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Bi-polar Coral reviews?

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I'll try to be objective, have sailed Coral 3x and am booked on another 19 day cruise on her in April.  Have also sailed on 6 Grand class ships (Grand, Caribbean, Golden, Star, Crown & Ruby), first Royal class cruise come up in about 6 weeks.

 

Last year we sailed Coral and then Ruby about 6 weeks apart.  Observations.

 

There's no doubt about it, Ruby was more "glitzy" though she is only a few years newer the standards clearly evolved.  The difference was at first striking, but that doesn't make Coral bad by comparison, just a bit more plain.  Some might think this a good thing.

 

We're Sanctuary junkies and this is a substantial difference between Coral and her Grand class cousins.  The Sanctuary on Coral is all the way aft, a much smaller space, with very limited shade.  If you manage a lounger of your choice - it's a real treat, every seat in the place has an awesome view over the fantail.  Space though is quite limited, if this is important to you, the Grand ships have more capacity and far more shade.

 

In other respects Coral is fabulous in terms of deck space there are 'secret' viewing decks both for and aft - great for places like Alaska or Panama.  Coral has a great covered pool solarium for cool (or really hot) days.  Something that's available on some but not all of the Grand class ships.

 

As others have noted, Coral has a fantastic Prom deck which encircles the ship.  A great feature that we always find ourselves using several times a day.  Sometimes just to slip past an interior traffic jam, other times for a brief stroll after dinner and nearly daily for a bit of sea watching or sightseeing.  It never seems overly busy, I've never had trouble finding a seat.

 

Only Coral has a show designed just for her:  "On the Bayou".  We'll worth a viewing, you won't see it anywhere else.

 

The only Coral negative for me is:  The Bayou Cafe, I'd really prefer Crown Grill though others do rave about it.  I sort of past my cajun/creole phase so this no longer fits my palate.

 

As I wrote in my opening, we're happy to sail Coral again anytime, and in fact are in April.  I'd put the negative reviews aside and prepare to enjoy the many special features of this one of a kind lady.

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17 minutes ago, jondfk said:

 

Only Coral has a show designed just for her:  "On the Bayou".  We'll worth a viewing, you won't see it anywhere else.

 

The only Coral negative for me is:  The Bayou Cafe, I'd really prefer Crown Grill though others do rave about it.  I sort of past my cajun/creole phase so this no longer fits my palate..

Two more comments - we really enjoyed "On the Bayou," too, but then we're suckers for the production shows 😊

We also ate at the Bayou Cafe. In addition to the usual cajun menu there were special Alaskan entrees. I had a great halibut filet (and no, it wasn't cajun/spicy)!

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We did a B2B on the Coral last year to Alaska out of Vancouver and a Panama Canal cruise. Each time we found the crew to be the best. We have also done 4 cruises on the new Regal and Royal, I would never do an Alaskan cruise on either one. Getting on and off the Coral is breeze compared to one of the larger ships. It has already been mentioned about the lack of a promanade deck. To me it is pointless to have all those slides, outdoor pools, outdoor dining areas etc. in Alaska....it is not the Caribbean and you are going to see a glacier (IE big ice cube wind blows off...cold) Buffet in the front is a plus on Glacier by and just cruising along we spent more time in the buffet area more than any other cruise. When something interesting was up ahead you can easily get out on deck. So would we book again, yes! In fact we are planning another trip to Alaska and it will be on the Coral.  

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5 hours ago, Italy52 said:

As someone who just returned from a B2B Alaskan cruise on the Royal --- I agree that the Royal is not meant for Alaska.  We didn't like the fact that there was no real promenade, photo op locations were hard to find and lots of uncovered spaces --- if it rained, outside viewing would have been a mess. 

 

Also, the smoke from the casino would rise up through the atrium area and made it uncomfortable at times --- they need to come up with a better system to alleviate this issue.

 

We are taking a B2B Alaskan cruise on the Coral next May and are looking forward to our adventure.

I was wondering your opinion of the ship in Alaska. It is as I expected.

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12 minutes ago, Coral said:

I was wondering your opinion of the ship in Alaska. It is as I expected.

Sorry it took so long to comment, I am still not feeling my best.

