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The following review is a joint effort between mother (mid-60s) and daughter (late 30s). We are Platinum Princess cruisers and have sailed on many generations of her ships including the old Star, Crown, Regal, Sun class and Grand class in many regions-Med, transatlantic, Hawaii, Alaska, and the Caribbean, and Panama Canal transits. We took advantage of onboard booking while on the Golden Med/ transatlantic in August/September, 2002. Our vacation began on March 1, 2003, when we arrived in Fort Lauderdale and checked into the Hyatt Pier 66 hotel. Our executive suite was on the 12th floor and the balcony overlooked Port Everglades affording us a wonderful, 180 plus degree view of not only the port, but the Atlantic Ocean and the city of Fort Lauderdale. This was our second stay at the Pier 66; we have also been guests of the Marriott Harbor Beach Resort. We rented a car which we used for exploring the area, shopping, and going to restaurants for dinner. The Itinerary Panama Canal 10-day: March 4 - March 14, 2003 Ports of Call: Ocho Rios, Jamaica; Limon, Costa Rica; partial transit Panama Canal; Aruba, NA The Captain was Philip Pickford. The Cruise Director was Paul O'Loughlin. Embarkation Our choice of transportation to Port Everglades was taxi at a cost of under $10. We arrived at the pier in approximately ten minutes and proceeded to the Platinum check-in area where there was no line at all. We later learned that there were only 80 Platinum members on this cruise. The security line moved slowly because the waiting room had not yet begun boarding. The line began moving after about ten minutes and we were aboard and in our stateroom: Dolphin 405-starboard mini-suite within minutes. After a thorough tour of the ship, we enjoyed lunch in the Horizon Court (see "Ship" section for more discussion of the Horizon Court). The skies were clear and sunny-perfect for a dip in the pool!! When we got to our cabin to change into our swimwear, our cabin steward was there. Rico had been the steward for the port side suites on the Crown on our Hawaii cruise (we had a starboard suite) and we knew immediately we were in good hands. Rico has been with Princess a number of years and throughout the cruise, Rico did a superior job!! Our luggage had not yet arrived and Rico explained that the Coral has a smaller sorting area and delivery takes a bit longer. He offered to look into it for us and expedited our luggage delivery. When we returned from the pool later that afternoon, we had our waffle robes, extra towels, extra water, and luggage. The Passengers Based on our observation, the average age of the passengers was between 65 and 70. Half of the passengers were first-time Princess cruisers and many were first-time cruisers. We thought the representation of first time cruisers was unusually high. The ship also had onboard seven corporate and/or travel groups. These groups never infringed upon the other passengers in any way. There also seemed to be a high percentage of people from Florida. The Sail Away Sail away was promptly at 5:00 p.m. The Coral was the last ship in port to leave her pier. We were on our balcony for sail away and were able to hear the music on our balcony speaker and also on TV Channel 31. Princess chose to play "Celebrate", "Somewhere Beyond the Sea", and "Time to Say Goodbye"--great selections! Andrea Bocelli and Sara Brightman's "Time to Say Goodbye" duo was also played on the Golden Princess for our sail away and hearing it again on the Coral brought back beautiful memories of our Venice, Italy, departure. Rico had provided us with chilled champagne glasses and we toasted the beginning our cruise!! The Ship The Staterooms Our mini-suite was perfectly located mid ship on Dolphin deck on the starboard side of the ship. The dEcor was mainly aqua and an unfortunate choice of harvest gold for the sofa. Mom thought the room was narrower and the balcony not as wide or as long as those on the Grand class ships. Daughter still isn't too sure that the room is any different in size, but agrees that the balcony is smaller. There was a four-foot, round resin table and two adjustable chairs on the balcony which worked out well for our needs. The smaller balconies were furnished with square tables. The sofa seems to be longer on the Coral. Unfortunately, the beds seemed narrower and were not comfortable. The bed pillows were pure torture-hard as rock; Rico came to the rescue with a feather pillow. That is right, "a" feather pillow-that was the only one he could find. The bathroom had what seemed to be a much longer and possibly deeper tub than on the Grand and Golden; great for soaking! Princess has updated the soap (larger with a new fragrance) and the shampoo, conditioner, and body lotion containers