Sail Date: October 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: December 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
1 Helpful Vote
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: January 2005
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: March 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: April 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: May 2005
Introduction-This was our second cruise, our second cruise on Princess and our second cruise to Alaska. Our first cruise last May was wonderful but far from perfect. We booked it almost on a whim knowing little about cruising and not ... Read More
Introduction-This was our second cruise, our second cruise on Princess and our second cruise to Alaska. Our first cruise last May was wonderful but far from perfect. We booked it almost on a whim knowing little about cruising and not much more about Alaska. We missed so much (two ports and the glacier), a bad start made most of the passengers a little surly at best and an over tired crew did little in the beginning to improve things. On the way home, we started planning our next cruise and this is where this report really begins. We discovered cruisecritic.com and soon discovered cruise reports from our cruise. Many were totally negative. A few were Pollyanna sweet. Both sides missed the totality of the cruise. We started reading the cruise reports regularly, especially those to Alaska. We also read the Princess forum and the Alaska forum with care. We analyzed every detail of cruising and every reference to Alaska's ports of call. Soon, several consistencies emerged - itinerary is everything for the Alaska cruise, doing things on your own is less expensive and more fun, flight-seeing is a must and Alaska requires its extras. Our second cruise confirmed all of the above. We went back to our favorite TA to plan this cruise. We wanted the Coral Princess out of Vancouver in May. We wanted to see Glacier Bay and College Fjord. Our biggest disappointment last year had been to not see a glacier. This year we maximized our chances. Our TA told us we needed to book by early December to get what we wanted. This we would have done except that our best friends who hoped to go with us could not commit until January. By Mid-Jan, cabin choices were slim, but we got what we thought were good choices. Pre-cruise-We spent a week in Seattle visiting friends. We saw some of the sights of the area including Snoqualmie Falls and Mount Rainier. We went to Snoqualmie on a gloomy day. The falls were running full with spray everywhere. Mount Rainier blessed with a clear day for photo ops. We tried hard to adjust to West Coast time and did so a little better than last year. The weather forecast for Alaska's southeast coast was for rain all week. Saturday-Transfer and embarkation-On a cool overcast day, we went to the airport about 11:00 AM to catch the Princess transfer bus to Vancouver, BC. Princess had told our TA on two separate occasions that the first and last bus left SeaTac at 12:30. This, we discovered was not true. Buses had been running since 8:00 AM. We got on a bus that left at 11:45. First ding on Princess. This bus made good time to the Canadian border station. We were prepared for some wait and hassle and had been coached on behavior. There was another bus ahead of us when we arrived. Our driver said we would have to wait until that bus left before we could be cleared, but he took our declaration forms inside. He came back in a few minutes and said we were good to go. The whole thing took less than 10 minutes. Canada Place was a mess. President Bush's latest border security measures had just been implemented. Three ships were at the dock taking on passengers. The system was overwhelmed. The line was 5 hours long just to get to the first sorting point where US citizens were separated from non-US citizens to go through American INS clearance. Yes, the INS is in Canada, but I would rather see them there than in Juneau. After the sorting the estimate was an additional two hours. However, we skipped all of this. Our friend had by-pass surgery just fives weeks before the cruise, so our whole party went directly to the sorting area and directly to the INS station for those with medical difficulties. Our total embarkation time was about 30 minutes. Was this fair? For our friend it definitely was. He was tired from the bus ride and the additional wait may have put him in bed for several days. I expected that he, or maybe he and his wife, would get the fast track and that my wife and I would wait. Princess policy is that the whole party moves together. Getting through Princess registration was a snap. We posed on the gang plank for pictures and went on up. We were greeted and passed from crew to crew to our cabin where our cabin steward, Ban, greeted us by name. The cabin itself was exactly what we expected. Everything was in place and clean and neat. We asked for an egg crate for the bed and went to dinner. We were shown to a table for eight with a view and greeted by Leo our waiter and Joselito, our assistant waiter. Both proved to be funny, kind, efficient and knowledgeable about the food. Leo has been with Princess for 15 years. When Leo learned we are from Virginia, he sang a few bars of "Take me home country road." He has a pleasant singing voice. During the entire week, he always made sure we made a good choice from the menu. The egg crate pad was on the bed when we got back from dinner. My major disappointment of the day was that I was not on deck when we sailed. We were eating. The embarkation delays had delayed sailing and I missed getting a picture of the Lion's bridge. Sunday-This was our only Sea day. It started out badly for me. I wear contacts 8-10 hours per day. Other than that I have to wear glasses. So I started the day in glasses which have thick lenses which makes me a bit disoriented to my surroundings. On this day the sea was prone to heavy swells. The rolling of the ship exacerbated my disorientation and, for the first time in my life, I was experiencing motion sickness. Back to the room, remove glasses lay down for 30 minutes, insert contacts and I am a new man. I had no problems with my glasses the rest of the trip. We spent the day soaking up impressions of the ship. The Coral does not have the pure flash of the Diamond, but she is a beauty with class and overall, I think, a finer ship. The major ding on the whole trip was confined to the temperature control in the public rooms. When the weather was warm, as in Juneau and Skagway, the AC was on and everything was fine. When the weather was cool the heat was on and everyone, including me, was hot. I am extremely cold natured so when I get hot, I know that my wife is about dying from the heat.   