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

Cruise December 14 to December 24, 2005 Embarkation Went smoothly and quickly. We boarded at noon and found no crowd as the cruise information implied by saying its smoother after 2:00 p.m. We flew into Ft. Lauderdale and ... Read More
Cruise December 14 to December 24, 2005 Embarkation Went smoothly and quickly. We boarded at noon and found no crowd as the cruise information implied by saying its smoother after 2:00 p.m. We flew into Ft. Lauderdale and overnighted there at a motel that provided transportation to the pier. Others who drove to the cruise parked at hotels/motels that they stayed at overnight where parking for the duration of the cruise was either at a nominal charge or no charge. For those who drove to the ship and parked in the garage, there was the inconvenience of leaving from Pier 2 and returning at Pier 21. Baggage delivery was terribly slow. Didnt get our bags until at least 6:30 p.m. -- we were at dinner in our jeans (hooray!). Others were not pleased also. Food We elected Anytime Dining in that we wanted the flexibility it affords. Generally, the breakfast and lunch food was good. Portions at breakfast, lunch, and dinner were adequate. At dinner, the Beef Wellington, lobster, baked clams (appetizer), and scallops were quite good, but my steak was tough and neither mine nor my wifes were cooked as we liked them, and the baked potato was not cooked. Service varied from meal to meal with the last breakfast being totally inefficient. The waiter didnt seem to be able to take more than one customers order at a time. Bayou Cafe: fillets not cooked appropriately, but nice size. Service was terrible. It wasnt crowded, but we had to continuously ask waiter for water. Others reported that they did not have the same problems (perhaps different staff on duty). Sabatinis: Absolutely excellent in all ways  food and service (well worth the extra $20/person). Horizon Court: Food below par at all meals, but was plentiful and many choices (many more choices than in dining room). Pizza bar is excellent and there is no extra charge. Paying extra for ice cream at the Ice Cream Bar is ridiculous. Free ice cream in the Horizon Court in mid-afternoon was available, but the scooper could have been used to scoop melons. Be careful of very slippery floor very early in the morning. Soft drink card for $39.50 is pricey. To this they added 15% for a gratuity (another indicator of the cheap attitude felt by even those who had cruised with Princess many, many times --- i.e., ever since it was acquired by Carnival -- another was our cabin steward saying that he is allotted only a certain number of chocolates for pillows). Formal Nights We were pleasantly surprised that there was a loosening of the requirements that men had to wear tuxedos, suits, or sport jackets in that I dont believe in playing dress up when on vacation. A pair of slacks for men and a shirt with a collar works for men and slacks and a blouse or a dress works for women. The crew, wait staff, etc. didnt give a hoot, but we did get some disparaging stares from snooty passengers. Too bad. Our money is a green as theirs. Amenities There are several antimicrobial liquid dispensers at the Horizon Court buffet. Would be a good idea to have it at all dining areas and when reboarding the ship. Bring you own laundry bag if youre planning on doing laundry. Laundry facilities good. Costs $1.00 for detergent, $1.00 for a wash, $1.00 for a dry. Bring quarters in that coin change machine might not work or be out of quarters. Be aware that slot machine tokens might be in the coins the change machines make. Theyll work in the laundry equipment, but are useless off the ship. Surprisingly, the cost for dry cleaning is not any more than youd pay in many cities (e.g., I had a pair of short dry cleaned and the price was $3.25). Would have been nice to have instructions printed on the laundry bag as to what to do with the clothes (i.e., turn it in where, give to cabin steward, or. . .). Too many attempts by photographers to take pictures that then are a rip off. If they say 8-1/2 by 11 pictures, theyre giving you the paper size. The picture is considerably smaller with maps and other material covering much of the page. Communication and Disabilities Communication is not a strong feature on the Coral Princess. In fact, its pretty bad. Incorrect information in the onboard publications (someone should help the writers with appropriate capitalization of words), including signage throughout the ship being less than adequate, information on the onboard TV not being accurate (insurance on purchases that applied to earlier cruises was broadcast throughout one day, but no one seemed to have a clue about it), and the requirement that you must carry picture ID when leaving the ship (not once were we asked for this, especially since the electronic system now in use has your picture displayed each time your boarding card is scanned). Also, would be a nice feature if the ship announced the weather forecast in addition to the condition of the seas. Ship was very accommodating to persons with motor disabilities (many wheel chairs, canes, walkers). Cabin Our cabin was on the Aloha Deck (Deck 12) and we had a balcony. Cabin was good sized with a very large closet and adequate drawer space. Bathroom was typical and shower size was OK (unless you weight 350 lbs  we dont). Two electric outlets next to each other on the desk and one in bathroom. Bring a power strip if you need more. Balcony adequate for two (two chairs and a table). Facial tissue: cheap brand and like sandpaper. There was no clock, but the wakeup call did work. Bring your own clock. The one on your cell phone wont work (duh!). The only problem we had with the cabin (it was amidships) is that it was below an area where they must have kept livestock in that there were hoof beats late into the night. A complaint to the pursers desk was ignored. Others said the same about the noise. Also ignored was our request to visit the bridge and we did not receive any notification one way of the other that was supposed to be forthcoming in writing. Ignored requests and complaints relates to the communication problem noted above. Written complaint about the Tulum tour (see below) did result in a letter of apology and a refund of a third of the price. Crew The strong point was that the young men and women from many countries who worked in numerous capacities (wait staff, clerks, maintenance, etc.) were delightful and most helpful. It was surprising to find that the maintenance department dispatched a worker to replace a flickering light with 10 minutes of the call. Cabin steward did his job. Entertainment We went to three shows (productions) and the magician (he did the traditional Transformation and also walking through a mirror). The production numbers had good themes and staging, but absolutely the wrong choice of music for the productions. Cast was generally good, except for one singer who screamed and was often off key. Piano player/singer in the atrium lounge was fun, good, and entertaining. Tours Montego Bay  Return to ship by 3:30 p.m.; ship scheduled to leave at 4:00 p.m. Actually left at 4:45 p.m. Should have provided later time before leaving to allow more time for tours. Impression was that Montego Bay is not the safest of places. Tulum  Knees in your chest buses. Box lunch horrible, including an apple that wasnt washed and chips with cayenne pepper. We didnt eat them at all. Our guide knowledgeable. Tulum itself was magnificent. Downside was on the return when there was a long wait to board the tender and no place to sit. Were sure that the idea is for you to be shopping along 5th Avenue. If there is time, we are told that two blocks away the prices are much more reasonable. Grand Cayman  enjoyed the half submarine and the turtle farm. Guide had worked at the turtle farm in the past and was most informative. Limon  same bus problem as Tulum. The poverty is striking. Makes one appreciate what one has. Buses on Panama Canal tour quite adequate. Promotional material in error in that its a 90 minute bus ride both to and from the tour boat. Promotional material gave the impression of a quick transfer to the tour boat from the Coral Princess, but instead it was a 90 minute bus ride (did get to see some of the countryside). Tour of the Canal was a fantastic experience. Overall Beautiful ship. Many friendly passengers. Crew excellent. Tours enjoyable (although the busses were uncomfortable at times and the tours through Princess were overpriced in some cases). Our goal was to experience the Panama Canal, to get a snapshot of some of the Caribbean, and to relax. The cruise lived up to those expectations and we enjoyed the experience. Read Less
CORAL PRINCESS PANAMA CANAL October 30 - November 9, 2003 By Mary & Vincent Finelli This cruise began in Port Everglades, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida with a crescent moon and culminated in the Florida Straits with a total Lunar Eclipse. ... Read More
CORAL PRINCESS PANAMA CANAL October 30 - November 9, 2003 By Mary & Vincent Finelli This cruise began in Port Everglades, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida with a crescent moon and culminated in the Florida Straits with a total Lunar Eclipse. What happened in between is the substance of this review. There was nothing average about these ten days. From the first glimpse of the Coral Princess in port with her "gas turbine/diesel enviro engines installed above decks in the funnel, it is obvious that this ship is something different. When arriving in port our son Marcello asked, "are you sailing or flying?" This is an impressive, unique silhouette: polished steel structures, resembling jet engines, and steel stacks, perched atop a 15 deck tall ship! This ship, built in Chantiers de l'Atlantique, St. Nazaire, France, is 964 ft. long, her beam is a Panamax 106 ft, her height is 204 ft. and with a draft of 27 ft, her maximum speed is 24 knots. There are 987 cabins including 20 wheel chair accessible (sq. footage between 217 - 374); 89% of all cabins are ocean view and 83% of these have balconies. Passenger capacity is 1,970 and the crew numbers 900. She is still in her inaugural year having been launched December 2002. Registry, of course, is Hamilton, Bermuda. Since Princess is the union of two venerable lines: England's P&O (Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Company) founded in 1840, and Italy's Sitmar Line established in 1913, her crews reflects these beginnings even today. When P&O purchased Sitmar in 1988, a new line emerged --- Princess. The Coral Princess' Captain Giorgio Pomata joined Sitmar in 1978, and has continued to serve on many Princess ships as Captain. Crew members and customs reflect the Princess' origins. The serving of High Tea in the Bordeaux Dining Room every afternoon at 3:30 pm accompanied by the Delphinus Strings contributes to her very English atmosphere. The continental manners of the top Italian crew members, like Passenger Services Director Carlo Gunetti, from whom a formal greeting is customary (Ladies .."a kiss on the hand is quite continental"), and Maitre d' Generoso Mazzone, who overseas the ship's dining venues like a virtuoso conductor, generate an atmosphere of elegance and efficiency. Whilst the very British Cruise Director Trevor Bradford handles the passenger activities with great aplomb. EMBARKATION Security was evident at Port Everglades when we arrived at 11:30 am. Embarkation started at noon. There were crew members on the dock to assist with the wheel chair and the pre entered data sheets helped to expedite the processing. The on board credit/cabin key card is a handy system. We were in our cabin within 30 minutes --- which is quite excellent. The expansive "Welcome On Board" Buffet was appetizing; however, we tend to avoid buffets, so we ate on Lido Deck 14 at the Princess Pizza (very crispy, thin and excellent). During embarkation, personnel were stationed at all elevators providing directions and a welcoming atmosphere. Our luggage was in our room by 1:30 pm. Very efficient! SHIP'S PUBLIC AREAS Passengers enter the ship on deck 5, into the Princess Plaza. The "Under the Seas " theme juxtaposes the Coral Princess' motto "Over the Seas." There are murals of crustaceans, black and white whales, and coral formations, as well as bubbling cylindrical glass fountains. A cascade of stainless steel flows down four flights from Deck 8, while an impressionistic stainless steel boat acts as a net for marine shapes and both are illuminated with changing colors. Each separate level of this four deck atrium affords areas for cocktails bars, coffee bars and entertainment. Plaza Deck 5 forward is the Bordeaux dining Room. This walnut wood paneled room has several very nice paintings, square walnut columns with brass trim and a ceiling with white twinkling lights over head. The Fili D'Oro linens used in the dining rooms are a nice touch. Midship is the Passenger Service Desk, Tour Desk and the Patisserie Coffee Shop, serving specialty coffees, teas and pastries. Then, there is a series of mostly outside staterooms and just a few inside cabins. Fiesta Deck 6 forward is the Provence Dining Room. Toward midship are the onboard shops and the entrance to the Princess Casino flanked by two red coated, beaver hatted, tall Buckingham Palace Guards. The Casino has carpeting depicting Beefeaters, Big Ben, among other London scenes. Among red painted telephone booths, passengers play Hyde Park Poker, Buckingham Palace Blackjack and other charmingly named games of chance. Going toward aft is the expansive Explorers' Lounge. It is off a wonderful corridor with windows to the sea and mosaic green, tan and white pillars forming a six arch arcade in front of the lounge. The carpeting depicts African animals, and the walls display several murals with exotic scenes (Asian, Turkish, Egyptian, Ethiopian, etc.). All the way aft on Deck 6 is the Universe Lounge with its wide, wide, revolving and elevating stage, which is a fitting place for on board extravaganzas. However, the brass rails on its upper level obstruct the view of performers. These are soon to be replaced with glass. Look for the interestingly lighted two deck bar in the rear. Promenade Deck 7 forward is the Princess Theatre. This simple, open room has a perfect view of the stage from every seat. Its walls are covered in gold and maroon suede. Go early or you may not get a seat. Walk toward midship to see the Wheelhouse Bar, a beautiful dark walnut paneled room with a huge brass and copper light as a centerpiece. The tables are drop leaf with brass fittings, brass wall sconces and dark green and brown leather furniture complete the decor. The carpeting is blue depicting continents, oceans and sailing ships. The walls hold many ship memorabilia and paintings of ships like the 1950 "Chusan" of P&O. The Wheelhouse corridor entrance is flanked by two wooden ship's figureheads: One a female in a black sarong and the other a naval officer with gold epaulettes. These evoke images of the South Seas. Mid ship is the Crooner's Lounge with pictures of the "Rat Pack" (Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr. etc...). Here you may purchase a martini in a Sinatra souvenir glass. There is also the Churchill Lounge where cigars and spirits can be enjoyed. Mid ship, on the port side is a beautiful wedding Chapel where couples may be married in international waters by the Captain. Going toward aft is Sabatini's, the upscale Italian restaurant, which in this class ships is larger and more elegant than the "Sabatini's Trattoria" of the Grand class ships. Then, there also is the Bayou Cafe with its brick walls, New Orleans Jazz and Cajun cuisine. All the way aft, on this deck, is the balcony of the Universe Lounge. Outside is the wrap around Promenade with lounge chairs for reading or watching the waves. Emerald Deck 8 has the Library, the Card Room and the Internet Cafe with world stock trade information, all of which are clustered around the central elevators. Then, both forward and aft are staterooms, some categories with balcony and some with obstructed view. Dolphin Deck 9, Caribe Deck 10, and Baja Deck 11 are all staterooms and suites, mostly with balconies and some inside cabins. Aloha Deck 12 is mostly staterooms with balcony and a few inside cabins, except for aft, where are located the Pelican Children's Pool & Playhouse (ages 2-7 yrs), the Fun Zone (ages 8-12 yrs) and the Off Limits Teen Center (ages 13 -17 yrs). As you can see the young people have their own well supervised facilities. Lido Deck 14 forward has the Horizon Court (24 hr) Buffet Restaurant seating 386, which is quite crowded at peak times. Outdoors are the Princess Pizza, Lido Bar, Lido Swimming Pool, three whirlpools, and the Haagen Daz ice cream bar. Towards aft is the Solarium Lotus Pool area with its retractable dome and a swim-against-the-current pool and two small whirlpools. Excellent before 9:30 am, when you may have it all to your self. The decor is relaxing: a statue of a young Buddha overlooks the pool and there is a white gazebo on the end. Aft is the Lotus Spa and the Fitness Center. Sun Deck 15 has a Princess Link mini golf course and the Golf Simulator with some of the world's most renown courses featured. It also holds the Outdoor Grill serving hamburgers, hot dogs, French fries, etc.... Sports Deck 16 has a Splash Pool, a Center Court for sports with space for spectator seating, Shuffle Board and the Deck Chess Set. FOOD & SERVICE Passenger Services Director Carlo Gunetti has this ship running like a precise time piece: The service is fast and friendly. For instance, a screw broke on Vincent's wheelchair during boarding and Ronan Amaral, Jr. Asst. Purser, supplied us with a temporary wheelchair while he had Vincent's fixed over night. He was very helpful, and we appreciate his thoughtfulness. Throughout the ship we always received courteous and prompt service with a smile! The "Anytime Dining Program" means that there is more to do for the Maitre d' Generoso and the Head Waiters, since there is no longer a fixed time and table for many cruisers: thus, reservations and seating is an ongoing activity. We happen to recognize Head Waiter Pasquale Marino from previous cruises, but on the Coral he was magnificent. Generoso and his staff pleasantly greeted the passengers at the dining room door and outdid themselves in accommodating everyone's request in the best possible way. Moreover, the Maitre d' himself went from table to table assuring that everything was perfect. At Table #20 for two, we enjoyed some of the finest meals. At lunch, our waiter, Elisa Dumitrescu was always cordial and efficient as was the asst. waiter Sandor Lorincz. Every evening our waiters Gerardo De Leon and his Asst. Larry Gutierez were top notch. We know this wonderful service is mainly due to the instructions of Generoso and Pasquale. We surely received special attention. They helped us in selections from the kitchen and their recommendations were always excellent. Thank you for the many great delicacies. Bravi! The International Menu offers splendid choices; there is a lot of reading. We thoroughly enjoyed this Gastronomic Tour. Executive Chef Michael Borns, his Sous Chef Giuseppe and the Pastry Chef Cosimo (Sicily) did three "Culinary Demonstrations," two of which we attended. Princess Lines has three Corporate Executive Chefs, and seventeen Executive Chefs, thirteen of which are Italian, including our old friend Antonio Cereda. The gustatory delights we sampled were outstanding and here are some of our recommendations: SAILAWAY DINNER: Shrimp Cocktail; Cream of Porcini Mushroom Soup; Watercress and lettuce salad, and Nebraska Prime Rib. CAPTAIN'S WELCOME DINNER: Crab Quiche with jalapeno chili salsa; Capon broth, tortellini with minced chives; Mixed salad with arugula; Lobster Thermidor or Royal Pheasant with shallots and Parisienne potatoes. PRINCESS DINNER: Cold water Lobster & Crayfish Cocktail with sun dried tomatoes; Chilled Cream of Zucchini with William pear and blue poppy seeds; Endive salad with mushrooms and shallots; Roast Buffalo slowly cooked in Napa Valley Red Wine sauce with potato pancake and baby vegetables. FRENCH DINNER: Pate de fois de Strassbourg; Escargot Bourguignon (cooked in Bourdeaux wine); French onion soup; Mixed garden greens and radicchio with vinaigrette; Caneton Roti a` l'Orange (Roast duckling glazed with Orange Curacao sauce). ITALIAN DINNER: Prosciutto di Parma with melon; Eggplant Parmigiana; Pasta e fagioli; Salad of baby spinach, crispy bacon, pine nuts and Pecorino cheese; Pappardelle al Sugo di Lepre (Flat egg noodles with rabbit sauce). INTERNATIONAL DINNER: Baby leeks with smoked salmon in Champagne sauce; Won Ton soup; Salad of lettuce, tomato, avocado and red onion; Penne pasta with calamari; Surf & Turf of Filet Mignon and Jumbo grilled shrimp. CHEF'S DINNER: Green asparagus spears in warm tarragon butter sauce under puff pastry; Lobster bisque with Cognac; Salad of field greens, cherry tomatoes and shredded carrot; King crab legs or Rack of Lamb Dijonaisse with Brussels sprouts and garlic mashed potatoes and mint jelly. These menus do not list the "piece de resistance" DESSERT. There is such a variety, that we will only name a few of our favorites: * Swan puffs on a heart shaped lake of melted chocolate. * All of the SoufflEs, vanilla, chocolate, raspberry, hazelnut and their accompanying sauces. * Almond mousse with custard -- ooh la la! * Sorbets, sherbets and ice creams are all made on board and are delicious. * Pecan pie, apple pie, and pear tart --- do not miss them. * Dark chocolate mousse, heart shaped with Lady Godiva liqueur, Tiramisu and NY cheesecake are served every day. * Many fruits, international cheeses and delicate petit fours are served daily. The dining room staff are beautifully dressed every night: Nile green dinner jackets, Red, White & Blue cummerbunds with stars and matching ties. The Maitre d' Generoso looks spiffy in his pin stripe trousers and black cut away. Head waiter Pasquale was sharp in the white tuxedo with shawl lapels. What more can we say? As Executive Chef Borns said, "Food is a feast for the eyes as well as the palate." The English Rose dinnerware was the palette for the plating of excellent culinary masterpieces. We also dined in Sabatini's whose decorations were refined and lovely. The long parade of antipasti made the main course seem anticlimactic; however, we still managed to enjoy the veal chop and the fritto misto frutti di mare (mixed seafood, langostino, shrimp, scallops etc., etc...). This made for a very enjoyable evening, overlooking the sea with wonderful background music. CABIN Our Stateroom # C627, wheelchair accessible, has a double wide door and when entering on the left there is a triple armoire with two closets, and a third with shelves, and a personal safe. Next, there is a TV, and a desk/mirrored vanity with hair dryer, and two chairs. When entering on the right there is a huge bathroom with 5x5 ft. shower and many safety rails in the proper places. The triple mirror is nice, but the shelves are small. There is a queen bed, two four drawer night stands and an end table. The far wall is glass with the ramp and door to the double balcony. There was a large table and two chairs to which our terrific Steward Henry Sebastian added a chaise for Vincent. Henry was excellent in every way. Accommodations Supervisor Dorota Bak (Poland) visited us just to check if we needed anything. She was very courteous and we appreciated it. Thank you. ENTERTAINMENT The Coral Princess has many venues similar to the larger Grand class ships, but it is smaller and carries fewer passengers. The Princess Theatre Production shows were nicely staged, (but could use a sound check, since the decibel rate was too high at times). We preferred the Universe Lounge, where the Premier Season of "Tribute" was performed on the extra wide stage, while making good use of its rotation and elevation capabilities. The show was dedicated to music legends such as the following: the Beatles ("Hey Jude"), the Beach Boys ("California Girl"), The Rat Pack (Frank, Dean and Sammy were all highlighted), and finally Cher's "Believe" was saluted. The singers were terrific and the Princess dancers were energetic. The same cast performed "Da Beat" a Jazz/Swing piece. Most shows were staged twice to give cruisers a chance to see them. We especially enjoyed Tony Cherry, a singing impersonator, who did a memorable Tom Jones and other imitations. The "Princess Patter" lists all daily activities, plus has a column from the Ship's Navigator which is informative both historically and geographically. It also gives the current ship's position. Other activities were Trivia, at which we each won 5 gold medals and 6 silver for Mary and 7 silver for Vincent. There is also line dancing, Bingo, horse races, and daily movies (i.e. "Bruce Almighty," "Alex and Emma," "Plots with a View,"), etc. The Princess Scholarship Program is new and offers the following classes: Pottery, Digital Photography, Building Wealth Investing, and the Princess Grapevine wine tasting. All of the above is under the stewardship of the affable Cruise Director Trevor Bradford, and he is up to the task. Princess also has a Captain's Circle Program which has many benefits for repeat cruisers. On board Host Nicola Fisher was helpful and explained many of the perks: a Quarterly, preferential pricing, stand by, platinum check in, on board events etc. It pays to return to Princess. We expect to return soon, since we have booked on board three future cruises! PORTS OF CALL Oct. 30, 2003 Port Everglades, Ft Lauderdale, Florida, Depart 5:00 pm Oct. 31, 2003 At Sea Nov. 1, 2003 Cozumel, Mexico -- Arrive: 6:59 am Depart: 4:26 pm Some of the available shore excursions: Tulum Mayan Ruins, 7 hrs, $94; New Waves Scuba Diving, 2.5 hrs, $75, for beginners. Nov. 2, 2003 Grand Cayman -- Arrive: 10:00 am Depart: 6:36 pm Island Highlights & Stingray Sandbar Snorkeling, 4.5 hrs, $64; Atlantis Submarine Odyssey, 1.5 hrs, $86. Nov. 3, 2003 At Sea Nov. 4, 2003 Limon, Costa Rica -- Arrive: 6:27 am Depart: 6:56 pm The Jungle Train, 3.5 hrs, $49, a ride through the lush rain forest; River Rafting, 7.5 hrs, $99. Nov. 5, 2003 Panama Canal -- Arrive: 5:46 am Depart: 7:26 pm One hour and 42 minutes to traverse the Gatun Locks; Cruising in Gatun Lake (the world's largest man made lake), There was a a perfect rainbow off starboard side, which we saw from our balcony as we ate breakfast; We arrived at Colon's Cristobal Cruise Terminal at 4:06 pm, but were not allowed into the city because of political demonstrations. There is great shopping on the pier (coffee, T-shirts, Panama hats, etc...) Nov. 6, 2003 At Sea Nov. 7, 2003 Ocho Rios, Jamaica -- Arrive: 12 noon Depart: 4:18 pm Prospect Plantation & Dunn's River Falls, 4 hrs, $62; River Tubing Safari, 3.5 hrs, $69. Nov. 8, 2003 At Sea Nov. 9, 2003 Port Everglades -- Debarkation: 9:00 am SUGGESTIONS 1. During the Welcome Aboard Buffet, at the Horizon Court some crew should direct the passengers to the various food stations thus minimizing the long line formed at the first station near the entrance. This long line occurs mainly on the first day, when new passengers are unaware of the several food stations which can be accessed independently. 2. At the Princess Theater the last row of seats and the area behind it should be reserved for people with wheelchair and those with limited mobility as well as the persons accompanying them. The reserved area should be supervised by a theater attendant before the beginning of shows. CONCLUSION Princess remains one of our favorite cruise lines. We are now Platinum Members of the Captain Circle, the Princess "Frequent Floaters" Club. We have already booked with Princess three future cruises; however, before we'll be back on a Princess ship, we must complete the next three cruises in the near future: The Southern Caribbean on the new Serenade of the Seas, Dec. 6 - 13, 2003; the Western Caribbean on the new Costa Mediterranea, Jan. 11 - 18, 2004; and the W. Caribbean again on the new Mariner of the Seas, Feb. 22 - 29, 2004. As you may have noticed we love cruising and we especially favor new ships, which we can first explore and write about. We plan to write reviews of our next cruises, so look for them at the appropriate time. We wish you Great Holidays and Happy Cruising! Read Less
