1,000 Princess Coral Princess Cruise Reviews

Introduction -This was our first 10-day cruise and our first time to the Panama Canal. Before she was put into service, Coral Princess experienced a number of problems. She had a one-month delay in delivery, a very rough crossing and a ... Read More
Introduction -This was our first 10-day cruise and our first time to the Panama Canal. Before she was put into service, Coral Princess experienced a number of problems. She had a one-month delay in delivery, a very rough crossing and a noticeable roll problem. In spite of these difficulties Coral Princess proved to be one of the very best cruises, of the 17, that we have taken. It was the only cruise, in recent memory, where we didn't encounter any problems. Neither of us was sick or injured and we returned with everything we set out with. By all accounts, it was a glorious cruise on a lovely lady. Ports of Call -Ft. Lauderdale - Nassau - Panama Canal - Limon, Costa Rica - Grand Cayman - Cozumel. Review -Our cruise on Coral Princess was in doubt when Princess cancelled the first two sailings. Suddenly, we were moved up from the forth sailing to the second. We were carefully watching the bridge cam to see if Coral would leave St. Naizare, France. Shortly before Christmas she sailed to Ft. Lauderdale for her maiden voyage on January 3, 2003. We didn't notice any appreciable difference in service or amenities because of the delay. On the contrary, if we hadn't known of the delay and the rush to put her into service, we would have believed that she had been sailing for years. Our ten-day cruise on Coral began a day early when we flew down to Ft. Lauderdale on Delta and stayed at the Sheraton Yankee Clipper Hotel. We had a good flight and a pleasant stay at the hotel but the weather was unseasonably cool. On Monday, January 13th we departed for the pier around noon and boarded the ship. Boarding was a pleasure. Except for a momentary misplacement of our Passports we boarded quickly. We opted not to use the Platinum check in desk (there was only one) but instead, went to the Aloha Deck check in. There were fewer people in that line. After pausing for a welcome aboard photo and a photo for our boarding card we entered through Deck 5, the lower level of the Centrum. We then took the lift to Deck 12 and found our cabin A623 - a standard outside cabin with a private balcony. We were upgraded to category BB from the best available outside cabin with balcony. Although small, the cabin was pleasant enough. Because the ship is new, everything was sparkling clean. Oddly, there were not a lot of wardrobe aids. Except for shelves and clothes rack there were no dressing hooks or belt or tie racks. The wardrobe was not very well thought out. In our cabin we found a letter from Fleet Medical Director, Dr. Grant Tarling regarding the recent outbreak of Norwalk Like Virus (NLV) aboard other passenger ships. The letter goes on to explain that Princess meets vessel sanitation standards and explains simple ways to help prevent the spread of disease. The letter also went on to say that if any passenger experiences symptoms that they should report to the medical center and that there would be no charge for treatment. To our knowledge, there were no reports of NLV onboard our sailing. The safe was too small. The knobs on the drawers were flimsy. One broke off but was quickly fixed the next day. The balcony was small measuring 4.5 ft. by 9 ft. It was the most private of balconies. The balconies below us were visible from above. Some of them were the mini suite balconies. They didn't afford any privacy. As for the mini suites, they were not much larger than our standard outside cabin and in our opinion, were not worth the extra cost. They had a small couch and two TVs, each side by side facing opposite directions. Shortly after we arrived in our cabin our cabin steward came by and introduced himself. He was 36-year-old Dodo from Bangkok. We mentioned that we were Platinum Club members and would like to have the use of bathrobes, which he promptly brought. Dodo would turn out to be one of the best cabin attendants that we have every had. He was courteous and always happy to provide us with the very best of service. A word about the beds. They were marginally comfortable with a 4-inch foam mattress on a rip rap of nylon springs. The one drawback was that they were too narrow. They would not have configured well as a double bed. The pillows were wonderful. The cabin was especially well lit. A good deal of thought went into the lighting design and switching. The temperature of the cabin was comfortable and easily controlled. Everything in the cabin worked except the telephones wakeup call feature. When we missed a wakeup call we found that the system was not working and had to make arrangements for a wake up call from the purser. We set out to the Horizon Court for a light lunch and made a point to do a mini tour of the public areas while working our way to lunch. There is nothing about the Coral Princess that made us want to say, "Whoa". The ship is lovely but there is nothing distinctive about it, unless you count the two jet engines on the funnel which were placed there as a purely decorative feature to tout that the ship is propelled by gas turbine engines. If you didn't know what ship you were on, you wouldn't know that you were on the Coral. The interior design is a big yawn - boring and uninspiring. The absence of artwork was all too evident. The most boring of the public areas? The pool deck. The Horizon Court served a typical buffet style breakfast, lunch and dinner. We ate several breakfasts and most lunches there. The food was good but the variety was lacking. The most noticeable of drawbacks was its size. The serving area was small and always crowded. The flow of pedestrian traffic resulted in clogged aisles. Bob's favorite was the hot soups and deserts and Hellen's favorite was the sushi, severed on only two days. Outside the Horizon Court on pool deck, deck 14, was the pool bar. Next to the bar was Princess Pizza. In all of our encounters with shipboard pizza this was without a doubt the very best pizza that we have had. It was made fresh, hand tossed, topped with the familiar toppings, baked and served hot. This was truly a wonderful spot and should please pizza lovers. Following lunch we thought that we should check on our dining room seating. We wanted to meet with the maitre d', Generoso Mazzone, to make sure that we were seated at a round table of eight or more on the main, fixed seating. We met with the waiter assistant who told us that the maitre d' would be available at 5:30 in the Provence Dinning Room. We met with him and found that we were indeed seated at a large round table right in the middle of the dinning room. We opted out of Personal Choice dinning in favor of fixed seating. Personal Choice dinners ate in the Bordeaux dinning room one deck below us. We were seated at table 158.Our table mates were two couples from Oregon traveling together and a couple from Manchester, England. All were older that us. We had a very pleasant time with them and enjoyed their company. Our waiter Remus was from Romania. He was a pleasant enough fellow but his service missed the mark. When we returned to our cabin all of our bags were waiting for us. We hastily unpacked. It was a cool day in Ft. Lauderdale so we decided not to go to pool deck for a swim. After we unpacked, we prepared for the lifeboat drill at 4:30. Our lifeboat station was the Explorer Lounge. Shortly after, we sailed from Port Everglades on our way to ten glorious days on Coral Princess. Our first day was a port call at Nassau. We took a taxi to Atlantis and toured the "Dig", a fanciful interpretation of the Lost City of Atlantis legend. We had never been to Atlantis so we wanted to see for ourselves just what everyone was talking about. It's a beautiful piece of property and we are glad that we went. Our $25 apiece to tour the Dig would have been better spent elsewhere. It was not that interesting and certainly not worth the price. We would recommend a land-based taxi over the water taxi. It's a dollar more per person each way than the water taxi but it's quicker, less crowded, no noxious fumes and drops off at the hotel entrance. It was a cool day with on and off showers. Had it been better, we would have headed for the beach but instead we went back to the ship. Back on board we sought out Princess Links for a game of golf. Well, putt-putt golf. Located on Sun Deck (15) this tiny little space offers nine holes of miniature golf. It was fun and we enjoyed our game. We promised each other to return again but we never did. Following Nassau we had Wednesday and Thursday at sea while making our way to our second port of call - the Panama Canal. We used the day to lounge about the pool and start working on our tans. Coral Princess has a new program called Scholarship@Sea. It boasts the only onboard pottery kiln. Candace Resnick demonstrated the use of the pottery wheel and taught a fellow passenger the art of pot making. There was a fee to cover the cost of materials. Wednesday night was the first formal night and Captain Philip Pickford's welcome aboard cocktail party. Captain Pickford did not attend the receiving line but did say a few words about the ship and the future of Princess Cruises midway through the party. The party was very well done. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and came away feeling that we were indeed welcome guests. Following dinner we went to the Princess Theater to see "Da Beat", the first of three production shows. Introduced by Cruise Director, Paul O'Loughlin, the show was nonstop high-energy singing and dancing. Good but not great. We would later enjoy the production show "Dance" much more. The third show, "Tribute, Tribute, Tribute", premiered Wednesday, January 22nd in the Universe Lounge. It was the best of all. Following "Da Beat" we were then rip roaringly entertained by funnyman Bill Acosta in the Universe Lounge. We don't remember laughing so hard. All of the shows were backed by the Princess Orchestra under the direction of Gordon Hough. They were perhaps the finest shipboard orchestra that we have every heard. By Thursday (a day at sea) we were well on our way to improving our tans. Hellen used the morning to attend the Brain Waves Quiz; the culinary demonstration and the skin care clinic. Bob spent the better part of the day at poolside. We watched as Patricio Balquiedra turned a block ice into a noble bald eagle. At 2:00 the pool games began. Hellen volunteered to be one of three judges. She was given a gold medal, a pen that lights up and a travel clock. She had a fun time judging the contestants. Jay Johnson of the TV show "Soap" performed in the Princess Theater. We had seen Mr. Johnson before on another cruise. Much of his show was what we had already seen. Following his show we went to the Universe Lounge to see Comedian Rick Starr. That evening we left a wake up call on the auto phone for 5:30 in order to be out on deck early enough to watch as we entered the Panama Canal. We also ordered coffee. The room service menu didn't allow for service before 7:30 AM but we penciled in 5:30 and sure enough, our coffee arrived on time unlike our wake up call, which never arrived. After checking with customer services we were told the system was not working. As we awoke Friday morning we first went out onto our deck to see if we were near the canal. As it were, two pilot boats were along side. We hastily finished our coffee, dressed and went up on deck to stake out our spot to view our entry into the canal. We feared that we might be too late for a good vantage point but we weren't. We entered the locks of the canal around 6:30. A member of the Panama Canal Commission could be heard over the loudspeaker giving a narrative of the canal and our position in it. After about an hour, we retreated to the Horizon Court for breakfast and by way of a window seat continued to observe our passage through the locks. We were booked on the Grand Tour of Panama. By now, Coral Princess was in Gatun Lake. The weather was warm and sunny. We disembarked Coral by way of tender and arrived at a nearby pier where we boarded a bus for the observation platform adjacent to the canal. We were treated to a fascinating narrative about the canal as we watched the container ship, Yong Tai from Hong Kong pass through the canal. After this stop, we boarded our bus for a brief trip to The Hotel of the Americas, our jumping off point to our boat ride on Gatun Lake to the Embera Indian fishing village. This reenactment of Embera life gave us insight into their culture and way of life. It was especially enjoyable for us. It was one of the highlights of our cruise. Coral Princess was christened at 12:30 this afternoon by the president of Panama, Her Excellency Mireya Moscoso. We knew that by taking the tour we would miss the Christening but was pleasantly surprised when we returned back to the ship. As we boarded, we noticed a large crowd gathered at the bottom of the gangway. We inquired and discovered that they were waiting for President Moscoso to disembark. We went on board and stationed ourselves at the bottom of the stairs that let up to the Centrum decks. Shortly, Madam President made her way down the stairs and right past our position. Hellen said to her, "hello Madame President", at which she replied, "Enjoy your cruise". Before dinner that evening we stopped by the Internet Cafe on Deck 8 to check our e-mail. The cafe proved to be a very useful tool to get e-mail out to family and friends. The service was reliable and reasonably fast. There was always a seat at one of the dozen or so terminals. The cost was $.50 a minute. An advantage of being Captain's Circle Platinum Club members meant that we were able to use the cafe free of charge. Each day our charges for the service were deducted from our shipboard account. Following dinner we went to the theater to catch Kenny James, a Star Search grand champion. He was entertaining and talented. Following the show we took up our favorite spot in the Crooner's Lounge and were happily entertained by resident crooner, Jere Ring. Sitting down with Jere was a nightly ritual. No one would ever accuse Jere of being bashful. He was a hoot. It was here that we got to meet and know Rita and Mel. Jere looks a lot like Dennis Quaid. When we saw Jere the next morning in the lift I asked him if anyone ever mentioned that Dennis Quaid bears a striking resemblance to him. He was caught off guard. He laughed at my observation and the way I phrased the question. At dinner that evening we learned that our Costa Rican Adventure tour had been cancelled. The aerial tram was out of service. We hastily beat a path to the shore excursion desk and booked a 7:15 tour to Tortuguero Canal known as the Amazon of Costa Rica. It was a fascinating trip down the canal. As our boat made its way down the river we discovered howler monkeys, sloths, birds of all sorts and a crocodile. It was an exciting tour. We were blessed to get the first tour as we were told that by the time the river gets saturated with boats, much of the wildlife retreats into the jungle. Coral sailed at 6:30 that evening but before leaving, we shopped in the market on the pier in Limon. We learned that Limon is Spanish for lemon. It was something about a group of men gathering at the lemon tree for midday drinking. The town that grew up around the tree was called Limon. A word about the food and service in the Provence Dining Room. We found the food to be excellently prepared. It was tasty, served hot and we were offered a good variety of choices. If you love fish, you will love the menu on the Coral Princess. In addition to the nightly selections, sirloin steak, broiled salmon, chicken breast and fettuccini may be ordered anytime. The deserts were outstanding but the choice limited to three. At least three ice creams were on the menu. New York style cheesecake, Princess Dream, ice cream sundaes, sugar free deserts and fruit could be ordered anytime. Executive Chef Michele Cossoli from Lago D'lseo, Italy has done a marvelous job with the food on Coral Princess. Except for the beef, we could find nothing wrong with the taste or presentation. Michele's specialty, cold water lobster (Maine lobster). The service at our table was not up to par. Our waiter, Remus from Romania, was friendly enough but had trouble remembering everyone's order. He mixed them up more than once. Wine and water glasses sat empty a good deal of the time and on most nights, we were the last to leave the dinning room. Another fault of our waiter was that he sometimes would let his assistant present the entrEes. We've never had this happen before. It's always been the waiter who serves the dinner. The dinning room captain, who served our section, was nearly invisible. It's been our experience that the captain makes his presence known early on and then assists with such chores as removing the shell from the shrimp or lobster. Our waiter was tasked with this job. We also learned that punishment for being late for work or for not performing up to standard meant banishment to the Horizon Court for the breakfast meal. We saw our waiter there more often than we cared to. One night, we opted to go to the alternative restaurant - Sabatini's. It was nice but we were plied with too much food. The dinner was leisurely enough (2 and 1/2 hours) but we had hoped that we could escape the hubbub of the dinning room. Unfortunately, we just exchange one set of hubbub for another. The only two choices were the entree and the desert. Bob had the lobster and Hellen the capon. All of the other courses came to the table on cue - each waiter responsible for their own course. Oddly, there didn't seem to be a lot of traditional Italian dishes. At $15 each we felt that we got good value for our dollar but would only recommend Sabatini's with caution. The food was nice but not great. It was nothing out of the ordinary. We had heard that the better of the alternative restaurants was the Bayou Cafe. We didn't go but talked with folks who did. Go for lunch, drinks are included. Following dinner we made our way to the Universe Lounge for the comedy of Steven Scott. He was good but not great. After the show it was island night deck party. We were so tired from the day's activities that we passed on the limbo and conga line. Sunday was a day at sea. We were heading for Grand Cayman. The weather was poor - cloudy and cool so following Mass I used the time to video tape the ship and shoot some digital pictures. Hellen went to Kitty Bartholomew's mosaic class. Ms. Bartholomew is known for her show on Home & Garden TV. Hellen is a fan and enjoyed the presentation and a chance to pose for a picture with Ms. Bartholomew. As Captain's Circle members with Platinum Club status we were invited by Captain Pickford to a special luncheon held in our honor. We arrived a few minutes after 12:30 in the Provence Dinning Room and were greeted by Nicky, the Captain's Circle hostess. We were seated with two couples and Richard from the purser's department. One couple was from England and was on their 34th Princess cruise. The other couple, he a golfer and she a scuba diver were on their 6th Princess cruise. All in all about 30 Platinum Club members were in attendance. We were given cocktails before lunch. The luncheon of Potpourri of Seafood Cinderella, Medallions of Fresh North Sea Halibut and a Princess Fantasy Delight were masterfully prepared by Chef Cozzoli. A ship's photographer took a group picture of our table and following lunch, we were presented with the picture, signed by the captain, chef and other members of the ship's crew. It was a very nice surprise and a treasured memento. Because the weather was bad, we retreated to the comfort of the Lotus Pool. This pool has a retractable roof and the pool area is air-conditioned. The roof was closed due to the poor weather. Both pools on Coral are fresh water but only the Lotus Pool is heated. One of the hot tubs in the Lotus Pool area had an annoying way of "stinging" the legs with scalding hot water. Midway through the cruise we noticed that the jets for this pool had been shut off. Captain Pickford had his wife and three children on board. Their two boys, roughly ages 8 and 10 were frequent visitors to the Lotus Pool. This day was no exception as the two