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Coral Princess Cruise Review
4.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
1,031 Reviews

Christmas on the Coral.......New Years in Panama

Coral Princess Cruise Review by gingerspice

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Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Dec 2008
  • Destination: the Panama Canal & Central America

We are a family of 6... 4 kids ages 21-13 we travel with my mother and her best friend. That makes traveling a little hard with 8 of us. That is why we "choose to cruise". We boarded the ship in LA which was nice. We are from the San Diego area, only an hour and a half drive! Embarkation was fast, it only took 15 min. We met my mother on the ship, by the time we got to our rooms our baggage was there. We had 3 mini suites with connecting balconies Dolphin Deck aft rms 710,712,714. This was our second time onboard the Coral. We took an Alaska cruise on the Coral 2 years ago. I think this is a beautiful ship and I love sailing on her. It is a little hard for me to find my way around this ship for some reason. I think the layout is a bit confusing. With that being said, I really have no complaints about the ship or it's staff. Everyone that we had contact with that worked on the ship went above and beyond the normal service expected of them. Our cabin steward Gil, was great. Our rooms were clean and when i requested an egg crate he managed to find one for me even though the ship was full. He even put an extra mattress on our 2 kids' sofa beds every nite! I liked where our rooms were, there was no traffic and it was for the most part quiet. The food was better than the last time I was on the Coral. But I still give the buffet a C-. We ate in the dining room every nite except when we got back late from shore excursions. They had 2 lobster nites and a good traditional Christmas dinner. We had early seating with our own group of 8 at the table. Our head waiter was amazing, and his assistant Arturo . We never had to ask for anything to drink. they figured out all of our tastes and just kept it coming! Our CC group was AWESOME!!!! We met some of the nicest people and I will remember some of them and the memories we shared for a long time. We had our M&G at the Wheelhouse bar and we had a gift exchange on Dec.26 at the same place. This really was for the most part a fun group of people! We were able to see two important football games in the theater on BIG screen. The USC Trojans and the SD Chargers. That was a lot of fun. Fight On!!! The ship was decorated beautifully, there was snow in the atrium while the Carolers sang it was quite an experience. My kids were a little sad about spending the holidays on a cruise ship but they soon got over it. One of the CC members even brought presents for them to open Christmas day. The last time we were on the Coral my kids complained that there wasn't enough for them to do. This time we were pretty busy. We went to tea, had wine tasting, sunbathed( Deck 10 and 11 nice and private), spent a lot of time in the gym,walked everyday on the promenade deck 7, enjoyed our balconies and spent time getting massages in the Spa. I think the attitude you have towards other people makes your traveling experience either enjoyable or intolerable. I saw a lot of grumpy people and a lot of smiles. There were a LOT of children on this cruise mostly in the" teens " Including my kids. Don't go on a holiday cruise if you don't like being around kids. I think Princess needs to step up their security at nite at certain areas of the ship. there were kids running up and down the hallways knocking over trash cans in front of the elevators and doing "inappropriate" activities late at nite. Everyone kept asking"where are their parents?" Good Question!!!!!!!!! We do things as a family, my kids don't go in the teen clubs because they are pretty close in age and they keep each other occupied. We were getting blamed for the actions of this wild bunch of kids right and left. We walked on a tour bus in Cartegena and it was full of "elderly" people and immediately one person said "oh no,not kids" and turned around and glared at me. a woman in the laundry room said" I hope those aren"t your kids running up and down the halls making all this noise" I guess this would be the only negative thing I have to say about this cruise is the way Princess handled the chaos and noise from the kids. Many people complained and Princess did nothing. The New Years celebration was something I will never forget. FUN FUN FUN!!!!!!!!!!! You have to experience it at least once. My one suggestion to Princess is to spend time actually taking the shore excursions you offer people. Check out the guides and the busses you put people on. There were quite a few breakdowns. Some of the tours were not what was described in the shore excursion listings. I think on this cruise I came to the conclusion that I will from now on book my own excursions through private operators. Overall,this cruise was everything I expected. We really enjoyed our time together as a family and time spent on the Coral. I would do it again and probably will, next Christmas. I forgot to mention the Entertainment. I thought it was pretty sorry. The comedians were mediocre and the dancers were pretty bad. We got most of our entertainment watching the Karaoke and Princess Pop Star contest. Maybe because my daughter was in it.LOL Seriously, Princess needs to improve their shows just take it up a notch or two.

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Cabin Review

covered balcony. quiet location. small shower

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

Cartagena (Colombia)

More time here Princess......It was very hot and very crowded the day we were there I wished we could have just spent more time in the walled city walking around instead of the shopping at the dungeons. We went on the "Best of Cartegena" Next time I will definitely do this on my own. This is a safe city contrary to what has been said.


We did Mi Dushi Snorkel and Swim. My son wanted to do this because of the rope swing on the ship. So I sucked it up and got on the party bus! We had a wonderful day. It was raining when we got off the Coral and sunny by the time we boarded Mi Dushi. It was a long time getting off the ship in this port. I don't know why but it was chaotic. Everyone tried to get off at the same time and it was very stressful. We didn't see much of the Island but we got to snorkel and swim.

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