The crew and staff were consistently friendly and helpful. The passengers responded with equal courtesy. This was a happy ship. I never heard a cross word the whole trip. We had few if any teenagers on board and only a few children and no babies so we did not experience any of the problems associated with them. The ship was clean and cleaned every day. We had no virus. Our balcony, A522 (port side) was a little disappointing. The port side mid-ship, has a monster overhang which obscures the overhead view from the balcony. This probably covers about 1/3 of the port-side cabins. One question CC did not give us was whether the electrical outlet in the cabin was a grounded outlet. It is. We came prepared with out three outlet strip ($1.00) from Wal-Mart, but my wife added a 3 to 2 prong converter in Seattle just to be safe. We did not need it. The food was excellent all week. We ate various places for breakfast and lunch but were faithful to our traditional first seating in the Provance dining room for dinner. We even got room service one morning. It was right on time. We ate Pizza which we all agreed was better than any fast food/delivery pizza. I had grilled shrimp at the on-deck seafood barbecue and it was excellent. The halibut, salmon, shrimp, lobster, and other fish were all outstanding. I had roast prime rib the last night. I've eaten roast prime rib since I was 8 years old in many fine restaurants. It was excellent. The only disappointment food wise was the beef short ribs for lunch. The flavor was good, but they were 90% fat. Our three coffee drinkers pronounced the coffee very good. The Coke card is still $22.50. The Cokes on the Coral are full strength and served in big glasses. On the Diamond, they were served in skinny bar glasses and watered down. These are differences any coke-aholic will appreciate. The entertainment was so-so. I missed Bert, at the Crooner's bar on the Diamond rocking the ship every night with "Elvira." And yes everything is still loud. The highlight of the day was our CC roll call meet and greet with about 30 people. About 10 of these were active posters to the RC. Monday- Ketchikan-We tendered to the dock which was no big deal. Our, friends, against our advice, left their Gortex wind breakers on the ship. As soon as we hit the dock, the wind came up and the rain came down. We left them to their own devices, at their insistence and charged off toward Creek Street. We did an excursion last year that took most of our time in K. This year we decided to walk the town and we did from one end to the other. We toured Dolly's house. This is a good $5.00 excursion. It is probably the only museum around decorated with hand made French Silk flowers made from condoms. Last year, I bought one of those fur hats (rabbit) with the pull down ear flaps for $35.00 US in Carcross, YT. This year I saw one in K for $295.00 made from beaver. The rain stopped in about 30 minutes and we had cloudy with showers the rest of the day. When the rain stopped we took pictures. When it came we tucked the cameras into our Gortex, and had a good time. Our excursion for the day was to eat lunch at Annabelle's in the restored hotel. The food was wonderful. When we got back to the ship, we found out that our friends had a good time on their own, but they never left the ship again without their Gortex. Tuesday- Juneau-The highlight of the day and of the week was our flight-seeing salmon bake at Taku Lodge. Flying conditions and photography light were perfect. The food was wonderful and in the middle of lunch someone cried bear and emptied the room in about 5 seconds. Scarface (resident bear) has not showed up this year. He was/is an old bear and may not have survived the winter, but there are still bears after the drippings. We had a flawless view of the hole-in-the-wall glacier. When we got back, I walked back to the ship by way of a couple of book stores and made my contribution to the city's economy. Wednesday-Skagway-We took Budget Queen's advice and rented a car and took off for Emerald Lake and the Cinnamon Cache Bakery. The car was a dream. We took four people to the Yukon for $25 each. Avis opened a few minutes early and we were on our way to the Yukon by 8:02 AM. We stopped at every pull off. We shopped at Carcross. We saw the lake and ate cinnamon buns and beef stew. We got back to Skagway in time to shop, turn in the car, and get back to our 5:45 PM dinner. We thought we might miss dinner this one time, but once we met the Ladies, dinner was not to missed for any reason short of health. Thursday-Glacier Bay-We saw four glaciers. Lamplugh, with its gushing mouth and Margerie, with its calving were the most interesting. A bridge game took up most of the afternoon. Friday-College Fjord and farewell to the Ladies-College Fjord was more beautiful than Glacier Bay at least in this week. There were Bergie Bits all over and the water was glassy smooth. The only drawback was that dinner was served during our time in the Fjord. So we interrupted the photo shoot for roast prime, baked Alaska and farewell to the Ladies. The four of us were partnered with four utterly charming, wonderfully entertaining and most gracious widow ladies from England. Each dinner brought the eight of us more in tune with each other. There were group photos, hugs all around, and a few tears when it was over. I shall never forget these ladies - all grandmothers and two great-grand mothers. All vigorous and cheerful. They may be riding off into the sunset of life, but they are doing it with grace and style and apologies to no one. This is traditional dining as I understand it should be. Saturday-Disembarkation-The process went smoothly on ship. We stepped off into the rain and straight onto the bus. Thanks to CC, we sat on the left side of the bus and saw what there was to see. The tide was going out so we saw a lot of mud. We got to the airport, picked up our luggage from Princess and checked it at Northwest. You can check bags 24 hours in advance in Anchorage. We rented a car and went down town or tried to. This was a big mistake. If you want to do down town, do it on foot. We did find the Ulu factory and bought for everyone on our list. There is no parking anywhere. We ended up going to several parks which was fun. Clouds broke up about 8:00PM and we saw Denali. By force of circumstances, we took the red-eye home. Never again. We got home to tired to even think. Afterthoughts-Everyone should go to Alaska. The land rejuvenates the soul. On a scale of 1-10, this rates about a 9.98. If we had been midship on Baja and the AC had been on the public rooms the whole cruise, it would have been a solid 10. The most subtle of the highlights came on Friday at lunch. Our traveling companions started the trip with mixed feelings. For her, it was her dream to cruise Alaska. He was going only to please her. At lunch that last day, he stated strongly that “I do believe that this has been the best week of my life.” That’s Alaska. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2005
