1,013 Princess Coral Princess Cruise Reviews

Thoroughly enjoyed our balcony with room service breakfast and afternoon glass of wine. Weather was lovely. Gentle breeze., calm sea, almost no rain. Unlike the previous review of the same cruise, we thought the food was excellent. He down ... Read More
Thoroughly enjoyed our balcony with room service breakfast and afternoon glass of wine. Weather was lovely. Gentle breeze., calm sea, almost no rain. Unlike the previous review of the same cruise, we thought the food was excellent. He down graded the cruise based on service in anytime dining room. We were escorted to another dining room every evening because we wanted a table for 2. My husband is hard of hearing and can't manage a conversation with more than 4, and we found service for more than 4 takes too long. We also found a couple bathroom stalls closed and at least one else elevator out of service the entire trip. Can't comment on entertainment as we only went to the comedian show one night. We don't do bars or dancing so can't comment on that either. There were people of all ages this trip which we enjoyed. Our last cruise was in February and predominantly seniors. We thought service very good and everyone very friendly. Only complaint with food was the desserts. Everything very lovely but tasteless. Need some good American pies and cakes. Bed lumpy, mattress and pillows should be retired. We booked this cruise at the last minute for just a getaway after a stressful couple of months and it served us well in that regard. Didn't do any excursions. Just our own walking tours. The embarkation could have been handled more efficiently. Lines long and moved slowly. Would have been nice to have been offered water or snacks during the wait. Got a great last minute deal so no complaints there. Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
Pros; Great day in Glacier Bay as we enjoyed beautiful weather and got to see both Margerie and John Hopkins Glacier. Highly recommend a balcony when on an Alaskan cruise. Coral Princess didn't seem crowded except a couple of nights ... Read More
Pros; Great day in Glacier Bay as we enjoyed beautiful weather and got to see both Margerie and John Hopkins Glacier. Highly recommend a balcony when on an Alaskan cruise. Coral Princess didn't seem crowded except a couple of nights when we tried to get into the dining room at 7 p.m. and had an hour wait I think the time in ports was pretty good so made good use of time. Embarkation went smoothly as well as getting off the ship. Overall very organized. Cabin steward did his job well though seemed less personable Some meals were quite good: my favorite was Chef's night. Servers in dining room (Bordeaux) were hit and miss. Some were wonderful. For the most part enjoyed food in the Horizon Buffet. Servers pretty prompt with serving coffee, iced tea, orange juice. Entertainment o.k. didn't spend too much time at this. Naturalist talks were nice though my husband didn't have positive feelings Ranger being on board for Glacier Bay Exercise work out area very nice. Remember to pack ear buds so you can listen to the TV while exercising. There is a plug in spot. It took me a while to find it. Cons The cons are enough that my husband doesn't plan to cruise with Princess again (our third cruise with them) Some high pressure sales techniques the first night at dinner to buy drink packages. Seemed a little misleading in how it was promoted. Since we are experienced cruisers and not big alcohol consumers we avoided alcohol package. Also can live without coke for a week so didn't go with that package. Also high pressure in the dining room to order wine for dinner. Some of the servers seemed a big miffed if we chose not too. Quality of the photo paper has gone down considerably. We didn't buy any photos because we were trying to find ways to save money. Asked for robes to be in our rooms when we filled out our preferences before the cruise. Had to ask for them again. We had trouble both with the shower and the sink in our room. The sink stopper was replaced and my husband had to make the shower work. Waited quite a while for someone to show up. We didn't use any cruise excursions as we always find them to be expensive and we needed to keep within budget. Highly recommend renting a car in both Skagway and Juneau. I can't speak to the land package offered by Princess as we did our own land tour prior to the cruise. The food could be somewhat hit and miss though overall I would say it was good. Many of the servers seemed like they were just doing their jobs but not expending any extra energy. This wasn't true of all servers. Entertainment venues were usually pretty full. I think the shows lasted about 30 minutes. Didn't like how the cigar smoke smelled from the smoking area. It wasn't contained and could smell it when we were in the area.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
Fell short of hopes and expectations.  We have been on 7 cruises now with this one. And on various ships and lines. But 3 of ours have been with Princess. Never before have I felt this pressured to buy, buy, buy! Nor been bombarded with ... Read More
Fell short of hopes and expectations.  We have been on 7 cruises now with this one. And on various ships and lines. But 3 of ours have been with Princess. Never before have I felt this pressured to buy, buy, buy! Nor been bombarded with what I felt was not very high quality of the items. I felt like we were almost captive on the ship with the short shore stops, and slow leisurely cruise speeds. I was literally pissed off when at Glacier Bay the National Park Rangers aboard announced we couldn't actually enter Glacier Bay because there was "about 1000 seals on the ice flows having or nursing pups." Well, why wasn't such information disseminated before that so folks can plan accordingly? A later or earlier voyage could have availed to be able to actually see what we sailed to see. Oh, but then, they might have trouble filling the ship if people knew these details. After all, seals rearing pups in Glacier Bay probably isn't a new occurrence, I should think. And if you are thinking you will get anywhere as close to calving Glaciers as the video and brochures show, bring some hellish high powered lenses and viewing equipment. No one I talked to saw any calving activity our brief stay there. Nor at College Fiord either. Not that the ship can control glacial movement. But the ship did stop in College Fiord so a small raft with people in survival suits could take video and stills of ice floating and a lone black bear that made a mad dash for cover as the raft headed towards it on shore. Guess that is where they get the video and pictures they try and sell you aboard. Humm... While the cabin and accommodations were nice, I felt they were a bit tired looking. And I have been on more "ship shape" ships over the years. We did encounter a few of the crew who misdirected us to the places on the ship we were trying to find. Not a lot, but several times this occurred. Along the way towards the end of our adventure with this Sea-Land cruise, we found out that Carnival Corporation owns several of the ships we thought were under different ownerships. http://www.beyondships2.com/faq---who-owns-the-various-cruise-lines.html I told my wife that if I ever do return to Alaska (and I'd Love to) it will be in our RV where I can spend more time with the locals and get to know Alaska. More touring, less herding. Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
We did the cruise tour DBX "On Your Own" from Anchorage up to Denali State and National Parks and then down to Vancouver, stopping in Skagway, Juneau, and Ketchikan. This was our first cruise and we really didn't know what ... Read More
We did the cruise tour DBX "On Your Own" from Anchorage up to Denali State and National Parks and then down to Vancouver, stopping in Skagway, Juneau, and Ketchikan. This was our first cruise and we really didn't know what to expect. The entire land and cruise portion was so well organized by Princess that we were truly able to relax and have an amazing experience. We were among the youngest of the group, but were still able to easily find things that interested and excited us. The land tour is a must, particularly if you are interested in seeing Denali, which to us was one of the reasons why we traveled to Alaska. Since the roads and cell service are scarce in rural Alaska, we appreciated being escorted to and from our destinations safely and by experienced guides. Once on the ship, we were pleasantly surprised by the size of our room, the service, and the quality of the food. Having never cruised before, these were two things we were concerned about. We splurged on a balcony room, which we felt was worth it, given the amazing scenery passing by at all times. We enjoyed both eating areas and although we did not participate in most of the organized activities on board, we found a few things that appealed to us. One turn-off for us was the emphasis placed on shopping. We had come to Alaska to experience natural beauty, adventure, and inspiration. Yet, Princess was encouraging us to buy, buy, buy at every port of call -- even going so far as to hold shopping presentations on how we should spend our money and providing maps of shops in the port. Not to mention the sky-high prices of Alaska to begin with. To me, this is missing the point of traveling Alaska. As such, we avoided most of the downtown areas of Skagway, Juneau, and Ketchikan and their cheap, tacky tourist traps. We were pleased to find many opportunities to venture out into the wilderness and experience what Alaska really has to offer. We appreciated Princess's attention to cleanliness and the dispensers of Purell around the ship -- but why no antibacterial soap in the bathrooms? For fear of getting sick (despite the Purell), I hardly touched any surfaces outside of my state room. All in all, we appreciated the Coral Princess experience and especially appreciated the freedom we were able to enjoy to pursue our own interests outside of swiping the credit card for cheap tokens in town. Alaska itself has so much natural beauty to offer that it's a good thing you do not have to go far or look hard to find it. It was certainly the trip of a lifetime. Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
We arrived one day early, and spent the night at a hotel that had a shuttle to the port terminal. Most hotels provide shuttles (may be a small charge). However, in future, I'd plan to arrive (from Ottawa, Canada) on the day of the ... Read More
We arrived one day early, and spent the night at a hotel that had a shuttle to the port terminal. Most hotels provide shuttles (may be a small charge). However, in future, I'd plan to arrive (from Ottawa, Canada) on the day of the cruise. It's only a short ride from the airport to the port terminal. Embarkation was fast and efficient. We arrived about noon, and were in our room in under one hour. Bags arrived in early afternoon, and had lunch around one. Passengers who boarded later said there was no lineups and came through as quickly as we did. Entertainment was okay, not great. There's music at the different lounges and in the atrium usually from five or six until... A great three piece string orchestra, as well as a great pianist. The other performers (3 different groups) were okay, but tended to lean too much toward 'crooners' and 50s and 60s music - often too low keyed. There was the typical comedy, variety, music and illusionist shows. Good, entertaining, worth taking in, ...but, again, not great. Food: Lots of variety at the buffet; and a great omelette station that wasn't usually busy. The dining room always had something with the appetizers or main course that would appeal. A couple of times I order something that didn't really satisfy. The staff are very accommodating, and brought something else. Ports: Ocho Rios: Did the raft ride on Martha Braie River. Slow moving river, and enjoyed: One word: relaxing. Unfortunately, it's a 90 minute ride from ship...chance to see some of the country side. Lemon: Take time to shop in the dock area. No hassle from people as you browse, and there's quite a variety. We did the banana plant and rainforest train ride...worth doing. Cartegenia, Colombia: Wow! What can I say...you think peddlers hassle you on some of the island, well, the experience here is unbelievable. The guide dropped us in front of a "good" emerald store. The peddlers in the area were such that after five minutes, I just got back on the bus to wait. But, in spite of the peddler experience, it's worth doing the old city excursion because there is so much history, and some of the older structures (fortress, cathedral) are amazing. Panama: Don't bother an excursion if you've taken this cruise to see the locks. There's lots to see from the ship; you have a front row seat to the action, and it's an amazing show!!! Panama: Don't bother an excursion if you've taken this cruise to see the locks. There's lots to see from the ship; you have a front row seat to the action, and it's an amazing show!!! Aruba: Absolutely beautiful island. There's no need to do an excursion unless you want to snorkel. It's safe to walk, and there's lots to see within walking distance. A few final notes...Hats off to all staff. Some say that automatic gratuities has caused the quality of service to decline. Not so on this cruise. Cabin steward and dining room staff were absolutely phenomenal in taking care of our needs and providing help whenever needed. We found all the staff to be very friendly as we moved about the ship. The ship shows some signs of wear around certain areas and some of the furniture in the stateroom We had a balcony, and found it's worth it when you're in the Caribbean. Finally, the big question....would we sail Princess again? Probably would, but given all the options out there, we'll most likely try another cruise line just so we can compare.   Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
Our cruise to the Panama Canal and four other ports of call was a great mid-winter break. The best part was the canal itself. We booked the optional tour that takes passengers through the rest of the canal and actually into the Pacific ... Read More
