1,013 Princess Coral Princess Cruise Reviews

This was a perfect cruise. Length was just the right amount of time. Days to relax, days in port! The cabin was typical Princess cabin and always enjoy the balcony! This ship is smaller to accommodate going through the Panama Canal and had ... Read More
This was a perfect cruise. Length was just the right amount of time. Days to relax, days in port! The cabin was typical Princess cabin and always enjoy the balcony! This ship is smaller to accommodate going through the Panama Canal and had a beautiful Atrium, special restaurants and entertainment venues. Much cozier ship. We really enjoyed the on board entertainment - shows were very good and comedian hilarious. Food was excellent in the dining room and the service outstanding. This staff is superior - from our cabin stewardess, our many waiters and waitresses and the bar staff. As always the pizza is fabulous and addictive! Beautiful to watch arrival into Cartegena on port side early in the morning. Columbia was amazing just wish we'd had more time in port (left at 1:30) and had to do the usual gem store visit but Old Town is fascinating and beautiful. If you go to Dungeons head to stalls 1-5, they have more local art. Be sure to be up early to watch approach into Panama Canal. Go to either floor 10 or 11 and through doors usually closed to staff only because you can go out on front deck of ship for an amazing view. This is an incredible experience and an amazing engineering feat! The tour we took where we went to the observation deck at the Canal gave an up close view and education. Tour was ok (boat ride on lake). but would probably have chosen to go on train or to Panama City. Our tour guide did recommend going to the grocery store where ship docked in Colon. Great coffee recommendation - Duran - and only $2.50! It's delicious and brought home lots for gifts. Enjoyed Costa Rica and took Airal Tram, great local lunch and excellent shop. Also great coffee - Brit - light roast but $11 here but so good!! Had a joyful ride down the Martha Brea and the best guide on our special river raft. Captains sell interesting gourds they carve and then they customize them for you (about $20).   Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
Cruised on CP to Alaska last year on a wonderful trip with a group of friends and a smaller group sailed with us on this occasion. The ship and staff brought us back for a wonderful sail to PC and the Carribean. 11 day sailing from Port ... Read More
Cruised on CP to Alaska last year on a wonderful trip with a group of friends and a smaller group sailed with us on this occasion. The ship and staff brought us back for a wonderful sail to PC and the Carribean. 11 day sailing from Port Everglades. No need for Princess transfers from airport as cabs are plentiful (except for large groups) and inexpensive. Princess is trying/tried staggered boarding times but they are not mandatory. Embarkation went smoothly. Waited some time in the "lounge area" until the ship was ready for boarding. Activities are typical for a ship of this size. We enjoy the moderate size of the ship. The service was just outstanding save for one episode when a crew member working the ice cream bar must have been having a bad day. The first two days were spent at sea. We had a rough ride the first day. It seemed that Cpt. Austin was trying to outrun some foul weather and get to calmer water. Which he did. Day 2 was okay. Day 4 in Aruba marked our second visit to that country and Oranjestad, its capital. The latter has nothing particular to offer us. We walked through town to a small and relatively secluded beach area and ate at The West Deck which was a great spot with wonderful service and basically light fare. We spent time lounging there and there is a gazebo for shade. The water and bottom are nice as well. A nice way to spend a relatively short shore time. Day 5 was at sea. Sunny and pleasant. 82 degrees Day 6 in Cartegna. Terrible traffic there. Bus drivers have nerves of steel. Took the Highlights of Cartegna tour. A little problem with language - one had to listen closely to our guide who was a school teacher. But all in all a very good tour, albeit with a little too much emphasis on cheap shopping. Day 7 is the Canal. Get up early and get to the bow of the ship for a good spot on the highest deck. We were up at 5 or so. The light was just breaking with mist hanging over the rain forest. There are two approaches. Our cabin was on the starboard side and the ship took the port side cut. That meant we could run down to our balcony and really get a close look at the operation. Once through the Canal we were on Gatun Lake and were tendered to the Embrera Indian Village. Much has been said about the authenticity of the EIV. However, we enjoyed the visit for what it was on its face - informative and fun, even if recreated. (Our guide insisted the villagers do live there and the children must attend school off the island). We then were bused to an observation deck and saw the ship passing back through the Canal to Colon. We then left to return to the ship which was delayed by a faulty anchor. The waiting area in Colon is awful so if the ship is late, as it was, there is little to do or see and the facilities are terrible (both bathroom and seating in the terminal). Day 8 in Limon we drove about an hour or so to Braulio Carrillo National Park for Rainforest Aerial Tram and Tortuguero Canals and Lunch. This was a great excursion. Be sure to take rain gear. It's the Rain Forest and it lives up to its name. Ponchos were handy. The tram ride was awesome and the lunch was delicious and plentiful. But the highlight was the Canals trip at the end. We saw many forms of wildlife and even the guides remarked that it was a banner day for animal and bird spotting. Afterward we were served a light snack of fresh fruit. Day 9 we spent at sea. It was sunny, then rainy and windy. Again, temps in the 80s but the wind made it feel much cooler. Day 10 we docked at Ocho Rios in Jamaica. We took a great excursion to Green Grotto Caves and Dunn's Falls. The Caves are in a National Park and are quite a nice tour. The Falls can be climbed fairly easily and during the climb a staffer is filming the trip. Although they push everyone buying one of the DVDs, you can get one for your group and reproduce it. It's a fun item but not all that great. Day 11 we were at sea again and making headway for Port Everglades and we docked the morning of December 12. Disembarkation went very smoothly. We boarded a cab at the pier and were back at the airport within 20 minutes. We love CP. We were on Emerald Deck (Deck 8) with a balcony. The nicest thing about this is that if you are with friends in adjoining cabins the cabin steward will open the dividers on the balcony on request and you can join together on the balcony and move back and forth freely without having to go into the corridors. Take some rope (a small diameter) to tie back the dividers. The dining was wonderful. The food delicious. Our wait staff, Minino and Brad, at table 97 in the Bordeaux dining room was excellent and we had a good time with them. The Maitre'D, Marius, who we met on our earlier cruise to Alaska, was very accommodating. We had anytime dining but made a reservation with him. Unfortunately, it marked his last cruise on the ship. The entertainment was the best we have ever encountered: Vocalist Jamila was excellent as a Motown style singer. Illusionist Alexander Great (Really?) was excellent on first show, not quite as good the second time. Instrumentalist Craig Richard on sax could rival Kenny G. Comedy and guitar music of Gary Delena was funny and wonderful. We had never gone to shows on a ship before and loved all of them. This was a wonderful cruise and fulfilled a lifelong dream. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
This was our first cruise on Princess and our longest cruise. I was concerned with the multiple days at sea that we would be bored with not much to do. Not so! There was always something interesting going on - trivia contests, production ... Read More
This was our first cruise on Princess and our longest cruise. I was concerned with the multiple days at sea that we would be bored with not much to do. Not so! There was always something interesting going on - trivia contests, production shows, comedians, lectures, movies, "game shows" with cruise staff and passengers, lots of music, places to dance, Karoke, pro football game broadcasts and more. Princess also offers meeting space for various groups (unhosted) - veterans, LGBT, singles,and more. Each room has its own thermostat, the PA system is not piped into cabins unless it is very important, the double beds each have a lamp and nightstand (unlike other ships we have been on where one climbs over their partner). The Panama Canal lecture was very informative and the passage itself fascinating. We toured in Panama City with a terrific guide named Roxy. Traveled on the highway connecting the Atlantic with the Pacific, did a walking tour. Take an umbrella - it rains often. Book your tours before boarding and save $10 or more per person. Also took a tour in Limon to a rainforest, animal sanctuary and banana plantation. I have lot more respect for bananas now. We booked a taxi with another couple in Cartegena. Arrange your trip with the taxi driver ahead of time - where you want to go and for about how long. Make sure he understands enough English and do not pay him until he takes you back to the ship. We paid $15 each. Went to a shopping area/mall, the Fort and Old City. At the Old City plaza go to the tourist office for a map and take a walking tour. We just shopped in Ocho Rios - did not want to go to Dunns Falls and that seemed to be the most popular destination. The food was OK, not great. If you choose anytime dining you will not always be able to eat when you would like unless you make a reservation and you will be asked to share a table. This is not mandatory but can result in a longer wait or being sent to the other dining room if you are tired and not in the mood for conversation. There is only 1 electrical outlet in the bathroom and it is only for shavers. The other outlet is at the desk and handles any 2 items. The internet on the ship is pricey so get it in ports sometimes for free or with a small charge - $3 - $5. Aruba at the Starbucks in the mall. At the Subway in Cartegena in Old City (clean bathroom too (free with a purchase - buy a coke) at the terminal in Limon (free) and in the first shopping area in Jamaica ($3). Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
We sailed in December, 2014, on our honeymoon. We took an 11 day cruise on the Coral Princess through the Panama Canal with stops in Aruba, Cartagena (Colombia), Limón (Costa Rica) and Ohio Rios (Jamaica). Our first impression of the ... Read More
We sailed in December, 2014, on our honeymoon. We took an 11 day cruise on the Coral Princess through the Panama Canal with stops in Aruba, Cartagena (Colombia), Limón (Costa Rica) and Ohio Rios (Jamaica). Our first impression of the Coral Princess was that it is a smaller ship (we'd previously cruised on the Royal Caribbean Allure). That being said, the Coral Princess is a well kept. The ship is classy, with an Art Deco meets the seas motif, gold, and marble as far as the eye can see. We chose cabin E201. One of the largest cabins on the ship (just below the mini suites). Cabin E201 comes with a 3 by 4ft window (est.), two desk areas, 1.5 by 4ft (est.), with seating, a mini fridge, and ample closet space. The only complaint my husband and I had regarding the cabin, was the bedding. The mattresses and bedding could use an update. The mattress was a little too firm and uneven. The pillows were either too thin or too thick. Be warned, there is an extreme shortage of nightlife on the Coral Princess. If I had to guess, I'd say that this is due to a shortage of the partying type of crowd. From what we've read and our experience thus far, Princess attracts a rather distinguished crowd of vacationers. You'll notice the entertainment is geared towards a more mature and easygoing crowd as well. Just a side note, our cruise was a partial transit through the Panama Canal and I'd previously cruised to Alaska on the Sapphire Princess. Based on our previous cruises, the older demographic could be due to the more educational destinations and not typical of Princess cruise lines as a whole. The food is really very enjoyable on the Coral Princess. This goes for the vegetarian cuisine as well. We've sailed Princess, Royal Caribbean, Carnival, and Norwegian. Princess has some of the best food we've ever tasted. The Coral Princess offers a wide selection of vegetarian dishes, which includes their in-room dining selection. Speaking of in-room dining, be careful what you leave on the in-dining room trays. My husband left his retainer on the tray, our room attendant removed it, and it was never to be seen again. We chose anytime dining. Regarding the dining room atmosphere, we had few complaints. For the most part, the staff on Coral Princess are very friendly and accommodating. Aside from the over selling of alcoholic beverages. Our only major complaint, with dining, had to do with our distaste for the lighting in the 5th floor dining room. The lighting was far too bright, as if we were being interrogated every evening. Upon further examination, it would appear that the tables and spotlight lighting are not aligned properly, creating a less then desirable effect. On an interesting side note regarding the Panama Canal, currently the Coral Princess is the largest of the ships permitted to pass through the Panama Canal. That being said, a new canal is in the process of being constructed. The new canal will allow much larger ships to pass through Panama. According to our tour guide, the fee for the Coral Princess to pass through the Panama Canal was approximately 350 thousand USD. It took about an hour for the Coral Princess to pass through the Gatun Locks. An amazing sight to see. The Panama Canal is one astonishing engineering feat. We couldn't have asked for a better honeymoon and we'll definitely be sailing with Princess again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
My tips: *If you’re driving to the Port in Ft. Lauderdale, consider parking at Embassy Suites (no requirement that you stay there) at the parking lot operated by United Airport Parking. Only $4 a day, ten minutes to the port and ... Read More
