Sail Date: December 2018
Going thru the process of checking in and boarding in Los Angeles was the easiest and most pleasant of all the cruises that I have taken. I never slowed down from the time I checked my bags until I was having my picture taken for ID as I ... Read More
Going thru the process of checking in and boarding in Los Angeles was the easiest and most pleasant of all the cruises that I have taken. I never slowed down from the time I checked my bags until I was having my picture taken for ID as I entered the ship. Food was subpar in dining room. The food in the buffet at times was better. It is too bad that there is very few that dress for formal nights. Trip was on wife’s bucket list. Half of ports were a waste of time. The ship does need a little TLC. A lot of the furniture needs to be upgraded or replaced. The service crew in the buffet was attentive and was eager to serve and was very pleasant the entertainment was mediocre except for the last night comedian he played the piano like he should have been in a concert hall except for the fact that he was a great comedian. He was able to entertwine the two together with great success. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
Chose the cruise based on desire to cruise through the old locks of the canal as well as wanting to visit the ports. First time having anytime dining so hard to compare service versus traditional dining. Food was better than previous ... Read More
Chose the cruise based on desire to cruise through the old locks of the canal as well as wanting to visit the ports. First time having anytime dining so hard to compare service versus traditional dining. Food was better than previous cruises on the Emerald and Diamond. Enjoyed the Chef Table experience and Chef Eddie and Maitre D’ Daniele hosted an exceptional meal and event. Rating would have been higher, but ship is showing it’s age. Dry Dock in January is needed and should enhance overall appearance of the ship. The Coral being a smaller ship made it very convenient to navigate the decks. Enjoyed Chris Roberts presentation for each of the ports and effort put in on day cruising through the canal. Enjoyed the entertainment except for comedian on day one. Female rock singer was very good and I enjoyed her very much but obviously too loud for a lot of passengers. Enjoyed having the International Cafe back on a cruise as I missed it on board the Diamond this summer on cruise around Japan. Would like to commend Rafael of the Patisserie Bar. He mad excellent coffee drinks in the morning and prepared great cocktails at night. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
The transit through the Panama Canal was magnificent, and we enjoyed most of the ports. We had Anytime Dining, but except for the first night, we had the same table and the same servers every night. The dinners in the Bordeaux Main ... Read More
The transit through the Panama Canal was magnificent, and we enjoyed most of the ports. We had Anytime Dining, but except for the first night, we had the same table and the same servers every night. The dinners in the Bordeaux Main Dining room were excellent, and our waitstaff were the best we have ever had on any cruise. Dinner in the Bayou Café was 3 hours long, yes, 3 HOURS!!!, because apparently our order was ‘lost’, and it required HOURS to fix the problem. A free bottle of wine would have been nice compensation for wasting HOURS of our time. And the food in the Bayou Café was no better than the food in the Main Dining Room. The ‘Scenic Train Ride’ in Puntarenas, Costa Rica was MUCH shorter than it was the first time we took it several years ago; however, to offset the much shorter train ride, there were additional shopping stops so that we would have more time to buy trinkets, and I suppose that Princess/Carnival gets a percentage of the money spent at the additional shopping stops. Even with the negative experiences, overall the cruise was very good, we had a great time, and are looking forward to our next Princess cruise. ________________________________________ Now I would like to present an overall evaluation and description of our experiences with Princess over the past 27 years: My wife and I have been cruising with Princess since 1991 (26 cruises, 247 days), and since Princess was acquired by Carnival Corporation in 2003, we have noticed a slow, gradual degradation in the overall quality of Princess cruises, primarily due to monetization, the attempt to squeeze every possible nickel out of passengers. And if you don’t believe me, just ask other longtime Princess cruisers, because I have asked them, and most of them agree that Princess cruise quality has significantly degraded over the years. Now, having said the above, I want to add that we will continue to cruise with Princess because, having tried other cruise lines, we still think that Princess offers the best value, even with the degradation in quality. However, if my wife and I were young and just starting to cruise, we would do a very careful evaluation of other cruise lines, and maybe focus on another one, instead of Princess. At our age (75), it would take us too long to achieve another cruise line’s equivalent ‘Elite’ status. And don’t tell me (in a whiny voice), “If you don’t like Princess, then use another cruise line.” Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
We chose this cruise because we wanted to go through the Panama Canal and it went the right direction for us. The staff was great. They always had a smile and would answer your questions or concerns. The steaks could have been better they ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we wanted to go through the Panama Canal and it went the right direction for us. The staff was great. They always had a smile and would answer your questions or concerns. The steaks could have been better they were tough.But the other food was very good.If you like rolls this is the place they were very good. The two times we had room service it was alway on time and hot.. When we did the arts and crafts they could have had more so more people could have done them. Getting off and on the ship was very easy. I would say the best we had in many years. The art auctions did not run over time, I think that many have been a first for us. We liked that very much. There is the ice cream bar that was good as well. The cabin where clean and neat. I would most definitely recommend this crusie to others Read Less
Sail Date: November 2018
November 16,2018. Well, we are soooooo ready to go. Everything is taken care of (we hope) and tomorrow morning we will leave the house at about 10:00 AM for the 1½ to 2 hour drive to the airport. Our flight leaves at 2:40 PM and ... Read More
November 16,2018. Well, we are soooooo ready to go. Everything is taken care of (we hope) and tomorrow morning we will leave the house at about 10:00 AM for the 1½ to 2 hour drive to the airport. Our flight leaves at 2:40 PM and this being a flight to the good old USA the check-in could be a PITA so we figure we should be at the airport at least 2 hours before the flight. As mentioned before we fly with United Airlines, first time so we have no idea what to expect. It is a smaller plane-Embraer 175- only 76 passengers with the 2X2 seating. Which is way nicer than those planes with the 3X3 seating where you most of the time end up with either sitting in the middle or you are fighting for the armrest or something. November 17, 2018. Made it to Los Angeles although after some delays. First I forgot my drivers license and also the BCAA card. Noticed it when we were half way to Abbotsford so back we went. The drivers license I could have let slip but the BCAA card we need to get a $ 200.00 discount for the parking. Arrived at the airport with plenty of time to spare and the airport looked almost empty. Needless to say that check-in and security was done in no time at all (15 minutes tops). I take back the PITA remark. But wouldn't you know, plane delayed for 1 hour. Still made it almost in time for our shuttle to the hotel but that one was also late. Anyway, we made it to the hotel by 8:00 PM and after a bite to eat at Denny's we crashed. November 18, 2018. Today was actually a very uneventful day. After breakfast in the hotel we called a cab for 11 O'clock to get us to the cruise terminal where we arrived just before the mass of passengers decided to board also. It took us only 15 minutes to get checked in, go through security and get to our cabin. Just dropped off our carry-on (cabin was not ready yet) and went for coffee. One thing worth mentioning is that we got away with bringing our 4 bottles of wine on board without paying any corkage fee. Nobody asked!! Suitcases arrived at the cabin within an hour and we were all done packing away our clothes by about 3:00 PM. The rest of the day you asked?? 3:00 PM, snooze time--5:00 PM, happy hour --7:00 PM, dinner --10:00PM, bed time (actually 11:00PM clock ahead 1 hour). November 19, 2018. The first full day at sea. Most important things first; I did not snore (I think) because my DW had a good night sleep (she said). Those sea days mainly consist of doing as little as possible without gaining too many pounds. We try to stay away as much as we can from eating too much and too many times but it is not easy with all the good stuff they supply. We also will try to do some more walking (tomorrow, there is always tomorrow). But at least we use the stairs more now instead of the elevator. We also skipped lunch today, kind of, and just had a few pieces of Sushi. The rest of the afternoon we spend on the balcony reading, sunbathing and pumping up the air mattress??? Yes I am going to give it a try, the weather looks good and the outside temperature feels OK. For dinner we went to the dining room where we were seated at one of the few coveted tables for 2, the ones that are far away from other tables. Most tables for 2 are about 6 inches away from the next one. The show in the theatre was good with a unique kind of country singer by the name of Ric Steel. Bedtime (on the balcony) by about 11. November 20, 2018. We both woke up this morning (that's a good thing I guess) well rested. I from a wonderful night outdoor and DW from an equally wonderful night without worrying about a chainsaw next to her. Because I am always up early I have room service duty to get some tea & coffee and so this time. Before going to breakfast (I know, it is all about the food) we actually walked for almost an hour around the promenade deck which with our speed comes to about 2.5 km. Breakfast done and now we are off to an info session about the Panama Canal and some of the ports we will be visiting. Very interesting to see what it took to build this thing. One thing we found out that the Americans are still PO’d that they gave the control of the canal to Panama. This afternoon, just before dinner, we met some of the people from our roll call. We had a couple of drinks, they took the free "Champagne" and we had our regular Chardonnay wine. The Champagne is the very cheap/not good tasting variety but hey it's free. For dinner we managed to nail down the same 2 person table for the rest of the cruise. Shows again that if you don't ask you don't get. After dinner to the coffee shop and watching all the people walking by, and this being formal night, some dressed-up to the nines and some of them not. Also watched the photographer taking the formal pictures. Too bad we did not have our camera with us because the way some people dress, hilarious. Bed time is 10 but the clock goes ahead again so actually 11. November 21, 2018. Very little to report today, just the usual; breakfast first then on to a presentation about one of the future ports - go for coffee - have a (late) lunch - gambled on the horse races (I lost, DW won $ 5.00) - I went to Spanish lesson while DW took a snooze - Happy hour and then dinner. At night we went to a show where a guy played a "xylosynz" a cross between a xylophone and a synthesizer, an incredible show. Side note; Looking at a lot of people on board here, DW (even with her problems) & I price ourselves very lucky the way we are with our health. There is a massive amount of people with wheelchairs, scooters, walkers and walking canes. Yes we are lucky. November 22, 2018. Our port of call today is Huatulco. It is a small town of about 35,000 people. There is a very long pier where we dock but at the end of the pier is the town so it is not too bad. After dodging all the trinket hawkers we sat down in the small church. This church is very small, has no doors or windows but is pretty. Our next stop was the town square which is inside a park. Here we had something to drink and munched from a platter of Nachos. Note; 2 beer-1 sprite-1 platter of Nachos (enough for 2) = 130 peso ($ 10.00) on the ship this would have been at least 2× as much just for beer & sprite (although the Nachos would be free). Back on board I went for a swim while DW took her daily snooze. Happy hour was this time in our cabin. During dinner we started chatting with 4 ladies from Hawaii who were celebrating the 88th birthday of one of them. The birthday "girl" did not look a day older than mid seventy and she was a riot. Flirted with the waiter and called him her Casanova. After dinner we spend some nice time at Crooners listening to a singer/piano player. Bedtime at about 11 but this time not sleeping on the balcony, everything is wet due to over-spray from the bow because of rough seas and a strong wind. November 23, 2018. Puerto Chiapas, our port for the day, is more an industrial port. The area around the cruise terminal is well maintained with good facilities for the cruise passengers but beyond that not much. We took the shuttle bus to the city of Tapachula the closest town of any interest, they said. It was about a 1 hour bus ride through mostly jungle and some small towns which reminded us of the small towns in Yucatan. Tapachula is two things -hot and crowded. It is a city of 320,000 people and I think they were all out and about shopping, what makes you wonder, who is working?? After 2 hours we called it quits and took the shuttle back to the ship. We spend some time looking at the nice handicrafts and ended up buying a pretty little picture. The rest of the day was as usual with the mandatory happy hour, dinner and after dinner coffee. Bedtime and the weather was OK so I am