Our cruise to the Panama Canal and four other ports of call was a great mid-winter break. The best part was the canal itself. We booked the optional tour that takes passengers through the rest of the canal and actually into the Pacific Ocean. The guide on this tour was excellent and expanded upon the narration given on the ship as it entered Gatun Lake. There was plenty to do on the sea days. The other ports - Aruba, Cartajena, Limon, Costa Rica and Grand Cayman provided plenty to see and do. Shore excursions booked through the ship in Cartajena and Limon were great ways for first-time visitors to get a feel for the areas. The mini-suite was spacious and provided a larger closet and bathroom than a more traditional balcony cabin. The balcony was large and inviting, although it did not appear that it had been cleaned recently. Our cabin steward was excellent. Many lodging establishments are eliminating top sheets on beds in favor of duvets and this ship was no different. The problem arises when you are in the tropics and this is much too heavy a cover when sleeping. Fortunately, when we asked, our steward was able to put a top sheet on our bed. This was plenty to keep us warm while sleeping. The food was good in all free venues (we didn't try either specialty restaurant), however the waited service as lacking. Slow service and no beverage refills were the norm rather than the exception. Even when we mentioned we were in a hurry to get to a show, this appeared to have little effect. On the final sea day, a special English pub lunch was offered. The server seemed totally out of it, even though all four of us ordered the same thing. We were never offered a beverage or the included dessert. Fortunately, the cafe was still open with an excellent dessert selection. It seems as though when open dining and pre-charged tipping became more popular, service standards declined. When you had the same waiter for the entire cruise and left him a tip in an envelope after your final dinner, he had the incentive to provide excellent service to earn the maximum gratuity. This level of service seems to have declined with the guaranteed tip. Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
My wife and I (60'ish) just returned from the Coral Princess 11 night partial Panama Canal cruise. We flew out of Michigan a day early to avoid an approaching ice storm that would have delayed us many hours, which put us in a bind for ... Read More
My wife and I (60'ish) just returned from the Coral Princess 11 night partial Panama Canal cruise. We flew out of Michigan a day early to avoid an approaching ice storm that would have delayed us many hours, which put us in a bind for a room in Ft. Lauderdale. We ended up getting a great room at the Westin Diplomat on my Starwood Preferred Guest points which saved the day. We had a confirmed room for the next night at the Sheraton Airport Hotel which is very near the cruise port. You'll read some negative reviews of this Sheraton, but we found it to be super clean, and the staff could't have been more friendly and cooperative. The Hotel Shuttle took us to a nearby mall where there were a number of dining options in the evening and then took us to the port the next morning. It's not a resort hotel, it's a business hotel, so don't expect luxury, but don't be afraid of it. Cab rides in the area are costly. The Coral Princess is an older ship, but is in good repair and very clean. We had a balcony stateroom on Deck 10. Not real roomy, but adequet. The only down side is the tiny shower. I'll be sporting bruised elbows for weeks after banging into the soap dispensers and grab bar for 11 days. Our cruise was sold out, so there were a lot of people around. It wasn't really a problem, but finding a quiet spot to sit and read on sea days was tough. Fortunately we had some great balcony days. The bars and shows were very crowded at peak times. We were never unable to get served and generally found a spot to sit in most venues, but it was tight. As on other cruises, this one was short on activities of interest to men. I don't get seaweed wraps and steam massages. My wife loves them, but I got a lot of reading done. The average age of passengers on this cruise appeared to be well north of 60 years old, with many approaching their 80's. I don't think we saw any children or younger teenagers, and the youngest couples appeared to be in their mid-30's. The service level on the Coral Princess was excellent to great. We didn't encounter a single grouch. We were lucky enough to get a great cabin steward who seemed to anticipate our needs. She was invisible unless we needed her, and then she almost magically appeared and handled things. Bartenders were friendly, the front desk service people were efficient, helpful and very friendly. On this cruise we took one excursion with a group from our Cruise Critic roll call and three ship tours. Like we've experienced in the past, ship tours are too costly, too big, and too packaged for our liking. Our roll call group didn't do as much this cruise and we just didn't have time to do the research and start some of our own. We skipped any tours in Aruba because we had recently been there and had rented a car and pretty well seen everyting of interest. Our favorite port was Cartagena, where we wished we had much more time, and our least favorite was Ocho Rios. If we ever land in Jamaica again on a cruise, we'll probably just stay on the ship. For this cruise, we chose early fixed dining and ended up getting seated with some great folks. It's always a crap-shoot, but we got very lucky this time out. We just don't do "formal" nights any more. We used to go all out and do the tux/gown thing, but we're way over that. I wore a black suit with no tie and my wife wore dressy pants-suits. We didn't feel out of place at all. The number of tuxedo's on this cruise was quite small. You'll get mixed reviews on the dining. I don't think that the Coral Princess dining is up there with previous Princess cruises. I thought the entree selections were less than great. We did have a lobster night that was outstanding, and there was plenty to eat. We did all of our breakfasts and most lunches in the Horizon's buffet. Again, not great, but the variety up there was good and the food plentiful. The pizza by the pool is great, the burgers and hot dogs, not so great... We didn't go to any of the specialty restaurants this time because we enjoyed the company of our dining companions so much. Our server was friendly, but a bit overworked. He always seemed rushed and clearly had to many tables and too little help. On other Princess cruises in the past, I seem to recall the waiters having multiple assistants. Not here. And no bar service outside your table waiter. Princess left a LOT of money that we would have spent on drinks in our pockets because we just couldn't get drink service. The food was ok, it just wasn't great or even really, really good. The entertainment we were able to see was fair to good. They have an absolutely horrible Mowtown tribute production show that must have been choreographed in about 1990, and the other ships-cast production shows weren't much better. There are some very talented kids in the cast, they just are wasted with the dreck they have to perform. The other acts (comic, mentalist, etc.) were ok to very good. And I should mention that the piano player and string group who performed nightly in the central area was outstanding. We chose the self-exit option and carried our own luggage off the ship and grabbed a cab rather than wait for the ship's transfers. We did it for a couple reasons. One, we didn't have to put our luggage out early the night before and secondly, we wanted to beat the crowd to the airport in case there were weather delays. We walked off the ship at about 7:10 am, blew through customs with virtually no wait and were on our way. The cab ride to the airport was about $20 with tip. We did the right thing, because we no sooner arrived at the airport than we learned that our plane was held up elsewhere for a maintenance issue and we would be departing at least a couple hours late. As it worked out, we were able to grab the last two seats on a two-hour earlier flight and make our connection in Detroit. And our luggage made it with us the whole way as well. The things I liked about this cruise were the cleanliness of the ship, the friendly crew and the great bunch of folks we met through Cruise Critic Roll Call and our dining partners. We also liked having four sea days. We didn't have any huge negative issues. We'll likely do Princess again, but we'll go for the larger ships.   Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
Just back from a Panama Canal Cruise on the Princess Coral. Although it was a very good cruise, there is a few things that I feel need to be Mentioned. This was our 5th cruise (4 with Princess and 1 with Carnival).What we realized is that ... Read More
Just back from a Panama Canal Cruise on the Princess Coral. Although it was a very good cruise, there is a few things that I feel need to be Mentioned. This was our 5th cruise (4 with Princess and 1 with Carnival).What we realized is that we like the bigger boats better then the smaller ones for the following reasons: The international Cafe is not located beside the Atrium as with the bigger boats, and there is not much seating around the Atrium on the Coral, for just relaxing with a coffee or a drink listening to music. There is not much outside table and chairs for eating outside the Horizon Court buffet as it is at the front of the boat instead of the back. Also there did not seem to be as much variety at the buffet as on the bigger boats. The staff both in the buffet and the room stewards did not seem nearly as friendly and talkative as on previous cruises on bigger boats. They were a lot older and did not seem to have the enthusiasm or personality as the younger ones. The entertainment was also not near as good as on previous cruises on the bigger boats. On previous cruises we attended every show. On the Coral we went to only 3 of the 11 shows. The meals in the dining room were as always very good and up to Princesses high standards, but as mention above some of the wait staff didn't exactly seem thrilled to be there. The Lotus pool which is supposed to be a adult only pool, had kids in it most of the time and although it has a retractable roof, they never opened it, which made for a hot area. I realize that the boat needs to be this size to transit the canal, and none of the above caused us not to enjoy our cruise, it just made us realize that we enjoy the addition space and the atmosphere of the big boats. the people on board this cruise were mostly 60 plus, which was not an issue, but worth mentioning. These are all just things we realized as the cruise progressed and thought it should be included in our review. We still had a wonderful cruise and will continue to cruise with Princess in the future. Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
Absolutely loved this cruise. Chose anytime dining. Wait staff was excellent. The shore excursions we chose were excellent. We went snorkeling in Aruba and loved the Rum Punches on the trip back to the ship. We took a partially guided ... Read More
Absolutely loved this cruise. Chose anytime dining. Wait staff was excellent. The shore excursions we chose were excellent. We went snorkeling in Aruba and loved the Rum Punches on the trip back to the ship. We took a partially guided tour of the Old City in Cartagena, then toured independently. Tip: Hard Rock Cafe provides a complementary beer for cruise ship passengers. We took the tour on the ferry through Miraflores Locks. I would definitely recommend this tour. It is a completely different perspective on the smaller boat. We were running late and actually had a police escort back to the ship. In Costa Rica we took the aerial tram tour and the canal tour. Saw lots of wild life. Very enjoyable. That evening the boat tipped. Pretty scary. We were told there was a glitch with a stabilizer. It was the talk of the trip. "Where we're you when the ship rolled?" Lots of broken dishes, the bars lost a ton of alcohol. But the crew cleaned it all up. I would describe it as "an earthquake at sea." The last stop was Jamaica. I really enjoyed the tube trip and my husband zip-lined. We have cruised with other cruise lines. Princess provides a lot of activities. The service is excellent. Many staff members remembered our names. We were always greeted with a big smile and a warm "Hello." Loved afternoon tea. Also, the British Pub luncheons were delicious. On the last sea day we enjoyed the galley tour and cooking demo. The head cook was hysterical and I learned a few tips from him. Earlier in the week we took the back stage tour, that was very interesting too. We discovered the Crooner's Lounge the second to last evening. The crooner was excellent- wished we had discovered this earlier in the week. Having 5 days at sea, we were pleasantly surprised we had so many choices for activities on board. The only complaint was they kept announcing a poster contest. We spent 3 hours making an elaborate poster for the contest. We were beyond shocked at the poster which won the contest. Perhaps they should explain the criteria for the selection process. There were a number of posters which were far more creative than the one that won. I am assuming the winner knew someone on staff. The lines were long and wait was long when boarding. Could improve on this. Once on the ship, everything was wonderful. I would definitely recommend this cruise and will definitely consider Princess for my next cruise. Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
First let me say our travel agent in Barbados has to make our arrangements with agents in Santo Domingo who do not speak English so that most of our special requests were lost in translation in spite of repeated phone calls and Emails. ... Read More
First let me say our travel agent in Barbados has to make our arrangements with agents in Santo Domingo who do not speak English so that most of our special requests were lost in translation in spite of repeated phone calls and Emails. Princess Management PLEASE look at this. Our family ages were from 15months to 73 years. Kudos to our Dining room waiters Chris and Denmark ,Table184 When we first went to dinner we were split up in spite of request to be seated together. This was rectified the following evening. The ship was beautifully decorated for Christmas and the programes for the teenagers and 8 year old good. The evening Shows were awful. Lacked any imagination at all We have travelled on several cruise lines and Coral Princess`s shows were by far the worst.Having said that movies under the stars were good and I found movies in cabin good and destination lectures very informative. Our cabinD421 was very comfortable and spacious. Did not like the fact that before we had disembarked on our return from breakfast approx 8.00am. the bed in our cabin was already made up for the next passenger Dinner was average but we did enjoy our breakfast in sabatinis Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