My tips: *If you’re driving to the Port in Ft. Lauderdale, consider parking at Embassy Suites (no requirement that you stay there) at the parking lot operated by United Airport Parking. Only $4 a day, ten minutes to the port and includes free shuttle to the port. They’ll take you right to the ship. (www.unitedairportparking.com) Note that you must make a reservation in advance, and have your printed receipt to present to the staff when you arrive at the hotel. It’s much less expensive than parking at the port. *Standard cabins have only one electrical outlet in the main cabin (and one in the bathroom). Bring a small power strip (we were very happy with our three outlet strip) if you plan to charge any electronic devices. *If you plan to do your own laundry while on board (there are passenger laundry facilities on most decks) consider bringing along your own detergent to save money. Washers cost $3.00 per load, Dryers are also $3.00 per load and the cost is deducted from your ship account. So, no need for cash or coins. *Bring a lanyard with you, or buy a Princess lanyard in the ship’s store. You can ask the staff at the Passenger Services desk onboard to punch a hole in your cruise card, and then you can wear it around your neck if you’re heading to the pool, to work out, if you’re just wearing an outfit without pockets or if you tend to lose your cruise card if it’s not fastened somewhere. *Sabatini’s Restaurant serves Alfredo’s Pizza at lunch nearly every day of the cruise. There’s no extra charge, it’s delicious, and there are around seven varieties of personal pizzas (8” round pie = 4 slices) to choose from. *Find out when The Crab Shack Luncheon is being offered (usually only twice per cruise) and served in the Bayou Café. There’s a $20 per person service charge, but you get appetizer (hush puppies and popcorn shrimp with two dipping sauces), soup (chowder), your choice of four pots of different steamed shell fish (includes mussels, clams, king crab, shrimp, snow crab) and dessert. It’s filling and really good. *The Panama Canal (after all, this is why you chose this cruise!): Do not remain on one deck with one view for the complete transit. You will miss too much. There’s a unique perspective from each deck and different sides of the ship. Get up early so you can enjoy the entry into the Canal in the dark before dawn with the various ships in the Canal lit, and the Canal approach lit up like an airport runway. We got up early enough to be out on Baja Deck forward with our camera by 5:30am. A friend had told me it would be magical, he was right! See my Wednesday, November 26 entry for information about the not-well-known access to out-door viewing from the Baja deck (also available on Caribe). *Are you a wine drinker? Consider the special wine package and you’ll save money. We chose the silver wine package (you can buy a 7, 10 or 12 bottle package) which allows you to purchase any bottle of wine valued at up to $29 a bottle. There’s also a gold 7, 10 or 12 wine package for wines valued up to $45 a bottle. This package can be used in any dining location (excludes bars and room service), and if you don’t finish a bottle with the meal, dining staff will cork and store it for you and bring it out at your next meal. *If you’ve done a number of Princess excursions and would like to try something different, consider a private excursion at one or more ports of call. They’re much more personalized, flexible, frequently more interesting and usually less expensive. The reputable companies are just as concerned as you are with getting you back to the ship on time. See the description of our private excursion experiences in Cartagena and Puerto Limon. *“Motor City” and “On The Bayou” were our favorite theatrical performances on the cruise. Try not to miss them! “Motor City” is a must if you love the music of Motown. The comedian Scott Wyler was very funny. It was essentially 45 minutes of non-stop jokes, and he had two shows with different material (one earlier in the cruise, and one on the next to last evening). *You’re going to take a lot of pictures. I had brought an extra set of batteries for the camera and felt very smug about that until I had to replace that set of batteries with new ones. So, you may want to bring two sets of batteries along with you. *Into Zumba? A 45-minute Zumba class is offered on all “at sea” days, and it’s free! *Wine tastings. There’s a wine tasting that’s offered at the beginning of the cruise for $25/person, featuring top shelf wines, high-end small plates of food (e.g. caviar), linen napkins and the wait staff in dinner jackets. Towards the end of the cruise, there’s another wine-tasting for $9.50/person, featuring wines under $30 (except for one high-end red), cheese, grapes and a miniature cheese cake for tasting with the one dessert wine, paper napkins and the wait staff in more casual white linen jackets. We went to the $9.50 one and had a great time. Neither are advertised; your wait staff at dinner will tell you about it. The Coral Princess is an older ship (I believe it was commissioned in 2003) with a friendly crew. It doesn’t have all the amenities of the larger ships in the Princess fleet but the public spaces are attractive, the Promenade Deck goes completely around the ship, and one of the large outdoor pool areas is protected by a roof (great for inclement weather or when it’s just too hot to be at the open pool). The Universe Lounge is a very pretty venue with seating on two levels. It’s very different architecturally from the show lounges we’ve seen on the other Princess ships and I really liked it. One of the reasons we keep coming back to Princess is the food, and the Coral Princess did not disappoint. While Sabatini’s and the Bayou Café (specialty restaurants each with an extra cover charge) are fun to try, the evening dining room fare is excellent. It’s the same menu for dinner in both the Provence (traditional seating) and Bordeaux (“anytime”) dining rooms. The desserts are sinfully good from the flourless chocolate cake to the orange soufflé.. We are fish eaters and all the fish we tried were in every case deliciously seasoned and very fresh. This was our first cruise with so many days at sea (there were four) and we loved them. There was lots of time to relax, read, enjoy a small project, work out, attend a lecture or a film and just enjoy the gift of time. Our CruiseCritic roll call group sponsored a Meet & Greet aboard ship on our first full day at sea. Five members of the crew attended along with nearly forty CruiseCritic cruisers. It was a lot of fun and we made friends who we’ll keep in touch with long after the cruise ends. The rainy season for Cartegena, the Panama Canal, and Limon runs from May through November. While the temperatures were in the mid-80s, the humidity matched the temperature. So, when the sun isn’t hidden by clouds, it’s hot. For this cruise, the weather gods were mostly kind. The small amount of rain we did have came in the late evening or early morning hours. There were occasional high winds, especially when in the open ocean. There were also some swells. Probably the day with the most rocking was our at sea day between Colon, Colombia and Grand Cayman Island (Friday, Nov 28). It was cloudy and relatively cool on Grand Cayman, and some excursions that involved boats or diving were cancelled due to strong currents or the water having been stirred up by the previous day’s winds and swells. The Panama Canal was our favorite port of call, Cartegena was our second favorite. The old city has some gorgeous architecture (it’s a UNESCO World Heritage site) and there was so much to see. While we saw quite a few things in Puerto Limon, we were very happy to have an escorted tour. We would not have felt safe going off by ourselves beyond the confines of the port area. The ship offers bottled water for port days (for $2.00/bottle plus gratuity). Take it with you to stay hydrated. We saw a few people bringing their own 12 -18 packs of bottled water on board on embarkation day, but that seemed a bit excessive to us. Very efficient boarding. We arrived at the dock just prior to 12 noon and we were in our stateroom by 12:30pm. We took advantage of the sit down luncheon in the Provence Dining Room where they serve from noon to 1:00pm on Embarkation Day. Otherwise, the choice is Horizon Court. But the sit down luncheon with full service is a lovely way to start the cruise if you get on board early enough. On the day we visited the Panama Canal, we decided not to take an excursion, but remained aboard the ship. More than 1100 passengers chose to do an excursion, but we did not regret our choice. We enjoyed observing the ship pass through the Gatun Locks twice. We woke up early in order to be on the Baja Deck with our camera at 5:30 am. We were through the canal and on Gatun Lake by 8:30am. The following is a quote from someone else’s posting, and addresses the matter really well. “While the forward section has the best views of entering the Canal chambers, you don't want to miss the Promenade Deck either, as the ship different perspective of this Modern Marvel. “Also check Baja deck forward (and Caribe deck forward) for an area not normally accessible to passengers. If you walk all the way forward on Baja on either the port or starboard side, there is a door at the end of the hall that is normally locked. It leads through a short hallway (forward of cabin B201 or B202, depending upon whether you are on the port or starboard side). The door at the end of the short hallway leads to an observation deck. It's a nice spot to watch the ship go into the locks and gives a good perspective of the size of the ship, size of the locks and any ships already in the locks in front of you. The observation area spans side to side (Port to Starboard) and is fairly wide. Not much protection though if it rains! It’s not a huge secret – but the door is normally locked, and unless you know it’s there, you probably would never try to enter since it’s not a cabin or general passenger area/location.” We were blessed with a beautiful sunrise and a lovely sunny morning with sunshine and a gentle breeze. Being up on Baja deck while it was still dark out and with all the lights from the ships on made for a magical viewing experience. We had an outstanding view throughout the entire transit, and we were much more comfortable than the crush of people up on the Lido and Sun decks, especially because portions of those decks obscure the view (and picture taking) with tall glass panels. Seeing how the Canal gets the boats through was fascinating, especially knowing that Coral Princess had only two feet of clearance on either side of the ship. we also enjoyed watching the other ships go through ahead of us through both channels. This was clearly the highlight of our cruise, and we just LOVED it. We later learned that two of the metal “mules,” the heavily fortified trucks that guide the ships through the channels, had a minor accident. One mule drove into the back of another at the rear of the ship. A cable became caught, and it took about a half hour to free it up. Then things proceeded as normal.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
We just returned from our trip on the Coral Princess to the Panama Canal. The boarding was seamless as usual, of course we are Platinum members and do get to go to the head of the lines but the lines were short and moved quickly anyway for ... Read More
We just returned from our trip on the Coral Princess to the Panama Canal. The boarding was seamless as usual, of course we are Platinum members and do get to go to the head of the lines but the lines were short and moved quickly anyway for boarding. We bring along our own 12 pack of soft drinks and two bottles of wine to save a bundle over their prices on board. We still buy a few drinks on board but only take advantage of the two for one’s that are offered in the Wheel House in the afternoon and the Explorer’s lounge after 10PM. We don’t use the specialty dinner venues, I am an old time cruiser and just can’t figure why we would want to encourage the cruise lines to charge extra for food. I am not too above the food they serve that’s included in the cruise price and from the looks of the restaurants on this cruise I am not alone in this thinking. They offer a couple of specialty lunches also along the way where lunch is free if you buy your drinks. Think about it, a small walk to a different part of the ship gets you a free lunch period with your drink and service too. If we keep paying for services that were always included they will have you sliding your card at the buffet one day very soon, their frame of mind is whatever the consumer will bear. The trip itself is a very relaxing one, two days at sea heading toward Aruba. After a few hours there you are off to Cartagena which is only a short hop away and you basically float there for a day and a half. I don’t know but seeing that Curacao is right next door a stop there would be a passenger pleaser I would think but a slow float is quite a bit more profitable for the ship and that’s the route that’s taken. A very short stay in Cartagena and you’re out of there on the way to the canal. Probably your best and cheapest choice of this stop is to hire a taxi ($50 a day) and the driver will drop you anyplace you want and wait for you. You can see it all this way at your pace and save a pile of money. The canal is always a pleaser; I’ve been there 4 times now and never get sick of it. The stop in Colon to pick up the on tour passengers would be wisely avoided by those who didn’t get on a tour. They at one time stopped in Cristobel and the stop there was great with the Indian craft booths that were there, this stop now is what I would call dangerous and useless. On to Limon, Costa Rica is a great place with many great tours. Again I would think though that with a little pre-planning from home one could set one of the same tours at half the ships price. After Limon it’s off to either Jamaica or Grand Cayman, our trip went to Cayman. We have been there so many times from any other Caribbean cruise that we chose not to even get off the ship. I personally would have rather stopped in Cozumel but I wasn’t driving. After Cayman it’s a day and a half ride back to Ft. Lauderdale and back to reality. All in all a pretty nice cruise, the entertainment on Princess pretty much remains the same and we found that the production show we had was one we saw earlier in the year on another ship and we really didn’t want to see it again. We also had a comedian, a magician and a singer all of which kind of surprised us because they weren’t the normal British variety and were very adequate. They showed some movies inside the ships theaters and we chose to see those versus laying outside in the heat and humidity risking rain, wind and the sound of wind. The big screen outside is nice at times but we are regular Princess cruisers and find that we use it very little due to one reason or another. We prefer the indoor movies, quiet, dark and comfortable as it should be. We would take the cruise again, but of course we would take any cruise again, we just enjoy being at sea.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
This was my husband and I’s seventh cruise, we are in our mid thirties with three kids. It was a getaway for just the two of us to celebrate our 11th anniversary. We were in C223, a mini suite on the 10th deck. It was an excellent cabin ... Read More
This was my husband and I’s seventh cruise, we are in our mid thirties with three kids. It was a getaway for just the two of us to celebrate our 11th anniversary. We were in C223, a mini suite on the 10th deck. It was an excellent cabin with an excellent room steward named Reymond. He kept our ice bucket full, and never impeded on our private time. The water on the ship is almost unbearably hot. Even at the coldest setting our shower was almost too hot- that was our only major complaint regarding the room. We had a very nice large private balcony and spent an enormous amount of time out there. The elevator in the forward part of the ship is a bit of a pain since you can only go to level 7, and then have to walk down to the next bank of elevators to go lower. Not that big of a deal to us, but there was a lot of grumbling about it. We appreciated being only two levels below the buffet for our late night cravings. This is also the level with the not so secret employee break deck. Walk down your hallway toward the front of the ship and through the unmarked door. There is a deck there that is used by the crew. We never found it necessary to go out there except for Panama Canal day. It was completely empty and had a great view as you’re entering the locks. Thursday: Red eye from San Francisco on Jetblue, arrived at 9am- flight was a few hours late. Princess transfer doesn’t leave airport until 1130. We would just use a taxi next time, port is only a 15 min ride away. Smooth checkin and in room by 12. Lunch was being served in the Provence dining room. Called the dine line to be put in the list for chefs table. Muster drill was simple and in the theater. Friday: At sea, Signed up for Ultimate Ships Tour. Mani Pedi at spa was just ok- two hours long and included a hand and feett massage. For 200+ with tip I’ve had better gel manicures. Started chipping on the 9th day of the cruise but didn’t want to bother with a fix. Husband did "time for men", which was an ok shave- he bought a few of the products they were pushing but didn’t end up using them. They aren’t exactly pushy, but it’s annoying to have a relaxing time only to be pushed to buy something at the end (happened to me each time I went to spa). Since I frequent the spa’s at home I know this isn’t just unique to the cruise ships. We attended a Cruise critic get together with white elephant gift exchange- thought it was great to meet everyone in person. The gift exchange was filled with laughs and very fun. Picked up our scavenger hunt after and wish we had kept all our paperwork from first day since it’s included in the hunt. Attended the Port talks with Chris Roberts, which were all excellent and always replayed on television. Ate at the Bayou that night, very good. Had enough time to catch Guardians of the Galaxy (movies under the stars). This was the first Formal Night. Saturday: At sea, Had a couples massage that was seriously overpriced for what it was. Felt like our masseuses were just going through a routine, and they immediately tried to book us both for a follow up massage. Had a relaxing day as we were both feeling a little tired. Movies under the Stars was Edge of Tomorrow. The buffet was Asian Stir Fry (like Mongolian BBQ at home). Today was the gold level Captains Circle get together. Sunday: Aruba, Booked the Princess excursion Schooner Cruise. Thought it was very fun. The sea was a bit rough, but you get three scuba spots. My husband has a beard and mustache and didn’t realize he should have brought his own equipment with him, or shaved first. The snorkel mask can’t get a good seal and he was constantly dumping his mask out. Nose plugs and eye goggles would have been better. This is a great excursion for kids and we had several with us- there is an open bar so there was some heavy drinking going on by some of the younger clientele. Find the Starbucks in Aruba for free wifi. Good shopping but only a few stores open because it was Sunday. It was Indian Buffet night, we ate in the dining room. Sunday night football played all day on stateroom tvs and Movies under the Stars. Alexander the great was our magician for the night- heard he put on a good show although we didn't attend. He did two shows and up close magic on the last day. Monday: At sea, Made our Posters for Panama. Did the Chefs Table for dinner and it’s less expensive if you’re not drinking. There was only one on this cruise with only ten of us, so we were lucky enough to be chosen. 