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This cruise fit our timeline/desired dates (we chose March) and what we were looking for in a cruise through the Panama Canal. We had read about the size of the ship relative to the number of passengers and it was just right; we never felt crowded or squished. There were plenty of activities and good variety to choose from. There were also spots to just sit and read quietly if desired. The quality of entertainment was excellent and the cruise staff made us feel welcome to try something new and not feel awkward about it. We really enjoyed our dining room food and service but the awkward set times of traditional dining (5:15 or 7:30) had us wondering if 'anytime' dining would have been a better choice (but we really liked our regular servers and table company). We chose the early time and ended up missing most of the sunsets unless we skipped our dining room dinner or dessert. The ship's staff and crew were so pleasant and helpful and they are one reason why our overall experience was so wonderful. We booked four Princess shore excursions and feel we received good value for our money and every excursion was smoothly and professionally run. Obviously, there are times when you wish you had a bit more time at one site or another but that is balanced by knowing that your group (we had 2 elderly travellers) would be able to see more without the uncertainty of how much walking or time would be needed to get to one site or another. It pays to research the excursions and choose something appropriate for your group (think of air conditioned coaches, level of exertion, what you really want to see and experience). Read the fine print description that details length of bus ride, number of minutes at each site, distance to walk, number of steps, and also whether US cash or credit cards are accepted (everywhere we went, US cash was accepted). We would look at doing another Princess cruise in the future.

An excellent overall experience! (including shore excursions)

Coral Princess Cruise Review by HonestResponse

3 people found this helpful
Trip Details
This cruise fit our timeline/desired dates (we chose March) and what we were looking for in a cruise through the Panama Canal. We had read about the size of the ship relative to the number of passengers and it was just right; we never felt crowded or squished. There were plenty of activities and good variety to choose from. There were also spots to just sit and read quietly if desired. The quality of entertainment was excellent and the cruise staff made us feel welcome to try something new and not feel awkward about it. We really enjoyed our dining room food and service but the awkward set times of traditional dining (5:15 or 7:30) had us wondering if 'anytime' dining would have been a better choice (but we really liked our regular servers and table company). We chose the early time and ended up missing most of the sunsets unless we skipped our dining room dinner or dessert. The ship's staff and crew were so pleasant and helpful and they are one reason why our overall experience was so wonderful. We booked four Princess shore excursions and feel we received good value for our money and every excursion was smoothly and professionally run. Obviously, there are times when you wish you had a bit more time at one site or another but that is balanced by knowing that your group (we had 2 elderly travellers) would be able to see more without the uncertainty of how much walking or time would be needed to get to one site or another. It pays to research the excursions and choose something appropriate for your group (think of air conditioned coaches, level of exertion, what you really want to see and experience). Read the fine print description that details length of bus ride, number of minutes at each site, distance to walk, number of steps, and also whether US cash or credit cards are accepted (everywhere we went, US cash was accepted). We would look at doing another Princess cruise in the future.
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Cabin Review

Balcony
Cabin BE A618
Our cabin turned out to be well-located (though we had no idea what to expect as this is our first cruise). The balcony is covered and the view is quite good except there is a bump out of the deck just two cabins aft that makes it difficult to see toward the back of the ship. The view from cabin A622 is a little obstructed in this way. Having a covered balcony was nice to shade us from the hot sun and would have been very welcome if it was raining. The view toward the front of the ship was excellent. Being on the 12th floor is very convenient when headed up to the pool deck, fitness center, and buffet eating area because it's only one floor up. The shower is teeny tiny and I am petite so I don't know how anyone larger can move around in it. This cabin could accommodate a 3rd and 4th person (which we didn't have) but it would be pretty squishy. Maybe best for families with young children but probably would be pretty tight for anyone bigger. Not enough plugs to recharge devices; someone mentioned taking an extension cord which might have been a good idea.
Aloha Deck Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • City Tour
    Our guide was informative and spoke clearly and loudly. We did everything the tour said we would do except walk on top of the wall (maybe due to time constraints with slower passengers?)
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  • Fuerte Amador (Balboa)
    Our guide was not as interested in making sure we could hear her clearly nor did she seem all that excited to be showing us her city. Her voice was not that strong and she didn't wait for people to gather around before she started talking. There wasn't much time for souvenir shopping, even though we passed several shops. Beware the toilet facilities; in one place, the toilet did not flush and there was no toilet paper. Only a 20-minute stop for restroom, shopping and visiting a lookout point
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    View Cruise Critic's Fuerte Amador (Balboa) Cruise Port Review
  • Tequila Factory Walking Tour
    Too much tequila! This was a tour with Viva Tequila. We started with a bus trip to The Malecon and a very short walking tour that wasn't really all that interesting. It seemed our guide was maybe a little new to the area and didn't have all that much interesting information to share yet. After this, we went to the Viva Tequila center where we were immediately offered a cold tequila beverage (delicious) and then learned a bit about how tequila is made from the blue agave plant. Following this was another bit of tasting, and then another where we sampled different flavoured tequilas (this was by an independent company and there was time to make purchases; also got a souvenir clay shot glass). Then we were given yet another large beverage to take into the surprisingly spacious theatre where we learned, in detail, how to taste tequila with skill, using four types of tequila. Following this was the music and dancing folkloric show. Make sure to use the restroom at least once before going into the theatre! After this was a short stroll down to the restaurant (Mangos) at the beachfront where a delicious lunch was served (drinks not included). The dancers made an appearance here too. There are photographers on arrival at Viva Tequila and they, of course, want you to buy their photos.
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  • Coffee Plantation
    Our guide made the difference here. He spoke clearly and slowly and shared many interesting facts, demonstrating the passion he has for his country. The Doka coffee plantation tour was informative, with a close-up view of the plants as well as the processing equipment (because it was off-season). There were really too many people for the space so that was unfortunate. We also visited a botanical garden featuring a huge range of orchids as well as cacao and cashew trees, which is interesting to anyone who has never seen them before. Our guide, Josue Morales Blanco, was very informative throughout the tour.
    View All 33 Coffee Plantation Reviews