We have sailed Princess before and been very happy with great food and entertainment. This cruise was very nice but we did not feel it was up to par with the one to Alaska. That could be because now I am on a gluten free diet and while the ... Read More
We have sailed Princess before and been very happy with great food and entertainment. This cruise was very nice but we did not feel it was up to par with the one to Alaska. That could be because now I am on a gluten free diet and while the dining room head waiter was extremely helpful and made suggestions to tell me what the chef could fix for me or how he could adapt the meal to be gluten free, we did not always eat in the dining room. The food choices in the Horizon Buffet were numerous for the average eater but I did not see anything gluten free other than some of the fish, cheese, salad and fruit. That was pretty limiting for that amount of time on a ship. The gluten free pizza cooked to order was good for the first two slices. After that, I didn't like the taste. I know I read on a review that the person on a GF diet loved the pizza. I didn't. It is possible she had them put meat on it that gave it more flavor. I just had some veggies on it as I am trying to keep my meat consumption down. There was one GF dessert each day. Some were very good. Some were OK and some were not very good. Everyone has different tastes though. The entertainment was very good. My husband and I saw the magician, the mentalist and a comedian. They were all very good. The vocalists, singers and dancers were also very good. We didn't care for the very first show of the cruise. We feel there was more talent there than that show revealed. We went to Aruba, Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica and Jamaica. We were very disappointed with the snorkeling tour, arranged through Princess, in Aruba. The catamarans were too crowded, the snorkeling site had a few other cruise boats and everyone descended in the same place. Plus, there were divers over the wreck that was supposed to be one of the high points of the excursion. I realize that the hurricane did a lot of damage to the reef but I would assume that Princess knew that so there would not be much to see. There wasn't. The boat did not have a mask cleaner and the masks fogged up almost immediately, even cleaning it in the ocean. The fish were nothing special and the wreck was very crowded, not to mention dive bubbles coming up into your face. I think the write up of the excursions could have a little more detail in them. The excursions in Panama, Costa Rica and Jamaica were a lot of fun and I would recommend them. We arranged our own tour in Cartegena, Colombia, with Dora de Explorer. It was a small tour of 13 in a very comfortable, air conditioned bus. Dora was wonderful. She wanted to make sure that everyone on the bus enjoyed themselves as much as possible. I would recommend her in a heartbeat. If you are interested, you can read more about that tour on Trip Advisor. Going through the Canal was an amazing experience. The port lecturer gave information about it before and during our journey through the locks. It was great. We went on a boat on Gatun Lake and saw three kinds of monkeys and birds. The excursion in Costa Rica was a tram ride through the rainforest and a boat ride to see wildlife. We saw a family of howler monkeys, two small caiman crocodiles, a turtle, birds, an iguana and a sloth. That was also wonderful. It included a very nice lunch (which almost all was GF for me.) We went tubing down a river in Jamaica and we thoroughly enjoyed it. The ride was very relaxing and safe. The innertubes are very tough. As our tour guide said, the water was 'refreshing.' The river guides who accompanied us were very social, personable and funny. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
The best part of this cruise was the people. The ship is large enough not to feel crowded, but small enough that you can see folks you met at dinner walking about. A few items that I would have liked to be a better experience: 1) FOOD - ... Read More
The best part of this cruise was the people. The ship is large enough not to feel crowded, but small enough that you can see folks you met at dinner walking about. A few items that I would have liked to be a better experience: 1) FOOD - it was just horrible--anytime dining was the best, but the quality of the food was poor. Salty, undercooked, overcooked and just not a wide variety. I would have rather paid a fee for a good steak then have them serve meat that wasn't filled with filler (burgers at grill - disaster);. Pizza station was great, make you own pizza-wonderful. Speciality Bayou Cafe worth the 20 pp for a GREAT steak--filet and strip outstanding--Sabitinis Lobster 3 ways--undercooked and not work 25--strip steak was good. Italian night served all German food--Mexican night had American food. Cold for the most part most nights. 2) STAFF/SERVICE--EXCELLENT--Princess know how to train the staff. Only had on issue where a bar server wouldn't go up on the 15th deck to get drinks cause it was too far to go--otherwise--best service I have seen in a long time. 3) ROOMS-Balancy room was good size and closet good size. Bathroom way too small-a full size person (140 lbs) could not even turn around in that shower. 4) PEOPLE-wonderful mix of americans and Europeans--all age; majority was over 50, but that made it even better--be an old soul and you will meet the most amazing people. 5) Excursions-stay away from the all day Panama boat transit--we we suck on the boad for almost 11 hours and it cause the ship not be able to leave port. --Again this is where I think Princess has got customer service down--got a 65% refund to all and didn't even have to request it. Surprisingly Cartenga was very enjoyable city tour--its was really hot and humid but the bus had great air conditioning. . Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
We took this cruise because of its itinerary and because we wanted to become Elite with Princess before our March, 2014 31 day "Around the Horn" cruise on Golden Princess. We are experienced cruisers and are also Elite with ... Read More
We took this cruise because of its itinerary and because we wanted to become Elite with Princess before our March, 2014 31 day "Around the Horn" cruise on Golden Princess. We are experienced cruisers and are also Elite with Celebrity Cruise Lines. We like to cruise out of LA because we can drive to the port or, in this case, to the airport. We parked our vehicle at LAX and met Princess representatives at Delta arrivals for our bus ride to the ship. Or transition was very smooth and professional and we were able to walk right to the check-in counter and were on the ship in five minutes. We were quickly shown to our cabin and greeted by our steward--who was fantastic. The ship met all of our expectations and then some. There were never any lines or too many passengers crowded into one place. Seating was always available for show and in lounges. This ship is perfectly sized in our opinion. Dining is always important and we had early seating. We may not do early seating next time because it is just a bit early if you've been ashore on a tour, etc.. The food was good but it seems that this is an area where all cruise lines are cutting back some. We used the International Café for morning coffee and purchased a coffee card--a very good deal if you like specialty coffees and, the coffee at the Café is the best on the ship. The staff at the Café was amazingly good. A pastry here was usually adequate but sometimes we went to the Horizon Court for breakfast. Their selections were also adequate and there was always abundant fruit, juice, etc. and the service very friendly and almost instantaneous. We rarely ate lunch other than an occasional slice of pizza or a hamburger or hot dog from the grill. The soft-serve ice cream was also good. Dinner time was delightful with our table mates and the great service. As I mentioned, I think the evening dining experience as far as food goes is not what it once was. That being said, they've tried to push their specialty dining rooms, The Bayou and Sabatini's. These two restaurants have large dining areas taking up a lot of space but, from what we saw, few diners. The $20 a person extra charge brings you what I believe is the same meal you used to get in the regular dining room. We did not use these specialty restaurants and we heard mixed reviews about them from other passengers. On longer cruises we always look forward to the Scholarship at Sea presentations. This is the area that Princess really let us down. There were two presenters. There was a male and female who were astronomers, and they were very good. The other presenter who seemed to be on every day was a complete zero. He was supposed to lecture on the Mayans, Aztecs and other Latin American history and historical figures. We are former teachers and could not stand the way he murdered the English language. He also could not pronounce Spanish words and gave out a lot of personal opinion as fact. As an example, he said the Mayans had extraterrestrial help building their monuments and that the Mayans tried to save the people of Atlantis. He also was the narrator during the Canal transit and gave preposterous information--too much to list here. (An example, he pointed out an alligator on the bank of the canal and said it weighed 4,800 pounds.) We were very disappointed that Princess would have a "lecturer" of such poor quality on their ship. Back to the positive. The entertainment was varied and excellent. They have two venues for shows on the Coral and they are both good places to see a show. The production shows were amazing and the individual entertainers were excellent. The lounge performers were first rate as were the other bands and groups that played throughout the ship. Good stuff. Disembarkation was smooth but a little prolonged. Because of our level with Princess we were able to take our time getting out of our cabin and we had a special lounge to wait for our group to leave. They had coffee and juices and pastries for us there as well. We had taken, through Princess, an extra night in Ft. Lauderdale at the Embassy Suites so as not to be rushed as far as the airport goes. Princess handled the transportation to the hotel and gave us a cab voucher for the next day's trip to the airport. The cab voucher was nice as it enabled us to go to the airport when we wanted rather than take a bus with a lot of other people who weren't necessarily on our schedule. With the exception of the one lecturer, the trip was a huge success and we enjoyed it thoroughly. We highly recommend Princess and the Coral Princess. Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
This was our second cruise with Princess Cruises and following a city break in Vancouver we set sail from Canada Place and in the early evening set ail for Los Angeles passing Stanley Park on our port side and then under the Lions Gate ... Read More
This was our second cruise with Princess Cruises and following a city break in Vancouver we set sail from Canada Place and in the early evening set ail for Los Angeles passing Stanley Park on our port side and then under the Lions Gate Bridge. The start of a very enjoyable 18 days of cruising. We were in cabin A528 on the Aloha Deck having decided prior to the cruises that the port side would be the preferable side to view our ports of call as well as the transit through the Panama Canal. We had the late dining option in the Provence Dining Room where the table service was just fair and the table location directly near a cold downblast of air conditioning. However, the food was good and our table companions engaging. so much so that we missed many of the late entertainment showings. We even had the pleasure of the ship's first engineer for most of the cruise and his interaction helped make up for the general poor table service. We visited the Bayoux Restaurant on one occasion and would definitely recommend that as a paid dining extra. The Promenade Deck on the Coral Princess goes all the way round, is wide with nice wooden deck chairs and well used by fellow passengers to help get rid of some of those excess pounds gained at the Horizon and other dining venues. The ports of call on this journey were good and the shop sales on board on the 'at sea days' were better than usual as this ship was relocating from one cruising area (Alaska) to another (Panama & Western Caribbean). Staff were friendly. Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
We had a great cruise in spite of some minor irritations. The ship was beautiful and we loved our cabin. We ended up on the Caribe deck with the double deep balconies. Alaska is a place that needs to be seen from a ship and the views from ... Read More
We had a great cruise in spite of some minor irritations. The ship was beautiful and we loved our cabin. We ended up on the Caribe deck with the double deep balconies. Alaska is a place that needs to be seen from a ship and the views from our balcony were outstanding. The positives on this trip were: Beautiful ship Well laid out Excellent pastries (Kudos to the pastry chef on board) Outstanding scenery Most excursions were well worth the money The negatives: Many staff members were inattentive (Might have been tired due to the last run of the season) For example: Waiter leaning over our table to serve another table coffee; waiter disappearing for 20 minutes during dinner; waiter insisting on selling us a wine tasting package despite us declining; cabin stewart not refilling toiletries until last day; at afternoon tea, one person at the table was served and then waiter ran away with the scones, had to wait 20 minutes for jam and cream once the first waiter was called back to serve the rest of the table. Very small shower No soap or shampoo dispenser in the shower This isn't a negative or positive but the food was just okay. I expected better but what was served was acceptable. In the end, you can't complain too much about a trip where your bed is made every day and you are fed. We got this trip at half price during their spring sale so I ended up satisfied with the cruise. I would not have been so happy if I had paid full price for it. I did post a similar review on Princess and we did get a call that we missed. It is interesting that they did not follow up further.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
