put meat on it that gave it more flavor. I just had some veggies on it as I am trying to keep my meat consumption down. There was one GF dessert each day. Some were very good. Some were OK and some were not very good. Everyone has different tastes though. The entertainment was very good. My husband and I saw the magician, the mentalist and a comedian. They were all very good. The vocalists, singers and dancers were also very good. We didn't care for the very first show of the cruise. We feel there was more talent there than that show revealed. We went to Aruba, Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica and Jamaica. We were very disappointed with the snorkeling tour, arranged through Princess, in Aruba. The catamarans were too crowded, the snorkeling site had a few other cruise boats and everyone descended in the same place. Plus, there were divers over the wreck that was supposed to be one of the high points of the excursion. I realize that the hurricane did a lot of damage to the reef but I would assume that Princess knew that so there would not be much to see. There wasn't. The boat did not have a mask cleaner and the masks fogged up almost immediately, even cleaning it in the ocean. The fish were nothing special and the wreck was very crowded, not to mention dive bubbles coming up into your face. I think the write up of the excursions could have a little more detail in them. The excursions in Panama, Costa Rica and Jamaica were a lot of fun and I would recommend them. We arranged our own tour in Cartegena, Colombia, with Dora de Explorer. It was a small tour of 13 in a very comfortable, air conditioned bus. Dora was wonderful. She wanted to make sure that everyone on the bus enjoyed themselves as much as possible. I would recommend her in a heartbeat. If you are interested, you can read more about that tour on Trip Advisor. Going through the Canal was an amazing experience. The port lecturer gave information about it before and during our journey through the locks. It was great. We went on a boat on Gatun Lake and saw three kinds of monkeys and birds. The excursion in Costa Rica was a tram ride through the rainforest and a boat ride to see wildlife. We saw a family of howler monkeys, two small caiman crocodiles, a turtle, birds, an iguana and a sloth. That was also wonderful. It included a very nice lunch (which almost all was GF for me.) We went tubing down a river in Jamaica and we thoroughly enjoyed it. The ride was very relaxing and safe. The innertubes are very tough. As our tour guide said, the water was 'refreshing.' The river guides who accompanied us were very social, personable and funny. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
For those of you who want me to get down to brass tacks immediately, I will say this was overall a wonderful cruise. The ship was in beautiful shape, very classy and clean. This was my third Princess cruise and my 5th overall. I have never ... Read More
For those of you who want me to get down to brass tacks immediately, I will say this was overall a wonderful cruise. The ship was in beautiful shape, very classy and clean. This was my third Princess cruise and my 5th overall. I have never been on the Coral before. We had a balcony room on deck 8 and an interior room, and although as many of you have read, the showers are crazy small, everything else was fine. Plenty of space for clothing, nice sized balcony, comfortable beds. Water pressure in the showers was amazing. Never ran out of hot water. Embarkation was fast and friendly, although for some reason, they never took our luggage. So when we embarked we had it with us. That turned out to be good, because our rooms were ready right away so we could get in and unpack immediately. I was happy about that because I wanted to change into shorts and now I could! Our room steward, Pedro, was fabulous. Always smiling and greeted us by name. Very sweet to our kids, and spoiled them with towel animals and chocolates. He made sure we had whatever we asked for. He even found some packing material so we could safely take our bottle of champagne we won home. A+ for Pedro! I will say that EVERY crew member I ran into greeted me with a "Good morning" "Happy New Year" or some other kind remark. Everyone smiled and seemed genuinely happy. That was SO nice. It really affects the quality of your overall cruise. I know this from past experience with another cruise line, where this did not happen and it really spoiled the trip. We were hoping our kids would be upgraded from their interior to a balcony, since this ship was not full, but figured that maybe the balconies do not all fit 3 people. No biggie. The new layout of Horizon Court is wonderful. Someone really took notes on what did not work in the past with the buffet and fixed it. I never had to wait for more than a few seconds to get any food, with the exception of the omelets station in the morning, but they have to cook them as you order, so it was fine. The food up at the court is good, not great, but good. I will give kudos for 2 things that I noticed: one was that the salads (green salads) were always very crisp and fresh. They do not skimp with iceberg lettuce either- they used mixed greens or romaine. Nice! Two was the fruit- the watermelon and pineapple and melons were always fresh and ripe. Good job! The desserts were not very good, much better in the MDR. I will say that the sugar-free desserts where surprisingly good- usually better than the regular desserts at HC. The entertainment I noticed was geared more towards the older demographic- since that makes up the majority of cruisings population is I guess why they go that route. The first show was called "What a Swell Party" which consisted of a number of old (classic) show tunes like "Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend" and "Let's Misbehave". I found it to be a bit boring and dated, but I am not the demographic they are trying to please, so. The best show is "On the Bayou", great sets, costumes, etc. Don't miss that one. "MotorCity" was their ode to Motown, which was pretty good. "Ye Olde Pub Show" was awful. Yikes! I am not a prude, but I don't like some cruises ship's female dancers costumes (barely there), as I think it's unnecessary. I am proud that Princess does not denigrate their female dancers that way. If other cruise lines want to have their female dancers in thongs, then let's have the guys in thongs, too! The comedian was really funny the first night, passable the second show. The mentalist was amazing, and the magician was good, except some of this tricks were revealed inadvertently by lighting, so that kind of took the amazement away. The staff run game shows were great, very funny and entertaining. The other games/trivia were fine, except one staff member didn't "believe" in prizes- so when we won, we got nothing! :( Not cool. The ports were nice, and we went on 3 excursions through Princess- the Cartagena old city tour and canoe trip through the mangroves, in Grand Cayman, the Dolphin Cove/Stingray City tour and the Panama Canal Monkey Island trip. I liked the old city tour, I could have lived without the canoe trip. Did not see much wildlife (birds, a crab), and the mangroves smelled really bad. Our tour guide was great, Willy Guttierez. I can see why he has won awards. The Dolphin Cove/Stingray City tour was great. Keep in mind that if you do Dolphin Cove and want ANY pictures, make sure you have $100 on you. You can purchase one picture for $25 or the whole CD for $100. I will say the pictures are really good, though. Worth it for me. The monkey island trip was not so great, as we only saw 3 monkeys total- all in one sighting- and our tour guide did not bring any fruit to entice them. Another boat guide did, and he had a monkey jump on his boat. The resort they took us to was OK- the hotel was nice, but our tour guide was pointing out time shares she said had been refurbished, and all of us were looking at each other and saying "they have been?!" Yikes. In Aruba we went with Sonny Binns on a tour we designed, with 2 other couples from CC. It was great. Sonny was very informative and very nice. Definitely recommend him. In Costa Rica we had planned to go to the National Park via city bus, but got nervous and went on a canal tour instead. Our tour guide was good and we found many animals, including 3 sloths, howler monkeys, Basilisk lizards, bird and iguanas. He was bale to get the boat right up to the sloths and we could get at the bow and get good pictures. One nice thing about Princess is that when you get back to the ship, they have cold water and cool cloths for you- which is so nice on a hot day! Spoiled rotten with Princess! Food in the MDR- for the most part, I'd say very good. Some things were just okay, while others were fabulous, so they get a very good overall. If you like meat, I highly recommend the Roast Beef with Yorkshire Pudding- SO GOOD. I also recommend the Filet Mingon- cooked to perfection! Of course their fettucine alfredo is to die for, as is my favorite dessert, the Princess Love Boat Dream. Our waiter was great, Suwit from Thailand. Made great food recommendations and was very sweet to our kids. I preferred lunch in the MDR to HC, as the food was so much better. My son loved the pizzeria and ate lunch there every day. The grill was also good, good burgers, good fries and hot dogs. MUTS was great. They played "Now You See Me"- really enjoyed that one, "The Lone Ranger", "Pacific Rim", "The Great Gatsby" and had some music concerts and sports on as well. Loved the popcorn and the warm cookies and milk. Again, spoiled rotten by Princess! I did wish they had more deck hands passing out blankets, as most of the time we could not find one. The photographers were good, if you can, find Natalie- she will take a great portrait. Very good at posing people to look their best. Complaints? A few- no one is perfect. I was not happy that the Churchill Lounge (smokers lounge) was located in the atrium. Every time you walked past it you could smell smoke, and during disembarkation, we sat in Crooner's Bar which is right across from the atrium and got a sore throat from the smoke. We were supposed to wait in the Wheelhouse Bar, but there was no space left. Also, during our Panama Canal transit, the loudspeaker system was not working well and the man they had aboard to tell us all about the canal during the transit could not be heard- you got every 3rd or 4th word he said, which was extremely annoying. I really wanted to hear what he had to say. I was glad I had done a lot of research on the canal before I went, or I'd have been really ticked off. My DH was furious, because he called down to the front desk to complain, hoping they'd fix it, and they acted like they didn't know what he was talking about- "they are not making any announcements" they told him. I thought he was going to go down and choke them. I also thought they could have done more for the New Year's Party. No champagne (unless you bought it), no balloons, just streamers. One of our previous Princess cruises was over New Year's and they had the champagne waterfall that night with free champagne, a balloon drop at midnight, etc. But, other than those things, I thought Princess did a great job and I am looking forward to my next cruise- on Princess, of course! Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
All in all, this was a great cruise. We drove from Wisconsin to spend Christmas with our son and grandkids. We arrived four days before the sailing and played tourist and spent some good family time. Embarkation was a snap. Our son drove ... Read More
All in all, this was a great cruise. We drove from Wisconsin to spend Christmas with our son and grandkids. We arrived four days before the sailing and played tourist and spent some good family time. Embarkation was a snap. Our son drove us over dropped us off. Traffic was really efficiently handled. They took our bags and from that point on we had minimal delays. They were measuring the time to get through the check in process so we were given a card with the start time (12:00 pm was penciled in—it was actually 11:55 am by my watch). We handed the card in when we were given out room keys/cards at 12:02 pm. It was handled quickly and I didn’t see the value in writting a wrong start time down to make it look better. We were able to go directly to our room to drop off the carry on (C602). The room was comfortably large without a sofa. The closet area was also large. The only complaint was the truly tiny shower. I’m 6; 3” tall and about 250 lbs. There was not enough room in the shower for me to lift my legs up to wash my lower legs and feet. I dropped the wash cloth once and had to shut the shower off and step out to bend over to pick it up. The steward was friendly and did a fine job in keeping the cabin nice. The bed was very comfortable. The Horizon Court was very nice. We never had trouble with seating or waiting in line. I believe the ship had some number of empty cabins but I don’t know how many. In any case, crowds were never an issue. Breakfast in HC had very little variety. I have complained in past reviews about the eggs. I originally thought they may have been powdered but this time I spotted a carton of frozen eggs. They are not inedible but they are certainly not very good—there is a marked graininess to them. There was a fair amount of variety to the other meals. They were all uniformly good—especially for buffet food. The dinners in the main dining room were all good. I confess to being a bit put off by the descriptions in the menu. I felt they were stuffy—i.e. macerated strawberries, infused garlic, etc. A little simplicity would have been more appropriate. I found I had to study the menus for a bit to determine what would be the best selection. I always came up with something I liked though. I recommend the sorbets for desert—the apple cider sorbet is outstanding, We ate at Sabatini’s one night. We ordered the Lobster Three Ways and were very disappointed. We were served a lobster tail (way one), a spoonful of Lobster bisque (way two) over the lobster and a pile of orzo with a ½” by 1” piece of lobster on top (way three). This was definitely not what I expected and had to ask them to point out the three ways. The lobster tail was appropriately cooked but was tasteless. There was none of the natural sweetness I expect with lobster. I gave half of mine to my wife who left it and most of if hers on the plate. I did complain and was asked if everything else was satisfactory—it was, in fact the service was excellent. I do advise others to stick with the main dining room. The entertainment was all good to great. I really enjoyed the production shows, especially “On the Bayou”. The magician was good. The first show for the mind reader was great but the second was a bit of a letdown. I felt it was a bit obvious how the tricks were done on the second show. The comedian was very funny. He repeated a joke in the second show and it seemed to unsettle him. He walked back and forth, took a sip of water and finally got his mind back in order and continued on. I did enjoy his act. Princess did a great job with filling our days with activities. The tours we took were a disappointment in that the busses were severely uncomfortable. In Cartagena there was absolutely no legroom—even for the shorter people. The Panama tour had more legroom but the seats were extremely narrow. When a fellow sitting in the back got on there was no room for him to pass down the aisle as people were over hanging the aisle and had to put their feet in the aisle due to the lack of leg room. Disembarkation was a mess to my way of thinking. Princess blamed it on a lack of customs people. The start was delayed by 45 minutes. By the time we got out, we had been delayed for nearly two hours. I found it very irritating to see the Princess people moving passengers to the line for those with disabilities. I am 100% in favor of giving disabled people a break. My daughter, who is in a wheel chair, often travels with us. Managing a wheelchair, luggage and paperwork through customs in a real strain—help is welcome. This time I saw people who hired baggage handlers bumped to the head of the line, I also saw small parties pulled out of line after talking to a Princess rep and moved to the front. Line jumpers should not be tolerated.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
