Coral Princess Cruise Review by LJ Pia
- Sail Date: September 2012
- Destination: Panama Canal & Central America
- Cabin Type: Balcony
This was not what I wanted nor what I expected. Right away it was hot all over the ship. Granted Los Angeles was hot that day and our cabin was in the sun, but it didn't cool down so I called A/C engineering to check it. It was adjusted and was much better. (But as the cruise continued, the A/C was still "spotty" around the ship, i.e., one elevator very warm, others comfortable; some areas of ship very warm, others more comfortable; cabin sometimes not very cool and had to call A/C engineering twice more.) Now it wasn't as if we would be traveling to the North Pole; we were headed for the tropics! So it would make sense, at least to me, that the ship would be prepared for very hot and very humid temperatures and in accordance with that keep the ship very cool. But No-No that was not the case.
Also the water in the cabin was never cool--impossible to get a cool shower after being out on a shore excursion. This area of the world, being so near the Equator, tends to be very hot and very humid! In Fact I had read the Cartagena is so hot and humid that many reviewers could enjoy any shore excursions, so we cancelled that one.
In Costa Rica we took the Aerial Tram over the Rain Forest. Worthwhile even though it was hot and humid. The lunch that was served was typical of the region and I classified as "Fair."
At the Miraflores Locks we took the excursion describing the locks, a museum of artifacts, and a view of the working locks from a veranda at the locks. This I found very enlightening.
It is recommended to read David McCullough's Book "The Path Between the Seas" before cruising the locks for a complete understanding of this undertaking.
The food on board, either the buffet or dining room (we chose "anytime" dining) was only "Fair." Menus repeated; flavor bland; menu items chosen were not what I expected. (I refuse to pay extra for the specialty dining options.) I couldn't wait to disembark to get a good meal. Saying this, the best meal on the ship was the English Pub lunch in the Wheelhouse. Fish and Chips were very good.
All other aspects of the cruise were fine: Embarkation, disembarkation, shows, etc.
One of our favorite places was La Patisserie. We bought a coffee card and found the lattes delicious--used very good quality beans. Servers were helpful, happy and prompt.
This review does not constitute that I will never cruise Princess again. I almost certainly will, but not to any place hot. I will not expect much in the quality and flavor of the food. As we all know quality of middle-class cruise companies has gone down-hill for a long time. Nothing can be done about that except take a more expensive cruise line--so one gets what one pays for. The CEOs of the companies are the only one that make the money; it certainly doesn't go to the staffs.
P.S. Comedian Doug Funk very good; completely different type of comedy. Really enjoyed him. Would like to see him again. Some people went the second night he performed and it was a bit different.
Port & Shore Excursion Reviews
Semi Sub TourAtlantis submarine--not well organized. Listed as Easy. Had to walk almost 1/4 mile to boat that takes us out to the sub. Since the boat was on the same side as ship but further down dock, it would have been just as easy for us to be shuttled to the boat. Tedious boat ride out to sub--about 20 minutes. This boat is like a "hot box" with Plexiglas surrounding top and sides with limited window openings. Not pleasant. Sub was very crowded; windows lower than seat so that had to bend over to peer out. Hard for taller people. Coral was drab--not colorful. Fish were colorful; saw 2 Moray Eels; One turtle. On returning to dock after another hot boat ride, security gate was locked. We waiting 10-15 minutes for "security" to come unlock gate so could do the long walk back to the ship.View All 26 Semi Sub Tour Reviews
I do not recommend this tour. I have taken a similar submarine excursion in Jamaica that was much more comfortable and better handled. Really enjoyed that one and felt it was worthwhile.
Cartagena (Colombia)Very hot and humid. People who did take excursions said it was so hot and humid, almost impossible to enjoy. Just left ship and shopped in the terminal at the dock.View All 587 Cartagena (Colombia) Cruise Port Reviews
View Cruise Critic's Cartagena (Colombia) Cruise Port Review
Tarcoles RiverAerial Tram was very good; naturalist very knowledgeable. Recommend seeing the Rain Forest from this level. River ride was somewhat boring and long. Lunch was so-so. One has to like this kind of food.View All 24 Tarcoles River Reviews