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We chose this cruise for the 19 days at a reasonable price with lots of relaxing sea days. I liked the idea of off the beaten path ports and going twice through the interesting parts of the canal. I was also interested in trying the Coral Princess because she has a very loyal following. The Coral Princess is indeed a great ship size and layout. The amenities for the ship size were wonderful. Having the theater and Universe show lounge allowed for lots of entertainment and activity options. The 4 pools allowed for uncrowded main pool areas and you could be alone at the splash or aft pool if you wanted. In fact as reputed it is a very uncrowded ship overall. Never a problem getting into dining and just a small amount of advance planning for the shows. Nothing shockingly long or crowded. I was disappointed with the design that has the toilet sewer vacuum outlet over the starboard aft promenade deck. There was also some type of stinky outlet over the starboard bow area. This would be a valid reason I would not choose this ship again. MedallionNet came on board on our cruise and was fantastic! I loved the interactive personalizer and adding the activities I was interested in to my own schedule. I think I did more things this way than when it was just a printed patter. The messaging function was great/useful but really needs a visual indicator on the main screen and or vibrate/noise to let you know someone is trying to contact you. Not having movies on demand in the room was weird in this day and age. Just a couple of channels broadcasting the same shows over and over seemed very old school. The video quality on the TV was surprisingly bad. Must be something wrong with the cables or something. Movies under the stars was fantastic! The good part about bad room TV was it got you out of the cabin more. I found I enjoyed some things I wouldn't have thought to go to normally. The violin duo was fantastic. The Funk comedian was great. As was the ventriloquist. While I enjoyed the shows (sometimes with ear plugs in as they are way too loud) they aren't really my style. Princess seems to always want to pick popular songs and string them together in a production which is kind of boring to me. Silk had a great story with great theatrics but putting the modern, not quite fitting songs in, made it less than great overall. Also way too loud. But the dancing and singing was good across all the shows so I enjoyed myself appreciating what they did offer. As mentioned by others, the balcony cabin showers are shockingly small. I didn't think it would bother me as much as it did. If I were to book this ship again I would book a mini-suite. The upper management and staff was amazingly responsive to requests and feedback. I was actually kind of shocked how good they were. I has several things that needed to be sorted at the beginning of the cruise. One was a bad room vibration in B730 that caused a ridiculous amount of back pain. It was sorted the next day into a mid-ship room with no vibration. A+++ for that response. The second was that the first room had a brand new bed and bedding. So comfortable! The replacement room had an older bed that was not comfortable. That got sorted the next day to a brand new bed and bedding so we were in heaven the rest of the cruise with great bedding. I also had to sort out the gluten free dining. While they have plenty of tasty options on board, getting to them is ridiculously hard work for a cruiser trying to have a relaxing stress free time. I spoke to other gluten free diners and all were pretty unhappy with how Princess handles things. Until Princess gets a gluten free person somewhere in their management chain I don't think things are going to change. The way they are doing things also puts alot of stress on their staff. I got staff eye rolls, sighs, throwing of gloves when changing and alot of icy treatment from head waiters. Apparently the staff hates the way it is handled just as much as the patrons do. The way I handled the eye rolls and facial expressions was to say "Look, I don't like this either". Some how empathizing with them worked and I got better service. I did have a word with a higher up dining person so got a responsive person in the buffet to go to whenever I needed a run down of the gluten free items. This guy was a gem with a good personality but had a regular job to do also so there were often delays in tracking him down. I also had success with the high tea head waiter and the lunch head waiter. At least one of the guys on the grill was fantastic. Maybe more than one because the grill became a great default option for me. Unfortunately there was at least one who didn't know about gluten free and used the same gloves to handle the lettuce as the previous patrons bun. Then he seemed to put the cross contaminate lettuce back to reuse. But maybe he didn't. It looked like he put it back in the under counter fridge. I did get sick after that meal so he also did something else wrong. Ice cream bar was no problem for gluten free although the person manning it often doesn't speak English enough to understand the request, you just have to watch how/where they handle the cup. They didn't handle it at the rim so all was fine even though they also handled cones. I didn't really give the evening dining staff a chance. I had such a bad experience at embarkation luncheon that I waited until the last night for trying dinner. My fault for not plowing through but I was expending enough energy just trying to succeed in the other dining venues that I didn't feel up to tackling the evening main dining issues until the end. The fundamental problem with the dining room is that they say they can make anything but more often then not, you get plain meat, steamed vegetables and steamed potatoes. No sauce or flavoring unless you are very persistent insisting that they only take an order for something that they can actually provide a sauce for and the majority, if not all, the originally intended ingredients for the dish. This took alot of my energy and their energy. They wanted to assure me that, yes madam, we can provide that. But when you press them they can provide a plain piece of meat or fish. They seemed to think that would make me very happy. It does not. As one other gluten free diner mentioned she was feeling very deprived. I suspect she let them bully her into plain dishes or allowed her to think she was getting the dish but in reality a steamed dish came out. Eventually I could end up with a good dish but there was alot of back and forth arguing with the head waiter (always ask for a head waiter) regarding what the dish would actually be and as soon as they admitted it was