have a plastic coating on them now which makes it easier to twist off the little tops. Perhaps it is my imagination, but the fragrance seems improved on these items, also. One quick note: the ceilings in the tub area (mini suites) are low; beware those of you who are 6 feet tall or taller. We had read comments from other cruisers about the noise of water running, but in our opinion, the noise was coming from an exhaust fan in the bathroom which runs continuously. The telephone had buttons for room service, weather, time, etc. Unfortunately, the wake-up call feature did not work for us but Mom was always up before the sun so that was not a problem. The televisions are equipped with the jacks on the front for video cameras. A daily television programming schedule was on our coffee table. We enjoyed the variety of choices: music channels, movies, and the Princess channels. We had the chance to see one of the nearby suites and agreed that they are the same as the mini-suites on the Sun Class ships. They do have a nice wet bar and a whirlpool tub. The balcony is small. We will not elaborate on covered and uncovered balconies. There are advantages and disadvantages to having one or the other. Our balcony was uncovered but I did not feel as exposed on the Coral as I did on the Golden. And remember, if you have a covered balcony, those below can turn around and see you! The staterooms directly next to the small bump-out sections definitely have a viewing difficulty. The covered balconies also appeared to be smaller-not as deep. Not many people used their balconies on this cruise. The Lido Pool Parents and non-swimmers need to be aware this pool is deep-at least seven feet at one end and approximately five and a half feet at the other end. Signage was still being posted while we were on the ship. There did not seem to be as many chairs with full sun exposure around the pool as there are on other Princess ships and those that were in the sun were taken very quickly (I saw the towels being placed on these chairs as early as 7 a.m.). Some days we were able to sit near the pool and on others, we chose to sit one deck up which we found to be breezier and much quieter. Pizza, hamburgers, hotdogs, and beverages were all available on the Lido deck. The pool service attendants did a wonderful job making certain you had your beverages. The band which played at the pool during our cruise was "Sugar Cane". They have played on several of our other Princess cruises, and we think they just get better and better! The Lotus Pool The Lotus pool is also located on the Lido deck between the Horizon Court and the Lido Pool. The area around the pool and hot tubs is absolutely beautiful. Wonderful greenery is scattered among the heavily green padded chaise lounges and tables and chairs. The upper level is as appealing as the lower pool area. The retractable roof was open each time we walked through allowing some sun to shine into the area. Older couples and those seeking shade and quiet seemed to be the prominent patrons of the Lotus pool. When the Coral cruises Alaska or has rainy days at sea, this pool will see a lot of use!! Also, the ice cream bar is located there. The Splash Pool The Splash pool is located in the bow of the ship on the Sports deck. We checked this pool out one sunny day as an alternative but decided to go back to the Lido pool because the water in the shallow pool was too hot and there did not seem to be any beverage service available. The Horizon Court is located directly below via a stairway but swimwear should not be worn into the buffet area. It is possible that there are waiters at this pool, but none were there when we were there. The Pelican Pool There were about eight adults using the Pelican pool located aft on Aloha deck, but this pool seems to be part of the children's area and the pool itself is quite small.. The Atrium Located in the center of the ship and encompassing that area on decks 5, 6, 7 & 8 is the Atrium. We stood in the center of the Atrium on Plaza deck (deck 5) our feet on top of blue marble and looked up. We felt as if we were on the bottom of the sea viewing the coral (the amazing lighted structure between the glass elevators) and watching the waves (the ceilings on the various decks have small lights which constantly change from white to aqua to sapphire blue). Not everyone will imagine the Atrium to be what we thought it was designed to represent, but all will certainly agree that it is the most beautiful Atrium on any of the Princess ships. The Patisserie is also on Plaza deck and offers comfortable sofa, table and chair seating, bar seats, the best coffee on the ship and tasty pastries!! Non-smokers: Take your coffee up to the Promenade deck to Crooners smoking section. One deck up is the Fiesta Deck where the