Sail Date: November 2017
The Panama Canal had long been on our bucket list and we were not disappointed. It was so good that we would do it again any day. We found that the ship though a little dated is very comfortable. Having just cruised with HAL it was ... Read More
The Panama Canal had long been on our bucket list and we were not disappointed. It was so good that we would do it again any day. We found that the ship though a little dated is very comfortable. Having just cruised with HAL it was great being back on a Princess ship. Our only disappointment with the ship was the position of the International Café. We prefer it on the other ships where it is in the Atrium. The quality of the entertainment was first class especially the dancers and singers. We didn't enjoy the port lecturer as we found him to be arrogant, constantly telling us how good he was. He drifted off his subject and was totally boring. We found that we were eating more often in the Horizon Court this time, mainly because we didn't have dining companions. This seemed to be a feature with having late dining. We found that the buffet gave us what we wanted and was nice and quiet. The shore excursions were what we expected though the Fuerte Amador excursion to see the new locks was disappointing. Too much time was spent driving around old US bases which are mainly derelict now rather than time at the locks themselves. Best excursion was the semi sub in Aruba. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2017
This cruise has been on our bucket list for many years. The ship, the itinerary, the time, and the price all came together for us to book the cruise just a couple of weeks before embarkation. I had gathered a lot of information and ... Read More
This cruise has been on our bucket list for many years. The ship, the itinerary, the time, and the price all came together for us to book the cruise just a couple of weeks before embarkation. I had gathered a lot of information and decided that the Coral Princess was the ship that we wanted to travel on. Arriving about 10 am, embarkation went very smoothly, checking in quickly and only having to wait a little while before boarding the ship. We were in our room, got unpacked, and having lunch by noon. Ship: The ship was perfect size and specially designed to do the Panama itinerary. Areas to view the passage through the canal were great. The only suggestion I could make would be to replace many of the windows that are very cloudy, distorting your view. Public areas were beautiful and clean. A special shout out for the rest rooms being very clean. Dining: We really enjoyed anytime dining because we were able to eat with a variety of very wonderful people in the dining room. The only problem that we had was the time waiting in line. Princess needs to take a lesson from RCL in being able to book reservations online in advance of leaving for the cruise. Food and service was great in the dining room as well as the Horizon Court. We enjoyed the afternoon tea each day in the Bordeaux Dining room. Entertainment: We felt that the shows in the Theater and the Universe Lounge were some of the best in our twenty one cruises. The entertainment in the other lounges and atrium were also special. Imperial String Trio were great. The only complaint would be the movies that were shown in the Theater. One had so much profanity that we walked out after only a couple of minutes. Service: Not a single complaint about the service anywhere on the ship. Our cabin steward, JayBee kept our room sparkling at all times. Dining service was great both in the dining room and the Horizen Court was as good as it gets. Itinerary: We picked this cruise for the Panama Canal and were not at all disappointed. The other ports were all a bonus for us. Disembarkation: We did self disembarkation so we went off early and quite swiftly. All in all we were very satisfied with everything on the cruise and in the right situation, we would do it again in a minute. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2017
Found the restaurant and theatre very cold. Also, the anytime dining was not a very efficient as if we didn't line up at 5pm, we had to wait until 8 pm to eat! Need more restuarants for anytime dining. Entertainment kinda died off ... Read More
Found the restaurant and theatre very cold. Also, the anytime dining was not a very efficient as if we didn't line up at 5pm, we had to wait until 8 pm to eat! Need more restuarants for anytime dining. Entertainment kinda died off after 9pm. There was some, but I think due to the majority being seniors it was mostly piano playing type entertainment. low key. Some nights there were deck parties which were fun. Enjoyed the Love Boat night. We did enjoy our 1st Princess Cruise and will do another. Embarkation and disembarkation was very smooth. Was disappointed in the lack of communication on the boat. Didn't hear most of the announcements when there were ones. Missed out on things due to lack of communication. Should be able to turn on/off speaker in room so we can hear announcements. EX: when we were at port...would be nice to hear we were there and give times when we can disembark and time to be back. Also, when on the deck, they didn't turn off the movie/music when there were announcements. Also, would be nice for them to let us know where people can find wi-fi as everyone wants it. The buffet was pretty good. Loved that they brought us our omelets so we didn't have to stand around waiting!!!