1. Home
  2. Cruise Reviews
  3. Coral Princess
As always, this Princess cruise was chock full of the senior set, which is fine - we're just coasting into qualifying for AARP ourselves, so it's not a problem - we're not party animals by any stretch. The good: The Coral Princess is one of their smaller ships, which meant we developed more friendships with people than on larger ships, which was nice. Likewise, we got to know more of the staff members on a more personal basis. The ship is able to go through the Panama Canal (only just, it squeeked through) and it's amazing to watch. The activity tours we went on were amazing (ziplining in Costa Rica, swimming with stingrays in Grand Cayman) but the walking tours (Gautamala, Cartagena) were really bad (how much will you buy, rich American tourist? Oh, yeah, there's a bit of history here, but let me show you where to spend your dollars...) My advice: do the activities. Serious fun. You do NOT need to be in fabulous shape to do them. It's okay to be chubby and wheeze a bit. You do need to be willing to laugh and feel a bit ridiculous. You will make the BEST memories if you do. We stayed at the Ft. Lauderdale Renaissance Cruise Ship Terminal, and it's literally right next door to the terminal. This does NOT mean you can stay there then walk to your ship, but it does mean it's an easy Uber/taxi ride. I would not walk it - it must have been a good 2 miles considering we had to drive all the way around the port to get to the ship. It's a decent hotel and we were able to Uber from the airport to the hotel, then walk over and get dinner from Chipotle next door. It made getting on the ship the next morning stress free. We're a lesbian couple celebrating 25 years together and despite this being an overwhelmingly straight, elderly demographic, we felt nothing but welcomed and accepted, which was the best thing ever. The bad: "Anytime Dining" on the Coral Princess apparently means line up at 4:45 or you won't eat until 7:00pm - and those old folks are SERIOUS about getting din-dins on time. Don't be messing with their meals. It's worse than third grade recess with line-cutting. One person will stand in the line and 42 people will walk up and join them before the doors open. The Universe Lounge has movies and production numbers, but the balcony level is awful to be watching anything - there's multiple safety bars. No idea why they don't put in plexiglass instead so people can actually SEE what's going on. There's less food selection in the Horizon Court than the larger Princess ships - a LOT less. I found that really disappointing. Same ol', same ol' every morning for breakfast. The ugly: Sales, sales, sales. I imagine it's the same on all cruise ships - we haven't been for a couple of years, and wow, it seems like they're selling at every turn. Most conversations seemed to start with "You want to buy..."

Panama with the Gran-Mamas

Coral Princess Cruise Review by Traveling Examiner

13 people found this helpful
Trip Details
As always, this Princess cruise was chock full of the senior set, which is fine - we're just coasting into qualifying for AARP ourselves, so it's not a problem - we're not party animals by any stretch.

The good:

The Coral Princess is one of their smaller ships, which meant we developed more friendships with people than on larger ships, which was nice. Likewise, we got to know more of the staff members on a more personal basis.

The ship is able to go through the Panama Canal (only just, it squeeked through) and it's amazing to watch.

The activity tours we went on were amazing (ziplining in Costa Rica, swimming with stingrays in Grand Cayman) but the walking tours (Gautamala, Cartagena) were really bad (how much will you buy, rich American tourist? Oh, yeah, there's a bit of history here, but let me show you where to spend your dollars...)

My advice: do the activities. Serious fun. You do NOT need to be in fabulous shape to do them. It's okay to be chubby and wheeze a bit. You do need to be willing to laugh and feel a bit ridiculous. You will make the BEST memories if you do.

We stayed at the Ft. Lauderdale Renaissance Cruise Ship Terminal, and it's literally right next door to the terminal. This does NOT mean you can stay there then walk to your ship, but it does mean it's an easy Uber/taxi ride. I would not walk it - it must have been a good 2 miles considering we had to drive all the way around the port to get to the ship. It's a decent hotel and we were able to Uber from the airport to the hotel, then walk over and get dinner from Chipotle next door. It made getting on the ship the next morning stress free.

We're a lesbian couple celebrating 25 years together and despite this being an overwhelmingly straight, elderly demographic, we felt nothing but welcomed and accepted, which was the best thing ever.

The bad:

"Anytime Dining" on the Coral Princess apparently means line up at 4:45 or you won't eat until 7:00pm - and those old folks are SERIOUS about getting din-dins on time. Don't be messing with their meals.

It's worse than third grade recess with line-cutting. One person will stand in the line and 42 people will walk up and join them before the doors open.

The Universe Lounge has movies and production numbers, but the balcony level is awful to be watching anything - there's multiple safety bars. No idea why they don't put in plexiglass instead so people can actually SEE what's going on.

There's less food selection in the Horizon Court than the larger Princess ships - a LOT less. I found that really disappointing. Same ol', same ol' every morning for breakfast.