atrium shops: Meredian Bay and Calypso Bay are located. The Facets jewel shop is around the corner and across from the Casino-so much for your casino winnings!! On the next deck, Promenade Deck, you can sit at Crooner's Bar (the martini bar and any other drink you may choose) with a Frank Sinatra/Dean Martin/Sammy Davis/Rat Pack theme. The smoking section is located portside and is furnished with wonderful light-colored sofas and chairs. (We were appalled to see folks there during the daytime sitting on the chairs and propping their feet on the white sofas while others were curled up on sofas and sleeping!) The non-smoking area is adjacent to the bar and there is also a piano there. We were sorry that the piano player did not play more of the Sinatra tunes. He seemed to be favoring 70s ballads. Churchill's Lounge is across the atrium on the same deck. This is the enclosed cigar smoking lounge where one can also order a drink. The cigar odors do not filter out of this room. One deck up is the Emerald deck which houses the very large card room, a well planned library and the internet cafe. The internet cafe was never busy and we felt that the computer speed was just fine. During the daytime there was always a Princess representative on duty to assist those who needed his/her help. The Emerald deck was always very quiet and conducive to reading, computer work, etc. Dining Rooms & Alternative Restaurants Our dining schedule was late, traditional in the Provence Dining Room, Fiesta Deck 6, table 184-a quiet corner table in the back of the dining room-perfect!! We had a table for six and our tablemates were a Cruise Critic member and his wife and a great couple from Florida. The food was standard Princess fare and good quality; our waitress steered us in the right direction every evening. One thing we have learned is to take the waiter's/waitress' menu suggestion seriously! As always, the service was excellent. Heading towards the aft of the ship on the Promedade deck is Sabatini's Italian Restaurant. The Sabatini's on the Coral Princess has a magnificent dEcor and impeccable service. We dined there at a table for two and completed all of the courses in less than one hour and forty-five minutes! We certainly recommend this restaurant. As you pass Sabatini's walking aft toward the Universe Lounge, you will be amazed to find yourself on a sidewalk in New Orleans!! Well, almost............brick walls, gaslights, small tables by the windows (smoking okay) and the entrance to the Bayou Cafe. One side is a cocktail lounge, the other is the dining room. Our dinner there was fantastic and again, excellent service! Highly recommended. Don't forget to put your Mardi Gras beads on-the necklaces are on each table. The Horizon Court The Horizon Court seems to be lacking in seating. The tables in the bow are large, round tables usually seating eight and are widely spaced. The breakfast buffet was okay however we prefer to either eat in the dining room or order room service. Many of our passengers raved about the food and others felt it was not very good.........a toss up. We chose to order the special Panama Canal breakfast which arrived on a three-tiered cart and consisted of champagne, pastries, crabcakes, etc., etc., smoked salmon, etc., fresh fruit, etc. This was so delicious and such a treat!! Our server placed a crisp white tablecloth on our balcony table, popped the champagne cork and left us to enjoy the great food and the beginning of the partial transit of the canal. All for only $25 (the champagne was Veuve Cliquot. Princess will be offering a Glacier Bay breakfast in Alaska and we recommend giving it a try!! As we said before, we used room service rather consistently for our breakfasts. On sea days, we usually had breakfast in the main dining room. The Spa We visited the spa the day we boarded and thought it to be a beautiful place! With any of the spa services (not beauty salon), one may indulge in the steam rooms, tropical rainforest showers, etc. There are four or more themed showers; a beautiful, marble area of the spa. We had pedicures our first, full day and enjoyed the back massage chairs and complete pedicures we received. We are not certain if other Princess ships have added the full pedi/spas but this was a first for us. The Theaters & Entertainment The Universe Lounge Go early and get a seat on the lower level! If you have only the balcony seats to choose from you will find that many of the sofas and chairs have absolutely no view of the stages whatsoever. The Princess Theater There are plenty of seats in this theater, however, mom had a problem watching a live show because her view was blocked by the woman sitting in front of her. Mom was just told by her daughter that daughter had absolutely no problem seeing the stage!! Luck of the