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We spent a pre-embarkation day in Ft. Lauderdale on the Water Taxi and an everglades tour. See the Florida departures board for reviews of this as well as the Renaissance on 17th and 3030 Ocean restaurant. Embarkation: We took a taxi from hotel to Port Everglades a little before 1500 hours. Tipped the porters at the port $2 per bag for our checked luggage, filled out all the requisite paperwork, stood for the obligatory photos (although we never did find them on the boards at the photo shop the next day), and onto the ship—all without lines or stopping. Total time from hotel to stateroom was 20 minutes. Ship: This was our second time on Princess, first time on Coral. We booked a suite on the port side of Dolphin. It was nice, but not much larger than the aft mini-suite we had on Dawn. Also found the room furnishings a little tired (and the bed was horrible) and steward service mixed. (A full posting on our "suite experience" is on the main Princess board.) Overall, the Coral is a beautiful ship—lovely public areas and very nicely decorated and maintained. It was decked out for the holidays for our cruise and looked very festive—unfortunately, however, they didn't set up the snow machine for the lobby until the end of the cruise and didn't use it until the one following ours. I'd collected hints for embarkation from the CC.com boards. You do need to check the temperature in mini-refrigerator—it was barely cool on check-in. Call "DINE" and order any ultimate balcony breakfast and dinner as well as Bayou cafe and Sabatini's reservations as well as any spa reservations as soon as possible if you have a date/time you want. On our cruise, however, these services did not appear to be heavily used—we were able to book both specialty restaurants easily and the spa kept running lots of specials (one of which was honored for my services, even though I had booked them on-line before the cruise.) General muster was next and, as many have noted, it was very short and sweet. Then it was time for our CC.com sailaway party! We had agreed to meet after the muster at the bar near "The Grill" on the Sun deck. We wore mardi gras beads, so we could find each other and brought extras for those who might not have been abe to find them (such as our friends from the UK). We started on our tasting of Princess cocktails from the "Favorite Drink" thread with an Ultimate Cooler and a Captain's Bounty; the former was a tad too sweet but the latter was VERY yummy. We had a GREAT roll call group and a good turnout for our sailway party. A group of ten of us from the sailaway party decided to go have sailaway dinner together in the Bourdeaux (anytime) dining room. One of us should have thought to try to make a reservation as it was a madhouse and we ended up waiting for 45 minutes for a table. Menu included pasta shells (long Italian name), rockfish, prime rib and seafood turnover. The waiter was Carlos from Mexico--he was very slow and into pushing everything from more expensive wine than you initially ordered to the cookbook. Too tired for any after dinner entertainment. First Sea Day: Captain Stefano Ravera took over command of the Coral on the 10 Nov cruise. The Cruise Director is Rob Goodman from the U.S., assisted by Collette (Australian) and Mark (also from U.S.) Paula, from Buenos Aires, Argentina, is the Captain's Circle Host. The Captain and CD staff have the reputation as being out and about, but they must have always been some place on the ship where we are not. We did finally see them all on the last sea day. The lecturer at sea on our trip was Stephen Bauer, who had served in the White House and gave lectures on happenings behind the scenes there. Unfortunately, that meant we had no one on board who was lecturing on the history of the Panama Canal. A disappointment. The Coral sailed full, but you only felt the crowds at the pool, at the Horizon Court, and while waiting for dinner seating. Otherwise, lots of area to find a quiet place around the ship. The usual round of activities for sea day. We were still worn out from finishing up everything at work and ended up doing nothing more strenuous than going to the pool. We did the ultimate balcony breakfast this morning (Thank you, Amber!) and were glad for the CC.com tip to bring ziplock bags for leftovers. Also used the gym today and most days on board. They have a nice selection of treadmills, elipticals, and other cardio equipment as well as weight machines and free weights. Never had to wait for equipment. Towels available as well as a fountain for cold water--we followed a CC.com tip and brought water bottles to fill and then