redheaded lads were having a swim with their father and mother. Knowing that the captain wished to spend some personal time with his family we and others didn't make a point to notice the captain thereby affording him the privacy that they were seeking. A major problem with Coral Princess is its propensity to roll, that is rock from side to side. This is most evident in the Lotus Pool. The sea was rough this day and deck attendants had their hands full trying to contain the water that was splashing out of the pool. The squeegees and water vacs were constantly trying to dry up the water. A section of the floor in front of the bar was closed off due to the excessive water on the deck. So bad was this problem that water was overflowing the deck and running down the side of the ship to the decks below. This is a major problem. Hellen became ill from the ship's movement. She went to dinner but ate only crackers, apples and ginger tea. The chef was kind enough to mince some ginger that Hellen put in her tea. It saved the day. The show in the Princess Theater that evening was the second production show, "Dance". Starring Laurie Miller, Doug Crawford, Deneice Tame, and Scott Chamberlain "Dance" featured the aerial artistry of Anna & Rick. The Princess Dancers were outstanding. We really enjoyed this show very much. After the show we went to the Crooner's Bar but found that Jere was no longer entertaining there. He had left the ship on Saturday. It wasn't the same without him. Grand Cayman had received 30 inches of rain the day before we arrived. As a consequence, we were unable to anchor in South West Sound. The sea conditions were not favorable for tendering so Coral made her way to the leeward side of the island. We weren't sure if we would be able to tender from there. I had a scuba excursion booked and Hellen was going in to Georgetown for some shopping. I went to the Princess Theater, the staging area for shore excursions, and waited to be called. While I was waiting it was announced that my excursion had been cancelled due to bad weather. I returned to the cabin. We then decided to take the tender to shore and see if we could arrange for an island tour. Once ashore, we hooked up with Mr. Shirley Delbert and his ten-passenger van. For $20 each he took us on the grand tour. We had been to Grand Cayman many times in the past but we have always missed the Turtle Farm, the rum cake factory and Hell. Not this time. We had a nice tour and it helped to salvage the day. We ran into an old friend - Royal Caribbean's Nordic Empress. We sailed her in 1991. Coral sailed for Cozumel at 3:00 so we were back on board early. It was formal night and the repeat passenger's cocktail party - The Captain's Circle. Captain Pickford was absent from the party but Staff Captain Alan Wilson represented the captain. It was a nicely done affair. Plenty to drink and good company. It has been our experience that Princess takes good care of its repeat passengers and this night was no exception. It was especially nice when Hellen's name was called as one of the three door prize winners - a bottle of Champagne. We brought the bottle to the dinner table and our waiter served it to our table mates. We went to the Universe Lounge to see Ed Alonzo of the TV show "Saved by the Bell". He was performing a comedic magic show. Not funny and his magic was uninspired. He grossed out the audience when he sliced his arm with a knife. After the show, we went to the Explorer's Lounge for a nightcap and then to bed. The weather in Cozumel was beautiful - warm and sunny. When we were approaching San Miguel we noticed that the ship wasn't headed for the International Pier or the Puerta Mayo Pier but rather it was headed in a downtown direction. It turned out that we were berthed at Punta Langosta Pier. This is a new pier for us, not having visited Cozumel in over two years. It was very conveniently located with the Punta Langosta Mall across the street. We had booked the Swim With The Dolphin excursion at Chankanaab Park. In a word - wonderful. We had so much fun swimming with Triton and Titan, two male dolphins. This was the highlight of our cruise. Following the dolphin swim Hellen stayed on at Chankanaab while I took a taxi back to the ship's pier for a scuba excursion. I arrived early. Three other divers showed up for the tour and soon we were in taxis headed for the Sand Dollar dive shop just off of the Palancar Reef. The last time I was in Cozumel I dove with this operator from the same boat - Roman Holiday. The dive was great. A two-tank dive to the Columbia and Santa Rosa reefs. It doesn't get much better than that. After the dive I returned to the ship and made it just in time to shower and dress for dinner. Following dinner we went to see the comic Marty Allen of the Allen and Rossi comedy team that I grew up with. I remember them from the Ed Sullivan show. Marty was now performing with his wife, Karon Kate Blackwell a song stylist and pianist. She was terrific. Marty's act was stuck in a time warp - circa 1960 but he was still funny. Wednesday was our last day of the cruise before disembarking in Ft. Lauderdale on Thursday. It was a day at sea so we made the most of it. In the morning I made a walk-a-round with my cameras and Hellen began packing. After lunch we spent the afternoon poolside trying to get the last of the sun and polish off our tans. We watched the pool games and listened to Sugar Cane, the pool band. At 4:00 we made our way down to our cabin and finished packing. We spent the evening at dinner taking pictures of our table mates, exchanging addresses and enjoying that last of our delicious meals in the Provence Dinning Room. After dinner we went to the Universe Lounge for the show "Tribute, Tribute, Tribute". We were the first passengers to see this show. The producer and choreographer were in attendance and following the performance, were called to the stage by Cruise Director, Paul O'Loughlin to take the audience's applause. It was a wonderful show and the staging was magnificent. After the show we went back to our cabin to finish packing and to put our bags out in the hall. Well, it finally arrived, our disembarkation day. We were sad to leave. It was such a wonderful cruise. We had a great time. It was one of our very best. We had an early flight from Ft. Lauderdale to Boston so we got our breakfast early in the Horizon Court. We had red tickets for early disembarkation. Rather than wait in the Platinum Club lounge in the aft of the ship we opted to spend the waiting moments in the dinning room. We had coffee while we waited. We were the first called, around 8:45. We went to the baggage claim area in the terminal, collected our bags and made our way out onto the street and took a taxi to the airport. $10 cab fare plus tip. We arrived at the airport in plenty of time for our flight to Boston. We checked in at the e-ticket kiosk and were told that our bags were headed for the inspectors. When we got home we found that one of our bags was opened for inspection. On our flight down, we didn't lock our bags but secured them with plastic ties used to bundle wire. Summary -Our Cruise aboard the brand new Coral Princess was probably one of the best cruises we've had. There is nothing about Coral that catches the eye or the imagination but the service and helpful staff more than make up for any shortcomings in the ship's stale design and ordinary decor. We were royally entertained by the ship's bands and production team. The shows were great. We met some nice people and that made our enjoyment of the cruise more delightful than it otherwise would have been. The Panama Canal was special because it was a new port call for us and it was the occasion of the ship's Christening. We will always have the memory of being onboard when Coral was christened. Costa Rica was new too us as well. It's a beautiful country with a marvelous eco-system of rain forest and rivers. The weather could have been better but it wasn't. Nassau and Grand Cayman were cold, cloudy and rainy but that didn't detract from our enjoyment of the other fine days we had. We would happily recommend the Coral Princess. We would go again if we could. What impressed us the most was that even though she was delivered late by the shipbuilder, everything was in place and worked well. There was a genuine cohesiveness about the crew that made it appear that they had been serving aboard Coral for a lot longer than they had. Except for the excessive roll, there is really nothing bad that we can say about Coral Princess. We enjoyed our cruise and if you choose to sail Coral Princess we hope that you will enjoy her as much as we did. Bon Voyage! Our Photos - http://photos.yahoo.com/bc/bob_hersey/lst?.dir=/Coral+Princess&.view=t- Rankings -The Good, the Bad and the Ugly The Good - Platinum Club benefits, friendly staff, excellent cabin steward, delicious pizza and ports of call. The Bad - excessive roll, pool deck ambiance, dining room waiter and narrow beds. The Ugly - There really wasn't much to describe as ugly on Coral Princess. An all time first for us. Overall Rating - * * * * theherseys@attbi.com April 2003 Read Less
Here's a brief review of the good and not-so-good on our 10 day cruise to Jamaica, Costa Rica, Panama Canal and Aruba...roundtrip from Ft. Lauderdale, March 4-14, 2003. The ship was great and new. The public areas are very ... Read More
Here's a brief review of the good and not-so-good on our 10 day cruise to Jamaica, Costa Rica, Panama Canal and Aruba...roundtrip from Ft. Lauderdale, March 4-14, 2003. The ship was great and new. The public areas are very comfortable and nicely decorated. The outdoor pool is only for swimmers...7 feet deep all the way. There's another pool, smaller and can be covered, about 6 feet deep. The cabin, outside with balcony, was comfortable and well serviced. Room service is always available, with tips covered in the general 15% charge. We heard no noise from adjoining cabins. Temp. control was good and individually adjustable. We had "Personal Choice" dining, which was frequently cumbersome, since we wanted to sit with another couple alone all the time, which took some time and a little aggravation to achieve. Next time we'll go for the fixed seating. The food was exceptionally good and lots of choices. The price to use the internet was outrageous at $ 0.50 per minute. Generally speaking, we felt extra charges are overdone, for the Courses offered, beauty treatments and even the afternoon ice cream is now for extra charge. When the sea was moderately rough, I felt woozy and took some Dramamine, first time I ever needed that on any of our 5 cruises. I read from other reviews that the stabilizers on this ship don't work well. I don't know. I asked the captain about the 2 jet engine casings mounted on the stack. They are purely decoration, the single GE LM 2500 Marine Industrial jet engine is lower in the stack. For security there are no tours of the Bridge any more. We took several excursions: The first in Jamaica/Ocho Rios was led by an excellent guide, a Princess tour to Paradise Park, a "fireman "on the way, the Dunn's River Falls, which we watched from the side, and general tour of the vicinity, with shopping stop. Next in Limon/Costa Rica "Jungle River Eco tour " offered a boat ride through the rainforest, which was OK but got boring after a while. Then a bus ride back to the ship through numerous banana plantations.. The next morning early up to not miss the entrance to the Panama Canal. After the first set of locks, in Gantun Lake, we disembarked via a tender for an excellent excursion, which lasted all the rest of the day. This Princess trip was not listed on the choices presented at home before we left but was offered on the ship, for $ 124 per person. After a 2 hour bus ride through the Canal Zone, we ended up at the Chagres River, where we got on a smaller ship which proceeded through all the rest of the locks behind and around a giant Panmax Hyunda car carrier. This was the highlight of our cruise, especially after reading McCollough's book on the History of the Panama Canal. From outside Panama City, the Pacific Ocean southern end of the Canal, we bussed back to the ship, which was waiting for us, about an hour late. Next stop was Aruba, much changed from 20 years ago. We signed up for a 2 hour guided mini-bus tour at the end of the dock, for $ 10 apiece, which was very interesting. First to the eastern shore/Natural Bridge, then back through the desert to the luxurious beach hotel area, with a lot of time left for downtown exploring and shopping. Overall a great experience and very enjoyable trip. July 2003 Read Less
Booking: We booked this cruise in the spring of 2002 with our local travel agent and selected the mini-suite because we liked the balcony and size of the cabin, which was similar to what we had on the Rotterdam a few years ago. We were ... Read More
Booking: We booked this cruise in the spring of 2002 with our local travel agent and selected the mini-suite because we liked the balcony and size of the cabin, which was similar to what we had on the Rotterdam a few years ago. We were confirmed in that cabin in a few days and did not change or allow an upgrade. We completed the online registration on Princess.com web site as soon as we had our booking ID and we also booked all of our excursions online prior to sailing. We had also registered our credit card for onboard purchases. Our tickets and "express check-in" designation arrived about one month prior to sailing. Travel to ship and embarkation: We chose to handle our own air and hotel since we were sailing from and returning to Fort Lauderdale. The price Princess wanted for the air and a night in the hotel prior to sailing was about two to three times what we could book ourselves. We got round trip air on US Airways direct from Philadelphia to Ft. Lauderdale for $194.00 apiece, booked about 6 months prior to the cruise. We used some frequent flyer miles to upgrade to first class, so it was an effortless flight for us. We also had our TA book a room at the Marriott Harbor Beach resort for one night at a rate of $239. Princess wanted over $300 apiece for us to stay in the same hotel for one night. We flew to Ft. Lauderdale on Saturday, February 1 and arrived around 4:00 P.M. We had our luggage in a matter of minutes and took a taxi from the airport to the Marriott and were in our room around 4:45 P.M. The cab cost us $10. We had dinner in the hotel and after walking on the beach awhile, we were in bed early. In the morning we had breakfast in the hotel and then gathered our suitcases and got a taxi to Port Everglades. We arrived there around 11:30 and turned our 4 bags over to the waiting porter. There was no line for checking in and there were deck designations over the counter where about six representatives were waiting. We handed in our tickets and signed one document and were given our room cards. These cards had our names, our room number and listed our dining as personal choice. We headed up the escalator into a waiting area where about 100 other people were already waiting. At about 12:00 noon they began allowing us on board and after the stop for the photo, we were on the gangway. Our picture was captured as we entered the ship and swiped the cruise card, and there were agents at the elevators escorting people to the appropriate floors. We were taken to deck 9 (Dolphin) where another representative pointed us in the direction of the room on the port side, but did not escort us any further. Cabin: Our cabin was a mini-suite and was over 300 square feet in size. It was larger than the one we had in the Rotterdam in 2000. The bathroom entrance on the right as you enter the cabin is also the entrance to the closet. It is sort of a 'walk in' affair with a closet at one end, with open shelves from floor to ceiling. The safe is in this closet, and we found it adequate to hold our passports, some cash and travelers checks. There is a shelf along the top of the closet. The closet is probably about 6 feet long. The bathroom in the mini-suite has a full size tub with shower. The countertop where the sink is was about 4 feet in length. There are glass shelves (3) above the counter, and a mirror is behind the counter for the full length. There are also two glass shelves in the corner of the bathtub. Under the sink/counter, there is a shelf that runs the full length. The beds were placed in the king arrangement as we had asked, and there are night stands with lamps on either side of the bed. There are two Televisions, one that is viewable from the bed and one from the sitting area. Next to the bed there is a desk with four drawers on either side. There is a hair dryer in the wall next to the desk and there are two electrical outlets on the desk top. There is a full mirror on the wall behind the desk. Across from this desk is a counter with shelves and a small refrigerator is behind a door. Inside we found a bucket of ice already waiting. There are glasses on the shelves as well and there are more shelves above this cabinet. In the seating area there was a full size sofa that could be opened for an additional bed. There was also an upholstered chair and a coffee table. The balcony doors opened to a balcony that had a round table suitable for eating and two chairs that were adjustable. Our housekeeper was Edwin and he showed up just a few minutes after we arrived. We asked for robes and he promised to get them immediately. He also told us how to request a bowl of fruit and showed us how to use the phone, thermostat, television, and breakfast order form. The TV showed CNN, CNBC, ESPN, TNT, and had several Coral stations showing the web cam, the bridge report, and information on the Princess station that covered port talks, and other information. The Ship: We saw no luggage yet, so we took off to explore the ship and make spa appointments. I knew from experience that often spa appointments are fully booked on the first day, so I headed there first. It took us awhile to figure out how to get into the spa. It is in the aft of the ship and we took a mid-ship elevator, so it was confusing. We did not find anyone at the main desk when we did find the spa, but after wandering around I ran into someone who worked there and she agreed to find the appointment book and make appointments for me. So, I got the first appointments of the cruise, and scheduled a massage, manicure and pedicure all for the next day, our first sea day. Then we kept exploring. On the same deck as the spa we found the Horizon Court, the buffet. This buffet advertises that it is open 24 hours a day. It was already busy with folks who were eating lunch. We took some fruit and coffee and kept exploring. There are two pools on this deck: the Lido pool is outside the buffet and has glass walls along the sides, but an open air top. There is another deck running around the sides of the pool, and you just walk up stairs at the end of the pool to reach this area. On the main area of the pool there is a bar and the pizzeria. On the next level up, there is the Princess grill that serves hamburgers, hot dogs, fries, etc. There were hundreds of lounge chairs with blue and while striped pads on the chairs. From this deck you can also walk up to the sun deck and there is a small "splash" pool there. It's just a tiny pool that is only about 8 inches deep. There are lounge chairs up there as well, and it's the only place you can look out over the bow of the ship. Heading toward the aft past the lido pool, you come to the Spa Pool. This pool has a retractable cover, and also has a lower and upper seating area around it. Both of these pools also have several hot tubs on the sides, if one prefers the warmer water. All pools have fresh water only. Past the spa pool is the spa and the fitness center. Further past the fitness center there is a children's area and the Pelican pool. We kept exploring. Below the Lido deck there are four decks that house only staterooms (Aloha, Baha, Caribe, and Dolphin). The Emerald deck has about half of the deck for staterooms, but there is also a library, card room and the internet cafe there. This is the top deck that also has a view of the atrium. The atrium runs from deck 5 to 8 and there is also a glass elevator running between these floors only. The atrium was beautiful with winding staircases and little lights along the entrances to rooms and lounges. The