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back from Coral partial Panama Canal transit


TW6cruiser
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Hello, we were on the Oct 29th Coral sailing to the Panama Canal. I'll do a review soon but if anyone is going shortly and has questions I'd be glad to answer. I learn a lot from this site and would be glad to help anyone out if I can. We really enjoyed the ship and the cruise.

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Hello, we were on the Oct 29th Coral sailing to the Panama Canal. I'll do a review soon but if anyone is going shortly and has questions I'd be glad to answer. I learn a lot from this site and would be glad to help anyone out if I can. We really enjoyed the ship and the cruise.

Hi there!

 

Glad to hear you had a great time! We are doing this cruise on February 27th and I am debating what to do at ports. What did you do in Limon, Costa Rica? Is town close to the port?

 

Many thanks!

 

denise

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Hello,

In Limon, Costa Rica we did the "Veragua Rainforest Tour" and really enjoyed it. It included a walking tour in the rainforest, a tour of the animal displays (butterfly garden, snakes, etc.) and a hike to a beautiful waterfall (there was an optional 'easy' walk on flat land in the forest for those who could not do the steps to the waterfall). The tour also included a ride in an areal tram over the rainforest which was amazing. We saw a toucan and a sloth. The guide at the location was great. The description says it includes a 'snack' which was fresh fruit and a sandwich. Other tours go there as well that include zip lining but that is too adventurous for us. I would recommend the tour. We were really lucky and it did not rain until we got back on the bus.

 

But, keep in mind that being Costa Rica, the road to and from the rainforest was an adventure. It is narrow and bumpy. The bus was new and the driver was excellent so it was ok for us. The ride is about an hour and 15 minutes. We have been to Costa Rica before (so had previously done a coffee tour and banana plantation and boat tour, so did not pick one of those trips) .We sort of expected a bumpy bus ride but some folks were put off.

 

You really don't want to go into "town" as you put it. Yes, it is close to the port but Limon is a shipping port and even though there are some small cafes outside the cruise area there is really nothing there worth seeing and it did not look really safe. There is a craft market inside the cruise area that the bus stopped at on our way back to the ship and some people got off to do some shopping but we did not. The tour was offered from 7:30 am to 1:15 pm or 10 am to 3:15 which we did .We got back a bit late about 3:45.

 

Some of the tours to other locations had problems. The truck drivers were protesting something by driving 20 miles and hour and holding up traffic on the narrow roads. A few tours to other areas ended up sitting in traffic half the day and had police cars escort the buses back to port. Those folks only got a half day tour and missed their second stop altogether. They told us that Princess did refund 1/2 of their money from the excursion. Luckily we did not have this issue on our tour.

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Hello,

In Limon, Costa Rica we did the "Veragua Rainforest Tour" ...

 

Dear TW6cruiser,

 

Thank you so much for your review and insights! They were very helpful. We had been looking at the tour you took and I am happy to know it is a good choice.

 

Regards,

 

denise

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TW6Cruiser,

 

Looking forward to your review as we'll be going in Feb 2015....

 

How were the seas? I know weather is always unpredictable but we have heard from others (that did this cruise) that they experienced sea sickness the first day or two. Said the ship is smaller and narrower than typical so felt that this may have contributed to some bouncing?

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Hello, we were on the Oct 29th Coral sailing to the Panama Canal. I'll do a review soon but if anyone is going shortly and has questions I'd be glad to answer. I learn a lot from this site and would be glad to help anyone out if I can. We really enjoyed the ship and the cruise.

 

Thanks, we're booked on the 14 January 2014 Partial Transit.

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Did you do any tours in the canal or did you stay on the ship while it headed back through the locks?

 

What kind of dining option did you pick? Any time dining or traditional? if it was ATD, was there any wait for any of the nights?

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We were on the October 7 partial transit on the Coral Princess. We did the transit of the Panama Canal on the small ferry. Because Panama did not get their normal rainfall this year, the Canal Authority would not let us go through the locks on the Pacific Ocean side alone, as they release 26 million gallons of fresh water into the ocean every time a ship exits the Canal. We had to wait for a companion ship to go through the Pacific locks with us. We left the Coral Princess at 8:30a.m. and returned to the ship at 8:00p.m. It was a long day, but we had a great story to tell.