~ Also, wait staff were great! We are vegetarian and found lots to eat but a vegan would have more issues at the buffet. Need more options. Loved the Wake Up Show once we knew it was on! Watched it every night so we knew what was happening the next day. Clean ship! Public bathrooms were excellent. Gym was ok. Water dispenser with paper cups would have been nice. Should have smaller photo pkg for people that only want 2 or 3 photos. Some staff in dining rooms I didn't find friendly and at the Coffee Grounds. Enjoyed the majority of the entertainers, comedians, singers, magicians, impersonators etc.... Loved the Free Zumba! Every class was full! Keep that program please! Look forward to our next cruise! Need free wi-fi. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2017
Great way to see the Panama; the ship, crew, staff, service, entertainment and particularly the evening dinners were outstanding. The exercise equipment, and room was terrible... to crowded, and only 1 working bike and rowing machine. ... Read More
Great way to see the Panama; the ship, crew, staff, service, entertainment and particularly the evening dinners were outstanding. The exercise equipment, and room was terrible... to crowded, and only 1 working bike and rowing machine. The Pickleball/Volleyball court not great. The court is too small for PB, the net is right behind the back line; and the lines are wrong. They could remedy this by turning the court 90 degrees, and increasing the enclosing net size, and drawing in the proper lines. Which would mean moving the shuffleboard to the very back. The excursions were also good; but the "lectures" are getting a little "tired"; but somewhat informative. We stopped at Aruba, great beaches, Cartagena, interesting history; the canal, which is amazing; Panama City... also historically interesting, and a great tour; then stops at Puntareas, Costa Rica, and finally Puerto Vallarta. Overall, a great trip; but a major problem was the A/C which I'm sure contributed to many colds onboard. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
First off, I've never cruised with Princess so we were in uncharted territory. Furthermore, I'm not really a big fan of cruising as I prefer to travel more independently. However, transiting the Panama Canal was in the back of our minds ... Read More
First off, I've never cruised with Princess so we were in uncharted territory. Furthermore, I'm not really a big fan of cruising as I prefer to travel more independently. However, transiting the Panama Canal was in the back of our minds for a few years and when it came up this year for serious consideration, the only option from our home port (Ft. Lauderdale or Miami) was to cruise on Princess. We did a 10-day round-trip partial transit primarily due to work obligations and also a lack of desire to cruise for 15 days as required for a full transit. Never having cruised with Princess, but having cruised on RCCL and Celebrity, I relied on many reviews on this site to give me an idea of what to expect. A lot of what I read here turned out to be true of this itinerary: older crowd, older ship with a more "traditional" cruising experience but with the bonus of a roomy feeling on the ship due to its decent size, open area layout and relatively low passenger capacity. The latter can't be stressed enough. While we tried to walk up and down the stairs instead of taking the elevator, the elevators almost always were empty when we decided to get on one. You never felt like there was a crowd of people on the ship. Except for an advertised "sale" on t-shirts on the next-to-last-day, we never experienced a crowded feeling on the ship in any venue, including the buffet. Back to the demographics, we certainly didn't expect to see much in the way of young families on a 10-day Panama Canal cruise in mid-November so the older crowd was to be expected, but on occasion we came across a smattering of travelers on the younger side of the adult spectrum, e.g., 40-50 somethings. There was a toddler or two but I didn't see any school-age childen or teens at all. That said, we are not party cruisers and appreciated the more laid back tone that this cruise was geared to. There are a good deal of sea days due to the itinerary and the on board activities were aimed at an older crowd, e.g., unhosted mah jongg and bridge. There was an occasional poolside contest but it was the exception and not the norm. The evening entertainment never caught our eye on any day so I cannot comment on the quality of the entertainment. Seemed to be a typical representation and rotation of a production show, solo singers, small bands in the one or two lounges on board and a comedian doing impressions. We prefer to walk around the ports on our own but took the excursion in the Panama Canal as that is the only way to go shoreside on the canal day. We're in our 40s and maybe there were a handful of