nothing but plain meat we would move on to the next selection and repeat the process. Some times we had to do this 3 or 4 times until we landed on a dish that could be made as designed or a reasonably close approximation. After a few rounds the lunch head waiter seemed to get it and it was easier. Then the discovery process on the gluten free dessert would begin. Sometimes they just randomly would bring out the chef selection of tapioca pudding or what not so I ordered ice cream also. Basically no effort was made in the main dining room desert area. On the last night I just lucked out that another diner said you can probably get gluten free baked Alaska. He asked his waiter (who was not my waiter) who confirmed you could. Then we had to find my waiter to tell him. I had wanted to ask him but he was busy not coming by our table. You would think it would dawn on them at the beginning of the gluten free ordering wrestling match (for that is what it felt like) that they might want to be ready to tell you what dessert was available if there was one. But no you have to claw it out of them just like the gluten free info at the buffet and the main dining room lunch and dinner ordering. I know this sounds like I am a problem main dining room orderer. And I am. Otherwise the head waiters try to ice you into accepting whatever steamed plate of food comes out knowing that it is often too much trouble to try another steamed plate of food as that is all they will bring unless you go through the process with them. I saw two big problems with the buffet that would cause me to select another cruise line. #1) No gluten free items labeled in the buffet. This was a huge issue. You have to track down a chef, pull them from their job, have them go through item by item what is gluten free and remember what they said about each item. Often they waved a hand that this, this and this was gluten free while pointing to a whole row. So you have to back them up and go through item by item while memorizing the whole buffet. And all this after waiting around in the middle of the buffet (with traffic flowing around you) while someone gets a chef for you which could be either right away or many minutes later. Not relaxing or fun. I did have great luck ordering from the back of the buffet where if something looked likely to be cross contaminated they would go get a dish of it from the back. It did sometimes take a really long time if they had to go into the ship galley to get it. The assigned chef at the buffet did a good job making the asian stir fry/rice bowls/rice noodle dishes out of the back with gluten free soy sauce. You have to ask about it as they didn't admit to having the gluten free soy sauce until the end. But they do and you can get meals prepared with it. #2) Poorly placed items in the buffet. Princess insists on mixing bread products in everywhere. This increased the chance of cross contamination exponentially. My last Celebrity cruise had whole islands of the buffet with no gluten items. The bread products were all located together. Made things much easier! A good point to the buffet was they had wonderful naturally gluten free curries, Indian food, Thai food and food from the Philippines. Some of the best I've ever had. But after 12 days of it for lunch and dinner I was ready for something different. So I moved on to the grill. Surprisingly they were excellent! The one guy I most often got really knew his gluten free stuff. And the burgers and fries were gluten free so I got to enjoy some excellent fries (as long as they were fresh) which is rare to find gluten free. The burgers also became an excellent non-curry based protein that I paired with the excellent cold salads from the buffet. The dessert area always had 1 or 2 labeled gluten free items. The chocolate fountain was also gluten free but not labeled as such. The meringues were also gluten free but also not labeled as such. On days the pastry chef wasn't trying there where horrible cheese cakes and weird consistency puddings. But when he tried there were fantastic options. On days like this get a couple extra and put them in the fridge to make yourself feel better on tapioca pudding/cheesecake days. They main guy behind the counter always got an allergy serving (fresh gloves right from the refrigerator) of the gluten free dessert when asked. But you have to ask. Don't serve yourself from the offerings as they aren't safe. The other place to get safe desserts was at the tea/coffee place on deck 6. The main guy knew a gluten free allergy order so used separate tongs when asked. You have to watch to see who knows what. If if is a substitute person they often reach for the regular tongs and you have to stop them. Just increases the overall food related stress load on you as you need to evaluate and memorize the knowledgeable personnel early in the cruise and then stay vigilant as to who is serving you. It helps to pace yourself and tackle them in stages so as to establish what is safe and what isn't. The gluten free breakfast muffins (you have to ask for them) were laughably horrible. As were the rice flour and water pancakes. Princess needs to order some commercial mix products for these items. What they offered was beyond bad. The gluten free pizza with the mushy rice crust was also a miss. Overall this was a fantastic cruise! The management staff stood out as being very responsive, as were the staff. All requests were addressed in a satisfactory manner. The buffet clean up staff was exceptional. Drink orders were taken and delivered, plates were cleared, staff was personable. I think they were the best overall department in the entire ship. Oddly the front desk staff wasn't very smiley. Somber and slightly confused would be the way I would describe them. It comes off as a play to be unhelpful if possible. The cruise director did a nice job with the activities. The lecturers were unimpressive and annoying with lame jokes. But alot of people seemed to like them. I just didn't go as seeing presentations from lecherous old guys gets old. I thought the entertainment was good. Weird vibe at the tea/coffee venue. Most staff were good but one guy seems on the verge of an emotional breakdown. Actually saw him throw a tea bag at one of the friendly waitresses and was not quite pleasant to order from. Hopefully his contract is up soon and he can decompress a bit. Not alot of smiles on the ship from the crew. Maybe it isn't the done thing to smile and greet the passengers any more? Many more smiles from the passengers who were overall a delightful lot. Amazing how you seem to run into the same people over and over which makes for a more fun cruise. I was very glad we picked this cruise and we had a wonderful time!