Sail Date October 2003
Just got back from an amazing adventure. We sailed from Ft Lauderdale round trip, passing through partial Panama Canal. Our stops were Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Costa Rica, Panama and Jamaica. We were at first very sad that Colombia was ... Read More
Just got back from an amazing adventure. We sailed from Ft Lauderdale round trip, passing through partial Panama Canal. Our stops were Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Costa Rica, Panama and Jamaica. We were at first very sad that Colombia was cancelled because we have done Jamaica several times. But hey, better safety first. We loved our ship. It turned out most of the people were quite old, but we were there to enjoy each other so we didn't really care the age of the other passengers. They were all very nice and we were mostly just with each other. The ship has almost all balconies, our first. The room was a little larger than I remembered my other cabins on Princess. I loved the configuration and found room for everything. We ordered coffee each morning and sat on our balcony and "watched the waves go by". It was so peaceful. The food was as good as we remembered. I do not like seafood so it is more of a challenge for me to find something. I ended up eating a lot of beef. But everything was cooked perfect and my husband, who adores seafood, seemed to think he was in food heaven. He tried several new dishes and enjoyed each one of them. And the desserts. Don't get me started! I think we had souffle five nights!! We did think we were in heaven on the dessert issue. They are always amazed and how good they all are on every single night. We had great waiters that added to the enjoyment of dining. We chose to do shore excursions in Grand Cayman, Costa Rica and Panama. Anyone who loves to snorkel or just wanting to try needs to do it here. We snorkeled practically in front of the ship. But it was wonderful and I think better than Hawaii. In Limon we went on a Jungle Train. It was fun and informative. We wanted to do the Aerial Tram in the Rainforest but worried about the time. The only shopping is in front of the ship so go ahead and do a long excursion. Next time we will be in the trees. In Panama we watched a ship go through the locks and then took a boat around part of Gatun Lake and saw many kinds of monkeys. It was fun, but again, next time we will get a little braver and go on a larger excursion. Spend the money, you may never get back. The shopping for Panama and Limon was just in front of the ship but lots of great deals and fun to buy. We bought a little bit of everything. Did walk in to town in Limon to mail postcards but the shopping wasn't any better than by the ship. In Jamaica we went in, thinking of a little shopping and then back to the ship. Well, I ended up getting a surprise from my husband. He bought me a diamond and a ring to have it set into. What a surprise that was. Guess everything happens for a reason and there was a reason for us to return to Jamaica. Told you it was a romantic cruise!! I can't wait to return to visit the Panama cruise and this ship. Coral Princess was wonderful. It had all the other "usuals" for a ship, the bingo, games and gambling but we didn't make it to any of them. They had the Wheelhouse Bar hopping with excitement every night that looked fun, but by the time we ate and raced to all the entertainment, we just didn't have the energy. But whatever you are looking for, I am sure you would find it here. Coral Princess is a 5 star ship for me. Let me know if you have any questions. Jan Read Less
Sail Date October 2003
We have been on over 12 cruises over the years. 6 with Princess. Overall the cruise was nice. We had problem with check in and had to wait for 3 hours to board because of a virus on the previous cruise. That was fine and nobody on the ... Read More
We have been on over 12 cruises over the years. 6 with Princess. Overall the cruise was nice. We had problem with check in and had to wait for 3 hours to board because of a virus on the previous cruise. That was fine and nobody on the cruise got sick. We had our children with us and when we booked our trip, we were told there were no rooms available for 4 people so they said we had to book two rooms. We booked a mini suite for ourselves and they assured us the kids room would be assigned nearby. Our room was the very front of the ship on deck 11. Their room was the very back room on deck 8. To say the least we were not happy. My wife talked to the front desk and they first suggested we all share the same room. This after we were told we could not do that when we booked the trip. She explained we can not have our children that far away from us. They ended up giving us the mini suite next door, and I will say I was pleased with the way it ended up. When we booked the cruise, we asked for a mini suite. They informed us there were none left with decks, but the mini suites had floor to ceiling windows. We felt that would be fine. We had a standard outside window and was not as advertised. The mini suites were roomy, but nothing special. None of the amenities we have come to expect with a mini suite. The cruise was very nice and we enjoyed great service for dining staff and our room steward. Our largest disappointment was the end of the cruise. We had a noon flight and when we got our bag tags, we would be the third group off the ship. I went to the desk 2 times the day prior to departure and asked if we could get on an earlier group. They assured me we would have no problem at all getting to our flight. We arrived in port. We were required to go though customs at 6:45 am. I stood in a long line until 8:30 am when they finally showed up. There we no chairs for the elderly. No beverages offered. It was frustrating for all. After we completed that, we went to wait for our group to be called. Usually, they cannot wait to get you off the ship, but we were still on board at 10:00 am. They said they were having some difficulties, no official explanation, just rumors and different information from different staff members. Again, I went to the desk to see if we could get off with an earlier group. They again said we would have no problem making our flight. They finally let the first group go. Then there was a delay of about a half hour. Again, no explanation. We knew it would go quickly once they started calling groups. We could not have been more wrong. The next group they called were the people booked for local tours. They were originally scheduled near the end. They called the next group at about 11:00 am. We were still 2 groups away. We were finely able to get tags so we could leave the ship. When we got to the baggage claim, it was organized and our bags were easy to find. Then the nightmare began. Once outside, there was a mass of people waiting for transportation. We were instructed to stand in line for a taxi which were in short supply. We waited patiently, got near the front at which time the sheriff came and said what was the front is now the back of the line. I finally had to hold up a $ 20.00 bribe to get a taxi as all organization was gone and it was a free for all. We got to the airport and missed our flight by 7 minutes. We ended up stranded for 4 hours waiting on standby, and not getting on. We then spent $ 200.00 for a hotel. Food etc. We ended up spending about an additional $ 500.00. We also lost a vacation day from work and our children missed another day of school. We bought the insurance, but we were informed it only covered getting to the cruise, not home. Princess was absolutely NO HELP. In summation, loyalty means nothing to Princess. They spend a fortune to get us there in the form of advertising. Once they let you off board, they could care less. They do a good job of getting people on board and directing traffic on board. Could they not take the next step and provide organization for the trip home? It's like getting a date, enjoying all they can and being dropped off in the country once they get what they want. My wife and I are in sales. It takes a lot to get a new customer. You would think they would want to retain as many customers as possible. A good experience is shared with few. Bad shared with many. Out of 6 cruises with Princess, 4 were very good. 2 left us feeling upset. We take one or two cruises per year. We even picked out our next cruise with Princess prior to leaving the ship. We may sale with Princess again, but it will have to be the best deal going. There are many many lines out there other then princess and sister lines. We have tried to be loyal customers, but no more. We will no longer let them redirect their problems as ours. We spent over $12000.00 with them for this trip and have referred many new cruiser in their direction. No more. Saintjon Read Less
Sail Date January 2004
Embarkation: The process of getting on the Coral Princess was very quick and efficient. We arrived at Port Everglades at around 11:20am and we actually were on board at 11:50am ! Upon arrival at Port Everglades, my guess is that there ... Read More
Embarkation: The process of getting on the Coral Princess was very quick and efficient. We arrived at Port Everglades at around 11:20am and we actually were on board at 11:50am ! Upon arrival at Port Everglades, my guess is that there were 200 to 300 people waiting to get inside the building. When the doors opened, everyone got inside and since there are 2 desks per deck, with 2 lines per desk, it went fairly well. When the lady behind the desk saw our golden Captain Circle cards, she said to us "Welcome back to Princess." I thought it was a gentle thing to say... After the security check, we went to the waiting room on the second floor. We then were able to board the ship (with the usual "welcome aboard" picture taken by the ships photo crew). Since I am the kind of person who thoroughly studies deck plans before going on cruise, I didn't need help to find our cabin (C427). But, for those who can easily get lost, there were many crew members all around the ship ready to help. Public rooms: Lets go from bottom (Plaza deck 5) to top (Sports deck 16). Plaza deck 5: When you enter the ship, you are in the Princess Plaza. It is a beautiful place with an open view of decks 5, 6, 7 and 8. There are 2 panoramic elevators. You will find there: the passengers services desk, the tour desk, the future cruises sales desk, la patisserie and the Captain Circle desk. There is also the Bordeaux dining room for those who have chosen the "personal choice dining" option. The first thing that I remember when I entered the place was its cleanliness. Everything shines. And under the stairs going to the upper decks, there are changing color lights. Very fascinating to look at... Compared with the atrium of the Sun class ships (Sun Princess and Dawn Princess), the atrium of the Coral (and Island) is a bit smaller. Therefore, when there are some special offers from the boutiques on deck 6 (with many tables out of the boutiques), there is not much space to move around, especially when you are there at the time when people are going out of the dining room or out of a show from the Princess theater or the Universe lounge. Fiesta deck 6: From bow to stern: you will find the lower section of the Princess Theater; the Provence dining room (for those with fixed seated dinner option); the 2 boutiques (Calypso cove and Meridian bay) in mid-ship around the plaza atrium; the Princess casino with the adjacent boutique "Facets"; the photo gallery and photo boutique; the Explorers lounge; the lower level of Universe lounge. The two dining rooms (Bordeaux and Provence) are almost identical to those on the Sun and Dawn Princess (I can't compare with those from the Grand class ships since we had never cruised on those before). If you plan to see a show in the Universe lounge, go to the lower level. In the upper level (on deck 7), the view is obstructed by the rails. I heard that Princess is planning to replace these rails with some kind of glass in the near future... Universe lounge is a great place with the three revolving stages. The shows there were magical and the sound system provides surround effects... Promenade deck 7: From bow to stern: there is the Princess theater; the Wheelhouse bar; the crooner's bar and Churchill lounge in the atrium part of the ship; the wedding chapel; the Princess fine art gallery; Sabattini's restaurant; the Bayou cafe; and finally, the upper level of the Universe lounge, and, of course, the wrap around promenade (1 mile = 2 7/8 tours). Comparing with the Sun class ships, I can say that the Princess theater est almost identical in size while the Wheelhouse bar is a bit bigger. At the back of the Wheelhouse bar (between the bar and the atrium), there is a little maritime museum showing many artifacts from P&O... It is quite interesting to see. Churchill lounge is the place of choice for those cigar smokers. And even with people inside, there is no smell outside the lounge. Now, about Sabattini. I highly recommend that restaurant ! You won't regret it. There is only one thing to know about Sabattini: when you plan to go there, don't eat two days prior to going there !!! Why ? Because you will have plenty of food and you will feel like you have to roll out of the restaurant... There is so much food there and it is so good, you won't believe it ! It took us 3 hours to eat our dinner. The 20$ cover charge per person is not exaggerated. At the Bayou cafe, you won't eat as much as in Sabattini, but it is absolute heaven ! Try the gator ribs ! Emerald deck 8: There is the internet cafe; the library and the card room. The charge for using internet is 0.35$ per minute, and it's free if you are a Platinum Captain Circle member. The internet speed is fairly slow, and sometimes, the satellite link cuts. On our cruise, it happened once and the internet cafe was closed for almost the entire day. You can not download things from internet since there is only a screen, a keyboard and a mouse. No pc's, no diskette drive or cd drive, no hard drive... There is a printer and if you would like to print something, remember that it is 1.00$ per page. The library and the card room are quiet places. Dolphin deck 9; Caribe deck 10; Baja deck 11: these are stateroom deck and there is no public area. Aloha deck 12: There is the fun zone and the Pelican playhouse. This area is for children and youngsters. Lido deck 14: From bow to stern: There is the Horizon court (identical to the Sun class ships); the lido bar; the lido pool and 3 spas; the Lotus pool and 2 spas; the Lotus bar; the Lotus spa; the gym. This is the place where people go on sea days (specially if it is a hot sunny day !). The Lotus pool area can be covered. This is the "swim against the current" pool. This feature is not always "on" since you can find a button at the end of the pool to activate it. On the ten days we where on the Coral, we had no problems finding empty chairs. So, you do not have to be up early to "reserve" a chair... The Horizon court is a buffet style restaurant. You won't find "high class" food there, but it is ok. Really nothing to complain about. Sun deck 15: Chairs, chairs and chairs ! Just over the Lido pool, there is the Grill with burgers, hot dogs, and, of course, a bar. Between the Lido pool and the Lotus pool, you will find the golf simulator and Princess Links 9 hole miniputt. Sports deck 16: Just over the Horizon court, there is the Splash pool with chairs. If you look at the web cam from the Coral Princess on the Princess web site, this is what you see. Further back, there is the Center court (for tennis and basketball), a giant chess game and two shuffle board. Expect the place to be very windy when the ship is at sea... Stateroom (C427): We had an oceanview double with balcony stateroom (cat. BD) on the Caribe deck 10. Since we were in the mid-ship section, where the cabins are "pushed" out, we didn't have the problem of being overlooked by the people in staterooms above us. The cabin is average in size. Since we are not the kind of people who stay in their cabin the entire cruise, we didn't care about the size of it. We go there to change and to sleep. That's it ! There is enough space for all your belongings. Shore Excursions: On this cruise, our ports of call were: Nassau, Panama canal (Colon), Limon, Grand Cayman and Cozumel. In Nassau, we had an excursion into the city and on Paradise Island. The city tour was quite interesting with a visit to the fortifications. Paradise Island was very fast. We went there, took a few pictures of Atlantis Hotel and out we go ! All in all, I rate this tour as below expectation. Not recommend. In Panama canal, we had chosen the "Gatun locks & eco cruise" tour (tour A1). This was great. In the eco cruise part, you are on Gatun lake and the guide goes around the little islands found there. We saw alligators, turtles, monkeys... It was very interesting. For the "Gatun locks" part, you have to climb some stairs to go to the 3rd lock level. We had the chance to be there just as the Coral Princess passed through the locks. Very impressive ! In Limon, we had chosen the "Pineapple plantation: taste of tropics" tour (tour Q1). Unbelievable ! This was THE BEST tour we had. After that tour, you know all about pineapples ... and bananas ... Highly recommend it. The stop at Grand Cayman was cancelled because of dangerous conditions in the harbor. In Cozumel, we had chosen "Cozumel sail & snorkel" tour (tour S1). It was our second time in Cozumel and it was the second time we took this tour. Snorkeling with all those colorful fish is awesome ! If you like fun, this is the tour to choose ! Dining: We were on the traditional first sitting option. Our waiter (Ricardo, from Mexico) and our junior waiter (Frankie, from Italy) were great. Especially Frankie. Ricardo was, at first, a bit shy and we didn't know why... Finally, he told us that it was his first cruise as a waiter (he was junior waiter for 11 years with Princess). Frankie gave us very good advice on wine selection (Italian, of course !!!) and we are sure that he should get a promotion to be a waiter very soon. By comparing with previous cruises we had with Princess, we found that the waiters (not only Ricardo, but others too), were pushing us to finish our meal as soon as possible. We talked with other passengers and they felt the same way. On previous cruises, we felt that we could stay there for as long as we wanted... Not anymore. I don't know if Princess wants everyone to go with the "personal choice" dinner option... but for us, we are thinking seriously about it. On the other hand, the food was as great as it was. Of course, no two person have the same feeling about food, but for me, it was fabulous. All in all, I rate our dining experience on the Coral as average because of the waiters pushing us. Entertainment: We generally go to the Broadway style shows. So, there were quite a few of them on this cruise and we enjoyed each and every one of them. As I said earlier, the sound systems of both the Princess Theater and the Universe lounge can produce surround sounds. There were some new Princess Cruises Productions Shows and we recommend them ! They are not to be missed ! Of course, there is many more entertainment all around the ship during the day. In fact, there is so much to do that you have to make choices and you won't be able to do everything... There is one complaint I would like to tell you about: the music on the lido deck near the Lido pool is so loud that you can't hardly talk to each other. When the musicians were there (Sugar Cane: great Trinidad en Tobago duo), it's not as bad. But when they take a break, go somewhere else or you will end your cruise being deaf ! The cruise director, Richard Joseph, is quite a guy. If you're on a cruise ship where he is the CD, go see his "Ships - where are they now" lecture. It is really interesting. And he is very accessible. You can talk to him and he likes to talk with passengers. On previous cruises, I liked the other CD but I never had the chance to talk with them as much as I did with Richard. The best CD ever ! Fitness & Recreation: I didn't use these facilities but my wife did. She said it was very good. It seems there was enough equipment. Value for price: We find this cruise to be an excellent value for the price paid. Overall cruise: Excellent ! The best cruise we ever had so far. We highly recommend it ! Don't hesitate to ask questions. We will try to help everyone who plans to cruise the Panama Canal with Princess. Read Less
Sail Date January 2004
First I would like to say thank-you Princess Cruise Line for restoring my faith back in your company. I was on the Island Princess back in October of 2003 (you can read the review on this web site) and out of 18 cruise's I finally ... Read More
First I would like to say thank-you Princess Cruise Line for restoring my faith back in your company. I was on the Island Princess back in October of 2003 (you can read the review on this web site) and out of 18 cruise's I finally decided to write my 1st review. With out going into too much detail about that cruise I was approached by upper Management in an email with regards to this review, they wanted to speak with me about my time on the Island Princess. Approximately a week later I received a call from Princess Management and to my surprise we talk over half an hour regarding all of my sister and mine concerns regarding the food and service on the Island. Also at that time I mentioned that I was thinking about canceling our trip on the Coral and the one on the Tahitian Princess. After our conversation I was asked not to cancel this trip but let Princess redeem itself when I was to set sail on the Coral Princess. So here is my review of the Coral Princess, please keep in mind that this is my husband's personal opinion and mine, my sister her husband could not be with us on this trip. ARRIVAL - We flew in the day before and had a beautiful time at the Hyatt Pier 66, we took the Water Taxi around the Intercostals and spent some time shopping on Las Olas Blvd (a fabulous place to shop), then we had an excellent meal at the Pier 66 Restaurant. Day of embarkation we left the hotel around 12:00 PM and were in line to register by 12:15 PM. We waited in line about ½ hour then were given our keys to our Suite (D702) and told to get in line for the usual Security Check. The line had grown and was not moving when we found out that the boarding was not going to start until 1:00 PM because they were "still cleaning the ship". I notice that a lot of people had a piece of paper in their hands when I asked the person behind us what it was she told me it was regarding the outbreak of the Norwalk Virus on the cruise that just arrived. After another half and hour some one else came out to say we would be boarding around 2:00 PM, we actually started the boarding process around 2:15 PM which was fine with us I was much more comfortable with fact that Princess was doing such a through job to insure our cruise would be an wonderful experience instead of being sick and lock in your cabin. Once on board we proceed up to deck 9 (Dolphin Deck) to off load the carry on bags and out to the Lido Bar to have a cocktail. The ship is beautiful just as its sister ship the Island Princess, full of beautiful art and gracious lines. It was very easy for us to navigate around the ship seeing that we just did this same trip, the only problem I had was I kept going to our old cabin because it was on the other side on the Island (D703). I finally figured it out about 5 days into the cruise. Our cabin was excellent along with our cabin stewardess Lilliana; this lady was top notch one of the best in the industry. Anything we wanted she was right there with her smiling face; she always complimented us and kept our room perfect. We had a lot of room and the layout was easy to move around in, the whirlpool bath was fantastic, I used it quiet a few times. The deck is a wonderful size great for being able to sit back and watch the world go by on one of the 2 lounge chairs, we also had a table and 2 regular chairs where we were able to have breakfast everyday. FOOD—The food was excellent!!! We decided to have traditional dining on second sitting and have decided that for us this is the only way we will have our meals. We like the structure of having the same waiter and assistant waiter, ours was excellent by the second night they new just what we liked and always bought more. We had a table of 8 and we all enjoyed each other's company. The Hotel Maitre'd Francois found us every night including the night we ate a Sabatini's and twice at the Bayou. Francois made sure that we were happy with every thing, if there was anything extra we needed he was there providing it. That brings me to one night in the Bayou, my husband likes his steak rare (I mean blue) and his steak came out Medium Rare when he mention it to the waiter the waiter took it back in a matter of 8 minutes he was served with a perfect (blue) steak. The manager that night went in and cooked it himself, now that is SERVICE.... I wanted to make sure that we were not the only ones treated this special so I started watching how the staff was interacting with the other passengers on board and making sure the other passenger were receiving the same treatment. I also spoke with several people over the next 9 days and they too all were having a wonderful time and could not say enough about the food and service they were receiving on board. The food in the Lido for lunch was not bad, there was a lot to offer and it was always warm and tasty, but I have to say my favorite is the pizza along with an Ice Cold Beer sitting by the pool and having fun watching the pool games.... SERVICE—The service was top notch, everyone had a smile on their face and always went out of their way to say either good morning, afternoon or evening. Sometimes they just wanted to hear about your day. With all the stress that they had to be under because of the last cruise having over 130 people sick with the Norwalk virus they were fabulous, as if nothing ever happened. EXCURSIONS - We played golf in Jamaica and Grand Cayman, we loved Jamaica we had a wonderful caddy that really help out my game. When we returned back to the ship we were approached by a few people that were on this excursion with us that were not happy with the way things were handled. I am not sure what actually happened but I was told that the tour company took them off the course early and they were not allow to finish their round. Later that night I received a letter in my mailbox with an apology from the Tour Desk and they stated that they were looking into it. The next day we received another letter stating we were getting back 40% of our money because of what had happen. We then played in Grand Cayman the Manger at the golf course treated everyone pretty bad when we had arrived, I guess there was some confusion as to when we were actually to be there ready to tee off. We received another letter of apology from the Tour Desk and they were checking into the problem we never heard what actually happened but we still had a wonderful time. In Cozumel we swam with the Dolphins, I can't say enough about this excursion. It was one of the best excursions I have ever been on and I HIGHLY recommend it to everyone. I know it is expensive but it is well worth the experience, to able to hold on to their fins and let them pull you around the lagoon there is just no words to explain the excitement. All I can say is "JUST DO IT". In Limon we did our own thing. We went Zip Lining at Almonds and Corals and they are really great people. The owner is Aurora very genuine, sweet and hard worker, her son Dani and Raffel picked us up at the dock around 8:30 AM and whisked us to Almonds and Corals. Along the way Dani and Raffel gave us so much information about their country, rainforest, animals and all the activities to do in costa Rica. After we were done with the Zip line, which took about 1 ½ hour to do, they had juice and fresh fruit waiting for us. After that Dani took us sightseeing and show us beautiful butterflies, sloths, toucans and monkeys. We were back at the ship 2 hours before we had to be. This was another excursion that is something not to be missed the only problem is that you have to do it on your own. We actually had 2 other couples that ended up joining us and one gentleman was 76 years old and he had a ball.... ENTERTAINMENT—We only went to a few of the shows, I still think the entertainment on any cruise ship can use some brushing up on. The Island Party was excellent; it was especially nice seeing James the Deputy Cruise Director again. James was on the Island the same time we were and I know someday in my travels we will run into him again but this time he will be the CD on board, funny, energetic and a very down to earth person. This cruise was fantastic, I want to send out a special thanks to Mr. Caluori, Adam Gorst, Francois and the entire staff for making this cruise one of our best. My sister and her husband are still having their reserves but I think once they get back from our future cruise to Tahiti in November they will have to agree that Princess Cruise Line is "where I belong"..... If any one has any questions please do not hesitate to email me. Read Less