draw I suppose. Entertainment During our cruise the Wheelhouse Lounge featured The Laura Farrow Trio and The Don Sauro Trio from 5:30 p.m. till late. Campbell Simpson played the piano in the Bayou Cafe from 6:00 p.m. till 8:00 p.m. followed by the Perry Phillips Trio till midnight. Charlie Sleeth was at the piano in Crooners Lounge from 8:00 p.m. till midnight. The Explorer's Lounge was busy every evening with Karaoke, Newlywed & Not So Newlywed games, Music Quiz, comedy and magic of Doug Anderson, D.J. Josh, Tex Mex Country Hoe Down, 70s Night, and music by Hip Pocket. The Princess Musicians played in the Atrium. We did not attend all of these shows and hope we haven't forgotten to mention anyone! The brand new show, "Curtain Up-A Salute to Broadway" was excellent as were "Da Beat", "Tribute", and "Dance." We also enjoyed "Pub Night". The Casino The London theme of the casino will either appeal to you or you will think it is overdone. On our cruise the casino was never too crowded during the afternoons when we were there. Have no idea what the patronage was in the evenings. There was a large variety of slot machines, blackjack tables, a craps table, and we are not sure if there was a roulette table or not. The slot machines we played were very kind to us: yes, we left as winners!! The dollar slot machines were literally sitting unoccupied whenever we were in the casino. We think the casino is smaller than those on the Grand Class and Sun Class ships but that could be due to the layout used. Overall Cruise Experience With regard to the Coral Princess, our waitress said it best, "She is like a spoiled child". The ship is new and there are wrinkles to be ironed out, however, her spectacular beauty outweighs the very few negatives. And, remember, those negatives are solely related to her newness. In some areas she is quite bold, in others very demure. There is a quiet place for everyone or a festive spot if that is what you want. Read your Princess Patter (the ship's evening newsletter) daily and decide what you would like to participate in or choose to do nothing at all. There is something for everyone on this ship. We had wonderful weather and experienced a few moderate seas as we cruised in the southern Caribbean-the tradewinds were a'blowing. Our stateroom groaned quite a bit at times but we think that she will settle and then not be quite as noisy. The art gallery holds and displays all of the art work to be auctioned during the cruise. NO artwork clutters the corridors of the ship!!!! We found this to be a refreshing change from the other Princess ships. Formal nights were not at all what we usually experience on a Princess cruise. The Captain's Welcome party was well attended and a large majority of the passengers were dressed in their formal attire. However, at the Captain's Circle Party, we saw at least six or seven men meet the captain wearing t-shirts and sandals!! Also, some of the men were wearing sport coats with no neckties................to us, that was totally disrespectful. Those who took the time to dress appropriately were dazzling and in the majority. We chose the ship rather than the itinerary-both were terrific; however, we really prefer the full transit of the canal. Disembarkation Platinum members sat in the Universe Lounge being served coffee, juice, and pastries along with the USA Today newspaper. There was a television show being shown on the three movie screens also. This was a very pleasant place to wait for our color and number to be called. We were called 15 minutes later than the published time of 8:45 a.m. We found our luggage within minutes but then spent at least half an hour in a ten- person wide line with others merging in ahead of us, behind us, and at times it seemed on top of us! The porters were also trying to push their carts through this wall of people. There was only one customs line for hundreds of people to pass through and everyone wanted to be the first one in line!! This was horrible and probably a very unsafe situation!! Eventually another customs line was formed and we were soon outside. Whew!!! We immediately hailed a cab and were at the airport shortly thereafter. Our flight was at 1:00 p.m. allowing us time to have a quick bite for lunch before proceeding to our gate. The plane departed twenty minutes late however we arrived in Chicago on time. We are proud and happy to say we cruised on the Coral Princess and hope our review may help you in making your choice to sail on her also. Our Coral Princess cruise met all of our expectations and we will sail on her again. If you want to cruise on a new ship or are planning a cruise on the Coral, you won't be disappointed!! Thank you for reading our review of the Coral Princess and bon voyage to all of you future cruisers!HOLTCA@aol.comJuly 2003

