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GREGS1GIRL

CORAL or GOLDEN for ALASKA and WHY?

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Looking at booking an Alaskan cruise for July of 2019 taking both my parents and my husband's parents.

 

We are thinking of booking Oceanview for our parents and a balcony or mini-suite for ourselves if not balconies for all.

 

Also, Southboud or Northbound and which side of the ship is best depending on direction we choose?

 

Thanks!

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I think they are both fine but would choose the Coral Princess due to smaller ship/less passengers.

 

I don't think it matters which side buy most try to match land - so Northbound would be Starboard and Southbound would be Port. Though - I have done B2B in the same cabin and there is always land and I have never noticed a huge difference between weeks.

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Coral has fewer passengers and has wonderful viewing decks both fore and aft on Baja and Caribe decks. No Vines though. Sigh... Gonna miss Vines on our upcoming cruise on Coral.

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I think they are both fine but would choose the Coral Princess due to smaller ship/less passengers.

 

 

Coral is bigger at 965 ft vs Golden at 950ft.

Coral higher at 203 vs Golden 177.

The Coral is narrower to fit in the canal.

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I would be happy on either one. Each has some features that make it attractive, depending upon your particular preferences. Love the Coral, also think the Golden is great. I think that the more convenient departure date would dictate this one for me, perhaps also price. On a Northbound, starboard, on a southbound, port.

 

To whether to do the northbound or southbound, look at the time you have in each of the ports on the various itineraries, and the time of day you will be doing the scenic cruising. If you can swing two weeks, I highly recommend doing either a Princess land tour first, and boarding in Whittier for the southbound, or (and I love this option) doing a b2b northbound and then southbound, not necessary to change staterooms to the other side of the ship for this.

 

If you are on the Golden, try for a balcony on the Caribe deck, they are partially covered and larger. If everyone gets a balcony, great. A lot of the scenic cruising you may want to be out on the viewing decks, and honestly, Promenade is great for this. You can cross to the other side of the ship by walking inside, easily slip inside to warm up if needed, and the most forward part of Deck 8 completes the "walking circuit" providing great viewing as well. On Coral, look carefully at the balconies and location. You will not go wrong on either ship.

 

When you are ready to look at excursions, well, come on back......there are a few that are absolute stand outs. Whatever you do, when in port, "get out town" because those little towns are not where the fabulous scenery and most of the great experiences are. But most of all, enjoy. Alaska is a great family experience (and remember not everyone has to do the same thing all the time or in every port).

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Coral is bigger at 965 ft vs Golden at 950ft.

Coral higher at 203 vs Golden 177.

The Coral is narrower to fit in the canal.

 

Coral is 91,627 tonns

Golden is 109,000 tonns

 

I measure by tonnage.

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Coral is 91,627 tonns

Golden is 109,000 tonns

 

I measure by tonnage.

 

Some days I feel the same way... :eek:

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We did the Golden because of the HA window suite. All the bad reports I'd read about maintenance issues, etc. proved to have been resolved...or at least I didn't see any problems. I wasn't thrilled with the CD or the entertainment on board, but you go to Alaska for Alaska, not for the trivia. The thing that surprised me most was the difference between the two legs of a B2B. Some were due to guests, some to crew changes. The first week, I could almost always get a window seat in the IC; the second week I could rarely get a seat anywhere! The second week also had a large tour group, but I didn't really see any impact from that other than when they booked out the Crown Grill one night and when they walked behind their little flag.

 

Having never been on the Coral, I can't compare to that. But I was very happy on the Golden.

 

My one complaint was that my daughter couldn't access the area where the park rangers had set up their display. It was midship on deck 15. She couldn't walk the stairs, and if there was a way to do it by elevator, we didn't find it. I took the elevator to deck 14 and climbed stairs from there. The location didn't connect to the midship elevators at all. It might have been possible to take the forward elevators and see if there was a passageway to get to the area.

Edited by moki'smommy

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I was on both Golden and Island (Coral's former twin that now carries 200+ more passengers) this summer in Alaska.

Golden has Skywalker's niteclub, three dining rooms rather than two, a larger International Cafe in the Piazza rather than the tiny one Coral converted the Casino Bar into. Golden also has a two-level indoor pool area, the balcony of which becomes the Ranger Station while in Glacier Bay.

 

The fewer passengers on Coral will make getting on and off in port easier. And Coral has the Horizon Court buffet forward rather than aft for great views. But I still lean towards Golden.

 

Unless you strongly prefer getting the longer flight to Alaska out of the way first I emphatically recommend northbound over southbound. Better port times and College Fjord much preferable to Hubbard Glacier. And the northbound gets the immigration and customs formalities over with on embarkation day rather than when disembarking (both done in Vancouver no matter the direction). But either way I would spend a day or two in Anchorage even without a formal land tour.

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Unless you strongly prefer getting the longer flight to Alaska out of the way first I emphatically recommend northbound over southbound. Better port times and College Fjord much preferable to Hubbard Glacier. And the northbound gets the immigration and customs formalities over with on embarkation day rather than when disembarking (both done in Vancouver no matter the direction). But either way I would spend a day or two in Anchorage even without a formal land tour.

 

I actually think it is worth the longer flight to get longer port times compared to RT Seattle and 2 glacier days. Much better itinerary!

 

Plus, for me, I am traveling all day, going to Anchorage is not much more time travel involved.