others on our bus who were our age or younger. I thought the tour was poorly organized and the description should have had better warnings about the poor condition of the streets in Colonial Panama. There were numerous hazards due to the uneven pavement (and lack of it) on the sidewalks and many of the older people logically had to take extra precautions; others caught cabs back to the bus to avoid walking more. The weather didn't cooperate, which of course is uncontrollable, but I think they should have had a "plan B" for working around inclement conditions, e.g., reorganizing the order of the stops on the tour. Either way, it was worthwhile or else we would have seen nothing of Panama City but the tour wasn't well organized in general and I wouldn't recommend it. I will note that we had briefly considered taking the ferry tour which allows you to go through all the locks through to the Pacific, but after reading many of the reviews on CruiseCritic, I opted not to due to the many variables that can affect the ferry, notably the long wait times. I am glad we did not take the ferry tour as we ran into a couple that did and they said it was an uncomfortable and long day. The wait times were exorbitant to go through the various locks, the rain was coming down in sheets, they got soaked through the tarps and the chairs were plastic garden chairs without padding. The ship departed Panama hours late due to the length of the ferry excursion and the time they needed to get back to the port by bus in rush hour traffic. Our land-based tour to Panama City took 3 hours longer than normal due to traffic and when we departed Panama much later in the evening then planned, I figured it was due to the ferry excursion which was the only one that was scheduled to last longer than ours. Back to the ship, there are not a lot of bells and whistles that you find nowadays on the modern ships competing for your cruise dollar. For as much as the ship was comfortable for this particular itinerary, I would not recommend this ship at all for active families or teens. After 10-days I was getting a bit bored as the options are limited. The options are adequate though for a few days for a low-key traveler: an occasional stop at the putting green (not mini-golf, rather a putting green), feeding coins into the casino, walking on deck, sitting on the balcony and watching a concert on the Movies on the Stars screen. The food was where I was pleasantly surprised. I didn't expect much, but the pizza and occasional burger were very decent all things considered and we actually enjoyed eating in the MDR most nights (which we typically eschew on cruise ships for the buffet as the MDR tends to be stuffy or at the very least an overly long dining experience). We did avoid the MDR on formal night as we are casual travelers and there was no way were we bringing clothes to wear on formal night. My understanding is that they enforce the dress code. Dining was definitely more traditional here than on RCCL or Celebrity. I'm not saying every night the menu appealed to us, but on the nights that we found something on the menu that sounded good, we actually enjoyed the food. Lunch in the MDR was much more casual and good. The buffet disappointed a bit. There was somewhat of a selection at the buffet but a lot of the entrees were heavy and I often ended up with just some salad on my plate after walking through it. We had club class dining so we never had a problem getting a table for two which helped us to enjoy the MDR more as the prospect of eating with others and being somewhat tied to not being able to truly come and go is not for us. Not to say we didn't engage in some ad hoc conversation with others in adjacent tables. The tables are so close that sometimes it's the natural order of things and for what it is worth, all those random conversations were pleasant and enhanced the dinner experience overall on many evenings. As for the food quality, it's so subjective, but we enjoyed most of what we ordered but I heard grumblings around where we were seated when the emcee (head of F&B) asked the crowd how the food was during a culinary demonstration and galley tour on the last sea day. I'm not a food snob but on the other hand bad food would be cause for a lukewarm review and due to all the reviews I read in the months before we sailed, I was pleasantly surprised how palatable it was overall -- except on the buffet. We noticed that many of the officers and F&B managers on our particular sailing were Italian, so perhaps that's why the Italian menu offerings were particularly good. Also, I think (but don't know) that some of what affects the food is where the ship onloads its provisions from. We embarked from Fort Lauderdale and perhaps due to the tropical location, the seasonal fruit was especially good. The service in the cabin was very good, nothing to really comment on. Some very minor quirks were more for the cruiseline: supposedly there was a choice of mattress toppers (firm or plush) as per an in-cabin placard but when we asked, the steward said there was only the one that was on the bed, i.e., no other options. Also a curious inquiry about the pillow menu elicited the same response