Sail Date January 2004
The following review is an account of our cruise January 12, 2004 on the Coral Princess sailing from Ft. Lauderdale Florida for 10 days in and out of the Panama Canal. My wife and I are Platinum members of the Princess Cruises repeaters ... Read More
The following review is an account of our cruise January 12, 2004 on the Coral Princess sailing from Ft. Lauderdale Florida for 10 days in and out of the Panama Canal. My wife and I are Platinum members of the Princess Cruises repeaters program, as we have sailed on Princess seven times including this sailing. There were some good things and some bad things of which we shall attempt to point out and hopefully give you future cruisers something to think about, look forward to and avoid in your future travels. This was sailing number 33 for us. Embarkation Our trip started January 12, 2004. The embarkation process was very swift and pleasant. Our travel to the ship was by Cruise Connection Bus from Ft. Myers Fl. We boarded the bus at 8:00 am and arrived at Port Everglades at around 10:15. The building was not open for check in until about 11:00 am, so we waited outside in line for about an hour and a half. Once we got inside, it was very smooth. Lines moved fast and before you know it we were aboard. We were assigned cabin # A312 a verandah cabin located on Aloha deck. We had signed up for PERSONAL CHOICE dinning, as we had excellent experience on the Grand Princess, just a few months before. In fact this was the third sailing in which we taken PERSONAL CHOICE dinning. In reviewing the information in the cabin, we found a precautionary health advisory regarding Norwalk Virus. Our luggage came rather quickly and we were able to get unpacked and settled early in the day. So we then proceeded to the Horizon Room for lunch. The next thing on the agenda was the safety boat drill. We were assembled in one of the show rooms with life jacket in hand. The entire exercise took only a short time. Sail Away That evening we went to a bar before dinner to have a drink. As we entered the dinning room, we were greeted by on of the staff. We requested a table for two. We were seated in a most uncomfortable table that had another table for two only 6 inches between them. The people at that table were looking for privacy, as were we. But we found none that evening. We did find a most attractive ship, well appointed and very elegant. Day Two. Nassau The day started of good, We had breakfast in the Horizon Court. While waiting for the ship to be cleared, we did a little more exploring. We found ourselves in the forward enclosed pool area. A really beautiful space on the ship. I also noticed a bar selling $3.00 Bloody Mary drinks. After about 15 minutes a young waiter stopped and asked if we wanted a drink. I said yes, we would like two of the $3.00 Bloody Mary drinks. He then asked what kind of vodka we wanted in them. I assumed we had a choice so I said we would take Stoli or Absolute. After a 30 minute wait, he returned with the drinks and I signed the ticket without looking. While drinking the drinks I reviewed the ticket and noticed they wee much higher about $6.00 each. I then went over to the bar tender, ticket in hand and asked her to explain, as there was a misunderstanding. She did explain that when you order a "called liquor" in a drink, it is much higher. I explained what had happened and what I had ordered, and she advised to come to her in the future. That evening we went to the Bayou Restaurant, one of the select extra cost dinning rooms. The meal was OK, until the dessert came. The waiter brought my wife's dessert and told me it would be a minute before mine came out. After a 30-minute wait and after my wife had finished her dessert, and we did not see one waiter person, we left the restaurant, rather disappointed. We had paid $10.00 extra each for the dinner, plus $10.00 each for the day's tips. All in all, not a great experience. Day Three and Four at Sea. Days at sea were very pleasant, for the most part. We did experience two run ins with the Dinning Room Staff in our table selections for dinners. The second night a young fellow seated us next to the kitchen door, no doubt to retaliate for our complaining about the seating situation the night before. Again on one evening we went to the Martini Bar and requested two vodka martinis on the rocks made with absolute vodka. We got two gin martinis on the rocks made with bar gin, but charged extra for the called liquor. The second evening we went to the Explorers Lounge to watch passenger Jeopardy show. We again ordered two drinks and mine was ok, but my wife's drink was again not what she had ordered. At that point, we gave up. It did seem the problem was a staff of waiters that were inexperienced and had a problem with the English language. Day Five. Panama Canal What an experience, We would recommend to everyone who has not seen it to do so. Additionally, we took a tour to Panama City. It was without a doubt, one of the most informative tours we have taken. This did make the trip worthwhile. It is a true marvel. One that each person should experience. The people are very friendly and the guides are really caring and informative. Well worth the money. When we returned to our cabin, again there was a new warning about Norwalk Virus from the Ship's Doctor. Day Six, Limon Costa Rica We had booked an early morning tour through and around the city of Limon. We had an early breakfast in the Horizon Court and made our way to the mustering area for the tour. We boarded a large bus, which ended up only half full. Our guide was a local female, who was not fluent in English. The bus pulled out and truly there is not much to see in this port. We stopped along the roadside to look at bananas with plastic bags covering them. And to look for monkeys in the trees at another location along side the road. Then all HELL broke loose. My poor wife had contracted the Norwalk Virus and lost everything from breakfast and likely dinner from the night before. We received little aid from the tour guide, and had to pay for a cab to return to the ship. The ship did send an ambulance to meet us in route back to the ship. The medical staff was very accommodating and provided us with medication and a list of do's and don'ts regarding the virus. The rest of that day we spent in our room. Food and drink were not issues. Day Seven, at Sea. We spent day seven in our cabin and again, no interest in food. Surprisingly, we never heard from anyone in the Medical Office after our initial encounter. Day Eight, Grand Cayman We were again pretty much confined to our cabin. Our ship stopped in the harbor, but were called off. The Captain reported over the public address system, as the ship was sailing off, that the seas in the Harbor were too rough to unload passengers. I found that interesting, as at least one more ship was there that did not sail away. Others reported that there were three ships in the harbor. Day Nine, Cozumel Finally, we were able to eat again and did take a cab downtown to do some shopping and get some air. Cozumel is a neat island and one of the best for anyone on a Western Caribbean Cruise. That evening at dinner, we were fortunate enough to meet some really nice passengers from New Jersey. We did end up in the dining room and as luck would have it, we were seated at one of the 6-inch separated tables and they at the other. A most fortunate peace of luck for us. Day Ten, at Sea. We were instructed by the Medical Department not to eat in the Horizon Court on Lido Deck, as that environment is conducive to the Norwalk Virus. The ship had the wait staff getting the food for you. All you did was walk around carrying your tray. The first day out they had positioned a device at the entrance and stationed an employee there to instruct all who entered to wave there hand under this bowl and a spray of some type disinfectant would drop. This you were to rub your hands together, and it would eliminate the virus from you hands. It probably worked well, but it was a bit too late to help most passengers who contracted the virus. In any event, the last day on board was a most pleasant one for us, although we were both quite wore out from the previous several days and the virus. Day Eleven, Ft. Lauderdale Our arrival at Port Everglades was welcome; we had really had enough at that point. The debarkation was smooth as usual with Princess Cruises. We were off the ship by 9:30am. We waited for over an hour before the Bus came and loaded us for the return trip to Ft. Myers. We finally arrived home in the afternoon. Conclusion The illness was just one of the many things that we experienced on this trip. I failed to mention that we had taken a seven-day cruise on the Grand Princess in September of 2003. That trip was altered by an approaching Hurricane. We had purchased the trip to go Eastern Caribbean and at the last minute the itinerary was switched to Western. This cruise was sold with the first port being Cartagena Columbia and it was dropped because of a restaurant bombing. I had called the Captains Circle Club just after I found out Cartagena had been dropped and spoke with a young lady who advised me that if I had a problem I should write a letter to Customer Services. I called my travel agent and she suggested and provided a telephone number for me to call. I did call and spoke with a nice young man. I explained that we had suffered disappointment when the Grand had to be re routed to the western Caribbean and now this one was already changing a port. He was very asymptotic and told me that all he could do was get us a cabin change and that we should expect to see the change come across the internet in about 7 to 10 days. We told him that would really be nice as we really enjoyed Princess Cruises and it would relieve some of the disappointment. We did not get the change in cabins. We did however, decide that we were not going to let that ruin our trip. It seemed to us that everything that could go wrong went wrong. From the Bar service, to the alternate dinning experience, to the Personal Dinning aggravation, and then topped off by the Virus and missing three days of our vacation. When we arrived home, I wrote a letter to Princess Cruises Customer Services Department explaining our concerns. It took one month to get a reply, and the Customer Services Representative said in the letter that they regret to learn of our illness and that it was an unfortunate situation caused by a very common illness currently prevalent in many areas and beyond the control of Princess Cruises and while they sympathize with our unfortunate experience, they find no negligence on the part of Princess Cruises and cannot offer compensation. We were flabbergasted. We had NOT expressed a desire for any compensation, and rather we were upset and disappointed do to the dropping of Ports of Call. The fiasco in Personal Choose Dinning, the dessert situation in the Bayou alternative dinning room. The Bar Waiter Service that screwed up so many drinks and now the total lack of customer service when you have a problem or complaint. We also told him that we would likely not take Princess Cruises again, if a sincere apology were not forth coming. We also sent a letter to the CEO of Princess Cruises, to date, no apology has not come nor even an acknowledgement of receipt of our latest letter has surfaced. It has been almost 6 weeks. We can say that we enjoyed the first five cruises on Princess Cruises. And as long as things are good on board and you do not have a problem they do a very good job. But God forbid you have a complaint or problem, they will not deal with it. We are still waiting to hear from them. Likely, we will be a lot older and a lot grayer before we do. Also, They will be a lot older and grayer before we go on their lines again. It is a real shame that one or two representatives of an organization can totally turn a formerly great product into such a distasteful experience. We have very fond memories of our past accounts with Princess Cruises. It takes years to build a reputation and moments to destroy it. Read Less
Sail Date January 2004
Photos http://community.webshots.com/album/104034426eQjXll Our Background: We are a married couple, ages 32 and 30. We consider ourselves pretty experienced travelers having vacationed throughout Mexico (Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta ... Read More
Photos http://community.webshots.com/album/104034426eQjXll Our Background: We are a married couple, ages 32 and 30. We consider ourselves pretty experienced travelers having vacationed throughout Mexico (Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta and Playa del Carmen), Europe (Paris and London) and throughout the U.S. in our 3+ years of marriage. Our only other cruise experience was an Eastern Caribbean itinerary on the Golden Princess in February 2003. We were pretty devoted land-based vacationers until we were introduced to cruising and especially Princess' version of cruising! Some of the things we love about cruising include visiting new ports of call, the convenience and options tied to dining and being treated very, very well by all members of the ship's company. Itinerary: Saturday, February 21: Fort Lauderdale, Florida Sunday, February 22: Sea Day Monday, February 23: Montego Bay, Jamaica Tuesday, February 24: Sea Day Wednesday, February 25: Panama Canal Thursday, February 26: Limon, Costa Rica Friday, February 27: Sea Day Saturday, February 28: Grand Cayman Sunday, February 29: Cozumel, Mexico Monday, March 1: Sea Day Tuesday, March 2: Fort Lauderdale, Florida Embarkation - Ft. Lauderdale We booked the Renaissance on 17th Street in Ft. Lauderdale through Priceline. I probably bid a little too early to secure a room but did get what I thought was a good price ($95) for one night. We flew into Ft. Lauderdale and arrived to the hotel after midnight on Saturday, February 21. On our previous trips into Ft. Lauderdale (this was our third time) the time it took to get our luggage seemed excessive. This time, our luggage came out quickly. The cab ride was inexpensive ($10). The Renaissance was fantastic! We had previously stayed at the Pier 66 (Lanai rooms) and at the Embassy Suites on 17th Street. Although nothing can top the Pier 66 (and we paid rack rate there), the Renaissance was just a bit classier than the Embassy. It was bright and clean and the desk staff was exceptionally friendly, especially considering the hour! We were given a room with two queen beds, which was fine considering we were only going to be there for about 10 hours. The room was comfortable and had a view looking east. When we woke the next morning we could see the Grand Princess at her berth (Pier 2). We grabbed breakfast in the touristy part of Ft. Lauderdale. We ate at a great restaurant called The Deck right along Seabreeze Boulevard (A1A). We had an outdoor table that overlooked the Boulevard and the beach. We arrived at the pier at about 12:30 PM and were fairly quickly through the check-in procedures and security screening. We could tell pretty quickly that the average passenger age aboard this particular cruise was going to be older. We spotted more than a few wheelchairs and walkers in the cruise terminal. We were in our stateroom no later than 1:00 PM. Our bags were quickly delivered on this cruise - we had both our checked bags before 3:00 PM. We did put some of our embarkation essentials (swimsuits, shorts, toiletries, etc.) in our carry on bags so we could have them immediately upon arriving to our stateroom. Stateroom We had booked a mini-suite on the Dolphin Deck (Deck 9). We were given D512 (category AB) and found it to be wonderful. We had previously sailed on the Golden Princess in a mini-suite and had an exact duplicate of our stateroom, except reversed! We knew what to expect and were pleased with the size of the closet and shelf space, the size of the bathroom and the additional seating area (with sleeper sofa) by the balcony door. Our beds were pushed together in a queen configuration. The beds were hard, which was fine. However, what I missed most during the cruise were my natural feather pillows. The pillows we had simply did not "mush". They certainly didn't spoil our cruise, however. A couple of things we brought that made our stateroom even more comfortable were: -An inexpensive shoe organizer that hangs over a door; kept the limited counter space in the bathroom neat and free from clutter -A power strip for additional outlets. After reviewing Cruise Critic, I could not determine whether one needed a 3-prong adapter or not (a device that turns a 3-prong plug into a 2-prong plug). I brought one along but was pleased to find that the outlets in the stateroom were standard U.S. 3-prong types. The power strip offered additional outlets for such things as a laptop computer and battery charger used for my digital camera. -A corkscrew -Our own supply of wine and beer. I know the issue of "smuggling" booze aboard a Princess ship is a topic of heated debate on the message boards. Here's my take: I'm simply not going to order a glass of wine or a bottle of beer from room service to enjoy on my balcony. It's simply not going to happen. However, when I am in the public areas of the ship, I order from the bars. We averaged 2 to 3 drinks per person per person from the ships' bars during the entire cruise so I don't feel Princess lost any significant revenue because we had our own stash in the stateroom. And, we did not bring or try to bring hard liquor aboard, either in Ft. Lauderdale or from any port. Our stateroom steward, Sonny, was exceptionally polite and efficient. Our room was always tidy when we came back to it and Sonny made sure that we had clean wine glasses each evening (we had to initially ask for the glasses at the beginning of the cruise). Sonny did a great job for us and earned an additional tip from us at the end of the cruise. We do enjoy spending time in our stateroom, sometimes to simply watch a movie that we may have missed. The television selection aboard was limited: CNN, CNNfn during the week and CNN Headline News on weekends shared the same channel, TNT, ESPN (the international version) and the usual Princess television channels. The movies shown during our cruise on TV included: "Bruce Almighty", "School of Rock", "Whale Rider", "Lost in Translation", "S.W.A.T.", "In America" and many more. Because we were at sea on Sunday night (Academy Awards night), they did lock onto the satellite feed and showed the event on the channel reserved for TNT. The feed was not 100% however and portions of the show were missed during "blips". They also had movies throughout the cruise in one of the public lounges. Some of those titles included: "Seabiscuit", "Master and Commander" and "Radio". Our balcony was fully exposed to those above us but this did not bother us. We rarely saw others on their balconies except for the Panama Canal transit and upon entering or leaving a particular port. We had two plastic (heavy duty) chairs on our balcony and a good-sized round table. We felt the Coral handled very well, even in rough seas. The roughest seas we had on our 10-day cruise were classified as "Rough" (7.5 - 12 feet) with near gale winds. We never felt the Coral pitching or rolling. There were times either in the Princess Theater (far forward) or the Universe Lounge (far aft) where we felt swaying, but nothing too dramatic. If anything, I would say we felt the Coral shudder under heavy seas and nothing too severe. Yes, there is some creaking, popping and groaning in the stateroom during active seas but it's only enough to let you know you're sailing! The Coral's Public Spaces -Princess Theater: A nice venue on Deck 7 forward. There are only two entrances/exits to the theater at the top and back. This was a change from what we had on the Golden with exits at the back on a higher deck and exits at the front on a lower deck. The reason this was significant is because due to the advanced age of many of the cruisers, it wasn't necessarily fun to be seated at the front of the theater. Exiting seemed to take just a little longer getting everyone up the steps and out of the exits on Deck 7. A word of advice: most people appeared to use the starboard entrance to the theater, as the port entrance was less open due to the Wheelhouse Bar. Therefore, it appeared throughout the cruise that seats on the left side of the theater were more plentiful as people were not using that entrance. The left aisle was also clearer of passengers. -Universe Lounge: A very nice venue on Decks 6 & 7 aft. On the Golden, this would have been the Vista Lounge, a pretty standard lounge. However, on the Island class vessels, the Universe Lounge has two tiers and plenty of good sight lines. The theatrical technology in the Universe Lounge allowed for some pretty spectacular shows throughout the cruise, including a singing and dance revue called "Tribute". The Universe Lounge used intimate sofas and chairs that made up the seating area. -Explorer's Lounge: Deck 6. We only used this lounge for the art auctions that were held primarily on sea days. Apparently they used the lounge for a disco at night although we were never there to witness it. -Wheelhouse Bar: Deck 7 forward. This was one of the spaces on the Coral that really surprised me. I was expected the Golden version of the Wheelhouse, which was an intimate space but certainly not grand. However, the Coral's Wheelhouse was large and very clubby. It was paneled in darker woods and held a variety of nautical memorabilia, especially from the P&O line. Even the hallways leading to the Wheelhouse were memorable in that they carried out the theme. If you are a cruise fanatic and enjoy history, stop into the bar and review the display cases and walls. There is a somewhat hidden niche just off to the side from the Atrium entrance where vintage cruise posters, postcards and even menus from past cruisers can be reviewed. The Wheelhouse Bar was also a good place to look for drink specials throughout the cruise. There were frequent 2-for-1's on margaritas, daiquiris, etc. -Princess Casino: Deck 6. We're not gamblers but even we enjoyed people watching in the casino. The casino has a London-theme and faithfully carries out the theme in using the Queen's Guards to watch the starboard entrance, a colorful carpet with London themes throughout and phone booths and double-decker busses to house slot machines. The casino was much more open feeling than the one on the Golden and was far less smoky than what we experienced on the other ship. -Crooner's Bar: Deck 7. The bar wrapped around the atrium and was styled with Rat Pack images and themes. It was a very nice bar to congregate in before a dinner or during the evening for live piano music. Crooner's also had frequent drink specials during the cruise, including $3 martinis from their "Bond Collection". This was a menu of traditional and more contemporary martinis that were delicious. Service was excellent at Crooners. -Princess Fine Arts Gallery: Deck 7 aft. We really enjoyed the art experience aboard the Coral. The Art Gallery itself is an intimate space with works from all eras and artists. The collection did change from day to day although major pieces remained in place. We enjoyed talking with Michael, the Coral's Art Director, and picking up bits of knowledge about the pieces aboard. We would frequently attend the art auctions (mainly held on sea days) and would definitely recommend previewing the art beforehand (approximately 1 hour before an auction a wide selection of art was displayed in the Explorer's Lounge and made available to be requested for auction). We ended up purchasing two pieces of art during the cruise (Jean Vollet's "Soleil Sur La Seine" Zamy Steynovitz's "Musical Bouquet in Paris"). Both were signed lithographs that we felt were quality pieces and a good value. The art auctions were also a great way to drink on Princess! A champagne