chill in our cabin fridge for shore excursions the following day. The Coral seems to be switching around formal nights—everyone on CC.com prior to us had reported that the first formal night was the SECOND sea day, but on our trip it was the FIRST one along with the Captain's Welcome Party. Dinner included mahi-mahi and beef tournedos. Second Sea Day: Went to the ice-carving demonstration by the pool today—lots of people. The carvers made a parrot and angelfish. Dinner was Caribbean dinner. The Seafood Potpourri and Rack of Pork were very good. Saw the comedian Adam Ace tonight. His act mixes bringing up someone from the audience or going into the audience as well as traditional stand-up and prop comedy. I found the show a little mean-spirited, but many others loved it. They also had a "smoke-free" night in the casino; there is a second one later in the cruise. Ports: Our cruise stopped in Oranjested, Aruba; Cartagena, Colombia; the Panama Canal; Limon, Costa Rica; and Ocho Rios, Jamaica. We booked private tours for all ports except the canal, where we took the ferry tour to the Pacific side of the canal. I've posted reviews of all on the destination boards, so won't repeat them here. The ship sprung ahead to the Atlantic time zone the first night, putting it in sync with local time in Aruba. It fell back to EST between Aruba and Cartagena, putting it in sync with local time in the latter. It stayed on EST for the rest of the cruise. Costa Rica is in the Central time zone, however, so local time there was one hour behind ship's time. We did find we were usually in port and able to disembark earlier than the times posted in the itinerary, but of course, that could definitely vary due to weather, etc. Captain Ravera gave us a great ride despite some choppy seas along the way. He always provided lots of good information on his arrival and departure announcements. I believe someone finally posted the menus from the trip, so I won't go into detail. The sailaway dinner and dinners on the first two sea nights were very good. The fourth night (Aruba) was the Continental menu, which did not really appeal so we ended up going to Sabatini's, with four others from our roll call, which was excellent. Assortment of antipasto brought by the waiter, then a small plate with a dab of caviar if you wanted it. Then you had a choice of soup or salad. After that a round of three pastas are brought—like the antipasto served as a small taste of everything (three of the gnocchi, for example). Finally, your chosen entrEe and then dessert. And the service is really wonderful. Before dinner we had a cocktail in the Bayou bar, listening to Thelma's Trio. After dinner, we heard a couple of songs from pianist Larry Dunsmore in Crooners. Both were very enjoyable. We also substituted the night of the "Princess dinner" for dinner at the Bayou Cafe. The Bayou was fabulous, both food and service. The waiter suggested we start with a sampler plate of all the appetizers (shrimp and grits, gator ribs, oysters, and sausage). Then there was soup and salad. The entrees were all wonderful—especially the carpetbagger filet. The desserts were also great, but definitely too much after all the rest. Panama Canal, Panama: A few comments on this port as it's the point of the cruise. The ship was scheduled to go through the first lock chamber at Gatun at 0700 hours. Based on recommendations from previous CCers on Coral, we were at the "secret" deck on Caribe (there's another one on Baja—none on Dolphin) by a little past 0530. Which turned out to be way too early—although it was a lovely dawn enjoyed by just the two of us on deck! You really want to be on deck about one hour before scheduled lockage, which is the point at which the shop passes the breakwater to enter the canal area and the ship takes on the local pilot and commentator from the Panama Canal Authority. The lockage time for the Coral was delayed by 90 minutes, however, due to a ship making the transit from the Pacific having had mechanical problems, which backed everything up, meaning we had a very leisurely approach to the first set of locks. We had brought a split of champagne to toast our passage and did so when we entered the first lock, at about 0830 hours. Lots of fellow CCers around by that time to take our photo and for us to return the favor. Also following CCer advice, we spent the voyage through the first lock at the bow. Then after the gates opened and the ship moved forward to the second chamber, we hightailed it back to the stern (Caribe deck still) to get a completely different perspective. For the third chamber, we went back to the cabin, where our room service breakfast was awaiting