This review favours the ship more than the destination. My TA offered me a cruise for 869. pp incl taxes for 2 wks in Alaska August 28 - Sept. 11, 2013. My daughter and I cruised strictly for r & r. As "destination cruisers" ... Read More
This review favours the ship more than the destination. My TA offered me a cruise for 869. pp incl taxes for 2 wks in Alaska August 28 - Sept. 11, 2013. My daughter and I cruised strictly for r & r. As "destination cruisers" we sailed w/ apprehension as "journey cruisers". First we'd been to Alaska before and as natives of British Columbia we were not impressed . northern B.C boasts more dramatic and stunning landscapes unless.the traveller is seriously into ice burgs, but Vancouver is our home port. we took public transport and walked straight onto the ship about 2 pm. we cruised w/ carnival (1st and last time) elation and Norwegian star (tolerable w/ a balcony cabin) in feb. (see my reviews) and i was hassled over wearing my glasses for pics, so princess' laid back, but efficient boarding was a treat. our cabin was ready and lucky us we'd been upgraded from an inside to a window cabin. as always we headed straight to the spa and purchased access to the thermal suite (99 per wk) -the special area (10 for a morn or aft) is just plain silly in alaska and was deserted - whose going to pay to sit outside in a cabana in freezing weather? who would sit there for free? the thermal suite offers heated bed similar to HAL, but less elegant and 3 wet spas - eucalyptus, tropical and plain steam. open 9 - 10 my daughter and i went up every night at 9 and relaxed. we had set early dinner, but princess offer "freestyle" if desired. warning - long lines for couples who don't share and large groups. if that's you i'd opt for a set time. dining rm opens at 5:15, but couples got in at 5 somehow and glommed on to a window seat. there was a mix up in our reservation and we were led to a table for 6 --mario, the mgr quickly found us a table for 2 and that worked well for the rest of the voyage. Food - less than HAL, better than NCL or Carnival. i'm diabetic so i eat 5-6 small meals a day so i usually opted for 2 appetizers and 1 desert. sugarless desserts were scrumptious especially the mango mouse cake and taramisu. salads few and mostly inedible w/ bitter greens which drove me to discover .the buffet on the Lido deck had a sumptuous salad bar - we also took to going up there for dessert because of the variety and they were identical in qaullity to dining rm fare. formal night - always the second night at sea uually has surf and turf, but on our cruise it was available first night -- odd. i don't eat red meat, so i was offered 2 servings of prawns (no lobster on the pacific coast). lunch was in the buffet. indian food w/ a different curry every day, great salads, lots of cheese, cold cuts and sandwich fixins', fresh roast of lamb or pork or beef sliced to order, chicken entrees, and fruit and veggies galore. also a burger bar available and an ice cream station. breakfast in the dining rm - pastries, juices, waffles, pancakes,oatmeal, lox and bagels, eggs bennie, and any other way you might order your eggs, ham bacon sausages, hash browns wtx. the buffet also available. In Ketchican (the salmon were running) we had a fresh salmon bar b q. room service - free - pizza $5. rm service offers little variety and the food is ho hum. mostly sandwiches, the ceasar salad was inedible. we discovered we could order the fruit plate and cheese plate from the dining room (marius strikes again) and they would deliver it to our cabin. cabins big and comfortable w/ 2 lg beds side by side and a small table. usual amt of closet spc. safe. shower in bathroom. cabin smaller than HAL; bigger than NCL. robes available on request. our room server was always available and honoured our request to skip the nightly cheap chocolate and towel animals. he knew we ate on schedule and serviced our room when we were at breakfast or dinner. service was fine, but i expect that on a cruise. no complaints; no kudos. room clean (my daughter is fussy). vacuumed weekly. Ports - Ketchican - rains a lot - opposite Prince Rupert, BC (90 min drive) - small and accessible by walking off ship. shopping and small art galleries on Creek st. tours for whale lovers and animal lovers. architecture ho hum. you can walk in the woods - no tour, but be careful not to get lost.not great for shopping wait for Juneau (next port) Juneau. - capital of alaska. pop. 32K. only accessible by ship or plane. first stop on the turn of the century gold rush trail shoppers paradise w/ great sales in sep. - every week in sept. the prices drop except inketchican.. walking distance from ship (10 min to town). Red Dog saloon complete w/ sawdust on the floor -- worth a drink to soak up the ambiance. adequate band w/ a sense of humour.. we were there on a sunday and tried to go to church, but the priest was stuck in a nearby town and his lane was delayed by fog. that info was almost as good as mass. Skagway - it was cold and rainy. took shuttle from ship to town. ($2). museum of gold rush has film and a few artifacts of the bygone era (free). first stop on the gold rush trail and my personal favorite town in alaska.did you know wyatt earp dealt farrow on a ship off the coast for 28 years? train trip booked on ship (1 1/2 hr) gives you a great tour of the surrounding landscape and fun to spot animals. the six block old town in the centre of town is preserved exactly the way it was at the turn of the century w/ wooden sidewalks and freshly painted, but authentic buildings (if you like architecture bring your camera). be sure to see the former mayor's office made out of drift wood.great little restaurants and snack shacks w/lg portions of plain , but hearty fare. shoppers paradise, but diamonds international here is like Juneau. if you get tired of souveneer shops-- try the russian store and for you ladies "temptations" is a fine boutique w/ enchanting styles. i can't resist a visit and always buy something -- remember sept. sales. Red Onion saloon and brothel (offers tours of the brothel along or town and brothel museum at ridiculous prices. still, ladies in authentic dress serve lunch and drinks. Wittier - stay on ship. pop. 225 fork and 90 per cent live in one bldg. from ship you can see the bldg surrounded by train freight depot. really ugly site. Ship - lots to do - we went for a lecture on how to take better pictures, a craft class (on the way up we mad birthday cards and on the way back, boxes), the spa had a health seminar - beware spas are pushing a seaweed cure that my doctor says is bogus. all seminars, even the footprint analysis, end up in selling the algae cure. the spa offers a stretch class 7-7:30 am followed by abs crunch .lots of state of the art fitness equipment. we got hooked on trivia offered 2 times a day, great fun. scrabble and card games offered. i met a woman who entered the elevator chuffed at getting a word for an enormous amt of points. the casino offers bingo as well as the usual slots, cards etc. i was pleased to see the casino was tucked aft and could be avoided if you so choose. taking and perusing and hopefully, on the part of the photographers, buying pics seemed to be a major pastime. Entertainment:the usual hoaky musicals provided w/ the exception of the New Orleans musical that played great music related to new orleans that was so entertaining we watched it on the way up to seward and back. a vegas type music man was pretty good if you like soul. the motown musical was ok as was the world offering. there only the celtic music fit the dancing.-- how could you get jive wrong? the illusionist was disappointing -- he pulled his wife out of ten different boxes - yawn! skipped the comedian. princes offers movies unders the stars, but in alaska its music under the ice, on our trip to the spa at night we saw a few hardy souls who were covered in blankets and cloths that coverdevery part of their bodies excet the eyes. who cares if they offer free pop corn. noone ate it because they would have to remove their mittens. i am happy to report a couple of the movies were shown inside, for example the latest star trek rip off -- it was sad - a rehash of "the wrath of kahn" w/ action and a muddied storyline. a tom cruise sci fi was also shown -- so forgetable i forgot the title. at least i as warm. drinks available during evening performances. The highlight of the trip was dr. ryan, a naturalist. who lectured on the history of the gold rush, whales/otters and took you on deck to see them, and ice burgs. a movie on the people who live in alaska (available on your cabin tv) was enlightening. real survivalists. also park rangers came on board for 6 hrs and taught about the ice burgs and wildlife. while i appreciated that others were thrilled w/ alaska i like the philosophy of a man on deck who said to me, "what is the socially acceptable length of time to stare at an ice burg?" my sentiments exactly. tourists who come to alaska are a hearty breed. on the whole i enjoyed my trip. there was plenty to do on the ship. sometimes i felt like i was running from activity to activity and i skipped a lot. there was time to read and relax. there was also dancing in the bars. and late night activities i skip. i came for r & r and i came home rested and happy. Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
This is a long review. Please forgive me for my wordiness but I'm a nooby cruiser who enjoyed reading all the details in the reviews I saw before we went on this cruise and I figure there are others out there who are like me. I ... Read More
This is a long review. Please forgive me for my wordiness but I'm a nooby cruiser who enjoyed reading all the details in the reviews I saw before we went on this cruise and I figure there are others out there who are like me. I created subtitles so if you wish, you can skip to the areas that are most of interest to you. Now I have to admit that because I follow a gluten free diet, I was a bit apprehensive about setting out on an 18 day cruise. We had only cruised once before, on the Diamond Princess in Alaska 2009 and although I was avoiding wheat back then, I didn't have the full GF dietary restrictions. Much to my delight, the Coral Princess Crew did everything right on this cruise. I was well taken care of and came home with a few extra pounds to prove it. I'm going to try to curb my enthusiasm and not go into too much detail about the gluten free side of things in this review, I just want to give my fellow cruise enthusiasts, an overview of our trip. If you're looking for more specific detail about the food, I am a gluten free food blogger and plan to post details (along with pictures) of my gluten free experience over on my blog. I'm not sure if CC rules allows me to include an external link, so if you're interested, I suggest you search "Cruising Gluten Free" and "Fox in the Kitchen" blog. Our Cruise... On September 25, we embarked on the Coral Princess from our home in the Port City of Vancouver, BC and sailed for 18 Days on a Panama Canal Grand Adventure (Full Transit) to Ft. Lauderdale, FL. We chose this Cruise to celebrate my husband's 60th Birthday. It ended up being a perfectly wonderful and carefree vacation for both of us. Embarkation... Our son dropped us off at the Cruise Ship Terminal around 1pm for embarkation. As soon as we parked, they took our main luggage off our hands. It took over an hour for us to get on board, where our luggage was waiting. The line ups were long but the Cruise Ship Terminal had things organized, so we kept moving steadily along. The time actually went by fairly quickly. We only had a carry-on bag and a bag with a few bottles of wine we were bringing on board with us. Tip: If you are taking wine on board, do carry it with you. Do not pack it in your suitcase. The Princess Crew want to see/know how much wine you're bringing on board. They told us to stop before Customs, at a table to declare our wine. We were glad we did because we heard of people being called after they were on board to go down and claim their luggage after x-rays showed contraband inside. The Stateroom... We booked a guaranteed MD Category Mini-Suite and were very happy with our assigned cabin D705 on Dolphin Deck 9. A typical mini-suite layout but it felt almost like a corner suite. The cabin is in an area where the hallway takes a bit of a jog. It has a fully covered balcony, is right next door to the full size suites, is close but not too close to the aft elevators and passenger laundry room. We wouldn't hesitate to book this stateroom again in the future. We were about ten doors from the aft deck. The ship wide aft deck is fully covered and nicely sheltered from the wind. There was seldom anyone else out there. With views from both the Port and Starboard sides, it had a rail from which we could get a close up view of the lock gates operating while we went through the Panama Canal. One passenger who was doing the Canal for a second time, said he actually enjoyed the aft view better than the view through the glass on the crowded forward decks. We found the aft deck with its wake views, was a great place for taking photographs. Tip: There is plenty of room under the bed to store your empty suitcases. The food... Something Princess has a favourable reputation for, is the food. On the Coral, it was consistently good. I can't say enough good things about Jose, the Head Waiter in the Provence Dining Room. I felt so very well taken care of by him. He arranged for a standing order so I could get gluten free pizza when ever I wanted it. The personal size gluten free crusts are always made in advance and usually you had to give the pizza guys 24 hours notice before you could get one. I ordered most of my gluten free meals the day before from the next day's menus. You can order on the spot from the current day's menu, as I did a few times for lunch but its harder and more confusing for the crew to manage. I found that when I didn't order in advance, I often settled for a salad or something I was confident was naturally gluten free. Less chance of a screw up. Last thing I wanted was to get sick on this trip. For Breakfast...on Port days, we ordered Room Service when all we needed was a quick bite before we got off the ship. The Room Service Menu is extremely limited but they would deliver early. The morning we were in the Panama Canal I wrote in a request to have an earlier than offered delivery. I wrote 6:00 