3 Appetizers, Pasta course, palate cleanse, surf and turf, cheese course, dessert, petit fours- all with a wine pairing (we did not indulge), all was delicious. I had a facial that was just ok- a little frustrated again at how expensive it was for what it was. No exfoliation and no extraction. The same facial went on half price special the next day. I’ll be unlikely to use a spa on board a princess ship again. Football for most of the day. Tuesday: Cartagena, We took a cab into town- negotiable. We ended up paying 15$ a person for a four hour cab tour. Our cabbie basically just took us where we wanted to go with brief explanations of the stops. Had to do a few kick back spots (places where we would go in and look around so the cab driver could get decent parking). This didn’t bother me since it’s pretty common in most countries. We never felt pressured to buy anything, just to go in and spend a few minutes looking around. I felt this was the best port of the cruise. The port itself is perfect for kids to look around- lots of animals and decent but overpriced shopping. We could not find free wifi. The buffet that night was also one of my favorites of the cruise- Tacos and fajita night, with chips and salsa! Wednesday: Panama, Got in very early- if you have a tour make sure you are listening to the correct channel to hear your tour departure time. We were outside sightseeing and almost missed our time. You won’t be able to hear the announcements from your own balcony if you don’t have the tv playing. We did the Princess excursion locks transfer on the smaller boat. We happened to go through very quickly (4 hours) although we’ve heard it can take several more hours. The lunch buffet is sad and you should bring your own snacks aboard if possible. If we had realized this we would have grabbed some fruit and things from breakfast. There is free water and sodas, which is nice since it’s very hot. It’s difficult to get a good seat on board this smaller boat, since there only a few really good seats and you can only get them if you’re lucky enough to be unloaded from you bus first. Otherwise you’ll be pushing for a good position to be able to see anything. Very annoying. The bus ride to and from this excursion is about one and a half to two hours and is narrated the whole time by a tour guide. We had perhaps the worst tour guide I’ve ever had- Lydia. If you take this excursion please try and avoid being on her bus. She would ask for questions and then proceed not to answer them, was very loud and quite obnoxious. Another of the tour guides did the narration on the boat and was such better (I don’t remember his name, but he was quite knowledgeable, and after learning we were Mormon pointed out the Temple to my husband and I). The buffet that night was a Panamanian feast and was delicious! This is the day to indulge in desserts! It was also 20$ laundry day, but you had to get your laundry to the Steward by noon. They did a good job of pressing all of our items and they were all returned the next morning. Thursday: Port Limon, We did the Princess Zipline/rainforest package tour. If we had known beforehand how long the day was going to be, we would have just booked the zipline through the company website and taken a taxi. Regardless this was a very fun tour. It was a small group which was much more personal. Our tour guide Josh stopped the van several times to explain the fruits and vegetation of Costa Rico, including picking fruit to show us up close. She was an excellent tour guide, but the tour dragged a bit, and was possibly a bit boring for the kids with us. This is a CASH only establishment, which was upsetting since there were several places we wanted to buy souvenirs. There was slow, but free wifi at the port. It was also Thanksgiving- there was a full thanksgiving dinner, and all the football games playing. Friday: At Sea, We did the Ultimate Ship tour today. It was 150 per person, and we received a beautiful robe, a framed photo and several good photographs taken at the various points, Chefs Apron, and customized note paper. It was an excellent tour and very interesting to see how the ship is run. Lots of walking, but they do provide you with water and lots of snacks along the way. Points of interest visited included, the Bridge, Mooring room, Engine room, laundry, galley including food storage areas, printing press, photography, and crew areas. Movies under the Stars was million dollar arm, which we thought was a great movie! It was our second formal night. Buffet was the excellent Asian Stiry Fry again. Saturday: Grand Cayman, our helmet dive was cancelled due to bad weather- several cruise ships had to skip the port all together so we felt very lucky to have Grand Cayman to ourselves. We ended up taking a taxi to Hell. Completely worth skipping- and would not do again if I knew how terrible and kitschy it was. Seven mile beach was worth a walk around but weather was very bad. Great shopping, but prices are comparable to home- didn’t feel we were getting any great deals. Excellent supermarket in town if you’re looking for some comfort foods- Kirks. We picked up a few treats and good chocolate! Dawn of the Planet of the Apes was our movie for the night. It was Gourmet Burgers for dinner at the Buffet. Sunday: At Sea, Spent most of the day packing. This was the demo day on board including galley tour, vegetable carving, ice carving, etc. Almost all the performers had one last show on board and various times of day. Our comedian Scott Wyland(?) was very funny and most of his material we hadn't heard before. We also took advantage of the future cruise credit for 100$ a person. Monday: Disembarkation: We ended up canceling our Princess transfer to the airport and scheduling the first walk off. We were off the boat by 740 and through customs before 8. We payed 11$ per person to take a shuttle and arrived at the airport by 830am. Our favorite meals on board were the fettuccine in a parmesan basket in the dining room, the hamburgers/hot dogs at the grill, breakfast at the international cafe (only place to find donuts on board), and we really enjoyed the steaks at Bayou (we ate there three nights and tried all of them). The Chefs Table was a do not miss if you have the opportunity and pocket book. We watched a Movie under the Stars almost every night and it rained on us most of the time, but it was warm and they provided blankets, cookies, and popcorn. We usually wore our bathing suits and got into the hot tub if the rain got really bad. One last note, the laundry is 3$ for washer, 3$ for dryer, and 1.50$ for detergent, etc. Iron is free. The laundry is located on Deck 5 aft. I never saw anyone else using them- the whites cycle was the longest cycle for drying (perm press didn’t get my clothes dry). Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
Coral Princess Oct. 18 2014. Panama Canal partial transit. Cabin C220 deck 10 forward of front elevators. Mini suite category A. Total cruises for us 13. This was a repeat of the same cruise we took in 2006 on the same ship. The ship is ... Read More
Coral Princess Oct. 18 2014. Panama Canal partial transit. Cabin C220 deck 10 forward of front elevators. Mini suite category A. Total cruises for us 13. This was a repeat of the same cruise we took in 2006 on the same ship. The ship is in excellent condition and they have redone all the laundry rooms with new equipment. Let me start with some helpful tips at the top of my review for those that don't read it through. #1. Laundry is $3 wash and $3 dry with tokens you purchase in the laundry room with your cruise card. Soap and softener extra. SAVE money, buy Purex 3 in 1 sheets at about 25 cents apiece and bring them with. There is a laundry on each deck at the very very rear. Cabins in the 2 3 and 4 hundred numbers have a long walk. #2. There are plastic shower curtains in each room and they tend to flap around and stick to you while showering. Bring a bunch of old fashioned wooden spring type clothes pins to clip on the bottom to weigh them down. #3. If you are platinum, you get 250 internet minutes each. There is a $5 for 1 hour location at the Aruba dock plus a Starbucks in the mall next to the casino. Drinks in the casino are comp in Aruba. #4. Drink package: The liquor package is based on cruise days and on this trip it was $620 with tip included or $56.36 a day. A beer was $5.60 Vodka $7 , some a little higher up to about $9. The package includes drinks up to $10 and although it says all in a cabin must join only one was required. The package includes the specialty coffees, bottled water and soft drinks. So you pick up a water in the bar for the next shore day or for the room. A glass of wine with dinner can be $9 normally. We compared bills with and without the package and it came out less unless you were really hitting it. You also can buy a bottle of wine for 40% off which you can leave at your favorite bar . #5. Panama Canal excursion: We booked excursion PC 1615 which was the Panama Canal by boat trip. On line it was shown as 6 hours on a ferry boat with a light lunch plus bus transportation. On board we were given a letter saying the trip had been running 8 to 9 hours and you could opt out if desired. We left the ship at 9:30 and didn't get back till 8:45 which is over 11 hours. I found the tour long and boring, uncomfortable and we didn't get back to the boat until 45 minutes after scheduled departure. My party all rated the trip terrible. #6. Laundry day was the Panama Canal day. $20 for a bag full. #7. Formal nights were the first full sea day Sunday and the last Sunday which was also Captains Gala and lobster night. That's on a Sat to Wed cruise. #8. TV They had direct TV and we got all the football games on Sunday, Monday and Thursday. They showed the world series also. Had FOX news and CNBC. I only saw one show, that was the comic. We started our trip by meeting relatives in New Orleans for 4 days. We then flew to FLL and stayed at Comfort Suites cruise port on Federal Highway. Shuttle to FLL is free and to the ship is $6 PP arranged by the hotel. Hotel has breakfast buffet but no dining room. There is a Taco Bell, McDonalds and pizza places in walking distance. There is also a liquor store a few blocks away and a CVS on the corner. A little farther is an Outback Steakhouse. Have the desk call and put your name in. Nic clean hotel newer A/C units and a washer dryer at the end of the hall . About 11:15 took the shuttle to the ship got right on and boarded. Went right to our room and we purchased drink packages and wine packages. You get the package and pick the wine later, we went with Gold $262 for 7 bottles. Food throughout the trip was OK, nothing exciting. Had breakfast in Horizon most days. Didn't do any specialty dining or the Chef's Table which we've done before. Ports: Aruba, nothing planed, went ashore, stopped in the Casino and the Croc's store and a few jewelry stores as is required by law. Cartagena, did the city tour with claudia @ toursclaudiavidal it as hot and humid and the vendors follow you everywhere. Only in port till 2 PM so it was a little short. Panama Canal see #5 above Limon, Sloth sanctuary with Princess. Very interesting nice excursion. Grand Cayman, we had booked with Capt. Marvin but the winds were so rough that they shut down the sting ray city. We took the turtle farm tour instead and that was interesting. Got to hold the little ones and were there for feeding time at noon when they dumped 50 lb. bags in the pools. Kinda like the horizon cafe. Stopped for nacho's at Margarettaville and did some shopping. Then off for Florida. Got off the ship about 9:20 and were through the customs line and in a big cab in about 30 minutes. At the airport and bags checked within an hour. All 4 of us got in a big cab together.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
This was one of the better cruises that we have been on. The ship looked as if it had just come out of dry dock with no obvious signs of wear and tear. The crew seemed to truly enjoy their job which probably reflects on the Captain's ... Read More
This was one of the better cruises that we have been on. The ship looked as if it had just come out of dry dock with no obvious signs of wear and tear. The crew seemed to truly enjoy their job which probably reflects on the Captain's outgoing & engaging personality. The itinerary was quite varied with interesting ports (in spite of some rain) and the Panama Canal experience was extremely interesting and memorable. While some of the ship board activities were pretty lame and the island night party was a joke compared to other ships, we really enjoyed the variety and quality of the many musicians on board especially the ship's orchestra and Rhapsody in the Wheelhouse. The only negative aspect was the hit & miss dining experiences. We chose the anytime dining option and some nights we were in and out in 1.5 hrs while other nights were over 2 hrs and while the food was well prepared, the menu options were less than stellar some nights. Overall it was a very good cruise and I would not hesitate to recommend the Coral Princess to anyone. Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
Overall very pleased with the cruise and would not hesitate to use Princess again for future cruises, but there are some things to be aware of prior to booking. We arrived in Vancouver the morning of the ship's departure. Princess ... Read More