so we could have our lox in the locks (and take obligatory photos of each other enjoying this treat). It was really a wonderful 360-degree experience doing it this way. The menu for Panama Canal night was "International" with Rollatine di Magro alla Caprese (Spinach and Ricotta crepes), Snapper Filet, Rainbow Trout, Leg of Lamb, or Surf and Turf (filet and shrimp). It was not very inspiring—would be another good night for alternate dining. For the day of Limon, it was "Italian night" including Pappaardelle al Sugo di Lepre (rabbit and noodles), Saltimbocca Baby Turbot (fish), Gamberi alla Fra Diavolo (shrimp flambe), Costoletta di Vitello Piemontese (veal), and Brasato di Manzo al Barolo. They were also cooking a pasta dish in the dining room and brought a small plate of that for the table to share. On deck afterwards, it was Island night. The Redskins were playing the Bears that night, so hubby went to see that on the big screen in the Explorer's Club. I went to see the production show, a tribute to Motown. Since the shows are all done by the same company, they all tend to look the same to me--but it's still hard to go wrong with music from Motown. Third sea day - After four port days in a row, today was all about relaxing. By the pool, in the thermal suite, on the balcony, etc. This was the second formal night of the cruise with the "Captain's Gala Dinner" proceeded by the Captain's Circle reception. Menu for the evening was Ravioli con Salsa di Funghi, Cold Water Barramundi in a Coriander Butter Sauce, Lobster Tail with two King Prawns, Royal Pheasant in Pan Juices, and Beef Wellington. We opted to do the Lobster (aka Ultimate) Balcony Dinner instead. We had reserved a date and time for this when we first boarded. The room service superintendent did not come by personally to go over the menu and take our order as other CCers had posted, but did have the menu delivered as well as the dining room menu so we could call him and decide what we wanted. We opted for the very tasty Captain's Bounty (a lot of different rums) and a Dr. No martini to start, had a glass each from the included split of Moet and Chandon champagne with the appetizers and salad (we had brought a corker and saved the rest for mimosas with breakfast on our last sea day), and a glass of Malbec we had brought on board with the entrEe. The crab starters were a little bland, so was glad we had chosen to just get one of those along with a seafood tian and a clams casino form the dining room menu for that night. The salad was lovely as were the lobster tail and filet. Dessert covered the table they had brought and set up on the balcony—cheese and fruit plate, three mousses, and the plate of pastries and cookies. There was also a cake as we were celebrating my DH's birthday. Way too much. Good thing we had our handy ziplocks—we ate parts of that dinner for the rest of the trip and finally ate the cake when we got home. (There were also canapEs to start—along with the daily suite canapEs and the chocolate-covered strawberries for formal night. Skip your canapEs if you order this as they are all the same.) A ship's photographer showed up with the two waiters from room service and took a lot of photos inside and out. Apparently we weren't very good subjects, however, as only four were available to review at the photo gallery (you have to ask for them at the counter). Unfortunately, the ones from outside did not come out well—it was too windy. Still, a wonderful time was had by all. Dinner after Ocho Rios was the "Chef's menu" including crab legs and lamb. The crab legs were very good and they would bring extras if you asked for them—or even if you did not, which is what happened to us. Fourth Sea Day: We finished knocking around the ship, filled out "You made a difference cards" and put together tip envelopes (on top of the auto tip) for those who delivered excellent service, played trivia, ate, and treated ourselves to a couple of specials in the spa. (I followed CCer advice and began my appointment by telling my therapist that "I have tons of products at home. I will tip you extra if do provide service for the full time and you do not pitch products." Either it worked for me or I just lucked into two spa staff who were not into the product game as I had zero hard sell. DH did not follow the advice and got a push for $300 worth of stuff he had to have to protect his skin in shaving according to the very pushy staffer he had.) Then it was time to pack, meet some of our CC friends for cocktails and another wonderful dinner in the Bayou Cafe, and then late-night entertainment with Larry Dunsmore in Crooners. (He's a wonderful pianist and singer from the