auction was held during the 1st sea day as well during the last auction on the 4th sea day. -Bordeaux Dining Room (Personal Choice Dining Room): Deck 5 forward. We had selected Personal Choice Dining during our cruise and were not disappointed. Although we had wait staff that were wonderful and whom we'd like to have gotten to know better, our dining times varied extensively throughout the cruise. For us, it just didn't pay to have a reserved time or table. We got the sense during the cruise that people were eating earlier. We would often catch one of the earlier shows and then eat later. We were always immediately shown to a table and never had to use the pagers. The dining room itself reminded us a lot of what we saw on the Golden. One of the changes, however, was how tables for two were arranged. On the Golden, the tables for two were completely separated from other tables. A lot of tables for two on the Coral were actually placed in close proximity to other tables for two. We actually liked this a lot. There was enough space between the tables to suggest intimacy but they were close enough that conversation with neighbors was natural. We met some great couples dining this way throughout the week. Just a recap of some of the menu items we had during the week: -Appetizers: Spring rolls, shrimp cocktail, crab quiche, smoked supreme of duck, escargot, prosciutto with melon, baked eggplant parmigiana, Turkish lamb and eggplant turnover, baked clams casino, asparagus with puff pastry, avocado boat with mixed seafood salad, Vol-au-Vent (creamed chicken and sweetbreads in puff pastry) -Soups: Pina Colada splashed with rum (chilled), lentil soup, yogurt and tamarind (chilled), fish gumbo, pumpkin and turnip puree, vichyssoise choid (chilled leek and potato), papaya and kiwi (chilled), capon broth with vegetables, pasta and fagioli red bean soup, Won Ton, tropical fresh fruit cream (chilled), lentil puree with garlic, apricot (chilled), lobster bisque, asparagus puree, pumpkin puree (chilled) -Entrees: SautEed filet of Zander (white fish), prime rib, medallion of beef tenderloin, salmon filet with dill sauce, scallops and shitaki mushrooms, pasta with salmon strips, roast duckling with orange and curacao sauce, glaze, roast center cut of pork loin, sea bass, shrimp flambEed in brandy and served with a spicy tomato sauce, veal chop with sautEed mushrooms, Thai snapper fillet, filet mignon and grilled jumbo shrimp, twin lobster tails, Beef Wellington, lamb chops, linguine with poached clams, Mediterranean sea scallops -Deserts: Profiteroles with mixed berries, Mohr im Hemd (baked chocolate pudding with glaze), apple tart, chocolate hazelnut soufflE, croquembouche, almond soufflE stuffed in baked peaches, Austrian chocolate cake with apricot layers, Princess Love Boat Dream, chocolate gateau with cherries, New York style cheesecake and a variety of ice creams in unique and complementary flavors (cinnamon, strawberry daiquiri, champagne, etc.). We simply don't have a specific review for each and every dish we had aboard the Coral. In short, everything we ate was fabulous! Perhaps it's because we were not shopping, preparing, serving and cleaning up what we ate but everything was marvelous. In the days since we've returned we've come to the conclusion that the individual dishes that may not have tasted absolutely superb to us had less to do with the preparation and more to do with our own taste buds! "Special Nights": Formal Night 1 (sea day 1), French Night (sea day 2), Italian Night (Costa Rica), International Night (sea day 3), and Formal Night 2 (Grand Cayman) -Horizon Court: Deck 14 forward. We liked having the Horizon Court at the front of the Coral instead of at the back as we had on the Golden. This was truly a different dining experience. There are slanted windows in the Court at the very front of the ship allowing one to see forward from up high. This was especially popular during the Panama Canal transit. The Horizon Court also had a dedicated bar with bar stools and a stage for performances by a pianist or guitarist during different times of the day. We ate many of our breakfasts and lunches at the Horizon Court. Sometimes the offerings were better than at other times. There were lunches when the pickings were very slim and we resorted to using the Grill or Princess Pizza for the main part of our meal. However, some standards that always worked for us were the selection of fresh fruits and cookies! Breakfasts were always good: enormous steam trays full of bacon and sausage daily, fresh egg selections (including Eggs Benedict and Eggs Florentine regularly) and plenty of breads. I was actually somewhat disappointed in some of the bread and rolls on the Coral. I know it's difficult to maintain freshness in a buffet setting, but often the bread was hard. Not stale by any means, but not fresh tasting or in texture, either. Because the average age of this cruise was higher, there were difficulties in navigating the buffet. I was always looking over my shoulder or to my side to make sure I wasn't running anybody down. We also noticed that the Horizon Court was exceptionally busy between about noon and 1:15 PM. There were times when we simply could not find a table to sit. However, the longer you waited to eat lunch, the better it got! Finally: the coffee. I will agree with others who have said the coffee is not all that great but I did not find it completely offensive either. It comes straight from a concentrate (in a bottle that looks a lot like a motor oil container!). However, the coffee had a mild taste to it and wasn't as acidic as a lot of fresh-brewed options are. -Fitness Center: Deck 14 aft. We like the Coral's gym! We managed to get up to the facility on 6 occasions during a 10-day cruise. I believe the Coral had more weight machines to work more parts of one's body than what we had on the Golden. They were also arranged much better so that there wasn't a traffic issue between the weights and the aerobic equipment. There were plenty of treadmills in addition to six low-impact aerobic machines and several more stationary bikes and stair-steppers. The gym never got entirely full or crowded. There were mornings when we spent more time on the weights waiting for an aerobic machine to open up but it wasn't excessive. Gym towels were available daily. -Lido Pool: Deck 15 midship. We like the pools aboard Princess ships! We enjoy the fact that they are freshwater and deep! The pools aboard the Coral were no different. The Lido Pool tended to be the center of activity on Deck 14 for such things as wacky pool games, ice carving demonstrations, music by steel drum band Sugar Cane on most days and the Island Night party. We found that we could always find a lounger in the sun and we did not really see evidence of chair hogging or saving. Drink service was always available but wasn't intrusive. The one thing we noticed on this cruise was that the pool water temperature was brisk at times. I'm guessing that due to rough seas at some points during the cruise, the staff may have emptied the pools during the evening and then refilled them during the mornings. -Lotus Pool: This was a very serene pool and also offering a place to be by the pool but remain out of the sun. We did notice the retractable roof in the closed position one evening and the pool deck nicely air conditioned, probably due to steamy conditions outside! -Pelican's Pool: We never swam or even lounged around the aft pool. It is a smaller pool and does not have a deck ringing the pool (you have to go up one level to get to loungers). The deck above also has the ping pong tables. -Alternative Restaurants: we never dined at Sabatini's or The Bayou Cafe. They appeared to be empty on most nights with plenty of tables available. We did like how each venue was distinctively decorated, however. -Internet Center: Deck 8, midship. The Internet Center wrapped around the Atrium on Deck 8. We used it twice while onboard. We found the connection to be extremely slow but this may have been due to the ship's position. -Library/Card Room: Deck 8, midship. Both of these venues were beautiful and cozy. Both had large windows for viewing the ship's progress at sea or during a port visit. The library had a pretty extensive collection and using the facilities was easy. Entertainment -"Dance"/"Da Beat"/"Up Curtain"/"Tribute". I don't mean to shortchange any of the full dance and singing shows by lumping them together, but in short, they were all fabulous! The shows (either performed in the Princess Theater or Universe Lounge) were unbelievable! The use of the theater technology aboard is simply impressive. Set refreshes and props were delivered in amazing ways, the lighting and audio were flawless and the feel was close to Broadway. The dancers and singers aboard this cruise were wonderful. They were exceptionally talented and energetic. We probably enjoyed "Dance" the best out of all the shows during our cruise but each one is simply not to be missed. -Billy Vader. Vader did a brief routine during the Welcome Aboard show but also did his own 1-hour act later in the week. He also MC'd the final show of the cruise. He is not to be missed. He is extremely funny and does a variety of stand up material, singing and impressions. He was a riot. -Duncan Tuck. Duncan performed only one evening in the Universe Lounge. He is a guitarist/vocalist who does what he calls 'singing comedy'. He was very talented. -Dan Horn. Dan is a ventriloquist who we had previously seen on the Golden. He used a variety of puppets. At times his routine seemed to stall but he more than made up for it when he brought up a passenger for a very funny scene. The Ports of Call -Montego Bay, Jamaica: After a full sea day we arrived to Montego Bay. We had nothing formally scheduled for the port so decided to take a shuttle bus ($3 per person each way) to the main shopping area. We were dropped off at some jewelry shops that did not appeal to us. I could see the city center just a few blocks away and headed in that direction. A local calling himself Steve approached us on the street. Steve would not leave our side for the next hour. He would point out some of the main sites in downtown Montego Bay and led us to an outdoor craft market that was big but off the beaten path. The market was made up of dozens of individual stalls, each selling the same thing! If you're looking for a wooden carving of Bob Marley's face (in a variety of sizes) this is your place! Each vendor would attempt to lure us into their stalls although they were very kind about it. Steve, of course, expected a tip at the end of about an hour and I gave him $5, although he was looking for more and suggested as much. We caught another shuttle bus from downtown back to the Coral. On the way back we let off some passengers at Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville on Gloucester Avenue. It appeared to be a nice place and perhaps a better way to spend the day in Montego Bay! We were not all that impressed with what we saw in Montego Bay. Perhaps an organized excursion to Dunn's River Falls would have suited us better. -Panama Canal: after another full sea day, we arrived at the Panama Canal on the Wednesday of our cruise. I awoke at about 6:00 AM and found that we were already in the 7-mile channel that leads to the Gatun Locks. I caught the sunrise over a very surreal and primeval-looking plain. There was a haze covering the plain and I could hear the sounds of birds calling to each other. It was far-less industrial than I thought and very, very quiet as the Coral made slow speed toward the locks. As we approached the Gatun Locks, we began moving around the ship for better vantage points. The doors leading to bow observation decks were open on Decks 10 and 11. We were surprised at how few people were actually on these decks that morning! Do not be intimidated by the "authorized personnel only" signs on Panama Canal morning - boldly use the doors at the front of each deck for a great vantage point! We had great views forward of the lock operations and all the activity laid out below us. We actually went up to breakfast (Horizon Court) during the transit between lock chamber 1 and 2. The forward-looking windows in the Horizon Court were jammed with people but otherwise the crowds were tolerable. We had a guide on the bridge that was giving information over the ship's loudspeakers. We could just make out his narration while on our stateroom balcony but found that the audio was also being played on channel 35 in our stateroom. We simply cranked up the TV's volume and kept the balcony door open so we could listen to the narration. We were through the locks and anchored in Gatun Lake by about 9:30 AM. At that point, the excursions in Panama began to organize in the Princess Theater. That day's Princess Patter had listed approximate times for tours to meet at the Theater (based on actually Canal transit information relayed to the Coral the day before). The staff were making announcements for various tour groups to come into the Princess Theater so entire excursion groups could be tendered ashore together. We actually could not hear these announcements in our stateroom so loitered around the Princess Theater even though all prior notices had suggested not doing just that. Once our entire tour group was assembled, we were led down to the tender deck and took one of the survival craft to shore - it was a very short tender ride from ship to shore! We actually used the piers at the Gatun Yacht Club to disembark the tenders and to organize into the various tour busses. We booked the Panama Canal Railroad tour. I had pre-reserved the Deluxe Car (dome observation car - $156 pp) very early on using the Cruise Personalizer feature on the Princess website. I would highly recommend pre-reserving this tour sooner than later as we talked to many people who wanted the Deluxe car but got closed out. Once we got ashore, everyone with deluxe accommodations was bussed together, separated from those who had booked the Executive Car (standard) excursion. One of the nice perks in booking the Deluxe car was that we were given preferential boarding on and off the train. Our group was the first to board the train in the morning and when we returned to Colon later that afternoon, we were the first group allowed to exit the train and re-board our bus for the short trip back to Cristobal. Our tour guide Maria was extremely friendly and knowledgeable. As we bussed to the train depot at Colon, she made an effort to point out the biodiversity of Panama, even stopping the bus at one point to let us look at iguanas lounging on rocks in the sun. The dome car was beautiful! Nothing I had read prior to booking the excursion did the dome car justice. Upon entering, there was a lower lounge portion with a bar and club-style seating. A short flight of stairs led to the observation portion of the car. Seating was in booths along both sides. They were tight accommodations. Even though it was a bright and sunny day, the air conditioning did a good job keeping the car cool. However, it was always cooler in the lounge portion downstairs by the bar. We had 3 girls in the deluxe car serving as bar tenders and waitresses. We were offered complimentary coffee or could purchase sodas & juice ($1) or beer ($2). There were also snacks available for purchase. The local Panamanian beer was excellent (even at 11:00 AM)! The train tour along the canal took just about 50 minutes. Along the way, we paralleled Gatun Lake (and could see the Coral still at anchor), marshes (where you occasionally saw turtles resting on logs), rainforest and plains. The train moves away from the Canal at the Culebra Cut so you don't really see much of that portion of the Canal, which was unfortunate. However, we did get to see the Pedro Miguel locks in passing and did catch glimpses of several ships making the entire transit through the Canal during the train ride. Once we got to Panama City the tour took a slight turn for the worse. We were loaded into tour busses (fully air conditioned and comfortable) and taken to the Panama Canal administration building and the monument to Goethals (the chief engineer during the American effort). This was okay as was our next stop to view the Bridge of the Americas at a park on the Pacific side. However, we were next taken to a nice-looking but practically vacant shopping mall for 45-minutes. The only retail store in operation was a large duty-free store that was nice...except it had much of the same merchandise you could buy on the Coral for the same price!! 45-minutes was simply too long to be there. We got some nice pictures of Panama City, but otherwise this stop was a joke. Once we re-boarded our bus, we were next taken to a large craft market for another 45-minute stop. This was actually a little better than being dropped at a shopping mall but each vendor tended to have the same items. And, the market was un-air conditioned. At this point, many in our tour group decided to stay on the busses or find a spot in the shade near the market. You could sense that at this point in the day most on this excursion were either tired, hungry or both. Mercifully, the busses next took us back to the Panama City train depot where we were able to relax in the dome car. The depot actually has a nice selection of Panama Canal Rail Road merchandise, including high-quality t-shirts. In short, the highlight of the day was the train ride. However, the round-trip train ride made up only about 1 hour and 40 minutes of the 6+ hours we were away from the Coral. We felt the cost was excessive given that we were taken to shopping venues while ashore in Panama and did not get to see the Canal in operation up close as I had previously thought. I was glad that I had booked an excursion for Panama thus allowing me to step foot ashore. However, this particular excursion was a disappointment. I have since written a letter to Princess expressing my disappointment in this particular tour in the hopes that 1) it could be tweaked to have more focus on the Canal or 2) that the literature describing the tour is updated so folks are fully aware of what they're getting. Maybe one could simply lobby to stay aboard the train and ride it back and forth across Panama couple of times?!?! :) -Limon, Costa Rica. We woke up the following day to the smell of smoke in our stateroom. I had no idea what was going on until I went to the balcony. Apparently, small fires around the port were used to burn either garbage and/or vegetation. Mercifully, the winds shifted a short time later and the smoke was directed inland. We had no formal tours scheduled for Costa Rica so stayed close to the ship. There was a craft market set up at the end of the pier and we ventured there in the late morning. There was a nice selection of goods, including beautiful hand-carved bowls made from exotic woods. We picked up a salad bowl carved from rosewood for about $60. Otherwise, our general thought about Costa Rica: hot! We literally dripped just walking around the pier and craft market and enjoyed most of day by the Lotus Pool. We did hear from folks who took organized excursions into the heart of the country. More than one couple said the Rainforest Aerial Tram was one of the best things they ever did! I heard that the guides were phenomenal and the sights unbelievable! I now know a return trip to Costa Rica is in order to experience the rainforest! -Grand Cayman. We scheduled to anchor just offshore Georgetown but were diverted to Spott's Bay due to rough seas. I woke up that morning and tried to make the map of Georgetown I had received the night before match up with the view from my stateroom! It simply didn't work! Despite our detour, the tendering operations were extremely efficient. We were told that tender tickets were required for this port. Passengers were supposed to go down to Explorer's Lounge on that morning to get tender tickets. However, we were up and moving by 8:30 AM and were told there was no need for tickets to tender at that point. I believe as more and more people wanted to go ashore, the tender tickets were required. Even though we were diverted to an alternative anchorage, there were plenty of vehicles waiting for us ashore to take us into Georgetown. We got on a shuttle bus for $4/pp and took about a 20-minute ride into Georgetown. The seas at the Georgetown tender piers were unbelievably rough and we considered ourselves very fortunate to even be on the island! I had actually scheduled a Stingray City snorkel tour with Soto's Cruises (http://sotoscruises.com/index.shtml) prior to departure. I had contacted them via e-mail several months before our visit and reserved two spots. They had asked for a credit card to hold the reservation only used the card as a security deposit if you failed to show up or cancel the tour without enough advanced notice. We were given clear instructions on how to meet up with Soto's representatives once ashore Grand Cayman. We waited about 30 minutes at the appropriate spot (right in the downtown shopping area). We never did make contact with Soto's while on the island and wondered if perhaps all boating excursions were cancelled due to the rough seas. I e-mailed my contact at Soto's after returning and confirmed that my credit card was not going to be charged but I never did get an explanation of why I never made contact while ashore. We spent the rest of the day exploring the main shopping area in Georgetown. We found Georgetown to be very pleasant! It is apparent that there is money on Grand Cayman and I think it shows in how the public areas are kept up and how you are treated. We bought various souvenirs at several stores and even strolled into Kirk Jewelers to look around. According to my wife, Kirk Jewelers had an excellent selection of David Yurman jewelry (I wouldn't know David Yurman from David Schwimmer). We were on the way out the door when we spotted a good display of gemstone (Lapis) globes in the store's window. We have always loved globes and even considered buying them aboard the Princess Boutiques. The clerk assisting us could not have been nicer. We were actually dressed pretty scruffily (assuming that our day was going to be spent snorkeling) yet we never felt put down upon. We were made to feel important and walked away thinking that Kirk Jewelers was a class operation. We got what we considered a good deal and the clerk assisted us in safely packing our globes for transport home. We had a light meal while in Georgetown at Breezes by the Bay. This beautiful restaurant had a 2nd floor deck overlooking the port in Georgetown and main shopping district. We had delicious conch fritters along with a great mudslide and a rum punch! Prices at Breezes were a little high but we know part of what we were paying for was the view. We very much enjoyed our stay in Georgetown and on Grand Cayman. Our only regret was not snorkeling with the stingrays and having to weigh anchor so early (3:00 PM) for an arrival in Cozumel the next day. -Cozumel: We were securely berthed in Puerta Maya, Cozumel by 9:00 AM the next morning. We had previously been on Cozumel two years prior and were impressed with the changes to Puerta Maya. The port now boasts an entire shopping district and would satisfy most shoppers! We wanted to explore the main shopping district, just 3 miles (and $6 per taxi) away. As occurred two years ago, we simply were not that impressed with the main shopping venue. Even though it was a Sunday morning, vendors were already persistent in getting us into their stores to see their "almost free" wares. Plus, there was nothing unique in the main shopping district. We had already decided to take one of the ferry lines on Cozumel across the 12-mile stretch of water to Playa del Carmen on the Yucatan Peninsula. We had previously visited Playa two years earlier and fell in love with the town. We caught the 11:00 AM ferry from Cozumel to Playa. We used UltraMar, which boasts a sleek-looking and very modern ferry. We were completely enclosed and enjoyed the stability of a catamaran hull. The ferry ride was extremely short (25 to Playa and 30 minutes on our return). The ferry docks on the south end of Fifth Avenue in Playa. The area surrounding the ferry dock hosts a collection of pretty typical Mexican souvenir shops and vendors. However, as you walk further north along Fifth Avenue, the shopping and the restaurants get a little more upscale. We enjoyed window shopping along Fifth Avenue and killed some time before our main reason for being in Playa was fulfilled: lunch at La Parilla. La Parilla is an open-air restaurant on Fifth Avenue (kitty corner from a TGIFridays!). We grew to love the food and atmosphere two years ago and this year was no different. La Parilla has some potent margaritas and delicious food. We're especially drawn to their use of cactus in some of their dishes, which is delicious. On this particular day we had steak and cactus fajitas, fresh guacamole and plenty of refreshments! We enjoyed people watching on the streets of Playa and just soaking in the atmosphere. We took the ferry back to Cozumel and wandered the shopping area at Puerta Maya. We had more beers at the Crazy Pelican, an open-air bar set up right off the pier. Disembarkation - Ft. Lauderdale Disembarkation is always sad but Princess handles it as well as anyone. We were initially given rose-colored luggage tags, which were meant for passengers who had Princess transfers. We went down to the Passenger Services desk and switched our tags for the standard tags designed for Dolphin Deck passengers: Aqua. We were told our disembarkation would be around 9:10 AM and it actually happened at 9:25 AM. We had a 12:00 PM flight and were not terribly worried about making our flight as we knew the airport was very close to Port Everglades. We cleared immigration very quickly and then had to retrieve our bags. We had neon luggage straps put around our two checked bags but, unfortunately, one was missing when we went to look for our bags. The bag with the luggage strap was easy to spot. However, I really had to search the Dolphin section for the other bag. Once all bags were collected, then you had to be cleared through Customs. The line for Customs was unbelievably long! It snaked throughout the terminal building. However, at the Customs table itself I noticed that porters were passed right through. Therefore, I hailed a porter and had our bags loaded up on his dolly. We were out of the terminal building and to a taxi in no time! This was well worth the money! We definitely enjoyed this 10-day cruise. Our last cruise aboard the Golden was 5-days and simply felt too short. This was just the right length. Princess continues to impress us with her beautiful ships, warm and welcoming staff, fantastic entertainment and delicious food. While on board the Coral, we met with the Future Cruise Specialist, Jayne, and put down deposits for a future (yet named) cruise. We've decided that Princess is truly where we belong! Read Less
Sail Date February 2004
Well I am Benjamin. I'm 24 from Montreal, Canada. Its was my first cruise with Princess but did three others with Carnival, the differences are pretty big. The Coral Princess his a awesome ship really nice and new with a lot of pool ... Read More