Overall very pleased with the cruise and would not hesitate to use Princess again for future cruises, but there are some things to be aware of prior to booking. We arrived in Vancouver the morning of the ship's departure. Princess has a station set up in the baggage claim area and will take your bags to your stateroom regardless of how you're getting to the ship. We had not pre-purchased tickets on the Princess transfer bus and used the Canadian metro to get from the airport to the port. The metro station is connected to the airport and is an easy 3 minute walk from the baggage claim area. The trains are clean, very inexpensive, and deliver you to within eyesight of the ship at the port. I would recommend using this option to transfer from airport to port. The embarkation process is a model of organization and efficiency. Have your passport and boarding pass ready to clear the two customs stations and pick up the Princess Coral ID card. It took less than 20 minutes from the time we walked into the facility until we were on the ship. Departing the ship was also well organized, but not quite as efficient. There is a one-way tunnel serving Whittier that operates at 30 minute intervals. We sat on the bus for nearly an hour waiting for late passengers that in turn caused us to miss the first one-way access of the tunnel. The ride to Anchorage is scenic and the hospitality center is centrally located in the historic part of the city. Shuttle service is provided to the airport. We used (paid for) the expedited luggage handling option, where your bags are picked up at your Stateroom and checked through to the final destination airport. While everything worked and our bags arrived with us in Washington, DC, the paperwork provided by the cruise line did not match our travel itinerary and we spent another anxious hour at the Anchorage and then Seattle airport trying to resolve the differences. I'd strongly recommend selecting the option of having your bags delivered to the hospitality center - which will hold the bags until you leave for the airport - and checking them in yourself at the airport. The ship itself is fantastic. We talked to other passengers who commented that it didn't compare to the mega-ships from Princess or other lines, but we found it met most of our expectations with a 24 hour buffet dining room, several formal dining rooms, two indoor theaters for the shows, an outdoor theater for movies, and more bars and sitting areas than we could use in seven days. Brief comments about all of the amenities - - Stateroom: We had a mini-cabin with balcony. I was surprised at the amount of space and the size of the bathroom. I understand that the interior cabins are much smaller and taller men complained about the size of the showers, but I was 110% satisfied with our stateroom. We sat on the balcony occasionally, using it for several hours during the Glacier Bay and College Fjord portions of the cruise. It was a nice extra, but not necessary since so little time is spent in the room. - Meals: There is no issue with quantity or even variety, but quality varied. The buffet dining room is on par with a discount buffet restaurant. It's not bad, but it's middle of the road food at best. We did tend to eat breakfast and lunch there to save time. Seating can be an issue during peak periods and sharing a table is the norm. The formal dining rooms are nice. The service is a throwback to elegant dining of 30 or 40 years ago. Regardless of the quality of the food, I always enjoyed dinners in the formal dining rooms. As for quality, it varied greatly by night and by meal. Some dishes were great, others not so good. Ask you waiter for a recommendation each night. On lobster night, he recommended the Beef Wellington. The rest of the table liked the lobster; my Beef Wellington was one of the best meals I've ever had. I'd laughed off reviews I'd read prior to taking the cruise that praised the pizza parlor and grill (both located in the pool complex), but both were exactly as advertised. By the 3rd day my wife and I couldn't walk past the pizza bar without grabbing a slice even if we were on our way to or had just finished a meal. - Excursions: We booked our excursions through Princess. If I had to do it over again, I'd probably use the local agencies. They each have booths set up adjacent to the piers at the port of calls. Booking through Princess ensures a spot on the trip, but going directly to the agency will save you 30-40% off the cost and you can select the excursion based on the weather. - - Ketchikan: We elected to simply walk through the town and visit the sites and museums on our own. We enjoyed this approach, but other passengers raved about the whale watching trip and the float plane "flightseeing" tour. - - Juneau: We did the Glacier tour / Salmon Hatchery / Salmon Bake in the morning and the Glacier Walk in the afternoon. My only complaint with the morning tour is that I would have liked 30 minutes longer at each site. The Glacier park is a compilations of post card shots of Alaska. The walking paths go left and right from the park buildings. We elected to go right to the waterfall, which was spectacular. Those going to the left were treated to black bears and cubs. The Salmon Hatchery is a small facility, but is interesting and well maintained. The highlight was a large harbor seal cruising the entry of a fish ladder as the wild salmon accessed the safe area to spawn. I spent so much time watching the seal chase salmon that I missed most of the rest of the tour. The afternoon excursion - a helicopter ride around the Juneau ice fields and an hour walking the upper reaches of the Mendenhall Glacier - was the highlight of the cruise. - - Skagway: We spent the morning walking through the town, which has been maintained as a 1900's version of an Alaskan boom town with raised wooden side walks and building facades. In the afternoon, we took the Evening Wildlife Expedition. This entails a 40 minute ferry ride to Haines and a short bus ride into the adjacent Park. You're guaranteed Eagles (by the hundreds) and seals / otters, but bears aren't a given. We were lucky - we had the opportunity to watch a Brown (grizzly) female feeding along the river for about 30 minutes before it became aggravated and charged up the trail that bisected our group. There was another feeding bear observed from the bus as we drove past. We enjoyed this excursion and the bear running toward will be a life long memory, but there's a couple of issues with this excursion that aren't on the brochure. First, the ferry to Haines is a commercial route and not exclusive to the tour. it holds ~ 200 people and was packed when we went over. We elected to sit on the outside, top deck thinking this would provide a better view. Unfortunately, the photographers lined the rails and all we saw was telescopic lenses and oversized butts for most of the 40 minute ride. Second, transportation into the Park is on school buses. The bus would move to a viewing spot, we would all dismount, and then walk 40 or 50 feet and stand and watch. After 20 or 30 minutes, we would reboard the buses and move to the next spot. the buses were noisy, cramped, and uncomfortable. When moving, those sitting next to a window had a decent view. All others were limited. Seeing the bear made the trip worth the price; had we not seen the bear, this would have been a very, very disappointing excursion with an unreasonable price tag. - Shows: Most are entertaining and some are exceptional. We thought the "Guitar Comedian" was as good as anything we've seen in a small venue and the comedian was also good. The stage shows are really well choreographed and the performers - who are all crew members - are good. - Fitness Facilities: Although advertised, we couldn't find the treadmills or the elliptical trainers. There were bikes, but these were used for spinning classes (which carried additional charges). Fortunately, the promenade deck was lightly used and we could run / walk there any morning without issue before 8:00 am. After 8:00 am it began to fill up and it became difficult to jog around the ship (3 laps / mile). - Extra Fees: - - Drink prices are about what you would pay at a hotel bar. They have all inclusive packages for ~ $50 a day. If you drink at all, you may want to consider this option. It's expensive, but I spent about $30 a day anyway on a glass of wine at dinner and a couple of drinks throughout the day anyway. - - Internet Service. Avoid like the plague. Seventy-nine cents a minute doesn't sound too bad, except that the service is unreasonably slow. I used this once to check my e-mail and send off two brief notes. it cost $18. Unless you absolutely have to access the web - and there's package deals to reduce costs - it's better to wait until you hit a port call and use your cell phone / I-pad access. - - The gratuity. I never like being told that a set percentage is added to a bill as a gratuity, but I have no issue with Princess charging me $12 a day in this case. The ship's crew, from the dockside security guy to the information clerks to the dining room staff, are exceptional. These kids deserve every bit of the mandatory gratuity. I also left extra tip envelopes for a number of the crew that assisted us in ways that I felt were far beyond normal expectations.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
We had a wonderful time doing the August 2, 2014 Coral Princess Cruise, taking the southbound Inside Passage from Wittier AK to Vancouver BC. We preceded this voyage with a four day Princess land tour going up to both McKinley and Denali ... Read More
We had a wonderful time doing the August 2, 2014 Coral Princess Cruise, taking the southbound Inside Passage from Wittier AK to Vancouver BC. We preceded this voyage with a four day Princess land tour going up to both McKinley and Denali Lodges, returning to Wittier via the Princess glass dome train. This was our seventeenth cruise with five of those being on Princess. Overall a very good experience on this Princess Cruise. The Coral Princess we found to be in very good condition throughout and a pleasure to be on. The cruise staff was very courteous and professional in caring for their passengers. This time of year it is cool and it does rain a lot, so be sure and bring some wet weather jackets, pants, umbrella, and dress in layers as it is very cool of a morning and warmer in the afternoon. We flew into Anchorage a day early so we could have some time to explore on our own the city. Stayed at the Comfort Inn Suites Airport, five minutes away from the airport. It was $195 including breakfast and free shuttle and internet. This was a very nice facility and over a $100 less than the Captain Cook Hotel Princess uses downtown Anchorage. There is a free Princess shuttle from the airport to the Captain Cook Hotel to check in. The Captain Cook Hotel looked like a five star hotel, really wow. But at $295 a night it should be. Rooms were super with a separate sitting suite from bedroom, with frig and microwave. The restaurant on the top floor offered a very nice view of Anchorage and surrounding area. Upon checking in at the lobby Princess Desk, you are given your room keys and information regarding the bus departure the next day to McKinley Lodge. Princess does a nice job with moving your luggage for you. For example, you are given baggage tags for “going with you” to the Princess Lodges on the land tours and a “separate “go to Ship” luggage tags for bags you will not need for the land tour portion of your trip, they go directly to wait for you in your cabin when you board the ship. The downtown was an easy walk as the Captain Cook is centrally located. The Visitor Center was an easy two block short walk to plan our day exploring Anchorage. There is a salmon ladder we viewed near the train depot, the salmon were plentiful and easy to see trying to swim upstream here. Lots of eating options in downtown Anchorage including in the Captain Cook Hotel. If you don’t mind getting out of the hotel, you can save a lot. For breakfast, just one short block west toward the bay was the Snow City Café serving a good breakfast and lunch for half of hotel prices. In the downtown mall was a big food court, serving a nice variety of breakfast ,lunch and dinner choices. On the sidewalk are street vendors selling Reindeer sausage sandwiches. We made a reservation with Gray Line Tours located in the Westmark Hotel downtown Anchorage, for a 1:00 PM bus/boat tour to the Portage Glazier for $69 PP. This was a most enjoyable four hour bus ride south of Anchorage with the driver providing a lot of helpful information on the dozens of glaciers we passed on the way down the coastline. After about 45 minutes we arrived at the excursion boat to take us across Portage Lake to the glacier, a short 15 minute smooth boat ride. You can choose to ride inside and stay below and watch through the windows or go up on the top dck for better viewing. We stayed at the glacier for at least 30 minutes with the captain going back and forth a couple of times giving us great photo opportunities. The boat can get within 50 feet of the glacier so it was an up-close view, a lot closer than the Coral Princess could get later in the trip. There were two separate calving of ice falling into the water from the glacier. On the return trip, we had a half hour stop at the Alaska Wildlife Refuge Center where native Alaskan wildlife can be seen roaming free in separate fenced in areas. We were able to see several reindeer, caribou, moose, black bears, and eagles. On the second day, our bus picked us up at our assigned time for the ride to McKinley Princess Lodge where we arrived around one in the afternoon. Upon getting off the bus, we were given our room keys and went to our assigned cabin and found our luggage already in the waiting in the room. The rooms are very nice size and appointed with good furnishings. The cabins are all located within a short walk of the main lodge. A nice eating option is located near the lodge. The McKinley Princess Lodge is located in a pretty remote area so taking the princess shuttle ($10 Roundtrip) into Talkeetna is highly recommended. It is a short 45 mile bus ride. Talkeetna is a must see, lots of good restaurants and shops. The Lodge has free computer and internet access for guests. We booked a great flight seeing with a glacier landing with Talkeenta Air Taxi for $269/PP. The give a 10% discount for AAA and if you already have your National Park Pass that can save you $10/PP. This air Taxi service picked us up at the Princess Shuttle stop and took us to their office at Airport for the flight that lasted two hours with one half hour of this on Ruth Glazier. For me, this was the highlight of our Alaska vacation. The view is spectacular and great for photos. A nice six passenger plane with headsets provides so you can hear the pilots narration of what we were seeing. A must see. A little expensive but worth the extra money. Princess Motor coach took us the next day to Denali Princess Lodge where again our room keys were given to us as we departed the bus and luggage awaiting in the room. Pretty smooth. Lots of restaurant and shopping options both on site and across the street. The great big fresh baked cinnamon rolls across the street was worth going over to get. There also is a Subway to get a lunch for going into Denali National Park. The Lodge also offers free computer and internet access to guests. We booked thru Princess the Husky Homestead tour to see how the dogs are trained. We both really enjoyed this and would recommend this presentation from Jeff King, former Ididoron Champion. For the visit inside of Denali National Park, we passed on the Princess provided Historic Tour and reserved through the National Park service their 8 hour shuttle trip to the Eikison Visitor Center, 67 miles into the park. You will see much more of the wildlife and scenery on this tour which the driver narrates. For $39/PP we got to see grizzly bears, caribou, moose, sheep, glaciers, and great photo opportunities. The bus driver always stopped the bus at any animal sightings for photos. Princess provides a free shuttle every half hour over to the National Park visitor and transportation center. There is no place to purchase food or drinks on this tour so be sure and bring your own. After two nights in Denali Princess Lodge, our bus met us for a short 10 minute ride to the Princess Domed Railroad tour to Wittier. You are assigned to a certain passenger car and table. The downstairs dining car was also available. Upon arrival in Wittier to board the Coral Princess, you are given your cabin keys inside the terminal. We stopped at the grocery store on the pier to get some wine and soft drinks before boarding. The stop at Hubbard Glacier was a none event, as fog made it very difficult to see anything. The next day stop at Glacier Bay was much better weather and great for seeing several of the glaciers we passed by. Great photos to be taken hear. Seeing the many glaciers was worth it. First cruise port was Skagway. Lots of good shopping and restaurants in easy walk of the ship. We booked thru Princess the White Pass Scenic Railway and had a great time on this 3 hour train ride up and back down the mountain. The train comes right to the dock so getting on/off was no problem. Computer and internet found in downtown for $5 for 1 hour. Next cruise port was Juneau. At the pier, you can take for $20/PP roundtrip a white or blue shuttle bus that will take you to Mendenhall Glacier and Visitor Center. Bus leaves every half hour. This was very worth doing. Near the shuttle drop off is a viewing area for salmon and bears. We got to see both. A mother bear and her cub were fishing in the stream for salmon. What a great sight. Going into the Red Dogs Saloon is recommended in Juneau. Last cruise port was Ketchikan. Nice downtown area right at ships pier to walk around. One must see, was walking down Creek Street a restored gold rush era district. We took the city bus for $2/PP roundtrip out to Bright State Park to see the many totem poles. Caught bus at the downtown city museum and runs hourly. This is a worth while trip to not only see the totem poles but more of the area. Overall a very good Alaska vacation thanks to Princess and her fine crew.   Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
