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sherman931

Review Coral Princess 11/24 - 12/4

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Coral Princess Thanksgiving Cruise Nov 24 thru Dec 4.

Captain: Giorgio Pomata

Cruise Director: J.J. Ulrich

Throughout the entire cruise the ship never changes time either forward or back although some port times were different. Passengers were caution about the different times when going ashore.

 

General Information

I have a job, like many of you, that is high stress and very demanding. It is difficult for me to get away. And the only true way to get away is board a ship and head out to sea. I don’t care for the hustle bustle of getting up for tours and prefer to just lay around the ship. My wife and I live in Boynton Beach, FL, which is about a 45 minute drive to Port Everglades. This was our third cruise….all on Princess. The first two were on the Caribbean Princess, east and western Caribbean cruises. We enjoy shows, cocktails and always have a bottle of wine with dinner when eating out. Cruising certainly qualifies as eating out therefore we had a bottle of wine with every dinner. We brought five bottles on board, all reds. We also purchased bottles for those nights we did not bring our own. We also enjoy a drink (either glass of wine or martini before dinner). Also brought a CD player with small portable speakers for use on our balcony; a flashlight, noise machine for sleeping, small power strip with three outlets, cloths steamer, disinfectant wipes, and air freshener for bathroom.

 

We generally eat during the day at the Horizon Court, Pizza and/or Hamburger places. Evening meals were at the Bordeaux Dining Room Personal Choice.

 

Living close to the port has certainly advantages, and I salute those of you who have to fly into either Ft. Laud or Miami. It must be stressful and a pain to have to pack and haul all that luggage onto planes.

 

Embarkation/Day One (Dress - Smart Casual)

We left our home and headed to Port Everglades at about noon. Arrived at the Port a little before on, dropped off wife and luggage pier side and parked in the garage at Pier Two ($12 per day). Hustled out of the garage and wife and I proceeded to board. Step one; quickly filled out the “were you sick within the past 48 hours” form. Step two; proceeded through security scanner; Step three: checked in at counter. Step four; boarded ship (passed on the photo op). There was virtually no waiting. We were in our stateroom which was located port side forward part of the ship (Aloha 404BB balcony) before 1:30 PM. Originally we booked Baja 408BC and we were upgraded early on to our Aloha cabin. Once in the cabin, took the Lysol disinfectant wipes and gave everything a quick wipe down as an extra precaution to insure things in the room are sanitary. Unpacked our carry-on luggage, including our wine and we were set.

 

Note: Our cabin was below the main pool deck. Occasionaly you could here a chair being dragged or footsteps if someone was running. However I did not find this to be problematic or frequent. I personally would not concern myself with this nor would I hesitate in taking the same cabin again.

 

Our cabin steward (Mr Watcharatoon), who was called Toon, greeted us. I asked for two robes, feather pillows and an egg crate. I told him it was okay to put the egg crate on in the morning when he made the bed. I gave him $10.

 

Writer’s Opinion: There is a lot of commentary on this board about tipping extra in advance. My philosophy is give a little up front and if they are responsive and pleasant throughout the cruise, then give them a little more at the end. We were provided with everything we asked for, so Mr. Toon was also tipped extra at the end of the cruise.

 

Next we headed up to Horizon Court for some lunch. The majority of passengers seemed to be seniors, very few kids on board. As always, during embarkation, it was hectic at the buffet since everyone has the same objective after boarding and that is getting something to eat. A few people cutting in or jostling, but it’s going to happen, and I just shrug it off.

 

They had the hand sanitizing stations and most people were compliant. Unfortunately there were a few idiots who don’t use the tongs and pick up cookies, bread etc. using their bare hands.

 

Writer’s Opinion: Lots of comments on this board about quality of food. Personally, I was always able to find something that I liked. I have no expectation that all the meals are going to be perfect for my particular taste. Yes, there were times when something on the buffet sat out a little too long and maybe dried out or the texture changed. I just passed or waited until the staff brought out a fresh batch.

