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Sail Date: February 2015
We recently did B2B cruises from Singapore, first 3 nights to KL and Penang, then back to Singapore for the day then off again to Bangkok,Ho Chi Minh and Ko Samui. I was a bit nervous due to the reviews I had read on the Sapphire ... Read More
We recently did B2B cruises from Singapore, first 3 nights to KL and Penang, then back to Singapore for the day then off again to Bangkok,Ho Chi Minh and Ko Samui. I was a bit nervous due to the reviews I had read on the Sapphire Princess, but the cruise we had was great, the ship was clean and tidy, staff were just as friendly as other Princess ships we have been on, and the food was amazing. We had intended to go to Crown Grill for our anniversary, but the food in the MDR was just as lovely, so we stayed there most nights. We never had trouble with anytime dining getting a table, though we were always happy to share our table, and we dined most nights with different people, which made the trip very enjoyable. We really enjoyed the ports, though Bangkok and Ho Chi Minh city were big days, long coach rides into the cities, it was well worth it, to enjoy the cultural differences of these cities. The staff were very quick when berthing to get all the passengers off quickly, and on the tender port, it was well done again. Our cabin guy was amazing, our balcony cabin on Caribe was great, and kept really well.The pools were well maintained, we used the Terrace Pool mainly because of no children policy in that pool, and used the main pool sometimes to watch a movie from,just love that you can do that. We would not hesitate to sail with Princess again, and loved every minute. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2015
The Good: The mini-suite was comfortable for two adults. Our suite was considerably smaller than what we have encountered on other cruise lines. The food varied from average to excellent. If you like Asian cuisine, the selection and ... Read More
The Good: The mini-suite was comfortable for two adults. Our suite was considerably smaller than what we have encountered on other cruise lines. The food varied from average to excellent. If you like Asian cuisine, the selection and quality was quite good. Most of the Asian staff were gracious, warm and friendly. The Bad: Many of the staff seemed burned out and begrudgingly interacted with us and others. A human resource professional is sorely needed to boost the interactive performance with the guests. Many of the ship's employees were visibly inconvenienced by the guests. This kind of performance can not possibly be good for repeat patronage. There were a few loyal Princess cruisers who were not at all pleased and insisted that this was unique to this boat and bar/dining room crew. The staff in the fixed time dining room were outstanding and obviously selected for their abilities. The other dining rooms were spotty. The ugly: repeatedly seeing 1cm. of after dinner brandy served in the bottom of a large brandy glass was compounded the indifference of the Russian server. This happened two nights in row. "too bad for you" was here non-verbal attitude. The hawkers from the spa and photo gallery were omnipresent and detracted from the cruise experience. A friend wanted a haircut, and the Lotus spa beautician tried to upsell her to $300.00US with treatments, oils, etc.. she "needed" and my friend left without any service. The internet was so slow that we longed for a reliable dial up connection speed...   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: 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: June 2013
Sat . June 15 Vancouver We had half day to see the city.The hop-on hop-off bus cost $37 pp for seniors; I chose instead to get a $7.50 pp all day bus pass. Took a us to Stanley Park, but found the park too large to see by foot. Got back on ... Read More
Sat . June 15 Vancouver We had half day to see the city.The hop-on hop-off bus cost $37 pp for seniors; I chose instead to get a $7.50 pp all day bus pass. Took a us to Stanley Park, but found the park too large to see by foot. Got back on the local bus and spent an hour going to the end of the route, through Chinatown, old and new business areas, fancy and run down residential areas, and suburbs to another bus/train station at the city’s edge. Found an elevated train (Skyway) back to the motel by two p.m., and that was our somewhat disappointing superficial visit to Vancouver. Took a shuttle to the Sapphire Princesss and had fast efficient boarding, thanks to my Preferred Boarding Pass as a Platinum Captain’s Circle veteran cruiser and the fact that we both walk with canes. We have our usual good comparatively unobstructed lower cost “obstructed” outside cabin, E425 on the Emerald deck 8 amidships, up one from the Promenade (deck 7) and relatively close to everything. Layout is similar to other Princess ships, and so familiar to us. Had usual visit with Maitre D to get assigned early seating. Theoretically one can do this in advance, but Princess usually makes this impossible, sending us notices we have “chosen anytime seating,” which is a lie. They force “anytime” on us, & we have to see the maitre D almost every time. At least we now have this wonderful feeling that for the next week we need not worry about where to sleep, where or what to eat, what connection we have to make, or any of the other frustrations of independent travel. We can relax. Sun. June 16. At sea. I spent some time in the “Sanctuary,” napping, writing these entries, and reading an excellent book, Wade Davis Light at the Edge of the World, A Journey through the Realm of Vanishing Cultures, about numerous societies and languages in S. America, the arctic, New Guinea, Africa, etc. The book had a lot of beautiful photos. Voodoo in Haiti, coca among the Incas in Peru, canoe people in Venezuela, eupiak in the arctic, others in Sumatra and Borneo, far more than i had realized. Basically, the cultures have been the victims of modern commercial culture: gas, oil, and lumber. Skimmed/read another book, an odd one by Sylvia Brown titled Secret Societies, supposedly telling the truth about Skull and Bones (Yale), the Council on Foreign Relations, the Trilateral Comm., the Bilderberg Group, Freemasons, the Knights Templar and Malta, the Rosicrucians (Yeats belonged), the Priory of Sion, the Opus Dei, New World, the Illuminati, and Gnostics, with a chapter on “Lies about Christ and the Vatican.” A weird book that cited a few sources and had some convincing info. but relied extensively on her “Spiritual Adviser” Francine. Mon. June 17 Ketchikan. Been here before. Not a lot to see or do. Wandered around the town and took a local bus to a beautiful new library with current papers and magazines. Tue. June 18 Juneau. Took an independent whale watching trip ($125 each) which I had scheduled in advance. They guaranteed we’d see whales (though later in the season trips may take longer), and we did indeed see a lot of humpbacks, to the right of us, to the left of us, all around us, some in bunches (almost colliding), a few w/babies. Found out later Princess had cancelled their whale watching excursion (cost $199 each) because of “rough seas.” Ours was a bumpy ride out and back, but we had wonderful views of many whales. I believe there is a lesson here. Then took an $8 bus ride out to Mendenhall Glacier ($8 return). Excellent visitor center (free w/Golden Passport):detailed exhibits, especially on retreating glaciers due to climate change. A good day. We’ve had some very good song and dance shows, better than on other Princess cruises, though still too loud, with bright strobe lights that annoy everyone we’ve talked with. Wed.. June 19. Skagway. My companion took the White Horse/Yukon train up the narrow, beautiful route the gold miners had used, with tales of their strains and suffering and of many dead horses. She had a long walk and wait in the hot sun and felt the ads, info, and planning were lousy, though the trip was an interesting one through beautiful scenery. I’d been there, done that, so spent some time on the computer and wrote my notes here. Thu. June 20. A day of cruising Glacier Bay. Several forest rangers came on board; we heard one good lecture on the history and nature of glaciers including the effects of climate change on them. We spent the time leaning on the rail and looking at the mix of beautiful blue and white ice as well as the old dirty parts; taking photos, eating, napping, reading. Fri. June 21 Summer Solstice Sunrise 4:10 a.m. Sunset 11:28 p.m. Over 19 hours of daylight! Basically, another day at sea, with a brief cruise into College Fjord to see a few more glaciers, one quite large and beautiful. Also a goof in my planning. We had only three ports on this “7-day” cruise (actually 6). Some cruises stop at four ports, including Sitka, a very interesting one. I had volunteered for the Passenger Talent Show. Signed up, but did not have any audition and never heard anything more. Went to the location at the time of the show, and they called my name to perform. Fortunately, I had brought my copy of “The Cremation of Sam McGee” and “performed” it to considerable applause and positive comments. Spent the rest of the day resting, reading, writing in here. There’s a lot we did not do: attend the art auction, drink the