Outstanding cruise through the Panama Canal: Coral Princess Cruise Review by sentrydriver

Coral Princess 5
Member Since 2006
36 Forum Posts

Overall Member Rating

Outstanding cruise through the Panama Canal

Sail Date: January 2012
Destination: Panama Canal & Central America
Embarkation: Los Angeles
This cruise through the Panama Canal met or exceeded every expectation. This was our second Princess cruise and fourth overall. As my wife and I still work, getting a full two week vacation is very difficult and this cruise was a perfect break.

We flew into LAX the day prior to embarking and spent the night near the airport at the Sheraton. The hotel was very nice and in walking distance to Trader Joe's and In and Out Burger. In the morning, we took the Prime Time shuttle from LAX to the port. This was our second experience with Prime Time and we were satisfied with the service.

Embarkation was very smooth. There was virtually no wait in line to get our cards and we only sat in the departure area for a few minutes before our number was called.

We splurged on a balcony cabin and weren't disappointed. Our cabin steward, Albert, was superb and provided us with a foam mattress topper and extra pillows.

The cruise began with five glorious sea days. More We had anytime dining and took most of our meals in the Bordeaux dining room. The food was good to excellent at all meals and the service was always excellent. We enjoy meeting new people at every meal although on a two week cruise, we were pleased to repeat with many great folks. Outstanding dishes included beef Wellington, scallops, escargot and veal scallopini. Princess now has a wine program so we prepurchased wine for our dinners. We had pizza a few times and enjoyed it as well as burgers from the grill. We ordered a room service breakfast one morning. It arrived on time but the breakfast sandwich was not hot. We went to the Bayou Cafe and found it to be a good value for the extra $20 pp. I had the NY strip steak and it was good but had a lot of scrap on it. My wife had the filet and it was perfect.

The entertainment was good. I'm not one for production shows but appreciate the effort going into one. The two comedians were very funny and the ventriloquist was superb (normally, we wouldn't bother with a ventriloquist act but we had dinner with Mark Crocker the night before and he was so engaging, we went to his show and loved it).

We especially enjoyed the staff at Crooners Bar. The martinis were outstanding and we enjoyed the service, conversation and banter with the staff and the other Crooners regulars.

We attended three wine tastings. The first one, at $25 pp, was a pour value as the pours were very stingy. The next event we tried was a wine flight and this was a superb event. Since the Coral Princess does not have a Vines, the sommelier held this in the atrium near Le Patisserie. The pours were generous and you received three glasses for about 9 bucks.

The two onboard lecturers were very good. We especially enjoyed Jeana's port lectures and her Panama Canal presentations. Unfortunately, we missed quite a bit of her commentary during the canal transit as it is not broadcast on the balconies. We had the TV on in the cabin but the sound did not carry.

The trivia contests were fun and well run and we enjoyed the veterans meetings.

Our arrival to Ft. Lauderdale came far too soon. Disembarkation was very orderly and on schedule. We used a shared taxi to the airport and were on a plane 3 hours after we docked. Less

Published 02/05/12

Cabin review: BE Balcony

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Port and Shore Excursions

Our snorkling excursion arranged through Princess was cancelled due to weather. We ended up walking around the port city. We found an internet cafe which had access for 30 minutes at $3.
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I have always wanted to visit Cartegena and was not disappointed. Our tour was prearranged with Claudia and we went with twenty four of our fellow Cruise Critic members. The guides met us promptly and we were among the first buses to leave the pier. The first stop was the Poppa Monastery. The view was spectacular and the courtyard one of the prettiest I have ever seen. Next we went by the San Felippe fort for a photo op. The next stop was at a souvenir shopping area. We found most of the stores had the same stuff and nothing that interested us. We then started a walking tour of the colonial city and it was very well done. The city is lovely. The last stop was at a the required emerald store.

We took a tour with Okey Dokey tours. I arranged in advance by e-mail with Charlie and he offered us a $20 Cruise Critic discount so we ended up paying $79 pp. Our first stop was at a private residence where Cappuchin monkeys came down for feeding and photo ops. Next, we stopped at a bridge to see crocodiles. There were more than 15 present when we stopped by. From there, we went on to Punta Leona for ziplining. This was the highlight of the day and we went through eight stations. The next stop was lunch at a typical Costa Rican roadside eatery. There were no tourists there and the food was excellent (rice, beans, salad, and entree). On the way back to the ship, we stopped at the requisite souvenir stand before going to a regular supermarket where we bought coffee and beer. Our last stop was, at our request, at a seaside ceviche place. Our guide helped order our ceviche which was perfect. We ended up on this tour by ourselves. Another couple had booked but no-showed. Rather than cancel the tour, Charlie sent us out on a private tour. Our guide, Astrid was delightful and her father was the driver. We spoke to other folks that did excursions with the cruise line and they were herded in groupos of 25 for ziplining. We definitely hit the jackpot.

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Member Since 2006
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