am not knowing for sure whether they could accommodate my request and the guy was there at 5:50 am! Which was perfect for us to have our Coffee and Tea on the balcony while watching the sunrise. Most other mornings we had breakfast at the Horizon Court buffet. They had a large choice of different foods for my husband. He really enjoyed it. I stuck to fresh fruit and plain yogurt because I didn't feel like going through the bother of asking a supervisor to walk me through the buffet to point out what was gluten free and therefore safe for me to eat. Jose the Head Waiter told me that if I wanted, they could make gluten free French Toast, Pancakes, or special Muffins for breakfast in the main Dining Room but the one morning we went to the Dining Room for Breakfast, the waiter seemed to get flustered when I told him I was gluten free. He was getting people's food and drink orders mixed up. It wasn't the best experience for us, so we decided not to push it and stuck with Room Service and the Horizon Court for breakfast. For Lunch we mixed it up. Several times we ate at the main dining room where the meals were really good but could be a little drawn out. Horizon Court was an option my husband enjoyed because of the variety of food. Much the same as breakfast, I stuck to things I knew were gluten free, which was generally fresh salad and cheese. Princess Pizza, I loved their gluten free pizza. My husband said the regular pizza was just okay. It was like mall pizza by the slice and best if you could get it straight out of the oven before it sat under the heat lamps for too long. The pizza guys Constantine and Vito got to know me and usually a nod and a smile was all that was necessary before they got busy making a fresh GF pizza for me. The Grill, my husband tried their beef burger and chicken burger with fries. He enjoyed both. I never enquired about getting a gluten free lunch at The Grill. I was happy enough with the pizza I was getting right below them on the Lido Deck. For Dinner, we chose Traditional Dining, Early Seating (5:45pm) in the Provence Dining Room. I believe for someone with dietary restrictions, Traditional Seating is the best way to go because you have the same wait staff each evening. Almost all of our evening meals were in the Provence Dining Room. One night at dinner there, the wait staff placed a meal in front of me that had non-gluten free orzo pasta. Before I could to question them, Jose the Head Waiter, swooped in, said "that's not for you" and whisked the dish away. They replaced it a few minutes later with the pasta free version I had ordered. The Bayou Specialty Restaurant, after getting back late from an excursion one day, we dined there. It was a bit romantic to have a quiet dinner at a nice little table for two. The service and food were very good and we had a special bottle of wine that we brought from home and yes, we did pay a $15 corkage fee but that was something we budgeted for. We both ordered the filet mignon which at 10 oz was huge. Neither one of us could finish it all. Was it worth the extra $20 per person? I don't know, maybe but more for the experience and atmosphere than the food. After all, we already purchased a full complement of meals when we paid the fare for our cruise. Now here I am going on and on about food and my gluten free experience when I said I would save that for the blog. Oh well, I am a foodie and dining on the Coral Princess was a good experience for me. This Cruise, convinced me that Cruising is a great way for someone with food allergies to travel and see the world. I did have to do my homework before we booked but I'm already used to doing that when I travel. At least on a Cruise Ship I can communicate my needs in English and not struggle with a foreign language like I would have to do at Hotels and Restaurants on a Land Tour. Seasickness... This was not a concern for either of us. I do think of myself as someone who has a queasy stomach. Blame the gluten. On this cruise, the only time I felt woozy was on the morning before we got to LA. The Captain announced that they were changing course towards San Francisco because they had to meet a helicopter for an emergency evacuation of a very sick passenger. The ship started to rock back and forth after it came to a near standstill during the evacuation. We were walking down the stairs to our cabin when that happened and I must have turned three shades of green. You should have seen the look on my husband's face. I'm sure he envisioned having to carry me the length of the ship. Thankfully I made it back to our cabin without assistance. I laid down on the bed and was okay once the ship got moving again. That was it. I was good for the rest of the trip. Staying in touch...or rather, Not Staying in touch... This is about the only negative thing I have to say about our experience on this Cruise...the Internet was highly overpriced. It had a rack rate of 79 cents a minute and was slower than the squelchy old dial-up internet from back in the 80's. We decided before we left home to gift ourselves an Internet Package because we thought it would give us some bonus minutes. It was expensive for something we often get free when we travel. We budgeted for a meagre 10 minutes a day. I know we were on vacation, getting away from it all but it's still important for us to stay in touch with the kids and grandkids. Plus, I manage my website. The one with my gluten free food blog. Often it took at least ten minutes to log on and another 10 minutes or more to download email. I didn't dare sit down to fully read and answer emails. A quick glance at the Subject Line to make sure our world wasn't falling apart was all we had time for. My website? It was sadly neglected. After a couple of days, my husband gave up even trying to log on. I persisted but found that unless I logged on after midnight when everyone else was asleep, it was too painful to bother. The last few days at sea I was not successful at logging on at all. Even after midnight my mobile device would just time out. We paid over a $100 for 250 minutes but were only able to use about 215 minutes and not a bit of that was quality time. We were counting on having some internet access every day, so that was a big disappointment for us. Passenger Laundry Rooms... I'm including this info because I've had a few people say they were not aware that Princess Ships had Passenger Laundry Rooms. Those people must have been on cruises that were shorter than our 18 Days :-) On the Coral Princess the laundry rooms are all located aft on the passenger decks. On Dolphin Deck 9 there are 5 washing machines and an equal number of dryers. The laundry room on Emerald Deck 8 is smaller with only 3 pairs of each. The machines are coin operated and only accept American quarters. It's $2 per wash and the same to dry. It takes about 40 minutes for each. There was usually a demand for the machines, so I set the timer on my phone to let me know when the load was almost done. Also in the laundry room are a couple of Irons (free, but on timers) and Ironing Boards, a large sink, TV monitor, Coin Operated Soap Dispenser and a Coin Changer machine. I brought Tide Pods with me. They worked very well. Just tossed them into the machine along with my dirty laundry. I didn't pay attention to the Soap Dispenser but would guess it took quarters as well. If you forget to take US quarters with you, there is the Coin Changer machine but it only accepts $1 US bills and it cannot be relied upon. It was empty for the second half of our trip. Actually we found out the washers and dryers accept Princess Casino Tokens. We know this because we went to Customer Service and bought a roll of quarters. It was about half full of Tokens. The Itinerary... The 18 Day "Grand Adventure" Cruise is actually a 3 Day repositioning Coastal Cruise from Vancouver to Los Angeles, plus a 15 Day Panama Canal Cruise from LA to Ft. Lauderdale. In fact, the Princess Captains Circle reward program will give you credit for 2 separate cruises "upon request". In other words they don't do it automatically. You have to call them and ask for an extra credit. The Entertainment... With this itinerary, we had a total of 10 days At Sea. So I brought a few books. We were looking forward to just kicking back and relaxing on those days but most often, we got caught up in the events of the day. They had everything in the Princess Patter. My books went unread. We thought the Cruise Directors Staff on the Coral did a great job in keeping everybody entertained. The ship never felt crowded and there were always quiet spots available if you felt like having some down time but most of the time, we just felt like getting involved and did not want to miss a minute of anything. In the evening we enjoyed the Dance Productions in the Princess Theater. Our favourite show was The Bayou that was actually in the Universe Lounge. Our only complaint was that at 30 minutes the shows were too short. I think they were longer back when we cruised on the Diamond in 2009. We also enjoyed most of the comedians, instrumentalists, comedic magician, ventriloquist and singers who performed. Our favourite performers were Icon, the Coral Princess Party Band. We loved listening to them and dancing to their music. We ended most evenings in the Explorers Lounge with Icon. The Ports... Los Angeles - we didn't bother booking any tours here. The tours weren't offered on princess.com until about two weeks before the trip and by then we had already decided there would be enough to do in the immediate vicinity of the Cruise Ship Terminal. We walked off the ship around 8:30am and walked the Promenade to the Port of Calls Market. It was too early, the shops weren't open yet. We then walked up to a Starbucks in San Pedro where they had free WiFi and I was able to check in with the kids and see what was happening on my blog. We had a delicious lunch at the San Pedro Brewing Company which is about a 15-20 minute walk from the Pier. We found out later there is a free (I think it is the Red Car?) Shuttle that does a loop from the pier. It goes right past the Pub but we were already on our way back to the ship on foot before we found out about it. Cabo San Lucas, Mexico - this is a Port without a big enough dock for the ship. You have to take a Tender Boat to shore. It wasn't too bad but tendering does draw out the process of getting ashore. At the Marina after our excursion, the high pressure sales tactics we faced, where it was not enough to say 'no thanks' over and over, was a big turn-off. The tour operators and peddlers on the dock kept hounding us. There was a nice touristy gift shop there with a good selections of souvenirs. At least they left you alone to take your time and shop in there. If you're looking for free WiFi at Starbucks on the dock, they don't have it :( We faced a long line of people waiting for Tender Boats to go back to the ship but there were no Tender Boats in sight. We found out afterwards this was due to another emergency evacuation of a sick passenger. After standing there in the heat getting frustrated because we didn't know what was going on, a Tender Boat from the ship arrived and a passenger on a stretcher was taken from it to a waiting Ambulance. How heartbreaking it was to see that and the husband following along with a crew member who was carting all of their luggage. Sad. San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua - another Tender Port. Thankfully the last one on this itinerary. We had a long tour booked for this day. Actually I think almost all the tours for this Port are long because there's not much to see and do in San Juan del Sur. It just looks like a small village. We had to drive for an hour before we got to a larger sized town but the drive on a luxury bus was nice. We got to see a lot of the countryside and get a feel for the way people live there. It is a poor country with high unemployment and a very young population. Most of the people living in Nicaragua are under the age of 21 years. After our excursion, we shopped at the little market set up at the Pier. I picked up some little handmade leather sandles for $6 US to give to our granddaughter. Wish we would have had more time for shopping there but as it was, we were on the second to last Tender Boat going back to the ship. Puntarenas, Costa Rica - when we got to Costa Rica, we were pleased to see the tour buses lined up right on the pier next to the ship. After our excursion, we got back to the ship with plenty of time before sail away. There was a line of venders in tent awnings that we could see from the pier so we decided to wander down there. Soon after, it started to rain and the venders began to pack up their things, so we didn't get a chance to shop or see much. I loved Costa Rica. It's lush, tropical, modern and clean. The people we came into contact with there were very friendly and not at all greedy and pushy like we found in Cabo San Lucas. I could see myself returning for a vacation in Costa Rica. Panama Canal, Panama - was not one of the Ports we stopped at but this was it. The highlight of our Cruise! Someone on Cruise Critic had suggested going to different venues on board to see the locks from different perspectives and I'm so glad we did! After all, each of the locks look the same, and there is plenty of time to move about when the ship is between locks. It takes about 40 minutes to move the ship into position and close the gates behind it in the lock. The actual filling (or draining) of the water to lift (or lower) the ship only takes about 10 minutes. So why not get a look at the locks from all different angles? Moving around makes for some great photography. We took about 500 pictures that day. We started out watching from our balcony which was perfect because we entered in the locks on the left. With a perfect view from our starboard balcony, we watched a big container ship in the lock parallel to us. We also had a good view of the mules (electric trains), line handlers in the row-boat and the observation decks with the people waving at us as our ship went through. That reminds me, if you go through the Panama Canal and you have family at home who might be interested in seeing your ship transit the locks, they can watch live from home by going to https://www.pancanal.com/eng/index.html We had a few family members who watched as our ship went through. Anyways, we didn't stay in one place for long, we moved around the ship. We got a great view from the aft deck of the gates closing behind us. The forward Deck on Lido was pretty crowded with people three deep behind the