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**** Please note this is a review of my own experiences and opinions that I wanted to share here - I do not wish to spark any controversy. Embark - disembark: this was by far the BEST ever embarking and disembark. Princess knows what they are doing here. We arrived at the pier at 12:00 - never waited in a line and walked right on the ship.. it was terrific! Disembark - we were given a time of 8:30am - we were to go to the Explorer's lounge - within minutes we were leaving the ship - no lines to wait in at all - Luggage area was a little crazy a porter - a cab - and we were off in no time. Muster Drill: I have to comment on this because Princess has made this pain bearable. We were to meet in the Princess theater - carrying our life vest - not wearing it and standing on deck being shoved every which way.. we listened to the announcements and instructions - everyone was paying attention - and for the first time - so was I. Other cruise lines could learn from this - it was great. Ship: overall - pretty nice, liked the public areas - Horizon court gets a little crazy and crowded, but then most buffets do. Dining room was very nice, on board stores didn't have a lot to offer in my opinion. Pools are nice - I thought Lotus pool is for adults - there was a lady with a toddler in a diaper in the pool - they should really post signs saying Adults only. Viewing the canal was very nice from our balcony - as well as the front of our deck and the aft.. we were on deck 10 - and the aft viewing has lounge chairs - very nice - the front is smaller - but just as good to see the canal - I would advise checking each out. Services: Room service was great - we had the same guy every morning ( we order coffee) he was always on time - and very friendly. Princess does not have phone cards available to make calls. This is the 1st cruise I have taken where I had to pay $4.95 a min to call home when at sea - they should think about phone cards. I was able to use my Cingular cell phone in all ports of call - I'm sure it will be a BIG bill. Spa - I walked through there - and it seemed real nice - but didn't purchase any service. Gym - looked very nice - again I didn't use the facility. Laundry self service is available near aft on decks 10, 11, 12 - and maybe others I don't know. I was on 10, and they had 5 washers and dryers in a laundry room with iron/board, wash, dry and all soap products are $1.00 each. (there is a change machine - but sometimes it's out). I did do a couple loads of laundry - this was a nice feature. Smoking: Let me start by saying I am a smoker - and Princess does NOT offer the smokers much space for smoking. We could not smoke anywhere around the Lido pool or Lotus pool. On deck 15 - above the Lido - there was a small area with 3 tables for smokers, then there is the cigar room, Wheelhouse bar allows smoking in 1/3 of the area (nice) and Explorers Lounge has a small smoking area. I think that is it - and I hear that they used to allow smoking on one side of the ship on outside decks, like most ships do, but they had changed this. Casino is smoking except for 2 nights from 6pm on where it is smoke free. Cabin: We were in C226, mini-suite. I was able to view a regular balcony room and compare to a suite - and I can tell you that there is not a huge amount of difference. The rooms are just as narrow - the mini offers extra room for a sitting area, a few feet more on the balcony, and we had a bathtub instead of stand up shower, which I heard was very very tiny. Plenty of space for our things (2 of us) and you can store some empty luggage under the beds. Our room steward was just o.K.. meaning he did clean our room, and we did ask for a few things (extra pillows) and he obliged - but nothing more than that - and we hardly saw him - not overly friendly. Food: Horizon court buffet - I only have one word "yuck". Most everything was below average in my opinion. Main dining - I thought the food was very good - I have had better - but they did a pretty good job. Lobsters are small, lots of fish items to chose from, one night we had Alaskan King Crab legs. Didn't eat at a specialty restaurant, but did have afternoon tea 3:30 - 4:30 daily - and it was wonderful. One bad note - our server (Monica) was very nice the first 2 nights - then she seemed to be irritated with anyone ordering anything outside the menu, or extra things.. this seemed to get worse each night - some of us at our table felt quite uncomfortable with her abrupt behavior - and it put a damper on dinner - which was unfortunate - as we had great tablemates (8 of us in all). Entertainment: The ship's singers and dancers were good - some were better than others - but you have to give them credit for putting on so many shows - I enjoyed the shows - when I could find a seat. I think the show schedule and dinner times conflict. We had early dining 6pm, and the shows following dinner were always completely full - the later ones were almost full. People with late seating did not have as many options for shows and some friends we met were very disappointed in this. The comedian/Magician was terrific - what a great personality. We play Trivia - and they had plenty of it during the day - but in the evening it was not available.. much to our disappointment. WE really enjoyed "name that tune" and "evening trivia" on other cruise lines. Demographics: I am 46 and my Mom is 67 and we were comfortable with the rest of the passengers on board. I rarely saw any children - a few teens, but mostly an over 60 crowd in my opinion. Royal Caribbean has a younger following - and more active night life. Casino: Mom says the machines are very tight - and she knows her stuff. I played a little on the slots and Roulette - but am no gambler. Ports of Call: Aruba - very nice, walk right into shopping areas - we were not there long enough to take a tour - Princess should figure out a way to stay in Aruba longer. Cartagena Columbia: a little scary - street vendors swarm tour busses, banging