Had a wonderful time!

Coral Princess Cruise Review by Michelle1234

2 people found this helpful
Trip Details
We chose this cruise for the 19 days at a reasonable price with lots of relaxing sea days. I liked the idea of off the beaten path ports and going twice through the interesting parts of the canal. I was also interested in trying the Coral Princess because she has a very loyal following.

The Coral Princess is indeed a great ship size and layout. The amenities for the ship size were wonderful. Having the theater and Universe show lounge allowed for lots of entertainment and activity options. The 4 pools allowed for uncrowded main pool areas and you could be alone at the splash or aft pool if you wanted. In fact as reputed it is a very uncrowded ship overall. Never a problem getting into dining and just a small amount of advance planning for the shows. Nothing shockingly long or crowded.

I was disappointed with the design that has the toilet sewer vacuum outlet over the starboard aft promenade deck. There was also some type of stinky outlet over the starboard bow area. This would be a valid reason I would not choose this ship again.

MedallionNet came on board on our cruise and was fantastic! I loved the interactive personalizer and adding the activities I was interested in to my own schedule. I think I did more things this way than when it was just a printed patter. The messaging function was great/useful but really needs a visual indicator on the main screen and or vibrate/noise to let you know someone is trying to contact you.

Not having movies on demand in the room was weird in this day and age. Just a couple of channels broadcasting the same shows over and over seemed very old school. The video quality on the TV was surprisingly bad. Must be something wrong with the cables or something. Movies under the stars was fantastic!