My wife had cruised over 25 years ago, and myself not at all, so really we were a pair of first time cruisers celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary and 50th birthdays on an Alaskan cruise, then we spent a week in Anchorage visiting ... Read More
My wife had cruised over 25 years ago, and myself not at all, so really we were a pair of first time cruisers celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary and 50th birthdays on an Alaskan cruise, then we spent a week in Anchorage visiting family. We were both very happy with the way our Princess cruise worked out, and glad we chose this ship and destination. Details below. We arrived in Vancouver one day early to tour the city and visit with other family who live near the embarkation area, we had great weather and took a 5 hour city tour by bus, which also hit the Capilano suspension bridge (WESTCOAST TOURS). For those who have been there you know that Vancouver needs little help showing her beauty, and on a very sunny summer's day...awesome. Loved the Capilano suspension bridge and park, a nice diversion. On sailing day we toured the Vancouver waterfront and saw the 2010 Olympic flame and exhibits, cool, a great city to return tom one day. Embarkation on the cruise was super smooth, lined up at the pier 11:40, in our room at high noon, 4 hours to eat a buffet lunch and explore the ship before pulling away , still in brilliant sunshine, a great start. The first two days are at sea, but in the Inside Passage there is always land in sight, being from bland Ontario it was literally a nice change of scenery, and again weather was on our side, so being on deck and even in the pool was very pleasant. Whale watching from the deck on the second day was a highlight, and the naturalist that helped you spot whales and dolphins was a help. On day 3 the first port of call was Ketchikan, Alaska's rainiest city, but not for us, after 4 days of rain we got sun! We had pre-arranged a sightseeing cab ride with Sourdough Cabs at half the cost of what the cruise would have charged us to see wildlife, nature, waterfalls, tons of bald eagles and salmon, totem poles. The tide was out when we left the ship at 7:30 am, so we went beachcombing on the ocean floor with our guide, my wife really enjoyed that! We still had time to wander main street after we were done, a great day to start our ports of call! Next was Juneau, weather still fair, and my wife and I chose different excursions. She went for a nature hike and zip-lining in the canopy, fun! I went on a whale watching expedition, arranged through Princess, expensive but worth it as we saw many whales and a sea-lion "haul out", true National Geographic stuff! No Orcas, which one trip in ten does get to see, otherwise amazing to see these humpbacks in their natural environment, I had not been whale watching before so it was a trip highlight, especially when one surfaced beside the ship on our way back to shore! The next port was Skagway, and we made no pre-arranged plans. We walked the town at dawn and then kept walking to reach the Gold Rush cemetery at the end of Main Street, a 20-25 min. walk each way from the ship, but worth it! Interesting, cool, look it up on tripadvisor! On the way back we wandered through town and booked a guided hike on the Chilkoot Trail (Gold Rush trail from 1898) and then a raft float back to your starting point. There had been a lot of rain so the trail was a little muddy but interesting, and the river had a nice current going for the floating part (no whitewater), an excellent guide who was a true outdoorsman, another great excursion! The next two days were meant for glacier sightseeing from the ship. Once we reached Glacier Bay National Park, the weather was now cloudy and drizzly, and although it was cool to see and appreciate the size of these glaciers and the floating icebergs, they did not capture my imagination as the wilderness and wildlife had done. Listening to the glaciers creak and groan was cool, and then the calving of icebergs big and small is exciting, but after 2 days I had seen my fill. On the last morning we were off the ship by 6:15 and our hosts picked us up in Whittier in a driving rain for another awesome week, different story for another time. My wife and I were thrilled to be on our own, away from our 3 university aged kids, and loved having our every need met, so can't really find anything to complain about on the ship. I loved even walking the deck and taking in the scenery as a daily activity. We enjoyed the comedian and magician for evening shows, as well as the trivia games in the Wheelhouse Bar. We had 4 dinners in our assigned dining room, we chose anytime dining, and met new people each night. The food was just fine each time out, and the buffet always had something that we went back for seconds for. The pizza on deck was too tempting, we had a slice on many occasions, delicious. The Princess staff seemed plentiful and helpful, no complaints. Our room was an ocean view with an obstructed view, we hardly were in the room except to sleep and change clothes, preferred to be on deck when there was something to see, generally from the 15th and 16th deck viewing areas, never had to "push" to see anything we wanted. I did not go in a balcony room, and meant to, when the weather was not as nice, it might have been nice to relax on the balcony and see the sights, can't comment on that. Overall a great trip that has us wanting to go back to Alaska and see Denali National Park, as many people on board were headed there with Princess and their extended land package, another year!! Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
An Alaskan cruise had long been on my wish list and this year I finally managed it. My family and I (myself 52, wife 48 + 2 teenage sons, 17 & 13) travelled to Canada via Iceland and so even before the cruise started we'd had a ... Read More
An Alaskan cruise had long been on my wish list and this year I finally managed it. My family and I (myself 52, wife 48 + 2 teenage sons, 17 & 13) travelled to Canada via Iceland and so even before the cruise started we'd had a wonderful few days in Reykjavik & Vancouver. The latter is a wonderful city and I recommend you spend at least 2 days there to soak up its relaxed ambience (especially recommend renting bikes to cycle around Stanley Park. We chose Princess because we wanted a one way northbound itinerary that included Glacier Bay and so that really narrowed down the choice to HAL or Princess. Coral Princess has consistently high customer reviews and we also thought that the average age profile of the passengers would be slightly lower than on HAL so the boys were more likely to meet other children (In the event I'm not sure that was the case, and there were in fact very few children on board but they may have been because it was fairly late in the season) Embarkation at Canada Place was reasonably straightforward but being the first non-European port we have left from we were somewhat taken aback by the time it took us (being neither American nor Canadian) to clear US Immigration. We arrived at Canada Place at 12.15 and didn't get onto the ship until 3.30pm! Speaking to the staff in the terminal it appears that this is a fairly normal wait for a day when two ships are in port and when each ship has around 20% of the passengers coming from overseas. (For our ship it was predominantly Australians who made up the numbers). With hindsight it may have been better to have arrived later in the afternoon after the majority of the non-foreign passengers had been processed and more immigration desks were therefore open to deal with us... First impressions of the ship were good. Not quite as modern or "glitzy" as the two Celebrity vessels we last travelled on, but certainly looking well for its age (10+ years). Even though the ship was "full" it seemed to soak up all 1800+ passengers well and never appeared crowded. (Except in the Horizon Court Buffet at lunchtimes!). That ubiquitous feature of all recent ships the "atrium" is less impressive than on some of the newer mega ships, only going over 4 floors, but it still made a pleasant place to linger in or pass through. One feature which I particularly liked on the Coral was the large wrap around teak promenade deck (in my view an essential on any cruise ship) which we walked around daily. (1 mile = 2.8 laps) We had a 4 berth mini-suite stateroom on Deck 10 (Caribe) near the stern. We chose a mini-suite because it gave us slightly more cabin space (for the 4 of us) than the normal balcony cabin for only a small increase in cost. Even with all 4 beds in the "night-time" out position (1 Double, 1 Sofa Bed, 1 pull down bunk) there was still a reasonable amount of floor space to get around. There was plenty of hanging & storage space, and even though the fixtures and fittings were nothing special they were fine for a 7 day cruise (Although I think the standard of cabins & bathrooms on the newer Celebrity Eclipse class of ships are definitely a notch higher). Jojo our cabin steward was always friendly when we saw him, and coped well with the debris left by teenage boys every day. We ate in the main Provence Dining room (Fixed seating - 1st sitting) every evening bar one. Food & Service were good with plenty of choice each night. We had a table right next to window which was great for watching the scenery glide by, probably wouldn't have been so happy if stuck out in one of the main "traffic lanes" nearer the centre. Dress codes reasonably adhered to on formal nights. Very few dinner jackets but that's what I'd expected on a short Alaskan itinerary. We also used the Horizon Court buffet for other meals. Breakfast choices were good, but lunch less so. And the one night we tried it for diner we found very little to our liking and ended up eating sandwiches from teh International Cafe. (A much underappreciated location, probably due to it's rather noisy location between the casino and Photographer's Gallery, but great for proper coffee and pastries). We also ate the pizzas and burgers from the Grill locations near the Pool which were as good as any we'd had on other ships. (Our boys especially loved them and I think they ate there every day) We didn't try any of the extra cost speciality restaurants, although they always looked reasonably busy most evenings. Not so enamoured by the choice of bars on the Coral. Most of them double up as venues for other activities (such as the art auctions or quizzes) and all of them are a bit too cavernous to server as a pre-dinner or late night cocktail venue. It is only in Crooners Bar that the jazz pianist plays and as this is open to the atrium in my opinion this doesn't really work as a music venue. We attended 2 or 3 of the evening entertainment shows (which seemed to alternate between the Princess Theatre or the Universe Lounge). Fairly run-of-the-mill cruise fare, and not sure why Princess have shortened all their shows to 30 minutes. They also showed films a couple of nights in the Universe Lounge. Would have liked them to do this more often, as the Alaskan weather didn't really lend itself to the "Movies under the Stars" which were being shown on the open deck (to an audience of normally less than 10) We didn't use the Fitness facilities or Spa so can't comment on them, although the running machines always seemed to be well used when I passed by. Likewise I didn't use any of the pools although occasionally I did spy some hardy souls in the hot tubs. Our two boys used the teen ("Remix") facilities most days, but as there were so few children on board (less than 50) the staff there had a very easy time, so not sure how they’d copy on a mid-summer Caribbean cruise. (I'm not sure Princess are as really geared up for families as Royal Caribbean or Celebrity are) We didn't book any Princess shore excursions preferring to either go alone or book independently at the ports. (At Juneau where we booked a whale watching and glacier tour from an independent vendor and it was about half the price that Princess were asking for the identical tour...) In Glacier Bay, National Park Rangers came aboard and supplied information and a commentary throughout the day. Even though the weather was fairly grey that day their enthusiasm shone through and they really added value to the magnificent scenery we were cruising past. We arrived in Whittier earlier than expected (due to a medical emergency on board) and so had the added treat of seeing the town from the sea whilst still daylight. Disembarkation the next morning was very straightforward. We had no transfers arranged and so were in the last group off, but we were out of the terminal by just after 9am. In summary: I don't think you go chose an Alaskan cruise based on a particular ship, you are really going there to see the magnificent scenery. But having said that I have no reservations about having chosen Coral Princess. It had everything we required for our week, and the service we received form all the staff was always courteous and delivered with a smile. Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
This was the first time to cruise and we were so very pleased with Princess. We had a balcony room and was very happy with the size of the room and balcony. The meals in both the Horizon and the Anytime dining were great. Both offered a ... Read More
This was the first time to cruise and we were so very pleased with Princess. We had a balcony room and was very happy with the size of the room and balcony. The meals in both the Horizon and the Anytime dining were great. Both offered a nice variety of dishes and the desserts were out of this world. We were very happy with the entertainment the ship had to offer. We were able to see something every night while on the cruise. We were very happy with our shore excursions we had booked with Princess. They were everything we expected and more. The process of getting on and off the ship for excursions was very efficient and quick. We were very pleased with all of the people working on the cruise. We found them to be very pleasant and very helpful. They all seemed to enjoy their job! I would highly recommend Princess to anyone wanting to cruise and hopefully we will be cruising with them again in the future. Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
We flew to Vancouver on Friday, and Princess put us in our own taxi for the ride to the Westin Bayshore Hotel. Beautiful location, convenient to walk to restaurants, shopping, etc. On Saturday, they took our luggage and we just walked down ... Read More