lights changed colors, and it was all very beautiful. The wood used throughout the ship made it appear very warm and the carpet was all coral and turquoise colors. Continuing down from deck 8 we saw there were two large boutiques, as well as one that only sold fine jewelry (Facets). There were several very unique lounges: Churchill's is a cigar bar. This lounge is completely closed in by frosted glass walls and doors and I can honestly say I never smelled any cigar smoke coming from there. There is Crooners which specializes in martinis. There is La Patisserie that specializes in coffee drinks of all types. They also serve cookies and pastries free of charge throughout the day. There are two large lounges: Explorers lounge and the Wheelhouse Lounge. Explorers had leather furniture and murals on the walls showing big game and African grassland. The Wheelhouse also houses a sort of maritime museum with items from ships past and the P&O history. There are beautiful wood furnishings in this lounge, as well as beautiful mermaid statuary. There was also the casino, which is made to look like London, complete with wax figures of the Grenadier guards outside, and double decker bus replicas inside. Two huge theaters were also in the public areas, the Princess Theater and the Universe Lounge. The theater was simply theater seating with a large stage at the front. But it was huge, and could seat about 800 I'm sure. The Universe lounge was truly unique. There are three stages and they rotate. They also have several screens that can be used on these stages. There are cameras that can be used overhead, and show demonstrations. This lounge was filled with small sofas and upholstered chairs and tables, and there are additional seats on a second level around the edges of the theater. This theater also has a bar. Two dining rooms are also in the public areas, one on the 5th floor and one on the 6th. The Provance dining room is used mostly for folks who had been assigned traditional early or late seating. The Bordeaux dining room is for those who selected personal choice dining. The 7th floor is the Promenade deck and we saw there was a teak deck and additional lounge chairs here. This is a nice walking area, but the life boats also hang overhead around the whole deck. After this tour and a little snack, we decided to head back to our room again, and when we arrived back there, around 2:00, three of our four suitcases had already been delivered. We spent the remainder of the afternoon getting unpacked. Shortly after we started putting things in drawers the fourth bag also arrived, so we were fully unpacked prior to dinner. Personal Choice Dining: We like to sit alone when we cruise. Or, I should say, my husband likes to sit alone. He considers himself an introvert, and doesn't want to be rude and ask to change tables if he doesn't like someone, so he prefers that we just sit alone. So, we thought Personal Choice would be good for us, as we would not be forced into a specific time and could try different waiters too. The first night we showed up around 7:00 for dinner and there were a couple people already in a short line. We asked for a table for two when we got to the front of the line about five minutes later. The head waiter, or whoever he was, told us he was not sure one would be available very soon, but said he would check. When we asked, we were immediately escorted to a table for two. Total wait time, 7 minutes. The waiters were not memorable that night. The next night was the first formal night and the captains welcome aboard cocktail party. We did not go to the party, but when we arrived at the dining room at 6:45 we saw that everyone else had just come from there and were now in line for dinner. There were around 10 people in line. We waited about 10-15 minutes and when we got to the front of the line it was just like the night before. At first we were told we would have to wait if we wanted a table for two. We said ok, and within a few seconds we were escorted to one. We did not remember those waiters either. On the third day, I called early in the afternoon about a reservation for 7:00. I was told the earliest reservation I could get was 8:00. We decided to just go wait at 7:00, and we did. That night we had almost no wait and we ate at table 10 where our waiter was Fernando Ruiz and the assistant was Makko. They were a wonderful team. Both were from Mexico and were just delightful. They were friendly, funny, and service was excellent. We decided to ask for them again the next night and we liked them that night too. So, on the 5th day we asked for a reservation for table 10 in their section. We were told that table was already reserved at 6:00 each evening and we could not have it until 8:00. So, we took that reservation. However, the maitre'd told us that if it was ready early, we could have it early. So, every night after that we showed up between 7:15 and 7:30 and it was always ready. In fact, Fernando told us that many nights the other people did not even show up so it was empty until we showed up at 7:30. I wonder how many other tables were reserved but then the passengers didn't come, and the dining staff still held the tables open for them, causing others to have to wait longer? Food: We enjoyed the food on the cruise. I would not say that it was spectacular, other than maybe the soufflEs they had for dessert. My husband ate beef about 8 of the 10 nights and he enjoyed it always. I had lobster that was very good, and also had grilled chicken, shrimp cocktail several times, and pasta on a few occasions. We also ate most lunches and breakfast in the dining room. We did not find the Horizon Court worked well for us. We found that the food was good, probably as good as in the dining room. But, the people crowding the serving areas and serving themselves were not always courteous to others. They were sometimes just slow, sometimes sloppy, and sometimes just rude in bumping into others and not even excusing themselves. I also found it difficult to balance a plate full of food and a drink while circling the dining room for five minutes or more looking for a table. Also, the Horizon Court seemed to always have the air conditioning running on frigid. The few times we did get a snack from there, we usually took it outside near the pool where it was warmer. We often went there in the afternoon or evening for a snack or cup of coffee. It was very convenient for that and was not crowded at all other than at the main meal times. On one occasion we left really early for an excursion in Costa Rica and we ate breakfast there. Because it was 6:30 AM it was not crowded at all and the food was good. The variety was vast there. They usually had everything the dining room served, and then some. There were lots of fresh fruit and salad selections, as well as many hot and cold desserts. There were plenty of sugar-free desserts as well, I noticed, but I never found any sugar free yogurt, which is what I prefer for breakfast. We ate one lunch at the Grill on the Lido deck and I had a hamburger and Larry had a beef hotdog. Both were excellent. We also ate Pizza one day and it was great pizza as well. We often got cappuccino or latte from the La Patisserie bar. It was really good, although you could also get these free of charge in the dining room after dinner. On several occasions we had room service for breakfast. There is an order form to hang on the door when you go to bed at night. It has "continental breakfast" type items such as cereal, yogurt, breads, Danish, fruit, coffee, juice. On the message boards I had been checking I heard you could write it other items and they would bring them. On all days we ordered room service I wrote in Fried Egg and bacon and they always delivered it all. The room service food always arrived at the time we specified and it was always hot. We could not have asked for more. It was especially great to eat on our balcony while transiting the Panama Canal! Tours: We booked all of our excursions online at the Princess Web site. We considered booking some independently, but we haven't had good experiences doing that so stuck with Princess. When we got on the ship, our tickets for all excursions were in our cabin already, so we never had to visit the tour desk. However, we also had a letter in our mailbox stating that our first port call was changed from Ocho Rios Jamaica to Montego Bay. Our excursions had been cancelled, and we were given a credit for them. We also had a list of excursions we could book in Montego Bay. The destinations and prices of these excursions were listed, but there was no description anywhere or what they included. We had wanted to go to Dunn's River Falls, but the price for that from Montego Bay was significantly higher and it did not seem to include a Plantation tour. We could not find anyone who could tell us about these tours. When we went by the tour desk it was crowded or not open. We decided to just take a cab into town that day. Later when I had my spa appointment I noticed that nail technician (Simone) was from Jamaica. So, I asked her about Montego Bay. She told me there is nothing to do there, and that to go from there to Ocho Rios was about a two hour trip one way. So that explained why the price went up and did not include a Plantation tour. When we were called for our tours, we were asked to gather in the Princess theater at the time designated on our tickets. This worked fairly well. We were sent to places in the theater where a member of the tour office held a sign designating our tour number. We would wait there until called to head out for the gangway or tenders and then we would meet up with the tour guide and get on buses. The tour office handled this very well until we hit Cozumel. For some reason, the tickets for Cozumel excursions had us meeting our tour on the pier, rather than in the Princess Theater. We were going to Tulum that day and we knew it would be one of the first tours out as we had to take a ferry to the mainland. We were to meet the ferry on the pier at 9:20 AM. The ship was scheduled to dock in Cozumel at 9:00. So around 9:00 we headed for the gangway area on deck 5, even though we had not yet heard an announcement that the ship had been cleared. When we got near the deck and lobby where the gangway was we saw hundreds of others also waiting there. It seems that everyone going on a tour was told to meet on the pier. Even though some were not going on tour till 10:00 or later, they were all waiting to go down the gangway and perhaps do a little shopping first. There were also many who were not going on tours at all but just wanted to go out and shop. Plus we began noticing that there were many from the crew who were obviously not in uniform and had the day off and were also waiting to leave the ship. By the time the gangway was opened, around 9:30, it was a mad house in this hallway, stairwell, and foyer. The elevator doors could not even be opened as so many people were jammed up against them. We were afraid some of the elderly were going to be trampled. It took us about 15 minutes after the gangway opened before we could get to the pier. They only had one person checking people off the ship. We asked a member of the tour staff why they had done it this way, rather than use the theater which had worked well in all other days. She told us there would not have been a problem if the ship had not been late docking. I'm not sure I buy that answer. Excursions: We had some wonderful excursions on this cruise. In Jamaica, we had our only bad experience. The nail technician was right in telling me there is nothing in Montego Bay. We did take a taxi to "town" for about $3 apiece each way. The port "expert" on the ship, Elizabeth, did a port talk the day before and told us that there are 80,000 people in Montego Bay and 79,000 of them are taxi drivers. She was close. These taxis are actually 12 person vans in most cases. And they don't like to take trips unless they are full. So we had to sit at the terminal building until they got 12 of us to go to town before leaving. It's only a few miles to "town" which is really sort of a strip of small stores on two floors in a severely congested area. The shops sell coffee, jewelry and t-shirts predominantly. The shop employees loiter in the doorways and on the sidewalks and follow the tourists down the streets begging you to come to their shops. There are a few residents who are willing to pose with baskets of fruit on their head in hopes you will pay them to take their pictures. The whole thing was very sad. After walking the length of the twenty or so shops, we had enough and decided to return to the ship. There were hundreds of taxi drivers soliciting us to take us on a tour or back to a ship. We saw one van with already about 6 people in it, so we joined them. We still had to wait another 15 minutes or so until the driver solicited another 5 or 6 before he finally started out down the narrow streets and returned us to the dock. In Panama the most thrilling part of the tour is going through the locks themselves. In our case we were up at 6:00 AM to be ready. But, we did not really enter the first lock until around 7:30 AM. We were finishing our breakfast on the balcony while we were watching the process. Lots of others were also on their balconies. In fact, they offered us a $25 Panama Canal breakfast that included champagne, but we opted for the regular stuff. While we were in the locks, some ships photographers were down on the lock itself and they took pictures of all of us on our balconies. Those were interesting pictures, and of course we took the bait and bought them later! We really enjoyed seeing the canal process from all areas of the ship though, so we wandered up on to the top decks to see from there, and also went to one of the lower lounges on the 5th floor where we could actually see the inside walls of the lock when we first entered it, and then watch the wall ship away as the ship rose when the water entered underneath us. That was really neat to watch from that perspective. When we completed the Gatun locks we sailed into Gatun Lake. We dropped anchor there and those of us on excursions were taken off the ship on tenders. We met up with out tour guides there and got onto buses. Our tour was the train trip from the Atlantic to the Pacific on the Panama Canal Railroad. We had booked the Deluxe Executive Dome car. We rode about 15 minutes on a bus to the Train Station at Colon and we boarded the restored train car. It had booths with tables in between and each booth would seat two people on each side. There were booths on both sides of the aisle. The side windows and the ceilings were one continual piece of curved glass. The upholstery had obviously been restored recently. It was very pretty. Our tour guide was Marty, a man in his late 50's with no Spanish accent that was noticeable. In fact, we thought he was American, but he did say he was from Panama. He told us later that he'd gone to Prep School in Minnesota for many years as a young man, and he'd also worked for Braniff Airlines in Miami for about 20 years before retiring back to Panama a few years ago. He was very knowledgeable about Panama, the people and culture, and the canal and its history. He kept us entertained and informed. The train headed toward the Pacific Ocean side of Panama and paralleled the canal as it went. We saw the lake formed when the dam had been built to create the canal waters. We saw wildlife and old military bases that the Americans had used prior to turning the Canal Zone over to the Panamanians on December 31, 1999. The train stopped in Mira Flores and we again boarded buses. These buses took us to the Mira Flores locks. There we were able to climb about 20 steps to a small observation platform where we were able to look down on to the lock. A ship was going through this lock while we were there so it was quite interesting. We also entered a small museum there and were shown a short film on the canal. We had another few minutes to walk around this observation area where one of the "mule" locomotives is on display. Then we were back on the bus. We then drove on to the Pacific Ocean near Panama City. We could see the Bridge of the Americas that crosses the canal and the skyline of Panama City, which looks like any modern city with skyscrapers. When we returned to the train, we went back to our domed car and there were box lunches for each of us. We had a sandwich, chips, banana and we were offered coffee or lemonade to drink. When we returned to Colon, we again boarded buses and were taken back to the ship where it was docked in Cristobal. At the pier there was a small group of shops in a mall area where many Panamanians and some of the native Embrea Indians were set up selling crafts. There were also Panamanian dancers performing there. After shopping a few minutes we went back on the ship. In Costa Rica our excursion left around 7:00 AM for a long bus ride to the Rainforest. The bus ride was made interesting by Gloriana our tour guide. She is a Marine Biologist by education, and also has a master's degree in wildlife management. She is very proud of her country and shared a vast amount of information with us. Costa Rica is a beautiful, lush country that grows a great deal of fruit and flowers for export to the rest of the world. We passed many fields growing bananas, coffee, chocolate and ornamental flowers. She had our bus driver stop and buy a bunch of "finger bananas" to share with us. They were much sweeter than regular bananas we were all used to. When we got to the rain forest we divided into groups of 5 and boarded the gondolas of the aerial tram. These tram cars go through the tree tops on cables. Many times we were over 45 feet off the ground. The trip is about an hour and a half in length, and we saw many types of trees, flowers, birds, butterflies, snakes, and insects. At the end of the tour we only had a couple of minutes to look in their gift shop and we were off on the buses again. We stopped at a place where we ate a catered lunch under a canopy. The food included some tough beef steak, chicken, fish (all grilled), rice, plantains, squash, and some coconut flan for dessert. There was also Costa Rican coffee, which was quite strong in my opinion. We were there less than an hour and then back on the bus for about a 90 minute ride to some canals and rivers close to Limon. We boarded a long boat with a canopy top that held all 45 of us in low seats. We cruised along the canals and rivers for about two hours. We saw much more wild life here, like crocodiles, egrets, monkeys, iguanas, sloths, and many other birds and butterflies. It was a great trip. Upon returning to the dock, we were only about 30 minutes from the pier where the ship was. We had about an hour to visit the craft area near the terminal and we shopped for some Panamanian wood items, and some clay vases and pots. This was our favorite excursion. In Grand Cayman we were only in port about six hours and it was a Sunday. We did the 100 foot submarine dive and that was interesting, but very short. Then we took the trip to the sandbar on a catamaran where we snorkeled and swam with the stingrays. That was great fun as we had never done that before. It should be done by everyone at least once. However, I will remark that although the water is shallow there, I was not prepared for how strong the waves are, and as a fairly light person, I was continually knocked over by waves. Other small women also commented that they were surprised how hard it was to keep on your feet. I was not so concerned with falling down, but they warn you not to step on the stingrays and I was afraid I was going to do just that. But it was a great experience. In Cozumel we rode the ferry to the mainland and took another one hour bus ride to Tulum to see the Mayan ruins there. It was fascinating, but we really only had about an hour by the time we got there. It was over 90 degrees that day, and not a cloud in the sky. It was also quite humid. I cannot imagine being there in the summer. We really enjoyed seeing the Caribbean from the cliff that the temple is built on. Our guide, Enrique, was very knowledgeable of the history and showed us all of the features of the ruins. After the trip back on the bus, and again on the ferry, we also walked around Cozumel for about an hour and bought some T-shirts for our grandchildren. Here's