Coral Princess

Coral Princess Cruise Review by Cruisin' Chris

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: December 1899
  • Destination:
The following review is a joint effort between mother (mid-60s) and daughter (late 30s). We are Platinum Princess cruisers and have sailed on many generations of her ships including the old Star, Crown, Regal, Sun class and Grand class in many regions-Med, transatlantic, Hawaii, Alaska, and the Caribbean, and Panama Canal transits. We took advantage of onboard booking while on the Golden Med/ transatlantic in August/September, 2002.

Our vacation began on March 1, 2003, when we arrived in Fort Lauderdale and checked into the Hyatt Pier 66 hotel. Our executive suite was on the 12th floor and the balcony overlooked Port Everglades affording us a wonderful, 180 plus degree view of not only the port, but the Atlantic Ocean and the city of Fort Lauderdale. This was our second stay at the Pier 66; we have also been guests of the Marriott Harbor Beach Resort. We rented a car which we used for exploring the area, shopping, and going to restaurants for dinner.

The Itinerary

Panama Canal 10-day: March 4 - March 14, 2003

Ports of Call: Ocho Rios, Jamaica; Limon, Costa Rica; partial transit Panama Canal; Aruba, NA

The Captain was Philip Pickford. The Cruise Director was Paul O'Loughlin.

Embarkation

Our choice of transportation to Port Everglades was taxi at a cost of under $10. We arrived at the pier in approximately ten minutes and proceeded to the Platinum check-in area where there was no line at all. We later learned that there were only 80 Platinum members on this cruise. The security line moved slowly because the waiting room had not yet begun boarding. The line began moving after about ten minutes and we were aboard and in our stateroom: Dolphin 405-starboard mini-suite within minutes.

After a thorough tour of the ship, we enjoyed lunch in the Horizon Court (see "Ship" section for more discussion of the Horizon Court).

The skies were clear and sunny-perfect for a dip in the pool!! When we got to our cabin to change into our swimwear, our cabin steward was there. Rico had been the steward for the port side suites on the Crown on our Hawaii cruise (we had a starboard suite) and we knew immediately we were in good hands. Rico has been with Princess a number of years and throughout the cruise, Rico did a superior job!!

Our luggage had not yet arrived and Rico explained that the Coral has a smaller sorting area and delivery takes a bit longer. He offered to look into it for us and expedited our luggage delivery. When we returned from the pool later that afternoon, we had our waffle robes, extra towels, extra water, and luggage.

The Passengers

Based on our observation, the average age of the passengers was between 65 and 70.

Half of the passengers were first-time Princess cruisers and many were first-time cruisers. We thought the representation of first time cruisers was unusually high. The ship also had onboard seven corporate and/or travel groups. These groups never infringed upon the other passengers in any way. There also seemed to be a high percentage of people from Florida.

The Sail Away

Sail away was promptly at 5:00 p.m. The Coral was the last ship in port to leave her pier. We were on our balcony for sail away and were able to hear the music on our balcony speaker and also on TV Channel 31. Princess chose to play "Celebrate", "Somewhere Beyond the Sea", and "Time to Say Goodbye"--great selections! Andrea Bocelli and Sara Brightman's "Time to Say Goodbye" duo was also played on the Golden Princess for our sail away and hearing it again on the Coral brought back beautiful memories of our Venice, Italy, departure. Rico had provided us with chilled champagne glasses and we toasted the beginning our cruise!!


The Ship

The Staterooms

Our mini-suite was perfectly located mid ship on Dolphin deck on the starboard side of the ship. The dEcor was mainly aqua and an unfortunate choice of harvest gold for the sofa. Mom thought the room was narrower and the balcony not as wide or as long as those on the Grand class ships. Daughter still isn't too sure that the room is any different in size, but agrees that the balcony is smaller. There was a four-foot, round resin table and two adjustable chairs on the balcony which worked out well for our needs. The smaller balconies were furnished with square tables. The sofa seems to be longer on the Coral. Unfortunately, the beds seemed narrower and were not comfortable. The bed pillows were pure torture-hard as rock; Rico came to the rescue with a feather pillow. That is right, "a" feather pillow-that was the only one he could find. The bathroom had what seemed to be a much longer and possibly deeper tub than on the Grand and Golden; great for soaking! Princess has updated the soap (larger with a new fragrance) and the shampoo, conditioner, and body lotion containers have a plastic coating on them now which makes it easier to twist off the little tops. Perhaps it is my imagination, but the fragrance seems improved on these items, also. One quick note: the ceilings in the tub area (mini suites) are low; beware those of you who are 6 feet tall or taller. We had read comments from other cruisers about the noise of water running, but in our opinion, the noise was coming from an exhaust fan in the bathroom which runs continuously.