Well I am Benjamin. I'm 24 from Montreal, Canada. Its was my first cruise with Princess but did three others with Carnival, the differences are pretty big. The Coral Princess his a awesome ship really nice and new with a lot of pool and hot tubs to relax and they are open 24 hours. That's amazing and you can dive in those pools cause they are more than 7 feet depth for 2 of them. For the kids center really nice but there was no kids to play in cause this cruise, this we have to say more mature old people but nice and really enjoying for lot of them but if you want to go party at night that's not the boat to go on 10 days cruise cause longer so its people who have time to travel compared to 7 days cruise. People were up until 1:30am. There wasn't any activity after, just the casino, if you like to play, actually the casino was really nice the nicest a sea so far and I didn't lose this time. For morning persons excellent there his all those morning activities free and paying ones and of course always every day at see those seminars about different stuff you can learn about, its really cool and funny most of time. For those who love good food you're on the right boat. Yes was amazing and you can choose the time you want to go diner between certain hours, and different country specialities every day. The tours and all the stops especially when you pass in Panama Canal it's really impressive those big gates. Limon, Costa Rica this a amazing stop, people are really nice like Cozumel friendly. If you want to shop Limon and Cozumel really nice and Panama Canal Colon is really nice to shop when open.  Now I have to talk about the crew and staff. I have to say they are amazing everyone seem to love what there doing and they really have a good relationship between each other that seems to reflect on their work the best crew I saw. Ok ladies especially if you have to go fixed your hair or a cut the best hair stylist in the world his on that ship his name Nathan Woodley -- that guy knows what is doing and done it for a long time is gonna make you laugh so bad, if you can have a appointment cause hes really busy all the time. And don't forget all the ladies working in the spa amazing too, you will really feel comfortable. For the show and entertainment they are really in to it and make all people dance and have a good time. I remember Sarah really entertaining. The passenger desk service was amazing really fast and serviable. So i really have to say that was an amazing time i had with the crew and passenger even with the big age differences but I totally recommend that cruise to anyone. Have a good cruise. Read Less
Sail Date March 2004
Just returned form the 10/31/04 Panama Canal sailing of the Coral Princess. There were 3 of us that went—myself age 29 and my parents mid 60s. As a general rule, the majority of passengers on this sailing were much older than myself. ... Read More
Just returned form the 10/31/04 Panama Canal sailing of the Coral Princess. There were 3 of us that went—myself age 29 and my parents mid 60s. As a general rule, the majority of passengers on this sailing were much older than myself. However, I expected this due to the length of the cruise and the itinerary. Children were not very prevalent on this sailing—I think I saw a total of 6 the entire cruise. Also of note was that in each port we were the only cruise ship in port that day. Pre-cruise stay: we always fly down a day early before a cruise and this time we chose to stay at the Marina Marriott in Ft. Lauderdale. It was during the Ft. Lauderdale International Boat Show, so was quite filled up. The hotel is right across the street from the pier and when we arrived we could see the Caribbean Princess getting ready to leave. Another thing we enjoyed about this hotel and it's proximity to the pier was getting up early on the morning of embarkation (5am) and watching all the ships return to Ft. Lauderdale. It was fun to watch the Coral Princess return to port and made us even more excited to start our cruise. The hotel offers a courtesy shuttle to the pier so we made arrangements to take that. Just sign up with the bell captain's stand. I should note that the first person we asked at the stand told us that they did not offer shuttle service, but we asked someone else again and they told us that they did have a shuttle; so it may pay to ask more than one person if they tell you they don't offer one. We took the 11:40am shuttle time and were the only guests on it and arrived at the pier by 11:50am. Embarkation: After arriving at 11:50am, the porters took our bags and we got in the line outside the terminal. Once we made it inside the terminal and everybody sorted into the various lines for check in according to deck etc, that part went fairly quickly and smoothly. After check in, the line through security went very slowly, and there was a bottleneck of people waiting to get their embarkation photo taken etc. I think the whole process took us an hour; this was the slowest embarkation I've experienced on Princess. Cabin: we booked D421 a suite. We loved the size and layout of this room! For those who are familiar with the Sun, Dawn etc, the suites on the Coral are laid out almost the same as the minisuites on the Dawn etc, but are a bit bigger and include a wet bar. There was tons of storage space—drawers, cabinets, shelves. The balcony included 2 lounge chairs and a table and 2 chairs. I know there has been much discussion previously on which balconies on the Coral are covered/uncovered etc. Our room was located midship and the balcony was about 2/3 covered I would say—maybe a little more. We did get most of the suite perks without having to ask. We got our welcome glass of champagne. Got the chocolate covered strawberries automatically delivered on both formal nights, got a corsage and buttonaire delivered on the first formal night. The free internet service was nice, as well as being able to order canapes any night free of charge. We also got the complimentary flower arrangement and it lasted the entire cruise. Ship: when we got onboard, they had the ship decorated for Halloween. They had a carved pumpkin display in the atrium and spider webs and other decorations in the bars and restaurants. Later that night the staff- bartenders etc dressed in costume. Dining: we elected to do Anytime Dining which is in the Bordeaux dining room on Plaza deck 5. The food and service were excellent. We did not make reservations, as they would only let you reserve for 6 or 8pm and we like to go in between. There were several nights that we had to wait and were given a pager. The wait was about 5- 20min and we took this time to get drinks in La Patisserie Bar. We had different servers most nights, except a couple of time we had the same; we especially enjoyed the service of Noli from Romania. One night we choose to eat dinner in the Bayou Cafe and that was wonderful as well. The cheese biscuits and cornbread to start we quite tasty and were served with a cheese spread. I had the fillet of beef which was great and another one of our party had the catfish which he also enjoyed. The food for lunch in the Horizon Court was fine. There was always ample selection and one could always find something to suit. They had the hand sanitizer stations outside the entrance to the Horizon Court and the majority of people seemed to use them. I thought this was great that they are trying to stop sickness from becoming epidemic before it even starts. The order of the dinner menus for this cruise were as follows: Day 1 Sailaway, Day 2 Captain's Welcome, Day 3 Caribbean, Day 4 Continental/French, Day 5 Princess Dinner, Day 6 Italian, Day 7 Captain's Gala, Day 8 International, Day 9 Chef's dinner, Day 10 Landfall. The only "problem" we found was that we wanted to find out the order of the menus for the entire cruise on the first day so that we could book our Bayou Cafe reservation accordingly. However, nobody seemed to know what the order would be. We asked in the Bayou when we made our reservation and he gave us one answer but did not seem sure, so we asked several people in the dining room (waiters and maitre d') and nobody there could give us a straight answer either. However, I now have full copies of the dinner menus from this cruise, as well a few of the lunch and dessert menus, so if anyone wants to know if a particular dish was served or has any other menu questions, feel free to ask me. Day 2: this was a sea day. I took advantage of the scholarship at sea program and signed up for a pottery wheel class. It is $20/half hour and you can throw as many pots as you want. Then you may choose the one or ones you want to keep and the instructor will set them aside to dry and you can return a few days later and paint them. I thought this was a great way to pass the time on a sea day and would definitely do it again. There is also a $15 firing fee for the pots you keep. Day 2 was also our first formal night. Day 3: another sea day. Again, I took advantage of one of the activities offered onboard and did the wine tasting in the Provence dining room for $7.50 The price included a souvenir cordial glass and if you buy a bottle of wine following the event, you will receive a portion of your fee as a credit. Day 4: Limon, Costa Rica. This was a lovely and very worthwhile stop in my opinion. I took the Sloth Sanctuary Tour. On the drive to the sanctuary we pulled over and saw howler monkeys in the trees. When arriving at the sanctuary, we assembled in an open air pavillion to watch a short film about the sloths and the sanctuary. After that, there was a photo opportunity with Buttercup, one of the original sloths there and chance to view some of the other residents. Then, they broke the group in half and half went on a canoe ride and the other half went on a nature walk (and then you switch). On the canoe ride, we saw lots of different birds, more monkeys, an iguana. The nature walk we observed all the different types of plants that the area has. It was quite pretty I thought. My parents did the Jungle Eco- Adventure boat trip and they loved that as well—saw an anteater, monkeys, birds. Day 5: Panama Canal. Today we got up at 5am to watch our ship make it's approach to the canal. Near the entrance, there were tons of other ships (tankers, cargo etc) waiting to enter as well. I believe we approached the first chamber around 6:45am. Going through the canal was real treat. It was fun to watch the ship beside us go thorough as well, because you could really see more of what was happening by watching them. The photographers were on the ground as we went through to take pictures of everyone out on their balconies. They also circulated the open decks to get your picture there. Once we entered Gatun Lake, those of us on tours were tendered ashore. My mother and I did the Deluxe Train dome train car tour. We enjoyed this tour—learned about the history of the canal etc. The description of the tour indicated that we would only go one way on the train—this turned out to not be true. We ended up going both ways on the train (with a motor coach tour in between), which was fine with us. My father took the Ocean to Ocean tour and he really liked that as well. Day 6: Another sea day. Took advantage of the sea day to paint the pots I had made on the pottery wheel. Also did the Maitre D' Wine Tasting for $25. Day 7: Grand Cayman. Much to our delight we did stop at Grand Cayman. The tours were not able to be booked prior to getting on board the ship and there was an abbreviated listing of available tours due to damage to some of the boats etc etc. We booked the Stingray Sanbar Snorkel- snorkel boat. The tour was nice and we had a about 50 min to interact with the rays. On the drive to pick up the boat and as we were going out to the sandbar, there was destruction evident, but the clean up appears to be well under way and continually occurring. We were just happy to get to go there and they seemed happy to see us come as well. This was our second formal night and night of the champagne waterfall. Day 8: Cozumel. My father and I had signed up to snorkel at Palancar reef and my mother was to to Chankanab park. However, due to pretty rough seas that day (was very windy), many of the water related tours were canceled. We ended up shopping at the pier (Puerta Maya) in the morning and taking a cab to the downtown pier in the afternoon. Day 9: Belize. I did the Belize Zoo and city tour. All the animals in the zoo are animals that you would find in the country of Belize. None of the animals were captured from the wild—they are all animals that were injured and can not longer fend for themselves in nature or are being rehabilitated to be eventually set free. In Belize the ship must anchor very far out in the ocean and then the tender ride is about 10-15 min. There are some shops at the pier, but it this is an emerging port so is not as developed as many others. This afternoon, I went to tea in the Bordeaux dining room. I had never been to tea on Princess before. I loved the scones with jam and clotted cream. They also served cookies, pastries and finger sandwiches. They seat you at tables and white gloved servers circulate the tables to serve you. They also have a musician perform during the event. Day 10: At sea. Our final day of the cruise was a sea day. Sitting by the pool was the order of the day. Apparently it was what every one else wanted to do as well. It was a little tricky to get a chair in the afternoon and I noticed that there were chair hogs out in force. Today was also the last culinary demonstration and galley tour, which we did. I thought it was very interesting to see all the different stations in the galley and it was impressive to think about what the galley must look like at dinner with everyone bustling around and doing their jobs. At the end of the day they was a champagne party for people who had made or painted pottery to go and pick up their pieces in the pottery studio. You could then go and see what everyone else had made during the cruise. Disembarkation: went pretty smoothly and timely. We were off the ship by about 9:30am and were about the 4th group called. Once we found our luggage and got a porter we were able to easily get a cab to the airport. Since we docked at a different terminal for disembarkation, i belive they offered shuttle service to the other terminal to people who had driven and parked at the pier to embark. Additional Information that some people may want to know; Cruise Director, David; Captain Giorgio; Maitre D' Rui. Overall, I thought this was a great cruise. I had never done a 10 day itinerary before and it was the perfect amount of time. I can only hope that now 7 days won't seem too short to me! Read Less
Sail Date October 2004
We just returned from this cruise and wanted to provide some insights for other cruisers. This was my second Princess cruise (2 others on Celebrity) and my first to this destination. Here are high points and some areas that could use ... Read More
We just returned from this cruise and wanted to provide some insights for other cruisers. This was my second Princess cruise (2 others on Celebrity) and my first to this destination. Here are high points and some areas that could use improvement. The Ship - The Coral is a beautiful ship. We were in a mini-suite and the cabin size, balcony, and bathroom were the perfect size for us. The cabin steward, Manuel De Leon, was outstanding and provided a consistently high level of friendly service. The public rooms were excellent and the level of service was better than I had experienced on my previous Princess cruise aboard the Dawn a few years ago. Onboard activities were pretty standard, but the cruise staff was very entertaining - especially Peter, the assistant cruise director. Dining - The food was pretty good, but the quality was inconsistent. The beef and seafood both in the dining room and even the buffet was very good. The pastas were almost universally disappointing and the desserts were very hit-and-miss. The Horizon Court buffet was our choice for breakfast and lunch for those days we were on board. The quality was hit and miss, but pretty good. Service was so-so, but you expect that with a buffet. Alternative dining offered 2 venues - the Bayou Cafe (Cajun) and Sabatini's (Italian). We did not try the Bayou because the menu was very limited, but we heard good reviews. Sabatini's was a cut above the dining room, but the way they stage the meal is a little confusing. You only select your entree and dessert (very good Tiramisu). The other courses are a tasting menu and I would have preferred to choose one item for each of the courses. The time devoted to the meal was fine, but there some long lapses between courses. One nit-pick - since there was a $20.00 per person charge for dinning there, they should not charge for $2.00 for a Cappuccino. Entertainment - We did not attend the shows so we cannot give a review. There are three venues - The Princess Theatre, The Universe (2 level), and the Explorer's Lounge. There seemed to be a lot of variety daily. Lotus Spa - The pool was very nice and pretty much off limits to kids (not too many on the ship anyway). We did not take any spa treatments. Gym - Small and usually crowded. There were not a lot of classes (due to the average age of the passengers). Ports - A) Days at sea. This is a personal point for most people. I enjoyed the port-per-day break. I would have paced it to have only one day at sea to begin, but the itinerary was the main reason we selected the cruise. B) Costa Rica - The best. A beautiful country with magnificent scenery and wildlife tours. We took the Costa Rica's Favorites tour and had a wonderful time. Sloth sightings on the way. The aerial tram was an interesting way to see the rain forest but the main sights were plant life, butterflies and an Eyelash Pit Viper. Since this is an all day tour, the gift shop at the tram is an excellent place to shop. The second part of the tour is a cruise on the Tortugero canals. Fantastic wildlife sightings - 4 separate groups of Howler Monkeys, crocs, caimans, many birds, etc. Our guide, Daniel, was the best!! C) Panama - The partial transit through the Gatun Locks was very interesting. One suggestion - see the transit from the back of the ship. Everyone was up front and the back was practically deserted! Great views of the gates, the locomotives, other ships transiting, etc. Our tour was the Caribbean Rain Forest Nature Hike. A very poor and boring tour with almost no sightings except for a few birds. Perhaps take one of the train tours instead. D) Grand Cayman Island - A complete bust since very rough waters caused the cancellation of all snorkeling tours and most scuba tours. We took the Island Highlights Tour and it was pretty boring. Unfortunately, the devastation of Hurricane Ivan was very evident. The island was really devastated with 95% of the buildings either destroyed or damaged. E) Cozumel - A shopper's paradise if that is important to you. We split and took 2 tours - Tulum and the Dolphin Swim. I enjoyed Tulum, my girlfriend really loved the dolphin swim. It was the highlight of her cruise. F) Belize - Another hit! We took the Lamanai and River Cruise tour. It is all day, but it is very rewarding. The ruins were extremely interesting and the cruise provided a lot of wildlife sightings - especially birds. Howler monkeys were very much in evidence at the ruins. No shopping to speak of in this port. Fellow Passengers - Definitely an older crowd. Average age was probably close to 70. Almost no kids. A Final Word - Overall, we had a great cruise, but we feel that Celebrity is definitely superior. Read Less
Sail Date December 2004
My girlfriend and I (she's 23 I'm 30) chose the Coral Princess for our second cruise because of the opportunity to cruise the Panama Canal, the fantastic feedback we have received about the Coral, and because of the 10-day cruise ... Read More
My girlfriend and I (she's 23 I'm 30) chose the Coral Princess for our second cruise because of the opportunity to cruise the Panama Canal, the fantastic feedback we have received about the Coral, and because of the 10-day cruise length. We ended up having an excellent time on the Coral, and would recommend this cruise. I will however point out a few things that I think need to be improved in order for this cruise to get a 5 or 6 star rating. We arrived in Ft. Lauderdale from Buffalo, NY, a day prior to our departure. I have family in Palm Beach, and we had a relaxing evening before heading to the port. We arrived at 12:45. My brother was able to drive right up to the pier, and drop us off right where the Princess busses let their passengers off. We both have passports and quickly moved to the line for platinum check-in. However, the folks at Platinum were dealing with some difficult passengers, and the Dolphin deck registration took us instead. After receiving our cards, we went upstairs to board the ship. Here we ran into some confusion, as the photographers really created unnecessary lines at a time when you really just want to get to your stateroom and begin exploring. We were on the ship just before 2:00. Although I have read much about Princess not having people in place to take you to your stateroom, there were tons of staff waiting at every doorway on the ship to guide us--we had no problem at all. After checking out the room and meeting our fantastic stateroom attendant, Thamanoon, we were surprised by wine, champagne, and a huge tray of appetizers from our wonderful family! What a way to start our cruise!!! We booked cabin D705 a mini-suite and were thrilled by our choice. Plenty of room, a full bathtub, covered balcony, and a great cabin steward. We asked for robes and down pillows (and got both on day #2). We then went exploring the ship. While exploring, we looked at the first evening's menu and found nothing that looked too hot, so we made a reservation for Bayou Cafe the first night. The host was nice enough to show us the week's menus for the dining rooms, and we proceeded to book Sabatini's later in the week on French night. Dinner at the Bayou was outstanding. One of the best filets of beef I have ever had, and great shrimp too! Well worth the $10. Sabatini's was very good too, but we were a little too picky to enjoy some of the more daring items on the menu. At both alternative restaurants, the service was A+. We selected PC dining, and would do so again, but ended up sitting at the same table at the same time most nights. We enjoyed Aniko, our fantastic waitress, and her assistant Gary, as well as the company of the nice couple who sat next to us and became our friends on the ship. The food was good, but not ever great. We also had a difficult time with the Maitre 'ds. Not only was it difficult to make reservations, but one time they gave our reserved table to someone else! (I had them reseat the other people). I think we were an afterthought because of our age. The ship was beautiful, the common areas very clean. In fact, it seemed like there was always someone cleaning, painting, etc... I was very impressed. We especially liked Explorer's lounge, which became our hang out. The staff there were excellent and DJ Mike kept the music going long after Princess closed the bar. The Lido pool was very nice as well, with plenty of chairs, lots of waiters to get us drinks, and perfect weather. We participated in Princess Survivor, several versions of trivia games, darts, and for the first time ever, Bingo. We tried to do as many activities as we could! The activities staff was great--Jack, Sam, Melissa, Vicki, the assistant CD Peter - who is so funny and would make a great CD. David, the CD was not too good though. We are not "show" people so I cannot comment on the entertainment, except for the comedian, who was hilarious! We used the Lotus Spa and were completely impressed! A major complaint: Most of the passengers on this cruise were very old and tended to be asleep by 10-11 p.m. There were some passengers who used the bars and lounges which were supposed to be open "till the wee hours." At least 4 times, Princess closed the bars throughout the ship with people in them who were enjoying themselves and wanted to remain out, and they did this at midnight!!!! Where I come from this is not good customer service, and midnight is not a "wee hour." By the end of the cruise, we stocked up on beer during the day to bring down to the bars when Princess decided to close them. Our first port was Limon, and we booked a tour with Oscar Brown to go zip lining. The tour was a mixed bag though--not as great as we had heard on the Ports of Call boards. Zip lining was unbelievable! Such a rush! I would recommend it to everyone- even if you are afraid of heights as I am. We also had the opportunity to hold a sloth, which made Kristin very happy, and got us some cool pictures. We visited the Del Monte banana plantation, and got a behind the scenes look which a large tour would never get. What was bad? First, the van. The van had to be running the whole time, because when it was shut off, we had to push it and jump start it to get it going again. I don't remember that from the brochures. Second, I don't remember reading anywhere what a long ride it was from the port to zip lining--almost 2 hours!!! I guess that is fine, but wish I could have mentally prepared..We did meet some awesome people on the tour, and have new friends because of it! Next was the Canal experience. We ordered breakfast on our balcony to be delivered at 7:30 which ended up being a good guess as to the time we transited the Canal. I got up at 5:30 and went to see if there was a better vantage point, but I think the balcony was best. There were tons of people on the bow thru the canal transit. Once in Gatun Lake, we tendered to shore and went on a very average, yet expensive eco-boat ride/tour which we booked thru Princess. Due to our intense dislike for waiting for slow people, we cancelled our tours in Grand Cayman and Cozumel, and decided to go it alone. In Grand Cayman, we found another couple with whom we shared a taxi, and for $13/pp we got an island tour that included Hell, 7 Mile Beach, and the Turtle Farm. (The exact tour we cancelled from Princess.) If you refuse to get on one of the large tour busses loaded with people, they will find you a small cab--fight the power!! Upon returning, we did some shopping and beach time before returning to the ship. Princess did a poor job with the tendering process. While in line to return, no tenders came for us in the time that 6 came for Royal Caribbean. When I questioned a crew member, he explained that it took a long time to get the older passengers on/off. Cozumel was very nice. We cabbed it to the main shopping area, which is torn up due to construction. We were provided with directions by Princess to give to the driver, which I thought was a nice touch. We made some purchases--nice sliver there, then went to Paradise Beach. PB was great! Relaxing, beautiful water, good drinks. We were hit with some disappointment in Belize. We had booked cave tubing with Extreme Cave Tubing, but were not able to get off the ship (tenders were given to ship excursions before anyone else was let off) in time. There was nothing else to do there. I understand this was completely our fault though. We ended up spending the day by the pool and working on our amazing tans. We were invited to attend a Bridge tour (I have no idea why or how) but were unable to go due to Kristin's participation in Survivor. After seeing the rest of the people on the tour, I can with 100% confidence say that the pool games were a much better choice, although I am sure the Bridge is interesting. On the last at sea day, we had champagne breakfast on the balcony (another gift) which was very good. Due to cold weather, we spent the rest of the day with our friends, Scott and Jenn, finishing the Princess bar hop and competing in activities. Overall, this was a very good cruise. We only have one other to compare it to, but why compare? I think you would have to make a conscious effort not to have a great time on a cruise! Like everything else, a cruise is all about the attitude you bring to it. If you want to have a great time, you will. If you want to be miserable, you will. THE BEST: 1. Service and staff 1a. The great people we met onboard. 2. Cleanliness of ship/common areas. 3. Lido pool. 4. Thermal spa at Lotus spa. 5. Princess Pizza is awesome! THE WORST: 1. No night life. 2. Maitre 'd at PC dining. 3. Tendering process. 4. Food quality -- not availability or selection. Feel free to contact me if I can explain or answer anything for you! Have a great cruise! Read Less