 

As you know, we took the Royal because the departure day worked best for us.  Having been on the Regal to the Caribbean we thought it would all work out.  However, from the moment we got on the ship and started checking it out for photo ops and dry viewing spaces (should we need them) we knew there would be challenges for us.  We did manage to make it work but it took some doing.  We were not alone as we saw quite a few people scrambling to find places to position their tripods to get good shots. 

 

We are not real big on entertainment and spend most of our time out on the deck taking in the sights.  Walking on promenade decks are big for us; sadly, the Royal came up short here. 

 

I can't say we didn't enjoy our B2Bs on the Royal because we did.  There were definitely pluses and minuses.  Would I take the Royal to Alaska again?  Don't think so.  

 

 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Italy52 said:

Sorry it took so long to comment, I am still not feeling my best.

 

I can't say we didn't enjoy our B2Bs on the Royal because we did.  There were definitely pluses and minuses.  Would I take the Royal to Alaska again?  Don't think so.  

 

 

Thanks - I trust your views on this. I am also one that is on the promenade deck a lot during my sailings. I have not been on Royal/Regal but knew it probably wouldn't be the ship for me in Alaska.

 

Feel better.

Edited by Coral

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Posted (edited)

Funny, we did the Coral twice, July 2014 Alaska & January 2015 Panama Canal. I frequented the International Cafe every morning on the Alaska cruise, made friends with the Pastry Chef. When we did the Panama Canal I went down the 1st morning & low & behold - there he was - we immediately recognized each other, made for a fun cruise (it was the last cruise for his contract, he was going home to family after it, made sure to give him a nice fat envelope on the last day).  This is what Princess Cruising is all about.  She is a great ship, more intimate that the Royal (I've been on her & I love her for other reasons).

You may want to look at the Pacific - very small ship 🙂

Edited by CruiseVA

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We are going on our first Royal class cruise in September to try it out on the 3 day from Vancouver to San Pedro. I have concerns about the size and lack of promenade, but figure I can handle it for 3 days, to see if I would ever consider booking a longer voyage.  DH is looking forward to the expanded food options!

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54 minutes ago, donswife said:

We are going on our first Royal class cruise in September to try it out on the 3 day from Vancouver to San Pedro. I have concerns about the size and lack of promenade, but figure I can handle it for 3 days, to see if I would ever consider booking a longer voyage.  DH is looking forward to the expanded food options!

 

sounds like a good way to get a better sense for the big ships. we don't know if we even like taking cruises to be honest so we'll probably learn a lot on this trip :P

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14 hours ago, Colo Cruiser said:

I take reviews with a grain of salt.

One person on a cruise has those concerning comments and another on the same cruise will have the best time of their cruise history and the ship is in pristine condition.  🙄

Have sailed the Coral many times. I don't think you will be disappointed.

She is one of my favorites.

Well said sir.....

 

Bob

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, CruiseVA said:

You may want to post this elsewhere - the Coral is far from Royal Class. It's a Sun Class Ship

Not really.

 

The Sun, Dawn, Sea and (formerly) Ocean are a different beast.

Edited by Coral

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12 hours ago, Italy52 said:

We were not alone as we saw quite a few people scrambling to find places to position their tripods to get good shots. 

wonderful .. :classic_rolleyes:

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22 hours ago, JimmyVWine said:

One of the best things about the current state of the cruise industry  is that new, state of the art ships are being introduced (or announced) monthly, or so it seems.  But with the introduction of all these new ships, it causes older ships to be pushed into the shadows and suffer by comparison.  Coral Princess was launched in 2003.  It can never measure up to the shiny new toys in terms of technology and condition.  On the other hand, the shiny new ships have long abandoned features that made Coral Princess desirable, which is outdoor space and passenger-to-space ratio.  When choosing a cruise, the ship should certainly play an important role, as should itinerary.  But when choosing a ship, don't let "condition" and "newness" be overriding factors.  One should strongly consider "appropriateness for the itinerary" as well.  Pairing Coral Princess with an Inside Passage itinerary is about as perfect a marriage as one could hope for in a cruise. 

