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We had not sailed on Princess for 5 years, after a very disappointing cruise on Emerald Princess in 2012 (affected by Hurricane Sandy). So I wasn't expecting too much except a good itinerary, especially in the food area, where I found on my last couple of Princess Cruises that the quality and especially taste of food had really declined compared to some other cruise lines. We were keenly aware that Coral Princess was an older ship, having been put in service in December 2002. We know that because we cruised on her when she was brand new, on our honeymoon. So it was a bit special to be back on board, and I was surprised to see that on the surface, they had done a good job on the major refit she had in 2016. All the public areas were in great shape, possibly with the exception of the carpet outside on the Sun Deck, which was in poor condition. In our stateroom, the carpet had obviously not been replaced recently ( a number of stains) and the furniture was a little banged up, but everything worked fine. But on the last day of the cruise, there was a sudden complete power failure, including propulsion. Very little information was given, but I would guess that if we had been in one of the narrow passages at the time, we could have been in danger of ending up on the rocks. Power was gradually restored after a delay of a few minutes, and we continued on our way, although it seemed we were going slower, so the restoration may not have been complete. This was the last Alaska cruise of the season for this ship. So it was Vancouver return, with stops in Glacier Bay, Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan, in that order. The first and last days of the cruise were sea days. The ship was under the command of Captain Nico Binetti, who has been on this ship for many years, and the Cruise Director was Miranda, a Canadian, who did a great job. There were of course a good number of Canadians on board, as well as a large contingent from Australia, some Kiwis and Brits as well, numerous Asians and quite a few Americans, which was surprising to me since near identical cruises leave from Seattle, and other west coast US ports. We had a balcony cabin on Dolphin Deck, near the forward elevators/stair case. So it was close to the Princess Theatre, but quite a walk to anything else.The cabin was quiet and everything worked. The bed was very comfortable and there was ample storage space.We got new pillows during the cruise, and my wife said she preferred the old ones.Our Room Steward, Reymond, was excellent and always greeted us by name, no matter where we met him in the hallway. Overall, the crew was very friendly. As noted earlier, I was surprised by how good the food was, especially the taste. A marked improvement from our last Princess cruise (5 years ago), when we found most food tasteless. Maybe it was just this smaller ship, or a skilled Executive Chef, but hopefully this improvement is fleet wide. We have cruiised mostly on Cunard and Holland America in recent years, and the food on Coral Princess was as good or better than on those lines, and close to Oceania, where we have also sailed in recent years, and where you pay a lot more for really excellent quality food. I also have to admit that some of the credit for our excellent experience with the food goes to our waiter Viroj in the Early Seating in the Provence Dining Room. He always had strong recommendations on what was good, and talked me out of my first choices on several occasions. So this veteran of the Dining Room knows what to avoid and we took full advantage of that .We had most of our breakfasts and lunches in the Dining Room as well and there were no disappointments. We had one breakfast in the Horizon Court and it was pretty bad, with cold food and chaos everywhere, but a couple of lunches there were very good. Our only major disappointment in the food area was the Bayou Cafe. We booked the Specialty restaurant for one evening at a cost of $29 each. The food was lukewarm and not flavourfull at all, except my steak ("Carpetbagger") which was very good. Service was indifferent. I was sorry we had missed a meal in the main Dining Room because of this. I have learned sadly that the specialty restaurants on most ships are disappointing and certainly not worth the extra cost. We took shore excursions in all of the ports. The highlight was the White Pass and Yukon Railway in Skagway. Beautiful scenery and a very serene experience,especially for me as it was the location of a family tragedy the last time I visited Alaska 16 years ago.I was disappointed in the so-called Rainforest trek in Ketchikan, where we had been led to believe there could be bear sightings and other wildlife. I highly doubt that happens very often as we were never really in any deep wilderness. However the crab feast at the end of this excursion was very good, but the price of this excursion was way too high for what we got. The entertainment overall was very good. We really enjoyed the production shows, in both the Princess Theatre and the Universe Lounge. We liked both the comedian from Boston, and the magician/comedian. The naturalist was excellent in her lectures.We did not like the singer/guitarist in the lounge, who seemed very unhappy on the one occasion we listened to him and was insulting the audience a lot. I am glad we took this cruise, and we enjoyed it a lot. I have a new faith in Princess, although I doubt I would ever sail on their newer immense vessels. Coral Princess is just the right size. Embarkation was the best we have ever encountered - we were in our cabin by 11:45 am, partially aided by our Platinum status in the Captains Circle which gave us priority boarding. Disembarkation was not so smooth, partly due to problems getting the gangway attached to the ship, which was beyond the control of Princess.But our Princess transfer to the airport got us there in plenty of time. I will be looking for other opportunities to sail on Coral Princess or her sister island Princess n the future, although since they mostly do Panama Canal and Alaska, which I have done twice each, it will have to be a unique itinerary.