The good part about bad room TV was it got you out of the cabin more. I found I enjoyed some things I wouldn't have thought to go to normally. The violin duo was fantastic. The Funk comedian was great. As was the ventriloquist. While I enjoyed the shows (sometimes with ear plugs in as they are way too loud) they aren't really my style. Princess seems to always want to pick popular songs and string them together in a production which is kind of boring to me. Silk had a great story with great theatrics but putting the modern, not quite fitting songs in, made it less than great overall. Also way too loud. But the dancing and singing was good across all the shows so I enjoyed myself appreciating what they did offer.

As mentioned by others, the balcony cabin showers are shockingly small. I didn't think it would bother me as much as it did. If I were to book this ship again I would book a mini-suite.

The upper management and staff was amazingly responsive to requests and feedback. I was actually kind of shocked how good they were. I has several things that needed to be sorted at the beginning of the cruise. One was a bad room vibration in B730 that caused a ridiculous amount of back pain. It was sorted the next day into a mid-ship room with no vibration. A+++ for that response. The second was that the first room had a brand new bed and bedding. So comfortable! The replacement room had an older bed that was not comfortable. That got sorted the next day to a brand new bed and bedding so we were in heaven the rest of the cruise with great bedding.

I also had to sort out the gluten free dining. While they have plenty of tasty options on board, getting to them is ridiculously hard work for a cruiser trying to have a relaxing stress free time. I spoke to other gluten free diners and all were pretty unhappy with how Princess handles things. Until Princess gets a gluten free person somewhere in their management chain I don't think things are going to change. The way they are doing things also puts alot of stress on their staff. I got staff eye rolls, sighs, throwing of gloves when changing and alot of icy treatment from head waiters. Apparently the staff hates the way it is handled just as much as the patrons do. The way I handled the eye rolls and facial expressions was to say "Look, I don't like this either". Some how empathizing with them worked and I got better service.

I did have a word with a higher up dining person so got a responsive person in the buffet to go to whenever I needed a run down of the gluten free items. This guy was a gem with a good personality but had a regular job to do also so there were often delays in tracking him down. I also had success with the high tea head waiter and the lunch head waiter. At least one of the guys on the grill was fantastic. Maybe more than one because the grill became a great default option for me. Unfortunately there was at least one who didn't know about gluten free and used the same gloves to handle the lettuce as the previous patrons bun. Then he seemed to put the cross contaminate lettuce back to reuse. But maybe he didn't. It looked like he put it back in the under counter fridge. I did get sick after that meal so he also did something else wrong. Ice cream bar was no problem for gluten free although the person manning it often doesn't speak English enough to understand the request, you just have to watch how/where they handle the cup. They didn't handle it at the rim so all was fine even though they also handled cones.

I didn't really give the evening dining staff a chance. I had such a bad experience at embarkation luncheon that I waited until the last night for trying dinner. My fault for not plowing through but I was expending enough energy just trying to succeed in the other dining venues that I didn't feel up to tackling the evening main dining issues until the end.

The fundamental problem with the dining room is that they say they can make anything but more often then not, you get plain meat, steamed vegetables and steamed potatoes. No sauce or flavoring unless you are very persistent insisting that they only take an order for something that they can actually provide a sauce for and the majority, if not all, the originally intended ingredients for the dish. This took alot of my energy and their energy. They wanted to assure me that, yes madam, we can provide that. But when you press them they can provide a plain piece of meat or fish. They seemed to think that would make me very happy. It does not. As one other gluten free diner mentioned she was feeling very deprived. I suspect she let them bully her into plain dishes or allowed her to think she was getting the dish but in reality a steamed dish came out.

Eventually I could end up with a good dish but there was alot of back and forth arguing with the head waiter (always ask for a head waiter) regarding what the dish would actually be and as soon as they admitted it was nothing but plain meat we would move on to the next selection and repeat the process. Some times we had to do this 3 or 4 times until we landed on a dish that could be made as designed or a reasonably close approximation.

