This was our 3rd cruise with Princess: Mexico, Alaska, and Panama Canal. DH and I were originally booked on the 3/25 Panama Cruise from San Juan to Los Angeles. We had to change our plans and Princess gave us full credit for an April cruise (we were only due 50% refund).
DH and I have always enjoyed Princess but this cruise was a mixed bag of very good and very bad.
We used Marriott Hotel points to book two "free" nights at the 17th Street Marriott. This was the grubbiest Marriott we have ever stayed at. Avoid it.
The Coral Princess was a very comfortable ship to spend time on. It was easy to get around and find our way.
Stateroom D422 is the Galapagos Suite (VS). All I can say is "WOW"! This was our first suite and it is definitely the way to go. The room steward was attentive and unobtrusive. We had priority embarking and disembarking at all ports, fresh flowers, daily fresh fruit, no charge for laundry/dry cleaning, corsages for formal night, daily canapes, daily tea, spa use, free one time bar set up and lots of other goodies throughout the cruise. We had the room steward move 2 deck chairs onto our balcony and there was still a lot of room. Our suite was on the best side to view the Panama Canal, too.
Dinner fixed 2nd seating was awful! We requested a table for 2 and ended up next to a busing counter. It was loud and smelly with piles of dirty dishes. We requested another table and was told by the head waiter/supervisor he would have to check with the maitre de (whom we never saw). We only ate there twice and found other ways to spend our dinnertime.
Balcony Dining is worth the little extra cost. It was tasty and the service was the best. Very romantic. We put on some music and danced under the stars.
Sabatini's was a good alternative to the dining room. We ate there twice and enjoyed picking and choosing from the parade of 20+ dishes the waiters kept bringing to the table.
The Bayou Cafe was excellent the first night we ate there but not as good the second night. We think it had to be a different chef working.
We had the buffet one night. It was as expected; lots of choices and buffet quality.
We had late lunches of hamburgers and pizza two nights and just had fruit for evening snacks. Which worked out fine for us.
The lounges each had a different character:
While I like the smell of cigars coming from the smoking lounge my dh didn't care for it at all. The Crooner's martini bar was right next to it and the smoke kept us from enjoying our pre-dinner drink there.
We enjoyed the live music in the lounge of the Bayou Cafe during dinner. Never did see anyone on the dance floor there.
The Wheelhouse Lounge was our favorite spot. The female singer was not very good but the music was wonderful for social dancing.
We attend the art auctions in the Explorers Lounge and even won 4 lithographs.
The casino was big and a lot of folks were enjoying it. We skipped it this trip.
The Adult Only Pool area was great! The pools was lots of fun when the waves got rolling. Reading a book on the cushioned deck chairs was quiet and relaxing.
The Spa was lovely but I think the prices were too high for their services.
Shore Excursions have always been good on Princess. We enjoyed the Pirate Encounter, Beach Party, Eco Train & Boat Ride.
Overall, this was a good trip. The suite was wonderful. However, the dining room was an issue and we wouldn't do fixed seating again.