Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Iamthesea

Coral and the Panama Canal Confusion

Recommended Posts

We are looking at the October Coral Princess which includes the Panama Canal. After reading some reviews, it appears that some ships (not just the Coral or Princess) do not actually go through the locks, but the ship goes to thePanama Canal area.

Where does the Coral go? Our itinerary says Panama Canal, but we want to go through the locks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
We are looking at the October Coral Princess which includes the Panama Canal. After reading some reviews, it appears that some ships (not just the Coral or Princess) do not actually go through the locks, but the ship goes to thePanama Canal area.

Where does the Coral go? Our itinerary says Panama Canal, but we want to go through the locks.

 

The Coral goes through the Gatun Locks. It then Anchors in Gatun Lake for a few hours than transit back through the locks.

 

So yes the Coral does go through the locks. You are correct some ships do not actually go through the locks but just dock at the port in Colon.

 

Scott

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Iamthesea,

 

The Coral goes through the Gatun locks on the Caribbean side of the canal on her 10 day r/t from Ft. Lauderdale. She anchors in Gatun Lake for a few hours and then makes her way back through the locks. Princess offers many excursions from ocean to ocean - some by boat, bus or rail. The Coral docks at Colon in the late afternoon.

 

Hope this helps.;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The previous person is correct. We did the Coral Panama Canal cruise and it does go through one set of locks(gatun lock). While the ship is anchored you then can pick assortment of excursions. They are on the Princess site. We took the ocean to ocean tour where we got on a 200 passenger boat and went through the other two locks on the Pacific side. There is also a wealth of info on the Panama Canal ports of call board.

 

marilyn

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Coral(Island) Princess will generally just transit the three locks into Gatun Lake, except for when repositioning either to/from Alaska, in which case she will transit the entire canal. Regal(Sun, Dawn) will only be making longer trips with full transits through the entire canal.

 

It is only the larger ships that will not be able to get into the locks, and will instead call at Colon (ie: as Grand Princess has done out of Galveston) and offer excursions to the grandstands at the Gatun Locks.

 

I believe the itinerary will tell you the difference. If you are just making a port call, it will read "Colon," and if you going to the canal it will read "Panama Canal" (as well as "Colon," if you are also calling there.)

 

Have fun!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The previous person is correct. We did the Coral Panama Canal cruise and it does go through one set of locks(gatun lock). While the ship is anchored you then can pick assortment of excursions. They are on the Princess site. We took the ocean to ocean tour where we got on a 200 passenger boat and went through the other two locks on the Pacific side. There is also a wealth of info on the Panama Canal ports of call board.

Thank you to all! I believe the above information about taking the excursions through the locks and the other about opposite ocean excursions through us off.

 

Now, if someone could just reassure us about the Coral as a ship? Read many negative reviews that compared the ship to HAL. We were once on one of the newer HAL ships and didn't care for it (dark colors and low ceiling ship, lots of small rooms and non impressive theater and dining room, service and food not spectacular, although the SS stateroom/balcony were great!), so how does the Coral compare? We seem to always go back to RCCL or Celebrity for their service and openness of the newer ships. Nightlife is not a big deal to us as we are early risers and early-to-bed type of people in our early 50's.

 

What about the AD mini-suites? What type of accommodations with RCCL best compares?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you to all! I believe the above information about taking the excursions through the locks and the other about opposite ocean excursions through us off.

 

Now, if someone could just reassure us about the Coral as a ship? Read many negative reviews that compared the ship to HAL. We were once on one of the newer HAL ships and didn't care for it (dark colors and low ceiling ship, lots of small rooms and non impressive theater and dining room, service and food not spectacular, although the SS stateroom/balcony were great!), so how does the Coral compare? We seem to always go back to RCCL or Celebrity for their service and openness of the newer ships. Nightlife is not a big deal to us as we are early risers and early-to-bed type of people in our early 50's.

 

What about the AD mini-suites? What type of accommodations with RCCL best compares?

I loved the Coral on my Panama Canal Cruise in 11/04! [i am booked on her again for Alaska in May this year.] We were in an AB minisuite on Baja deck---it was great. The Bayou restaurant is super as is the Lotus pool and spa area. Loved it and can't wait till May!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have been on the Island which is Coral's sister and it is the best ship I've ever been on. You can't go wrong with the Coral. I don't know where you are seeing negative reviews about the Coral. She and her sister have a pretty large group of fans.