sleeping on the balcony again. I don't mind, I actually love it. November 24, 2018. We docked very early this morning in Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala. The port is another major industrial area and they have to use shuttle buses just to get people to the area where the private tour operators and taxis are. That is most likely the reason that most people book a tour here through the cruise line because they have no idea what to expect. The private operators are not allowed to pick people up or drop them off next to the ship but the tours organized by Princess Cruises are allowed to do that. So, the more experienced cruisers just hop on that shuttle because they know there will be some tours and or taxis available. Guess what, we hopped on the shuttle and booked a tour for half the price what Princess charges for the exact same tour. Turned out to be the best day so far. We had 16 people in a small bus with a guide. We started off with a drive through the banana and sugar cane fields before we stopped at a roadside fruit market. Then it was on through the coffee plantations, never knew that those fields consist of the low growing coffee bean bushes and larger trees to give shade. After that we drove through the area that was covered with rocks and lava ashes from the last volcanic eruption. That same volcano is still throwing some steam and ashes into the sky at regular intervals, we saw it 2 times wile passing by. Luckily that volcano is way in the distance. Our next stop was a native village where they made those beautiful colourful clothes by hand. Of course the idea is that you buy some of that stuff (what we did). Then the city of Antigua, beautiful in its own way. Old, with cobblestone streets and no building higher than 2 levels. This is to preserve the character of the city as the whole city is a UNESCO heritage site (at least the down town area). We made it back to the ship with about 45 minutes to spare. We made arrangements for drinks & dinner with other people and I thought it was for today but I must have had a senior moment, it is for tomorrow, duh. Have to wait and see if the weather is OK to sleep on the balcony again. Tomorrow and the day after are sea days. November 25, 2018. After we woke up we had the bright idea to go for a walk around the promenade deck. Silly us, we should have checked it out first. Walking with the wind in your back on the lee side of the ship is OK but going against the wind on the other side get you soaked due to the spray from the bow. Anyway, we walked 2 times around but then we called it quits. Next exercise was way better, breakfast. After that we went to see a lecture about astronomy, interesting enough especially with the Mars landing coming up, presented by a weird looking lady (probably very smart but weird nevertheless). At 12 O'clock our Cruise Critic group was invited for a special lunch and what a lunch it was. Everything that was served not only looked beautiful but tasted great also. Being higher up in the ranks with Princess Cruises we have free laundry service and we do use it but ones in while there are those items you don't want them to clean so off I went to the laundry room to get some clothes washed & dried. Drinks & dinner tonight with the couple I goofed on yesterday. Nice dinner with Chateau Bryant which was prepared perfect. Tonight is the first night that they have the singers & dancers perform in the theatre with a new show. Was OK. November 26, 2018 Wake up time is way too early this morning probably because our internal clock is not set for those time changes. That reminds me that next time we are traveling east we should do it the slow way. How about this scenario; take the train to New York and then hop on the Queen Mary for the crossing to Europe. That would be nice but as our last name is not even close Rockefeller or Onassis it is not going to happen unless we win the lottery (oh darn, you have to buy tickets for that, forgot all about it). After breakfast this morning not very much going on than just an other "sale" in the atrium. I have no idea what happened between 12 noon and 4 PM because I was kind of passed out due to having a cold and trying to kill this cold with a ton of medication like Tylenol, sleeping pills, neo-citron and whatever else I can get my hands on. Worked OK until after dinner. Also tonight is Captain Circle night (yippy, free drinks) where they give away bottles of champagne to the most loyal passenger with the most cruise days. I think we are never going to make that list, this time the most travelled person.........drum roll.......2015 days at sea with Princess. After this cruise we have about 200. Dinner today was at the Bayou Cafe, one of the specialty restaurants, courtesy of one of our best friends. Marvelous place to have a special dinner. We had a reservation for 7:30 but should have not bothered because of the mainly older demographics on this cruise most people eat early, very early. Bedtime is early tonight because DW did not have her snooze this afternoon thanks to me taking a (very loud and long) nap and I want to get over this cold as fast as possible. Tomorrow, Panama Canal. November 27, 2018. When we woke up this morning the Coral Princess was ready to enter the first set of locks going into the Panama Canal. This ship was actually specially built for the Panama Canal crossing, together with here sister ship the Island Princess. When in the locks there is about 60 cm on each side of the ship to spare. The locks are about 300 meter long and the ship is just short enough that they can close the doors. We are not going all the way through to the Caribbean side but staying overnight in Gatun Lake and then tomorrow we turn around and go back the same way we came. The whole lock system is interesting. On one hand there is the very sophisticated guiding system with the locomotives they call "Donkeys" and then there is the 2 guys in a little rowboat bringing the cables to the ship over a distance of barely 10 meter. Oh well, it keeps some people employed I guess. Most people think that those locomotives pulling the ship through the locks but that is not the case. There are 2 locomotives on each side and the only thing they do is keep the ships in the center of the lock. The ships get in and out under their own power. You can actually following our ship through the web-cam by going to the Princess website and search for "Coral Princess Web-cam". Not much else happened today except to mention that I spend a good part of the day in bed due that nasty cold, oh well maybe better tomorrow. November 28, 2018 The only difference with yesterday is that we went in a southwest direction instead of northeast. Of course we did see the opposite site of the canal and the locks and also all kind of different vessels. One in particular was a weird looking contraption shaped like a pyramid. Turned out to be a very expensive American Navy destroyer that can not be detected by radar. The main weapons are most likely missiles. We left Gatun Lake about 3 hours late and we think it was to let that destroyer pass free of other traffic but we caught up with it anyway because it was in the lock beside ours. We did see a couple of crocodiles while sailing through the canal, they were lazily sunbathing. One thing we did not know that as soon we left the canal we dropped anchor and waited for refuelling with bunker oil. I don't know how long it took but by the time we went to bed we were still anchored. I guess we will find out tomorrow. November 29, 2018. We must have left early in the morning from the anchorage in Panama because when we woke up around 7 we could not see any land (oh no, we are lost at sea). This being another day at sea we will have lots of time to give almost a play by play throughout the day. Not that it would be very interesting but you never know what might come along. First things first; It is was beautiful day with an extremely calm sea, just a small ripple and swell. Although we don't see any land most of the time there is a flock of seabirds following the ship. I have no idea what they are called but they look like a cross between an Eagle (but smaller) and a Seagull. They are skimming the water and then snag a fish ones in a while. It is now 11:30 and we are off to the info session about the upcoming port of San Juan del Sur in Nicaragua. This is the only port during this cruise where they use the large lifeboats to tender us to shore. If past experiences are any indication it's not going to be fun because of the cramped quarters in these boats. Yippee, they have another sale of "overpriced" merchandise on deck 6. That is one of the few drawbacks of cruising, the constant pushing of sales of mainly useless and overpriced products. A good example is the "sale" of watches which they put on sale for the reduced price of $ 10.00 US (about $ 13.00 Can.). The exact same watch you can buy in Canada at Wal-Mart for $ 9.95 Can. 3:00 PM- We are going for high tea in the Bordeaux dining room. Not that it will be the same as the one the Queen sometimes attend in London but nevertheless a small taste of good old England. Talking about coincidence, when we had tea we were sitting right next to a couple from London, England. How British can you get outside of England. Found out the name of the seabirds; Brown Boobies !! I always thought that boobies looked liked this The rest of the day was not very exciting, just the usual happy hour and dinner. After dinner we went to the theatre to watch a comedian, was actually very funny. The clock goes back 1 hour tonight so we get the hour sleep back we lost last week. November 30, 2018. Arrived during a beautiful sunrise at around 7:00 AM in Puntarenas, Costa Rica. Yesterday they told us it would be cloudy and about 27 degrees. Wrong, by about 10:00 AM it is bright sunshine and already 30 and by the time we sit down in town to have something to drink it was probably up to 33. Anyway, very uncomfortable. This is the only port on this trip that we have been to before in 2010 when we did the full transit through the Panama Canal from Fort Lauderdale to Vancouver. At that time we did a wonderful tour so we decided that we did not have to do that tour again. The only other tours within our budget included beach stuff and zip lines, we figured we leave that up to the young ones. We walked the endless long pier to the town where we first sat down in a small park under the trees to catch our breath and get some relieve from the heat. Then we wandered over to the market with all its trinkets and souvenirs but also beautiful locally made wood carvings, boxes etcetera. After sitting down at a place where they supply free internet, so we can upload some pictures, we go back to the (air-conditioned) ship by about 2:00 O'clock. We met for happy hour again with other couples and while we were having our drinks we noticed the birthday "girl" from last week sitting in the area next to ours. We took a couple of pictures and had a few laughs before it was time to go for dinner (I know, it is all about the food). We have to say that the quality of food on this ship is better than most of the other ships we have been on, at least that is what we think but so do a lot of other people. As entertainment tonight we had a Ventriloquist, absolutely hilarious. December 01, 2018. Aaahh, the month of Christmas has arrived, not that we really care at the moment but we got reminded about it when 2 people showed up in the dining room wearing Santa hats. We thought we let you know anyway. Arrived at the shores of San Juan del Sur very early and by 7:00 AM they were loading the first tender with passengers who booked a tour through Princess. We have not anything special planned for the day so we headed first to the breakfast buffet before we boarded the tender around 9:30. Because we have the elite status we have this perk that we don't have to wait in line for boarding the tender, we can bypass the line. Not that it was necessary this time because there was no line anymore. Shows you that perks are sometimes worth nothing. San Juan del Sur is a beautiful little town with small shops, a few hotels and some restaurants and on my afternoon walk I noticed at least 4 Hostels. It is a typical Central American town like you find all over the area but it has something different, a little sleepy, unless there is a cruise ship (what only happens a few times a year). Most of the passenger here probably went on the tours to the city of Granada or they went on rainforest & zip-line trips. The trip to Granada takes 1.5 hours on the bus just to get there and of course the same time back but that is what is in the program, many times we heard that those bus trips take longer. We were not looking forward to sitting on a bus for at least 3 hours to visit a city for 2 hours. And can you see us do zip-line stuff, NOT and we have enough rain & forest where we live. Anyway, we ended up walking the town for a few hours supporting the local economy by buying some of the locally made pottery, drinking some coffee & beer and using the internet to transfer pictures to the our Blog. By the time we were back on board it was past lunch time but with an almost 18 hour running buffet there is always something to eat. When DW took her regular snooze I went back with the tender to town and walked around some more through the back streets to snap some more pictures. No show tonight because the performer fell ill during his 7:00 O'clock performance. Bedtime at 11:00 PM December 02, 2018. Don't expect too much to happen the next 2 days because we are going to take it easy. Just the usual. Only thing worth mentioning is the dolphins who swam with us most of the day, they frolic back and fore in front of the bow of the ship. Oh, almost forgot, we had tea again this afternoon. Very exciting isn't. We did not have happy hour either, what is wrong with us? Maybe tonight there is some more to report after we have seen an other comedian (if I can remember the jokes/funny stuff. Well just came back from the comedian show, was 4 out of 10, oh well. We actually had more to laugh about during dinner with our servers, they are a fun bunch of guys. December 03, 2018. Another exciting day at sea. You got to love those days of doing pretty well nothing although it is not so good for the spare tire that is developing just above the belt buckle. Because of