The telephone had buttons for room service, weather, time, etc. Unfortunately, the wake-up call feature did not work for us but Mom was always up before the sun so that was not a problem.

The televisions are equipped with the jacks on the front for video cameras. A daily television programming schedule was on our coffee table. We enjoyed the variety of choices: music channels, movies, and the Princess channels.

We had the chance to see one of the nearby suites and agreed that they are the same as the mini-suites on the Sun Class ships. They do have a nice wet bar and a whirlpool tub. The balcony is small.

We will not elaborate on covered and uncovered balconies. There are advantages and disadvantages to having one or the other. Our balcony was uncovered but I did not feel as exposed on the Coral as I did on the Golden. And remember, if you have a covered balcony, those below can turn around and see you! The staterooms directly next to the small bump-out sections definitely have a viewing difficulty. The covered balconies also appeared to be smaller-not as deep. Not many people used their balconies on this cruise.


The Lido Pool

Parents and non-swimmers need to be aware this pool is deep-at least seven feet at one end and approximately five and a half feet at the other end. Signage was still being posted while we were on the ship.

There did not seem to be as many chairs with full sun exposure around the pool as there are on other Princess ships and those that were in the sun were taken very quickly (I saw the towels being placed on these chairs as early as 7 a.m.). Some days we were able to sit near the pool and on others, we chose to sit one deck up which we found to be breezier and much quieter.

Pizza, hamburgers, hotdogs, and beverages were all available on the Lido deck. The pool service attendants did a wonderful job making certain you had your beverages. The band which played at the pool during our cruise was "Sugar Cane". They have played on several of our other Princess cruises, and we think they just get better and better!



The Lotus Pool

The Lotus pool is also located on the Lido deck between the Horizon Court and the Lido Pool. The area around the pool and hot tubs is absolutely beautiful. Wonderful greenery is scattered among the heavily green padded chaise lounges and tables and chairs. The upper level is as appealing as the lower pool area. The retractable roof was open each time we walked through allowing some sun to shine into the area.

Older couples and those seeking shade and quiet seemed to be the prominent patrons of the Lotus pool. When the Coral cruises Alaska or has rainy days at sea, this pool will see a lot of use!! Also, the ice cream bar is located there.

The Splash Pool

The Splash pool is located in the bow of the ship on the Sports deck. We checked this pool out one sunny day as an alternative but decided to go back to the Lido pool because the water in the shallow pool was too hot and there did not seem to be any beverage service available. The Horizon Court is located directly below via a stairway but swimwear should not be worn into the buffet area. It is possible that there are waiters at this pool, but none were there when we were there.

The Pelican Pool

There were about eight adults using the Pelican pool located aft on Aloha deck, but this pool seems to be part of the children's area and the pool itself is quite small..

The Atrium

Located in the center of the ship and encompassing that area on decks 5, 6, 7 & 8 is the Atrium. We stood in the center of the Atrium on Plaza deck (deck 5) our feet on top of blue marble and looked up. We felt as if we were on the bottom of the sea viewing the coral (the amazing lighted structure between the glass elevators) and watching the waves (the ceilings on the various decks have small lights which constantly change from white to aqua to sapphire blue). Not everyone will imagine the Atrium to be what we thought it was designed to represent, but all will certainly agree that it is the most beautiful Atrium on any of the Princess ships. The Patisserie is also on Plaza deck and offers comfortable sofa, table and chair seating, bar seats, the best coffee on the ship and tasty pastries!! Non-smokers: Take your coffee up to the Promenade deck to Crooners smoking section.

One deck up is the Fiesta Deck where the atrium shops: Meredian Bay and Calypso Bay are located. The Facets jewel shop is around the corner and across from the Casino-so much for your casino winnings!!