expensive cocktails they pedal at all hours, use the hot tubs, watch the movies, play ping pong or bridge, solve the sudoku puzzles, take rhumba lessons, look at the thousands of posted photos, pay for Pilates, eat reindeer chili, play trivia or Bingo, gamble, take afternoon tea, have our tongue or pulse analyzed with Chinese herbal medicine, play croquet, or dance the night away. We did chat with some interesting guests, ate many good meals, and spent a lot of time napping and relaxing. Sat. June 22 Docked in Whittier, near Anchorage, around 1 a.m. We disembarked and set off on a land tour, at the mercy of Princess. We had to get up at 5:30 a.m. to get to our “staging area” (our Santa Fe restaurant) by 6:00 to wait until 6:30 with a couple hundred others, like cattle, to a waiting train car #3, table #15, to sit facing backward with another couple (facing forward) for the trip to Talkeetna, arriving around 4 p.m. Dumpy sort of train, not at all like the luxury of the Rocky Mountaineer. I had tried several times to get more info from Princess about this part of the trip: whether we had reserved seats, any choice of where we sat, whether all seats faced forward and/or reclined. I prefer to see where I am going to, not where I have been. I never got answers. Either they did not know, or, more likely, did not want us to know. We were then transferred to coaches (had the option of staying several hours in Talkeetna for an extra charge). Tired, we went on to the Princess McKinley Wilderness Lodge on a hilltop with an excellent view of the highest mountain in North America.. Word is that the peak is enshrouded in clouds six days out of seven, but for all three days we were in the area we had wonderful views of the mountain in all its glory and majesty. Also some good photos and postcards . We are, however, in the clutches of Princess. Nothing at all nearby to get anything to eat other than their expensive restaurants. I talked a bartender into a glass of milk ($2.50) so we could eat some cereal with a banana we had snitched from the ship. Sun. June 23 Motor coach to the Denali Princess Lodge, in the small town with a Subway across the street. We have been surprised at the large numbers of people from China, Japan, and India on these cruises and tours, probably because we left from the west coast. The Subway was so jammed that we settled for tuna sandwiches from a nearby gas station. Our tour included a four or five hour bus trip through Denali National Park and Preserve, where one hopes to see the “big five”: bear, caribou, moose, antelope, and wolf. The best time to do that is early morning. Our tour went at 2:30 p.m. (Princess chose the time) and was, I believe, billed as a “landscape tour.” We had only a distant view of a caribou and a moose or two. In the evening, we saw (extra cost) a hokey, home-written hill-billy type play about the first climb of Mt. McKinley. Mon. June 24 Motor coach to Fairbanks. Not a lot of fun. Some lovely mountain scenery, and then a long ride through flatlands with one-way, dusty, bumpy road construction and orange barrels, just like home. After a four hour ride to the outskirts Fairbanks, we had a good paddle wheel boat ride lasting several hours. It included views of riverside shanties and mansions, a famous sled-dog training farm, some float plane docks and a plane taking off and landing beside the boat, and a stop of several hours at a park with lectures and exhibits of the earlier ways of life here: processing and smoking salmon, making of fur and other clothing, song and dance, mostly by natives from Alaskan villages. I found it sad, though, that none of the young lecturers could recite a poem in any native language. All spoke the English that the missionaries had taught their parents or grandparents. And though in some villages there are old folk willing to teach the young ones the language that their grandparents spoke. Most of the youth, as in Ireland, South America, Australia, New Zealand, and many other places, want to speak the current lingua franca (an odd Latin/french phrase that now refers to English). Alas. Tue. June 25 Fairbanks Spent last night at the Princess Riverside Inn near the airport, and today is the official end of the Princess tour. We have two more days on our own in Fairbanks. Tried to use the free (for seniors) local bus service. Had to deal with long waits and walks and missed or late buses. Found a good, reasonable downtown hotel, the Bridgewater, and rented a car from AK rental. The logistics of this Princess tour are, on the one hand, highly complex and efficient, but, on the other, very frustrating. After we got off the train from the ship, another whole group of passengers boarded to get back to the ship for a departure that afternoon. The bus from Denali to Fairbanks then took other passengers from Fairbanks to Denali. We never had to show tickets. Someone from Princess appeared at the right coach or train with a manifest, and checked off our names as we got on. And there always was someone at the right place at the right time, at least in our experience. So someone at Princess must have known all these details, yet they refused to share them with us passengers. We did not know what time the bus would leave until the day or night before; we did not know what time we would arrive somewhere until we boarded the train or bus and asked. We did not know when our tour of Denali would be until the night before. And we as individuals have no knowledge or control of the specifics until shortly before or until they happen. The agents in the hotels or those who answer the 800 numbers either do not know or are forbidden to tell. They seem dumb, or perhaps are under orders to act dumb. I found this lack of information very annoying. I heard some passengers complain a lot about being in an annex some distance away from rather than in the main hotel at Denali, but they got no satisfaction. Wed. June 26 My companion wanted to drive to the arctic circle, about 7-8 hours on a dirt road (illegal to do w/our rental) past mostly monotonous tundra and then 8 hours back. We chose not to go. In the morning, I had a wonderful experience. On an earlier visit to AK to visit my brother, I had called a float plane instructor about a lesson. He said he would give me one, except that the lake was frozen and the plan on skis. So I had a ski plane lesson instead. This time I had called another instructor. We drove to his hangar and plane on a big old quarry next to the Fairbanks airport. I sat in the left seat (primary pilot), he on the right with dual controls. He took off and then said “the plane is yours. He directed me over a pass in the mountains. I kept us straight and level on the course he directed to some lakes. Practiced some steep turns and a 360 turn. He landed the plane, had me take off, fly around, land, and take off again. A challenge, but I did OK, and can add that to the list of types I have flown (a T-6 WW II 400 hp trainer; the ski plane, an aerobatic one w/a few lessons, and a glider). All challenges and fun. We spent the rest of the day at the excellent University of Alaska museum, a mixture of anthropology, natural history, art, sculpture, and more. Driving in Fairbanks was confusing and frustrating: not to scale maps and inadequate road and street signs. There is a large animal research center where we hoped to get the close-up views of moose, bear, and antelopes that we had missed at Denali. We found it at closing time and had only a distant view of something we could not identify. Thu. June 27 Took the day to get away from the metropolis of Fairbanks and headed into the boonies 25 miles or so northwest toward the arctic. Found an exhibit where the AK pipeline was exposed and explained. Saw intersecting hills with countless pine trees, some clear spots with heavy equipment, and every few miles a mailbox at a lane where some lone souls of the pioneer type probably live alone. Returned the rental car in time to make an 8 p.m. United red eye flight to Chicago. Fri. June 28 Arrived in Chicago late enough to miss our connection to Dayton. We got home tired and bleary-eyed, an OK end to a wonderful adventure. This was my companion’s first trip to AK and, if she were a few decades younger, she’d be ready to move there. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2013
May 18th - 25th  Voyage of the Glaciers (Northbound) VancouverFirst off, our cruise was not normal as everyone that worked on the ship kept stating to us, we has clear beautiful weather the whole trip!We were definitely spoiled.We are in ... Read More
