This cruise began in Port Everglades, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
with a crescent moon and culminated in the Florida Straits with a
total Lunar Eclipse. What happened in between is the substance of
this review. There was nothing average about these ten days. From
the first glimpse of the Coral Princess in port with her "gas
turbine/diesel enviro engines installed above decks in the funnel,
it is obvious that this ship is something different. When arriving
in port our son Marcello asked, "are you sailing or flying?" This
is an impressive, unique silhouette: polished steel structures,
resembling jet engines, and steel stacks, perched atop a 15 deck
This ship, built in Chantiers de l'Atlantique, St. Nazaire,
France, is 964 ft. long, her beam is a Panamax 106 ft, her height
is 204 ft. and with a draft of 27 ft, her maximum speed is 24
knots. There are 987 cabins including 20 wheel chair accessible
(sq. footage between 217 - 374); 89% of all cabins are ocean view
and 83% of these have balconies. Passenger capacity is 1,970 and
the crew numbers 900. She is still in her inaugural year having
launched December 2002. Registry, of course, is Hamilton, Bermuda.
Since Princess is the union of two venerable lines: England's
P&O (Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Company)
founded in 1840, and Italy's Sitmar Line established in 1913, her
crews reflects these beginnings even today. When P&O purchased
Sitmar in 1988, a new line emerged --- Princess. The Coral
Princess' Captain Giorgio Pomata joined Sitmar in 1978, and has
continued to serve on many Princess ships as Captain.
Crew members and customs reflect the Princess' origins. The
serving of High Tea in the Bordeaux Dining Room every afternoon at
3:30 pm accompanied by the Delphinus Strings contributes to her
very English atmosphere. The continental manners of the top Italian
crew members, like Passenger Services Director Carlo Gunetti, from
whom a formal greeting is customary (Ladies .."a kiss on the hand
is quite continental"), and Maitre d' Generoso Mazzone, who
overseas the ship's dining venues like a virtuoso conductor,
generate an atmosphere of elegance and efficiency. Whilst the very
British Cruise Director Trevor Bradford handles the passenger
activities with great aplomb.
EMBARKATION Security was evident at Port Everglades when we
arrived at 11:30 am. Embarkation started at noon. There were crew
members on the dock to assist with the wheel chair and the pre
entered data sheets helped to expedite the processing. The on board
credit/cabin key card is a handy system. We were in our cabin
within 30 minutes --- which is quite excellent.
The expansive "Welcome On Board" Buffet was appetizing; however,
we tend to avoid buffets, so we ate on Lido Deck 14 at the Princess
Pizza (very crispy, thin and excellent). During embarkation,
personnel were stationed at all elevators providing directions and
a welcoming atmosphere. Our luggage was in our room by 1:30 pm.
SHIP'S PUBLIC AREAS Passengers enter the ship on deck 5, into
the Princess Plaza. The "Under the Seas " theme juxtaposes the
Coral Princess' motto "Over the Seas." There are murals of
crustaceans, black and white whales, and coral formations, as well
as bubbling cylindrical glass fountains. A cascade of stainless
steel flows down four flights from Deck 8, while an impressionistic
stainless steel boat acts as a net for marine shapes and both are
illuminated with changing colors. Each separate level of this four
deck atrium affords areas for cocktails bars, coffee bars and
Plaza Deck 5 forward is the Bordeaux dining Room. This walnut
wood paneled room has several very nice paintings, square walnut
columns with brass trim and a ceiling with white twinkling lights
over head. The Fili D'Oro linens used in the dining rooms are a
nice touch. Midship is the Passenger Service Desk, Tour Desk and
the Patisserie Coffee Shop, serving specialty coffees, teas and
pastries. Then, there is a series of mostly outside staterooms and
just a few inside cabins.
Fiesta Deck 6 forward is the Provence Dining Room. Toward
midship are the onboard shops and the entrance to the Princess
Casino flanked by two red coated, beaver hatted, tall Buckingham
Palace Guards. The Casino has carpeting depicting Beefeaters, Big
Ben, among other London scenes. Among red painted telephone booths,
passengers play Hyde Park Poker, Buckingham Palace Blackjack and
other charmingly named games of chance. Going toward aft is the
expansive Explorers' Lounge. It is off a wonderful corridor with
windows to the sea and mosaic green, tan and white pillars forming
a six arch arcade in front of the lounge. The carpeting depicts
African animals, and the walls display several murals with exotic
scenes (Asian, Turkish, Egyptian, Ethiopian, etc.).
All the way aft on Deck 6 is the Universe Lounge with its wide,
wide, revolving and elevating stage, which is a fitting place for
on board extravaganzas. However, the brass rails on its upper level
obstruct the view of performers. These are soon to be replaced with
glass. Look for the interestingly lighted two deck bar in the
Promenade Deck 7 forward is the Princess Theatre. This simple,
open room has a perfect view of the stage from every seat. Its
walls are covered in gold and maroon suede. Go early or you may not
get a seat. Walk toward midship to see the Wheelhouse Bar, a
beautiful dark walnut paneled room with a huge brass and copper
light as a centerpiece. The tables are drop leaf with brass
fittings, brass wall sconces and dark green and brown leather
furniture complete the decor. The carpeting is blue depicting
continents, oceans and sailing ships. The walls hold many ship
memorabilia and paintings of ships like the 1950 "Chusan" of
The Wheelhouse corridor entrance is flanked by two wooden ship's
figureheads: One a female in a black sarong and the other a naval
officer with gold epaulettes. These evoke images of the South
Mid ship is the Crooner's Lounge with pictures of the "Rat Pack"
(Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr. etc...). Here you may
purchase a martini in a Sinatra souvenir glass. There is also the
Churchill Lounge where cigars and spirits can be enjoyed. Mid ship,
on the port side is a beautiful wedding Chapel where couples may be
married in international waters by the Captain.
Going toward aft is Sabatini's, the upscale Italian restaurant,
which in this class ships is larger and more elegant than the
"Sabatini's Trattoria" of the Grand class ships. Then, there also
is the Bayou Cafe with its brick walls, New Orleans Jazz and Cajun
cuisine. All the way aft, on this deck, is the balcony of the
Universe Lounge. Outside is the wrap around Promenade with lounge
chairs for reading or watching the waves.
Emerald Deck 8 has the Library, the Card Room and the Internet
Cafe with world stock trade information, all of which are clustered
around the central elevators. Then, both forward and aft are
staterooms, some categories with balcony and some with obstructed
Dolphin Deck 9, Caribe Deck 10, and Baja Deck 11 are all
staterooms and suites, mostly with balconies and some inside
Aloha Deck 12 is mostly staterooms with balcony and a few inside
cabins, except for aft, where are located the Pelican Children's
Pool & Playhouse (ages 2-7 yrs), the Fun Zone (ages 8-12 yrs)
and the Off Limits Teen Center (ages 13 -17 yrs). As you can see
the young people have their own well supervised facilities.
Lido Deck 14 forward has the Horizon Court (24 hr) Buffet
Restaurant seating 386, which is quite crowded at peak times.
Outdoors are the Princess Pizza, Lido Bar, Lido Swimming Pool,
three whirlpools, and the Haagen Daz ice cream bar. Towards aft is
the Solarium Lotus Pool area with its retractable dome and a
swim-against-the-current pool and two small whirlpools. Excellent
before 9:30 am, when you may have it all to your self. The decor is
relaxing: a statue of a young Buddha overlooks the pool and there
is a white gazebo on the end. Aft is the Lotus Spa and the Fitness
Sun Deck 15 has a Princess Link mini golf course and the Golf
Simulator with some of the world's most renown courses featured. It
also holds the Outdoor Grill serving hamburgers, hot dogs, French
Sports Deck 16 has a Splash Pool, a Center Court for sports with
space for spectator seating, Shuffle Board and the Deck Chess
FOOD & SERVICE Passenger Services Director Carlo Gunetti has
this ship running like a precise time piece: The service is fast
and friendly. For instance, a screw broke on Vincent's wheelchair
during boarding and Ronan Amaral, Jr. Asst. Purser, supplied us
with a temporary wheelchair while he had Vincent's fixed over
night. He was very helpful, and we appreciate his thoughtfulness.
Throughout the ship we always received courteous and prompt service
with a smile!
The "Anytime Dining Program" means that there is more to do for
the Maitre d' Generoso and the Head Waiters, since there is no
longer a fixed time and table for many cruisers: thus, reservations
and seating is an ongoing activity. We happen to recognize Head
Waiter Pasquale Marino from previous cruises, but on the Coral he
was magnificent. Generoso and his staff pleasantly greeted the
passengers at the dining room door and outdid themselves in
accommodating everyone's request in the best possible way.
Moreover, the Maitre d' himself went from table to table assuring
that everything was perfect.
At Table #20 for two, we enjoyed some of the finest meals. At
lunch, our waiter, Elisa Dumitrescu was always cordial and
efficient as was the asst. waiter Sandor Lorincz. Every evening our
waiters Gerardo De Leon and his Asst. Larry Gutierez were top
notch. We know this wonderful service is mainly due to the
instructions of Generoso and Pasquale. We surely received special
attention. They helped us in selections from the kitchen and their
recommendations were always excellent. Thank you for the many great
delicacies. Bravi! The International Menu offers splendid choices;
there is a lot of reading. We thoroughly enjoyed this Gastronomic
Tour. Executive Chef Michael Borns, his Sous Chef Giuseppe and the
Pastry Chef Cosimo (Sicily) did three "Culinary Demonstrations,"
two of which we attended. Princess Lines has three Corporate
Executive Chefs, and seventeen Executive Chefs, thirteen of which
are Italian, including our old friend Antonio Cereda. The gustatory
delights we sampled were outstanding and here are some of our
SAILAWAY DINNER: Shrimp Cocktail; Cream of Porcini Mushroom
Soup; Watercress and lettuce salad, and Nebraska Prime Rib.