UK. He will be moving to the Golden next year.) The dinner in the dining room was the "Landfall menu" but I forgot to even look at the menu. Princess does now charge slightly higher daily hotel fees for minis and suites ($11 versus $10.50) but I know CCers believe you should still tip extra in a suite based on the extra service provided by the cabin steward. We felt ours provided only the most basic service, however, and he failed to respond to a couple of what seemed to us to be reasonable requests—like the ones for deck chairs as our neighboring suite had. So we only tipped him an extra $20 over the autotip. We did write a note to his supervisor advising him of our thoughts. We also provided extra tips to the head waiter in the Bourdeau dining room, Catalan from Romania, and to the two teams of waiters and assistant waiters we had a couple of times (we requested their sections again after the first times)—Silvio (Romania) and Birgitta (Hungary) as well as Pietro (Italy) and Raul (Argentina). Disembarkation—the saddest day! We pulled into Ft. Lauderdale between 0630 and 0700. The disembarkation information asked everyone to vacate their cabins by 0800. We grabbed our last latte and fresh brewed coffee (using our "Jack of Java" card, which still works on "cash only" disembarkation day and that was punched only for the specialty coffees, not the fresh brewed at La Patisserie, and our handy thermal mugs) and headed to the Province dining room for breakfast. By the time we were finished, our tag color/number had been called. The immigration and customs inspection lines were running a little slowly, but we were still off the ship and off to the airport by 0900. After clearing customs it was a fairly short walk to the taxi waiting area and there were lots waiting—no problem finding one at all. Overall, a great itinerary, a wonderful captain and crew, a beautiful ship, and a great bunch of new CC friends. We put down a deposit on a trip on the Royal next year with six of our new friends from the trip and look forward to a similarly fabulous time.

Panama Canal Cruise

Coral Princess Cruise Review by loriva

Trip Details
We spent a pre-embarkation day in Ft. Lauderdale on the Water Taxi and an everglades tour. See the Florida departures board for reviews of this as well as the Renaissance on 17th and 3030 Ocean restaurant.
Embarkation: We took a taxi from hotel to Port Everglades a little before 1500 hours. Tipped the porters at the port $2 per bag for our checked luggage, filled out all the requisite paperwork, stood for the obligatory photos (although we never did find them on the boards at the photo shop the next day), and onto the ship—all without lines or stopping. Total time from hotel to stateroom was 20 minutes.
Ship: This was our second time on Princess, first time on Coral. We booked a suite on the port side of Dolphin. It was nice, but not much larger than the aft mini-suite we had on Dawn. Also found the room furnishings a little tired (and the bed was horrible) and steward service mixed. (A full posting on our "suite experience" is on the main Princess board.) Overall, the Coral is a beautiful ship—lovely public areas and very nicely decorated and maintained. It was decked out for the holidays for our cruise and looked very festive—unfortunately, however, they didn't set up the snow machine for the lobby until the end of the cruise and didn't use it until the one following ours.
I'd collected hints for embarkation from the CC.com boards. You do need to check the temperature in mini-refrigerator—it was barely cool on check-in. Call "DINE" and order any ultimate balcony breakfast and dinner as well as Bayou cafe and Sabatini's reservations as well as any spa reservations as soon as possible if you have a date/time you want. On our cruise, however, these services did not appear to be heavily used—we were able to book both specialty restaurants easily and the spa kept running lots of specials (one of which was honored for my services, even though I had booked them on-line before the cruise.) General muster was next and, as many have noted, it was very short and sweet. Then it was time for our CC.com sailaway party! We had agreed to meet after the muster at the bar near "The Grill" on the Sun deck. We wore mardi gras beads, so we could find each other and brought extras for those who might not have been abe to find them (such as our friends from the UK). We started on our tasting of Princess cocktails from the "Favorite Drink" thread with an Ultimate Cooler and a Captain's Bounty; the former was a tad too sweet but the latter was VERY yummy. We had a GREAT roll call group and a good turnout for our sailway party.
