October 2016 - Coral Princess to Panama Canal, Central America
This ship is smaller than most but it was built for the purpose of going through the Canal. I had been on the Grand last year and this was similar. My husband and I often questioned what people were talking about regarding the food. We found it delicious. There were 2 nights in the main dining room my husband didn't like his. But he doesn't like to waste food and ate it anyway. One, the fish was too salty, but he never had it before so maybe that fish is exceptionally salty? The last one was a Thanksgiving type dinner and the turkey was rubbery. Maybe he got the the bad pieces. Other than that, the specialty restaurants (Bayou, Sabitini's and the Crab Shack were marvelous) We only ate once at the buffet and that was for breakfast. I think if you steer away from the buffet, you'd really have nothing to complain about. Not that it was bad. But it is a buffet.
The crew is amazing! The best. The Cruise Directors team made you feel like you were family and long time friends. Many of them, this was their last voiyage on this ship because their contract was up and they were off on other ships. The rest of the crew, even if you didn't know what they did, would pass and acknowledge you. This is not a glamorous job as one might think. They all work so very hard without a full day off. They get hours. Can't convey enough how wonderful they all are.
The ship I found in as good condition as one would expect. Yeah, maybe they need to update a bit, the carpet etc. You think about how much heavy traffic is wearing on those carpets.....it doesn't take long to wear out. They are always cleaning the ship. Even at 3 a.m they are cleaning while people sleep. There was a worry I had before sailing from what I had read from others and that was the sewer smell. I did not smell the overwhelming stinch. In certain areas, I would smell something, but it didn't last. It was the same smell you would get in your cabins toilet. Again, nothing lasted.
They organize the excursions perfectly. They know what they are doing and do it smoothly. I cannot imagine booking my own excursions anymore after this trip.
As soon as we boarded we went to the front desk and inquired about a ship tour. They only allow 14 people (if they are conducting one) and it is $150 pp. It was very interesting to go behind the scenes and see the bridge, the galley, photo office, printer, laundry...and more. It took about 3.5 hrs and you receive so many pictures, frames, robe, chef apron, personalize stationary...(I think that's it?)
If i gave you any advice, it would be to PARTICIPATE in the games, contests, parties....to socialize with other guests. We had a blast because we did all that. We did the Newlywed Game and I entered the Voice of the Ocean. On top of other activities. Oh, and I also suggest going this time of year. It was a slow time for the ports. Only once did we see one other ship docked. Places were not crowded. We stayed 3 days in Fort Lauderdale afterwards and it was slow season there, too. Loved not having to waiting in lines or crowds.