Our daughter chose this particular cruise for a 3-generation family celebration of my husband's and my 50th wedding anniversary. She was looking for something family friendly, relatively affordable, a specific time frame, and a destination that was new to everyone in our well-traveled family. The Voyage of the Glaciers on the Coral Princess met all our requirements.
We arrived in Vancouver the morning before embarkation. Fortunately, our hotel had our rooms ready so we were able to leave our luggage and explore. We also had several hours the next day before embarkation and enjoyed shopping, sightseeing, and dining in Vancouver. Vancouver is a lovely city and I recommend spending a day or two there. Our hotel was conveniently located near the pier and we were able to walk to our ship when the time came.
Princess has both the embarkation and disembarkation dialed in. Despite the fact that there were probably close to 2000 people on board, we did very little waiting. Do, however, be prepared to do some walking if you are embarking in Vancouver.
The ship is HUGE. Being more familiar with river cruising and small expedition ship cruising, we were taken aback and it took my husband and me a couple of days to feel comfortable in finding our way around. Our cabin was a mini-suite with a balcony, 2 TVs, a small refrigerator, and a sitting room, which was nice as we were traveling with family. When the kids and grandkids would drop by we had a nice place to sit and chat.
For dinner, we chose traditional dining and had the first seating in the Provence dining room. I enjoyed having the same table with the same servers every evening. Our waiters were friendly and particularly good with the children in our family. The quality of the meals was spotty. Some things were delicious - and others disappointing. Breakfast and lunch were served at the buffet as well as in the Bordeaux dining room. We tried both, and preferred the dining room, as the buffet was always very busy. My husband and I settled into a routine of having room service bring us coffee in the morning then, after we were awake and dressed, we'd go to the dining room for breakfast.
Although we didn't participate in the night life aboard the Coral Princess, we did enjoy some of the entertainment which included a comedian, a magic show, a talk by Libby Riddles (the first woman to win the Iditarod), and a cooking demonstration followed by a tour of the galley.
Service was good and the crew was generally helpful and pleasant.
The one thing about the cruise that I considered terrible was the Internet. It was relatively expensive and almost totally useless. I was constantly being disconnected and it was woefully SLOW.
Although the upholstery on the furniture in the sitting area was a little shabby, our room was clean and comfortable. The cabin is equipped with two TVs (although not much of a lineup is available) and a small refrigerator. As we were traveling with family, we particularly appreciated having room for visitors to our cabin! The bathroom was small and the tub/shower a little difficult to get in and out of.
Vancouver is a lovely city with good food and friendly people. I would have liked to spend more time there. I highly recommend Chambar Restaurant as well as Water Street Cafe. We stayed near the pier and were able to walk to the ship, but were also within walking distance of Gastown.
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