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Princess Cruises: Coral Princess

  • Princess Cruises

Coral Princess Review

Insider Take

Overview

A spirit-class ship for Princess - mid-sized for Princess meaning modern but but not too crowded

Best For People Who Want

A modern, right-sized ship with elegant surroundings; plenty to do on board but not so big that you feel like you missed something.

Onboard Experience

Coral Princess and Island Princess, launched in 2003, were the only two ships Princess built after 2000 that are small enough to get through the Panama Canal (with 24 inches on each side to spare!). Smaller than the fleet's biggest ships, yet bigger than the mid-sized Sun Princess class that dominated the 90s, these sisters in many ways represent the best of both worlds. The public rooms are the same as on the Grand-class megaships, but Island and Coral passengers feel they have much more elbow room; though a fifth larger than Princess's Sun-class ships, they carry only 20 more passengers apiece based on double occupancy.

By all appearances, Princess caught sight of the upside-down design of the Carnival Spirit-class ships presented in 2000 and couldn't resist adopting the concept of putting all the public rooms on the lower decks and the cabin decks higher up; affording the ability to add a balcony (75% of all cabins) to almost every outside stateroom (83% of all cabins). The result is a ship with beautifully appointed and spacious cabins and a hive of adjacent public rooms that are easy to navigate and offer exemplary passenger flow.

"[email protected]" classes are held in the high-tech Universe Lounge, a two-story venue that at night, unlike any other classroom you've ever been cooped up in, becomes a show lounge or cabaret! You can learn everything from how to assemble a Web site to how to paint pottery (these are the only ships at sea with real kilns). Of course, a range of culinary classes will teach you how to cook a wide range of exotic dishes.

Decor

As with most Princess ships, the atrium is the focal point with light woods and brass railings surrounding walls of glass. Due to a more generous space to passenger ratio, public rooms and restaurants are more spacious than their counterparts on other Princess ships. In the cabins, upholstery and walls are invariably in restful earth tones and off-whites, with butterscotch wood trim.

Restaurants

Princess's "Personal Choices" flexible dining program, whereby passengers can opt either for traditional two-seating dining, or dine when and with whom they please, is nowhere better implemented than on these ships. In the Bayou Cafe, you can enjoy zingy New Orleans-style cuisine to a jazz trio's accompaniment for $10 per person, including a cocktail. Sabatini's offers alternative diners a gigantic multi-course Italian feast for $15. The always-open Horizon Court dishes up standard cafeteria fare during breakfast and lunch; but at night gets swanky, offering its patrons items from the ship's main restaurant. During the day, the circular layout of food stations and the lack of clear paths between them occasionally results in mild chaos.

The Provence and Bordeaux dining rooms are nearly indistinguishable, but for one distinction. Provence is dedicated to traditional fixed-seating dining (6 p.m. and 8:15 p.m.) and Bordeaux offers Anytime Personal Choice dining; anytime the whim strikes you between 5:30 and 10 p.m.

Service

The extremely international staff is unfailingly chipper and professional. Flatteringly, the waiters seem to take particular delight in remembering diners' personal preferences.

Tipping

Regardless of which dining plan you choose, you'll be charged $10 per person per day for dining and stateroom personnel, even if you're a child. Consult the purser, at the reception desk, about raising or lowering this amount. All beverage tabs automatically include 15-percent gratuity. Tip the spa, casino, and other staff as you deem fit.

Entertainment

With a dozen or so venues for nightlife, you're virtually assured of finding something that floats your boat, to coin a phrase. There's no faulting the lavishness of the production shows, which feature extravagant special effects. The performers in the cabaret are a talented bunch.

Fitness/Spa

The Steiners' operated Lotus Spa offers not only massages and hair and beauty treatments (for which be sure to book as you board), but also seminars on everything from abs enhancement and metabolism to aging and detoxifying. There are also Tahitian scalp massages, a mud room for couples, "gentle touch" teeth whitening, and a cellulite reduction program, popular in Europe, called ionithermie algae detox. The gym, though smallish, has all the weight training, running, and aerobic equipment anyone could reasonably demand.

There are a basketball/volleyball court and a computerized golf simulator, as well as a nine-hole miniature-golf course up on the top deck, which you access via a windowless wooden door that makes it look permanently closed. It's not; just go on in.