On the next deck, Promenade Deck, you can sit at Crooner's Bar (the martini bar and any other drink you may choose) with a Frank Sinatra/Dean Martin/Sammy Davis/Rat Pack theme. The smoking section is located portside and is furnished with wonderful light-colored sofas and chairs. (We were appalled to see folks there during the daytime sitting on the chairs and propping their feet on the white sofas while others were curled up on sofas and sleeping!) The non-smoking area is adjacent to the bar and there is also a piano there. We were sorry that the piano player did not play more of the Sinatra tunes.
He seemed to be favoring 70s ballads.

Churchill's Lounge is across the atrium on the same deck. This is the enclosed cigar smoking lounge where one can also order a drink. The cigar odors do not filter out of this room.

One deck up is the Emerald deck which houses the very large card room, a well planned library and the internet cafe. The internet cafe was never busy and we felt that the computer speed was just fine. During the daytime there was always a Princess representative on duty to assist those who needed his/her help.

The Emerald deck was always very quiet and conducive to reading, computer work, etc.

Dining Rooms & Alternative Restaurants

Our dining schedule was late, traditional in the Provence Dining Room, Fiesta Deck 6, table 184-a quiet corner table in the back of the dining room-perfect!! We had a table for six and our tablemates were a Cruise Critic member and his wife and a great couple from Florida. The food was standard Princess fare and good quality; our waitress steered us in the right direction every evening. One thing we have learned is to take the waiter's/waitress' menu suggestion seriously! As always, the service was excellent.

Heading towards the aft of the ship on the Promedade deck is Sabatini's Italian Restaurant. The Sabatini's on the Coral Princess has a magnificent dEcor and impeccable service. We dined there at a table for two and completed all of the courses in less than one hour and forty-five minutes! We certainly recommend this restaurant.

As you pass Sabatini's walking aft toward the Universe Lounge, you will be amazed to find yourself on a sidewalk in New Orleans!! Well, almost............brick walls, gaslights, small tables by the windows (smoking okay) and the entrance to the Bayou Cafe. One side is a cocktail lounge, the other is the dining room. Our dinner there was fantastic and again, excellent service! Highly recommended. Don't forget to put your Mardi Gras beads on-the necklaces are on each table.

The Horizon Court

The Horizon Court seems to be lacking in seating. The tables in the bow are large, round tables usually seating eight and are widely spaced. The breakfast buffet was okay however we prefer to either eat in the dining room or order room service. Many of our passengers raved about the food and others felt it was not very good.........a toss up. We chose to order the special Panama Canal breakfast which arrived on a three-tiered cart and consisted of champagne, pastries, crabcakes, etc., etc., smoked salmon, etc., fresh fruit, etc. This was so delicious and such a treat!! Our server placed a crisp white tablecloth on our balcony table, popped the champagne cork and left us to enjoy the great food and the beginning of the partial transit of the canal. All for only $25 (the champagne was Veuve Cliquot. Princess will be offering a Glacier Bay breakfast in Alaska and we recommend giving it a try!!

As we said before, we used room service rather consistently for our breakfasts. On sea days, we usually had breakfast in the main dining room.

The Spa

We visited the spa the day we boarded and thought it to be a beautiful place! With any of the spa services (not beauty salon), one may indulge in the steam rooms, tropical rainforest showers, etc. There are four or more themed showers; a beautiful, marble area of the spa.

We had pedicures our first, full day and enjoyed the back massage chairs and complete pedicures we received. We are not certain if other Princess ships have added the full pedi/spas but this was a first for us.

The Theaters & Entertainment

The Universe Lounge

Go early and get a seat on the lower level! If you have only the balcony seats to choose from you will find that many of the sofas and chairs have absolutely no view of the stages whatsoever.

The Princess Theater

There are plenty of seats in this theater, however, mom had a problem watching a live show because her view was blocked by the woman sitting in front of her. Mom was just told by her daughter that daughter had absolutely no problem seeing the stage!! Luck of the draw I suppose.