We have sailed Princess several times and have never been disappointed, until now. Princess is our favorite cruise lines so I find it difficult to be negative, however I think a few complaints are in order. I first want to say that the ... Read More
We have sailed Princess several times and have never been disappointed, until now. Princess is our favorite cruise lines so I find it difficult to be negative, however I think a few complaints are in order. I first want to say that the Coral is a beautiful ship, spotless clean and she sails as smooth as glass. The food was good in the dining room as well as in the Horizon Court and the crew were wonderful. Our room steward, Efren, was terrific. My husband's back was bothering him the first few days and Efren made sure there was plenty of ice and plastic bags in our room and came by to ask about him several times. Kudos to Efren. We booked an obstructed oceanview. Normally, we always book a balcony, but the economy being what it is made that indulgence too much. The first thing I did when we boarded was to go to the Pursers Desk and request an upgrade. I knew the ship wasn't full (1,300 passengers and they carry up to 1,900) and there had been flight delays all over the country possibly keeping people from boarding. They told us they were going to give passengers that missed boarding a chance to get on board in Aruba, so they wouldn't know about an upgrade until then. In Aruba, they denied us - not because of late arrivals, so I was told. As we met people during the cruise, we heard story after story about how they were upgraded up to 5 categories. Some had booked interior and ended up in oceanview. One oceanview couple ended up in a junior suite and so on. I'm not a person that expects something for nothing, but that put a bad taste in my mouth. The couple with a 5 category upgrade would have been just as happy with 4 categories and give us the 5th! We obviously stayed in our obstructed oceanview and were happy as clams. I don't let things like that change my mood or attitude while I'm enjoying myself. I'll concern myself later, if necessary. For those of you interested in hearing about particular cabins....for the sake of searching: Obstructed Oceanview E510. The room is small, but manageable. Okay amount of storage except flat horizontal surfaces. We seem to clutter the counter tops to the max!. Room under the bed for big luggage, closet is big and there is shelving where the safe is. The shower is insanely small. My husband hung the shower curtain over a hook and just let the water fly. No other choice, you can barely turn around. Note: From balcony room to interior, all the showers are all that small. The obstruction in this room is livable. You get plenty of light and can see the water if you stand towards the left side of the bed.  This cruise took place during Thanksgiving. I didn't know what to expect, but I hoping for more. I realize that Thanksgiving is an American Holiday and many cruisers aren't American, but I guess I assumed most people would enjoy a Thanksgiving celebration. We went to the dining room for the dinner half expecting some American tradition. For instance, I thought maybe the servers would come out of the kitchen holding platters of traditional roasted turkeys and carving stations set up around the dining room. Something along those lines. However, all they did was have a turkey selection on the menu and it was only sliced white meat. Kinda took the tradition out of the equation. It was good food, but not Thanksgiving dinner. My other disappointment was the entertainment. Typically, we attend all the shows in the Princess Theater and if there is a guest entertainer that will be playing in a lounge, we will go see him/her in the less crowded venue. No point on this cruise. Every show in the Princess Theater was 35 minutes long and not very impressive. There was a good comedian, but he did the same show each time - no variations. The magician was okay, but nothing to get excited about. VERY disappointed in the entertainment. Keeping in mind we were sailing in and around South America, Central America and the Panama Canal, the temperatures were sweltering. They played some of the Movies Under the Stars during the day. We are not pool people and we don't do hot real well, so those movies were out of the question. The ports of call were great and the Panama Canal was amazing. We had beautiful, albeit very hot weather the entire cruise. This will not keep us from sailing on Princess, but I certainly hope they have not cut back on entertainment on all their ships and cruises!   Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
This was our 9th cruise on Princess and was our 2nd time through the Panama Canal. We arrived at the port at 11:30 and was taken to the 2nd floor fright away because we are Platinum Members. From there we were checked right in and then we ... Read More
This was our 9th cruise on Princess and was our 2nd time through the Panama Canal. We arrived at the port at 11:30 and was taken to the 2nd floor fright away because we are Platinum Members. From there we were checked right in and then we boarded the ship and went right up to our stateroom and met our steward Ramon who took very good care of us. We put what ever we had down and lock our things up in the safe and went up for lunch to the Horizon Court. Since we have been to the ports before they really held little interest to us. We did get off in Cartagena and it is a pretty little city to tour. We did not take another tour in Costa Rica but did walk around Grand Cayman. There were 6 ships in Grand Cayman when we were there. Getting back to our cabin for a minute. We had a balcony and we were mid ship and there was plenty of room for everything except one thing----the shower, you have no room to turn around. I am not kidding. Food: We had any time dining. It worked for us. Same food as the dining room but we could pick the time we wanted to eat. The food was o.k.Loved Sabatini's, the Veal chops and Lobster were delicious. Ate there twice. Disliked the Bayau Steak House> Not prime mean and could not cut the steak. Entertainment: Loved piano player Eric Stone in Crooners Bar. He made the trip for us. Singers/dancers good. Wished they had a sports bar. Missed a lot of good football games. The crew was terrific. Everyone was sooo nice. They always had a smile and always willing to help. Disembarkation: Not hard but not easy for any ship at this time. There were so many ships that pulled in at the same time that it had to be hard for customs to handle it all so we did have to wait a little to get off. We all made it and I hope that the people that had to make to air flights home could make them due to the weather. Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
I expect the tour itinerary I book and pay for to be honoured by my cruise operator. The failure to call at Costa Rica due to the danger of a civil servants strike is not acceptable. The ship is registered in Bermuda as such I would expect ... Read More
I expect the tour itinerary I book and pay for to be honoured by my cruise operator. The failure to call at Costa Rica due to the danger of a civil servants strike is not acceptable. The ship is registered in Bermuda as such I would expect the captain to take advice from HM Foreign Office which is responsible for such matters relating for this colony. I have checked HM Foreign Office web site and no travel advisory was issued by this ultra conservative body in relation to the issues in Lemon. The company’s choice Princess Cays as an alternative port was in my view was a cynical attempt by Princess to increase its revenues; as everything in Princess Cays is owned by and for the profit of that company. Frankly, there is no comparison between a private beach resort and what I had booked for. I understand that other cruise ships called at Lemon on the day we were diverted. The ease displayed in re-arranging the visit to Grand Cayman totally dispels the crew’s contention that arranging another venue at short notice would be impossible. A very poor show... I will cruise again but not with this company; they ripped me off. On the rest of the cruise the entertainment was good but oh boy they were short average about 45 minutes and lacked variety. It was either Magic, or song and dance or hypnotist. there was no mixing of acts to put together a proper variety show. Also don't trust there daily programme in the Princes Patter newsletter. My partner and I had planned to watch a film which was cancelled from the 'movies under the stars' which was replaced by an American Football match at short notice. The restaurant food was mainly very good but the buffet was very mixed some days excellent others it was far from good. Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
This was my first cruise on Princess at the Platinum level. I booked it specifically to go through the Panama Canal and I was not disappointed. I noted the upgraded service immediately when I was directed to the preferred customer check-in ... Read More
This was my first cruise on Princess at the Platinum level. I booked it specifically to go through the Panama Canal and I was not disappointed. I noted the upgraded service immediately when I was directed to the preferred customer check-in queue, and following that, the priority boarding lounge. As such, I avoided the crowds and boarded the ship shortly after the elite level passengers. Outside of the 240 free internet minutes, the only other time my Platinum status came into play was when I was disembarking. I used the special lounge. There were nightly cocktail parties for Platinum and above, but those are not my thing and I skipped them. Staterooms were open upon boarding. I was able to drop off my carry on, change into shorts, and eat lunch before the buffet got crowded. I was also able to purchase the soda fountain package. A few days before sailing I was notified that my inside stateroom had been upgraded to an obstructed outside. This was nice, though they aren't kidding about the obstruction. The blackout curtains worked perfectly. The stateroom was larger than most I've used. As usual, there are never enough power outlets or desk space, but I'm always prepared for such things. One note was the flat screen TV was nice, though the stateroom was obviously constructed for an older tube model TV. As such, the mounting position made it difficult to access the connectors on the back of the set. I was able to finally connect the HDMI cable I brought to the TV and then to my notebook computer. This was so I was able to watch DVDs on the stateroom television. Since I've gotten progressive lens glasses, it's impossible to lay back on the bed and watch the notebook computer TV screen. The high mount position of the stateroom TV allowed me to lie in bed and watch DVDs. The only other thing of note was a flickering light which started around the ninth day of the cruise. It was promptly repaired the next day. I took anytime dining and met a variety of people. The food was good, and properly proportioned. Ship entertainment was typical of most ships. There were production shows, specialty acts, and the usual trivia and game shows. I did not attend bingo sessions or horse racing, nor did I use the ship casino. I did see three films. I saw Man of Steel as a movie under the stars, Red 2 in the Princess Theater, and Now You See Me in the Universe Lounge. All were nice venues, though it rained on me during Man of Steel. The most unfortunate thing is that the pool screen stopped working about 3/4th of the way through the cruise. I suspect some activities or films had to be suppressed when football games were broadcast in one of the public areas. Still, I was kept entertained either through ship activities or through the books and DVDs I brought with me. The Panama Canal crossing was amazing. I had planned ahead and brought my special telescoping camera mount. I received several looks of jealousy from this little device, which attaches to the camera. I could hold the camera over the heads of the other passengers to get photographs taken with the timer. I enjoyed the ports and will cruise with Princess again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
Panama Canal 11 Day cruise on the Coral Princess This cruise was the first of a back to back to back adventure. We arrived fairly late (about 1:30 pm) and most of the passengers were already onboard. I thought with a late arrival, we ... Read More
Panama Canal 11 Day cruise on the Coral Princess This cruise was the first of a back to back to back adventure. We arrived fairly late (about 1:30 pm) and most of the passengers were already onboard. I thought with a late arrival, we would breeze through, but not the case. We purchased transfers from the airport to port and it took quite a while to get the remaining passengers organized and on the the shuttle. Once in the terminal things moved along okay but not great. We are elite on Princess and we usually speed through this process. We finally got onboard in time to drop off our carry-ons, pick up our life preservers and head to the muster. Happily, things improved from that point :) The Coral Princess is just a nice mid-size ship. It feels very spacious, never crowded. You can move around the ship without being in a crowd, find a deck chair around the pool if you desire, and get a seat in the theater without too much fuss. There's also that wonderful covered, heated pool on Lido Deck. We swam just about every day. The ship is in very good condition, having gone through a dry dock recently. The day after Thanksgiving, while docked in Aruba, a “decorating” team came onboard and transformed the ship into a Christmas/Winter wonderland. It was very pretty. From that point on, we had canned Christmas music mixed in with the other music. The new Horizon Court is fantastic. It's been completely renovated and modernized. It feels very spacious and light and airy. Lots of selection with food and the food was very good. We had early assigned seating in the Provence Dining Room. Our waiter, Randy, and assistant waiter, Darwin, were very good. Head Waiter, Feliciano, was great. Food and service were very good. The new International Cafe is a nice addition, but it is small and located next to the Casino. The Lido Pizza, Grill, and Ice Cream were all good. The “Make Your Own Pizza” day was a hit. As far as entertainment, the best production number was “On the Bayou” - it was great! Ventriloquist Michael Minor, was very good. The music onboard was good but not great. The band in Wheelhouse, Rhapsody, was VERY talented BUT they tended to do floor shows rather than play music for dancing. The lead singer would frequently stand in the middle of the dance floor and sing a 15 minute song (Mr. Bojangles, for instance). The band in Explorer's play mostly Reggae, so it was a little hard dancing there. The Bayou Cafe, which usually has a resident trio, was empty most nights. Occasionally a pianist, the string group, or the jazz part of the orchestra played there. A negative was little/limited NFL coverage and my husband really enjoys watching it on the big screen and/or in the room. The ports were very nice on this cruise as was the actual canal experience. We've been through the canal several times but it's still fascinating. Princess has a historian/naturalist onboard who provided lots of information about the canal and the area. It was a great cruise and we really love Coral and Island Princess. Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
