264 Princess Coral Princess Cruise Reviews

Panama Canal cruise, October 25, 2011 to November 8, 2011. Let me start out by saying, my husband and I are not seasoned travelers. We save for several years to take a special vacation. The Panama cruise was our 5th cruise in about 20 ... Read More
Panama Canal cruise, October 25, 2011 to November 8, 2011. Let me start out by saying, my husband and I are not seasoned travelers. We save for several years to take a special vacation. The Panama cruise was our 5th cruise in about 20 years time. Our group turned out to be 5 couples, all in our later 50's to mid 60's. We were on a Princess ship back in 2002, so were prepared for the small bathroom ( especially the shower ), and the limited drawer and shelf space. Our room had a balcony, located mid ship. We were next to 2 other couples, so we opened our balconies up to enjoy the bigger space. We printed the sign provided by Cruise Critic with our internet name and taped it to our door. This turned out to be a great sign for knowing if you were headed for the stern or bow. All and all this was a wonderful vacation. Embarking went very smooth and once on the ship, we were able to graze on the lido deck and found our luggage, within a few hours, in our room. As mentioned above we were a party of 10. We had late traditional seating, and were able to be together at a large table. Initially, we were disappointed with the food portions in the formal dinning room. When we think of a fillet of beef we do not think it would be 3 inches in diameter and less than ½ inch thick, but the portions were small through out the cruise. On the up side- you eat all day and have multiple choices, so by the time dinner comes, the small portion turned out to be enough. Maybe they do this to decrease food waste. We had no complaints. On the subject of food- another disappointment was going to the special restaurant. One evening, while at sea, we booked dinner in Sabatini's. We thought the portions were the same size as the dinning room, we felt the selection really was not anything special and the experience took over 3 hours, which was way too long. Only three other parties were in the restaurant that night. I would not recommend spending the extra money to eat there. We communicated with Cruise Critic members prior our trip. A meet and greet was arranged along with a cabin crawl/poker run. We had the best time with those activities, and enjoyed meeting some new people. Two excursions were arranged by a CC member. We participated in one, and should have participated in the second one because the ship excursion was not that great. Our Cost Rice tour with Okey Dokey was very good, but could have been better, if we would have left on time and lunch arrangements were organized better. We did see a variety of sights and did more up close and personal activities then the ship's excursions. We did the ship tour in Cartegena and were stuck in traffic most of the time. As a result, limited time was left for our stops. I mainly wanted to shop, and felt that we were rushed to make decisions about purchases. The CC tour left early and had more flexibility. The entertainment was wonderful. Because we ate late, the last show in the auditorium was never full. The only time we could not see a show, was when the crew put on their talent show. There was only one performance, at 10pm. By the time we got to the auditorium, it was more than full. I did have a massage in the spa one time. The treatment was wonderful. The therapist was running about 40 minutes late, but I was not shorted on time and she let me use the thermal room afterwards. The price was extremely expensive which is why I only used the service once. Our favorite activity was wine tasting. We bought the wine card, which saved us money for wine with dinner, plus we got to try many wines at the tasting, so we were better prepared with choices when it came time to make a selection. Most of the wines on board were California wines. We would have like other countries wines, but the selection and quality were good. Not sure when or where our next cruise will be. Princess did a good job overall. We seem to prefer the smaller ships. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
We booked a 10 day cruise tour through Princess. We flew into Anchorage 2 days ealier to see Anchorage on our own. We loved having a rental car and some time to let our bodies adjust from the time change, before meeting up with our tour ... Read More
We booked a 10 day cruise tour through Princess. We flew into Anchorage 2 days ealier to see Anchorage on our own. We loved having a rental car and some time to let our bodies adjust from the time change, before meeting up with our tour group. We met at the Anchorage airport, and took a bus to McKinley Wilderness Lodge. We were there 2 days,and went flight seeing and visited a dog musher camp. Then we went to Denali Princess Lodge. (very nice) We took the Natural History Tour in Denali, and went to the dinner theater. Then we took the Denali Express railway from Denali to Whittier, where we boarded the Coral Princess. We loved coming into Whittier on the train! The domed train was a wonderful way to spend the day in Alaska! So our land tour was the highlight of our trip! The Coral Princess is pretty, but very hard to navigate. Because of the centrium, you have to learn which elevators take you to the level you are trying to go to. We were on Dolphin Deck 9. Coming to our stateroom, the hall smelt like a nursing home. (urine smell in the carpet) That was not a great first impression! But our mini-suite was very nice and spacious. But be aware that if you get a mini suite on the Dolphin level, your balcony is not covered. It was raining on our embarkation day, so we couldn't get out and enjoy our balcony like others could. Our furniture was wet-and we didn't want to stand out in the rain. I wish the balcony had been covered, as they were on other decks. We signed up for traditional dining-which I though was at 6:00 pm and had requested a table for 2 by the window. We were given a table in the middle of the room and our assigned time was 5:30. We thought that was too early. So we met some couples on our land tour-and went to anytime dining with them. But the Coral Princess is very inflexible about the dining rooms. Traditional seating only in one and anytime dining in the other. We liked the freestyle with NCL better. The food was not as good as NCL or Royal Caribbean. But the service was great on Princess. The front desk was very rude. Someone had entered an incorrect number and our credit card was denied. We kept getting letters in our stateroom, telling us our credit card had been denied. It took us 4 days to get that straightened out-and my husband was the one who discovered that the cruise line had entered the wrong number. They were very indifferent about the fact that they were the cause of the credit card problem. But once the correct number was entered- there were no more problems with our credit card!The entertainment was good. We enjoyed the comedian and the singers and dancers were great! It was too cool to use the pool or hot tub, but the pool deck was very pretty. We got a drink card for $9 a day, and it was well worth the money. I loved the virgin pina coladas and their hot chocolate! We loved the pizza and soft serve ice cream on the pool deck! We often took snacks back to our room. We enjoyed the enclosed area on level 15. That was a good place to enjoy the scenery in the rain and wind. We chose Sept. because of the price, but I wished we had gone in May-for about the same price. I heard there is more snow in May and the weather is better. We had a lot of rain and wind. In fact, when we were out in the Pacific we were in 80-100 mph winds (hurricane force wind). Half of the ship, including me- were sea sick. But when the ship got back in protective waters and the waves calmed down, everyone felt better. Alaska is beautiful! If you haven't been you need to go. June, July, and Aug. are the most crowded and most expensive months. If we ever go again, I would like to go in May. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
We loved the trip, and had a great time! Alaska is a place that everyone should add to their "bucket list", whether by cruise ship or not. The scenic beauty is simply breathtaking. As a first time Princess cruiser, I can ... Read More
We loved the trip, and had a great time! Alaska is a place that everyone should add to their "bucket list", whether by cruise ship or not. The scenic beauty is simply breathtaking. As a first time Princess cruiser, I can say I enjoyed the ship and crew a great deal, and have no serious complaints. Any problems we did have were minor, and attributable to everyday life and personal taste, as opposed to any inherent problem with Princess. I certainly wouldn't hesitate to take Princess again if/when the itinerary matches our specific travel desires. Transfer: For our transportation to Whittier from Anchorage, we booked a shuttle from Alaska Tours and Transfers. It had several advantages over Princess provided transfers: 1) It was cheaper! 2) They offered hotel pickup! 3) Beyond just a bus ride, this shuttle also stopped at several scenic lookouts, and the Alaska Animal Conservation Center. We had a full hour to visit the Animal Conservation Center, and enjoyed the rather rustic "zoo" atmosphere. All in all, I would recommend them to a friend. I thought it was a very nice option. Embarkation: Princess embarkation process was simple, and handled very well. We were in line for maybe 10 minutes if that. The embarkation in Whittier is probably one of the least crowded you could come across. Boarding was spread out from probably noon, through 7:00pm, with buses and trains evenly spaced throughout that period. Rather low stress all around. The only downside of using the private shuttle was handing off our luggage. I'm sure that with the Princess shuttles, you never had to touch your bags again. On the other hand, we had to retrieve ours from the shuttle bus, and hand deliver them to an uncovered luggage dropoff area. It wouldn't have been an issue....if it hadn't been raining! A minor annoyance. After luggage drop off, the walkway to the ship was covered, in preparation for what I'm sure is often a rainy day. Given the late departure from Whittier, the first night of dining was handled by cards handed to us upon check in. So, for one night only, we were in the Bordeaux dining room at 8:00pm....or immediately after the required safety/lifeboat drill. The drill, conduced at 7:45pm, was much more humane than what we experienced on HAL, in that all groups met INSIDE in one lounge/showroom/theater or another, rather than forcing us to stand on deck. It was quick and painless. I would say that Coral Princess in general did NOT have a high pressure sales atmosphere, (photographers, drink options, wine tastings, etc.) "No Thank You" worked, and nobody tried to force us into anything we didn't want. Stateroom Specifics: We reserved, and received, a starboard side balcony room on Emerald deck. The room was pretty much what I expected, and was perhaps a bit more roomy than I recall from my one previous cruise on Holland America's Veendam. The king sized bed was comfortable, and I had no complaints about it being too hard, as some have reported. Of course, that's a matter of personal taste. There was plenty of hanger space, and spare hangers, and we probably didn't even use all of them provided. A fairly large cabinet of shelves and nightstand drawers easily handled the rest of our clothing. The bathroom was sufficient, but we did experience the somewhat cramped shower that others have reported. But in reality, it wasn't out of line....and I'm not a small man! The balcony was fully covered, which was nice for what turned out to be a rather drizzly week. It fit 4 deck chairs and small table. Honestly, having 4 people on the balcony would have felt cramped, but for the two of us, it was quite spacious. Peculiar to the aft cabins on Emerald deck, the balcony was also more private than some, being a hard bulkhead wall on one side, and less permanent divider on the other. It was like having only ONE neighbor. The one small complaint could be the sound coming from the Universe Lounge directly below our room. The bass from the sound system tended to bleed into the room, but never during our "core sleeping hours", so I have only mentioned it for the benefit of the truly sound sensitive. It never bothered us much at all. Food and Dining: For the most part, we ate a late breakfast in the Horizon Court, (around 10:00am), and had pizza or the deck buffet mid-afternoon, and the dining room for dinner. So, like most reviews, my experience won’t cover ALL of the options out there. Horizon Court for late breakfast wasn’t nearly the circus we expected, particularly on port days. I guess we figured out a way to beat the crowd! We never had problems finding a seat, and the serving lines handled the diners quite well. The food was hot, and the “eggs to order” station was much appreciated. The rolls and danishes were quite good, and we never had to wait long for drink orders to be taken. For lunch, the Wife fell in love with the pizza! I think she had it nearly every day for lunch. And, despite being served essentially outside, it was always hot and fresh. Quite often, and as near as I can tell unadvertised, they had an outdoor buffet either on deck, or at the Grill. Smoked salmon, “reindeer chili”, salads, and a variety of other options were available, and I enjoyed them quite a bit. Let the wife have her pizza, I’m sampling new things!....and we were both happy. For dinner, we had requested late traditional dining, at a table for 8....and that’s what we received. We decided on this because, frankly, we got BORED eating at a table for 2 during our last cruise. There’s only so much you have to say to your spouse after spending the whole day with them! Late seating was at 7:45pm, which is a little earlier than advertised, but that may be specific to either Coral Princess, or maybe the itinerary involved. Now, this is a matter of personal taste. But the dining room food to me was good, but rarely outstanding. I really enjoyed the appetizers, soups, and salads more than the main course, for the most part. The foods that stood out were the French onion soup, goat cheese soufflé, fettuccine alfredo and seafood salad appetizers. I was underwhelmed by the scallops, shrimp, and steak main courses. Again, they weren’t BAD, but I love shrimp, and REALLY love scallops, and they just didn’t “sing” for me. The wife is another story. She’s a rather picky eater, and commented several times that she just couldn’t find anything that she really wanted. She resorted to the chicken breast “always available” several times, but got tired of that. This isn’t out of the ordinary, but in all of her cruising experience, (which is much more than mine), she said it was the worst she had experienced. The “best” she came across was the special pasta course served during the “Italian night”, and that wasn’t even ON the menu. She was able to order that as a main course. The last few nights, she resorted to the children’s menu, and was a little happier. The deserts, however, always satisfied. No complaints from us there. Formal Nights: On Coral, for this itinerary, formal nights were the evening at Hubbard, and the evening after leaving Juneau. Considering that we were still AT the Hubbard glacier at 5:30pm, I felt sorry for those at the early traditional dining. It seemed like a poor choice.....and made me glad we had the late seating. Future cruisers may want to take this into account. Just to cover a hot topic on CC, I found that MOST people were dressed appropriately for formal nights. I saw mainly suits and dresses, a few tuxedos, and maybe a few skating by without jackets or ties. For me, it’s a big “I don’t care what you wear”, but most want to know what to expect. Dress to the code, and you won’t be out of place! On casual nights, I didn’t see too many in inappropriate attire either. We did see some shorts during the one lunch we ate in the dining room, and the rules got stretched on the final night in the dining room, but for the most part, it was a well behaved cruise. Public Spaces, Activities, and Options: I thought Coral Princess is a very nicely laid out and decorated ship. Besides your own room deck, there are probably 3 decks you really care about, and everything you need to get to are within easy access. Shows and Entertainment – We weren’t really all that interested in the stage shows, and only went to the comedian’s show, which did give us some laughs. There were movies most nights, but they weren’t always publicized very well. Patters seemed to catch about half of them. We had hoped to catch a “Movie Under the Stars”, but it seemed that either the weather was against us, or the movie that night didn’t interest us. All in all, there was plenty to keep a person busy....we just chose to not be that busy. Drink Cards – Several tables set up the first day or two giving you the chance to purchase them. As mentioned earlier, no hard sell. Very well handled, actually. Games and Trivia – I think we would have partaken of this more often in the evening, but they were always scheduled for 9:30pm. And since we were enjoying dinner until at least that time, we usually missed out. I think Coral needs to spend a little time working out their timeline. Then again, maybe we just weren’t all that good at our own time management....take your pick. Photographers – We were shocked, SHOCKED I tell you, that the photographers were really quite good! Each formal night had several stations set up with backgrounds for pictures, each manned with a different photographer. It wasn’t the “Smile-*Flash*-Next” thing we had experienced in the past. Actual sitting and posing. We LIKED the pictures they took, and bought a few of them. The Wife commented that she didn’t see any “Oh my God, that’s hideous” pictures on display at all. Scenic Cruising: For me, this was the highlight of the trip. Everything I read said, “Hubbard or Glacier Bay: You have to see one of them”. Getting to go to both was a real treat, and the reason we picked this itinerary. We were NOT disappointed. Our day at Hubbard started off a little scary. There was a heavy fog as we turned into Yakutat Bay, and I had visions of disaster running through my head. “What if we have to turn back and skip it?” Uhg. But I shouldn’t have worried. As we moved closer, the fog cleared, and it was a beautiful day at the glacier. Overcast, to be sure, but clear as high as the glacier was! And, according to the onboard naturalist, we got closer to the glacier than she had all year. The last official announcement over the PA said we had passed within 1 mile. But by the end of the day, I’m pretty sure we had drifted to within ½ mile. It is truly majestic. Calving was slow to develop, but it picked up during the day so that it became more and more frequent. Not having much (any) experience, I would say we didn’t see any HUGE calving events, but there were frequent small to mid-sized events, and they were spectacular. The creaking, popping, and crashing were spectacular. I didn’t want to leave! Glacier Bay was just as good. Sitting on my balcony early that morning, I saw my first humpback whale. One tail in the air...one swimming silently past the ship. Puffs of mist. Fantastic. The scenery and glaciers were just amazing as well. We got very close, again, to the Grand Pacific and Margerie glaciers. The Margerie is like a mini-Hubbard. White and blue, and dominating the sky. Seals, and Sea Lions were spotted. And we were able to get far enough up the Johns Hopkins inlet to see the Johns Hopkins glacier. The naturalist, who knows a whole lot more than I do, said it was a rare treat. If the cruise ended here, I probably would have still been happy. Ports and Excursions: Skagway: A nice little tourist town, really, but still a nice stop. We took the White Pass Railroad tour, and really enjoyed the scenery. I give it B+ for tours. A bit pricey, and the commentary was a bit bland. Juneau: We took the glaciers “Flightseeing” tour, which flies float planes over 5 glaciers descending from the Juneau ice field. Again, spectacular views. I’ll give it an A-, with my only complaints being that the tour is guided by pre-recorded audio, and 40 minutes just seemed too short! I would have much preferred a more personal live guide....but I guess the pilot was probably busy with other concerns. Ketchikan: We didn’t schedule a tour, and just took in the town on our own. Too bad we had a downpour about midway through our day, and we decided to cut it short. It’s a nice town, I thought, but we missed out on going up to Creek Street. Still had a nice day. Disembarkation, Vancouver: All-in-all, I thought they did a very good job here. Bags were requested to be left outside our stateroom by 10:00pm, “or before you retire for the evening”. I have a little problem with the wording being vague. Is it “whichever is later”, and 11:00pm would be OK? Or is “before you retire” assumed to be before 10:00pm, and everything should be out before 10:00pm? No matter...we had ours out at 10:00pm, but might have liked to have another hour or so to arrange things. We were assigned to the appropriate group, (independent plans), and given a lounge to report to by 8:20am. We did that as directed, and probably sat there for only 10 minutes before our group was called. Pretty good considering we were probably right in the middle of all of the groups listed. A quick walk off the ship, short line to get through customs/immigration, turn a corner to the luggage pickup, carts were available, got our luggage without delay, and a quick walk to a well managed taxi stand. We were easily out of there by 9:00am. Bing, bang, boom. Complaints, Problems, and Issues: - Our toilet quit flushing on two occasions. Push the button, and nothing. But to the credit of Coral Princess, it was fixed both times I called it in within 30 minutes, and without having to enter our room. Minor annoyance....And really a compliment to the crew. - Poor manning/signage at Internet Café. I had some trouble signing up for internet, but nobody seemed to be manning the desk. Only later did they post hours....I just wasn't going at the right times. - Uncovered luggage dropoff. (See above). - Event timing around dinner times could be better. - Some noise on Emerald Deck from show rooms below them. Minor. Alaska was the "Star" of the cruise, and Princess played their part very well as the supporting staff. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
We enjoyed this cruise. They did a great job of getting the ship up close and personal at the glaciers. The land portion, Fairbanks, Denali and McKinley, was great especially the Tundra Wildlife tour at Denali. Had a great gold panning ... Read More