Sail Date December 2004
The cruise started off badly when our travel agent fouled up our reservations. We were traveling with relatives and reserved early so that we would have adjoining cabins of our choice. The agent lost our reservations, so, while other ... Read More
The cruise started off badly when our travel agent fouled up our reservations. We were traveling with relatives and reserved early so that we would have adjoining cabins of our choice. The agent lost our reservations, so, while other members of our party got their packets from Princess in late October, all we got was a runaround about problems. We finally got our packet with immigration forms that were supposed to be mailed 30 days in advance of travel 15 days before the cruise. Thank goodness for Princess's online form filing! Our cruise documents came a week later and that was when we found out that not only didn't we have adjoining cabins, we were two decks down and at the other end of the ship! When we complained, the agent gave us $100 shipboard credit and a bottle of wine. Big Deal! At that late date, there wasn't much more to do, but I will never use that agency again. In spite of all that, the cruise was great! Nice balcony cabin with plenty of storage. The only gripe is the size of the shower. You actually can't turn around in it. It's the size of a coffin. I had to put my foot on the toilet seat outside the shower so I could wash my feet. The room steward was OK, but just. We asked for 3 bath towels instead of 2 and got them once during the cruise, so we used the pool towels in our room. And that brings up another complaint. Passengers are supposed to be responsible for those towels and bring them back to the room, even wet and/or dirty, rather than the ship supplying towels at poolside. Another gripe about the steward. He couldn't seem to keep the room supplied with shampoo, conditioner and lotion. We got all of one thing and none of the others often. We learned to raid his cart in the hall. I wonder if the policy of tips being included in the charges has anything to do with this. Other than that, the service was excellent all over the ship. My husband and I both got soda cards and, unlike on other ships, the sodas were served with a smile, especially at the Lido bar. The boutiques had a nice selection of items from the ports we were visiting. My husband wanted a shirt with "mulo?" decoration on it from Panama, but the size tags were hard to read (smudged). The Boutique assistant manger, Carla, saw our difficulty (at 10 p.m.) and promised, that, if there was a shirt on board in the color my husband wanted and in his size, we would have it. By the next morning, we had a message on our phone that there were two shirts for us to choose from. She really went out of her way for us. The food was good, not outstanding, but there was always something that we liked on the menu and the quality was excellent. We had open seating (not our first choice, but that was the travel agent again). It turned out fine and we met a lot of nice people. We only ate in the dining room for dinner and used the buffet for breakfast and lunch. Plenty of choices with interesting salads and good chocolate chip cookies. My husband says that the pizza on the Lido was the best he's had since leaving NY -- great crust and sauce. The Lotus pool area under the dome is supposed to be for adults only and that policy was enforced if someone complained. I also often saw parents bringing infants in diapers into the hot tubs! Not only is this bad for an infant's health, but it must be against every health code! When wants to swim in a cesspool? There was a very nice 8" deep splash pool on board, but I guess it was too much trouble for some of these self-absorbed people to use it. The entertainment on board was good and two of the production shows were excellent. There were two comedy shows. The one we saw was very good. We've seen him before but he had new material. We couldn't get into the other show. There were also current movies every day. My husband used the gym every day and found it to be of good size and well maintained. No waiting for treadmills or other equipment. The tours offered were some of the best we've been on, especially in Panama and Belize. We took the Panama City tour and went to "Old," new and Colonial Panama City on the Pacific side. The "Old" city was burned by the pirate Henry Morgan and is ruins that are being excavated and are partially rebuilt. The guide explained that under Noriega nothing was done and they are only now developing a tourist industry. He also hoped that we would keep the former dictator in jail "until he rots." The new city is a bustling metropolis with skyscrapers going up everywhere. The colonial city is a typical Central American slum, but it is slowly being restored, building by building, with the facades being reconstructed in the old style. It will be beautiful, but the rule is they have to find housing for the inhabitants before a building can be renovated, so it's a slow go. Belize is very interesting. The sea is so shallow offshore that we had a 20 minute tender ride at high speed to reach shore. Carnival is in the process of excavating a ship channel and building a pier. Our guide explained that Belize is a very small agricultural country and will be very happy to have a tourist industry. It isn't all quite up and running yet but our tour to the Lamania Mayan ruins was excellent. Only 3% excavated. You really need insect repellant for this one and expect to walk trails hacked from the jungle with howler monkeys screaming overhead. Good lunch cooked and served by the locals. Small museum but very nice -- brand new. The "gift shop" was two huts on stilts and the timing was so bad we didn't even have a chance to look inside them. It was a long trip upriver to the ruins and the ship was leaving at 4:30, probably due to tides since the channel is not ready. The tour leader was quite knowledgeable. At one point, we were going up a small incline when he stopped us. "Look to your right," he said. We saw a hill going off into the jungle with large trees and a lot of rubble. "Now look to your left." We saw a steep dropoff with more rubble and trees. "You are walking across the side of an unexcavated pyramid." The ruins are so far inland that with the ship's schedule, we barely made the last tender, tired and happy. All in all, I would highly recommend this ship and itinerary. We had a great time. Read Less
Sail Date December 2004
The ship was beautiful and the staff was helpful and friendly. I was a little disappointed with the entry onto the ship. On my last cruise, I was greeted with champagne and an eager staff member to show me to my cabin and take my carry-on, ... Read More
The ship was beautiful and the staff was helpful and friendly. I was a little disappointed with the entry onto the ship. On my last cruise, I was greeted with champagne and an eager staff member to show me to my cabin and take my carry-on, but on this ship we were left to find our own way. The shopping on the ship was limited and they ran out of a few items such as bug spray before we got to our first port. Our cabin steward, Manuel deLeon, was excellent and always available and eager to assist with anything. He also made your day by telling us to have a good day or asking how your day was. Our assistant waiter, Rolando, was top notch and kept us smiling. His smile never wavered through the cruise and he was always entertaining us. The cruise director and his staff were wonderful and made the cruise fun and the time at sea pass quickly. My favorite event was the horse racing with David, Peter, Vicki and Sam...you must see this event. Also, the culinary demonstrations were fun and David's comments and the chef's jokes were funny. Stay away from the guest lecturer/historian unless you need a nap...go to the port and shopping lectures instead. Food -- Was OK Dining room food was better than the Horizon Court, but nothing to write home about. The fresh fruit was wonderful as well as the Baked Alaska the last night. If you think you are going to work off calories at the gym...forget it because you will not be able to get a machine when you want it since the gym is very small. My suggestion is to walk the decks instead. Ports of call: Costa Rica -- I went on the aerial tram and Tortugero canal cruise (Costa Rica's Favorites) and it was filled with wildlife and an excellent view of the rain forests. Our guide, Daniel, was great and went out of his way to show us a banana farm, coconuts, a poisonous frog and other interesting sites. If you go on this, my suggestion is to shop at the gift shop at the aerial tram site. Panama -- The locks were breathtaking, but our Caribbean Rainforest and Nature Hike was extremely boring. I see more nature on my train ride to work than I did on the hike. Grand Cayman -- Unfortunately, due to high winds and seas all water activities were cancelled. We took the Island Highlights Tour and the best part of the tour was the rum cake factory. Cozumel -- ABSOLUTELY WONDERFUL! You must do the swim with the dolphins and after that wander through the national park. Swimming with the dolphins is an experience that I will never forget and well worth the money. There is an opportunity to see some natives do their crafts and buy some of their wares at a reasonable price. (Bring cash to buy their crafts since they do not take credit cards.) Be careful buying items on the dock area since some crafts are imported from other areas and not from local craftsmen. Excellent shopping port. Belize -- Lamanai and New River Tour -- The ruins were breathtaking and there was a lot of history about the Mayan culture. We also had Howler monkeys visit us at the ruins. On the river cruise we sited bats, small crocodiles, birds and iguanas. Great trip. Read Less
Sail Date December 2004
We just returned from 10 great days on the Coral Princess. There were 16 of us and we all had a wonderful time. The ship is beautiful. It is well laid out. We had a mini-suite with balcony. The room was perfect size. Some in our group ... Read More
We just returned from 10 great days on the Coral Princess. There were 16 of us and we all had a wonderful time. The ship is beautiful. It is well laid out. We had a mini-suite with balcony. The room was perfect size. Some in our group booked the balcony room. They commented that it was a bit cramped. The bathrooms in the balcony rooms are especially small. We had a full bath. Our balcony was covered which is why we chose rooms in the back. The pool area was perfect size. You could always find a lounge somewhere on the pool deck. I was surprised at how many younger people were on board. Our group averaged around 51. There were a lot of college kids, parents with little children and a lot of 40 year olds. Of course, there were the older folks Our table was 123, second seating. Marianna was our waitress. She just took off for two months to return to Romania. She was the best. The food was plentiful and good. Everybody in our party agreed. We were unable to stop in Costa Rica due to rough seas. Panama Canal was great. Six of us took the Ocean to Ocean excursion. We loved seeing the entire canal by boat (you take a bus to where the canal leaves Gatun lake). You really appreciate the size of the locks in a smaller vessel. Grand Cayman is really messed up due to the hurricane damage. There isn't much to do there. We went to the mainland Mexico in Cozumel and went to X-Caret. It is an adventure park. Very clean and enjoyable. We went cave tubing in Belize. It was enjoyable but the 1 1/2 hour trip each way makes for a long day. All the excursions are 5 to 6 hours because of driving. I do want to comment that the shore excursions are pricey. We could have booked excursions privately for 1/2 the price. The fitness center is too small for a ship with this many passengers. Very little equipment. I didn't use the SPA so I can't comment. By the way, this was my 18th cruise (my second on Princess). I have been on RCI five times (most recently with our children last January) and Holland America six times, most recently to Alaska in 2003. Would I sail on the Coral Princess again -- yes. Would I go on this particular itinerary again -- probably not. I have been to Cozumel and Grand Cayman too many times and I did not like Belize. If anyone has any questions, please e-mail me. Read Less
Sail Date January 2005
My husband and I have travelled extensively, but only cruised 4 times. Our last cruise was on Holland America to Alaska and the travel agent who had booked that trip for us claimed that we would be disappointed if we changed to Princess. ... Read More
My husband and I have travelled extensively, but only cruised 4 times. Our last cruise was on Holland America to Alaska and the travel agent who had booked that trip for us claimed that we would be disappointed if we changed to Princess. Thank goodness we didn't listen to her. Our trip was fabulous!! The only complaint I can think of was that the Ranch dressing was real Ranch! Otherwise everything else was great. Sanitization and cleanliness were evident everywhere we went. There were always staff cleaning. The public rooms were beautifully decorated and always tidied up by the staff The best bargain of the trip: buy the soda pass when you get on. This gives you unlimited sodas, tonic, non-alcoholic drinks. This is not well marketed and I wish I had taken advantage of this. The option of being able to bring on your own wine is great. A friend gave the four of us 8 bottles of champagne to drink on the cruise on our balconies. What a treat! The embarkation process went extremely smooth and quick. Much better than Holland America where we stood in line for over 2 hours. Finding our way around the ship was very easy. We travelled with close friends who had the cabin next to us. In reading about the other reviews regarding lack of balcony privacy we found this to not be true. Yes, if you hung way over the edge or around the divider you could see your neighbors. The only problem was that the swinging gate between balconies on conjoined cabins could not be latched open and there was not way to open it ourselves. The first night it banged. But we quickly solved the problem by using a luggage belt to keep it open. We were lucky as our weather was good. It was windy the first day at sea and then some drizzle. The ship was very steady in some rough seas and we never felt any rolling. The food was much better than Holland America, although we did not try the separate restaurants. They never looked to be that busy. As we were travelling as a foursome, we requested a large table. We were booked with the most delightful travelling companions: a family of four and two singles. We had a late seating, which as we were usually the last out of the dining room, we were unable to get seated at most of the late shows. But this was a self inflicted problem as if we really wanted to see the shows we could have made more of an effort. I do think they should start the late show at 10:30 instead of 10. It seems that a lot of the early seating diners wait until 10 to see the show, making it hard for the late seated to get in. Our waitress, Daniela, was from Romania and she was spectacular! We did experience problems with personality from another waitstaff when we attended one of the wine tastings, but otherwise, all staff that we encountered were top notch, no matter where we saw them. They all seemed to work several areas of the ship and it was nice that the staff developed a rapport with the passengers. The Horizon Buffet was much better laid out than Holland America or Costa. We never had to wait in line and they were quite stringent on hand sanitation. The food was also hot We booked all our tours in advance via the internet. We were not impressed by the stop in Costa Rica. The portside shopping was not much better than Tijuana, and the stallkeepers were pushy. This pushiness was not experienced in any other port. We took a jungle excursion and viewed lots of birds and wildlife. Our stop in the Panama Canal was 1st class. We booked the train trip Atlantic to Pacific; do not bother with upgrading the $10 to the higher class. The "snack" was more than adequate: sandwich, water, cookie, chips; not at all lacking as we were told. Grand Cayman was hard hit by the storms and it is still in evidence. We booked a tour to the turtle farm which was well worth it. I would have felt comfortable not booking the tour on board and just taking chances getting a tour as you get off the boat. The tour operators were very nice and I think you would have gotten an honest tour operator. We booked the Mayan ruin tour in Belize. While that was very interesting, the tour guide felt it her obligation on the return trip to take us through the extreme poverty areas of Belize. I felt this was very unnecessary to drive a tour bus full of "wealthy" foreigners through such an area of poverty. We swam with the Dolphins in Cozumel. What a treat! The water was unbelievably clear. While I would not have traded in this opportunity, I would have no problem taking a taxi to the snorkeling area ($10 per taxi) and there is plenty of snorkel equipment to rent. We out a deposit down on a future cruise (2006) which is good for four years. What a great bargain. If your travel agent also offered any shipboard credits, these will apply as well. I will gladly be a return customer to Princess. The disembarkation process was handled very well. We booked an Everglades tour, which unfortunately can only be booked on board. Therefore, if you have scheduled a late flight to take advantage of this and not enough people sign up for it, you could be hanging around for several hours. But, there were plenty of people booked and the tour was worth it. Read Less
Sail Date January 2005
We have just returned from our Coral Princess 10-night Panama Canal/Caribbean cruise and wanted to share a few items. Itinerary - we loved the 5 ports: Puerto Limon (Costa Rica), Panama Canal crossing (Colon/Cristobal), Grand Cayman, ... Read More
We have just returned from our Coral Princess 10-night Panama Canal/Caribbean cruise and wanted to share a few items. Itinerary - we loved the 5 ports: Puerto Limon (Costa Rica), Panama Canal crossing (Colon/Cristobal), Grand Cayman, Cozumel and Belize. The Panama Canal crossing was the main reason we chose this itinerary. Ship - The food was very good, both the main dining room and the Horizon Court buffet. The pizza was excellent! We hated the Bayou Cafe. We've been to New Orleans, and believe me, this cafe doesn't begin to approximate New Orleans cuisine. Save your money, as there is a $15 per person cover charge. We did hear that Sabatini's Restaurant (also a cover charge) was wonderful, but we didn't try it. Skip the ice cream bar (extra charge) but note that ice cream was served free at the back of the Horizon Court buffet from 3:30-4:00 or so. The staff was great; our steward went the extra mile to provide robes, fruit, chaise lounges (which fit on our balcony)and extra pool towels. You are only assigned 1 towel per person per day and there are no additional towels poolside. Ask your steward for extras. All the nickel and diming I could do without; you pay for every soda you drink, every "class" you take, every bottle of water,some classes in the gym, etc. etc. etc. I HATED the constant loud music at the main pool. The Lotus Pool was quieter, but the water was on the cold side. The Spa was fantastic and the heated beds there are great. If you book a spa service, you may use them, as well as the steam rooms and sauna. Tours we took: Costa Rica (Limon) - booked an independent tour with Oscar Brown; visited the Tortuguero Canals (saw some wildlife), banana plantation,(not my favorite) and a wonderful Wildlife Sanctuary, where I got to hold a baby howler monkey. These folks rehabilitate animals that have been abandoned or who are in trouble and after nursing them back to health, release them into the wild again. It's called the Marina Rescue Center and you can e-mail Horace at hostcr@gmail.com. Panama Canal- We did Ocean to Ocean. You board a small boat and go through the remaining three locks all the way to the Pacific. They provide a box lunch and soft drinks/bottled water. It's a long day but well worth it! We went through the locks with several small sailboats attached to us, a gigantic freighter and a tugboat. You come so close to the side of the Canal that you can actually touch it. Grand Cayman - We had rough seas and couldn't dock here. We were disappointed not to go to Stingray City. Cozumel - We beached it at Playa Palancar and had a wonderful day. It's a quiet, laid-back beach, with chairs (ask to have a cushion), and shade, parrots and peacocks are there too! Wonderful restaurant. Belize - We snorkeled the Barrier Reef off Belize City. I was quite disappointed in the lack of fish and have found much more beautiful reefs in the Grenadines(Tobago Cays), Grand Cayman, Bonaire and Cozumel. The boat ride out to the reef was fun. One of the guides got stung by a Stingray and had to seek medical attention. This was upsetting. Also, the Tour Desk overbooked and our tour was delayed and cut short by 45 minutes. They didn't apologize, were a bit arrogant, but did eventually refund a small portion of the tour price to us. Generally, the Tour Desk on the Coral Princess is very uninformed about the ports; there seems to be a strong emphasis on shopping. They also seemed very disorganized. There is a general lack of information available to you, so do your research before you sail. Cabins - Very small shower, not much water pressure, and hot water needed to be hotter. Our cabin had various noises in the ceiling (bunk beds that are in the ceiling for extra beds) that were rattling the whole cruise and disturbed our sleep. Maybe they fixed this the last night of the cruise (?), but it was quite annoying. I would recommend this ship/cruise/itinerary, but might have enjoyed it more on another cruise line. we have mixed feelings about booking with Princess again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2005
Well designed ship, but poor quality of finishing especially in the steel fabrication/welding, carpeting and tiling in the washrooms. Entertainment - Excellent, including the Princess Productions Shows, Guest Entertainers and the onboard ... Read More
Well designed ship, but poor quality of finishing especially in the steel fabrication/welding, carpeting and tiling in the washrooms. Entertainment - Excellent, including the Princess Productions Shows, Guest Entertainers and the onboard cruise staff. Great selection of activities throughout the day and themed nights in the evening. Cruise staff were brilliant. Food - Quality and presentation is excellent, but the service in the dining rooms does not meet the standards of prior years. Even in the Horizon Court the food is always fresh and warm. Breakfast in the restaurant was not a satisfactory venture. Cabins - Cabin steward was excellent, she worked around our schedule and anticipated our every need. Balcony was rather small and had no privacy. Smoking Policy - Biggest detriment to the cruise. As a non-smoker found the alleyway from the Casino to Explorers Lounge constantly polluted. In Explorers Lounge no seat in the lounge is completely free from the pollution. Photo Department - Extremely poor. Photographs not correctly posed and were unable to download and burn photographs to a CD. Poor customer service at the desk. Bars - Good selection with the notable exception being the aft decks. No bar aft serving the sports deck or aft pool. Computers at Sea - Great program, spent a few lessons learning Photoshop Elements, which has been put to great use since returning home. Read Less
Sail Date April 2005
Let me begin by saying this was one of our best vacations yet. The Princess motto "Escape Completely" really applies to me (Lora) and my husband (Greg) and that's what a cruise is all about for us. Escaping from everything. ... Read More
