266 Princess Coral Princess Cruise Reviews

We embarked from Vancouver on May 21 for our Alaskan Cruise. We were checked in in a matter of minutes and in our mini-suite. First impression of the ship was awe-struck. It was simply beautiful. The Coral Princess is a very up-scale ship ... Read More
We embarked from Vancouver on May 21 for our Alaskan Cruise. We were checked in in a matter of minutes and in our mini-suite. First impression of the ship was awe-struck. It was simply beautiful. The Coral Princess is a very up-scale ship and the decor was gorgeous. My husband and I walked around and became familiar with where everything was before heading to the Horizon Court for a lunch buffet. I wish I could say something really positive about the Horizon Court but for us it was below standard in quality. The only meals that we somewhat enjoyed there were breakfast and after several mornings we ended up in the main dining room for breakfast and it was delicious. I will get back to the dining experiences a little later. We booked a mini-suite on the ninth floor. Our cabin was perfect for us. We had a balcony and as the cruise progressed we realized that a balcony stateroom was the only way to travel on an Alaskan cruise. The scenery was breathtaking everyday. But our only complaint was that we were at the very back of the ship so therefore we had to walk "forever" after getting off the elevator to get to the main features of the ship. In doing another cruise we will make sure we get our room towards the middle of the ship. Our cabin steward was very nice but not very talkative. We had a hard time understanding him sometimes but he was very attentive and brought us anything we requested. The entertainment on the ship was first class on the nights that the Coral Princess Singers/Dancers performed. The only problem was that they only put on 3 or 4 performances. They were simply fantastic. The other nights featured comedians/magicians and etc and for us were somewhat boring. We wish they had booked some other types of entertainment such as famous groups that other ships do, but they only had one performance with one original Drifter and the Theater was so crowded we didn't get a seat. They have a nice casino on board if that is your cup of tea. We enjoyed that and actually won some money so that was nice. We stopped in the ports of Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway and had excursions in each of those ports. Our favorite excursion was the Yukon Experience in Skagway. It was 7 hours long but worth it. The scenery was gorgeous and we were treated to a very nice meal. We had a great tour guide who made the trip even better. Our excursion to the Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau was okay but we were disappointed in that we didn't get to be closer to it and had to admire it from afar. We did the Totem Pole Excursion in Ketchikan and it was so boring. I don't recommend that to anyone. The scenic cruising through Glacier Bay National Park and College Fjord was fantastic but it was so cold that we froze out on the decks while trying to film everything. The weather was cold the entire trip but especially those two places where it was in the 40s. Pack plenty of warm clothing!!! We had hoped on this cruise we would get to witness plenty of wildlife but we were disappointed that all we saw was some sea otters, a few whales in the distance that we could barely see, and a small black bear on our way to the Yukon. Other than that, we didn't witness much of anything. My husband was very disappointed because this was what he was most interested in for this cruise. Back to the food.....Well we had an early booking in the Provence Dining Room that started at 6:00. We were seated at a table with 5 other couples and I guess we were fortunate because we enjoyed visiting with all of them. We had all ages at our table and everyone was gracious, funny and entertaining. We elected to forego the formal nights on this cruise, mainly because we just didn't want to pack formal wear. The food in the dining room was considerably better than the Horizon Court Buffet but still it lacked seasoning, and the portions were so small. My husband usually left every night still hungry and that should never happen. We had a very sweet waiter who was very attentive. Our only other cruise was with Royal Caribbean and to us, the food was like day and night compared to this cruise. The bread was already on our tables and was cold. Also another complaint and word of advice if you are seating at a large table is that most of the time you have to wait until everyone shows up for the waiter to take your orders then you have to wait until everyone is finished to be served desert. Sadly we had two really slow eaters at our table so that was kind of irritating as the week went along. Our favorite night was the last night. We were celebrating our anniversary on this cruise so the head waiter came to our table and brought us a special cake and sang to us. We also had another couple at our table celebrating their anniversary along with newlyweds so they both got cakes. We took alot of pictures and this was a fun night. Breakfast in the main dining room was so much better than the buffet. I strongly recommend this to anyone and in fact I would never recommend the Horizon Court to anyone. Disembarkation was very smooth and overall this cruise was wonderful. But my husband and I agree that Royal Caribbean is our choice of cruise lines. Princess Ships are beautiful but food is very important and in our opinion the food was below standards. Read Less
Sail Date May 2007
Cruise Review Coral Princess April 8-18, 2007 This cruise was the 6th one for me. We are a group of 12 and all of them have cruised before. I have cruised with 3 of them several times.... One of them has cruised about 13 times. ... Read More
Cruise Review Coral Princess April 8-18, 2007 This cruise was the 6th one for me. We are a group of 12 and all of them have cruised before. I have cruised with 3 of them several times.... One of them has cruised about 13 times. We've cruised with Princess, Carnival, Royal Caribbean and NCL. So it's an experienced group. We chose this cruise for a couple of reasons. First off, part of the group was a family of 4 (1 girl 12 y/o & 1 boy 7y/o) and their daughter was studying the Panama Canal in school. Also, the group had all wanted to cruise the Panama Canal at some point, whether it was a round trip (as we did) or a transition from the East coast to West coast or vice versa. We booked this cruise about 1 year ahead of time. We all made our own flight arrangements. We did not use Princess air. Too many restrictions and too expensive. We all arrived on Saturday, April 7, the day before the cruise and stayed at the Ramada Inn Ft. Lauderdale. Very nice hotel. They have a center area where the pool is and it's landscaped like a tropical paradise. They also have a Tiki bar during the day. They don't have elevators so take that into consideration if any of your party is disabled. One of our group members had a stroke several years ago and requires a wheelchair for distances. Luckily, we were on the ground floor. Had we not been, I would of requested it as I was the first to arrive. The Ramada does have shuttle buses from the airport to the hotel and from the hotel to the pier. They also have a restaurant on the premises and it has great food.... On April 8th we boarded the shuttle bus @ 11:30 a.m. for the approx. 15 min drive to the pier to board our ship. Embarkation was pretty easy. Our only hold up was the line we chose for our deck. There were 2 passengers that had a problem due to the computer not having all the correct info. It held up the line for about 30min. They should have taken them out of the line and not held everyone up. We finally got into a 2nd line and got through our processing. We had our sign/sail card and off to board the ship.... We were embarking by about 12:30-12:45 p.m. Went right to our room and dropped stuff off to go eat. We had 2 sea days which were thoroughly enjoyed poolside. FYI, the pool on the Coral Princess is a deep one. Never experienced this before. It goes from 5'2" to 7'2". It was great but surprising. It is also fresh water and I love that. On our 2nd sea day we had rough seas and the pool became a wave pool..... Literally! It would go down/over on the water from 3"-4-5".... It was wild. Very warm and had a great time. Our first port was the Panama Canal crossing. I had scoped out what I thought would be a great spot after being on the Caribbean Princess and finding a private area that most people don't know about. Luckily the Coral Princess had the same spot. I knew I wanted to be in the front going through the first time. I did not want to be up on the decks with a 1000 other folks fighting for space and trying to see through the glass panels. I found my spot, told my group and planned to be up early to get that spot saved. Which I did. All 12 of us were out there along with maybe 10 others but mostly all by ourselves. My plan worked.....lol.... It was awesome. They have these little train engines (several of them) that hook up to the ship to help guide it through the Canal. It's mainly to keep it straight as there is about 5-6" each side to not scrape. Ship is under their own power but does need to be guided. You have 3 locks for the Gatun Locks. You go in, the water fills and you go through. We all did feel the rise and descent going the other way.. It's quite fun. On the way back through, we got our prime spot in the aft of the ship and watched a cargo ship coming through behind us. It was awesome. We even had room service delivered to our aft spot. It was great. After coming back through, we docked in Cristobol. You can disembark for some shopping. And those that did excursions, getting off in the Gatun Lake to do Panama Canal excursions, boarded back on here. They have a warehouse there for vendors. Some cute things. Two things to beware of regarding this port. One is that it is VERY HOT in Panama. Make sure you have water, a hat and sunscreen. Second, if you go to the warehouse for shopping, there are some local, native vendors that are almost naked. Mainly the women are topless but the guys aren't wearing very much either. So if you have kids, be aware. So off to