We enjoyed this cruise. They did a great job of getting the ship up close and personal at the glaciers. The land portion, Fairbanks, Denali and McKinley, was great especially the Tundra Wildlife tour at Denali. Had a great gold panning tour at McKinley, not your packaged, warm water, amusement park tour but a real trip guided by a real gold panner. The Alaskan ports are just large jewelry stores but the scenery in between and around the ports is spectacular. Wildlife tours give a great view of animals not in a zoo. On our cruise, the photographer were very pushy and obnoxious. Kept us waiting in the rain taking embarkation photos. Food and food service on cruises had declined over the years. One down point is the Vancouver Airport. With two ships arriving, the lines for luggage retrieval, airline check in, luggage check in, security and customs were long, long. We arrived 4 hours before flight and needed most of that. But go on a Princess Cruise, you will enjoy it. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
I did a 10 day Panama Canal cruise from Ft Lauderdale to Acapulco. First, stayed at Rodeway Inn, FLL. Free shuttle from airport, free shuttle to cruise (though I didn't need it), decent continental breakfast daily, lovely clean ... Read More
I did a 10 day Panama Canal cruise from Ft Lauderdale to Acapulco. First, stayed at Rodeway Inn, FLL. Free shuttle from airport, free shuttle to cruise (though I didn't need it), decent continental breakfast daily, lovely clean heated outdoor pool, hardly anyone in it, nice staff, free internet, cheap, right next to highway exit and near Enterprise rental so convenient for driving, what more could you ask for? Cruise itself: nice balcony cabin, food was plentiful and good though not stunning, everything orderly and clean. What stands out as excellent were the crew: at least half made special efforts to greet me by name daily, know my preferences, dance with me, chat on a personal basis (not just formal), were always friendly and sincere and helpful. I invited half of them back to visit me and really hope they come! The only thing I could possibly criticize is Princess still allows smoking on balconies (and some people even had cigars though this is supposed to be forbidden). I made it plain I was an avid allergic anti-smoker yet was placed between smokers on either side of me. It again meant I could not use my balcony (like on Carnival, RCI much better) for the whole 10 days. This would not have been a big deal but I was quarantined to my cabin for 24 hours with suspected Norwalk and had no access to air except by balcony. I had no problem with the concept to keep the rest of the passengers healthy, and I was not up to going out anyway, but it was claustrophobic and I would have liked to leave my door open but the jerk especially on one side refused, even after I explained the situation, to stop smoking on his balcony even for a few hours. My point is, if they are going to make me essentially a prisoner with only my balcony for fresh air, they should have told my neighbours to butt out for the duration. That is really my only complaint, but until they confine smokers to one side and let me book on the other, I will go to Celebrity, who, I gather, has outlawed smoking on balconies.The cruise ended in Acapulco and some people were so afraid of crime they didn't even get off the ship. All the news of bad stuff is so highly overrated! I was traveling alone, and walked the street outside my hotel as much as I wanted, up to 2am for 3 nights in a tank top and skirt and had not one hassle. People were friendly, respectful, taxi drivers were honest and on-time, there were lots of people, even little kids, out at night because it was Semana Santa (Holy Week around Easter when lots of Mexicans on vacation), and I felt entirely safe. Buses were easy to use, I wandered the shops and sights, and everyone was helpful. There is crime everywhere in the world, no worse in Acapulco than anywhere else as far as I could see. Police officers even posed for pictures with me, streets were much cleaner than many other places, and I would return anytime. I stayed at the Hotel Emporio and it was an absolute gem. Gorgeous views, beautiful pools, quiet, clean, helpful people, gym, travel agency, restaurants, comfy bed in room with safe, frig and micro, including huge breakfast buffet for less than $100/night. There was an earthquake one morning which scared me to death but they were not concerned and I was assured by their confidence. Hotel is strongly built and had no ill effects, though we shook terribly! Pretty beach but I was told surf was rough. I ended up at the pools all day anyway as they were so peaceful, hawkers will approach on the beach like anywhere, but they are not aggressive. Starbucks and mall across the street, lots of shops and restaurants within 5 minutes. Couldn't ask for more! Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
I was excited about this trip, and it did not disappoint me. From the moment I got on the ship, I had a good feeling. The crew was excellent. The steward didn't smile, but that didn't make him any less friendly. Everyone ... Read More
I was excited about this trip, and it did not disappoint me. From the moment I got on the ship, I had a good feeling. The crew was excellent. The steward didn't smile, but that didn't make him any less friendly. Everyone associated with the dining rooms were easy to deal with and were eager to please me. The passenger services desk didn't ever seem to have a line. The senior doctor and nurses were pleasant to see each time I went. The food was almost always excellent. There were a few misses, but even those weren't horrible. Chef's Table was definitely worth the money. There were plenty of activities throughout each day. My activity of choice was trivia. I ended up with a team that stayed together the entire cruise and were the ones to beat. Other activities I participated in were the Gingerbread House Contest, the Ultimate Ship Tour, the Cruise Long Scavenger Hunt, and the Scrapheap (Boat Building) Challenge. I would participate in all of these except possibly the Scavenger Hunt again, and that's just because I tend to be lazy which means I would lose. The ship was very clean. I dropped a napkin and the buffet attendant picked it up within 30 seconds. Room was cleaned well. I requested a towel animal and received an elephant one night and a monkey the next. Finally, I had taken a stuffed mouse on the cruise, and some of the staff really enjoyed seeing it on a regular basis. (It also serves as an excellent ice breaker.) If I had the opportunity to go on this cruise again, I would be there in an instant! For a much more detailed review, check out the following thread: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1329931 Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
On December 14th we flew Continental from SLC to Fort Lauderdale to board the Coral Princess the next day for a 15 day cruise to celebrate our anniversary and Christmas. The cold temperatures in Florida were a surprise and we hadn't ... Read More
On December 14th we flew Continental from SLC to Fort Lauderdale to board the Coral Princess the next day for a 15 day cruise to celebrate our anniversary and Christmas. The cold temperatures in Florida were a surprise and we hadn't brought enough warm clothing. But the hotel our cruise specialist recommended, Hyatt Airport South, was comfortable and they picked us up at the airport and dropped us off at the ship the next morning free of charge. We were close to a shopping center for restaurants that evening we arrived and for last minute shopping and had free continental breakfast at the hotel. The ship boarded us quickly at 12:30 p.m. 12/15/10 and we sailed late at 5:45 p.m.due to a delay or some mechanical problem. We had a balcony cabin and were situated just 3 decks below the Horizon Court at the front of the ship. The first two nights it rained and the seas were rough. It was also rough the last night from Cabo San Lucas to Los Angeles and rough enough to almost knock us out of bed. Most days were overcast or rainy but the sunshine came through at every port of call. On the 4th day we docked in Aruba for 5 hours. We took a Princess tour of sightseeing and an Ostrich farm. It was very good but overpriced and too short. We hurried to see the rocks, the ostrich farm, the arch, shopping, the light-house, and downtown. The ship left at 12:30 p.m. that day. We took independent tours in Cartagena (Lee Miles Tours with J.C. a schoolteacher, Puerto Amador (Panama City) with Mario's Tours, Puntarenas (Ricky Ricardo tours with Gustavo), and Acapulco (Rosie's tours)that we found on Cruise Critic beforehand and booked. But you did have to pay in cash when the tour was completed. They were low cost and we saw more than on typical Princess arranged tours. The vans were smaller and had between 6-10 people each. And the all day passage through the Panama Canal was a great tour aboard ship. In Panama (we missed the tour due to the tender waiting), but Mario Jr. of Mario's Tours,took us by private car to all the places we would have gone with a group. In Puntarenas, Gustavo was our guide through a monkey preserve, sugar cane farm, crocodile river tour, lunch, and the rain forest trams. And in Acapulco, Oscar took 6 of us to a chapel, the open markets, a silver market, Los Flamingos hotel where Johnny Weissmuller spent his time, to the cliff divers, and to see the murals of Diego Rivera. These tours were well done and just the right amount of time and less $$ than the planned tours of the Princess line. We were able to change any of the planned stops if the group voted for the change. We like anytime dining, but so did everyone else and many cruisers abandoned the late night fixed seating and added to the congestion between 6 -8 p.m. causing everyone to take the little lighted boxes that call you when your table is ready. We did eat at Sabatini's Restaurant on our anniversary for Lobster tails and the 14 courses. We found it worth the extra $20 cover charge. We only had one night near the end that the main dining room offered lobster. We found the staff dedicated to keeping us using the hand sanitizer and it was set up in the Horizon court, near the computers, near most dining venues, in the spa and gym, and only missing in the main dining rooms and bars. If you reported illness they confined you to your cabin and checked on you. And the cabin stewards cleaned the hall walls, ceilings, and railings once a week with disinfectant. The spa was a disappointment and ran many promotions and drawings to attract more guests. I had one top to toe massage that was discounted to $139 and there was no aromatherapy after all, it ran 90 minutes. Most services started at $155 and went up and then you added a tip. We attended many onboard comedian, magic, and a cruise staff shows. The magician was terrific and one comedian, Jeff Nease. Maurizio played in the Crooners Bar until they gave him a night in the Universe Lounge. We played games like trivia, attended Jorge's Spanish at Sea program, and golf contests. We found the 7 sea days to be full of activities and lots of sleep-in days that were relaxed and unhurried. We had not expected that to be so. Jim Kennedy conducted talks about space travel and Leonard Maltin gave speeches about his favorite movies, many of which were little known titles and hadn't shown in theaters. He needed more props or some videos to make it interesting. They showed his movies on the stateroom t.v.'s, in the Princess theater, and at the "Movies under the stars." We also enjoyed 200 free minutes of internet time being Platinum members and the captain cocktail party one night. We met many people in the guest laundries on each deck. The laundries were well maintained and busy around the middle of the cruise. Jorge, of the activities staff, was very entertaining. The puzzles in the library were difficult and the board games and card room was always full on sea days. We docked at 7 a.m. in San Pedro port of Los Angeles on December 30 and met our daughter for a few days in L.A. before flying home on New Year's Day. Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
I've been on about 7 cruises, Carnival and Princess only. This was my second Princess. The first was Alaska on Sapphire three years ago. I will list some key points to consider. Do not stay on Emerald Deck 8 if you have ears. I ... Read More
I've been on about 7 cruises, Carnival and Princess only. This was my second Princess. The first was Alaska on Sapphire three years ago. I will list some key points to consider. Do not stay on Emerald Deck 8 if you have ears. I specifically asked about any issues with this area of the ship and the Princess agent, Ann Butler, who booked the cruise for me assured me there might be some bumpiness back there or engine sound but that's it. My elderly mother, who is almost deaf, could hear the thumping bass coming from the Universe Lounge below. until 4 in the morning a few nights!! Just be honest Ann, and let me make an informed decision! I also inquired as to whether the ships ever get bedbugs and she acted like I was stupid and said no!! Well, I found out they had an outbreak on the Coral Princess only a few weeks earlier! Of course they can get bedbugs, I realized. The issue came up after being in Panama when everyone was getting bit by mosquitoes. The best hotels get these, just be honest with me. Someone said maybe she didn't know. She bragged she knew a lot, having worked there 5 years, so she must have heard about it at some point before. Despite the Universe Lounge noise, I loved the deck out back on deck 8. Nobody knows it's there so it's almost like your own private area. Though deck 10 has a bigger one. I found this out when one of the ship officers invited me for a drink, then a stroll, where he proceeded to seduce me despite my protests. He couldn't believe it when I jumped up from my deck chair because he seemed to be finished talking and I wasn't interested in kissing a stranger. He thought I was the rude one! whatever. Shocked to find that there were no feminine products sold in singles, as I needed only 1 or 2 more. TWELVE DOLLARS AND FIFTY CENTS for a box in the gift shop!!! Due to the couple thousand I spent onboard, after a written complaint I thought they might have a heart, open a box, and deliver a few! It was the principle of the thing. Other prices seemed rather reasonable to me. But if someone didn't have a choice and really NEEDED this item, they were exploited and had to pay a 300% markup! They act like they want you to feel like a valued guest, or family. Elite! Gold! no. The bottom line is always just that. Disgusting. Nobody ever did even respond to my complaint. rude Food, about a 6 most of the time. A few happy surprises of DELICIOUS 10 though! That doesn't bother me so much because I didn't gain any weight since I don't eat food that isn't "worth it". So one bite, if it's not worth it I don't eat it. I must say the sweet waiters seemed to be disturbed by this. Excuse me, Miss? Don't you like it? Please! let me get you something else from the kitchen!! I said no worries, the next course is coming, I'm quite certain I will be full by the end of the meal! To be honest, I'm not really hungry now, but it's dinnertime and mom wants to eat. They were not happy with this response and tried to get me something else repeatedly. very sweet. Pizza and burgers were great. Soft serve ice cream not. again, that's fine or I would surely have gained 10 pounds because I love the stuff. LOVE the fish n chips they do a few times in the bayou cafe for lunch. Divine. That place had such ambience for dinner. too bad I never ate there. ate dinner at the Horizon once and liked it better than the dining room. But mom likes to dress up and be served dinner so that's where we ate. Waiting times with buzzers were never that bad. Like any restaurant. big whoop. Champagne split a good price. I LOVE that on this ship the promenade deck goes all the way around. It was so much easier to navigate this ship than the Sapphire, which cut off and I never bothered to figure out how to go all the way around. better things to do. Having cruised Carnival a couple years ago again, I must disagree with another review that said Carnival is better. Despite my complaints, I do still love Princess and the efforts the majority onboard go to making you feel special and like a princess! Carnival is kind of a joke compared to Princess. Great for when you are young and drunk. But as a more mature woman, absolutely not. They do not disinfect the public areas regularly like Princess does. And force hand sanitizer, at least not when I was there. It makes a difference. I don't hear of anyone getting norovirus on Princess like other lines. My friend and I ordered room service one evening on Carnival as we were getting ready for dinner and a night out. We decided the Assortment of Desserts would be a fine pre-dinner choice! Well, it was 2 tiny hockey puck brownies and 4 stale hydrox chocolate and vanilla sandwich cookies. Needless to say, we did not eat them. I really don't think Princess would do that to me. In fact, the hotel manager asked me my favorite pillow chocolates and when I said I hate them all, they are like hershey bars, he had chocolate covered strawberries in my room continuously, until the end of the cruise. I do hope they value these employees, they are the ones keeping us loyal to Princess, despite the mishaps and golden tampons. Oh, but I hated that they thought Bingo more important than our final lecture with Jim Kennedy, which got bumped!! He filled the Princess Theatre with his amazing lectures, and we were so looking forward to the grand finale, the blast off!! Despite all our complaints the smug little event planner cruise director guy said he can make that choice and he did. Bottom line again, Bingo makes them some more money...oh but we loved Jim Kennedy.... :) Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
Panama Canal December 2010 Background Information This cruise was a belated celebration of our 30th wedding anniversary, which we were unable to schedule in June, the actual date of our anniversary. This is a fun ... Read More
Panama Canal December 2010 Background Information This cruise was a belated celebration of our 30th wedding anniversary, which we were unable to schedule in June, the actual date of our anniversary. This is a fun cruise on a professionally run ship. We had a fabulous time meeting other Cruise Critics. We wish that the food had been a little more consistent in quality. This was our eighth cruise, the fourth with Princess. The Princess ships become a little bit like "home" the more you cruise with them. They have similar layouts, similar styles, similar food and there is definitely a Princess corporate culture present on all the ships which allows you to know what to expect. Overall, the crew was friendly and helpful. Because we were traveling about two weeks before Christmas, the ship was decked out with beautiful holiday lights, garlands, and Christmas trees, which created a festive atmosphere. There was also a Menorah located near the customer service desk to commemorate Hanukkah. Hotel in Fort Lauderdale We arrived in Fort Lauderdale late in the evening before our cruise and stayed at the Courtyard by Marriott FLL Airport & Cruise Port in Dania Beach. We've stayed there before and selected it again because our credit card gives us points which are redeemable for Marriott gift cards. A very comfortable room was $123 per night plus tax (AAA rate) and includes transportation from the FLL airport and to the cruise port. Meals are extra. Upon arrival we had a very nice snack of fruit and muffins, although we saw the staff in the restaurant preparing salads and sandwiches for guests despite the late (after 10 pm) hour. Transfer to Port After a tasty breakfast of oatmeal and a fruit & yogurt parfait, we packed our bags and proceeded to the lobby area. The hotel has several shuttles to the port and the lobby was packed with folks going to various ships. Because the hotel had a sign-in sheet the process was pretty orderly, although our 11 am shuttle, never departed until almost 11:30. The luggage was placed in a little trailer which was hooked onto the shuttle bus. As we approached the shuttle, we were informed that our shuttle was a little "short on seating" and we might have to get pretty "cozy". Well, since our luggage was already in the trailer and there was only one seat left on the shuttle, I wound up sitting on my DH's lap on the trip to the pier! We tried to be good-natured about this, but the woman next to us was definitely annoyed as I guess I encroached a bit into her personal space. The luggage was taken out of the trailer and we were instructed to remain on the shuttle during this process. When we finally exited the shuttle, we claimed our carry-on bags and left the remaining bags with the luggage attendants. This process always makes me squirm, as no claim checks are issued so you have no proof of luggage and no real way to trace "lost" luggage. That said, our bags were waiting outside our cabin door when we arrived at our cabin. We've seen baggage get misplaced and at times it's taken hours to "find" our luggage. Embarkation The embarkation process was slow. Since we arrived at the port around noon, I suspect that it was just a busy time. We probably would have done better had we arrived around 1:30 or so. We waited in a queue formation in the terminal for nearly an hour. No chairs, no coffee, no entertainment, no information, just a line that seemed endless and didn't move. I felt badly for some of the more incapacitated passengers who were forced to stand in this line. Finally the line began to move and once inside the registration area, embarkation went very quickly. Once inside the ship, we quickly found our cabin, unpacked, and went to find some lunch. Dining The food on cruise ships is supposed to be one of the highlights. In this case, I would have to say that the food quality and selection was hit-or-miss. Breakfast was fine, with a plentiful selection of rolls, pastries, fruit, eggs, oatmeal, French toast, etc. We never had a problem with breakfast and we either ate in the Horizon Court or had it delivered to our cabin on four mornings. I was disappointed that I only saw smoked salmon (delicious) on the first morning, but maybe I missed it on days we ate in our cabin. We usually ate lunch in the Horizon Court. This was where the food became a hit-or-miss situation. We don't eat a lot of meat and some days that was the only appetizing main dish that we could find. Some of the entrees were a little weird with strange combinations of vegetables and seasonings. I would have appreciated a few more "plain" items. There was always a great salad bar, however. So some days I went to the pizzeria and picked up a slice and then brought it back into the Horizon Court to enjoy with my salad. Desserts were always delicious and the fruit was abundant and fresh. We ate one lunch in the Provence Dining Room. It was delightful and delicious...we should have taken the time to eat there again. We did not feel like paying extra for Sabatini's or the Bayou Cafe. The menus just did not appeal to us, since I'm allergic to shrimp and neither of us eats a lot of meat. We had signed up for Anytime Dining which was absolutely chaotic. The first night we had about a 40 minute wait for dinner. Now, mind