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Stuart Gardner

Age: 41

Occupation:Software Developer

Number of Cruises: 4

Cruise Line: Princess

Ship: Coral Princess

Sailing Date: n/a

Itinerary: Panama Canal


Just returned from the Panama Canal cruise. I chose this cruise because I wanted to see the canal, try a 10 day cruise, and did not want a party ship. I just returned from Iraq and needed a relaxing vacation, not a party vacation. I was in cabin A217. It turned out to be a great location. Just upstairs was the Horizon Court. My balcony, as all are on that deck was private. I read some reviews where some balconies were exposed from up above, this is true, I saw them. I am glad I did not have one of those. (This is because they stick out farther than the deck above - I believe only one deck, towards the rear, had this issue)

Room steward and dining room (8:15 PM Province Dining room) staff were excellent. One couple at our table did not really like the late seating, so some nights they ate in the Bourdeaux dining room (anytime dining). I thought that was great that they could eat in either dining room depending on their mood. Horizon court food impressed me constantly. On previous cruises, buffet food was like buffet food. This buffet was so good, one night we just ate dinner there. Only had breakfast in dining room once, because buffet was so consistently good.

Overall, food on this cruise was consistently good. I have not been able to say that about other cruises (NCL, Disney, RCL).

Ship is nice and elegant; however entertainment is a bit lacking. Quality of entertainment was okay, but there was no variety. On other ships I've been on, you saw different entertainers in the lounges each night with different music. On this ship, be prepared for the same exact music, with the same exact persons, in the same exact location, at the same exact time, every single day. By the 5th day, we were all sick of it. Even at the pool, when the same exact people who played the same exact music were on break, the same exact canned music played. Kind of strange, but certainly did not ruin the cruise. We joked about it.

Unlike other cruises, you could not always see every show. Some shows were not available if you at at the late seating. On the one night we wanted to see a particular show, we ate in buffet. We were not disappointed though, but just something we noticed.

We did the Tram ride excursion in Cost Rica. Did not see any wildlife, probably because the other two couples in tram yanked incessantly. Not a bad ride, would not recommend it to my friends, but would not discourage it either.

In Panama did the lock and eco tour. Absolutely would recommend it. We were there while a very large cargo ship went by. It was awesome to watch close up. The indian tour part and river cruise was neat too. Saw plenty of wildlife there.

Did not enjoy Grand Cayman, 10 ships arrived at the same time. Taxi ride to "Hell" and rum cake factory complete waste of time. Did like having a drink at Hammerheads near the ship. Was thinking about trying Carnival cruises in future, but after seeing the long lines to get back on their ships, and the rowdy crowds, no thank you.

Did Muyil (CZM-MM) ruins when docked in Cozumel. Had only 10 people in group, was worth it. Much less crowded than others and ruins were impressive. This tour is on the mainland, so we actually never set foot on Cozumel.

In Belize did the most exciting tour. Did the Lost Canopy tour (BZE-P and PN appear the same). Awesome. Best tour of the trip.

We were surprised so many things on this cruise had an additional charge. Even in the gym - classes had a charge. If they keep this up, they will take away one of the advantages of cruising. Was able to use the gym treadmills to keep the weight off. Ate like crazy, but gained back only 10 pounds out of the 20 I lost in Iraq.

After this trip, I've decided I like 10 day cruises and would do it again if I can. I will absolutely consider Princess again.

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