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pd4st

Coral Princess - hints and impressions

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Just got off the Coral for the April 1 to 11 Panama Canal cruise. Wanted to pass on some hints and suggestions as well as overall impressions. We booked this cruise about 4 weeks out - kind of a last minute thing on our part. We just looked for a good deal going anywhere once we realized we could take the time off from work.

 

HINTS/SUGGESTIONS

 

1. Cabins at back of Deck 8 are wonderfully situated for viewing the Canal transit. At the very rear of Deck 8 (Emerald Deck)is a large balcony that runs the entire width of the ship and it's perfect for viewing the transit. You could not get any closer or a better view from anywhere else on the entire ship. What's even better is that hardly anyone knows this balcony exists and thus we only had about a half dozen folks with us so no jockeying to get to a great view. This had to be my #1 hint/suggestion!

 

2. We booked this cruise late and the only balcony cabins available were at the rear of Deck 8. We were in 704 and had an enlarged balcony which was great however we were worried we would hear music from the Universe Lounge right below us. We never heard a peep. Rooms are very soundproof. Only heard folks talking in hallways right outside our cabin door once is a great while.

 

3. Keep an eye on the daily Princess Patter as it lists bars that offer two for one drink specials, usually in the Wheelhouse Lounge.

 

4. When ordering room service for breakfast, don't limit your selections to the items listed on the breakfast room service menu that you hang on your door once completed (only has juices, coffee/tea, breads and cereals). On the last night of the cruise, another passenger told us she wrote in eggs, hash browns, bacon, etc... and all was delivered hot and fresh. The room service menu does not indicate that you can order additional items but this fellow passenger did it and it worked.

 

5. On the next to last day of the cruise, we found out that at the rear of the Lido buffet (actually around the corner where there's a white grand piano and dance floor)is a guy dishing out ice cream from 1pm to 5pm. He usually has two flavors and various toppings. He's really out of the way and you can't see him from the buffet. His location is not well known and I think the reason is that Princess wants you to buy the Hagen Daaz by the pool. Hardly no one knew about this option and ended up paying for their ice cream during those afternoon hours when a nice cold dish of ice cream is so very welcome.

 

6. As per a suggestion on another Cruise Critic post, we did request that a foam pad be placed on top of our mattress as we heard the beds were hard. The mattress didn't seem that hard to the touch but we kept the pad and it was quite comfortable. You have to request this through your travel agent. Princess will not respond to a direct request from the passenger before the cruise. If you wait until you're on the cruise, they may run out.

 

7. In Grand Cayman, we went to the Beach Club on Seven Mile Beach. It was a $3 per person cab fare each way and $16 to use the beach, facilities and chairs. Umbrellas are $5 extra as are lockers ($3). However, there were 7 cruise ships in the day we were there and the beach was VERY CROWDED. I would suggest you ask to go to another beach if a lot of ships are in as this is the place all the cruise lines send people who want to have a day at the beach in Grand Cayman.

 

8. We never had to wait for an elevator. Rarely felt crowded on this ship even though it was full.

 

IMPRESSIONS

 

This was our 7th cruise and our first with Princess. We have sailed RCCL, NCL and Celebrity. We are a professional couple in our late 40's and so far, we think we like RCCL best. It offers lots of activities and has nice ships with pretty good food.

 

This cruise line did not live up to our expectations. We had always thought that Princess would be on par with Celebrity and I found this particular experience to be even below NCL. We talked to many folks who felt the same way. People we met on board who had sailed Princess multiple times in the past were also disappointed with this cruise experience. This is what we thought.

 

1. Food was mediocre. Nothing memorable. All breads and rolls were excellent but they floundered on almost all fish dishes (forgive the pun). However the lobster was excellent. Desserts were especially disappointing.

 

2. The entertainment was really disappointing with a few exceptions. The ventriloquist was excellent. Really fresh and funny show. Brought the house down. Anette St. John who sings jazz in the Bayou Cafe was outstanding. What a voice and her band was incredible. You wonder why she doesn't have a recording contract.

 

We did not see any of the Broadway type shows but those who did said they were good. We saw one of the comedians and he was OK. The other comedian they had on the next to last night was dreadful and his jokes were geared towards the negative aspects of aging. Very inappropriate and not very funny in my opinion (and the opinion of the audience that didn't laugh much). We walked out after 10 minutes and were not alone.

 

The band by the main pool consisted of two guys. One worked an electric keyboard and the other had two steel drums. One sang and he wasn't very good. They did not inspire people to get up and dance or even tap their toes. When they sang, Who Let The Dogs Out, you could barely recognize it. At the sail away party (and I use the term party loosely), what they provided was boring backgroud music. Not at all lively and fun. Extremely disappointing for me as I usually love sitting on deck with a Pina Colada in hand while listening to a good Caribbean band. Princess needs to replace them ASAP. Lots of folks had the same types of comments about this band.

