In Honeymoon Planning
Welcome aboard the Coral Princess!  Cassandra and I met while working on Cruise Ships and always enjoy an adventure at sea.  This time we booked a Panama Canal cruise on the Coral Princess.  This was our second go on Princess – we had previously crossed the equator on a trek from Tahiti to Hawaii aboard the Pacific Princess.  A midsize ship, the Coral Princess is just small enough to navigate the locks of the Panama Canal with up to 2,000 guests.  Her inaugural voyage was in 2003 and she was refurbished in 2013.
Eight hundred ninety-five crew members oversee the 965-foot long vessel that rises twenty stories tall. The Lido deck has two beautiful pools and an open air movie theater for nightly feature films and live sporting events.  There are several dining options aboard.  A daily brekkie, lunch and dinner buffet is served at Horizons on Lido deck. You can’t beat the views and outdoor seating is available. Room service is available 24/7.The two specialty restaurants are Sabatini’s (Italian – $25 cover) and the Bayou Café (Cajun – $20 cover).  Included  fine dining is served in the Bordeaux dining room.  There are two dinner times available and you eat at the same table each night. We always opt for the late seating.  That draws the livelier crowd and allows you more time in port.  Great company at the dinner table is key to an enjoyable cruise – if you get dealt a bad hand, simply ask the Maitre D for a new table the next night.  You’ll be glad you did.  When you find a table you like, we recommend tipping the banquet captain before the first formal night.  Most cruises have at least one formal night.  This was a 10-day cruise so we had two.  These are great photo opportunities so plan your outfits before you pack. The casinos, night club and shows are always full on these nights and music & entertainment is non-stop.  We were to treated to a Champagne Fountain on promenade deck – Cassandra started the festivities to a roar from the crowd as the champagne flowed freely over hundreds of glasses.  It was a spectacular event!
The decadence of unlimited food and a round-the-clock party atmosphere needs some checks and balances.  The Coral Princess has plenty of activities to keep you fit.  Cassandra took part in Zumba, Pilates and Yoga classes overlooking the Ocean and I enjoyed a quality gym and cardio equipment with a seaside view.  There is volleyball and basketball on the top deck and a 9-hole miniature golf course.  The Ping Pong tables are quite popular and there is an open air walking track above the pool.  Other daily activities include team trivia, informative port lectures, wine tastings, art auctions and cooking classes. The Galley Tour is a great way to learn what goes on behind the scenes.   Spa treatments at sea can be very therapeutic.  Space books fast on sea days (especially formal nights).  We booked passes to the Lotus Spa for the duration of the cruise.  This enables us to use the steam room and shower and change outside the cabin.  (Cabins are quite “cozy” so this an ideal way to give your spouse a little space to get ready).  If possible, we recommend booking a stateroom with a balcony.  Sliding open your bedroom door and taking in the ocean air with a room service expresso is a great way to begin the day; plus you can get a feel for the weather before you head out to brekkie.
Our 11-day cruise was commanded by English Captain Karl Austin.  The ports of call were Aruba, Cartagena (Colombia), Limon (Costa Rica), Ocho Rios (Jamaica), Colon (Panama) and the Panama Canal.  The home port of this round trip cruise was Fort Lauderdale.  To alleviate any chance of stress due to flight delays, we recommend at least one night in Lauderdale on each end of the cruise.  The best spot is the Hyatt Pier 66.  This amazing high rise hotel is an iconic landmark of the Lauderdale skyline.  One of the top wedding destinations in Florida, the top floor banquet lounge offers panoramic views through floor to ceiling glass.  You can walk outside and take great pictures of the cruise ships visiting Port Everglades.  The hotel has a spectacular pool with waterfalls and hot tubs. Adjacent Spa 66 is a brilliant way to unwind from a long flight.
Nearby Grille 66 caters to the yachting clientele and you can see an array of multimillion dollar yachts docked at the pier and luxury sports cars in the valet lot.  Amazingly, you can book a tower room at the Hyatt with incredible views for less than $250/ night – that’s less than Ocean City!  The 11-night cruise included plenty of free food and entertainment.  After taxes and port fees, a balcony is about $1250/person.  The Coral Princess is a wonderful and affordable way to explore five countries on two continents and only having to unpack a single time.  We met fun new friends during the voyage and would definitely recommend this ship!
Sean Rox
Rox Beach Weddings
410-289-7699  Toll Free 866-472-3012

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