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10 Reasons to Take the Coral Princess on a Panama Canal Cruise

Updated on January 20, 2017
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Sherry is a recent Marriott Member and wants to share her photos and her vacation experiences, especially beach resorts and Marriott locales

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Newbie to Cruising Gives Some Reasons Why You Might Like a Cruise

Surprise your loved one with a Panama Canal Cruise vacation. I am just returned as a first time luxury liner vacationer on the Coral Princess through the Panama Canal and beyond. As a captive of a marketing empire, here are my first impressions of the widely popular cruise line, Princess Cruises.

Being a camp out kind of family, anything that mentioned formal dress has been a turnoff. I am retired now and 14 days with 3 formal nights sounded okay and there are some pleasant surprises with that, which I will discuss below.

To start with, the embarking process was easy as eating pie. The Princess Cruises website gets you ready for that. If you confirm your passport and answer a few questions at "Advanced Guest Registration", you will find that all you have to do is walk on board. A brief wait at the San Pedro cruise line terminal is all that we went through.

As we stepped on board the Coral Princess ship we got our first professional picture taken. One of about two dozen. We received a map of the ship and we embarked onto a carefree vacation with no worries. There was a tinge of excitement because this was totally new for us.

all photos by Sherry Venegas

Coral Princess by Paperfacets | Costa Rica Port-of-Call
Coral Princess by Paperfacets | Costa Rica Port-of-Call

Fellow Cruisers Have Many of Your Same Interests

Reason One For Taking the Panama Canal Princess Cruise

90% of the passengers are retired like you and are ready to start a conversation with smiles behind the words.

99% of the servers and cruise employees have the same attitude. You are embarking onto a carefree time zone.

The people that will be taking care of you are from more than a dozen countries, I am sure. Each will have a name tag with their first name and country of origin.

Sun deck with pool
Sun deck with pool

Meet People Who Like All Inclusive Cruises

Reason Two

Almost all inclusive, your beverages and drinks are not included except coffee and iced tea in the buffet.

Of all the people I met, talked to and shared upscale dining with, shared the lift and relaxed next to in a row of lounges; no one had done a Princess cruise just once.

We seemed to be the only blue card cruisers. Everyone had good cruise reviews for the art of cruising. You may decide that one cruise is not enough. We have taken the Princess to Baja and found out many like to take this trip every year.

It is certainly more expensive than camping.

All photos by Sherry Venegas taken with the Nikon COOLPIX P600

Seven Level Promenade
Seven Level Promenade | Source

Relax in the Sun

Reason Three

By the time you cruise past Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, the sweaters are forgotten.

Enjoy warm sun on full length luxury padded lounges on four sun desks on the Lido and above levels.

Seventh level promenade is lined with steamer lounges on both the port and star sides of the ship. The promenade is wide enough for leisure walkers and the occasional runner. During the day until evening it is manned by the drink servers.

Three swimming pools,wading pool and six spas for cooling off on the ship.

Culebra Cut
Culebra Cut

Learn About the History of the Panama Canal

Reason Four

Satisfy your curiosity about the Panama Canal. Get plenty of information.

Two hour long big screen lectures of its history by the ship expert on the Panama Canal.

This personable director will narrate the whole canal crossing from the moments of ocean approach to the leaving, and full speed is once again started. Every point of interest and the history is mentioned on the port and star sides of the ship.

The new Panama canal construction to provide a third wider, longer and deeper lane for the new big ships, has started and is visible from your ship. You will get all the information about this new project plus a two sided map to follow your course through the canal.

On ship photographers take canal side photos of the passengers and points of interest. Beautiful photos will be offered on the ship. Example of crossing photo packages was 10 for $30 or 20 for $40.00. These were beautifully labeled photo-matted professional photos. Excellent for framing or the photo album.

Princess Theater
Princess Theater

Perfect Gift for Parents

Reason Five

Grown children can offer a cruise vacation for their parent's anniversary, or a grandmother can take her older grandchildren on a first cruise. Nothing says pride than seeing a 6+ foot, high school senior in a tux with his younger brothers on formal night.

No worries with this gift if you go along or not. Everything is done for you. No meal planning, cooking, and shortage of entertainment. Every evening a Patter arrives at your cabin listing all the hourly activities, movies and live shows for the next day.

Some examples of activities is ballroom dance lessons, line dancing, singing, gym activities, wine tasting, shopping, casino games, art auctions, bingo, spa treatments, acupuncture, swimming games, 3 big screen movie venues, one with popcorn, and special interest hours for meeting people. Special interests, could be singles, AA, table tennis, game room for cards, Scrabble, puzzles, and trivia get togethers. All but a few of these activities are all inclusive, or part of the original cruise price.

Free portrait settings on causal and formal nights. Dozens of pictures and prints available for viewing all trip long.

The only thing missing is the family dog.

The Princess Theater photo above shows only half of the seating. This theater is used for lectures, movies, song show productions, and live comedians.

Aruba
Aruba

See the World

Reason Six

See other cultures and countries at the ports-of-call. Each destination has an hour program lecture before the day of landing. You will not miss anything that meets your interest. Information sheet for each port by Princess Cruises.