May 18th - 25th  Voyage of the Glaciers (Northbound) VancouverFirst off, our cruise was not normal as everyone that worked on the ship kept stating to us, we has clear beautiful weather the whole trip!We were definitely spoiled.We are in our late 40'sBOAT:Having been on the Princess before, we are use to the ships layout. The nice thing is that you are allowed to bring bottles of wine on board. No hard stuff, I put a small mickey in my suit case and it was taken out. (Never returned, or asked to be picked up at the end of the cruise)ROOM: We lucked out in getting a mini-suite. Loved it! It was at the back of the boat though, so the first night/day at sea and they really motor, it was a little rocky and my partner did get slightly sea sick.FOOD: We booked the Sterling Steakhouse on the fist sea day. (Birthday) What I dont like about this boat is that it is not its own restarant. They actually section off, (there are doors) the buffet dining room, and make this into the restaurant. Yes, they spiff it up with nice tables and all. But still, it seems like I am in a buffet... The food was really good, my steak (rib eye) was cooked perfect! We ate a couple of times in the dining room, as well as the buffet. Both were ok. I had their pork roast in the buffet, and it was extremely tender, wanted more. The Alaskan afternoon lunch special that they served out on the indoor pool deck was ok. Everything was salmon, no shrimp, no crab. If you dont like salmon dont bother waiting the 40 minutes in line for this.The scrambled eggs are horid! Stay away (I think they are powered). Order an omlet, or have the pouched eggs.POOL/GYM/HOTTUB: Well you are in Alaska, so no the pool was NEVER in use. Even the indoor one. But, we did use the hottub, and really enjoyed it in Juneau as we sat in the hot tub at the back of the boat and just looked at the scenery, and enjoyed the fresh air. We also, did the same thing when we were College Fjord. They stayed so long there, that a after taking pictures up on deck we went into the hottub as well. I worked out once in the gym, (glad they put extra machines in the gym area) but then the knees really started to bother me, could be from the beds that were alittle to firm. We did take advantage of the spa. we totally enjoyed the vapor sauna, showers, and warm stone loungers! Well worth the money, and I think a had a quick 10-15 minute nap every time. Totally relaxed!SHOWS: This is the first time we had no interest in taking in the shows. (except the cooking show on the last day at sea, that was good and some good chuckles)INTERNET: expensive as always. Bought 100 minutes for I think $69. MAKE SURE YOU LOG OUT! I had two browsers open, and when I hit the log out button, it did not stop counting minutes! Not impressed, then had to argue with them regarding this. CASINO: Never used once, dont smoke, dont like the smell, even on their "non-smoking" nights, still stunk.ROOMSERVICE: We ordered coffee every morning. Good way to start the day. Ordered GREAT pizza at night, but there is a 3$ charge for that.PORTS:We did not book any tours from the boat, perfered to do the research on trip advisor and book local.KETCHIKAN: Did the THE BERING SEA CRAB FISHERMEN'S TOURThis was ok, the crew were fantastic and spoke really well, but it kinda was hocky. Meaning, that everything was staged. Same crab pots in the same spot with the same crab in the pot from one tour to the next. They put the crab back into the pots. It was really neat to see how they work, and the stop for the eagle feedings was amazing! But, we did not get to eat any crab :( ( Next time I would book the Crab feast) I wanted to do both, but we had a short day there so we could not.Get your souvenirs here, they seem to be the cheapest.JUNEAU:Unfortunately, our whale watching tour with "Harv and Marv's" was cancelled! We were extremely disapointed as I ended up NOT seeing any whales at all, the entire trip.The water was too choppy, turns out we spoke to others later on on another tour and they said they went out with their tour, but the water was basically slapping up against the windows and they felt like they were in a washing machine. Then they turned around after an hour and cancelled the tour.So, we walked the town, and took a transfer to Mendenhall glacier for $8 /one way, walked to the huge waterfall, took some good pictures. Stopped A COUPLE of times at Red Dog Saloon for beers, the old guy playing piano and singing songs was a hoot, had the whole bar singing. Stayed away from the tram, as from what I heard, most of the trails were closed up there, so for $30/pp you are paying for a ride to the top to take a picture.SKAGWAY:Chilkoot Charters & Tours: WHITE PASS SUMMIT BUS & RAIL EXCURSIONThis was fantastic. Small bus, only 8 on it. So, he picks you up and then takes you to the train. You take the train, and catch the bus down so you see different scenery going up and down. Liked the fact that you can get out of your seat and take pictures outside on the the platform while the train is moving. Saw a mother and her two cubs. The change in scenery as you go from Skagway up into the mountains was beautiful. They only disappointment I had was that our tour guide had to rush down becuase a couple did not consider that it may run alittle late, and had to board their boat... But, our tour guide did drive back up and show us other locations because of this. Then dropped us off at the Red Onion Saloon, which is really nothing more than a bar. They should take lessons from The Red Onion Saloon...GLACIER BAY:Tune your tv into the narrative cast of the Glaciers. (what they are saying over the speakers)AMAZING! Get up early, go to the buffet, and grab a great table.Takes all day. The ride to the Glacier starts out nice, then as you get close it starts to get really windy and cold, I guess from the way the wind comes down the mountains.So dress warm from the start. Some people are rude, and just hog the railing and dont let anyone else in. :( We were lucky to have a balcony, so as the ship turned around we went down to our room, and had our own personal view. Opened up a bottle of champagn and enjoyed!And they really are right, ignore anyone talking to you, if you hear the crack then look, you will miss a beautiful "calving" of the glacier. I was able to get one on video.COLLEGE FJORD:Again, this takes a while to do, and Princess spends a great deal of time there. So, you have lots of time to take pictures.Not as good as Glacier Bay, because they can not get that close to the glaciers, but this little inlet has 10 glaciers feeding into it.WHITTIER:Take shuttle out of there. There is nothing in Whittier. Only 200 people live there, and they all live in the same building. Most often it is in a fog, because of how the clouds basically end there because of the mountains.We took a shuttle that had a stop at the Wilderness Conservation Park via: Anchorage Tours and Transfers.First off, remember, the opening through the tunnel is on the hour every hour. So, if you miss the 9:00 opening you are waiting until 10 am. This is what happened to us. (Issue with the driver...) Then, they let the BIG buses through first. Then the cars, then mini-buses. So, we never got through the tunnel until 10.20.If you have a zoo, that has moose, bear, buffalo, and elk just take the shuttle directly to Anchorage, and do something there. Or if you already seen these animals on your Voyage skip it. Yes, it is good that they do this, but, we thought it was a bit lame.HOTEL: Hotel Captain HookIf only staying for one night, don't bother. Yes, it is a REALLY nice hotel. But, too expensive. We wanted to relax in a hot tub, but their hot tub in in the "Fitness Center" and yep, looks like a Olympic pool. Pool and hot tub, surrounded by cement walls. Nothing relaxing about that. Plus, no complementary breakfast, and shuttle is 12/pp to airport.FOOD: Took cab to Moose's Tooth Pub and BreweryAWESOME pizza! Yes, you will probably have to wait, but well worth it!Glacier Brewhouse: Stopped and had lunch here. Great fish and chips, and really nice atmosphere!WHAT WE WOULD DO DIFFERENT:We would take the same trip! Loved the stops.Buy more in souvenirs in Ketchikan, NOT do the the Bering Sea crab tour. (I guess it is a been there done that now) Book the Alaskan Crab bake tour.Still book the Whale watching tour! Really disappointed we did not.Rent a RV in Anchorage for a week after and really enjoy Alaska. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2013
We live in Vancouver so choosing to go to Alaska from here was a no brainer. We are sliding into retirement and currently live close to the sky train line so we just packed some big heavy bags and hopped on the sky train. We left just ... Read More
We live in Vancouver so choosing to go to Alaska from here was a no brainer. We are sliding into retirement and currently live close to the sky train line so we just packed some big heavy bags and hopped on the sky train. We left just before noon and the line up when we got to Canada Place was already started but moving well. It went smoothly and we were having lunch in the International dining room before 1:00 pm. Our bags were at the cabin door when we got back from lunch so we did some unpacking. The cabins have a lot of storage space. We had room to spare by the time we were finished. Our cabin was an e type with an obstructed view on the emerald deck. We chose any time dining because we prefer the flexibility and usually took our breakfast and lunch in the International dining room. Dinner we had in the Santa Fe or the oriental dining room and found the staff in both the be nice and attentive. We also checked out the Pizza place on the Piazza for lunch and thought it was very tasty. Overall the food was very good everywhere we went on the ship. Afternoon soft ice cream with sprinkles! I joined the Princess pop choir. I have never seen this offered before so it was a delightful bonus to be able to sing in a group. We also played bridge a couple of times and this seemed to work OK except there was no staff supervision. It didn't seem to matter though because the groups playing were friendly. Beyond that the trivia games are always fun and we took in quite a few of them. Staff were always polite and well trained. Our cabin steward was warm and welcoming and did his work well. I notice Princess doesn't do the towel animals but I don't care about that. We had all our needs cared for and that was important. The restaurant staff was also very efficient. I The entertainment was really good. I appreciate it when they mix it up with some song and dance productions and comedy in between. Because we were doing back to back cruises there was a bit of duplication in the song and dance shows but they were done so well we didn't mind We also went to the cooking show with the chief chef and the maitre'D. That was fun because they had a nice comedy routine worked out. The kitchen tour did seem to be mostly set up to sell cookbooks. We also did the back stage tour which was very informative. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2012
