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We cruise with another couple and usually select a narrow window in the Jan-Mar period to get away from the cold Canadian winter. The four of us travel with low expectations, so when things go as planned, that is a bonus. We have traveled with most of the major lines, but prefer Princess; this was our first trip on the Coral. Embarkation was quick and slick....eating lunch in Horizon Court half an hour after arriving at the port (we're Platinum status so get priority boarding, but the regular boarding line was moving almost as quickly). We always book a partially obscured ocean view....it was small, but perfectly adequate since we did not spend much time there. (Any reviewers who claim the ship is old, beat up and scruffy are way off base. Yes, Coral is 12 years old and is showing a few signs of age, but the crew work diligently to keep her looking good and shipshape). Storage was adequate with more than enough room for our everyday and formal wear. We always bring extra clothes hangers and our cabin steward provided some more. The food was not quite up to what it was a dozen years ago, but other reviewers who claim it is "crap" must be used to living on caviar and lobster. The food in the main dining room where we ate all dinners varied from good to excellent; Horizon Court we rated fair to good, but it is a cafeteria so that is to be expected. The cold selections, fruits and rolls were always excellent. I think one of the menu "misses" in the dining room are the special recipes of Curtis Stone and (?) Love. At least one person at the table sampled each dish and generally rated them "OK, but I would not order it again." Enrichment activities were OK....Dr Ryan's presentations varied from well researched and presented to what sometimes seemed quite random, disjointed musings. The aviation history lectures were well documented, but the presented lacked charisma and presentation skills (read scripts word for word as was on the screen). The entertainment was very good to excellent, with a good selection of comedians, musicians, magicians, etc. while the ship's troupe of singers and dancers was out-standing. Sure, none of them are A-listers, but that doesn't mean they aren't worth watching. Our only peeve here was saving seats....I know, we have all done it at one time or another, but there is a difference in holding a seat for your spouse for five minutes so she can have a bathroom break, and one person holding five seats for up to half an hour for their friends who don't show up until 30 seconds before curtain rise. We didn't use the gym....instead a walk the Promenade deck for three miles prior to breakfast. Overall, the on-board experience was great, although the event scheduling could be tweaked a bit. Certain events are more popular than others and effort should be made to avoid scheduling them at the same time, or five minutes apart at opposite ends of the ship. There is lots of public space....never a problem finding somewhere to sit down and relax for a few minutes. The library does not match those on Holland America, but is adequate for a two or three week cruise...not much longer. The location of the Inter-national cafe away from the Atrium where it is located on other ships was a great idea. The seats were always available for the intended purpose (coffee and a quick lunch) rather than taken for hours by readers, card players and sleepers. Bathrooms are spotless! Service is--as always--excellent with everyone doing pretty well all they can to help. I only took one shore excursion (reason below) to visit an indigenous peoples' village and it was excellent, although it did go off the rails a bit. We were an hour and a half late arriving back at the tender port and then had to wait for a tender to come out from the ship, which meant two hours late back on board. When reboarding the ship in Cartagena (day 4) my wife stumbled over the end of the boarding ramp (actually an accident waiting to happen if one isn't really vigilant), fell and cracked a rib. The security staff at the ramp did not report it, but the next day, the pain was really bad and she had to see the ship's doctor who took action to see that a proper investigation was held and a report filed. That was done, although we were not provided with a copy. Given that this was partially Princess' responsibility, we thought that perhaps, in the interest of good PR and customer loyalty, they might waive the cost of the medical treatment, but no such luck. That was really the only sour note and prevented us from doing much further exploration ashore....and also kept us off the dance floors where we usually spend up to two hours per day. Other than wine with dinner, we are virtually non-drinkers, so no complaints about the price of drinks from us.. Disembarkation happened on time, quick, smooth with plenty of Princess ground staff on hand to make sure everyone got on the correct bus to get us to the airport in plenty of time. The flight home was a 30 hour nightmare, but that is due to Air Canada, nothing to do with the ship.

Overall, a pretty good cruise with a few minor shortcomings.

Coral Princess Cruise Review by Ray23

2 people found this helpful
Trip Details
We cruise with another couple and usually select a narrow window in the Jan-Mar period to get away from the cold Canadian winter. The four of us travel with low expectations, so when things go as planned, that is a bonus. We have traveled with most of the major lines, but prefer Princess; this was our first trip on the Coral.

