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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2018
Overall we were very happy with the cruise,although we felt it was a bit of a mis-sale as February is classed as winter in L.A. and Hawaii. Therefore the weather was only moderately good. It was low 60s F in L.A. when we arrived, and ... Read More
Overall we were very happy with the cruise,although we felt it was a bit of a mis-sale as February is classed as winter in L.A. and Hawaii. Therefore the weather was only moderately good. It was low 60s F in L.A. when we arrived, and about the same when we returned. The ship set sail and the first 2 days were overcast, rainy and windy. It then got a bit better, with outbreaks of sun, but still a bit chilly. We were at sea for 4 days and when we got to Hilo, it was raining, which was really disappointing. After that we had 3 dry days at the different islands, and some sun for the first 2 or 3 days cruising back. The ship has been well refurbished and we were delighted with our inside cabin, which had lights shining in mirrors, giving a feeling of spaciousness. There was nothing at all to complain about. Our cabin girl and our dining room waiting staff were more than excellent. What we found really disappointing was that we decided to tip just the people we were dealing with so we asked for our 3 envelopes for stateroom attendant, waiter and junior waiter. However when we handed out the envelopes to the waiting staff, we noticed that they put our envelopes into a large brown envelope left at their station. When we queried this we were told that they do not actually receive our envelopes - all the money is taken, counted, and split around all the staff - in the same way as if we had paid the $13.50 per person per day. We were gutted as we had given generous tips to the three people we had elected to tip, and then we found out that they wouldn't actually get it. The idea of tipping is for good service, which we certainly did receive, but I object to this being paid as general wages to all the back room staff. I know they do a sterling job, but Princess should pay them a decent living wage - not rob the tips from people who have given a more than excellent service to the people they are serving. I think this needs to be highlighted and challenged by the tip paying public. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2014
Repositioning cruises tend to be unique and don't provide good information for more routine and repetitious cruises. This repositioning cruise went from San Pedro port in L.A. to Honolulu, Guam, Taiwan, Okinawa, Shanghai, Kogoshima ... Read More
Repositioning cruises tend to be unique and don't provide good information for more routine and repetitious cruises. This repositioning cruise went from San Pedro port in L.A. to Honolulu, Guam, Taiwan, Okinawa, Shanghai, Kogoshima and Osaka. This was the type of cruise attractive to veteran cruisers and lovers of sea days. The ship was not full and there were only nine children on most of the cruise, although that changed modestly as we reached ports in the West Pacific. Embarkation: Well, our air travel on AA from Dulles was arranged through Princess. We had to connect in Dallas. Everything that could go wrong just about did. Our plane to L.A. was not ready to fly. We disembarked and got a new plane, but it needed a toilet seal repair that required a trip for a part and further delays. In L.A. a vehicle was blocking the approach to the gate, which delayed getting off the plane. Our luggage came toward the end of the luggage delivery, panicking our Princess agent, but the luggage did come. There was a taxi snafu. The ship waited for us, and we were the last two passengers to board. We were rushed through the boarding as fast as possible, which means I cannot give an account of how boarding went in general. We took all our luggage aboard and to our room. The ship: This was a beautiful ship in very good repair and with lots of unobtrusive maintenance underway the entire voyage - as the ship prepared for an unusual Chinese charter period starting in late May. Since the ship was not full, there were no lounge chair issues around the pools and access to shows in the theater was fine. The theater was very well designed with good stage views from virtually all seats. It was easy to move around the ship, despite its relatively large size. The bars and lounges were nice, but, as an entertainment center, the Explorers Lounge was awkward in design. The lectures and entertainment were good. Not great but above average. The activities were average at best, but this was a ship full of passengers good as providing their own amusements. The fitness center was above average in design and equipment and extremely well used, despite the fact that a huge proportion of the passengers, including me, were senior citizens. The library was okay, but in this e-book age, that is becoming less and less of an issue or concern. The library provided daily sudokus and trivia quizzes. However, sudokus with more than one solution just don't seem kosher to me. I only encounter such sudokus on ships. I don't know why that is. One sudoku puzzle actually had three solutions. Yuck. The typical internet connection issues applied on this ship, but there were periods of good internet access. Food: The buffet was good. Room service and the food offered via room service, such as hamburgers, was terrific. Our dining staff went the extra mile, and the food in the dining rooms was very, very good, which meant the specialty restaurants were not well frequented. Our table of six consistently ate together except for some port days. Room: We had an excellent room steward. Caribe deck balcony rooms have large balconies. We very much enjoyed ours. Everything in the room was in good repair and the television was upgraded during to the voyage to a level well above average for cruise ships in terms of on-demand programming access and satellite TV. There was a good selection of movies on screens in the ship and on TV. Princess should upgrade its TV for interactive services, such as reserving tours and room service orders. The bedding has been upgraded, and the beds are very comfortable. Laundry: Great washing machines and dryers. There was a lot of Elite passengers, who get free laundry. As a result, getting a washer and a dryer wasn't difficult. Weather: Not much bad weather or rough seas. Excursions: Ship excursions were good, but Guam was treated as a minimal afterthought. It deserved better. We mainly stopped there to refuel. The ship tours on Guam were not very good according to people we talked with. They should have offered water tours and snorkeling. A very good snorkeling site was within two miles of our dock. The Guam folkloric show on board was good, as was the sail away crowd on shore. We also have good on shore sail away crowds and entertainment in Okinawa and Kogoshima.   Read Less
Sail Date: April 2014
We have sailed on the Sapphire now three times and with this move to Asia we new it would probably be a long time before we sailed on her again. Also, this cruise went to Guam where my DW grew up and she had not been back in over 40 years. ... Read More
We have sailed on the Sapphire now three times and with this move to Asia we new it would probably be a long time before we sailed on her again. Also, this cruise went to Guam where my DW grew up and she had not been back in over 40 years. These two items made this a special trip for us, a ship we like moving away and my DW's history in one of the ports. We did not use a Princess Transfer as we stayed on the Queen Mary in Long Beach for the two nights prior to the cruise and then just took a cab over to the Sapphire. Embarcation went very smoothly and we were on board within an hour of arriving early at the pier. That was fine with us and we expected that, especially after all the news about L.A. customs and Health inspecitions slowing down the disembarcation and embarcation proceedings. No problems happened along those lines. This cruise had a majority of Sea Days which we love, so we were able to really get into a routine for the first 2 1/2 weeks of the cruise with only two ports thrown in there. Very enjoyable. They rotated the entertainers in each port Honolulu and Guam so we had three different sets. Then Sammy Baker was a wonderful CD and was always around making everyone feel important. Beverage and waite staff were some of the best we have experienced on Princess. We had AT dining and with the ship only 2/3rds full there was never a line or problem getting the Waite person we wanted. I think the menus in the Dining Rooms only repeated one time during the voyage. That was ok because it is hard to remember from one day to the next while cruising anyway. We only used Princess tours in two of the 7 ports and all went very well with them. The guides were knowledgeable and spoke fair English. The bus rides were a little long on the Suzhou tour in Shanghai but the gardens were well worth it. In Kagoshima I took the Kamakazi Museum and Samurai Home tour, very worth it. We went on our own in Guam, Honolulu, Keelung. The cabin was just what we expected and suited our needs fine. We had no real problems with the new TV system although I did hear of some who no TV for several days. We do not go on a cruise to watch TV in our room, but my DW did need it for two days when she was ill and she liked the new movie and program selection. Disembarcation went smoothly for us, we asked for the late departure, so had a nice morning meal and then left the cabin around 0830 hrs. Then wandered through the ship saying goodbyes to cruisers and employee friends. Went right to our luggage and then with a short wait to a cab and on to our hotel in Osaka. All in all, a very organized disembarcation. This was one of our best Princess Cruises, yet! The Cruisers were a very friendly and polite bunch and the employees were just super. A shame to lose both the Diamond and the Sapphire to the other side of the world, but business is business.   Read Less
Sail Date: March 2014
The ship was OK but nothing spectacular. Our cabin was also OK but also nothing special. The buffet food was also OK but it looked and tasted like hospital cafeteria. The various menus in the restaurants were above par. Very good food well ... Read More