glass at the rail. The big screen at Theater Under The Stars was showing the view from the Bridge Camera. One of the most interesting views we got was from inside a window at The Princess Patisserie down on Deck 5. We were down low, I think it was in the San Miguel lock, waiting for the Coral Princess to get lifted to the next level. The view outside the window from down on Deck 5 was of the concrete walls inside the lock. The wall was so close we could have touched it. The ship started to rise up and the concrete wall started to disappear below us. Slowly, the ship was lifted until we were above ground level and then we were even with the Electric Train. The driver was waving madly at us and then on up we went some more until we were looking down at him a couple of stories below us. That view, and connecting with family at home who we knew were at that moment watching us...those were my favourite moments of that day. The Panama Canal did not disappoint. It lived up to all the hype. It was fascinating and exciting. A real marvel to go through those hundred year old locks. Cartagena, Colombia - our time in Columbia was short. We arrived at 8am and departed at 2:00pm. It was very hot and humid on the day we were there. After our excursion, we went straight to our stateroom to shower and change. Then it was time for lunch where we indulged in a couple of much-needed cold refreshments. Aruba - another short Port Day. We didn't arrive until 1:00pm and sail away was at 7:00pm. As soon as we saw Aruba with the white sandy beaches, light blue water, pretty Resorts and sweet little one story island homes, we thought how beautiful! After our excursion, instead of returning to the ship, we wandered down the street from the pier where we found tons of shopping. Every second store was a Jewellery Store. We picked up some hats and t-shirts to take home and then found more souvenirs in the few shops that are inside the Cruise Ship Terminal. We both really liked Aruba and loved the happy islanders who had unusual accents and a wicked sense of humour. Would have loved to have had more time to spend on this little island. Disembarkation... Ft. Lauderdale, Florida - we had booked an excursion, so we were among the first to disembark from the ship. That part went quickly but going through Customs took at least an hour. It was frustrating because the line we were standing in was not moving. We saw the next two or three groups of people leaving the ship get directed to another line and watched them get processed and leave while we just stood there. We heard later there were problems because of the US Government shutdown. Because of the delays, some people even had to cancel their excursion tours at the last-minute and go directly to the airport. They shortened our excursion a bit but we still got all of it in so I guess we were lucky. We spent the night and then flew out of Miami the next morning. The Tour Bus dropped us at the Miami Airport where we got picked up by the Shuttle for the Hampton Inn & Suites Miami-Airport South-Blue Lagoon where we were staying. The Hotel was just okay. At most, maybe a three star? Paper cups, no glassware, that sort of thing. Being located so close to the Airport, I worried about noise but it wasn't a problem. We didn't know it at the time of booking but the Hotel is in an area they refer to as Little Havana. All of the Store Clerks in the shops we went into only spoke Spanish to us. Few seemed to understand English. We couldn't see any decent restaurants nearby, so we ended up getting fast food from Wendy's and eating it in our room. The Hotel's Shuttle to the Airport was good. It ran every half hour and only took about 5 minutes to get there. The Excursions... Note: we only booked excursions offered by Princess. I know people do book private tours that could be quicker with more customised sites squeezed in for less money, or there are people who just grab a taxi to drive them around but we've heard stories about people getting stranded and barely or **gasp** not making it back to the ship on time. If you book excursions through the ship, they will wait for you, or otherwise help you if things go sideways. We liked having that assurance and viewed the probable higher cost as if it were insurance. Cabo San Lucas, Mexico - We booked tour number SJD-110 Scenic Drive, San José and Shopping Tour. We really enjoyed the visit to the Glass Blowing Factory and the views from the Sunset Point Restaurant but the rest of the tour was just kind of...meh. What they advertised as a stop at Cabo San Lucas Town Square, turned into a stop at Mia Casa Resaurant/Shop where we were given a teeny taste of tequila and then we were pressed by our Tour Guide to order lunch and a margarita. We didn't partake of either. They had some musicians playing who came around to our table and bluntly asked for tips and then gave us dirty looks after we gave them a couple of dollars. I guess we didn't tip big enough. San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua - We booked tour number SJ1-470 Mombacho Volcano 4WD and Hike, Vistas & Lunch. I worried about the 4WD because I had read reviews about a really, really steep mountain road. I envisioned hairpin cliff edge turns on a gravel road but there was none of that. The road was steep and the open bed trucks noisy as they shifted into lower gears but the road is cobble stone and really wasn't that bad at all. Each truck has bench seats in back with enough room for about 24 people. They went about halfway up and stopped for 15 minutes at a beautiful coffee plantation before heading up to the top of the dormant volcano. They list this excursion as strenuous because of the hike. We wore running shoes but hiking boots might have been more appropriate. The trail you hike down is very steep and slippery because you're in a lush tropical rainforest (they call it a cloud forest). We had a few people fall and get minor injuries. I fell myself but it was on soft grass, so I didn't get hurt. I could see why the guides carried first aid kits with them. The views of other volcanos and Nicaragua Lake were beautiful. It was a clear day and we could see far into the distance. We also got up close to some vent holes in the volcanic mountain where we felt the steam from Mombacho. The hike back up the steep trail was much harder than the hike down. I decided I need to start hitting the gym more often. It was back in the 4WD Jeeps for the drive back down the mountain where we boarded the bus for the drive to Granada, population 100,000. As soon as we got off the bus in Granada, people, mostly children surrounded us. The children would thrust a flower woven from palm fronds in our hands and then beg for "one dollar". It was hard to refuse them but I had heard that giving them money upsets their social economic structure because the children start to believe there is no need to go to school when they can make more money than their parents by begging rich tourists for money. Jobs are scarce and wages are low in Nicaragua. We were told the average wage for a school teacher is equal to about $300 US per month. From the bus we walked as a group surrounded by local kids and peddlers, about a block and a half to a restaurant where we had lunch. I wanted to step away to take some pictures but it was impossible. At the restaurant, we had a delicious meal. They were able to accommodate my gluten free dietary restrictions. I expected to eat only the snack bars I packed along but I think we lucked out with a guide who was well-informed and who spoke very good English. While we ate, we could see the children and peddlers waiting for us outside the Restaurant's open double doors. We had to walk through them and listen to the clamour as we made our way back to the bus which was thankfully parked closer this time. On the drive back to San Juan del Sur, the driver stopped so we could take pictures of Omentapie, an active volcano in Nicaragua Lake. There were skinny cows tethered on the side of the road. This was actually a pretty common sight in Nicaragua. Sometimes there were pigs and horses too. One of the cows broke its tether and walked in front of the bus. We had to wait for it to pass before we could drive on. Puntarenas, Costa Rica - We booked Tour number PA4-210 Coffee Plantation, Sarchi & Country Drive. The drive to the coffee plantation was beautiful. Costa Rica is lush and green with steep rolling hills. They have lots of volcanos just like they do in Nicaragua but Costa Rica is obviously in a better economic state and their lands are beautifully developed. Our first stop was at a Coffee Plantation. It was very pretty and reminded me of the vineyards in the Okanagan Valley where I grew up. We learned about their local farming practices, they're very eco conscious and use every part of the coffee plant as well as the beans. At this particular plantation they hand-pick the red beans before husking, drying and roasting them. It was a very enjoyable tour and we had a few minutes at the end to shop in their gift shop. We ended up with a couple of pounds of coffee to bring home. Next we drove to Sarchi, home of the world's biggest Ox Cart. The bus pulled around so we could take pictures and then it was on to the furniture store where they build and paint the beautifully decorated carts. The old work shed is water powered and still in use. One of the workers there gave us a brief tour and then invited us to enjoy some fresh fruit they had fixed for us. There was also a restaurant upstairs for anyone who wanted to get some lunch but the fruit was enough for me and my husband. The drive back to Puntarenas and the ship, took about an hour. It rained for most of the drive. It was a good time for a siesta. Cartagena, Colombia - We were on Tour number CTG-380 Old City Walking Tour & Los Bóvedas. The only part of this tour that we enjoyed was the Walking Tour in the Old City. It was very hot and humid. I advise you to bring water. On the Tour, they gave us a small bottle (about 250 ml) of water but it was not enough. For the most part, Cartagena's over zealous peddlers left our tour group alone while we were in the Old City. There were several people dressed as statues who would pose for pictures and we tipped some young men who did some amazing break dance moves on the street. I loved the old rustic buildings covered with greenery and hanging baskets. I could have spent days in the Old City taking pictures of all the old architecture and street life. Beautiful. We had a Photostop at the San Felipe Fortress but the aggressiveness of the peddlers was unbearable. You could not pause to take a picture of the Fort without them thrusting their wares into your hands and saying it was "almost free". After 10 minutes of it, I got disgusted and headed back to the bus. One of the peddlers followed me and continued to shout and tap his wares on my window until we drove away. Our next stop was at Las Bóvedas (the vaults) for shopping. Once again we faced some very aggressive peddlers. We ducked into one of the shops to get away but found the clerks inside were almost as persistent as the guys outside. Inside seemed the lessor of two evils, so we wandered through a couple of shops but didn't buy anything. The persistent shoving of items in your face is a big turn off. Aruba - The Tour we chose was number AUA-230 California Lighthouse, Ostrich Attraction and Shopping. Our Tour Guide/Bus Driver Eric Brown was the most entertaining of all the guides in the various ports. I expected him to have a pronounced Caribbean accent but it was more of a Caribbean/Dutch/Spanish accent. He had a great sense of humour and a wicked laugh. We thoroughly enjoyed this tour and he was a good part of the reason that we did. Our first stop was at the Casibari Rock Formations where you could climb a set of really steep stone stairs to a lookout of the island. Aruba is very desert like with lots of cactus. It's not all palm trees like some caribbean islands. In fact half of Aruba is inhabitable because of strong trade winds and dry conditions. Also, there isn't much for soil. It's mostly rock and coral that rose up from the ocean. The only grass we saw there was on the golf course. We went to the Ostrich farm which was interesting and entertaining. Big awkward birds who have the funniest expressions. I got to feed some younger Ostrich. It was surprising to find their necks are all warm and fuzzy like a puppy dog's. We visited the site of the Natural Bridge. It collapsed about a half dozen years ago but the smaller one they call the Baby Bridge is still there. The Baby Bridge has cracks in it and is expected to collapse also. They warn people to stay off but some people ignore the warnings. Loved seeing this side of the island with the waves crashing against the rocks and the barren landscape. Such a contrast to the pretty Resorts and white sandy beaches on the other side. California Lighthouse was our last stop. It is basically just another view-point. The lighthouse is not open. There is a fancy restaurant up there and a few venders selling refreshments. I caught a glimpse of some of the wild goats foraging in the shrubbery. Ft. Lauderdale, Florida - On the advice of our Travel Agent we stayed on in Florida and booked Tour number FLL-640 Everglades Airboat Ride and Eco Adventure. We were really glad that we did. It was a little rushed because it took so long to clear Customs after disembarkation but the tour was still worthwhile. The air-boats are loud. Like small airplanes I guess. We skimmed through the Everglades waterways and wondered that the guides don't get lost. Saw a couple of alligators in the wild and then watched "The Gator Boys" demo with some rescued alligators. For a $5 donation my husband got to hold a baby alligator while I took pictures. After the tour they dropped us off at the Miami Airport where we waited for a shuttle to take us to our Hotel. The Tips... Tipping is such a personal thing it's hard for me to make recommendations on it. Do be ready with smaller bills if you are going ashore. We went to the Customer Service Desk the day before a Port Day to get change. Don't wait until the day of because they do run out of the small stuff. They have to close the Casino when the ship is in port, so that won't be an option for getting change. If you are in a Mini-Suite on a Princess ship, they debit your account $12 US per person, per day to cover tips for The Crew. We always gave the room service guy a dollar or two and on the last day we gave cash tips (they leave out envelopes at Customer Service) to the Crew Members who we thought went above and beyond the ordinary. For me with my special diet, that was the guys at the Pizzeria, the Wait Staff and the Head Waiter in the Provence Dining Room. We also left a bit extra for our Room Steward. That's it. I hope you were able to find something of value in this review. In conclusion, I must say, my husband and I had an awesome carefree (and for me gluten free) vacation on the Coral Princess! Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