Back after 5 Years

Coral Princess Cruise Review by Bluenose 47

11 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: September 2017
  • Destination: Alaska
  • Cabin Type: Balcony
We had not sailed on Princess for 5 years, after a very disappointing cruise on Emerald Princess in 2012 (affected by Hurricane Sandy). So I wasn't expecting too much except a good itinerary, especially in the food area, where I found on my last couple of Princess Cruises that the quality and especially taste of food had really declined compared to some other cruise lines.

We were keenly aware that Coral Princess was an older ship, having been put in service in December 2002. We know that because we cruised on her when she was brand new, on our honeymoon. So it was a bit special to be back on board, and I was surprised to see that on the surface, they had done a good job on the major refit she had in 2016. All the public areas were in great shape, possibly with the exception of the carpet outside on the Sun Deck, which was in poor condition. In our stateroom, the carpet had obviously not been replaced recently ( a number of stains) and the furniture was a little banged up, but everything worked fine. But on the last day of the cruise, there was a sudden complete power failure, including propulsion. Very little information was given, but I would guess that if we had been in one of the narrow passages at the time, we could have been in danger of ending up on the rocks. Power was gradually restored after a delay of a few minutes, and we continued on our way, although it seemed we were going slower, so the restoration may not have been complete.

This was the last Alaska cruise of the season for this ship. So it was Vancouver return, with stops in Glacier Bay, Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan, in that order. The first and last days of the cruise were sea days. The ship was under the command of Captain Nico Binetti, who has been on this ship for many years, and the Cruise Director was Miranda, a Canadian, who did a great job. There were of course a good number of Canadians on board, as well as a large contingent from Australia, some Kiwis and Brits as well, numerous Asians and quite a few Americans, which was surprising to me since near identical cruises leave from Seattle, and other west coast US ports.

We had a balcony cabin on Dolphin Deck, near the forward elevators/stair case. So it was close to the Princess Theatre, but quite a walk to anything else.The cabin was quiet and everything worked. The bed was very comfortable and there was ample storage space.We got new pillows during the cruise, and my wife said she preferred the old ones.Our Room Steward, Reymond, was excellent and always greeted us by name, no matter where we met him in the hallway. Overall, the crew was very friendly.

As noted earlier, I was surprised by how good the food was, especially the taste. A marked improvement from our last Princess cruise (5 years ago), when we found most food tasteless. Maybe it was just this smaller ship, or a skilled Executive Chef, but hopefully this improvement is fleet wide. We have cruiised mostly on Cunard and Holland America in recent years, and the food on Coral Princess was as good or better than on those lines, and close to Oceania, where we have also sailed in recent years, and where you pay a lot more for really excellent quality food. I also have to admit that some of the credit for our excellent experience with the food goes to our waiter Viroj in the Early Seating in the Provence Dining Room. He always had strong recommendations on what was good, and talked me out of my first choices on several occasions. So this veteran of the Dining Room knows what to avoid and we took full advantage of that .We had most of our breakfasts and lunches in the Dining Room as well and there were no disappointments. We had one breakfast in the Horizon Court and it was pretty bad, with cold food and chaos everywhere, but a couple of lunches there were very good. Our only major disappointment in the food area was the Bayou Cafe. We booked the Specialty restaurant for one evening at a cost of $29 each. The food was lukewarm and not flavourfull at all, except my steak ("Carpetbagger") which was very good. Service was indifferent. I was sorry we had missed a meal in the main Dining Room because of this. I have learned sadly that the specialty restaurants on most ships are disappointing and certainly not worth the extra cost.

We took shore excursions in all of the ports. The highlight was the White Pass and Yukon Railway in Skagway. Beautiful scenery and a very serene experience,especially for me as it was the location of a family tragedy the last time I visited Alaska 16 years ago.I was disappointed in the so-called Rainforest trek in Ketchikan, where we had been led to believe there could be bear sightings and other wildlife. I highly doubt that happens very often as we were never really in any deep wilderness. However the crab feast at the end of this excursion was very good, but the price of this excursion was way too high for what we got.

The entertainment overall was very good. We really enjoyed the production shows, in both the Princess Theatre and the Universe Lounge. We liked both the comedian from Boston, and the magician/comedian. The naturalist was excellent in her lectures.We did not like the singer/guitarist in the lounge, who seemed very unhappy on the one occasion we listened to him and was insulting the audience a lot.

I am glad we took this cruise, and we enjoyed it a lot. I have a new faith in Princess, although I doubt I would ever sail on their newer immense vessels. Coral Princess is just the right size. Embarkation was the best we have ever encountered - we were in our cabin by 11:45 am, partially aided by our Platinum status in the Captains Circle which gave us priority boarding. Disembarkation was not so smooth, partly due to problems getting the gangway attached to the ship, which was beyond the control of Princess.But our Princess transfer to the airport got us there in plenty of time.

I will be looking for other opportunities to sail on Coral Princess or her sister island Princess n the future, although since they mostly do Panama Canal and Alaska, which I have done twice each, it will have to be a unique itinerary.
Bluenose 47’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Balcony
Cabin BE D309
A comfortable, quiet cabin, close to the forward elevators and stairs. Everything worked fine. Excellent Room steward. Ample storage. Very comfortable bed.
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