that phenomenon occurring we decided that it probably would be best that we start walking around the deck a bit more. Did actually about 3 km this morning en DW did 2. Did I mentioned that a day on board the ship revolves completely around breakfast, lunch and dinner with happy hour and snacking thrown in for good measure. That is probably why we joined the line-up for the pub lunch. Silly really to line up and wait for a while to be seated when all kinds of food is available 24/7. Anyway, the fish & chips were great. An other exciting thing happened last night…..drum roll…… laundry came back clean. I know it is boring but I have to report something. Maybe better stuff tomorrow after we have been to Manzanillo. December 04, 2018 It is 8:00 AM and we are in the doctors office because DW decided it was time to have an ailment again. It is almost tradition now that something is happening with her that requires a visit to the doctor or ER. This time it is her knee that gave out and now she joined the (very) large group of people with canes, walkers, wheelchairs & scooters. Hopefully it will not last that long but for the next few days she is going to be hopping along a bit. Now we got that out of the way I will go ahead and tell about the rest of the day. The port of Manzanillo is the largest Mexican port on the Pacific and the second largest in all of Mexico. For a very industrial port it looks really nice with a lot of flowering trees and funky artwork. Obviously DW did not go ashore this time so I went with an other couple on a tour (honest, she insisted, I did not abandon her). The lady liked to see the turtle sanctuary and the guy is easy, whatever she says is OK with him. So we arranged a tour to go there not knowing it is about 60 km away. The tour operator tried to get more people to go but most passengers were already on their way. We ended up with just the 3 of us in a suburban SUV with driver, perfect. The sanctuary is quite large with a lot of information about the animals. The largest they had was about 50 kg and the smallest a new born of which you probably can hold 10 in 1 hand. Also went on a boat ride through the mangroves and saw a lot of different birds, some snakes and a small alligator. After that we went to the salt flats where they still collect it the traditional way and to the salt museum. Along roadside stands you can buy salt for about 50 cent a kilo. Back at the ship by 3:30 and DW just got up from her second snooze, the medication they gave her seems to be working. Managed to get her to the dining room which took a bit longer than usual. We are not going to the show tonight. Maybe tomorrow is a better day. 5 December, 2018. We skipped breakfast today so we can indulge on the brunch which will be served at 11:00 and we don't want to miss that now eh. In the afternoon there was a choir made up of passengers who practised for the last 2 weeks. Really good if you take into account that they never met before let alone sang before. It was also the last formal night where they request and expect people to show up in formal wear, or at least not in jeans & T-shirt. Of course there are always those people who think it does not apply to them. Very good show tonight with fantastic singers in fabulous costumes singing anything from opera to modern stuff. Clock goes back again so we are back on Vancouver time. December 6, 2018. Our last day on board the Coral Princess and we had a blast. The service was one of the best we ever had on any of the ships and the food ( I know, food is very subjective) too was good, that differs sometimes from one ship to the next. All that is left is packing suitcases and say goodbye. One more sleep before they have to drag us kicking and screaming off the ship. We hope that everyone that followed us had as much fun as us. Thanks to all who send us e-mails. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2018
Coral Princess cruise was not crowded, very spacious with lots of seating. The entertainment for all 19 nights was fantastic with the exception of two nights - flamingo dances & one comedian. I usually find production shows with tons ... Read More
Coral Princess cruise was not crowded, very spacious with lots of seating. The entertainment for all 19 nights was fantastic with the exception of two nights - flamingo dances & one comedian. I usually find production shows with tons of dancing very boring however, their production shows looked like Broadway with wonderful singing. Pleasantly surprised! I wish they had more lectures other than astronomy. The food was delicious! The service was the best of any cruise line that I have been on. Our waitress Jenn & steward, John could not have done any more for us. Out of 13 cruises, this was only my 2nd cruise with Princess. In the past, I cruised with Celebrity the most. Also Disney, Holland Amer & Costa. Cons: The cabin furniture needs to be updated & more comfortable. Also, they should add a vanity mirror & new remotes. Would like even more activities during the day such as mini golf, cooking lessons, etc. Had a very enjoyable cruise for 19 days. Thank you Princess. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2018
The itinerary of 60 days from LA to LA, beginning in Alaska, going through Japan, China, South Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam, the Philippines, Guam , and finishing up in Hawaii before heading back to LA was the big draw. However, the many ... Read More
The itinerary of 60 days from LA to LA, beginning in Alaska, going through Japan, China, South Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam, the Philippines, Guam , and finishing up in Hawaii before heading back to LA was the big draw. However, the many operational calamities that befell the ship took away much of the shine of the trip. Two skipped ports, one from not having ordered a fuel barge, very poor communication to the passengers - more like last minute surprises, immigration catastrophes, running out of food items, burst pipes drenching cabins, loss of internet service for days, mediocre entertainment offerings, the list goes on. While Princess tried to maintain a happy face, many passengers were unhappy, vowing never to sail Princess again. The Coral has many sea days behind her, and her age is definitely showing. I believe a trip to dry dock for renovations is on her calendar,and none too soon. Embarkation and disembarkation were Princess smooth. The cabin was as expected, although I hope new mattresses are planned for her. Sleep was not comfortable due to terrible mattresses, and 60 nights is a long time to sleep on a bad mattress. The food was ok but repetitive; but not surprising for a cruise of 60 days. Service was very good. Ship excursions remain expensive and heavily booked, many with filled with people with limited mobility issues who neglected to acknowledge warnings about activity levels and steps/climbing warnings, and who came with their scooters anyway, expecting to be accommodated. The ports we visited were wonders to see. We only wish we could have also seen the omitted ports The enrichment speakers were below average save one, Chris Impey who is a marvelous speaker and who was enlightening and entertaining. Humberto, the port lecturer left much to be desired. His talks were rambling and filled with confusing information, such that one had to stand in line to speak with him at his desk for much clarification. Overall, the trip itself was one to remember. The Coral was ok if great things were not expected; it was transportation. Will we sail with Princess again? Yes, as many other cruise lines face similar issues. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
WHO WE ARE We are Charles and Judy from Colorado Springs. Flew in two days early because I could not stand one more day staring at a pile, and I mean a big pile, of suitcases. We stayed at the Doubletree in San Pedro. I am a HHonors ... Read More
WHO WE ARE We are Charles and Judy from Colorado Springs. Flew in two days early because I could not stand one more day staring at a pile, and I mean a big pile, of suitcases. We stayed at the Doubletree in San Pedro. I am a HHonors members and try to stay at Hiltons because I use points. The last time we stayed here I was disappointed. Not this time. The remodel is over with and its very nice. Not to mention the chef is pretty good and the food is tasty. A room upgrade to a suite didn’t hurt either. We had plenty of room to lay everything out as we re-packed for boarding. ITINERARY Ketchikan, Juneau, Icy Strait Point, Kodiak – 2 ports in Alaska we’ve never been to. Across the Northern Pacific, avoiding the typhoons. Down to Yokohama (twice) and Hiroshima Japan as Kushiro was cancelled because of the delay across the Northern Pacific and Osaka because of the failure of the re-fueling barge to show up to refuel us on the first time into Yokohama. Then Beijing, Incheon, Shanghai, Okinawa, Taiwan and Hong Kong. On to Vietnam and two new ports, Ha Long bay and Hue, then Phu My. Over to Manila, Guam, Honolulu, Kauai and back to LA. Most ports had nice long port times. As in docking by early morning and leaving at night. We had a mix of private excursions and DIY planned. One of our fellow organizers on this cruise (Pam of pamandcookie) organized a whole bunch of excursions. I took the easy way out and found a vendor in Vietnam to take care of everyone at all the ports. Then several other people jumped in with other private excursions as well. Princess made a big mistake by pre-charging for excursions. That removed the final incentive, for me and others as well, to book with Princess. WHAT WAS MEMORABLE? FELLOW CRUISE CRITIC PEOPLE They made the cruise. And there are too many to name them all (over 300 on the roll call), although those we spent lots of time excursioning with (Pam, Ralph, Marty, Sue, CL and Meei, Ken and Susie), dancing with (Jadine and Sean, Suzanne and Jim) and people watching with (Jane and Bill) will be very hard to forget! And we can’t forget John and Cheryl (TheRabbit) as he became a milepost in the crowd – literally! It was so great being able to walk down the hallway and actually recognize people and talk to them. It was like one big neighborhood. Pam (Pamandcookie), especially, gets major kudos and thanks for all the excursions she put together. All of her excursions were better, longer and far cheaper than the corresponding Princess ship excursions. I don’t think I could have survived putting all of those together. Jane has to get major props for the on-board activities she handled. The slot pulls, the luncheons, the farewell dinner and the IPAD classes. Other people stepped up and handled Mah Jong and bridge as well, which were well attended in the Bayou Café and the card room. They made the sea days a bit more bearable for a lot of people. I got to meet so many people from the roll call that my brain is on person name/face overload! You know how you always joke that when giving gifts, give the gift of CASH. Well Jadine (JAcruise200) gave us a little bag with a card and gifts and OMG it was CASH! But oh so delicately folded dollar bills into the shape of a deer - complete with antlers - and a catfish – complete with whiskers and eyes from the dollar bill motifs. So intricate and beautiful! They are gorgeous and must have taken hours to fold. Can’t thank her enough. They are incredible and Judy wants to learn how to do it! (Good, cause anything I folded always ends up looking like my handkerchief in my back pocket.) But a special thank you is due to Jadine and her fantastic origami. These pieces are now proudly displayed in Judy’s unicorn cabinet and they are gorgeous. We spent many hours in the 5-7PM timeframe dancing with Sean and Jadine in Explorer’s. It was one of must do’s every sea day that we could. SERVICE ON THE SHIP We have actually sailed with several members of the crew before – Yeru from Peru, Miranda, Frankie and his wife, Jean-Paul. Despite corporate cutbacks, the crew on the Coral was second to none. The service provided was excellent – especially the bar service in all areas of the ship. THE PORTS This itinerary, despite the weather issues and the immigration issues, offered a once in a lifetime overview of Asia with a round trip to LA. Missing Kushiro and Osaka was disappointing, especially Osaka and access to Kyoto. But overall, with the early arrivals and late departures in most stops, the ports made this trip worthwhile. THE PORTS - PRIVATE EXCURSIONS Four ports stand out as the most memorable excursions of all times. Incheon – DMZ, Ha Long Bay – the Junk Cruise, the Keelung Night Market with CL and his college buddies and the Korean BBQ dinner in Seoul. In Incheon on one of Pam’s tours, we ended up getting adopted by a Korean Village and their Party Bus and treated as honored guests. It was a very memorable experience. The junk cruise in Ha Long bay was incredible. Everything was nearly perfect. The weather was perfect, the sights fantastic, the food great, the entire day was everything you wanted in a foreign port. CL and his two college buddies gave us one heck of a foodie tour of the Keelung night market in Taiwan. The food was definitely local and authentic, but it was CL and his buddies – their taking care of us, guiding us, getting us lost and found, picking out the right food stand – that made the trip so memorable. The Korean BBQ dinner in Seoul during the Incheon port call, something else Pam set up, was fantastic. All of us had a great time eating, drinking and cooking in the middle of Seoul. The food was great, the company and comradery even better. THE PORTS – DIY Hong Kong, Hiroshima/Miajima and Kodiak. These three ports were the most memorable from a DIY point of view. (Any of the other Alaskan ports, Okinawa, Guam and HI ports are all good DIY ports. At Hong Kong I did the Ngong Ping cable car to the Big Buddha via the subway system. (Judy had her cruise cold and stayed on the ship.) Complex and scary to plan, but oh so easy to execute. And breathtaking views from the cable car and the mountain top alongside the Buddha. In Hiroshima, we went to Miajima first via the tram and ferry, tried all types of oysters, and then went to Peace Park. Again, scary to plan, but very easy to execute. In Kodiak, as in Icy Strait, we rented a car and caravanned with 3 other cars looking for bear. And found them, both live and tracks. While the rainy weather