Embarkation was quick and slick....eating lunch in Horizon Court half an hour after arriving at the port (we're Platinum status so get priority boarding, but the regular boarding line was moving almost as quickly).

We always book a partially obscured ocean view....it was small, but perfectly adequate since we did not spend much time there. (Any reviewers who claim the ship is old, beat up and scruffy are way off base. Yes, Coral is 12 years old and is showing a few signs of age, but the crew work diligently to keep her looking good and shipshape). Storage was adequate with more than enough room for our everyday and formal wear. We always bring extra clothes hangers and our cabin steward provided some more.

The food was not quite up to what it was a dozen years ago, but other reviewers who claim it is "crap" must be used to living on caviar and lobster. The food in the main dining room where we ate all dinners varied from good to excellent; Horizon Court we rated fair to good, but it is a cafeteria so that is to be expected. The cold selections, fruits and rolls were always excellent. I think one of the menu "misses" in the dining room are the special recipes of Curtis Stone and (?) Love. At least one person at the table sampled each dish and generally rated them "OK, but I would not order it again."

Enrichment activities were OK....Dr Ryan's presentations varied from well researched and presented to what sometimes seemed quite random, disjointed musings. The aviation history lectures were well documented, but the presented lacked charisma and presentation skills (read scripts word for word as was on the screen).

The entertainment was very good to excellent, with a good selection of comedians, musicians, magicians, etc. while the ship's troupe of singers and dancers was out-standing. Sure, none of them are A-listers, but that doesn't mean they aren't worth watching. Our only peeve here was saving seats....I know, we have all done it at one time or another, but there is a difference in holding a seat for your spouse for five minutes so she can have a bathroom break, and one person holding five seats for up to half an hour for their friends who don't show up until 30 seconds before curtain rise.

We didn't use the gym....instead a walk the Promenade deck for three miles prior to breakfast.

Overall, the on-board experience was great, although the event scheduling could be tweaked a bit. Certain events are more popular than others and effort should be made to avoid scheduling them at the same time, or five minutes apart at opposite ends of the ship. There is lots of public space....never a problem finding somewhere to sit down and relax for a few minutes. The library does not match those on Holland America, but is adequate for a two or three week cruise...not much longer. The location of the Inter-national cafe away from the Atrium where it is located on other ships was a great idea. The seats were always available for the intended purpose (coffee and a quick lunch) rather than taken for hours by readers, card players and sleepers.

Bathrooms are spotless!

Service is--as always--excellent with everyone doing pretty well all they can to help.

I only took one shore excursion (reason below) to visit an indigenous peoples' village and it was excellent, although it did go off the rails a bit. We were an hour and a half late arriving back at the tender port and then had to wait for a tender to come out from the ship, which meant two hours late back on board.

When reboarding the ship in Cartagena (day 4) my wife stumbled over the end of the boarding ramp (actually an accident waiting to happen if one isn't really vigilant), fell and cracked a rib. The security staff at the ramp did not report it, but the next day, the pain was really bad and she had to see the ship's doctor who took action to see that a proper investigation was held and a report filed. That was done, although we were not provided with a copy. Given that this was partially Princess' responsibility, we thought that perhaps, in the interest of good PR and customer loyalty, they might waive the cost of the medical treatment, but no such luck. That was really the only sour note and prevented us from doing much further exploration ashore....and also kept us off the dance floors where we usually spend up to two hours per day.

Other than wine with dinner, we are virtually non-drinkers, so no complaints about the price of drinks from us..

Disembarkation happened on time, quick, smooth with plenty of Princess ground staff on hand to make sure everyone got on the correct bus to get us to the airport in plenty of time. The flight home was a 30 hour nightmare, but that is due to Air Canada, nothing to do with the ship.
Ray23’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Service
Onboard Experience
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Cabin Review

Oceanview (obstructed view)
Cabin OV E622
Fairly far aft on Emerald deck, exactly where we wanted to be. After we booked last year, we received several upgrades (pretty well technical only since they were all merely related to higher priced areas of the ship rather than a larger, or better situated cabin). We didn't really like any of them, and the two couples ended up at opposite ends of the ship and several decks apart. When a special promo came along that was cheaper than our original price, we cancelled that booking and got new cabins back where we wanted to be.
Emerald Deck Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews