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The full transit Panama Canal cruise has been on my bucket list for a while! I just celebrated my 70th birthday and so this was my wonderful birthday present!! We live in San Diego and had several choices for this cruise but Princess came highly recommended by friends and the 3 for Free sale clinched the deal!! We had free grats, +$300 onboard credit from the sale. We also had Carnival stock so another $250 OBC. Then we discovered that Princess also gives military credit for serving at least 3years no matter how long ago you served. DH served when he was 17 and is now in his 70s so another $250 for that service added up to a wonderful $800 OBC to start!! We had a driver take us up the day before the cruise and stayed at the Doubletree San Pedro on Hilton pts. The free shuttle got us to the pier by about 10:30 . We were booked into a full suite so got on board by 11:30 and our cabin was ready!! A nice touch at check in was a note saying that even if the suite was not ready we should feel free to drop off our luggage there! I have to say that the suite and suite perks on Princess are amazing!! I cannot list all of them here but we will be booking suites on Princess whenever we sale again!! Our balcony was delightful with 2 cushy lounge chairs, a coffee table between, a round dining table and 2 arm chairs. We enjoyed suite breakfast on our balcony,breakfast at Sabatinis with mimosas and capuccino,complete bar set up,elite/suite Happy Hour lounge, and many more!! We thought Club Class dining was also amazing!! We had wonderful service and several nights of extra dishes that we enjoyed. There were several pasta extras but the 2 most outstanding were the surf and turf with filet mignon and the baby lamb chops(my all time fave!!) We ate some breakfasts and most lunches at the buffet. It was here that I thought Carnival actually did a better job. I really like the separate stations on Carnival for Chinese, Indian, BBQ and Deli with sandwiches made to order. Princess did a nice job having smoked salmon and white fish for breakfast and the "sushi" offerings were nice too. Princess had Mongolian wok only once on the dinner buffet where we ordinarily would not eat at night while some Carnival ships have it as a regular lunch station. As for entertainment, we also missed Carnival's Comedy Club. We really like good comedians and having a few in the main theater with one show on a few nights was not enough for us. I did think that the singers, dancers and production show cast were great on this ship!! We particularly enjoyed the Down on the Bayou show!!! The juggler/comedian from Cirque du Soleil was also a nice surprise!! We enjoyed the gym, stretch class, and i had a wonderful Thai Herbal Wrap in the spa! We liked the movie selections and I suppose my only other "complaint" was that trivia to us is about facts and the trivia on Princess often included silly riddles.DH loves trivia but did not enjoy it on the Coral Princess! We had fun in all the ports! My highlight was the Embera Village tour from Fuerte Amador! It was like going back in time and I highly recommend it!! DHs highlight was the private tour we took in Puntarenas to see the monkeys and macaws. We thought the ports offered a good variety of nature, history, beach and unusual experiences!! Old Town in Cartagena made me think I was back in a small town in Italy!! All in all we will book on Princess again but will also book on Carnival which may seem strange to the elite Princess cruisers but we just like things about both these wonderful cruise lines!!

From Platinum on Carnival to REALLY happy new Princess cruisers!!!

Coral Princess Cruise Review by riffatsea

5 people found this helpful
Trip Details
The full transit Panama Canal cruise has been on my bucket list for a while!

I just celebrated my 70th birthday and so this was my wonderful birthday present!!

We live in San Diego and had several choices for this cruise but Princess came highly recommended by friends and the 3 for Free sale clinched the deal!!

We had free grats, +$300 onboard credit from the sale.

We also had Carnival stock so another $250 OBC. Then we discovered that Princess also gives military credit for serving at least 3years no matter how long ago you served.

DH served when he was 17 and is now in his 70s so another $250 for that service added up to a wonderful $800 OBC to start!!

We had a driver take us up the day before the cruise and stayed at the Doubletree San Pedro on Hilton pts. The free shuttle got us to the pier by about 10:30 . We were booked into a full suite so got on board by 11:30 and our cabin was ready!! A nice touch at check in was a note saying that even if the suite was not ready we should feel free to drop off our luggage there!

I have to say that the suite and suite perks on Princess are amazing!! I cannot list all of them here but we will be booking suites on Princess whenever we sale again!! Our balcony was delightful with 2 cushy lounge chairs, a coffee table between, a round dining table and 2 arm chairs. We enjoyed suite breakfast on our balcony,breakfast at Sabatinis with mimosas and capuccino,complete bar set up,elite/suite Happy Hour lounge, and many more!!

We thought Club Class dining was also amazing!! We had wonderful service and several nights of extra dishes that we enjoyed. There were several pasta extras but the 2 most outstanding were the surf and turf with filet mignon and the baby lamb chops(my all time fave!!)

We ate some breakfasts and most lunches at the buffet. It was here that I thought Carnival actually did a better job. I really like the separate stations on Carnival for Chinese, Indian, BBQ and Deli with sandwiches made to order.

Princess did a nice job having smoked salmon and white fish for breakfast and the "sushi" offerings were nice too. Princess had Mongolian wok only once on the dinner buffet where we ordinarily would not eat at night while some Carnival ships have it as a regular lunch station.