another town where the shop employees will accost you on the street begging you into their store. I'm just not into that type of scene, so we did not stay long in town but returned to the ship about 90 minutes prior to sailing time. Miscellaneous: As a new ship we had been somewhat fearful that things might not operate well on the Coral, especially since it had been delayed at the ship yard and two cruises were cancelled. However, there was very little evidence to us that things were not at 100%. One thing we noticed is that if you are in your cabin there is no way to hear the announcements over the PA system. We asked about this, and supposedly we should be able to hear them on one of the TV channels if you want to, but that was not yet operational. Some early cruisers had said that the air conditioning or water temperature were faulty. We did not notice that at all, although some public rooms were too cool for me. We did not notice any problems with stabilization and in fact even when the seas were a little rough, the ship seemed to ride fine to me. We did feel vibration in the Universe Lounge one night, but never in our cabin or other public areas. Every morning the cruise director and assistant conducted a "morning show" that was broadcast on the Princess channel. It mostly consisted of them reading through the Princess Patter and outlining what was going on for the day. Sometimes another member of the staff was shown visiting an area of the ship, such as the spa or casino, and once he interviewed the Captain. It was something to listen to while getting dressed in the morning, but it was not important information that wasn't already covered elsewhere. The "port expert" Elizabeth provided talks prior to each port call, but these were primarily advertisements for stores that Princess endorses. We had never experienced such blatant selling on any other cruise line. She actually had products displayed from the shops and went on for an hour about them. We had gone to many port talks on the Rotterdam when we cruised in the Mediterranean and there the expert spoke only about the countries and cities we were going to visit, the culture of the people, and he often mentioned the types of products that might be a good buy in that country, but there was never any showing of goods or suggestion that we should use a specific shop. After the first talk, we tuned her out and didn't go to any of her presentations. The new Universe Lounge is truly a state of the arts multi-media center. We attended shows there that were excellent, and we also attended two food preparation presentations by the Executive Chef and Maitre'D. The cameras they have there show the food preparation projected onto large screens from above the work surface. There is a complete kitchen on the stage with a working stove, refrigerator, and it was excellent. I felt like I was watching "Emeril" on the Food Network. We also went on a Galley tour at the end of the last culinary presentation. The kitchen is spotless and enormous. The kitchen on the 5th deck provides food for both dining rooms, with an escalator for use by the waiters who are serving in the 6th floor dining room. My husband attended several photography classes that were offered as part of the Scholarship at Sea program and he found them to be very informative for him. They were presented by photographers from the ship and also by a computer expert. There were other classes on navigation, communications, and computer applications, as well as daily programs on pottery making. There is a working kiln on the ship and an expert on board to assist those interested. We did not participate in these so I cannot comment. There were fees associated with these classes. Disembarkation: We had booked an 11:30 flight out of Ft. Lauderdale and during the first week on the ship we were asked to complete a form outlining our plans since we did not book transfers or flights with Princess. Because of our early flight we were then issued Red 1 tickets for disembarkation, which was scheduled to be the first group off the ship. It was planned for 8:00 AM, but we did not actually get cleared by customs and start disembarking until about 8:45 AM. We were waiting in the hallway near the gangway when they started calling folks so we were about the 10th and 11th people off the ship, literally. We barely stopped at immigration and arrived in the luggage room where about ten porters were waiting for us to arrive. We quickly found our 4 bags because of the hints we had picked up on the internet message board to put yellow duct tape on our luggage. The porter had our four bags on the cart in less than five minutes and we did not really stop at customs at all. We were out the door and into the first taxi waiting and heading down the road before 9:00 AM. It's just about 15 minutes to the airport, so we were there before 9:30 and had plenty of time to drink coffee and moan about having to fly home to the snow! Summary: All in all this was a great cruise. We were tentative about trying Princess because we really loved HAL's Rotterdam. I would have to say that most things about Princess are comparable. Where I think HAL has the edge is that the service is more personal and the staff are more friendly and cordial overall. On the Coral our waiters were wonderful, once we found them. But some of the others we encountered were just "ok." Never rude but not overly friendly either. Our housekeeper was just great, too, but others often did not even speak when you passed them in the hallway. We also found that tour office, purser, and other staff were "ok" but nothing special. I think having the person with the white gloves escort you to your cabin when you first arrive on a HAL ship just set the tone for the whole cruise, and on Princess we had someone (who was not even smiling) just point and say "go down the hall that way and it's on the right." Also, we like the size of the HAL ship better. The Rotterdam was made to hold about 1,000 passengers, and there were 1,900 on Coral. That in itself means more crowded conditions. We stood though one show on the Coral, and I can't see doing that ever again. However, the mini-suite was considerably larger on the Coral, and we really enjoyed that extra space. The closet was also bigger, so if the suite is important, then Princess gets the edge. The food was comparable, as were the tours. The shows were much better on Princess, both in variety and the quality of the performances from the on board staff. I hope this is helpful to those who might be considering cruising of the Coral. It's a beautiful ship and well worth the cost we spent for the ten days in the sun! glasslin@erols.com April 2003 Read Less
We sailed on the Coral Princess on January 23-February 2, 2003. Starting out in choppy water the ship had difficulty settling down to a smooth ride. Whether this was because of the unusual weather we were having, the route taken or ... Read More
We sailed on the Coral Princess on January 23-February 2, 2003. Starting out in choppy water the ship had difficulty settling down to a smooth ride. Whether this was because of the unusual weather we were having, the route taken or stabilization problems was never explained. The first day at sea was the worst but passenger complaints persisted throughout the cruise. The ship is beautifully appointed. Cabins are large, comfortable and well designed with plenty of storage space and room to move around. The lounges are spacious and beautifully furnished. There was plenty to do without ever leaving the ship and this was good because the ports of call and side trips were generally unremarkable. The Canal itself was the big attraction: one of the greatest feats of engineering in the history of the world. We took the trip to relax in sunny warm air and it worked. We enjoyed the ship, the decks, the lounges, the shows, the food, the classes, and the lovely verandas which grace the vast majority of the rooms. Even though the ship was filled to capacity it never seemed crowded. The Spa was outstanding and offered a myriad of services with discounts for at sea days and in port days as well. The boutiques were standard and there now exists a sort of sidewalk sale atmosphere with daily specials featuring local crafts, jewelry, t-shirts, gemstones, and more jewelry. Prices were reasonable, particularly by cruise ship standards. The food was outstanding. With two dining rooms and a twenty-four hour buffet as well as two specialty, extra cost restaurants, a pizzeria, a patisserie, a grill and two bars no taste was left unfulfilled. The twenty-four hour buffet has replaced the midnight buffet and it is a wonderful feature; particularly, for those who like their midnight snack at 10:30. Personal choice dining was a great favorite and if the passenger comments we heard were any indicator, should replace assigned seating in the future. The entertainment featured a cadre of excellent singers and dancers who performed at the highest level. The comedians were routine cruise ship fare with the traditional emphasis on potty humor and cruiser's foibles. The specialty musicians were outstanding. The Scholars at Sea program provides lectures and demonstrations on a wide variety of topics including cameras, computers, ports of call and world affairs. I imagine that each cruise differs so it will become a matter of the luck of the draw. The staff was superb, well trained, professional and attentive. Service was everything it should be on a first class cruise ship. Should be a great ship on which to do the Alaska trip where the ports of call have far more to offer. Princess could improve on their communications about daily schedules with a grid timetable rather than the listing they currently use. A cruise long grid would allow for even better planning. While it had nothing to do with Princess it must be noted that the Ft. Lauderdale airport was totally incompetent to handle the influx of cruise travelers on disembarkation. Long inefficient lines were the order of the day and left some passengers scrambling to make their AM flights. Passengers take care. ccholmes@ameritech.net May 2003 Read Less
The Positives The Cabin Our Caribe 408, port side deck 10, balcony room was nice -- well appointed, and very clean. The closet space seemed a tad larger than on previous ships. Loads of hangers available. Our balcony was at least ... Read More
The Positives The Cabin Our Caribe 408, port side deck 10, balcony room was nice -- well appointed, and very clean. The closet space seemed a tad larger than on previous ships. Loads of hangers available. Our balcony was at least twice as large than any other we have had, which was great! On our deck the balcony offered some privacy close to the door but no privacy out by the railing. The deck below ours (#9) had no privacy at all. Although it was the same size as ours, it had no overhang. This was not a problem; I am just mentioning it since this question seems to come up frequently. The chairs on our deck could change position into a semi-lounger (just the back moved). This was nice. There was a nice big table on our balcony as well. The bathroom was the same size as always -- small but serviceable. The shower was amazingly strong and wonderful.(Small things like this make me happy.) The food Overall the food in the dining room was very good and plentiful. We did the traditional dining, large table, 2nd seating (8:15). We were quite pleased with this arrangement, as well as our tablemates. We were always among the last table left in the dining room -- laughing and having a great time. Our waitresses (Mariana and Caterina from Romania) were the only girl-girl team on the ship, and we enjoyed their service tremendously -- it was flawless. Our headwaiter Riccardo was kind enough to make our table a special pasta dish one night when he found out it was my favorite. We love pasta! The wine selection was pretty good. The waitresses now handle the wine, instead of a separate sommelier. An average bottle will cost you between $22 and $35. There are much better bottles available as well. We did not try any of the alternative dining places, so I cannot comment on them. (Mostly because we really enjoyed our tablemates and did not want to dine elsewhere, although there was nothing on either menu that really interested me.) The pizza on pool deck was addictive! It was so good that I craved it almost every day. No wonder I gained 7 pounds in 10 days! My husband also had nothing but positive comments on the cheeseburgers at the grill. The tours We don't take organized tours, so I am unable to comment on them. We used to take the tours, but never really enjoy them as much as striking out on our own. I am not one for going to the movies while on a cruise ship, but I must admit to being tempted by some good films (My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Road to Perdition, About a Boy, Insomnia, Bourne Identity, Spiderman). The musical shows were very typical cruise-type offerings. Some shows were terrific while others were not quite as terrific, but everything was entertaining. I won't go into details here since everybody has different tastes in music (especially my husband and I!), but go expecting to be well entertained. The Cruise Director (Paul O'Laughlin) was very good, and his sidekick deputy cruise director (James) was also quite entertaining. Their morning show on the Princess TV was pretty funny at times, although Paul should really stop whistling on the air! James had lots of energy and seems more visible throughout the ship than Paul. One of the other assistant cruise directors, Martin, was especially fun and full of energy as well. There were 3 karaoke nights, which for some of you may be a positive point, and for others a negative point. :-) To each their own. There was also a passenger talent show on the last day, for those of you interested. Greg Bonham was on the ship -- typical Vegas-style singing and trumpet playing. Not my cup of tea, but the crowd (mostly in their 60s on this ship) seemed to love him. Billy Vader was also on the ship. He's a comedian that we've sailed with before. He was funny when he didn't sing (which unfortunately was not enough of the time). It's not that he doesn't have a good voice; I just prefer talking funny to singing funny. I must admit however that Billy was a lot funnier than David Brenner was on the Grand a few years ago. Billy is a happy sort that is very visible on the ship and always has time to chat with passengers. He's been doing this a long time and seems to actually enjoy it. The piano player in Crooners was very entertaining. He could play a wide variety of music, and his voice seemed to expertly mimic whatever performer he was singing. The library was beautiful -- and chock full of brand new books. There were special comfortable "listening" chairs available, where you could sit and listen to CDs (on headphones). The card room was much larger than on other ships, and very nice. There were loads of board games for borrowing, and plenty of cards. On this particular voyage, it seems as though there were quite a few bridge players and bridge-related activities. This is not something we are into, but it seemed to make a lot of people happy. The ports My favorite two ports of call on this trip were Grand Cayman and Cozumel. Grand Cayman has beautiful (free) beaches, inexpensive taxis, and expensive shopping (similar to U.S. prices, if not a bit higher, for items such as t-shirts and hats, and less expensive than U.S. prices for jewelry and watches -- no tax). Eat on the ship; good food is hard to come by here. Cozumel has beautiful beaches and inexpensive shopping, as well as wonderful Mexican food at Pancho's Backyard (we ate at the one by 8th Street, not the new one at the pier). The Fat Tuesday's bar near the pier has one portion of the bar where there are swings for seats -- what fun! We saw a lot of crewmembers here, since it was very close to the ship (5 minute walk). Beers are $3. The new pier is gorgeous, but because it's so gorgeous, it doesn't feel like Cozumel! (Plus prices were higher here than in town.) Luckily, the downtown area has not changed much -- I hope it doesn't! We've been here 3 or 4 times previously and we always enjoy ourselves. We had a nice day in Costa Rica (Limon). The people there are so polite and friendly, and the city is not one big tourist trap. No hassles, inexpensive shopping, lots of sunshine. We took the time to really go out and walk around the city, and did not just stay in the tent shopping area right next to the pier, although you could probably have a nice time doing so. The Public Market is really their public market -- butchers, fruit sellers, etc. don't go there if you are expecting something like Nassau's Straw Market, but DO go there if you want to see how the locals shop. The Panama Canal passage was very nice, as anticipated. We've done this itinerary before, so we knew what to expect. I heard from a lot of people that the top decks were very crowded -- with people camping out spaces there and in the Horizon Court as early as 6 a.m. even though we were not going through for an hour or more. (One of my tablemates said that there was no place to sit and eat breakfast because all of the chairs had been moved from the tables into rows by the windows). We could see quite a bit of the process from our balcony, but ended up going to the aft deck for a much better view, where there were only a handful of people. We ordered champagne from room service and had it delivered there. (It was the first time I've ever had champagne that early in the morning, but what the heck -- I was on vacation!) General comments The artwork throughout the ship (especially on the stairway walls) is very, very nice. I enjoyed it tremendously. The atrium is a work of art -- gorgeous. The Princess Theatre and Universe Theatres are very comfortable and excellent entertainment spaces. Great lighting and sound. The temperature on the ship was perfect for me. I am usually cold, but on this ship I was comfortable most of the time, and did not need a sweater at all. My husband was too warm occasionally, but not enough to complain about it. The spa is gorgeous. My husband and I had several treatments there. I enjoyed my pedicure ($55) with Simone -- it was very relaxing and nice to have done on my first day so I had pretty toes for the rest of the trip. (Note that there are not many colors to choose from, so if you want a certain color polish, bring it with you.) I also enjoyed my Aromaflex massage ($79 special on port days) with Carol Anne -- 25 minutes spent on neck and back, and 25 minutes spent on feet. She made it seem like two relaxing hours instead of one. My husband absolutely loved the reflexology ($99) with Reggie, as well as the hot stone therapy massage ($159) also with Reggie. (One note -- if you think the stones are too hot, SAY something! My husband got quite a burn on his shoulder.) At these sessions, there were no sales pitches whatsoever, which was great. The gym was very nice (not that I spent a whole lot of time there). It's nice that the machines all overlook the water. There were quite a few classes offered on the other side of the gym -- step, yoga, Pilate's, etc. The photographers on this ship seemed to take more time with you and often took several shots instead of just one, as well as single shots instead of just couples. This gave you more pictures to choose from, which was great. There were two nights that black and white photographs were taken (our favorites). It was also great fun when the photographers got off the ship during the canal passage and took shots of those out on the decks and balconies. There were plenty of deck chairs alongside both of the pools. We never had a problem getting two chairs together in the shade. Note that no "saving" of chairs is permitted on this ship. If a towel is on a chair for more than 30 minutes or so unattended, a deck attendant will remove the towel, thereby opening the spot for another passenger. I think this is a fair policy. The pools were clean and beautiful. The pool areas were very nice -- the chairs all have comfortable thick cushions on them -- perfect for napping! We are late 30's/early 40's. There were probably fewer than a dozen children younger than 16 on the ship. The average age on this ship was probably 65. You will note this is a positive to us, as we get along well with an older crowd. (They make very quiet next-door neighbors!) If this is not a positive to you, keep in mind the following cruise axiom: "the longer the cruise, the older the cruisers." 