I'm planning my first cruise next summer (a joint trip with my sister and her family -- also novice cruisers) and the more we read the brochures, the further confused we get. We've decided on a Gulf of Alaska cruise but I'm not sure whether we should go with Coral/Island Princess or Dawn/Sun Princess.
As a group, we're more into learning about Alaska than in playing in the casino while on the cruise. We're not really "formal" folks but can handle dressing up now and then. I definitely want to appreciate the scenery as we travel -- is it worth paying more to get those extra square feet of balcony? Covered or uncovered balcony? Also, we'll need to find my sister a cabin for four (2 adults, 2 older elementary age kids) and any comments about minimum cabin size she'll need to keep marriage and sanity intact would also be appreciated.
Well, I have sailed on both ships (the Dawn Princess several times).
I think that the cabins (I have not done checking, but from my observation and usage) on the Coral Princess are larger.
I have seen childrens activities on both ships, seemed equal to me.
Now....alternative dining on the Coral will be better, in addition to the dining room (traditional or personal choice), you have the buffet, Bayou ($10 pp cover charge) and Sabitinis ($25 pp cover charge)...both the alternatives on the Island Princess (did not do them on the Coral Princess cause MGram wouldn't let me ) were OUTSTANDING.
As for a cabin for 4, a 'normal' (non-mini-suite or suite category) will be 2 lower beds and 2 bunks pulled down from the ceiling.