 

For me, there is no way that I would ever  choose Royal over Coral for an Inside Passage cruise.  We practically lived on our balcony, the wide Promenade and on the open decks (on Sapphire) when we went to Alaska and the thought of doing the same on Royal is laughable (and in some situations, impossible).  Think of it this way:  Royal has "new" bells and whistles and Coral has "tailor-made-for-Alaska" bells and whistles.  If I were going on a port-intensive cruise in the Med, maybe Royal's bells and whistles would win. But in Alaska, Coral's win every time--irrespective of the age of the ship.  Her classic design is purpose built for what you want to do and see.   "New and shiny" is only better when "new and shiny" matter.  In Alaska, balcony size and deck space matter.  Five years from now, when you look back on your cruise, what will you remember more, watching glaciers calve or the omelette that you got at the buffet?  If your goal is to see Alaska, then choose the ship that better affords you that pleasure, irrespective of its age.  

 

Great post, and so true.

 

Coral to Alaska was our first cruise.  We saw all the brochures showing bells and whistles on the new mega ships and wondered if we'd made the right choice.  We made the right choice!  There are so many places to get outside and see the scenery, some completely deserted, like the areas aft on deck 10 and the excellent viewing areas at the front of the ship that not many people seemed to know about.  On the Royal I'm sure we'd have been jockeying for a good position with hundreds of other people given the more limited outside deck space.

 

As we've sailed more ships and experienced some of the bigger, newer examples, we've realised bigger and newer is not indeed better.  Sure the decor is from this century, unlike the Coral, but deck space is being squeezed by all lines and more recently it is more and more being reserved for suite level passengers (looking at you Celebrity!) leaving everyone else with less and less space from which to see the world go by.  

 

Thankfully the Coral still gives you this opportunity.

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We've been on Coral twice (Panama Canal and Alaska) and Regal (Royal's near identical twin) three times and I love both but only when they're on the right itinerary. For an itinerary that includes scenic cruising such as in Alaska, Coral is absolutely the right ship and Royal the wrong ship. OTOH, for a cruise where there's not much to see when at sea, the additional amenities of the Royal-class ships make them the better choice (not that Coral would be bad on any itinerary).

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34 minutes ago, lstone19 said:

We've been on Coral twice (Panama Canal and Alaska) and Regal (Royal's near identical twin) three times and I love both but only when they're on the right itinerary. For an itinerary that includes scenic cruising such as in Alaska, Coral is absolutely the right ship and Royal the wrong ship. OTOH, for a cruise where there's not much to see when at sea, the additional amenities of the Royal-class ships make them the better choice (not that Coral would be bad on any itinerary).

 

that was my thought too, a cruise where there's not much to see except the same endless ocean the ship amenities may be more important and the viewing spaces less so. 

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We have never been on the Coral but have done Alaska many times on Princess and other cruise lines.  We were on the Royal in the Spring for Mexican Rivera and then up the coast to Vancouver. We loved the ship and we had a great time for 14 days.  But, while I was on the ship I did think about whether I would book Alaska on it and the answer is no I wouldn't if there are other options.

 

I didn't like how it is awkward to walk the length of the ship on the top decks and felt this would make viewing the glaciers not as enjoyable as the ship rotates, and the scenery in general. I also thought (not yet confirmed) that on the pool decks, some of the areas where you would stand and take pictures unobstructed now had barriers that you had to take pictures through.  And wouldn't like that the promenade deck was all broken up and couldn't even walk 3/4 around.  Also, no indoor pool, which I really enjoy in Alaska. We would have fun on any ship but Alaska cruise is all about the scenery so would definitely book the Coral over the Royal.

 

Keep in mind that many of the complaints you read about are common to all ships ie: line ups for anytime dining, not enough seats in theatre, food (which is subjective), quality of entertainment (also subjective).

 

Have a great time and enjoy Alaska.

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well all we took our trip on the Coral and i totally understand the bi-polar reviews. we enjoyed the outdoor spaces a lot but the interior/decor were dated... the best i can describe it is trying to harken back to a bygone era of travel but not quite doing it justice if that makes sense.

 

for a trip with more time at sea, or for someone who wants to take advantage of a lot of the interior features, or for someone who find modern decor really important, a newer ship may make more sense. 

 

for an alaska itinerary, the Coral offered a lot of benefits: being able to use all the "hidden" decks, walking the covered promenade deck, having a deeper balcony that was protected from the wind, sailing through the inside passage, lots of comfy seats by big windows like in the library, rarely feeling crowded or having a line for anything, etc.

 

overall we had a really good time and while i think we would have done so on any well maintained ship the ease of moving between various decks on glacier viewing days was really a bonus. 