7-day cruises will have a younger crowd than a 10-day or longer cruise. The Not as Positives Smoking This was the smokiest ship we have ever been on. We had a balcony room but most of the time we could not enjoy it for more than a few minutes as somebody nearby would light up. The halls and elevator areas almost always smelled of smoke. I could not spend more than a few minutes in any of the bars or casino because of the smoke. Even sitting poolside was problematic at times because smoking is allowed everywhere on deck. I am not allergic to smoke or anything, I just strongly dislike the smell of smoke and hate that it gets in my hair and clothes. (Luckily I brought a bottle of Febreeze with me.) I heard a lot of comments on this topic (without my bringing the topic up I am not a complainer, especially when on vacation). There is only one bar that is totally non-smoking, and that is the Patisserie. Unfortunately it is not really protected because it is right next to the atrium, where smoking is allowed. Plus, there is no music or entertainment here other than what goes on in the adjacent atrium. The Crooners piano bar has a large non-smoking section, but again, it's right next to the atrium, plus half of it permits smoking so you couldn't really escape it. In my opinion, Princess really needs to do something about this to satisfy both non-smokers and smokers. I would suggest making one side of the ship smoking and one side non-smoking. (Open-air decks and cabins included.) I would also suggest no smoking in the common areas, such as the hallways, atrium, and elevator waiting areas. Statistics show that less than 30% of adults smoke these days; I think Princess should take this into consideration. I would also suggest signs on the balconies as well as notices in the cabins regarding throwing cigarettes or cigars off the ship. I saw this happen twice. One of my tablemates was on the aft deck, just looking at the sunset with his wife when a lit cigar got thrown off a nearby balcony and landed on his bare shoulder. This is obviously a safety issue that all cruise ships need to address. Because of this issue, we are actually going to look into Carnival's non-smoking ship for our next cruise. We are huge Princess fans (Platinum Captain's Circle members, having sailed with them for six cruises), but the smoking was just too much this time. The Cabin Blow dryers are a bit weak. Bring your own if you need a strong airflow. The bed pillows were very hard and uncomfortable. If you don't like hard pillows, I would seriously consider bringing your own. My husband thought the mattresses were uncomfortable as well. The self-set wake-up call system on the digital telephone was not working for our cruise. Wake-up calls were available through the passenger services desk, but I did hear from more than one person that this was not very reliable. Bring your own alarm clock, especially if you will be taking any morning tours. I wish somebody would invent drawers on a ship that don't have to be slammed to shut. It's the only noise you could hear from the cabins on either side drawers shutting. Unfortunately, the way the drawers are designed (so they don't slide open during rough seas), you need to shut them with some force, which causes noise. The Food My husband, who is a non-seafood eater, noticed that there seems to be fewer non-seafood choices on the lunch and dinner menus. He ended up ordering the "always available" menu selections (cheeseburgers, fettuccini, steak) several times on this trip. The Lobster Thermadore was tasteless (unless you count salt). Normally I love this dish, but it was one of the few things I ate on the ship that I did not like at all. Due to fire regulations, there is no cooking tableside (such as pasta dishes or bananas flambE), and no basked Alaska presentation (and therefore no swinging napkins!). Just a note for those of you considering personal choice dining I noticed quite a few people milling about the atrium waiting for their restaurant buzzer to light up. I overheard that there was sometimes a 30-minute or so wait. This can be avoided by making a standing reservation with the maitre d. The ice cream on the pool deck was expensive. Stick to the free ice cream offered at lunch and dinner in the dining rooms. The Horizon Court, while very pretty, offered just typical buffet food, nothing special. I seem to recall that the buffets on the Grand and Sea offered more. For example, if you like Salmon on your bagel in the morning, it was only available on one or two mornings. The service here could be spotty as well (no motivating factors, such as tips). It's ridiculous what Princess charges for soda/pop ($1.95/can). It would be much better for the environment (not to mention passenger's pocketbooks) if they installed soda/pop fountains and gave it away for free. Soda/pop at a fountain costs only pennies a glass to make, and Princess would certainly get high marks from passengers for making this change. Note that if you are a big soda drinker, or have children who are, you can get a soda stamp on your card for $27.50, which gives you all the soda you care to drink for the duration of the cruise. The Tours We don't take organized tours, so I am unable to comment on them. We used to take the tours, but never really enjoy them as much as striking out on our own. The Entertainment It's probably because I have taken 8 cruises, but it seems to me that ship comedians and the cruise directors really need to come up with some new material. There's just too much of the same old small bathroom, toilet flushing, my room is on z-deck, etc. type of humor. Also, they all seem to spend the first ten minutes of their set asking where people are from, who's from Canada? Who's from the U.S., etc. The Universe Lounge does have some obstructed views. Get there early if you want a good seat. The Ports We were in Cozumel on a Sunday, and we were the only ship in town. Despite it being Mardi Gras time, the newly constructed Carlos and Charlie's (a few blocks south of where it used to be) seemed deserted and boring compared to previous trips here. We didn't stick around. Stay on the ship in Jamaica unless you are taking a Princess tour. Aggressive taxi drivers make this a not-fun port. Duns River Falls is worth seeing at least once, but it's not very clean, and the tour guides are also aggressive when it comes to demanding tips and herding you to shopping areas. Be sure to bring shoes you can wear in the water if you plan on climbing the falls. In Costa Rica, skip the park near the pier. It's not very clean or interesting. General Comments This ship did not seem as stable as any of the others we have traveled on. You could really "feel the sea," especially when you were all the way forward or aft (like in the Princess Theatre and Universe Lounge). Our cabin was mid-ship, but we could feel the motion of the ocean all night. It didn't really bother us too much, but there were a few people who seemed to react negatively to this. Bring Bonine or Dramamine, and you should be fine. On previous trips, we have bought quite a few pieces of art at the art auctions. (And we've been very, very happy with what we've bought.) On this particular trip, even though we went to all four of the previews, we did not see anything that we really wanted to bid on. Since art is subjective, don't take this comment too seriously. The shops did not seem to offer as much merchandise as those on the Grand Princess. The fine jewelry shop was located right next to the Casino, and in fact had a door opening into the casino. While this might be a successful marketing ploy, I could not spend more than a few minutes at a time in there because it was too smoky. (No matter what time of the day.) The wine tasting was held in one of the dining rooms, and I was quite surprised to see almost every table filled! It was $5 for the tasting, but if you pre-ordered a bottle of wine for your dinner table following the tasting, you would get $5 off that bottle. I usually enjoy these, but I have to admit that I did not learn anything, and was not that fond of the wines chosen for us. (Asti Spumanti? Do people still drink that?) I was not happy my facial ($129) as the therapist spent way too much time telling me what was wrong with my skin and what I needed to buy in order to correct it. If I had bought all of the products she "prescribed" for me, I would have spent more than $500 and no, I am not joking. My tablemate's "prescription" would have cost over $700 and personally, I think she had much nicer skin than me! The facial itself would have been quite enjoyable had it not been for the sales pitch. If I was at home, and visiting a local spa that I would be getting regular care at, then I would welcome this approach. However, while I am on vacation, I just want to enjoy the pampering. I really don't think Princess should charge $10/class for yoga and Pilate's. It's not that the classes were not good; it's just that it seems so greedy. It seems especially greedy when the teacher hands you an invoice/receipt at the end of class that all but requests a tip. The same teachers teach the step and other classes why are these classes worth more? The formal photos and black and whites were only shown as 8x10s. You could get 5X7's printed, but they would cost the same, so you felt like you were getting ripped off if you did so. And how many 8x10s of yourself do you really need? KARexx@aol.com June 2003 Read Less
We sailed the Coral Princess/Panama Canal voyage March 4th-March 14th, 2003. Ports of call: Ocho Rios, Jamaica, Limon, Costa Rica, Panama Canal, and Aruba. The Coral Princess was at its full capacity for this cruise. We arrived ... Read More
We sailed the Coral Princess/Panama Canal voyage March 4th-March 14th, 2003. Ports of call: Ocho Rios, Jamaica, Limon, Costa Rica, Panama Canal, and Aruba. The Coral Princess was at its full capacity for this cruise. We arrived at the Fort Lauderdale airport, on flights that I arranged on my own, along with my brother & sister-in-law on March 3rd. We were booked at the Westin, Cypress Creek, through Princess along with transfers. After claiming our luggage, the transfer from airport to hotel with Princess motor coach went smoothly. We made our own arrangements for the morning by taxi to go to the pier around 10:30. It was well worth the $30 cab ride for the 4 of us to be at the pier ahead of the Princess buses. Check in was done by deck. We were on the Baja deck, and there were 4 attendants doing the processing for our deck. We went through security and waited until about 11:45 to board. The first time they swiped our cruise card upon entering the ship, they also took our picture for security. What a beautiful ship! We found our cabins right away. My brother had an inside; C507 and we had a balcony on the "bump-out" B501. This was the first time my husband and I had a balcony cabin and we loved it. There was a lot of closet space to hang clothes in an open area and shelves in a floor to ceiling closet with doors. This closet also contained the safe; which requires a 4-digit code of your selection to open and close. The safe was ample space to put wallets, jewelry, and camera. The bathroom was nice with shelves in vanity for toiletries. We used the shampoo, conditioner, hand & body lotion, and soap that was provided and wouldn't have had to pack those items. The shower was a bit small, but it wasn't bad. We requested the use of 2 Princess robes and the extra foam mattress pads for the bed as soon as we met our room steward, Gabrielle. The foam pads made our bed very comfortable. Putting 2 twin beds together made our double bed and they separated easily when made up as a double bed. On our August cruise on the Star Princess my husband is bringing a long strap with ratchet to go around the whole outside edge to hold the mattresses together. We had a nice sized vanity with a chair and an extra-upholstered chair. There was a hair blow dryer next to the vanity mounted on the exterior wall. There were only 2 additional outlets located there. If you want more outlets or need to plug in something with a short cord, I would suggest bringing an extra 6'-8' extension cord. There are no clocks of any sort in the room, which I knew in advance so I brought an alarm clock. We had a comfortable deck with 2 chairs and a table about 3' X 3'. The table took up more space than we liked and next time I will ask that it be removed and just a small table large enough to hold a room service tray will be all we need. Being on the "bump-out" we had a wonderful view of everything either side of us. I can see where cabins on either side of the bump out would have an obstructed view in the direction of the "bump-out". The refrigerator, a nice plus, was compact but large enough for anything we wanted to keep cold. New/fresh ice appeared in it every day. We purchased the Coke sticker right away for $27.50 each for the 10-day cruise and an extra $2.50 for the Coke cup, which works well for hot beverages as well as cold. We had Personal Choice "PC" dining. We all really like the flexibility of being able to plan our evening meal around the other activities of the day and ship; rather than having an assigned time in Traditional Dining where you have to plan your activities around the mealtime. The downside of PC dining is reservations are accepted. If you reserved a table whether for that night or the whole cruise, you had 15 minutes before the table was released if you didn't show up. That made it more difficult for those who just came to the PC dining room without a reservation. Example: we came to the dining room and asked if we could have a particular table that was open. We were told it was reserved in 10 minutes so we selected another table. Watching that first table, 4 people were seated about the time we were having our main entrEe. Come to find out the reservation didn't show up and these 4 were the first to come along after the reservation expired. In our opinion, PC dining should be a "first come, first served" basis. If you would rather have a specific time to eat, Traditional dining would be a better choice I would think. The food was good everywhere on the ship. The buffet had fresh fruit and vegetables and many of the same foods were served in the dining room. Room service was good and also prompt. Most mornings we enjoyed room service ordering from the door hanger they place in your cabin every evening. The menu listed is mostly continental style food, but anything I wrote on it, they delivered on time and hot. We also requested 1/2 & 1/2 for our coffee through room service as the buffet only serves the individual small NON-dairy creamers. The coffee is made from a liquid concentrate and I would have much preferred fresh brewed, but the only place that serves fresh brewed was at LaPatisserie bar. The presentation of food in the dining room was very nice. We thought the pizza was very good at the pizza counter open 11-6 every afternoon. We never tried anything at the hamburger/hot dog grill. We tried the Bayou Cafe with it's $10 extra chg per person and although is wasn't very crowded, our service was slow and we weren't particularly impressed with the food. There was no reason to ever go hungry in any of the Cruise-included food. The ship itself had many nice public spaces and smaller areas for private, cozy sittings. The Promenade deck was usually quiet and few people. On the back of Decks 10 & 8 (Caribe and Emerald) we discovered a small but very nice deck with lounge chairs. We used the Laundromat once, $1 to wash $1 to dry and $1 for soap. Well worth the cost. I could have packed half of the clothes I did. We tried the soft serve ice cream in the Haagen Daas bar but thought that $2.65 for a small cone was a lot to charge. When you consider some of the expensive desserts in the buffet, you would think that a simple soft serve machine would be free in the buffet. TOURS: All of our tours were booked through Princess. Ocho Rios: Dunns Falls & kayaking - We really enjoyed this! I had seen lots of pictures of the falls and people climbing it, but it truly was a beautiful adventure I'll never forget. We were hoping to purchase some JaBluM brand coffee while in Jamaica, but we didn't go into town after our tour and there weren't any little shops by the ship with the exception of liquor being sold from a trailer. Limon: Costa Rican Adventure - this included an hour and half motorbus ride to the aerial tram ride in the rain forest. The tram was a little more than an hour with time to stop in the gift shop, which is where we bought our Costa Rican coffee. We then went to an open-air restaurant and enjoyed a traditional Costa Rican lunch. Then on to a boat ride through some of the canals before a bus ride back to the ship. We really enjoyed the tram and the lunch, but for us, we could have passed on the boat ride. It is true that you saw more animals and birds, but I still like the rain forest better. Listening to others back on the ship and the bus back, many enjoyed the boat ride better than the aerial tram. It definitely is a personal choice. I'm not sorry we did both, but we like the rain forest tram better. Panama: We started the day up on the Sun Deck so we could see straight ahead at the locks. Once we actually got to the locks, we went back to our cabin and stood on our balcony and watched the remainder of the transition. Once in Gantun Lake, we tendered to a waiting bus not far from the dock. We did the Deluxe Train ride in the domed train. It went from the Atlantic to the Pacific where we saw the Mira Flores locks and a short movie about the canal. It was well worth the extra money to get the domed car, but if you think you want it, book early. Ours was filled 2 weeks or so before we left home. Marty, our guide gave us some very interesting info about Panama and the history of the country and canal. Aruba: Catamaran, snorkel and beach tour. Neither my husband nor I had snorkeled before. After about 45 min on the catamaran, they set anchor and the guide explained how to use the equipment and then showed us how to get down the ladder. In hindsight, it would have been easier for a first timer to learn by starting from the beach, which is what we wrongly assumed they would do. It was cloudy, so what we saw underwater was a bit drab in color, but fun. We then proceeded to an open dining area where lunch was served and we had an hour to sit or walk on the beach. Then back to the ship in the catamaran. We wouldn't choose this tour again. We really enjoyed the 4 major production shows. They were excellent!! 3 out of the 4 were held in the Princess Theater and one in the Universe Lounge; truly a state of the art venue. We also enjoyed the 50's & 60's night as well as Vince and Hip Pocket band. The Karaoke was fun to watch also. There was a lot that we didn't do on the ship, but there are only so many hours in a day and we wanted some relaxation time also. You could be as busy as you wanted to be or not. Disembarkment: We had a flight before noon, so we were assigned Red2 tags for our luggage. For us it went OK, but for my brother who had a later flight, he said finding the luggage in the same room where we checked in at the beginning of the cruise was very chaotic. It took him an hour just to get his luggage and get to the INS agent. Overall we had a great time and enjoyed this cruise vacation. It is a beautiful ship and the 10 days we spent on it flew by! We are looking forward to August 9, 2003 when my entire family of 3 generations, 21 people/ages 13-76, sails to Alaska on the Star Princess. thekoehlers@centurytel.net June 2003 Read Less
The following review is a joint effort between mother (mid-60s) and daughter (late 30s). We are Platinum Princess cruisers and have sailed on many generations of her ships including the old Star, Crown, Regal, Sun class and Grand class in ... Read More