 

After lunch, back to the cabin to see if our luggage arrived. Not yet, so we took a tour of the ship, which was gorgeous. Very clean, easy to get around and very helpful staff. Thanks to the posters on this board it was easier because of the tip about the trim in the carpet (red for port and blue for starboard). Makes it so much easier. Throughout the cruise I shared this with several passengers who I noticed couldn’t get there bearings. When I showed them they were amazed and so thankful as if I shared an ancient secret with them.

 

After touring, we again checked for our luggage and it was there (about 3PM). We unpacked and put everything away. By then it was time for the muster drill. We headed for our station in the Wheelhouse Bar. After muster up on deck for the sail-away. The sun had pretty much set and we headed out to sea pretty much on time. We returned to our balcony to relax before getting ready for dinner. We have always selected Personal Choice and enjoy that option. We usually have a drink before dinner and like to eat around 8PM. Went down to the Bayou Café for a martini and listened to some jazz.

 

Since it was Thanksgiving I think everyone was having dinner in the dining rooms as that first night it was pretty hectic getting a table. The PC dining room is the Bordeaux. We generally dine alone, but in order to get seated we sat with six other people ( three from England, two from California and one from Bermuda). All very pleasant tablemates. Out waiter was Joao Paulo from Portugal, and Apichat from Thailand. Joao seated us and said “How ya dooin” as in a Robert Dinero impersonator. Very good job too! He was an excellent waiter. Obviously, turkey was on the menu. Also lots of items with a pumpkin base. I opted for the Chatbriand, which was excellent.

 

After dinner we headed for the casino.....should have went to bed, which we eventually did.

 

The main entertainment that night was the “Welcome Aboard Show” in the Princess Theater. Other entertainment included “Max Sherman Band” and Terry and Maya Duo in the Wheelhouse Lounge, Perry Phillips Trio” in the Bayou Cafe.

 

Day Two/At Sea (Dress - Formal) Seas calm, sunny skies.

 

Up at 8AM, the nice thing about our cabin location was being one deck below and slightly aft of Horizon Court. Every morning I would run up with insulated mugs, get some coffee, rolls, fruit etc. and take them back to the cabin were DW and I would have a lite breakfast on our balcony.

 

Writer’s Opinion: Now many of you may ask “why not use room service”. Here’s why...I never know what time I want to (or will) wake up. And when you fill out the form the nite before you have to indicate what time they should deliver. So I am always worried the delivery steward will wake me up. Also, once I am up I don’t want to wait after I phone in the order. In fact, on the next to the last nite we ordered the breakfast to be delivered at 8:30AM and the guy showed up at 7:30...said they had so many orders that’s why it was early LOL.

 

Each day I would exercise, which I do at home also. On the CP I walked the Promenade Deck for a few miles each morning. Since it was a sea day we spent much of our time lounging around by the pool or on our balcony.

 

A word about balconies: Our balcony was covered, the overhang extended about 6 to 8 feet beyond the end of the balcony. The balcony was small (about 7ft across 5ft deep) and had a table and two partially reclining chairs.

 

As best I could determine (exclusive of bump-out sections) Aloha is covered, Baja is covered, Caribe, which are the biggest, are partially covered, and Dolphin is uncovered. The bump out sections vary a bit. Aft bump-out Aloha and Baja covered, Caribe partially covered and Dolphin covered. Fwd bump-out Aloha exposed; Baja, Caribe and Dolphin covered. Not sure about the balconies on Emerald.

 

The Captain has his cocktail party on this day in the Atrium. Free drinks are passed out by waiters. If you want something different then what is offered, just ask and they will bring it to you.

 

Next we went on to dinner. This nite we were seated at a table for two, which was fine with us. Our waiter was Steven. For the rest of the cruise we decided to sit in the section serviced by Joao and Apichat, our waitstaff from the first night. They were pleasant and fun, so before we left we asked the Head waiter for an 8PM reservation in their section, which he took care of. The head waiters for the Bordeaux are Godwin and Augusto, both excellent.

 

After dinner we went to the 10:15 show in Princess Theater which featured a comedian named Chas Elstner. Not my cup of tea…he just wasn’t funny. I actually felt sorry for him as he was not getting a lot of laughs.

 

After the show we went to the casino to donate more money to Pricness.

