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  #1  
Old November 24th, 2012, 10:41 AM
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Default Tips for newbies on the Coral Princess?

Does anyone have any tips for folks celebrating a Golden Wedding Anniversary on the Coral Princess next March please? In fact, as new cruisers on Princess what would you say are the best tips you can give please for this cruise and on the Coral Princess in general? The itinerary takes in a few islands before partial transit of the Panama Canal.
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  #2  
Old November 24th, 2012, 10:57 AM
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Every evening you will get the Princess Patter. It is the schedule for the next day. Read it over to see what is of interest to you. Also, on the back page is the schedule for all the restaurants and bars.
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Old November 24th, 2012, 11:00 AM
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Be sure to see the production show "On the Bayou." It is one of the best that Princes has ever done.
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Old November 24th, 2012, 11:04 AM
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Thank you both - taking notes now!

Is there anywhere quiet or particularly good for sunbathing on sea days please? And what are the shops like on board? One lady will be looking for 'something sparkly' on anniversary day so will the on-board shops be best or maybe Grand Cayman? What do you think?
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Old November 24th, 2012, 11:38 AM
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If you like wine, check out the tastings at the wine bar and the free cookies in the afternoon.
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Old November 24th, 2012, 11:52 AM
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Be sure to see the production show "On the Bayou." It is one of the best that Princes has ever done.
Ditto on Bayou! I also enjoyed Motor City and Dance. Attend the Seminars by Bill Keene to learn more about the Panama Canal History. You might want to read Path Between two Oceans. Unfortunately, I didn't finish the book before I sailed, but the chapters that I read helped me understand the early history and how our country got involved. If you like the music of the old crooners, you might want to check out Danny Oliver in the Crooner's lounge each night around 8:00 p.m. He had a concert one night. The lounge was filled each night with extra chairs placed around the bar for the people who did not drink. Try the Beverly Hills Iced Tea!
If you are a Bridge Player, they have Seminars and games during sea days. Don't miss the cooking demonstration by the chefs and the tour of the galley You can also purchase the cookbook. I had too many cookbooks, so I passed on that.
Rather than book a Speciality Restaurant for our Anniversary, we opted for The Ultimate Balcony Dinner on our balcony. We had a waiter in our cabin for the night. They served cocktails and appetizers at six(sailing away from Grand Cayman) and a four-course dinner. We opted for surf and turf and it was too much food. I would suggest that you eat an early light lunch. Tell your travel agent or Princess that you are celebrating. They had balloons and a sign on our door and a cake and fanfare in the dining room, as well. If you have any dietary concerns, please note them on the reservation. We had any time dining, but our head waiter, Carlos made sure that I pre-ordered my lunch and dinner for the next day, each night. He was a jewel! I can't say enough about my room steward, Conrad. The entire crew provided outstanding service and this is an anniversary that I won't forget. Congratulations on your Anniversary! I forgot to mention the excursions. They were all great. I didn't take the small ferry through the additional locks, because i opted for the Panama Canal Dome Car rail trip. We did a round trip on the Dome Car. Several people that I met enjoyed the ferry ride because it was raining and dark when we started through the locks on the ship. Get up early and find you a chair in the front of the ship to view. We were there early, but I could not see over the people for great picture. My best pictures were taken from my balcony on the port side. I could see another ship go through behind us.
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  #7  
Old November 25th, 2012, 07:30 AM
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Sorry, unashamed bump!
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Old November 25th, 2012, 08:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Essexlass2 View Post
Thank you both - taking notes now!

Is there anywhere quiet or particularly good for sunbathing on sea days please? And what are the shops like on board? One lady will be looking for 'something sparkly' on anniversary day so will the on-board shops be best or maybe Grand Cayman? What do you think?
Very limited selection and very limited sizes. I suggest buying sparkly at home. Don't depend on ship or GC.
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  #9  
Old November 25th, 2012, 09:57 AM
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Sabatini's Italian Bistro, $20pp, an excellent choice with very good prepared to order selections. Bayou Cafe, Steak and Cajun selections, also excellent.