A group of ten of us from the sailaway party decided to go have sailaway dinner together in the Bourdeaux (anytime) dining room. One of us should have thought to try to make a reservation as it was a madhouse and we ended up waiting for 45 minutes for a table. Menu included pasta shells (long Italian name), rockfish, prime rib and seafood turnover. The waiter was Carlos from Mexico--he was very slow and into pushing everything from more expensive wine than you initially ordered to the cookbook. Too tired for any after dinner entertainment.
First Sea Day: Captain Stefano Ravera took over command of the Coral on the 10 Nov cruise. The Cruise Director is Rob Goodman from the U.S., assisted by Collette (Australian) and Mark (also from U.S.) Paula, from Buenos Aires, Argentina, is the Captain's Circle Host. The Captain and CD staff have the reputation as being out and about, but they must have always been some place on the ship where we are not. We did finally see them all on the last sea day.
The lecturer at sea on our trip was Stephen Bauer, who had served in the White House and gave lectures on happenings behind the scenes there. Unfortunately, that meant we had no one on board who was lecturing on the history of the Panama Canal. A disappointment.
The Coral sailed full, but you only felt the crowds at the pool, at the Horizon Court, and while waiting for dinner seating. Otherwise, lots of area to find a quiet place around the ship.
The usual round of activities for sea day. We were still worn out from finishing up everything at work and ended up doing nothing more strenuous than going to the pool. We did the ultimate balcony breakfast this morning (Thank you, Amber!) and were glad for the CC.com tip to bring ziplock bags for leftovers. Also used the gym today and most days on board. They have a nice selection of treadmills, elipticals, and other cardio equipment as well as weight machines and free weights. Never had to wait for equipment. Towels available as well as a fountain for cold water--we followed a CC.com tip and brought water bottles to fill and then chill in our cabin fridge for shore excursions the following day.
The Coral seems to be switching around formal nights—everyone on CC.com prior to us had reported that the first formal night was the SECOND sea day, but on our trip it was the FIRST one along with the Captain's Welcome Party. Dinner included mahi-mahi and beef tournedos.
Second Sea Day: Went to the ice-carving demonstration by the pool today—lots of people. The carvers made a parrot and angelfish.
Dinner was Caribbean dinner. The Seafood Potpourri and Rack of Pork were very good.
Saw the comedian Adam Ace tonight. His act mixes bringing up someone from the audience or going into the audience as well as traditional stand-up and prop comedy. I found the show a little mean-spirited, but many others loved it. They also had a "smoke-free" night in the casino; there is a second one later in the cruise.
Ports: Our cruise stopped in Oranjested, Aruba; Cartagena, Colombia; the Panama Canal; Limon, Costa Rica; and Ocho Rios, Jamaica. We booked private tours for all ports except the canal, where we took the ferry tour to the Pacific side of the canal. I've posted reviews of all on the destination boards, so won't repeat them here. The ship sprung ahead to the Atlantic time zone the first night, putting it in sync with local time in Aruba. It fell back to EST between Aruba and Cartagena, putting it in sync with local time in the latter. It stayed on EST for the rest of the cruise. Costa Rica is in the Central time zone, however, so local time there was one hour behind ship's time. We did find we were usually in port and able to disembark earlier than the times posted in the itinerary, but of course, that could definitely vary due to weather, etc. Captain Ravera gave us a great ride despite some choppy seas along the way. He always provided lots of good information on his arrival and departure announcements.
