The Panama Experience: Coral Princess Cruise Review by Janet Davies

Coral Princess 5
Janet Davies

Overall Member Rating

The Panama Experience

Sail Date: November 2011
Destination: Panama Canal & Central America
Embarkation: Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)
We started off with a two night stay at The Courtyard Marriott Oceanfront, Miami which we thoroughly enjoyed, taking in a tour of The Everglades via the Gator Park and airboat ride. The hotel was clean, the buffet breakfast was excellent and we had a view of the ocean from our room.

Our transport to the port was uneventful, however, my case, along with some 11 others was dropped into the sea as the portside staff were loading them at Fort Lauderdale, and I subsequently had to go through all the items to see what had been damaged. Luckily, the only things not working were my phone and camera chargers - the camera was ok thankfully! We received some compensation and had lots of little gifts in our room, such as dressing gowns, slippers, lotus spa basket etc and all my clothes were washed and ironed. I had to own up to the bottle of gin that was 'hidden' in my case but the staff turned a blind eye to this.

The staff on the customer service desk were extremely helpful More and charged my phone whenever I needed it doing. However, unfortunately I can't say the same for the photographic staff (or one member of the team) who when I mentioned what had happened actually said 'well that's irrelevant isn't it'! I'm afraid that for the first time, I had to make a formal complaint about someone.

However, having said all of the above, the cruise was excellent, the stops were rather shorter than on our previous cruise, and the Panama Canal was the highlight. Costa Rica was also very welcoming and Cabo San Lucas, well I think I may have to visit there again - enjoyed.

The food on the Coral Princess fell rather short of our last cruise. We do anytime dining, and we always eat in the Horizon Court, however I didn't find the choices as good as before (Star Princess) and I was disappointed that the bacon was always hard in the morning, on the Star Princess they served british bacon quite a few times. I was of the opinion that if you loved fish, you would be ok because nearly everything seemed to be fish - I don't like fish! There were quite a few instances when we really didn't fancy anything on the menu, which never happened before.
The staff were really great, especially the Casino staff. We went to see quite a few of the shows, and we enjoyed all of these.

We had also booked a post cruise stay in Los Angeles, The Crown Plaza Redondo Beach, and this hotel was very good and in a prime spot. We did a couple of tours from there which we enjoyed.
On leaving the ship in Los Angeles, we were handed a letter telling us that we would be picked up from our hotel at 2.30 on our day of leaving, and that Princess staff would be available from 1.30. However, no staff turned up, and no bus. There were 8 of us at the hotel and we tried contacting Princess but were told they weren't sure what was happening and that we'd better get a taxi to the airport. After several frantic attempts, and two taxis being called, we finally made it to the airport with half an hour to spare before boarding - a little bit too close for me! Less

Published 01/02/12

Cabin review: ADD509

Nice sized cabin, very large closet, and also a large cupboard so plenty of room to keep clothes and shoes and even our suitcases went in there out of the way. The bathroom was quite compact, but there was a shower over the bath, sink and toilet. The main room was a good size, a large bed and two cupboards either side, with two TVs, one from the bedroom side and one from the lounge. The lounge space was quite small and the chair/settee weren't very comfortable. The balcony was a good size, but unfortunately it had four chairs on it (when we were only two) so there wasn't really enough room to stretch out if you were sitting outside. There was no noise at all and the housekeeping staff was excellent.

Port and Shore Excursions

We had decided that as we were only stopping here for 5 hours, we wouldn't do a tour, so we just walked around the town. It was extremely hot, and we found we couldn't stay out for too long so we just had a brief tour. There were a lot of market stalls selling all sorts of bric a brac and plenty of diamond shops - didn't bother going there!
Read 1289 Aruba Reviews

We didn't take a tour here, and I'm glad we didn't because I really enjoyed this busy little place. There was a lovely harbour and we saw seals jumping onto the back of fishing boats, where the fishermen were feeding them. There were a lot of bars and restaurants and I had my photo taken holding a lion cub. I think I'd like to see a little bit more of this place if I ever get the chance to come back this way, but as the ship was leaving at 2pm we didn't feel we had enough time to do too much.

Took the Mangrove Canoe Ride and Walk around the Old City tour. Enjoyed the canoe ride, but we did wonder where the bus was taking us. There were dips and troughs in the road and we were going through dirt tracks and eventually the bus couldn't go any further and we all got out. There was rubbish everywhere and we just walked ahead following the driver, until we turned to the left and there were all these canoes facing us. There were dancers and singers, and these were playing until we left the shore. We didn't see any wildlife here, which I was sorry about, but there were young boys who had dived for snails, and they were holding them up in the water asking for a dollar for them. On our return we stopped at the old city, but we didn't really see very much, just a few shops and at the end they were trying to sell us coffee.

Here we took the Scenic Train Ride and Boat on Tarcoles River. Really enjoyed this tour, the tour guide was really funny 'Umberto' was his name and he really made the trip. We saw quite a few birds and crocodiles and managed to get lots of pictures.

San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua - We didn't take a tour here and as it was raining we didn't really see too much. There was a market just outside the port and we walked around this, and then went into a local bar and had a beer. People were very nice.
Read 2979 San Juan Reviews

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Janet Davies
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