I sailed on the Coral Princess on May 28, 2005 from Vancouver to Whittier, Alaska. We arrived at Canada Place around 10:30 a.m. and the baggage handlers immediately took our luggage which went immediately through an x-ray machine. We ... Read More
I sailed on the Coral Princess on May 28, 2005 from Vancouver to Whittier, Alaska. We arrived at Canada Place around 10:30 a.m. and the baggage handlers immediately took our luggage which went immediately through an x-ray machine. We exchanged canadian currency into US dollars and then stood in line for 5-10 minutes to go through security ourselves, just like at an airport, then to a customs desk (there was no line at all), then walked down a hallway to a big waiting room to get on the ship. Immediately went to the check in at the Princess desk where we received our room card and they took our credit card number (no wait here either). We then had about an hour wait until we could board. They would not let us on until noon which was the embarkation time. There was a bit of a wait in the line to actually board because we didn't jump up and get in line quickly. The Room: One of our suitcases was at the room when we got there and the other was delivered a bit later. We had a balcony cabin on the starboard side and it was a typical cruise cabin. There was plenty of space to hang clothes, a nice closet with shelves and a safe to put your things, tv, refrigerator, small desk and chair (the desk held the phone and the blow dryer and it contained a few drawers), bathroom was small but functional. Had plenty of shelves to put our things. I will say that the shower was very tiny. The bathroom had shampoo, conditioner and lotion from the spa. The balcony was a bit small but was ok for our needs and contained two white plastic chairs and a small white plastic table. Service: Our room steward was good and attentive to our needs and we did tip him extra at the end. The service in the dining room (we had personal choice dining) was pretty good also. I did have trouble getting my ice tea filled up on a few occasions but other than that it was good and in some cases very good. Service at the bars was just like you get at home....nothing spectacular or over friendly. Entertainment staff: These people were great. Friendly, nice, talked to you, very fun to watch and interact with. Leslie, Laura, Peter, John and Phil were especially great. The Food: The food was good. I did not lose any weight on this cruise...lol. Some nights I liked things better than other nights but I think it was good to very good. The lobster and king crab were great and I had seconds. There were a lot of chilled soups so I didn't have any soup at all. Not too many salads either because I wanted appetizers, main course and dessert. Desserts were very good. The avocado boat w/seafood appetizer was especially good. I ate in the Horizon Court for breakfast and there was a lot to eat. Bread, eggs, omelets, pancakes, french toast, fruit, smoked salmon (yummy, had it every day), sausage, bacon, etc., etc., etc. Lunches for me included pizza (yes it was good), hot dog (they also had hamburgers), Horizon Court food which consisted of too many things to name here. We did eat at the Bayou Cafe for lunch on Sunday and it was EXCELLENT. The jambalaya was soooo good, as was the filet. THE COFFEE: It was not as bad as I expected. It did taste like it was made from syrup and hot water (except in the Bayou Cafe where you knew it was different) but it was very drinkable and better than I drink at work. I had no problem with that at all despite what others say. Drinks of the Day were good but not much alcohol in them. Entertainment: They had 3 very good production shows and the talent was excellent. Broadway type shows. There was a Princess Idol competition where they had some great singers. The lounges and bars all had singers/musicians but I didn't really go there so I can't comment. There was a magician/comedian named Jeff Peterson and he was pretty good. Things to do: They had photo classes, pottery, trivia quizzes, ice carving, culinary demonstrations, park ranger talks, naturalist talks, art auctions, movies, bingo, shuffleboard, miniature golf, virtual golf, spa, etc. Lots to do and not enough time to do it all. The passengers were 90% older folks...I would say 60 and above and from all over the world. The scenery was spectacular...the glaciers were just great and all the ports were fun. Only negatives were that the wood on the balcony was very worn out (weird since the ship is only 3 years old) and that the white dividers separating the balconies were worn and needed painting. We definitely had a great time and would sail with Princess again and can't wait to go back to Alaska. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2005
We took a 14 day cruise on Coral Princess. Vancouver-Whittier-Vancouver. Overall a great ship and beautiful cruise. We were lucky and had great weather. The ship is spacious, very nicely decorated and well laid out. We never felt crowded. ... Read More
We took a 14 day cruise on Coral Princess. Vancouver-Whittier-Vancouver. Overall a great ship and beautiful cruise. We were lucky and had great weather. The ship is spacious, very nicely decorated and well laid out. We never felt crowded. We always found nice places to sit and enjoy the scenery both inside and out of the ship. The food was really good. Our waiter openly offered to get us more lobster and alaskan crab legs. Both of which were succulent and not that dried out frozen stuff you get in Vegas. The 24 hour buffet is a great idea instead of the midnight buffet. We opted for anytime dining but usually reserved in advance to get the waiter we liked. Some of the dining room staff are Romanian and Bulgarian. They are not the best at service industry jobs. We even encountered one really nasty woman (table 97 in the Bordeaux room). Generoso the maitre d' is fabulous and accommodated every request. The entertainment was so so. The lounge performers were drab and lifeless. The cruise director and staff were lively and good if you like that British Music Hall "Benny Hill" style of entertainment. The ship communicates very well with passengers and is very organized. Tenders were very well run. The pool was warm and always available. The same for the hot tubs but we did see inconsiderate parents with their baby in diapers using them even though the signs say not to.  