CAPTAIN'S WELCOME DINNER: Crab Quiche with jalapeno chili salsa;
Capon broth, tortellini with minced chives; Mixed salad with
arugula; Lobster Thermidor or Royal Pheasant with shallots and
PRINCESS DINNER: Cold water Lobster & Crayfish Cocktail with
sun dried tomatoes; Chilled Cream of Zucchini with William pear and
blue poppy seeds; Endive salad with mushrooms and shallots; Roast
Buffalo slowly cooked in Napa Valley Red Wine sauce with potato
pancake and baby vegetables.
FRENCH DINNER: Pate de fois de Strassbourg; Escargot Bourguignon
(cooked in Bourdeaux wine); French onion soup; Mixed garden greens
and radicchio with vinaigrette; Caneton Roti a` l'Orange (Roast
duckling glazed with Orange Curacao sauce).
ITALIAN DINNER: Prosciutto di Parma with melon; Eggplant
Parmigiana; Pasta e fagioli; Salad of baby spinach, crispy bacon,
pine nuts and Pecorino cheese; Pappardelle al Sugo di Lepre (Flat
egg noodles with rabbit sauce).
INTERNATIONAL DINNER: Baby leeks with smoked salmon in Champagne
sauce; Won Ton soup; Salad of lettuce, tomato, avocado and red
onion; Penne pasta with calamari; Surf & Turf of Filet Mignon
and Jumbo grilled shrimp.
CHEF'S DINNER: Green asparagus spears in warm tarragon butter
sauce under puff pastry; Lobster bisque with Cognac; Salad of field
greens, cherry tomatoes and shredded carrot; King crab legs or Rack
of Lamb Dijonaisse with Brussels sprouts and garlic mashed potatoes
and mint jelly.
These menus do not list the "piece de resistance" DESSERT. There
is such a variety, that we will only name a few of our
* Swan puffs on a heart shaped lake of melted chocolate. * All
of the Soufflés, vanilla, chocolate, raspberry, hazelnut and
their accompanying sauces. * Almond mousse with custard -- ooh la
la! * Sorbets, sherbets and ice creams are all made on board and
are delicious. * Pecan pie, apple pie, and pear tart --- do not
miss them. * Dark chocolate mousse, heart shaped with Lady Godiva
liqueur, Tiramisu and NY cheesecake are served every day. * Many
fruits, international cheeses and delicate petit fours are served
The dining room staff are beautifully dressed every night: Nile
green dinner jackets, Red, White & Blue cummerbunds with stars
and matching ties. The Maitre d' Generoso looks spiffy in his pin
stripe trousers and black cut away. Head waiter Pasquale was sharp
in the white tuxedo with shawl lapels. What more can we say? As
Executive Chef Borns said, "Food is a feast for the eyes as well as
the palate." The English Rose dinnerware was the palette for the
plating of excellent culinary masterpieces.
We also dined in Sabatini's whose decorations were refined and
lovely. The long parade of antipasti made the main course seem
anticlimactic; however, we still managed to enjoy the veal chop and
the fritto misto frutti di mare (mixed seafood, langostino, shrimp,
scallops etc., etc...). This made for a very enjoyable evening,
overlooking the sea with wonderful background music.
CABIN Our Stateroom # C627, wheelchair accessible, has a double
wide door and when entering on the left there is a triple armoire
with two closets, and a third with shelves, and a personal safe.
Next, there is a TV, and a desk/mirrored vanity with hair dryer,
and two chairs. When entering on the right there is a huge bathroom
with 5x5 ft. shower and many safety rails in the proper places. The
triple mirror is nice, but the shelves are small. There is a queen
bed, two four drawer night stands and an end table.
The far wall is glass with the ramp and door to the double
balcony. There was a large table and two chairs to which our
terrific Steward Henry Sebastian added a chaise for Vincent. Henry
was excellent in every way. Accommodations Supervisor Dorota Bak
(Poland) visited us just to check if we needed anything. She was
very courteous and we appreciated it. Thank you.
ENTERTAINMENT The Coral Princess has many venues similar to the
larger Grand class ships, but it is smaller and carries fewer
passengers. The Princess Theatre Production shows were nicely
staged, (but could use a sound check, since the decibel rate was
too high at times). We preferred the Universe Lounge, where the
Premier Season of "Tribute" was performed on the extra wide stage,
while making good use of its rotation and elevation capabilities.