At each port you can explore on foot with the help of the lecture or purchase a secure excursion via Princess Cruises. We had five ports-of-call on this 14 day trip.

Ship Atrium and First Time Cruiser
Ship Atrium and First Time Cruiser

I Should Mention Food

Reason Seven

I gained four pounds on this trip.

All meals are serviced to you with several choices to meet your mood at the moment.

Three formal nights that you can skip because the Horizon Court is open 24 hours a day. Many entrees offered at the dining rooms are also served in the buffet.

Anytime Dining with waiter service at a table for two, or larger table settings for meeting other travelers and sharing conversations.

Traditional cruise dining with assigned seating and times.

The menus in the formal dining rooms are elegant with a four course meal. Three choices of appetizers, 3 choices of soup or salad, four or five choices for main dish and a whole dessert menu handed to you for complimenting regular coffee or sometimes coffee specialties, to end your exquisite dinner. Sugar free desserts are available and before the cruise, mark that as a concern on your pre-cruise request form.

There is special service for wine lovers.

Still not satisfied? Try thin crust NY style pizza from noon till evening or grilled hamburgers, fries or hot dogs. There is the Bayou room for pub fare and an Italian restaurant by special request.

At 3PM the fresh baked cookies come out at the Horizon Court. Soft freeze ice cream available all afternoon and evening on one of the sundecks. Popcorn for the evening movie on the Lido deck. Drink servers available before every live show, movie or theater event.

There is barista style coffee service in the atrium all day. This is an extra charge, though.

What's Included In Your Fare at Princess Cruises.

Promenade Deck at Sunset
Promenade Deck at Sunset

Quiet Time is A Step Away

Reason Eight

Even with almost 2000 guests on board there is plenty of quiet serene seating areas. Find them on the Promenade, on the sixth floor inside corridors, the library, and the smoker's lounge.

TV in your room or chairs on your balcony. The fifteen level sun deck was very quiet on our trip.

Your Stateroom

Reason Nine

Your cabin is straightened and freshened for you twice a day. Room service for food or drink is offered for an extra charge.

Luggage is delivered at your door by the time you set sail.

For a $19 fee your luggage is sent to the airlines for you at the end of the trip. Also bus service to the airline terminal. No dragging the luggage around. A perfect ending for your cruise trip.

River boat ride in Costa Rica
River boat ride in Costa Rica

Next Year?

Reason Ten




You know as you are leaving the ship another cruise will be even easier to plan for next year.

Coral Princess

Coral Princess
Coral Princess | Source

© 2012 Sherry Venegas

A Panama Canal Cruise Vacation is a Spectacular Thank You Gift

Submit a Comment

  • paperfacets profile image
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    Sherry Venegas 3 years ago from La Verne, CA

    @di4422: It is surprising how the inside cabins can be very affordable. Spend your day out and about for maximum fun and relaxation.

  • Erebos411 profile image

    Erebos411 4 years ago

    My first cruise was the Panama Canal with Princess a number of years ago. It was a great experience. Everyone on the ship from the passengers to the crew were wonderful. Since them I've done several other cruises with Princess. It's the only way to travel. You have your hotel floating in the harbor when you visit places and you never have worry about luggage for the duration of the trip. Works for me!

  • paperfacets profile image
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    Sherry Venegas 4 years ago from La Verne, CA

    @LivRiley LM: We went to a village outside of Panama City and did not have enough time to see the city too. Staying in the city would be nice. We were amazed at how high it is built. From the ship at dusk it looked like a scifi city.

  • paperfacets profile image
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    Sherry Venegas 4 years ago from La Verne, CA

    @KimGiancaterino: We are thinking about another cruise. It will probably be a Princess cruise. We enjoyed it.

  • LivRiley LM profile image

    LivRiley LM 4 years ago

    Have been on plenty of cruises and cruise lines (Princess is one of my favourites) but have never cruised through the Panama Canal. However, I have been to Panama and stayed at the Royal DeCamron for 2 weeks. Visited the canal and many other interesting historical sites. Did you spend the day in Panama City?

  • paperfacets profile image
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    Sherry Venegas 4 years ago from La Verne, CA

    @Lynne-Modranski: Hi rlmodranski, I will answer this as how I see "all inclusive". That term is what you get without being charged extra for. Extra charges are for sodas, alcohol, bottled water and blended coffees. They tack on $11.50 for each passenger for gratuities. A few activities are not included in the price, such as, bingo, the casino, excursion trips, wine tasting and spa treatments.

  • Lynne-Modranski profile image

    Lynne Modranski 4 years ago from Ohio

    I need some help. What is an "all inclusive" cruise. We went on Norwegian last year and loved it. It was called "Freestyle," but I'm curious as to what "All Inclusive" is.

  • aesta1 profile image

    Mary Norton 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

    I have not yet been to the Panama so a cruise looks inviting. I had been on a cruise but never went on another as those buffets turn me off given that diabetis is not far off for us.

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