Find a Cruise

Overall Rating
Food
Service
Cabins
Entertainment
Family Friendliness
Shore Excursions
Value
Richard

Age: 40

Occupation:Business Owner

Number of Cruises: 6

Cruise Line: Princess

Ship: Coral Princess

Sailing Date: 2009-10-23

Itinerary: Panama Canal

Overall, Princess gets many things right, but it is not the cruise line for me. 10-day cruises or longer generally attract a much older crowd and that was certainly the case on our voyage. I would say 98% of the passengers were over 55 years old and over half of them were over 65. And Princess seems to cater its activities more to them. It was the most boring ship I've ever been on and IF IT WERE NOT FOR "Island Night" and guest comedians by the name of Fred Klett & Tony Daro I would have jumped overboard! Where Princess really shines is the cleanliness of the ship, movies, and their shore excursions. My only complaint with the ports of call is they need to stay in Cabo San Lucas for the full day and skip either Puerto Amador or Acapulco.

Average for a cruise ship. I was told this was an area that Princess shined, but my expectations must be too high. Carnival has been the most enjoyable food of all the cruise lines we have vacationed with, in my opinion.

Our stateroom was an inside cabin on the 10th floor (Caribe) and it was very small, but functional. Princess did a good job with storage design and we were able to put away 3 suitcases of clothes/shoes and one carry-on of toiletries with no problems. The ship was recently dry docked and all the linens/carpets were updated. Our only complaint would be the comfort of the mattress. I think I may need surgery after sleeping on them for two weeks.

Your only concern will be the lack of activities Princess gives for entertainment. I was 40 during this '09 cruise and found the ships entertainment very boring and geared to a much older crowd. Nobody makes it fun and entertaining like Carnival and nobody has the amount of on-board activities like Royal, but Princess has the best shore excursions.

Our cruise took us from Ft. Lauderdale to Aruba, Colombia, The Canal, Panama, Costa Rica, Huatulco, Acapulco and Cabo San Lucas. I recommend The Ostrich Farm tour for Aruba, Aerial Tram for Panama, and Dolphins in Acapulco (you will get a ton of time with the Dolphins here and it includes a photo AND video). Acapulco is very crowded and the other tours are less than satisfying. You'll pay dearly to see the Cliff Divers (which isn't that great)... so my suggestion here is to walk around or stay on the ship. Do anything in Colombia that will keep you from the local areas. Otherwise you will be mobbed by street vendors every 5 feet who won't take NO for an answer. We did the Fortress tour in Colombia and it was hotter than Hades at 9am. Others had a blast touring the Mud Volcano. In Costa Rica, I would use Ricky Ricardo Tours and customize my tour. Ricky is the best private tour guide you can get for your money - honest, clean, knowledgeable and has great air conditioning! You can get a local boat taxi in both Huatulco and Cabo to see the bays and Arc's and spend less than $10 each. Cabo has a great beach area and the Dolphins are also within a few feet of the Pier. Hope this helps.

We just returned from a relaxing trip on the Coral Princess with a full transit through the Panama Canal. We started in Ft. Lauderdale and visited Aruba, Colombia, transited the Canal, Puerto Amador (Panama city), Costa Rica, Huatulco, Acapulco and Cabo San Lucas before completing our cruise in Los Angeles. The Ship was beautiful and modern and the gym, spa and eating facilities on-board were wonderful. The food at the buffet on the Lido deck was not much different than the food in the main dinning rooms, so it was an easy choice on many days to just relax by the poolside instead of getting dressed for dinner. We enjoyed one dinner at the Bayou Cafe (which has a $15 cover charge) and boy do they want to serve you there. Our waiters brought out almost EVERYTHING on the menu for us to try. I was so stuffed with goodness that I nearly needed to be wheel chaired back to my cabin. Service in the main dining room and buffet were not what I expected. The servers were not rude, but they were not welcoming either. Many times in the buffet it seemed like a hassle for them to refill your drink, which I think Princess would do better if they had self serving juice stations. Overall, dinning was about average in taste and selection.


I enjoyed visiting every port of call for the experience, but was disappointed with a few. Aruba has amazing water and beach areas, but was surprised that it is mostly desert. There areas where the Hotels were location was of course the most beautiful, but definitely worth the visit. Colombia has too many aggressive street vendors who want to sell you everything (especially t-shirts) and won't take 'NO" for an answer. Since they wouldn't leave me alone, I decided to reverse the psychology and told them the only way I could buy their products was if they bought my camera for $2000 and baseball cap for $50. I even offered them a 20% discount (which they refer to as "promotion"), but they kept declining me... go figure. That actually was very fun and other tourist had a blast watching me harass the vendors and follow them until they started running from me. The Canal was amazing, but not very beautiful. It took 10 hours to pass from ocean to ocean and nearly 5 hours of it was in the three different locks. One time for the experience is enough for me. Puerto Amador (Panama City) has very little to do near the pier and you must taxi into the city to enjoy any time here. Problem is that downtown is very busy and "old town" is unbelievably poor. I would recommend the Mall near the pier or the Mall downtown if you want to walk and shop or people watch and sample local food. Costa Rica is AMAZING, beautiful, clean and very friendly. I could live here and definitely plan to return. The ship had many great excursions, but we choose Ricky Ricardo Tours who was waiting outside the side and boy are we happy we did!!! Go to Trip Advisor for my full review, but bottom line. It was the best time we had in any of the countries visited. Huatulco is a secret gem of a place. Take advantage of the local boat taxi's and spend less than $10 to visit 5-7 of the bays. This is a snorkeler or divers paradise, but they also have several private little beaches with little to no crowds. We stopped at a beach that seemed to have no tourists; only locals. It was like we were celebrities because everyone was smiling and kids were crazy happy to see visitors. All the restaurants lining the beach share the same grass covering that stretched for about 400 feet. After looking at a few menus we settled down at Mely and La Escondida. We chose it based on one local families food order that walked by our noses. We had a great meal. Acapulco was too crowded, but the Dolphin experience here was every bit worth the money! Plenty of time with the dolphins and included a photo and video. My wife swam with them while I was a spectator taking pictures. She had the time of her life being pushed and pulled through the water, giving hugs and kisses, and having the dolphins dance as the group sang "la cucaracha". After their singing, the trainer asked the dolphins if they enjoyed the singing and they nodded "NO," then returned to the group and started singing (in dolphin dialect of course). And they were actually better singers! Cabo is simply the best place on this plant and will forever be a yearly destination for my family. It was THE most balanced place for beauty, activities and relaxation. Don't book any excursions here, just venture out and enjoy. We visited Cabo Wabo, the beach, a few resorts and the Shrimp Factory for lunch. I love this place.


Our final experience was disembarkation and this was the only REALLY bad experience of the trip. It was a nightmare and completely unorganized. People were confused over where to go, what line to be in, who was in charge and what exit was available. Friends we met on the ship emailed us that several altercations almost turned physical because tension was so high. We were smart enough to sign up for express walk-off and arrived at the immigration room 45 minutes prior to our scheduled time. We experienced some delay, because immigration did not release anyone to leave the ship for over 1 hour past scheduled time, but it was not nearly as bad for us as others who came on time or late. Princess told every passenger on the ship to meet in the Universe lounge to pass thru immigration @ 7:15am and from there you had times allocated according to your cabin/travel. Problem with that is the lounge is small and located at the back of the ship and 2,000 passengers showed up. lines were at best ridiculously long and many had their luggage also. Big thumbs down to Princess for this fiasco.

Was this review helpful?

Yes No Email this review to a friend
 

Ask questions and get advice from other cruisers on our popular discussion board,