The Coral Princess has the Universe Lounge which is an excellent show lounge location with a very large stage area. Suggest you attend a production show there.Watch the Princess Patter for times and content. Arrive early as it will get crowded.

If you like relaxing under the shade/sun, check out the sanctuary, aft. There is a fee for this private retreat area, $10pp/half day. Believe it is $15 for a full day if you book the entire voyage. Book as soon as you board. Search CC for comments about the sanctuary.
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  #10  
Old November 25th, 2012, 12:13 PM
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One of the great things about the Coral are the public decks along the aft of the ship, which we feel offer a terrific alternative to the cabins that are located at the aft of other ships (it's the thing that give the Coral and Island their lovely sleek profiles ). I know the Carib deck has deck loungers which are under the overhang but you can pull them forward for a bit of sun (depending on the orientation of the ship and time of day, natch). Not sure if they are also available on the aft-end of the Dolphin deck...

Have a lovely cruise and congratulations on your celebration!

Last edited by LoriPhil; November 25th, 2012 at 12:14 PM.
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  #11  
Old November 25th, 2012, 12:29 PM
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Thank you so much folks. All advice most gratefully received
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Old November 25th, 2012, 01:16 PM
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Cafe Bayou serves Cajun food which was very good, but not New Orleans style, i.e. it is not very spicy hot, but the venue gives a supper club feeling with a trio playing throughout the evening. When we on the Coral last April, we were surprised at how many customers were crew members - they like the food and ambiance. Of course, so did we. Problem was the dining room food was excellent so it was not as popular among the passengers as it should be. Of all the Princess ships this ship and its sister ship, Island Princess, will feel empty at times as the public space is the largest on per passenger basis.
If you like coffee, get Shady Lady Terrazu coffee at Puntareanas in Costa Rica - it is available at a street stall right near the pier. In Costa Rica, if you are on tour and run across Cafe Volio Export or Doka Estates, I would highly
recommend either brand.
Also, get Cafe Palo Alto Bouquete Panama coffee at the duty-free shop at Fuerte Amador along with some wines from Chile or Argentina - their selection and prices were better than most duty-free stores. Can't recall if they had champagne or even sparkling wine at this store.
Enjoy your cruise.
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Old November 25th, 2012, 01:26 PM
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I enjoyed the Ultimate Ship Tour... sign up as soon as you board the ship. If too many people sign up they do a lottery to see who gets to go. The cost is $150 pp but worth every penny to see the workings of the ship. A photographer follows you and takes group pictures which you get after the tour. You will also receive personnalized stationary, a Princess robe, and a Princess Apron (we got the chef's coat but I heard this was changed to the apron)... you will get drinks and snacks in the kitchen and after our visit to the bridge, we got to sit and have appitizers with the captain. I will never regret having done this......
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Old November 25th, 2012, 01:38 PM
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Quote:
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I enjoyed the Ultimate Ship Tour... sign up as soon as you board the ship. If too many people sign up they do a lottery to see who gets to go. The cost is $150 pp but worth every penny to see the workings of the ship. A photographer follows you and takes group pictures which you get after the tour. You will also receive personnalized stationary, a Princess robe, and a Princess Apron (we got the chef's coat but I heard this was changed to the apron)... you will get drinks and snacks in the kitchen and after our visit to the bridge, we got to sit and have appitizers with the captain. I will never regret having done this......

Hahaha..........pretty funny. Just off the Coral on 11/11 and they couldn't give the UST away. Nobody wanted it. They kept advertising it every single day.
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Old November 25th, 2012, 05:01 PM
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Thank you both - taking notes now!

Is there anywhere quiet or particularly good for sunbathing on sea days please? :
On Baja and Caribe decks there are forward and aft viewing area accessed thru the hallway of cabins, just go thru the door at the end of the hallway. Big deck out back, with lounge chairs, often empty, no lounge chairs up front. Have a great trip!
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Old November 25th, 2012, 05:38 PM
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If you don't read the book suggested, you can get the video from most libraries to view before going.