After a few rounds the lunch head waiter seemed to get it and it was easier. Then the discovery process on the gluten free dessert would begin. Sometimes they just randomly would bring out the chef selection of tapioca pudding or what not so I ordered ice cream also. Basically no effort was made in the main dining room desert area. On the last night I just lucked out that another diner said you can probably get gluten free baked Alaska. He asked his waiter (who was not my waiter) who confirmed you could. Then we had to find my waiter to tell him. I had wanted to ask him but he was busy not coming by our table. You would think it would dawn on them at the beginning of the gluten free ordering wrestling match (for that is what it felt like) that they might want to be ready to tell you what dessert was available if there was one. But no you have to claw it out of them just like the gluten free info at the buffet and the main dining room lunch and dinner ordering.

I know this sounds like I am a problem main dining room orderer. And I am. Otherwise the head waiters try to ice you into accepting whatever steamed plate of food comes out knowing that it is often too much trouble to try another steamed plate of food as that is all they will bring unless you go through the process with them.

I saw two big problems with the buffet that would cause me to select another cruise line.

#1) No gluten free items labeled in the buffet. This was a huge issue. You have to track down a chef, pull them from their job, have them go through item by item what is gluten free and remember what they said about each item. Often they waved a hand that this, this and this was gluten free while pointing to a whole row. So you have to back them up and go through item by item while memorizing the whole buffet. And all this after waiting around in the middle of the buffet (with traffic flowing around you) while someone gets a chef for you which could be either right away or many minutes later. Not relaxing or fun.

I did have great luck ordering from the back of the buffet where if something looked likely to be cross contaminated they would go get a dish of it from the back. It did sometimes take a really long time if they had to go into the ship galley to get it. The assigned chef at the buffet did a good job making the asian stir fry/rice bowls/rice noodle dishes out of the back with gluten free soy sauce. You have to ask about it as they didn't admit to having the gluten free soy sauce until the end. But they do and you can get meals prepared with it.

#2) Poorly placed items in the buffet. Princess insists on mixing bread products in everywhere. This increased the chance of cross contamination exponentially. My last Celebrity cruise had whole islands of the buffet with no gluten items. The bread products were all located together. Made things much easier!

A good point to the buffet was they had wonderful naturally gluten free curries, Indian food, Thai food and food from the Philippines. Some of the best I've ever had. But after 12 days of it for lunch and dinner I was ready for something different.

So I moved on to the grill. Surprisingly they were excellent! The one guy I most often got really knew his gluten free stuff. And the burgers and fries were gluten free so I got to enjoy some excellent fries (as long as they were fresh) which is rare to find gluten free. The burgers also became an excellent non-curry based protein that I paired with the excellent cold salads from the buffet.

The dessert area always had 1 or 2 labeled gluten free items. The chocolate fountain was also gluten free but not labeled as such. The meringues were also gluten free but also not labeled as such. On days the pastry chef wasn't trying there where horrible cheese cakes and weird consistency puddings. But when he tried there were fantastic options. On days like this get a couple extra and put them in the fridge to make yourself feel better on tapioca pudding/cheesecake days. They main guy behind the counter always got an allergy serving (fresh gloves right from the refrigerator) of the gluten free dessert when asked. But you have to ask. Don't serve yourself from the offerings as they aren't safe. The other place to get safe desserts was at the tea/coffee place on deck 6. The main guy knew a gluten free allergy order so used separate tongs when asked. You have to watch to see who knows what. If if is a substitute person they often reach for the regular tongs and you have to stop them. Just increases the overall food related stress load on you as you need to evaluate and memorize the knowledgeable personnel early in the cruise and then stay vigilant as to who is serving you. It helps to pace yourself and tackle them in stages so as to establish what is safe and what isn't.

The gluten free breakfast muffins (you have to ask for them) were laughably horrible. As were the rice flour and water pancakes. Princess needs to order some commercial mix products for these items. What they offered was beyond bad. The gluten free pizza with the mushy rice crust was also a miss.

