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  #1  
Old September 28th, 2005, 05:03 AM
ManhattanCruiser ManhattanCruiser is offline
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Thumbs up Review Of The Island Coastal 9/20

First I have to say that I have sailed Princess on Sun class ships, which I love, Grand class ships, which I really love, and Diamond class ships, which I want to marry. (I know Princess says Grand and Diamonds are in the same class, but c'mon... four different dining rooms available for no additional fee? An aft pool without a shadow on it? A club fusion replacing the yawn-worthy Vista Lounge? But I digress...)

I guess I laid that groundwork to explain that being as huge a fan of Princess' largest ships as I am, this cruise for me was facing my darkest fear... the dreaded Coral Class (shudder).

I expected to come back with my first flaming posts about the cramped feeling on the slimmer ship and the lacking nightlife.

But, honestly, this three day cruise may have been one of my best cruises yet. I was in D725, the furthest aft mini on the starboard side. These rooms (on all the decks) are incredible, because the curved aft facing part of these balconies are glass... unlike the minis on the Diamond class(and I think the Grand) where they are steel. Note: I believe the furthest aft room on Emerald deck is a regular "Balcony" cabin, NOT a mini.

The square footage of the balcony may be (a bit) less than the other balconies on the deck, due to the curve... but the view is worth it. To be able to face your chair backward and watch the wake of the ship and the big sky... just amazing.

Our steward, Brando, was efficient and invisible mostly. Not to say he didn't do his job, he just seemed to know when we were gone and service the room when we were out. We were never pressured to give him time to clean.

The food in the Horizon Court was disappointing the first day, but seemed to improve. The dining room meals were wonderful, room service was lightning-fast (except one messed-up "afternoon tea" order, which they apologetically sent club sandwiches, canapes and chocolate covered strawberries to make up for... which was quite nice), and the entertainment was incredible. You have GOT to see Brendan Jones in Crooners from 9-midnight. Even if you're NOT a Piano Bar type of person... he's that good. I only saw one production show this trip ("Piano Man" which I have seen about six times) and it was well done. But the comedians were hysterical (side-splittingly funny), the bands were classic (check out the fat blues guy in The Wheelhouse... he's great), and the DJ in the Explorer's Lounge made me forget all about my beloved Skywalkers.

I'm rambling, so let me clean this up a bit:

- The pools were heated, like bathwater, from Vancouver to LA. Never closed during the entire three days. The Hot Tubs would be closed sporadically for cleaning. Fresh water pools make all the difference.

- The gym has good Cybex equipment, but doesn't have locker rooms with Steam and Sauna. There's a changing room, with showers, but you have to enter the spa for the sauna and the (co-ed) steam room.

I don't know if I was just allowed into the spa because I'm Elite, but I made it in, and I thought it was relaxing... but I really think a non-co-ed steam room would have been a nice touch. Less reason to keep checking your terry cloth.

Speaking of terry cloth (nice, huh?)... my sailing was three weeks into September, when the new Mini perks were supposed to kick in...one of them being the new towels for those who didn't follow the "terry cloth" segue... and here's my two cents:

-Welcome champage, check. Brando asked us upon arrival if we would like one, and we accepted. He returned with two already poured glasses.

-Improved mattress... check. I THINK. I'm kicking myself for not pulling the sheets off to look... but the mattress felt different to me. Firm, but comfy. But I loved the old mattresses too, so I'm not the best judge.

-Pillow menu... check. Kinda. There were feather pillows on arrival (which I love), but my companion asked for foam and got it. No "menu" really... but it was available. I think 'foam' was the default pillow on arrival in the past... so that worked to my advantage.

-Massage shower head... check. But I think they've had these on some ships for a while now.

-Luxury 100% Egyptian cotton, high-thread count ivory satin striped bed linens... no, not so much. The sheets were the same as I've had before. Fine though, just no satin stripes involved, and they weren't new.

-Fluffy European duvets... nope. Same old blankets...which I never complained about... so I ain't whining.

-Luxury Towels... absolutely not. This is one thing I actually looked forward to. The towels were fine, same as always, but definitely NOT new and improved.

But, these benefits may be getting phased-in (my cruise WAS in September, and THAT's the month they said they'd take effect, so I'd give them a pass on ALL of the above)

Back to my main theme of this post...

This ship is incredibly well-managed. The hotel management is obviously concerned with passenger satisfaction, and the person I was traveling with noted how genuinely friendly the crew seemed. Waiters, pursers, room service people, bus boys. Everyone seemed happy, and glad we were onboard. There was the occasional rolled eye when I'd flip over my black card to show my drink-sticker... but that happens on EVERY ship. (So I love soda... sue me!)

Well I just realized I've written an epic... when I planned a memo. I just changed "Mini Review" to just "Review" in my headline.

Bottom line... Grand and Diamond class lovers... don't fear the Coral Class. It's still Grand... and it still sparkles. (Oh, God... I'm embarassing myself now)

An incredible ship (feels brand new after her early September drydock, by the way), with great management and food. Felt like a five-star ship to me... if not more.