Costa Rica. The next day we arrived in Limon, Costa Rica. My dad had told me that if we did any excursion, do the San Jose one. But everyone on the boards disagreed with that. Plus it was very early in the a.m. and very far away. So our group decided to do the Eco/Countryside tour. It included a tour of a Banana Plantation (very interesting), a river tour (very cool) and saw a sloth, birds, a gecko and a native kid was in a boat shoreside holding a small crocodile or alligator. Not sure which it was. Then we did a ride on a train over the countryside. There is alot of impoverished folks in that area but they seemed friendly and happy to see us. Then back to the ship... We had a sea day between Limon and our next port. Spent it poolside as usual..... The next port was Ocho Rios, Jamaica. I loved this port. Loved the area and the people were very nice. Our group did many different things here. I did the Chukka Cove Horseback Ride/Swim along the beach... Absolutely loved it. I have had horses/ridden for over 30 years but recently had a scare that almost made me cancel this excursion. Glad I didn't. We did about a 30-40 minute ride along the beach and trails. Then got to this cove area where they took off the saddles, put on bareback pads and we rode the horses in the ocean for about 10-15 minutes. I loved it.... I stressed a little wondering how we would not float off the horses back.. But the bareback pads have breast collars that keep them on.... It was tons of fun... They do have people there that take photos of you while you ride in the ocean. The cost is 6 photos for $20.. They have a computer there so you can view/pick the photos and then they put them on CD for you.... It was cool. My horses name was Volcano..... And he did well...... Next port was Grand Cayman. Again, our group went in different directions. I'm the only diver of the group and chose the 2 tank dive for adv. divers through Princess. I had tried to do Stingray City in Dec. on another cruise but it had been canceled. This dive did a dive of the North Wall first and then included a dive at Stingray City. The dive shop Princess used was Resort Sports who is associated Spanish Bay Resort. They took us by van to the dock. We did the first dive and it was great. But the Stingray City dive was the highlight. You get to feed the Stingrays and just watch them. They are so graceful.. And very large..... You do have to be careful if feeding as they are like dogs that got the first taste and want to come back for more. They didn't believe I didn't have more and ended with 2 hickies from these creatures. One is a golf ball size bruise/hicky.... They have very strong suction. Then back to the ship... It was a short port day leaving at 3pm so once back at the dock, I shopped a little then back on the ship. Then next port was Cozumel. I was supposed to dive this port too. I had booked privately with Scuba with Alison but had to cancel. I had bad allergies and should not have dived in Grand Cayman but thought I was fine. I wasn't. More detail in the review of Grand Cayman that I'll put in the Scuba Section. Not only was Alison ok with the cancel but gave me advice on what happened. Also, the Noreaster that came through the U.S. affected Cozumel as well. The day I was in G.C. the harbor master canceled all boats from diving in Cozumel. And the next day, the day I was in Cozumel, they did the same. So I couldn't have done dives anyways. So our entire group went off to Nacchi Cocum for a beach day. It's a private excursion that is along the beach. The day started out cool but then got nice & hot. They have a pool, hot tub and provide lunch as well. The pool however, was ridiculously cold. I couldn't use it. The hot tub was warm but warmed up more as the sun came out. They have lounge chairs, some shade areas. FYI, the give you alot of food for lunch. The appetizers alone filled almost all of us up. They also have wave runners & snorkel equipment avail. The ocean was cold to the first toe touch but quickly warmed up.... So off to snorkel I go.. Found some little reefs with lot's of fish.... Very cool. We were there from about 11:30 to 5 p.m. We got back to the ship and did some shopping in a little mall area. The next day was a sea day.... And our last sea day...... Spent poolside of course.. And packing..... Then we arrived back to Ft. Lauderdale. We all had flights after 1 p.m. so none of us were in a hurry to leave the ship. We got up at 9 a.m. and then had breakfast relaxing until they made us leave. We found a van right outside the port and off to the airport we went. Ports- I liked all the ports. My least favorite was Costa Rica. Though our excursion was great, the way people live there is depressing. Costa Rica needs to upgrade some areas if they want cruise ships to come back. My favorite ports were Jamaica and Grand Cayman. Ship- I do love the ship. It's really nice. Staff very friendly. One of my roommates had to use the medical facilities and said they were great. The Dr. was wonderful. Our waiters, Tomas and Nicky were awesome. Remember, one of our group was in a wheelchair. I have to say, Princess was wonderful about that. Between our waiters helping to seat her, to their room steward looking out for her. No one made her feel inferior that I saw. Very accommodating on the excursions too. Amazing. I do have issues with our room steward and our room. It was a mini suite w/balcony. FYI, I was in D616 but the balcony was not covered. Some are, some aren't. We were open to the world above. The first day, the hinge on the closet door was almost off. Finally fixed on day 6. I had asked online for bathrobes for all 3 of us. Didn't get them until day 7 or 8. The couch bed had a horrible mattress. Our roommate had to get an eggcrate mattress as she could feel the bar under the mattress. We got those quickly but the room steward felt very put out by having to remove them daily to make the couch as the couch would not fold up with them on. Did he really think we wouldn't want to use the couch for visitors? Then after Panama, we had a bunch of bugs in our room. In the afternoon we killed 3-4 flying mosquito type bugs. But that night, they were all over the couch bed. Our roommate refused to sleep in the bed. We killed them and got her a roll away type bed. The next day they fumigated and bugs were all gone. When we told the steward, he asked if we had the balcony open. Well duh!! Did they think we would pay extra for a balcony and not use it??? I did not hear of anyone else having a bug problem. So that was weird. Excursions- I liked all of them. The only complaint I had is that when I questioned the excursion desk about the Jamaican excursion and belongings, she obviously had not been on it or knew anything about it to guide me. FYI, on the horseback riding excursion, you can bring a bag. But wear shorts with pockets or a small fanny pack that you can put your money or valuable in. They will bring your bag to you at the cove so you can dry off or change clothes after the swim and then take it back to the stables where you will ride back too. Food- At first, to me, it was not very good at all. It got better after Panama. We kept joking that they must have put the Chef overboard at Panama and got a new one. It was just weird, fancy stuff that wasn't that appealing. I kept going to the "always available" section for steak or salmon. And the deserts were odd too..... I just didn't care for it. I thought the food on the Carnival Valor in Dec. was far superior.... As did 2 members of our group that were on the Dec. cruise as well. Buffet was good.. Big variety. But they don't know Mexican food. They need education there. There was always pizza available and the hamburgers and such. I loved their chicken breast sandwich on the grill. Very good. The ice cream you have to pay for. Ridiculous I say. But each day from 3-4pm or 3-5pm they have ice cream for free in the Horizon Buffet. Spa- I used it on the last sea day for a massage. I still feel they are very pricey but the massage I had which was a deep tissue massage, was one of the best ever. Ask for Juan P. from Mexico. He was excellent. Still tried to sell me stuff but not a hard sale and when he saw I wasn't interested, he backed off. Gym- Never used it. Wanted to but never did. Entertainment- Didn't like the comedian. Can't remember his name. Saw 3 shows. The first, the beach scene one was horrible. Couldn't tell you the story line and didn't care for much of the music. And to me, Jason Chow is not a good singer. Didn't like him at all. The next 2 shows were very good to me inspite of Jason still singing. They have 4 lead singers. The other 3 are good. Enjoyed the last 2 shows. Photos- What can you say about this. I would like to run the photo dept. of all cruiselines. They are way too expensive. There is not enough variety. They have a fairly large photo area and obviously do all their own printing. Yet they continue to offer only 8X10's of formal night. All photos taken should be available in a variety of sizes. Some of us who do scrapbooks or photo albums, don't want 8X10 sizes. The staff was nice, accommodating. They are able to download your memory cards to CD's. And you can print your own photos there too. Overall I really enjoyed the cruise as it takes more than these little issues to ruin a vacation for me. I would do it again in a heartbeat. You get a wide variety of ports and things to do. Very enjoyable. Any questions, feel free to ask....... Read Less
Sail Date April 2007
This was our 3rd cruise with Princess: Mexico, Alaska, and Panama Canal. DH and I were originally booked on the 3/25 Panama Cruise from San Juan to Los Angeles. We had to change our plans and Princess gave us full credit for an April ... Read More
This was our 3rd cruise with Princess: Mexico, Alaska, and Panama Canal. DH and I were originally booked on the 3/25 Panama Cruise from San Juan to Los Angeles. We had to change our plans and Princess gave us full credit for an April cruise (we were only due 50% refund). DH and I have always enjoyed Princess but this cruise was a mixed bag of very good and very bad. We used Marriott Hotel points to book two "free" nights at the 17th Street Marriott. This was the grubbiest Marriott we have ever stayed at. Avoid it. The Coral Princess was a very comfortable ship to spend time on. It was easy to get around and find our way. Stateroom D422 is the Galapagos Suite (VS). All I can say is "WOW"! This was our first suite and it is definitely the way to go. The room steward was attentive and unobtrusive. We had priority embarking and disembarking at all ports, fresh flowers, daily fresh fruit, no charge for laundry/dry cleaning, corsages for formal night, daily canapes, daily tea, spa use, free one time bar set up and lots of other goodies throughout the cruise. We had the room steward move 2 deck chairs onto our balcony and there was still a lot of room. Our suite was on the best side to view the Panama Canal, too. Dinner fixed 2nd seating was awful! We requested a table for 2 and ended up next to a busing counter. It was loud and smelly with piles of dirty dishes. We requested another table and was told by the head waiter/supervisor he would have to check with the maitre de (whom we never saw). We only ate there twice and found other ways to spend our dinnertime. Balcony Dining is worth the little extra cost. It was tasty and the service was the best. Very romantic. We put on some music and danced under the stars. Sabatini's was a good alternative to the dining room. We ate there twice and enjoyed picking and choosing from the parade of 20+ dishes the waiters kept bringing to the table. The Bayou Cafe was excellent the first night we ate there but not as good the second night. We think it had to be a different chef working. We had the buffet one night. It was as expected; lots of choices and buffet quality. We had late lunches of hamburgers and pizza two nights and just had fruit for evening snacks. Which worked out fine for us. The lounges each had a different character: While I like the smell of cigars coming from the smoking lounge my dh didn't care for it at all. The Crooner's martini bar was right next to it and the smoke kept us from enjoying our pre-dinner drink there. We enjoyed the live music in the lounge of the Bayou Cafe during dinner. Never did see anyone on the dance floor there. The Wheelhouse Lounge was our favorite spot. The female singer was not very good but the music was wonderful for social dancing. We attend the art auctions in the Explorers Lounge and even won 4 lithographs. The casino was big and a lot of folks were enjoying it. We skipped it this trip. The Adult Only Pool area was great! The pools was lots of fun when the waves got rolling. Reading a book on the cushioned deck chairs was quiet and relaxing. The Spa was lovely but I think the prices were too high for their services. Shore Excursions have always been good on Princess. We enjoyed the Pirate Encounter, Beach Party, Eco Train & Boat Ride. Overall, this was a good trip. The suite was wonderful. However, the dining room was an issue and we wouldn't do fixed seating again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2007
This was our first cruise on Princess, our second cruise in a year. It would seem the bug bit us hard! We arrived in Ft. Lauderdale four days before the sailing date to take the opportunity to visit a friend and see some of the sights in ... Read More
This was our first cruise on Princess, our second cruise in a year. It would seem the bug bit us hard! We arrived in Ft. Lauderdale four days before the sailing date to take the opportunity to visit a friend and see some of the sights in southern Florida, something we did not have the opportunity to do on our last trip to the area. We stayed at the Hampton Inn on State Road 84 about ten minutes from downtown. It is a wonderful hotel; clean, comfortable, and a staff like none we had experienced before at any hotel. The hotel provides free light breakfast, but because it had no dining room, the staff would shuttle us to list of restaurants close to the hotel for dinner. One restaurant, within easy walking distance, is the Thai 84, a tiny restaurant in a strip mall with an exceptional menu, service and Chef. We also had fun eating at a diner down the road that had excellent food. Embarkation Smooth, efficient and well organized. Arrived at the pier at 11:20 and were in our mini-suite by 11:50 and at the Horizon Court by noon. Baggage was delivered by the time we had finished lunch and everything was tucked away before 2:00 pm. Exploring the Coral After the luggage was stored away and we met our Room Steward we were off to explore the ship. The public rooms and spaces on the Coral are nothing short of stunning. The extensive use of rich dark wood, brass, glass and warm colored carpet give Coral a feel of the old classical ocean liners. This sense is enhanced by displays of magnificent paintings of old ships that are everywhere on the ship. The same use of wood gave the dining rooms the same sense of elegance as the rest of the ship. One of the most comfortable areas on Coral is the Lotus Pool at the back of the Lido deck. This area is for adults only and the wood deck chairs, the use of huge statue of Buddha and the use of more wood and green fabric along with the quietness of the space makes in a little spot of paradise on the this ship. The rest of Coral is not a lot different than every other cruise ship. There is the casino to take your money, shops and a very high-end jewelry store, as well as lounges of all types. The theater spaces are pretty standard. Mini-suite Our suite is centrally located on the ship. A good choice for a number of reasons; it provided easy and relatively quick access to any part of the ship, provide a smooth ride when things got marginally rough, (this happened only once and the waves were only running a max. height of 8ft.). The bed was comfortable and bedding very nice with a choice of pillows based upon one's personal firmness preferences. The bathroom was a standard cruise ship size. It has a nice tub and shower, but could benefit greatly from a glass tub enclosure rather than the flimsy fabric shower curtain that has seen better days and usually wound up plastered against my back; a nasty cold feeling for sure. There is plenty of room for storage of toilet articles and medications. Nothing fancy, but pleasant enough. The couch was comfortable, the room clean, but the carpet showed wear around the balcony door, certainly nothing to deter one form enjoying this mini-suite. What we did not like about this cabin is that it is about 1/3 smaller in size than what we had on Carnival Triumph, yet cost more. Food. Cruise ship food is always very personal and subjective. Likes and dislikes will vary from person to person, so this is only how we found the food on the Coral, others may have a completely different opinion, and equally correct one. We had anytime dining and liked it very much. We never had more than a few moments wait for a table, and we did not make reservations. We always got the table for two that we enjoyed. As one would expect quality of service varied from waiter to waiter, although one waiter we had twice was exceptional. The food in the dining room was disappointing. It was certainly not of the caliber we had been expecting. It is fair to say that it was hotel banquet quality but certainly nothing more. The food was presented without imagination or flare and was never more than just warm. The exception was the second formal night when lobster was served. It was well prepared and very tasty. The Horizon Court was a different matter all together. It was consistently good buffet food with interesting dishes served hot. The dishes were original, not just left-overs from last night's dinner and were served piping hot. The lines moved efficiently because of the layout of the buffet lines with 'hot stations' on one side and 'cold stations on the other, with two 'islands' between the lines. The layout is essentially two complete restaurants, one on each side of the ship with seating arranged around the outside. The seating provides tremendous views of the sea and ports of call. The Horizon Court is an excellent restaurant for breakfast, lunch and as a sound alternative to the dining rooms for dinner. There are two 'specialty' restaurants on Coral, one excellent and the other an unmitigated disaster. Sabatini's was absolutely outstanding in all respects. The food was exciting and exceptionally well prepared. The service was impeccable. There are numerous courses, but, if one is cautious in the amount taken at each course one can make it to the end without requiring wheels to return to one's cabin! The seafood pasta course is truly to die for and the cannelloni is running a very close second. The only weakness at Sabatini's, and if it were not an Italian restaurant would not bear mentioning, is the poor bread offering. Good bread is essential to good Italian food. On the other side, literally because both Sabatini's and the Bayou restaurant operate out of the same kitchen, is the exact opposite of its neighbor. Service was exceptional only in the sense that I have had better service at fast food drive through on land. The server refused to listen to the diner's requests, and as a result ruined the dinner experience for at least one of those dining with us. For another the evening was dragged to new heights of mediocrity when the arrogant server placed his plate before him with, "Here's your dead cow!" and walked away. The food was atrocious. One almost felt the need go to the kitchen to tell the Chef that there is in fact a Cajun Cuisine and that throwing handfuls of cayenne pepper at food does not make it Cajun. The Porterhouse steak was large and served hanging off the end of the plate something I find particularly disgusting. It was cut thin and poorly butchered, leaving a large junk of gristle and fat to be the first bite. It appears that Princess has attempted to combine the Cajun restaurant concept with its very popular Sterling Steakhouse concept that is found on other ships, but not Coral. It is an interesting idea, but one that falls far short of meeting the height of either restaurant when offered on their own. The Bayou restaurant on Coral should be avoided at all costs in my opinion. But, I heard others on the same cruise comment very favorably about this restaurant, so I guess you take your chances! But we would never go back. Room service was always quick and efficient. They invariably said that the order would take 15 - 20 minutes to deliver, but