we are still on the ship en route back to LA..Since i had minutes to burn i wanted to share my thoughts with those of you soon to be sailing on the sapphire. Simply stated, the crew and service provided has been by far, the best we have ... Read More
we are still on the ship en route back to LA..Since i had minutes to burn i wanted to share my thoughts with those of you soon to be sailing on the sapphire. Simply stated, the crew and service provided has been by far, the best we have seen in 30 plus cruises. the ship is spotless, the weather was great, but the crew...i have to repeat, was amazing...sometimes in spite of some passengers who would complain about nothing at all.. on a 28 day cruise one expects an older crowd and we enjoy the quiet that age group provides. LOTS of walkers and wheel chairs.....Food ranged from great to ok but we always do the buffet. the 8 sea days coming back from Tahiti were very enjoyable. we were passengers in transit from the coastal cruise and that process was seem less and enjoyable. i am sure some other passenger will write a critique saying his eggs were overdone, or, there wasnt enough papaya... but trust me...you would really have to search hard to find something that wasnt above and beyond excellent... for those of you getting ready to go on the sapphire , enjoy it ! we sure did... PS: if anyone ever goes to Bora Bora, you MUST take patricks tour (not a princess tour)....it was the best we have ever done.... Read Less
Sail Date: August 2012
This was an additional week, cheap add on, due to big, later booking discounts with Princess. My orginal plans were for 4 weeks in Alaska, so this made it 5. This was trip 31 for me, to Alaska. Cruise 76. Princess does a fantastic job ... Read More
This was an additional week, cheap add on, due to big, later booking discounts with Princess. My orginal plans were for 4 weeks in Alaska, so this made it 5. This was trip 31 for me, to Alaska. Cruise 76. Princess does a fantastic job with Alaska cruises, and have superb itineraries with great port times and two glacier sailing days. I find it "interesting" people's reports that one direction/timeframe etc. is "better" than others when they have done one trip. Bottom line- Alaska isn't a one time trip. :) There is so much to see and do, it never gets old for me. Each direction offers an excellent adventure!!!! I went on this trip with my husband and two nephews. We stayed in Seattle for a few days prior, took Amtrak, day of embarkment to Vancouver. We had anytime dining but ate in the dining room only twice, food is a low priority for me on Alaska cruises, same with entertainment- I attend nothing on the ship. Alaska is my "entertainment". :) I greatly enjoy my time out on deck and spending full days in port. Service was excellent with the ship staff always helpful and friendly. Ketchikan was the first port, earlier on the sea day, I had excellent sightings of humpbacks and scenic sailing. In Ketchikan, my usual vender, Southeast Aviation, attempted a Misty Fiords flight, but had to turn back due to no visability. Salmon was not running, so I took my nephews on a walking tour. Juneau was sunny and warm, I had booked my nephews with ERA for a helicoptor flight, which they fully enjoyed. I drove to the Salmon Hatchery with a peak salmon run, my nephews enjoyed this very much. I then continued on to Mendenhall Glacier and we walked the Nugget Falls trail and saw bears under the creek walkway next to the parking lot. Spent a couple hours here. Final activity was a spectacular whale watch with my long time vendor- Orca Enterprises. Bubble net feeding, and excellent orca sightings. Skagway. I rented a car with Avis and drove to Whitehorse, as always, an excellent scenic adventure, with many stops along the way. Murray's Guide- a MUST. :) Glacier Bay, another sunny day, with excellent wildlife sightings, as I am always up real early, 4:30am. I want to get as much Icy Strait sailing time as possible. Excellent humpback and sea otter viewings. Glaciers were spectacular- per usual. On the way out, I saw orcas, which the onboard naturalist, initially missed. This was still in glacier bay, so sea lions were all hauled out, with great sighings, loads of sea otters, and humpbacks, as well as a brown bear sighting. Plenty to see for hours, with me staying out until almost dusk. College Fjords was another sunny scenic day. In Whittier, we were the last group off the ship. Enjoyed a Blackstone Glacier boat tour with Major Marine and then a PJ's taxi pick up for a transfer to Seward. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2012
I have taken at least 12 cruise from most of the different lines but I this is my first from Princess. We did a 7 day cruise and a 4 day land package. The ship was been remodeled but is an older ship. It was one of the harder ships to ... Read More
I have taken at least 12 cruise from most of the different lines but I this is my first from Princess. We did a 7 day cruise and a 4 day land package. The ship was been remodeled but is an older ship. It was one of the harder ships to navigate, many common areas had a hall on one side or the other not both and we hit many dead ends and steps. The activities were what you expect on a cruise and offered enough variety that you should be able to keep yourself entertained on board. The music in the bars were excellent (especially a band named Indigo) The shows however were not IMO below par except the comedian and ventriloquist) The food was also very disappointing. The rooms were larger than expected and very comfortable The buffet is half the size of what I've come to expect and the dining room was sometimes a struggle to find something I might want. The land tour is OK, we had to switch cars because we wewe riding the train backwards and I get motion sickness so they kindly switched us to another car but they held up letting our car out so we almost missed our bus to take us to the lodge. We had to run to catch it. I kept telling the train girl that was blocking the door that I needed to yell to our bus driver to wait for us but she wouldn't listen. I later learned some people did miss their train due to the fact that the disembark info told us to meet at 630am and they had already departed to the train before 630 so the people we're waiting for an announcement that never came even though they we're there at 630. So make sure your at the right place before it tells you to be there. It is a great way to see as much of such a vast place as Alaska. I was very pleasantly surprised at how much we actually got to see on a cruise format. I will give Princess another try because they did a good job with friendliness and other aspects. Hope this was helpful. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2011
I decided to take my 13 year old on this cruise to Alaska. We live in WA State so decided to drive to Seattle for embarkation, which was a breeze. When we reached the cruise terminal (after 1:00 pm for faster boarding) I thought it was a ... Read More