although we were able to change feather pillows for foam ones. Something odd worth noting is that the steward tended to oil the furniture on the balcony which I understand as it is wood, but on the other hand it was greasy when you touched the arms of the furniture or back of the chair and a shirt got stained with dark oil after sitting in one briefly. I understand an occasional wiping down with oil to help preserve the furniture (which I would think would be sealed to begin with) but it seemed to be an every day occurrence. We had to use towels from the room to wipe off the oil ourselves when we wanted to use the balcony furniture, something that gets slightly annoying day in and day out. It stained the towels pretty well but better the towels than our clothes. The port lectures were history-oriented and not shopping oriented which was a pleasant change of pace from RCCL. Typically the lectures tell you which way to turn when you get off the ship to go to an "approved" shop. On the contrary, the lecturer was focused on history and was refreshingly honest in some instances where he said excursions weren't necessary in all ports and cabs could be taken to reach sites of interest, etc. It's not to say the in-room TV and leaflets don't push the shopping and act as if "EFFY" is a high-end "household" jewelry name (which if you're like me, you've never heard of before the cruise or since), but they don't accost you from all sides with the shopping opportunities and they are easily avoided. The gym is well-appointed and more than adequate. This is where we tended to see a cross-section of adults from various age groups. Initially, I was skittish about cruising with Princess on an "older" ship for such a relatively long cruise and although we had the option to sail to the Panama Canal a day earlier on the larger Caribbean Princess with more on board activities, we opted for the Coral Princess as it had so many devotees on this and other sites and also the Caribbean Princess was spending a day on the cruiseline's private island instead of stopping in Aruba -- and we preferred to go to Aruba. We are more itinerary-driven than ship-amenity driven. We really liked it and it was one of the more enjoyable cruises due to the many factors I listed above. I would sail Princess over RCCL any day of the week (I realize that Celebrity, a RCCL company, is Princess' direct competitor) but RCCL sails the mega-ships out of Ft Lauderdale, my home market, so that is the reason I make this statement. Celebrity is good as well and I would give them an another opportunity if the itinerary was right.) However, my opinion is that fun-seekers and families likely would get bored quickly, at least on this itinerary. The cruiseline likely changes the on-board activities for the Alaska season, but you can't change the fact that this ship doesn't have much in the way of "modern" bells and whistles so they are important to you I would look elsewhere. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2017
I chose this cruises because it was a full transit of the Panama Canal from San Francisco to Fort Lauderdale. We went 1 week early to sightsee in California. We enjoyed the cruise very much, the Coral Princess is great ship, with less ... Read More
I chose this cruises because it was a full transit of the Panama Canal from San Francisco to Fort Lauderdale. We went 1 week early to sightsee in California. We enjoyed the cruise very much, the Coral Princess is great ship, with less passengers than the Royal or Grand class the ship was not crowded. The ship was in great shape. The entertainment was very good. I liked the Universe, the venue in the rear for shows. Dr. Ken Stein was the Enhancement lector, he talked about Nasa and the space program. His presentations were excellent. The food was very good. I was in a suite and eat in Club Class that was very disappointing. I sailed prior to this on the Grand with Club Class and enjoyed it. This time nothing special, not different than MDR except different color table cloth and napkins with CC on them. The service was poor. Breakfast at Sabatini's was excellent. Food and service was fantastic. I enjoyed the cruise and would love to do it again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2017
We chose to transit the Panama Canal a second time because we joined a group of 42 ballroom dance students with their teachers and to see the new channel. We had eight sea days with 15 private group lessons. It kept us busy and physically ... Read More