We liked being able to buy bottles of hard liquor from the Patisserie Bar at very inexpensive prices ($22.00 for 40 oz.). We brought on board wine and champagne which Princess allows. In port we bought beer and soft drink for our mini fridge. The coffee is tasteless so we bought a jar of Folger's crystals to add. The pillows and beds were very uncomfortable. We recommend bringing your own pillows. We are Canadian so they converted our ship board charges to Canadian Dollars at a very exorbitant rate when billing our Visa. We recommend you pay with US travellers cheques if you are from another country. The shore shopping lady was way over the top pumping the stores they recommend. That was tiring. The art auction was a dud. We saw nothing being bought. It was all ugly at any price. A lot of hype!!. Overall a very good ship and highly recommend it. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2005
This was my first cruise. I was unsure about how the cruise would go and did not expect anything extraordinary. We are a family of four a 14 year od, 16 year old, a mother and a father. We booked a mini-suite on the Caribe level. ... Read More
This was my first cruise. I was unsure about how the cruise would go and did not expect anything extraordinary. We are a family of four a 14 year od, 16 year old, a mother and a father. We booked a mini-suite on the Caribe level. Embarkation- We arrived at the departure port at about 11:00, since we were staying at a nearby hotel, we got took a complimentary shuttle. The Embarkation process was very smooth. It took a maximum of 15 minutes to get all checked in. Before we boarded the ship, we got out picture taken which was a nice touch. When we entered the ship, it was beautiful, an attendant showed us to the elevator, rode in it with us, showed us to our room, and told us when our luggage should arrive. I was very impressed. Later that day we had some time to explore and then were shown to our muster station and had a lifeboat drill. Layout- First of all, this ship is beautiful. It is fairly easy to navigate. The atrium in gorgeous- it has a great feel, a few neon lights that please the party people, kids, and elderly. The dining rooms all have a first-class feel as well as the other public rooms. Although our cabin was towards the back of the ship, we were never bothered by the sound of the engine or the distance from the center of the ship. Cabin- Our cabin was a mini- suite on the Caribe level. it consisted of a king size bed, a pull-out double couch, and a twin bunk style bed that comes from the ceiling. The mattress on the bunk was foam and very comfortable, we moved the mattress on the pull our couch onto the floor the first night and every night after our cabin steward did this for us since the spring were a little hard but the foam mattress was soft. The king size bed is basically two twin mattresses pushed together this mattress was also comfortable. The extra room was perfect for our family and having a balcony is well worth the money. The closet space was set up very nicely and we never had a problem space problem while aboard. The fitness center over looked the ocean and was well equipped. The pools were amazing and had a kids pool and an adult pool that were beautiful. There were plenty of lounge chair all around this area. Service- Our cabin seward, Jon, was the best. Every time we passed him, or any of the stewards in the hall they greeted us or smiled. We were very impressed by the way our room was magically all cleaned up ( pull out bed put away and bunk put away too, new towels etc.) while we were out of it. He also setup our beds fro nighttime too. He did this by taking all the beds back out, folding the corner of the sheet over, and outing a chocolate on each bed. We were treated like royalty. The service in the dining room and buffet were excellent. The dinning room was like a first class restaurant ( the best one I have ever eaten at. Room service is great too, every night we got milk and chocolate chip cookies in our room...it was a great touch Kid's Program- For teenagers this program is a good way to meet people. You basically go to the teen center until you make friends and then can break away with them and do whatever you want. For all you parents, your kids may want to stay out until 12 , 1, or 2 o'clock. Trust me the boat is a safe place and there is no need to worry. Plus, there is always youth security where the kids are. Also if your children will be roaming the boat alone make sure they have heir own room card- they can buy stuff with it- soda sticker is on it (which by the way is well worth the 26 dollars you pay for it and save all the time of signing for the receipt), and they can get into the room whenever they want. Remember to tell them that they don't have to walk al the way back up to the room to tell you something, they can just call your room on any public phone to get in touch with you for absolutely no money. Ports and Excursion- All the ports were excellent and the scenic cruising day were great too. We recommend to go to the musher's camp. We got to ride with the dog play with them and we learned a lot too. This excursion is great for people of all ages and is a must see in Alaska. We also went on a excursion that was whale watching, glacier viewing and a salmon bake. This excursion really gave you a taste of Alaska. The Mendenhall glacier is beautiful, amazing and also a must see in Alaska. There was a naturalist on board who was very knowledgeable and entertaining during the scenic cruising. Shows- The shows on this ship were excellent. My only tip is to just go with your gut instinct. If a show seems interesting then just go...you can always leave f you don't like it. Overall- This cruise was amazing. Princess is a great cruise line and we will definitely be sailing with them again. In fact, we have already planned a cruise for next summer on the Caribbean Princess!! Read Less
Sail Date: July 2005
We arrived in Anchorage early to see the sights there. We, as in my husband, 2 children ages 2 & 7, my mother-in-law & father-in-law & sister-in-law. The Best Western at Shipcreek-awesome salmon in the creek, fishing right ... Read More