Attire

A typical cruise includes two formal evenings. The other evenings are "smart casual", meaning sweaters, skirts and blouses, and slacks and collared shirts. Shorts and jeans are considered too casual.

Should Be Avoided By People Who Prefer

Should be Avoided by People who Prefer: Small-ship camaraderie, extensive sports facilities, lots of singles action

Public Rooms

You'll find no scarcity of invitingly intimate lounges, many with live music. Crooners, a martini bar, evokes the heyday of the Rat Pack, while the cozy cigar lounge Churchill's evokes an English country manor. The clubby, nautical-themed Wheelhouse Bar is filled with original oil paintings. If you find yourself longing for contemporary décor, you'll find it, along with cappuccino and pastries, at Le Patisserie, which offers free-for-the-taking cookies and sweets.

In the bow, the Princess Theater, a classic sloping one-level space. offers a good view from every comfortable theater-style seat; put your drink - or notebook - on the little flip-up table. When the ceiling lights are left on during lectures, please note, it can get infernally hot in the back rows, so sit in the front!

The ship's Internet cafe, card room and library do brisk business during days at sea; indeed, you're sometimes lucky to find a place to sit! Because there are entrances from both the atrium and the midships elevators/stair tower, the rooms are often used as passageways, not exactly ideal for a library!

The Captain can marry you quite legally in the wedding chapel. The Universe Lounge presents floor shows at night, while cabaret rules the Africa-themed Explorer's Lounge. The bright, kid-scaled Fun Zone and Pelican's Playhouse children's center and smallish Off Limits teen center may be found at the stern on Deck 12.

Cuisine

Predictably, the main restaurants and Lido cafeteria serve Continental ship cuisine -- fettuccine Alfredo, broiled lobster tail, Beef Wellington, that sort of thing -- unlikely either to offend or amaze most diners. If you ask the kitchen for something less bland, it will happily oblige, or try the Bayou Cafe's spicy shrimp gumbo. barbecued alligator ribs appetizers, "mud-bug" bisque soup, fried catfish, grilled jumbo prawns, and chicken and chorizo jambalaya in a subdued, woody ambience, with faux brick walls and lantern lighting. Sabatini's, which warms your palate up with more than a dozen quite substantial antipasti before it brings out your main course, will test even the most energetic gourmand's capacity. Allow three hours for this "event dining" experience. The Lotus Spa menu offers such innovative options as chilled yogurt and tamarind soup sprinkled with grated lemon rind, filet of baby turbot with a fennel pernod sauce, and a tropical fruit smoothie flavored with lime.

Cabins

As is true of all Princess vessels, the 33 cabin categories on offer are misleading; the range of choice is closer to 10. Princess puts virtually identical quarters into different categories based on location.

That said, Island Princess has the largest number of balconies in the fleet. Eight-five percent of the cabins are outside, and 85% of those have private verandas. Refining the Princess vision of gigantic ships with an intimate feel, their tiered design eschews the too-familiar "wall of balconies" look, achieving a clean, flowing profile.

Standard outside cabins are 160 sq. ft., standard balcony cabins 217-248 sq. ft. The mini-suites, much more spacious for not a lot more money, offer 280 to 302 sq. ft., but the privacy of the balconies of those on Dolphin Deck is severely compromised; they can be observed from the balconies of the three decks above. The largest cabins measure 470 sq. ft. Suite occupants should expect neither butler service nor amenities beyond such standard one as TV/radio, hair dryers, mini refrigerators, bathrobes, and personal safes, daily deliveries of ice, and evening turndown service. Closet and drawer space is at a real premium; pack light! The shower stalls in standard cabins are pretty cramped.

Premium suites and minisuites amenities include complimentary laundry and shoe shine, a selection of pillows, daily in-room canapés and high tea, and free Internet access.

A self-service launderette ($1.75 washers, $1 soap, $1.50 dryers) is located on each stateroom deck.




Ship Overview

Launched in 2003, Coral Princess is one of just two cruise ships in the Princess fleet that was specially built to sail through the Panama Canal, giving the vessel, along with her sister ship IslandPrincess access to more worldwide destinations than some of their fleetmates. Renovations have added many of the cruise line’s most popular signature elements, including Movies Under the Stars and the Sanctuary.