The ship was OK but nothing spectacular. Our cabin was also OK but also nothing special. The buffet food was also OK but it looked and tasted like hospital cafeteria. The various menus in the restaurants were above par. Very good food well prepared and well served. The shows in the big theater were OK but the last one was overdone. The big issue for us was communication. The diagrams provided at embarkation showed a very poor section view of the ship. No plans. So if you wanted to go to the conservatory for example, there was no way of finding out where it was. We asked several crew members and they also did not know where the conservatory was. Another strange thing is the area in front of the ship next to the spa. This is an area where an entrance fee Is required. The place is huge but nobody uses it. Because its privileged location and spaciousness it would be great, but we observed that only one person used it during the course of several hours. What a waste of premium space!   Read Less
Sail Date: March 2014
My first time on princess but have cruised several times before. We are 64 and 68. We feared it would be an all geratric crowd but it was mixed...definitely an older group but there were a surprising number of younger people. We tried in ... Read More
My first time on princess but have cruised several times before. We are 64 and 68. We feared it would be an all geratric crowd but it was mixed...definitely an older group but there were a surprising number of younger people. We tried in vain using the princess website to get more information about services and option on the cruises. Several places said, check with your travel agent. We couldn't find ANY information about what cost extra and what didn't. we read blurbs about Sabbatini and a steakhouse and assumed these were "pay extra" but who would think that some of the coffee was extra. The web site had no information about soda packages, coffee packages, wine packages. We never found how to prepay for transfers through princess. The food was good. I had excellent steaks in the dining rooms. We signed for late dining but this always seemed to conflict with the shows. The production shows were so_so but the comedians and magic act were good. Backstreet boys were hilarious and I had the privilege of being called out of the audience and dancing with them. That was fun. Many things were hard to find and the staff rarely knew ANYTHING outside their own little job sphere and several times directed us to wrong places. Our room was nice and roomy, a minisuite. But the deck above looked right down onto our balcony.   Read Less
Sail Date: March 2014
I have been on two previous Carnival Cruises. A three night interior cabin to Bahamas on Sensation and a 6 night balcony to Western Caribbean on Freedom. I feel I got a better bargain on Princess. First, they were lax with their beach ... Read More
I have been on two previous Carnival Cruises. A three night interior cabin to Bahamas on Sensation and a 6 night balcony to Western Caribbean on Freedom. I feel I got a better bargain on Princess. First, they were lax with their beach towels, unlike Carnival you didn't have to worrk about constantly exchanging your towel to get a dry one. You could take your towel out on a lounger and come back to your refreshed room and be given two more by your steward. You could get fresh towels out on deck as well. I liked not having to worry about having the towel taken and then being charged for it. There were No towel animals left in your room, but that didn't bother me at all. The bathroom did seem smaller than on Carnival and the shower was extremely small. Many times I would turn off the shower while soaping up, or while shaving because there was just no room. BuytBut, the closet and storage space was much more spacious on this boat than on any Carnival ship I've previously been on. The first day of the cruise I won the $150 spa giveaway. Had to use it on a port day. My biggest complaint was the 15 minutes of talking before the service and then 20 minutes of talking after the service. All trying to sell me hugely overpriced oils and "at-home detox" products. I was supposed to have a 75 min service but the actual service lasted for one hour. I had a full body aromatherapy massage, scalp massage and facial. The scalp massage was definitely lacking but everything else was okay. I also didn't like how after the service she (Lorna) came in and said the service was only supposed to be for 75min, but she gave me 90 at no additional charge. Um, no. The first 10 min were wasted because the lockers in the locker room were all stuck to lock so no one could actually use them to lock away valuables, and then 10 min filling out the paper info form, and then 15 min of you talking and asking me questions. I'm happy I didn't pay for the service, but I still tipped $21 on the $139 service. The worst part was the 15 min of fumbling around after. First, the receipt she brought in the frist time was for the wrong service and for more than what I actually purchased. The second time, the service was still wrong on the receipt with the wrong price. Apparently the "head to toe" special wasn't an option in the computer so she was trying to figure that out while I ws waiting in the room. Eventually I just left, got dressed and found her at the front desk because I had to go get ready for dinner. The last night of the cruise, I tried to order room service and NO ONE answered the phone. Then it stopped connecting me at all. It was about 10pm. This was really frustrating as we wanted to try the room service food while packing. I tried calling about 20+ times to no anser or help. Halfway through the cruise cold water stopped coming out of the faucet. It burned to brush your teeth or wash your face. After about a day of waiting to see if it would be adjusted, I called around and after being transfered around, finally got someone that had the issue fixed. It worked well for about a day, but towards the end, the cold water seemed to be disappearing again. The Piazza area I wasn't a fan of. I really liked the huge open space and view from the elevators while you go up and down that I've seen before on Carnival. During this cruise two stores were shut down for construction and it took forever to find a the gift shop that was open "Hearts & Minds". This gift shop was tiny with a very limited selection. I wanted a souvenir bottle and they only had one type, athletic with a straw. Very disappointed but since it was the only option I spent the $9.95. Movies Under the Stars had a nice size screen, with clear picture and quality sound. Much better than on other ships. They showed Gravity and Catching Fire. Also, our room (not all because our friends room didn't have it) had an on-demand feature with free movies that were released about 8 months prior and nice selection of tv shows and live channels. The flat screen was at least 32in and very clear and bright. The bed was okay, but the mattress on Carnival I liked much better. Also, my boyfriend was not happy about not having a top sheet, just flat sheet and then duvet blanket. There was no cake/bakery/flower gift shop! I wanted to do something nice for my BF bday other than the ballons and poster you buy before the cruise online and they had NO options! Very upsetting. The maiter d' was able to accomodate sitting the other couple we cruised with and us in another dining room for dinner the first night and then got us an assigned table for 4 in the International Dining room. Very happy about that. What I liked most was that other than the last night, there was no singing and dancing in between courses like on Carnival in the dining room. Breakfast buffet was good but french toast wasn't very good and waffles were just okay and got cold fast. Lunch buffet was okay options. Dinner food was also just okay. No food WOWED us. It was all mostly edible with some decent tasting dishes. The fried chicken in the dining room was a let down and the Lobster Bisque didn't taste like lobster bisque. Went to Costco after the cruise to show BF what lobster bisque should really taste like. Entertainment shows were okay, one of the main singers had an accent and didn't sound nearly as good as the others. Dancing was nice, though sometimes not synchronized perfectly. Comedy standup show was decent. The standout was the two black physical comedians in the Explorer's lounge. This cruise to Catalina Island and Ensenada was chilly at sea and they really need heat lamps around the outdoor pools and lounge chair areas during colder months. Also, no one really used The Sanctuary because they charged $20 for a day pass. But the biggest thing we'll remember was the ROCKING of the boat. It swayed non-stop especially the sea day. Thank God for meclizine! I would try Princess again (after I try NCI and RC) but not this boat. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2014
My wife and I recently returned from a ten-day Mexican Riviera cruise on the Sapphire Princess , and our experience prompts me to write. We both have Platinum status with your company, and have mostly enjoyed other vacations with Princess. ... Read More
My wife and I recently returned from a ten-day Mexican Riviera cruise on the Sapphire Princess , and our experience prompts me to write. We both have Platinum status with your company, and have mostly enjoyed other vacations with Princess. This trip, however, proved less than enjoyable and exposed some serious flaws with the management and culture on your ship. During our cruise, the Telecom department was switching the onboard television service from an old analog system to a new digital one. We were advised at the beginning of our trip that this was happening, and that a technician would be in our room for a few minutes during the week to make the switch. Once the "upgrade" was done, however, we had almost continuous problems with the system freezing, constant buffering and reloading, and the like, which made it impossible to use the television, even the "From the Bridge" channel. We contacted the Purser's Desk on several occasions to get help, and they sent a technician many times to assist...to no avail, as the problems continued throughout the entire cruise. The Passenger Desk, however, continued to insist that the problem was fixed and that only a third of the ship had been affected. We felt as though we were being given lip-service and being placated by the Passenger Services Desk every time we called, being told that the system was fixed and working when it clearly was not. Their attitude became surly and judgmental as the week progressed ("Why would you just want to watch TV on this beautiful cruise?" type of attitude!). We spoke to numerous other passengers who had an identical experience, in fact 100% of those we spoke to about the problem shared our frustration, not just a third of them. It felt like Princess was obfuscating the extent of the problem, and downplaying our frustration the entire week. Their attitude and demeanor was patronizing and disingenuous. Television service is part of the contracted package of amenities Princess advertises in it's marketing, and which passengers pay for and expect as part of the contract of services, which we paid for in advance. If we asked our credit card company to credit back a portion of the fare we paid Princess to compensate for the loss of TV service, you would be upset and not allow it. Yet, you have taken your full compensation for our trip even though Princess did not fulfill an important part of the agreement, providing a working television service in our stateroom. A small gesture during the week (a bottle of wine at dinner or some free onboard credit) would have gone a long way toward healing the hard feelings this episode generated, but absolutely nothing was offered. It was like being in the Twilight Zone, the way no one seemed to acknowledge that there was a problem. We have shown our loyalty to Princess by booking trips with your company again and again. The disrespect we felt in this case will make us reconsider our choice of cruise lines for future vacations.   Read Less