could have been better, the picnic on the shore of the bay, the mother and her two cubs, the black sand beach, the sign warning fisherman that bears were stealing their catch – all were an experience we will never forget. MOST MEMORABLE MOMENTS Whenever cruisers come together, they swap stories of memorable moments. Things and events that happen during a cruise that we will talk about for years. Here are some of the most memorable moments of our 60 day cruise: OFF THE SHIP - Dolores taking a picture of Flat Stanley and Flat Stephanie next to a steaming pile of bear scat in the middle of the road at Icy Strait – and I didn’t get a picture of her taking a picture! The Japanese school kids at Peace Park practicing their English on us, by asking questions – sort of taking a survey. CL translating the Kanji script at the Forbidden Palace revealing that the word “Deportment” carved into the gate should have said “Department”. The applause I got from the South Koreans when getting back on the ‘party’ bus after going down into the DMZ tunnel and coming back out literally soaked in sweat. The sheer beauty and solemnity of the Punchbowl cemetery. CL and his two college buddies, standing in the middle of flow of people, all three pointing in a different direction as they argue over which way to go next in the Keelung night market. Pulling up and seeing a bear across the little creek, everyone getting out of the cars so quietly as to not disturb the bear, about 100 yards away, and then Harvey accidently hitting the panic button on his keyfob setting off the horn, lights, etc. during the driving around Icy Strait. (The bear took one look at all of us and went back to eating…stupid tourists!) The creepy sound 100’s of feeding koi make when boiling up around fish food being dropped in the water at the “extreme” fish feeding event outside Manila. People in several different languages cheering on the little turtles as they tried to get a piece of bread tossed on the water before the koi in Sankien gardens. Stopping in the middle of a busy Beijing freeway during rush hour to drop off the tour guide on the dashed white line between lanes. Negotiating with the lady in the Shanghai market. The cyclo ride in Vietnam and WE ARE ALL GOING TO DIE! ON THE SHIP – The curious case of the morning orange juice – and the trials and tribulations of Marty. Morning breakfast was always a fun and ‘noisy’ affair. But Marty (BIGKAHUNA) always ordered a ‘large’ OJ. What he got was indicative of how the morning would go. Early in the cruise he would get the one glass. Sometimes 2. One time it was FIVE. And then once it was 3, but only, according to the waiter, 2 on the table at a time. It became an unwritten test and morning starter to our day. Marty’s last dinner of doughnuts, frosted flakes and vanilla ice cream – with a few carrots, celery and asparagus for healthy eating – all delivered by a parade of fellow cruise critics. Dancing at night with Sean and Jadine (JACruise200) in Explorers. On the balcony overlooking Hong Kong harbor, at night, with the lights all aglow, with my love. Our farewell get together with Pam and Ralph(Pamandcookie), Dennis and Barb(gus617), at Ken and Susie’s(SandKinWA) place during sailaway in Nawilliwilli. Our verbal communications used during tours to communicate with the back ranks – WALKING, STEP (Step Ralph, step!), RAMP, STAIRS! Emptying the atrium into the gangway line one morning by loudly announcing WALKING to our group as we trooped off the ship…and then being followed by almost everyone in the atrium… THE NOT SO MEMORABLE PARTS OF THE CRUISE I’m going to be a bit critical of Princess in this part. I’ve been positive so far, because, after all, this cruise was for the itinerary. But on the other hand, we’ve had a lot of sea days. And the 15 sea days from Manila to LA, with only 3 port days, were as much a part of the cruise, and cost the same amount, as a port day. We’ve only sailed Princess, so I’m not going to say Carnival does this, or Regent does that, or Holland America did this, that or the other. I can only compare experiences on past Princess cruises, and we’ve done two major ones in just the past year (Panama Canal – 34 days – Island – October 2017; Australia to Japan – 42 days – Diamond – April 2018), so we have some pretty specific recent experiences to compare to. THE WEATHER. The crossing from Alaska to Japan was fraught with the outer bands of a typhoon tossed ocean. Judy spent a lot of time horizontal in the bed. Likewise the crossing from Guam to Hawaii, most of the 7 days, were not the roughest, but enough to keep us from dancing most of the time. It has made me rethink our cruising plans in the future after the upcoming world cruise. After the March and April cruises on the Diamond that required long flight times to Sydney and back from Narita, I believe we prefer those long flights to sea days that could be wracked with bad weather – especially on a ship with just so-so entertainment like the Coral had. Princess can’t control the weather, but they can control the itinerary scheduling, and scheduling this cruise during typhoon season may not have been the best idea. I understand that they wanted to get Alaska in the mix, but they might want to consider an April – May version of this in the opposite direction, hitting Alaska in May. But I doubt they will ever do this particular itinerary again. Missing Kushiro was weather related. Missing the refueling in Yokohama, and thus missing Osaka plus the wasted day in Tokyo Bay at anchor was entirely on Princess – regardless of any issues with the fuel vendor or the Tokyo Bay regulations on bunkering while at anchor. Princess did compensate us $150 each for this episode, so they consider the matter closed. Hopefully they have learned that a good backup plan for these once off cruises would be a good idea. Likewise the long immigration lines at a variety of ports was not Princess’ fault. The changing processes and procedures as to getting off the ship, the line/sequence, the meeting locations for getting a number, the crossover crowding between getting a number and a gangway – those were entirely on the ship and I have detailed them elsewhere. In fact, we the passengers started organizing the pre-line lines, just to avoid the chaos. It should never be the passenger’s responsibility to do the ship’s job for them. ENTERTAINMENT This is where the majority of the issues reside. We got bored. A lot of us got bored. Boredom on a cruise ship, for us, is rare, but getting more common in the past couple of years. Shipboard entertainment simply did not meet expectations. Yes, corporate cutbacks are noticeable in the quantity and quality of the on-board entertainment. Especially in the 15 sea days from Manila to LA. Without Elua on board, there would have been almost no activities beyond trivia during the day, and the night time entertainment left much to be desired – as in the T-Rex chasing the weenie around the theater and headlining the Crooner’s piano player (Daniel) into the theater and calling it a show. Daniel actually forecast it best in the show between Kodiak and Japan where he and Miranda, the CD, did a show in the theater and he said – ‘we’ve run out of entertainment’! Déjà vu! The daily sea day activities were really lacking from Manila to LA. A lot of the activities on the patter were sales related events. Art related, Spa related, Casino related or Effy related. A lot were unhosted and several were hosted by Cruise Critic people – Mah Jong, Bridge, Knitters and Knatters, pickleball, etc. Where was Giant Jenga, ring toss, scavenger hunts, the Quest, paper airplanes, fruit carving, bar wars on those 15 long sea days from Manila to LA? There is no rule that says you can only do one on a 60 day cruise! People on a 60 day cruise with so many sea days are desperate for something interesting to do besides trivia. Digital photography classes? Computer classes? Future Cruise presentations? A lot was missing from a normal sea-day schedule. Basically it appeared as though the ED was just going through the motions of making sure everything typically done on a 7 day cruise is done at once in the cruise – a checklist if you will. A T-Rex Chasing a Weenie Around the Theater Got a Standing Ovation? (And I didn’t get a picture!) What’s Next – Gong Show Winners? There were a few bright spots in the entertainment. Josh Young, a singer from Broadway, was fantastic, Levenstein, a comedian, was pretty good, but the guy who brought the house down was Kieran Powell, a ventriloquist who put together a show, with audience participation, that was memorable. And every one of his shows would prove different because of the different audience members he would pick. The ‘Dating Game’ segment was LOLUYPO funny. He even got a standing ovation from the theater, which is rare for a ventriloquist act. The Hula show in Honolulu was also, as usual, outstanding. The entertainment staff was also very accommodating to our Cruise Critic group. We came on the cruise with a plan and Cruise Critic coordinators for Mah Jong, cards and pickleball. Corporate and the staff brought additional Mah Jong sets to the ship. After the cruise started, Kieran (ACD) edited the playlist for ballroom dancing down to a good subset of dance tunes for a 1700 to 1900 dance session in Explorer’s. Mike Witte (the ED to Hong Kong) added in an extra hour starting at 1600 at our request for people having dinner at 1700. The 1700 to 1900 dance session was deleted after Manila by the new ED, but reinstated at several of our requests. After all, nothing was happening in Explorer’s anyway – what’s the issue? Mike also stopped by on several occasions to chat about schedules and activities – and get feedback from the Cruise Critic group. He took our feedback seriously and implemented a lot of the suggestions from the group. I even got a few phone calls from him – after all I did volunteer to help coordinate Cruise Critic events. After Mike left in Hong Kong, nothing. We rarely saw the new ED and never chatted beyond saying hello in the hallway – and even then left feeling like we were bothering him. Any messages to him had to be relayed through the CD or ACD’s and in writing. We had plenty of dancing and the Sound was a great band to dance to. We went to the wheelhouse a couple of times to listen to the Blue Jade Quartet, but the floor was packed with ‘professional’ dancers. But one of the best and biggest dance floors on the ship, the Universe, was not used for dancing. In the HI to LA segment, Elua did Hawaiian music dance segments in the Wheelhouse. The floor and the venue was super packed. Why not move them to the Universe? Especially in the Guam to HI segment. Could have put them in Explorer’s instead of another music trivia game. Once again, ELUA in wheelhouse – check. Sound in Explorer’s – check. Other segments in Wheelhouse filled – check. The production shows were just ok. Nothing that wowed me or Judy. The last production show, What the World Needs Now, was an extra show thrown into the 60 day cruise and it was literally phoned into the ship from the looks of it. A lot of vocals, some semi-choreographed walking, hand movements and sitting by the dance troupe, the show band doing the music and some color graphic icons thrown up on the big LCD screen just in case you didn’t know what was going on in the show itself. One of my biggest issues with the production shows in the theater was the sound. Where we sat, the microphones were simply not balanced between the singers and the band and the backing tracks. One of the male lead vocalist’s microphone (Kwame’s), since he has such a soft voice, needed to be boosted, but it wasn’t and the band music blew him out, as it did, but not so much, to one of the female leads. BTW, sound balancing in the theater was an ongoing problem depending on where you sat, between the band sound and the vocalist. Not sure if it was an equipment problem or what. Even Josh Young had a few issues with balance. During the days from Japan to Manila, sea day entertainment was not a big issue for us as we had lots of resting up and prepping for the next port to keep us busy. (The sea days from Kodiak to Yokohama were pretty rough and with Judy stuck in bed, it really didn’t matter.) The 7 sea days from Guam to HI were bereft of entertainment at night for the most part, and then suddenly, major shows and activities (a production show and a comedian) are all scheduled on one night! The Universe Lounge was greatly underutilized and when it was used for rebroadcasting the show in the Theater, the sound and video was very poor quality. Nightly movies would have been a much better option – especially with frequent rain storms interrupting MUTS. The 5 sea days from HI to LA had a pretty full nightly entertainment schedule, which was good, but that still did not make up for the 7 days from Guam to HI, or the 3 days from Manila to Guam. Some of the scheduling did not even make sense. For example, we had the Love Boat Disco Deck Party, one of our favorite activities, on the night of Nawilliwilli, rather than the following night after a day at sea. Most of us had just spent two long port days in a row, in hot weather, walking our rear ends off, and now disco dancing is scheduled after that? That’s just not doable. Country Western night was also on a busy port night. I do not remember a 50’s/60’s night, or a disco night, or any of the other major party nights. Once again, checklist item or trying to schedule to maximize passenger participation? One of my pet peeves was the scheduling a production show 3 times in one night. On prior ships I have seen additional shows scheduled on consecutive nights in order to accommodate everyone and give the dancers a bit of a break. Again, with 10 at sea nights from Manila to Honolulu to fill, you’d think the ED would want to stretch things out rather than bunch them up in one night, while leaving other nights empty. And where is the rule that you can only have one Liar’s Club, or one Marriage Match Game per segment or cruise? What’s wrong with multiples? Too much work? Nightly variations on trivia were more the norm at night, and after 30+ days on a ship, some trivia players were taking it way too seriously. Which is why we avoid trivia. Future Cruise presentations for Princess cruises were lacking as well. Only a few presentations, 2-3, were given during the entire cruise! I specifically