 

Scott

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We did the Panama on the Island (sister ship to the Coral) in Jan 2004. The Coral class is our favorite of all the classes. Facilities similar (slight smaller) to a Grand class with 600-700 less people. We did a minisuite, based on our experience on Sun Class balcony cabins, but after doing Balconies on the Star (Grand Class), a balcony on the Coral (similar in size) would probably have been sufficient - not as nice but we did pay post 9/11 prices for a mini. Balconies now cost more!

 

A couple of things to keep in mind.

 

1) You can only get off the ship in Gatun lake if you have a scheduled excursion and the ship will leave the lake while you are gone. You will meet back up at the pier on the Atlantic side.

 

2) You only see the Gatun locks and Gatun lake, not the Guillard cut or any of the locks on the Pacific side. Its still neat to see ocean going ships running around a freshwater lake.

 

3) This is one cruise where a balcony pays off - if you are on the side facing the other lock when you enter. The upper decks and the promenade can get very crowded. We went in on the west lock (on the right as you head in) and our balcony faced the center between the two locks. We watched a sailboat and tug in one lock and an HAL cruise ship just behind it. Pretty neat. We did not get off the ship in the lake, but had almost the whole ship to ourselves. When we left, we went out the same locks so our balcony faced the jungle. So we went down to the Promendade where you could step off onto the concrete if you wanted and watched a cargo Panamax freighter in the lock next to us follow us out. Very cool.

 

The next Panama trip we take will be a Grand Panama through the whole thing. I highly recommend it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I don't know where you are seeing negative reviews about the Coral. She and her sister have a pretty large group of fans.

I got the reveiws off THAT other site with the initials CA.

 

Just what do you see going through the locks? Why leave the company of your balcony (especially that early in the morning) when you can see it all later that afternoon up on top?

 

We are used to JS (Junior Suites) on Royal. Can anyone compare the sizes of the JS to the AD (are all mini's the same size?) :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've been on both Coral and Island. Coral is my favorite ship, and I love this class. It is hard for me to feature anyone writing a negative review. Nice size, lovely crew, food is more than adequate, as are the facilities. I'm not sure what there is not to love.....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Can anyone compare the sizes of the JS to the AD (are all mini's the same size?) :)

 

I can't help you with a comparison to RCCL, but I do think you need to choose your cabin on this class of ship carefully. I would avoid cabins that are adjacent (or near) any of the bumpouts. The bumpouts will obstruct your forward/aft views. In fact, I'd suggest a cabin in one of the bumpouts, unless there's a cabin you *really* want that is very nearly centered between the bumpouts.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We were on the Coral for the Feb 16 sailing of the Panama Canal ... it was great. Had a fabulous time, met some amazing people, cruised with friends from previous cruises, did the Locks and River Cruise excursion which was a relaxed way to spend the day off the ship. Only problem was, after the excursion we had to wait 3 hours for the ship to come back to pick us up ... had to spend it in a bar beside the dock, darn!:D

 

The ship was wonderful, we enjoyed the Provence Dining room so much that we missed most of the evening shows because our table was the last one to leave the room 8 nights out of 10. The Head Waiter, Jack (from South Africa) was most welcoming and made a point of circulating through the tables every evening, stopping and visiting with all the diners. Service was efficient, as was room service, food was terrific, and we all had a great time. You'll enjoy the ship - if you don't "need" a balcony, book one of the aft cabins ... we had B731 and had a huge deck outside our cabin that overlooked the rear of the ship. It was a terrific vantage point for transiting the locks. Don't even think about going to a forward deck unless you get there about 5AM because you'll be standing about 3 people deep on each deck and can't see anything. From the rear you'll have a great view of the locks as they close behind you and they fill with water. Enjoy!

 

Smooth Sailing! :) :) :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm confused about this whole location thing. :confused:

 

Is B731 not condiered a balcony cabin?