The following review is a joint effort between mother (mid-60s) and daughter (late 30s). We are Platinum Princess cruisers and have sailed on many generations of her ships including the old Star, Crown, Regal, Sun class and Grand class in many regions-Med, transatlantic, Hawaii, Alaska, and the Caribbean, and Panama Canal transits. We took advantage of onboard booking while on the Golden Med/ transatlantic in August/September, 2002. Our vacation began on March 1, 2003, when we arrived in Fort Lauderdale and checked into the Hyatt Pier 66 hotel. Our executive suite was on the 12th floor and the balcony overlooked Port Everglades affording us a wonderful, 180 plus degree view of not only the port, but the Atlantic Ocean and the city of Fort Lauderdale. This was our second stay at the Pier 66; we have also been guests of the Marriott Harbor Beach Resort. We rented a car which we used for exploring the area, shopping, and going to restaurants for dinner. The Itinerary Panama Canal 10-day: March 4 - March 14, 2003 Ports of Call: Ocho Rios, Jamaica; Limon, Costa Rica; partial transit Panama Canal; Aruba, NA The Captain was Philip Pickford. The Cruise Director was Paul O'Loughlin. Embarkation Our choice of transportation to Port Everglades was taxi at a cost of under $10. We arrived at the pier in approximately ten minutes and proceeded to the Platinum check-in area where there was no line at all. We later learned that there were only 80 Platinum members on this cruise. The security line moved slowly because the waiting room had not yet begun boarding. The line began moving after about ten minutes and we were aboard and in our stateroom: Dolphin 405-starboard mini-suite within minutes. After a thorough tour of the ship, we enjoyed lunch in the Horizon Court (see "Ship" section for more discussion of the Horizon Court). The skies were clear and sunny-perfect for a dip in the pool!! When we got to our cabin to change into our swimwear, our cabin steward was there. Rico had been the steward for the port side suites on the Crown on our Hawaii cruise (we had a starboard suite) and we knew immediately we were in good hands. Rico has been with Princess a number of years and throughout the cruise, Rico did a superior job!! Our luggage had not yet arrived and Rico explained that the Coral has a smaller sorting area and delivery takes a bit longer. He offered to look into it for us and expedited our luggage delivery. When we returned from the pool later that afternoon, we had our waffle robes, extra towels, extra water, and luggage. The Passengers Based on our observation, the average age of the passengers was between 65 and 70. Half of the passengers were first-time Princess cruisers and many were first-time cruisers. We thought the representation of first time cruisers was unusually high. The ship also had onboard seven corporate and/or travel groups. These groups never infringed upon the other passengers in any way. There also seemed to be a high percentage of people from Florida. The Sail Away Sail away was promptly at 5:00 p.m. The Coral was the last ship in port to leave her pier. We were on our balcony for sail away and were able to hear the music on our balcony speaker and also on TV Channel 31. Princess chose to play "Celebrate", "Somewhere Beyond the Sea", and "Time to Say Goodbye"--great selections! Andrea Bocelli and Sara Brightman's "Time to Say Goodbye" duo was also played on the Golden Princess for our sail away and hearing it again on the Coral brought back beautiful memories of our Venice, Italy, departure. Rico had provided us with chilled champagne glasses and we toasted the beginning our cruise!! The Ship The Staterooms Our mini-suite was perfectly located mid ship on Dolphin deck on the starboard side of the ship. The dEcor was mainly aqua and an unfortunate choice of harvest gold for the sofa. Mom thought the room was narrower and the balcony not as wide or as long as those on the Grand class ships. Daughter still isn't too sure that the room is any different in size, but agrees that the balcony is smaller. There was a four-foot, round resin table and two adjustable chairs on the balcony which worked out well for our needs. The smaller balconies were furnished with square tables. The sofa seems to be longer on the Coral. Unfortunately, the beds seemed narrower and were not comfortable. The bed pillows were pure torture-hard as rock; Rico came to the rescue with a feather pillow. That is right, "a" feather pillow-that was the only one he could find. The bathroom had what seemed to be a much longer and possibly deeper tub than on the Grand and Golden; great for soaking! Princess has updated the soap (larger with a new fragrance) and the shampoo, conditioner, and body lotion containers have a plastic coating on them now which makes it easier to twist off the little tops. Perhaps it is my imagination, but the fragrance seems improved on these items, also. One quick note: the ceilings in the tub area (mini suites) are low; beware those of you who are 6 feet tall or taller. We had read comments from other cruisers about the noise of water running, but in our opinion, the noise was coming from an exhaust fan in the bathroom which runs continuously. The telephone had buttons for room service, weather, time, etc. Unfortunately, the wake-up call feature did not work for us but Mom was always up before the sun so that was not a problem. The televisions are equipped with the jacks on the front for video cameras. A daily television programming schedule was on our coffee table. We enjoyed the variety of choices: music channels, movies, and the Princess channels. We had the chance to see one of the nearby suites and agreed that they are the same as the mini-suites on the Sun Class ships. They do have a nice wet bar and a whirlpool tub. The balcony is small. We will not elaborate on covered and uncovered balconies. There are advantages and disadvantages to having one or the other. Our balcony was uncovered but I did not feel as exposed on the Coral as I did on the Golden. And remember, if you have a covered balcony, those below can turn around and see you! The staterooms directly next to the small bump-out sections definitely have a viewing difficulty. The covered balconies also appeared to be smaller-not as deep. Not many people used their balconies on this cruise. The Lido Pool Parents and non-swimmers need to be aware this pool is deep-at least seven feet at one end and approximately five and a half feet at the other end. Signage was still being posted while we were on the ship. There did not seem to be as many chairs with full sun exposure around the pool as there are on other Princess ships and those that were in the sun were taken very quickly (I saw the towels being placed on these chairs as early as 7 a.m.). Some days we were able to sit near the pool and on others, we chose to sit one deck up which we found to be breezier and much quieter. Pizza, hamburgers, hotdogs, and beverages were all available on the Lido deck. The pool service attendants did a wonderful job making certain you had your beverages. The band which played at the pool during our cruise was "Sugar Cane". They have played on several of our other Princess cruises, and we think they just get better and better! The Lotus Pool The Lotus pool is also located on the Lido deck between the Horizon Court and the Lido Pool. The area around the pool and hot tubs is absolutely beautiful. Wonderful greenery is scattered among the heavily green padded chaise lounges and tables and chairs. The upper level is as appealing as the lower pool area. The retractable roof was open each time we walked through allowing some sun to shine into the area. Older couples and those seeking shade and quiet seemed to be the prominent patrons of the Lotus pool. When the Coral cruises Alaska or has rainy days at sea, this pool will see a lot of use!! Also, the ice cream bar is located there. The Splash Pool The Splash pool is located in the bow of the ship on the Sports deck. We checked this pool out one sunny day as an alternative but decided to go back to the Lido pool because the water in the shallow pool was too hot and there did not seem to be any beverage service available. The Horizon Court is located directly below via a stairway but swimwear should not be worn into the buffet area. It is possible that there are waiters at this pool, but none were there when we were there. The Pelican Pool There were about eight adults using the Pelican pool located aft on Aloha deck, but this pool seems to be part of the children's area and the pool itself is quite small.. The Atrium Located in the center of the ship and encompassing that area on decks 5, 6, 7 & 8 is the Atrium. We stood in the center of the Atrium on Plaza deck (deck 5) our feet on top of blue marble and looked up. We felt as if we were on the bottom of the sea viewing the coral (the amazing lighted structure between the glass elevators) and watching the waves (the ceilings on the various decks have small lights which constantly change from white to aqua to sapphire blue). Not everyone will imagine the Atrium to be what we thought it was designed to represent, but all will certainly agree that it is the most beautiful Atrium on any of the Princess ships. The Patisserie is also on Plaza deck and offers comfortable sofa, table and chair seating, bar seats, the best coffee on the ship and tasty pastries!! Non-smokers: Take your coffee up to the Promenade deck to Crooners smoking section. One deck up is the Fiesta Deck where the atrium shops: Meredian Bay and Calypso Bay are located. The Facets jewel shop is around the corner and across from the Casino-so much for your casino winnings!! On the next deck, Promenade Deck, you can sit at Crooner's Bar (the martini bar and any other drink you may choose) with a Frank Sinatra/Dean Martin/Sammy Davis/Rat Pack theme. The smoking section is located portside and is furnished with wonderful light-colored sofas and chairs. (We were appalled to see folks there during the daytime sitting on the chairs and propping their feet on the white sofas while others were curled up on sofas and sleeping!) The non-smoking area is adjacent to the bar and there is also a piano there. We were sorry that the piano player did not play more of the Sinatra tunes. He seemed to be favoring 70s ballads. Churchill's Lounge is across the atrium on the same deck. This is the enclosed cigar smoking lounge where one can also order a drink. The cigar odors do not filter out of this room. One deck up is the Emerald deck which houses the very large card room, a well planned library and the internet cafe. The internet cafe was never busy and we felt that the computer speed was just fine. During the daytime there was always a Princess representative on duty to assist those who needed his/her help. The Emerald deck was always very quiet and conducive to reading, computer work, etc. Dining Rooms & Alternative Restaurants Our dining schedule was late, traditional in the Provence Dining Room, Fiesta Deck 6, table 184-a quiet corner table in the back of the dining room-perfect!! We had a table for six and our tablemates were a Cruise Critic member and his wife and a great couple from Florida. The food was standard Princess fare and good quality; our waitress steered us in the right direction every evening. One thing we have learned is to take the waiter's/waitress' menu suggestion seriously! As always, the service was excellent. Heading towards the aft of the ship on the Promedade deck is Sabatini's Italian Restaurant. The Sabatini's on the Coral Princess has a magnificent dEcor and impeccable service. We dined there at a table for two and completed all of the courses in less than one hour and forty-five minutes! We certainly recommend this restaurant. As you pass Sabatini's walking aft toward the Universe Lounge, you will be amazed to find yourself on a sidewalk in New Orleans!! Well, almost............brick walls, gaslights, small tables by the windows (smoking okay) and the entrance to the Bayou Cafe. One side is a cocktail lounge, the other is the dining room. Our dinner there was fantastic and again, excellent service! Highly recommended. Don't forget to put your Mardi Gras beads on-the necklaces are on each table. The Horizon Court The Horizon Court seems to be lacking in seating. The tables in the bow are large, round tables usually seating eight and are widely spaced. The breakfast buffet was okay however we prefer to either eat in the dining room or order room service. Many of our passengers raved about the food and others felt it was not very good.........a toss up. We chose to order the special Panama Canal breakfast which arrived on a three-tiered cart and consisted of champagne, pastries, crabcakes, etc., etc., smoked salmon, etc., fresh fruit, etc. This was so delicious and such a treat!! Our server placed a crisp white tablecloth on our balcony table, popped the champagne cork and left us to enjoy the great food and the beginning of the partial transit of the canal. All for only $25 (the champagne was Veuve Cliquot. Princess will be offering a Glacier Bay breakfast in Alaska and we recommend giving it a try!! As we said before, we used room service rather consistently for our breakfasts. On sea days, we usually had breakfast in the main dining room. The Spa We visited the spa the day we boarded and thought it to be a beautiful place! With any of the spa services (not beauty salon), one may indulge in the steam rooms, tropical rainforest showers, etc. There are four or more themed showers; a beautiful, marble area of the spa. We had pedicures our first, full day and enjoyed the back massage chairs and complete pedicures we received. We are not certain if other Princess ships have added the full pedi/spas but this was a first for us. The Theaters & Entertainment The Universe Lounge Go early and get a seat on the lower level! If you have only the balcony seats to choose from you will find that many of the sofas and chairs have absolutely no view of the stages whatsoever. The Princess Theater There are plenty of seats in this theater, however, mom had a problem watching a live show because her view was blocked by the woman sitting in front of her. Mom was just told by her daughter that daughter had absolutely no problem seeing the stage!! Luck of the draw I suppose. Entertainment During our cruise the Wheelhouse Lounge featured The Laura Farrow Trio and The Don Sauro Trio from 5:30 p.m. till late. Campbell Simpson played the piano in the Bayou Cafe from 6:00 p.m. till 8:00 p.m. followed by the Perry Phillips Trio till midnight. Charlie Sleeth was at the piano in Crooners Lounge from 8:00 p.m. till midnight. The Explorer's Lounge was busy every evening with Karaoke, Newlywed & Not So Newlywed games, Music Quiz, comedy and magic of Doug Anderson, D.J. Josh, Tex Mex Country Hoe Down, 70s Night, and music by Hip Pocket. The Princess Musicians played in the Atrium. We did not attend all of these shows and hope we haven't forgotten to mention anyone! The brand new show, "Curtain Up-A Salute to Broadway" was excellent as were "Da Beat", "Tribute", and "Dance." We also enjoyed "Pub Night". The Casino The London theme of the casino will either appeal to you or you will think it is overdone. On our cruise the casino was never too crowded during the afternoons when we were there. Have no idea what the patronage was in the evenings. There was a large variety of slot machines, blackjack tables, a craps table, and we are not sure if there was a roulette table or not. The slot machines we played were very kind to us: yes, we left as winners!! The dollar slot machines were literally sitting unoccupied whenever we were in the casino. We think the casino is smaller than those on the Grand Class and Sun Class ships but that could be due to the layout used. Overall Cruise Experience With regard to the Coral Princess, our waitress said it best, "She is like a spoiled child". The ship is new and there are wrinkles to be ironed out, however, her spectacular beauty outweighs the very few negatives. And, remember, those negatives are solely related to her newness. In some areas she is quite bold, in others very demure. There is a quiet place for everyone or a festive spot if that is what you want. Read your Princess Patter (the ship's evening newsletter) daily and decide what you would like to participate in or choose to do nothing at all. There is something for everyone on this ship. We had wonderful weather and experienced a few moderate seas as we cruised in the southern Caribbean-the tradewinds were a'blowing. Our stateroom groaned quite a bit at times but we think that she will settle and then not be quite as noisy. The art gallery holds and displays all of the art work to be auctioned during the cruise. NO artwork clutters the corridors of the ship!!!! We found this to be a refreshing change from the other Princess ships. Formal nights were not at all what we usually experience on a Princess cruise. The Captain's Welcome party was well attended and a large majority of the passengers were dressed in their formal attire. However, at the Captain's Circle Party, we saw at least six or seven men meet the captain wearing t-shirts and sandals!! Also, some of the men were wearing sport coats with no neckties................to us, that was totally disrespectful. Those who took the time to dress appropriately were dazzling and in the majority. We chose the ship rather than the itinerary-both were terrific; however, we really prefer the full transit of the canal. Disembarkation Platinum members sat in the Universe Lounge being served coffee, juice, and pastries along with the USA Today newspaper. There was a television show being shown on the three movie screens also. This was a very pleasant place to wait for our color and number to be called. We were called 15 minutes later than the published time of 8:45 a.m. We found our luggage within minutes but then spent at least half an hour in a ten- person wide line with others merging in ahead of us, behind us, and at times it seemed on top of us! The porters were also trying to push their carts through this wall of people. There was only one customs line for hundreds of people to pass through and everyone wanted to be the first one in line!! This was horrible and probably a very unsafe situation!! Eventually another customs line was formed and we were soon outside. Whew!!! We immediately hailed a cab and were at the airport shortly thereafter. Our flight was at 1:00 p.m. allowing us time to have a quick bite for lunch before proceeding to our gate. The plane departed twenty minutes late however we arrived in Chicago on time. We are proud and happy to say we cruised on the Coral Princess and hope our review may help you in making your choice to sail on her also. Our Coral Princess cruise met all of our expectations and we will sail on her again. If you want to cruise on a new ship or are planning a cruise on the Coral, you won't be disappointed!! Thank you for reading our review of the Coral Princess and bon voyage to all of you future cruisers!HOLTCA@aol.comJuly 2003 Read Less
We cruised on the Coral Princess on Jan. 3, 2003, and sorry to say that I will think twice about cruising with Princess again. This was our 6th cruise on 3 different cruise lines. The check-in was a fiasco. No one seemed to know what they ... Read More
We cruised on the Coral Princess on Jan. 3, 2003, and sorry to say that I will think twice about cruising with Princess again. This was our 6th cruise on 3 different cruise lines. The check-in was a fiasco. No one seemed to know what they were doing. The cold water faucet in the entire ship had warm water. When we booked the cruise in Oct. the Princess agent promised that if we did not get the requested cabin that we would be upgraded to a mini-suite. Twice they confirmed these arrangements. In Dec. they assigned us to another cabin but not a mini-suite. Their response was "No one said that to us." This was a lie. I could not believe that a 900' ship could rock and roll so much in "Slight to 4' seas". We were often awakened by very sharp shakes as if the ship hit speed bumps. I served aboard a Navy Aircraft Carrier of 900' in gale winds and the ship never rocked and rolled or had sudden shakes. We walked by one fire door amidships and heard creaking sounds coming from the deck area which didn't set too well. The heat/ac control in the cabin could not be turned off the AC. We were forced to wear a sweater or jacket. It took 3 or 4 days before the coffee dispensers had coffee. The public address system could not be heard inside our cabin. On the flip side the ship was beautiful. The waiters and room steward did an excellent job. The dinning room food was excellent. ewnelson@email.msn.com April 2003 Read Less