We chose to transit the Panama Canal a second time because we joined a group of 42 ballroom dance students with their teachers and to see the new channel. We had eight sea days with 15 private group lessons. It kept us busy and physically and mentally active as we are beginners compared to other students. We are platinum level with at 10 cruises with Princess and ten with various other lines. Embarkation in SF was swift and easy. No long lines. We were there at 12:15pm. We had an ocean view cabin on Deck 8. Our room was ready when we arrived. The shower was one of the smallest but we managed. One complaint was the bed was lumpy and not as firm as we liked. Our request for robes was honored later in the evening but was stained and quite "ratty". My friends next door received unclean robes and requested new ones. I usually wipe down areas of the cabin with Lysol wipes. This time, it appeared slightly dirty. I don't blame our steward. He has 19 cabins to handle alone. In the early days, the stewards had assistants. Now they are rushed. They generally keep the cabins tidy and freshened. I notice that the shower curtain was beginning to smell moldy and I am allergic to mold. The bottom was turning pink from mold. The steward changed it and said they change it every two weeks. I think they should change after each passenger leaves even if before two weeks because the shower is so small. Our bed linens were nice but our pillows weren't that good. TV remote was awkward to use. Hard to find channels. Public areas: The gym was a good size with newest equipment. They didn't have a morning stretch class. Liked the laundry rooms and the token system. Best thing ever for long cruises. The Coral Princess production shows were very good and had great singers eg. Stephen and dancers. On previous cruises on Princess, I had stopped going to the production shows because the singers were awful. I enjoyed the contract musicians, e.g. David Klingkenberg and the comedians, Gary Delina and Doug Funk. Rhapsody dance band was excellent. The cruise director Martin and his staff were hardworking and he and his staff were all over the ship. Limited egress was a problem with Princess Theater. Other ships have multiple exits for the crowd to disperse. Food: pastries always a great selection and too tempting. Breakfast, enjoyed chicken congee and oatmeal and fruits. Smoked salmon was not available everyday. Lunch: soups too salty. Usually found something good to eat but in general, Chinese food was subpar. Try and find someone to cook decent buffet Chinese /Asian food. One good item was the butterfly shrimp. Main dining room for lunch was great but we were usually in a hurry to dance class so couldn't go often. Dinner: They always had some great food options for dinner. They had Mongolian stir fry but I didn't try it. Outdoor grill had excellent chicken breast sandwich. Pizza and other hamburgers and hotdogs were good. Sabatini's pizza was the best. Fish and chips at pub lunch was very good. Our wait staff at Bordeaux Dining were excellent. Cheers to Lorena and Yan, the assistant. Disembarkation was horrible. All the public rooms were crowded and over capacity. Elite lounges were overflowing too. Need a new system. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2017
The 15 day full canal transit was outstanding. The cruise staff, in spite of being short staffed, provided a regular, diverse set of activities, from trivia to games to exercise classes. You could be as busy or as laid back as you wanted ... Read More
The 15 day full canal transit was outstanding. The cruise staff, in spite of being short staffed, provided a regular, diverse set of activities, from trivia to games to exercise classes. You could be as busy or as laid back as you wanted to be. The Coral, unlike the Island, has two theaters for shows, an adequate-sized gym, an international cafe for coffee, a Promenade deck circuit for walking, and sufficient public areas for the numbers of passengers. They have resized Club Class in the dining room so that, unlike our cruise in July, the waiting for seating in Anytime Dining was reasonable. The entertainment was good, especially the Imperial Trio, a fantastic group from Hungary, who played regularly in the atrium. The dance bands, like Rhapsody, not so much. Of course, there is the downside that Princess overprices photos and the spa and is so intent on selling extras that it feels like QVC. This, however, is easily ignored. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2017
Sailed out of LA - embarkation was easy- skipped a port claiming bad weather- supposedly a Panama canal cruise - that was all it was - just looking at the canal did not visit Panama- Shore excursions were a farce a lot of money to be ... Read More
Sailed out of LA - embarkation was easy- skipped a port claiming bad weather- supposedly a Panama canal cruise - that was all it was - just looking at the canal did not visit Panama- Shore excursions were a farce a lot of money to be placed in a 'cattle' bus and taken to places which were the most lucrative to the guide as far as commissions went. My advice fins your own way around a port with an English speaking guide. Time spent on shore about 6 hours and did not make amends for the skipped port by spending more time at the next port of call. Special; coffees cost $2.50 mid-deck and to get a regular coffee as an eye opener one had to go all the way up to the top deck for a cup of tasteless coffee. Alcohol over priced Internet access was a waste of $199 for me. as it was down most of the time and when available was slow as molasses. Disembarkation was debacle in Fort Lauderdale. Read Less
Coral Princess Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.4
Dining 4.0 4.1
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 4.1
Rates 4.0 4.2

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