I believe someone finally posted the menus from the trip, so I won't go into detail. The sailaway dinner and dinners on the first two sea nights were very good. The fourth night (Aruba) was the Continental menu, which did not really appeal so we ended up going to Sabatini's, with four others from our roll call, which was excellent. Assortment of antipasto brought by the waiter, then a small plate with a dab of caviar if you wanted it. Then you had a choice of soup or salad. After that a round of three pastas are brought—like the antipasto served as a small taste of everything (three of the gnocchi, for example). Finally, your chosen entrEe and then dessert. And the service is really wonderful. Before dinner we had a cocktail in the Bayou bar, listening to Thelma's Trio. After dinner, we heard a couple of songs from pianist Larry Dunsmore in Crooners. Both were very enjoyable.
We also substituted the night of the "Princess dinner" for dinner at the Bayou Cafe. The Bayou was fabulous, both food and service. The waiter suggested we start with a sampler plate of all the appetizers (shrimp and grits, gator ribs, oysters, and sausage). Then there was soup and salad. The entrees were all wonderful—especially the carpetbagger filet. The desserts were also great, but definitely too much after all the rest.
Panama Canal, Panama: A few comments on this port as it's the point of the cruise. The ship was scheduled to go through the first lock chamber at Gatun at 0700 hours. Based on recommendations from previous CCers on Coral, we were at the "secret" deck on Caribe (there's another one on Baja—none on Dolphin) by a little past 0530. Which turned out to be way too early—although it was a lovely dawn enjoyed by just the two of us on deck! You really want to be on deck about one hour before scheduled lockage, which is the point at which the shop passes the breakwater to enter the canal area and the ship takes on the local pilot and commentator from the Panama Canal Authority. The lockage time for the Coral was delayed by 90 minutes, however, due to a ship making the transit from the Pacific having had mechanical problems, which backed everything up, meaning we had a very leisurely approach to the first set of locks. We had brought a split of champagne to toast our passage and did so when we entered the first lock, at about 0830 hours. Lots of fellow CCers around by that time to take our photo and for us to return the favor. Also following CCer advice, we spent the voyage through the first lock at the bow. Then after the gates opened and the ship moved forward to the second chamber, we hightailed it back to the stern (Caribe deck still) to get a completely different perspective. For the third chamber, we went back to the cabin, where our room service breakfast was awaiting so we could have our lox in the locks (and take obligatory photos of each other enjoying this treat). It was really a wonderful 360-degree experience doing it this way.
The menu for Panama Canal night was "International" with Rollatine di Magro alla Caprese (Spinach and Ricotta crepes), Snapper Filet, Rainbow Trout, Leg of Lamb, or Surf and Turf (filet and shrimp). It was not very inspiring—would be another good night for alternate dining. For the day of Limon, it was "Italian night" including Pappaardelle al Sugo di Lepre (rabbit and noodles), Saltimbocca Baby Turbot (fish), Gamberi alla Fra Diavolo (shrimp flambe), Costoletta di Vitello Piemontese (veal), and Brasato di Manzo al Barolo. They were also cooking a pasta dish in the dining room and brought a small plate of that for the table to share. On deck afterwards, it was Island night. The Redskins were playing the Bears that night, so hubby went to see that on the big screen in the Explorer's Club. I went to see the production show, a tribute to Motown. Since the shows are all done by the same company, they all tend to look the same to me--but it's still hard to go wrong with music from Motown.
Third sea day - After four port days in a row, today was all about relaxing. By the pool, in the thermal suite, on the balcony, etc. This was the second formal night of the cruise with the "Captain's Gala Dinner" proceeded by the Captain's Circle reception. Menu for the evening was Ravioli con Salsa di Funghi, Cold Water Barramundi in a Coriander Butter Sauce, Lobster Tail with two King Prawns, Royal Pheasant in Pan Juices, and Beef Wellington.