I decided to take my 13 year old on this cruise to Alaska. We live in WA State so decided to drive to Seattle for embarkation, which was a breeze. When we reached the cruise terminal (after 1:00 pm for faster boarding) I thought it was a nightmare. Huge, and I mean huge, lines of people waiting to board the ship. I would hate to have seen what arriving before 1:00 pm was like. Much more efficient boarding in southern CA. When we finally made it on to the ship we were starving. Droves of people at the buffet. When the line finally got close to the entrance of the buffet an announcement that we would all have to report for muster. We, and many, many others had to leave the buffet without eating and attend the 30 minute life jacket presentation. Are you kidding me? People were starving. Couldn't this have waited until right before sailing. Not to mention I have been through this drill 6 times now.Our luggage arrived at our stateroom in a very timely fashion. I felt the stateroom was beginning to look a little shabby. Dings and scratches on the furnishings, a stain on the carpet by the bed, and hair (someone else's) in the shower. For the entire cruise, if you lifted the lid to the toilet it smelled like a sewer. We bought the drink card for sodas, etc. with tipping included was about $56.00. The bartenders were not friendly when using this card. Guess they don't feel they make enough tips off of them.The Sapphire Princess is very confusing to navigate. Bear in mind I just cruised on this same ship in April. After two cruises in less than 3 months, I still haven't figured it out. Chose "Anytime Dining" but was told that this only applies to dinner and then there is at least a 1/2 hour if not one hour wait to get into the dining room unless you make reservations. It would have been nice to have been told this. The buffet was not good and the congestion, lines and general organization of the whole thing was a mess. I asked for a glass of milk one morning and was promptly delivered a lukewarm glass of it. On one night the watermelon was so mushy and brown my son said it was nasty and we threw it away. Lots of recycled food made into strange entrees that were just not good. The dining room food wasn't much better. King crab legs were extremely salty and tasted like they had been frozen for over a year. Jumbo shrimp were dry and tough. Lobster--salty and tough. Roasted tomato soup grainy. A scallop, shrimp and crab with caviar appetizer that was extremely fishy tasting...UGH! The service in the dining room was pretty good although most of the servers were running around like chickens with their heads cut off. Purchased a bottle of wine with dinner one night and was told the bottle would follow me wherever I went. A big fiasco a couple of nights later trying to find the bottle of wine to have with that night's dinner. Not once during our seven day cruise did our room stewardess fill our ice bucket. I am a smoker and know this is a touchy subject when cruising. However, Princess ADVERTISES that smoking is allowed in stateroom cabins. Have cruised three times with Princess and every time have met resistance and downright rudeness from room stewards when asking for an ashtray for the stateroom. First cruise was told I would have to smoke in the stateroom bathroom only. Second cruise was told I would set off the fire sprinklers in the room and had to smoke out on the back of the ship. This cruise room steward passed by me in the hallway and disgustingly commented to her co-worker that "SHE IS SMOKING IN THERE!" How rude. My 13 year old was extremely bored on the ship. Not enough activities or organized integration with other children for this age group. He went to the teen center one time. I feel $11.50 per day discretionary tipping for children is too much. My son ate in the dining room twice so tipping for the buffet (where you serve yourself) and for pizza, burgers, and ice cream cones seems a little much. Do you tip at your local drive in? When I spoke with the front desk about taking some of the tipping charges off his account was told I would have to come down and complete paperwork and then she slammed the phone down....how dare I. Ended up paying the full amount for his share of tipping and mine but am not really sure why I decided this--poor food, marginal service, many rude employees. Hmmm...think they deserved to be tipped? It is my feeling, at least in our case and probably many others, children should be charged 1/2 for tipping as they utilize very little of the services. $11.50 a day for children for straightening a bed, slapping down a couple of pieces of pizza and burgers and fries on a plate, and making an ice cream cone seems a little much, especially after having to wait in line FOREVER to be served. All and all, based on my experience of sailing three times with Princess, I would not recommend them to travelers. I have sailed with Carnival and Royal Caribbean and the service, food, amenities and general staff attitude is far superior. Princess really needs to get it together. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2011
We had such a great experience with Princess! Our cabin steward was fantastic. Our waiter could not have been better. We did late seating dining room for dinners and absolutely loved our table mates! Cruise was wonderful even though ... Read More
We had such a great experience with Princess! Our cabin steward was fantastic. Our waiter could not have been better. We did late seating dining room for dinners and absolutely loved our table mates! Cruise was wonderful even though the seas were kind of rough and weather stayed pretty cool. The Hawaii islands were beautiful and we did our own excursions. We looked through what was offered off the boat and used Cruise Critics to verify other people's experiences. We used Ricky's tours in Hilo... really a good experience. We used Alex in Kauai and loved it! In Maui we did the boat with the glass windows.. not too good. Didn't see much and it was pretty hard to see through the glass. It was not clear windows, lots of scratches and really not much to see. The woman that booked the trip for us on the doc complained about the cruise ship passengers "screwing" up their day. She wasn't at all appreciative of the business they brought to her. In Honolulu we took a city bus to the beach and then did some shopping. Really nice day. $2.00 for the bus ride and the drivers were wonderful about letting us know where to get off and what bus to take to get back to the port. A really inexpensive day. We enjoyed the days a sea very much. I brought several books and honestly did not even get to crack one of them open. We took lots of walks on the deck and really enjoyed the beautiful sunrises and sunsets. I think this was the best of our 6 cruises and can't wait to go back and do Hawaii again! Thank you so much, Princess!! Read Less
Sail Date: February 2011
This was our first cruise on Princess.We chose it mainly for the convenience of not having to go cross-country to Miami to get to the port,but we had heard and read good things about Princess. Iwill address only 2 aspects of this of ... Read More
This was our first cruise on Princess.We chose it mainly for the convenience of not having to go cross-country to Miami to get to the port,but we had heard and read good things about Princess. Iwill address only 2 aspects of this of this cruise because of the disparity (from bad to good) First the entertainment??? Is it Princess regular practiceto have REPEAT performances???WE had the same comedian in the main theater THREE Nights...and the comic magician on FIVE nights !!!! thats the bad. the good We chose Princess transfer toand from the ship...and it was wonderfully flawless! We were met at LAX where they took our bags and were put on a bus to the Hilton hotel where there was a light continental breakfast and where we did all of our checking in.From there we were bussed to the port where we picked up our seapass cards on were given priority boarding.It was amatter of minutes and we were on board. On our return we were assigned colored,numbered tags and instructions when and where to meet.From there we were escorted to customs and immigration. Bags were in separate rooms identified by signs,so there werent hundreds of bags to go through After clearing customs we were directed to busses which stopped at our airline check in area. This was at best an average cruise and reminded us why we will continue to be fans of Celebrity and Royal Read Less
Sail Date: July 2010
Overall, I had a great time. There were definitely high and low points of the cruise. My family traveled with a group of 7 for my parents' 30th anniversary. I'm 23 years old and my boyfriend is 20. My sister and husband (both 37) ... Read More
Overall, I had a great time. There were definitely high and low points of the cruise. My family traveled with a group of 7 for my parents' 30th anniversary. I'm 23 years old and my boyfriend is 20. My sister and husband (both 37) and year old son and my parents (56 and 57) were also with us. It was a great occasion, except some inconsistent service. Embarkation: We got to the airport via Princess transfer. Very easy to find. The process went by fairly quickly and we had very little waiting time during the process and even to wait to get on board. We actually boarded a little early, around 11:30am. Cabins: We booked an obstructed oceanview gty and got upgraded to P311 oceanview. My boyfriend and I found this room to be great for the two of us and really enjoyed having a full view. The beds were very firm but we both enjoy that. We did end up getting the egg crate mattress topper to see what we liked better by just leaving our room steward a note. It was definitely more soft and just depends on preference if you need them or not. Our room steward, Daniel, was very thoughtful and very attentive. He was always easily accessible and very friendly. My parents had D408, a mini suite. The room was very nice and the open balcony was not an issue. If you can afford a minisuite, the balcony for Alaska is worth the cost! They unfortunately never met their room steward, which was a shame. My sister had an obstructed oceanview E702. It was disappointing that her husband and her had to sleep in two twins because I guess it is a fire hazard if you have the beds together and one of the pull out beds (for their son) open because there is no open walkway. The view was decent though. The bottom was blocked by a lifeboat but you still had an OK view. Their room steward was excellent and would come to put up the bed out of the ceiling when they woke up so they could have more room. Also, the bed does have a side rail if any parents are worried that their child