 

Note: Read the Patter carefully as several of the shows are in the Universe Lounge, not the Princess Theatre. When we went to the Princess Theatre we though we were going to see the production show “Tribute”, but it was in the Universe Lounge. Our fault!

 

Day Three/Cozumel (Dress – Smart Casual) Sunny and Hot

Ship anchored at Cozumel and it was necessary to tender ashore. However, tenders were provided by the port and were very large and accommodated lots of people (about 400). DW and I stayed aboard to just relax and lay back.

 

Had pre-dinner cocktails at the Wheelhouse Bar and enjoyed the songs by Terry and Maya Duo.

 

At dinner the headwaiter Augusto, brought us a special Shrimp Risotto as an appetizer. It was delicious.

 

After dinner went to see Sarge (comedian). Many people post great things about him on this board. I concur, he was great very funny. Don’t miss him if he aboard during your cruise.

 

Day Four/Grand Cayman (Dress –Smart Casual) Sunny/with occasional clouds.

Anchored at Grand Cayman. Again, the port provided some tenders, in addition to those provided by Princess.

 

Went ashore at Grand Cayman. Many people were upset because most of the shops were closed (Sunday). However, enough were opened to meet our needs. DW purchased a gold bracelet and I got a gold chain. Also purchased two liters of Grey Goose @$26 per bottle. The shop wouldn’t let you take it, they would have it delivered to the ship. It was delivered to our stateroom on the last day.

 

Since it was Sunday, they did broadcast some of the NFL games. They had the afternoon games PATRIOTS vs. CHEIFS and the 4PM game GIANTS at SEAHAWKS.

 

Drinks on our balcony before dinner. As I mentioned earlier, the location of our cabin was great, as I could run up to Horizon Court and bring down a plate of cheese, crackers, grapes, etc. to have with our wine/cocktails on the balcony.

 

Off to dinner, and again Augusto brought out a special risotto appetizer. This time it was a Chicken risotto. Godwin stopped by to taste our wine

 

Joao and Apichat were their usual charming selves.

 

Day Five/At Sea (Dress – Smart Casual) Sunny – Seas smooth

Spent a lot of time at the Lotus Pool. They had the roof closed and the area was AC’d. Although, with the sun shinning thru the glass it was still pretty warm. It is a nice area to relax and read. Generally wasn’t very crowded. I think it is supposed to be adults only, but there were a few “Griswalds” that had their kid there. I wouldn’t mind except they were yelling and jumping in the pool and being somewhat disruptive. Also saw a lady with a kid in diapers (had a supposedly water proof pant over the diaper) in the main pool. As usual Staff did nothing.

 

Writer’s Opinion: I believe that you could do anything short of a felony on the ships and Princess staffers would never say a word.

This was the day of the Princess Grapevine Wine Tasting. $7.50 sign-up fee and if you order a bottle of wine for dinner they deduct $5 from the fee. You taste five wines during the session which lasted about and hour.

 

After the session we signed up for the Maitre d’ Wine Tasting at $25 pp. to be held at a future date

 

Other events included Trivia, Ice Carving Demo, Cocktail Demo, Line Dancing and of course Bingo.

 

Cocktails and Dinner, Augusto brought out a special appetizer of Carpaccio.

 

Headed for the Princess Theater to see the show “Da Beat”. Primarily singing and dancing by Princess performers. An okay show, they worked hard and it was enjoyable.

 

Off to the casino.

 

Day Six/Limon Sunny and Hot

Docked at Limon starboard side to the pier.

 

Relaxed in the AM at pool, etc. Went ashore in the afternoon and walked around the market place. Nothing remarkable, standard shops and merchandise. Went back to the ship and just hung-out. Sail-away at 6PM and as usual, watch one or two stragglers strolling down the pier about a half hour late. If I was the Captain those late comers would have arrived at an empty pier. Or perhaps I would have charged them the prorated rate for a half hour that it costs the ship to dock.

 

Drinks and dinner..it was Italian night in the dining room. Again, Augusto brought out a special risotto, this time it was Radicchio Risotto. For dinner I had the veal chop and after dinner a lemoncello.

 

To the casino for awhile. Had to get to bed early and set the clock (phone) for 5:30AM wake-up as we are arriving at the canal.