you, we had requested a table for twelve because we had met a group of Cruise Critic folks and wanted to dine with them. However, even passengers with smaller parties were walking around with flashing beepers a la TGI Fridays. The second night the maitre d' in the Bordeaux Dining Room (anytime dining room) suggested that he call the Provence Dining Room (fixed dining) and we received a late dining seating (7:45 pm) which we held for the rest of the cruise. By this time our group had expanded to 14 people on most nights, so we occupied two tables next to each other. The dinner menus were definitely the weak point for us on this ship. On several nights I felt my main course meal was inedible. Salmon was hard and tasteless, like it had been frozen for months. Penne pasta served with tomato sauce that tasted like it had been heavily spiked with chili peppers to the point of being nearly intolerable. Desserts remained the one strong point on all nights. And some meals were superb...seared scallops were sweet and cooked to perfection and the lobster tails were a complete delight. A vegetable and phyllo dough tart was also an absolutely delicious main course. The service in the dining room was usually pretty prompt and accurate. Food was brought out hot and served promptly. However, we felt a bit rushed to leave after coffee and dessert as the staff obviously wanted to get out of there after their last shift of the evening. Entertainment The entertainment was generally good to excellent. Rodney Johnson, the comedian was hilarious. His humor was clean and very sharp and funny! We wish that we could have seen Rodney again, but we missed him on the third night because we had a late dinner seating and decided to attend the Adrian Zmed show (of "TJ Hooker" fame)instead. Adrian Zmed is very talented and offered a great variety show that we totally enjoyed. We also enjoyed Maurizio's show, as well as hearing him in Crooners on some evenings. Most of the shows with the Coral Princess dancers and singers were pleasant and very energized. We also enjoyed the Joszef Trio with their classical strings performances. I also have to make special mention of the Coral Princess International Crew Show. Billy Hygate, the cruise director, as Fiddler on the Roof's Tevyeh was phenomenal! He could put Zero Mostel to shame. We wish he could have done an entire show! Billy Prudhomme, the juggler/comedian, was just average. We've seen his show on a previous cruise and seeing him again was too much. We also thought Jeff Nease, another comedian was just passable. He definitely needs to check his material as some of his jokes we had already heard from the first comedian. He seemed nervous and not very well prepared for his show. We also could have done without most of the on-board movies. I can watch movies at home on demand or download them on my computer and I expect a little more original entertainment when we cruise. The Pool I didn't go in the water so I can't comment on the pool itself. The deck around the Lido pool was pretty crowded but we never had a problem finding a seat. The deck chaises were not all that comfortable and definitely needed more padding. I loved the Lotus Pool with its very calm and quiet atmosphere which generally put me to sleep! The warm cookies and milk offered poolside were a lovely touch on most afternoons. Because the Lotus pool area is available for free we really felt there was no need for paying for the Sanctuary area. Cabins Our Cabin was a reasonably size BA balcony unit on the Caribe deck. The bed was a little hard for me, but my DH loved it, so we decided not to get an egg-crate matress topper. The pillows were awful, and I don't know why we didn't complain about them. The balcony had a table and four seats. Two of the seats were covered in bird excrement, so we didn't use them. We loved having a balcony. The best part is enjoying breakfast, in our bathrobes, on the balcony on sea days. Please beware of opening the cabin door and the balcony door at the same time, or you will have a wind tunnel churning through your cabin. The showers on the Princess ships are too tiny. I am not a large person so I can't even begin to imagine how someone with more body size would function in the shower. There was plenty of storage for toiletries in the bathroom. On some occasions, the "fresh" towels that we were given seemed a little damp. We had heard that one of the ship's dryers was not working, so maybe this was the reason. Our cabin steward, Ronaldo, kept the cabin spotless and was extremely helpful. However, we did not appreciate his unsolicited offer to help us find cheap watches in one of the ports. We don't even know how that discussion came up! The Internet We purchased a $100 package of 250 minutes at the Internet Cafe with a bonus of 30 minutes because it was purchased on the first day of the of the cruise. This was just the right amount of minutes for a ten-day cruise. We had brought our netbook along with us, but usually could not get a reliable connection and gave up on it after a couple of days. I don't think I'll bother bringing it on our next cruise as there was usually a terminal available at the internet cafe anyway The Library I didn't take out any books, but we really enjoyed the daily crossword puzzles that they provided. Also the chairs in the library were so comfy. It was a nice atmosphere for reading and watching the sea. The Spa I utilized the hairdresser at the Spa. I had no problem getting an appointment and she did my hair exactly as I requested. I told her that the hairdryer she used was too hot as it felt like it was burning my scalp and I had to repeatedly ask her to turn the heat down. Also, she spent almost the entire appointment trying to sell me various hair care creams and potions, skin creams, and even vitamins! This selling mentality seems to be ingrained on Princess crews, as someone is always trying to sell you something from drinks to jewelry to exercise classes. The Gym This was generally a busy spot, but I never had a problem locating a treadmill. The free weights were lacking. There was only one five pound weight and it was generally in use! The second weight disappeared after the second day of the cruise. Also the space to use the weights was too small. I felt like I was always in someone's way. Ship Activities We thoroughly enjoyed the at-sea days with plenty of activities planned. We took the Galley Tour on the last sea day and found it to be very interesting. Also we enjoyed the culinary demonstration. The port informational seminars were interesting. We participated in the Trivia Challenges and I played way too much Bingo. I didn't win at Bingo, but it was fun anyway. Because we were traveling during Hanukkah, there were lovely services conducted by fellow passengers. These were followed by delicious potato pancakes and donuts. The ship even provided prayer handouts. There was also a nice setup for the Friday evening service. Disembarkation This was quite orderly and timely. Princess seems to have this under control. We made it off the ship, located our luggage in the terminal and passed easily through US Customs and Immigration. Locating a cab to the Fort Laurderdale Airport was easy and ran about $15, including a tip. We were at the airport by 9 a.m. Summary This is a clean and well-organized ship. Even though the food selection was a little unpredictable, we had an excellent time. We enjoyed meeting the other passengers. We definitely will sail with Princess again. It's not perfect, but it's pretty darn good and an excellent value for the money. Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
Generally, the ship and Princess compare very favorably to Celebrity. One thing that can be improved is the food. We ate in the Bordeaux dining room at "anytime dining." We enjoyed eating when we felt like it with different ... Read More
Generally, the ship and Princess compare very favorably to Celebrity. One thing that can be improved is the food. We ate in the Bordeaux dining room at "anytime dining." We enjoyed eating when we felt like it with different people most evenings. We met a lot more people that way and had different conversations each night. The lobster, shrimp and fish dinners were excellent. The beef was tough to us and to other couples we dined with. Some of the offerings did not sound appetizing. Also, the hot lunches in the Horizon buffet dining were not very tasty. We did not pay extra to eat in any of the specialty restaurants on board. The ship left Port Everglades on Thanksgiving Day. We were able to get on the ship easily before noon even though we were told we couldn't board until 1PM. Getting on was quick and so was getting off. Very efficient. We were able to get off first because we took all our own bags off with us. We took 4 shore excursions booked through Princess. We were happy we booked the Princess tour in Costa Rica because our bus got caught in a traffic jam and flood caused by 8 inches of rain! Our bus and 2 others were almost 2 hours late past sailing time and Princess held the ship for us because we booked through Princess. We had almost taken a private tour and were so glad we didn't!! The minute we were back on the ship, they sailed away. We booked this cruise last minute on Monday and left port on Thursday. Saved a lot of money and were upgraded 2 classes. We had the last cabin at the back of the Coral Princess on the Aloha deck. It was very quiet and comfortable. We had to walk a long way to the restaurants at the front of the ship but it helped us burn off some calories and get some exercise. The shows and entertainment in the Princess Theater were very nice. Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
Vancouver, Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, Glacier Bay, College Fjord, Whittier --> Anchorage, Denali, Fairbanks. Vancouver looked like a nice city to visit. We should have left a day earlier and stayed one night there before the cruise. ... Read More
Vancouver, Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, Glacier Bay, College Fjord, Whittier --> Anchorage, Denali, Fairbanks. Vancouver looked like a nice city to visit. We should have left a day earlier and stayed one night there before the cruise. Boarding the ship was smooth - no lines. The Coral is probably the smallest cruise ship I have been on but it was very nice. The grill and pizza place was where we at most of the time. The few times we tried the dining room it took forever to get our food. We've been on a lot of cruises and this was the first time we had experienced this. The staff all spoke very good english and were very helpful. The entertainment was very Vegas-like. I could take it or leave it. A nice touch was that they offered beer from Alaskan Brewing. Most cruises I have taken it is the usual light, fizzy yellow beers offered with the token Guinness. The shopping was pretty bad. Every stop had the same 5 or 6 stores offering the exact same stuff. They also had the same jewellery stores at every stop - who cruises to Alaska to buy jewelery??? We started looking for the locally owned/operated stores and gave them our business. Most of the stored have something indicating that they are locally owned/operated. DO NOT expect fast internet anywhere on this trip. I had to do some work on the trip and the connection was very slow. I even brought my Verizon usb modem and I did not get 3G anywhere so it was very slow as well. Ketchikan was nice and we did the Canopy tour excursion. It was fun but I will book all excursions outside of Princess next time. More options and better prices. I would recommend the canopy tour. Juneau was smaller than I thought and it rained a bit here. We took the tram and hiked in the rain. We had booked a helicopter and dogsled excursion trough Princess but it was cancelled due to clouds/visibility. We walked down the dock and found Era tours. They had a helicopter and dogsled tour that went to the Norris and Taku glaciers and DogWorld instead of Mendenhall like everyone else. We saved more than $100 per person and still got to do the helicopter and dogselds. We got spectacular views of the glaciers and we able to meet/pet/mush the dogs. It was a highlight of our trip! Skagway was a bit boring but the Skagway Brewpub was worth a visit. Food and beer were both excellent. We also took the Gold Rush trip and that was a waste of our time. Glacier Bay and College Fjord were both amazing as expected. We found that there were small decks on the front and back of the ship on the Caribe, Baja and Aloha decks that almost no one seemed to know about. We had spectacular views of the glaciers and did not have to fight for a position to see them. We also used our balcony. It was a bit cloudy but I still took some great pics. The stop at the Animal Preserve outside of Whittier on he way to Anchorage was nice and I would recommend it. They take in injured animals and nurse them back to health. A lot to see here. . Anchorage was a nice stop. They had a street festival going on and we walked around and enjoyed the city. I recommend the Snow Goose for good beer. We didn't get a chance to try the Glacier brewpub - it was packed. The Captain Cook hotel was very nice and had a great view. Doing the tour after the cruise worked out better for us. The train ride from Anchorage to Denali was painful. It took forever to get there and the seating was cramped. If we had taken the train before the cruise it would have put a damper on the rest of the trip. The Denali lodge was horrible. The rooms were easily the worst we stayed in on any trip we have taken. Paper thin walls and cheap furnishings. We could hear the people on either side of us snoring and if they were moving around at all we could hear it. There were not many food choices there either. The best option is to go across the street and get breakfast/coffee/dinner/beer over there instead of at the lodge. They offer a $14 breakfast buffet or a muffin and coffee - that's it. I'm not eating $14 worth of food for breakfast. We ate at the Salmon Bake twice and got coffee across the street. We also booked a white water rafting trip at Denali Outdoor Center and had a great time. I would recommend this one even though the water was fast and 36 degrees. They gave us drysuits so we were not cold or wet at the end. Our package included a 5 hour 15 mile bus trip into the park. There was no way I was sitting for 5 hours on a bus to only go 15 miles into the park. The desk at the lodge was pushing the upgrade to the Tundra tour. We passed on that and went to the visitors center and traded our tour tickets for a shuttle pass. The shuttle buses go a lot further into the park and have experienced and knowledgeable drivers. They stopped for wildlife sightings and made the trip fun. I would recommend not buying a tour from Princess and getting a shuttle pass instead. We rode with the somewhat famous John Allen. The bus to Fairbanks was ok. The driver stopped at Parks Monument which is really a rock on the side of the highway - nothing to see here folks. It could have been skipped since there was nothing there and we were almost into Fairbanks by that time. Fairbanks was a nice little town. Our room at the Bear Lodge was nice and it had 2 good places to eat within walking distance - Ichiban Noodle and Geraldo's. Both were very good. We took the riverboat tour and this was fun. We saw Lance Mackey and Susan Butcher's dog camp and got to see how the natives lived. It was a long and fun trip. I took 10 gigs of photos and videos.We saw glaciers, whales, moose, caribou, musk ox, bears, eagles, owls, seals, sea otters and learned a lot about the culture of the natives. I would do a few things different if I cruise to Alaska again but we enjoyed it overall. Read Less
Sail Date June 2010
We greatly enjoyed our Alaska cruise. The minisuite was very well laid out, and quite comfortable. The balcony was a bit smaller than our two previous cruises, but still comfortable. I would highly recommend requesting an eggshell crate ... Read More
We greatly enjoyed our Alaska cruise. The minisuite was very well laid out, and quite comfortable. The balcony was a bit smaller than our two previous cruises, but still comfortable. I would highly recommend requesting an eggshell crate mattress, which made a huge difference in the comfort level of the bed. The faxed request that we sent before the cruise was lost, but the room steward was able to quickly obtain the mattress for us on the first day of the cruise. You should request this mattress quickly, as previous reviews have noted that they can run out. Embarkation was an unmitigated disaster, but this was not at all due to any negligence on Princess' part. Port screening took 2-2 1/2 hours to clear due to a lack of availability of customs and security agents. Once customs was cleared, Princess quickly and efficiently processed its passengers for embarkation. The glacier viewing was excellent, and we loved seeing the calving at Glacier Bay. The food in the dining room was generally quite good, and some dishes were outstanding. On two days there were special seafood buffets, and both were excellent. Our waiter was highly knowledgable, and very efficient. The most significant area that Princess needs to improve is the buffet. The food in the buffet is more limited than previous cruises (both Holland America, and surprisingly even Carnival had more buffet options). Most importantly, the cruise often chose to close half the dining room (leaving only either the food options on the port or starboard side open). This led to very long and frustrating lines to obtain food. Once you finish standing in line, it was then very difficult to find a table since there is not enough seating available inside. This may be less of an issue on the Panama trips, since is will be warm enough to eat outside. But on the Alaska cruises, it is often a bit too chilly to eat outside comfortably, and so there is a significant shortage of seating. I was also surprised that the doors leading from the buffet to the outside tables had handles that you need to turn to open. There are sliding glass doors elsewhere on the ship, so I was surprised that they did not chose to incorporate this design feature between the buffet and the outside tables. It is quite difficult to open doors when you are carrying food (and impossible if you have one plate of food in one hand, and a drink in the other). I hope that sliding glass doors will be utilized in new ships between the buffet station and outside tables. The ports were excellent, and we had adequate time in all of the ports to enjoy many activities. In particular, we loved the Bering Sea Crab Fishermen's Tour in Ketchikan (which is fascinating and great for families), and the Temsco helicopter to Dog Sled camp in Skagway (please note that Temsco is the subcontractor for the helicopter tours for the cruise ships, and you can save 10% by booking directly through their company. Also, if you choose to visit a dog sled camp, please make sure you do it in Skagway, not Juneau since the weather is a bit more stable in Skagway. Also, please try to book your helicopter tour in the morning, since helicopter tours are often cancelled due to inclement weather. If your helicopter is scheduled for the morning, you will have a better chance of it being rescheduled for the afternoon, instead of the tour being cancelled outright. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that you will be able to participate in this amazing activity due to the unpredictable Alaskan weather). I encountered some difficulties in trying to book a cruisetour. The website stated the A La Carte cruisetour was available on our intended travel date for $1800 per person, but when I called Princess to book the tour, I was told that the tour was sold out and that I could be put on the waiting list, but that we might be charged $2200 per person. The Princess phone representative stated that Princess did not know exactly what price it would be charging for wait-listed customers on the A La Carte Tour, and so they needed to quote the $2200 price even thought it was possible that the actual price of the tour would be less. I was surprised to learn that the tour was sold out, since other dates said Please call for pricing and availability instead of having a price listed, and I assumed that a date with a price would be available at the listed price. I was also surprised that Princess could not quote me an exact price for the tour, especially since their website listed a specific price for that exact date. Since we found the Princess' cruisetour pricing a bit confusing, we decided to travel to Denali on our own, and we really loved our independent tour. We took the Alaskan Leopard Comedy Tour from Whittier to Anchorage, which stopped at the lovely Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center along the way. In Anchorage, we picked up the Alaska Park Motorcoach to take us from Anchorage to Denali. Please note that if you want to arrive in Denali on the same day you disembark from your cruise, your only option besides a Princess tour is to take the afternoon Alaska Park Motorcoach bus to Denali. It is a very long travel day, but you may prefer this to spending a night in Anchorage. In Denali, we stayed at the McKinley Chalets, which had very good food (including excellent pizza), is in a great location, and has adequate rooms. The hotels in Denali are only open 4 months a year, so they are all significantly more expensive than a comparable hotel in the continental US. In Denali, we took the National Park Service's shuttle bus to Eielson Visitor Center, where we had a very lucky day and we were able to see a family of grizzly bears with cubs, a lynx, a family of gray wolves sleeping, a red fox, caribou, moose, Dall sheep, snowshoe hare, and a golden eagle. You might also consider taking the shuttle bus to Wonder Lake, which is supposed to be lovely and offer more wildlife viewing opportunities along the way. But we arrived in Denali one day before the bus to Wonder Lake started (which is June 8th in 2010). Please be very careful with checking the park services bus schedule, as you may be disappointed if you arrive in Denali before the buses are running (they generally begin shorter routes on June 1st, and add longer routes during the month of June). Private vehicles are only allowed partway into the park, so it is important to be aware of the bus schedule. Denali also has some very lovely hiking trails, and beautiful views of Mt. Mckinley (Denali) if you are lucky. On the way back to Anchorage, we took the Alaska Railroad GoldStar train back, which was lovely and had an open air platform on the back of the train. They also have less expensive seating, but the views are not guaranteed. You can also save money by booking a ticket on the cruise line's trains, which will guarantee you a seat in a domed railcar. They will sell any extra railroad tickets they have, after seating the passengers on their cruisetours. Holland America's trains were less expensive than Princess', and you also might want to check with Celebrity, since I think that they have a new train car on the Alaska Railroad. Overall, it was a lovely cruise, and we greatly enjoyed our time in Alaska. We would cruise again with Princess if we can find another cruise with a strong itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