Sail Date: March 2014
This one went to the Sea of Cortez. The ports were San Diego, Cabo San Lucas, La Paz, Loreto and Puerto Vallarta. Embarkation at the San Pedro pier went fast easy. We had no waiting and walked right on. We have been on the Sapphire before ... Read More
This one went to the Sea of Cortez. The ports were San Diego, Cabo San Lucas, La Paz, Loreto and Puerto Vallarta. Embarkation at the San Pedro pier went fast easy. We had no waiting and walked right on. We have been on the Sapphire before so we were pretty familiar with the lay out. We went right to our room which was ready and clean. It was a standard balcony setup. The room Steward was friendly and took good care of us. There is also a new Widescreen LED TV setup. You can watch many movies and TV shows "On Demand" now and for free. They offered movies that were fresh off the screen. FOOD: We selected "Anytime" dining so we could choose when and where we wanted to eat each night. There are four "Anytime" Dining rooms. The all have the same menu, however, each has it's own specialty dish. We tried all four and never had a wait for a table for two. We celebrated an Anniversary and they sang and brought a cake with a candle. The food was excellent. We also enjoyed the Sterling Steak House one evening with a table for two placed with a wonderful ocean view. The steaks were perfectly prepared and rival any fine steak house. The Horizon Court Buffet always had a great selection of good food. We like that they have a separate desert bar with a wide selection. We went to Alfredo's Pizza for one lunch. It's good for specialty pizza, but, didn't really have the selection we wanted. The international Café next to it always has a nice selection of deserts, sandwiches, etc. ENTERTAINMENT: We spend most of our time in The Wheelhouse dancing. They had a very good ballroom band called "Sun Down Duo". They took requests and played every night. The Explorer Lounge had a group called "Sol Provider". They were a good party band and also fun to dance and listen to. The main shows in the Princess Theater were good. There was one that we had seen before, but two others we hadn't. They also had a couple hilarious comedian acts during the cruise. PORTS: We live in San Diego, so we just stayed onboard and enjoyed the ship. There's plenty to do there, including the "Midway" docked next to the cruise terminal or the Maritime Museum on the other side. We've been in Cabo many times, but took a tour Todos Santos. Very nice place and something different to see. After rounding Cabo we went to La Paz in the Sea of Cortez. The water turns very blue and calm. In La Paz we did the highlight excursion which took us to a cathedral and other local areas where artisan's work. We also went to the Hotel California and had a nice lunch. If you've never been to La Paz, this is a good one to start with. Loreto was our next port. It was very scenic. It's a small town that's very clean and friendly. We took an easy walking tour in the morning to a Jesuit Mission and museum. In the afternoon we went to a Clam Bake and Mexican Fiesta excursion. That was an excellent all you can eat event with authentic dancing and music. We returned to the ship stuffed. We've been in Puerto Vallarta many times. We did the Malecon, Cathedral, Tiles & Tequila tour. We hadn't seen the tile factory before. The entire tour was enjoyable. I don't drink, but, if you like Tequila you'll get plenty of free shots on this one. SUMMARY: This was a fantastic cruise. The ship is very nice and had great relations with the ship board staff. It was fun visiting with them. They knew us by first name in our favorite locations. We have been on several other cruise lines and enjoy Princess the best. We would recommend the Sea of Cortez cruise to any that enjoy the Mexican area cruises. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2014
We sailed on the Sapphire out of San Pedro for a 4 day cruise. This is our 4th Princess cruise but our 10th all together This was a short getway since we were already visiting our grandkids in SoCal. Embarkation in San Pedro started off ... Read More
We sailed on the Sapphire out of San Pedro for a 4 day cruise. This is our 4th Princess cruise but our 10th all together This was a short getway since we were already visiting our grandkids in SoCal. Embarkation in San Pedro started off smoothly. We had been emailed not to show up too early but arrived by noon. We were checked in but in a holding area for an hour while they called groups starting with the Higher status groups. We are Ruby so not ready to bord with the elite! Once on board it was straight to our cabin Aloha 517. This was our first time on this level and it was pretty much mid ship. On our last cruise we had the Caribe larger deck which I liked but thought we would go for the location. Some folks complained of noise from the pool or the Horizon Court of chairs being scraped but we only heard it once. It was very convenient to the pool, Horizon and mid ship lobby! A quick run up the stairs and you were there! Our cabin had a few issues. The rug below the bathroom was soaking wet. We put a bath mat on it but told the steward and it was addressed with more rugs until they could bring in a fan later when we were out of the cabin. The toilet stopped flushing twice, but was quickly fixed from outside the room. (somehow). The room needed some cosmetic work. The rugs were frayed on all edges. They are replacing many of them on the ship. The lamps next to our bed were rather rickety and scratched up. We had been on the Ruby in Sept and it was in better condition. The food in the MDR was pretty good most of the time. They are switching over to a more Asian cuisine as they get ready to head to that area of the world. There were a lot of things that I would not say were to my taste. We loved the idea of having 4 anytime dining rooms. We tried each one and enjoyed the different ambiance even though the menu was the same They have a different special in each one but had to ask the server what they were. Even though we said we would share a table we sat by ourselves two nights as their were lots of tables. The entertainment was very good on this cruise. Two great comedians and the production singers and dancers were quite good. We did our own walk around in Santa Barbara using the electric bus. We did take the tour to the winery in Ensenada and that was fun but not very clear about the stop at the second winery. It was very windy a couple of days. We did sit out and enjoy the MUTS. The pool area was good with many choices there too. It was hard to find a server to get a drink suprisingly! I went to the bar instead and they seemed rather stressed! Dont know if they were short handed or not. This was good for a quick getway and we enjoy Princess!   Read Less
Sail Date: March 2014
The wife and I took advantage of the great deal Princess was offering for their 4 night California Coastal up to Santa Barbara then down to Ensenada. We were assigned an interior handicapped even though neither of is mobility impaired, ... Read More
The wife and I took advantage of the great deal Princess was offering for their 4 night California Coastal up to Santa Barbara then down to Ensenada. We were assigned an interior handicapped even though neither of is mobility impaired, kept expecting to get bumped into an OV but never did, we enjoyed the extra space and the wonderful spacious shower. Jocelyn our cabin attendant did a fantastic job keeping our space clean and nice, she provided us robes and wine glasses. I would usually gripe about how hard the mattress was (like putting a pillow top on your coffee table), but as things turned out, my lower back went out sometime on embarkation day, so by the time we left the ship it was back to normal.....so I appreciated the firm bed. The only problems we had during our cruise would be the English skills of the new staff....the Asians were very difficult to understand as an English speaking guest. All staff we encountered were very friendly and eager to help in any way. The weather we had could not have been better.....kept telling folks not familiar with coastal weather that to not have a marine layer was a big deal. Each morning we had bright sunshine from sunrise to sunset.....Santa Barbara was nice, a bit cool but fine. The ship did a great job tendering and the town did a great job being hospitable to us visitors. They are still dredging out the harbor from the storm in February. Our sea day was also great weather, full sunshing all day with wind quite manageable. In Ensenada we had 50 mile an hour winds that made us 1.5 hours late setting sail, but we enjoyed the day. All dining venues were wonderful for us, we had anytime dining and loved it. We would mix up eating with fellow cruisers and by ourselves two times, as mentioned here, the tables are so close together privacy is really not yours, we became friends with the folks next to us the last night because with the tables 3 feet apart you can't help but hear each others conversations sometimes, we did not mind at all. The entertainment on board was good to great, the comedians were terrific, production show I did not like, but most other bands or singers were good. We do enjoy Princess service and nice touches, just butter flowers in chilled dishes (not foil wrapped butter) and scraping crumbs off the linen clothes afterwards are things not seen on some other lines. We appreciate their product and will continue to sail them when we can. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2014