The show was dedicated to music legends such as the following: the
Beatles ("Hey Jude"), the Beach Boys ("California Girl"), The Rat
Pack (Frank, Dean and Sammy were all highlighted), and finally
Cher's "Believe" was saluted. The singers were terrific and the
Princess dancers were energetic. The same cast performed "Da Beat"
a Jazz/Swing piece.
Most shows were staged twice to give cruisers a chance to see
them. We especially enjoyed Tony Cherry, a singing impersonator,
who did a memorable Tom Jones and other imitations.
The "Princess Patter" lists all daily activities, plus has a
column from the Ship's Navigator which is informative both
historically and geographically. It also gives the current ship's
position. Other activities were Trivia, at which we each won 5 gold
medals and 6 silver for Mary and 7 silver for Vincent. There is
also line dancing, Bingo, horse races, and daily movies (i.e.
"Bruce Almighty," "Alex and Emma," "Plots with a View,"), etc. The
Princess Scholarship Program is new and offers the following
classes: Pottery, Digital Photography, Building Wealth Investing,
and the Princess Grapevine wine tasting.
All of the above is under the stewardship of the affable Cruise
Director Trevor Bradford, and he is up to the task. Princess also
has a Captain's Circle Program which has many benefits for repeat
cruisers. On board Host Nicola Fisher was helpful and explained
many of the perks: a Quarterly, preferential pricing, stand by,
platinum check in, on board events etc. It pays to return to
Princess. We expect to return soon, since we have booked on board
three future cruises!
PORTS OF CALL
Oct. 30, 2003 Port Everglades, Ft Lauderdale, Florida, Depart
5:00 pm Oct. 31, 2003 At Sea Nov. 1, 2003 Cozumel, Mexico --
Arrive: 6:59 am Depart: 4:26 pm Some of the available shore
excursions: Tulum Mayan Ruins, 7 hrs, $94; New Waves Scuba Diving,
2.5 hrs, $75, for beginners. Nov. 2, 2003 Grand Cayman -- Arrive:
10:00 am Depart: 6:36 pm Island Highlights & Stingray Sandbar
Snorkeling, 4.5 hrs, $64; Atlantis Submarine Odyssey, 1.5 hrs, $86.
Nov. 3, 2003 At Sea Nov. 4, 2003 Limon, Costa Rica -- Arrive: 6:27
am Depart: 6:56 pm The Jungle Train, 3.5 hrs, $49, a ride through
the lush rain forest; River Rafting, 7.5 hrs, $99. Nov. 5, 2003
Panama Canal -- Arrive: 5:46 am Depart: 7:26 pm One hour and 42
minutes to traverse the Gatun Locks; Cruising in Gatun Lake (the
world's largest man made lake), There was a a perfect rainbow off
starboard side, which we saw from our balcony as we ate breakfast;
We arrived at Colon's Cristobal Cruise Terminal at 4:06 pm, but
were not allowed into the city because of political demonstrations.
There is great shopping on the pier (coffee, T-shirts, Panama hats,
etc...) Nov. 6, 2003 At Sea Nov. 7, 2003 Ocho Rios, Jamaica --
Arrive: 12 noon Depart: 4:18 pm Prospect Plantation & Dunn's
River Falls, 4 hrs, $62; River Tubing Safari, 3.5 hrs, $69. Nov. 8,
2003 At Sea Nov. 9, 2003 Port Everglades -- Debarkation: 9:00
SUGGESTIONS 1. During the Welcome Aboard Buffet, at the Horizon
Court some crew should direct the passengers to the various food
stations thus minimizing the long line formed at the first station
near the entrance. This long line occurs mainly on the first day,
when new passengers are unaware of the several food stations which
can be accessed independently.
2. At the Princess Theater the last row of seats and the area
behind it should be reserved for people with wheelchair and those
with limited mobility as well as the persons accompanying them. The
reserved area should be supervised by a theater attendant before
the beginning of shows.
CONCLUSION Princess remains one of our favorite cruise lines. We
are now Platinum Members of the Captain Circle, the Princess
"Frequent Floaters" Club. We have already booked with Princess
three future cruises; however, before we'll be back on a Princess
ship, we must complete the next three cruises in the near future:
The Southern Caribbean on the new Serenade of the Seas, Dec. 6 -
13, 2003; the Western Caribbean on the new Costa Mediterranea, Jan.
11 - 18, 2004; and the W. Caribbean again on the new Mariner of the
Seas, Feb. 22 - 29, 2004. As you may have noticed we love cruising
and we especially favor new ships, which we can first explore and
write about. We plan to write reviews of our next cruises, so look
for them at the appropriate time. We wish you Great Holidays and