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In response to the dining question, we had traditional dining, late seating. We enjoyed our meals. We thought the food was very good and we had excellent service. They had the new Norman Love chocolate dessert selections twice. We only ate in the buffet one night (the night of the canal transit, as it was open seating in the main dining rooms and we were tired from being up so early). One night was a special Italian night which we really enjoyed.

 

We ate breakfast in the main dining room most mornings. The buffet selection for breakfast was also very good the two morning we ate there.

 

At lunch we mostly just had salads from the buffet and had a piece of pizza. The pizza on Princess is fantastic. We did think the buffet selections at lunch were not very appetizing.

 

The international cafe on the Coral had a smaller selection than on other ships that we have been on.

 

In Panama we took the excursion to the expansion center and the Gatun locks visitor center. We thought the expansion center was very interesting. We got a true sense of the scope of the locks seeing the sight of the new locks. We also had a treat of then seeing the Coral princess go back through the locks from the Gatun visitor center.

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Hello, we were on the Oct 29th Coral sailing to the Panama Canal. I'll do a review soon but if anyone is going shortly and has questions I'd be glad to answer. I learn a lot from this site and would be glad to help anyone out if I can. We really enjoyed the ship and the cruise.

 

So nice to read your post. I'll be looking forward to your review.

 

Did you do all Princess excursions? What did you do in Cartagena?

 

Our roll call (2/5/2015) is extremely silent, so your input will be very helpful.

 

:D

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1. I'm not sure about the wine package question. We bought coffee cards. They were also selling the soda packages and also the all inclusive soda/wine/drinks package. I don't recall hearing anything about a wine package. Over the course of the cruise we bought two bottles of wine at dinner. We are not really big drinkers as you can tell so sorry but I can't answer your question.

 

2. Crab Shack question: yes, they had the crab shack I think two times. We did not go to it so I can't comment on the event.

 

3. Excursion question: yes, we did only Princess excursions. Grand Cayman we did a reef snorkel (1/2 day snorkel; very good). I listed Costa Rica above, and in the Canal we did the expansion center and Gatun Locks (also excellent except for having to wait in Colon for the ship). (In Aruba, no excursion).

 

To your specific question on Cartegena, we did the Old Town Walking Tour and time on your own. We really enjoyed it. The area in between the port and the old town was run down to say the best. We would NOT have felt comfortable taking a cab from the ship to the Old Town. That said, I'm sure others did but we are not those types of folks. The tour bus drove past the fort on the way into the Old Town and we had time for quick photos from the bus. We then got to the gate of the old town. Our local guide was very good. We walked through the old town as a group and he pointed out various buildings and sites. He gave us maps and advise on what we may want to see on our own. The walking tour part was maybe an hour or hour and a half. We then stopped at a Princess recommended Emerald store. However, it was not a shopping spree but a chance to use clean and free rest rooms and we got a free soda or bottle of water (ok, not "free" but included in the price of the excursion). Our guide then showed us our meeting place. We had about an hour or so to explore on our own. We went to a few of the local stores for some light shopping. We also went into the San Pedro church ($5 each US to get in). You have to be careful though, as local guys were hanging out inside the entrance trying to get you to use them as a local guide in the church (and then I'm sure ask for money at the end). We used our polite yet firm "no gracias" and just walked through the church and garden on our own. We liked the excursion.

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We were on the October 7 partial transit on the Coral Princess. We did the transit of the Panama Canal on the small ferry. Because Panama did not get their normal rainfall this year, the Canal Authority would not let us go through the locks on the Pacific Ocean side alone, as they release 26 million gallons of fresh water into the ocean every time a ship exits the Canal. We had to wait for a companion ship to go through the Pacific locks with us. We left the Coral Princess at 8:30a.m. and returned to the ship at 8:00p.m. It was a long day, but we had a great story to tell.

 

On the October 29th voyage we did the Panama Canal and locks transit by boat. We were very fortunate that one of the Pacific-side canal expansion gates was being barged from the Atlantic side at about the same time we were making the transit. The barge accompanied us through the Pedro Miguel and Miraflores locks, allowing us to be back on the ship around 6:30PM. Otherwise the excursion would have been longer.

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did you notice if the laundry rooms on coral still use quarters or have they gone to tokens like some other ships

 

Same question here - departing on 1 Dec 14 and don't want to take quarters unless I need to. Thanks!

 

Great review on Columbia tour too!

 

Dan

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