The wife and I took advantage of the great deal Princess was offering for their 4 night California Coastal up to Santa Barbara then down to Ensenada. We were assigned an interior handicapped even though neither of is mobility impaired, ... Read More
The wife and I took advantage of the great deal Princess was offering for their 4 night California Coastal up to Santa Barbara then down to Ensenada. We were assigned an interior handicapped even though neither of is mobility impaired, kept expecting to get bumped into an OV but never did, we enjoyed the extra space and the wonderful spacious shower. Jocelyn our cabin attendant did a fantastic job keeping our space clean and nice, she provided us robes and wine glasses. I would usually gripe about how hard the mattress was (like putting a pillow top on your coffee table), but as things turned out, my lower back went out sometime on embarkation day, so by the time we left the ship it was back to normal.....so I appreciated the firm bed. The only problems we had during our cruise would be the English skills of the new staff....the Asians were very difficult to understand as an English speaking guest. All staff we encountered were very friendly and eager to help in any way. The weather we had could not have been better.....kept telling folks not familiar with coastal weather that to not have a marine layer was a big deal. Each morning we had bright sunshine from sunrise to sunset.....Santa Barbara was nice, a bit cool but fine. The ship did a great job tendering and the town did a great job being hospitable to us visitors. They are still dredging out the harbor from the storm in February. Our sea day was also great weather, full sunshing all day with wind quite manageable. In Ensenada we had 50 mile an hour winds that made us 1.5 hours late setting sail, but we enjoyed the day. All dining venues were wonderful for us, we had anytime dining and loved it. We would mix up eating with fellow cruisers and by ourselves two times, as mentioned here, the tables are so close together privacy is really not yours, we became friends with the folks next to us the last night because with the tables 3 feet apart you can't help but hear each others conversations sometimes, we did not mind at all. The entertainment on board was good to great, the comedians were terrific, production show I did not like, but most other bands or singers were good. We do enjoy Princess service and nice touches, just butter flowers in chilled dishes (not foil wrapped butter) and scraping crumbs off the linen clothes afterwards are things not seen on some other lines. We appreciate their product and will continue to sail them when we can. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2014
We had spent a glorious 28 days on Sapphire Princess last Oct/Nov cruising to Hawaii and the South Pacific R/T, so when we got a good deal on the 10 day Mexico Baja/Riviera cruise along with some friends, we jumped on it. We found this ... Read More
We had spent a glorious 28 days on Sapphire Princess last Oct/Nov cruising to Hawaii and the South Pacific R/T, so when we got a good deal on the 10 day Mexico Baja/Riviera cruise along with some friends, we jumped on it. We found this voyage to be much less impressive than our previous. Noticeable differences: Stateroom tv had been transformed from a smaller 21" flat screen to a large 36" (I think as I didn't measure it) flat screen. Nice!...BUT, halfway through the cruise, technical staff converted the cable to a new 'internet based' television system, with some of the same channels...news, bridge cam, etc...plus a channel for order on demand movies....no charge. How wonderful? you say......me too....now, I don't go on a cruise to spend much time watching tv in my stateroom, BUT, I do like having a little news update or music or catch a late movie as I fall asleep. However, after the first day that it worked, each time I would turn on my tv, the screen would say "PLEASE STAND BY" in now glorious HD, 36"...and said that for the remainder of the cruise. The front desk would say, 'turn your tv off for 10 minutes to reset'....which I did for three days!.....Hope they get that working for you future cruisers. 2) Pretty much the entire waitstaff and deck hands etc. transformed during the cruise to Asian staff, as the ship heads for that market in about 2 weeks. No problem, except many had a very limited command of English. 3) The biggest issue we had was the quality of the air in our stateroom. We were on Baja deck, midship, inside. On our 4th day, we had a very pungent and irritating odor coming through our ventilation system that seemed like either lacquer/shellac or some sort of sealer. It caused our lungs and sinuses to become irritated and both my wife and I became ill. We told the front desk of the problem...they said they would send someone to see what was up and where the odor was coming from. To our knowledge, no one ever checked..no follow up, no contact. We were inside so had no option of venting the room ourselves. We were ill for about 3 days with effects of the odor...it dissipated toward the end of our cruise. I believe it entered the system due to the remodeling that was being done in the gift shops as all of the gift shops were being updated and changed. Other passengers in our general area on Baja Deck also had air quality issues and at least one I am aware of ended up sleeping in another cabin and received additional OBC for the inconvenience. 4) Wife had birthday during cruise. Nice door sign and a couple balloons were put up courtesy of Princess. I didn't spring for any additional celebration package, but we did receive a card that said "please present this card to your headwaiter for your birthday surprise"......so I did when we sat down for dinner. Upon conclusion of our meal, two waitstaff brought a small piece of chocolate type cake, with one candle...led the " Happy Birthday" song and left. We clapped and congratulated my wife and on we went to the show. When I checked my bill, we were charged 10 dollars for this "birthday surprise" ! If you do have a celebration on board, celebrate among yourselves and don't tell the staff! Overall, the ship is still a nice ship..clean and modern. Smooth as riding in your car. Love the Movies Under the Stars. Pools and spas are great. Food is Above Average throughout. Love the International Café. Embarkation and Disembarkation were smooth. We just were disappointed on this particular voyage. Your mileage may vary. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2014
On NCL three times, first on Princess. Next time I will speak up when we first arrive on the ship. Our short four night cruise on the Sapphire Princess could have been more comfortable. I booked a BC cabin on Aloha deck in January but when ... Read More
On NCL three times, first on Princess. Next time I will speak up when we first arrive on the ship. Our short four night cruise on the Sapphire Princess could have been more comfortable. I booked a BC cabin on Aloha deck in January but when the prices dropped, we were upgraded to midship, Caribe. They did provide the waffle mattress that I requested during booking but not the twin beds. I feel like complaining ruins the good vibe so I did not complain. Over all we changed the things that bothered us and enjoyed the cruise. The table for two, traditional dining, was really close to the other tables. It was so awkward that we changed to anytime dining. I always got the table for two. If a table with CHAIRS is requested, you will not be stuffed in the close bench seating. As I learned after our return, a top sheet is available if requested. I took the lining out of the duvet and to my shock found it terribly stained! My husband was happy with the duvet cover and I used a swim towel. Not exactly luxury. The bed shirt was soiled. The sink smelled like sewer gas. BUT! The food was good without the for fee dining. We like eating early and never waited to be seated. We enjoyed the movies under the stars, many musicians and comedians. We rented a golf cart and enjoyed the short drive around the island. I took a bar of soap and next time will take my own sheet! To compare the cruise lines, I am not sure Princess is worth the extra cost. The March West Coast Sampler on Princess is a great value and may do it again. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2014
This was my third adventure aboard the Sapphire Princess, although the first with only 4 nights. As usual, the ship is beautiful, the service impeccable, and the crew delightful. Our room steward, Alex, was polite and helpful and kept our ... Read More
This was my third adventure aboard the Sapphire Princess, although the first with only 4 nights. As usual, the ship is beautiful, the service impeccable, and the crew delightful. Our room steward, Alex, was polite and helpful and kept our room looking great. Our waiter, Geronimo, at table 61 in the International Dining room was great, always willing to give us tips on what was especially good that night and what he thought we'd enjoy. Love building a report with the staff so we always go for the set, late seating. Movies Under the Stars is a great addition to the Princess experience and the movies selected were great choices, although it was slightly chilly up top. It would be great to maybe have that same movie playing on the sets in the room at the same time too for those nights when it is too windy/cold to be up top for extended periods of time. Food was great as always. I branched out and tried a few items I wouldn't typically order which is great to do on a cruise since the food is included in the price you pay (unless of course you choose to visit one of the specialty restaurants for a surcharge, which we didn't). Read Less
Sail Date: March 2014
Just got back from a 4 day costal cruise (LA, Catalina, Ensenada) Boy has the cruising industry changed. 3rd trip on Princess, 9 cruises over 35 years. I once thought Princess was the best line I had been on. I'm now rethinking ... Read More