The ugly:

Sales, sales, sales. I imagine it's the same on all cruise ships - we haven't been for a couple of years, and wow, it seems like they're selling at every turn. Most conversations seemed to start with "You want to buy..."
Traveling Examiner’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Service
Onboard Experience
Free Price Drop Alerts
Get Coral Princess price drops
250,000+ people have entered their email
By proceeding, you agree to Cruise Critic’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

Cabin Review

Balcony
Cabin BE C310
The cabin is comfortable - the balcony is really good, 310 is an end one, facing aft, so you get a panoramic view of where you've been. An even better choice in the same price range would be 622 or 637 (any deck) as they have same the curved balcony but facing forward. Standard shower and bed.

BE AWARE the "Premium Balcony" rooms 312 - 415 and 506 - 633 (decks 10 - 12) would be disappointing in my opinion as they're set back in the ship - you can't see around the side of the ship very far (forward or aft), only out to the side. They might have more square footage but they're a bummer due to the limited sightline.
Aloha Deck Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Las Bovedas
    Not worth it. At "Las Bovedas", they parked the van in front of the shop they wanted us to buy in, and told us there was a bathroom we could use. Yep, there was... ONE. No loo paper either, so 18 people lined up during a 20 minute stop for a paperless pottystop.
    The quality of the emeralds they were hawking weren't great (I wanted a beautiful pair, and they only had cloudy ones), and as I was #4 in line, I didn't have much time to shop.
    Then, we walked a bit and were presented with another jewelry shop we were told was a "factory" where they would talk to us about emeralds, which they did... which ones they could sell us. UNNGH.
    However, I did find a beautiful pair. Not sure if I got ripped off or not, but they sure are lovely.
    Pleased with the jewelry, but couldn't tell you jack about Cartagena. Really not much of a tour.
    View All 6 Las Bovedas Reviews
  • Stingray Swim
    This was excellent and I highly recommend it...but...
    My other half suggested it as one of the tours. Ooookay, I'm in, I love swimming and those cutie-pie little black stingrays at the Aquarium of the Pacific are adorable as hell.  They're the size of small salad plate and they like being petted ("two fingers on their foreheads, please!")

    Um...Cayman stingrays are not salad plates.  The females are the size of armor shields that knights of yore wore on their arms while clutching their swords.  They're friggin' HUGE.

    And lovely.  They're quite docile, almost tame, and they know after they've been handled they get squid treats so they're in for playing nice with the tourists...they glide around the sandbar you boat out to stand on and will let themselves be held.  And smooched.  

    Yes, there's a thing about kissing a stingray, and they're so used to it, if you lean your head towards the front of their body, they lift their edge up to be bussed.  It's adorable.  Probably seriously wrong, but cute as hell.

    So we got to hold them, purse our lips together hard and lean against their flappy edges, feel them glide around us... it was cool.

    Then out comes the squid.  For those who are familiar with my escapades with feeding wildlife, you'll understand why I leapt back into the boat, where my other half already resided.  She wasn't kissing no fish.

    Yeah.  So, the wildlife thing.  Trafalgar Square, London.  Me, usual effervescent self.  Other Half, usual centered, calm self.  Rain.  November. Sad, soggy, hungry pidgeons.  I gleefully think, hey, I got the joint to mahself, I'm gonna benevolently feed these sorrowful avian victims of missing tourists.

    One purchased cup of birdseed later, all hell breaks loose and we witness Hitchcock's inspiration for his movie.  Those furious, hungry flying rats descended on my head with the anger of a boatload of grannies whose dining room opened ten minutes late.  Holy crap.  I screamed, threw the cup as hard as I could and ran for cover.

    The other feeding experience was sadly similar, involving Hanauma Bay in Hawaii and me thinking that fish would somehow politely line up for fish food rather than swirling madly around my vulnerable being, clad only in a one-piece.  Oh, hell, no.  I coulda qualified for the National League with that throw.  Those fish took off and I was outta the water like a rocket.

    So, back in the boat, watching the other holiday makers happily feeding squid to the lovely, grateful stingrays as they gracefully glided by.

    Goodbye, common sense.  Hello, squiddy bits.  I weirdly morphed into a three-year-old as I zoomed to the back of the boat, pitched my pudgy self into the ocean and heaved toward the bucket-o-squishiness.

    "Okay," cautioned the boat captain, "remember to hold it sticking out of your closed fist to offer it to them and DON'T rub it on any other part of you since they eat by smell."

    "Yupyupyup!"  Three year old me shoves paw into bucket, retrieves squiddybit and gleefully feeds one of the two foot wide stealth bombers gliding past, after which I giggle manically.

    Paw back in bucket, repeat process.

    "Oooh!"  says another three year old adult.  "A fish just stole my stingray's squid!"

    General outrage from the toddler room standing around.  No stupid fish is getting OUR stingrays' squiddybits.

    I took another bit, placed it strategically in my fist and angled it towards a ray, to make sure no damn poisson would grab it first.  Unfortunately, this particular critter apparently had an impaired honker.

    Damn, those things can BITE.    She let go as soon as she realized I wasn't squid, and immediately grabbed the real stuff and took off.  However, I was left with two bleeding puncture wounds and a two-inch bruise on my wrist.

    Fortunately, not painful.  More like a hickey.  Great.  It healed in about a week, but made for a great story. And would I go again? Hell, yes.
    View All 749 Stingray Swim Reviews