invited the Future Cruise Consultant to give a World Cruise presentation. He did not show up. We could have had several presentations covering all of the 2019 and 2020 destinations, but did not. Too bad. A great marketing opportunity lost and at least something to do for some of us. Likewise, the photography department left a lot of time on the table to enhance their sales, and provide at least some daily entertainment. Rentals of GoPro’s were offered at $30 per day – a ridiculous amount BTW – but where was the class explaining the use of the GoPro? Or highlighting the cameras on sale? Or the binoculars? You’d think in 15 days at sea you could have at least 2 or 3 photo classes? Again, a missed opportunity to improve sales and provide a little more meat for the customers. The enrichment lecturers, quite frankly, left a lot to be desired as well. Some attempted to actually talk about subjects that I happen to know a lot about, and they got it cringingly wrong. Some tried to give the impression that they knew a lot about the supersecret black defense world, but anyone who has actual knowledge of how the CIA or NSA operates is completely forbidden to talk about it EVER – even from “open” sources. One series of lectures on cyber crime was completely devoid of anything practical on what or how to prevent or detect it – and that’s what I wanted to know. The lecturer just tried to impress everyone by throwing in random acronyms or IT jargon and history to impress, not to inform. There was only one lecturer (Chris Impey) that discussed physics (from particles to astro-physics) that I enjoyed. His lectures were good, although his briefing format (video + audio clips in Powerpoint) had content and playability issues that sort of ruined the flow of his actual presentation. Likewise, destination lectures pre-HI were ok. Not the best, not the worst. But Dave’s (Elua) lectures on HI were really, really good, but there were only two of them. He covered the important points – access, transportation, brief history, money, food, local customs, must see’s, must do’s. He did not shill for the Shore Excursions desk. Heck even a couple of shore excursion presentations would have been a welcome addition to the schedule. No computer classes? Jane held a few small IPAD classes within our Cruise Critic group that were greatly appreciated and she volunteered to do ones for the whole ship, but was never taken up on her offer by the staff or the IT guy. And it wasn’t like space was an issue on the ship. Explorers had empty time, as did the Universe, as did Hearts and Mind and Wheelhouse. When we were only Island last October, the lack of the Universe was noticeable in Mike and Callie’s scheduling – packing Explorer’s, the Wheelhouse and MUTS with stuff. This time, as I’ve stated before, the Universe was underutilized. This was very disappointing compared to prior cruises. So much could have been done - but wasn’t. CRUISING NOTES OF INTEREST SPECIAL BRUNCHES Jean-Paul and the dining room crew, along with the line cooks, set up a special surprise for everyone in the dining room. They cancelled the dining room breakfast and scheduled a “Brunch” for 1000 on deck 5. I was busy room servicing for Judy when I got a call from Sue telling me I had to come down and see this. Unfortunately, I had to decline, but got a report from Pam later that it was absolutely phenomenal. They had rearranged the entire dining room to incorporate an elegant Sunday style Brunch buffet with all kinds of breakfast and lunch foods served by the cook and chefs behind the scenes in the galley. According to Pam it was a spectacular display of flowers, ice carvings, elegantly prepared, and tasty, food. They couldn’t say enough good things about it. Sorry I missed it. So if you see breakfast cancelled and Brunch at 1000, do not hesitate, run, don’t walk to get in early and take your camera to photograph the tables and food. On the day after Kauai, Jean-Paul, with his wait staff, and the Chef and his kitchen staff, put on another brunch in the main dining room and this one I did not miss! Magnificent presentation and food. Best food on the cruise since the Chef’s table oh so many weeks ago. It was WOW, WOW food of all types. Hot dishes to order on a set menu, with two pasta stations, cold salads, baked goods (with a garlic olive oil bread that was incredibly delicious), meats and cheeses, a chocolate fountain with fresh cut and skewered fruits, fresh fruits of all types, all presented in stunning displays. A visual and tasty treat! Very enjoyable. PHOTO PACKAGE We did ‘cash’ in our photo package voucher – for $349 pre-cruise – a good bargain. Every photo that has one of us in it is included and the JPEG file is included as well. We definitely got our money’s worth out of this package with over a hundred photos. WATER PACKAGE Received 24 of 36 bottles our water order on the first sea day. We got the last 12 bottles just before Vietnam. Compared to the costs on-board and the hassle of bringing water back to the ship, this was a bargain as well. BLACK GOOP I really hated to post this on the first sea day, but we found something that could really affect people’s health on the ships. We bring our own shampoo and conditioner for long cruises since Princess started using the bottles in the shower instead of the packaged Lotus Spa stuff. Usually our steward gives us new or empty/cleaned spare bottles and swaps them out for us. This time we had to dump the old stuff out and clean the bottles, but what we found in and around the bottles was GROSS. Behind the bottles on the chrome attachment plate was black moldy goopee gross stuff. We used a healthy dose of Lysol spray and Clorox wipes to clean it up. Even worse though was that the black moldy goopee stuff was in the shampoo/conditioner and the body gel bottle as well. Especially on the cap threads. (Judy had to clean the pump head threads with Q-tips.) After rinsing for several minutes in hot water, we got it all cleaned out, black stuff everywhere. I’m not sure if it was bacteria, fungus or just some kind of chemical reaction between the soaps and the containers. I don’t want to know. I wanted it gone. The reason the stuff is there is pretty clear – these particular areas just don’t get cleaned very often – they probably don’t think it’s important. But anyone that might be sensitive to mold or fungus might have a reaction to the stuff when the shower is running and dispersing some of this in the air. So pull the caps and look at the threads in bright light and look behind the bottles with a flashlight and see what you see. THE CORAL CLASS Being on the Island last October, and now the un-modified Coral, reminds me of how much I enjoy this class of ship and when she is sold in 2027 to make room for the new build Royal-Regal-Sky-Ocean-Alexandrite Princess, she will be sorely missed as the last of her kind. For those not familiar with the Coral, she was built in France and has been referred to as an ‘Explorer Class’ or ‘Sun II’ class. She’s actually an intermediate design between the Sun class (Sea, Sun) and the Grand Class (Grand, Star, Golden) with Explorer’s, a two story Universe Lounge, a large wheelhouse and a lot of balcony cabins. The Island and the Coral have the infamous bumpout balconies that requires a detailed website and photos to determine if your balcony is covered, uncovered or partially covered. But the main difference is the uncrowded nature of the ship. With both Decks 6 and 7 being entertainment and venue decks, the crowds are split a bit. The elevators are fast, the promenade deck wide and all the way around. The Island was butchered, in anticipation of the 100kT limit for Venice, in the last dry dock with the Universe being removed and the lower level turned into the Gym and a whole host of cabins added to the aft end of the ship where observation decks existed. (Very wide and deep observation decks perfect for the Panama Canal and Glacier viewing that are only on the Coral.) Now, on the Island, only the forward decks and the aft Emerald deck, a lot smaller, still exist. The additional cabins apparently have a lot of vibration issues and, quite frankly, make the back end of an otherwise elegant design look like the back end of an 18 wheeler rather than a cruise ship. The really good news is that they cancelled a similar refit to the Coral. Don’t know why, but at least we get to enjoy her on a 60 day odyssey in her almost ‘original’ intended design. The public spaces are remarkably uncrowded compared to a Grand or especially a Super-Grand. THE ELITE LOUNGE The Elite lounge was open from 1615 to 1815 in the Universe. Lots of elites on this cruise (900+ on the first leg, 1000+ on the second), so the lower level was pretty packed during prime time and the food line was long. They have pared the ‘special’ drink list ($6.50 each) down to 6 or 8 from the original dozen. Only two that I care for – the Mexican Mule (tequila instead of vodka) and the Port Lemonade (Citron Vodka, port wine and sprite). But they do not have the martini glasses or small water glasses with veggies. You can use tongs and get a variety of veggies from serving bowels including bell peppers, asparagus, carrots, celery, cucumber, tomato and a few others I don’t recall. Great selection even during the great veggie shortage between Guam and Honolulu. CHEF’S TABLE Chef’s table was fantastic. New dishes, a really, really good chef, and excellent service. The Ahi tuna appetizer, instead of the crab ceviche, was different. The stars were the pumpkin risotto and the mango-orange sorbet with the Grey Goose vodka. Jean-Paul really came through for the Cruise Critic people as the first 10 signups were at the first Chef’s table, and they held it to 10 rather than the typical 12 they would run through. CRUISE CRITIC FUNCTIONS As I said previously, the roll call had been active since May 2017. Various members organized many private tours in almost all the ports. Those private tours filled almost immediately, but some of the vendors expanded the tours with additional busses. (In Ha Long Bay, our private tour person organized 10 junk boats of around 16 people each.) One important lesson learned is to keep track of the roll call if you want private tours and to sign up a soon as possible. Several people have missed out on these private tours and had to do Princess tours. Activities are important to organize. We had several volunteer coordinators or various activities on this cruise. From games to slot pulls to luncheons to dinners to M&Gs we put together a list and had people sign up so that we could provide Princess with a count. Providing them with a count gives them an important heads up. Early coordination with the corporate meet and greet person paid off. I contacted Princess in July and let her know of all the activities we had planned and requested she contact the ship to let them know we were coming – and to take that early vacation before we arrived! I then had the individual volunteer coordinators contact her for their needs. For example, corporate sent new Mah Jong sets to the ship because of the interest. Mike, the ED, was able to set up a World Cruise get together, RV get together and the luncheons, the farewell dinner and Chef’s table was well organized by Jean-Paul. FOOD AFTER MIDNIGHT There is no ‘new’ food available from about 0000 to 0400 – unless the IC has ‘leftovers’ from dinner. If not, they don’t have any food. There is no food at all in the Patisserie/Atrium bar. The IC starts placing continental breakfast food items at 0400 and are all pastries. The egg mcmuffin sandwich is nowhere to be found except in the HC on certain days. The pastries include glazed doughnuts (they go fast), cake doughnuts, and various sweet breads like raison, carrot, walnut, and a couple of types of muffins like bran, maple, banana and/or walnut. Around 1100 the IC switches to soup, (one), 3 or 4 cold salads and 4-5 sandwiches that can be pressed by the panini press if desired, along with a few desserts. These choices remain the same all through the night till around 0400 in the morning or until they are all gone. Brewed coffee is available in the IC 24/7, in the Patisserie when open, and takes one punch of the old cards or is included with the new E-café-Card. Specialty teas are only available in the IC. Specialty coffees are available in the IC, the Patisserie and on Deck 14 in the Horizon Court dessert bar area. The specialty restaurants and the dining rooms also have access to coffee machines, but not brewed coffee. Typical bagged tea and syrup coffee/hot water is available 24/7 in the Horizon Court beverage bar. IMMIGRATION IN ASIAN PORTS Delays in immigration processing was to be the #1 issue on this cruise. Yokohama was an absolute disaster with the terminal just not being prepared to process so many people on a holiday. The ship was not zeroed until 1500! Some people who needed to get off, did not get off until 1200 and that was with an 0700 arrival! The itinerary could have been structured a bit more friendlier for immigration purposes (sticking with the same country between ports, like Japan or China) but then would have been operationally an issue with the extra time and fuel required to backtrack as well as trying to get an embarkation port (like Shanghai) somewhere in the middle. Incheon was an excellent example of what happens when the ship has some control over the immigration process. Stations were set up in the Universe and it was an all hands call out of the crew to help process people as quickly and efficiently as possible. The ship tried the same thing in Guam, but it was just too many people and not enough US ICE agents. Bottom Line – When docking in China or Japan expect to get off the ship 75 to 90 minutes after the scheduled docking time – IF you are diligent enough to get up early and get in line – 2 to 3 hours if you are not. Then factor in that all-aboard is 30 minutes before departure. For example, Okinawa has a scheduled time of 0700 to 1430. With an all-aboard time of 1400, one could easily expect to be off the ship by 0830 giving you only 4 to 4.5 hours in port. Another good example. Because of the Cluster in Yokohama, and to some extent Tianjin, of the ship issuing immigration numbers, like tender tickets, in Crooner’s, one of the passengers issued hand written tickets, starting at 0500, to form a line to get in line to obtain the immigration