Sapphire Princess Cruise Review by Island3003
- Sail Date: February 2018
- Destination: Asia
- Cabin Type: Balcony
We were in a balcony on Aloha deck, and it was surprisingly spacious and quiet. Usually, all I could hear was the air conditioner. There was plenty of room for storage, and the bed was extremely comfortable. Our little deck was a bonus, but the sliding glass door too heavy and almost impossible for me to open and close. The tv was good, but the remote was in two pieces and we had to tape it back together.
Our steward kept our room spotless, and changed the towels every time we used them.
I appreciated the laundromat, and made good use of it.
The food was basically good. I have nothing to compare it to, but we enjoyed most of our meals. The service in the dining rooms was excellent. We chose anytime dining, and never had a problem finding a table and amicable fellow diners. Some of the meals were on the blande side, but others—mainly the Asian dishes—were tasty. The bread rolls were excellent, and the Chicolate Journies desserts were lovely. Too bad they weren’t served more often!
We usually ate breakfast and lunch in the buffet, where the desserts were inferior and offerings repetitive. I would have liked to see more selection in the cheeses and sliced meats. But there really was something for everyone.
The beverages were a different story. The coffee was dreadful, and it was very annoying to have only lemonade or water as an included cold beverage at lunch. Plus, we had to wait to be offered lemonade (and orange juice at breakfast) by a server. It wasn’t always timely.
The prices of sofa and alcoholic beverages were just plain ridiculous. If there had been a “smaller” all-inclusive beverage package made available—with something like a maximum of six alcoholic beverages per day instead of the fifteen (come on, how many people really want fifteen drinks a day for a 17-day cruise?)—we might have purchased it. As it was, we ended up ordering 2 glasses of wine once, and once we saw the bill there was no more of that.
The pizza was very good, but the soft serve ice cream was of poor quality. I had some poor quality ribs and chicken wings one night at the outdoor grill.
I liked the deeper swimming pools, especially because they had a shower nearby.
The hot tubs were nice, too, but one of them was so scalding hot that no one could use it. Seems a huge waste of energy.
We didn’t experience and of the live on-board entertainment, as it’s not our thing, but I made good use of the library.
We watched movies under the stars, but couldn’t find much we wanted to see. The vast majority of passengers were aged 50-plus, but the films were mostly for kids.
Embarkation was a bit tricky because it was all new to us, but debarkation was smooth and quick. The organization of the entire enterprise is to be commended. It cannote easy to handle so many people at once.
On the negative side, we had a problem with one of the three excursions we booked with Princess. In Phuket, we bought a new tour called “Beach Hopper.” It was to take us to two beaches on the island for two hours each. The first beach, Karon, was fabulous, but the second beach stop (Patong) was not at a beach at all. The bus unloaded us at a giant modern shopping mall and our guide told us to go shopping. Of course we wanted the beach—we were wearing wet bathing suits and covered in sand. Our guide said we could walk to the beach, and waved his hand in a vague direction. When people asked how far it was, and how long it would take to get there (we had only two hours) he gave wildly contractictory answers: “One kilometre. One mile. Two kilometres. Ten minutes. No—half an hour.” He simply didn’t know, and/or his English was not up to par. In fact, we had trouble understanding everything he told us. The microphone on the bus was faulty, too.
I registered a complaint with the excursions desk, and although I was thanked politely I was offered no explanation or apology.
We took two other excursions with local companies, and these were both superior to and far cheaper than the three Princess excursions.
The other problem I had with the whole Princess experience was the constant merchandizing of products and services I did not want. I found the hard sell of jewelry, art, photography packages, cameras, cosmetics, spa services etc. extremely annoying. The last thing I want to buy on a cruise ship is merchandise I can find anywhere in the world for far less money. Case in point—why is there a Coach store on the ship? I can buy Coach products at any mall, for a fraction of the price. And why would I need a leather handbag on a cruise in a tropical climate?
And the aggressive salesmanship was very off putting. Especially the art and photography packages.
All this brings me to my last point. We booked this cruise because we wanted to experience a bit of south east Asia. I expected “enrichment lectures” on the culture, history, cuisine of the places we were visiting. Instead, the enrichment experiences were all about Effy Jewelry, hideous paintings, and drug-store cosmetics. I did appreciate the Destination lectures from Debbie (when the projector wasn’t jerking around), and the astronomer who shared his knowledge. But I was terribly disappointed in the lack of useful information provided.
Overall we enjoyed our cruise, and will likely book another in the future. However, I will probably try another cruise line for the sake of comparison. If all cruise lines market goods and services in the same way, I guess I’ll just have to get used to it. But I won’t be spending my money buying overpriced goods and services.
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