By: Julie Northington, Senior Travel Consultant
Just had the opportunity to visit the Coral Princess as it was in transit from North America to the South Pacific/Australia.
Coral Princess was introduced into the Princess family in 2002. It is one of the mid-sized ships at only 91,627 tons with normal passenger capacity of 1970.
First impressions are always on the mark. Found the ship to be in lovely shape with almost 8 years in service. Deconstructing the traditional "Formality" of dining would be an uptick to the popularity of Princess over the last few years and Coral Princess is living up to that!
With over 8 dining venues to choose from, a repeat of dinner on a typical 7 night cruise is almost impossible, unless you enjoy the structure of main or late traditional dining in Provence or Bordeaux, the main restaurants.
The newest restaurant is the Bayou Café and Steakhouse featuring New Orleans style cuisine. One of the first Cajun styled restaurants at sea, Bayou Café does have a $20 cover per person charge and a couple extra entrees have a surcharge including buttered broiled 8 oz lobster tail for $5 extra. (Probably well worth it!)
In addition, there is Sabatini's for Italian cuisine, La Patisserie (cafe offering freshly baked pastries and espresso), The Grill, Pizzeria, Horizon Court and the Ice Cream Bar.
Two other dining options to mention are Ultimate Balcony Dining and Chef's Table. Ultimate Balcony Dining offers original balcony dining experience for breakfast or a course-by-course dinner with a dedicated wait staff. The Chef's Table has the executive chef inspiring you with a personalized evening that includes hors d'oeuvres and French champagne in the galley and a special menu at the Chef's Table.
Generally reservations are required for the specialty dining venues and additional charges will apply. Complete list of charges will be located in your stateroom.
Another highlight on the Coral Princess is "The Sanctuary". This located on two decks, aft and is an "adult-only" area. A serenity get-away area, so to speak. Private cabanas w/lounges or just lounges can be reserved and there is a private pool and food service available. Daily and weekly packages are available.
Staterooms are sufficient. Ocean view and balcony staterooms seemed just a little small, but mini-suites are quite nice. Color schemes/soft decor has not been upgraded from what I viewed and it is almost time for a soft renovation.
The casino has a nice "London" theme. Double-decker buses, "Bobby's", Big Ben etc decorated quite cleverly. And a nice jazz/Rat-Pack themed bar was located overlooking the main atrium. Great "Standards" (40 - 60s' era) was streaming through out atrium which enhanced the excitement of a new departure!
I did see the "Big Screen" over the Lido pool area. Concerts and "Movies under the Stars" are shown and is quite a nice feature. If you are looking for a quiet, book-reading corner, Lido pool area will probably not be the place for you, but with all the other public areas and if you have a balcony, I am sure you will find the perfect place. The retractable roof over the Lotus Pool is nice in the event of inclement weather as you can enjoy a swim in any weather. The Lotus spa/Gym area has an Indonesian theme.
Itineraries range from Alaska in the North America summer and South Pacific/Australia/New Zealand in their summer. When the ship does navigate Australia/NZ, currency onboard does revert to Australia Dollar.
Coral Princess is a very nice medium sized vessel and if you enjoy Princess in the past or are new to Princess, I am sure you will find it to be delightful!