Just got back from a 4 day costal cruise (LA, Catalina, Ensenada) Boy has the cruising industry changed. 3rd trip on Princess, 9 cruises over 35 years. I once thought Princess was the best line I had been on. I'm now rethinking that. In Fairness Not the worst cruise I have ever been on, but that cruise line is now gone. Embarkation with a wheelchair for my father, went smoothly. First meal on board, Horizon Café. Marginal at best. Hometown buffet food is about the same. Service at the buffet was great. all the waiters were very attentive. but the food was dry, overcooked, either bland or mis-flavored. Everyday, even in Mexico they had some sort of Asian food intermingles with their Mexican food. (Miso Ramen, Sweet and sour fish, 5 spice fish, Thai something.) Don't get me wrong, my wife is Chinese I love Asian food. This food was awful, overspiced, anything fried was dry, In 4 days at lunch I never had "Good" food at this buffet. It was OK, but nothing special. Anytime Dining, and Auto charge Tipping: It is clear that because wait staff is guaranteed tips, there is no real effort to wow the customer anymore. Even my last cruise 9 years ago on Princess, they still provided a dining experience, Not so on this cruise. We had a party of four, and tried all four "Anytime" restaurants. Not a single dinner was served complete. We were always missing someone's second appetizer, or the Shrimp was left off the Surf N Turf plate, or three out of four of us would get our non alcoholic drinks ( they never missed a drink they could charge for). Complete Paranoia over brining alcohol on the cruise. My father had no problem brining his 6 inch knife, but they searched my luggage and threatened to charge me if they determined I had brought more than the 1 bottle of wine that was in my luggage. ( you are allowed 2 per cabin but they had to verify I did not carry any more on). and again in Catalina, they were more worried about alcohol than sharp items. Entertainment: Production Show was very good. Comedians, were not my liking. Both were Black comedians who make fun of fat, or mentally handicapped, or gay, or white, or Asian, or someone in the audience. Neither worth the time. Typical Ghetto humor. Disembarkation What a joke, The cruise is over so they don't seem to care how much trouble they cause you. Yes, I am very angry about this. We pre-ordered wheelchair assistance for my father for embarkation and disembarkation. When they delivered the groups for disembarkation they assigned us to a carry your own luggage, non-assisted group. The Service desk was helpful and changed our group told us to arrive at the assigned lounge 15 minutes early so we could have a wheelchair. This is where the lack of training and "It's not my problem" attitude comes in. Staff at the lounge says you have to go to another location. When you go to that location the staff says no, you are OK where you are, we will send a chair all they have to do is call. Go back to the original location and they refuse to call saying they will get in trouble, and their supervisor told them not too.... Now angry that my father who needs a wheelchair to get off the boat has been bounced around like a ping pong ball. I request the supervisor, a request that is twice denied. and I'm told to go to the service desk for a supervisor, again denied. Trying to keep this story short unless someone from Princess wants to hear it. Basically the crew member said It's not my problem when we pointed out that we did exactly what the staff told us and it was not what she was told. there is no effort on the staff to do the right thing. and just help the passengers when it comes to the end of the cruise. What a way to leave a bad taste. Just in case you are thinking...I did not misunderstand, as I was not the only group misdirected by the desk and other locations about the wheelchair access. The crew's inability to take responsibility and fix the problem with the least passenger impact is enough to make me rate this cruise experience poorly. Will I cruise again with Princess, Probably. But they need to prove themselves to me again. Short Summary: Cruise staff is poorly trained at providing an excellent passenger experience. Food Quality has decreased. Service experience has declined. We only received our full order on 2 out of 8 sit down meals At the end of cruise, they clearly don't want to be bothered by you, their customer, the customers that pay their wages, by taking a cruise.   Read Less
Sail Date: March 2014
We booked this cruise because it worked for our schedule after a work trip was cancelled. We have cruised the West Coast before and it was our 2nd Princess cruise overall. We drove in and arrived at the port around 11:15AM. Getting ... Read More
We booked this cruise because it worked for our schedule after a work trip was cancelled. We have cruised the West Coast before and it was our 2nd Princess cruise overall. We drove in and arrived at the port around 11:15AM. Getting through the initial check in was seamless, very quick and efficient. Once we were through security, they had us wait in a holding area before we could board the ship. We finally boarded about 12:15. We were able to go directly to our cabin, a mini-suite on the Dolphin deck, to drop off our bags. We then made our way to the Lido deck for lunch. The one thing that stood out to me was the small size of the buffet choices. I have been on many ships and this was probably the smallest variety of choices in the buffet areas that I've seen. After lunch we walked around a bit. The ship was on the smaller side, very nice and well-maintained. We went to our cabin and found that the televisions did not work (this problem has been reported on Cruise Critic over the past few weeks so I wasn't surprised by it, but I was disappointed). We don't spend a lot of time on the decks of the ship, we prefer to have a quiet vacation in our room and walk around a bit in the evenings. We do spend some time watching TV in the cabin so not having that available was a disappointment. We signed up my daughter for the teen club. She enjoyed that part of the trip, as she always does. Dinner for us was the early seating in the International Dining Room. Virgil was our waiter and he was excellent. I had asked for gluten free options when we booked the cruise (not celiac, but I do have gluten sensitivities) and he was wonderful about making sure to have anything with gluten in it, pointed out to me, as did the dining room supervisor Ion. Ion went so far as to bring the menu for the next night to me each day to make sure there was something that I liked that was also gluten free. He offered to have something else made if I needed it. Catalina was our first stop, and we didn't get off the ship. Ensenada we did go off the ship and came back shortly after. Entertainment: We saw both shows in the theater and we thought they were just ok. I wasn't blown away by either show, timing was off by the performers, and they didn't seem to have a cohesiveness. The comedians onboard were fantastic, and we especially enjoyed Alfred & Seymour. For some reason, they put them in the lounge on the second night they performed and it was standing room only. Princess needs to keep them in the theater, where there is more space as they attracted a big crowd. Food: Dinners were excellent. As previously stated, lunch selections were limited. Activities: Few. There were some trivia options but that was about it. Not a lot to do onboard, and this could be due to it being catered to a mostly older crowd. This was the week of Spring Break for schools and so there were a lot of families onboard this cruise. Weather was cold and rainy and while this is not Princess' fault, it did limit having any time on the deck to relax in the sun, so more activities really should have been offered. Disembarkation: Without the TV operating, it was a little unclear how Princess does their disembarkation when reading it on the flyer. We were, however, able to change our time to an earlier one than the one we had been assigned originally. We will cruise Princess again but we likely will not do another west coast cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2014
My daughter goes to college in Boston, and I am a 50 y/o career momma from AZ. We both needed some downtime - from school and harsh winter! (she:) and from work (me :).... This cruise fit the bill. It was short enough, yet far enough to be ... Read More
My daughter goes to college in Boston, and I am a 50 y/o career momma from AZ. We both needed some downtime - from school and harsh winter! (she:) and from work (me :).... This cruise fit the bill. It was short enough, yet far enough to be able to just relax and not spend a ton of money. Transportation: We flew from PHX to LGB. Got there at 12noon. We took a taxi (cost $45 + tip) one way. Easy peasy. I would recommend LGB over LAX if you are flying in for your cruise. The airport is small so it is easily navigated without much drama. Embarkation: It did not take long at all. Plenty of staff to help you and they ensure you keep moving. Note: There would be staff there (porters) who will take your luggage off and assist. Politely say 'no, thank you'. And of you go. You can carry your luggage through the maze. It's not that difficult at all, provided you are physically able to walk and pull your luggage :) We waited no more than 30 minutes after check in. Our room was ready upon arrival. We were greeted by our cabin host, Rodrigo, and off we went. We were dining at the Piazza - a delicious thin crust cappriciosa by 1:30pm. Vacation has begun. The Ship/Cabin: I sailed the Alaska princess cruise last year, and made note of the decks to book, should I sail again. I am glad I picked this deck - Plaza. It was close to everything. No noise. Barely noticeable ship swaying. I only took 1/2 pill of Bonine the whole time. Cabin was inside/ starboard. Good enough for us. Nothing to complain about. We knew it would be small, but it was adequate. There is a hairdryer. Refillable bottles of soap and shampoo/conditioner combo. We brought the latter. I think the soap smelled of Neutrogena. Rodrigo - our steward host - was impeccable. Cabin was always clean. The last couple of times, I purposefully left the 'privacy please' door hanger so he didn't have to keep cleaning our clean room... Geesh. Give these guys a break! And yes, we tipped extra - on top of the mandatory tipping. Food: 3 stars. Not as good as the Alaska cruise, but then again, that was 7 days - versus 4 days here :) There was no lobster night, boo. Nor filet mignon. Last sea day was a so-so sirloin cut steak. We liked the chicken fajitas at Santa Fe Dining. (It's their specialty). I liked my dinner there the best - braised leg of lamb with mint jelly. I devoured it. My daughter liked their southern fried chicken. Hahaha. Buffet. We only went up to the lido deck for breakfast. We are not big eaters. So so. Again. Food Service: I just want to say a tiny bit of comparison about the service. The workers looked overworked. I think this 4 day voyage takes a toll on these guys. Compared to the 7day cruise I took last year, where we were able to engage and chat and