Let me start by saying that we had a fabulous time! My husband age (51) and me (49) have sailed 2 times on Carnival and 1 time on NCL but this was our first cruise on Princess. There was so much to do on this ship that you could never be ... Read More
Let me start by saying that we had a fabulous time! My husband age (51) and me (49) have sailed 2 times on Carnival and 1 time on NCL but this was our first cruise on Princess. There was so much to do on this ship that you could never be bored. While there were good things and not so good things we made the best of all situations and met many wonderful people while on board. Ship - Very clean. the temperature on the ship seemed to be perfect for us all the time, I never needed a sweater. The ship was easy to navigate and never seemed crowded even though it was a smaller ship. Balcony - I have read many negative things about the bump out balconies but we had decided to book one anyway. We had the last bump out balcony room on the forward/starboard side of the ship right before the other balconies that were set in a bit. We thought maybe we would lose privacy because you had the balcony beside you set back and the balcony below you was not covered so you could see both but it didn't seem to be an issue for us. While I thought the balcony was a bit smaller than other cruise lines it was adequate and we also went with our friends so we had the stewardess open the door between our rooms which made it much better. Cabin Stewardess - The cabin stewardess RONA was awesome! If you are lucky enough to have her assigned to you cabin you will not be disappointed. She greets you every morning and night with a smile and always bends over backwards to make sure you have everything you need. She takes the time to get to know her passengers which is great! Cabin - the cabin was clean and fresh. It had a flat screen TV and a desk area, plenty of storage and good lighting. No complaints and yes the shower is small but adequate. Food - this is always subjective to your own taste so I will say that we had no problem finding things that we all liked to eat. There was so much food that by the end of the cruise all of us felt that we just couldn't eat anymore! We had anytime dining and never had to wait for seating but then we weren't fussy and ate with many different people. If you only wanted a table for 2 or 4, I did see a wait at times. We met so many wonderful people by choosing to eat at tables for 6-10 people and I am very glad we chose this option. Staff - what can I say...they all were wonderful! Everyone made you feel special from the time we boarded to the time we left. Yes, There were a few (and I mean a few) that seemed a little on the crabby side but hey everyone has a an off day every once in awhile but if you talked to them they smiled and talked back! If I spent 6 months to a year trying to please everyone, I believe I could be in a bad mood every once in awhile too! Excursions - Aruba - 4X4 excursion was great! We got to see the whole island which was beautiful Cartaegna - took a bus/walking tour of the city. Limon Costa Rica - zip lining tour...awesome! Panama - the highlight of the trip, so amazing! Grand Cayman - the tour that we had booked was cancelled after waiting an hour due to the bus breaking down. Princess did reimburse us plus for our inconvenience gave us both a $20 OBC which I thought was very nice since this was not the fault of Princess. All in All I would recommend this cruise to anyone. While I thought some things were better than other cruise lines some things were not but I always make the best of every situation. Nothing is perfect so you have to adjust.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
11/26/2013 through 12/07/2013 Background The views and opinions expressed in this review are mine and may conflict with others thoughts. That is what makes everyone unique. I have found these boards so very helpful in the past, and ... Read More
11/26/2013 through 12/07/2013 Background The views and opinions expressed in this review are mine and may conflict with others thoughts. That is what makes everyone unique. I have found these boards so very helpful in the past, and wanted to share my experience. I found little information on this cruise as I did my research that spoke to anything other than the canal. To me his trip was more than the canal and thus my review will hopefully provide a more comprehensive view on this cruise for newer cruisers such as myself. My DH and I sailed on the Coral Princess roundtrip Panama Canal partial transit from November 26, 2013 through December 7, 2013. We are in our late 30's and this was our 3rd cruise (on the Ruby Princess in January of 2013 and Celebrity Solstice in 2012). Previously we have done 5 all-inclusive resort vacations at Sandals. We booked Balcony Class B2, room #C603 (Caribe Deck - 10). This floor’s balcony cabins are larger than regular balcony cabins and are ½ covered and ½ exposed. I am a vegetarian when I travel (macrobiotic vegan at home) and I contacted Princess prior to departure. I was told via email that they would be able to accommodate my food request and to contact the Maître D once on ship. To get this out of the way, food was not very vegetarian on this cruise. Every main course contained egg. Why someone classifies chicken eggs as not animal is beyond me. Did I eat it, yes, because I didn’t want to cause a fuss. Before the trip, I read the recommended book The Path Between the Seas. I normally read a fiction book a week and have a difficult time reading non-fiction. This was no different. It took me 2 months to read the book cover to cover. I am glad I did because I certainly did not know any of the history on the canal. There was a 10 page section toward the end that would have sufficed. My DH read that part and felt well informed. However, there were several lectures and movies that would have provide a similar background. In fact the movie by NOVA, A Man, A Plan, A Canal, was almost a word for word read of the book. Travel and Embarkation We had a direct flight from Detroit to Fort Lauderdale on the day of embarkation. Our flight put us in around 1:00. We got to the terminal and upon exit from the curb a representative from Princess took our bags. This next part made my DH very happy. There was no wait for security or check-in and we waked right on board. We were able to immediately head to our room and drop our bag before heading for lunch. Room The balcony was very nice in that it was very large. It had 2 recliners and a table. On the way down, the balcony was always shaded which is good for us. The way back, the sun was intense, so we did not sit out there during the morning or afternoon. We used the balcony a ton, which is why I wanted the larger space. The room itself was small but very functional. In comparison to Celebrity Solstice, the bathroom was lacking in space and décor. I much preferred the Solstice’s shower including glass door to the Coral and Ruby’s small shower and curtain. They have added a dispenser for shampoo/conditioner and shower gel; one more obstacle to avoid in an already crowded area. The closet space was much better than the Solstice. The amount of hanging and shelf space was significantly more. The bed was horrible; we clearly must have had a mattress topper on the Ruby. You could clearly feel that it was two beds and I have bruises on my sides from sleeping. We could have asked for a topper, but it was not a huge deal. The décor inside the room and the ship was not my style. I found it to appear dated just like the Ruby. I much preferred the décor on Solstice, but certainly this did not impact my vacation in any way. One tip I read on this board that always pays off is with respect to the carpet color difference on the port vs. starboard side. The port side had red in the side runners, vs. the starboard side which is pink. Sometimes you walk off the staircase and get turned around, but that always help steer you in the right direction. Food Highly subjective topic. We ate well and were satisfied. We ate in the main dining room for breakfast for the first three sea days. For Aruba and Cartagena we ordered room service. All other breakfasts we ate at the buffet. We ate Muesli with Soy Milk. For room service we wrote in Soy Mile and got it without exception. Also we asked for room service between 6:30 and 7:00. We got it at 6:30 each time. We tipped nicely for this extra service. For lunch, we ate in the main dining room every sea day. We each ate the vegetarian burger which was tasty. We ate at the grill on a few days and ate the same vegetarian burger. Many of our excursions included lunch also. For dinner, we had anytime dinning and elected to eat at 5:30 almost every night. The weird thing was they seemed to be open earlier than the flyer suggested so we would go a few minutes early. One night we got back late from an excursion and ate more like 6:00 and still did not have to wait for a table for two. My DH ordered fish most nights and was pleased. I ordered the vegetarian main course on all but one occasion. One night they did not have a vegetarian main course (only the pasta) and I could not eat that option. The head waiter accommodated my request to just provide the sample of all the vegetable sides from the other main courses. If you have a special diet, they are supposed to provide you the menu from the night before and take your order. I did this for night 2, but after that I would ask to see the menu and explain the process, but it became too confusing to explain to the wait staff so I just stopped. Overall the food was good. I would suggest the Solstice was much better in terms of options, quality of food science and overall taste. That is not to say I went hungry or did not like what I ate, I certainly did enjoy it. Beverage Package We previously purchased the unlimited soda and more package when we traveled on the Ruby, which was a great value for us. This time around we did not think it would be a good value as we did not anticipate our consumption of beverage would be 3 or more per day. However when we got to our room, we found that our travel agent purchased this for us as a gift! So very nice and unexpected! We did use it every day, but would not have been cost effective this round. The package was convenient since we did not need to sign anything. We tried the mocktails and really enjoyed the Chocobanana. Nightly Entertainment/Show Highly subjective topic. There were a few guest appearances (two comedians, a magician/illusionist and a hypnotist) and the house entertainers. The dancers were excellent. The house orchestra was ok. After the first show, we did not return to see any of the production shows because of the singers. The first comedian was funny but the crowd was not into him. The second comedian was not a comedian, but rather a singer and ventriloquist. I really enjoyed hm. We did not do the hypnotist. MUTS This is why we sail Princess. My DH really enjoys MUTS. We watched Oblivion, Man of Steel, Star Trek into Darkness, and Wolverine. Another highlight was watching the Lions beat Green Bay on Thanksgiving!!!!!!! We also watched The Heat in the Princess Theater and a few in room movies. Crew I would say this ship had overall the most friendly crew members. Everyone we encountered was friendly, helpful, talkative, etc. Sea Days We played basketball, played put-put, worked out, watched a few lecturers, watched an in room movie, etc. Pretty much hung out and relaxed. They were great, but I would not want more than we had in a row. Otherwise I am afraid that my DH would get bored. Ok so funny story. On the first full sea day, we were hugging the coast of Cuba. My DH always jokes that we are going to get bombed by them. We were in the room when I looked out and saw two super small boats racing towards us. Did you see Captain Phillips? Well we both grabbed our binoculars to check for machine guns. Nope nothing, whew! It was crazy, there was a larger fishing boat and then these two boats. Not sure why they were racing toward us, but it was a non-issue, but a good chuckle for us. Aruba I booked an independent excursion through Jolly Pirates. For $51.00 each, we stopped at 3 snorkel locations, had lunch and got to rope swing off the boat. To get to the location we took the public bus which was $2.30 per person each way. No problems with the transportation. The first snorkel stop was at the Antilla shipwreck; a WWII ship. This was very cool to do. I have read reviews that suggest this stop is for experienced swimmers/snorkels due to the current and waves. I would not characterize myself as a strong swimmer. I had no problems at this spot and in fact really enjoyed this stop. The other two stops were in more shallow water or closer to shore. I had my fill after the first stop as I get headaches from the water easy. My DH snorkeled at the third stop. Lunch was BBQ chicken, ribs and rice and beans. I had preordered a vegetarian meal and they confirmed this via email before we left for vacation and again at check-in. However, there was no meal on the boat. They gave me beans and rice which was fine. Another highlight of this excursion was the rope swing. My DH with his 3rd degree separated shoulder got in line and did a flip into the water. Crazy man! At least he had fun. The ships near us all stopped to watch us; you could tell they were jealous! The way back they played music and everyone seemed to be having a great time. I would highly recommend this excursion to everyone. We would do this again if we returned to Aruba. Cartagena I again booked an independent excursion through Segway Tours Colombia SAS. We did a Segway excursion in Puerto Rico before and loved it, so we wanted to do another one in a historic city. For $65.00 each, we booked the 90 minute historic tour. We also arranged for taxi transportation with this company for $15.00 each way. There was one other couple on the excursion with us. We stayed in the walled city and stopped at major churches, public squares and other relevant places. It was warm that day and there was no wind. At each stop, César, our guide, would direct us to a shaded location and provide informational narrative on the location. He was awesome and so was the excursion. We traveled down the streets and got to see some magnificent balconies with flowers. We would do this excursion again in a heat beat. At the end of the tour, the cab driver arrived to take us back, but for $20.00 each person, he would take us wherever we wanted to go before arriving back at the ship. The couple we were with wanted to shop for an emerald, so we agreed to go to various sites for the extra money. We stopped at a shopping center that the cruise ship stops at, and an emerald museum. Of interest to us, we stopped at the Castillo San Felipe de Barajas. For $20.00 each we could have gone into the fort, but we just wanted to get photos. The last stop was at the La Popa Monastery. This is a top a large