 

Day Seven/Panama Canal

Arrive early at the Panama Canal, it was still dark. But it was impressive as you approach the locks before daylight breaks. We had a pilot aboard who gave a blow-by-blow description as we proceeded through the canal. During transit I viewed the process from the promenade deck, balcony on Alhoa deck and from the stern The upper-decks forward all have the tinted glass wind shields which making photographing difficult. We were fortunate to have the Celebrity Galaxy transit at the same time in the adjacent lock and slightly aft. I got good pictures and viewing from the aft public areas on Baja, Caribe and Dolphin decks. Also the view from the promenade deck is good, especially if there is a ship in the adjacent locks (which there should be).

 

It took a couple of hours to go through the locks into Gatun Lake. Arrive in the lake about 0830. We anchored in Gatun Lake and the tenders offloaded the passengers going on tour. Around noon time we weighed anchor and headed back into the locks for our return trip. There is plenty of time and opportunity for ample pictures.

 

Note: After the first trip through the locks, I wnet down to the photo gallery and downloaded my pictures (memory card) on to a CD ($9.95) and was ready to take more pictures on the return through the locks.

 

The gentleman providing the narration was very good and provided interesting information about the canal as the ship proceeded through the locks.

 

For those of you who may be interested you can order a Balcony Champaign Breakfast for $25 the night before. There will be an order form in your mailbox.

 

We pulled into Colon and docked starboard side to the pier. The Celebrity galaxy was on the other side of the pier. There is a small market place at the pier with vendors selling crafts, etc. It seemed to me that they were all selling pretty much the same stuff.

 

This night we had dinner in the Bayou Café. I have previously eaten in Sabatini’s and Sterling’s.

I had Gator Ribs, Mud Bug Bisque and Jambalaya. DW had the filet. The sweet potato pie was excellent. I thought the service was below par, the food was no better or worse than the dining room. It wasn’t very crowded and I think they only had minimum staff working as the host at the entrance was also waiting tables. I saw the reservation list and there was only nine for that night. The jazz band was good. The theme restaurants are okay, but I personally have no desire to return to any of them in the future.

 

Note: Today was $20 Bag laundry day. I remember reading on this board this service was available twice on a ten day cruise and the charge was $15 for a bag. Anyway they will launder all you can fit in one of their laundry bags for $20. I did a wash the previous day in the laundry room. Piece of cake. There are five stackable washer/dryers in the laundry room with iron, ironing board, change machine and soap/bleach/softener vending machine. I thing everything was $1. Did all I could stuff in my bag for $4.

 

Day Eight/At Sea (Dress Formal) Sunny seas calm

Today the ship’s shopping store had a 70% off sale. Foolish me, I though I would get a good deal on a Panama Canal t-shirt or something. What they were selling is all their Alaska merchandise…t-shirts, cups, hats, etc.

 

Maitre d’ Wine Tasting was held today in Sabatini’s. Very nice, each of the head waiters did a presentation on one of six wines. These wines were a little more expensive than the Princess Grape Vine Tasting. Hors D’ovres (s) were served and there was a complimentary glass of champaign in addition to the six wines. The event lasted about an hour.

 

Other events included the ever present Bingo games, Fruit and Vegetable Carving Demonstation, Art Auction, Horse Races, Line dancing and Trivia

 

Tonight was the Captain’s Gala Dinner, lobster night. Big show in the theater was “Curtain Up” a salute to Broadway. And in the Universal Lounge Sarge gave a second show which was completely different from his first show. This one was excellent also.

 

Writer’s Opinion: I didn’t care for the Universal Lounge, there is a huge problem with seeing the stage because of the layout and all the brass railings. Make sure you get to this venue extra early because there are not a lot of good seats. They do put it up on movie screens, but those aren’t so great either.

Day Nine/Montego Bay (Dress Smart casual) Hot and sunny

Arrive Montego Bay, starboard side to the pier. Stayed on board ship. DW and I really enjoy the ship when many people are ashore. You pretty much have everything to yourself. Very relaxing and peaceful.

 

Spent some time away from DW and went to watch “War of the Worlds” in the Universal Lounge.