My sister and I went on this cruise, booking it about 1 month before departure. We stayed at the Hampton Inn near the airport and got the Vancouver shuttle to the cruise port which was very reasonable ($14 each), I was not impressed with ... Read More
My sister and I went on this cruise, booking it about 1 month before departure. We stayed at the Hampton Inn near the airport and got the Vancouver shuttle to the cruise port which was very reasonable ($14 each), I was not impressed with the Hampton Inn- stay at the Holiday Inn down the road instead. Embarkation was easy and painless. We got there early, so we had to wait about 45 minutes before boarding. We booked an ocean view cabin and they gave us a balcony which was wonderful!! However our bags didn't make it to the room and we had to hunt for them. Customer Service- I had $100 shipboard credit for military and $100 credit for stockholder, however they only had one, so I had to prove both. Food- The Horizon Court was crowded and didn't offer a lot of variety. There was not enough seating, so we ate in the regular dining room several times to avoid the herd. However, the salads were good. Food in the main dining room was ok, but not great. The service was quick, but the waiters were not real friendly. I've had much better service on the other cruise lines. Misc - Bring your own hairdryer as the one in the stateroom was old and slow! We attended the 7 am stretch several times and the instructor acted like he want to be someplace else. We talked to several couples doing the turn around (Whittier to Vancouver) and they got a real bargain! Entertainment - the productions shows were great and we enjoyed the first night of Bobby Brooks Wilson, but the second night was virtually the same show. The cruise director was the worse I have seen. Educational seminars - Material was good, but the expert, Dr. Ryan, couldn't stay focused. We were very disappointed in his presentations. He also pushed the ship's shore excursions until we were nauseous. Ship- Ship was spotless and the cabin steward was wonderful. Princess was always trying to sell you something, but that's fairly standard. Disembarkation - Smooth and painless. We took a shore excursion that also dropped us at the airport which was a good bargain.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
No one could be unhappy on this ship - clean; reasonable food (occasionally really salty but flavorful - as if someone got into the best cheese for cooking but forgot to adjust the salt; friendly staff, beautiful scenery. air travel - use ... Read More
No one could be unhappy on this ship - clean; reasonable food (occasionally really salty but flavorful - as if someone got into the best cheese for cooking but forgot to adjust the salt; friendly staff, beautiful scenery. air travel - use care with the Princess-associated air travel bookings. The ship times listed are for true departure; not last boarding. The air booking company treats the times as last boarding. The ship organizes various introductory contests in the hours before departure so it's best to get there several hours early. It wasn't pleasant being told by every check-in/security stop that we were too late and might not get on - as if we were bad - on the other hand, my husband was really pleased to miss the safety lecture. Check flight times carefully - I'm not really clear why a flight from anchorage to NYC through Texas - taking 4 extra hours and no savings over shorter 4-hour shorter flights would even be considered an option. Naturalist lecture - Dr. Ryan - I know it's hard to talk for hours on end about ice melting but saying things like "'supposedly' 9,000 people perished in the tsunami" and the current rate of glacier melt is nothing more than part of the natural cycle are a bit suspect. Bingo - turn up early to buy $20 (3 cards/game)forms. Later only $40 (9-card + 3-card bonus for snowball game) forms were available. Watch out for the fast reading of numbers for the snowball game. I caught a missed number while the winner was being checked. On the way out I said "that last round was fast' to my friend. A host of comments from people around us came back that it was and that the announcer had been asked to go slower yesterday but after a couple of numbers he/she had sped up again. We speculated it was a tactic to help the snowball last until the last bingo session. Pictures - The candid photographers definitely subscribed to volume over quality. If you want a candid photo be prepared to aggressively ask for a background of the glacier instead of metal dividers growing out of your head (College Ford)or a retake if they flashed before you were ready (dinner/embarkation/every disembarkation). Lines for a formal shot on the stairs were long. The photographer with the background that appeared black was really a very flattering blue. If you just want a portrait shot to update your Facebook be sure to try the shorter lines the first night & check out other people's shots from the first night. The photographer with the shortest lines took the most flattering shots (black/blue background). Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
Room (mini-suite) was very nice. Plenty of room, very nicely furnished and well equipped. The bed seemed larger than a queen and was very comfortable. Large bath and sitting area with sofa. On the negative side there was a lot of ... Read More
Room (mini-suite) was very nice. Plenty of room, very nicely furnished and well equipped. The bed seemed larger than a queen and was very comfortable. Large bath and sitting area with sofa. On the negative side there was a lot of vibration in the room, which made sleeping and relaxing somewhat difficult. I thought that being on the 9th level, there would be little or no effects from the engine room. Big mistake. The Princess agent that I worked with failed to mention the vibration throughout the far rear areas also. I rate the food between average and good. As I recall, the food on previous cruises was noticeably better in terms of variety and taste. However, there were a fair number on the cruise that rated the food as very good. The food on theme days such as Italian Night and Alaska buffet lunch was, indeed noteworthy. The itinerary and options were probably the best part of the cruise. Alaska is indeed beautiful. The stops along the inside passage were worthwhile and interesting. Cruising Glacier Bay and College Fjord was the true highlight as both were very scenic and would have been extremely difficult to see on your own. The disembarkation and reboarding process was relatively painless, with few long lines, which moved relatively fast. Other minor notes - poor lighting for makeup preparation (consider lighted makeup mirror), hot water could be a little hotter, no diet sodas in the refrigerator. There was lot of emphasis on shopping, especially for art, jewelry, clothes and souvenirs - no surprise. It was difficult to hear some announcements in our room and the photographers were everywhere - they slowed the disembarkation process at each port and were constantly present at many other functionsThe land tour portion gets mixed reviews. The lodging and restaurants ranged from OK (Denali and Fairbanks Riverside Princess lodges) to very nice (McKinley Princess and Captain Cook Hotel). The included tours were interesting but too commercialized. The visit to Denali was quite nice, but a 1-day stay is not long enough. Too often, we felt like we were herded and held captive by Princess at the lodges and on the tours. It definitely would not get a high rating. Limited free time in Anchorage. Train ride to McKinley Lodge was nice. Talkeetna stop OK but nothing special. Typical small touristy Alaska town with shopping, restaurants, and tour booking as its main calling. McKinley Princess Lodge is very spread out with older but nice lodge style rooms with attractive furnishings. Limited shuttle service. Denali Princess Lodge has much more in the way of stores and places to eat (both inside and outside the complex) and is much less isolated than the McKinley Princess. However, it does not have the charm or quaintness of the McKinley Lodge. There is extensive shuttle service at the lodge as well as in the park, which is not far from the lodge. Fairbanks Princess lodge was more like a large motel than a lodge. Rooms were decent but sort of plain. Least charming of the lodges. Poor lighting and no comfortable seating. Denali National Park is definitely worth the trip. Travel inside the park is by park or contractor provided school bus type coach. It took a long time to travel short distances in the park. We especially enjoyed the Ranger dog sled show and the movie in the visitors center. The natural history tour was interesting. All the Princess bus drivers/tour guides were very knowledgeable and interesting. Same for the park bus drivers/guides. Fairbanks is not a top attraction area and definitely not a "must see", although it is Alaska's 2nd largest city. There is small downtown, lots of larger stores and the airport are key reasons for going there. It is drier and warmer in the summer. The Discovery Riverboat cruise was interesting, but quite commercialized and somewhat contrived. The same for the Gold Dredging tour - longer than needed with way too much shopping time. Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
Just back from (10) night cruise on the Coral Princess which included a partial transit of the Panama Canal. This was our 11th cruise (3rd on Princess ships)Prior to booking, I read lots of Cruise Critic Member reviews of this ship and I ... Read More
Just back from (10) night cruise on the Coral Princess which included a partial transit of the Panama Canal. This was our 11th cruise (3rd on Princess ships)Prior to booking, I read lots of Cruise Critic Member reviews of this ship and I have to wonder if I was on the same Coral Princes ship as some of the other reviewers. We were more than pleased with the condition of the ship and the service received from all crew member. No, the ship is not new (launched 2002), but it is well maintained. It is small by today's standards, with just under 2000 passengers. We (wife and I) booked an Inside Cabin, but were upgraded to a obstructed view Outside Cabin #E520. The cabin was small, compared to other larger ships we've been on, but big enough for two people with ample storage space. Self service laundry facility available. We had an unusual event of a MAN OVERBOARD experience one afternoon during our cruise. A woman either fell or jumped from the 10th deck of the ship into open waters. Someone saw her fall and tossed an orange colored lifesaver overboard to try and mark the spot close to where she went into the water. There was an immediate "Man Overboard" announcement by the Captain. The crew immediately initiated the drill required for this emergency and the ship was turned around and search boats were launched. After locating and retrieving the orange life saver, the search began in that area, with the search boat going back and forth in a grid pattern. All passengers were asked to return to their cabins so that they could do a cabin by cabin visit to determine the missing person. After searching for over two hours the Captain announced that the body had been located and retrieved. The performance by the Captain and all Crew members during this somber emergency was exceptional. The past detailed training of the Crew was very evident in the professional and serious attention to the duty at hand. Can't compliment them enough. The Coral Princess Captain and Crew proved to be up to handling any emergency. The Itinerary for this cruise included (1)Aruba, (2)Cartagena, Columba, (3)Panama Canal (partial transit), (4)Colon, Panama, (5)Limon, Costa Rica, (6)Grand Cayman and four days at sea. The stop in Aruba was disappointing in that we were there only 7 1/2 hours (7 AM to 12:30 PM). By the time we got off the ship and the time we had to re-board, it didn't allow enough time to fully enjoy Aruba. Our past cruise stops here were much longer. In Cartagena, Columba we took a taxi into Old Town section and visited two very old cathedrals. Advise here would be to stick with the Yellow Cabs, they are much newer and cleaner. Four people into Old Town and back to port cost $5.00 per person each way. We then sailed partially through the Panama Canal to Lake Gatun. We took a five hour excursion to observe and learn about the canal and locks and how they operate. Also visited an Indian Village and re-boarded the ship in Colon, Panama, which was not a very pleasant city for site seeing. The stop in Limon, Costa Rica did not offer much either. Grand Cayman is a very clean and more modern port and city area if you like shopping. The food in the main dining room was very good and the selection was adequate. Our waiter (Francisco) and Asst. Waiter (Faye) were very attentive to our needs and requests and made the dining experience very enjoyable. The food in the Horizon Grill (buffet) was also good and we never had trouble finding a table or being attended to. We would definitely sail on the Coral Princess again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
We left from Los Angeles on our adventure aboard The Coral Princess on February 21, 2013. The boarding process was pretty uneventful and quick. We were able to go to our rooms as soon as we boarded and our luggage arrived not much after ... Read More