hill and gives some great photo opportunities of the city below. There was a $5.00 per person admittance charge, but again we were only looking for picture opportunities so we did not go in. After this we headed back to the ship. The taxi driver is the regular driver that César uses for his Segway business and is very polite and honest. Please note, the vendors in Cartagena are aggressive. If you are not interested, just tell them and they will leave you alone. If you act interested, they will continue to follow you trying to sell their wares. We had no problem, but saw others struggle with this concept. Panama Canal and Colon So the canal itself is interesting, but not the main reason why I wanted to do this cruise. I liked the various ports including this one. I have no idea how long it took to do the three steps of the locks, maybe 1 hour? It was raining hard as we approached the locks, but by the time we were in them, the rain was light and then stopped. There was a very pretty double rainbow. Ok so here was the first confusing thing about the ship. I read on this board that we could get to the bow of the boat from deck 10 and 11. However, when you try to get there, there are signs which clearly state for emergency only. As a result, my DH told me I was wrong. But I knew that this board would not lead me astray. So on the day of, I asked DH if we could just try. He agreed and as we got close to the door I asked a cabin steward if we could use the door and he said of course. So in we went. Yeah!!!! Thanks board! View was great from here because the upper decks are blocked by glass. We stayed here, then went to the 8th floor aft to see the gates close, to our room on the starboard side to see the landscape, to the 7th floor port side to see how close we were to the sides and back to the 10th floor bow. We booked PC1610A Monkey & Wildlife Nature Cruise on Gatun Lake. This excursion boarded the tender 50 minutes after clearing the locks. I think this was my all-time favorite excursion. We drove a bit to get to our location with commentary from the guide as we went. Once there we boarded our boats in the Chagres River, went through the cut and into Gatun Lake. The guides pointed out various birds and reptiles. We stopped at a few islands in the lake and called the moneys! They threw peanuts or banana’s on the bow of the boat and the monkey’s came. First we got to see a family of 3 Capuchin monkeys. They jumped on the front and side of the boat, ate, jumped in the trees, etc. It was the highlight of my life! I so love primates and have never seen wild monkeys. Next, we spotted a group of Howler monkeys high in the tree tops. They are a lethargic group, so there was no interaction with them, nor did we get to hear them. The last set of monkeys we encountered were Geoffroy's Tamarin. I have never seen them before. Super cute, fast and less social than the Capuchin. This excursion included a snack, which consisted of a box lunch of a turkey sandwich, mango slices and a banana muffin. More than we expected. Limon, Costa Rica We booked LIO105A Rainforest Aerial Tram, Tortuguero Canals & Lunch. Wow is there a reason to book through Princess. This was a 10 hour excursion. The first part of the trip took us to a river boat where we saw various birds and a sloth real close up. It was lovely! Then we got back into the bus to go to the rainforest where they provided us with a snack of various fruits. Now it was a nice bus, but we got delayed due to the government deciding that it was time to trim trees. We were stuck on the road for an hour. We thought we would not make it to the rainforest or have lunch. We were able to do both. The rainforest was beautiful and the air quality was unbelievable. We did not see any monkeys, but we did see the largest wasp known to man. Good lord! We also saw butterflies and wonderful varieties of plants and trees. The lunch was served buffet style and consisted of fruits, rice, beans, chicken, pasta and a dessert dish of plantains. Overall super yummy! In total we were on the bus for 5 hours. We got back to the ship and they drove us straight to the gangway because it was 15 minutes past the time we were set to sail. Oops! Grand Cayman We booked GCM450A Scenic Bike Ride, Turtle Farm, Hell & Snorkel. The tour suggests that it is strenuous as it is a 7 mile bike ride. I am not sure we actually biked a full 7 miles, but I could be wrong. This was a great tour, but a word of warning, you are biking. If you are not used to biking 7 miles, this is probably not the excursion for you. It was a slow pace and at the end there were several folks who looked like it was way too much for them. The tour took us to the turtle farm (not a big fan of what I saw here), rum place, Hell and back to the shop. We don’t drink so the rum place was of no interest. Hell was boring as…well you get the point. Then we boarded the bus and went to the Tiki Bar for a snorkel break off the shore. It was a good snorkel; saw three lobsters and many various fish. Disembarkation We were delayed getting off by about 30 minutes. Not sure why, but I would rather hang on the boat for extra time than hang in the airport. There was an announcement that I didn’t hear well, but I heard something about CDC. I won’t bore you with our flight back, but we landed in wind chill of 7. Not fun! Summary Overall, we had a wonderful time. I loved the balcony and chairs. The excursions were amazing! We have another cruise planned for April on Princess. Spending 11 straight days with my DH is priceless and I can’t imagine having a bad time on vacation ever. I would like to thank everyone for answering my questions along the way and more importantly having the ability to read your questions and responses so I was well prepared.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
We traveled with another couple, parking with ease at Park n Fly, which is very close to the port. They assisted with our luggage, loading it onto the shuttle and then they parked the car. We arrived at the port about 11:00 am and had to ... Read More
We traveled with another couple, parking with ease at Park n Fly, which is very close to the port. They assisted with our luggage, loading it onto the shuttle and then they parked the car. We arrived at the port about 11:00 am and had to wait about a half hour before boarding. Had we waited an hour later, we could have had no wait at all. The first six groups have preferential boarding and we waited for those folks to board. Our room steward, John, was in our stateroom shortly after we boarded. I had called Princess to request an egg crate for our bed, but told that they weren't available. When I asked our steward about this, he explained that in our area we had new mattresses with pillowtops and he didn't think that we'd want/need the egg crates. Boy, he was right...the bed was very comfy! I understand that as they are getting more of the mattresses, they are donating the old ones to people who live in the port cities that the ship visits. The muster drill was quick and easy...we went to the Universe Lounge. We really enjoyed more onboard activities on this cruise than on previous cruises. Trivia, Liar's Club, Karaoke, Scattergories, Ballroom Dancing, Champagne Ring Toss, Arts and Crafts, etc. This Activities Dept. staff is very good! We always watch The Wake Show and carry the daily Princess Patter with us to see what is going on. The entertainment was excellent! Singer, guitarist Zack Willingham had a great performance and we enjoyed the comedian, Rollin Jay Moore. We went to the first performance of Alexander Great, an illusionist. Did not go to see the mentalist or hypnotist. The singers and dancers were very good. This was a changeover cruise where one production team ended their contract and a new team came on board. We saw performances by both teams and they are talented young people. Loved the Motown review which ending, but loved the new programs. Dance! had an Irish dancers segment that was awesome. The Bayou show in the Universe Lounge was great, esp. including the ship's orchestra. "What a Swell Party" featured many Cole Porter songs and was so good. Dining- We had early seating in the Bordeaux Dining Room at a table of 4. The food was tasty....there was something each night that I liked. I ate fish most nights, having a strip steak one evening that was pretty fatty. The cog au vin was very good. Escargot was delicous. Gazpacho was the best soup of the week. One night we ate in Sabatini's and it has changed since we were on the Coral in Alaska 3 yrs. ago when the appetizers were passed family style. This time around we selected one item from each course. Honestly, I wasn't impressed...my husband had a great steak, but my lobster 3 ways wasn't very good, with the exception of the small lobster tail. (Note: We noticed that neither the Bayou or Sabitini's was ever crowded....in past cruises, they were always busy. We were wondering if 11 nights would be too many but decided that is definitely not the case!! Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
The best part of this cruise was the people. The ship is large enough not to feel crowded, but small enough that you can see folks you met at dinner walking about. A few items that I would have liked to be a better experience: 1) FOOD - ... Read More
The best part of this cruise was the people. The ship is large enough not to feel crowded, but small enough that you can see folks you met at dinner walking about. A few items that I would have liked to be a better experience: 1) FOOD - it was just horrible--anytime dining was the best, but the quality of the food was poor. Salty, undercooked, overcooked and just not a wide variety. I would have rather paid a fee for a good steak then have them serve meat that wasn't filled with filler (burgers at grill - disaster);. Pizza station was great, make you own pizza-wonderful. Speciality Bayou Cafe worth the 20 pp for a GREAT steak--filet and strip outstanding--Sabitinis Lobster 3 ways--undercooked and not work 25--strip steak was good. Italian night served all German food--Mexican night had American food. Cold for the most part most nights. 2) STAFF/SERVICE--EXCELLENT--Princess know how to train the staff. Only had on issue where a bar server wouldn't go up on the 15th deck to get drinks cause it was too far to go--otherwise--best service I have seen in a long time. 3) ROOMS-Balancy room was good size and closet good size. Bathroom way too small-a full size person (140 lbs) could not even turn around in that shower. 4) PEOPLE-wonderful mix of americans and Europeans--all age; majority was over 50, but that made it even better--be an old soul and you will meet the most amazing people. 5) Excursions-stay away from the all day Panama boat transit--we we suck on the boad for almost 11 hours and it cause the ship not be able to leave port. --Again this is where I think Princess has got customer service down--got a 65% refund to all and didn't even have to request it. Surprisingly Cartenga was very enjoyable city tour--its was really hot and humid but the bus had great air conditioning. . Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
This is our third Princess cruise (five total cruises). I had wanted to see the Panama Canal even though my husband had already been through it with the US Navy. He said he did not see much from the engine room and this was much more ... Read More
This is our third Princess cruise (five total cruises). I had wanted to see the Panama Canal even though my husband had already been through it with the US Navy. He said he did not see much from the engine room and this was much more pleasant. We had a wonderful time. We had balcony cabin C322 which was fine. We like to go out on the balcony to catch the view, check the weather, and sit and relax. Our room steward Ron was great. The shower has the soap and shampoo/conditioner dispensers now. Food: We prefer the early assigned seating. We had table 41 in the Bordeaux Dining Room. (Yes, this is also the Anytime Dining Room, but our table for 8 was reserved for us each evening.) Our waiter Rinier and assistant waiter Djinn (sorry for the spelling, guys) were great. We enjoyed having dinner with two other great couples. Most of the evenings we ate in the Bordeaux Dining Room. One day when we were late from our tour, we ate dinner at the Horizon Court. I prefer the dining room. We ate breakfasts (great) and lunches (okay) in the Horizon Court. We tried the ice cream and the pizza. We purchased the soft drink packages for both of us. Being from the South, we know what good (sweet) iced tea tastes like, and we cannot stand the ship’s tea. (Now the hot tea is good.) We like educational and informative talks. Thus we go to the port information talks, and even the shopping talks can give you advice that you could possibly use. We enjoy the shows at night, and really enjoy the tours in the different places we visit. So far we have only booked Princess tours. We do walk around town and shop on our own. We discovered the library’s chairs for reading while on the Alaska cruise. That is the best "secret” spot for watching the view in air conditioning, reading, and napping; it is pretty popular too. We availed ourselves of the Carnival Corporation stock credit, veterans’ credit, and purchased Future Cruise Credits while on this ship. Laundry tip: Bring quarters and detergent and dryer sheets from home. They don’t take up much room. It seems the change machine or detergent machines are on the blink, but I am prepared. Best advice I have not seen on Cruise Critic yet: Print off the floor plan (or 2 copies) of your ship from the Cruise Atlas before you leave home. This helped us greatly to find things even though we had sailed on the Coral Princess previously to Alaska. Thursday, Oct. 24, 2013 We took 5:30 am Groome Transportation to Atlanta airport. Had breakfast at airport (breakfast sandwiches). 8:35 am Delta flight 1 ½ hours to Ft. Lauderdale; smooth flight. Took a taxi to the ship ($20) and waited in the terminal for less than an hour. We were on the ship about 12:10 pm. Went to the room and dropped off our luggage. We had lunch at the International Café: tuna salad sandwich and shrimp salad for me, chicken salad sandwich for hubby. It was good. We walked around exploring the ship (printed off floor plans from the Cruise Atlas at home to help find our way around), and got an ice cream cone. Went to the safety drill and unpacked. Went up on deck to watch the ship sail away. That night we had supper in the Bordeaux Dining Room (traditional seating 5:15 pm) table for 8. Prime rib was very good. 8:30 pm World series game Boston Red Sox vs. St. Louis Cardinals was on TV, Red Sox vs. Cardinals. 9:45 pm went to the Welcome Aboard Showtime (singing, dancing & comedy with Gary Delena); good. Returned to room and watched the Red Sox lose. Went to bed. Comfortable bed and good pillows. Hubby got his distilled water for his C-pap machine. (learned about this on CC) Friday, Oct. 25, At Sea Breakfast at Horizon Court. 9:00 am Explore Ashore! Talk with Shore excursion manager Luis. Signed up for 100 internet minutes, plus 10 minutes bonus (1st day). Sent message to family & friends. Sat on the Lido deck to enjoy the ocean. Hubby swam in the pool. This was our first cruise after retirement, so he could actually swim in the pool. He used the pool almost every day. Before there had been too many kids to really enjoy. This time there were more scooters. 11:00 am talk about tours with the cruise manager. Lunch at Horizon Court. 1:00 pm Aruba talk with Dr. Dean. 3:00 pm wine tasting party courtesy of AAA travel agent; good. Formal night in the dining room. Good food (shrimp & lamb). Took formal picture. 