Our cruise actually started in Seattle where we arrived at 9:00. After checking in with Princess and were told we would be leaving on the shuttle 'shortly', we sat in the baggage claim area for 2 ½ hours. After getting on the ... Read More
Our cruise actually started in Seattle where we arrived at 9:00. After checking in with Princess and were told we would be leaving on the shuttle 'shortly', we sat in the baggage claim area for 2 ½ hours. After getting on the bus we made good time until the border where we sat for an hour waiting to be cleared through Canada. If we had to do it again, we would have just flown into Vancouver. We arrived in the port at 3:45 and thought since the boat was to leave shortly, that we would be one of the last to board. We were surprised to see the long line to get back through security and immigration. Basically, the embarkation process was a nightmare. The positive aspect of the embarkation was that we missed the muster drill that had the passengers sitting in the muster sights for 1 ½ hours! Our room was on the 12th deck with a balcony. Very nice and comfortable. The only issue I had was that the robes that I had requested online before we left were not there and it took 3 attempts to get them. We did have a meet and greet on our first day on sailing that was supposed to be on the Princess Patters, but due to the late departure from Vancouver, the purser could not get it on the Patter. I was surprised to see that no one from the cruise ship greeted us. I have planned several meet and greets and have always had an officer (usually several) join us. I have to say I really did not see many officers (2?) the entire time I was on the cruise. I did not find the crew overly friendly. I had no issues with any of the service on the ship. The room steward was fine and food was fine - not spectacular. We ate a majority of our breakfasts in the Horizon Court - the dining room was more of a time commitment that we were not willing take. The Court had plenty of workers there, but they did not interact with the passengers. We get up very early, so did not have a problem with seat, though I did hear from others that late arrivals had difficulty finding a seat, especially while the glacier view was going on. After being seated, we needed to call a waiter to get coffee or juice. At one point, I went over myself to use the coffee carafe and was scolded. They weren't very friendly and the service was often slow. We ate dinner in the dining room (early seating). The servers referred to the two older ladies sitting at our table as 'mommy'. I am not sure what that was about, but I am glad they did not refer to me with that name - I would have definitely take offense. Other then the overly familiar names, the wait staff was very nice and the service was punctual. We did eat one night in the Bayou Cafe - the food and service was excellent! With all that being said, I do not go on a cruise for the food - though I have no problem eating too much. I used the gym regularly and found it more than adequate. It was a good way to work off some of the food We chose this trip based on the ports and our desire to see Alaska. We had planned our activities at each port based on cruise critic and did not do the excursions on the ship. Therefore, I cannot speak on the merits on those. We did extend our trip to Denali which was through Princess. I did talk to several people who did do some of the excursions and they seemed to enjoy them. We found most of the port easy to do independently and there were many vendors outside the ship if passengers did not have prior arrangements. The 10 hour train ride was long, but the scenery was beautiful. I was on the train when I saw my first moose! The Princess Lodge was adequate. My only issue was the long lines to get coffee. Unfortunately, it was not available in the rooms, so everyone was trying to get their caffeine before heading out of the day at the same time. I know they are a business, but providing a coffee service in the room would be a nice addition. Denali was very easy to do independently. We started into Denali at 7:30 and made it back in time for the dog sled demonstration .We were blessed to have great weather during our trip - even saw the mountain. The people of Alaska and Canada could not have been more welcoming and helpful. The trip from Fairbanks to Seattle was a long day. They had us get the bus two hours before the flight for the 10 minute ride to the airport. We took a short hop to Anchorage and sat again until our flight to Seattle. It was a shame that this could not have been coordinated better and had a direct flight to Seattle. The Doubletree hotel in Seattle was great - spacious, coffee, a warm cookie and close to the airport. Check in was seamless - I would stay at this hotel again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
We just got back from the Coral Princess (Ghost Ship more on that later) 19 day Panama Canal Cruise Ft. Lauderdale to Vancouver and here is my review. We left Ft. Lauderdale on April 21st about 300 passengers short as many people including ... Read More
We just got back from the Coral Princess (Ghost Ship more on that later) 19 day Panama Canal Cruise Ft. Lauderdale to Vancouver and here is my review. We left Ft. Lauderdale on April 21st about 300 passengers short as many people including the captain were unable to make it over from Europe due to the volcano. I'm not sure if this is why the ship was so quiet but most nights the sip was desserted by 11:00 p.m. sometimes earlier. The demographics definitely leaned to an older crowd 60+ with maybe two or three children that we saw. Pre Cruise - We stayed at the Cambria Suites Hotel in Dania Beach. This is a new hotel and overall we were pleased with everything. The hotel provides free shuttle to/from the airport and cruise terminal. While we did have to wait a little while at the airport the service was excellent and the drivers friendly. The hotel provides a wheelchair shuttle (which we required) and may have been the reason for the delay getting picked up at the airport. The hotel has an onsite restaurant with decent quality food for a reasonable price. Breakfast buffet is $8.00 a person and a good value. The restaurant does not open during lunch time. The rooms are very nicely decorated with a separate living room area, fridge and microwave. Complimentary coffee is also provided (Wolfgang Puck brand which was excellent) The bathrooms are very large. Staff at the hotel were pleasant and very accommodating. We paid $99.00/night which was an excellent value compared to other hotels in the area which were almost double the price. Embarkation - We arrived at the cruise terminal by 11:00 a.m. and were onboard by noon. Other than the onsite Princess staff being a little rude when the special need group was brought up to check in this was the quickest and smoothest embarkation we have had so far. I did mention to the lady who was harping about them not being ready for us yet that she wasn't making me feel very welcome and she changed her attitude so I can't be overly critical about this. Meet and Greet - We held a meet and greet on the first sea day in the Wheelhouse and had about 50 people in attendance. I had the opportunity to organize it so any opinion I might provide would be biased. I did receive very positive feedback however. Other than the Captain's Circle Host (who send me a note to apologize) all the senior members of the ship stopped by to say hello. I should note that I sent invitations to them as my Princess contact provided me their names. We also had a gift exchange on our second sea day, also in the Wheelhouse which was attended by about 40 people. We had a great time and lots of laughs during the gift exchange which really went well. I would recommend to anyone going on a cruise to at least get on the roll call even if you don't want to go to the meet and greet. The information that was shared among us was really useful and it was fun to have others to share the excitement of an upcoming cruise with. Our Cabin - We had a wheelchair cabin B633 and it was well laid out and the bathroom was easily accessible. I rented a shower bench as the fold down seat in the roll in chair is not adjustable and doesn't feel as secure as a shower bench. I recommend anyone needing a wheelchair cabin to rent this piece of equipment as it really is safer and makes life much easier. The Ship - Having previously sailed on the Caribbean and Star Princess we found the layout of the Coral excellent and easy to get around once we figured out everything was pretty much reversed. The Horizon Court is forwarded while the Spa is Aft. The dining rooms are both forward as well. The Wheelhouse Bar is much larger than on the other ships we sailed but just as elegant. Sabitini's is larger and the Bayou is also larger than the Steakhouses on the other ships we sailed. The two pools on the Lido deck (one is covered) seemed to be bigger than on previous ships as well but we aren't pool people so I didn't pay a lot of attention to them. The Casino seemed a bit smaller but for the most part we didn't have problems getting a machine to play. The layout of the spa wasn't quite as nice as the larger ships particularly in the area of the thermal spa but the spa rooms were slightly larger. We missed having an International Cafe and Vine's but it didn't deter from our enjoyment of the cruise. The Sanctuary which is on two levels looked very nice and while we didn't take advantage of it on this cruise we would definitely consider in the future. The Staff - Probably the best overall crew we have come across so far on Princess. I'm not sure if this is because there are fewer passengers are if it was just an overall happy crew. Other than the Captain you always saw senior staff around the ship and available to talk to passengers. Our cabin steward, Carmelita was excellent and really paid attention to little details and how we liked things in our room. She would notice things like us using the extra bedding as a pillow and bring more pillows without us asking. When I asked for extra Kleenex she always made sure to have it on hand and instead of removing our wine glasses like on other cruises she washed them and left them in the room. Unfortunately she was moved to another area of the ship when we reached Los Angeles and our next steward was not nearly as attentive. We had traditional late dining and when I saw we had a waitress instead of a waiter I was a bit taken back. I'm somewhat old school when it comes to formal dining but our waitress Gabriella changed my tune with her outstanding and friendly service. She was such a delight and one of the highlights of our cruise. Unlike reports I've read on cruise critic our head waiter Alex and the Maitre' D Guiseppe were around consistently and both were very accommodating with any special requests we had. The bar staff were extremely friendly and helpful with drink suggestions. They remembered our names from the first day and always made us feel welcome. If you sail on the Coral make sure to find Mile the waiter who serves Crooner's Bar and Churchill Lounge (smoking and cigar lounge). He really is a lot of fun. The Cruise staff were everywhere and also remembered our names and had a smile a welcome whenever we saw them. We loved Andrew (ladies who wouldn't) who was a fellow Canadian and a real joy to be around. Billy Hygate was the CD and he and Andre (assistant CD) put on a great morning show which was always hilarious. I can honestly say I never once felt that our staff were looking for tips, they all seemed genuinely pleased to be there and to accommodate us in anyway possible. Dining - As I previously mentioned we had traditional dining at the late seating. The food was excellent throughout and seemed to be better than on previous cruises. We booked the Chef's Table ($75 per person) and were not disappointed. If you enjoy food and wine you should try this at least once. Sign up is limited to 10 passengers and due to the popularity of it 3 Chef's Tables were held on the first 15 days of the cruise. We ate at both the Bayou and Sabitini's twice each over 19 days and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Sabitini's has a $20 per person surcharge and the Bayou has a $15 per person surcharge with an additional $5 for lobster tail (well worth the value). The Island and Coral are the only two ships with a Bayou which I thought was much better than Sterlings or Crown Grill. We didn't eat in the Horizon Court very often but enjoyed the meals we did have. As I previously mentioned we missed having the International Cafe but enjoyed the specialty coffees at the Patisserie which does not serve food. We had pizza a few times on the Lido Deck which was pretty good and my DH enjoyed the hotdogs and hamburgers at the Grill on the Sun Deck. Our travel agent sent us a gift of the champagne balcony breakfast which we enjoyed while docked of Cabo San Lucas. We have done this on both our previous cruises and enjoyed it thoroughly. There is a lot of food so be prepared. My DH doesn't like smoked salmon but we were allowed to substitute eggs Benedict. Entertainment - For some reason the main rooms on this cruise didn't seem to have the calibre of entertainment we enjoyed on previous cruises. Crooner's which is usually one of the most popular places on the ship had a woman who most staff and passengers thought was awful and this was evident in the number of passengers who abandoned the lounge when she was playing. My DH a former musician said she was a competent piano player but she sang and played way to high which was a turn off and probably a killer for anyone with a hearing aid. The band in Explorer's lounge Indigo was okay a decent band with a good guitarist and pleasing to listen to. The band in Wheelhouse was again okay but not up to level of bands on previous ships. For the most part this is all very subjective and travelling with a former musician you get a different outlook on things but the Crooner's entertainment was really brutal. The ships house band that backed the entertainer's was great. We saw the comedian Al Katz who was awesome. A musical review of the Beatles, Rat Pack, Beach Boys, and Diva's was extremely well put together and enjoyable. We also saw a show by Jackie Wilson's son Bobby Brooks Hamilton that was very good. Unfortunately the night we went the crowd seemed to be in a coma or sitting on their hands so it didn't have the energy it could have had the crowd been more involved. The Ports - I wish Princess would give a bit more time in some of the ports as we would have loved to explore a bit more. Aruba was quaint and the shopping area was varied and had some good deals. Cartagena is a fascinating port but the vendors just spoiled it as they were way to pushy and probably did themselves a disservice by turning off the tourists. This is one port were more time would have nice. Costa Rica was another nice port with a nice selection of vendors with very reasonable prices and while you could barter the prices were so good you really didn't need to. Going through the Canal was just amazing and I would do it again in a heartbeat. We really enjoyed Huatulco and were surprised at how beautiful and for unblemished it was. Cabo San Lucas (we didn't disembark) was also gorgeous and we enjoyed the time sitting on our balcony and just watching the activity in the harbour. Acapulco has a gorgeous harbour but I found it to be overcrowded. We did take a taxi tour and had some fantastic views of the harbour and also saw the cliff divers. We rented a limo in Los Angeles and took a tour of the highlights and stopped for a bit a the Farmer's Market. Since we are Canadians and have been to Victoria we didn't do any touring but if you go there for the first time be sure to go into town at least. Overall - We had a wonderful cruise but it really was like a ghost ship with things shutting down early almost every night including the casino. We are not big partiers but there were nights when we walked around the public areas at 10:30 p.m. and didn't see one single passenger. I think this is in most part to the demographics on longer cruises. After 19 days cruising we were ready to come home and never eat again. Notes to Princess - Is it really necessary to have sale tables set up near the dining room, we found this tacky and it blocked passengers entering and leaving. If you sell a 19 day cruise why does everything have to be reset after 15 days? We got a new cabin steward, had to have casino and internet credits reinstated and also started our billing process again along with getting new cruise cards etc. We found this entire process very disjointed. With all the technology available today there should be some way to avoid this disruption to passengers. The staff on the Coral Princess are awesome I hope you realize what a treasure you have with this group of staff. Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
Richard and Cathy's Trip Report for our cruise on the Coral Princess From Feb 19- Mar 7 2010. I am not going to get into a play by play of every detail but just some general observations from each day. Preparation: We booked this ... Read More
Richard and Cathy's Trip Report for our cruise on the Coral Princess From Feb 19- Mar 7 2010. I am not going to get into a play by play of every detail but just some general observations from each day. Preparation: We booked this cruise while on the Emerald Princess almost 3 years ago. We cancelled it once and pushed it ahead to this date so this trip was a while in coming. We booked Princess Air because at that time it was $600 pp there and back including transfers and hotel. That couldn't be beat. Once we got our ticket information however we decided to use Westjet credits to fly directly home as they had us on a milk run going through Seattle that wouldn't have got us home until past midnight. Westjet got us home at 5:00 pm. Fri Feb 19 Our good friend Mike drove us to the airport. On the way there we realized we forgot our bathroom bag, where else but in the bathroom. After taking a quick mental inventory we decided that there was nothing critical in the bag. We arrived there at about 6:00am for an 8:00am flight. Normally lots of time but for some reason customs was backed up for "miles". Unusual for our airport. We flew NWA which became Delta before we left. They charge for your bags. Not one bag free then a charge, they charge for all of them. Luckily we found this out and paid in advance. Cathy wanted to get duty free on the way out but they were boarding by the time we got through customs so we rushed right onto the jet. Oh well, maybe we can get some in our stop in Minneapolis. Minni is a big airport. Luckily we didn't have to clear customs again as we did it on our side. We found duty free but of course because we are technically flying from the US to the US we couldn't purchase anything. We found a small store where we bought toothbrushes, contact lens cases and solution. We were hungry (no food on these flights) so we went to a brewpub for my first beer in almost 2 months. Tasted great so I had another. ? Flew onto Fort Lauderdale where we were met by a Princess Rep and shuttled onto a bus to the Hotel. It was a Sheraton Suites and not too bad. Had a bedroom area and a sitting area with a small kitchenette. We ate dinner at a diner (cool) where Cathy surprised me by having the ½ pound hotdog. When they brought it out they gave it to me assuming I'd be the one chowing down on the monster dog. Back to the hotel and asked at the front desk for a cab so we could get the rest of the items we forgot. Turns out they had a shuttle so he took us to a Walgreens. Did you know they sell beer and wine at Walgreens? I do now. We bought the remainder of the items we needed and I picked up 2 cases of beer with the intention of drinking some and taking the rest on to the ship. This actually worked out well. They had wireless internet that you had to pay for in your room, or it was free in the lobby. I went to the lobby to send my first of what was going to turn out to be almost daily emails home. Great having a laptop. Went up to the room, watched a bit of Olympics then went to bed. Cathy was forced to drink vodka and 7up for a nightcap as she never got her duty free and the bar was closed by 11:30 pm. Sat Feb 20 We woke up and walked to the diner for breakfast. We put out our bags to be picked up and I headed to the lobby to check email as Cathy had the start of a headache. After a brief rest we went down to the lobby and waited for the bus. Hopped the bus to the port where there were several ships in Port, including the massive Oasis of the Seas. Check in was a breeze. It was about 1:00pm so there were no lines. Got our documents right away and proceeded on board. Once on board we made reservations for the "Chefs Table". This is very much like our Nait wine dinners but made for your table of 12 only. It also came with wine parings so at $75 each we thought it was worth it to try. More on this later. We unpacked, I think I brought too much stuff. We also redeemed our pre-purchased wine and beer vouchers for our sail away beverages and internet time. Actually we brought on two bottles of wine and the leftover beer (still cold) so we started on that first. Cracked them open, toasted our trip then went to wander around. This is when we first began to notice the general age on board. Pretty much all senior citizens. We are not young by any means but felt like kids on this ship. We did the obligatory muster drill and then proceeded to wander around and have a few bevy's. My bevy of choice was Budweiser in the aluminum bottles. Bar staff got to know this very well! We went to dinner and met our tablemates. A couple from Alberta, a couple from Ontario and a couple from the southern US. One fellow (Alberta) was a barbershop singer and one couple (Ontario) were Dixieland band members. We all had a variety of different interests and I think it was a good table. I am normally a bit quiet so I thought I'd break the mold and be outgoing that night, introducing myself and Cathy and trying to initiate conversations. I wasn't impaired or anything, I just thought I'd try something different. Cathy said she'd never seen me like that. I asked her if I embarrassed her or myself and she said no, it was just different. I cooled my jets a bit the next night. ? Sunday 21 Our first full sea day. It's starting to warm up as we head to Aruba. I won $100 in blackjack last night so feel pretty good about that. We had breakfast and headed out to wander around. We met the people from Cruise Critic at lunch today. Seems like a good bunch of people and should be fun to take tours with. Saw dolphins at sail away yesterday. Had a game of shuffleboard where Cathy accused me of making up the rules. Quit due to heat. Checked and sent my daily email before dinner. Did this pretty much each day. Tonite was formal night and I once again rented a tux. No problems whatsoever and a very convenient way of doing it. Mind you after 3 