Overall this was a fantastic cruise! The management staff stood out as being very responsive, as were the staff. All requests were addressed in a satisfactory manner. The buffet clean up staff was exceptional. Drink orders were taken and delivered, plates were cleared, staff was personable. I think they were the best overall department in the entire ship. Oddly the front desk staff wasn't very smiley. Somber and slightly confused would be the way I would describe them. It comes off as a play to be unhelpful if possible. The cruise director did a nice job with the activities. The lecturers were unimpressive and annoying with lame jokes. But alot of people seemed to like them. I just didn't go as seeing presentations from lecherous old guys gets old. I thought the entertainment was good. Weird vibe at the tea/coffee venue. Most staff were good but one guy seems on the verge of an emotional breakdown. Actually saw him throw a tea bag at one of the friendly waitresses and was not quite pleasant to order from. Hopefully his contract is up soon and he can decompress a bit. Not alot of smiles on the ship from the crew. Maybe it isn't the done thing to smile and greet the passengers any more? Many more smiles from the passengers who were overall a delightful lot. Amazing how you seem to run into the same people over and over which makes for a more fun cruise.

I was very glad we picked this cruise and we had a wonderful time!
Michelle1234’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Balcony
Cabin BC B730 & A324
We started off in B730 which had a high level of vibration. I was pretty dismayed when we checked in as the cabin was pretty dirty. There was soap with embedded shaving debris/hairs in the indentation of the bathroom sink. The floor had not been vacuumed and when I picked up the phone to use it there was a layer of yellow grime on the ear piece. How long had that not been cleaned to accumulate like that? The bed was new and comfortable but alot of cleaning went on to get the place to be not gross. Due to the vibration we were able to switch to A324 after one night.

A324 was wonderfully clean. I breathed a sigh of relief as I was not up to training a room steward which is what would have had to happen in the previous cabin. However the bed was not new. It was worn out and made my back hurt. The bedding padding that was under the sheets was old and stained. We put in a request for the bed/bedding from the previous cabin or new and it was immediately done. So in the end we were very happy!

A note on A324. It is under the pool deck so you do hear chairs and such moving around but it wasn't enough to bother us. On the balcony we heard the band and movies under the stars a bit but again not enough to bother us. Great location for smooth riding. Very good overhang from the deck above for the balcony. I would book this area again if the lower decks were not available that have rooms above and below.

Our room steward in A324 was exceptional. All the basics were done flawlessly along with a number of special request and some (like cleaning the balcony glass) he did on his own initiative so I could see the sea turtles more clearly.
Aloha Deck Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Huatulco
    On the Copalita Archaeological excursion you see the museum and the site. It was a good excursion. Our guide didn't have very good English but he had passion and local flair. So I rated him well. This could be an exceptional tour with the right English speaking guide. They divide the bus up into two groups. The other guide didn't seem that great either so there is likely a shortage of knowledgeable guides available. If you can find a well recommended private tour then I would suggest that.
    View All 192 Huatulco Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Huatulco Cruise Port Review
  • River Cruise & Scarlet Macaw Sanctuary
    The Macaw Sanctuary was great. The guide we had was potentially the best guide I have ever had on any tour ever. She was very well educated and informed. Loved her! The boat tour could be skipped. It is on a dirty waterway with very few birds to see. The highlight was a jumping stingray and a guy who showed us his fish catches when we applauded while he was catching a fish. Although there was nothing special about the birds; heron, crane, sandpiper etc. the staff did a great job trying to find something for us to see. Even plucking a crab out of the water so we could view it. They stated that in the heat of the day (we had the morning tour but it was already really hot) the wildlife is resting in the shade and not visible. I give a top rating to them and the bird sanctuary where we saw alot of free flighted red Macaws along with the sanctuary residents. Note to my fellow tour participants. Crossing the barrier to put your kid up against the Jaguar fence for a photo or to put your camera through the chain link fence is a really bad idea. Nothing happened because it was hot and the cats were sleeping but if one wanted to charge the fence they would move alot faster than you and chain link isn't going to hold back from flexing while they got their claws into you through the fence if they charge it with their full weight. Just sayin.
    View All 22 River Cruise & Scarlet Macaw Sanctuary Reviews