Not what was expected. Very unfriendly staff. Outdated vessel. Very small. Not well kept. Food was worse than hospital food. Balcony very dirty. Not a lot of activities on-board for 4 day duration. Age group 50-85. Disembarkment process ... Read More
Not what was expected. Very unfriendly staff. Outdated vessel. Very small. Not well kept. Food was worse than hospital food. Balcony very dirty. Not a lot of activities on-board for 4 day duration. Age group 50-85. Disembarkment process very early. Shops with expensive prices. Atrium is a small hole in the vessel. Elevators are old and dirty. Not sailing again with a Princess. The staff seem to agree that Royal Princess have higher standards in food, cleanliness and ship entertainment. The cocktails were very overpriced. Coffee tasted like water, looked muddy. Tea was better option. Same breakfast menu every single day. Buffet posts and glass were extremely dirty. Staff around ship couldn’t answer badic questions, but gave honest responses, “sorry, I can’t answer that, maybe someone else knows”!!! I would spend a few hundred more and get a better experience with an alternate cruiseline. Many seniors with books in hand and ready for relaxation. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We picked this cruise to see Alaska, especially the inside passage and Ketchikan. Although scheduled, the cruise skipped both. That was extremely disappointing. Princess did nothing to make up for it. The staff were excellent, friendly ... Read More
We picked this cruise to see Alaska, especially the inside passage and Ketchikan. Although scheduled, the cruise skipped both. That was extremely disappointing. Princess did nothing to make up for it. The staff were excellent, friendly and efficient, especially in the bars and restaurants. The food varied from good to poor, but there was a lot of it. The drink “packages” were overpriced, I don’t recommend them. The room service menu was surprisingly limited. The Coral Princess ship was nice. We had taken this cruise before on other ships, and the ports and shore excursions were excellent, but on this cruise we took no excursions primarily because of the bad weather. Embarkation was easy and quick, but disembarkation was a nightmare. Customs was easy, baggage collection was easy, but the line to get a taxi took two and a half hours! Standing in the cold with 2,000 of my best friends for that length of time was miserable. Overall, of ~20 cruises I’ve taken, this was the poorest. Good luck. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We were excited to travel with a group of friends on our first Alakan cruise. The check in was awesome. On the night of our 2nd day my husband became ill....bronchitis like symptoms. The next morning he and I went to ... Read More
We were excited to travel with a group of friends on our first Alakan cruise. The check in was awesome. On the night of our 2nd day my husband became ill....bronchitis like symptoms. The next morning he and I went to breakfast....many people were displaying signs of illness. My husband then went back to bed where he spent the next 2 days. The following day 3 more in our group were ill....same symptoms. These things should have happened that would have prevented a rapid spread of this flu... The buffet should NOT have been self serve. Masks given to anybody coughing! The fees to see a Dr. are high....and quarantine with very poor room service is prohibitive of people wanting medical attention. The food was cold, and overcooked at our evening dining sitting on 2 occasions. The entertainment was repetitive 3 shows were almost the same by the same comedians. The night before we disembarked ....my husband in quarantine got a call at 10:30 PM....saying he would have to be off the ship by 7 am the next morning after being cleared to do so.Why a call so late to a sick person asking him to leave so early the next morning? This is careless. He contacted the medical center and was cleared. Thankful we could join our friends to leave the sick ship. We have decided Ocean cruising is not for us. This trip of a lifetime very disappointing. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We took this cruise because of the itinerary had all the places we wanted to visit in Alaska. The highlights included: Hubbard Glacier, Glacier Bay, Skagway, Ketchikan, Juneau and Vancouver. All the stops were just outstanding and awesome. ... Read More
We took this cruise because of the itinerary had all the places we wanted to visit in Alaska. The highlights included: Hubbard Glacier, Glacier Bay, Skagway, Ketchikan, Juneau and Vancouver. All the stops were just outstanding and awesome. Normally this would be a 5 star rating but all the issue below take it down to a 1. Now onto all the issues. The food was just terrible. The food in the buffet was barely editable in the morning and don’t even try and eat there for lunch or dinner or you will be sick. The dinning hall is not much better and is so slow. The staff totally did not care about doing a remotely good job and I basically went hungry the last day of the cruise because my dinner was so bad. If you are looking at losing weight on a cruise ship then Princess Cruises is the way to go because their food is so bad you will not eat much. Next bar service was a total joke. None of the bar tenders could make the drinks on the menu and often had to ask or look up recipes on their phone which make for a long experience trying to get any drink. The staterooms rooms had no extra plugs for your phones or devices. The steward was great and got us an extension cable to help but having no plugs in the rooms was a total bummer. The production shows were above average but there was not much else to do on the boat. Normally you can find 1 or 2 things to do every hour but not on this cruise. Only 1 slot tournament and 1 blackjack tournament for the entire cruise. Seems like they were just checking boxes versus providing real entertainment options. We had the same comedian and magician for 4 nights straight and they were so bad. You should be able to get new entertainers each night in case some are bad. The excursions were totally overpriced and not well written making it hard to know what you are getting or not getting. We were surprised both positively and negatively because the descriptions of the excursions did not match what you get. It is a total crapshoot on what you are going to get. The kids area was so small and really did not have much to do so my kids refused to use it and instead I had to listen them complain about being bored most of the trip. The pools where 7 feet deep so it was hard for my kids to really enjoy the pool completely by touching the ground so not much relaxation there either. There is no arcade or anything to really keep my kids interest making for a long trip. Overall, you would think that Princess Cruises would know what they are doing after 50 years in Alaska cruising. Unfortunately, it is clear the cruise team has given up on entertainment, food, and kid activities so a 1 Star is all they will get from me. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
We chose this cruise to celebrate my parents 50th wedding anniversary. I loved the itinerary, but wish we would have chosen other staterooms on a different deck. Overall the ship needs overhauled. Quite disappointed in the ... Read More
We chose this cruise to celebrate my parents 50th wedding anniversary. I loved the itinerary, but wish we would have chosen other staterooms on a different deck. Overall the ship needs overhauled. Quite disappointed in the photography....same 2 backgrounds offered for the first three nights of the cruise. One of those was a white background and it was offered another 2 nights. How many photos with a white background do people need/want?!? The entertainment was ok, the best part was trivia with Hammertime. Trivia with Yris was lame for those not from Mexico -- really all her trivias had bonus questions for Mexicans. There was not as much offered as I would have expected on such a long cruise. NYE was something I was looking forward to on the ship, and I was disappointed. I went to the deck party, but instead of the Princess band hyping us up for the New Year, they played slower songs. Certainly not the hopping party I expected. There were too many children with not enough to do, the playing around in the elevators and running up and down the halls was disruptive and impacted our enjoyment. Do not take your children on a cruise of this length with so few port days without planning something for them to do, Princess will not do it for you. For notes on my cabin, please see that section. It alone has me questioning any future cruises with Princess. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
After 20 cruises on Princess chips, this cruise was such an awful experience that I cannot recommend Princess to anyone anymore. This was a 60 day cruise around the north Pacific. It was round trip from Los Angeles, so it was very ... Read More
After 20 cruises on Princess chips, this cruise was such an awful experience that I cannot recommend Princess to anyone anymore. This was a 60 day cruise around the north Pacific. It was round trip from Los Angeles, so it was very convenient for west coast travelers. We were able to stop at the following ports: Ketchikan, Juneau, Hoonah, Kodiak, Yokohama, Hiroshima, Tianjin, Incheon, Shanghai, Okinawa, Keelung, Hong Kong, Cai Lan, Chan May, Phu My, Manila, Guam, Honolulu, and Nawiliwili. Most of the passengers were Captains Circle elites. After that, most of the passengers were Captains Circle platinum. Surprisingly, there were a few children onboard. SHIP Years ago, my very first cruise was on the Coral Princess. I really like the Coral Princess. I think the size is ideal. I like the wide, wrap around promenade deck, but unfortunately (due to the weather) it was closed for much of the cruise. I think the casino (and all its lights, noise and smells) should be moved to a deck below the medical center. Don’t worry; the gamblers will find it. And please put the “art gallery” space to good use. No one ever goes in there. Princess can still have their “art” auctions without and “art gallery” onboard. The “library” was just a place for passengers to exchange books. I had to find wi-fi in Okinawa and Honolulu in order to download more e-books, since the Princess internet service could not do it. Some days the internet service did not work at all. CABIN We were in a forward balcony cabin on the Dolphin deck. After 60 days, our hallway was a big family! It was unsettling to have to leave our amazing and adorable cabin steward behind. The cabin itself was in pretty good shape, but ready for some new carpet. We had to have some emergency repairs done on the balcony door. The door seal was broken and the wind blew in like a siren. We had some pretty strong winds. WEATHER And speaking of wind, the weather on this cruise was pretty awful. Alaska was rainy. When we left Kodiak the really good stuff began, and the ship was really rocking and rolling. Our progress was so slow that we had to skip our first port in Japan, Kushiro, and head straight to Yokohama. After a port day in Yokohama, we had a “sea day” anchored in the Yokohama harbor, followed by another port day in Yokohama. The crew TRIED to find entertainment and shore excursions on short notice. When we left Vietnam we raced to avoid a cyclone, and the return across the Pacific was often bumpy. EXCURSIONS We did Princess shore excursions in Tokyo, Hiroshima, Tianjin, Incheon, Hong Kong, Da Nang, Ho Chi Min City, Taiwan, Manilla, and Guam. Our Chinese guide to the Great Wall did not speak English. The Hong Kong guide actually lost us. The other tours were great and worth the investment. DINING We always choose anytime dining and we never had trouble getting a table for two. The service however was so slow it seemed like the waiters were staging a work slow-down. Even in the Horizon Court, it was possible to eat an entire mean without anyone asking if you want a beverage. Best to get your own! The food was pretty awful. The menus repeated and repeated. First they ran out of bananas. On the eight days between Guam and Honolulu, they slowly ran out of fresh fruits and vegetables (lettuce!). On the last morning of the cruise, my “fig compote” was a bowl of crunchy dried figs! Honestly, the best meals on the ship came from the hamburger grill on the pool deck. ENTERTAINMENT I love Elua and we were so lucky to have them on board from Guam to Los Angeles. But otherwise, you wonder who decides what entertainment and when. The enrichment lectures were embarrassing. The production shows were all old repeats. I had seen most of the movies. The scheduling was crazy. If you wanted to attend anything in the Princess Theater or Universe Lounge you needed to find a seat EARLY. SORRY PRINCESS This was not a great cruise. It was a great disappointment. I did not come back new. I was relieved to get off the ship. The rumor was that three people died on this cruise. Perhaps they were lucky. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
Princess Cruise Lines markets this type of a cruise as a "Grand Adventure." The problem was that there was nothing "grand" about it what-so-ever. Aside from the amazing ports of call the on board experience was mediocre ... Read More
Princess Cruise Lines markets this type of a cruise as a "Grand Adventure." The problem was that there was nothing "grand" about it what-so-ever. Aside from the amazing ports of call the on board experience was mediocre at best. There was nothing innovative or unique at all, just a 7 day Caribbean or Mexican Riviera cruise recycled week after week. Every sea day at 10 a.m. (there were 39!) the co-called cruise director would announce over the ship's P.A. system in a flat, monotone voice we luck passengers were in for a day full of "Effy sales...bingo...on board outlet sale...Princess Pop Choir rehearsal." But when we were stuck on the ship at an anchorage in Tokyo Bay for 24 hours and not allowed off the ship because Princess couldn't get the ship fueled (we missed the stop at Osaka!) the cruise director did announce that "bingo was cancelled but a special event was planned." The "special event" ended up being a vegetable carving demonstration...i kid you not! Not once in 60 days did I see the cruise director "out and about" and actually being a proper "cruise director." But the biggest problem with the cruise was how organized and chaotic everything was. And this was entirely the fault of the ship's captain, staff captain and hotel general manager. The captain made very few announcements and was never seen except at the events he was required to attend. The few announcements he made were only to deliver bad news (there was a lot of it), but he made sure to blame "corporate," over and over again. Because of the lack of leadership in all aspects of the cruise I have never seen morale so low among the crew members on a cruise ever before. the staff captain ate several times in the ships' buffet while in port and was mean and nasty to the crew members working there and did not acknowledge us passengers in the very least. If the had a complaint for any reason, big or small instead of trying to solve it on the ship you simple got a form letter from the hotel general manager informing you to contact "Princess Cruises Customer Relations Department upon your return home." I booked this cruise over a year before the embarkation date and was looking forward to a cruise of a lifetime but now cannot express how disappointed in Princess Cruise Lines for the joke of a "Grand Voyage." P.S. my Captain's Circle level on Princess is the highest "ELITE." Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
We wanted to see Alaska, we’d rather have just flown straight there now. My gripe is how they sacrificed entertainment for poor money grubbing practices. There would be events for shows and it was literally just showing you what you ... Read More
We wanted to see Alaska, we’d rather have just flown straight there now. My gripe is how they sacrificed entertainment for poor money grubbing practices. There would be events for shows and it was literally just showing you what you could buy. They have multiple restaurants that are wastes of space because no one wants to buy the overpriced food there. The shops prices were absurd and they price gouge the internet. We paid 140$ thinking it was for the family but only 1 person can use it at a time. Connection was not good enough to stream anything even though that’s what they advertise. The excursions are crazy overpriced and doesn’t fund local entrepreneurs that don’t want to pay Princess’s price. I’ve been on other cruises and I’ve never seen this before. 5 times on the trip my room card stopped working and I had to go to the front desk. Sometimes it took them half an hour per customer before I got there. I spent a total of 6 hours waiting in line to get my card fixed, once when I was cold and wet from the pool. They tried to say it’s my phone but a family member literally kept their card in their phone so that’s balogne. We will not be on a Princess cruise again. No complaints on the staff though, everyone was superb, besides the slow front desk but I don’t know if that is really their fault. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
I selected this cruise for the itinerary. I thought Princess also had a good reputation. I was told they had been doing AK cruises longer than the other lines. We could not have been more disappointed in Princess. My family of 4 ... Read More
I selected this cruise for the itinerary. I thought Princess also had a good reputation. I was told they had been doing AK cruises longer than the other lines. We could not have been more disappointed in Princess. My family of 4 spent a lot of money to go on this land/cruise tour. Alaska was awesome and I cannot wait to go back. I will NEVER give Princess another dime of my money. To sum it up, the food was not just bad it was gross, the service was equally as bad and the ship needs to be updated and maintained. The land portion of the cruise took us to Captain Cook. Here we were placed in a room where the elevator runs directly behind the sheet-rock with apparently no sound proofing. This was an old hotel so you can imagine the unbelievable noise that created. This was the worst set up in placement of a room I have ever seen. I called and they had no room. Then I had to get a manager and suddenly they had a different room. We should not have to ask much less demand a manager. After that we went to Mt. McKinley Lodge. The rooms here are old and not cleaned and maintained (long-term neglect). I took pictures to the front desk and the manager asked me to email them to her. I did so, but never received a response or anything. Next we went to Denali. The rooms were slightly better, however, still showed signs of long-term lack of cleaning. Now to the cruise. We took a 7 day cruise going southbound. Alaska's wonder made it so worth it but Princess again here disappoints big time. I had to go to the service desk about 6 times for various things. 5 of the 6 times the staff at the desk were rude, not interested in helping and/or knowledgeable about almost anything. The food was consistently bad bad bad!!!! The worst food I have ever had on a vacation by far. Sure there is a lot of it but my goodness that is because 95% of is not made for human consumption. I went there with very very low food expectations and didn't expect gourmet food by any means. However, Princess managed to do worse than I could possibly imagine. For example, one night I had Salmon (AK so you would think, good) and it was the worst Salmon I have ever had). The fish itself was supper dry and it had been rolled in what tasted like shake and bake (no I am not kidding). There are too many examples but trust me it is bad bad bad. Last on disembarkation, in addition to the staff being super unhelpful and rude it was a disaster. Princess inability to have helpful staff that can know and communicate with its paying passengers during disembarkation is unacceptable. I have much more but I leave it at the above. Go to Alaska for sure, just do NOT give Princess one dime of your money. I know I will never do that again! Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We loved going through the Panama Canal. Unfortunately, our cruise got off to a bad start by not getting a cabin assignment until two days before departure, so we were already stressed about whether we would even have a cabin as we left ... Read More