 

thanks again everyone for your thoughts and advice 😃

 

 

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On 7/23/2019 at 10:35 AM, JimmyVWine said:

For me, there is no way that I would ever  choose Royal over Coral for an Inside Passage cruise.  We practically lived on our balcony, the wide Promenade and on the open decks (on Sapphire) when we went to Alaska and the thought of doing the same on Royal is laughable (and in some situations, impossible).  Think of it this way:  Royal has "new" bells and whistles and Coral has "tailor-made-for-Alaska" bells and whistles.  If I were going on a port-intensive cruise in the Med, maybe Royal's bells and whistles would win. But in Alaska, Coral's win every time--irrespective of the age of the ship.  Her classic design is purpose built for what you want to do and see.   "New and shiny" is only better when "new and shiny" matter.  In Alaska, balcony size and deck space matter.  Five years from now, when you look back on your cruise, what will you remember more, watching glaciers calve or the omelette that you got at the buffet?  If your goal is to see Alaska, then choose the ship that better affords you that pleasure, irrespective of its age.  

The best paragraph I've ever read on Cruise Critic.

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On 7/23/2019 at 9:35 AM, JimmyVWine said:

One of the best things about the current state of the cruise industry  is that new, state of the art ships are being introduced (or announced) monthly, or so it seems.  But with the introduction of all these new ships, it causes older ships to be pushed into the shadows and suffer by comparison.  Coral Princess was launched in 2003.  It can never measure up to the shiny new toys in terms of technology and condition.  On the other hand, the shiny new ships have long abandoned features that made Coral Princess desirable, which is outdoor space and passenger-to-space ratio.  When choosing a cruise, the ship should certainly play an important role, as should itinerary.  But when choosing a ship, don't let "condition" and "newness" be overriding factors.  One should strongly consider "appropriateness for the itinerary" as well.  Pairing Coral Princess with an Inside Passage itinerary is about as perfect a marriage as one could hope for in a cruise. 

 

For me, there is no way that I would ever  choose Royal over Coral for an Inside Passage cruise.  We practically lived on our balcony, the wide Promenade and on the open decks (on Sapphire) when we went to Alaska and the thought of doing the same on Royal is laughable (and in some situations, impossible).  Think of it this way:  Royal has "new" bells and whistles and Coral has "tailor-made-for-Alaska" bells and whistles.  If I were going on a port-intensive cruise in the Med, maybe Royal's bells and whistles would win. But in Alaska, Coral's win every time--irrespective of the age of the ship.  Her classic design is purpose built for what you want to do and see.   "New and shiny" is only better when "new and shiny" matter.  In Alaska, balcony size and deck space matter.  Five years from now, when you look back on your cruise, what will you remember more, watching glaciers calve or the omelette that you got at the buffet?  If your goal is to see Alaska, then choose the ship that better affords you that pleasure, irrespective of its age.  

This is a wonderful, insightful, and thoughtful post. Thank you so much for this great comparison.

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On 7/23/2019 at 9:03 PM, CruiseVA said:

 

You may want to look at the Pacific - very small ship 🙂

I didn't care for the Pacific. (14 day Holiday Caribbean). I can't quite explain why. Wasn't the size. Had a great 19 day TA on Oceania's sister ship. The Pacific just misses a few things we enjoy. The International Cafe comes to mind.

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A special note if you drink coffee: There is the International Café which it small and next to the smoky casino;

however, we discovered that there is also an espresso bar in the Horizon Café Buffet area. So, we always would get our

coffee and hot cocoa drinks there. And the quality was better and a much friendlier staff.

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47 minutes ago, nini said:

A special note if you drink coffee: There is the International Café which it small and next to the smoky casino;

however, we discovered that there is also an espresso bar in the Horizon Café Buffet area. So, we always would get our

coffee and hot cocoa drinks there. And the quality was better and a much friendlier staff.

 

On our trip the Casino wasn't smoky, probably b/c there never seemed to be anyone in there. I was surprised it was not an enclosed room. From the cafe you see a bunch of slot machines and everytime I passed it I thought it looked like an arcade for grown ups. 🤣

 

I smelled some smoke in the designated area on the promenade (7) occasionally and a sewage type smell consistently in one specific bend of the promenade when walking laps on different days. The indoor pool area had a chlorine smell. Didn't notice any weird smells elsewhere.

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