7:45 pm show "Dance”. Good We found the Promenade Deck and walked all around the ship once, 2,8 times makes a mile, but it was very windy. Saturday, Oct. 26, At Sea Breakfast in Horizon Court. 10:00 am shopping on the ship. 10:30 am. Panama Canal talk with Dr. Dean. Lunch at Horizon Court. 12:45 pm Future Cruise talk. Walk on Promenade Deck 7; windy and rough, salt spray. 5:15 pm supper in main dining room. 7:45 pm magician Alexander Great. Sunday, Oct. 27, Aruba Woke at 6:00 am. Had breakfast at Horizon Court. Watched the ship arrive at Aruba. Tour: Butterfly Farm, Rock Formations & Shopping ($55 ea, 8:45 " 11:45 am) We went to the Butterfly Farm, then the Aloe Factory, and the Ayo Rock Formation (Indian drawings on rock); all nice and interesting. Temperature 84 degrees and slight breeze. Small sprinkle started at the Ayo Rock Formation. We returned to the ship to leave packages. We walked "downtown” (short walk) in a light drizzle. We stopped for lunch at The Paddock, looks like the black & white spotted cows from Chick-Fil-A advertisements. Hubby had chicken quesadillas and I had shrimp quesadillas; very good. We walked a few blocks, looking, and returned to the ship. We had dinner in the main dining room. Saw the show after supper "What a Swell Party.” Had a drink after that and watched a little of the World Series after we found it in the (wedding chapel) Hearts & Minds room, hot and stuffy. Monday, Oct. 28, At Sea Breakfast at the Horizon Court. We went to the Future Cruise talk and the shopping talk for Cartagena. Bought two T-shirts from the ship store. Had lunch in the main dining room with another couple. Okay sandwiches. We attended the Cartagena talk with Dr. Dean. Dinner in the main dining room. 7:45 pm Synergy show, couple of violins, good. Checked on the ballgame and early to bed. Tuesday, Oct. 29, Cartagena, Columbia Sunny and hot. Woke at 6 am. Watched the ship come into Cartagena from breakfast at Horizon Court. Tour: San Pedro Claver Church, Old City & Folkloric Show ($69 ea, 8:00  12:00 pm) Our bus stopped for a picture opportunity of the old fort; we walked around the old walled city with the guide describing statues and explaining history; we saw a couple of old churches, and saw a Folk Dance performance. Interesting and very beautiful. We stopped for only 30 minutes of shopping, but I managed to buy some leather gifts from Exotic leathers and coffee from Coffee And. The emeralds were too expensive. We were the last getting back on the bus, but they did wait for us. The traffic was suicidal. I would not want to drive there. They had motorcycle "taxis” where one person could ride on the back. They were crazy driving. We had lunch at Horizon Court, back on the ship, did some reading in the library and went to the 2:30 talk on Limon by Dr. Dean. Wednesday, Oct. 30, Panama Canal 5:00 am wake up. 6 am breakfast at Horizon Court. We spent the morning on the bow of the ship, deck 10, watching the other ships go through the locks. Very interesting. We could see more of what was happening to the other ships than we could actually tell about our own ship. It was very impressive and took about 2 hours to go through the locks (3 chambers) into Gatun Lake. Partly cloudy, but it cleared. The ship’s videographer was on the same deck with us filming the event. Tour: Old Panama City, Miraflores Locks & Scenic Drive ($99 ea, 11:00  5:30 pm) We got on a tour bus about 11 am for a 1 ½ hour ride to Panama City on the Pacific side. We stopped for a restroom break at a Greek café Nikos. The food looked good, but we did not try it. We should have. We went to old Panama City and walked around for almost 2 hours. The tour guide talked about architecture, buildings, statues, went in an art gallery, and we ended at a local market. Wish I had purchased some of the necklaces and bags that I saw. At the entrance was a man with a snake wrapped around his neck, charging for pictures. On the way back to the bus, it started raining lightly. We took shelter under the overhangs of buildings. The guide went for the bus. The excellent woman driver (only female driver with the company) negotiated narrow streets with cars parted and a truck on the sidewalk on the other side. When everyone got on the bus we finally had lunch about 3 pm, sandwich, muffin and water. (Breakfast had been at 6 am. Fortunately hubby and I had a granola bar at the market that I had carried.) We went to the Miraflores locks and watched a Chinese ship go through the locks. It was warm and very humid. Had a restroom break and small gift shop. We returned to the ship docked at Colon, Panama about 5:30 pm. The town had square blocks with lots of traffic but no stop signs or traffic lights; whoever got there first went ahead. If you hesitated, you were lost. Looked through a gift shop on shore. I bought a basket on the way to the ship from the Embera Indians ($20). We had supper at Horizon Court; read in the library; early to bed. Thursday, Oct. 31, Limon, Costa Rica We had scheduled an afternoon tour after anticipating that we would be tired from the long day at Panama Canal. We were so glad that we had. Tour: Rainforest Walk, Canal Cruise & Banana Plantation ($59 ea, 1:00  5:00 pm) We toured a banana plantation; took a canal boat ride (saw lots of birds and monkeys in trees). We walked through a rainforest and went to an animal sanctuary. We saw sloths, toucans, monkeys. We had fruit for refreshment and were back at the ship by 5 pm. No rain, warm, high humidity. We showered and had a drink before dinner in the main dining room at a large table for 10. It was Italian night and the other couples were very entertaining. Because we were late getting to dinner, we did not have our regular table. We did not do any Halloween partying. Friday, Nov. 1, At Sea 10:45 am went to shopping talk for Grand Cayman. Hubby went swimming, pizza for lunch. 3:30 Grand Cayman talk with Dr. Dean. Formal Night; back in main dining room for dinner; lobster and giant prawns (shrimp); great. Took picture. Saw the show "On the Bayou” for the second showing. Long lines of people backed up. Not so many lined up for the third performance. Specialty drinks were $3.99. Saturday, Nov. 2, Grand Cayman Woke at 7 am. Breakfast at Horizon Court. We caught the tender at 9 am. Tour: Turtle Farm, Hell, Tortuga Rum Cake & Scenic Drive ($49 ea, 9:30  12:00 pm) Since the Cayman Islands were a British protectorate, they drive on the left side of the road. Their traffic circles, roundabouts, go clockwise. Our guide said the way they drive, the left side of the road is the "right”, and the right side is the "suicide”. We took a bus tour to the Turtle Farm (very interesting), Rum Cake factory (crowded, bought rum cakes), and went to see Hell. They sure make the most of an ugly scenic spot. Took pictures. Took the bus back to the dock. We walked to the shopping district and had lunch (salads and diet Cokes) at Margaritaville. It was good to rest, and a very popular spot to eat, not cheap. We went shopping to the Del Sol (bag), Cariloha bamboo store (shirts), and Guy Harvey store (shirts & purse). We walked back to the ship. We had walked so much that I had 3 blisters on the side of my heel. We took showers and went for ice cream on the ship. It looked like it might rain, but didn’t. Dinner in the main dining room. 8:30 pm show Motor City. 9:15 travel trivia interesting. Sunday, Nov. 3, At Sea 10 am shopping on the ship. Read in the library. Lunch at the Bayou café. They had British pub lunch. Hubby had Bangers and Mash (sausages & mashed potatoes). I had fish and chips; I was not impressed with their fries. They had good fried fish, especially at the Horizon Court lunches. Hubby went for a swim. The waves were up to 2 feet in the pool. Water went over the retaining wall. The ship was a little rocky that day. Packed for the trip home. Last dinner in the main dining room. There was Baked Alaska. We enjoyed the other couples company. Monday, Nov. 4, going home We had selected the E-Z luggage choice where our checked bags are picked up outside of our cabin the night before and we pick them up in the Atlanta airport. $20 per bag plus baggage fees for Delta, but it sure was nice not lugging the large suitcases. We had enough luggage to carry around. Had to buy a duffle bag to get everything home. Woke at 5 am, breakfast at 6 am in Horizon Court. Reported to Wheelhouse Bar at 6:30 am to disembark. Princess representative said we did not have to leave that early, but there was no line at customs and later there would be. I did not think long to go ahead. Walked straight through customs, got taxi ($20 including tip) to airport, were through security and waiting in airport by 7:15 am for flight that was scheduled to leave at 12:45 pm for Atlanta. Plane was late, but we left shortly after 1 pm. Got to Atlanta by 2:20 pm. Must have had a tail wind.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
My DH and I are long time Princess cruise fans and this was our 43rd cruise with them. We have literally sailed the world and now are enjoying some low stress/sun filled days. We cruised this same itinerary last year and returned to check ... Read More
My DH and I are long time Princess cruise fans and this was our 43rd cruise with them. We have literally sailed the world and now are enjoying some low stress/sun filled days. We cruised this same itinerary last year and returned to check out the new improvements on the Coral. We do like the ship and it's size seems about right for us. We stayed overnight before boarding at the Embassy Suite on 17th st. It was adequate. There were several weddings taking place in the Atrium and some renovation/construction going on there in the atrium. A $10.00 TAXI took us to the pier as the hotel does not provide transportation. Embarkation was a breeze and we were seated in the Elite lounge at 11:30AM. We boarded promptly at 12;OO noon. We were on the Carib deck ( our very fav one) and the room was configured just right for us. The balcony is the largest on the ship and in the past had the most comfortable chairs in any fleet but they have been replaced by a reclining straight chair that has a bottom just like concrete. I won't take this trip again without a cushion. Our Steward (Raul) was attentive and checked in with us right away. Emergency drills were promply at 3:30pm and sailaway was at 4:30pm. Dinner first night was at Sabitini's.We do enjoy the Italian speciality restaurant and the meal was extra good but we very much miss the dessert Tiramisu. Waiter told us they don't serve it anymore but it will be on the menu Italian night...wrong! It seems they have it on alternating trips through the Canal. How can a first class Italian restaurant not serve Tiramisu? We did spot some new and improved changes... the International Cafe, and the expanded Horizon Court. both are nice additions. We had dinner in the Provance DR and food was, in my opinion, only average. No variety in vegs, food extra salty. Breads extra good. The Captain and crew were very personable and everyone kept us informed daily re: weather, location, and arrival/departure. It seems a happy ship with everyone smiling and anxious to make the trip a good one. Staff were congenial with passengers and each other. Entertainment was good, Library was staffed daily with good selection of books, some movies were not recent bur most were enjoyable. Princess shows were entertaining and scheduled well. Disembarkation was easy and we used the EZ check for our luggage. We will cruise Princess again but do see a diminished quality in food...not in service. Staff are Princess' strongest asset.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
We arrived at Miami from the UK. This was not a good start as we had to wait over 2.5 hours to get through immigration and then chaos of finding our cases. Very bad intro to the USA! Quick transfer to the Intercontinental Doral hotel for ... Read More
We arrived at Miami from the UK. This was not a good start as we had to wait over 2.5 hours to get through immigration and then chaos of finding our cases. Very bad intro to the USA! Quick transfer to the Intercontinental Doral hotel for an overnight stay. Good hotel which allowed us to relax after the airport experience. At 12:30 the next day we were transferred to Fort Lauderdale for a very fast embarkation. The Coral had a refurb a few wks before and is in superb condition! We were pleased with our cabin, equal to QM2. We had allocated main dining which was superb in all respects and did not need to find an alternative. Ports of call are superb but the highlight is of course the Panama Canal. We entered via the Guatan locks and then moored up, the ship then went back out late afternoon to Colon. We chose the ships excursion to Panama City and Miraflora locks meeting up with the ship at Colon. On a sea day from Limon to Grand Cayman we had the sad experience of a lady going overboard! At around 15:00 hrs we heard the ships horn give three quick blasts followed by the message "man overboard" all crew to muster stations. The ship had ejected a life buoy with a smoke flare so it knew where to go back to. It lowered 2 ribbed inflatables to assist in the search. We were then asked to return to our cabins for a head count. A coast guard plane and passing ship assisted in the search and after about 3 hrs they recovered the body. The Captain and Cruise Director were communicating the status and thanked the crew for their excellent work under sad conditions. This sad news affected the mood of the ship for the last 2 days of the cruise. We would recommend this ship and cruise to all, great ship, food, entertainment, ports of call. Only down side is Miami airport, has to be one of the worst we have ever been through. Poor facility's ! Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
Coral Princes is an attractive small ship, easy to get around. The staff was nice, very helpful most of the time. The food was always fresh and available. I was always requesting papaya for breakfast and they delivered it. The chef was ... Read More
Coral Princes is an attractive small ship, easy to get around. The staff was nice, very helpful most of the time. The food was always fresh and available. I was always requesting papaya for breakfast and they delivered it. The chef was excellent. Even a simple dish was made to look beautiful and it was always delicious. The service for dinner could have been faster (once it took more than 2 hours and we missed a show). The water in the main pool was cold and no one was using it. I do not like that Princes is making you pay for the sanctuary. I have decided not to go for a massage because of that. The entertainment was good, but could have been more fun and more variety. The movies in the theater were unwatchable because of the cold temperature that they kept in the theater. The crowd was not so youth. The biggest disappointment was not to be able to go to the Grand Cayman because the sea was too rough. I tried to speak with the captain, to try to make him go to another island - Princes Keys, or whatever other possibility existed... The front manager did not allow me too. She sad that we do not have the time to do it...so, we had 3 days at sea instead of 2 on the way back from Costa Rica. That was not fun because the entertainment director did not offer anything extra, not even a new movie. This is our 4th cruise with Princes. We like Princes cruising, but we have seen better... Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
