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We sailed on the Coral Princess on January 23-February 2, 2003. Starting out in choppy water the ship had difficulty settling down to a smooth ride. Whether this was because of the unusual weather we were having, the route taken or stabilization problems was never explained. The first day at sea was the worst but passenger complaints persisted throughout the cruise. The ship is beautifully appointed. Cabins are large, comfortable and well designed with plenty of storage space and room to move around. The lounges are spacious and beautifully furnished. There was plenty to do without ever leaving the ship and this was good because the ports of call and side trips were generally unremarkable. The Canal itself was the big attraction: one of the greatest feats of engineering in the history of the world. We took the trip to relax in sunny warm air and it worked. We enjoyed the ship, the decks, the lounges, the shows, the food, the classes, and the lovely verandas which grace the vast majority of the rooms. Even though the ship was filled to capacity it never seemed crowded. The Spa was outstanding and offered a myriad of services with discounts for at sea days and in port days as well. The boutiques were standard and there now exists a sort of sidewalk sale atmosphere with daily specials featuring local crafts, jewelry, t-shirts, gemstones, and more jewelry. Prices were reasonable, particularly by cruise ship standards. The food was outstanding. With two dining rooms and a twenty-four hour buffet as well as two specialty, extra cost restaurants, a pizzeria, a patisserie, a grill and two bars no taste was left unfulfilled. The twenty-four hour buffet has replaced the midnight buffet and it is a wonderful feature; particularly, for those who like their midnight snack at 10:30. Personal choice dining was a great favorite and if the passenger comments we heard were any indicator, should replace assigned seating in the future. The entertainment featured a cadre of excellent singers and dancers who performed at the highest level. The comedians were routine cruise ship fare with the traditional emphasis on potty humor and cruiser's foibles. The specialty musicians were outstanding. The Scholars at Sea program provides lectures and demonstrations on a wide variety of topics including cameras, computers, ports of call and world affairs. I imagine that each cruise differs so it will become a matter of the luck of the draw. The staff was superb, well trained, professional and attentive. Service was everything it should be on a first class cruise ship. Should be a great ship on which to do the Alaska trip where the ports of call have far more to offer. Princess could improve on their communications about daily schedules with a grid timetable rather than the listing they currently use. A cruise long grid would allow for even better planning. While it had nothing to do with Princess it must be noted that the Ft. Lauderdale airport was totally incompetent to handle the influx of cruise travelers on disembarkation. Long inefficient lines were the order of the day and left some passengers scrambling to make their AM flights. Passengers take care. ccholmes@ameritech.net May 2003

Coral Princess

Coral Princess Cruise Review by ccholmes

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: December 1899
  • Destination:
We sailed on the Coral Princess on January 23-February 2, 2003. Starting out in choppy water the ship had difficulty settling down to a smooth ride. Whether this was because of the unusual weather we were having, the route taken or stabilization problems was never explained. The first day at sea was the worst but passenger complaints persisted throughout the cruise.

The ship is beautifully appointed. Cabins are large, comfortable and well designed with plenty of storage space and room to move around. The lounges are spacious and beautifully furnished. There was plenty to do without ever leaving the ship and this was good because the ports of call and side trips were generally unremarkable.

The Canal itself was the big attraction: one of the greatest feats of engineering in the history of the world. We took the trip to relax in sunny warm air and it worked. We enjoyed the ship, the decks, the lounges, the shows, the food, the classes, and the lovely verandas which grace the vast majority of the rooms. Even though the ship was filled to capacity it never seemed crowded.

The Spa was outstanding and offered a myriad of services with discounts for at sea days and in port days as well. The boutiques were standard and there now exists a sort of sidewalk sale atmosphere with daily specials featuring local crafts, jewelry, t-shirts, gemstones, and more jewelry. Prices were reasonable, particularly by cruise ship standards.

The food was outstanding. With two dining rooms and a twenty-four hour buffet as well as two specialty, extra cost restaurants, a pizzeria, a patisserie, a grill and two bars no taste was left unfulfilled. The twenty-four hour buffet has replaced the midnight buffet and it is a wonderful feature; particularly, for those who like their midnight snack at 10:30. Personal choice dining was a great favorite and if the passenger comments we heard were any indicator, should replace assigned seating in the future.

The entertainment featured a cadre of excellent singers and dancers who performed at the highest level. The comedians were routine cruise ship fare with the traditional emphasis on potty humor and cruiser's foibles. The specialty musicians were outstanding. The Scholars at Sea program provides lectures and demonstrations on a wide variety of topics including cameras, computers, ports of call and world affairs. I imagine that each cruise differs so it will become a matter of the luck of the draw.

The staff was superb, well trained, professional and attentive. Service was everything it should be on a first class cruise ship. Should be a great ship on which to do the Alaska trip where the ports of call have far more to offer.

Princess could improve on their communications about daily schedules with a grid timetable rather than the listing they currently use. A cruise long grid would allow for even better planning.

While it had nothing to do with Princess it must be noted that the Ft. Lauderdale airport was totally incompetent to handle the influx of cruise travelers on disembarkation. Long inefficient lines were the order of the day and left some passengers scrambling to make their AM flights. Passengers take care.

ccholmes@ameritech.net
May 2003
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