We arrived in Anchorage early to see the sights there. We, as in my husband, 2 children ages 2 & 7, my mother-in-law & father-in-law & sister-in-law. The Best Western at Shipcreek-awesome salmon in the creek, fishing right there, you can rent gear. The rooms were nice, but walk in closet is a joke. We were there only a few minutes when we received a call, we were too loud, try keeping 2 children under control after sitting on a van for over 2 hours & they were so excited about finally being there. Needless to say we spent our trip trying to hush our kids. My suggestion would be to make certain levels/areas for families & leave the couples on honeymoon & elderly people not used to excited kids on vacation in an area away from noisy families. Princess offered the cruise as family friendly & I have to laugh at that statement & have set my friends saving for this trip to look else where for family friendly. The indoor pool was adult only most of the day. Now it was not a kid friendly pool since the kids could not touch bottom to begin with, but trying to find a time when it was not nap time or bed time (even then we were chased out for the teen party) was very hard & frustrating. By the way yes there are outdoor pools, but when cruising it was windy & too cool to swim outside. The lady in the boutique was very rude to my crying 2 year old daughter, telling her to hush, while I had to stand in line for 10 minutes waiting to make my purchase, while another sales lady stood at her register looking busy not waiting on people. Our room steward was very nice, but we did not feel pampered. The shows were great. The food was really good, dessert lacked taste. The wait to get on & off the boat was awful. Especially in the rain in Ketchikan. Make sure to pack rain ponchos, they come in handy! We were on board on the 4th of July, however it was not celebrated other than, cakes sat out on display, wait staff wore red, white & blue attire & the show that evening had a title about all American. What a disappointment to us. What truly made our trip the most wonderful, once in a life time experience was the beautiful sites we saw a long the way narrated by the most informative, entertaining person on the bot, Barbara, the Naturalist. Make sure to set aside the time to go to her talks & tune in to her when possible. I doubt we will ever use Princess Cruise Lines again, but Barbara made us forget how awful other parts of our cruise was. Oh, yeah I won't forget to say the staff working with the kids in the Princess Pelicans were awesome also. They made my son's trip enjoyable & memorable. The excursions were very nice, Skagway the Yukon, White Pass train up to the summit is a must. Juneau- Mendenhall Glacier is wonderful, we did the Hatchery, glacier, salmon bake combo, skip the hatchery & do a trip out to the Glacier. However the salmon bake was absolutely the best! The food was good, but the rain forest was so beautiful. You can walk up to see a gold mine entrance, a waterfall that will take your breath away & many beautiful trees, flowers & sights. Ketchikan we walked around town, my in laws were treated to a cruise around town with Classic tours (I booked this on my own from an ad in AAA book) & they loved it! Upon departure in Vancouver we had to wait for a cab- make arrangements ahead of time- we stayed at the Holiday Inn- AWFUL!!! the elevator is tiny & you will wait 30 minutes or more to get all your bags upstairs. Stay on the water, Grandville Island is a must. All in all we had a good time, but feel that Princess could have made the trip more enjoyable for our family by taking the adults only signs on the indoor pool down & making a more family friendly atmosphere. I believe the brochures & print available is misleading & does not state areas are adults only. My children were charged the same price as adults, discounts given to # of people, not ages. Therefore we should not have to put ourselves in the position to upset fellow passengers by being in restricted area, Princess should not have the signs up period! Again, memories of a life time was made, but Princess did not do their job in providing my family the vacation of a lifetime. We would have to think really hard before using Princess Cruise lines again. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2005
We cruised on Coral out of Vancouver on the July 23rd sailing. We arrived in Vancouver 4 days in advance and stayed in the Westin Bayshore Resort. This is a beautiful hotel and has a superb location. This was our 7th cruise and our 3rd ... Read More
We cruised on Coral out of Vancouver on the July 23rd sailing. We arrived in Vancouver 4 days in advance and stayed in the Westin Bayshore Resort. This is a beautiful hotel and has a superb location. This was our 7th cruise and our 3rd on Princess. My husband and I are in our early 50s and our friends that we were travelling with are about 10 years older. We arrived at the ship at 11AM and were in our mini suite at 11:45. We met the couple we were travelling with and were having lunch by noon. This was a wonderful cruise. In fact I liked this ship better than the Star and the Grand. The food was good to very good and the service was excellent. I would say that our room steward was superb. There is a lot of selling going on but I just ignore it and enjoy my cruise. I was very impressed with the naturalist on board the ship. Her narration was interesting and informative. She was joined by park rangers in Glacier National Park and they were also great. I appreciated having someone explain what we were seeing and supplying interesting history. Needless to say the scenery was breathtaking. My pictures are awesome. The passengers on the ship were of varied ages but leaning toward 60. There were many extended families of children, parents, and grandparents. There were not many children on board and those on board were well behaved and kept very busy. The entertainment was varied enough to keep everyone happy. We took a number of shore excursions booked through Princess. We went deep sea fishing in Ketchikan and Juneau. We caught a lot of fish. In Skagway we went on the off road jeep adventure. The scenery was amazing because we went to the Yukon in an area called Three Valleys.....Wow what a view. The trip however was dangerous. The jeeps were not maintained and the road was not graded. One jeep broke down and had to be abandoned, another tipped over and the passengers were injured, our jeep over heated and the muffler fell off. Princess should rethink sub contracting with this company. After the cruise we went on a four night land tour with Princess. We took the train to Denali and then went on to Fairbanks. This was a fantastic trip. The train ride was a little too long...9 hours. The scenery from the train however was truly beautiful. The scenery in Denali was also everything I have read about it. All 4 of us had a super time. The lodges in Denali and Fairbanks were both beautiful and comfortable. We would go back on this trip in a minute. My compliments to Coral Princess for a job well done! Read Less