We flew to Vancouver on Friday, and Princess put us in our own taxi for the ride to the Westin Bayshore Hotel. Beautiful location, convenient to walk to restaurants, shopping, etc. On Saturday, they took our luggage and we just walked down the waterfront boardwalk to the cruise terminal instead of waiting for the Princess bus. Our cabin C227 was ready when they let us board. In Ketchikan, we took the “Lighthouses, Totems & Eagles” tour, which was very nice. We saw many eagles and they provided hand sanitizer, binoculars, snacks and everything else we needed. In Skagway, we took the “Yukon Jeep Adventure and Klondike Summit” tour. This was really fun. The Jeeps were 2014, the scenery was beautiful, and we all had CB radios to keep in contact. We teamed up with 2 Australians, and we kept switching drivers so everybody had a chance to drive. The highlight of the cruise was Glacier Bay National Park. They delivered a map in our cabin, and we listened to the naturalist and followed along with exactly where we were and what we were seeing. The captain turned the ship to port for 30 minutes, then he turned it starboard for 30 minutes. Coral Princess is a beautiful ship. The elevators were very fast and never crowded. The halls are fairly narrow. Our cabin steward, Noel, was wonderful – always there when you needed him, but never hovering around our door. My only negatives were the scratchy, harsh towels and the limited choices in the buffet for lunch & dinner. I think they try so hard to appeal to all the different types and nationalities of people who are on the ship, then they want to accommodate the vegetarians, the gluten free, and other special diets, that they fill up the buffet with these items. Just my opinion. Breakfast was great and the servers always brought drinks quickly. Room Service was fast, accurate and cheerful. Now the worst part of our trip: Captain Cook Hotel in Anchorage. We paid dearly for this extension (one night) with transfers, and we were promised a 5-Star hotel. I had to call the front desk and finally go down and visit with the Princess people before our luggage was delivered to us – 2 hours after we checked in. We were totally disappointed with all aspects of this part of our trip. The furniture was worn and dated. A half-wall was in the bathroom between the sink and the toilet/tub area. The only light in there was over the sink. Add a dark brown shower curtain and you have a very dark tub area. Our room location was absolutely the worst. Our memory of Anchorage will always be a parking lot view from the 5th floor of Tower 3. We were surrounded by beautiful mountains and the ocean, but you could not see them from our window. We heard noisy traffic all night, especially deafening motorcycles. Alaska is beautiful and one of the best ways to enjoy it is on a cruise ship.   Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
Went on Golden princess 2 yrs ago. This is a smaller boat which made it so much easier to get around with still all the great services. First night out had some movement (because its a narrower ship) which we did not experience with ... Read More
Went on Golden princess 2 yrs ago. This is a smaller boat which made it so much easier to get around with still all the great services. First night out had some movement (because its a narrower ship) which we did not experience with Golden. But other days out were all fine and we enjoyed having a smaller boat. Went with group and opened up balcony between rooms which was very nice. Picked the early seating but unfortunately didn't get to use it each night because of shore excursions. Went to some high teas in afternoon while at sea so we weren't hungry by early dinner time. Dining in anytime seating allows flexibility but the service is not nearly as good as the assigned time seatings where the kitchen has to move fast to finish and get the next group in. Dining in anytime seatings took more than 2 hours for dinners. :-( Be sure to try the chocolate pecan pie available only one day at lunch. Not available any other location or time. DO NOT DO NOT go to Sabatinis the italian restaurant. They are giving free vouchers to eliminate the cover charge, we went just to try it since it was "free" with our voucher.. What a mistake!! Food was not nearly as good as dining room with our great servers. Would have been even more upset if we had paid for it. If you take wilderness glacier tour in Skagway, be aware it is definitely high moderate in difficulty and not a leisurely outing. The boat ride on the way over to the glacier was SO rough. Glacier experience itself was great Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
Prior to cruising on the Coral Princess, we embarked on a 7 day land tour(also with Princess Tour T4AGB5). We enjoyed every destination and activity including the additional excursions we booked. The Riverboat Discovery cruise was ... Read More
Prior to cruising on the Coral Princess, we embarked on a 7 day land tour(also with Princess Tour T4AGB5). We enjoyed every destination and activity including the additional excursions we booked. The Riverboat Discovery cruise was fantastic in that we saw so much in the Fairbanks area and started learning about the area, its' people, and cultures. The Alaska Salmon Bake was a wonderful meal. The men in our group enjoyed a morning at the Antique Auto Museum in FB while the ladies enjoyed browsing in downtown FB. The journey by bus to Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge was beautiful. Our favorite Princess lodge was the McKinley Princess Lodge. It is in a beautiful setting and the accommodations were very nice. The visit to Talkeetna was great. We found a quaint cafe for a delicious breakfast and enjoyed seeing the village and sights of the mountains at the river. The ride on the Alaska RR from Talkeetna to Anchorage was made extra special by being able to see to the very top of Denali's peaks when the sun came out as we departed from Talkeetna. That was our 1st view of the magnificent mountain. Be sure & include a land tour if you are going to AK and we are glad we did that 1st and then went for the cruise. Princess Coral was our 1st cruise ever and she treated us very, very well. Our excursions included the Yukon Expedition and White Pass Scenic Railway which goes all the way to Carcross which is a quaint Yukon village. We returned on a motor coach after touring some of the most beautiful mountains & lakes in the world. Great photo ops. When in Ketchikan, we took the Wilderness Cruise & Silverking Lodge Seafood Feast. What a delicious lunch, beautiful scenery, and great entertainment by wild bald eagles! We give kudos to all of our tour guides/coach drivers and staff who managed to make all of our transfers and connections work and always managed to get our luggage right where it needed to be. We don't know how they do it but we were very impressed. The young people who served as drivers and tour guides had the best attitudes and seemed to love what they were doing. It was obvious that they have studied hard to learn the stories and facts necessary to share a wealth of knowledge with their guests. Thank you,Princess, for providing us with the adventure of a lifetime. We had such a good time with our family and friends who accompanied us. We cherished the time together and Princess served us very well. We miss those chefs for sure! Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
Our first time with princess and we will be back again. The embarkation and disembarking went smoothly. Dining and shows were excellent, and also there were lectures from nature experts about the places we visited. In particular, the ... Read More
Our first time with princess and we will be back again. The embarkation and disembarking went smoothly. Dining and shows were excellent, and also there were lectures from nature experts about the places we visited. In particular, the pizza place on deck had outstanding pies as did the Italian restaurant which opened for lunch. We attended the Italian restaurant for our gourmet meal (freebee from our great tour agency, American discount tours and travel) and it was outstanding. The cabin had great comfortable beds and we slept soundly and had no trouble with sea sickness. We took the train trip and a glacier visit as our excursions and both were well worth the price. The land tour to Denali was fun and informative. Service was uniformly good except for a snooty waiter in the gourmet room. The ship itself did not have the bells and whistles of more modern ships but was more the adequate for this trip. Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
This will be long I will give our experience in order of cruise, ports of call, and landtour. I will start with the embarkation at Canada Place, Vancouver: We stayed in Vancouver for two nights before the cruise at the Renaissance ... Read More
This will be long I will give our experience in order of cruise, ports of call, and landtour. I will start with the embarkation at Canada Place, Vancouver: We stayed in Vancouver for two nights before the cruise at the Renaissance Harbourside Hotel, the Hotel was very nice and the weather cooperated enough that we used the windows and Juliet balcony every evening, our room faced the harbor and we enjoyed the sites and sounds (cruise ship horns!) of the harbor. We try to make our Embarkation Port a part of our vacation every cruise, we do not fly in and get on the ship the same day but like to enjoy the port city as tourist. Vancouver did not disappoint, this is a lovely city with very friendly locals who made us feel right at home. Vancouver is a very clean, walkable safe city, when we ask for help with directions the Canadians were very helpful and very sweet. We visited Queen Elizabeth Park and Stanley Park along with private city tours that were very informative. I actually loved Vancouver and would visit again. I also would stay in the same Hotel again. Port of Vancouver. Princess embarkation is a well oiled machine. Yes, you will stand in line but the line moves efficiently through the building; step by step you move quickly. Princess gets five stars for embarkation. We immediately were allowed into our rooms. We had a choice of three different venues for eating. 1. Horizon Court Buffet, 2. One MDR selection 3. International Cafe. We chose the Horizon Court Buffet. The buffet was crowded but they handled the crowds and had enough staff. The ship was clean and efficient however we quickly realized the itinerary would be the memorable part of this trip. The ship was fine, and we never felt crowded or like we were in a big crowd. Our stateroom was fine, except the bed needed to be replaced about 5 years ago. It had the body impressions with hard spots at the hips. I do not mean stiff spots I mean hard like hip on cardboard or something. -1 for my half of the lumpy bed. Our ports were Ketchikan, Juneau and Skagway. Ketchikan: We did a walking tour with Joe Williams, a Tlingit Indian and past Mayor of Ketchikan. He was informative and fun. Ketchikan looks just like the pictures and we really enjoyed our day there. We decided after walking through Ketchikan with Joe we would catch the lumberjack show. It was a little corny but loads of fun. The bleachers around the area were heated which made sitting on bleachers tolerable on a dreary COLD Alaska day. Juneau: Juneau was beautiful! We pre-booked through Princess the Taku River Salmon Feast and 5 Glacier Viewing. Can you say WOW!! Outstanding and worth every $$$ we spent on the fare. Skagway: Skagway is known for the White Pass Railroad so off we went on the scenic Railroad trip. This place is beyond beautiful and we enjoyed our time on the train. I stayed on the platform outside trying to capture the beautiful Pass and Summit with my camera. After three back to back ports we enjoyed being mystified by the majestic beauty of Glacier Bay National Park. I can not do it justice with my words. You must see it to appreciate it - awe inspiring. Now to the rest of the story. The mean age of the passengers was in my estimate 65-70 years old, therefore everything (music, trivia, live shows) is geared toward their taste. We are early 50s and felt like the young crowd on the ship 85% of the time. Therefore entertainment gets a 2. It was severely lacking. The eateries were efficient but the food was just good. Nothing made me think WoW !! There is plenty of it and nothing was bad but nothing was excellent either. We loved our room steward and our wait staff in MDR but also encountered some less than helpful staff in other areas. There seemed to be a morale problem in the bar staff and crew members at the service desk. Landtour: Disembarkation was as smooth as boarding the ship. We had to separate our bags with tags: Meet Me in Anchorage and Meet Me Tonight. All the bags were moved for us at every stop. I was impressed with that. Very efficient and helpful. The glass dome train ride is very scenic and nice. It is nine hours long and we were definitely ready to get off asap when it stopped. The food was OK on the train but very pricey, as was anything in Denali or McKinley. They know you are captive and you will pay for it. Denali Princess Lodge: The lodge and facilities were nice but our room was under the stairs, so absolutely no view and the room was small. The room is like a Holiday Inn Express only in beautiful setting with more facilities. It was very clean. Mt McKinley Lodge: The rooms are much larger but ours was dirty, We got into it 1.5 hours after check in time and was told to sit and wait in the lodge while it was being cleaned, the management staff had an attitude. I mentioned it was dirty and she cut me off - we had 1/2 used toiletries in our bathroom from previous guest and the dust was in the room was thick. (Total disappointment) All the literature mentions Talkeetna but that is an extra fee per person and another 2 hour round trip to get there so we hung out at the lodge and watched for the Great McKinley to show and yes she did show in all her snow covered glory! Everything you do in the lodges has a fee attached. Every single thing, you get nothing complimentary - just realize that before you get there. We knew it but expected some Princess treats of some sort (there are NON Princess guest there also). We did not know Talkeetna was an extra fee or 2 hours more on a bus to get there. In 24 hours we had spent 9 hours on a train and 7 hours or so on a bus so we skipped it! Anchorage was our final leg in the journey. We spent 2 nights in Captain Cook which is a fine Anchorage hotel. There is plenty around Anchorage to do. We ate at the Glacier Brewhouse and Humpys in Anchorage. Both places are good. Brewhouse is a tad bit upscale, Humpies is Cheers- Alaska. We had a great time and were awed by the natural beauty of Alaska. I think it was a good value even though some areas were not great. We attributed part of that to being early in the season and staff trying to learn as they go. We did not let that slow down the fun; we just think they need to improve. Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
My DH and I sailed on the Coral Princess round trip Panama Canal partial transit from Tuesday, March 4 through Saturday, March 15, 2014. This was our first Princess cruise. We have previously sailed Windjammer (before they went out of ... Read More