Let me begin by saying this was one of our best vacations yet. The Princess motto "Escape Completely" really applies to me (Lora) and my husband (Greg) and that's what a cruise is all about for us. Escaping from everything. Before the cruise: Our vacation began on April 16th with a flight into Fort Lauderdale and staying at the Radisson Bahia Mar Beach Resort. We always fly in a day ahead and that's what we did this time, too. The location of this hotel can't be beat. It's right across the street from the Beach in Fort Lauderdale, right in the heart of all the action. We walked up the street to the restaurants and had a great dinner at Lulu's Bait Shack. On Sunday morning we had coffee at a lovely local coffee shop right on the beach. The coffee and food are great and it's clearly a local hangout as well. If you enjoy good espresso, don't miss it. The we walked all the way up the bridge and looked across the port to the ships. It's more than a mile each way, but the weather was perfect and we couldn't miss the opportunity to see the ship. April 17th - Embarkation When we got back to the hotel, we picked up our things and headed off to the pier about 11:00. That put us at the pier by 11:15 and onboard by 11:45, in spite of a line most of the length of the terminal. I'm consistently impressed by how well embarkation goes. As we walked onto the ship, I could tell we were going to have a wonderful time. The Coral Princess just sparkles and it's size makes it so easy for walking from the forward to aft without being completely exhausted. We were in cabin D504, a mini-suite on the Dolphin deck that I would highly recommend. It's just a few steps away from the central elevators and is convenient to everything. The balcony is mostly covered by the bumpout above it and it provided a real sense of privacy. After exploring our cabin, we had lunch in the Horizon Cafe. The view is spectacular and I love that there is a covered place with a few out over the bow. The only rain of the entire trip came during sailaway. We found a partially covered area just outside the Horizon for taking pictures as we sailed away. On the first night we decided to sample the fare at the Bayou Cafe. It was very tasty, but disappointing to our tastes. We expected some very spicy cajun and instead got something that didn't quite meet our standards. Although, that was the only food the entire week that didn't meet our expectations. Drink of the Day - Rum Punch April 18th - At Sea -- I usually don't take advantage of the spa, but I decided to treat myself to a manicure and pedicure early in the morning. It was two hours of pure luxury. This was followed by a late breakfast at the horizon court, then lunch at the Grill. With hot tubs and swimming in between and most of the afternoon. Let me take advantage of this distraction to tell you the beauty of the Lotus Pool. We spent most of our swimming time in this area and just loved it. The pool was the perfect temperature to just walk into - not too hot and not too cold. This was the first formal night and the Captain's Welcome Cocktail party. It was a very lovely time. Although, there were hardly enough waiters to go around. We also watched "Curtain Up". The princess dancers were very good and we were very impressed with the quality of all the production shows. I'm a musical theater nut and it was good to see all of that great music put together. Drink of the Day - Yellow Bird April 19th - At Sea -- Yet another completely relaxing day. We had breakfast at the horizon court and lunch at the pizzeria. We also attended the first cooking demo. It was entertaining, but I'd like to learn a little more in the process. And I would have liked to get handouts of the recipes before the session, rather than just pointing to the cookbook. On the other hand, we bought the cookbook last year on the Caribbean Princess and it really is good. Dinner tonight was the highlight of our cruise. We ate at Sabatini's and I believe this is an experience never to be missed. The wait staff was wonderful and we were able to get a table next to the window where we could see the water. My only complaint is that by the time we got to the main course we were so stuffed we couldn't really enjoy it. I had the tiger prawns and they were utterly delicious. Drink of the Day - Chocolate Banana (Yumm!!) (If you order one the first day, that's what you'll want all week.) April 20th - Limon, Costa Rica -- Our day in Costa Rica was an adventure that I would not want to have missed. After breakfast in the horizon court we were at the Princess Theater at 7:15 to wait for our shore excursion (Jungle River and Eco Adventure). Our tour guide was Maria and she did a wonderful job of giving us a picture of the history of the country as well as some good exposure to the flora and fauna of the area. The boat ride was a great experience and I'm sure Disney made the Jungle Boat ride from one just like it. I can't imagine a more beautiful place. This tour was only a half day which allowed us more time to enjoy the ship and swimming after we returned. Dinner that evening was in the Boudreaux dining room where we were able to get a lovely table in an area with Cesar and Jorge as our waiters. This was the first time we sat in their section and decided that we would make standing reservations for 8:15 so we could sit there the rest of the week. That evening we saw "Da Beat". Again, the performance was excellent. I'm not sure how they can dance like that on a moving stage. Drink of the Day - Strawberry Daiquiri April 21st - Panama Canal -- This day was without a doubt the best part of the trip. And although I enjoyed our entire vacation, this is something that I will remember for the rest of my life. We were up at about 6:15 and already had our pilot aboard and were going into the channel toward Gatun Lock. If you really want to experience it, I'd recommend being up and at least checking things out by 6am or so. We had coffee on the balcony as we watched the passage of the locks and it really is one of the most amazing feats of engineering that has ever been accomplished. As we looked over the side of the ship and watched us go from the Promenade deck being 2 feet from the wall to being way above the water. It just blew you away. One of the fun things is that there was narration on the bridge cam tv channel and you got a good picture of everything going on. If I did it again, I might try to go forward and watch it from the Horizon Cafe. But on the other hand it was really neat to have it be just outside our door. For a shore excursion we did the Ocean-to-Ocean and it was truly amazing and I highly recommend it. During the bus ride to Gamboa our guide kept us entertained with information about the country and the culture. We were on the first boat to arrive at the pier and so we were able to get a seat outside up front so we could see everything up close. The only problem is that it's VERY hot. So, if that's your plan, be sure to drink plenty of water. (They'll have it on the boat for you.) I'm not sure that I can begin to tell you how truly emotional it is to ride through the Gailliard cut and think about all the people who lost their lives to create this amazing place. It makes you feel as though you're part of history. And then being right next to the wall as we passed through the locks really gave you a chance to experience the scope of the project. After we passed through the locks, we docked in Balboa and then took a bus back to the ship in Cristobol. This is a shore excursion that is truly not to be missed. While we were on the excursion, the ship went back through the Gatun locks and docked at Cristobol. When we returned we walked through the handcraft market and had a beer as we watched the local dancers. Then we returned to the ship and cooled off in the Lotus Pool. It was truly a most incredible day. Drink of the Day - Panama Mule Punch April 22nd - At Sea -- After the amazing day yesterday, a day at sea was the perfect antidote. We spent most of the day relaxing and enjoying the pool and hot tub. The high point of the day was the Maitre D's Wine Tasting. The wines were all very wonderful and it was very much worth the cost. My only suggestions are that they slow things down a little so you get to enjoy things a little more and perhaps add some more appetizers as well. Drink of the Day - Melon Ball April 23rd - Grand Cayman -- This was another wonderful day. We try to do ½ day shore excursions at some places so that we can enjoy the town as well. Grand Cayman was no exception. We were there in the spring of 2004 and saw Stingray City, so this time we decided to do the "Sea and Sea," so that we could get a taste of the island. We started with an Atlantis partially submerged submarine ride. This was great fun and I would highly recommend it. It was very neat to see the sea life and the wreckage in the harbor. We then boarded a bus and went to "look at" one end of 7-mile beach and to visit hell. Neither of these events was especially exciting but they were OK. More interesting actually was the chance to see some of the damage of Hurricane Ivan and to hear the stories from the driver about the damage on the island. It sounds like it was horrible. The last thing we did on this tour was visit the turtle farm (http://www.turtle.ky) this was actually interesting and we got to hold a turtle. So the beginning and the end made the adventure worthwhile. Although, if I were making a recommendation to someone, I'd tell them to have a cab take them out to the turtle farm and maybe just do a separate submarine trip. After the tour was done, we moved onto the shopping part of the day. The amazing part of this visit was to hear how hard everyone worked to get the stores restored and ready for cruise visitors since Hurricane Ivan. Of course, we did find a couple of pretties as well. Then it was off to lunch at Paradise restaurant. It's a nice place near the cruise terminal and we did some snorkeling there as well. The water was a little rough and I would have felt better with either flippers or sand shoes (it's very rocky) but the sea life was very interesting. Then it was back to the ship for a nap, some hot tubing and getting ready for dinner and the Captain's Circle party. The interesting story for the afternoon was that the ship turned around about 2 hours out from Grand Cayman due to an illness on board and that put us into Cozumel later than expected. It also meant that the Captain didn't make it to the party. But it was fun anyway. Then it was off to a wonderful dinner. The odd and interesting thing on this cruise was running into our waiter last year (Arnold) who had taken such wonderful care of us on the Caribbean Princess. This was the second formal night, so after dinner we relaxed until time for the Champagne Waterfall. A wonderful event and truly something not to be missed. Drink of the Day - Ocean Breeze 4/24 - Cozumel -- As I mentioned earlier our arrival into Cozumel was delayed because of the return to Grand Cayman. However, that didn't cramp our day to much. We went to the San Gervasio ruins and were very impressed to see these very interesting sites from the past. If you aren't going to see any Mayan sites later in your cruise and you don't want to take an entire days than these are worth seeing. When we returned we met a new friend for lunch at Pancho's Backyard and then did some more shopping. It was a Sunday afternoon and unfortunately several shops closed early, but it was still a very enjoyable day. One thing to note about Pancho's Backyard. There is one at the cruise terminal, but if you want one that's much quieter head to the one downtown. It's hidden inside Los Cinco Soles. Of course after a day like that we had to head back to the ship for more relaxation before a lovely dinner. Drink of the Day - Fun on the Beach 4/25 - Belize -- Belize was a wonderful surprise. As we pulled into the harbor, the GPS showed the twists and turns the ship had made getting close to the harbor and the tender in took at least 10 minutes. We booked the Lamanai Ruins and New River Safari Tour through the ship and thoroughly enjoyed it. The adventure began with a short boat ride to a river. Followed by a 40mph ride down twisty rivers to the ruins. (The ride was almost the best part). Then we arrived at the ruins and walked down a ¼ mile path to the first of 3 temples we would see. (Be sure to bring insect repellent.) It was amazing. You really felt you were part of the history. Then we moved on to a second even bigger temple that we were actually able to climb. It was truly spectacular. My only wish is that we could have stayed longer. By the time we got to the top, it was time to climb down. And the climb down is certainly scary. They have a rope to help you, but our legs were both sore for two days after that climb. Then we were off to one last temple. And then a lovely lunch by the side of the river. Captain Chino was our guide and both his boat driving skills and knowledge of the history of the area were wonderful. This adventure took most of the day, but we were very glad to have had a plan for the day as the rest of the area was certainly not a place we would want to go. If you stop in Belize be sure to book a tour. Once we got back, we were back to the pool before a relaxing evening. Drink of the Day - Tequila Sunrise 4/26 - At Sea -- One last day to enjoy the Coral Princess and we had to take advantage of the time. Most of it was spent relaxing by the pool. But we did attend the cooking demo and galley tour. (The escalators in the galley are the coolest thing). We also attended the ice carving demo. Dinner was for a final night in the anytime dining room with our wonderful waiters. The only thing we missed was the Baked Alaska parade, but it's a small price to pay for the flexibility of anytime dining. Drink of the Day - Homeward Bound 4/27 - Ft. Lauderdale and Miami -- The only good thing about leaving the Coral Princess was knowing it wasn't quite time to go home yet. Once we got off the ship, we took a cab into South Beach and checked into a lovely little hotel (The Blue Moon.) The nightlife was fun, the shopping was good, the Mojitos were wonderful, and it was a great way to relax before heading home. Overall Comments: Food: Wonderful as always. And the deserts are spectacular. Now if they only had SoufflEs on the menu every night. Ship: Excellent. We're torn about whether we like this size ship or the Grand class better, but we really had no complaints. Everything was clean and sparkly. The small spaces are so well designed you never feel crowded. Service: Best Yet. I'm not sure if it was the fewer passengers or the longer cruise, but the service was fantastic. It never took more than 5 minutes to get coffee in the morning. The waiters at the pool actually had time to get to know you and were always around when you needed one. There were never any complaints or even disappointment when I ordered a Coke rather than alcohol. Read Less
Sail Date April 2005
Just returned from Coral Princess Repositioning Cruise from Ft. Lauderdale to Vancouver, BC. What can I say? - Absolutely terrific. ANY reports that might have been negative that you may have heard are ALL totally incorrect. I have been on ... Read More
Just returned from Coral Princess Repositioning Cruise from Ft. Lauderdale to Vancouver, BC. What can I say? - Absolutely terrific. ANY reports that might have been negative that you may have heard are ALL totally incorrect. I have been on the Star and the Dawn, and enjoyed this ship and all its crew members like it was my second home. No complaints whatsoever, and I am very aware of things when they just are not quite right, or covered up. Food was out of this world - and that's no lie. We ate both upstairs in Horizon Court and in dinning room at night time, for that "special touch." Only time food was not up to par, in the horizon, was morning disembarkation at San Fran. and in Vanc. but then, that should be expected as nothing is "normal" at that time. Aruba ATV's were the absolute bomb!! Dusty, but the best laugh ever and adrenalin rush (45mph through town!) - and I'm 54. Costa Rica was gorgeous - we did a private tour, doing the zipline through the Monteverde Rain Forest - in a heartbeat I'd be back! 420 feet up, 11 wires, one of them the highest anywhere, and one over 1/2 mile long - words cannot say how we felt, or the things we saw - go for it!! Hualtuco we just walked the town and swam and had the biggest and best Marguerita ever - actually, it was my first one ever! Acapulco, I was very disappointed in - Cinquo de Maya was NOT the best day to arrive there - traffic everywhere, and crowded beaches. But cliff divers made up for that as did Mayan Hotel three bays away for the day - 1 mile swimming pool and hot beach! Swimming again. Cabo was awesome - nicest resort of them all. Sea Kyaking was fun and we got a chance to go swimming - beautiful place, lovely people. Weather was great - Oh, right. The Panama Canal was a wonder to behold!! was out there from 6:30 a.m. till 5 p.m. with a break for lunch/etc. but was soooo interesting. "Ship go up; ship go down" - especially with the Spirit dogging our stern, it was fun to watch us go up or down as they did the opposite as they were just that little bit behind us!! Saw a large crocodile as we came through the last gates and that Really made my day complete!! San Fran was great as we had a wonderful warm day to walk around - Giradelli's chocolate factory, then Starbucks for orange-choc-mocha-something freezie, then Ben and Jerry's for cherry Garcia!! memorable, memorable, memorable, with awesome buys from some retail stores on jewelry. Home to Vanc was too quick, but with working in the gym everyday, and hanging out with great staff friends, great assistant cruise directors - PHIL, Chris, Jason, Peter, John, Leslie, Melissa, and soooo many others, they made this a trip of my dreams. Thank you Coral Princess - we will be back!!!   Read Less
Sail Date April 2005
Embarkation: We arrived at 12:00 noon from the hotel - on the boat in less than 30 minutes since we pre-registered on the web site. Totally painless. Luggage arrived by 1:30 AM in our rooms. Dining: Since we signed up for anytime ... Read More
Embarkation: We arrived at 12:00 noon from the hotel - on the boat in less than 30 minutes since we pre-registered on the web site. Totally painless. Luggage arrived by 1:30 AM in our rooms. Dining: Since we signed up for anytime dining we were limited to either the Horizon Court or the Bordeaux room. At the Bordeaux Room tables for 2 were 2 inches from the next table. Very strange situation for dining but meet new folks that way. Overall food was OK but not great. Service was quite good. Horizon court food at night was just as good as the dining room and you didn't need to dress up. Went through 4 bottles of wine over the course of the cruise. You can store bottles from night to night so you don't need to drink the entire bottle in one sitting. Ate at the speciality restaurants - Bayou - was good for very large portions. My husband had the biggest steak I ever saw. Sabatini's was better for me since it was 16 courses with a wide variety of food in smaller portions. Both were worth the extra money. For those dining in Horizon court get a plate and eat out by the pool its much nicer then in the dining room. Pizza by the pool: good variety and tasty but sometimes wasn't cooked enough. Pool grill: totally overcooked food but good for a change. Food choices overall were good but not enough variety. Stateroom: We had a normal Balcony room on Aloha deck. Awesome cabin steward. Smallest shower known to man (about 2 X 2) with a shower curtain and small ledge so when you shower expect water on the floor. Our balcony was covered and we were glad it was since it rained on some nights we were still able to use our balconies while those below us could not. All balconies below Aloha deck were viewable and open by those on Aloha deck. I don't think some folks ever looked up. Bring an extension cord if you need additional outlets. There are only 2 plugs in the room. Room service: Better be dressed when you order since it normally took less than 5 minutes. We had coffee on the balcony each morning. Room service was top notch they never messed up any orders. Bar Service: Quick but not very friendly. We tried all the bar's on the ship and they all measure (which can be good or bad). We each had a soda card (about 40.00 for 10 days) which we purchased as soon as we got on the ship. Princess supplies a small insulated cup for soda/water. You may want to consider bringing your own insulated cup. (We did and they refilled it just the same). Pools: Spa pool was covered and air conditioned. Outdoor pool was very noisy. Since our cruise had almost no kids we used the family pool on the back of the boat and it was perfect. Nice and quiet and very clean. Splash pool on 15th although we didn't use it (Only 2 inches deep). Cut through the teen area to get to the family pool (one deck above Aloha). One complaint on Coral since it is used for Alaska trips the windows in the main pool area didn't open and it got quite hot if you were sitting in one of the tables on the sides or the lounge chairs on the sides since no breeze except for the roof. Panama Canal: If you are on Aloha deck or the one below go to the back of the ship. There are 2 decks with chairs. We viewed the Panama Canal from here and had great view while the pool deck was packed with folks this wasn't very crowded and you can see both sides of the ship quite easily. Panama is easily the most humid place on earth. We took the Ocean to Ocean shore excursion through Princess which takes you to the Pacific ocean since the cruise ship only goes through the first set of locks to Gatun Lake. The Ocean to Ocean trip was nice although the women's rooms were disgusting and the lunch was a very bland sandwich in a box with a muffin so eat a big breakfast in the AM if you take this one and go the bathroom before you go. its a 90 minute bus ride from the ship to the smaller boat. There is also a Panamanian women on the boat selling souvenirs. Other shopping in Panama is strictly at the pier. (Christobel). Handicrafts and the usual. Lots of vendors selling the same things. The Panama Canal was amazing overall. Grand Cayman: Took the Stingray City Snorkel trip through Princess. It was very nice and fun. Very short ride (about 10 Minutes to the boat). There were 5 ships in port the same day as us. Shops were utter chaos...Cayman was tendered but the wait wasn't too long. Ocho Rios: We had been there 7 or 8 times so just walked to the plaza right off the ship and did some shopping and walked back to the ship since it was so hot we wanted to swim. Costa Rica: Was the day after Panama and all tours were at least 1.5 hour ride each way so we opted out and did some shopping. Leave the ship terminal and walk through town. Better prices and more variety. Stocked up on coffee and vanilla. Cozumel: We had also been there a few times so just did some shopping (mostly Mexican pottery) took a cab to town (6.00 each way). Very touristy. Entertainment: Geared toward the 55+ crowd which we were not. We attended a few shows (Juggler and ventriloquist were good), Coral princess dancers were terrible. Other shows played music our parents listened to so we left. (We are both in our 40s). Cooking Demo and galley tour: The galley tour is on the last day at sea with a cooking demo and was fun, but very crowded. Art Shows: There were 2 art auctions on board. I attended one was looking for Whalen but didn't purchase anything. SPA: Spa services were nice. Got a full massage and the masseuse was very good. Very clean. Workout Area: Had about 10 treadmills, Ellipticals, weights . Used 3 days never had to wait for a machine. Overall I wasn't overly impressed with Princess. I think we will go back to NCL which had more variety for dining options and better entertainment. In closing ship was clean and well maintained but the cabins on NCL were much nicer than Princess. Read Less
Sail Date October 2005
Just returned from the 10 day Panama Canal cruise and had a great time. The ship is beautiful, comfortable, and fast. The staff was excellent and really tried to please even when communication was not always easy. We would do the cruise ... Read More
Just returned from the 10 day Panama Canal cruise and had a great time. The ship is beautiful, comfortable, and fast. The staff was excellent and really tried to please even when communication was not always easy. We would do the cruise again in a heartbeat. We had a mini-suite without the balcony which made it a bit larger. Very comfortable and allowed one of us to nap while the other watched tv from the sofa on the second tv. The bathroom had a full tub and shower and was plenty roomy by cruise ship standards. I travel with a messy person and never felt cramped. This review is from the perspective of someone who has cruised 5 times and my other half who was experiencing his first cruise. My first time on Princess. The tours: Next time we would arrange our own tours. We are divers and dove Jamaica, Grand Cayman, and Cozumel. We probably would not even get off the boat in Ocho Rios, what a dump. The diving was ok but we were hounded to purchase cheap beads for that were worth 50 cents for $20 bucks in between dives. We walked into town after and were offered drugs, women, beggars, you name it. If you get off there are two shopping areas close to the ship that are ok. I wouldn't bother to go any further. Take a taxi to Dunns River Falls which is 10 minutes away. No need to take a tour. The Panama Canal is fascinating and once you go thru the first 3 locks they dock at Gatun lake but you can only get off if you have scheduled a tour, otherwise you stay on the boat and go back thru the same 3 locks. We took a Changes River cruise and Nature walk. Interesting but really not as we hoped. It was fun to watch the ship from the canal overlook as it went back thru the locks. Different view altogether. Next time we would stay on the ship. Shopping in Panama was right at the dock and you really don't want to go any further anyway. Highly recommend the rain forest tram tour. Really something to see for sure. Really enjoyed and may consider doing it again. We didn't see much in the way of mammals as other tours did but I'm glad we chose it. Costa Rica shopping is right at the dock as well, and again you probably do not want to go into town anyway. Grand Cayman is great and so is Cozumel. The Food If you are a vegetarian, don't plan on anything too exciting. They need to work on this area. The food I would rate a 7 just due to the inconsistency. The buffet was pretty good with a big selection and the two pay restaurants were ok. My other half enjoyed the fish and steaks at all of the restaurants. Overall it wasn't a big issue and we sure didn't starve for sure! The entertainment was great, the shows were fabulous. They were definitely targeted for the older crowd and if you are under 50 may find the entertainment in the lounges not to your liking. We are in our 40's and enjoyed the shows and dancing. The jazz in the New Orleans style restaurant was fabulous. Wow! The casino was fun and so were the art auctions. Watch someone spend over $100K during the trip on art. Very informative on the artist etc. The recreation was great, something for everyone. The pools very nice and never really had trouble finding a chair. Lots of quieter spaces if you don't like the loud music by the pool. Would have used the spa but found it way overpriced. I'm a big spa person but just couldn't justify what they wanted for treatments. They were offering half off the day we were in Cozumel. The fitness center is great and no charge. If you are a young person and want to party, I would recommend a different cruise. I would say the average age was over 65. You spend alot of time trying to move around slow passengers. On that note, a great cruise for seniors. As someone mentioned in a previous review, they charge for sodas. You can purchase a large soda looking can item and have it refilled thru the cruise for $39.50. What a pain to carry around and to dinner. Pictures were very expensive and yes we did feel there was a lot of nickel and diming going on. Would have paid a flat daily fee for all beverages if offered like an all inclusive. Overall the extras were a bit expensive. Several people we met had cruised with Princess many times and only cruise with Princess they love it so much. They did say they felt it had gone down a little since Carnival purchase. As a side note, we asked some people from the Carnival Inspiration to take our picture at the dock in Cozumel. They told us their ship was horrible and rat infested. They couldn't wait to get off. Again we had a great time, came back rested and ready to go again. We will cruise with Princess again but will try other cruise lines as well. Read Less
Sail Date October 2005