Sail Date: October 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: November 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
Just got back from a wonderful 10 days on the Coral Princess doing the Panama Canal and wanted to post my review while things were still fresh. Some background on us, for my partner and I this was our 7th cruise and our 5th with Princess. ... Read More
Just got back from a wonderful 10 days on the Coral Princess doing the Panama Canal and wanted to post my review while things were still fresh. Some background on us, for my partner and I this was our 7th cruise and our 5th with Princess. We flew down with Air Canada and made it to Fort Lauderdale on the morning of embarkation day. We grabbed a taxi from the airport which cost us $15 with tip. Fort Lauderdale was visibly damaged by Hurricane Wilma with many power lines down and much debris, damaged homes and businesses apparent. Our hearts sank when we saw the state of the city. We made it to Port Everglades in reasonable time given the situation and were in the terminal by 1130 and on the ship within minutes of arrival. There were almost no lines and embarkation was a breeze. We had booked an ocean view mini suite on this ship, Caribe 204, and were really pleased with our decision. The cabin is really large, 302 sq. ft. to be exact and our first mini suite. We had previously booked either ocean view or balcony cabins so this was a real treat to have such large quarters. The bathroom was really nicely sized with a tub/shower combination and a good amount of storage space. The large closet and enclosed shelving provided more than enough space for a 10 day cruise. We did have all the promised upgraded amenities in this cabin. The towels were really thick and soft. The bedding was as promised luxurious ivory coloured Egyptian cotton. The new mattresses were firm but very comfortable and certainly much better than the usual mattresses. We also were able to choose from a selection of pillows and ask our cabin steward for the orthopedic pillows like the ones we use at home. Finally we were offered and given our welcome glasses of champagne and in fact our steward brought us 2 extra for our friends who were cruising with us. I have to say that I didn't miss having a balcony on this cruise. I certainly appreciated the extra inside space more than a balcony. The seating area of this cabin is very large, bigger than the bedroom area. It has space for 2 chairs and a couch large enough to seat 4. In addition there are two wide shelves on either side of the couch for more storage than we could possibly use. We often had both TVs on at the same time to give us the ability to watch from the bed or the seating area at the same time. To those who like to be able to be outside, there is the balcony at the front of the ship which is just steps away from the cabin. This was a great vantage point to view the Panama Canal as we passes through the Gatun Locks. Our cabin steward George did a great job for the whole cruise, he was always available when we needed something but was never intrusive. Our cabin was always miraculously tided up when we returned from breakfast or dinner. Service on this cruise was outstanding to say the least. From our previously mentioned cabin steward to the waiters in the dining rooms and buffet we had nothing to complain about in this regard. The buffet waiters quickly cleared plates and glasses from the tables. We never had a difficult time finding clean table to eat at in the buffet. We observed the buffet staff helping passengers with their plates and glasses on a several occasions when they were in need of assistance. We had anytime dining and made a standing reservation for a table for six. We did this after having a long wait for a table on the first formal night. We realized that on this particular ship, most of the passengers seemed to want to eat early and that if we didn't want to wait, we should make a reservation. In fact, this was likely not necessary as the rest of the week there was never anyone in line waiting for a table. I think we over reacted to our one wait. For those who haven't been on either of the Coral or Island sister ships, I have to say that they are wonderful beautiful ships that I would recommend to anyone. They are well laid out and very spacious. We often wondered where the other 2000 passengers were even on sea days. The Lotus pool in particular was a great place to be. It is the covered pool area with two whirl pool tubs. It has a lot of greenery, wonderful teak floors and thickly padded teak loungers. I spent a lot of time there as well as the gym next door. My one complaint about this area is that the washroom is not in the change room for the gym as it is on other Princess ships. The gym is well equipped and we never had difficultly finding a treadmill to use. The ship is decorated much like the rest of the Princess ships, understated elegance which we find appealing and very little glitter and glam which we don't. I do like the layout of the Horizon Court buffet. The buffet is set up in islands rather than one long line. This way one can jump from station to station rather than wait in one long line just to get a couple of things. The Horizon Court is up at the front of the ship and offers wonderful views. Two criticisms would be related to two of the ship's show lounges. Firstly the Universe Lounge's second floor has somewhat poor site lines due to the chromed railings. Secondly, the Princess theatre really isn't large enough for the number of passengers who do want to attend the shows there. Overall we found the food on this ship to be excellent. There were a few misses but the waiters were always quick to notice when we weren't enjoying something and offered us an alternative choice immediately. Certain things in the buffet weren't really very good, such as the hash browns, but strangely enough they were good in the dining room. A few excellent things we had included the lobster on formal night, beef carpaccio, chocolate hazelnut soufflE, pina colada chilled soup, rack of lamb, love boat dream and too many others to list here. The entertainment on this cruise was some of the best we've encountered on a Princess