First the disclaimer... I am no professional! End disclaimer..
I recently did what you are looking to do but on a smaller pool of my own. I have a thread on here somewhere. In Houston, there is not much freezing issues so I didn't have that to contend with.
I used porcelain tile I found at Home Depo. Marruzi Presedential series. Did not "see" any difference from what I took off. Definately would stay with procelain instead of regular ceramic though. If you are in a freezing climate, I would have to defer to the professionals.
On the coping, if it came off as easy as you say, I would say it would probably not be a huge job, depending on what you go back with. I ended up with a rotohammer to remove mine as it was stuck good. Most of my time was spend making cuts on the new coping stones to make the grout lines match up better on a round pool. Setting them straight and even was also a challange.
There are a couple good threads on here for setting the stuff so you should be able to find that. Let me know if I can attempt to answer anything else.