My DH and I sailed on the Coral Princess round trip Panama Canal partial transit from Tuesday, March 4 through Saturday, March 15, 2014. This was our first Princess cruise. We have previously sailed Windjammer (before they went out of business!), Dolphin (a cruise that became part of Premier Cruise Line, went bankrupt in 2000), Celebrity and Norwegian which we really enjoy. I've also taken Royal Caribbean a couple times with a friend of mine. Norwegian, which we took in November was our previous favorite. Not any more. Princess beat them all out for us. The Coral Princess is a beautiful ship. The Atrium is spectacular with its spiraling staircase covering 4 decks. I loved all the various activities going on in the Atrium at different times. I'm not a fan of all the glitz like RCL has so this was perfect for us. The 4 levels of the Atrium include: Deck 5 - passenger services, shore excursion and future cruise sales desks. Deck 6- stores. Deck 7 - art gallery and wedding chapel (used for many other things than weddings). Deck 8 - Internet Cafe, card room and library. I never went to customer service but the lines there never seemed too long. I have been on RCL and waited in several long lines. Towards the end of the cruise, on the last day, I saw a rip in the carpet near the Lido pool but that may have happened during our cruise. I had walked that way several times before and not noticed it. EMBARKING: We got to the ship late so I have no idea how it would have been earlier. Even though we got there after 2:00, the line seemed to move along. We didn't even bother to go to lunch. Staff directed the way and even pushed the elevator buttons for us. We went right to our cabin. Most of our luggage was already there and the last piece arrived in about 5 minutes. MUSTER: Princess does this differently than RCL but similar to Norwegian and I like it much better. We gathered our life jackets from the closet and headed to our muster station (ours was in the art gallery so we had to be careful not to lean on the walls!) Everyone's key card was scanned so they knew when all were present. The crew demonstrated how to use the life jackets and then we all put them on. On NCL, we just went to a restaurant and heard about how to do this. No lifejackets at all. RCL we went to our actual lifeboats and had to line up on deck about 7 deep. Of course, some folks had started drinking and the lines kept getting out of order. I liked the Princess way best since we learned how to put on the life jackets but didn't have to line up outside. I trust that the crew would direct us to the correct lifeboat if needed! GETTING AROUND: When getting our room key, we were given a very nice fold-out map of the ship that was about the same size as the key card so it was easy to take with us. We didn't really need it that much. There were well designed maps near each elevator telling us where we were. A few days into the cruise, someone mentioned that the odd (starboard side) deck cabin carpet had a green border and even was a red border. That helped us a lot when finding our cabin. Elevators were nice and room and came fairly quickly. We often walked up and down, though. There was no Deck 13. Decks were named as well as numbered. We were on Deck 11 - also called Baja Deck. There was Aloha, Caribe, Dolphin, Emerald... Unlike RCL, the elevator buttons were never sticky. One thing I like better about RCL is that they have "Day" indications on the floor. Sometimes, we lost track of what day it was. We never felt crowded or cramped. Sometimes, walking around the ship, we felt like it was just us onboard. A nice feeling. HAND CLEANING: The first several days of the cruise, we had to use the Purell dispensers before entering the buffet or the grill to get our silverware. Later on, we still had to clean our hands but the silverware and napkins were on the tables. I'm not sure what changed. They had some dispensers a few other places but not as many as I've seen on other ships. However, we had no outbreaks of Norovirus so the plan worked! CABIN: I loved our cabin! It had a balcony and the cabin was the largest one I have had on any ship. The cabin is (or seems) bigger than the one on Norwegian (NCL). There is a desk instead of a couch (NCL). The couch wasn’t very practical - the desk really is. Not having the couch also made the cabin more roomy. We had a walk-in closet which is really nice. It’s at a right angle to the sleeping area which makes it seem like a separate room. The bathroom is small, of course. I think the shower is smaller than NCL’s but I don’t spend that much time in there. I like RCL's round shower door better. The end tables by the bed have actual drawers instead of open shelves, and lots of storage. The chairs on the balcony recline. They’re fixed on NCL. No coffeemaker, though. NCL had one in the cabin. I missed that. There was a TV guide telling us what is on for the whole trip along with a large flat screen TV. This ship has a self-service laundry on each deck. I’ve never seen that on another ship. We used that 3 times during the cruise and was really helpful in keeping the amount of luggage down. The bed was very comfortable, and we had two chairs, a small refrigerator (but not filled with stuff we'd never buy), Egyptian cotton towels, all very classy. I was so grateful that there were no announcements all the time. On RCL, I had to figure out how to turn off "Anna Banana" and her bingo. The announcements on there were very annoying. Not so on the CP. Our steward Dante was fantastic. He came and introduced himself before the muster. He showed us some features we might have missed. Pool/Beach towels are in the closet. We return them to the cabin and the steward brings us new ones. We didn't have to check them out and return them to the pool each day. Hooray! The second day - the first sea day - we had a card in our cabin that said we could have fresh fruit delivered each day. A nice touch but we just got ours from the buffet. DINING: We had Anytime Dining but we never went to the MDR. We were happy enough with the buffet and it fit our schedule perfectly. I loved the selection, especially the Mongolian BBQ. We have a restaurant like that here so I knew how it worked - you take a small bowl, fill it with fresh vegetables, then protein, then you request either rice or rice noodles. They stirfry it quickly and you're off to eat. I loved the desserts and probably had more than I should. We had some snacks in the Grill - I love bratwurst and sauerkraut and was able to get it on the CP. We had it on the first NCL but not the second one, even though it was the same ship (NCL Jewel). We also had a pizza or 2. There was one standard each day plus the pizza of the day, freshly made and yummy. The muesli parfaits at breakfast were fantastic. Muesli, yogurt and a couple kinds of fruit all layered. I loved those. One interesting thing - every meal seemed to have apricots in some form. One night, I thought that there were none but there they were in the Apricot Crumble for dessert. Lots of other fresh fruit at every meal. I think I had melon and pineapple 2-3 times a day for the entire trip. This ship had no midnight chocolate buffet. I don't mind - I'm just saying that in passing. POOL/MUTS: There were a three places to enjoy a pool: the Lido Pool, Splash Pool and Lotus Pool. The Lotus Pool is next to the Lotus Spa. This ias a very lovely, calm and relaxing area. The roof looked like it might have been retractable but we only saw it closed so I don't know for sure. The Lido Pool had live bands played mid-day. They also had a variety of pool games and other activities there. This is also where the Movies Under The Stars (MUTS) big screen is located. We saw several movies at MUTS. They have blankets at night and offer cookies and milk as well as popcorn - all free. The last movie we saw, they also came around with pizza. An annoying thing was the use of a BBC show called Walk on the Wildside about 20 minutes before each show. That was animals dubbed by various comedians. We didn't find that too funny. The trivia questions were fun, though. This area got very full quickly on movie nights so we made it a practice to get there early for movies we really wanted to see. ENTERTAINMENT: All the live musicians throughout the ship were all terrific. Around the ship we heard a pianist (Tetiana) and String Trio who played lovely, classy music throughout the day. Also, a single solo artist named Daniel Oliver was outstanding singing and accompanying himself on the piano. We went to the second performance of Alexander Great, an illusionist, in the Universe Lounge. We didn't go to see the mentalist or comedian. The singers and dancers were excellent. We saw all of their shows including Motown, What a Swell Party featuring many Cole Porter songs and was so good, and Dance!. The Bayou show in the Universe Lounge was fantastic, especially the ship's orchestra as New Orleans funeral band followed by a jazz band. When they marched up the aisle at the end of the show and out into the foyer, they kept playing - fantastic. Steven Kane, billed as Fantastic Flying Fingers, was also terrific. He had played on our last cruise but we missed it due to a Cruise Critic Dinner with an Officer so this was our second chance, meant to be. We saw him (and the ship's orchestra) in the Universe Lounge and that was a great venue for him. When we saw him later, in the Princess Theater, the crowd was smaller. He played just as well, though. A note about these performers - we saw them all eating in the Horizon Court Buffet, usually after shows or practices and it was nice to be so close to them, made us all feel like a "family". EXCURSIONS: Generally - when we returned to the ship after a day in port, crew members are on the pier passing out cold water and cool washcloths. Very much appreciated! Embarkation was generally easy, by group, depending on the tour. Except for the Panama Canal/Gatun Lake, all were docked at a pier. Aruba: we did a tour of the California Lighthouse, Casibari rock formations and a semi-submersible over the Antilla shipwreck. Even though the tour description read "Your route back to the ship takes you past the fascinating ruins of a 19th-century gold mill at Boca Mahos, and at the end of the tour, you will have the option to independently explore Aruba’s capital city Oranjestad", neither of those happened. I think that this was our least favorite tour and didn't show Aruba off as well as it might have. Cartegena: We did a mostly bus tour to La Popa Monastery. This is a top a large hill and gives some great photo opportunities of the city below. We stopped outside the Old City and there were the pushy streets vendors all over. We also saw the Navy Museum and a display of native dancers/musicians. Panama Canal: The guide, Dr. Chris Roberts, was excellent and narrated onboard as we entered Gatun Lake. We were on the starboard side, Deck 11, and got a really good view of the whole lock operation. Someone (turned out later that it was a fellow passenger) played the bagpipes for most of the transit. After getting off the tender for our tour, there was a very steep climb to the busses. I had to use both hands on a railing to pull myself up. We took the Panama Canal Railway tour and loved it! A bus took us to the train station, then we got into the dome car. The guide (Melvyn) stayed with us for the day - very informative. The "train girls" who brought coffee and sodas gathered together and did a song for us. We saw the Miraflores Locks Observation Center and the new lanes being built for the canal. Colon, Panama: We drove though this on the way back to the ship and were surprised how run-down and seedy it was. Limon, Costa Rica: A 2 hour bus ride to the rainforest but the guide (Dennis) was excellent and had brought "show and tell" items for us to pass around. We had been to Costa Rica before but on the Pacific coast so this was different. The rainforest tram was a very relaxing way to glide through the upper trees and our guide (Fernando) was excellent. He'd done his thesis on butterflies so was able to point out a lot. The walking part of the tour was good, too but we didn't see as much as we had on the Pacific coast rainforest of Manuel Antonio National Park. They had a very good buffet, too, consisting of fruits, rice, beans, chicken, pasta and a dessert dish of plantains...and wonderful Costa Rican coffee. Other drinks were a mixed fruit juice that was very good, water, ice tea and soursop juice. DH had had soursop before and decided he didn't want it again. Ocho Rios, Jamaica: We didn't get off the ship. I'd been there before and found it too touristy, especially at Dunn's River Falls. The vendors there were just too pushy, too. So, we stayed onboard and enjoyed the hot tub and pool. Fort Lauderdale: We did the Intracoastal Waterway by Boat & Las Olas Blvd with Fort Lauderdale Airport Transfer and the was an easy way to transition from cruise life to the real world although we had to wait 6 hours for our flight. Lots of cruises came in that day and out flight couldn't be changed. OVERALL: We loved the Coral Princess. This is our new favorite ship and cruise line. My DH had a few suggestions, one being that there should be at least one more Veteran's Get Together, and he went to the Cruise Director's office. They acted quickly and another was added. This was our first experience with a choir onboard. We loved the Princess Pop Choir, especially the director, James Goodall. He was so enthusiastic and brought so much to our rehearsals and final show in the Atrium. We saw him just as we were disembarking and did a bit of the choreography. It made leaving this fantastic cruise just a little bit easier...   Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
After cruising many times in the past, I finally convinced my sister and brother-in-law to join me and my parents on a cruise. It was the first for them. My parents are Elite status and I am platnium. It was so much fun traveling with ... Read More
After cruising many times in the past, I finally convinced my sister and brother-in-law to join me and my parents on a cruise. It was the first for them. My parents are Elite status and I am platnium. It was so much fun traveling with newbies!!! The ports were ok about what you would expect in the Caribbean. The highlight was obviously the Canal. It was spendid!! The Ship was nice. It is smaller which I enjoyed. There were always places to find a seat in the Horizon Court. Believe it or not the International Cafe was never very crowded. Not the case on many other cruises!! I loved that part. The food selection was good. We had traditional dining in the Provence dining room. Hated eating at 5:30 pm but the late seating at 7:45 pm was way too late. What happened to 6:00 pm??? All I ever hear is how people love the anytime dining. However, it seems like traditional time slots are always full. The entertainment was not enjoyable unless you include Movie Under the Stars. Dancer and singers were lack luster at best. I did enjoy popcorn during the movie. Embarkment and disembarkment were both efficient. Overall I would recommend this boat and this distination. Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
Our very first cruise, having flown from England to Miami, boarding Coral Princess in Fort Lauderdale. We were very impressed with the standard of food and service in the Provence dining room. Food in the Horizon buffet was also excellent, ... Read More
Our very first cruise, having flown from England to Miami, boarding Coral Princess in Fort Lauderdale. We were very impressed with the standard of food and service in the Provence dining room. Food in the Horizon buffet was also excellent, and it was great being able to go up there in the late afternoon to have a cup of tea and some freshly baked cookies. The cabin, a mini suite, lacked for nothing and was extremely comfortable and well equipped. Another good point was the organisation, and the seamless way in which passengers embarked and disembarked. The company of the Americans was great fun and we met lots of friendly and interesting people. The entertainment was mixed - the song and dance shows were very short, and one (Motown) was shown at times which second sitting diners could not make. We enjoyed the showing of new film releases.. Re shore excursions, some were excellent, Costa Rica in particular. However the Panama one, with a sail on Lake Gatun and a tour of Gatun locks, was disappointing. We couldn't hear the guide on the boat trip as the engine was so loud, and we saw almost no wild life. At the locks, there wasn't really a guided tour - just a man who would answer questions if you asked him. In Aruba, the highlights tour was unimpressive. Overall though, a great experience and we shall certainly cruise with Princess again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
After a night in an Embassy Hotel in Miami having flown from England, our ride to the port the next day was a tired one, it soon all changed, a new World opened up. Soon our family including two Grannies 81 and 91 were comfortable and at ... Read More
After a night in an Embassy Hotel in Miami having flown from England, our ride to the port the next day was a tired one, it soon all changed, a new World opened up. Soon our family including two Grannies 81 and 91 were comfortable and at home sailing out to sea. The quality, service, food, entertainment and overall facilities were beyond 5 Star! Visits to various places which included Aruba as we travelled up to the Panama Canal were stunning, rain forests, dolphins all b choice, nothing prescriptive. We enjoyed a Birthday and Valentines Day while we were travelling, the quality of the staff is exceptional, everyone cares. We will be off again one day, It is long overdue me posting this review, however, I know others who have done the same since, Princess Cruises are brilliant. ENJOY if you do! Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