We loved going through the Panama Canal. Unfortunately, our cruise got off to a bad start by not getting a cabin assignment until two days before departure, so we were already stressed about whether we would even have a cabin as we left home (we booked the cruise three months before and had to accept a GTY booking). Our cabin was in a bad location - not one we would have chosen, with someone else's name on the door, and no recognition of the fact that the cruise was a birthday cruise for us. The ship is old, with a lot a rust showing. Although we saw crew painting over rust spots, there were many more less-accessible spots that highlight the ship's age. Probably because of its age, the ship probably doesn't have the stabilization of newer ships. We definitely had a bumpier ride than we are used to. Our cabin was small, with no sofa, unlike other ships' "small" cabins. Our balcony door was badly corroded with holes in the frame and with weather seal missing. On our first night, cruising into strong headwinds, there was such a loud whistle coming from the door that we couldn't sleep. We reported it the following day and a mechanic stuck some plastic seal around the frame, which looked very temporary (he said he had done the same to 6 other cabins that day!). The shower was the smallest we have had on any of our 15 cruises. In hindsight, I think we should have booked a premium balcony cabin, which is bigger. Although the main dining food was better than most ships, service was the worst we have ever experienced. Our waitress rushed the food service. On the first night we didn't get our wine until after the main course had been delivered (with excuses that the barman was backed up because he was on his own). On the second night I refused to order the food until I had ordered wine, and still received the appetizer before our wine. I complained to the Maitre D and, although we received our wine before our meal for the rest of thre cruise (by mostly ordering wine each evening for the following day, without knowing what would be on the menu), the waitress' attitude was unfriendly. The process of ordering wine a day early led to a mistake where we were charged one day for a bottle that was covered by our wine package, and it took 3 visits to passenger services to get the $42 charge removed. In general, we found the crew less respectful to passengers than other cruiselines. For instance, buffet waiters would stand around chatting at the coffee station obstructing passenger access. Also, several times two crew members would be walking side-by-side and expect us to step aside for them. I believe this lack of customer consideration starts at the top. Our Captain was pretty much MIA for the entire two weeks. We saw him once, but he didn't show up for the Captain's reception, and we never heard any announcements from him - they always came from the First Officer or the Cruise Director. Likewise, our cabin steward was the unfriendliest we have ever had. I think Princess needs to do some passenger sensitivity training on this ship. Ship excursions were in line with other cruise ships. We especially like Nigaragua, but stops in Aruba, Colombia and Cabo San Lucas were far too short (you spend all that money for visits to countries you haven't been to before and you get 5 hours!!) Another example of the ship showing its age was the fact that two of the four ship's tenders (lifeboats) used in Nigaragua broke down towards the end of the day as passengers were returning to the ship. When our tour bus returned from our excursion, we had to sit on the bus for 45 minutes because there were too many passengers already standing on the pier waiting for tenders. Entertainment was on par with other ships. We liked the singers and dancers, but they only performed three times during the 15 day cruise. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
I was with a group of Physician friends and I did not make the choice of Princess.. I am a vegetarian and the ship did not cater to special diet needs.. The fruits served were unripe and lacking in quality.. Bananas,melons and pine apple ... Read More
I was with a group of Physician friends and I did not make the choice of Princess.. I am a vegetarian and the ship did not cater to special diet needs.. The fruits served were unripe and lacking in quality.. Bananas,melons and pine apple were unripe most of the time.. No berries or tropical fruits were served at any restaurants. Specialty restaurants ( only 2 fro a ship carrying 2200 + 900 staff) had nothing for vegetarians.. The chefs were invisible and never around for passengers to interact and give feed back.. I am not a fan of fixed time dining every day with same people and Princess seem to relish the idea.. The dining servers everywhere were courteous and helpful.. The cruise line did not acknowledge that I traveled with them in year 2000 to Alaska.. There were many sea days and the activities were very limited.. For example, there was no organized bridge ( card game) and no bridge teachers on board.. The card room was overflowing and no room to play during the day on sea days.. The evening shows were excellent.. The dancers, singers, and the magician on board were excellent.. The comedian was poor.. The cruise director seem to work hard. I was on six NCL, 1 Oceania and 1 Princess cruise before and I rate Princess the worst of them all.. Overall, I will never travel again on Princess.. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
There were some good and bad aspects to this cruise. Here are the bad points: Terrible food- worst we have experienced on any cruise line. I had read previously about the poor pastries on Princess -none of which are made with butter. ... Read More
There were some good and bad aspects to this cruise. Here are the bad points: Terrible food- worst we have experienced on any cruise line. I had read previously about the poor pastries on Princess -none of which are made with butter. This wasn't a problem since we always overeat the delicious pastries available at Celebrity's Cafe al Bacio. We were OK with skipping pastries- one bite and you had to spit them out- good diet enforcement. Finding some palatable food in general was a big problem though on this cruise line. I don't know where they even got some of this food. I've never tasted such disgusting salmon which was available nightly from the "classic" side of the menu. What is their source? Food Lion? Horrible flavor with the added bonus of being as tough and overcooked as an old shoe. Revolting seafood in tomato sauce at the Italian and Louisiana specialty restaurants- lots of sugar added to the sauce. Stale breadsticks every night. Very poor salads- we never had a nice, interesting, crisp salad in 10 days. Commercial salad dressings. Terrible wines by the glass. All the cocktails were made with chemical laden mixes which rendered them undrinkable. I could go on and on- I think you get the picture. There were some really nice features, however: Excellent crew, helpful, friendly, hardworking. One of the best room stewards we've ever had. Passengers were an interesting mix- many Europeans- the demographics sort of reminded me of Azamara- mostly a more sedate, upper middle class crowd. We didn't attend any shows so I can't evaluate the night time fun but my impression was it wasn't a very lively scene. Mattress was very comfortable. Excellent pillows. The room was sometimes too hot at night and we had to throw off the duvet and sleep covered with just a single sheet. We requested an adjustment but if someone from maintenance did come, it was while we were out of the room and the net effect was the same temp as before. In general, the public areas were attractive and well maintained. The carpet in our room was very stained and needed to be replaced but the room in general smelled fresher and nicer than staterooms on Celebrity which often have sewage smells coming from the toilets. The Sanctuary was great on sea days- highly recommend. Wonderfully comfortable chaise lounges and attentive service. I think I'm off cruising for the next few years- it no longer holds the appeal it used to. We were very fortunate to get a "move over offer"- I would've been furious if we had paid full price for such lousy food. Is Princess slipping because it was bought by Carnival? I don't know- it was our first time sailing with them. But I will never sail Princess again and probably won't ever try Holland America either since it's now also owned by Carnival. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
After being informed that this ship was dry docked for 14 days prior to our departure, I am a bit confused as to what they were doing!? Aside from being stuck floating in Cuban waters for two days because of engine failure, missing 2 of ... Read More
After being informed that this ship was dry docked for 14 days prior to our departure, I am a bit confused as to what they were doing!? Aside from being stuck floating in Cuban waters for two days because of engine failure, missing 2 of our ports and receiving little information for what was happening, the entire experience was a disaster. Had it not been for the amazing people we met on the ship and a constant flow of drinks because there was nothing else to do, this would have been a horrible trip. For the first 2 days the only pool that was open was the largest middle pool, with no working jacuzzis and hours of silence between a band and DJ that was a staff member working from a computer. As for embarkment, while watching the other ships leave port with music and dancing the Coral Princess simply sat there with low energy staff standing around to hours of silence. The promoted Big screen TV for "Movie under Stars" did start working correctly until the middle to end of the trip. Trash blowing all over the place, ceilings tour apartment and minimal entertainment throughout the day. I can get past the entertainment set up however, non working toilets, lack of sleep from no A/C and missing our excursions was a major disappointment. The biggest insult of all was the lack of understanding that many of us used our vacation time, may have been on special occasion trips and used funds that may not be available again for a while and expect that we would use a small discount to spend more money on another cruise with them. Extremely disappointment and concerned that this is how Princess as a corporation responds to inconsistencies with their product. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
Let's start with the good: relaxed liquor policy and good value for the liquor package as unlike Celebrity, they don't increase the price of their good drinks to encourage you to upgrade your package. Rooms are clean and room ... Read More
Let's start with the good: relaxed liquor policy and good value for the liquor package as unlike Celebrity, they don't increase the price of their good drinks to encourage you to upgrade your package. Rooms are clean and room and dining room staff are pleasant. Now the bad: The ship is a rust bucket, due for dry dock in January, 2016. When it rained the hallway roofs leaked. The balcony door in our room leaked. Our friends were twice woken up at 6 am by staff outside their door vacuuming up the water leaking into the corridor and talking in loud voices. At one point 1/2 of the passageway on the 9th floor had ceiling tiles out to repair the roof/find the leaks. The customer service staff rarely answered the phone and if they did, did not get back to you as promised or at all. One day our phone rang with an automated call to tell us the alarm had sounded and proceed at once to the muster station. We hung up to leave and it rang again with the same doomsday announcement. We went to the muster station, no one was there especially to say what was going on. We later found out from a cabin attendant that it was a false alarm caused by the water leaking into the ceiling and shorting out the fire alarm. Again, no one in the ship informed the passengers about this over the intercom of otherwise. This was symptomatic of the senior level staff's attitude towards their passengers. This inattentive attitude goes right to the top. The Cruise Director was rarely seen around the ship except at her Zumba class (she is an ex-dancer) and at the nightly show. The shows were generally average entertainment in some cases with low grade talent but some of the entertainers were good and popular. She kept on switching the times of the nightly shows making it difficult to make to shows and our fixed dinner times. In one case she switched a popular show out of the theatre to the lounge where there was inadequate seating to accommodate the attendees. Whoever wrote the daily navigational guide always made sure he had at least 2 awkward English language errors (it became a daily joke to see what he would say next) and the daily Captain's announcement was pretty well unintelligible due to his poor English language skills. Notwithstanding this, we paid top non-discounted dollar for this cruise which turned out to be the worst we have ever been on. Princess has been resting on their laurels since the Love Boat series and needs a serious shakeup at the senior management level, especially on this ship. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
Staff was pitiful. Food not even average. Charge for everything. Could not escape rude Children because sanctuary was closed because no one wanted to pay $40 for a lounge chair for a half day. Entertainment was hokey. Our mini suite ... Read More
Staff was pitiful. Food not even average. Charge for everything. Could not escape rude Children because sanctuary was closed because no one wanted to pay $40 for a lounge chair for a half day. Entertainment was hokey. Our mini suite vibrated day and night. Millions of jewelry stores in ports. Excursions average. Generally nothing special. Probably could have done luxury cruise for same $$$. Very disappointing Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
The norovirus that arrived with the ship should have been a clue that things weren't exactly the Garden of Eden. We were delayed in boarding while the ship was decontaminated in San Pedro. We were told to be at the cruise terminal ... Read More
The norovirus that arrived with the ship should have been a clue that things weren't exactly the Garden of Eden. We were delayed in boarding while the ship was decontaminated in San Pedro. We were told to be at the cruise terminal at 2 pm to board. We dutifully reported a bit prior to 2, only to find that they wanted the LAST passenger boarding group to arrive first, so that they could send you to the far reaches of the terminal to sit for 2-1/2 hours while the later arrivals boarded first. Not that walking San Pedro would have been any better - it's pretty much a slummy hole. Once on board, we found that our cabin wasn't ready, so we went to the lounge for two glasses of bubbly. That'll be $42 on your account, please. Or you can opt for the $490 upcharge for unlimited drinks, as long as each drink is under $10. So the $21 glasses of Champagne would have been on top of the upcharge fee in any event. As long as you don't mind drinking sodas, or the garbage Korbel pawns off as "Champagne" (even though it is made thousands of miles from Champagne), you can have all of it you want. No thanks. Once in the cabin, we realized the HVAC didn't work. So we called maintenance a few times, and finally got someone up to fix it. It turns out it was shut off at the vent, which is conveniently located over the bed, so that when the maintenance guy opened the soffit to get at it, clouds of dust and dirt spilled down onto the bed and floor. One problem solved, another created. While waiting for someone to come and clean up the mess (and replace the bedspread, which was now covered in dirt), we decided to shower. No hot water. Another several calls to maintenance resulted in changing out the mixing valve in the shower. So we tried the shower again, only to find it was scalding hot. No cold water. We had to call down and visit the reception desk a few more times to get the maintenance guy back to turn the cold water back on. Apparently having BOTH hot and cold running water is an upcharge. Finally, by midnight, we had the room cleaned, the bedspread replaced, and the water and HVAC working. End of day 1. Day 2 - up by 6 am on the prowl for coffee. Ah, here's a coffee station on deck 6. $2 per cup, please. Say what? Off the the lido deck buffet, where the entrance wants everyone to use the hand sanitizer. No thanks - we WASH our hands. The idea of putting rat poison on our hands and then eating with said hands is pretty repulsive. Now wer'e on to the food line, where we can't pick up a utensil - remember norovirus - so we have to have everything handled by the crew (as if they don't get norovirus, too). Some of the worst food ever, sort of like C-Rations that survived D-Day. Dinner later that day at the Bayou Café/Steakhouse was the highlight of the shipboard experience - excellent food and a professional staff. The rest of the voyage was spent trying to avoid getting continually annoyed by the embarkation/disembarkation procedures (which involved hours of standing around in queue waiting), and the constant nagging to use the hand sanitizer. How about a hand washing station instead? We watched numerous passengers who left the restrooms without washing, using the hand sanitizer as a substitute. Yecch! It turns out the favorite word on Princess seems to be "No." As in no, you can't take a cup of coffee back to your stateroom, no you can't take uneaten food back to put in your refrigerator, no you can't do this, no, you can't do that. Couple that with the near-constant missives from the captain and crew that litter your door mailbox daily, telling you what you must do or else. Way too hung up on authority for us. The funniest part of the cruise was the art auction. It was a caricature of a real auction, with a very annoying auctioneer. (The gavel is normally rapped once to announce the close of bidding, not to repeatedly pound on the table to accentuate a huckster's sales pitch.) All in all, it was evident why Princess is at the low end of the cost spectrum. You get what you pay for - sometimes. In this case, we didn't even get that. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
Wanted to see Panama Canal. Was more concerned with the itinerary than the ship. Would not go again with Coral Princess. Big mistake. Noticeable repairs required to the ship during cruise. The pool was closed for a day. The ship ... Read More
Wanted to see Panama Canal. Was more concerned with the itinerary than the ship. Would not go again with Coral Princess. Big mistake. Noticeable repairs required to the ship during cruise. The pool was closed for a day. The ship windows were very dirty. Our cabin door would not close. Sewage smell for one day near elevators. Staff approached us during the last day requesting we give them a high rating, most we had never seen before. Politely expressed my concerns at the desk, was told to write a letter to Celebrity. The excursion was a very expensive bus ride to the canal, in discussions with the excursion staff on the ship, in respect to value, they said they had nothing to do with the operators, they only provided the opportunity to purchase excursions, not the answer I was looking for. I was only looking to have a conversation with someone , I really felt taken advantage of. The embarkation process was to say the least unwelcoming. The staff were hoarding cattle not welcoming visitors. The cabin and dining was average. The dining room maître di was noticeably frustrated with all clients. Of the five cruises I have traveled, I do not have one complaint, this however was not a good experience. Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
Coral Princess Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.3
Dining 4.0 4.0
Entertainment 4.0 3.9
Public Rooms 4.0 4.5
Fitness Recreation 4.0 4.1
Family 5.0 4.1
Shore Excursion 3.0 4.0
Enrichment 4.0 3.9
Service 4.0 4.5
Value For Money 4.0 4.0
Rates 4.0 4.2

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