As for entertainment, we also missed Carnival's Comedy Club. We really like good comedians and having a few in the main theater with one show on a few nights was not enough for us. I did think that the singers, dancers and production show cast were great on this ship!! We particularly enjoyed the Down on the Bayou show!!! The juggler/comedian from Cirque du Soleil was also a nice surprise!!

We enjoyed the gym, stretch class, and i had a wonderful Thai Herbal Wrap in the spa!

We liked the movie selections and I suppose my only other "complaint" was that trivia to us is about facts and the trivia on Princess often included silly riddles.DH loves trivia but did not enjoy it on the Coral Princess!

We had fun in all the ports! My highlight was the Embera Village tour from Fuerte Amador! It was like going back in time and I highly recommend it!!

DHs highlight was the private tour we took in Puntarenas to see the monkeys and macaws. We thought the ports offered a good variety of nature, history, beach and unusual experiences!! Old Town in Cartagena made me think I was back in a small town in Italy!!

All in all we will book on Princess again but will also book on Carnival which may seem strange to the elite Princess cruisers but we just like things about both these wonderful cruise lines!!
riffatsea’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

Premium Suite with Balcony
Cabin S5 D702
We booked this cruise one year out and the mid ship suites had already been booked before we had a chance to do it!
Our cabin was the 2nd away from the aft elevator and was a good location. We were not bothered by being aft but I probably would not book farther back. We were opposite a crew work area and so next time might book the suite just in front of us. It had also been already booked before we had a chance! All in all we were quite happy with the suite. It was the first time we were ever in an aft cabin!
Dolphin Deck Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Cartagena (Colombia)
    I am very comfortable in Spanish. If you are not I recommend taking an excursion.
    The only reason I put this as not excellent was because of the swarming taxi drivers who literally drove DH back to the ship! He was soo frustrated with them that I ended up visiting on my own! After trying to make a deal(unsuccessfully) with taxi drivers I finally gained some sympathy when DH left and found one willing to take me to the fort and city and stay and wait for me while I visited for a few hours.I am not sure we would have gotten this deal if DH had stayed but they dealt with me, a woman alone a bit differently!
    I loved the city as it reminded me of European ones. I will say that the vendors were very pushy but they were polite when I told them I wouldn't be buying anything.Actually I used my husband as an excuse saying that he has all my money!!
    View All 728 Cartagena (Colombia) Cruise Port Reviews
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  • Fuerte Amador (Balboa)
    Here we took a ships excursion to the Embera Village. This was an amazing highlight for me! Imagine stepping back in time to a pristine river with a village of people from 100s( or maybe 1000s ) of years ago! This was NOT a Disney production but a reall life picture of another culture , another lifestyle that is disappearing! We ate, danced, learned about food and life and shopped for gorgeous handmade goods! I HIGHLY recommend this experience to anyone who wants to learn about a way to live outside of modern life!
    View All 73 Fuerte Amador (Balboa) Cruise Port Reviews
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  • Huatulco
    We are very comfortable in Mexico. Here we just got a taxi with a set official price to the nearby town of Crucecita. We walked around the square and to the church and then found another taxi to a beach I had been told had great snorkeling from the shore.
    We found a taxi who drove us to the beach(La Entrega) and waited for us and drove us back to the ship for 60 pesos. La Entrega was a lovely secluded place with a great restaurant that offered food, drink and shade. We only bought one beer for about $3 and could sit as long as we liked. It was a little to wavy for me to snorkel alone but I enjoyed swimming and walking on the sand. Many people were renting snorkel equipment and a guide to help them swim out to the best spots.
    View All 175 Huatulco Cruise Port Reviews
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  • Puerto Vallarta
    We have been to Puerto Vallarta many times! We really enjoy walking along the seafront(malecon) and people watching and having a mango margarita on the beach.
    On other trips we have also taken tours to the surrounding villages and hope to visit the botanical garden next time!
    View All 963 Puerto Vallarta Cruise Port Reviews
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  • Puntarenas (Puerto Caldera)
    We booked a private tour with Gio Tours.We did this because we wanted a small group and only a half day tour Gio tours allowed us to plan this ourselves so we went to a monkey viewing area and a macaw sanctuary with a little tour of the city an were back on board by 1PM. The other tours were much too long for us and too crowded!!
    I highly recommend Gio Tours! We didn't pay until we were there and they were very responsive by e mail They were waiting on the dock with a sign with my name and the guide Adonys Cruz was especially helpful and knowleadgeable!! You can reach him directly on g mail at Adonystourguide(I think) He is also on facebook.
    View All 276 Puntarenas (Puerto Caldera) Cruise Port Reviews
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  • San Juan del Sur
    DH did not want an all day tour so we booked 4 hr excursion from the ship to a lovely hacienda at the edge of Lake Nicaragua. We had a helpful guide and our time at the hacienda included watching folklorico dancers, tortilla making(and eating) lovely grounds,a little shoppoing and a visit to the town of Rivas with its church and plaza.
    View All 93 San Juan del Sur Cruise Port Reviews
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