it was rarely longer than 5 minutes from the time of the call. We ordered the Balcony Breakfast for the morning we went through the Panama Canal; unfortunately there was a deluge of water that the locals euphemistically refer to as "rain" so we had to eat in the cabin. For $28, the half bottle of champagne and interesting menu, made it a great breakfast buy. Had we been able to eat it on the deck it would have been a wonderful experience. Entertainment We did not attend any of he production shows, so others will have to give their opinions on those. We did take in the documentary films shown in the Universal Lounge on the construction of the Panama Canal. These made the actually trip through the Gatun Locks that much more interesting and exciting. The ship also provided a lecture on what is happening with the Panama Canal today and for the immediate future. The woman presenting the lecture was from the Marketing Dept. of the Panama Canal Authority and, not to be unkind, was a waste of time. She was clearly not a public speaker and it showed. Her presentation was boring at its height! We saw two culinary demonstrations during the ten days. The second was hilarious as the Maitre d' Hotel challenged the Coral's Chef to a cook off. If the Maitre d' Hotel ever decides to start a career in comedy he would have no trouble being a success. Together these truly talented men in their chosen professions made a culinary demonstration into entertaining show. A 'not to be missed' event! In all three "live" presentations the ship's technical crew demonstrated their complete inability and incompetence to operate the basic production equipment. Even microphone levels for these people presented an enormous operational challenge, not to mention the two video projectors. Ports Of Call This was a 10 day five stop itinerary. Cozumel : We took a Princess excursion that provided a Mexican cooking lesson at a beach resort about 20 minutes from the pier. This was a great time, with an exciting and entertaining young Chef teaching basic cookery with a Mexican flare. Well worth the time and money. Grand Cayman: We had planned to go to Boatswain's Beach but having seen the turtle farm before and hearing that the admission price had gone to $50 a head we decided to scrap that idea. We went ashore, had lunch at Senor Frogs and walked around shopping for a couple of hours. Not the best stop for shopping bargains. Costa Rica: My loving wife went zip lining through the jungle of a Princess excursion, while I let Oscar Brown tour me and four others from our Cruise Critic group around the country side for the morning. This was a great excursion that included stops at the home of one of Oscars friends to take pictures of sloths, monkeys, birds and other wild life; then on to a banana plantation to watch the harvesting, grading and packaging of bananas. We took a small flat-bottomed boat down the canal and saw more wild life. The photography opportunities are abundant and it is simply impossible not to get some good pictures. In the afternoon we did some shopping for coffee and locally made wood products. Costa Rican coffee at $5US a pound made for a long slog through the heat back to the ship!! Panama Canal/Cristobal Going through this canal is one of the truly exciting travel opportunities available and makes this Coral cruise a bargain!! I cannot tell you how fascinating going through that canal is, especially if one takes the time to learn a little about the construction of the canal at the turn of the century. The ship went through the Gatun Locks and into Gatun Lake where it dropped anchor and let those with excursions off on the tenders. Once they were all away the Coral returned back though the Gatun Locks and docked at Cristobal, Panama, the countries major port. There is a large port building on the pier that has been converted to a market. One simply walks off the gangway and into this very large shopping mall. The 'mall' is divided into two sections. One section, closest to where the returning tour buses stop is an air conditioned space lined on four sides with one shop after another. We found no really good bargains in any of these stores. At the end of this section of the building is a door out to an area referred to on Princess' shopping map as the "flea market"! This is the place to purchase handcrafts and art from the local Indians. These people make some of the finest woven baskets, paintings and wood products in Central America. There are great bargains to be had in this part of the market. Make sure you bring cash because the Indians do not take credit cards. Also Princess' shopping guru, a most annoying woman, never mentions that the local Indian women selling art in the market often do not wear clothing to cover their upper torso. As a result their breast are uncovered except for the intricate tattoos covering their upper bodies. Just a note for those who may be traveling with children or have personal 'thing' about public nudity even in the context of hundreds of years of cultural tradition. The Cristobal pier market capped what was the best day of the entire cruise! Ocho Rios, Jamaica We traveled at night from Panama towards Jamaica. In the middle of the night we were awoken by the P.A. system in the hall and looking out the window it was clear that we were making only steering speed in 7-8 ft waves. There were no alarm bells ringing so I went back to bed. We learned in the morning that the Coral bridge watch had seen a distress flare and launched a rescue boat. The boat returned to Coral with three new passengers that had been taken from a sailboat that had its mast break off three days earlier. We docked at what is referred to as the James Bond Pier, but is really just a spare pier left over from an abandoned bauxite bulk loading facility. It is a long walk into town, especially in the heat and along the side of a busy highway that has no sidewalks. We did not get off the ship in Ocho Rios having had the delightful experience of the locals swarming us to sell anything and everything, but mostly drugs, on our first visit to Jamaica a year ago. In spite of what others say, a firm "no" does not back these people off. It is a real shame because Jamaica is a beautiful island, but having to shop in gated and guarded malls is not my idea of paradise in the Caribbean! Debarkation Getting off the Coral was as easy, if not easier, than getting on. Under a relatively new Princess program, if you can carry your own bags of the ship, unassisted by ship or shore crew then you get off first. We were off at just after 7:00 in the morning. Overall Observations This was a wonderful cruise on a beautiful ship. The itinerary was excellent and there was nothing that would cause us not to take another Princess cruise based on a different itinerary. In saying that however, there is nothing that would compel us to return to Princess based upon food, cabin and service, or price. Our comparison of our Carnival Triumph cruise and the Princess Coral cruise came out pretty much a saw-off. On a per diem basis the cost of the Triumph was only about $10 a day cheaper...but the Triumph mini-suite (Cat 11) was larger than what we experienced on Coral. The food was an even split...the service marginally better on Coral...the itinerary and length of cruise on Coral was better than Triumph...a big deciding factor for us. The public spaces were much more genteel than Triumph...but again that is a matter of personal taste. So now we have two cruise lines to choose from because in our opinion both offer a great cruising experience. Read Less
Sail Date April 2007
This was not our first cruise, but it was our first on the Princess line. We booked through an online travel agency and were pleased with the service and price. We flew down to Ft. Lauderdale the day before embarking. It was a good thing ... Read More
This was not our first cruise, but it was our first on the Princess line. We booked through an online travel agency and were pleased with the service and price. We flew down to Ft. Lauderdale the day before embarking. It was a good thing we did, as a winter storm delayed flights from many airports. The hotel provided a free shuttle from the airport to the hotel, and transportation to the Port for a charge of $10 per person. Embarkation was well organized and we waited only a short time to board the ship. Ship personnel were stationed at the elevators to direct you to your cabin. The cabin was attractively decorated and had plenty of room for our belongings. There was sufficient hanging space in the closet area, along with a cabinet that had several shelves and a safe. The bathroom had one of the smallest showers I have ever seen on a cruise, but it was immaculate. Unfortunately, there were two very dirty handprints on the drapes over the patio doors. The veranda had four plastic chairs and a small table. A desk in the main cabin area had four deep drawers and one shallow drawer (and a hairdryer on the wall.) We had everything put away within an hour of boarding. We had signed up for a fixed dining time and were assigned a table for nine. Because many of our table mates took advantage of the "anytime" dining or ate at the specialty restaurants, there were only four nights when the entire group was at the table. Despite never knowing just how many people were going to be at the table on any one night, the dining room waiters were excellent. We usually ate our breakfast and lunch in the Horizon Buffet and, although the traffic pattern left something to be desired, there was always an ample supply and good variety. We also tried the pizza and the hamburgers on the pool deck. Although service was excellent, the food was somewhat of a disappointment. Even in the main dining room, the food was OK, just not extraordinary. We chose this trip for the itinerary and, except for Montego Bay, Jamaica, we were not disappointed. We had booked shore excursions online before we left home, but our first excursion in Jamaica, white water rafting, was cancelled due to low water. We immediately went to the Tour desk to reserve another excursion. On the advice of the tour staff, we signed up for, "Rafting on the Martha Braye". What a mistake! Just getting off the ship in Jamaica was a joke. They had people in line down the halls and up the stairs