 

Can anyone recommend the perfect deck and location for a mini-suite that has either a fully or partially covered balcony that no one above can look down and we cannot see others below us? My TA is quoting us a price with AD and AC.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Is B731 not condiered a balcony cabin?

Sorry, the above was meant to say considered a balcony. Don't know where my head was when I wrote that! :D

 

I have noticed that on most of the fall/winter 2005 cruises on any of the Princess ships, all of the mini-suites and above staterooms are gone. That's very unusual for cruises that far away.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I believe B731 only has a window. You have to exit the cabin door into the corridor and then walk around to get out the aft doors of the ship to access the deck. This cabin doesn't open up directly onto the deck.

 

Maybe this photo will help? You can't see the Baja deck aft cabins, but you can see the similar cabins with the windows on Emerald deck. http://community.webshots.com/photo/141795594/141810595FmglQC

 

People spend a LOT of time on those aft decks, especially at the Canal, so I'm not sure this is a cabin I'd want. You'd have to keep the drapes closed for privacy...which sort of defeats the purpose of having a window. :)

 

Here's another great place to get all the news that's fit to print on Coral Princess: http://cruiseclues.com/shipstips/coralprincess.htm

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I have noticed that on most of the fall/winter 2005 cruises on any of the Princess ships, all of the mini-suites and above staterooms are gone. That's very unusual for cruises that far away.

 

No, actually the "best" cabins are booked almost a year in advance, especially the Panama Canal cruises. We've loved 2 cruises on the Coral and will probably go again. Great ship, great itinerary. It doesn't matter what cabin you're in for moving through the locks, your best bet is to move around the ship anyway.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm confused about this whole location thing. :confused:

 

Is B731 not condiered a balcony cabin?

 

Can anyone recommend the perfect deck and location for a mini-suite that has either a fully or partially covered balcony that no one above can look down and we cannot see others below us? My TA is quoting us a price with AD and AC.

We were in minisuite B210, Baja deck, near the front of the ship, well in front of the most forward bumpout. The balcony is partially covered. The rooms above on the Aloha deck are the officers quarters. We never heard any noise from above. Views to the side and front were good.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you so much for all the links and suggestions. Great photo of the Princess aft!

 

Is there a good chance that some min-suites will open up for the October sailings with cancellations? We really want to go on this cruise.:(

 

Can someone please answer this:

Just what do you see going through the locks? Why leave the company of your balcony (especially that early in the morning) when you can see it all later that afternoon up on top?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One of the reasons you may not want to stay on your balcony is because you can't observe the filling and emptying of the lock chambers unless you are on one of the fore or aft decks.

 

Another reason might be because you are on the wrong side of the ship to watch the adjacent ship transiting with you.

 

We spent quite a bit of time on our balcony, but we also moved around the ship a lot. This is the highlight of your trip, and you really want to see all that you can!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

B731 is not a balcony cabin, just a cabin with a window which overlooks the back deck. We simply had to walk out our cabin door, go about 20 feet down the hall and open the door to the deck. Yes, there were a lot of people there on canal day, but we kept our sheer curtains closed and had the benefit of daylight, without the worry of people watching what we were doing. The deck was used at other times during the cruise, but not to a great extent - there were always at least 4 or 5 deck chairs open when we went out to read in the sun. We enjoyed the cabin and would certainly book it again!

 

Smooth Sailing! :) :) :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Check out this short 'movie'. go to http://briefcase.yahoo.com/WazAnOkie, and click on the 'Panama' link. The first half is from the bridge cam of the Coral, the second half is from the cam at Gatun Locks.

 

A co-worker captured all the images from the bridge cam, and stitched them together into a movie. The same was done with all the images from the Gatun Locks cam.

 

You should be able to see the Canal cam's at http://www.pancanal.com/eng/photo/camera-java.html

 

lots of other interesting pages at the same web site, like:

http://www.pancanal.com/eng/general/howitworks/index.html

poke around on that website, tons of information.

 

The Coral was superb, and would love to go again.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sounds nice! Are these staterooms hard to get and what is the price difference from a mini-suite w/balcony?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • 2019 Cruisers' Choice Awards
      • NCL Sail-Away Giveaway Sweepstakes - Win a 7-Day Cruise on Norwegian Joy!
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Community Contests
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...