got to know our waiters, etc (therefore, extra tips given) and heard about their life at sea, etc. They were cajoling with each other on that ship, but with this one, they seemed like zombies. They were still very polite and gave good service, but there was definitely a difference noticed. Entertainment: My daughter liked the juggler - she said he was the one who engaged the crowd the best. I agree. I was laughing my pants off with Oscar, the Puerto Rican comedian... omg. He studied his crowd -- women in their 50's who love to shop! Without giving out too much, go watch him. Even the old men were laughing! Billy London > the cruise director. OMG. Get him off this job. He is not funny and quite condescending, actually. He spoke of how much people ate and he professed to reveal who ate the most (by the weight of their poop). Gross. Not funny at all... Other Entertainment/activities: We watched their 'show' every night. Ho hum. Sing and dance show. Not a total fan. We did the Bingo to win an iPad. 2 people won/ shared a $500 prize. Do not buy the dawbers - those markers that were marked up so high it's not even funny. Just use a ballpoint pen. Honestly, save your money and go buy yourself a capuccino with it. We were up at the Lido deck and watched a little bit of Stevie Wonder concert. and watched Mamma Mia, the movie. It was nippy! Most of us were bundled up in beach towels. There were plenty. Also plenty of lounge chairs - no gouging and reserving for a dozen people. That's just rude, in my opinion. Music? We were laughing - my daughter and I - because she is 19 y/o and do not know any of the songs the piano man was singing :) Think 60's, 70's... It was still a lot of fun. We loved watching the old folks dance and enjoying themselves. They look like they are having a happy retired life! Catalina Island: We were diverted to Catalina Island at the last minute due to Santa Barbara harbor not accessible by large ships due to dredging... I was bummed out at first because I really wanted to see SB. But, not for long. The sun was out and it was a very calm, sunny, 80's that day - we lucked out! We tendered out for about 1 1/2hr and strolled along the harbor. It was a great day. $3 single cone ice cream at Olaf's :) Ensenada: Don't buy the excursion from the ship. It's $39 pp. Instead pay 2 bucks to those shuttles that go downtown. On your way, you will be given plenty of choices from the Mexican tour shuttle buses. We took this. $15pp. Round trip to El Bufadora (blowhole). It will take approximately 4hrs of your day. Once at the El Bufadora, you will be swarmed by all the Mexicans offering a taste of pina colada, etc. Just politely say, no thank you, and you will be fine. They will not touch you. Just relax. Oh by the way, you haggle everything here. Even the coconuts and the pineapples :) I bought a very nice pair of flip flops/leather - down to $7 :) My daughter - not so much. She went off on me on how they make so little money and did I have to haggle down so low? I said yes...because that is expected in their culture. I bet I was the only 1 who bought a pair from him that day.... I did not see any other passengers with a similar flip flops. Now I will get off my soap box. Disembarkation: You must be out of your cabin by 08:30. Last buffet upstairs for breakfast. Some people even brought their luggages up there. Geesh. Our 'assigned' disembarkation time was 10:30. We were done eating by 0830. By 9am, we looked around where the gangway was, found it on deck 7. No lines whatsover. I asked the guy if we could disembark and he said yes - he checked us off our card one last time. And off we went to the immigration area. No lines. Out the door into a taxi by 0920am back to LGB. Very, very relaxing 4-night Coastal Getaway cruise! We would do this all over again next time!   Read Less
Sail Date: March 2014
Arrival: We drove to LA from Phoenix, arriving at the hotel around 6pm after a lousy drive during the one big rain storm of the season. Hotel: We booked ourselves into the Best Western Plus San Pedro, and highly recommend it. See our ... Read More
Arrival: We drove to LA from Phoenix, arriving at the hotel around 6pm after a lousy drive during the one big rain storm of the season. Hotel: We booked ourselves into the Best Western Plus San Pedro, and highly recommend it. See our October 2014 Golden Princess review for details on the hotel. Embarkation: The World Cruise Center isn’t much to look at from the outside, but the check-in and waiting areas are the nicest we’ve seen. We waited in the Platinum area. This cruise was heavy on the Elites, so they had their own lounge. We were called and on board before 1pm. Ship: We’d been on the Sapphire Princess previously, for a coastal cruise in 2011, just prior to the refit. The updated piazza is very nice. Fortunately, they left the 4-restaurant concept intact. The major public areas were in very good condition and very clean. Cabin: We had a mini-suite on deck 9. The cabin was clean and in good condition. The bed was very comfortable. The bathroom tile and grout are still serviceable but should be redone in the next couple of years. Our steward brought us champagne and introduced himself. He kept the room spotless during our voyage. Food: We love Anytime Dining and found the waits to be very short if you make a reservation. The food was very good this time, with only a few misses the entire trip. We dined in the Santa Fe the first night, and the Savoy the remaining nights after we found a great service team, Adriana and Fernando. We had most lunches in the buffet. The food was good and we enjoyed dining on the stern, above the pool. The International Café and Alfredo’s were good, as were the pizza and grill by the main pool. We did not try either specialty restaurant. Ports: San Diego: The ship docks downtown, between the Enterprise and the Star of India (Maritime museum). We’re both originally from SoCal, so we were joined by family at the museum. Then we had lunch a wonderful lunch at Kaiserhof, a German restaurant near Ocean Beach. The weather finally cleared and sail-away was spectacular. Cabo San Lucas: This is a tender port. We took an overview tour that included a cruise to El Arco and then a bus to a resort across the bay, and enjoyed our day. I look forward to returning to Cabo. La Paz: The ship docks at an industrial port that is about a 40 minute drive from downtown. We happened to be there on Ash Wednesday, so the town was still recovering from the festivities the night before. The tour included a partially-completed museum, a walk downtown, and a beach stop. This port was just OK, we have no desire to return. Noreto: This is a tender port. Loved this town! We did a simple walking tour down the main shopping street to the central church and museum. We’d like to go back for a longer visit. Highly recommended. Puero Vallarta: We took a highlights tour that included a walk downtown and visits to a tile factory and a tequila factory. We enjoyed the tour. This is a very touristy but nice stop. Disembarkation: The worst part of any cruise! Left our cabin at 8:30am and headed to the MDR for breakfast, but it closes earlier on the last day, so we hit the buffet. Afterwards we waited in the Elite lounge until our group was called. Photographers were not too bad on this voyage. The selling of merchandise was at the normal level, though the tables were out every day, rather than at the end of the cruise. Servers tried very hard the first day to sell the ‘premium’ wine tasting package. Minor issues: The Sapphire is being repositioned to Japan this month. To prepare for the Asian market, several of the shops were being remodeled, along with the casino. We’re not big gamblers, but nearly half the casino was empty during this trip and we played less than we normally would have. One of the shops reopened, and now what was the sundry shop is filled with high-end purses and perfume. The sundry shop is now tiny and occupies what was the wedding chapel. Princess just installed large Samsung TVs in the staterooms, and is actively installing a modern video-on-demand system. That’s nice in theory, but they did not get the system working during our voyage. TV service was spotty at best. We also experienced issues with the men’s steam room continually breaking. The staff was never able to resolve that issue during the trip. Overall, this was a wonderful cruise! Ten days flew by too quickly. We’re looking forward to our next voyage on the Crown in October. We already got our upgrade notice to almost the same cabin as this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2014
Fellow passengers: We are aged 45 and 50 and were expecting an average age of 50 on the ship. I'd say the average was more like 70. Cabin: Deck 11 aft balcony cabin was very nice. Plenty of room, clean, bed comfortable. All in all ... Read More
Fellow passengers: We are aged 45 and 50 and were expecting an average age of 50 on the ship. I'd say the average was more like 70. Cabin: Deck 11 aft balcony cabin was very nice. Plenty of room, clean, bed comfortable. All in all very pleasant. Our cabin steward seemed stretched to get everything done, but he kept our room in good order. Food: Some hits and some misses. We had the anytime dining plan. Music in the Vivaldi dining room was loud and over-done. We did not return there. Music in the Savoy was also loud. Santa Fe and Pacific moon atmosphere led to a more relaxed dinner, but they were more crowded. Our last night in the Santa Fe dining room, we waited a long time for just about everything and left without having the coffee we ordered. Wait staff frequently confused who ordered what in all of the dining rooms. Best meal was the lobster and shrimp. Worst was a peppercorn steak; it was nearly impossible to cut, even with a steak knife. Tables are very close together, so an intimate dinner is just about impossible in the anytime dining venues. Our most relaxed meal was at the pizza restaurant on deck 5 - it can be crowded but we went early and the pizza was delicious. Breakfast was best in the international dining room. The english muffin paninis at the International Cafe were surprisingly good, but they charge for coffee there. We ordered a burger at both the pool deck and the international restaurant. Terrible - avoid burgers (meat seems like a soy or pink slime mix?) Pool Deck: Go early to find a lounger out of the wind. Liked the Move Under the Stars feature. Drinks: We tried three or four cocktails during the cruise. They were OK. What's missing is a decent beer. They have nothing that approaches a craft beer on board. Entertainment: We watched the opening number of