rentals you could buy one but this way here you don't have to haul it in your luggage. Cathy is freaked out by the mirror as it meets at a 90 degree angle and makes you look weird. Gave back my blackjack winnings in 3 Card Poker then went to explorers lounge and had fun until everyone went to bed at midnight. All the bars closed and Cathy couldn't get a coke with her coke card. We walked from one end of the sip to the other looking for a soda fountain. Had the ship to ourselves! They said to call room service but there would be a charge because its canned. I cracked by Toe on a table that night going to the washroom and think I broke it. Not much you can do for a broken toe so I have to grin and bear it. Good way to start a cruise! Always something with me... Mon 22 Another day at sea. We had breakfast and headed out to the sun deck. I put on some spray sun block that Cathy bought at the dollar store. Guess why it was only a dollar? I turned beet red later that day and had a bad tank-top farmers tan. Pretty funny looking. Sunburn was bad though. Peeled of layers of skin throughout the rest of the cruise and stayed out of the sun for many days. Put on tons of Aloe but still didn't help. Good thing formal night was last night. Wandered around a bit and found the "secret" doors to the front and back of the sip. No one there! Also found the laundry. At least Princess still has laundry. Great on a long cruise like this. Show tonite was the Adrian Zmed "look at me, I used to be someone" show. Pretty self promoting with many pictures of himself in his youth. Better than a kick in the groin I guess. Went to the casino where we met a couple called Linda and Bob. They were a fixture at this table all cruise, dropping and winning many hundred a night. She was having luck and I lost my money. I got up to watch and she started losing so gave me a stack of fives (about $50) and asked me to keep playing. I did and she started to win again. Wound up leaving with about $25 of her money which she refused to take back. Oh well, it was fun. Quote of the day: "At least my toe takes my mind off of my sunburn" Tue 23 Port Day, Aruba. We slept in a bit so we just walked around and hit the local shops and casino. Cathy managed to find some "supplies" to bring back on board. We weren't here for very long so were back on the ship after a few hours. It hurt to be in the sun and it was very hot! Luckily the casino was air conditioned. Cathy went to the washroom here to transfer her "supplies" into a water bottle to bring back onto the ship. We got back on board and found out we were "selected" to go to the chefs dinner so that should be neat. We went to the Bayou Cafe for and authentic fish and chips lunch. Very busy, bad service as many people were served after we were seated. We finally got served after I asked where our lunch was. Good fish. That night we went to Karaoke and only the staff participated as all the seniors are in bed. Although I did come up with a new song, "I'm too fat for my sexy shirt" which I sang back to the cabin, much to Cathy's chagrin. That was my quote of the day. Wed 24 Today was Cartagena. Had a light room service breakfast, fruit, coffee and a Danish. We went on a private tour with the Cruise Critic people. We had air conditioned vans for our group which was nice. Lee Miles tours I believe, they did a great job. We went to the Old Fort, a Monastery, the old walled city, the inquisition palace and a few other places. It was very nice but the vendors there are overly aggressive. Think of Mexico x10. To the point of I'd consider not going back because of the vendors. They literally placed hats on your head and shirts on your back. The country and the people were very nice, police presence everywhere, felt safe all of the time. It was very hot though, 104 degrees with 100% humidity. Even the locals said it was hot. My shirt was drenched and stuck to me like I was just swimming in it. We bought some coffee and Cathy bout a nice pair of emerald earrings at a bottle of hot sauce for a co-worker. Came back to the ship and lunch was crazy busy. Finally found a place to sit. We went to the lobby to make signs for the panama canal tomm and basically spent the rest of the day cooling off. We went to dinner and then hit the lounge for trivia and bed. We didn't make too many shows this trip as they either didn't interest us of were too busy. Thur 25 Went thru the canal today, very cool and very hot. Cathy was up early but it was too dark to see anything. I got up about an hour later and it was light enough to see stuff. We took lots of pictures and video. Yesterday we made a sign that we are supposed to hang from our balcony and they will take our picture from the canal side. We hung the sign over the edge of the balcony and waved our flag. They took pictures and it looks pretty good. We were on the ships video too which we bought. Off to the Chefs table dinner tonite. The Chef's Table begins when the Maitre d' personally has us put on chefs coats and escorts us to the galley where we see the busy dinner preparations and meet the executive chef, plus enjoy French champagne with four appetizers. The chef previews the details of the menu he created for the evening, and our group is paraded to our special table in the dining room. The multi-course menu is specially created by the chef, and is not offered anywhere else on the ship. We had a Lobster Risotto, Sorbet with Grey goose, a very cool trio of starters, Veal, Venison and Beef on cast iron hooks stand. They poured flaming brandy over the meat and had the veggies underneath. You took pieces off with tongs and had sauces to accompany them. Each course is accompanied by a detailed explanation of special features, preparation methods, and tasting suggestions. Specially selected wines complement the meal. During the dessert course, the chef rejoins the group at our private table to participate in a discussion about the meal, answer questions, and share culinary secrets perfected during many years of experience at sea and on land. Additionally, each couple at the Chef's Table received a personalized autographed copy of Princess' best-selling cookbook, Courses, A Culinary Journey. We also got a complimentary photo taken at the private table with the chef. One fellow at our table asked the Chef if he ever had Velveeta Cheese. The Chef never heard of this and asked what country this came from and what region etc. I told the Chef this was processed cheese and the Chef just rolled his eyes. The fellow was then known as "Velveeta Dave". Pretty funny moment. We were stuffed so wandered a bit and went to the Casino where Cathy won $500 playing 3 card poker. Put out some laundry to get cleaned and pressed. Quote of the day: While being sprayed with COLD sunscreen and flinching like crazy, "I feel like Joe Cocker at Woodstock" (if you've ever seen him you'd know what I mean). Fri 26 Took a Ships Panama city (early) tour today. Very interesting, very modern/rundown. Weird combination. Went to the Original city, ruins, and the old colonial town. Fastest growing city in the Americas. Once again, very hot. Can't stay out too long. Learned my lesson in Cartagena though. Wore a tank top under my Hawaiian shirt. Worked well and will be the way I do all ports for the rest of the trip. Were back on the ship by noon so went a did a load of laundry. Our other laundry came back nicely cleaned and pressed. Went to the dining room for lunch, which we did a few times this cruise as the food was better. Geritol cruise though. Everyone with canes or slow going and in bed early. Gets a little boring after a while as everything shuts down at 11:00 pm. Quote of the day: "All the old people are starting to look the same" Sat 27 Had breakfast in the dining room today. Rode the exercise bike this morning (Cathy went to lay in the sun) and while watching the TV found out there was a big Earthquake in Chile. Guess there is a small Tsunami heading our way. Turns out it just felt like a big swell, no big deal to us. Saw a few dolphins too. Bought some tickets for the slot tournament but didn't get in by 3:00 pm so will have to try on Thursday. Got some bingo cards so of course had to go play. Formal night tonite and Costa Rica tomm. Out tour got canceled so we are scrambling to find something to do tomm. Sun 28 We joined up with our Cruise Critic group for a Costa Rica Tour (Okey Dokey Tours). It was pretty cool actually. We fed monkeys stopped for some sugar cane juice and went down a river full of alligators. Got some nice pictures and Video and picked up a bunch of coffee. Hot again but not as bad as Cartagena. Stopped for a Costa Rican lunch on the way back. Not too bad, pretty busy though with lots of locals. Stopped at a grocery store so I popped in for some cold med's (getting a cold) and more Aloe and Cathy bought some more "supplies" for the room. Also grabbed 2 pounds of coffee. Bought some tickets for the slot tournament but didn't get in by 3:00 pm so will have to try on Thursday. Got some bingo cards so of course had to go play. Found out Canada won the gold medal in Hockey. Not that you know it watching the ships TV, there was ZERO Olympic coverage. If they showed the games in the lounges I'm sure they would have made back whatever it cost them to show it in liquor sales alone. Anyway we put on our Canada shirts and were parading around. Got a nice picture of us holding up the Canadian flag. Bought it. We went to Trivia in our shirts and got many high fives from people there. Also went to the Casino for a while. Mar 1 Mon Sea day so we slept in. It's been pretty fun the last 24 hours. We have been parading around in our Canadian shirts and been "in your face". Getting lots of high fives from the Canadians (over 500 on this cruise) and grumbles from the US people. Played elevator roulette and won a cap and beach bag. Played afternoon trivia and would have won except for 2 disputed answers. Watched some of the Movie "UP" on the MUTS on deck. That evening after dinner we went to the show and watched a very good flamenco guitar player. Then went to the lounge and watched the house band. Many people dancing until "DJ Seb" came on and started playing oldies. Trouble is he is young and didn't realize his oldies music had no words, he was playing Karaoke tracks! Room emptied out in 3 songs. I went up to tell him and he said "How am I supposed to know, these were recorded before I was born". Maybe I should have done it for him. ? Went full speed ahead for a medical emergency (they don't tell you what) so we were told to be ready for a rough night. Hate to hear about stuff like that but on a Geritol cruise, it can be expected. Turns out it was a stomach ailment of some sort. Tomm is Huatulco, nothing planned. My sunburn is peeling like crazy so I think I'll take a dip in the ocean and let nature do its work. Today's Quote of the day: "We're so bored, maybe we should take up smoking". Tues Mar 2 We stopped in Huatulco today. Got in 8 hours ahead of time for the emergency. Wasn't rough at all. We had nothing planned so just walked off the ship and sat on the beach. There was a very friendly dog there running around but getting in people's faces a bit much. I went in the ocean (cold) to try and get rid of some dead skin. Helped a little. Met up with Stu and Linda, some nice people from the CC group and chatted and had a few beers on the beach. Lots of crew here today, must be because of our early arrival. Did a bit of shopping and back to the ship. There was a Holland America ship in port that was rumored to have Norovirus on it. Not only that but it was said that a disabled passenger pulled themselves up on the rail and fell overboard, an apparent suicide. Never heard if any of this was true or not but it is listed here under Feb 26: http://www.cruisejunkie.com/events.html Wed Mar 3 Today was Acapulco. It must have been a booming place in its heyday. Reminded me a bit of Cuba. Still very nice but very poor or very rich. We took another private tour with the CC people. Great Tour, Tour by Van I believe. Small vans so we were able to get into places a big bus couldn't. Went down back roads and got to see the "real" Acapulco. Very enlighting and informative. Saw the Cross, chapel on the hill, locals market and the cliff divers. I guess the drug trade is still very much alive here which is why they have the very rich and very poor. Heard after we got back that there was a large murder over drugs that some tourists got killed in because they just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time, eep! Back on board in time for a late lunch. Party on deck tonite was really well attended. First time I've seen a lot of people dancing. It would have went on longer but the band quit at 11:30. The one event they had people out for and the ship shuts it down, go figure? Sunburn is gone, pretty much brown now. One stop left and then home! Thur Mar 4 Another sea day. These are great for sleeping in and trying to catch up on your rest. Went for breakfast in the dining room, had a table full of complainers. We went to a lecture on metabolism, nothing really we didn't already know but it motivated me to go exercise. Cathy went to lay in the sun and read. Had lunch and then back into the sun for more reading. I joined her this time. Did our slot tournament that we missed earlier, did nothing. Watched another great sunset. Played Trivia with some folks from Edmonton that we met. Haven't won yet but keep getting close. Hit the casino for a bit, we've stayed away for a few days, and did OK. Walked away a little ahead. Fri Mar 5 Today we went on a whale watching cruise with the CC people. Up at 6:00 am then a 20 minute walk to the boats where we we early and had to wait about an hour. It was overcast and not too hot. We were on a small sailboat and Went to lovers beach, the arch and then out to sea. We did actually see a few as well as some sea lions. Had a light sprinkling of rain (one of the 6 days they get it) and it cooled down a bit. Picked up some Cabo Wabo and headed back to the ship. Took a while to get on as they were doing a medical evac for someone. Second one that we seen this trip. We are now done and heading for LA. Today is the last formal night. We'll have to pack up and hope we are not over the weight limit with 8 lbs of coffee (Columbian and Costa Rican)! Sat Mar 6 Disembarkation day: They tell you not to book any flights before 1:00pm. We've done this before and know better so we booked ours for 12:30. Princess tries to put the fear of God into you that you may not make your flight. We asked for early off the ship and were off at 8:15. On the bus and sitting at the airport by 10:00am. Very smooth and seamless and not a thing to worry about. We couldn't print off our boarding passes for some reason so had to go to the counter at the airport but still got emergency exit seating, which is nice. Got our luggage after a bit of a wait and out the door to a smiling Mike ready to pick us up. For this he earns a bottle of Cabo Wabo and a couple other small items. It's much easier when someone drops you off and picks you up but it doesn't always work out to be possible. This time it did and were thankful to Mike for his help. At home by 6:00pm about the same time we were supposed to board the other flight to Seattle! Final Thoughts: There is always something on every cruise that could bother you. Kids, teens, babies, Texans, old people. We don't let it bother us but there were an exceptional amount of seniors. Dunno why but I guess its till better than teens. At least you can have an intelligent discussion with them. I suspect our next cruise in November will have lots of Seniors and Texans on it as it's a Transatlantic and ends in Galveston. Luckily there are 6 of us (so far) so we can make our own fun. Yee-Ha y'all! Read Less
Sail Date February 2010
Flew to Los Angeles stayed overnight and joined the Coral Princess on the next day.We had booked an outside cabin with balcony and were not disappointed it was definitely worth the extra cost.Very comfortable cabin with TV,fridge hair ... Read More
Flew to Los Angeles stayed overnight and joined the Coral Princess on the next day.We had booked an outside cabin with balcony and were not disappointed it was definitely worth the extra cost.Very comfortable cabin with TV,fridge hair dryer and safe,large bed,shower room with ample supply of fluffy towels.Rommel our cabin steward was brilliant,he changed towels twice a day,bed linen was also changed every 2nd day and we always had plenty of toiletries.A nice touch was the bowl of fruit and the nightly chocolates on the pillow.The food was very good in the Horizon buffet where we took breakfast and lunch but preferred to eat in the Provence Dining Room for dinner (all waiter service).Excellent waiters,good choice of dishes and food well presented.The only negative comment concerns the time of first sitting it was stated as 6.30pm when we booked the cruise but changed to 5.30pm found this rather early.We enjoyed the three formal evenings and everyone looked very smart it was quite a change to get dressed up also nice to have an official photo taken too.Other evenings were classed as smart casual we thought the daily newsletter was a good idea as you knew what was on and it reminded us which evenings were formal.Choice of entertainment was good two theatres with live shows each night,bands played for dancing,movies under the stars on the horizon deck and a casino.The cruise itinerary was nicely planned with breaks of 1-2 days between Ports of call.You could pre book any shore excursions before leaving home but we managed to book two trips on board.Some excursions were also available with local taxi or bus at the port on the day.All of the drivers know where passengers want to go so its quite easy to negotiate a price for a city tour etc.One tip don't pay until you get back that way they have to return you to the Port gates.Most days Kenneth Williams a Canadian ex teacher gave an interesting talk on each port with photographs and suggested places of interest to visit.We found this was a great help especially if you had not visited any of the areas before.Of course the highlight of the cruise was the day transit of the Panama Canal and we had wonderful sunshine most of the day.The view from our balcony was just perfect to watch the progress through the Canal and we had the TV on so we could listen to the commentary from the bridge by Kenneth Williams the atmosphere on board was one of great excitement. We met some very nice people on board the ship and would definitely travel on the Coral Princess again some repeat passengers mentioned that standards had dropped but we couldn't comment as its our first time. Read Less
Sail Date February 2010
We just returned from this great cruise. The Panama Canal was the focus for our trip, and that is why we selected this Princess cruise. We had not sailed on Princess in a while and I had read many comments related to the food and areas for ... Read More
We just returned from this great cruise. The Panama Canal was the focus for our trip, and that is why we selected this Princess cruise. We had not sailed on Princess in a while and I had read many comments related to the food and areas for improvement. Our expectations were more than exceeded. We live in the Northeast so we flew into LA two days before the cruise and stayed a the Doubletree Hotel in San Pedro, very nice, right on the marina, and they had a shuttle that took us to the ferry for Catalina Island as well as to the pier the day of the cruise. Boarding was smooth, we arrived early so we had to wait until almost noon to board , but then it was smooth and quick and we were in our room. Luggage was delivered within 2 hours. The mini suite was nicely laid out , the balcony had a table and 4 chairs. The only complaint I had on this cruise was with the bed, it was very uncomfortable, after I complained they changed the mattress , which helped but it was still not great. We had assigned seating , first sitting ( a first for us) , nice table mates, great service and the food was just fine, there is an alternate menu that you can choose from each night if you wanted to, plenty of choices and we enjoyed all our meals there. We did not plan to do to the dining room on the formal nights, but since we enjoyed our dinners so much, we did attend the last 2 formal nights, my husband wore a sport coat ( no tie ) and that was fine. The Horizon Court, with the buffet, is the same as it is on most ships, although it is a little congested when you first walk in. We are coffee drinkers and I felt that the coffee in the Horizon court was weak, but the coffee in the dining room and room service was better. Speaking of room service, they were exceptionally fast and efficient, we routinely ordered room service in the morning and in the evening for coffee and cookies. We did eat in each of the specialty restaurants, they were good, but we felt that the specialty restaurants on HAL and RCC were better My husband did the Ultimate Ship Tour and thoroughly enjoyed it, a small group of 9 people and they had a 3 ½ hour tour, very impressive, expensive, but he thought it was well worth it. He was amazed at how clean everything was everywhere he went. We spent more time in the casinos then seeing any of the shows so I cannot comment on those. We did look at the Sanctuary , but chose not to use it. We swam in the indoor pool and relaxed on our balcony or on the pool deck. Ports Cabo San Lucas- tender port- very congested waiting for the tenders, due to other ships in port. We just walked about the marina, very crowded area, we were originally going to take a water taxi to the beach- it was just too crowded in the area. Acapulco, since we had been there before as well, we decided to stay on the ship, very relaxing Huatulco- I had read the comments on CC re the nice beach right at the pier and that is where we went- we paid $ 5.00 and had lounge chairs and a beach umbrella, beach was great we just walked back to the ship. Puntarenas- we do not normally do ship tours, but we decided to do the Pacific aerial tram, the tram tour was not worth the money, there were 8 passengers and a guide, the guide was very good, we did not see great views, nor animals or birds , all we saw were trees. They had a buffet lunch that was okay and then there was also a 40 minute walk to see reptiles- we did not do that. It was very hot, there were a number of cruise ships in port, so it was very crowded, long time standing in lines, shuffling along. Puerto Amador- here we also did a ship tour but this one was worth every penny. We did the Panama Canal by boat tour. They took us by bus to the ferry that would take us through the Pacific side of the locks. The ferry was old but it had plenty of seats, both in the shade and in the sun, they supplied cold drinks the whole time and a very nice buffet. Excellent narrator pointing out lots of interesting information. It was great to experience the locks with a small boat and then the ship the next day. Our cabin was on Caribe deck forward , starboard side, so we had a great view of all the goings on. We did go to the front and the back of the ship to see it from a different angle , but we spent most of the time on our balcony. Seeing the mules in operation and the whole process is really inspiring. Cartagena. We took a taxi into the old city, we shared with another couple and it was $30.00 total. The taxi driver was offering to stay with us and take us on a tour for $60.00, we were not interested but we did see a number of these taxi drivers , with their blue shirts, walking with people in the city. As stated many times on CC, there were lots of people trying to sell you stuff , especially when you first entered the area, but once you said no, they would go on their way, the problem was there was so many of them. Lots of shops in the old city and it was getting quite warm .We had no problem getting a taxi back- this time for $ 10.00 Aruba- again 4 ships in port, when you get of , it is a little bit of a walk to the end of the pier- we were the 4th ship there. On the way back there was a shuttle to take you to the ship. We planned to take a taxi to eagle beach, but we did not see any- again very crowded, lots of stores- so we took the bus ( bus terminal right near the pier) Bus fare was $1.30 pp each way. We saw the sign for Eagle Beach, but we did not see any beach chairs, so we stayed on the bus and got off at the Hyatt. Great little beach, they charged us $10.00 for the use of the umbrella and 2 lounge chairs and 4 towels. The return bus stop was right outside the hotel. Fort Lauderdale, we chose early walk off and were off the ship around 0730, plenty of time to catch our flight home Overall a great cruise and great experience, time for relaxing and enjoying the warm weather and seeing the wonderful Panama Canal. Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