might roll off and get hurt. Food: Our first day we did the buffet for lunch. I must admit, as many have said, the organization is terrible. The small enclosed area just cannot handle the amount of people on the ship. It was better after the first day since the entire ship wasn't trying to get food at one time. Also, you CAN eat in the formal dining room for lunch on Day 1 (International Dining Room) even though some crew lead you to the buffet. The food in the buffet was OK. Some of it was good, some not so good. I personally think buffets generally don't have high quality. Food in such a mass production is difficult to maintain high culinary levels. This is no excuse, just my opinion about any buffet. Also, it was difficult to get drinks. You can get water and tea yourself but servers must go outside the buffet to get soda or any alcoholic drink. If you sit in the back overflow areas for the buffet, good luck finding a server. We had formal dining at 5:30pm in the International Dining Room. Our servers were fantastic! Our lead server was Alejandro and our assistant was Phumsuwan. They remembered a lot of what we liked and didn't like and were attentive and friendly. Moreover, they made sure my nephew, 6, got his food quickly and often entertained him. The food in the dining room was much better than the food in the buffet. Every night had a wide variety of choices including salmon, chicken, beef medallions and fettuccine alfredo every night. You can order anything you want and as much of it. the last night they had a sirloin steak with green peppercorn sauce and my dad loved it so much Phumsuwan brought him a second one within minutes! The attire was varied through out the dining room. I wore a dress every night and my boyfriend wore slacks, dress shoes and button down. But I did see many people in jeans and even t-shirts for dinner. The Head waiter does not seem to enforce dresscode heavily at all. I think to each their own, I like dressing up so I was happy to do so. Our lunches varied. We ate in the International Dining room twice. I like the service and the food was very good. They have great burgers there as well as well as a variety of other choices like salads, sandwiches, soups and main courses. I would recommend the dining room for lunch if you are hungry between the limited hours of 12-1:30. There was a pub lunch 3 or 4 days but we never made that. The other days we ate in the buffet and once in a port. Again, the food was OK and I always managed to find something. We did afternoon tea once. It was nice but the lady at the door was VERY rude. If you have early dining, do not eat too much because I was so full I didn't really eat dinner that night. The pizza and burger bars by the pool on deck 14 are a great and quick option. The pizza is excellent and open from 11am-7pm. The burger bar is open from the same times and has beef burgers, chicken burgers, turkey burgers, hot dogs, french fries and some other choices. Sabatini's was excellent. The service was really great. Everyone starts with a wide variety of appetizers both cold and hot as well as bread and oil/vinegar. You choose soup or salad. Everyone gets 2 pastas. And you select your main course and dessert. I was so full by the main course I barely touched it. But you must try the tiramisu and creme brule. $20/person. We used room service once. We ordered a club sandwich and flan. The menu is limited but does the job if you are hungry. We got our order in 15 minutes and enjoyed it. We got the coffee card which was excellent for my boyfriend and me because we love lattes! The morning of the scenic cruising, I got 4 regular coffees, 2 lattes and 2 hot chocolates for 2 punches. So it was a great deal. My parents, sister and family all coke the Ultimate Coke Card which includes sodas as well as smoothies, virgin drinks and milkshakes for like $10/day. It's not worth it, unless you really use it. I only ordered like 4 sodas the whole trip which are like $2-3/each. For kids, I think it could be worth your while. But unless you are an avid soda drinker, It maybe cheaper to just stick to ordered drinks where you want them. Watch your alcoholic drink orders because it can get pricey. From 8pm-close there were happy hour specials for $2.99 which included certain bottled beers, Pina Coladas, Long Island Iced Teas and Singapore Slings as well as "well drinks". Entertainment: I went to two of the shows. The Piano Man was pretty good in my opinion. It was entertaining and featured songs from Billy Joel, Elton John, Liberace, Neil Diamond and others. The show repeats so everyone can see it. Get to the theater early to get seats. We made the mistake of coming only 10 minutes before and sat in the front but others came later and sat in the stairways. The second show I saw was a bit cheesier in my opinion. "I Got the Music" featured a wide variety of songs from Cher to Britney Spears. It was entertaining but nothing fabulous. Some of the dancers were great and the singers were OK. Although, I did think once of the female singers was really good. My parents saw one of the comedians (Kevin) and enjoyed him. They also watched the last production show something about dancing. They liked it because it showcased all types of dancing styles from hip hop to riverdance. It really just depends what you like as far as you being entertained. Arny G, a pianist and singer, was quite popular and played in the Crooners Lounge. Many of the other locations featured live music but I didn't check it out. As far as other things to do, make sure you check the Princess Patter they deliver to your room daily. For an Alaska itinerary, it was nice to have an indoor pool. Many people took advantage of this and on the warmer days some swam outside. There were all kinds of demonstrations and activities including fruit carving, ice carving, cooking, dance classes, lectures and workshops, shopping, Bingo, Wii tournaments (video games), tours of the galley and backstage the theater, movies in the Princess theater. My boyfriend and I did the couples massage class for $52/couple. We really liked it and got a free massage oil. I used the gym 5 of the days. There were surprisingly many people there. They do have a variety of classes available on seadays including stretching and abs classes and pilates, yoga and spinning for $12/class or $30 for three classes. They have freeweights, weight machines, plenty of treadmills and ellipticals. It's not a huge 24 hour fineness gym but you can get a good workout. Ports/Excursions: Ketchikan: My sister, husband and son went on the Bering Sea Crab Excursion. They LOVED it and would recommend it to anyone. They also bought the video since there was a camera man on board. We (parents, boyfriend and me) didn't prebook anything. We walked off the boat and ended up buying a tour for $48/person. We went to the totem park and drove most of the island. We also stopped and walked around some beautiful river areas. We returned to downtown to eat lunch at the Fish Pirate's Saloon. The food was decent. Mostly fried stuff like fish and chips, fish tacos, fried clams, ect. We then walked around the shops. If you like jewelry, you can find tons of it at every port. Tracy Arm Fjord: The scenic cruising was nice. We saw a lot of ice in the water. Didn't get so close to the glacier but it was beautiful. There was an excursion in which a small boat pulled up the side and took passengers closer. It was advertised in the Patter like the first or second day and was $200/person or so. We all gathered on my parents' balcony which was really nice. We also just ran up to the buffet and brought plates of food and snacks for everyone. Juneau: We went on the whale watching excursion through Princess. We had about an hour and half before and quickly walked around downtown to look around and peek in the Red Dog Saloon. Very cool place but so crowded because there were 7 ships in port! At 4pm, we hopped on a coach bus for a 20 minute ride to our boat. Juneau is the capital of Alaska and very beautiful. The government buildings and very small and you pass by the Governor's house. The whale watching was fantastic. We saw 4 or 5 humpbacks and started to return to the shore when we ran into an Orca (Killer Whale) pod. There were like 12 orcas, including some babies. It was really amazing. One of the workers was a little rude. My mom asked if there were any dolphins in these waters and she responded saying Killer Whales are dolphins in a haughty voice. That was annoying, but the wonderful sights far outweighed that little point. Skagway: I went on the Eagle Preserve River Float Wildlife Adventure that goes into Haines. I would not recommend it. It was nice but they do not tell you that it low time for Eagles. The high season is October. So we saw 3 eagles, 3 nests, 1 moose for $200/person and 6 hrs. It was fun but I think worth half the cost. The town was very quaint and quite lovely. We didn't walk around much because we were exhausted. My parents loved the area and shopped quite a bit. Victoria: Very beautiful. We just walked through the Empress hotel and around downtown. It's a bummer that the time is so short! 7pm-11:30pm is not the best time. If you want, there are a few organized tours, but we found walking around to be fine. Also, you take a shuttle from the ship for $7/person. The area was very crowded because the Holland America Oosterdam and NCL Pearl were in port. Disembarkation: We did the walk off because we had an organized tour of Seattle after. We brought our luggage to Club Fusion by 8:25am and they told us we were free to go. It took about 10 minutes from the ship through customs. Very easy. Overall I enjoyed the cruise. Some crew members were inattentive and others were superstars. Hopefully Princess will weed through some of the less friendly or attentive crew members and maintain a better staff. However, I honestly think some of it is due to staff cuts. It seemed in the Horizon Court many of the servers were overwhelmed because there were understaffed in the area. Please feel free to ask any questions. Again, this is my opinion and I am a first time cruiser. I would sail Princess again but I definitely want to try other lines as well. OH and we almost hit a whale! During our dinner one night we suddenly felt the whole ship shaking and then a sharp turn. All kinds off stuff was falling everywhere. The servers were running around to try and catch stuff. The captain came on to tell us he avoided a whale the was directly ahead. It was scary for a moment though! Read Less
