Panama 2008

Fort Lauderdale, FL

26 March 2008

General Information

Local Map

Photographs and Commentary

The cruise is over... We arrived at Port Everglades before 7am. After clearing Immigration and Customs, some of us headed to the airport for the return to reality.

So how do we rate the cruise? This opinion is Susie's and mine but is probably shared by some of the others in our group.

Let's start with the appearance of the Coral Princess... it was not good. The ship is roughly six years old and like most cruise ships in service, they are maintained on the go. As we boarded the ship we could see that crews were painting parts of the ship. At each port we saw the same activity. Yet there were more rust spots then I remember seeing on other ships. Our balcony had paint spatter on the deck and on some of the furniture. While I realize that the paint will drip, I also expect someone to follow up after the painting job is completed and clean up any spatter.

Cabin service, for those members of our group on the starboard side of the ship (including us), was poor. We hardly ever saw our cabin steward. On the other hand, those members on the opposite side of the deck, had the opposite feeling. They spoke very highly of the service they got from their steward. Our group was split into two tables in the dining room. Our table was not pleased with our waiter while the other half of the group liked him. To me, he seemed to sometimes forget we were there. He often chatted with people at the other tables and was slow to get around to us. At times, other tables had their appetizers and we had yet to order. The bright spot at the dining room was the Maitre' d. He was advised that Susie had allergy issues and gave her an advanced look at the following evening's menu so that she could special order something... on several occasions he had special desserts made up because those on the menu had ingredients that would prevent her from having dessert.

The entertainment was of a lower quality than I remember on other cruises. There were a couple of bright spots and that is about it. One of the entertainers was a magician who did not impress us. In all honesty, I have to say that we are hard judges of magicians, having been exposed to magic since our son was eight years old. Susie and I knew almost every trick he did. His opening trick was one that Rick was doing at about age 10. Come to think of it, Rick probably did most of these tricks before he got into high school.

At times it seemed to us that we were on a training cruise. You could ask a couple of people the same question and get completely different answers. It seemed that nobody knew what was going on.

The bright spot was the shore excursions. Panama, Limon and Jamaica were good and took us to interesting spots. I was less thrilled with the "Best of Cartagena" excursion. This was a quick view of some of the historic areas of the city with two shopping stops. I would have liked less shopping and more sightseeing, but I'm sure that many on the tour were just as interested in the shopping opportunities. It seemed to me that the guide may well have been getting a kickback from some merchants, since he seemed to favor specific merchants at the stops we made. The ship does have a recommended list which I think was narrowed down by the guide.

Can we recommend Princess Line and the Coral Princess to others? There were a lot of repeat customers on board the ship, including some members of our group. However, based on our experience on this trip, we would not be repeat customers nor could we recommend the line and the ship to others.


March 26th 2008, Port Everglades, Florida, USA

During the early hours of the morning Coral Princess navigated through the "Straits of Florida", passing Miami to port. Shortly after 05:30 a westerly heading was set and the local pilot boarded. With the aid of the pilot's local knowledge and the leading lights, the Captain navigated the ship through the narrow entrance to the harbour and then manoeuvred the vessel alongside the berth.

Previous Day