Sailed on the Coral Princess departing Ft Lauderdale Sunday March 17 (in our green of course) for 10 day cruise. This cruise visited Aruba (briefly), Cartagena Colombia, Panama Canal partial transit plus Panama, Costa Rica and Grand ... Read More
Sailed on the Coral Princess departing Ft Lauderdale Sunday March 17 (in our green of course) for 10 day cruise. This cruise visited Aruba (briefly), Cartagena Colombia, Panama Canal partial transit plus Panama, Costa Rica and Grand Cayman. The ship was in very good condition with an excellent and helpful crew. The public areas were quite attractive and the newly installed International Cafe was a nice touch. We especially liked the promenade deck 7 which allowed for walking/jogging completely around the ship on the outside teak deck. A very nice way to start the day. The few complaints about the ship, and they are indeed minor, is that the gym is quite small and we did not care for the equipment installed. There is not a good men's changing room but there is a small one in the area of the men's sauna. As we like to go to the gym this was a bit of an issue but not major. It was fine and did the job we needed which was to work off some of the calories. The cabin we had was an inside on the Baha Deck (11) and it was just fine. This was our first time in an inside cabin on any cruise and we were very concerned about it. Our worries were unfounded as we did not find it to be too small or dark. As we spent little time in the cabin it was a non-issue and considering the amount of money saved worth considering again. We enjoyed room service breakfast on all port days and the service was on time and always complete. This is a nice way to start the day without rushing to get to the Horizon Court and is a must if one wants to get off the ship early. Food in the main dining room was always very good and our waiter and assistant waiter were excellent. We had the late seating and were lucky to have very good table mates. We had no complaints about the food or the service. We ate one night in Sabatini's and while it was quite good it was not that much better than the main dining room. In retrospect we would have probably saved that $70 for wine or drinks! The ports were quite interesting and the canal passage the highlight. We would have liked more time in Aruba and less in Cartagena, but it was what it was. Overall a great cruise on a very nice ship with an excellent staff and crew. We had no major complaints and were quite happy. As an aside this was my first time on Princess and my wife's second. The majority of our cruises have been on RCCL and/or Celebrity so this was a good comparison. Given our good experience Princess will have more of our cruising dollars. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
We have cruised on princess before and have been very happy with them. The ship had just been back from dry dock, they changed the Horizon Court to a very nice spacious dining area. Food choices were very good! They also added an ... Read More
We have cruised on princess before and have been very happy with them. The ship had just been back from dry dock, they changed the Horizon Court to a very nice spacious dining area. Food choices were very good! They also added an international cafe which we found nice for a snack after the show. The room was ok and our stewart did what he had t o do but nothing like we have had before! We had scheduled early seating and had two waiters. We think they have decreased the help in the dining Room because although we were there at the 5:45pm time we never got out until 7:20pm. We were always the last to get our food even though we got there before the other tables even had guests there. We had a very slow service. The Head waiter was very nice but the wait staff were slow! The food was ok they try and make it too fancy and ruin a great meal. Very salty the soups and gravies as well. The entertainment was so so. The singers and dancers were not very good! The movies under the stars was great although it got very windy one night and alot of people left. You very rarely saw the cruise director out an about, I think we saw him twice! We enjoyed meeting alot of people, especially in Trivia!! I wish they would have more of that on board! The family Feud game was great! All in all we had a great time and would cruise again on Princess. P.S Have only cruised 14 times but we have never sailed the same ship twice! Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
Just back from (10) night cruise on the Coral Princess which included a partial transit of the Panama Canal. This was our 11th cruise (3rd on Princess ships)Prior to booking, I read lots of Cruise Critic Member reviews of this ship and I ... Read More
Just back from (10) night cruise on the Coral Princess which included a partial transit of the Panama Canal. This was our 11th cruise (3rd on Princess ships)Prior to booking, I read lots of Cruise Critic Member reviews of this ship and I have to wonder if I was on the same Coral Princes ship as some of the other reviewers. We were more than pleased with the condition of the ship and the service received from all crew member. No, the ship is not new (launched 2002), but it is well maintained. It is small by today's standards, with just under 2000 passengers. We (wife and I) booked an Inside Cabin, but were upgraded to a obstructed view Outside Cabin #E520. The cabin was small, compared to other larger ships we've been on, but big enough for two people with ample storage space. Self service laundry facility available. We had an unusual event of a MAN OVERBOARD experience one afternoon during our cruise. A woman either fell or jumped from the 10th deck of the ship into open waters. Someone saw her fall and tossed an orange colored lifesaver overboard to try and mark the spot close to where she went into the water. There was an immediate "Man Overboard" announcement by the Captain. The crew immediately initiated the drill required for this emergency and the ship was turned around and search boats were launched. After locating and retrieving the orange life saver, the search began in that area, with the search boat going back and forth in a grid pattern. All passengers were asked to return to their cabins so that they could do a cabin by cabin visit to determine the missing person. After searching for over two hours the Captain announced that the body had been located and retrieved. The performance by the Captain and all Crew members during this somber emergency was exceptional. The past detailed training of the Crew was very evident in the professional and serious attention to the duty at hand. Can't compliment them enough. The Coral Princess Captain and Crew proved to be up to handling any emergency. The Itinerary for this cruise included (1)Aruba, (2)Cartagena, Columba, (3)Panama Canal (partial transit), (4)Colon, Panama, (5)Limon, Costa Rica, (6)Grand Cayman and four days at sea. The stop in Aruba was disappointing in that we were there only 7 1/2 hours (7 AM to 12:30 PM). By the time we got off the ship and the time we had to re-board, it didn't allow enough time to fully enjoy Aruba. Our past cruise stops here were much longer. In Cartagena, Columba we took a taxi into Old Town section and visited two very old cathedrals. Advise here would be to stick with the Yellow Cabs, they are much newer and cleaner. Four people into Old Town and back to port cost $5.00 per person each way. We then sailed partially through the Panama Canal to Lake Gatun. We took a five hour excursion to observe and learn about the canal and locks and how they operate. Also visited an Indian Village and re-boarded the ship in Colon, Panama, which was not a very pleasant city for site seeing. The stop in Limon, Costa Rica did not offer much either. Grand Cayman is a very clean and more modern port and city area if you like shopping. The food in the main dining room was very good and the selection was adequate. Our waiter (Francisco) and Asst. Waiter (Faye) were very attentive to our needs and requests and made the dining experience very enjoyable. The food in the Horizon Grill (buffet) was also good and we never had trouble finding a table or being attended to. We would definitely sail on the Coral Princess again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
Note: I dwell on the food a bit, since I think that's important on a cruise. To get "excellent", you simply have to do a better job than my wife or I! For this ship, buy the coffee card -- it entitles you to the better ... Read More
Note: I dwell on the food a bit, since I think that's important on a cruise. To get "excellent", you simply have to do a better job than my wife or I! For this ship, buy the coffee card -- it entitles you to the better regular coffee at the International Cafe, no charge. Note: call your hotel from the airport when you arrive to get a shuttle, there is no parking at the airport for pickups. Day 1: Boarding in Fort Lauderdale Stayed overnight in the Hampton Inn, which offers shuttles from the airport and to the ship the next day. Bonus is the Old Heidelberg restaurant within walking distance of the hotel, and it's a 5 star German experience. Shuttle to the ship at 11:45, and we wait around until 12:45 while the workmen still on board clear immigration (that's the story, anyway). Bonus after refurb is going to our cabin and dumping the carryon first for a change. Lunch: good curry, rest ordinary. Discover the secret "back porch" on deck 10 -- a dozen chairs, call from your room and get drinks. Mini-suite seems smaller than advertised, but has a tub and a bigger closet. Also blocks the bathroom door, so you don't light up the whole room for your mid-night potty break. Usual lifeboat drill at five. Dinner: ceviche (just fish and lime juice), mushroom soup (decent), prime rib(g) with an excellent grilled tomato and a 2 inch piece of tough grilled sweet corn. Crème Brulee for dessert. Across the table had a tasteless sugar free mango cheesecake. Service very slow, orders mixed up / substituted, other waiters stepped in to help ours. Day 2: at sea Breakfast in Horizon -- ordinary, slow juice service, but a Masked Booby going by to provide interest(sorry, I'm a birder...) No smoked salmon in sight, turns out you can get it in the dining room only. Morning trivia: lost by one with 16/20, Afternoon had 14, 14.5 to win. Stop by the library to pick up the daily Sudoku and word puzzle sheet. Lunch totally forgettable. Dinner: beef medallions(g), shrimp cocktail (available every night, 6 medium, decent), French Onion soup(poor -- mine is a LOT better), Gourmandises for dessert, turns out to be an excellent cookie assortment, just the thing for a mild diabetic.... I share around the table. Lose an hour tonight, Aruba is on Atlantic Time. Watch TV a bit, northeast getting pasted with a blizzard of up to 3 feet in places, all flights canceled. Day 3: Aruba Water mixer in shower has broken, can't get any cold water. Turned it left, and it unscrewed in my hand. Bread Pudding in the breakfast line, and some good broiled tomatoes. Dinner of Crab Cake(edible, too much breading), Corn/Sausage chowder(ok), Blackened Rockfish (more like baked, with no spices whatsoever, but good with an excellent romanesqu sauce). Give up on the sugar-free dessert and have crème brulee again. Tshirts and hats are on sale for our big canal cruise, so splurge and buy 2 for 20 bucks. Will report later on how cheap they are on land. You know, most of the slot machines are 1 cent, but have all the small bets disabled -- some of them have a minimum bet of 30 cents! Greedy bastards..... Day 4: Cartagena Off the boat and walk to the visitor center. Behind the visitor center is an excellent patch of woods -- they have a few captive birds (Macaws, some passerines, a monkey) but other birds and one monkey visit and partake of the feeders and watering points. Some of the captives piss a birder off -- they have Rose-Breasted Grosbeaks on migration from the States, for instance -- but I restrain myself from busting the lock and setting them free. (These captive birds "don't count" on your life list, incidentally) After a fine morning of birding, I walk back to the ship for lunch. After lunch, return and develop the birder plan: walk around the woods for 20 minutes, then pull up a chair in the shade pointing at the woods and drink a beer so you don't get dehydrated in the tropical heat, then repeat. After 3 sessions of the birder plan, time to leave. There's a free shuttle from the ship to the visitor center to spare the 1/3 mile walk on the concrete, if that's your preference. Dinner of an excellent piece of Corvina. News around the ship features the Carnival Triumph, now being towed to Mobile after the engines burned up down by Cozumel. The usual "limited toilets", no air conditioning, no lights. Didn't last year's occurrence get down to PBJ sandwiches before they got there? Day 5: Panama Canal Since this is the whole point of taking this cruise, up early to watch the approach. Through the Gatun Locks by 8 and into the lake. Breakfast in the dining room, and I discover the smoked salmon stash on board: I'll be back..... Cruise across Gatun Lake for a couple of hours, then enter the engineering marvel of the Gaillard Cut. Through the last two locks at about 4 and into the Pacific. Panama City is visible and very large in the distance. For a birder, this was a decent experience -- you're pretty close to the shore a lot, the shores are wooded and there are few shoreline birds. No sandpipers, etc. A few egrets, herons, one kingfisher (Ringed, unfortunately, and I looked at thousands of excellent perching branches -- he was at the Miraflores locks on the wall!) You will get to see Frigatebirds at a distance of 20 feet, plenty of Pelicans and Laughing Gulls, a few Royal Terns. I got to see Frigatebirds bathing by scraping the surface (and yes, they can get back in the air). Dinner in the Bayou to celebrate Mardi Gras. Nothing special for the occasion, except some free dollar store beads. Really makes you look forward to Valentine's Day. The sausage appetizer and Gumbo were good, but the Gumbo was more like seafood soup. The grilled Shrimp was good. My wife felt the catfish was undercooked, and serving it on a bed of French Fries was not acceptable in a specialty restaurant. They put some unsauced chopped cabbage on everything. The fried green tomatoes and potatoes were poor, but I rooted through the veggies for the lima beans, which I love. On the whole? Not worth it..... Day 6: At sea Princess Patter this morning features an announcement at the bottom that the port on Friday (San Juan del Sur) has limited landing facilities, and handicapped passengers can't be accomodated. This is the first notice I've seen. This would have me downstairs pounding on the desk and demanding a day's refund on the cruise fee! They just figure this out? Also included is the "tonight is the last chance to cancel your tour" notice. Breakfast in the dining room: salmon and Mexican omelette/refried beans. Needs some more taste, heat. Lunch upstairs, Hungarian goulash quite good. Lose trivia by ½ point this time. Brown Booby passes by at breakfast, Blue-footed Booby at lunch. Looking for a trifecta, but nothing at dinner. Dinner was Steak Diane, sadly inferior to my own..... Back an hour to Central time, which is a good thing, since my tour leaves at 7:15 tomorrow. Day 7: Puntarenas, Costa Rica Pull into port at 6, I eat breakfast and ready to go on Tour#1 at 7:15. Pier is two lanes wide, at least 1500 feet long, forcing the buses to back onto the pier. Decently efficient on loading/queing. Tour goes about a mile on the north side of the peninsula, then board a boat