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Have sailed with Princess twice before, so knew what to expect. Had been on the sister ship, Diamond Princess, so the layout was very familiar I chose a balcony at the rear of the ship, as it is an nice quite place Embarkation at Southampton was very smooth, with two items of luggage waiting when we got to the cabin, with the final item some twenty minutes later The cabin was attended throughout by Sdravko, who was most pleasant, efficient and unobtrusive. It was a pleasure. A nice touch was having a kettle. With so many from the UK on board, this was much better for making tea I think the beds have been upgraded from my last trip as they were much more comfortable than before. The same with the pillows. This is a good improvement For most of the trip, I dined in the Pacific Moon dining room, looked after by Sebastien and Luis, who did a professional job The menu was much as before. The same four Curtis Stone dishes popped up often several times during the journey. I had the pork belly on one occasion, which was ok, but not as good as before, not being crispy. Surely he can supply some new recipes after even the three years I have been using Princess? Most nights the food was good. There were occasional misses, but that's to be expected. I was happy with the food supplied The cafeteria on the 14th deck was as expected. I never tried it in the evening, but it was ok for breakfast and a light lunch. One puzzling thing though, was that on a far eastern cruise, smoked salmon was available for breakfast nearly every day. On this cruise in Northern Europe from the UK and from Alaska, it wasn't, which I found strange On the last night, I ordered a plate of "luxury" canapes to have with a bottle of Champagne. I did wonder at the low £14.99 + service cost, but assumed they must be ok. They were disappointing and I've included a photograph. The bread circles were quite dry and unbuttered. The breadstick with the prosciutto wrapped around it was soft and stale and there was none of the promised pate de foie. I tried them, but wouldn't again I didn't make any of the shows, but was impressed with the on demand movies available in the cabin. This is a great improvement on before and I enjoyed catching up with some newish releases. Moving to a flat screen TV is welcome, but left the space where the old cathode set used to be as an odd empty space. It did at least provide another power outlet.This needs remodelling Getting on and off the boat in port was very smooth, as a foot passenger, or on the one Princess tour I took. So much better than the experience with a different cruise company last October Now for the not-so-good: After a busy couple of days, my companion didn't fancy dinner the embarkation evening, so I went to the Santa Fe dining room alone and was accommodated. I ordered a bottle of Sancerre, had two small glasses, expecting to finish it on my next visit. I asked the chap who served it to put it on ice as it needed cooling further. He served me both of the glasses I had. The following evening, I didn't fancy wine, having had good beer in Bruges. I did mention that I had a bottle saved. The third night I missed dinner, but the fourth night, I asked for some more from the bottle. This was in the Pacific Moon dining room, as apparently the Santa Fe wasn't accepting "anytime dining". There was trouble locating the remains of the bottle, but the head waiter, was apologetic, offering two complimentary glasses while they searched The following evening I again asked for the remains of the bottle, but again it couldn't be found, so two more complimentary glasses were supplied. The head waiter again was very helpful, apologising that the bottle couldn't be found, promising some of the "chef's special limoncello" the following evening. I'm not keen so never did take this up. I gave up on the bottle being found, so ordered more for the remainder of the trip I was at the reception desk for a different reason and mentioned this missing bottle. They said they would contact the dining room to investigate. A short while later, a message was waiting for me from the head waiter who had been searching for the bottle. He said that the waitress'who had served me that first evening, told him I finished all the wine. I have on occasion finished a bottle of wine while dining alone, but not on this occasion, the first night. I was also disappointed as the waitress hadn't served the wine, just her assistant. That evening I was again offered complimentary glasses of wine, but I declined, as I had a bottle started. I should have taken a receipt, but haven't always in the past and haven't had a problem before. Whether the waitress was mistaken or being dishonest, I couldn't say. Later in the cruise I checked my on board account and noticed I had been charged twice for another bottle of wine. It was explained as an accounting error, caused by having to move the bottle from one dining room to another. This shouldn't happen though and it makes me wonder for those who don't check their accounts how often it happens This time I only booked one tour with Princess. Previously, I've booked all, but on this occasion, I was astonished at the prices charged. For instance, a round trip transfer from Zeebrugge to Bruges, through a different provider was around $20/person. Princess were asking $79/person. This seemed to be the same throughout the itinerary, so I booked independently. Possibly the most striking example was tickets for the ballet at the Mariinsky in St Petersburg. My tour guide purchased the tickets- good ones, for about $90/head, took us to the theatre and arranged for a port taxi to pick us up for a cost of around $30, which she said was extortionate. A total of just over $200 for the both of us. Princess were offering similar, admittedly with a glass of champagne and a tour of the theatres prior to the performance, for the grand sum of £299/person- three times the cost. I was talking to an elderly English about the tour costs and she agreed, but said she felt she had to order from Princess, just to be safe The one tour we took was in Gdansk and included a walking tour of the town and a trip to Malbork Castle. I chose this tour as it was about the longest on offer and included two lots of free time, one at each stop. There was a lunch included, that I thought we could miss, if we needed further free time The time was extremely tight on the tour, with only ten minutes given for free time in the city centre and five at the castle. The lunch, which was very good, by the way, was at a convention hotel off a motorway, so there was no reason to miss the lunch, as nothing to see. We got back to the ship just around 15:20, with all passengers due to be on board by 15:30. We weren't the last bus back If time is going to be that tight, tours of that length shouldn't be offered. The tour was interesting, but being so rushed didn't help One final issue from before boarding, was that I contacted Princess and asked if it would be possible to block casino access for our shipboard accounts. I was told that this wasn't possible, as it would block access to everything for our accounts and that I should contact the casino manager after embarkation to see what might be done. I very nearly cancelled the entire cruise after receiving this answer. I was told, by guest services on board, that you can choose from a menu of what services you don't want to access, be it casino, shops, spa etc. I think it odd the cruise consultant wasn't aware of this Overall, whatever you may think of the above, the experience was fine. I intend to use Princess again in the future, but will not be shy about exploring other lines or checking the services offered on board