 

Pre-reserved/booked our next cruise. For $100pp deposit you don’t even have to pick anything yet. Depending on what cabin you book in the future you can get a $25pp up to $100pp ship board credit. You can go through Princess or your TA. The reservation is good for four years.

 

Show this evening in Princess Theatre was Dan Bennett, comedian/juggler. He was pretty good.

 

Back at the cabin our Custom’s Form and Luggage Tags were waiting for us, even though we still had another full day at sea.

 

Day Ten/At Sea (Dress – Smart Casual) Overcast skies seas moderate to rough

Last full day of the cruise. Unfortunately the weather was not conducive to sun and fun by the pools.

 

Went to the cooking demo. Staff made Caesar Salad and then had two passengers come up and cook Shrimp Fra Diavlo. After the cooking demo we went on the tour of the galley.

 

DW went to afternoon bingo (didn’t win).

 

Day Eleven/Disembarkation Port Everglades

Arrive back at Port Everglades, and surprise, we did not dock at the pier (Pier 2) where we departed and where I parked my car. We berthed way down at the south end of the port some where near pier 30, not sure of the exact number. We were scheduled to get off after the early flight people. Disembarking was scheduled to start at 0830 but didn’t start until 9:00. However, they quickly caught up and we were called at 0935 (five minutes behind schedule). I remember someone on the board saying if you use a porter you get a cab faster. Since I was all the way at the other end of the port I needed a cab to get to the garage where I was parked. Princess did have buses to transport folks like me, but I didn’t want to wait. So I got a porter, he hustled us out, got a cab, even had him take me into the garage up to where my car was ( I gave him the $2 parking fee in addition to fare and tip). The whole process took about ten minutes and DW and I were on the way home.

 

In a nutshell, disembarkation was a breeze…even with us docking at the “wrong” pier.

 

Conclusion (Writer’s Opinion)

It was a great cruise. The ship was full, but did not seem crowded at any time any place. The crew were fantastic. I was very impressed with the friendliness and professionalism of all the staff. My two previous cruises were on Caribbean Princess, which I enjoyed immensely, but Coral’s staff far exceed Caribbean’s. Our cabin steward Mr. Watcharatoon provided everything we requested promptly and with a smile. He was in and out of our cabin, bed made, cabin cleaned, and towels changed as soon as we left. The headwaiters in Bordeaux, Godwin and Augusto were excellent and treated us like royalty. My wife is allergic to nuts and shellfish (why bother cruising LOL) and we notified Augusto of this the first night in the dining room. He came over every night, reviewed what my wife was ordering, and even brought us the next night’s menu for review. The Maitre D’ Hotel Ig****o D’Augustino was also great. He frequently stopped by our table to see how we were doing. Unfortunately, Ig****o had a medical problem and had to leave the ship on our return to Ft. Lauderdale and return to Italy. I wish him well. Left comments cards and extra tips for all of the above.

 

The food was good, the drinks were even better. Nice to get a martini for $5.50. Wine was reasonable priced. The ship was clean, no one got sick as far as I know. The weather was great and ten days was just right. Where to next?

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Great review........and what a great DH you are..doing all that running to get snacks for the balcony, I do the same thing...never have used room service......going on the Coral in January.....your review was very timely and informative........Thanks

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Thank you for the review. We will be doing this itinerary in February. One question please: How and when did you do immigration and customs? If it was before you got off the ship, was it a madhouse? I guess that's two questions!

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KreinKrunker:

 

Immigration/customs was not a problem. If you purchase more than the alotted $ value, you have to see the customs agent and pay any duty very early in the AM on board the ship even before they start disembarkation.

 

Otherwise you fill out the customs form the night before, and as long as what you are declaring is below the authorized limit, as you leave the terminal, after retrieving your luggage, you hand the form to the customs agent as you exit. It is not a madhouse, Princess has it welll organized. I warn you though, make sure your luggage is marked with something colorful and highly visable as most people have the same big, dark, rolling pices of luggage. It is like looking for your own cow in a herd of hundreds.

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That was a very nice review, thank you. It reminded me of our Panama Canal Cruise, as well as our cruise on the Island Princess.