If you're on the fence... jump off. This ship is one of my favorites!
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  #2  
Old September 28th, 2005, 08:34 AM
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Thanks for your comments! I loved the Coral Princess (and am sure I would love the Island Princess). It is the perfect ship for me!
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  #3  
Old September 28th, 2005, 08:59 AM
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Thank you so much for the review. We are sailing on her on 10/23 to Hawaii and can't wait.
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  #4  
Old September 28th, 2005, 09:50 AM
roohound roohound is offline
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Quote:
(I know Princess says Grand and Diamonds are in the same class, but c'mon... four different dining rooms available for no additional fee?
Shame they don't do this anymore with the Diamond class ships I was really looking forward to it especially since I'm a Tex-Mex junkie

I agree with you...it always seems like the first day's Horizon Court offerings are usually the worst of the week

Great review!
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  #5  
Old September 28th, 2005, 10:09 AM
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This review is exactly what us Coral/Island ship lovers have been saying all along. I wish Princess would make more of that kind and size. We will be sailing again on the Coral next May and looking so forward to it. Thanks for the review.

Marilyn
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  #6  
Old September 28th, 2005, 11:32 AM
Druke I Druke I is offline
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Another one here who thinks Island/Coral much superior to Grand and her sisters.

Give us more medium sized ships that can get into more ports!

Any ship that can't go through the Panama Canal is too damned big!
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  #7  
Old September 28th, 2005, 12:38 PM
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Pam in CA Pam in CA is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Druke I
Another one here who thinks Island/Coral much superior to Grand and her sisters.

Give us more medium sized ships that can get into more ports!

Any ship that can't go through the Panama Canal is too damned big!
Hear! Hear! People keep on writing that they want to go to more or different ports but keep on forgetting the sheer size of the large ships and the shoreside amenities needed to support the number of people on the ship.
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  #8  
Old September 28th, 2005, 01:12 PM
ManhattanCruiser ManhattanCruiser is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roohound
Shame they don't do this anymore with the Diamond class ships I was really looking forward to it especially since I'm a Tex-Mex junkie

Great review!
Have I missed something? I was on the Diamond this spring and the four dining rooms were 'no additional fee'. Has that changed, roohound?
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  #9  
Old September 28th, 2005, 02:23 PM
roohound roohound is offline
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Sure has.

They decided to do away with the specialty menus...now, regardless of where you eat, you get the main dining menu. Altho I have heard that you may be able to get one specialty dish in each of the restaurants (I've heard the fajitas in the Santa Fe restaurant for example)

I want to say the changes took place in either April or May of this year, but I don't remember for sure.

I'm on the Sapphire in Nov and I was really looking forward to that. But, I'm sure I'll be well-fed regardless LOL
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  #10  
Old September 28th, 2005, 02:39 PM
ManhattanCruiser ManhattanCruiser is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roohound
Sure has.

They decided to do away with the specialty menus...now, regardless of where you eat, you get the main dining menu. Altho I have heard that you may be able to get one specialty dish in each of the restaurants (I've heard the fajitas in the Santa Fe restaurant for example)

I want to say the changes took place in either April or May of this year, but I don't remember for sure.

I'm on the Sapphire in Nov and I was really looking forward to that. But, I'm sure I'll be well-fed regardless LOL
Well, that's too bad, although I often ordered off the dining room menu in the specialty DR's. But the smaller dining rooms I like as well.

But, back to the subject... the Island Princess dining room was wonderful.
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  #11  
Old September 28th, 2005, 04:25 PM
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ManhattanCruiser, Enjoyable review and glad you had a wonderful cruise! Thanks for sharing! I have read the coastal waters are sometimes very rough. I have hesitated to take a coastal cruise for that reason (mobility issues & motion sickness). How would you rate your sailing?
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  #12  
Old September 28th, 2005, 04:38 PM
ManhattanCruiser ManhattanCruiser is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coupleofcruisers
ManhattanCruiser, Enjoyable review and glad you had a wonderful cruise! Thanks for sharing! I have read the coastal waters are sometimes very rough. I have hesitated to take a coastal cruise for that reason (mobility issues & motion sickness). How would you rate your sailing?
One of my smoothest. Northbound this spring it was more shaky, but still not very... but I've NEVER had a bad coastal... surf-wise. The cabin TV always said "slight" swells, 1 to 2 feet I think.
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  #13  
Old September 28th, 2005, 04:42 PM
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LARGIN LARGIN is offline
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Thanks for the review.. The Coral/Island class is now my favorite..
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  #14  
Old September 28th, 2005, 05:02 PM
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You comments echo my feelings when I got off Island Princess. The ship is a happy one and I think it probably has something to do with the fact that those working on board know they have a good thing going. My cruise on her was certainly one of my top three Princess experiences…glad to hear she’s going strong.
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  #15  
Old September 29th, 2005, 01:50 PM
redrobin redrobin is offline
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I loved the Sapphire, and was wondering if I should stick with the Grand Class ships. Would love to do the Coral through the Panama Canal, and after reading your review and so many other positive comments on this board, I'm now excited about giving a smaller ship a try. Thanks for the review and 'pushing me off the fence!'
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