We took GoSedan to LAX. They picked up at about 8:30 AM. We were at airport in an hour. Check in at VirginAmerica was easy with emergency rows available. Flight was on time departure with early arrival in Fort Lauderdale. In Ft. ... Read More
We took GoSedan to LAX. They picked up at about 8:30 AM. We were at airport in an hour. Check in at VirginAmerica was easy with emergency rows available. Flight was on time departure with early arrival in Fort Lauderdale. In Ft. Lauderdale the bags were there quickly, the shuttle (free) from Hampton Inn came within 10 minutes and we were in our room quickly. We met our friends and went to dinner at Old Heidelberg Restaurant across the street. Good Wiener Schnitzel and reasonable prices. Next morning, after continental breakfast, took the 11:00 AM hotel shuttle (free) to the Coral Princess. Arrived quickly. Turned in luggage and went to pre-embarkation room for Platinum-Elite. In about 10 minutes were checked in and on to lunch. Our waiter, Bernard, was the same one we had on the Alaska cruise in September on the Coral Princess. His son Jayson was his assistant. We were at a table for 4 (really, two tables for 4 next to each other. It was next to our previous cruise table for 10. The ship had been in dry dock a few weeks before our cruise. They added "The Sanctuary", a for pay area where you can sun and swim by yourself—a clear attempt at generating more revenue at the expense of most passengers. They also added "Movies Under The Stars" and it was quite nice. You could sit in the outside pool area and watch events and movies on a huge LCD screen. This was a great addition. They had the two NFL league championship games on the screen live—a great touch. The ship was very clean, the personnel went out of their ways to be accommodating and friendly. The venues never seemed crowded. The dining rooms and buffet were full, but didn't seem overcrowded. The quality of food was up to Princess standards, and they even had lobster tail on two nights. In the buffet, they just had it out, so you could have as many tails and you wished. Embarkation and debarkation were very organized and went very smoothly. Next 2 days were at sea. Sunday we arrived in Aruba. We had not made any tour reservations, however, Marv booked a gold tour. The rest of us walked around Orangjestad and looked at buildings and the shops. On Monday we arrived in Cartagena. We disembarked and met Dora De Zubria who was waiting on the shore for us. She was on time, had a lovely van for the 4 of us, it had air conditioning and a driver. Our tour was to see Cartagena. Dora was very personable and accommodating. We visited the old town, the cathedral, and fortress. We were also driven to the top of a hill that housed a beautiful church. It also had the 14 stations on the drive up. There were a lot of well-armed guards as a festival was coming where people walked the stations. The road up was blocked, but Dora got us through. We also visited the inquisition jail which has been transformed into little shops. While walking through the old town we saw two different gentlemen who had sloths clinging to their torsos. The sloths were somewhat active and you could see the face and claws very well. Dora was magnificent. Well-informed, directed us quickly and efficiently, spoke excellent English, and was willing to modify our tour as we requested. She can be contacted at www.cartagenatours.com. Our next day Tuesday, was our transit of the Panama Canal. We arrived about 6:30 AM and transited the 3 Atlantic locks in about 3 and ½ hours. During the transit we had a large ship in the lock adjacent to us so we could watch the process with the mules and gates. We then sailed Lake Gatun and the Culebra Cut. Next was the Centennial Bridge. We then entered the Pedro Miguel Lock with the same large ship beside us. Next were the two Miraflores locks with the same adjacent ship. We passed the Miraflores observation center and decided not to take the tour of this the next day. The skyline of Panama City was visible and was very striking and modern looking. W also saw the Bridge of the Americas. We then sailed to Fuerte Amador bay and anchored for the night. Wednesday we tendered in and met with Almiza Tours just outside the tender area. There was a nice A/C van waiting with a driver. We told our guide, Elio, that we would prefer to cross the Miraflores Locks part of our excursion off our tour and add more of the Panama City area. He was very accommodating. We went to the French Embassy area and walked around. We visited the park, went on the shorefront for views. We then climbed a hill outside of town, which had a guard at the entrance to a small park at the top. The view here was fantastic. Both Panama City and the Panama Canal. We then went by some of the buildings that were destroyed in the Noriega war with the USA. We drove through the old town and walked visiting the Cathedral and old town area. Then we drove through the high rise downtown area. Next we went out to Old Panama City and viewed the ruins. We went to the museum—Museo del Canal Interoceanico de Panama, but chose not to go in. We then drove to and crossed the Bridge of the Americas. We stopped at the China Memorial on the bridge for photos and souvenirs. We then returned to the ship. Elio was wonderful, spoke excellent English and showed us everything we wished to see. We arranged it through Almiza Tours aka My Friend Mario tours at www.myfriendmario.com. Booking was easy and he communicated quickly and clearly. Prices were as stated in booking. No deposit was required. Our next stop, after a day at sea, on Friday was Puntarenas, Costa Rica. We had booked a tour with Odyssey Tours of Costa Rica, dealing with Diego and Alvaro who are brothers. They were waiting for us right off the dock. Diego was going to look for another tour, so we went to the A/C van and met the driver. Alvaro then gave us an overview of our tour. We had requested a tour to see as many animals as possible. We started our drive along the highway with Alvaro describing the area. He then stopped on the side of a hill and got out and looked for monkeys in the trees. There were none, so we continued on to the entrance to the Carara National Park. Alvaro paid for us and then we drove back about 2 miles to another entrance. A gated dirt road was the path—the road went to an Indian village about 40 km inland. We went here to avoid the tour bus crowds which would make seeing animals unlikely. The hike was about 2 km each way. It was an easy hike along the dirt road. About 1 kilometer in we came on a group of 4 capuchin monkeys frolicking in the trees along the road. We got pictures and one of the monkeys jumped across the road. Alvaro had a single lens scope—very nice—which he trained on the monkeys. For all of the animal we would see he would do this, and after we viewed it, he would take our cameras and take pictures of the animals through his scope—very nice. We also came on some beautiful large iridescent butterflies. About 1 ½ km in we came on a pair of scarlet macaws. One was sitting in branches, and the other was eating dates. We then came on our goal, the lagoon area. Here we saw a small crocodile, Jesus Christ lizards, boat-beaked heron, and an Aracari. Alvaro got us some great pictures of the latter with his scope. On the hike back we saw the macaws and an iguana. We next drove to a road that went to a colonial village resort and went beyond its entrance to get a great view of the ocean and a beautiful waterfall. We then visited the resort and its shops. Next we drove to the seashore and a small village where we viewed some more scarlet macaws. We then went into a little. Local restaurant and had plates of wonderful fresh fruits and drinks (included in price). We started back and stopped at a bridge over a river where we saw several dozen large crocodiles sunning themselves on the bank. We then went to the village of Orotina to view the sloths the villagers had put in the trees in the park to discourage the Grackles from nesting there. Besides the sloths, we got a great view of a large gray owl. Then we went to a small house in the village that had souvenirs for sale. Then we proceeded to the town super market and purchased Costa Rican coffee for gifts—price was very cheap, and Alvaro even used his super market loyalty card to get a discount. We then drove back to the pier. The tour was great. We saw lots of animals, Alvaro was doing everything he could so we could see more. He brought his scope everywhere which really enhanced the viewing. The lunch was very nice. Alvaro and the driver were both personable and did whatever it took to make the tour comfortable and enjoyable. Diego and Alvaro can be reached through www.odysseytourscr.com. They were excellent at communicating, provided everything they promised and more, and were very reasonable. After a sea day, we arrived on Sunday in Huatulco. We tendered in and walked around the lovely village. Many shops and food establishments. Vendors were not aggressive and the place was exceptionally clean. It was not too hot, and views of the ocean and beaches were pleasant. We got an extra 3 hours in port because they arrived early to take care of a medical emergency on board. Monday we were in Acapulco. Our tour was with Tours By Van. Rudy met us on the dock and he led one group and we had a guide named Miguel. He took us to a van, A/C, with driver. It was a 14 passenger van for the 4 of us, so it was very nice. We drove through the Mercado, seeing all of the stores, including, the hanging chickens and beef. Next we drove out to Las Brisas and the giant cross. We went to an overlook to view Puerto Marques bay. Next we drove up narrow roads to the top of a hill and a lovely house. We walked into the car port and had magnificent views of Acapulco, the bay and our cruise ship. We passed on lunch. We then drove to the Zocalo and walked all about with Miguel giving us details of the buildings, history and other anecdotes. We went into the Cathedral and a service was on that made it even more interesting. As always, the car would let us off, we would walk, and then the car would be waiting at the end of our walk, saving us not walking back through the same area. Next we went to Quebrada to see the cliff divers. We paid an extra $13.50 for two drinks and seats in a lovely restaurant with a covered patio overlooking the divers. It was magnificent. Next we went to Casa Blanca Hotel which was confiscated by the police. We climbed to the second floor and had more wonderful views of Acapulco. Next we went to the Diego Rivera murals. Finally, we went to Johnny Weissmuller's house. We toured around the grounds. We then returned to the ship. The tour company, owned by Rudolfo Fregoso, was effusive in communications. He kept his word on everything promised and provided even more. He was very reasonable and his associate Miguel was extremely knowledgeable. He was a history teacher. The web site was www.tourbyvan.com. Our next stop, after a sea day, was Cabo San Lucas. It was Wednesday. We tendered in to take a Princess whale watching tour. We boarded the vessel. It was not too crowded. We easily found seats. They provided free drinks—water and sodas. They also provided guacamole, salsa and chips. We drove out beyond the arch and point. Then we found whales. It was incredible. We saw a mother and baby as well as other humpback whales. The best part was we saw the whales breach at least 30 times, sometimes as close as 25 feet from the ship. It was exceptional. We also saw several dolphins. After our tour, we walked around Cabo San Lucas and then boarded the tender. The entertainment on board was good. The comedians were funny, the musicians were competent, and the production shows were professional. As an added plus, Adrian Zmed of Grease and TJ Hooker fame put on a musical revue. The shows were shown 3 times (probably a cost cutting measure), but for the passengers it meant that the shows were less crowded and could accommodate all those interested. The next day was a sea day, then we arrived in Los Angeles. We took the choice to disembark with our luggage in tow. They let us off by 8:00 AM. We were through customs and on the street by 8:20 AM and our GoSedan was there in 5 minutes. We were home by 9:30 AM. Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
We sailed on The Coral Princess on the Los Angeles - Fort Lauderdale sailing, January 6-21, 2010. The Coral Princess has recently came from dry dock, and parts of the ship shine. Others, such as the lamps in our stateroom, are the old ... Read More
We sailed on The Coral Princess on the Los Angeles - Fort Lauderdale sailing, January 6-21, 2010. The Coral Princess has recently came from dry dock, and parts of the ship shine. Others, such as the lamps in our stateroom, are the old lamps and are faded and peeling, and the carpet looks like someone has trued futilely to clean it. The ship was very clean and the crew did a fantastic job of maintenance. The Oasis Pool became a favorite due to it being quiet and serene, especially on sea days. We encountered several interesting things while on the cruise. Leaving Costa Rica, the ship had heavy seas and we got hit with 100+(yes, 100+) mile-per-hour winds. Certainly rocked us to sleep. Then, leaving Columbia The Coral Princess assisted in a rescue of sailors that were on a tuna fishing vessel. We didn't pick up any survivors; however, we had word that 15 of 18 were rescued. Our suite was bright, and sizable, with a walk-in shower in the bath. The room was kept clean and tidy by our efficient cabin steward. Food/Dining - The food on the Coral Princess is pedestrian. The Horizon Court has at times marginal quality during the evening meal. We had anytime dining, and are, as was others we dined with, convinced that the waiters-in-training on The Coral Princess are assigned to anytime dining. Dining Orders were mixed-up; coffee and soft drinks were served with the beverages sloshing all over the place. Entertainment - The production shows were nothing short of fantastic. The on-board entertainers (just WHERE did they get Adrian Zmed???) were good to fair, except in The Crooners Lounge, where Larry Dunsmore was a true delight. Ports - all great; and what can be said for The Panama Canal.......breathtaking would be a vast understatement. Huatulco Mexico is up-and-coming; a real gem. Room Service never failed in their excellence and attention to detail. Guest Services was great when they listened to the passengers and followed through; abysmal at most other times. Very disappointed. We ate at Sabbatini's for dinner one evening, and it was superb. Just like dining at an Italian home in New York. Overall, a decent cruise; however, Princess falls short in some areas, and attention needs to be paid to the people that are paying for the cruise. The Tour Desk staff was knowledgeable and forthcoming in their suggestions; very professional and friendly. Both boarding and departures were well organized. Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
This was our fifth Princess cruise and we have never cruised with anyone else. All our friends in the USA think they are the best. However this one we felt a little disappointed. As always the ship was spotlessly clean.However we believe ... Read More
This was our fifth Princess cruise and we have never cruised with anyone else. All our friends in the USA think they are the best. However this one we felt a little disappointed. As always the ship was spotlessly clean.However we believe that the choice of food in the evening in our dining room had been drastically reduced and the service on our table on some evenings was truly diabolical. On many occasions we had to ask for refills of our drinks and on one night it took 90minutes before our first course arrived. In contrast the service in the Horizon Court was as good if not better than ever. Friendly cheerful staff greeted us at any time of day or night and tables were cleared efficiently without interruption or fuss. They were attentive and shared conversation with us whilst doing a superb job. The entertainment was ok but we loved Billy and Collette.The WAKE SHOW should be bottled and shipped to the world media. A real tonic and great start to every day. As always there was so much to do but the Panama transit and Cabo San Lucas were our favourites. Excitement broke out on the ship as we cruised away from Acapulco when many dolphins followed us but this was exceeded by the whales as we left Cabo. How priviliged we were to see such beautiful creatures especially as we never expected to see them. Christmas and New year celebrations were good but were better in 2005 and 2007 on the Sea Princess. Maybe because the guests on the Coral were mainly from Mexico and the USA whereas the Caribbean roundtrips attract younger people with families from England. Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
Coral Princess 7-22 November 2009; LA - Ft Lauderdale via the Panama Canal A bit about us - mid-50s with 13 cruises between us; 6 on HAL. This was our first Princess cruise and we are converts!! Our jobs require us to travel worldwide ... Read More
Coral Princess 7-22 November 2009; LA - Ft Lauderdale via the Panama Canal A bit about us - mid-50s with 13 cruises between us; 6 on HAL. This was our first Princess cruise and we are converts!! Our jobs require us to travel worldwide frequently (more than 2 weeks a month), so we book a cruise vacation for pure R&R and to spend time together after hectic work schedules! We booked our own airfare and embarkation hotel, but used a TA for the Princess booking. We arrived a day early and stayed overnight at the Doubletree San Pedro. Very nice hotel with lots of cruisers! After check-in, we ventured out to a nearby Target store where we stocked up in bottled wine and bottled water to hand carry on-board. The hotel shuttle dropped us off at the San Pedro cruise terminal at 11am. Princess check-in was not open, but after a short wait, we were checked-in and boarding the ship right before noon, way ahead of the crowds! We were in a mini-suite, B223. Baja deck, starboard. Very nice cabin. Queen bed. Full-size sofa. Two TVs. Balcony with 4 chairs and a small table. Largest closet space in our cruising experiences! Super cabin steward who quickly responded to our requests. Our upfront cash tip directly to him may have contributed to the attentive service. We chose first seating, requesting a table for 2. We quickly found out that our 5 month request resulted in a table for 4. When we inquired about a table for 2, we were told our best bet was "Anytime" Dining which took reservations beginning at 8am each day for that specific evening. After a very disappointing dinner with our other two table assignees and their obsessions on discussing their health issues, we were on the phone the next morning BEFORE 8am trying for a table for 2 and after redialing a dozen times, we were able to confirm a table for two in the "Anytime" dining room. It was during that day we received notice that a table for 2 was available during first seating in the Provence dining room! We were delighted!!! Unlike any other cruise line, we found the dining room staff extremely overworked. It would not be uncommon for us to sit and wait for 10-15 minutes for service or for dirty dishes to be removed. We would grade the Provence dining room food good, but the service fair. The Horizon Court buffet on the Lido deck is similar to herds of cattle at the trough. There are various food stations along with a drink station. Passengers are dashing from one food station to another with filled plates and cups!! The worst part is when you finish eating, the only exit is back thru the food station area. A severe design flaw that desperately needs a remedy! We would grade the Horizon Court food very average. We enjoyed an evening at Sabatini's. LOTS of food; in fact just too much food! We were warned to eat lightly throughout the day and we did and were still stuffed. We would grade Sabatini's as very good and the service extremely good. Pool side pizzeria had some great pizza. Usually 3-4 varieties. The afternoon cookies and milk was a neat snack, but it was only served in the pool areas. Hubby found the coffee card a great value as he enjoyed numerous trips to the Patisserie. We found the Coral Princess in tip-top shape as it had only been out of dry dock 2 weeks. The newly installed Movie-Under-the-Stars (MUTS) was great when there was a movie!!! Mostly it was utilized for pro-football. We took the Ultimate Ship's Tour and it was well worth the $150 each!!! Besides the tour, we received mementos of the tour, a chef's jacket, a fluffy bathrobe, personalized stationary and many photos taken throughout the tour by the ship's photographer. We were with the understanding that NO cameras were allowed during this 4 hour tour, but many in our group (there were only 10 of us) took pics, but were stopped when we were on the Bridge. At the conclusion of the touring, you spend around 45 minutes in the Captain's conference room chatting about the ship and the Princess company while enjoying champagne and appetizers. We were all over that ship, from the Princess theater performers dressing room, to the many refrigerator and freezer rooms (yes, actually in these rooms), to the engine control room, to the kitchen prep areas, to the medical center, to the laundry. At each "department" we were greeted by the officer in charge and given a briefing on the department's role. Extremely