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Life on board

Life onboard the Coral is relaxed and friendly. The ship is clean and well maintained and has a high ratio of crew to passengers.

‘The Coral Family’

The Coral's Captain taking the ship into Katakolon

The Coral's Captain taking the ship into Katakolon

Much is made of the Coral being a ‘family’. As a small ship, this helps engender a real feeling of warmth and unity. MV Coral’s captain Stathis Gourmas focussed on this during his cocktail party speech. His crew is represented by people of some 23 nationalities who live and work in harmony, despite being in close quarters for eight months of the year.

The Captain and officers were very much in evidence throughout the cruise, supervising their crew, and generally keeping an eye on things, which was refreshing and reassuring. Stathis Gourmas was often to be found enjoying some refreshments in the Lido Buffet and was highly visible and happy to chat with the passengers.

Service onboard MV Coral

In general, the service was very good onboard the Coral. There are always some exceptions and we did experience poor service on a couple of occasions, but these really were not the rule. All the front of house crew had good language skills and their standard of English was exceptional.

In all companies there are certain members of staff who stand head and shoulders above the rest and the Coral was no exception. These people are the real ambassadors who often don’t get the recognition they deserve. The Coral has several first class ambassadors!

Mention must be made of three members of the bar crew who come into this category: Olena, Jorge and Elena. Nothing was too much trouble, they never stopped smiling and were always happy to stay and chat to the passengers. Without them, our cruise onboard the Coral would not have been nearly such a happy and warm experience – we owe them a big vote of thanks and appreciation.

The Purser’s Office / Reception

If you have any problems or queries during your cruise, the Purser’s crew are the people to speak to. They are knowledgeable and ready and willing to help and advise.

Printed news round-ups are available each day from reception so you can keep up-to-date with what’s happening in the UK. Port guides are also available. These are useful, particularly if you’re going ashore on your own. They tell you a little about the port, places of interest and contain information about tipping and local cuisine. They’re well worth looking at before you venture ashore.

Another example of outstanding service came from two members of the Purser’s team: Alex and Anna Maria. Alex, it transpired, recognised us from a previous cruise in 2007! This in itself deserves recognition, particularly with the number of passengers he must have encountered in the past four years! Again, nothing was too much trouble for Alex and Anna Maria, their language skills were first class, and we left MV Coral feeling like we’d made new friends. We hope they enjoy the books we left them – and they managed to get that ice-cream in Istanbul!

Communications onboard MV Coral

The communication policy was refreshing onboard the Coral. The daily newsletters, delivered to the cabins each evening, were comprehensive. Passengers were asked to read this for information about the following day’s activities. The public address (PA) system wasn’t over-used, which was a big relief.

On a previous cruise (with a different company), the PA system was quite intrusive with incessant messages being repeated in several languages. This was not the case aboard the Coral, I’m pleased to say. Important messages were relayed, of course, but they were kept to a minimum.

We experienced a little rough weather in the Aegean. Announcements were made to keep people informed. Passengers were reassured to hear the ship would change course to avoid the worst of the weather. This helped people be prepared and understand the crew were doing their best to minimise any discomfort. We’re lucky not to suffer from sea-sickness and actually enjoy the odd bit of ‘bumpy’ weather!

MV Coral’s Onboard Shop

The Coral shop, with the Reception Desk in the distance

The Coral shop, with the Reception Desk in the distance

MV Coral boasts two onboard shops for tax-free shopping. The shops are open only when the ship is at sea – legislation prohibits them trading while in port. A good selection of gifts, tobacco, drinks, clothes and jewellery are available.

Ship’s photographer

There are plenty of photo opportunities onboard the Coral: embarkation, Captain’s cocktail party, etc. While the photographers were very much in evidence, they weren’t intrusive.

Photographs are displayed in the gallery outside the shop and are available to buy. A single photograph cost 10.95 euros, with discounted deals for multiple purchases. There is no obligation or pressure to buy any of the photographs.