You mentioned the following, on Day 8:

 

 

<"Day Eight/At Sea (Dress Formal) Sunny seas calm

Today the ship’s shopping store had a 70% off sale. Foolish me, I though I would get a good deal on a Panama Canal t-shirt or something. What they were selling is all their Alaska merchandise…t-shirts, cups, hats, etc.

 

Maitre d’ Wine Tasting was held today in Sabatini’s. Very nice, each of the head waiters did a presentation on one of six wines. These wines were a little more expensive than the Princess Grape Vine Tasting. Hors D’ovres (s) were served and there was a complimentary glass of champaign in addition to the six wines. The event lasted about an hour.

 

Other events included the ever present Bingo games, Fruit and Vegetable Carving Demonstation, Art Auction, Horse Races, Line dancing and Trivia...>"

 

Did you really have Horse Races on this ship? We love those, and they have been missing, according to many posters on CC, since last summer.

Thanks for an answer, and thanks, again, for the great review!

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Desert Dreamer:

 

Yes the had the plywood ponies. JJ the cruise director ran the races up on the pool deck (Lido). $2 bets.

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We enjoyed this voyage as well. I have to say- it went much faster than some of the longer cruises I've been on. I think the longer shore excursions kept us busy: some were six to eight hours long.

 

Princess does a number of things very well, and I have to say in general the voyage is usually a good value for the fare. However, after several trips with them, there are a few improvements they could make:

 

First, there is almost always a sales pitch coming at you from one direction or other- offers to buy wine tasting, cookbooks, souvenir wine packages, etc. I'd prefer not to have the dining room staff trying to sell me something every evening and not taking a polite "no" for an answer.

 

Secondly, (and I have to say this is the first cruise with Princess where I've experienced this) the evening dress code has been dumbed down and even then is not enforced. On this ten day voyage, there were two formal nights and the remainder were smart casual. I thought if I saw one more Hawaiian shirt in the dining room I was going to loose it. There has been a great deal of discussion here about this topic, but let me assure you I saw jeans and Birkenstocks at dinner on a regular basis. Come on, Princess- if you're trying to make it more casual, at least enforce some sense of decorum. There are plenty of other dining options available for those people who don't care to dress for evening meals.

 

Third, the ventilation in some of the public rooms is seriously lacking. The ceilings on the Coral are rather low and the air flow is not the greatest. Even when there are only a few smokers, the rooms easily saturate with smoke. I normally spend quite a bit of time in the casino, particularly on sea days, but never ventured in during this trip because the smoke was so bad. I also spent little time in the Explorer's lounge for this reason.

 

One other thing I noticed this trip: quite a few of the evening entertainment options did not seem to take 2nd seating passengers into account. Several events started at 9:30 or ended by 10:30 and were not repeated. I suppose we could have attempted to alter our dining times, but doesn't that defeat the purpose of traditional seating?

 

All in all, the trip was enjoyable, and it is entirely possible I may sail Princess again in the future. I do hope Princess recognizes there are a great deal of choices when it comes to carriers. A little attention to some of these details would certainly not go unnoticed.

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So everyone, including US citizens, didn't have to appear and show their passports, or birth certificates, before debarking? This is usually where the madhouse is, customs is a breeze most of the time.

 

Oh yes, been through the bagage claim game before. All luggage is black, or the new black, red.

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Bob,

Thanks for the charming review that is among the best that I've read on these boards. I'm especially interested in Coral reviews as DH and I plan to book this ship/itinerary for January, 2007 that will be our first 10-night voyage and in honor of our 35th anniversary (June 25, 2006). Our second cruise on the CB (5th Princess cruise) is coming up in just 53 more days!

 

With all the discussion there's been about Traditional vs. Anytime dining, it sounds to me like you and your DW truly had the best of both worlds. You dined when, where, and with whom you wanted, you had attentive waitstaff, and received special attention to your needs.

 

Many thanks for the thoughtful review.

Chris

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Thanks for posting that wonderful review. It brings back wonderful memories from our recent Coral cruise. I agree with so much of what you wrote about in your reivew. The Coral is a beautiful ship that Princess really should build more of. She offers all of the features that cruisers want in a modern ship, but with a very high space ratio and relatively small size (compared with most new ships now being built). Anyone considering a cruise on this ship or it's sister the Island should go ahead and book.