onto another floor waiting to get off. We finally found our tour guide in the terminal and then waited over 30 minutes before she led us to a bus. The bus was clean but certainly not very new. The roads were terrible and we bumped and jolted for almost an hour before we got to the rafting site, where we received our complimentary glass of "rum punch". The Ladies bathroom at the rafting site had only two stalls and one of the toilets was overflowing onto the floor. After waiting another 20 minutes while vendors tried to sell you something, we were led down to the river. The rafts were made of bamboo poles wired together and had a bench seat for two people. Some of the rafts looked pretty unstable, but once you were sitting down, they were surprisingly comfortable. The "raft captain" poled the raft down the river and stopped at one point to try and sell you decorated gourds. The ride itself was pleasant if you ignored the sales pitches. The ride lasted about 40 minutes and then it was back on the bus for another rough ride back to the ship. We were gone from 10:30 AM until 4PM without any food. We found that there was another tour that included a different raft ride. That tour also included a trip through a banana plantation, and a complimentary lunch and cost only $10.00 more. When we complained about our trip at the Tour desk, the young lady who had recommended it acted like it was our fault. Perhaps Princess should have their Tour Desk staff take some of these excursions to find out what the tours are like! Our second port was Panama, and we elected to stay on board the ship to watch the progress through the locks. The cruise had an informative movie about the Canal available on TV, and also had a guest lecturer who spoke about the history of the Canal. We took lots of pictures! Our next stop was Limon, Costa Rica. Our tour here was to the Aerial Tram Ride in the rain forest. Although it was about an hour ride, the bus was very comfortable and the tour guide was excellent. The trip included a 45 minutes ride through the rain forest, lunch, and a guided tour of the grounds. It was a very good experience and well worth the money. There was a market on the pier where we bought reasonably priced souvenirs and several bags of good coffee. After a day at sea, we arrived at Grand Cayman Island. We did some snorkeling and enjoyed the warm water. Not much to do here unless you like the water. Our last stop was Cozumel, Mexico where we took a tour to a park for more snorkeling. We had been to Cozumel many years ago and the progress here was apparent. Everyone we met was pleasant and the stop was enjoyable. We felt we wanted to return to both Costa Rica and Cozumel. Disembarkation was very smooth. We had purchased transportation to the airport from Princess and waited on the bus for a very long time before it left for the airport, and then the driver had everyone stay on the bus until he had unloaded all the luggage. If you have an early flight for home, take a cab! There were not too many children on this cruise, but some were not the best behaved. They took over the pools by jumping and splashing so that many adults just resigned themselves to not using the pools when the kids were around. One gentleman asked them, in a very nice way, to calm down a little, and the adult with them got nasty. One evening we watched two boys take apart some of the pool furniture and throw it around. Later they climbed up on railings to jump into the pool. Two different Princess staff people walked by while this was going on and neither of them said anything to the boys. The Coral Princess is a beautiful ship and the service was excellent. However, food was not up to our expectations, and we did not appreciate the constant sales pitches. The "flea market" of last season's gift shop merchandise was definitely tacky. Would we book a Princess cruise again? We'd have to think about it. Read Less
Sail Date February 2007
It has been several years since we cruised with Princess but have cruised often during that time. EMBARKATION/DISEMBARKATION: This process could not have been smoother. There was a bit of a wait to disembark but that is to be expected ... Read More
It has been several years since we cruised with Princess but have cruised often during that time. EMBARKATION/DISEMBARKATION: This process could not have been smoother. There was a bit of a wait to disembark but that is to be expected with 1900 people aboard. SHIP: The Coral Princess had a very comfortable, welcoming atmosphere. The decor reminded one of the oceanliners of the past. I found it to be very clean with plenty of public areas as well as deckchairs and sun deck room. The lounges were all well-appointed but the Wheelhouse Lounge lacked good service and need to learn how to make cocktails. This was not a friendly lounge. The wait staff tended to hover over us even after we had ordered drinks. DINING: The food portions were just right although the quality was just okay. There could have been more variety. We had the later seating and enjoyed excellent service from our wait staff. We took breakfast and lunch in the Horizon Court and again enjoyed good service but average quality of food. ENTERTAINMENT: Other than two Broadway-type shows, the entertainment was lacking. The comedians for the most part were raunchy but not funny. Since we were onboard for Superbowl Sunday it was nice to see the game on the big screen in one of the theaters. EXCURSIONS: The Costa Rican Rainforest Tram and swimming with Stingrays were excellent. The Highlights of Panama tour was an absolute waste of time and money. The two young girls who were the guides were silly and more interested in their chewing gum than giving us a professional tour. VERY DISAPPOINTING! MISCELLANEOUS: Service by the staff was very good. What was annoying was the constant "hawking" of the Spa. To have announcements made, literature on your bed everynight about the Spa was over the top. Also, having bottled water for sale as you disembarked for excursions was tacky to say the least. Especially when all the excursions we were on (sponsored by Princess) provided bottled water. Too much nickel and diming. Next time we would probably look for a more upscale line. Read Less
Sail Date January 2007
My wife and I, along with another couple we often travel with, booked this cruise to see the Canal again and to take a break from the cold weather here at home.  This is cruise number 46 for us and we enjoyed this trip but Princess needs ... Read More
My wife and I, along with another couple we often travel with, booked this cruise to see the Canal again and to take a break from the cold weather here at home.  This is cruise number 46 for us and we enjoyed this trip but Princess needs to take a break on a few things. We felt like we were on a floating " QVC CRUISE "...They have gone over the top on trying to sell.sell,sell you something all the time.The one that was way to much was at dinner when the waiter tried to sell a "Special orange juice glass, to drink your orange juice at home and remember the cruise for $3.95 " Then there are the way over priced cruise pictures.....$19.95 for a 4X6 with a digital boarder..I saw very few people buying and simple business is keep prices lower, sell more and make it up on volume...They must throw away thousands of pictures a week and look at the waste...Then the worst presentation of the week is the personal shopping director on board. She does a show that will crack you up... She throws stuff at the ladies sitting down and then tells you where to shop in only the "ships stores" at port. That means where the ship gets a kick back and pays the ship to pre sell the stuff to the passengers. Out of all our cruise around the world this was the worst for trying to sell you gold by the inch, glasses, cheap watches, and his and her spa treatments, cheap over priced jewelry, and we don't want to even talk about the over priced wine at Dinner !!!!!! We like to cruise and I have learned to accept this lately but it needs a little correction in my view... Over all the food was very good, the staff was polite and friendly, the ship was clean and not worn looking. I will not review the ports because that is a different experience for each persons on taste. . The cruise director was not the best one I have seen, he tends to be full of himself and has no redeeming social value that I could see. We enjoyed the cruise but back to Europe for us on the next one.. Read Less
Sail Date December 2006
Just got back ystdy Dec 2/06. Pretty good time and quite good value. My first cruise and my wife's second. I absolutely hated the tourist traps at each shore location, particularly Grand Cayman. Is this really the way to purchase ... Read More
Just got back ystdy Dec 2/06. Pretty good time and quite good value. My first cruise and my wife's second. I absolutely hated the tourist traps at each shore location, particularly Grand Cayman. Is this really the way to purchase diamonds - on a cruise? We had quite a bit of rain (GC, Costa Rica, Panama Canal, Ocho Rios). The ship staff were very good. We had the late seating and the staff were very accommodating. I really enjoyed the wine selection. The Horizon buffet was quite good. Often hard to get a coffee though. I don't know about the special coffees but the coffee on board is generally not that good. The pizza was awesome on the Lido deck. The bartender on the Lido deck bar was great. Took a fully body massage, a lime and ginger treatment, and a seaweed wrap - mostly adventuring and trying out. I have had many massages. I was fairly disappointed, especially at the prices charged. The organization lacked a little also. I was disappointed that I could not use the steam rooms without purchasing a package. The fitness room was very good and easy to access equipment. My biggest complaint was the age of the passengers. My wife and I are both 52 and we felt overwhelmed by the other passengers. One benefit was that there were few children. Read Less
Sail Date November 2006
Our first cruise on Princess, overall this was a good experience. Our cabin was comfortable, and the views from our oceanview double balcony spectacular. Our steward from Poland could not have been better. He was a gracious and ... Read More