on windows and blocking your path to get you to buy.,.. very unsettling - we took a ship tour - and although it was interesting and we saw many sites, I would not get off the ship again. Panama Canal: get up plenty early (6am) to see the locks - beautiful sites to behold - temp is Super HOT and we had 100% humidity..whew! Cristobal: we got off the ship and shopped at the pier.. right off the gang way - no walking hardly - lots of locals selling crafts - lots of singing and dancing - a very nice spot. Jamaica: docked at James Bond Pier, not very easy to get around there - you have to taxi into town, unlike at the main pier. We took a local tour (30.00 each) went through villages, Dunns River Falls ( you have to pay $15.00 each - just look at the falls -even if you don't want to climb it) we didn't do it. Went to Sony's for some shopping - was ok - lots of jewelers. Costa Rica - was cancelled because of demonstrations regarding free trade - went to Grand Cayman : this stop is tendered - we have been there before so opted to enjoy the near empty ship. Pre cruise: we stayed at the Lauderdale beachside hotel $129.00/night - room was just ok - nice little balcony facing the ocean - and beachfront view.. if you like the beach - this one is great. http://www.clarionbeachresort.com/ ** note: we took a cab from airport to this hotel $45.00 - we should have asked for a shuttle - it would have been $25.00 Post cruise: We stayed at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Ft. Lauderdale - WOW… what a nice place - very clean - upscale - beautiful pool - friendly staff - just all around very nice place. Cost $199/night - we had a beautiful poolside view from 9th floor - totally worth the money. http://www.seminolehardrockhollywood.com/ Cruise Critic Meeting - I spoke with Renee Wittwer - Onboard Coordinator : rwittwer@princesscruises.com via Email before the cruise and she set us up with a meeting place and time - she was very very helpful and our meeting went well. I do want to comment that Royal Caribbean seems to be the only line so far that I have been on where the Captain actually came - and answered questions, posed for photo's and was a real treat to meet for our meeting - other cruises will provide a room - but I think they should take the time to attend the CC meetings. I did get a voice mail from Ron, the CD asking if our group was having a good time - and did we need anything.. he seemed to have an interest - but this was 2 days before the cruise ended.. if he had com to the meeting it would have been much better. Final comments: Princess had good and bad - as do most lines - but in comparison - I believe Holland America to be a step above in service and food - as well as Royal Caribbean, and will probably chose one of these for my next cruise.

Review – Coral Princess Panama Cruise 11/20/07

Coral Princess Cruise Review by Loralu

Trip Details
**** Please note this is a review of my own experiences and opinions that I wanted to share here - I do not wish to spark any controversy.
Embark - disembark: this was by far the BEST ever embarking and disembark. Princess knows what they are doing here. We arrived at the pier at 12:00 - never waited in a line and walked right on the ship.. it was terrific! Disembark - we were given a time of 8:30am - we were to go to the Explorer's lounge - within minutes we were leaving the ship - no lines to wait in at all - Luggage area was a little crazy a porter - a cab - and we were off in no time.
Muster Drill: I have to comment on this because Princess has made this pain bearable. We were to meet in the Princess theater - carrying our life vest - not wearing it and standing on deck being shoved every which way.. we listened to the announcements and instructions - everyone was paying attention - and for the first time - so was I. Other cruise lines could learn from this - it was great.
Ship: overall - pretty nice, liked the public areas - Horizon court gets a little crazy and crowded, but then most buffets do. Dining room was very nice, on board stores didn't have a lot to offer in my opinion. Pools are nice - I thought Lotus pool is for adults - there was a lady with a toddler in a diaper in the pool - they should really post signs saying Adults only. Viewing the canal was very nice from our balcony - as well as the front of our deck and the aft.. we were on deck 10 - and the aft viewing has lounge chairs - very nice - the front is smaller - but just as good to see the canal - I would advise checking each out.
Services: Room service was great - we had the same guy every morning ( we order coffee) he was always on time - and very friendly. Princess does not have phone cards available to make calls. This is the 1st cruise I have taken where I had to pay $4.95 a min to call home when at sea - they should think about phone cards. I was able to use my Cingular cell phone in all ports of call - I'm sure it will be a BIG bill. Spa - I walked through there - and it seemed real nice - but didn't purchase any service. Gym - looked very nice - again I didn't use the facility. Laundry self service is available near aft on decks 10, 11, 12 - and maybe others I don't know. I was on 10, and they had 5 washers and dryers in a laundry room with iron/board, wash, dry and all soap products are $1.00 each. (there is a change machine - but sometimes it's out). I did do a couple loads of laundry - this was a nice feature.
Smoking: Let me start by saying I am a smoker - and Princess does NOT offer the smokers much space for smoking. We could not smoke anywhere around the Lido pool or Lotus pool. On deck 15 - above the Lido - there was a small area with 3 tables for smokers, then there is the cigar room, Wheelhouse bar allows smoking in 1/3 of the area (nice) and Explorers Lounge has a small smoking area. I think that is it - and I hear that they used to allow smoking on one side of the ship on outside decks, like most ships do, but they had changed this. Casino is smoking except for 2 nights from 6pm on where it is smoke free.