Princess includes Coral Princess and Island Princess in their Sun-class category; however, they are larger ships (albeit with a similar capacity to Sun Princess and her two sisters), which means much more space per passenger; we feel this necessitates a separate category. All the Personal Choice features attributed to the larger Grand-class ships were incorporated into this design as well as a few unique additions, such as a demonstration kitchen and ceramics lab complete with kiln where [email protected] programs are presented. The four-story atrium is similar to that on Sun-class ships, but public rooms are mainly spread fore and aft on two lower decks.

Princess Cruises may be best known for introducing cruise travel to millions of viewers, when its flagship became the setting for The Love Boat television series in 1977. Since that heady time of small-screen stardom, the Princess fleet has grown both in the number and size of ships. Although most are large in scale, Princess vessels manage to create the illusion of intimacy through the use of color and decor in understated yet lovely public rooms graced by multimillion-dollar art collections.

Princess has also become more flexible; Personal Choice Cruising offers alternatives for open seating dining (when you wish and with whom you please) and entertainment options as diverse as those found in resorts ashore.

Lovely chapels or the wide-open decks are equally romantic settings for weddings at sea with the captain officiating.

What You Should Know

Pros

  • As many as 20 courses in the [email protected] program are offered on each cruise
  • Cabins that sleep third and fourth passengers are numerous
  • The Fine Art Gallery is a dedicated area, so displays don't clutter other public spaces

Cons

  • The library and card room often become noisy passageways
  • There are only 16 suites on each ship
  • Engine pods on the funnel give the ships a futuristic space-age appearance but are mainly decorative
Ship Stats
  • Crew Members 900
  • Entered Service 2003
  • Gross Tons 92,000
  • Length 964
  • Number of Cabins 987
  • Passenger Capacity 1,970
  • Width 106 feet
  • New

Jan 15, 2017

Review of Coral Princess

Lou Age: 60 Occupation:Self employed Number of Cruises: 3 Cruise Line: Princess Ship: Coral Princess Sailing Date: 2016-03-15 Itinerary: Panama Food and wine were poor at best. The wine selection was very limited and they must store the wines poorly as several had turned bad. The shore excursion to the Indian Village in Panama was a joke and very fake and staged. Would not return to this ship or this cruise line. There are others that are better

Poor food quality in my view. Fine cabin and cabin service. Poor shore excursions and activities.

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By Lou_CR

  • New

Mar 27, 2016

Panama

Food and wine were poor at best. The wine selection was very limited and they must store the wines poorly as several had turned bad. The shore excursion to the Indian Village in Panama was a joke and very fake and staged. Would not return to this ship or this cruise line. There are others that are better Poor food quality in my view. Fine cabin and cabin service. Poor shore excursions and activities.

  • New

Feb 18, 2016

Panama

This ship shouldn't have left the port. Our cruise set sail to Panama on February 5th, the sewage smell was horrible, crew members were in the hallway constantly on ladders which made moving around unsafe. Our suite had problems and it took seven days to get repairs, most important was the shelf in the shower that was reported first day, on second day fell out again and cut my foot. Don't try the spa, spa crew doesn't have passengers interest

at heart suppose to have 55 minute massage ended up being 30 minutes because she was having an off day I am a vegetarian and they wanted me to eat pasta every day. Very hard to get them to understand I would rather have some vegetables. One waiter finally on the six day of 10 day cruise found a way to get me some We had a suite and couldn't get hot water, air conditioner didn't work correctly. Repairs were needed Not a lot of activities unless you are willing to spend money at art auctions, casino, or stores This was the worst cruise we have ever been on, it is our 11th with princess and our last. Going back to celebrity

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  • New

Feb 18, 2016

Aruba-Columbia-Panama Canal-Costa Rica-Grand Cayman Island

This Cruise was our first on Princess. We've traveled on Royal Caribbean and Carnival previously and had absolutely fantastic voyages. Knowing that the Princess "Coral Princess" had just come out of dry dock we felt all would be wonderful. When I heard of the Zeka Virus we were concerned because wife and I have auto immune disorders and were apprehensive. Vacations to Go told me to get doctors note and they would present it to Princess.