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They are two of my favorites. The Coral has better viewing opportunities with I believe two public accessible decks all the way forward and three all the way aft. You can see activity on both sides of the ship. We did Alaska in 2010 on the Coral and spent over a half hour viewing whales on both sides of the ship when departing Glacier Bay. We did Alaska in 2012 on the Golden in a Window Suite and spent a lot of time looking out the windows or outside on the forward Promenade deck portion on Emerald deck. The Coral’s Universe Lounge has a unique three section rotating stage. They both have Sabatini’s but the Coral has the New Orleans inspired Bayou Cafe and Steakhouse while the Golden has the Crown Grill. Don’t know if this is true now but at least a couple of years ago a three piece group played music around 8:00 in the Bayou Steakhouse on the Coral and Island, sometimes with a singer. We have booked dinner on both ships starting around 7:45 to 8:00 to be able to enjoy the music. I like the smaller, more intimate Wheelhouse Bar on the Golden. The Coral has a Thermal Suite but not the Golden. Do enjoy spending time on sea days in Skywalkers with very good viewing opportunities. The Coral doesn’t have a Skywalkers. They both have an International Cafe but the Coral’s is slightly smaller and adjacent to the Casino. As someone else said, the Coral doesn’t have a Vines so no tapas or sushi when ordering a glass of wine. Once again, don’t know if they are still offered but several years ago the bar at La Patisserie used to offer some wine flights like Vines on the Golden. The Coral’s Library has some very comfortable chairs facing the Ocean. The seating on the covered pool (Lotus Pool) on the Coral is like the Promenade deck chairs and loungers on other ships and the lower level windows are lined with dozens of comfortable loungers facing the ocean. We have sailed on the Golden for 42 days and the Coral/Island before the Island was butchered during her last drydock for 35 days and you can’t really go wrong with either. You follow the same route in and out of ports so you see both sides. I really don’t believe it makes any difference which side of the ship you have your cabin.

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Forums

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I would strongly recommend Northbound simply because you get to visit College Fjord which was the highlight of our cruise on the Coral last year - much more impressive than Glacier Bay for us.

 

Also if this is your first time to Alaska there is more a sense of adventure staring out in Vancouver and building up to the main event rather than flying into Alaska and slowly leaving if this makes sense!

 

As for Coral vs Golden I can only say the Coral was an amazing ship for Alaska with good viewing areas, including the two "hidden" areas at the front which were never ever crowed. I'm sure the Golden would also provide a great experience but the Coral just seemed like a perfect ship for the itinerary.

 

Finally I'm tempted to suggest sailing on whichever ship Captain Tuvo ends up on but you'll never know far enough in advance. His announcements and enthusiasm were certainly a highlight of our trip.

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Alaska with good viewing areas, including the two "hidden" areas at the front which were never ever crowed.

 

Where are the Front viewing areas ? We are booked on Coral and are aware of the rear viewing areas bot not the front.

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Where are the Front viewing areas ? We are booked on Coral and are aware of the rear viewing areas bot not the front.

It’s been 5 years since being on the Coral and as I recall at the forward end of Baja & Caribe there are doors leading to the front viewing areas below the bridge.

 

Searching online found a photo of the door & its caution about the wind is important because if not held it slams shut & can cause injuries when the ship is moving.

 

https://c2.staticflickr.com/8/7246/7441484386_2773719815_b.jpg

 

At the bottom of the photo it shows that viewing area:

 

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7236/7228437002_e50caba7de_c.jpg

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I would strongly recommend Northbound simply because you get to visit College Fjord which was the highlight of our cruise on the Coral last year - much more impressive than Glacier Bay for us.

 

I am curious about this as you are the second to say this in the thread, but I haven't heard much about College Fjord before. What made it stand out for you? One of our primary goals was glacier viewing, and the southbound itinerary we were looking at had both Hubbard and Glacier; is College Fjord good enough to override two glacier days?

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I am curious about this as you are the second to say this in the thread, but I haven't heard much about College Fjord before. What made it stand out for you? One of our primary goals was glacier viewing, and the southbound itinerary we were looking at had both Hubbard and Glacier; is College Fjord good enough to override two glacier days?

 

Both directions include two glacier viewing days.

 

Northbound: Glacier Bay (Day 6) and College Fjord (Day 7)

Southbound: Hubbard Glacier (Day 2) and Glacier Bay (Day 3)

 

Hubbard Glacier is just a solitary (albeit huge) sheet of ice. College Fjord has around a dozen different formations to see.

 

The only issue with the northbound is that peak Glacier Bay viewing is around lunchtime; College Fjord at dinnertime. Southbound does spend a longer time in Glacier Bay. But College Fjord is still worth choosing northbound first.

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Thanks you Astro !

 

You’re welcome...we’ve enjoyed that front area in Alaska & Panama Canal.

 

Unlike the aft viewing decks that were removed from the Island for more cabins, the forward viewing decks are available on the Coral & Island.

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Where are the Front viewing areas ? We are booked on Coral and are aware of the rear viewing areas bot not the front.

 

Both Baja and Caribe decks have fore and aft viewing decks. The forward viewing decks don't have loungers. Just go all the way forward or aft on those decks and then out the solid door to the outside.

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Both Baja and Caribe decks have fore and aft viewing decks. The forward viewing decks don't have loungers. Just go all the way forward or aft on those decks and then out the solid door to the outside.

 

They used to say "no passengers" or some other sign to stop people. Though - you are allowed to use these on panama canal and glacier days. If you ask the room stewards - they will point you to the outdoor doors.

 

Just bring ear protection - it can be pretty windy up front.

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Both directions include two glacier viewing days.

 

Northbound: Glacier Bay (Day 6) and College Fjord (Day 7)

Southbound: Hubbard Glacier (Day 2) and Glacier Bay (Day 3)

 

Hubbard Glacier is just a solitary (albeit huge) sheet of ice. College Fjord has around a dozen different formations to see.

 

The only issue with the northbound is that peak Glacier Bay viewing is around lunchtime; College Fjord at dinnertime. Southbound does spend a longer time in Glacier Bay. But College Fjord is still worth choosing northbound first.

 

Thanks for the insights

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