Our first cruise on Princess, overall this was a good experience. Our cabin was comfortable, and the views from our oceanview double balcony spectacular. Our steward from Poland could not have been better. He was a gracious and attentive. However, the bed was rock hard, and our requested egg shell cushioned it somewhat. Shower was claustrophobic, I wonder how obese passengers get in and out. The shore excursions were very good, in each off the three ports, Skagway, Juneau, and Ketchikan. I'm glad I consulted Cruise guide books this cruise. Entertainment at the Princess Theater was good, although the size of the theater sometime meant we sat too far from the stage. The overall relaxed atmosphere of the cruise, carefully timed public address announcements were just right. Unlike our previous Mexican Rivera cruise on another cruiseline, we didn't feel like we were in a military bootcamp. We selected anytime dining, however, found the food and service unsatisfactory. The Bayou Cafe's food and service was good, but not spectacular, not worth $15 a piece surcharge. However, the Horizon Court, Lido Deck Buffet was excellent, and that's where we ate the rest of the cruise. Same selection as dining room, only you can see what you're getting, and chose amounts and options. Personnel at the buffet were gracious and efficient. Great view while dining, along with an excellent naturalist, and lots of whales to see. Getting on and off the ship very efficient and organized. We'll be back again to Coral Princess, but not in the anytime dining room. Read Less
Sail Date September 2006
My family and I just got off of the Coral Princess this morning. This was our fourth cruise our first with Princess. We did the 10 day Panama Canal cruise beginning in Fort Lauderdale. Embarkation was a breeze. No lines,walked directly ... Read More
My family and I just got off of the Coral Princess this morning. This was our fourth cruise our first with Princess. We did the 10 day Panama Canal cruise beginning in Fort Lauderdale. Embarkation was a breeze. No lines,walked directly on board and found our stateroom and met our cabin stewardess named Evelyn. All of our luggage arrived shortly thereafter with the exception of mine and that showed up just before going to dinner! I was sweatin that one out! My daughter's brand new suitcase arrived broken. The stand was totally ripped away from the wheels and Princess claimed no responsibility and offered no compensation. 60.00 bucks gone. Our cabin was a balcony cabin and the furnishings were nice. The cabin was very small with just a sitting chair versus a small sofa. The bathroom was ridiculously tiny and the shower was no more than a broom closet. If you were unfortunate enough to drop something in the shower you literally had to get out and pick it up! Not good for those with claustrophobia either. The balcony consisted of 2 chairs and a table and there was no more room. Kind of dirty out there too. The bed was firm and the pillows quite hard. Friends we met asked for feather pillows and got them. Who knew? Evelyn was amazing. The best cabin attendant ever. Always greeted us by name and with a smile and the service was impeccable. Twice daily! The ship itself is pretty. For a ship only 4 years old it does look worn. They keep it very clean. Public areas were well appointed and comfy. The adult only Lotus Pool area was very plain and sparse. Both dining rooms were identical and inviting. The gym is nice with weights, treadmills,and mats. Nice. I did use the Lotus Spa a few times just to take a shower. It was roomy! The food was superb and the personal choice dining ended up to be a lifesaver. Our original tablemates were nice but right away we knew we were not in a level of comfort that we wanted for 10 days. We gave it 3 nights and then decided to switch to personal choice. We requested the same wait person for the rest of our cruise. Her name was Aniko and her assistant was Schukart (forgive my misspelling) from the Philippines. Aniko was from Romania and was the best we have ever had. She was so professional,knowledgeable about each menu and very concerned about our satisfaction each meal. She was a delight. The food overall was wonderful both in the dining rooms and the 24 hour Horizon Court. The grill outside was great because some days ya just feel like havin a burger. They were great. Paying for ice cream stinks! The least they could do was have a soft serve machine that was easily accessible. Each day for 1 hour there was free ice cream in the back of the Horizon Court but it was served to you by a man with a melon ball scooper. Come on Princess! Panama Canal was very interesting and a good experience. We did the bus/train trip through the ship and I highly do NOT recommend it. It is very pricey for what you get. A 90 minute bus ride through Colon seeing nothing but extreme poverty and filth. The bus was freezing cold and a lot of people Napped. The tour guide was well informed and I did learn a lot although not 169.00 worth of knowledge. Maybe 69.00 worth. The train ride promised wildlife sightings. Did not see one- of anything! On board we were given a box lunch and a turkey sandwich. You decide. Then we got on another bus to take us back to the ship, Again- more slums and garbage in Cristobol. Costa Rica was the port we were looking forward to the most. Unfortunately it was pouring rain and all tours were cancelled. On a port day all shops and the casino are closed. No one wanted to zip line during a lightening storm imagine that. It cleared for about 5 min and we ventured our way to the marketplace at the end of the pier. They are very creative with tarps. However even the best tarps leak. We were soaked. Again talk about filth. The wooden crafts were beautiful and the coffee was a good buy. Outside of the marketplace children came up to us begging for a dollar as they were hungry. Heart wrenching and depressing. The other ports were fun. We have been to them before and enjoyed them immensely. Why Grand Cayman is the shortest port I'm not sure. Because its the nicest? The teen center and kid programs were wonderful. Our daughter who is 13 had a blast!The teen center was the most fun I've ever had out of all the cruises I have been on. We did stuff like disco's, Miss Coral Princess, fashion/clothes scavenger hunts, award nominations, board games, and there was unlimited PS2 for all you video game freaks, JUST KIDDING. There's also a free jukebox in the center so we always have music playing. It's a really teen friendly area and I'd like to go back to Princess Cruises. The teen staff there is really outgoing and nice. Except maybe this time he got annoyed at us because some people made up some stuff about him and his girlfriend. That was my daughter's input. The entertainment was so-so. Singers and dancers were ok. Not spectacular. The comedian Sarge should not be missed. He gave 2 shows on 2 different nights and he was hysterically funny! The violinist was very talented but unfortunately very full of herself. This was our first 10 day cruise. It was perfect in length. However we found the people to be a lot older than we are used to. Many older folks with wheelchairs, walkers, and other assistive devices. It was pretty much the geriatric love boat. We met awesome people and will stay lifelong friends. That is priceless. Our previous cruises were on Costa, and Royal Caribbean. Our daughter had the best cruise ever. We had a lot of good times too. We will be returning to Royal Caribbean in the future. Read Less
Sail Date March 2006
This was our 4th cruise with Princess and 7th altogether. We have decided to stick with one cruise line to build up loyalty points, and I truly believe amongst the major players like Celebrity, Holland America and Princess, there is not a ... Read More
This was our 4th cruise with Princess and 7th altogether. We have decided to stick with one cruise line to build up loyalty points, and I truly believe amongst the major players like Celebrity, Holland America and Princess, there is not a lot of difference between them. Embarkation: Passengers can start boarding after 11 AM. Check in was very quick for us at about 1230. The cab from the airport (FLL) was only $15 (tip included). The Cabin: We had a balcony which was nice. But it's quite small, maybe 4 feet by 10 feet. Just enough for 2 chairs and a square table. The room is well designed but the shower is the smallest one I have ever used on board a ship. The Ship: Beautiful public rooms and very clean. Big ship for 2000 passengers. I love to use the gym and it was almost never busy each day when I went. Service: Excellent as usual for Princess. Very friendly staff. Food: Love the desserts! Sometimes had 2 at at time! Unfortunately put on some weight after the end of the cruise. The main dining room food was good enough. No need to pay extra for specialty restaurants. Anytime dining is a real bonus onboard Princess. Tip- to avoid excessive weight gain, stick to the dining rooms rather than the Horizon Court buffet. Entertainment: we are in our 40's and the shows were geared to people in their 50-60s. IE most of the passengers. Skipped most of the shows. Enjoyed Curtains Up, couple of guest singers and the guest magician. Excursions: 1) Cozumel. Lots of wreckage cause by last year's hurricane. ?Wilma The Chankanaab National Marine Park is still closed. The snorkeling trip by boat for $35 for 3 hours was a bit of a let down. We booked this on the pier. Snorkeled at 2 sites. Not great. Some corals are wrecked by the aforementioned storm. Shopping is good here. Lots of shops. Nice to walk around. 2) Grand Cayman. We did stingray city trip 3 years ago. This is a must see site. This year we cabbed to famous 7 mile beach. Got dropped off at the Public Beach for snorkeling. Better than Cozumel but still not outstanding. The beach here was not bad. But have seen a lot better elsewhere. Can rent chairs and umbrellas here. 3) Limon, CR. It is a disgusting town. You have to do excursions to get anything out of this port. Best to arrange it on the pier- lots cheaper. In AM we did the jungle aerial ride attached to a cable. We flew through the trees just like Tarzan! 12 cables in all. In PM cabbie took us to a jungle boat trip to see wildlife, flora, etc. as well as a banana plantation. All worthwhile and interesting. 4) Panama Canal. Highlight of the trip. Got up at 5 AM in order to secure the best spot up front to see the ship enter the first lock at 6 AM. Wanted to take some great photos which I did. Highly suggest taking a ship excursion. Otherwise you stay on board and double back through the same locks. Our excursion was the best! We did the ocean to ocean trip which took us by boat to traverse the rest of the canal to the Pacific Ocean. Not cheap though- $169/person. Avoid Cristobel where the ship docked. Security guy from the ship told us his mate almost got killed while strolling in the city. It looked like a poor ugly port city. 5) Montego Bay, Jamaica. Again, an ugly large Caribbean city. Skip the downtown shopping district. You will get the best shopping at the Caymans and Cozumel. We took the cab to doctor's beach. Small but lovely. Good snorkeling here also. Very busy spot. Overall nice cruise. I recommend it. The Canal was the best! Read Less