We left from Los Angeles on our adventure aboard The Coral Princess on February 21, 2013. The boarding process was pretty uneventful and quick. We were able to go to our rooms as soon as we boarded and our luggage arrived not much after that. As to the general impressions of the cruise: The ship was well cared for and kept in beautifully clean shape throughout the trip. All of our staff, from room steward to waiter, were excellent. The food...great! Our only concerns were as follows: The use of tenders at two ports (Cabo San Lucas, Mexico and San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua) ate up several hours of our time in port. The way the line handled it was to have everyone go to the formal dining room and wait around (sit) for hours until all the "Princess Cruise Excursions" and "preferred" passengers were tendered. Then (after two hours in Cabo and an hour and a half in San Juan Del Sur) the remaining passengers who wanted to go ashore were taken in small groups (depending on the number on a ticket you were given when you entered the dining room). You were unable to wander around the ship while you waited. You had to sit in the enclosed dining room on a beautiful day and wait. Very disappointing. We had scheduled a tour in Nicaragua and because of this missed two hours of it! Also, when we did go on Princess tours, which we did in Costa Rica, Columbia and Aruba, we were usually herded into jewelry stores even when those were not on the tour. We all felt like we were constantly being "sold" things while on board the ship and while on the tours organized by the ship. While in Costa Rica we went on the "Rainforest Canopy" tour from the ship. Immediately we were told by the tour guide that although the tour states that you will be hiking to 5 bridges through the forest canopy, we will only be including 3 today. No refund, just a shorter tour. The tour took a turn for the worst when we got to the hiking trail and one of the men on the tour (who clearly should not have been there) collapsed and couldn't walk any further. So for the next 2 hours our tour guide and driver along with two of our fellow passengers helped this man make the "hike" though the rainforest. All of us had to wait and the entire tour was altered. He was fine but I wonder why the ship doesn't make it clearer that those who can't walk very far shouldn't be signing up to go on a "hike" through the forest. We went on another tour in Columbia where the tour guide rushed us up and down the beautiful streets of the "old city" at breakneck speeds so that he could try and force us all into, what I'm sure was, a "friends" jewelry store. Those of us who simply said "no thank you" went on about our tour of the streets but he went inside with the others and was none to happy with us. More of a variety of musical entertainment on board the ship in the evening would have been nice. Honestly unless you wanted to listen to one of the "oldies" bands you didn't have much to chose from. I admit the crowd was mostly older but there should be some variety. How much can you play trivia games and do the Foxtrot? There were younger people (say 30's, 40's & 50's) on board and they had nowhere to go for fun music at night. The one exception was the "deck party" at the end of the cruise. Another problem is the lack of any snacks in the lounges at night. When you go for a cocktail before or after dinner shouldn't there be some offering of chip, nut, snack...anything on the tables in the bars. We asked one evening and were brought a little container of peanuts that was mainly dust from the bottom of the bin. When we asked if there were any more the waitress reluctantly said "no" but must have felt badly about it because she went over to the "preferred" (there's that word again) cocktail party and brought us back a few shrimp from their table. Also, the drinks leave a lot to be desired. They are not made well. In the two weeks we had very few that were actually good with the exception of a couple of martinis. The others were either terrible or void of alcohol. There are no drink specials, ever. Princess does a good job but they seem to be going the way of the "nickel and dime" lines. Suggestion: Charge a decent price and don't try and open the passenger's pocket the entire time they are on their trip. Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
My husband and I spent a very relaxing 14 day tour of the Panama Canal and ports on Coral Princess's sail of Central and South Americas. We chose a balcony stateroom, anytime dining and purchased excursions for stops at Cartagena, ... Read More
My husband and I spent a very relaxing 14 day tour of the Panama Canal and ports on Coral Princess's sail of Central and South Americas. We chose a balcony stateroom, anytime dining and purchased excursions for stops at Cartagena, Columbia, Puntarenas, Costa Rica, and San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua. We used public transportation for our short visits to Cabo and Aruba. Positives: Coral Princess pays heavy tolls to go through the Panama Canal. They also provided an excellent historian to explain everything as we sailed through the locks and lakes. We also followed up with the historian's lectures throughout the two weeks. Again, it was an excellent way to understand this part of the world.The people we met were mostly retired and well traveled. We did not hear, for the most part, complaints or negative comments even though the heat and poverty in some of the countries was overwhelming. We have cruised with Princess three times before and found the food to be good and the crew helpful. The entertainment was fine with the exception of the illusionist and hypnotist. The cruise director and staff tried their best to give us a good time. Most importantly, we had good seas and wonderful weather!! I slept exceptionally well on this cruise. Negatives: We would have liked to have stopped at more ports. There were too many sea days for us. We also felt that Princess hires too many attendants to hawk drinks in the pool area. The pool area could use more attention to cleanliness!! How about giving us a place to put dirty dishes? We also do not like the entire stern end of the ship used for a pay-to-use SANCTUARY!! Our stateroom shower was too small for the length of the trip(should have gone to a mini-suite). The $40 per couple to use the specialty dining did not impress us. Both seemed underused! Summary: We traveled to the Mediterranean on Celebrity last fall. We do prefer Princess. The Panama Canal is indeed a wonder not to be missed! Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
The Coral Princess is a nice enough ship - smaller, which I like. For my age I don't need rock climbing, ice skating, etc. I want a relaxing comfortable cruise. This was not what I wanted nor what I expected. Right away it was ... Read More
The Coral Princess is a nice enough ship - smaller, which I like. For my age I don't need rock climbing, ice skating, etc. I want a relaxing comfortable cruise. This was not what I wanted nor what I expected. Right away it was hot all over the ship. Granted Los Angeles was hot that day and our cabin was in the sun, but it didn't cool down so I called A/C engineering to check it. It was adjusted and was much better. (But as the cruise continued, the A/C was still "spotty" around the ship, i.e., one elevator very warm, others comfortable; some areas of ship very warm, others more comfortable; cabin sometimes not very cool and had to call A/C engineering twice more.) Now it wasn't as if we would be traveling to the North Pole; we were headed for the tropics! So it would make sense, at least to me, that the ship would be prepared for very hot and very humid temperatures and in accordance with that keep the ship very cool. But No-No that was not the case. Also the water in the cabin was never cool--impossible to get a cool shower after being out on a shore excursion. This area of the world, being so near the Equator, tends to be very hot and very humid! In Fact I had read the Cartagena is so hot and humid that many reviewers could enjoy any shore excursions, so we cancelled that one. In Costa Rica we took the Aerial Tram over the Rain Forest. Worthwhile even though it was hot and humid. The lunch that was served was typical of the region and I classified as "Fair." At the Miraflores Locks we took the excursion describing the locks, a museum of artifacts, and a view of the working locks from a veranda at the locks. This I found very enlightening. It is recommended to read David McCullough's Book "The Path Between the Seas" before cruising the locks for a complete understanding of this undertaking. The food on board, either the buffet or dining room (we chose "anytime" dining) was only "Fair." Menus repeated; flavor bland; menu items chosen were not what I expected. (I refuse to pay extra for the specialty dining options.) I couldn't wait to disembark to get a good meal. Saying this, the best meal on the ship was the English Pub lunch in the Wheelhouse. Fish and Chips were very good. All other aspects of the cruise were fine: Embarkation, disembarkation, shows, etc. One of our favorite places was La Patisserie. We bought a coffee card and found the lattes delicious--used very good quality beans. Servers were helpful, happy and prompt. This review does not constitute that I will never cruise Princess again. I almost certainly will, but not to any place hot. I will not expect much in the quality and flavor of the food. As we all know quality of middle-class cruise companies has gone down-hill for a long time. Nothing can be done about that except take a more expensive cruise line--so one gets what one pays for. The CEOs of the companies are the only one that make the money; it certainly doesn't go to the staffs. P.S. Comedian Doug Funk very good; completely different type of comedy. Really enjoyed him. Would like to see him again. Some people went the second night he performed and it was a bit different. Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
Being first time "big ship" cruisers, and avid travellers, we spent 2 years researching Alaska cruise info before booking our trip. So, we were able to book exactly what we wanted, and were very pleased with the size of the ... Read More
Being first time "big ship" cruisers, and avid travellers, we spent 2 years researching Alaska cruise info before booking our trip. So, we were able to book exactly what we wanted, and were very pleased with the size of the ship, layout and size of our cabin, location of our cabin, and our excursions. We booked the train from Anchorage to Whittier on our own, and were on the 9:30 am train. A pleasant ride. NOTE: most hotels offer free shuttle from the airport to the hotel, and then to the train station. Don't hire a cab without checking this out. We stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn - which was fine. Nothing fancy, but we were there for only overnite. At the train station, we checked our bags straight through to Princess and never saw them again until we got to our cabins. When the train arrived, it was a short walk across a parking lot to the ship terminal to fill out health forms and check in. We got there around noon. Chose to walk into town to buy bottled water, and then checked in around 1:30. Our cabin was ready, and our luggage was delivered. As opposed to recent complaints I had read - we found the staff of Coral Princess to be friendly, helpful, energetic, with happy attitudes. Yes, it was hard to understand some of them, as it is an almost entirely non-American crew. Sometimes we had to ask a question repeatedly in order to understand the answer. Our cabin was clean, and our beds were comfortable -no need for the egg carton cushion. Only complaint - too few plugs that you could use because of their placement on the walls. Several of our electronics didn't fit the space specifically at the desk location. The locations behind the 2 tv's was difficult to reach.. Bring a multi-plug strip or extension cord ( I had one with me but it somehow didn't get unpacked and I thought I hadn't brought it!). Also, it was hot with the duvet. There were no other covers, and so we requested a top sheet and a blanket. Well, the top sheet was torn, and dingy, and we chose not to use it. However, the blanket came in handy to wrap around as we sat on the balcony when sailing in Glacier Bay! Also, a few extra pillows for the sofa and the bed had to be requested. All of our clothing and items had a place to be stored - and we had 4 suitcases and 2 carryon bags!!! We chose a mini-suite that had a tub/shower so that my 6'4" hubby would have room in the shower. It was really nice!! We had anytime dining and found the food to be pretty bad. Clearly the chefs were trying to prepare dishes that were too complicated to be served on such a large scale. After a couple of nites we went to the Horizon Buffet and found the food flavor and quality to be much better. Not fabulous, but better! Of course, Sabatini's and the Bayou Cafe were very good (don't get steak at Bayou Cafe - stick with Cajun dishes - poor meat grade). We had room service for breakfast 2 mornings that we were in a hurry. It was fine. Note - any beverage you buy has an add-on gratuity, so those latte's at the Patisserie not only had an added-on gratuity, but the ticket you must sign doesn't list the gratuity, yet is has a line for you to (foolishly) add gratuity). We saw a few show - they were pretty good. Not Broadway, but fine. The crew show on the 2nd to last nite was great. The naturalist, Kathy, was outstanding. After crowding on the front deck when we arrived in Glacier Bay, we chose to do the rest of our glacier viewing from our balcony. We just turned up the volume on the TV, and easily hear her narration while having space all to ourselves. Also, the Park Rangers that came on-board to narrate were terrific as well. Ports/excursions: Skagway - took the Chilkoot Charters' excursion on the train to White Pass/Yukon. Loved it - especially since on the van ride back our driver could make any stops we wanted to see sights and take photos along the way. Juneau - Harv & Marv's whale watching. Captain Sean was terrific. Saw LOTS and LOTS of humpback whales. Stopped at Mendenhall Glacier on the way back. Wish we had more time in Juneau. Ketchikan - Seawind Aviation floatplane to Misty Fjords. Pretty views. Included a stop in a beautiful cove. Smooth flying. Then on our own took the town's free shuttle to the Totem Pole Center - very interesting. Then walked back to the heart of town. We arrived in Vancouver around 6 am. Since we were staying on in Vancouver on our own for a few days, we selected a late disembarkation. We put out our bags at 10 pm the nite before. We had to vacate the cabin at 8. Went to breakfast, and then to our waiting area for our 9:50 disembarkation. It went very swiftly and smoothly. And there were a lot of Princess staff on hand to help out if needed. Our bags were waiting for us. Lucky us it was sunny and fairly warm most days. Never had rain in a port - just one afternoon at sea. All in all - a great trip!!! Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
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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