Number of Cruises: 18
Cruise Line: Princess
Ship: Coral Princess
Sailing Date: n/a
This cruise line's motto should be "I/We don't know". From the very beginning, customer service online and on the phone was horrible, and the cruise line offices wouldn't answer any questions, stating that their contract was with the travel agent, and they could only communicate with them (despite the fact that I paid them over $2000.00 and the travel agent paid them $0). At the Seattle airport, Princess has no representative to meet with, only subcontracted agents who began the "I don't know's". They were unsure where we were to go, what bus we would be on, or what time we would be leaving. Upon our arrival (by bus) at Vancouver dock, we were horrified to see lines for miles. When we asked the agent how long we should be expected to wait, they informed us to be prepared to wait for 4-5 hours in line (standing!). They blamed the delay on U.S. Customs, but all passengers believed that both customs and Princess should share the blame. They had three different ships all checking through at the same time. What a nightmare.
I had initially tried to book a mini suite on the starboard side, but Princess would not guarantee this (although they were available), even though I paid in full at the time of the booking. We settled on a category B balcony cabin (A401). We were surprised to see that many of the balconies were out in the open, allowing the passengers above and below you to see you. We were fortunate to have a private balcony. Since I love to read on my balcony, this would have been a big issue for me. Several of the other balconies had obstructed views. The room was certainly of average size and was reasonably decorated. The linens and towels were about the thickness of a Bounty paper towel. The shower was a joke to many of the passengers! We have traveled on 18 different ships and this shower was by far the smallest and most inconvenient. Water leaks out into the bathroom, and God forbid you should drop the soap, as bending down in the shower is impossible.
The ship's common areas are clean and reasonably decorated, but not as "glitzy" as on other lines. Staff was pleasant, but didn't seem as anxious to please as on comparably priced ships in other lines. We had the anytime dining option, which was wonderful. I didn't miss having the same waiter every evening, and we had no trouble whatsoever getting a table when we chose to dine. You may choose to eat with others or by yourselves. The decor of the dining room was pleasant, but by no means as grand as other ships. We ate at the Bayou Grille ($20.00 per person service charge), which was a lovely room with a great jazz trio. The food was excellent.
We took the whale watching excursion in Juneau, and the Yukon Express train and bus tour in Skagway. We also went on the Mt. Roberts Tramway in Skagway. All were wonderful and well worth the fee.
The food quality was good, very similar to many other comparably priced ships. The deserts were really below par, and lacked imagination and flavor.
The casino was good, and even had penny and nickel slots for the gambler who likes to lose their money more slowly. The waiters in the casino were the best on the ship, and remembered our names and drink preferences right away, even though we didn't spend all our time in the casino.
The daily activities sheet seemed a little lacking in imagination and diversity.
Disembarkation was handled quite efficiently, although a huge line formed during the short period allowed for errors in bag tag colors. Another difficulty on this cruise is the policy that all bags be left outside the room before 8:00 pm the night before the cruise ends. On most ships, they request that this be done "before retiring". The 8:00 time was quite inconvenient for us and many others we spoke to.
Overall, I would not recommend this ship. I would prefer to travel on similarly priced ships on the Holland America, NCL, or Royal Caribbean Lines. There is much more attention to detail, better decor, more attentive personnel, and better cabin layout. This cruise was enjoyable, as no cruise line could interfere with the incredible beauty and wildlife of Alaska.