cruise. There were two singers, Michelle Murlin from Broadway and Jonathan Kane who did an Elton John show that were both incredible. I don't recall Princess having this type of show in the past, but I hope they continue to offer this type of show on future cruises. Curtain Up and Dance were the two big shows that I attended and both were very well received. In Ocho Rios we spent a very nice afternoon at Margaritaville. For those who haven't been to Ocho Rios Margaritaville is only a few minute walk from where the ship docks. There is a small beach there and we enjoyed a beach day there swimming and sunning. Our day in Panama started early with the transit through the Gatun Locks which really are a site to behold. It is so hard to believe that our ship actually fit through the locks. There really is less than 3 feet on either side of the ship when in a lock. We did not do an excursion here but did get off the ship when it docked at Cristobal. Unfortunately we did not dock at Colon 2000 which I understand has much better shopping. While in Costa Rica we did the Jungle Boat Eco Tour on the Mawamba boats. This was great as we were able to see many different types of birds, several howler monkeys, sloths and crocodiles. This was booked through Princess and the whole thing was well organized and well worth the cost. Our Grand Cayman visit was spent walking around and shopping. They are still recovering from Hurricane Ivan and much construction was going on. I've never been impressed with Costa Maya and unfortunately that was our stop instead of Cozumel because of Hurricane Wilma. I was looking forward to Cozumel, but I hope the people there get back on there feet quickly after all the destruction they endured. There were very few children on this cruise and I expect that is the case with most cruises that are longer than one week and not during holiday season. Despite this, I was disappointed that Princess did not enforce their rules. Everyday there were several children in the Adults only pool. There are two other pools that are for everyone, there is no reason that children should be in the adults only pool. Princess needs to enforce their rules. Overall this was a wonderful cruise. I would certainly book another itinerary on this ship again without hesitation. I would also recommend a cruise on this ship to anyone who asks. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2005
Having sailed with Princess on four previous cruises, we were looking forward to this cruise with much anticipation. Dining: This met our expectations... our waiters were terrific and the service was as good if not better than many fine ... Read More
Having sailed with Princess on four previous cruises, we were looking forward to this cruise with much anticipation. Dining: This met our expectations... our waiters were terrific and the service was as good if not better than many fine restaurants. The food was generally very good but aside from the main entrees, the rest of the selections were not as remarkable as I remember them from years past, they were generally the same from day to day. Room: Clean, well attended, completely met our expectations. We had a balcony room, we always get a balcony room. Well, just our luck... two balcony's over from us was a room with four kids. Princess swears they don't put kids alone in a balcony room but they did this time. These underage kids were outrageously drunk on that balcony most all the time... swearing cursing and threatening others around them. They had a boom box turned up so loud we could hear it in the shower. They played it until late at night - every night. They were also smoking pot quite often... since we were downwind, we had to endure it every day if we wanted to enjoy our own balcony. Several neighboring cabins were outraged and demanded to be "moved" to other rooms and they were; we tried but there were no more rooms. Several times they had my wife in tears as they threatened her and called her names after she asked them to turn their boom box down at midnight. What is so astounding and astonishing is that officials on the boat took absolutely no action despite our direct complaints and the many complaints that dozens of guests had with this outright illegal and rude behavior. I'm not sure why Princess turned their back on this - it literally ruined our vacation despite all the good points.  Entertainment: We always attended the main events after dinner and we were always very entertained. One complaint though: Generally way way too loud. Aside from that, lots of fun. Excursions and stops: The Panama City tour was very good, great tour guide. The Costa Rica Coffee Plantation tour was superb!! I would highly recommend that. The Canal: what a gas! This was terrific! Again, highly recommended. The ship itself it beautiful... perhaps the nicest we've seen yet. And very clean. But, we have watched Princess slowly turn from a classy top notch operation into another version of the Carnival Ships. You are "nickel and dimed" by everything and the overall quality has dropped significantly. I don't think there is any blame for the crew - they did an overall super job - but Carnival sure knows how to lower the bar of quality. And sadly, our experiences with the kids and their drinking and dope smoking on the balconies every night and all day, and the lack of any reasonable response from Princess, has driven us away from them. I think we'll look at Celebrity or Seaborne next time. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2005
My wife and I have been cruising the Caribbean at least once or twice a year for the past 30 years. We've been on more ships than I can remember. The couple with whom we were travelling has similar cruise experience. We felt we never ... Read More
