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Coral Princess Cruise Review
4.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
1,031 Reviews

Everything I had hoped for and more

Coral Princess Cruise Review by h20Sprite

2 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Apr 2019
  • Destination: the Panama Canal & Central America
  • Cabin Type: Balcony

Coral Princess is my kind of ship. The public areas are extensive, comfortable and inviting and there was rarely a crowded feel. We had 8 sea days, and were never bored. Princess had a packed schedule every day and there was always something to do.

The food in the main dining room was excellent, varied and beautifully presented. Breakfast in all venues was uninspired but the quality of the pastries, breads and fruit selections was wonderful. Afternoon tea was fabulous! Although I loved the lunch I had eaten in the dining room on the first day, we decided to pass on that and just scavenge at the buffet the rest of the trip (excellent cheeses, breads, sandwiches, salads and shrimp) so we could justify attending the tea.

I love the way Princess makes it a point to seat people in groups in the dining room - at every meal you meet and enjoy different people and make new friends. Even when we decided to eat at a table alone, we were so close to our neighbors that it was easy to strike up a conversation - or not, whichever worked best.

"Ocean Concierge" is a very fine feature. We logged into the ship's internet, and could see the day's schedule right on our phones. We could tap in and read about the shore excursions we had scheduled, and add daily events to our own personal itinerary. I could "share" an event with my husband, who could then add it to his list. The app also offered texting capability, Although this was of limited usefulness since you didn't know there was a text if the app wasn't open. Still, it made it easier to "find each other" on those busy days.

We booked all our shore excursions (and we booked at least one at each port) through Princess and were really glad we did. Two of our excursions were the last to arrive back at the ship, and they arrived after the "all aboard" had sounded. I would have been a nervous wreck if I hadn't known that the Coral would wait.

The excursions were generally quite good, the ports were interesting and the organization was superb. We have been on far too many ships where the instructions were to "meet the bus on the pier" and let the devil take the hindmost. Each of our tours started out in the dining room, where we were given our group number, and we were called and escorted off the ship when our group was ready.

Specialty dining was a waste. We only did it because it was a gift, but we had been looking forward to a nice, spicy meal at the Bayou. Instead we got a lot of salt and too much meat. It just confirmed my long held belief about specialty dining: We're better off in the main dining room.

Everything else was lovely. Common areas were beautifully decorated and all carpets and artwork were attractive and tasteful.

What more to say? I would go on the Coral Princess again in a heartbeat.

h20Sprite's Full Rating Summary
Onboard Experience
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Public Rooms
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
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Cabin Review

Cabin BB b605

Our room was just a standard balcony, but it was roomy and had lots of storage. Bonus: When they upgraded to the flat screen TV, the electrical outlet that used to serve the TV was freed up and we didn't have to fight over the only plug in the room. Our steward was competent and friendly. Extra bonus: At the end of decks 10 and 11 there are covered stern galleries, mostly protected from the wind, and furnished with lounges. Just one more way to get away from the crowds.

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

Los Angeles

San Pedro has been been and gone so many times you never know where in the cycle you will find it. We stayed at the Doubletree, which was far from town (with a shuttle, though) but we had a nice walk to the Cabrillo Sea Shore. Sadly, the Aquarium is only open strange hours and there is a strange absence of restaurants/dives near the lovely yacht harbor. You can't go wrong on a sunny California day, though.

Tequila Factory Walking Tour

We were on the tour with the Folklorico and the DELICIOUS Mexican lunch. We enjoyed every minute.

View All 85 Tequila Factory Walking Tour Reviews

What a charming area! We toured the Copalita Ecological Park in the morning. The guide's English and organizational skills were lacking, but the park has it's own interests (Boat billed herons! Mot mot birds!). In the afternoon we took the La Cruecita town tour. We really enjoyed the weaving/dying discussion and the tacos and beer (it HAD been a long day) just before the end. Next time, though, we would take a snorkel trip.

San Juan del Sur

Fascinating! LIke going back in time. We took a way too small bus (apparently our group was left-overs - not enough people for a real bus) and were very, very uncomfortable for the 1 1/2 to 2 hour drive in each direction and I couldn't understand a word the guide said (my hearing issue). BUT. Really interesting things to see: Houses, farmyards, villages, people on pilgrimage with ox-carts, people pulling trailers with bicycles. Grenada is a beautiful town - stunning ironwork and such a palette of housepaint colors! We had a delightful, cool boat ride through Las Isletas on Lake Nicaragua and had an excellent lunch before climbing back into the horrible bus. I would do this trip again, but not in that bus.

Fuerte Amador (Balboa)

We took the train to the new locks, then the bus back. This was actually my least favorite of the trips, but it was still good. We had spent the extra for the dome car (and I don't think it was worth it). The seating was very tight, especially for modern Cruise Ship sized people, but I spent most of the time on the open deck and enjoyed the scenery. The rain forest zips by pretty quick, though, and there wasn't much in the way of birds or animals to see. I enjoyed the time at the new locks, watching a tanker transit through, but the bus ride back to the port was long and the countryside largely uninteresting.

Tarcoles River

Great boat ride after a fairly tedious bus ride. We had some really good looks at birds I have never seen before, and, of course, the crocodiles were amazing. Sadly, there was a lot of trash in the estuary - not at all what I expected from Costa Rica - but the end of the dry season may have had something to do with it. The fruit snack at the end was wonderful. The fruit didn't taste anything like what we get in Oregon.

View All 45 Tarcoles River Reviews

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