Sail Date February 2006
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
We just returned from this cruise and wanted to provide some insights for other cruisers. This was my second Princess cruise (2 others on Celebrity) and my first to this destination. Here are high points and some areas that could use ... Read More
We just returned from this cruise and wanted to provide some insights for other cruisers. This was my second Princess cruise (2 others on Celebrity) and my first to this destination. Here are high points and some areas that could use improvement. The Ship - The Coral is a beautiful ship. We were in a mini-suite and the cabin size, balcony, and bathroom were the perfect size for us. The cabin steward, Manuel De Leon, was outstanding and provided a consistently high level of friendly service. The public rooms were excellent and the level of service was better than I had experienced on my previous Princess cruise aboard the Dawn a few years ago. Onboard activities were pretty standard, but the cruise staff was very entertaining - especially Peter, the assistant cruise director. Dining - The food was pretty good, but the quality was inconsistent. The beef and seafood both in the dining room and even the buffet was very good. The pastas were almost universally disappointing and the desserts were very hit-and-miss. The Horizon Court buffet was our choice for breakfast and lunch for those days we were on board. The quality was hit and miss, but pretty good. Service was so-so, but you expect that with a buffet. Alternative dining offered 2 venues - the Bayou Cafe (Cajun) and Sabatini's (Italian). We did not try the Bayou because the menu was very limited, but we heard good reviews. Sabatini's was a cut above the dining room, but the way they stage the meal is a little confusing. You only select your entree and dessert (very good Tiramisu). The other courses are a tasting menu and I would have preferred to choose one item for each of the courses. The time devoted to the meal was fine, but there some long lapses between courses. One nit-pick - since there was a $20.00 per person charge for dinning there, they should not charge for $2.00 for a Cappuccino. Entertainment - We did not attend the shows so we cannot give a review. There are three venues - The Princess Theatre, The Universe (2 level), and the Explorer's Lounge. There seemed to be a lot of variety daily. Lotus Spa - The pool was very nice and pretty much off limits to kids (not too many on the ship anyway). We did not take any spa treatments. Gym - Small and usually crowded. There were not a lot of classes (due to the average age of the passengers). Ports - A) Days at sea. This is a personal point for most people. I enjoyed the port-per-day break. I would have paced it to have only one day at sea to begin, but the itinerary was the main reason we selected the cruise. B) Costa Rica - The best. A beautiful country with magnificent scenery and wildlife tours. We took the Costa Rica's Favorites tour and had a wonderful time. Sloth sightings on the way. The aerial tram was an interesting way to see the rain forest but the main sights were plant life, butterflies and an Eyelash Pit Viper. Since this is an all day tour, the gift shop at the tram is an excellent place to shop. The second part of the tour is a cruise on the Tortugero canals. Fantastic wildlife sightings - 4 separate groups of Howler Monkeys, crocs, caimans, many birds, etc. Our guide, Daniel, was the best!! C) Panama - The partial transit through the Gatun Locks was very interesting. One suggestion - see the transit from the back of the ship. Everyone was up front and the back was practically deserted! Great views of the gates, the locomotives, other ships transiting, etc. Our tour was the Caribbean Rain Forest Nature Hike. A very poor and boring tour with almost no sightings except for a few birds. Perhaps take one of the train tours instead. D) Grand Cayman Island - A complete bust since very rough waters caused the cancellation of all snorkeling tours and most scuba tours. We took the Island Highlights Tour and it was pretty boring. Unfortunately, the devastation of Hurricane Ivan was very evident. The island was really devastated with 95% of the buildings either destroyed or damaged. E) Cozumel - A shopper's paradise if that is important to you. We split and took 2 tours - Tulum and the Dolphin Swim. I enjoyed Tulum, my girlfriend really loved the dolphin swim. It was the highlight of her cruise. F) Belize - Another hit! We took the Lamanai and River Cruise tour. It is all day, but it is very rewarding. The ruins were extremely interesting and the cruise provided a lot of wildlife sightings - especially birds. Howler monkeys were very much in evidence at the ruins. No shopping to speak of in this port. Fellow Passengers - Definitely an older crowd. Average age was probably close to 70. Almost no kids. A Final Word - Overall, we had a great cruise, but we feel that Celebrity is definitely superior. Read Less
Sail Date December 2004
My girlfriend and I (she's 23 I'm 30) chose the Coral Princess for our second cruise because of the opportunity to cruise the Panama Canal, the fantastic feedback we have received about the Coral, and because of the 10-day cruise ... Read More
My girlfriend and I (she's 23 I'm 30) chose the Coral Princess for our second cruise because of the opportunity to cruise the Panama Canal, the fantastic feedback we have received about the Coral, and because of the 10-day cruise length. We ended up having an excellent time on the Coral, and would recommend this cruise. I will however point out a few things that I think need to be improved in order for this cruise to get a 5 or 6 star rating. We arrived in Ft. Lauderdale from Buffalo, NY, a day prior to our departure. I have family in Palm Beach, and we had a relaxing evening before heading to the port. We arrived at 12:45. My brother was able to drive right up to the pier, and drop us off right where the Princess busses let their passengers off. We both have passports and quickly moved to the line for platinum check-in. However, the folks at Platinum were dealing with some difficult passengers, and the Dolphin deck registration took us instead. After receiving our cards, we went upstairs to board the ship. Here we ran into some confusion, as the photographers really created unnecessary lines at a time when you really just want to get to your stateroom and begin exploring. We were on the ship just before 2:00. Although I have read much about Princess not having people in place to take you to your stateroom, there were tons of staff waiting at every doorway on the ship to guide us--we had no problem at all. After checking out the room and meeting our fantastic stateroom attendant, Thamanoon, we were surprised by wine, champagne, and a huge tray of appetizers from our wonderful family! What a way to start our cruise!!! We booked cabin D705 a mini-suite and were thrilled by our choice. Plenty of room, a full bathtub, covered balcony, and a great cabin steward. We asked for robes and down pillows (and got both on day #2). We then went exploring the ship. While exploring, we looked at the first evening's menu and found nothing that looked too hot, so we made a reservation for Bayou Cafe the first night. The host was nice enough to show us the week's menus for the dining rooms, and we proceeded to book Sabatini's later in the week on French night. Dinner at the Bayou was outstanding. One of the best filets of beef I have ever had, and great shrimp too! Well worth the $10. Sabatini's was very good too, but we were a little too picky to enjoy some of the more daring items on the menu. At both alternative restaurants, the service was A+. We selected PC dining, and would do so again, but ended up sitting at the same table at the same time most nights. We enjoyed Aniko, our fantastic waitress, and her assistant Gary, as well as the company of the nice couple who sat next to us and became our friends on the ship. The food was good, but not ever great. We also had a difficult time with the Maitre 'ds. Not only was it difficult to make reservations, but one time they gave our reserved table to someone else! (I had them reseat the other people). I think we were an afterthought because of our age. The ship was beautiful, the common areas very clean. In fact, it seemed like there was always someone cleaning, painting, etc... I was very impressed. We especially liked Explorer's lounge, which became our hang out. The staff there were excellent and DJ Mike kept the music going long after Princess closed the bar. The Lido pool was very nice as well, with plenty of chairs, lots of waiters to get us drinks, and perfect weather. We participated in Princess Survivor, several versions of trivia games, darts, and for the first time ever, Bingo. We tried to do as many activities as we could! The activities staff was great--Jack, Sam, Melissa, Vicki, the assistant CD Peter - who is so funny and would make a great CD. David, the CD was not too good though. We are not "show" people so I cannot comment on the entertainment, except for the comedian, who was hilarious! We used the Lotus Spa and were completely impressed! A major complaint: Most of the passengers on this cruise were very old and tended to be asleep by 10-11 p.m. There were some passengers who used the bars and lounges which were supposed