We opted to do the Lobster (aka Ultimate) Balcony Dinner instead. We had reserved a date and time for this when we first boarded. The room service superintendent did not come by personally to go over the menu and take our order as other CCers had posted, but did have the menu delivered as well as the dining room menu so we could call him and decide what we wanted. We opted for the very tasty Captain's Bounty (a lot of different rums) and a Dr. No martini to start, had a glass each from the included split of Moet and Chandon champagne with the appetizers and salad (we had brought a corker and saved the rest for mimosas with breakfast on our last sea day), and a glass of Malbec we had brought on board with the entrEe. The crab starters were a little bland, so was glad we had chosen to just get one of those along with a seafood tian and a clams casino form the dining room menu for that night. The salad was lovely as were the lobster tail and filet. Dessert covered the table they had brought and set up on the balcony—cheese and fruit plate, three mousses, and the plate of pastries and cookies. There was also a cake as we were celebrating my DH's birthday. Way too much. Good thing we had our handy ziplocks—we ate parts of that dinner for the rest of the trip and finally ate the cake when we got home. (There were also canapEs to start—along with the daily suite canapEs and the chocolate-covered strawberries for formal night. Skip your canapEs if you order this as they are all the same.)
A ship's photographer showed up with the two waiters from room service and took a lot of photos inside and out. Apparently we weren't very good subjects, however, as only four were available to review at the photo gallery (you have to ask for them at the counter). Unfortunately, the ones from outside did not come out well—it was too windy. Still, a wonderful time was had by all.
Dinner after Ocho Rios was the "Chef's menu" including crab legs and lamb. The crab legs were very good and they would bring extras if you asked for them—or even if you did not, which is what happened to us.
Fourth Sea Day: We finished knocking around the ship, filled out "You made a difference cards" and put together tip envelopes (on top of the auto tip) for those who delivered excellent service, played trivia, ate, and treated ourselves to a couple of specials in the spa. (I followed CCer advice and began my appointment by telling my therapist that "I have tons of products at home. I will tip you extra if do provide service for the full time and you do not pitch products." Either it worked for me or I just lucked into two spa staff who were not into the product game as I had zero hard sell. DH did not follow the advice and got a push for $300 worth of stuff he had to have to protect his skin in shaving according to the very pushy staffer he had.) Then it was time to pack, meet some of our CC friends for cocktails and another wonderful dinner in the Bayou Cafe, and then late-night entertainment with Larry Dunsmore in Crooners. (He's a wonderful pianist and singer from the UK. He will be moving to the Golden next year.) The dinner in the dining room was the "Landfall menu" but I forgot to even look at the menu.
Princess does now charge slightly higher daily hotel fees for minis and suites ($11 versus $10.50) but I know CCers believe you should still tip extra in a suite based on the extra service provided by the cabin steward. We felt ours provided only the most basic service, however, and he failed to respond to a couple of what seemed to us to be reasonable requests—like the ones for deck chairs as our neighboring suite had. So we only tipped him an extra $20 over the autotip. We did write a note to his supervisor advising him of our thoughts. We also provided extra tips to the head waiter in the Bourdeau dining room, Catalan from Romania, and to the two teams of waiters and assistant waiters we had a couple of times (we requested their sections again after the first times)—Silvio (Romania) and Birgitta (Hungary) as well as Pietro (Italy) and Raul (Argentina).
Disembarkation—the saddest day! We pulled into Ft. Lauderdale between 0630 and 0700. The disembarkation information asked everyone to vacate their cabins by 0800. We grabbed our last latte and fresh brewed coffee (using our "Jack of Java" card, which still works on "cash only" disembarkation day and that was punched only for the specialty coffees, not the fresh brewed at La Patisserie, and our handy thermal mugs) and headed to the Province dining room for breakfast. By the time we were finished, our tag color/number had been called. The immigration and customs inspection lines were running a little slowly, but we were still off the ship and off to the airport by 0900. After clearing customs it was a fairly short walk to the taxi waiting area and there were lots waiting—no problem finding one at all.
Overall, a great itinerary, a wonderful captain and crew, a beautiful ship, and a great bunch of new CC friends. We put down a deposit on a trip on the Royal next year with six of our new friends from the trip and look forward to a similarly fabulous time.
loriva’s Full Rating Summary
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