interesting!!! We found that Formal Evenings were stretched to a new meaning on the Coral Princess. While hubby enjoys wearing his tux on these evenings, we did witness gentlemen in plaid shirts and sweater vests complete with tennis shoes. We can only surmise their jackets fell overboard! Evening gowns were nearly non-existent, with most ladies wearing a sparkly top and black slacks, even though there were a few ladies wearing tennis shoes. We were shocked to see passengers wearing shorts in the dining room at dinner on more than one occasion. It was obvious to us that the dress codes established for each evening was just on paper (PRINCESS PATTER). Luckily we planned ahead as we embarked the ship wearing slacks. Our luggage did not appear in our cabin until AFTER dinner upon sailing from San Pedro, so it took about 8 hours for delivery. We enjoyed a 50 minute couple's massage in the Lotus Spa. To avoid the products sales pitch, we were very careful on how we completed the pre-massage questionnaire and it seemed to work! Cost $289 plus tip. Our shore excursions consisted of: Cabo San Lucas - Costal Highlights. We visited a cacti and succulent garden, glass blowing factory and shopping in the village of San Jose del Cabo. Nothing to write home about! Acapulco - Bravo Rafting on the Papagayo River. Super trip on Class 2 and 3 white waters. Good raft guides! If you are in shape for hiking thru the mountains to this river and paddling for over an hour - don't miss this! Huatulco Mexico - Eco Walk and Birding Adventure. The early morning walk was hot! Since we aren't birders, we were interested in the walk and it provided some great scenery, especially along the ocean. Our guide had a keen sense of the local birds and provided many sightings. Puntarenas Costa Rica - The Original Canopy Tour At Mahogany Park. AKA zip lining. WOW - what an adventure!! The tree "landings" are a bit scary, but once you get over that - it's a blast!!! Cartagena Columbia - Cartagena By Land & Sea - A tour of a fort, followed by herding us into this small strip mall where local merchants wanted to make a deal! Concluded with a very small boat ride thru the inner bay, returning nearby where the ship in along side. Aruba - ABC's of Aruba - A visit to a butterfly farm, which more correctly should be named a sanctuary, a quick tour of an aloe factory and sales room and a tour around the island. Definitely nothing to write home about!!! All shore excursions departed from the Princess Theater where you sit and wait until your excursion is called and then you are led thru the ship, thru security, down the gag plank, onto the pier and onto waiting tour guides and transportation. Great for second graders, but a bit overkill for paying adults! Didn't understand why we just couldn't report to the tour group on the pier. It took us eight hours to transit through the Panama Canal. Yes, we were up at 430am to secure an unobstructed deck view as we entered the first lock in the pre-dawn darkness! It is simply amazing how the ship makes this tight maneuver. One of the more unique views of the canal was in the Provence dining room, eating breakfast, while the ship rose from the bottom of the lock. You have a great view of the canal walls as it is rising!! Since our mini-suite had a balcony, we enjoyed most of the day there as we sailed from the Pacific locks to the Atlantic locks. Our on-board lecturer, Mr. Emile Baladi, did an excellent job of providing narration the entire 8 hours through the Panama Canal in addition to the Scholarship@Sea Enrichment Lectures. There were numerous on-board activities we enjoyed, but we steered away from bingo, the casino and the shopping lectures!! Evening entertainment provided a good variety of shows and entertainers. We quickly learned that it's a slow process getting out of the Princess theater when you are seated close by the stage! We didn't miss the GOOD MORNING CORAL PRINCESS - The Wake Show with Cruise Director Billy Hygate and Donna Dobson broadcasted on the ship's TV. A light-hearted start to each day! The most disorganization we experienced was disembarkation. Printed information was provided on procedures and we complied by reporting to our designated lounge at the designated time only to find the disembarkation schedule was nearly 80 minutes behind schedule. There were NO ship-wide announcements for disembarkation. You had to be in the designated lounge to hear the ship's staff yell out your group, which also caused confusion. There were passengers everywhere as the lounge was filled due to the backlog, with more passengers coming in 10 minute intervals. Not a good way to end an enjoyable cruise. Princess could learn from HAL's disembarkation procedures which permit passengers to relax in their cabins until they are called for disembarkation. Luggage was organized on the Ft Lauderdale pier fairly well to facilitate quick retrieval. We breezed through US customs and passport control and onto the Princess coach airport transfer, arriving at the Ft Lauderdale airport hours prior to our flight departure. Read Less
Sail Date November 2009
About 18 years ago, I cruised on the Grand Princess and the Dawn Princess. I boarded the Coral Princess with the image of exceptional service, dining and entertainment similar to my experience those many years ago. Much to my ... Read More
About 18 years ago, I cruised on the Grand Princess and the Dawn Princess. I boarded the Coral Princess with the image of exceptional service, dining and entertainment similar to my experience those many years ago. Much to my disappointment, the dining was less than enticing, service virtually non-existent unless you were a regular at the bar scene and the entertainment..well, this is the 1st cruise ever that I had experienced repeat performances and the talent had alot to be desired. What ever happened to those Vegas type shows with all its splendor? The spa facilities and treatments were utilized on a daily basis. Service here was very good but of course at a rather high price but then to be pampered is part of cruising. The cabin stewart was less than enthusiatic and I had to request replenishment of the shampoo etc. Not a big tip left for him! Speaking of tips, I much prefer to tip the individuals that I feel have provided good service and not this automatic charge to the onboard account. I will say that when I went to the Passenger Service desk, they willingly credited back the automatic daily charge without even asking me for a reason. From what I gathered...I was not alone in this request. Does that tell you something?? I must say in all fairness, embarkment and disembarkment went very quickly and without any problems whatsoever. Taxis to the airport were plentiful and very reasonable...$12.00...much cheaper than the ship transfer! I have not yet given up on the Princess line and have just booked passage on the Sapphire Princess for March 6th to the Mexican Riviera. If this trip turns out similar to the Panama trip, then it will be my last on Princess. Having travelled several other lines, I have come to expect a certain standard and we all pay enough for these cruises that we should not have to settle for a lower standard. Seait Read Less
Sail Date November 2009
This was my first experience with Princess, as my other two cruises were both with Holland America (on Vista-class ships), so I'll preface this review with those HAL experiences as my benchmark. I did tons of reading about Princess ... Read More
This was my first experience with Princess, as my other two cruises were both with Holland America (on Vista-class ships), so I'll preface this review with those HAL experiences as my benchmark. I did tons of reading about Princess before we left, and that helped raise my expectations before we even left. My wife and I, along with our pre-teen daughter, cruised on the Coral out of Vancouver on 24 August 2009. We were on a Princess CruiseTour which actually started in Seattle I'll post comments on our land portion separately, on the Boards. Following our bus shuttle from SeaTac, embarkation went very smoothly. The pier facility is beautiful, and check-in was fast and very efficient. Signs at check-in, as well as at the ship's front desk, clearly announced that our sailing was completely sold out, yet things moved well. Our cabin a BA-category balcony on the Caribe deck was nice and efficient. Our daughter's bed folded down from the ceiling and actually worked out quite well. The bathroom is tiny (no surprise) with no bath. They do, however, make very good use of the space. It worked for us. We had expected a small seating or couch area, as on HAL, but the large balcony compensated. Our cabin had the extra-large, partially covered balcony recommended by our travel agent and on this site. We had a table, two chairs, and two chaise chairs, and it was twice the size of the balconies on the other decks. The weather kept us from making full use of the outdoor space, but it was nice to have during Glacier Bay and College Fjord. I have to agree, however, that the tiered balcony layout on Coral is disconcerting. There is no privacy and there is very much a ball-game feel to it. I also recommend people to avoid balconies on level 8, as they are fully exposed. In addition, LARGE drops of rain and/or condensation fall down into the middle of those balconies from the ship's superstructure, so even if it's only foggy, people on those balconies get wet. I rarely say anyone using them. If you're in a dry climate and want full sun, then go for them otherwise, stay clear. The ship is nice and was consistenly clean. The staff does a great job of keeping public areas clean and tidy. That said, there was also a "blandness" to the ship. Artwork is cheap and generic (nod to HAL's outstanding art collections) and cheap plastic flowers abound. We also consistently found ourselves going the wrong way on the ship. We spoke with many people who shared our confusion. The large elevator banks are not color-coded or named, so it is easy to get turned around and/or walk the wrong way. After a while, we realized this never happened on HAL, as the Vista ships have glass, outside elevators, so at any elevator bank, you can look outside and get oriented to which way the ship is headed. In addition, Coral is a large ship, so walking the full length from helm to stern takes a long time. There are a couple ship layout aspects which we found particularly annoying, You cannot reach the main dining rooms Provence and Bourdeaux from any of the primary elevator banks. You must go down, and then walk forward or aft to either a lone "short" bank or walk down the staircases in the main lobby area. If you choose to walk, then you are "naturally" funneled past the boutiques, or you wait in large crowds for the elevators. Secondly, the Churchill smoking lounge is located in the main atrium area, and it is hard to avoid. Having to consistenly walk past the lounge, which understandably stinks of cigarettes and cigars, represents poor planning. We opted for set seating, during the early 5:30pm session. Our table was wonderful, and the service was consistent. Set seating is reserved for the Provence room, while the mirror room below Bourdeaux is for anytime seating. I routinely saw very long lines of people waiting for anytime seats. Food in the main dining room was good, but not great. HAL's run circles around Princess in the food arena. Many dishes sounded great on the menu, but often disappointed me. In fairness, many of our table mates truly enjoyed the food and saw it as a high point, but for me, I was consistently let down. We did every dinner save one in the main dining room, one speciality restaurant (Sabatini's), two breakfasts in the Provence, one room service breakfast, and all others in the Horizon Buffet on Lido Deck. Our Provence breakfasts were okay. On the first morning of the cruise, we opted for sit down, and the service was simply awful. I had to ask for coffee four times, and waited more than 15 minutes before someone finally brought over a refill. During that same breakfast, I watched two of the servers loudly argue with each other, right in front of several tables. Can you tell it's the end of a long season for them? ;-) Our room service breakfast was okay. Unlike HAL, only continental breakfasts are available for non-suite guest or premium guests. This was a big disappointment. Okay the Horizon Buffet...my biggest pet peeve. The upstairs buffet was a HUGE disappoint for me. The area is laid out VERY, VERY poorly, and seating is a real problem. The buffet lines on both sides are hemmed in, in that there are food area on two sides, with salad "islands" in the middle. With people coming in from both the front and back (you are funneled that way), the area was always packed and had a horrible cattle-car feel to it. The food, also, was low quality and often didn't look appetizing. Harping back to HAL, the layout of their Lido buffet is far superior, much more open and easy to navigate. We found ourselves looking for ways to avoid Horizons, as it was simply unpleasant. Nothing I had for lunch there was even really enjoyable. Finding a seat was also difficult at times. I had their pizza a couple times served poolside, which allowed me to avoid Horizons. I give Princess a big thumbs up on their fresh pizza. Also, thumbs up on their rolls the Horizon always had fresh-baked rolls, which stood out often, they're all I ate. The Grill, however, was quite poor. Tried a hamburger and Bratwurst, both of which I could not each. The Brat was not fully cooked, and the hamburger was rubbery and cold in the center. I did not venture a second try at the Grill. As noted, we did try Sabatini's. Service was excellent but the food was simply okay. As their premium sit-down place, I'm surprised they chose Italian. My main dish Chilean Sea Bass was not fully cooked, but I was so full from umpteen previous courses, that I simply passed. We did not try the other specialty place Bayou Cafe', which costs $15 pp, as opposed to Sabatini's $20 cover charge. I understand that the Coral is heading into dry dock following a couple Panama Canal crossings in the early fall, and that the Bayou is being replaced by an English Pub. This seems like a good move, as we rarely saw more than one table with people eating at the Bayou. Entertainment was good. The two productions put on by the "Coral Dancers" were both excellent, and I give them huge props for being able to dance during very rough seas one night. A comedian was excellent, while the ventriloquist was sophmoric. We missed Adrian Zmed. All that said, I was disappointed by the scheduling of events. Several shows often conflicted, while others were repeated on later nights, but with no alternative shows, meaning that some nights were too busy while others were left empty. With no advance schedule, there was no way to know if a show scheduled for that night might be repeated later in the week. There was also a entertainer from Skagway who played music and spoke in the Wheelhouse Lounge, but it was scheduled during the early seating, so we were only able to hear the last 10 minutes or so of his very entertaining set. We attended on talk by the accompanying naturalist, on "Alaska A-Z." About 20 minutes was lost because no one could figure out how to project from a laptop in the Princess Lounge, but it was good. Many had to leave early (around "p" for us) as it was formal night, and we had to be read for 5:30 seating. Also attended the "Shopping and Port" lecture, which was a huge waste of time. We went looking for the port info, but instead found ourselves at what amounted to a taping of QVC. I know many people go cruising to shop, but this was a too over the top. I suggest they remove the "port info" from the lecture description. On the service front one word: inconsistent. Some folks really stood out, while others were inefficient and even rude. Here, too, HAL is far, FAR superior. Little touches were missing, too. Some of these are very nit-picky, but they're noticed. No towel animals at night. No real flowers anywhere on the ship. No regular announcements from the captain or cruise director. No daily news summary delivered with the daily "Princess Patter." On that note, the Patter was not very well laid out, and devoted WAY too much space to sales advertisements. Other things were missed, too. The enclosed pool the Lotus was drained one day (with no notice as to when and if it would reopen), and the following day it was filled but it and the two adjacent hot tubs were covered by safety net. We asked at the Front Desk when and if it would open. The clerk seemed annoyed I asked, but did call someone to ask they didn't know either. The clerk told us he'd call and let us know he never called. On a bigger scale, the thermostat in our cabin did not work. By the third night, as we went north, it was down to 65 degrees in the cabin (according to a travel clock). As we left the ship in the morning around 0700, I called the Front Desk and asked that it be checked out. We returned at noon and nothing had been done, so I called again. By supper time, nothing had been done, so we stopped by the Front Desk on the way to dinner. They said it would be done immediately. We returned to our cabin around 0900pm and still no heat, and the temp was down to 62. I returned to the Front Desk and spoke with the same lady. This time, someone from Maintenance did arrive and was able to repair the HVAC in about 10 minutes, and for the first time during the cruise, we did not sleep in sweatshirts and socks. I give Princess credit for the high number of public laundries they have on the Coral. This was very helpful, especially given that most cruise guests were continuing on land portions, and needed to do some laundry. Detergent and each load were only $1.00 the only bargain on board, and I applaud Princess for not charging more. While the tenor of this review may seem on the negative side, I have to call out two things which made this cruise stand out for us on the positive side. 1) The children's program, and 2) ALASKA! We could not have been happier with the kid's program; our daughter was in Shockwaves. We were told there were a total of 60 kids on this sailing, with 12 in our daughter's age group. That said, seeing children was a rarity and Shockwaves usually had 5-8 kids there at any time. Cion and Ana were fantastic, and the activities were well scheduled and executed. The kids area is very large and I cannot say enough nice things about the program. Alaska! If we had gone on Princess for the cruise experience alone, then I would have been disappointed, but the beauty of Alaska more than compensated. I'll write more on the Boards, but summaries appear below. Glacier Bay very poor weather, but spectacular. The ranger narrative was excellent, if not hard to hear at times. Our "Patter" said we'd be entering the Park around 0600am, so ourselves and many others we met got up early to watch. That said, we didn't arrive at a glacier until several hours later. College Fjord a big highlight for us. Admittedly the weather was great, but I think we would still rate this higher than Glacier. The captain got us very close to two glaciers, and to watch the icebergs calve was spectacular. Just to HEAR the roar of the cracking is something I will not forget. The problem with College, however, is that during a northbound cruise, you don't arrive at the first glacier until around 5:30, right when many are sitting down for supper. This meant the dining room was pretty empty (and it's the last night), and those of us who chose to attend supper, missed a lot of viewing time. In addition, this is the night of the "Baked Alaska Parade," which was missed by many, and those of us who waited (a long time) for the parade to come upstairs from the Bourdeaux and enter the Provence, lost another half hour of viewing time. Disembarkation at Whittier KUDOS to Princess. With people heading to all kinds of places, and departing by train, boat, and bus, they were remarkably efficient. Nothing but good things to report on this. Read Less
Sail Date August 2009
My husband and I just returned from a 13 day Cruisetour, JA6 7-night Voyage of the Glaciers Cruise with 6-night Land Tour featuring 2-nights Copper River Princess Lodge, 2-nights Denali Princess Lodge, 1-night Mt. McKinley Princess Lodge ... Read More