My wife and I have been cruising the Caribbean at least once or twice a year for the past 30 years. We've been on more ships than I can remember. The couple with whom we were travelling has similar cruise experience. We felt we never saw such a study in contrast before. We were on the Coral Princess for the 10-day Panama Canal cruise sailing December 14 from Port Everglades (Ft. Lauderdale). Embarkation was an absolute breeze. We've never been whisked aboard so quickly or effortlessly. There were virtually no other passengers on the pier when we arrived at around 1 PM! Don't know where they were and frankly, never saw most of them on the cruise (more about that later). On board we were met at the gangway and told where we could find our staterooms. First ship I've been on where someone didn't escort you to your room. Once we found it we tried to find the steward but he was nowhere around. Finally caught another steward who told us our steward was taking some kind of class (uh oh!). This steward gave us the basic information and was kind enough to open the door on the division separating our two balconies to form one long balcony. We've come to love fantail suites as they give you the most privacy and best views. The balconies tend to be a little larger, too. Not the case here as there are no fantail suites, so we took the last two mini-suites in the stern. The view was wonderful! Our steward finally showed up. We told him that we shower twice a day and wanted towels and washcloths for that. He never was able to get that right, but he did come close. He also was "out" of bathmats. The assistant purser was incredulous when we told him. A bathmat showed up in our room a few minutes later. We also asked for extra glasses in both rooms. He never got that right, either, but, as before, he came close. Entertainment and activities aboard were among the most dismal we have ever encountered. The "singers" and "dancers" could neither carry a tune nor stay in step with each other. Seemed very amateurish with a few outstanding exceptions. Comedian "Sarge" was hilarious. Pianist Roger Carr in Crooner's Lounge was absolutely outstanding. Rather than in this small area, he should have been booked into the Wheelhouse Lounge in order to accommodate the passengers who enjoyed him nightly. People were literally dragging chairs from all over the deck to listen to him. Very poor planning on the part of whoever books the talent. The Wheelhouse, by the way, was empty every night, probably due to an eastern European group that was passable but had to search through their music books for each song. Activities, as mentioned, were extremely limited. Not too many things to do other than the casino or the shops. A few people showed up at the Trivia game, as did we. The big push was for bingo and the art auctions (did those people really spend that kind of money?) We've been through the Caribbean so many times that we don't bother with the tours. We love the boats and the time away from business. We stay up late and sleep late when on vacation (although there was virtually nothing to do after midnight except visit the casino). The disco was the only thing going after midnight and the music was definitely not for us. Apparently it wasn't for anyone else either as it was always empty after 12. Why Princess can't have a lounge or two open late is beyond me. Believe it or not, Princess, not everyone on your ship goes to bed at 11! It did seem that way, though, because until the last few nights we saw very few passengers at night. We opted for traditional seating in the Provence dining room. We were on late seating as always. The room was never more than half full and we found that if we didn't want to be there at 8:15 for dinner, it didn't matter. We usually wandered in around 9 and had no problems with service at that time. Waiter was always ready. I suppose it didn't matter, as they were never that busy. The food was, without a doubt, among the best I've ever had afloat as was the presentation of the food (we're speaking of dinners in the Provence). It was truly one of the high points of the cruise. The other point we found wonderful..the Horizon Court buffet where we had breakfast and lunch every day. As I mentioned, we're late risers at sea. Horizon Court serves breakfast until 11:30 and lunch until 4:30. This is at least two hours longer than most other cruise lines and is a major plus. The ship itself is magnificent. She's a beauty! The interior exudes elegance, not glitz. Cleanliness is a priority with hand disinfectant dispensers all over the ship. Too bad the philosophy doesn't extend to the public ladies rooms, according to my wife her friend. They said that all the public ladies rooms they visited were always messy with paper towels all over and water and soap all over the sinks and floors. I found the men's rooms, though, to be perfectly spotless. Also found a curious way of making the beds in the staterooms. They don't use top sheets unless requested...just a comforter. Our steward never informed us of this. We didn't find out until two days before the cruise ended (from another steward, of course). The pool areas are really quite lovely. We spent all our pool time in the Lotus Spa pool. Sorry, it doesn't measure up to the spa pools on Celebrity's Millennium-class (probably the best afloat). Also, found it hard to understand why there were never any pool attendants available. Always had to chase one down (I was told there are only three for the entire ship!) to get towels. One day the attendant told me I should be bringing the pool towels my steward left in the room. Excuse me...what towels left by WHO? Also found it inexcusable that they never enforced the age or diving rules that were posted in the Lotus pool area. People frequently couldn't get into the pool because kids were constantly jumping into it. The hot tubs (2) were unbearably hot. We were told they were set at 105 degrees. That's HOT!That, combined with jets that came out under your thighs, made the whole experience a little tough. As beautiful as she is, the Coral Princess can be a bit noisy, especially when docking. As mentioned, we were in the stern, over the propellers and thrusters. On early morning arrivals were we rousted out of bed with noise and vibration that felt like the hull was coming apart! As I mentioned earlier, I've been on all sorts of ships and boats for many years and never felt anything like that. I would definitely recommend booking a room no further astern than the rear elevator. This was our second Princess cruise and probably the fifth or sixth for the other couple. It will probably be our last with Princess which is really a shame. The ship and food are wonderful. It just needs a lot of fine tuning that I think is impossible to accomplish. We got the feeling that we were experiencing the effects of very deep cost cutting and cost cutting like that is going to cost Princess a lot of passengers if they want to continue to compete with Celebrity and the like. There appears to be a strong philosophical/operational difference between Carnival Corporation and RCI. Read Less
Coral Princess Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 4.0 0.0
Public Rooms 4.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 0.0
Family 5.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 3.0 0.0
Enrichment 4.0 0.0
Service 4.0 0.0
Value For Money 4.0 0.0
Rates 4.0 0.0

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