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Thanks for a great review. Have been on her before and will again next May for the repo cruise.

 

marilyn

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Bob, I loved your review and you are my hero (I will not tell the DH) when you mentioned the Grey Goose price. I can already taste my Lemon Drop! You did give an excellent insight to the workings of the cruise without giving too much of the “personal commentary” hence I loved your “writer’s opinions”. Thanks a bunch as we are counting down to April and my birthday celebration!:D

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divadiverfl:

 

Day 9 is on there, I thought I left it out too. The heading just isn't in bold font, and yes we did go to Jamacia

 

kreinkrunker:

 

Sorry I didn't provide enough detail. Let me try again. When your disembarkation color is called and you exit the ship you must show your cruise card. As you enter the terminal you split into two seperate lines, one for US citizens and the other for non-US citizens. The US line moves along continuously, you next go through a control point where you show your passport. Then you head to the luggage area to hopefully find your luggage. Once you have your luggage you then proceed to the exit area where you go through the customs checkpoint and hand the agent your card.

 

The process flows continuosly, there is no bottleneck or chaos, except for find your luggage. Hope this clarifies things.

 

Few more comments:

 

A previous poster commented about the second shows being presented too early. I think the reasoning was that the two nights the second shows were early were the night before arrival at the canal and the night before arrival at Ft. Laud. My guess is the crew wanted us to get to bed early in preparation for the early arrival at the canal and obviously they wanted us up bright and early (and rested) to insure we get off the ship on time.

 

Someone else asked about a good place to meet for CC Roll Call members. Any of the lounges would work fine. They are big and spacious; and as long as there is no scheduled activity they were generally empty.

 

Casino: Casino was nice...I don't know who took away any winnings? Certainly wasn't me or DW. Saw a couple hit $1,000 on the dollar slots, but that's it. I lost on roulette and slots.

 

On the last night they cancelled the talent show because they couldn't get enough volunteers. Oh well, I would have liked to attended (not participated in) that show.

 

Writer's Opinion: Didn't care for JJ the Cruise Director...to me he was immature.

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Found it very thorough and enjoyable.

 

Did you find smoking to be a problem in the casino?

 

Am I reading you correctly? If we stay onboard in Panama, and just viewed the initial trip through the locks on our own balcony, we'd still have lots of photo op time from more public areas on the 2nd trip through?

Was thinking of enjoying the special balcony breakfast, any thoughts?

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Smoking:

 

Generally, in my opinion, not a major problem. Yes, there were smokers in the casino, but it could have been much worse. I found the majority of smokers to be considerate and cup the cigarette and keep it to the opposite side. I smoked 30 years ago, and while smokers can sometimes annoy me, it is still their right to smoke in designated areas. I was also lucky as I didn't have smokers on either side of the balcony, I did notice on the balcony below a few decks (Caribe) there was a cigar smoker...flet sorry for his neighbors.

 

Viewing the canal

 

Takes about two hours to transit the locks in each direction. I had no problem moving about the ship to find different viewing areas and spending a good deal of time in each area. So if you like, order your breakfast, you will still have lots of time to roam the ship for additional viewing and photo ops. As I said, I got some great photos of the Galaxy transiting the adjacent lock from the rear deck (Baja, Caribe, Dolphin) and the promenade deck.

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Sherman, thank you for your detailed review of the Coral Princess. Always enjoy reading reviews of a ship I am about to sail.

 

Diane

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Thanks for the pictures. It allowed me to relive my cruise that was right before yours. It was neat to see the Galaxy go through. When we transited, we only saw a small freighter. Seeing a cruise ship had to be fun. Again thanks for the neat pictures.

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Rocky Top:

 

It really made the difference having the Galaxy transit in the adjacent lock just behind us. You could watch the Galaxy as she was raised up each of the locks just as the Coral was being raised one step higher. Then as we exited Gatun lake, it was the reverse. And again Galaxy was in the adjacent lock just behind us. And as we got lowered via each lock we could follow along watching the Galaxy. I don't think I would have appreciated the engineering feat of the canal as much had there not been a ship right along side.

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