Entertainment

During our cruise the Wheelhouse Lounge featured The Laura Farrow Trio and The Don Sauro Trio from 5:30 p.m. till late. Campbell Simpson played the piano in the Bayou Cafe from 6:00 p.m. till 8:00 p.m. followed by the Perry Phillips Trio till midnight. Charlie Sleeth was at the piano in Crooners Lounge from 8:00 p.m. till midnight. The Explorer's Lounge was busy every evening with Karaoke, Newlywed & Not So Newlywed games, Music Quiz, comedy and magic of Doug Anderson, D.J. Josh, Tex Mex Country Hoe Down, 70s Night, and music by Hip Pocket. The Princess Musicians played in the Atrium. We did not attend all of these shows and hope we haven't forgotten to mention anyone!


The brand new show, "Curtain Up-A Salute to Broadway" was excellent as were "Da Beat", "Tribute", and "Dance." We also enjoyed "Pub Night".


The Casino

The London theme of the casino will either appeal to you or you will think it is overdone.
On our cruise the casino was never too crowded during the afternoons when we were there. Have no idea what the patronage was in the evenings. There was a large variety of slot machines, blackjack tables, a craps table, and we are not sure if there was a roulette table or not. The slot machines we played were very kind to us: yes, we left as winners!! The dollar slot machines were literally sitting unoccupied whenever we were in the casino. We think the casino is smaller than those on the Grand Class and Sun Class ships but that could be due to the layout used.

Overall Cruise Experience

With regard to the Coral Princess, our waitress said it best, "She is like a spoiled child". The ship is new and there are wrinkles to be ironed out, however, her spectacular beauty outweighs the very few negatives. And, remember, those negatives are solely related to her newness. In some areas she is quite bold, in others very demure. There is a quiet place for everyone or a festive spot if that is what you want.

Read your Princess Patter (the ship's evening newsletter) daily and decide what you would like to participate in or choose to do nothing at all. There is something for everyone on this ship.

We had wonderful weather and experienced a few moderate seas as we cruised in the southern Caribbean-the tradewinds were a'blowing. Our stateroom groaned quite a bit at times but we think that she will settle and then not be quite as noisy.

The art gallery holds and displays all of the art work to be auctioned during the cruise. NO artwork clutters the corridors of the ship!!!! We found this to be a refreshing change from the other Princess ships.

Formal nights were not at all what we usually experience on a Princess cruise. The Captain's Welcome party was well attended and a large majority of the passengers were dressed in their formal attire. However, at the Captain's Circle Party, we saw at least six or seven men meet the captain wearing t-shirts and sandals!! Also, some of the men were wearing sport coats with no neckties................to us, that was totally disrespectful. Those who took the time to dress appropriately were dazzling and in the majority.

We chose the ship rather than the itinerary-both were terrific; however, we really prefer the full transit of the canal.

Disembarkation

Platinum members sat in the Universe Lounge being served coffee, juice, and pastries along with the USA Today newspaper. There was a television show being shown on the three movie screens also. This was a very pleasant place to wait for our color and number to be called.

We were called 15 minutes later than the published time of 8:45 a.m. We found our luggage within minutes but then spent at least half an hour in a ten- person wide line with others merging in ahead of us, behind us, and at times it seemed on top of us! The porters were also trying to push their carts through this wall of people. There was only one customs line for hundreds of people to pass through and everyone wanted to be the first one in line!! This was horrible and probably a very unsafe situation!! Eventually another customs line was formed and we were soon outside. Whew!!! We immediately hailed a cab and were at the airport shortly thereafter. Our flight was at 1:00 p.m. allowing us time to have a quick bite for lunch before proceeding to our gate. The plane departed twenty minutes late however we arrived in Chicago on time.

We are proud and happy to say we cruised on the Coral Princess and hope our review may help you in making your choice to sail on her also.

Our Coral Princess cruise met all of our expectations and we will sail on her again. If you want to cruise on a new ship or are planning a cruise on the Coral, you won't be disappointed!!

Thank you for reading our review of the Coral Princess and bon voyage to all of you future cruisers!HOLTCA@aol.comJuly 2003
Cruisin' Chris’s Full Rating Summary
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