 

In the Wheelhouse Lounge, there were two small bands playing dance music but hardly anyone danced and it was because the bands were not that good. The the female lead in one of the bands had a heavy Russian accent and it was just unusual to hear Patsy Cline's "Crazy" sung with such a strong accent. Felt like a Greta Garbo experience.

 

3. I don't care to carry my beach towel with me to and from the pool. If you needed an extra one or spontaneously decided to just get in the pool or hot tub, you had to go back to your room and get your towels. Once, we needed some dry ones as we had used our in the morning for a beach excusion and wanted some sand-free ones for the afternoon at the pool. We had to call housekeeping. They said they'd try to get some delivered to our cabin. After 30 minutes, I walked the halls and found someone who was able to get into a closet on our deck and get us some.

 

4. We did PC dining and really enjoyed the option of eating whenever we wanted. We sat with different folks and met some really nice and interesting people. When you go into the PC dining room, they automatically try and seat you at table for 8 to 10 but when you do this, it takes about 3 hours to eat dinner. Towards the end of the cruise, we requested a table for 2 and we cut our dinner time in half. This allowed us time to do other things in the evenings. Service wise, about half the time we had nice and patient waiters. The other half of the time we didn't. I guess that what happens with PC dining.

 

5. There was a good mix of passengers on this cruise because it was over spring break. We had a variety of ages including 300 children. The ship staff said this is not typical as the passengers are usually more of an elderly crowd. In the evenings, there usually wasn't much going on past 11:00. Perhaps the overall cruise experience was geared towards an elderly crowd and then a bunch of younger folks booked this cruise.

 

Would I sail with Princess again? Probably not although seasoned Princess sailers said that this cruise was not a typical Princess experience. If there was a great deal, I would consider it but for my money and precious time away from work, I'll go with NCL, RCCL or Celebrity.

 

If you have any questions, please feel free to e-mail.

 

pd4st

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We were on the March 12 sailing of Coral Princess, and found just the opposite of your problems to be true. We had a fantastic experience in all aspects. I wonder what happened?

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Hi,

 

It's great that you had such a wonderful experience on the Coral. I guess opinions are just that, opinions. I don't think anything "happened" on our cruise. Those were just our impressions, the good and the not so good.

 

Happy Sailing!

pd4st

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Just got off the Coral for the April 1 to 11 Panama Canal cruise. Wanted to pass on some hints and suggestions as well as overall impressions. We booked this cruise about 4 weeks out - kind of a last minute thing on our part. We just looked for a good deal going anywhere once we realized we could take the time off from work.

 

HINTS/SUGGESTIONS

 

1. Cabins at back of Deck 8 are wonderfully situated for viewing the Canal transit. At the very rear of Deck 8 (Emerald Deck)is a large balcony that runs the entire width of the ship and it's perfect for viewing the transit. You could not get any closer or a better view from anywhere else on the entire ship. What's even better is that hardly anyone knows this balcony exists and thus we only had about a half dozen folks with us so no jockeying to get to a great view. This had to be my #1 hint/suggestion!

 

2. We booked this cruise late and the only balcony cabins available were at the rear of Deck 8. We were in 704 and had an enlarged balcony which was great however we were worried we would hear music from the Universe Lounge right below us. We never heard a peep. Rooms are very soundproof. Only heard folks talking in hallways right outside our cabin door once is a great while.

 

3. Keep an eye on the daily Princess Patter as it lists bars that offer two for one drink specials, usually in the Wheelhouse Lounge.

 

4. When ordering room service for breakfast, don't limit your selections to the items listed on the breakfast room service menu that you hang on your door once completed (only has juices, coffee/tea, breads and cereals). On the last night of the cruise, another passenger told us she wrote in eggs, hash browns, bacon, etc... and all was delivered hot and fresh. The room service menu does not indicate that you can order additional items but this fellow passenger did it and it worked.

 

5. On the next to last day of the cruise, we found out that at the rear of the Lido buffet (actually around the corner where there's a white grand piano and dance floor)is a guy dishing out ice cream from 1pm to 5pm. He usually has two flavors and various toppings. He's really out of the way and you can't see him from the buffet. His location is not well known and I think the reason is that Princess wants you to buy the Hagen Daaz by the pool. Hardly no one knew about this option and ended up paying for their ice cream during those afternoon hours when a nice cold dish of ice cream is so very welcome.

