Five Things to Know About Princess Cruises' Coral Princess Cruise Ship
Best for: Couples and passengers who love the ritual of traditional cruising on a slightly smaller ship
Sails: Alaska, the Caribbean, Central America, the Pacific Coast, the Panama Canal,
At a Glance: Built to travel the Panama Canal, this 1,970-passenger Coral Princess was refurbished in early 2016. While the ship has crowd-pleasing specialty restaurants and modern touches (resort-style pampering, outdoor movies), traditional cruisers will also find plenty to love, including formal nights and a main dining room with set seating times.
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Formal Nights and Other Traditions Live On
While many other lines are loosening their dress codes, Princess Cruises continues the tradition of formal nights. (Note, however, that men are more likely to wear suits than tuxes and women tend to stick to cocktail-party attire.) Those who like to stick to cruising traditions at dinnertime can choose to eat at the Provence Dining Room, which serves passengers at a set time and a set table—and with the same waiter—each night. The Bordeaux dining room offers open, anytime seating.
Romantic Touches Abound
Couples hoping for a little Love Boat-style magic won’t be disappointed. There’s live jazz at the Bayou Café; couples massages in the Lotus spa; stargazing on the deck (part of the line’s Discovery at Sea program); and the option for a four-course candlelit meal served on your cabin’s balcony. (Think steak, lobster, and champagne.) You’ll even find a wedding chapel on board—unlike on most lines, Princess’s captains can actually marry couples at sea. Don’t miss Movies Under the Stars, when passengers cuddle under blankets on lounge chairs by the pool and watch films while snacking on popcorn.
The For-Fee Restaurants Impress
The best meals onboard are at the two specialty restaurants. An homage to New Orleans, the wood-paneled Bayou Café serves up crowd-pleasing Cajun- and Creole-inspired fare like seafood gumbo, cornmeal-fried catfish, and buttermilk bread pudding with a pistachio-caramel sauce. If you’re in the mood for Italian, make a reservation at the excellent Sabatini’s, where you can order everything from penne with braised short rib to lobster three ways.
The Chef’s Table Is a Must
Passengers who’ve ever wondered what happens behind the scenes in a ship’s galley can sign up for the Chef’s Table. Guests sip bubby and eat hors d’oeuvres while touring the kitchen during dinner service, then are seated at a private table in one of the main dining rooms for a special multicourse feast.
Quiet Time Is a Priority
Because of its longer itineraries and smaller size, this ship doesn’t host as many families as other Princess vessels. Still, there may be times when you want to escape to the adults-only Sanctuary relaxation area to decompress. Sanctuary Stewards walk from lounge chair to lounge chair, offering Evian spritzes, chilled towels, fruit skewers, and MP3 players with noise-canceling headphones. And if you’d like an outdoor massage, that can be arranged, too.