one of the song/dance shows & did not stay. Pretty bad. Comedy act was hilarious. Magic/illusion show was OK. Musical performers in the Piazza were often very good. Spa: AWFUL. I booked a top to toe facial & massage the first day on board. Ship noise was very loud in the massage room, so that was not relaxing. Therapist spent 15 of the 75 minutes trying to upsell me to a more expensive massage and then wanted me to sign up for consultations to services for removing wrinkles and fat. I have been through timeshare presentations that were more relaxing. During the massage, another employee came into the room (?????). At the end of all this, I went to the changing room to take a shower, and there were maintenance workers trying to fix a sink (NO signage up to warn of maintenance workers in changing room). When I asked if there was someplace else to take a shower (because the sink area was open to the shower area), the female attendant insisted that I should just use the showers even with the maintenance workers in there. No thank you. This is the only time I've ever been less relaxed after a massage than I was before it started. Excursions booked throughout the cruise were good. Ensenada is not much of a town, but we had an excellent tour guide, Roger, for wine tasting tour. Cabo beach excursion was good. Puerto Yelapa tour was also good. Good: Room, excursions, pool deck. OK: entertainment Bad: restaurant service, burgers, spa. Overall, I would cruise Pincess again if it was a bargain. I'd know to avoid the spa, and I might try regular dining plan rather than anytime. Ideally, though, I'd look for a cruise line with peppier passengers.   Read Less
Sail Date: February 2014
Hubby and I have sailed to Mexico several times and have sailed to Alaska and Hawaii in addition to California Costal cruises. We are active seniors who live near the port of Los Angeles. We did not need a hotel so we drove to the port and ... Read More
Hubby and I have sailed to Mexico several times and have sailed to Alaska and Hawaii in addition to California Costal cruises. We are active seniors who live near the port of Los Angeles. We did not need a hotel so we drove to the port and parked there. Parking at present is $12 per day and there were lots of spaces when we arrived at noon. We were able to board immediately and our cabin was available then. The buffet was open for lunch. Food was plentiful but not quite as good quality as on previous cruises but I am a picky eater. Servers were very helpful and polite. Our cabin was on Deck 10 interior and was nice and also quiet the entire trip. We were close to elevators and stairway (which I like to use) but not so close as to hear what little noise there was. The cabin has two large mirrors on opposite walls so it appears larger and was plenty large enough for us. Large closet and nice bathroom also. Our steward was friendly and courteous and kept the cabin nice at all times. Dining rooms are nice and service was very good in each one we tried. We used the anytime dining and never had to wait for a table. We like joining others but if you wanted a table for two you may have to wait. I believe some dining rooms take reservations but we did not use that service. There was also an extra charge restaurant but we did not use it. Also there is a pizza restaurant in the Atrium, a pizza, hot dog, hamburger shop on deck, and a snack shop with soup, sandwiches, pastries in the Atrium. The Atrium is the center of the ship and on decks 5, 6, and 7. It's very pretty and they have musicians performing and have some passenger participation games there such as egg drop and Jenga. There is an ice cream shop on Deck 14 also. The pools are beautiful on Deck 14. There is an inside pool and an outside pool with several hot tubs and also two more smaller pools and hot tub on the back of the ship. The library was the nicest I have seen on a ship and had a lot of books. They also had a book club discussion on the last day. The book to read is listed on the Princess site or they have a limited number that you can read during the week. Entertainment - the comedians were fantastic! Carlos George was one act and the other act was Alfred and Seymour. We found them both to be really humorous and had some great laughs from them. Chris Ricketts played the guitar and sang and did a lovely job of both. Really enjoyed his performances. Ports: We only got off in Puerto Vallarta as we have done this cruise several times. PV is very pretty and looks very clean. Take a bus or cab downtown to the old town and walk the sidewalk along the ocean. I like PV a lot. OK now the slightly negative - not enough activities especially on sea days. I understand not having them on port days but not everyone wants to get off in the ports. Please more activities. I can only play so much trivia. There is no game room but several games that can be checked out in the library. There were some unhosted games but the day we went not many showed up and the ones that did were bridge players and we don't play bridge. I'm not enthused about the outdoor movie screen but could be that the weather was not warm enough and the ones who did try it were a little cold. They also play video concerts on the outdoor movie screen but mostly were not music we liked. This ship had a lot of older people and I wonder if they could gear the music to the crowd. Maybe not. I tried a line dance class but it was so crowded that I left before it was over. Disembarkation was delayed by port authorities but only for about 45 minutes. The cruise line has no control over that anyway and the rest of disembarkation was very smooth. Conclusion: Need more activities and maybe some better food. Would I go on this cruise again. Yes.   Read Less
Sail Date: February 2014
We sailed on the Sapphire, the week of Feb 15-22. Our crew, I’m 55 Airline pilot, my wife 50 retired Flight Attendant and Mom, 89 soon to be 90. Our first time on Princess, Mom Platinum, now Elite. Embarkation: Got to pier at noon, and ... Read More
We sailed on the Sapphire, the week of Feb 15-22. Our crew, I’m 55 Airline pilot, my wife 50 retired Flight Attendant and Mom, 89 soon to be 90. Our first time on Princess, Mom Platinum, now Elite. Embarkation: Got to pier at noon, and were told at gate might be some delay in boarding. We were ushered in to priority boarding and never stopped till we reached our rooms. Rooms: Mom had E735 aft facing balcony. She has always said when asked where her favorite place in the world is (She has traveled all 7 continents, 50 states and 72 countries) and always answered her home in Hawaii. Now she claims to have a second and that’s room E731. She loved the wake and sound of it. At 90 the noise isn’t that bad. We had E729 down the hall; we liked the covered mini with the bathtub. Rooms were ready. Only complaint, no robes till second day and Moms shower stool never arrived despite several calls. Finally quit on day 4. Good: We had late dining and that wasn’t going to work. Maiter’d switched us to early dining, same table. Now the Excellent! Loreto our Waiter. We were seated in the very first 4 person table in front of waiter station as you enter the dining room. This man was excellent. He did everything. Called my Mom his American Grandma. On our anniversary he placed the Tanzanite bracelet I had gotten for my wife on her desert tray. The entertainment was good. Dancers and singer were good. We met Tawny from Canada at the pool and it was fun looking for her. Mom asked if I could spot her and I said not unless she’s in her bikini. The two hip-hop comedians were great. Warning, DO NOT arrive late unless you have thick skin! Food over all was good. I’m a big fish eater and wasn’t disappointed. One of the best mahi-mahi diners I’ve ever had and I was born and raised in Hawaii. The meat dishes usually were over cooked. Deserts good. Lines at Horizon court moved and food was a good variety. Had the champagne breakfast on the balcony and thanks to reviews here we changed the menu to eggs benedict. Mom loved it! Ports: This is Moms 7th Mexico Riviera. Our goal was to go to an opal store in Puerto Vallarta and finish off a bracelet. She had bought a necklace and ring from this store and now wanted the bracelet. She got what she wanted and after several “free” cervesas I bought the wife the anny present. Coco was great. We have apprised things bought from her and have always come out ahead. Her store is on the Princess city tour. That’s how Mom found it the first time. Cabo, souvenirs and Senior Frogs. Moms unsteady and uses a cane and transport chair, and they did a wonderful job of getting her on board. Ensenada is Ensenada. Stayed on board to enjoy ship. We enjoy days at sea as we’ve seen a lot of these places. Bad: Like I said no shower chair. Hot tubs not working. I’m rehabbing a shoulder surgery and this killed me. Aft ones warm, but no action. Calypso and Neptune, hit or miss and sorry, but with kids with floaties and pampers DO NOT belong in hot tubs. Lotus pool, one worked, the other cold. That sucked for me. TVs. We had 2 of them and turn one on, the other goes off. Good Right. Turn one on the other comes on. Bad. Waking wife at 0600 with ESPN song does nothing for a little rendezvous on the covered balcony, if you know what I mean. Disembarkation; Wonderful. Had breakfast, 0930 off, walked down to elevator and right off ship. Very enjoyable time. Loreto made the trip Fantastic for us. If anyone is on the Ship, please say hello to him from the Lady in Red, His American Grandma. Just booked Island Princess for April 15 day Panama eastbound. Look for the Lady in Red. No aft facing rooms available, we have a Dolphin Mini. We’ll see how we like open deck. Aloha, Tim   Read Less
Sail Date: February 2014
For years I have wanted to go on a cruise, but my husband was very reticent. Finally, in this our 49th year of marriage, the decision was made and I found the cruise that fit us perfectly: Sapphire Princess to the Mexican Riviera.... and ... Read More