Ask for receipts and check your account

Sapphire Princess Cruise Review by redfers1

6 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: May 2019
  • Destination: Europe
  • Cabin Type: Balcony
Have sailed with Princess twice before, so knew what to expect. Had been on the sister ship, Diamond Princess, so the layout was very familiar

I chose a balcony at the rear of the ship, as it is an nice quite place

Embarkation at Southampton was very smooth, with two items of luggage waiting when we got to the cabin, with the final item some twenty minutes later

The cabin was attended throughout by Sdravko, who was most pleasant, efficient and unobtrusive. It was a pleasure.

A nice touch was having a kettle. With so many from the UK on board, this was much better for making tea

I think the beds have been upgraded from my last trip as they were much more comfortable than before. The same with the pillows. This is a good improvement

For most of the trip, I dined in the Pacific Moon dining room, looked after by Sebastien and Luis, who did a professional job

The menu was much as before. The same four Curtis Stone dishes popped up often several times during the journey. I had the pork belly on one occasion, which was ok, but not as good as before, not being crispy. Surely he can supply some new recipes after even the three years I have been using Princess? Most nights the food was good. There were occasional misses, but that's to be expected. I was happy with the food supplied

The cafeteria on the 14th deck was as expected. I never tried it in the evening, but it was ok for breakfast and a light lunch. One puzzling thing though, was that on a far eastern cruise, smoked salmon was available for breakfast nearly every day. On this cruise in Northern Europe from the UK and from Alaska, it wasn't, which I found strange

On the last night, I ordered a plate of "luxury" canapes to have with a bottle of Champagne. I did wonder at the low £14.99 + service cost, but assumed they must be ok. They were disappointing and I've included a photograph. The bread circles were quite dry and unbuttered. The breadstick with the prosciutto wrapped around it was soft and stale and there was none of the promised pate de foie. I tried them, but wouldn't again

I didn't make any of the shows, but was impressed with the on demand movies available in the cabin. This is a great improvement on before and I enjoyed catching up with some newish releases. Moving to a flat screen TV is welcome, but left the space where the old cathode set used to be as an odd empty space. It did at least provide another power outlet.This needs remodelling