at go up the river to look at the crocs and various birdlife. I get two lifers (collared Plover and Grey capped Flycatcher (which the narrator called as a Kiskadee). Since she was calling Dowitchers "Sandpipers", the information was bit unreliable.... Up and back, about an hour total. Load on the bus and go to the Macaw Sanctuary, about an hour out of town. Decent tour, Rudulfo runs the place as a charity / wildlife refuge and does a good job. He has a newer book than mine, more knowledge of the local birds... I wander around and get a dozen lifers on my own, follow Rudulfo's directions to get a few more (the hummers are hitting flowers in the pen with the spider monkey). Since birds in cages don't count for listers, I don't even bother with the standard lectures and kinda go parallel with the tour, out in the grass. The best birding is at the end of the cages, next to the little stream. We get to see Scarlet Macaws defending their nest box, a Toucan in a tree. The place is lousy with Clay colored Robins (national bird of Costa Rica), and if you knew the trouble you have to go to, to see just one in Texas.... We have a snack of fruit from the locals -- excellent pineapple, papaya, bananas, watermelon... Really good stuff, and as a diabetic, I get to taste a bit. Back through the gift shop (I avoid the whole process and just hand Rudulfo some cash for bird seed) visit the washroom (long trough for the guys, non-working faucets for the washup) and back on the bus. Hour back to the ship, have lunch, then take the free shuttle (cute trainy thing) to the shore. Maybe a hundred vendors, not pushy, selling local crafts and coffee. Put a half mile on the clock, buying a couple of wood puzzle boxes for the grandkids, a couple ocarinas for them, a sample pack of Costa Rican coins to put in the puzzle boxes -- then spot the Ruddy Doves and some Tropical Kingbirds. About a thousand White-winged Doves on the ground. Work my way back to the ship, sampling local beers (Imperial, Bavaria, Pilsen) for $2-3 a bottle. Dinner is some excellent Short Ribs (a little fatty), then to bed. Day 8: San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua Failed to book a tour for this port -- all except one are "2 hour bus ride, get badgered in the market by street vendors, 2 hour bus ride back"; plus all the pictures online show the volcanoes buried in the haze, so what's the point. The sole Ecolodge tour is very pricy at $150/4 hours and sold out. So I wait until 10 and the tenders are free, go ashore, and wander around. The port has about 20 vendors set up -- Tshirts are $5, embroidered Tshirts are $10, and you could get pottery vases for maybe 3 bucks after bartering. There was a large selection of wood bowls, necklaces, placemats, etc. I pass right on by, exit the port fence, go along the shore road for a block or two, then go right a block to the base of the hills to bird. Decent birding, several batches of parrots/keets pass by (one landed and was 3 Crimson fronted Parakeets), the usual Social Flycatchers, Tropical Kingbirds, a large dove of some sort that needs more study (tail like a Mourning Dove in flight, but larger). There's a Boat-billed Flycatcher building a nest half way up the cellular tower that I got a glimpse of lugging a stick. Most interesting were the three King Vultures soaring over the hills when we came into the harbor, and we had a Brown Booby on the back sunporch of Deck 10 for the morning. There were a couple of Grackles cleaning up on the top deck for breakfast. Don't miss: free rum samples at the Flora Cana booth right off the tender. A couple vendors sell the 8 year old (decent, skip the cheap stuff) for $9/half, $15/fifth. The local beer is Tona, decent and similar in taste to Pilsen in Costa Rica -- little bit hoppy. The landing proved to be a couple feet wide, six steps up and two down. No way a wheelchair would make it. Stopped at the local bank for coins for the grandkids. $3 got me a handful of assorted. Security made me remove my hat, scanned my bag, and I had to show my passport to exchange my 3 singles! Escargot for appetizer, Prime Rib for main course at dinner.... Good food, indeed. Departure delayed ½ hour for "immigration issues", according to the announcement. That turned out in the morning to be a heart attack that killed a guy on the hike up the volcano, according to fellow passengers. Day 9: at sea Morning walk: from the smell, someone threw up on the Promenade, and it still smells. Working late, shower at 8:30 and we're out of hot water in the shower, still have hot water in the sink. Word to the wise: plan ahead. Breakfast of the usual stuff -- Cantaloupe hard, Honeydew fine. Brown and Masked Boobies riding the air in front of the ship, 2 porpoises/dolphins seen out from the stern. Morning trivia had 16, 19.5 to win. Special lunch: English Pub Grub in the Bayou, your choice of Breaded Shrimp, good Cod fried, Scottish Egg, Chicken Curry. That's it. Had to do the afternoon trivia by myself when the ladies attended the high tea, and got smoked. Dinner had an excellent piece of tilapia, a not so good seafood salad (calamari was tough), good butter pecan ice cream. Captain announcement that we're modifying course to close the land -- there's high winds predicted. Turned out to hit 90 knots is gusts with 16 ft waves, ship rolling moderately since it's off the quarter. Wreaked some havoc on the top deck during the movie with spray and howling winds. ESPN quit working, never to return... Day 10: at sea Shower at 7:45 was just barely on the cool side. Breakfast in dining room, lost morning trivia by one (again). Usual lunch, with brown booby passing the ship in mid-salad. Tequila tasting for free in afternoon, with 4 drinks raffled off, a fifth given away, very small tastings. Hint: get up and dance, you get more raffle tickets. Nap after. Dinner was Italian; special pasta fresh tossed, tiramisu, seafood salad (better this time), excellent cold Bellini soup, Limoncello shots with souvenir glass for $5 (not cold enough). Pavorotti video after gave us a chance to use the free drink coupon from the Captain's welcome. Day 11: at sea Shower at 7:15 was just about right. Liked the free champagne breakfast so much from the travel agent that we bought one on our own. Nice day on the balcony, about 70. Traveling through a fishing area -- pass a dozen boats and some floats securing catch lines of some sort. Birdy, see Frigatebird, Masked Booby, and a batch of Terns of some sort (Off the Jalisco coast) Done by 10 or so. Attended talk on "Navigation at Sea", which turns out to be "Bridge Tour by PowerPoint". Jet engines on top deck turn out to be plastic shrouds for gas turbine intakes and are non-functional. Run through "why the Princess can never have an accident like the other ships" - the standard question and answer for these type of things. After the Costa ran aground last year, the "entire Carnival fleet" adopted the Princess bridge model. Afternoon trivia: got 17, 18 to win... Dinner: Marlene and Robert at our table had a meat mix of chicken, pork, lamb and described it as "the worst dish of the cruise". Should have had the Orange Roughy or the Scallops -- they were excellent. Thyme infused Strawberry Sorbet for a palate cleanser before the main course, nice try.... Day 12: Cabo san Lucas Up early for the whale-watching tour; not to be missed. Mother Humpback and calf jumping and playing, couple of juvenile humpbacks cruising around. Keep an eye out for the sea lions -- they hitch rides on the fishing boats and can be seen in the marina. 2.5 hours, free margaritas/pina coladas/ beer, some chips and salsa fresca (nice and spicy) -- decent value. They check your bags getting off the ship, so watch what you bring ashore -- no food items. Back to the dock for a couple hours of power shopping -- I bought a Tshirt to help the economy of Mexico. Town is nothing but buildings; I try to get some birding in by going to the nearest trees behind one of the hotels, but all there is - House Sparrows. Back to ship, lunch was sort of Italian, and the cream puff was very good with the almond cream filling. Go on deck as we round the corner for California, there are more whales to be seen. Dinner at Sabatini's. Not very crowded on the last formal night. Good Calamari appetizer, some bread with evoo to start it off, nice tomato soup with not so good calamari, marinated beefsteak, zabaglione for dessert Decent value for a special night (one that ends in y...) Day 13: at sea Classic American breakfast in the dining room, and the hash browns weren't any good in there, either... Captain announces that the weather is going to be bad starting about noon and continuing bad until we reach port in LA -- he is altering course to go closer to the land again. About two in the afternoon, the waves are approaching 15 feet, the temperature outside is about 60, the wind is getting up there, and attendance around the pool is zero. I watch the Egg Drop competition at 1300 hrs, which is pretty funny, since I was the district and regional judge for Science Olympiad and conducted workshops in that very subject! These were pretty pathetic, and mostly consisted of putting your egg in various cushions "liberated" from lounges around the ship. Waves got up to 20 feet, and attendance at dinner was about half -- got great service! Day 14: disembarkation One of the better experiences -- could stay in the cabin until nine, wander downstairs and wait until 9:45. If the customs people were faster, would have been on the bus in 15 minutes, but they added a half hour in the queue to the process. Off to LAX for our flight home. Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
My entire family greatly enjoyed our 10 night Panama Canal cruise with the Coral Princess. We had previously sailed upon the Coral Princess to Alaska in 2009, and we were very pleased with both cruises. The Coral Princess is in excellent ... Read More
My entire family greatly enjoyed our 10 night Panama Canal cruise with the Coral Princess. We had previously sailed upon the Coral Princess to Alaska in 2009, and we were very pleased with both cruises. The Coral Princess is in excellent shape, particularly for a ship that was scheduled for a dry dock immediately following our sailing. We chose this cruise based primarily upon its itinerary. But potential passengers considering booking this cruise should note that that the itinerary is changing, and it appears that an extra day is being added to the cruise so that it will be 12 days and 11 nights in the future. Currently, there is a very short day in Aruba (7 am to 12:30 pm) and it appears that some of the 2014 cruises will make Aruba the first port, and then add a sea day after Aruba, so passengers can experience a full day in that port. If you want to complete the current 10 night itinerary you may wish to sail in 2013 before the changes are enacted. We did not personally feel we needed additional time in Aruba, since we were most excited about visiting Cartagena and the Panama Canal, but we met other passengers who did feel that they would have preferred additional time in Aruba. Currently, there are 5 port days in a row, so a sea day after Aruba would be beneficial to passengers who might prefer to only have 4 port days in a row. On the current itineraries with short Aruba stops, passengers should also be prepared for lines to board the ship, since most of the passengers are trying to reboard at exactly the same time, right before the ship sails. People interested in shopping in Aruba should note that the stores are not open on Sundays, and do not open until 10 am (except for the ones recommended by the ship at the shopping talk). In Aruba, it is very easy to find a cab driver to give you a tour of the highlights of the island, which include the Casibari rock formation and magnificent beaches. My mother and aunt greatly enjoyed the shopping, and my two year old son greatly enjoyed Philips Animal Garden, where you can have a very nice experience feeding lots of animals. After Aruba's zoo closed, the high profile animals found homes in Venezuelan zoos, and Phillip took in all the rest of the animals. He has created a wonderful home for them, and you can get lots of nice pictures with the animals. In Cartagena, we loved seeing the spectacular old city, and had an excellent private tour with Dora De Zubiria (dora@cartagenatour.com). Dora is a highly knowledgeable and experienced guide, and we greatly enjoyed her lovely tour of the old city. Please bring water and sunscreen since Cartagena is very warm and humid and there is a great deal of walking since cars are not allowed in the Old City. We also had a very nice lunch at the Club de Pesca (the Mariscos a la cartagenera allows you to sample a variety of excellent seafood). Please note that the service at Club de Pesca is very leisurely, so you should allocate enough time to return to the port (it is a short cab ride from the pier). In Panama, you can get an excellent view of the boat arriving at the Panama canal on Deck 10 forward (there is a set of doors that you pass through marked private, but no one seemed to mind the few people who were on that deck). My mother knew she had found the right place when she saw the ship's photographers going through the doors in front of her! You can also call room service to arrange for some coffee and a light breakfast to assist you with the early morning (generally around 5 am but ultimately dependent upon the Panamana Canal Authority's clearance) boat entrance through the canal. In Panama, the Coral Princess docks at Gatun Lake and only allows passengers who have signed up for a Princess tour to leave the boat, as per Panama Canal Authority regulations. The boat returns back through the locks and then docks in Colon, where passengers on Princess cruise tours are able to reboard. We signed up for a short tour Gatun Lakes Cruise and Locks so we would be able to give our son a nap before he got overtired. Unfortunately, we were not informed until the day before Panama when it was too late to switch tours that there would be a substantial gap between when our tour ends, and when we would be allowed to reboard the ship. We were told at the end of the tour that we would be allowed back on the ship in an hour when it docked. The ship arrived on time one hour later, but no one was allowed to board for another hour, and the Panamanian authorities would not tell us when we would be allowed to board. That led to two very long hours standing outside of an elevator at the port in Colon with a screaming toddler who needed to nap. If we had known about this gap ahead of time, we would have either chosen a longer tour with the Embera Indians or simply disembarked in Colon and taken a cab from Colon to the nearby Gatun locks (although if you are planning this, please check the operating hours at Gatun locks, since I don't know what time they close, and the docking time for the Princess boats at Colon can vary based upon canal traffic). People without children who take short Princess tours in Panama are not likely to experience significant problems with the delay in reboarding the ship, since there is a very affordable supermarket and several restaurants with free wifi in the Port of Colon. The Princess Gatun lake cruise that we took was not very good, since there was very little wildlife (two monkeys and one sloth) and no other ships on Gatun lake. Wildlife and ship traffic are not guaranteed and on another day people might have more luck seeing interesting things on this tour but overall we were disappointed that our only Princess tour was the most disorganized tour we took on this cruise, and we