My husband and I just returned from a 13 day Cruisetour, JA6 7-night Voyage of the Glaciers Cruise with 6-night Land Tour featuring 2-nights Copper River Princess Lodge, 2-nights Denali Princess Lodge, 1-night Mt. McKinley Princess Lodge and 1-night Anchorage. I'll only cover the Cruise portion and will review the land portion on the message boards. We sailed on July 27 and returned Monday, August 9. The weather was unusually warm this whole time, and we greatly benefitted from the extraordinary visibility. This was the vacation of a lifetime, and we returned rested and relaxed. I should preface my comments by mentioning that my husband and I really needed a restful vacation, and we intentionally chose not to try to do too much in the ports. On previous cruises, we've returned exhausted, and we wanted to avoid that. Folks who try to fill every minute will think we missed some opportunities, and they're right. But we achieved our goal of seeing Alaska while returning rested, relaxed and refreshed. One thing that stood out is how well organized Princess was with all the transfers, luggage, etc. they never dropped the ball once. You can really tell that Princess knows what they're doing. I'm astonished that they managed the logistics so well. All we had to do is show up when and where instructed, and everything worked. I had thought this might be irritating, but it wasn't - it really helped us to relax. The Ship: We were in Stateroom D305, which was on the Starboard side, right off the forward elevators. I was worried that it would be noisy, but aside from a couple of rowdy teenagers, it was not a problem. This ship is kind of strange in how the elevators are laid out. Almost every time we wanted to go somewhere, like the dining room, we had to change elevators. Oh, well. Our room was SMALL. I had forgotten how small the balcony cabins on Princess are. (Note to self: next time, get a mini-suite.) On the Carnival ships, a comparable balcony stateroom has a small couch, comfortable to sit and read. There was no such place in this room. The bed was much too hard, even with a foam mattress pad. The bedding was tired the sheets washed too many times, the pillows were smashed and too hard, and, yes, the shower was lilliputian. This is made worse by the grab bar that protrudes 3" into the already inadequate space. It was difficult to take a shower without flooding the bathroom, though we learned the technique through trial and error. (Don't turn the water on full blast unless you need it briefly to rinse hair, be sure to keep the shower curtain hem inside the shower stall at all times.) The Staff: I am always struck at the positive attitude of the Princess staff. I can't understand how these people can work as hard as they do for the long hours that they work and still be so pleasant and positive. But the crew were consistently wonderful. Day 1: We took the Princess Transfer from SEA-TAC to Vancouver, a very interesting and enjoyable bus ride. Due to a half hour delay at the border, we arrived about 3:30 PM, and boarded the ship very quickly. It was about 15 minutes from the moment we left the bus until we arrived in our room. In that period of time, we went through customs, infectious disease screening, baggage screening and ship check in. I've never seen embarkation go so quickly. The sailaway was delayed 'til 8 PM due to a minor mechanical problem, so we did the muster drill and then went to dinner. We got to the Bordeaux dining room before the crowd, and we were really glad we did. That first night, there were long lines to get into anytime dining and I really didn't think it was handled well. We made a standing reservation for 8 PM and so basically avoided the problems associated with anytime. I think anytime is fine if you don't care who you sit with, but if you want a private table, it's better to have traditional or a fixed reservation. The food was wonderful. We pretty much stuck to the dining room for breakfast and dinner and some lunches because the food was better and the atmosphere a LOT better than the Horizon Buffet. The Horizon is so busy that it's hard to eat in peace. By 8 PM, we were on our balcony, watching the sun drop toward the western horizon and the ship make its way toward the inside passage. Beautiful. The views from our balcony were consistently wonderful. There's a lot of Alaska you can see only from a ship, and this itinerary is one that is really great with a balcony. We arrived very tired and stressed, and we spent a lot of time sitting on the balcony watching the scenery and the sea go by. Day 2: At Sea: One of the standout features of this ship that I really, really appreciated was the library. They had a row of comfortable chairs with ottomans where you could sit and read and relax while watching the ocean go by. This was wonderful and I spent many hours there. (I know, this wouldn't be important to everyone but it sure is to me.) We also liked the Lotus Pool, which was much more peaceful than the other one. There were multiple opportunities to attend lectures by the on-board naturalist, a biology professor from a state college in Colorado as well as the rangers from the various national parks and forests we visited. I really liked those it helped to make me feel that I was really in Alaska, not just sailing by. Day 3: Ketchikan: This was a short port call, so we just walked around town, purchased the stuff we forgot to bring and visited a museum. The town is kind of touristy, and doesn't feel authentically Alaskan. I attended a talk on the ship given by a ranger, who talked about what it's like to live in Ketchikan, and I really enjoyed that. After we sailed, we sat on our balcony and watched the scenery. Really breathtaking. Day 4: Juneau: We walked a couple of blocks into town and took the shuttle to Mendenhall Glacier, which is absolutely worth seeing. We also saw two bald eagles nesting, and flying. The salmon were running, and the bus driver stopped at a stream that was loaded, bank to bank, with salmon. As it was a sunny day, we considered doing the tramway to the top of Mt. Roberts, but just couldn't bring ourselves to spend the money. Probably should have. Day 5: Skagway: This was the highlight of the cruise for us. We rented a car from Avis and drove to Whitehorse, about a 2.5 hour drive. The scenery was breathtaking, pristine, reminiscent of the Swiss Alps. We stopped at several lakes and genuinely enjoyed the trip. Emerald Lake was very much worth seeing, but it wasn't the most beautiful of the lakes. This trip make us realize just how remote we were from any big city. After we sailed from Skagway, the scenery got better and even better. Words are inadequate to describe the beauty we experienced on this trip. Day 6: Glacier Bay: We selected this itinerary because it visited Glacier Bay, and we weren't disappointed. The narration by the park rangers really added to the experience. At one point, I was sitting in the library reading a book and dozed off. I awakened to see the Margerie Glacier filling the window. Just amazing. We spent a lot of time on our balcony listening to the narration on the TV. Day 7: Prince William Sound and College Fjord: More beauty, more glaciers. It's really sad but we got so that we almost experienced 'beauty fatigue'. Day 8: Whittier and Disembarkation: When we awakened on day 8, we were already berthed and ready to go. We arrived at our disembarkation lounge at the appointed time to find folks already starting to get off. Again, very well managed. All in all, a great trip. Read Less
Sail Date July 2009
My wife and I have cruised eight times on Princess ships.  We decided to take the Alaska glacier cruise and figured it would be just as cheap to make it a round trip so booked back to back cruises making it a round trip from Vancouver.  ... Read More
My wife and I have cruised eight times on Princess ships.  We decided to take the Alaska glacier cruise and figured it would be just as cheap to make it a round trip so booked back to back cruises making it a round trip from Vancouver.  The alternative was to fly back from Whittier (Anchorage) or take the Danali interior train trip and then fly back but decided to leave this for another cruise.  We booked through Princess's web site and used the category guarantee which also states they will upgrade if available.  We booked interior going up and mini-suite back.  We received upgrades in both cases where the interior was upgraded to window and mini-suite to top category (AA from AC).  Booking on line when prices were low (usually around 3 months prior), we were able to book the interior for under $400 and the mini for under $900.  Considering the air cost for the extra Anchorage leg, transfer from Whittier to Anchorage, we figured this was a bargain of a cruise for two weeks.  Getting there: We flew into Vancouver a day early and booked into the Renaissance Hotel next to the Harbor area.  No problems getting in and caught a taxi for the trip in (about $40 with tip).  The hotel was nice and received an upgrade to a harbor view.  Very scenic and were able to watch float planes landing and taking off in the water.  Not much around the area as close to business financial area.  Lots of food places around though.  Went to Cardero's Restaurant and Marine Pub for dinner and was able to sit on the patio facing Stanley Park.  Since the weather was in the 80's it was a great evening and it was great sunset time to have a dinner there.  The food was good as was the service.  Embarkation:  Although the hotel was within walking distance to the Canada Place cruise ship terminal, we took a taxi as you have to wind your way down to the correct area to find the entrance and the taxi drops you right off where they will accept your luggage.  Getting on the ship did not take much time at all.  We had arrived around 12:30 but had only two short 5 minute wait in lines:  One for passport processing and one for the Princess line.  Didn't matter that we were Platinum level princess cruisers as both lines were the about the same length.  Ramp up to the ship and we were on.  Using the web site to fill in all the required information Princess wanted (their PIF) makes it easier so all you have to do is sign your credit card form there and confirm the credit card.  They have a meaningless medical form which asks you if you've been sick the last couple of days but not sure people would truthfully respond to this. Ship Info:  We had actually cruised on Coral Princess in October, 2008 on the Panama 10 day cruise from Ft. Lauderdale, so were very familiar with this ship.  It cruises with about 2000 people and of course they always say the ship is full to reduce the number of upgrade request on board.  The ship is smaller yet the open areas feel very spacious and not crowded.  You have to get used to the elevators as they are quite different if you've been on other Princess ships.  The central are the only ones that go to all floors.  Glass only reaches the atrium floors and forward ends on the 7 or promenade level as there is no 6 or 7 level access here.  Aft is similar to central but does not reach the top sun deck or  deck 15.  Princess for some reason likes to confuse you with calling all the levels by a name but when you use the elevators it's only by numbers to select.  However the voice in the elevator then calls out the floors by name not the number you punched.   Can be confusing for newbies.  Like most Princess ships, the main theater is in the front and the Lounge theater is in the aft.  The Horizon buffet is in the front and the Coral only has two large dining facilities.  The set time on deck 6 (Provence Dining room) and the anytime on Deck 5 (Bordeaux Dining room).  Exercise gym is in the back of the ship. Staterooms:  Going North we had a starboard side window on deck 5 (Plaza Deck).  Couldn't complain about  this as it sure beat the inside cabin we had paid for.  The room seemed a little larger as with the bed against the window, this seemed to open up more space.  The bathroom, of course, had the normal soap the walls and then enter the shower so your shower goes very fast as these are size challenged showers. Make sure you keep the curtains inside the shower too or you will flood the floor very easily.  The low lip is not helpful in keeping the curtain in so your body sways tend to knock it out too.  Outside of that, the beds are okay, mirrors help and hanging closet area is good.  Going South we had starboard Mini-Suite which have balconies.  Very nice as these have a full bath tub.  It's quite a change in size too as you have a sofa-sleeper sitting area and two televisions in the room (although they only give you one TV controller).   The balcony is great to view marine mammals in the water and the glaciers when the ship is positioned right. This should be 50% of the time but this depends on the captain and he doesn't really equal the times out and also does not include his approach positions.  I'll write more about this when I review the glacier viewings which were just spectacular.  Both stewards were good and attentive and aware of what our normal patterns were in order to clean or reset the room.  If you work with the steward, you won't bump into them when you want to use be in the room. Dining:  We were on anytime dining and the Bordeaux dining room on the 5th or Plaza level.  Anytime is misleading as you can arrange for a set time and table if you work with the Head waiter at the door but this you will find depends on who is in charge. On our Panama trip, the Head waiter did not do this and you had to phone in every morning early to get a reservation for a specific time and table.  Florian on this cruise was willing to set aside a time and table for you for the entire trip so you did not have to call in.  This works best if you are willing to eat late from 8 p.m. on.  The reason to reserve the table is the servers.  You'll find good and mediocre waiters and assistants.  We found two we liked the first night and then arranged for the same two for the entire time.  In this way, we developed a good relationship and they knew how we liked things served.  They would go out of their way to make sure we were happy and do extra things to help us enjoy our dinner.  We like dining alone so this arrangement worked very well for us.  Of course we tip extra all three (waiter, assistant, head waiter) which I know most cruisers on Princess do not because Princess tags on a $10.50 to $11 per day per person tip which is distributed to all the servers, stewards and others who serve you.  You can change the amount and or remove this from your bill but we feel that's a small amount for the service we receive and feel giving extra to our food servers is well worth it.  Keep in mind that the salary received by these servers is very, very low which is why you only see people from impoverished countries in these positions.  It's better than many jobs in their home country, but you or I would never work for their salaries and put in all the required hours which comes to over 12 hours per person 7 days a week.  The Coral princess has two upgrade small restaurants in which you are charged for the upgrade service and food you receive.  These are the Bayou Cafe (steak house) and Sabitini's (Italian).  We did not eat at either of these but have always heard they are good and you tend to overeat.  Other areas of food are the Princess pizzeria and upstairs on the Sun deck (15) the Grill and Bar for hamburgers, hot dogs and hot French fries.  There's also an ice cream bar and La Patisserie pastry or really a charge you coffee place.  And of course there's the all you can eat, 24 hours a day Horizon Court buffet.  We normally ate breakfast there or used hang card room service continental breakfast.  Food in the buffet is usually good but you should always try to eat dinner in the dining room.  To not do so is like wasting half the cost of your trip as the food in the dining room is superior in taste and presentation.  It will also allow you to eat many items you may never do so otherwise such as King crab, Lobster, Giant perch, sweet meat, etc.  Remember you can always order extra main courses if you don't get enough.  We've noticed that Princess has cut back the size of most food plates which is good as then I can always have room for some yummy dessert.  However, if you're a hearty eater, you can order extra as well as order items not on the menu.  Keep your eye out for the deck lunch specials such as a dessert buffet or seafood barbeque which are especially good.  Skip the so called "Sushi" buffets as they are pretty poor tasting with hard refrigerated rice.  All in all the food is still pretty good but not as tasty as what I remember in the past.  This has a lot to do with the quality of meat and other items which just doesn't seem to be holding up which I suspect is due to financial reasons.  Ports:  We had been on the round-trip inside passage cruise from Seattle in 2006 and as the same ports are used for this trip, did not do much excursions.  The docks all were fairly close to the cities and were available via a free shuttle or $2 per trip bus or within walking distance.  There's not much to most of the ports.  You'll run into the normal bunch of cruise port vendors (Diamond Int., Venetian Jewelers, Tanzanite Int., ...).  The cruise port specialist was a young girl and not a very good one as she was not very experienced.  As you are shopping in Alaska, you don't have to worry about duty as there is no duty since the shops have already paid it.  The towns have become more and more "touristy" but if you enjoy that aspect, you'll enjoy it.  Juneau probably has more "true" places to go to as it is the largest city in Alaska.  The other two ports (Ketchikan and Skagway) are pretty small and limited in what's available (e.g. try finding a grocery store in Skagway.  The one and only is at 4th and State, one block over from the main tourist road of Broadway).  My wife did take the dog sled tour in Ketchikan which she really liked.  They saw a bear on the side of the road on the way to the musher's camp.  We took the float plane glacier view in Juneau.  It was absolutely spectacular.  The pilot could have done a better job of showing things but we saw enough and the view was just wonderful.  I should point out that we had the most wonderful weather going North.  We were told this type of sunny weather where all of our days were bright sun had not happened in over 4 years.  Coming back south, we did not have as much sunny days and this affected the glacier viewing in College Fjord.  One reason we did back to back cruising was hoping that we would have at least one day of good viewing at each of the two main glacier viewings.  Instead, we had 3 spectacular viewings and one pretty good one.   Getting back to the ports, there is nothing much to these stops so don't expect much.  It is cheaper to pick up local tours but I noticed that the Princess prices are the same at times such as if you go up the Tram in Juneau, it's the same price.  Incidentally, if you keep your eyes open, there are Bald Eagles flying around the towns.  Glacier Viewings:  As mentioned, we had spectacular sunny weather going North.  Ketchikan, Skagway and Juneau had temperatures in the 80's.  When we were at Glacier bay, Mt. Fairweather was bright and clear and you could see for miles in all direction.  The trip in and out was spectacular with a lot of calving taking place at Margerie glacier and we had a very clear view of the Grand Pacific Glacier.  There were lots of viewings of whales, dolphins, sea lions, bears, etc. but they are still only seen occasionally and it takes a lot of standing around to see these as the ship is moving at a pretty good clip except when you're near the glaciers.  There' the ship will slowly spin around for about an hour of viewing.  Park rangers hop on the ship and give a narration from time to time as well as make a presentation in the princess theater.  The next day trip into College Fjord was just as spectacular and as there are more glaciers and steeper hills, the view is just outstanding.  Again it was very sunny and made for wonderful views.  Coming back South, College Fjord in the morning was quite different as the sun position was not the same.  Glacier Bay was slightly overcast and you could not see the Grand Pacific Glacier as it was misty in that direction.  However the captain gave us a treat by entering the John Hopkin inlet and gave us a spectacular view of the Johns Hopkins Glacier as well as the Lamplugh Glacier.  It should be noted that the ship changed naturalist speaker and it turned out that the one on the South trip has been doing this for some time.  Barbara was really good and had a much larger presentation of the history and culture of the area as well as knew a lot of when you should be on deck to see different wildlife.  Whittier:  There was very little to see or do at Whittier which was the end of the line.  There's some small shops along the wharf now.  We had planned to go on a boat excursion there to kill some time as the departure time was 9:00 p.m. but they cancelled the excursion as not enough takers.   We were pleasantly surprised to find we didn't have to get off of the ship and just had to leave our clothes on hangers but fill up the loose stuff in our suitcases and they moved everything to the new cabin.  So we just lounged around the ship which is very strange when there's only a few people on the ship.  You could go on top and there was no one at the pool levels.  In any case, it was fun to see people moving off and on the ship, especially when the trains pulled in.  Shipboard Entertainment:  We were surprised to find a strong group of the four lead singers/dancers.  They were really very good compared to what we had encountered on previous cruises.  We thoroughly enjoyed their performances.  The music selection for some of the shows could be better, but you can't beat the Motown show which we were able to see twice.  In fact, we saw most of the shows twice and enjoyed them both time.  The other shows, such as the comedians, were okay but nothing to write home about.  The atrium musicians and performers were okay.   I tend to exercise a lot so know the gym equipment pretty well as I spend from 2 to 3 hours a day there if I can.  If you want to meet the leads, they tend to go up to the gym around 5 p.m. to use the equipment to warm up with.  By the way, the equipment on the ship was okay.  Nothing great and if you go in the late afternoon, rarely will you find a line up to use the equipment.  Although they have televisions to view, the sound system is a free for all as you don't have individual sets but shared sets.  Some people are so inconsiderate and turn up the sound so everyone in the gym gets to hear what's going on.  They need to get to the point where each equipment has their own set and people can use their personal head sets to listen to the audio.  Debarkation:  Debarkation was pretty easy but was done in a different method than we've encountered before.  Normally we would take our time getting of the ship and be a little later than what the times Princess wanted you to get off of to get to the airport.  We had purchased the bus return as it was about the same in cost as getting a Taxi.  Normally you get off, go look for your luggage which has been off loaded and stacked into color codes in the cruise terminal.  Not here in Vancouver.  Luggage for airport folks was loaded into trucks and moved by color code to the airport.  So once you arrived at the airport, you would then claim your luggage and then go check in at your airline.  So if you waited too long, your luggage was going to be left alone there in the airport,  It actually works pretty good in any case and it was still easy to find our bags as most of our color was gone by the time we showed up to claim them. Sick:  I got sick on the way back with a urinary tract infection so was given a first hand view of the medical department.  If you do get sick, you'll find that the medical staff is pretty good.  Not the greatest, but pretty competent.  They don't work with any of the medical plans, so everything is charged to your ship board account and you will have to send all the claims to your medical plans yourself.  The charges are a little high, but they did have some normal hospital equipment on hand and they didn't appear to be very busy at any time.     Summary and Hints:  All in all we enjoyed the back to back cruises on the Coral Princess.  If you take this trip, I wouldn't expect to have the sunny weather we had on the way North.  Coming South, we did run into rain and drizzle which we were told were the more normal for this cruise.  Luckily this was at the ports, after we had gone to the glaciers.  If you have a choice, the North trip is better as  the glacier viewing is timed better (no early morning viewing of College Fjord) and the sun position is better for evening viewings.  Although the ship turns around to give both sides glacier viewings, the port side is positioned better to see the glaciers if you have a balcony.  If you're going to splurge on a cruise, get a balcony on this cruise.   If you want an unobstructed view when approaching the glaciers, there are two little known open areas in the front of the ship.  They are located on decks 10 (Caribe) and 11 (Baja).  There is no glass to obstruct your view and the speaker systems are nice and loud on these decks.  There is a sign which seems to imply you shouldn't go past the door, but just walk right through on either the right or left side and you'll find a wonderful area to view glaciers as well as wildlife.  Once the ship starts to turn though, you'll have to find another place to view and when moving, it can be quite cold as the wind blows right in on you.  Finally, I would say that these back to back cruises were well worth the money and we thoroughly enjoyed the time spent on board. Read Less
Sail Date June 2009
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

Find a Coral Princess Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click