 

6. As per a suggestion on another Cruise Critic post, we did request that a foam pad be placed on top of our mattress as we heard the beds were hard. The mattress didn't seem that hard to the touch but we kept the pad and it was quite comfortable. You have to request this through your travel agent. Princess will not respond to a direct request from the passenger before the cruise. If you wait until you're on the cruise, they may run out.

 

7. In Grand Cayman, we went to the Beach Club on Seven Mile Beach. It was a $3 per person cab fare each way and $16 to use the beach, facilities and chairs. Umbrellas are $5 extra as are lockers ($3). However, there were 7 cruise ships in the day we were there and the beach was VERY CROWDED. I would suggest you ask to go to another beach if a lot of ships are in as this is the place all the cruise lines send people who want to have a day at the beach in Grand Cayman.

 

8. We never had to wait for an elevator. Rarely felt crowded on this ship even though it was full.

 

IMPRESSIONS

 

This was our 7th cruise and our first with Princess. We have sailed RCCL, NCL and Celebrity. We are a professional couple in our late 40's and so far, we think we like RCCL best. It offers lots of activities and has nice ships with pretty good food.

 

This cruise line did not live up to our expectations. We had always thought that Princess would be on par with Celebrity and I found this particular experience to be even below NCL. We talked to many folks who felt the same way. People we met on board who had sailed Princess multiple times in the past were also disappointed with this cruise experience. This is what we thought.

 

1. Food was mediocre. Nothing memorable. All breads and rolls were excellent but they floundered on almost all fish dishes (forgive the pun). However the lobster was excellent. Desserts were especially disappointing.

 

2. The entertainment was really disappointing with a few exceptions. The ventriloquist was excellent. Really fresh and funny show. Brought the house down. Anette St. John who sings jazz in the Bayou Cafe was outstanding. What a voice and her band was incredible. You wonder why she doesn't have a recording contract.

 

We did not see any of the Broadway type shows but those who did said they were good. We saw one of the comedians and he was OK. The other comedian they had on the next to last night was dreadful and his jokes were geared towards the negative aspects of aging. Very inappropriate and not very funny in my opinion (and the opinion of the audience that didn't laugh much). We walked out after 10 minutes and were not alone.

 

The band by the main pool consisted of two guys. One worked an electric keyboard and the other had two steel drums. One sang and he wasn't very good. They did not inspire people to get up and dance or even tap their toes. When they sang, Who Let The Dogs Out, you could barely recognize it. At the sail away party (and I use the term party loosely), what they provided was boring backgroud music. Not at all lively and fun. Extremely disappointing for me as I usually love sitting on deck with a Pina Colada in hand while listening to a good Caribbean band. Princess needs to replace them ASAP. Lots of folks had the same types of comments about this band.

 

In the Wheelhouse Lounge, there were two small bands playing dance music but hardly anyone danced and it was because the bands were not that good. The the female lead in one of the bands had a heavy Russian accent and it was just unusual to hear Patsy Cline's "Crazy" sung with such a strong accent. Felt like a Greta Garbo experience.

 

3. I don't care to carry my beach towel with me to and from the pool. If you needed an extra one or spontaneously decided to just get in the pool or hot tub, you had to go back to your room and get your towels. Once, we needed some dry ones as we had used our in the morning for a beach excusion and wanted some sand-free ones for the afternoon at the pool. We had to call housekeeping. They said they'd try to get some delivered to our cabin. After 30 minutes, I walked the halls and found someone who was able to get into a closet on our deck and get us some.

 

4. We did PC dining and really enjoyed the option of eating whenever we wanted. We sat with different folks and met some really nice and interesting people. When you go into the PC dining room, they automatically try and seat you at table for 8 to 10 but when you do this, it takes about 3 hours to eat dinner. Towards the end of the cruise, we requested a table for 2 and we cut our dinner time in half. This allowed us time to do other things in the evenings. Service wise, about half the time we had nice and patient waiters. The other half of the time we didn't. I guess that what happens with PC dining.

 

5. There was a good mix of passengers on this cruise because it was over spring break. We had a variety of ages including 300 children. The ship staff said this is not typical as the passengers are usually more of an elderly crowd. In the evenings, there usually wasn't much going on past 11:00. Perhaps the overall cruise experience was geared towards an elderly crowd and then a bunch of younger folks booked this cruise.

 

Would I sail with Princess again? Probably not although seasoned Princess sailers said that this cruise was not a typical Princess experience. If there was a great deal, I would consider it but for my money and precious time away from work, I'll go with NCL, RCCL or Celebrity.

 

If you have any questions, please feel free to e-mail.

 

pd4st

 

THank you for all the good advise.

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