Sail Date: July 2010
Wow! What a trip. Hope you can go and experience exactly what we did. Family of 6, grandma 78, dad 46, mom 45, teen boys 16, and teen girl 13. Everyone had the trip of a lifetime. Princess is the way to go! I think a lot depends on the ... Read More
Wow! What a trip. Hope you can go and experience exactly what we did. Family of 6, grandma 78, dad 46, mom 45, teen boys 16, and teen girl 13. Everyone had the trip of a lifetime. Princess is the way to go! I think a lot depends on the weather and we were VERY blessed; not a drop of rain and sunny skies. I love to explore our options so I read every trip advisor/cruise critic I could find on every ship, port, and excursion and I am so glad I did because our trip was PERFECT (okay, I give God the credit for the weather :) We had 3 cabins on the caribe deck with balconies on the right side of the ship. C515, C519, and C523. Get these cabins! We had our cabins overhang, but there was still one out farther than ours. It was perfect and make sure you get on the RIGHT side of the ship. Starboard? We saw about 50 dolphins swimming with the ship and as we were leaving Alaska, we saw lots of orcas. When you first get on the ship you'll be offered to buy a soda card, a soda and virgin drink card, or a coffee card. We bought each of our kids the soda/milkshake card. I think it was $70 each. One milkshake was $2.50. We had heard the coffee was bad so my husband brought those Starbucks singles. You could buy a coffee card for special coffees, but it was numbered exactly how many you got. I think 14? Anyway, the coffee was fine to me and my mom. The waiters were very easy going about the soda card, if only one person had theirs', it was still okay for the group. They put a sticker on your room card so it's nothing extra to carry. We enjoyed the anytime dining. It was easy and the food is the same in all restarants so it's just the atmosphere that's different. The service is amazing and there are many people to help you. The food is really good, especially the seafood. Our boys enjoyed the hamburger and pizza line and at the buffet there was always something for everyone. We were worried about 'resort casual' clothes. Don't worry, we wore jeans and tennis shoes and it was just fine. On formal nights it was neat to see what people wore. There were a lot of people from different countries and their 'formal' clothes were beautiful. The staff has 42 different nationalities. I enjoyed hearing all their accents. High Tea every day was a must! Love those scones. This cruise is for anyone. We went on a Carnival Cruise when our kids were younger. Seemed there were kids all over the place on that cruise and that it was loud, but we were going to the beach and people were sunbathing at the pools and we were right there with them. On this cruise, it seemed that the folks were older so instead of strollers there were motorized scooters. This was good because the pools weren't overcrowded, there was a kids club and activities for the kids to do. Our boys enjoyed the 'remix' for teens. When we were on the ship, we never saw our boys. They were with their friends or in the remix lounge. The photographers were fantastic!!! With the unexpected sunny weather, our family all got sunburned and then it turned to tan. Great for a picture. We looked great! The photographers would take their time with you and pose you perfectly and not rush to get to the next person if the line was long. What a treat and at such great prices. Buy all your pictures at the end of your trip though. You might want to switch some out by the end. Also, look around at the back drops. Some were better than others. Also, when you go to port, get a picture taken, it's a darling backdrop and if you don't like it you don't have to buy it. It takes about 2 minutes. Entertainment? Seems there was something for everyone. We enjoyed Kathy Slamp the naturalist, she grew up in Alaska and knew about everything. She gave 4 seminars and was nice enough to explain to us what we were seeing as we were seeing it. They piped her voice through the TV so we could hear her on our balcony as we went through Tracy Arm. Tracy Arm - there is no guarantee you will go there or how close you will get. This is important to understand before you go. This is determined by the captain and the ice bergs. We got 4 miles out, I think to Salyer island? The cruise the week before us, got 2 miles closer but looked at the glacier in rain. That rain caused calving which gave us our ice bergs so we couldn't get closer but had clear sunshine to see what we could see. For the first time, Princess offered a little boat trip for $199 each that would take you closer. They got 2 miles closer and saw seals and a bear that we didn't see from the ship. Do your research on your excursions or just do what we did. Princess offers many and it can be overwhelming. Also, if you book it your self you'll save some money (to spend on pictures - ha). When we got off the ship there were people with a big PRINCESS card in front of a big bus. We went to one person with just our name on the card and we were off. Also, smaller groups are more intimate and you aren't waiting for the 'late' person to leave. But if you book with Princess, they guarentee they won't leave you behind. Our cruise was fantastic, as we were watching the tutorial on the TV about how to leave the ship, the guy ended with "God Bless". That sealed it for us, Princess is the way to go! Read Less
Sail Date: February 2010
We are a family of 4 (my husband and myself in our mid/early forties and our two boys, ages 13 and 10). We are from the Seattle, WA area and this was our eighth cruise (all on Princess). First off, we flew Seattle to Long Beach on ... Read More
We are a family of 4 (my husband and myself in our mid/early forties and our two boys, ages 13 and 10). We are from the Seattle, WA area and this was our eighth cruise (all on Princess). First off, we flew Seattle to Long Beach on Friday, Feb 12th. (We refuse to fly in the day of a cruise - and on this cruise, I believe there were approximately 90 people from the east coast that were 3 days late boarding the ship due to bad weather). We took a shuttle from the airport to a hotel. We stayed at the Hotel Maya in Long Beach. Great hotel and actually quite a bit of stuff to do in the Long Beach Harbor area. We then took a town car the next morning from the hotel to San Pedro Pier. Embarkation: We arrived at the pier around 10:30am. Check in was a breeze and we enjoyed the Platinum/Elite lounge. We were also the first to board and were in our room by 11:15. Our Room: To back up a bit...we had originally booked an inside cabin for our two boys and an outside cabin for us two adults. Well, 20 minutes before we boarded our plane in Seattle we got a phone call telling us that we were upgraded to a Family Suite...so we didn't quite know what to expect when we walked in our room. Well, we felt like we had won the lottery. We were the very front cabin on the Dolphin Deck. We had two separate entry doors. The boys part was like an inside cabin. Our side was like a mini-suite, but then there was a living room (where the extension off the "inside" cabin part was. We accessed the balcony from our part, but the balcony was the length of 2 1/2 regular balconies. The family suite can accommodate 8 people - so it was incredibly spacious for us four. As nice as the room was the suite perks were awesome. The super nice bath robes, deluxe toiletries, fresh flowers in our room, corsage and boutonnieres delivered to our room for formal nights, priority tender boarding and one complimentary mini bar (pops, water and mini liquor bottles) were nice but not necessary. We did take advantage of the free laundry service (for both cleaning and pressing), the free unlimited internet, the ability to order dining room meals to our room for room service, the complimentary thermal suite access for us adults (I would actually buy this if we were maybe doing the Alaska cruise, but not so much necessary on a warm weather cruise) and the express line for questions at the purser's desk. But our favorite perk was the exclusive breakfast for suite