Next day I heard back. No refund, but a credit would be offered for another cruise i the future which I accepted. The NEXT day another phone call from travel agent to advise me NO credit will be offered! The Princess lines agent was no where to be found. I in turn called Princess customer relations and wanted manager, but denied. Moral to the story "take the cruise or loose your money"! On February 5, 2016 we boarded to Ship. Immediately smelling sewage. The ship had it's maiden voyage after dry dock just prior to ours. A shake down cruise for seven days. In that time the drive shaft to one of the screws broke so the ship cruised in a 360 degree pattern for two days. They had broken or backed up sewage and water lines also. Sub contractor plumbers hired on for four months to repair as it sailed! We had to smell sewage for ten days. The Atrium was awful as well as our cabin and glass elevators. This ruined the whole trip. I need to use a C-pap machine and that made the odor direct and worse. I am a 100% disabled Combat Vietnam Veteran and have had to smell this odor many times before, but never expecting to suffer on our Anniversary voyage. There is no excuse for this type of nonsense. We arrived in port and it sailed once again to the surprise of the new passenger list. The Captain and crew were no where to be found on deck. I believe they were avoiding the issues and should be called to task. Princess Customer relations were the worst I have ever had the dis pleasure of dealing with and will never recommend or sail with them again. When you loose respect for your passengers health and welfare and look at the bottom line only it will eventually catch up to you. We were told that our cruise sailed minus 600 passengers. Possibly the word is spreading? Toilets would not flush at times, No hot water in shower, first four days buffet very bland, Lost our port of call in Costa Rica and should have other ports to substitute rather than another day at sea and less than $4.00 credit. I feel the cruise line should offer passengers another cruise for all the negative issues on a supposed dream cruise! Many of us save our money for the big event only to be let down by poor management and disregard for passenger satisfaction. I have never had a negative cruise experience and after this voyage will look for other ways to vacation. Definitely not PRINCESS CRUISE LINES!!! Food in main dining was fantastic State room was fine except for the sewage odor and no hot shower water Activities on board was acceptable, but geared to a geriatric community Excursions were great and well planned. I started with excitement , but discouraged by the disregard for passenger health and welfare.

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By John_CR

  • New

Feb 13, 2016

Caribbean

They ship was launched from being in dry dock for the first 2 days the pools were empty and filthy and the hot tubs were also empty and filthy (they took the ship from dry dock in the Bahamas to Fort Lauderdale but never filled the pools or hot tubs. After many complaints they got some tubs working and one pools after 4 days the second pool. The ship thrusters did not work right or the steering so we did not get to Cozumel until the 2nd day after

we were supposed to have arrived they fixed what was wrong with the propulsion and then the weather did not allowed entry to the next port we were already behind schedule BUT THEY ALWAYS ANNOUNCED SAFETY FIRST HMMM. HOW ABOUT BEFORE THEY LEAVE PORT NOT AFTER. But as we cruised on our six day three stop cruises that allowed one stop we found the hot water in the room did not work they fixed on the fourth day it quit working on the fifth day again. The heat and air conditioning did not work in the room and repaired but still did not work but they had to shampoo rug from the mess left. Staff was great they did not prepare the cruise ahead of time they should be ashamed of treating customers in this manner this is our 5th sailing on princess which is usually great this they should learn by and never ever sail again with out being prepared. ps Ship staff had buckets to catch water leaks in their quarters in some areas and many areas had a Lot of sewage orders thru out the ship. I have lots of photos if princess would like to see them Good food but used to be better. Hot water worked one day out of 6 and room temperature was either very hot or very cold and repairman fixed it he said and left a mess so bad they had to shampoo the carpet and it never worked after he repaired it. Ok We missed tow of the stops we were supposed to take out of the three scheduled See my narrative Princess should be ashamed to ever sail any ship in their fleet in the. Manner in which they sailed this cruise from Fort Lauderdale on Jan. 30th on the Coral Princess and for the Captain to approve th sailing he never could have looked at or test sailed the ship after dry dock or he never would have sailed with the pools and hot tubs empty and filthy and the ship broke down on the cruise and many things onboard did not work they were replacing much of the water lines as we left the ship.

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