Overall, the experience was a 7.5/10. Minus Points: Leaving and re-boarding the ship in each port was poorly organized and wasted a good deal of time. Ship-promoted tours started a little late, and definitely ended much later than ... Read More
Overall, the experience was a 7.5/10. Minus Points: Leaving and re-boarding the ship in each port was poorly organized and wasted a good deal of time. Ship-promoted tours started a little late, and definitely ended much later than projected, totally changing our time table for the rest of the day. Next time, we will not use any of their tours, will do our own things in each port. The older people on the ship definitely had some attitude, like "this is my buffet line, out of the way!!!" Many were extremely rude, would cut in lines, etc. during the whole cruise. They were going to get their mon ey's worth, and we were not going to get in the way. Drinks are way overpriced for what you get, they need to take a tip from the all-inclusives in Mexico. For my money, better experience and service at those resorts especially if you drink. Food quality inconsistent, one dish great, the next was poor at best. Charging for WiFi and internet? Please!!!!!!!!! You can go to low-end hotels and get it included with your night. Princess, wake up please and just include this, quit trying to charge for it. Spa services were priced double what they should be, and they are always on the upsell before you even book a service. Plus Points: The staff tries really hard to help you out in every respect. The ship was very clean and appeared to be maintained well. Summary comment: Always trying to sell us something, need to tone that down and develop an inclusive for another 25 per day per person. Will consider an all-inclusive in Mexico before we do this again. Better experience and we pay just one rate and know what that is before hand. Read Less
Sail Date October 2005
Our first Princess cruise. We were the fortunate ones to sail on time and have nice weather. Fort Lauderdale was still recovering from hurricane Wilma. The boarding went smooth and we were allowed into our room quickly. On the first ... Read More
Our first Princess cruise. We were the fortunate ones to sail on time and have nice weather. Fort Lauderdale was still recovering from hurricane Wilma. The boarding went smooth and we were allowed into our room quickly. On the first night, the opening show was a disappointment. The dancers were very "sloppy" in my opinion. This set the stage for the entertainment that was on board. The best show was the talent contest. Amazing that the guests had better talent than the ship could offer. We found that the Bayou Rest didn't hold up to its good reputation as told on the boards. The waiter was "stiff" and only wanted to promote the wine tasting ($25 per person), which was separate from the first wine tasting that we attended. He said the wines were better, hmmm... Sabintini was the most amazing rest that we have ever eaten at. The service was excellent. Cindy, the art director, was very knowledgeable and personable with passengers. It was unbelievable, the amount of money the art was being sold for. Wouldn't mind having her percent of sells. We were able to see Matt Lauer from the "Today Show" while having breakfast catered to our balcony during the Panama Canal passage. We took a trip to San Jose in Costa Rica. LONG trip. Three hours each way and very bumpy. We were rushed through the museum and theatre. Although, the lunch was great that the tour company sponsored. Cayman Island was nice as always. We have done the stingray and turtle farm before, so we opt to shop and eat. Breezes was a blast to sit and watch the ship from shore. We enjoyed the friendly atmosphere and local beer. Costa Maya was a bit pushy with locals selling their goods. Everyone did better when they got away from the pier, we heard. The ship didn't have midnight buffets. They announced Bingo and Art shows endlessly. We found that the lines were very short everywhere on the ship. The seating for all shows were limited. The view from the balcony was selective. Princess should concentrate on getting more chairs for the guest to sit on during shows and events. Plan to spend at least $60 to $175 for excursions per person. Others told us that their prearranged trips outside of Princess Cruise was wonderful and with a personal touch. Unfortunately, we felt Princess had some unfriendly staff members and the only people who got any attention, was past cruisers. It was very noticeable that the workers wanted you to fill out comment cards for them because they are fearful of losing their jobs. No wonder there was so much tension and stress in the air. The spa was a big let down. After being on Celebrity Infinity's spa, it was disappointing. On the day that the ship sailed, I purchased a steam room package for the whole trip $109. Mint aroma was coming from the shower, pitchers of water lined with fruit, cucumbers with iced washed cloths were present. Only saw cucumbers once after that. The water in the pitchers was warm. I didn't smell any aromas after the first day. The steward was nice and friendly. All of the staff were nice, except one gentleman who blocked my way one day and questioned where I was going with a smirk on his face. The best part of the trip for us was the Cruise Critic friends we hung out with!! Read Less
Sail Date November 2005
Coral Princess Thanksgiving Cruise Nov 24 thru Dec 4. Captain: Giorgio Pomata Cruise Director: J.J. Ulrich Throughout the entire cruise the ship never changes time either forward or back although some port times were different. Passengers ... Read More
Coral Princess Thanksgiving Cruise Nov 24 thru Dec 4. Captain: Giorgio Pomata Cruise Director: J.J. Ulrich Throughout the entire cruise the ship never changes time either forward or back although some port times were different. Passengers were caution about the different times when going ashore. General Information I have a job, like many of you, that is high stress and very demanding. It is difficult for me to get away. And the only true way to get away is board a ship and head out to sea. I dont care for the hustle bustle of getting up for tours and prefer to just lay around the ship. My wife and I live in Boynton Beach, FL, which is about a 45 minute drive to Port Everglades. This was our third cruise & .all on Princess. The first two were on the Caribbean Princess, East and Western Caribbean cruises. We enjoy shows, cocktails and always have a bottle of wine with dinner when eating out. Cruising certainly qualifies as eating out therefore we had a bottle of wine with every dinner. We brought five bottles on board, all reds. We also purchased bottles for those nights we did not bring our own. We also enjoy a drink (either glass of wine or martini before dinner). Also brought a CD player with small portable speakers for use on our balcony; a flashlight, noise machine for sleeping, small power strip with three outlets, cloths steamer, disinfectant wipes, and air freshener for bathroom. We generally eat during the day at the Horizon Court, Pizza and/or Hamburger places. Evening meals were at the Bordeaux Dining Room Personal Choice. Living close to the port has certainly advantages, and I salute those of you who have to fly into either Ft. Laud or Miami. It must be stressful and a pain to have to pack and haul all that luggage onto planes. Embarkation/Day One (Dress - Smart Casual): We left our home and headed to Port Everglades at about noon. Arrived at the Port a little before on, dropped off wife and luggage pier side and parked in the garage at Pier Two ($12 per day). Hustled out of the garage and wife and I proceeded to board. Step one; quickly filled out the were you sick within the past 48 hours form. Step two; proceeded through security scanner; Step three: checked in at counter. Step four; boarded ship (passed on the photo op). There was virtually no waiting. We were in our stateroom which was located port side forward part of the ship (Aloha 404BB balcony) before 1:30 PM. Originally we booked Baja 408BC and we were upgraded early on to our Aloha cabin. Once in the cabin, took the Lysol disinfectant wipes and gave everything a quick wipe down as an extra precaution to insure things in the room are sanitary. Unpacked our carry-on luggage, including our wine and we were set. Note: Our cabin was below the main pool deck. Occasionally you could hear a chair being dragged or footsteps if someone was running. However I did not find this to be problematic or frequent. I personally would not concern myself with this nor would I hesitate in taking the same cabin again. Our cabin steward (Mr Watcharatoon), who was called Toon, greeted us. I asked for two robes, feather pillows and an egg crate. I told him it was okay to put the egg carte on in the morning when he made the bed. I gave him $10. Writers Opinion: There is a lot of commentary on this board about tipping extra in advance. My philosophy is give a little up front and if they are responsive and pleasant throughout the cruise, then give them a little more at the end. We were provided with everything we asked for, so Mr. Toon was also tipped extra at the end of the cruise. Next we headed up to Horizon Court for some lunch. The majority of passengers seemed to be seniors, very few kids on board. As always, during embarkation, it was hectic at the buffet since everyone has the same objective after boarding and that is getting something to eat. A few people cutting in or jostling, but its going to happen, and I just shrug it off. They had the hand sanitizing stations and most people were compliant. Unfortunately there were a few idiots who dont use the tongs and pick up cookies, bread etc. using their bare hands. Writers Opinion: Lots of comments on this board about quality of food. Personally, I was always able to find something that I liked. I have no expectation that all the meals are going to be perfect for my particular taste. Yes, there were times when something on the buffet sat out a little too long and maybe dried out or the texture changed. I just passed or waited until the staff brought out a fresh batch. After lunch, back to the cabin to see if our luggage arrived. Not yet, so we took a tour of the ship, which was gorgeous. Very clean, easy to get around and very helpful staff. Thanks to the posters on this board it was easier because of the tip about the trim in the carpet (red for port and blue for starboard). Makes it so much easier. Throughout the cruise I shared this with several passengers who I noticed couldnt get there bearings. When I showed them they were amazed and so thankful as if I shared an ancient secret with them. After touring, we again checked for our luggage and it was there (about 3PM). We unpacked and put everything away. By then it was time for the muster drill. We headed for our station in the Wheelhouse Bar. After muster up on deck for the sail-away. The sun had pretty much set and we headed out to sea pretty much on time. We returned to our balcony to relax before getting ready for dinner. We have always selected Personal Choice and enjoy that option. We usually have a drink before dinner and like to eat around 8PM. Went down to the Bayou Cafe for a martini and listened to some jazz. Since it was Thanksgiving I think everyone was having dinner in the dining rooms as that first night it was pretty hectic getting a table. The PC dining room is the Bordeaux. We generally dine alone, but in order to get seated we sat with six other people (three from England, two from California and one from Bermuda). All very pleasant tablemates. Out waiter was Joao Paulo from Portugal, and Apichat from Thailand. Joao seated us and said How ya dooin as in a Robert Dinero impersonator. Very good job too! He was an excellent waiter. Obviously, turkey was on the menu. Also lots of items with a pumpkin base. I opted for the Chateaubriand, which was excellent. After dinner we headed for the casino.....should have went to bed, which we eventually did. The main entertainment that night was the Welcome Aboard Show in the Princess Theater. Other entertainment included Max Sherman Band and Terry and Maya Duo in the Wheelhouse Lounge, Perry Phillips Trio in the Bayou Cafe. Day Two/At Sea (Dress - Formal): Seas calm, sunny skies. Up at 8AM, the nice thing about our cabin location was being one deck below and slightly aft of Horizon Court. Every morning I would run up with insulated mugs, get some coffee, rolls, fruit etc. and take them back to the cabin were DW and I would have a lite breakfast on our balcony. Writers Opinion: Now many of you may ask why not use room service. Heres why...I never know what time I want to (or will) wake up. And when you fill out the form the nite before you have to indicate what time they should deliver. So I am always worried the delivery steward will wake me up. Also, once I am up I dont want to wait after I phone in the order. In fact, on the next to the last nite we ordered the breakfast to be delivered at 8:30AM and the guy showed up at 7:30...said they had so many orders thats why it was early LOL. Each day I would exercise, which I do at home also. On the CP I walked the Promenade Deck for a few miles each morning. Since it was a sea day we spent much of our time lounging around by the pool or on our balcony. A word about balconies: Our balcony was covered, the overhang extended about 6 to 8 feet beyond the end of the balcony. The balcony was small (about 7ft across 5ft deep) and had a table and two partially reclining chairs. As best I could determine (exclusive of bump-out sections) Aloha is covered, Baja is covered, Caribe, which are the biggest, are partially covered, and Dolphin is uncovered. The bump out sections vary a bit. Aft bump-out Aloha and Baja covered, Caribe partially covered and Dolphin covered. Fwd bump-out Aloha exposed; Baja, Caribe and Dolphin covered. Not sure about the balconies on Emerald. The Captain has his cocktail party on this day in the Atrium. Free drinks are passed out by waiters. If you want something different then what is offered, just ask and they will bring it to you. Next we went on to dinner. This nite we were seated at a table for two, which was fine with us. Our waiter was Steven. For the rest of the cruise we decided to sit in the section serviced by Joao and Apichat, our waitstaff from the first night. They were pleasant and fun, so before we left we asked the Head waiter for an 8PM reservation in their section, which he took care of. The head waiters for the Bordeaux are Godwin and Augusto, both excellent. After dinner we went to the 10:15 show in Princess Theater which featured a comedian named Chas Elstner. Not my cup of tea&he just wasnt funny. I actually felt sorry for him as he was not getting a lot of laughs. After the show we went to the casino to donate more money to Princess. Note: Read the Patter carefully as several of the shows are in the Universe Lounge, not the Princess Theatre. When we went to the Princess Theatre we though we were going to see the production show Tribute, but it was in the Universe Lounge. Our fault! Day Three/Cozumel (Dress  Smart Casual) Sunny and Hot: Ship anchored at Cozumel and it was necessary to tender ashore. However, tenders were provided by the port and were very large and accommodated lots of people (about 400). DW and I stayed aboard to just relax and lay back. Had pre-dinner cocktails at the Wheelhouse Bar and enjoyed the songs by Terry and Maya Duo. At dinner the headwaiter Augusto, brought us a special Shrimp Risotto as an appetizer. It was delicious. After dinner went to see Sarge (comedian). Many people post great things about him on this board. I concur, he was great very funny. Dont miss him if he aboard during your cruise. Day Four/Grand Cayman (Dress Smart Casual): Sunny/with occasional clouds. Anchored at Grand Cayman. Again, the port provided some tenders, in addition to those provided by Princess. Went ashore at Grand Cayman. Many people were upset because most of the shops were closed (Sunday). However, enough were opened to meet our needs. DW purchased a gold bracelet and I got a gold chain. Also purchased two liters of Grey Goose @$26 per bottle. The shop wouldnt let you take it, they would have it delivered to the ship. It was delivered to our stateroom on the last day. Since it was Sunday, they did broadcast some of the NFL games. They had the afternoon games PATRIOTS vs. CHIEFS and the 4PM game GIANTS at SEAHAWKS. Drinks on our balcony before dinner. As I mentioned earlier, the location of our cabin was great, as I could run up to Horizon Court and bring down a plate of cheese, crackers, grapes, etc. to have with our wine/cocktails on the balcony. Off to dinner, and again Augusto brought out a special risotto appetizer. This time it was a Chicken risotto. Godwin stopped by to taste our wine Joao and Apichat were their usual charming selves. Day Five/At Sea (Dress  Smart Casual) Sunny  Seas smooth: Spent a lot of time at the Lotus Pool. They had the roof closed and the area was ACd. Although, with the sun shinning thru the glass it was still pretty warm. It is a nice area to relax and read. Generally wasnt very crowded. I think it is supposed to be adults only, but there were a few Griswalds that had their kid there. I wouldnt mind except they were yelling and jumping in the pool and being somewhat disruptive. Also saw a lady with a kid in diapers (had a supposedly water proof pant over the diaper) in the main pool. As usual Staff did nothing. Writers Opinion: I believe that you could do anything short of a felony on the ships and Princess staffers would never say a word. This was the day of the Princess Grapevine Wine Tasting. $7.50 sign-up fee and if you order a bottle of wine for dinner they deduct $5 from the fee. You taste five wines during the session which lasted about and hour. After the session we signed up for the Maitre d Wine Tasting at $25 pp. to be held at a future date Other events included Trivia, Ice Carving Demo, Cocktail Demo, Line Dancing and of course Bingo. Cocktails and Dinner, Augusto brought out a special appetizer of Carpaccio. Headed for the Princess Theater to see the show Da Beat. Primarily singing and dancing by Princess performers. An okay show, they worked hard and it was enjoyable. Off to the casino. Day Six/Limon: Docked at Limon starboard side to the pier. Relaxed in the AM at pool, etc. Went ashore in the afternoon and walked around the market place. Nothing remarkable, standard shops and merchandise. Went back to the ship and just hung-out. Sail-away at 6PM and as usual, watch one or two stragglers strolling down the pier about a half hour late. If I was the Captain those late comers would have arrived at an empty pier. Or perhaps I would have charged them the prorated rate for a half hour that it costs the ship to dock. Drinks and dinner..it was Italian night in the dining room. Again, Augusto brought out a special risotto, this time it was Radicchio Risotto. For dinner I had the veal chop and after dinner a lemoncello. To the casino for awhile. Had to get to bed early and set the clock (phone) for 5:30AM wake-up as we are arriving at the canal. Day Seven/Panama Canal: Arrive early at the Panama Canal, it was still dark. But it was impressive as you approach the locks before daylight breaks. We had a pilot aboard who gave a blow-by-blow description as we proceeded through the canal. During transit I viewed the process from the promenade deck, balcony on Aloha deck and from the stern The upper-decks forward all have the tinted glass wind shields which making photographing difficult. We were fortunate to have the Celebrity Galaxy transit at the same time in the adjacent lock and slightly aft. I got good pictures and viewing from the aft public areas on Baja, Caribe and Dolphin decks. Also the view from the promenade deck is good, especially if there is a ship in the adjacent locks (which there should be). It took a couple of hours to go through the locks into Gatun Lake. Arrive in the lake about 0830. We anchored in Gatun Lake and the tenders offloaded the passengers going on tour. Around noon time we weighed anchor and headed back into the locks for our return trip. There is plenty of time and opportunity for ample pictures. Note: After the first trip through the locks, I went down to the photo gallery and downloaded my pictures (memory card) on to a CD ($9.95) and was ready to take more pictures on the return through the locks. The gentleman providing the narration was very good and provided interesting information about the canal as the ship proceeded through the locks. For those of you who may be interested you can order a Balcony Champaign Breakfast for $25 the night before. There will be an order form in your mailbox. We pulled into Colon and docked starboard side to the pier. The Celebrity galaxy was on the other side of the pier. There is a small market place at the pier with vendors selling crafts, etc. It seemed to me that they were all selling pretty much the same stuff. This night we had dinner in the Bayou Cafe. I have previously eaten in Sabatinis and Sterlings. I had Gator Ribs, Mud Bug Bisque and Jambalaya. DW had the filet. The sweet potato pie was excellent. I thought the service was below par, the food was no better or worse than the dining room. It wasnt very crowded and I think they only had minimum staff working as the host at the entrance was also waiting tables. I saw the reservation list and there was only nine for that night. The jazz band was good. The theme restaurants are okay, but I personally have no desire to return to any of them in the future. Note: Today was $20 Bag laundry day. I remember reading on this board this service was available twice on a ten day cruise and the charge was $15 for a bag. Anyway they will launder all you can fit in one of their laundry bags for $20. I did a wash the previous day in the laundry room. Piece of cake. There are five stackable washer/dryers in the laundry room with iron, ironing board, change machine and soap/bleach/softener vending machine. I thing everything was $1. Did all I could stuff in my bag for $4. Day Eight/At Sea (Dress Formal) Sunny seas calm: Today the ships shopping store had a 70% off sale. Foolish me, I though I would get a good deal on a Panama Canal t-shirt or something. What they were selling is all their Alaska merchandise&t-shirts, cups, hats, etc. Maitre d Wine Tasting was held today in Sabatinis. Very nice, each of the head waiters did a presentation on one of six wines. These wines were a little more expensive than the Princess Grape Vine Tasting. Hors d'oeuvres (s) were served and there was a complimentary glass of champaign in addition to the six wines. The event lasted about an hour. Other events included the ever present Bingo games, Fruit and Vegetable Carving Demonstration, Art Auction, Horse Races, Line dancing and Trivia Tonight was the Captains Gala Dinner, lobster night. Big show in the theater was Curtain Up a salute to Broadway. And in the Universal Lounge Sarge gave a second show which was completely different from his first show. This one was excellent also. Writers Opinion: I didnt care for the Universal Lounge, there is a huge problem with seeing the stage because of the layout and all the brass railings. Make sure you get to this venue extra early because there are not a lot of good seats. They do put it up on movie screens, but those arent so great either. Day Nine/Montego Bay (Dress Smart casual) Hot and sunny: Arrive Montego Bay, starboard side to the pier. Stayed on board ship. DW and I really enjoy the ship when many people are ashore. You pretty much have everything to yourself. Very relaxing and peaceful. Spent some time away from DW and went to watch War of the Worlds in the Universal Lounge. Pre-reserved/booked our next cruise. For $100pp deposit you dont even have to pick anything yet. Depending on what cabin you book in the future you can get a $25pp up to $100pp ship board credit. You can go through Princess or your TA. The reservation is good for four years. Show this evening in Princess Theatre was Dan Bennett, comedian/juggler. He was pretty good. Back at the cabin our Customs Form and Luggage Tags were waiting for us, even though we still had another full day at sea. Day Ten/At Sea (Dress  Smart Casual) Overcast skies seas moderate to rough: Last full day of the cruise. Unfortunately the weather was not conducive to sun and fun by the pools. Went to the cooking demo. Staff made Caesar Salad and then had two passengers come up and cook Shrimp Fra Diavlo. After the cooking demo we went on the tour of the galley. DW went to afternoon bingo (didnt win). Day Eleven/Disembarkation Port Everglades: Arrive back at Port Everglades, and surprise, we did not dock at the pier (Pier 2) where we departed and where I parked my car. We berthed way down at the south end of the port some where near pier 30, not sure of the exact number. We were scheduled to get off after the early flight people. Disembarking was scheduled to start at 0830 but didnt start until 9:00. However, they quickly caught up and we were called at 0935 (five minutes behind schedule). I remember someone on the board saying if you use a porter you get a cab faster. Since I was all the way at the other end of the port I needed a cab to get to the garage where I was parked. Princess did have buses to transport folks like me, but I didnt want to wait. So I got a porter, he hustled us out, got a cab, even had him take me into the garage up to where my car was ( I gave him the $2 parking fee in addition to fare and tip). The whole process took about ten minutes and DW and I were on the way home. In a nutshell, disembarkation was a breeze&even with us docking at the wrong pier. Conclusion (Writers Opinion): It was a great cruise. The ship was full, but did not seem crowded at any time any place. The crew were fantastic. I was very impressed with the friendliness and professionalism of all the staff. My two previous cruises were on Caribbean Princess, which I enjoyed immensely, but Corals staff far exceed Caribbeans. Our cabin steward Mr. Watcharatoon provided everything we requested promptly and with a smile. He was in and out of our cabin, bed made, cabin cleaned, and towels changed as soon as we left. The headwaiters in Bordeaux, Godwin and Augusto were excellent and treated us like royalty. My wife is allergic to nuts and shellfish (why bother cruising LOL) and we notified Augusto of this the first night in the dining room. He came over every night, reviewed what my wife was ordering, and even brought us the next nights menu for review. The Maitre D Hotel Ignazio DAugustino was also great. He frequently stopped by our table to see how we were doing. Unfortunately, Ignazio had a medical problem and had to leave the ship on our return to Ft. Lauderdale and return to Italy. I wish him well. Left comments cards and extra tips for all of the above. The food was good, the drinks were even better. Nice to get a martini for $5.50. Wine was reasonable priced. The ship was clean, no one got sick as far as I know. The weather was great and ten days was just right. Where to next? Read Less
Sail Date November 2005
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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