Friday, February 11, 2011

Review: Coral Princess

The Coral Princess is huge compared to many of the ships we have sailed on. She holds around 2000 passengers and we got worn out as we toured her 15 decks.

Our cabin, on the other hand, was smaller than what we have sailed in recently. And I’m not just comparing it to the mini-suite we had on the Pacific Princess. There really is no comparison to that. I’m comparing it to the cabin on our last river cruise.

Our outside cabin has the typical two beds pushed together, with the head of the bed under the window. There is a nightstand on each side of the bed with two small drawers. On one side of the desk, there is a refrigerator, which is wasted space as far as I am concerned. The other side has three drawers. And that is it for drawer space. Plus there are absolutely no hooks in the room. I’m glad I brought the 3M Command hooks as suggested several times on this forum. (This was my first time using them and they worked perfectly as advertised.)

The closet area is open which I prefer over closed doors. Lots of hanging room with lots of hangers. An enclosed cabinet holds the in-room safe and shelves. Without those shelves, with what I feel is a shortage of drawers, we’d be in trouble. And we travel very light.

As for the bathroom….well it is tiny. Ditto on the shower. Good thing we are not big people. That said, the water pressure in the shower was very good and the water could be set quite warm.

Some of the dining room menus were the same we had on the Pacific Princess. Food was comparative to that on our Holy Land trip, ranging from very good to excellent. The Horizon Buffet had two entrances and two lines, both offering the same food. Nice with this number of passengers and we never had much of a wait. Also available is pizza, which was very good and hot dogs and hamburgers, which we did not have.

There is a coffee and pastry bar with specialty coffees. We had leftover coffee cards from the Pacific Princess and had no trouble using them. The room service menu is more extensive than what was offered on the smaller ship. And then there is the ice cream bar with free soft serve ice cream, which I tried to avoid as much as possible. BG

As for some of the venues on board ship…this ship offers Movies Under the Stars. The nights there were movies we would want to see were too cool and/or windy so we never got to experience it. There are two pool areas, one indoor (that's where the ice cream bar is) and one out-door. The gym is large and, outside at the back of the gym/spa area, there is a space called The Sanctuary. Very luxurious, with comfy deck chair cushions and its own ‘dip pool’ and $10 for 1/2 day pass and $20 for a full day pass. However, we did find lots of nice quiet areas to sit outside including the promenade deck and deck 15 forward so I’m not sure why someone would feel they had to pay that money. There are also several decks that have chairs facing windows and loads of small lounges which were quiet during the day.

The Internet café is small for this size ship, IMHO (be sure to check both sides of the ship by the café as there are terminals set up on both sides). Maybe they figure most of the passengers would bring their own laptops and would be using wi-fi. Since I had pre-bought our Internet package to get the 60 free minutes, I had to work with the Internet café manager to get set up. Basically, I had to buy the 250-minute package, then he went into my account and credited the additional 60 minutes. A slip I signed would go to the purser’s office where the charge was then credited out.

There are two large lounges, used for shows, movies and things like bingo. Loads of small bar areas for games like trivia. Casino is large with lots of unfriendly penny and nickel slots. There is a craps and roulette table and lots of table games. Of course there is the usual collection of boutiques. And I found no bargains at the shops….unlike the sweatshirt I got for $10 on our last cruise.

Back to the dining rooms….early dining is 5:30 and late dining is 7:45…not quite right for us so we chose Anytime dining. But the first night was awful, as we went to the dining room at 6:30, where 15 minutes later we got a pager, which went off 30 minutes later. Not happy, we decided to take advantage of the option to make a reservation. Didn’t work out. Because it is their busiest time (no kidding!) we could not make a reservation for between 6 and 7:30. Either way, this is not exactly what I wanted from Anytime dining since we love the idea of not having a specific time we need to be at the dining room. It got better over the cruise but I think because people learned not to be there between 6:00 and 7:30. However, one could still expect to get a pager during that time frame and, believe it or not, they sometimes ran out of pages. So we made a point of going to the dining room after 7:30 and had minimal trouble after that. Yes, we did end up with 'late dining' but at least we had some flexibility, which is important to us.

General, it was a great cruise on a great ship. The staff was very friendly and very helpful. We took several shore excursions (which I’ll report about later) and they were all of good quality. If I could get unlimited Internet access, I would have no problem staying on this ship and heading back through the canal.

No comments: