Coral Princess Cruise Review by Fortun8
- Sail Date: December 2010
- Destination: Panama Canal & Central America
- Cabin Type: Balcony
The ship boarded us quickly at 12:30 p.m. 12/15/10 and we sailed late at 5:45 p.m.due to a delay or some mechanical problem. We had a balcony cabin and were situated just 3 decks below the Horizon Court at the front of the ship. The first two nights it rained and the seas were rough. It was also rough the last night from Cabo San Lucas to Los Angeles and rough enough to almost knock us out of bed. Most days were overcast or rainy but the sunshine came through at every port of call.
On the 4th day we docked in Aruba for 5 hours. We took a Princess tour of sightseeing and an Ostrich farm. It was very good but overpriced and too short. We hurried to see the rocks, the ostrich farm, the arch, shopping, the light-house, and downtown. The ship left at 12:30 p.m. that day. We took independent tours in Cartagena (Lee Miles Tours with J.C. a schoolteacher, Puerto Amador (Panama City) with Mario's Tours, Puntarenas (Ricky Ricardo tours with Gustavo), and Acapulco (Rosie's tours)that we found on Cruise Critic beforehand and booked. But you did have to pay in cash when the tour was completed. They were low cost and we saw more than on typical Princess arranged tours. The vans were smaller and had between 6-10 people each. And the all day passage through the Panama Canal was a great tour aboard ship. In Panama (we missed the tour due to the tender waiting), but Mario Jr. of Mario's Tours,took us by private car to all the places we would have gone with a group. In Puntarenas, Gustavo was our guide through a monkey preserve, sugar cane farm, crocodile river tour, lunch, and the rain forest trams. And in Acapulco, Oscar took 6 of us to a chapel, the open markets, a silver market, Los Flamingos hotel where Johnny Weissmuller spent his time, to the cliff divers, and to see the murals of Diego Rivera. These tours were well done and just the right amount of time and less $$ than the planned tours of the Princess line. We were able to change any of the planned stops if the group voted for the change.
We like anytime dining, but so did everyone else and many cruisers abandoned the late night fixed seating and added to the congestion between 6 -8 p.m. causing everyone to take the little lighted boxes that call you when your table is ready. We did eat at Sabatini's Restaurant on our anniversary for Lobster tails and the 14 courses. We found it worth the extra $20 cover charge. We only had one night near the end that the main dining room offered lobster.
We found the staff dedicated to keeping us using the hand sanitizer and it was set up in the Horizon court, near the computers, near most dining venues, in the spa and gym, and only missing in the main dining rooms and bars. If you reported illness they confined you to your cabin and checked on you. And the cabin stewards cleaned the hall walls, ceilings, and railings once a week with disinfectant. The spa was a disappointment and ran many promotions and drawings to attract more guests. I had one top to toe massage that was discounted to $139 and there was no aromatherapy after all, it ran 90 minutes. Most services started at $155 and went up and then you added a tip.
We attended many onboard comedian, magic, and a cruise staff shows. The magician was terrific and one comedian, Jeff Nease. Maurizio played in the Crooners Bar until they gave him a night in the Universe Lounge. We played games like trivia, attended Jorge's Spanish at Sea program, and golf contests. We found the 7 sea days to be full of activities and lots of sleep-in days that were relaxed and unhurried. We had not expected that to be so. Jim Kennedy conducted talks about space travel and Leonard Maltin gave speeches about his favorite movies, many of which were little known titles and hadn't shown in theaters. He needed more props or some videos to make it interesting. They showed his movies on the stateroom t.v.'s, in the Princess theater, and at the "Movies under the stars." We also enjoyed 200 free minutes of internet time being Platinum members and the captain cocktail party one night.
We met many people in the guest laundries on each deck. The laundries were well maintained and busy around the middle of the cruise. Jorge, of the activities staff, was very entertaining. The puzzles in the library were difficult and the board games and card room was always full on sea days.
We docked at 7 a.m. in San Pedro port of Los Angeles on December 30 and met our daughter for a few days in L.A. before flying home on New Year's Day.
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