tickets when the cruise staff arrived. While that may seem presumptuous on our part, it helped organize the line in Crooners to stretch back to the wheelhouse rather than be a free for all mob when the cruise staff arrived. Of course then with the gangway on deck 6 starboard, the line to go out formed well before the numbers were called. So when the 1-100 group was called, we had to ‘cut’ in front of the existing line with people holding tickets 101+, and had to listen to the grumbling. But that was the instructions from the crew. Get your ticket number and go to the gangway from a public lounge area only when called. YOKOHAMA Immigration was a nightmare. Docked at 0700. Last persons off the ship at 1500. Not really Princess’s fault. Computer failure and lack of immigration agents screwed up everyone. They used a tender numbering system for the around 1000 people not on ship’s tours. We were 71 to 74 and we got off the ship at 1000. I talked to a person around the 170’s and they got off at 1115. Everyone was told that the ship had to be zeroed. That meant all passengers off. Some passengers apparently hid, according to one security officer, on the ship and had to be escorted off. People waiting to get back on had to wait until 1500 to be let back aboard because of this. If this is true, this is being extremely inconsiderate. Still, not Princess’s fault. I really felt bad for those on private tours. Pam got off almost immediately and then spent 2 hours waiting for other people in her tour group. Others had similar problems with some members having numbers in the high 2 or 3 hundred. I’d like to say that I anticipated this issue, but can’t really. I expected the typical Japanese efficiency – but did not get it. TIANJIN Docking was at 0700, but the Chinese are serious about immigration. It was around 0800 when we finally got clearance to leave the ship. The numbering system used, similar to tenders, was confusing and hectic. People were lined up at 0500 in Crooners, which only had one exit to fore and one exit aft and it was on the same deck and basic location as the Deck 7 starboard gangway exit. So it was a mess. The Patter clearly stated that each person in line should get tickets for their “group”, like a tender port, but with no ‘lounge’ to meet in. And Ralph got 19 numbers for our “group”. Didn’t go over well with other people in line. Princess needed to do it in the Universe lounge where at least you can separate ticketed vs. un-ticketed persons away from the gangway chaos and have a defined entry and exit pathway. The Chinese pretty much had their act together in the terminal. Multiple stations for independents and a separate area with multiple stations for Princess tours. Nice terminal. Good signage. Plentiful restrooms. Immigration was serious. Face to face, passport, photo, no fingerprints though and the computers were up and running! We got through and were outside at 0840. So an aside about the Chinese Visa. Several people didn’t have it. Some never intended to get off the ship. The couple in the cabin next to us was told by their travel agent they didn’t need it! They were allowed on the ship in Los Angeles, but not into the country. Our Visa’s were checked. The ship did have to be zeroed and ship’s personnel were going to escort the non-Visa holders through immigration after all had left. VIETNAM, MANILA AND HONG KONG These were very simple. Just get off the ship. Hong Kong did have a thermal scanner to check your temperature, but nothing that held anybody up. THE GREAT SEARCH FOR HIGH SPEED BANDWIDTH When we were in the “good” ship board satellite communications latitude and during the day, between 0700 and 1700, connections were very slow when using elite minutes. In the morning I could almost watch the speed go downhill in direct proportion to the number of people in line for coffee. Similarly, on the other hand, the speed goes up immensely starting at 1700 to 1830 (dinnertime – first shift). Judy was able to update two apps on her iphone, with about 250mb of data, in the 90 minutes of “decent” connectivity. BTW – those two apps exceeded the daily data limit of the basic on-board $19.95 internet package. First of all, both our phones use T-Mobile One Plus with the 256kB/sec throttled unlimited data in 120 countries including all on our itinerary. This speed is sufficient for google maps and Facebook, but not updating of apps. For serious app updates, security updates, and most serious website use, you need high speed access and because of today’s graphic intensive applications, a lot of data bandwidth. For this cruise I specifically bought a TEPPY – an international virtual SIM MyFi spot – with a 1GB high speed data limit and unlimited 256kB (2G) for a 24 hour $9 day pass. As a backup, Tmobile has 512mb high speed data pass for $5 with a maximum for 2 passes per day per phone. First of all, let me say that the Tmobile $5 day pass was the most disappointing. I was only able to access the page once on the way into Yokohama harbor and was not able to tell which phone received the boost or when the boost occurred or even if I got the boost in the first place. (It turns out Judy’s phone got the boost, but only after you restarted the phone.) I was never able to access that page, it simply would not load, for more passes again over the next 3 days. Even chatting with t-mobile via the 256kB/sec 2G data rate was too painful to endure to try and straighten things out. Future note – Was able to re-access the page in Beijing. Actually got it to work and load properly with 2G and was able to designate which phone received the boost. Default was the prime phone on your account so it loaded on Judy’s phone the last time, not the one I wanted. Got an email that it was in effect, on the phone it was in effect on, but it recommended a restart just to make sure. Restarted and it was definitely very fast and loaded 3 updates, plus updated facebook and several other things, but nothing major or important. Just a check of the functionality and it worked great. Another future note edit – Was not able to access the page in Seoul very easily. Long time to load, which indicates connection issues. Maybe not 2G since even Google was not loading properly. I left the page loading in my pocket and it was up the next time I looked at the phone. Ordering was easy and it did provide very fast connections, after rebooting the phone, but it still was not as good as the connection in Beijing. Go figure! The TEPPY worked perfectly. Turned on, easy to use, high speed, but the laptop burned through the 1GB data limit in a matter of minutes. When throttled to 2G speeds, it’s not much more useful than the Tmobile phones on basic. Phone connection via the TEPPY is the best option for judicious use of the high speed. I had forgotten that a Windows PC will automatically start downloading ‘stuff’. Symantec burned through 500MB during a download, followed by Windows security and monthly update stuff. I turned off as much of that as I could. Free WiFi – Everyone touts free wi-fi and how to follow the crew to find it. To a large extent this is true. To a smaller extent, free wifi is still limited in bandwidth, because the crew is there, and the time it takes to update stuff or do business is still a long time. And in Yokohama, the internet connection was limited to 30 minutes at Osanbashi and at World Porters, meaning if you can’t download it in 30 minutes, you aren’t getting it. On the other hand, the WiFi at Hiroshima was incredibly fast. Almost as fast as home, but with 300+ users sitting in the terminal. We were able to update at least 15GB worth of stuff in about 20 minutes across four different devices. Nice! Hiroshima would remain the best of any of the port Wi-Fi stops. Hong Kong, Shanghai, Honolulu would have port wi-fi and Guam would have wi-fi at the shopping mall where the shuttle drops you off, but in all cases, speeds were very load dependent and with lots of people, the speed dropped to very low levels – think dial-up! THE FOOD The Horizon Court food ranged from OK to Good. Cold salads continue to be my favorite, but everything else, quite frankly, is same old same old. Fewer and fewer selections as well. Its food. It’s nothing to rave about and it’s not horrible like on the Diamond in April. The pizza, thank goodness, is pretty good with a well seasoned crust and Alfredo’s in Sabatini’s for lunch is a welcome comfortable place to enjoy my favorite pizza. Burgers are dependent on when you place your order. If you get a fresh burger, which takes a while to prepare, it can be quite good. If you arrive at the end of a sequence and they ‘re-heat’ an older burger patty, then you’re kind of stuck. Same with the fries. When they are cooked and salted properly, they are good. When not, they kind of suck and during busy times the oil loses too much heat and you get soggy underdone fries. They do have the smokehouse and grill in the evenings, but these are just too late for us and when we tried them several years ago, they were just ok. According to Pam and Ralph, there were a pretty good alternative to the HC. Quite frankly, the food on the ship is why we eat more and more off the ship to get that WOW factor meal. I gave up on really great shipboard food many years ago. But I really write it off now, and don’t get too upset about it, because we’ve been cruising a lot over the last year and there are just so many different dishes they can supply. And also, with regard to waistlines, this is not such a bad thing after all! There are a couple of important points to make. This was a 60 day cruise. So we have seen about all the different types of food Princess has a recipe for. A bit of boring ‘seen that, tasted this’ is going to be there no matter what. Secondly, we did not eat dinner in the MDR at all. Judy can’t eat dinner past 1600. So our experience in the MDR was breakfast and lunches, with the HC, Grill, Alfredo’s, Elite Lounge and IC as the backups. The food is seasoned well, but after 60 days, it is so repetitive, it just becomes boring. For breakfast in the HC, scrambled eggs plain, scrambled eggs with something, American breakfast sausage, British or German breakfast sausage, ham, eggs, omelets cooked to order, plain pancakes, pancakes with some fruit in it, various breads, various cereals, sausage gravy and biscuits, various fruits, various pastries. And it’s basically the same every day. In the HC for lunch, sandwiches, three stew/stir fry type curry/Asian dishes to put over rice, white rice, flavored rice, fried fish, sautéed fish, carved meat, braised chicken, steamed vegetable, salad bar, French fries, mashed potatoes and gravy. And this basically repeats every day with some variety in the carved meats, steamed vegetables and the over rice dishes. In the MDR for breakfast you have the featured items, Eggs Benedict, French Toast, Spanish Tortilla, Country Breakfast and English Breakfast, with the standard accompaniments, from the griddle (pancakes and waffles), from the sea (smoked salmon), various pastries, cereals and juices. For a while the MDR lunches were a treat. But only for a while until they too became same ole, same ole. Main courses of fish, meats, vegetarian option. Pasta selection. Salad or soup selection. But back to the food. All of this would most likely not be an issue on a 15 or 19 day Panama canal cruise. Not with LA and FLL available for restock. Keep in mind this ship was doing 7 day Alaska cruises prior to this 60 day monster, so I’m sure the strange ports and corporate pre-ordering in little known ports has played a large role in this as well. Same with the menu ‘tiredness’. Face it, after 60 days, getting on shore to try even McDonalds sounds VERY appealing! THE CABIN A couple of cabin notes. We were in C637, a forward facing bumpout balcony cabin. For an Alaskan or Panama Canal cruise its great. For entering and exiting a harbor, its great. But for open ocean, no way. The balcony funnels wind into the cabin and you could not do a UBD if you were moving due to the wind. The cabin A/C works! Yeah! BUT we are in a starboard cabin, which means on an eastward crossing, the sun, at this time of year, will be on our side of the ship. Forcing the curtains closed during the day and afternoon to prevent the cabin from warming to over 75 due to solar heating. I should have booked a port side cabin because of the ship’s routing. We would have been in the shade the whole trip back. VIETNAM EXCURSIONS AND TRAVEL AUTHENTIC ASIA As the primary excursion organizer in the three ports of Ha Long, Chan May and Phu My, I highly recommend using Travel Authentic Asia to organize your tours. Ms. Le and her staff made it easy for me to organize 10 busses/junks for Ha Long, 8 busses to Hue from Chan My and 8 busses in Phu My (5 to HCM and 3 to Vung Tau). We limited the busses to 16 people each, give or take a single. Prices were $77pp for Ha Long Bay, $80pp for Chan May Hue and $65pp for Phu My – either tour. This included lunch at each destination – and not a simple cheap lunch either, 8-10 hour tour times, air conditioned busses, a guide and a driver. From all accounts everyone was ecstatic over Ha Long Bay with only 16 people on a 40 person junk, lunch and the sights of the bay. Similarly, everyone was very happy with the day in Hue, except for the heat of course. There were issues on the Phu My stop, but 3 of the 5 busses to HCM and one bus to Vung Tau had a great day. Two of the busses to HCM had issues, but still got to see a lot of the city and the two busses to Vung Tau missed one stop each. My bus in each stop had a great time. With 5 busses to HCM and 3 busses to Vung Tau, there were bound to be issues. Some were passenger caused – the wrong people got on the wrong bus and in one case the wrong tour, and two didn’t even show up. This caused an initial delay in getting out of the gate and getting people back on to their correct bus – although some never would. Neither the guides nor the drivers did a good job of holding to the list. Lesson learned – from now on, make sure you assign a lead person to each bus to double check the list with the guide. One of the busses to Vung Tau went to a closed local market. Unfortunate as I deliberately picked a local market tour to give everyone an idea of how the Vietnamese shop. You have to see it to believe it. But the particular market the guide chose was closed. Another bus to Vung Tau missed