only passengers in Sabatini's. It was quiet in there, the service was exceptional and the free mimosa's & speciality coffee drinks make breakfast our favorite meal of the day. As platinum members we visited the daily "cocktail hour" up in skywalkers. (our favorite night was Friday night for sushi up there - the rest of the nights were unimpressive). The ship: The Sapphire is in great condition we thought. We did miss not having MUTS, Vines and The International Cafe. We did not miss the Sanctuary (again we have kids and wouldn't consider separating ourselves and us going to an adult only (never the less pay area). We did like Churchill cigar lounge and the putt putt golf course up top. The Food: We thought it was odd to have the four anytime dining rooms. The decor can differ among them, but the menus are the same...except each dining room have their own speciality (The Savoy had, I think a veal or lamb dish, The Pacific Moon had chow mein, The Santa Fey had fajitas and we did not go to the fourth dining room (that one opens much later in the evening for dinner). Our favorite restaurant was the Santa Fey...because we liked the decor and we found to great servers (Michael from the Philippines and his assistant, Edward from India). The Horizon Court provided ample food selection. We love the pizza bar as well as the hamburger/grilled chicken/kielbasa bar - both poolside. There is free soft serve ice cream. We did buy our boys the Ultimate Kids Card which gave them free milkshakes, pop (including root beer), mocktails and smoothies. The Crew: We thought the crew was cheerful, helpful and kind - we would say The Sapphire had the BEST crew we have ever experienced! The Entertainment: Entertainment was good, usually production shows, a couple of good (not great comedians), the band and piano entertainer were again good (not great). Cruising with Kids: Our boys visited the kids clubs rarely (our 13 y/o is intimidated in the 13 to 17 y/o range). We again thought the staff was overall, attentive to kids. The crew did reinforce no UN-potty trained tots in the pools (YEAH). Again, we had good quality time Putt putt golfing, swimming in both the covered and uncovered pools. Parents, do keep your under 16 y/o's out of the first three rows of the Princess Theater! Disembarking: As suite passengers we were able to disembark at our convenience without having to fill our our flight times etc. That was nice. And as platinum members we did enjoy relaxing in a designated area equipped with beverages and snacks. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
ship needs revamp. dining ok if you like a curry or high fat foods.Entertainment .poor. The only good thing about this cruise were the bar and waiting staff and the ports of call . Only ate in main restaurant four times as was put off by ... Read More
ship needs revamp. dining ok if you like a curry or high fat foods.Entertainment .poor. The only good thing about this cruise were the bar and waiting staff and the ports of call . Only ate in main restaurant four times as was put off by the chicken drumsticks chips and gravy,hardly a la carte. Buffet curry eggs and onion rice for breakfast or full English dripping in fat. cruised many times before and have never had to leave a bad review .you need a new cruise director as his vision of good entertainment is perhaps suited for an old peoples home at best.Kids club was a joke and they wanted $25 to ice a cake where as on all other cruises this would have been free . We spent in total £9000.00 on this holiday for two adults and two children paid for a la carte got chicken drumsticks paid for our children to be entertained did not happen,paid for great entertainment was not entertained Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
I have sailed on Princess twice, and I had a wonderful experience. My last Princess cruise was about 10 years ago. I have wanted to cruise again, but I have been waiting for my son to get a little older. Now that he is 7 years old, I felt ... Read More
I have sailed on Princess twice, and I had a wonderful experience. My last Princess cruise was about 10 years ago. I have wanted to cruise again, but I have been waiting for my son to get a little older. Now that he is 7 years old, I felt it was the right time to cruise. I only looked in to Princess because of my past experience. And honestly, I regret not looking into other cruise options. Last week we sailed to and from London and Oslo on a 7 day cruise. I really wish I could say that I had a great time, but it was a subpar experience. My two issues were food and the amount of time you actually spend in a town/city. The food was below average especially when you factor in the amount of money you are spending. Honestly, you are on the ship about 80% of the time. The food must be good whether it is a la cart dining or buffet. I remember when Princess offered twin lobsters during dinner at the international dining hall. Now they want you to pay extra for good food. In the past, the buffet had smoked salmon everyday for breakfast. On this cruise, they offered it on the last day. I feel like they offered at the end of our trip so we would only remember the last dish. Last, we ate a 3 course prefix meal at Sabatinis. You have to pay a premium to eat there, but the food was great. However, in the past Sabatinis offered an 11 course meal. The food offering is declining. In regard to my comment about the time spent in a town/city, well it only represents 5 hours per port. Most of the excursion start mid-morning, and you are back on the ship by 3pm. We have no time to explore, eat, or shop. In conclusion, if you are on the ship most of the time, the food better be amazing or you are really there for the entertainment like bingo, art auction, town lectures, etc which you can do at your local city. If you like to cruise, and don't care about food quality, go on Princess. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
Not to bore my fellow cruisers , imagine : plastic cups , plates and glasses , a daily programme of bingo, quizzes and kids programmes , food you would normally never want to pay good money for and environment where most of the ... Read More
Not to bore my fellow cruisers , imagine : plastic cups , plates and glasses , a daily programme of bingo, quizzes and kids programmes , food you would normally never want to pay good money for and environment where most of the passengers are crowded into a central area to watch their so called" best " entertainment! "Saphire Princess" is your kind of ship . We hoped for refinement , culture and excellence.. what we got was far far from what we hoped.. such a waste of money . Lack of Security presence in public areas was alarming , there was definitely some under age drinking going on and young children seemed to be everywhere on the ship!! Most ships have family zones but parents were doing as they please . We were late arriving at ports , so little time on shore , one port was missed altogether and Princess CHARGE FOR SHUTTLE SERVICE .. Never been charged with any other company.!! Appalling !! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
We wanted a holiday with the whole family to celebrate my wifes 61 birthday and my daughters 30 birthday looking forward to a fantastic 11 nights cruise. We were totally amazed to find that we were being charged gratuities up front ... Read More
We wanted a holiday with the whole family to celebrate my wifes 61 birthday and my daughters 30 birthday looking forward to a fantastic 11 nights cruise. We were totally amazed to find that we were being charged gratuities up front before we started our cruise at what only can be described as extortion even my 18 month old grandson was charged and the total bill between us was more than 1500 dollars in addition to this we were charged 18% gratuities on all drinks I did manage to get the upfront gratuities removed but the 18% on drinks have not been removed even after I requestid this before we disembarked the ship at the end of the cruise. The price of beer and wine was extortionate with a bottle of beer costing 7$ plus 18% gratuities and a medium glass of wine 10 -12$ plus gratuities We were forced to have 4 sea days due to weather after missing a port stop in Lanzarote we were not offered any compensation or reduction in barr expenses while on the extra see day. The food was OK but not great and we all found that food in the buffet was bland and the area felt like a cattle market. On a positive note the staff generally were great. Overall we fell as if we have been robed and it feels like every attempt was made to squeeze every last Dollar out of us even when it came to the options for paying in Dollar or Sterling we were not told the best currency to pay in and it felt as the cruise line were even trying to take advantage of the exchange rates. Our view is that these additional charges should have been advertised clearly and simply in the upfront price of the cruise, we feel we have been mis sold this holiday by the cruise line who seem not to have been totally honest about the hidden costs. In short if you are a teetotaler who likes bland food then you may find this OK but we will never book another holiday with Princes Cruises. 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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