Cabin: We were in C226, mini-suite. I was able to view a regular balcony room and compare to a suite - and I can tell you that there is not a huge amount of difference. The rooms are just as narrow - the mini offers extra room for a sitting area, a few feet more on the balcony, and we had a bathtub instead of stand up shower, which I heard was very very tiny. Plenty of space for our things (2 of us) and you can store some empty luggage under the beds. Our room steward was just o.K.. meaning he did clean our room, and we did ask for a few things (extra pillows) and he obliged - but nothing more than that - and we hardly saw him - not overly friendly.
Food: Horizon court buffet - I only have one word "yuck". Most everything was below average in my opinion. Main dining - I thought the food was very good - I have had better - but they did a pretty good job. Lobsters are small, lots of fish items to chose from, one night we had Alaskan King Crab legs. Didn't eat at a specialty restaurant, but did have afternoon tea 3:30 - 4:30 daily - and it was wonderful. One bad note - our server (Monica) was very nice the first 2 nights - then she seemed to be irritated with anyone ordering anything outside the menu, or extra things.. this seemed to get worse each night - some of us at our table felt quite uncomfortable with her abrupt behavior - and it put a damper on dinner - which was unfortunate - as we had great tablemates (8 of us in all).
Entertainment: The ship's singers and dancers were good - some were better than others - but you have to give them credit for putting on so many shows - I enjoyed the shows - when I could find a seat. I think the show schedule and dinner times conflict. We had early dining 6pm, and the shows following dinner were always completely full - the later ones were almost full. People with late seating did not have as many options for shows and some friends we met were very disappointed in this. The comedian/Magician was terrific - what a great personality. We play Trivia - and they had plenty of it during the day - but in the evening it was not available.. much to our disappointment. WE really enjoyed "name that tune" and "evening trivia" on other cruise lines.
Demographics: I am 46 and my Mom is 67 and we were comfortable with the rest of the passengers on board. I rarely saw any children - a few teens, but mostly an over 60 crowd in my opinion. Royal Caribbean has a younger following - and more active night life.
Casino: Mom says the machines are very tight - and she knows her stuff. I played a little on the slots and Roulette - but am no gambler.
Ports of Call: Aruba - very nice, walk right into shopping areas - we were not there long enough to take a tour - Princess should figure out a way to stay in Aruba longer. Cartagena Columbia: a little scary - street vendors swarm tour busses, banging on windows and blocking your path to get you to buy.,.. very unsettling - we took a ship tour - and although it was interesting and we saw many sites, I would not get off the ship again. Panama Canal: get up plenty early (6am) to see the locks - beautiful sites to behold - temp is Super HOT and we had 100% humidity..whew! Cristobal: we got off the ship and shopped at the pier.. right off the gang way - no walking hardly - lots of locals selling crafts - lots of singing and dancing - a very nice spot. Jamaica: docked at James Bond Pier, not very easy to get around there - you have to taxi into town, unlike at the main pier. We took a local tour (30.00 each) went through villages, Dunns River Falls ( you have to pay $15.00 each - just look at the falls -even if you don't want to climb it) we didn't do it. Went to Sony's for some shopping - was ok - lots of jewelers. Costa Rica - was cancelled because of demonstrations regarding free trade - went to Grand Cayman : this stop is tendered - we have been there before so opted to enjoy the near empty ship.
Pre cruise: we stayed at the Lauderdale beachside hotel $129.00/night - room was just ok - nice little balcony facing the ocean - and beachfront view.. if you like the beach - this one is great. http://www.clarionbeachresort.com/ ** note: we took a cab from airport to this hotel $45.00 - we should have asked for a shuttle - it would have been $25.00
Post cruise: We stayed at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Ft. Lauderdale - WOW… what a nice place - very clean - upscale - beautiful pool - friendly staff - just all around very nice place. Cost $199/night - we had a beautiful poolside view from 9th floor - totally worth the money. http://www.seminolehardrockhollywood.com/
Cruise Critic Meeting - I spoke with Renee Wittwer - Onboard Coordinator : rwittwer@princesscruises.com via Email before the cruise and she set us up with a meeting place and time - she was very very helpful and our meeting went well. I do want to comment that Royal Caribbean seems to be the only line so far that I have been on where the Captain actually came - and answered questions, posed for photo's and was a real treat to meet for our meeting - other cruises will provide a room - but I think they should take the time to attend the CC meetings. I did get a voice mail from Ron, the CD asking if our group was having a good time - and did we need anything.. he seemed to have an interest - but this was 2 days before the cruise ended.. if he had com to the meeting it would have been much better.
Final comments: Princess had good and bad - as do most lines - but in comparison - I believe Holland America to be a step above in service and food - as well as Royal Caribbean, and will probably chose one of these for my next cruise.
Loralu’s Full Rating Summary
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