to be open "till the wee hours." At least 4 times, Princess closed the bars throughout the ship with people in them who were enjoying themselves and wanted to remain out, and they did this at midnight!!!! Where I come from this is not good customer service, and midnight is not a "wee hour." By the end of the cruise, we stocked up on beer during the day to bring down to the bars when Princess decided to close them. Our first port was Limon, and we booked a tour with Oscar Brown to go zip lining. The tour was a mixed bag though--not as great as we had heard on the Ports of Call boards. Zip lining was unbelievable! Such a rush! I would recommend it to everyone- even if you are afraid of heights as I am. We also had the opportunity to hold a sloth, which made Kristin very happy, and got us some cool pictures. We visited the Del Monte banana plantation, and got a behind the scenes look which a large tour would never get. What was bad? First, the van. The van had to be running the whole time, because when it was shut off, we had to push it and jump start it to get it going again. I don't remember that from the brochures. Second, I don't remember reading anywhere what a long ride it was from the port to zip lining--almost 2 hours!!! I guess that is fine, but wish I could have mentally prepared..We did meet some awesome people on the tour, and have new friends because of it! Next was the Canal experience. We ordered breakfast on our balcony to be delivered at 7:30 which ended up being a good guess as to the time we transited the Canal. I got up at 5:30 and went to see if there was a better vantage point, but I think the balcony was best. There were tons of people on the bow thru the canal transit. Once in Gatun Lake, we tendered to shore and went on a very average, yet expensive eco-boat ride/tour which we booked thru Princess. Due to our intense dislike for waiting for slow people, we cancelled our tours in Grand Cayman and Cozumel, and decided to go it alone. In Grand Cayman, we found another couple with whom we shared a taxi, and for $13/pp we got an island tour that included Hell, 7 Mile Beach, and the Turtle Farm. (The exact tour we cancelled from Princess.) If you refuse to get on one of the large tour busses loaded with people, they will find you a small cab--fight the power!! Upon returning, we did some shopping and beach time before returning to the ship. Princess did a poor job with the tendering process. While in line to return, no tenders came for us in the time that 6 came for Royal Caribbean. When I questioned a crew member, he explained that it took a long time to get the older passengers on/off. Cozumel was very nice. We cabbed it to the main shopping area, which is torn up due to construction. We were provided with directions by Princess to give to the driver, which I thought was a nice touch. We made some purchases--nice sliver there, then went to Paradise Beach. PB was great! Relaxing, beautiful water, good drinks. We were hit with some disappointment in Belize. We had booked cave tubing with Extreme Cave Tubing, but were not able to get off the ship (tenders were given to ship excursions before anyone else was let off) in time. There was nothing else to do there. I understand this was completely our fault though. We ended up spending the day by the pool and working on our amazing tans. We were invited to attend a Bridge tour (I have no idea why or how) but were unable to go due to Kristin's participation in Survivor. After seeing the rest of the people on the tour, I can with 100% confidence say that the pool games were a much better choice, although I am sure the Bridge is interesting. On the last at sea day, we had champagne breakfast on the balcony (another gift) which was very good. Due to cold weather, we spent the rest of the day with our friends, Scott and Jenn, finishing the Princess bar hop and competing in activities. Overall, this was a very good cruise. We only have one other to compare it to, but why compare? I think you would have to make a conscious effort not to have a great time on a cruise! Like everything else, a cruise is all about the attitude you bring to it. If you want to have a great time, you will. If you want to be miserable, you will. THE BEST: 1. Service and staff 1a. The great people we met onboard. 2. Cleanliness of ship/common areas. 3. Lido pool. 4. Thermal spa at Lotus spa. 5. Princess Pizza is awesome! THE WORST: 1. No night life. 2. Maitre 'd at PC dining. 3. Tendering process. 4. Food quality -- not availability or selection. Feel free to contact me if I can explain or answer anything for you! Have a great cruise! Read Less
Sail Date December 2004
The ship was beautiful and the staff was helpful and friendly. I was a little disappointed with the entry onto the ship. On my last cruise, I was greeted with champagne and an eager staff member to show me to my cabin and take my carry-on, ... Read More
The ship was beautiful and the staff was helpful and friendly. I was a little disappointed with the entry onto the ship. On my last cruise, I was greeted with champagne and an eager staff member to show me to my cabin and take my carry-on, but on this ship we were left to find our own way. The shopping on the ship was limited and they ran out of a few items such as bug spray before we got to our first port. Our cabin steward, Manuel deLeon, was excellent and always available and eager to assist with anything. He also made your day by telling us to have a good day or asking how your day was. Our assistant waiter, Rolando, was top notch and kept us smiling. His smile never wavered through the cruise and he was always entertaining us. The cruise director and his staff were wonderful and made the cruise fun and the time at sea pass quickly. My favorite event was the horse racing with David, Peter, Vicki and Sam...you must see this event. Also, the culinary demonstrations were fun and David's comments and the chef's jokes were funny. Stay away from the guest lecturer/historian unless you need a nap...go to the port and shopping lectures instead. Food -- Was OK Dining room food was better than the Horizon Court, but nothing to write home about. The fresh fruit was wonderful as well as the Baked Alaska the last night. If you think you are going to work off calories at the gym...forget it because you will not be able to get a machine when you want it since the gym is very small. My suggestion is to walk the decks instead. Ports of call: Costa Rica -- I went on the aerial tram and Tortugero canal cruise (Costa Rica's Favorites) and it was filled with wildlife and an excellent view of the rain forests. Our guide, Daniel, was great and went out of his way to show us a banana farm, coconuts, a poisonous frog and other interesting sites. If you go on this, my suggestion is to shop at the gift shop at the aerial tram site. Panama -- The locks were breathtaking, but our Caribbean Rainforest and Nature Hike was extremely boring. I see more nature on my train ride to work than I did on the hike. Grand Cayman -- Unfortunately, due to high winds and seas all water activities were cancelled. We took the Island Highlights Tour and the best part of the tour was the rum cake factory. Cozumel -- ABSOLUTELY WONDERFUL! You must do the swim with the dolphins and after that wander through the national park. Swimming with the dolphins is an experience that I will never forget and well worth the money. There is an opportunity to see some natives do their crafts and buy some of their wares at a reasonable price. (Bring cash to buy their crafts since they do not take credit cards.) Be careful buying items on the dock area since some crafts are imported from other areas and not from local craftsmen. Excellent shopping port. Belize -- Lamanai and New River Tour -- The ruins were breathtaking and there was a lot of history about the Mayan culture. We also had Howler monkeys visit us at the ruins. On the river cruise we sited bats, small crocodiles, birds and iguanas. Great trip. Read Less
Sail Date December 2004
We sailed on the Coral Princess to Alaska this summer on the July 31 cruise from Vancouver to Whittier. This was the first cruise for 7 of the 10 people in our party. The ship was a lot of fun for all of us and we ranged in age from 7 to ... Read More
We sailed on the Coral Princess to Alaska this summer on the July 31 cruise from Vancouver to Whittier. This was the first cruise for 7 of the 10 people in our party. The ship was a lot of fun for all of us and we ranged in age from 7 to 69. Both embarkation and debarkation were very easy for all of us. If we were to go to Alaska again, I would do different shore excursions than some of the ones we picked on this trip. Different folks in our party did different excursions in each port and most of us agreed that in the future we would not use the ship excursions, but look for the local ones instead. Alaska is an amazing trip and we highly recommend it. The Coral Princess was perfect for our group. We ate at both the Bayou and at Sabatinis, both were very good, but don't eat for a day or two before going to Sabatinis! The regular dining room was good food, we didn't have too many amazing meals there but it was very good. We also preferred the dining room for breakfast to the buffet. We found the crew to be very friendly and very willing to accommodate us, that's not always easy when you have to deal with 10 loud people! The service we received was very good. 6 of us had the same cabin steward, Homer, and he was very good to all of us, but did need to be reminded about a few requests more than once. My husband and I have already booked another cruise to the Caribbean next spring, this time we will try Celebrity's Summit to try something a little different. We debated between another Coral Princess cruise and the Summit one pretty heavily before deciding that we liked the one day longer on the Summit more. I would not hesitate to go with Princess again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2004
Coral Princess Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.3
Dining 4.0 4.0
Entertainment 4.0 3.9
Public Rooms 4.0 4.5
Fitness Recreation 4.0 4.0
Family 5.0 4.0
Shore Excursion 3.0 4.0
Enrichment 4.0 3.9
Service 4.0 4.5
Value For Money 4.0 4.0
Rates 4.0 4.2

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