Bill and his wife's lectures every day were jam packed! Get there a little early.

Bring a sweater with you as some rooms are cooler than others.

If you are doing anytime dining, as we did, it is easier to get a table quickly by saying you will share. Having said that, if you want to eat by yourselves and have anytime dining, you can call every morning and make a reservation for the time you want to dine that evening. On our voyage this past February, we only had three children onboard the ship and many older folks who wanted to eat as soon as the MDR opened. We always had to make reservations daily as there was about a 30 minute wait if we didn't. Just that type of group. Never had to do that on any other voyage.

Try doing the afternoon tea. Simply delightful.

Shore excursions:
We split up in Costa Rica - Hubby went zip lining, I went on the 'jungle cruise.' We both enjoyed our adventures.
Panama: We took the trip that took us through the old military bases and then to the visitors center for the canal. We were very disappointed and would not recommend. We thought we would see more of the military parts but ended up spending over three hours at the visitors center. You can see that in as little as an hour.
Cartagena: We went on the tour of both the old and new city. It was a jam packed day and we learned a lot. Be sure to take water with you as it is very warm there. There was a lot of walking and one of our friends had difficulties with that.
Aruba: We had been here once before and took the basic tour that took you to lighthouse, church, and around the island and then took a boat ride up the coast and back. The rum onboard was great! It showed you a lot of the island and we enjoyed it. This past time, we just walked around and shopped at the local craft shops by the dock.

A few days, there will be an English lunch served in one of the lounges. Pub type food. It was the thing everyone wanted to do the first time it was offered. Some were turned away as they ran out of time and room. It was not as well attended the second time it was offered. Either get there early or wait till the second time.

Try the movies under the stars! So much fun to watch the clouds float by as you watch a movie in a lounge chair!

If you can get onboard early - before 1:30, you can have lunch in the main dining room. When we got onboard, it was too late and Horizon court was packed! Remember, there is also the pizza place and the burger place up by the pools to have a bite to eat and maybe escape the mobbed HC!

Have a wonderful cruise. And happy 50th anniversary to you both! (We took this for our 35th!)
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Old November 25th, 2012, 06:04 PM
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Be prepared for a lot of kids. We had over 750 in March on the Coral years ago and on that smaller sized ship, you really notice it.

Remember that the Coral's HC and gym are opposite of almost all the other Princess ships. If you're used to the other ships, it'll through you for a loop for awhile.

The last time I was on the Coral we had some pretty good-sized waves. If you enjoy them, go to the very front glassed area of the HC and have your meal there while dipping, cresting and dipping through the waves. LOTS of fun to watch the waves crashing over the bow of the ship! Even the crew members were hanging out there to watch the show (those that weren't seasick).
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  #18  
Old November 26th, 2012, 09:37 AM
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This is wonderful, thank you everyone!
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Old November 29th, 2012, 03:26 PM
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Any more advice or tips please?
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Marco Polo - December 2011
P&O Azura - Eastern Caribbean - December 2011
Thomson Dream - Mediterranean Medley - May 2012
P&O Arcadia - Norwegian Fjords & North Cape - May/June 2013
P&O Azura - Central Mediterranean - October 2013
Royal Caribbean - Brilliance of the Seas - Scandinavia and Russia - July 2014
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Old December 7th, 2012, 09:26 AM
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Hello,
We took this cruise when we retired in 2006 and loved it. We had breakfast on our balcony and enjoyed the transit through the locks. When leaving Gatun Lake to exit through the locks, we enjoyed the sights by going from port to aft to starboard sides to enjoy the experience of the locks. We did not take a tour in Panama.

Our best tour was in Costa Rica. It was a train ride, a boat ride on Tortuguero canals and then to a banana plantation.

We are celebrating our 40th anniversary by repeating this cruise on March 7, 2013.

Enjoy your cruise !
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