Getting on and off the boat in port was very smooth, as a foot passenger, or on the one Princess tour I took. So much better than the experience with a different cruise company last October

Now for the not-so-good:

After a busy couple of days, my companion didn't fancy dinner the embarkation evening, so I went to the Santa Fe dining room alone and was accommodated. I ordered a bottle of Sancerre, had two small glasses, expecting to finish it on my next visit. I asked the chap who served it to put it on ice as it needed cooling further. He served me both of the glasses I had. The following evening, I didn't fancy wine, having had good beer in Bruges. I did mention that I had a bottle saved. The third night I missed dinner, but the fourth night, I asked for some more from the bottle. This was in the Pacific Moon dining room, as apparently the Santa Fe wasn't accepting "anytime dining". There was trouble locating the remains of the bottle, but the head waiter, was apologetic, offering two complimentary glasses while they searched

The following evening I again asked for the remains of the bottle, but again it couldn't be found, so two more complimentary glasses were supplied. The head waiter again was very helpful, apologising that the bottle couldn't be found, promising some of the "chef's special limoncello" the following evening. I'm not keen so never did take this up. I gave up on the bottle being found, so ordered more for the remainder of the trip

I was at the reception desk for a different reason and mentioned this missing bottle. They said they would contact the dining room to investigate. A short while later, a message was waiting for me from the head waiter who had been searching for the bottle. He said that the waitress'who had served me that first evening, told him I finished all the wine. I have on occasion finished a bottle of wine while dining alone, but not on this occasion, the first night. I was also disappointed as the waitress hadn't served the wine, just her assistant.

That evening I was again offered complimentary glasses of wine, but I declined, as I had a bottle started. I should have taken a receipt, but haven't always in the past and haven't had a problem before. Whether the waitress was mistaken or being dishonest, I couldn't say.

Later in the cruise I checked my on board account and noticed I had been charged twice for another bottle of wine. It was explained as an accounting error, caused by having to move the bottle from one dining room to another. This shouldn't happen though and it makes me wonder for those who don't check their accounts how often it happens

This time I only booked one tour with Princess. Previously, I've booked all, but on this occasion, I was astonished at the prices charged. For instance, a round trip transfer from Zeebrugge to Bruges, through a different provider was around $20/person. Princess were asking $79/person. This seemed to be the same throughout the itinerary, so I booked independently.

Possibly the most striking example was tickets for the ballet at the Mariinsky in St Petersburg. My tour guide purchased the tickets- good ones, for about $90/head, took us to the theatre and arranged for a port taxi to pick us up for a cost of around $30, which she said was extortionate. A total of just over $200 for the both of us. Princess were offering similar, admittedly with a glass of champagne and a tour of the theatres prior to the performance, for the grand sum of £299/person- three times the cost. I was talking to an elderly English about the tour costs and she agreed, but said she felt she had to order from Princess, just to be safe

The one tour we took was in Gdansk and included a walking tour of the town and a trip to Malbork Castle. I chose this tour as it was about the longest on offer and included two lots of free time, one at each stop. There was a lunch included, that I thought we could miss, if we needed further free time

The time was extremely tight on the tour, with only ten minutes given for free time in the city centre and five at the castle. The lunch, which was very good, by the way, was at a convention hotel off a motorway, so there was no reason to miss the lunch, as nothing to see. We got back to the ship just around 15:20, with all passengers due to be on board by 15:30. We weren't the last bus back

If time is going to be that tight, tours of that length shouldn't be offered. The tour was interesting, but being so rushed didn't help

One final issue from before boarding, was that I contacted Princess and asked if it would be possible to block casino access for our shipboard accounts. I was told that this wasn't possible, as it would block access to everything for our accounts and that I should contact the casino manager after embarkation to see what might be done. I very nearly cancelled the entire cruise after receiving this answer. I was told, by guest services on board, that you can choose from a menu of what services you don't want to access, be it casino, shops, spa etc. I think it odd the cruise consultant wasn't aware of this

Overall, whatever you may think of the above, the experience was fine. I intend to use Princess again in the future, but will not be shy about exploring other lines or checking the services offered on board
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