would not want to utilize cruise tours in the future. Travelers with disabilities or those with small children should note that there are approximately 150 steps to climb to reach the viewing platform at Gatun. There is a platform on ground level for visitors with disabilities, but you can't really see much from there. Parents can, however, take turns with one supervising children on the downstairs platform, and the other climbing the stairs to watch the locks in action. People with disabilities may prefer taking a Princess cruise tour that brings you directly to Miraflores locks, which has a restaurant, a museum explaining the history of building the Panama Canal, and an elevator. Miraflores was chosen to be the visitor center because it is located closest to Panama City, but Gatun generally has more ship traffic so you have more of an opportunity to see the locks in action at Gatun. Princess passengers who want to travel to Miraflores should book this tour prior to departure to ensure that it isn't sold out, since passengers will be unable to travel to Miraflores independently. You can also cancel tours on the boat (I believe they require 24 hours notice for a full refund) so please consider booking a Princess tour if you think you might want to travel to Miraflores. We had previously visited Costa Rica, and it is a beautiful country with amazing wildlife. We spent the morning at Veruga Rain Forest, which has an interesting gondola ride through the rainforest and hiking paths. It was not quite as spectacular as the Monteverde cloud forest, but quite lovely and a good option if you are docking at the port of Colon. At the bottom of the gondala ride, you can either hike to the waterfall (which requires climbing approximately 350 fairly steep steps but my 2 year old was able to manage most of this with assistance) or hike through a flat path through the rainforest. There are also frog and butterfly exhibitions. In the afternoon, we enjoyed a very tranquil ecocruise at Tortuguera with lots of birds and some animals, including an alligator. Eduardo Humphreys (yourluckytour@gmail.com) provided us with a highly skilled 4x4 driver (which is absolutely necessary if you are traveling a long distance on Costa Rica's roads!) and arranged for the lovely ecotour. In Jamaica, we visited Dolphin Cove, which is an excellent stop for people with children or those who love animals. There are various swim with dolphin programs, and a dolphin touch programs for nonswimmers, pregnant women and children. The Princess tours do not allow children under the age of 8 to participate in dolphin touch programs, so if you want your children to participate in this excursion you would need to book it directly through the Dolphin Cove (and please don't tell them you are arriving on a cruise ship since previous trip advisor reviewers were refused booking when they told Dolphin cove they were traveling to Jamaica on a cruise). The Dolphin Cove has a lovely touch tank, where your child can hold starfish, and you can feed love birds by hand and get your photograph taken with lots of parrots on you. There is also an opportunity to take pictures with either sharks or stingrays. Please note the time of the shark show, since this show is very bad and the performers in this are also the same people who help you pose with stingrays and sharks. You should visit the other attractions during the shark show, and for the 15 minutes prior to the shark show since the trainers are preparing for the show and can't help you touch the animals. Dolphin's Cove is also located right next to the spectacular Dunn's River Falls, which my family greatly enjoyed visiting. Lunch was excellent jerk chicken at Scotchie's. Richard Brooks at excursionochorios@gmail.com provided us with an excellent tour of Jamaica. He guided my family through Dunn's river falls, and helped my mother pick out an authentic Jamaican meal at Scotchies. My mother and aunt greatly enjoyed the ship activities, including bingo and the shows. We were all very pleased with dinner in the main dining room. Each night at least one or two dishes were outstanding and most were very good. It is always impossible to predict which meals my two year old son would eat, and the servers were very patient about bringing extra food when he decided to eat someone else's entree (even when he ate all of Grandma's lobster tail!) One very nice change from our previous cruise in 2009 was the fact that part of the buffet was only closed at off-peak hours, so passengers did not experience any lines at the buffet or have any difficulty finding seating. The waiters were very attentive in the buffet, and several of the dishes were usually excellent. They consistently did a very good job with roast chicken dishes in interesting sauces (the five spice chicken was my favorite) and the carving station was usually excellent. My mother was able to successfully utilize her unlimited soda card, but we encountered a bit of difficulty with the wine package. My aunt purchased this package because she was told by the salesman that you can utilize it all over the ship. This is technically true, but each bottle is labeled with your name and left at the last location you drank it, so if you drink wine with lunch on the Lido deck, the steward has to go all the way to the 14th floor during dinner to retrieve your bottle of wine. My aunt was told she couldn't get her wine on the second day in the bingo room since it was too far away, and when she explained the situation to the head sommelier, he immediately cancelled her wine package without penalty. My aunt was very happy with how Princess resolved this issue, and people who intend to drink wine with dinner in the same venue should not experience any difficulties utilizing the wine package. The ship employees work very hard, and the wine package shouldn't cause them a lot of extra work (my hope is that it is generally used by people drinking wine with dinner and therefore doesn't cause any additional stress for the very hardworking employees). We booked a mini suite balcony, which was quite spacious and easily accommodated two adults and one two year old in a crib. I believe this room could accommodate two children if they could both sleep on the pullout couch (Princess provided us with a nice pack and play for our son to sleep in). We utilized the E-Z check luggage program, and it worked very well. For $20 per piece of luggage, we were able to leave our luggage outside the room the night before we docked in Ft Lauderdale, and it arrived safely at Newark. Princess also checked my husband and I into our flights. You may encounter some logistical difficulties if only some members of your cabin are enrolled in E-Z check. My husband and I each checked one piece of luggage, so we were both enrolled in E-Z check and Princess checked us into our flight but Princess told us they could not check in our two year old son into the flight unless we paid $20 to enroll him in the E-Z check program, even though he didn't have any luggage to check. Fortunately, he was assigned the middle seat on the plane and we were able to check him in when we got to the airport without any problems. The other logistical issue that arose is that my husband and I were assigned an E-Z check deboarding group that assembled at 8 am, but my son was assigned a 10 am deboarding time in a different location. Our E-Z check deboarding instructions stated that we needed to be in the main dining room at 8 am so customs could clear our luggage. I went to down there by myself to try to ascertain where my family was supposed to assemble, and I was told by an employee that our luggage had been sent away first thing in the morning, and was already at the airport and that we could just leave the ship with our son's departure group. We experienced absolutely no problems leaving at 10 am and our luggage arrived on time, so we were very happy with the E-Z check program. An unexpected highlight of this cruise for us was the very strong children's program, which provides structured activities for children ages 3-17. We were happy to discover that our two year old son could spend time in the Kid Zone when accompanied by a parent or guardian. Our son loved the developmentally appropriate arts and craft activities, and we were very happy with the care he received there. If you are planning on traveling with children (or if you would prefer a cruise without children), you should try to avoid school breaks. There were only 11 children on our cruise, which sailed on January 8th, and 150 on the previous cruise that left on December 29th. Because there were 4 caregivers in the KidZone on the January 8th cruise, they were able to provide a lot of individualized attention that a two year old needs in order to participate in arts and craft activities. The Kidzone is located on the 12th floor, on the back of the ship. The Kidzone closes during days in port for lunch 12-1, and for dinner 5-6, and ends its day at 10 pm. But there is outdoor kid play area that can be accessed all the time which has a slide, several tricycles and a small splash pool. The outdoor space can be reached by walking all the way to the back of the ship on the port side of deck 12 on the Coral Princess. The kid zone itself is located on the starboard side of the back of deck 12, and has rooms for young children with balloons and a small foam climbing area and small sinks and potties. Older children have a room with Wii, and arts and crafts. Parents may want to book their rooms closer to the back of the ship (we were deck 9 mostly midship and fortunately a bit towards the back) and very grateful for our easy proximity to the Kid Zone. Parents should also note that Princess will provide baby food in your cabin if you email them a request at dietaryrequest@princesscruises.com, ahead of time. The form states that Princess generally purchases baby food in bulk from Gerber and cannot guarantee any particular flavors so if your child is picky you may want to bring your own food (all of our baby food was the exact same flavor, which was absolutely fine for us since our son eats a lot of adult foods and we only give him baby food as a supplemental way to feed him vegetables). Parents should also note that although Princess offers a very good variety of healthy boxed cereal options, they do not have any Cheerios on board. My son really liked the healthy boxed cereals, and he greatly enjoyed being able to choose from a variety of boxed cereals when we were on tours in port. The room service was very accommodating, and graciously brought us cereal, yoghurt and warm milk every morning and evening. Please note that you can even order room service ahead of time so you will have warm milk delivered right at bedtime. The Lido buffet staff was also very accommodating, bringing our son yogurts during lunch and dinner hours. Parents should also note that the locks to the room and balcony are located very low on the door, and my two year old son was able to unlock both doors so please supervise your children carefully (my son is a little Houdini, so hopefully other parents may have more luck keeping the doors locked). Passengers with disabilities and those carrying small children may also experience difficulty getting into the Lido buffet, since there are doors that need to opened with handles. Sliding glass doors are utilized throughout the ship, and hopefully future ships will incorporate them outside the Lido buffet so people can easily enter and carry food out to the outdoor seating. Some days the ship employees would prop open one of the doors, which was very helpful. Previous Princess cruisers should also note that Princess has added a foam top over the mattress, so you might no longer need to request an egg shell mattress (the steward had received our request for the egg shell mattress, and wisely put it under the bed and told us to try the pillow topper and if we weren't happy with it he would change it to the eggshell crate instead) We were quite happy with the pillow topped mattress, and did not need the eggshell crate. Our steward was also very patient with the food my son dropped in the cabin. Overall, we were very glad to have taken this cruise and hope that you also enjoy your travels! Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
We sailed from Ft. Lauderdale and encountered gale force winds on the way to Aruba. It is a big ship but was moving quite a bit. One of the shows needed to be rescheduled. All was calm by the time we reached Aruba. We took an island bus ... Read More
We sailed from Ft. Lauderdale and encountered gale force winds on the way to Aruba. It is a big ship but was moving quite a bit. One of the shows needed to be rescheduled. All was calm by the time we reached Aruba. We took an island bus tour on Aruba. They took us to a natural bridge that had collapsed a few years ago and then to an Ostrich farm where we saw several Ostriches in small pens. After that they took us to a lighthouse that was closed and then they drove us past all of the new hotels along the tourist beach. The drive around the hotels took so long that we did not have time to see any of the places in Aruba that were near the ship. In Cartagena we took a good tour of the old city. Our guide was very good. We saw a lot of the historical parts of the city and had time to shop too. We were very lucky going through the Panama Canal because our balcony faced the other canal and we could watch a container ship go through the locks beside us. We took a tour to Panama with a stop at the locks on the Pacific end. The old city of Panama was very interesting and we finished up with a drive around the new city. Our tour guide was excellent! We really enjoyed this tour. In Limon we took an excursion that included a visit to a Del Monte banana plantation. That was very interesting. We had a boat ride on one of the canals but we were sitting on the wrong side of the boat so did not get to see the animals along the shore. This tour was just OK. In Jamaica we took a tour of a historic sugar mill museum. It was a quick tour so we did not have time to read and look at all of the nice exhibits. The tour guide at the museum was very informative. We were supposed to visit Fern Gully but found out after we started the tour that it had been closed for a couple of years. The bus driver took us to a place for free juice drinks and to a very small pottery sales place and then to a little shopping center. The bus then drove us past the gates of many resorts. We drove and drove around and finally returned to the ship. This tour was as bad as the tour on Aruba. We were very happy with our ship the Coral Princess. We loved the mini-suite and the balcony was worth the extra cost if only for going through the canal. We found the food to be very good. My wife needed her food prepared a little special and they accommodated her needs. The waiters were very good. We ate at the early sitting and that allowed us to see two shows a night and be in bed around 10 each night. The Coral Princess dancers and singers were very good. All of the entertainments was very good- mentalist, magician, comedian, and a singer. Our cruise had an excellent speaker who talked to us about each port the night before and he gave us a running commentary during the trip in the Panama Canal by way of our stateroom television. He was great! Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
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 4.1
Family 5.0 4.1
Shore Excursion 3.0 4.0
Enrichment 4.0 3.9
Service 4.0 4.5
Value For Money 4.0 4.0
Rates 4.0 4.2

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