the fish farm and the passengers elected to skip it and go back to the ship rather than turn around. They had the impression that the guide/driver were not familiar with the area. (It was hard to find the turnoff as we missed it on the first try and had to U-turn back to it.) But for some of us the fish farm was a real highlight as nothing like this aqua culture layout exists in the US. But all three busses did the rice cracker and rice wine ‘factory’, the large Jesus statue, the Nirvana Pagoda, seaside lunch and the White Palace. Two of the busses to HCM had issues with the guide’s organization and directions – designating a meeting place and time when the group split into different directions. Overall both enjoyed the sights and sounds of HCM – especially the scooter displays – but just had some minor issues with the guides. I’m actually surprised there weren’t more issues with this number of people on this number of busses and this number of tours, and nothing like some of the horror stories coming out of some of the Princess tours. Going into this cruise I was dreading organizing this number of tours, but Travel Authentic Asia and Ms. Le made it easy. She just kept adding busses/guides/junks as more and more people on the roll call signed up. She kept track of payments, deposits, bus assignments and gave everyone plenty of time to swap assignments around as people wanted to see the sights with familiar people. She was even accommodating people and changes after we left LA. Very, very flexible and very nice to work with. She provided contact information for the guides, and other people at her office, to call in case of a delay in getting off the ship – and accommodated all manner of dietary restrictions. (Wanda, our resident vegetarian got so much food she couldn’t begin to eat it all.) Ms. Le also provided everyone easy to read lists, (at least for most of us!), as to the bus assignments and the busses were clearly labeled, marked and parked close to the ship or the tender dock. All in all, it was better organized than Princess tours, with longer tour itineraries, more sights to see, more things to do, more flexibility in deposits and payments, much, much cheaper and far smaller groups. Was it perfect? Not for everyone. For me it was pretty darn close – I did want MORE SPRING ROLLS AT LUNCH! But then nothing rarely is, but upon reflection and considering value, I would not hesitate to do this again in a heartbeat with Ms Le. I would certainly NOT do a ship’s tour in Vietnam ever again – and we did one in 2012 at an ungodly price. Please note that there are several companies with similar sounding names. Two of them are Authentic Asia Travel & Authentic Asia tours, but Travel Authentic Asia is the correct name and their website (travelauthenticasia.com) reflects that. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We wanted to see Alaska and the glaciers. Getting on and off the ship was very easy and mostly smooth. The ship was very clean and the mini-suite with balcony was everything you could ask for. We were very disappointed with the ... Read More
We wanted to see Alaska and the glaciers. Getting on and off the ship was very easy and mostly smooth. The ship was very clean and the mini-suite with balcony was everything you could ask for. We were very disappointed with the food. The service in the dining rooms was very good but the food was poor, with the exception of the two specialty dining rooms. We spent a goodly amount of time at the Mendenhall glacier and that was one of the many highlights of the cruise. Glacier Bay was fantastic, we could have spent a little longer there but we did see a lot. Our shore excursion at Skagway was great. We went to a musher camp and went mushing with a team of 17 dogs then were introduced to puppies from 2-3 months to 2-3 weeks. We loved it, highly recommended. We also found some miniature totem poles that were very well done by native Alaskan carvers. Unfortunately, our Juneau port of call was canceled due to bad weather. You can not control the weather. Then on to Ketchikan, the Saxman Native Alaskan village and totem pole tour was great. We purchased a hand-woven native basket that was very beautiful. In Ketchikan, we also found some scrimshaw than we had been looking for, done by a native Alaskan. Overall the cruise was great, we would go back to Alaska, but there are so many more places waiting for us to discover we probably will not return. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2018
I enjoyed the cruise, but the Effy jewelry personell conducted a raffle for those buying jewelry. I bought my wife a ring that cost almost 3 grand. There were 3 prizes. The same person won all of the prizes. This is almost certainly ... Read More
I enjoyed the cruise, but the Effy jewelry personell conducted a raffle for those buying jewelry. I bought my wife a ring that cost almost 3 grand. There were 3 prizes. The same person won all of the prizes. This is almost certainly impossible to happen if done randomly, i DID NOT EXPECT TO WIN BUT I DID NOT EXPECT THE SAME PERSON TO WIN ALL PRIZES. Also no drink container delivered to my room even though we ordered drink package for soda and virgin drinks. I was therefore unsure where these could be obtained until after third day, I finally took my own container and asked the person behind the drink counter in casual dinning room, who told me. I would go again but please correct these problems for a perfect score. Disney has drinnk stations free throughout ship. It would be nice to have an onboard movie theatre with current movies. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2018
We started our cruise tour in Fairbanks and traveled through Denali to Anchorage and to Whittier to Board the boat. Every step was well planned, organized and hassle free. Princess and ez air did wonderful carefree work for planning, ... Read More
We started our cruise tour in Fairbanks and traveled through Denali to Anchorage and to Whittier to Board the boat. Every step was well planned, organized and hassle free. Princess and ez air did wonderful carefree work for planning, stops, transfers, etc. Ship embarkation and disembarkation were fast and smooth. Balcony room a must! There are many excursions to choose from. Alaska is a tour to not skimp. The vistas are amazing and it’s important to take full advantage. We booked excursions through Princess and they made it so easy and care free. Princess hotels were very nice, although not in cities easily reached (except for Anchorage). The bed in our cabin was very comfortable and our steward was delightful. Entertainment was fun and family friendly. There is not a lot of shopping in ports other than many many jewelry stores. We felt many of the souvenirs were very similar at each stop. Over the counter medicine was hard to find and expensive, so be sure to bring headache, cold and cough medicine, etc with you. The southbound land sea cruistour is amazing and highly recommended. It was a wonderful first Alaska adventure for us. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2018
Love Alaska. The scenery is magnificent and the citizens are great. The weather in Anchorage was rainy and the first day at sea was also. As that was natural, it could hardly have been a negative for the cruise, but it could have been ... Read More
Love Alaska. The scenery is magnificent and the citizens are great. The weather in Anchorage was rainy and the first day at sea was also. As that was natural, it could hardly have been a negative for the cruise, but it could have been better, of course. Otherwise, great. The ships entertainment staff was excellent. The shows were at least as good as any we have ever seen in over 40 cruises on different ships and lines. The ship itself was attractive and not as gaudy as for instance Carnival ships. More traditional wood motifs and much more attractive to the eye than all of the chrome accents on some other ships. The dining rooms were very attractive and the wait staff was attentive and friendly. Princess (Coral) is an very well staffed and attractive ship. It seems I need a few more words to complete my review. This is added for meeting the requirements of the survey. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2018
Inland, Alaska is spectacular as seen from the sea and very familiar to a Kiwi though on a much grander scale than my own New Zealand Loved the rail trip from Denali to Whittier and enjoyed all the land excursions, especially the ... Read More
Inland, Alaska is spectacular as seen from the sea and very familiar to a Kiwi though on a much grander scale than my own New Zealand Loved the rail trip from Denali to Whittier and enjoyed all the land excursions, especially the wonderfully knowledgeable and entertaining (generally) young tour guides The cruise experience is marvelous with the entertainment, especially the singers and dancers who were truly world-class, being the stand-out highlight of the trip. The comedian was very funny and entertaining and the Cruise Director, Gary was especially good The Main Dining Room experience was very disappointing though. We enjoyed very friendly and efficient service from our waiter and waitress, but the food choice was limited, was the same in both the Traditional and Anytime Dining and was rarely hot on serving. This contrasted with our last Princess cruise in the Caribbean where the dining experience was the best ever Read Less
Sail Date: July 2018
Sailed the inside passage 10 year's ago and decided we wanted to see more - so we did the land tour plus cruise. The land portion was hectic with two nights in Anchorage, McKinley Princess Lodge and Denali Princess Lodge. Relaxing ... Read More
Sailed the inside passage 10 year's ago and decided we wanted to see more - so we did the land tour plus cruise. The land portion was hectic with two nights in Anchorage, McKinley Princess Lodge and Denali Princess Lodge. Relaxing when we joined the ship in Whittier for 7 days. Highly recommend doing the land portion first to get the hectic moving, packing and unpacking and deciding what you need to take for that day's activities first, then relax on the ship. Highlights Anchorage, McKinley Lodge and actually seeing Denali, Hubbard Glacier and Glacier Bay National Park. Denali getting too busy and commercialized and Skagway, Juneau and Ketchikan have also become much busier and commercialized in 10 years. Coral Princess is an "older" ship, very well maintained. The food was great and the service good. Our cabin was aft and there is a small, private, walkable deck aft which was a pleasant way to get another, final view of glaciers. One feature we really liked was the wash basins right outside the buffet restaurant - not just hand sanitizer, plus a strategically placed crew member to ensure passengers used the wash basins. Overall a great way to see more of Alaska. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
We chose an Alaskan Land & Cruise Package. We did the land portion first, which was good because that was more strenuous. We boarded the ship in Anchorage & sailed to Vancouver. The first 2 days were spent on the ship as we viewed ... Read More
We chose an Alaskan Land & Cruise Package. We did the land portion first, which was good because that was more strenuous. We boarded the ship in Anchorage & sailed to Vancouver. The first 2 days were spent on the ship as we viewed the glaciers. The next 3 days we were in 3 ports (Skagway, Juneau & Ketchikan). Last full day was at sea. The ship was well-maintained & appointed. Our balcony cabin was clean. I didn't like that our balcony sat back so that balconies below us jutted out further. The shower is small. Our bed was wonderful (Princess takes pride in it's luxury at sea) - so much so that we purchased the mattress when we got home! The plug situation was difficult. You could only plug in one item at the desk & one item behind the TV. I had brought a plug panel with extra plugs but it would not fit into the plugs available. The hair dryer was at the desk. I would have liked it in the bathroom. The food was good - not outstanding. The shows were terrific. The bars emptied out early - 12mn. Felt they could have had more shipboard activities. There is a covered pool on board, as well as hot tubs. Movies on deck was nice - even served free popcorn! Personnel were friendly and efficient. Excursions ran smoothly. Loved the White Pass Railway, Mushers Camp & Medenhall Glacier Hike & Whale Watch. Towns were cute with lots of shops. I think it was a great once-in-a-lifetime trip. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2018
We chose Princess because we wanted to go Direct to the Wilderness to Alaska from Vancouver. Upgrades were part of the incentives at the time of our booking. Sure enough about 1 1/2 weeks before our sail date we were upgraded to balcony ... Read More
We chose Princess because we wanted to go Direct to the Wilderness to Alaska from Vancouver. Upgrades were part of the incentives at the time of our booking. Sure enough about 1 1/2 weeks before our sail date we were upgraded to balcony rooms (we were 3 couples, linked together). Our room steward unlocked the doors between us and we were able to hang out together easily! It was the best thing that could have happened for our trip. We were able to enjoy the glaciers and other sites right from our balcony. Definitely recommend! Also, luggage was transferred for us to each place and arrived exactly where it needed to be. Princess made it extremely easy to go from one port to the next. The offered excursions were fantastic! Our trip went off without a hitch!!! The staff was outstanding. If you are planning a trip to Alaska, book with Princess. You won't be disappointed. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2018
We have cruised with Princess before and loved the experience, we were disappointed with the suite. We had a wonderful time and plan to cruise with Princess again. We are hoping the next time will be better. Our wait staff in the dining ... Read More