My wife and I just returned home from the partial transit Panama Canal cruise on the Coral Princess. We had a wonderful time and so enjoyed fourteen days away from the cold winter weather of Indiana. We have only cruised four times, and ... Read More
My wife and I just returned home from the partial transit Panama Canal cruise on the Coral Princess. We had a wonderful time and so enjoyed fourteen days away from the cold winter weather of Indiana. We have only cruised four times, and all four have been on Princess. We have done an Alaskan cruise-tour in 2010 on the Diamond Princess, an Eastern Caribbean in 2012 on the Ruby, and an Alaskan cruise-tour in 2013 on the Sapphire. We have enjoyed our time with Princess and have no means of comparing our experiences with any other cruise line. The demographics of this cruise was mainly an older crowd with very few children; we fit in well with this group of people. PRE-CRUISE TRAVEL: On each of our prior cruises we have arrived in the port city the day prior to boarding the ship. We don't want to risk any last minute delays that preclude our boarding on time. There had been so much bad winter weather in our home area with large traffic accidents closing down the interstates, that we drove to Indianapolis the day before we were to fly to Ft. Lauderdale. It was snowing when we left home, but by the time we arrived at our hotel near the airport, the snow had stopped. The next morning, Sunday, we flew to Ft. Lauderdale, arriving around 3:30 in the afternoon. A Princess representative met us in the baggage claim area and provided the transportation to the Embassy Suites on 17th Street. We spent the night at the hotel, and then on Monday morning we and our luggage were taken to the ship by Princess arranged transportation. We had purchased the pre-cruise hotel and transportation package from Princess on our prior Caribbean cruise and did the same thing for this one. We have had experience with the Embassy Suites in Indy and felt the one in Ft. Lauderdale met our needs. EMBARKATION: The Ruby Princess also had a ship in port that was embarking passengers at the same time the Coral was doing so. Princess had arranged the motor coach transportation from the Embassy Suites so that passengers from both ships were taken to their correct ship. The Ruby was at terminal 2; the Coral was at terminal 21. We found that embarkation went smoothly; the line was relatively short; we cleared security, collected our room cards, and were in our stateroom in a timely manner; embarkation was much quicker than when we went on the Ruby in 2012 due to the difference in the number of passengers. HEALTH CONCERNS: Since there had been an outbreak of the norovirus on a couple of other ships a couple weeks before our cruise, we went prepared with Clorox wipes to wipe down the room and with hand sanitizer, immodium, and Zofran in case we needed it. The first thing our room steward gave us was a handout about the importance of frequent handwashing with soap and water, minimizing the use of public restrooms, and other preventative means. There was hand sanitizer required at the entrance to the Horizon Court buffet. We did not experience any signs of noro, nor did we hear of any passengers having symptoms of noro. My wife did take Bonine every day to prevent any motion sickness; this cruise was relatively calm, so I only took the Bonine a couple times. CABIN: Due to a desire to minimize motion we have always had a balcony cabin near the center of the ship on the Caribe deck. We had C515 this time which was just a short walk from the center elevators. The layout was similar to the ones in the Diamond, Sapphire, and Ruby but the balcony was a little smaller. We had the twin beds together as a queen. There is a small refrigerator, a flat panel TV, a desk, a desk chair, an arm chair, and two nights stands. The closet is quite large with a large number of hangars adequate for all of our hanging clothes. The bathroom is quite small; the small shower is even smaller than the ones on the other three Princess ships that we have been on. The room and balcony was adequate for our needs. Our only desire is to have more comfortable sitting arrangements in the room. We have to consider a mini-suite in the future. SHIP: The ship was in good condition. It was clean and well maintained even if some of the carpeting was a little worn. The layout was a little different than the larger ships, but it took very little time to find our way around. SERVICE: Our room steward was excellent. He was attentive to our schedule; he was personable and always greeted us by name (Mr. & Mrs. .......); he kept the cabin clean, the bed made, and the bathroom stocked with clean towels each day. The bathroom had a dispenser in the shower with shampoo/conditioner and liquid shower soap. We brought our own shampoo/conditioner and soap for bathing which was a correct decision because we did not like what was provided. We had no complaints with our interactions with any of the staff on the ship. The service did not disappoint us. DINING: The Coral has two dining rooms, both with the same exact menu. The Provence dining room is for traditional sitting and the Bordeaux is for anytime dining. We have always chosen anytime dining so we can interact with more people instead of being assigned to the same group each meal. We are willing to share a table and usually end up at a table for eight or ten. Invariably we meet couples that we really get along well with and end up sharing tables with them and others most evenings. We eat dinner early, at 5:15 on this cruise so we have adequate time to get to the theater for the evenings entertainment. We ate all evening meals in the dining room. We always found the food to be good to excellent. If it is better than what we routinely prepare at room, we are satisfied. We had no complaints about the food or the service. We usually were seated at the same table each evening, and our waiter and his assistant provided very good service. There were two formal nights. I took my tuxedo for them; most men wore coat and tie. The only night we requested a table for two was on Valentine's Day since that was our 44th wedding anniversary. We did not eat at the specialty restaurants, the Bayou Cafe and Sabatini's. We ate breakfast the first few mornings in the dining room, and the rest of the time in the Horizon Court. We thought the breakfast selections to be much more varied in the Horizon Court and were good. Fresh fruit was always available. Service was adequate. Juice and coffee was always served almost as soon as we were seated. Our dining room waiter was also the server in the area of the Horizon Court where we chose to sit; we became well acquainted with him. We ate a few lunches in the dining room; we also had lunch at the grill (cheeseburgers), the International Cafe, and the pizzeria. Two different days the ship served a Pub lunch which we also enjoyed. And I would be remiss if I did not mention the soft serve ice cream cones. ENTERTAINMENT: We enjoyed all the production shows of the Princess singers and dancers. The shows were not quite Broadway quality but were well done and entertaining. The comedian was very funny without being vulgar or raunchy, the mentalist and the illusionist were very good and entertaining, the World Champion pianist was excellent. These were performances mainly in the Princess Theater or the Universe Lounge. You had to arrive well in advance of the early performances to get a seat. The balcony of the Universe Lounge does not provide good viewing for performances. ACTIVITIES: There are a multitude of opportunities for games, lectures, gambling (donations as the cruise director called them), line dancing and ballroom lessons, and movies. The Crooner's Lounge had a really good pianist/vocalist in the evenings. Phoenix Rising played music for listening and dancing in the Wheelhouse Lounge. We danced some EXCURSIONS: We took excursions at Cartagena, Limon, and Grand Cayman. They were informative. The highlight for us was the transit through the Panama Canal. Well worth getting up early to view from the bow. DISEMBARKATION: The disembarkation routine was very familiar to us. The only negative for us was the process was slowed by a shortage of Customs Agents. Other than that we met with our group, were led off the ship at our appointed time, found our luggage, went through customs, boarded the motor coach and were at the airport well before our flight time. SUMMARY: A great trip, highlighted by the Panama Canal transit and by our experiences on the ship and by enjoying warm weather for a few days in the midst of a miserable winter in Indiana.   Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
This year we needed a winter get-a-way more than usual. Detroit had been experiencing far more snow and below zero weather than normal. An 11 day trip to the south was a welcome respite, even if the high was still only 24 degrees when we ... Read More
This year we needed a winter get-a-way more than usual. Detroit had been experiencing far more snow and below zero weather than normal. An 11 day trip to the south was a welcome respite, even if the high was still only 24 degrees when we returned on March 4th. Due to work constraints our trip choices were somewhat limited. Last year we did a full transit on the Coral and loved the ship. We decided on a partial transit on the same ship and were not disappointed. The day prior to the cruise we flew from Detroit to Ft. Lauderdale. We quickly found our baggage and called the Holiday Inn Express on 17th Street for a pickup. After a 20 minute wait we were picked up and transported to the hotel. We walked to Joe’s Café for a grilled mahi-mahi sandwich, and then went to the nearby Publix for two bottles of wine and a six pack of coke zero to take on board. Later that evening we walked to Duffy’s Sports bar for dinner and drinks to celebrate the beginning of our vacation. The next morning at 10:30 a.m. we asked the hotel to call us a taxi. The taxi arrived in 15 minutes and after a very brief ride we paid the driver $10 and entered the terminal via the elite line. We were the first passengers in the elite waiting area and just prior to noon we were passengers #5 and #6 to board. We dropped our carry on's off in our inside cabin room and went to the dining room for a delicious lunch. Only about a dozen people joined us there. That afternoon I called room service and requested that the sodas in the elite bar set up would be swapped out for diet cokes and the mini liquors be switched from a variety to all vodka. This request was promptly handled. That evening and each night of the cruise I left a bag of dirty laundry on the bed which was returned to me the following evening. In the price area of the form I simply wrote “elite”. After the muster drill we went to the informal cruise critic sail away party at the Lido bar. It was great getting to know these fellow cruise fans. The 11 nights flew by. Here are my thoughts on each aspect of our experience: Food: We usually opted for meals at the Horizon Court. The choices are plentiful and appealing and the setting is bright and clean. Usually servers were present to take and deliver your drink order. We did have lunch a few times at the International café where you can have your sandwich choice grilled and there are several salads to pick from daily. One day we went to the complimentary British-Style Pub Lunch and enjoyed the fish and chips and ploughman’s plate. We also ate at the Bayou Café and Steakhouse twice. Once was during lunch and was called “Crab Shack”. We loved the steamer pot, shrimp appetizer, clam chowder and blueberry dessert. The cost was $20 per person. Our second visit was for dinner to celebrate my birthday. The filet of beef was delicious as were the various side dishes. For dessert I received an incredibly rich chocolate birthday cake. The cost was $25 per person and it seemed well worth the price. Daytime: I attended many Zumba and line dancing classes. Zumba was taught by the enthusiastic cruise director Susan Rawlings and it was a 45 minute real workout. My DH and I also went to the fitness center a number of times in the late afternoon when the crowds had died down. My DH and I swam and soaked at the more secluded indoor Lotus pool while most of the action was at the Lido pool. The coffee card we purchased on day one gave us many hours of pleasure sipping special coffees and teas at the International café. Ping pong, mini-golf, reading and walking the promenade deck were other relaxing activities we enjoyed. I went to the Grapevine Wine Tasting session and to a backstage tour of the Princess Theatre. Both were fun and informative. Evening Entertainment: Several nights we made new friends by joining in at trivia type game shows. We went to two production shows during this cruise. On the Bayou is a lively and colorful show held in the Universe Lounge. Ye Olde Pub Night was held in Explorers Lounge and featured singing, dancing and a sing-a-long. We made a donation of $20 to the casino but it took us a couple of hours at the penny slots to lose this. We saw four movies, “Jobs”, “Gravity”, “Captain Phillips” and “About Time”. Each night we enjoyed the group Phoenix Rising in the Wheelhouse Bar for a night cap. Ports: Aruba: Early in the morning we took the #10 public bus to Palm Beach and rented two lounge chairs and a large umbrella for $35 right near the Radisson. It was a beautiful beach and quite busy. A few hours later we went back to the bus stop and a van taxi picked up 10 of us and returned us to the port for $2 per person. We walked to Iguana Joes for a margarita and jerk chicken before returning to the ship. Cartagena, Columbia: We went on the ship’s Scenic Drive of Cartagena and La Popa Monastery. This 3 hour tour had several stops including a folkloric show at the Navy Museum which gave us a flavor of Cartagena. The included “refreshing soft drink” per the tour description turned out to be bottled water. While street vendors did actively hawk their wares at each stop, they were not aggressive in any way. I can recommend this tour. Panama Canal: The locks and the story of the locks are very interesting. We found some great viewing on the lido deck, promenade deck and also inside near the International Café as the water & ship was rising. Limon, Costa Rica: We have visited this port in the past and decided to try something different. I contacted Your Lucky Tour prior to our trip and at noon they had a driver waiting for us. As planned he drove us to the Red Snapper restaurant where we enjoyed a lunch of rice and beans con pollo with salad and plantains. We washed this down with some local beer and enjoyed the panoramic views and ocean breeze. The driver stayed with us and drove us back to the ship when we were ready. We bought some Costa Rican coffee at the flea market right by the port. Ocho Rios: Having never tried an all-inclusive resort we decided to sign up for the ships Jewel of Dunn’s River Resort. The price was $109 each and we were disappointed. We had looked forward to using the advertised paddle boats but there weren’t any. The tour description said there were 3 restaurants with gourmet cuisine and an outdoor grill. Only the grill and one buffet style restaurant with quite ordinary food were open. We did enjoy the whirlpool tub and swim up bar. We found a bartender that made the best mud sling I’ve ever had. Our next trip to Ocho Rios we will go to Margarita Ville and get a super lunch for a lot less than $218. Disembarkation: Alas, all good things must come to an end. We signed up for the self-help disembarkation option and exited the ship at 7:30. We flew through customs and were at the airport gate by 8:30. Unfortunately our 11:21 flight was delayed to 1:00 and when we got to Detroit they had accidentally sent one piece of our luggage to Norfolk, VA. It arrived at our house by the next day. Thanks for letting me share with you!   Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
Coral Princess Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.3
Dining 4.0 4.0
Entertainment 4.0 3.9
Public Rooms 4.0 4.5
Fitness Recreation 4.0 4.0
Family 5.0 4.0
Shore Excursion 3.0 4.0
Enrichment 4.0 3.9
Service 4.0 4.5
Value For Money 4.0 4.0
Rates 4.0 4.2

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