For years I have wanted to go on a cruise, but my husband was very reticent. Finally, in this our 49th year of marriage, the decision was made and I found the cruise that fit us perfectly: Sapphire Princess to the Mexican Riviera.... and what a treat it was! Right from the start things went well: parking right at the dock for a reasonable price and friendly porters to take our bags. Then getting to our stateroom and meeting our "caregiver." Lily was wonderful throughout the trip, doing her utmost to make us comfortable. We had decided on a balcony, and immediately knew that our choice was the right one. Even before we left the dock we were out there relaxing. In fact, we ended up spending a lot of time in our very comfortable cabin--more perhaps than some would, but that's what we liked, and that's what the cruise was all about: doing what we wanted. Of course we also spent time outside of our cabin, on excursions and in the buffet and dining rooms. The food was absolutely excellent, as was the service. We got to know some of our servers personally, especially the young Peruvian man whose Mexican wife also worked on the ship.... what a lovely couple they were! Seeing Ensenada and Puerta Vallarta by bus were also great fun, especially the visit to the tequila factory in the latter, where we learned that saying "mas tequila" could be dangerous--but fun--thing to do. We decided to "do" Cabo san Lucas on foot, perhaps not the best idea for a couple in our age range, but we survived and had fun doing it. Sailing back from Puerto we really relaxed and just enjoyed the Sapphire Princess.... which included the casino and the shopping facilities, as well as some of the entertainment offered. Reaching Los Angeles was a bit of a bummer.... I would have liked to start all over again. Still, we were left with wonderful memories, and my husband admitted that cruising was great, and that he'd like to do the same cruise again sometime. Whether it's your first cruise that you're planning, or the next in a list of many, you'll not regret choosing the seeing the Mexican Riviera on the Sapphire Princess.... the ship is beautiful and the people are amazing.   Read Less
Sail Date: January 2014
This was my family's 1st cruise and we enjoyed it. A few things could have been better, though. I thought the food was stellar. Everything I had from appetizer to dessert was tasty and fresh in both the sit down dining as well as the ... Read More
This was my family's 1st cruise and we enjoyed it. A few things could have been better, though. I thought the food was stellar. Everything I had from appetizer to dessert was tasty and fresh in both the sit down dining as well as the casual and buffet. The wait for the anytime dining was unforgivable and the seating times were crazy. After waiting practically all night on the first day to be seated, I thought I might make reservations for the second night. However, they only make reservations for 5:30, 5:45, 7:45 and 9:15. Those are the same seating times as the traditional dining option so how are reservations helpful? Also, this cruise line is probably the worst for kids. Although I wouldn't call it kid unfriendly, I wouldn't call it kid friendly either. The pelicans kid zone has you pick up your kids by 12pm so you can feed them and then they can return at 1 but you have to get them again at 5 and they can't return until 6pm however none of the dining seats until 5:30 (if you had wanted to dine with your children). If you want to dine without your children, you'd have to wait until your 7:45 reservation, meanwhile, the shows start at 7:30 which you couldn't be at because you're dining. If you could manage to eat within 45 minutes (which I doubt since the wait staff, although nice as can be, are the slowest I've seen anywhere land or sea), you couldn't make it to the last show at 10pm either because the kid zone closes at 10pm and you have to pick up the kids unless you pay extra money to have the kids babysat which you'd have to let them know by 8pm. Suffice it to say, there is no flexibility when cruising Princess with kids. Our days on this ship revolved more around our kids schedules than they do at home which wasn't exactly relaxing. We'd constantly have to leave the pool or the movie we were enjoying outside to go pick up and feed the kids. We weren't expecting Disney but even looking across port to the carnival ship with the tubular water slide made the princess "splash pool" (which the kid zone staff does not take them to- you have to) look like a total joke. Still, all the staff and even the cruisers had oodles of personality and clearly delighted in the kids. Most of the cruisers were over 50, which I don't mind at all and are interested in making conversation. I found the ship to be very clean and Princess seems to be committed to keeping germs at bay. The 1 Vegas style show we saw was great although I thought there'd be more of that (though I am a cruise virgin). The shopping was a bit disappointing although I guess I didn't come for that. I felt the ship should have better signs about where this and that was as well as more clocks (esp since you constantly have to keep your eye on it). Towel availability was inconsistent but pools were never overcrowded (although we sailed in January, the weather was great). All in all, the pleasantness of the staff and fellow cruisers made up for all the other issues our family experienced on the Sapphire. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2014
We decided to to take a quick getaway on board the beautiful sapphire princess! Embarkation - embarkation was amazingly simple. We were onboard in less than 15 minutes after we parked at the terminal. Ship Condition - The sapphire was is ... Read More
We decided to to take a quick getaway on board the beautiful sapphire princess! Embarkation - embarkation was amazingly simple. We were onboard in less than 15 minutes after we parked at the terminal. Ship Condition - The sapphire was is in fabulous condition almost if it was brand new! Cabin - Mini on dolphin. No complait at all. Very spacious and comfy! Huge balcony was an added plus! Food - Best food I have ever had onboard a ship. Period. The crown grill was extremely tasty Entertainment - All show we're extremely good! Must say the production show wasn't as good as other production shows on other princess ship but we're still good Route - Santa Barbara is awesome and beautiful! Ensenada is a little run down but the sunset is really amazing Overall - Really great quick trip!!!!! Recommend - YES! Read Less
Sail Date: January 2014
This was a 4-nite getaway from Los Angeles (actually San Pedro), with a stop in San Diego, a stop in Ensenada Mexico, followed by one day at sea and then back home in Los Angeles. By booking close to the departure date, we got a great ... Read More
This was a 4-nite getaway from Los Angeles (actually San Pedro), with a stop in San Diego, a stop in Ensenada Mexico, followed by one day at sea and then back home in Los Angeles. By booking close to the departure date, we got a great price! Note on pricing, however. The price you see advertised is not the price you will pay: add $80 per person for taxes & port fees; and add around $100 (per couple) that will be charged to your onboard account for mandatory gratuities. Even still, it was a bargain. Where can you travel to, and book a hotel for four nites, and cover all of you meals, snacks, and evening entertainment for that kind of money.... The ship was very clean and recently refurbished. No lingering smell in the hallways. It was medium size, comparable to the Radiance class of Royal Caribbean. Took us a while to get used to the layout; we were spoiled by RC's central promenade that runs the length of the ship. Staff were all very friendly and helpful. Cabins are laid out nicely, with a rectangular sleeping area cordoned off by a wall backing a large closet and the lavatory. Breakfast buffet was very good. Lunch was okay, nothing spectacular. Not as many choices as some other ships, but nothing to complain about. On the pool deck there is also a real pizzeria (fresh, NY style hand tossed pizza) and also a grill offering up burgers, dogs, fries, chicken, veggie burgers, and sometimes even pulled pork or BBQ beef. Also, an ice cream (soft serve) counter. Main dining is par for ships. Food was okay but not memorable. Good staff, though. No formal nite nor lobster fest. Internet service is available, but they charge from 80 cents to a buck per minute! Way overpriced. Inside the ship on the lower deck in the Atrium area is a gourmet pizza cafe (sit down waiter service) that reminded us of Calif Pizza Kitchen. Excellent, and free. Evening entertainment includes the usual singer & dancer shows in the main theater, along with some comedy/music acts during the mid-cruise. All were very enjoyable! Also, the ship offers movies under the stars, shown on a jumbo tron monitor above the pool. Popcorn is served. On our cruise, the weather was really cold, so we all buried ourselves in warm coats and under (supplied) blankets. Cold, but fun! In our opinion, the Cruise Director & Staff really fell short. It was too cold to hang out in the pools, but the decks were full of fans watching the championship football playoffs. The ship could have done tailgate parties and taken advantage of the situation, but instead they just hid or did boring stuff below decks. There were a lot of Chinese into playing majong, but the ship could have used one of the (empty) interior clubs and invited them all to play together. The C.D. just did not react or adjust to the pulse of the passengers. They just stuck to the script, and ignored it if it did not work out for them (such as poolside events). There were no late parties, such as poolside buffets and dance -- like we are used to on other ships. Last nite of the cruise, nada. Did we have fun? You betcha! But it could have been done better. Was the trip worth the money? Absolutely. We got away, we rested, we partied, we ate too much. Ensenada??? We bought a ceramic gecko and some plates. Avoided eating or drinking, since you never know which places are clean and which aren't. Besides, there was a tone of free food onboard! Ports of call: San Diego. A city, just like Los Angeles. Been there, done that. What we did was to go next door at the dock, and tour the USS Midway (a WW2 aircraft carrier) which is now a museum. Only $20 or less per person, and worth the time. It is history. Ensenada.... walked around the tourist area. Looked around in the trinket shops. Nothing impressive. San Pedro (home port).... berthed next door to the cruise ship is the USS Iowa, a WW2 battleship. Only $10 with discount flyer you pick up on the way out of the terminal. Also an amazing taste of history. So should you book it? If you are offered a good price, go for it! Princess line is better run than Carnival, though not as good as Royal C. Read Less
Sapphire Princess Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.4
Dining 4.0 3.9
Entertainment 4.0 3.6
Public Rooms 4.0 4.4
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.9
Family 5.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 5.0 3.7
Enrichment 4.0 3.6
Service 5.0 4.3
Value For Money 4.0 3.9
Rates 4.0 4.2

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