We have cruised with Princess before and loved the experience, we were disappointed with the suite. We had a wonderful time and plan to cruise with Princess again. We are hoping the next time will be better. Our wait staff in the dining room was very accommodating and treated us like royalty. We enjoyed Sabatini’s very much! We reported problems with our suite but the problems were never addressed. Fridge did not keep our drinks cool. Bathtub did not drain and the remotes did not work. The food was mediocre. The spa staff was pushy. I don’t want to use any spa services again because of this. Loved the fresh fruit in our suite. Please quit trying to sell spa products and make sure the suite is in excellent condition. The sauna was 120 degrees and made the fire extinguishers go off. The thermal spa beds felt great otherwise. Thank you! Read Less
Sail Date: May 2018
I chose this cruise because I was invited to go with a group of friends who already booked. In addition I wanted to do the land portion as I had previously done a “cruise only” on Regents if the Sea. The ship was nice, but I felt it ... Read More
I chose this cruise because I was invited to go with a group of friends who already booked. In addition I wanted to do the land portion as I had previously done a “cruise only” on Regents if the Sea. The ship was nice, but I felt it could have had a refresh. The two main dining rooms were very nice and the food was very good. The buffet was also good. We purchased the beverage package promotion and were satisfied with it. We also dined in two of the specialty restaurants that you had to pay an upcharge for - Bayou and Sabatini’s. I felt that their menus were nothing special and would not recommend spending the extra dollars to do so. One thing that bothered me onboard were the continuous sales pitches. Almost every onboard event had a sales pitch attached to it. The shore excursions were okay but the land excursions were better. Keep in mind that I had done shore excursions on my previous voyage. I would also recommend NOT using Princess ez air for your flights! It was a nightmare! My return flight completely changed mid-cruise and I was never notified and Princess still had the old itinerary listed on their computers! I only found out when I checked online with the airline while in port. The itinerary change was much longer on different routes and had me arriving back after midnight! There was another flight available that others in my group were on. The airline said they would change me at no additional cost, but Princess refused and wanted to charge me an additional $180 to change to a flight they offered! In the end all they offered me was $75 onboard credit towards a taxi fare! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
Mother's day getaway. If you are planning to use the spa facilities, you will be surprised. They started charging for everything, even just to go into the steam room, the fee is about $65/hour. Even when you book a spa service, ... Read More
Mother's day getaway. If you are planning to use the spa facilities, you will be surprised. They started charging for everything, even just to go into the steam room, the fee is about $65/hour. Even when you book a spa service, like a massage, they still don't let you use anything for free. There were no shows in the evening, just a short production show one of the days, that was it. If you are planning to use a stateroom for more then 2 people, be careful, the bunk beds are very hard to get into and very uncomfortable. It is only designed for young kids. End end of cruise tour was not what we thought it would be. Started half an hour late and ended half an hour early, so we only got a 2 hour tour instead of 3. Waited at the port forever to get into the buses. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2018
We chose this ship for our Alaskan cruise. Ship is old and needs retired. No shows, except comedian, which was good. but Alaska was the reason for the trip. Trip was outstsnding!!! Glaciers and scenery were the highlights. Not much on ... Read More
We chose this ship for our Alaskan cruise. Ship is old and needs retired. No shows, except comedian, which was good. but Alaska was the reason for the trip. Trip was outstsnding!!! Glaciers and scenery were the highlights. Not much on ship. I wish we had no time at McKinley, nothing to do. Would have liked more time for excursion there and Anchorage. Most staff was outstanding. Effy staff was snobby. Excursions were great as well as food. Disappointed to have to pay for milkshakes and specialty coffees. I would go to Alaska again on different ship. Embarkation and disembarkation was the easiest we have ever had after 6 or so cruises.We love cruising. It is the most economical way for a great vacation. I missed them not making animals out of towels in our room. First time with balcony which was nice for Alaska. Trip of a lifetime. Loved it! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
We chose this particular cruise, as it was a full Panama Canal Transit. This had been on my husband's Bucket List for many years now and when he retired and we had unlimited "vacation time", I booked it immediately The ... Read More
We chose this particular cruise, as it was a full Panama Canal Transit. This had been on my husband's Bucket List for many years now and when he retired and we had unlimited "vacation time", I booked it immediately The Coral Princess is a pretty ship, smaller in size and has everything one needs. I will admit it is looking a bit worn, but kept immaculately clean. The public areas were decorated very nicely and all the seating was very comfortable. Be sure if you want to attend an event or one of the larger production shows, you get into the venue 45-60 min before show time. Usually there are things going on prior to the event in the same venue and a lot of people just stay. Getting a table in the Card Room was difficult at times, but we managed to ask people that were "saving" multiple tables to give one of them up. Many of the tables lift sides were in sad condition and one had to "work" on them to get them to stay up in place. One thing I did notice, is that our mini-suite balcony had quite a bit of rust on the metal parts of the ship and the patio furniture desperately needed to be replaced, It was usable but stained and faded. Plus I hated those plastic tiles that are laid down on the decking, like walking on Lego's! The banister railing had been recently varnished. The inside of our cabin was nice and very clean. Thanks Boylin, for taking good care of us! Some of the minor enhancements that could be looked at are, replacing or re-stretching the carpet, updating the old pictures, retiling the bathrooms. All of the previous items are cosmetic and did not effect my cruise. My biggest complaint was those small TV's with such limited programing to watch!! I know I am not on a cruise to watch TV, but I am a night owl and like to do so after the evening events have wound down!! I guess I was totally spoiled on the Royal Princess that have 50" TVs with On Demand programming!! Oh, the beds are to die for!! No, none, nada, complaints there!! The food and service was really good. In the main dining rooms it was a bit slow, as it seems like they had several new crew and the main waiter and helpers were getting to know each other? The food in Horizon Court was fabulous. I have never had such great tasting breads, meats, and gravies. Not to mention the absolutely fabulous desserts at least 8-10 to choose from, plus the most delicious tasting cookies ever! Try the Peanut Butter they are to die for!! Say hi to Carlos for me! We were on first name basis. Over all the cruise was wonderful. We met so many awesome people, several of which we will keep in contact with! If you are thinking of this itineray, do it! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
My husband had always wanted to see the workings of the Panama Canal! It was an item on his bucket list. The Coral Princess is a lovely ship - we loved the formal dining and met some great new people onboard. We did the full passage of ... Read More
My husband had always wanted to see the workings of the Panama Canal! It was an item on his bucket list. The Coral Princess is a lovely ship - we loved the formal dining and met some great new people onboard. We did the full passage of the Panama Canal on an excursion on a smaller ship. We were able to see the workings of the canal and learn more about the history and function. If you are looking for something for everyone, probably not the cruise for you. It was definitely an older group with few children and young adults. Food was great and the room was very comfortable. We had a mini-suite without a balcony. We found that we really liked the additional space. The entertainment could not compete with some larger ships that we have sailed on, but enjoyable and creative. Nightly movies under the stars were very fun! Very friendly and attentive staff. A pleasant surprise was in Cartegena - a great nature park right at the port! Monkeys, parrots, iguanas, flamingos roaming around. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
Have cruised previously, but not as extensively as others. Have traveled on various ships but this was our first Princess. We were pleasantly surprised and totally satisfied with everything. The ship may not be the newest of the fleet ... Read More
Have cruised previously, but not as extensively as others. Have traveled on various ships but this was our first Princess. We were pleasantly surprised and totally satisfied with everything. The ship may not be the newest of the fleet but offered everything one would need. Our cabin was the best lay-out of any we have had on other ships. Bathroom, clothes closet and mirror were separated from the "living area" which was convenient. We had a balcony cabin C405 . The balcony was the largest in comparison to others - with lounge type chairs, large table and foot rests. Our cabin steward, Danny was excellent and spoke very good English. We chose "any time" dining as not to be regimented into when we had to eat. The longest wait time with a buzzer was approx 1/2 hr. but were usually called in 5 - 10 minutes. We were satisfied with the food and service provided by the dining staff. Entertainment and shows were excellent. Cruise Director, Miranda was excellent and easy to understand - and fun! This being a 14 day cruise, every evening was fresh and after viewing a couple entertainers the first time, we were anxious to attend their second performance later on the trip. Many activities overlapped so it was impossible to be everywhere, so we just chose where we wanted to be. The Ports were great, although we did not go on the ship shore excursions and chose to wander about or hire a private guide (which is discouraged, in the event they do not get you back in time to sail away). All in all, we enjoyed the whole experience and will probably book Princess again in the future. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2018
We wanted to go thru the Panama Canal. The service in the Dining Rooms was always excellent. Food not so good. The meats were tough and had little flavor. The dinner menu was very lacking re choices. The shrimp cocktail was always ... Read More
We wanted to go thru the Panama Canal. The service in the Dining Rooms was always excellent. Food not so good. The meats were tough and had little flavor. The dinner menu was very lacking re choices. The shrimp cocktail was always excellent. We ate in the Bayou Steak House one night. The steaks (very Large) were excellent, as was the waiter. Princess did a very nice thing for my wife since it was her Birthday. She received a gift card entitling her to free cover charge in one of the Specialty Restaurants. The cabin was ideally located near the front elevators (Lifts). Since my wife and I both have some difficulty walking very far, this location was great. Trips to the Horizon Court (buffet) were very easy with little walking. Trips to the Theater were easy as the Lifts near our room faced the entry to the Theater. Trips to the dining room and the Atrium required moderate walking. The entertainment and activities was excellent. Always something to do. Our cabin steward was terrific. He did a great job of maintaining our cabin. He provided us with a fresh bucket of ice twice a day. We were very disappointed with the land excursions. They were quite expensive and generally required too much walking in 100 degree weather with high humidity. Remember - Anyone with prior Military service will be given ship credit of XXX dollars. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
We chose this cruise because we live in the San Francisco North Bay area and wanted to sail from San Francisco. The Panama Canal has been on our bucket list for sometime and this was the opportunity. The cruise was great and the staff ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we live in the San Francisco North Bay area and wanted to sail from San Francisco. The Panama Canal has been on our bucket list for sometime and this was the opportunity. The cruise was great and the staff was excellent. The entertainment was top notch and the food was very good but not outstanding. The ship is old and it showed. It was in dry dock for refurbishment in 2016 and is due for dry dock in 2019. The ship wasn't as well kept as I would have liked to see, in the common areas like the Promenade deck. Peeling banisters, rust spots, areas that had been repainted but not properly prepped. We had a balcony room B522 and there was dirt on the sliding glass door and balcony glass was not clean. The room was very nice and clean and although the bathroom and shower are small, it wasn't a problem for us. Lots of activities going on through out the day and evening. Service was excellent and the staff was friendly and helpful. We booked all of our excursions through Princess in each port. They were all very good and I would definitely recommend them. We usually book shorter excursions in the morning and then explore the port on our own in the afternoon. We were able to do that in all of the ports and had a wonderful time in each. If you are interested in sailing the Panama Canal from San Francisco, I would recommend the Coral Princess. I would take this cruise again in a heartbeat. I plan on writing a separate, short narration on viewing of the Canal transit elsewhere on cruise critic. Hamradiocruiser Read Less
Coral Princess Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.4
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

Find a Coral Princess Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click
Compare and book excursions for your next cruise