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7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
Embarkation from Singapore was a little slow, arrived at the pier at 12 noon and didn't board until 145pm. Cabin was ready straight away and luggage was waiting for us at our door. Cabin D307 Dolphin Deck 9. We met our cabin steward ... Read More
Embarkation from Singapore was a little slow, arrived at the pier at 12 noon and didn't board until 145pm. Cabin was ready straight away and luggage was waiting for us at our door. Cabin D307 Dolphin Deck 9. We met our cabin steward straight away James, he was wonderful. Cabin was a Mini Suite Balcony. Loverly cabin well worth the extra $$$. It was spacious and a great layout the balcony was large. Then it was Full steam ahead at 5pm. Went dinner at the international restaurant. Food was good quality and well presented never cold. We also ate breakfast in the restaurant as we didnt like the noise in the Buffet Horrizon Buffet. Entertainment was great and the shows well Choreographed. Ports of call Kota Kinabalu,Phu My. Nga Trang, Sihanoukville, Bangkok and unfortunately KO Samui was missed due to Tender Issues. All ports were good but remember it is Asia and its hot and most places are under developed and still very new to cruising. You'll be jumped on by touts as soon as you get off the ship. Make sure you barter for everything, especially taxi and tour fares. Back to the ship... There was plenty of things to keep you occupied whilst on board. From bingo, trivia, shopping, casino or just relaxing by the pool close to you favourite Bar (plentyof them). Cocktail prices were 7-12 US$ but in the wheelhouse bar between 3-4pm it is happy hour. By one drink get the 2nd for $1. Overall it was a good trip but very packed as it was christmas and to many Kids. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2013
Just returned from the Christmas cruise aboard the Sapphire Princess. I had read the reviews prior to leaving and was a bit nervous after to reading them. I have not cruised with Princess before but have cruised multiple times with Royal ... Read More
Just returned from the Christmas cruise aboard the Sapphire Princess. I had read the reviews prior to leaving and was a bit nervous after to reading them. I have not cruised with Princess before but have cruised multiple times with Royal Carribean. I have to say we were pleasantly surprised. We were a party of six adults and two babies. We had three mini suites on Dolphin deck. A good location on the ship. We had the 5:30 seating each night for dinner (chosen because of babies eating schedule). I have to say that the food was much better than ALL of the reviews that I had read. My two son chose to try "anytime dining" one night while I babysat and their comments were that the main dining rooms food was just as good! Did not like how the waiter was always trying to upsale us drinks etc not included for the evening meal. I do have to say that overall a bit disappointed with lack of service minded staff on the ship. This includes the bars, pool decks, coffee bars, shops on Plaza deck. Ship employees seemed to have a lack of customer service. One employee in the promenade bar asked me what "blend" my granddaughter was? And how lucky she was to be born in America because working on this ship was NOT a great career. So, ship was good, food was above average, service not so good..   Read Less
Sail Date: December 2013
This was our 14th total cruise, 7th with Princess, and our 2nd time on this particular cruise and ship. This was our 1st time staying in a mini suite stateroom. My wife is a "bath tub" person and the mini suites have a decent ... Read More
This was our 14th total cruise, 7th with Princess, and our 2nd time on this particular cruise and ship. This was our 1st time staying in a mini suite stateroom. My wife is a "bath tub" person and the mini suites have a decent size bathroom with a tub. Also, if you are ones that prefer completely different TV programming, their are 2 TV's in the minisuite cabins. Also, there IS a refrigerator but it is quite small and hardly holds much or anything of size. The ship is on the larger side which is fine with us. The one draw back of this large ship is our cabin was VERY forward (only 5 cabins from the front) and to get to the back of the ship (such as to dining rooms or the bufftt on the 14th deck in the back) it was quite a VERY long walk. This is another perk of mid-ship cabins if you can get one. Overall, the cruise and ship was fine and simple. We're not one's to participate in many activities so I can't review on any of those. However, we did notice the overall quality of the main event shows each evening has dropped a little from our last few previous cruises. It's evident the entertainers, singers, and dancers work hard to prepare and their "showmanship" is good, but the shows have become simplistic and basic. Lots of flash, lights, color, etc. but not too much of a "Wow" factor as we've experienced on previous cruises. Our cabin steward was good and very attentive. The restaraunt service and waiters were very good as well. The bar drinks are watered down and are still pricey. Since this is a Mexican Cruise, you're much better off grabbing drinks on shore. They really do it right in Miexico and 75% cheaper than on the ship. Because we were on this cruise during the Christmas vacation time frame, there were many more children on board than you may typically experience. This was not a bad thing but at times it was noticable in and around our cabin of them running around or "whining" to their parents about something. As far as this itinerary, it was a simple one. Many types and variety of activities for both Puerto Vallarta and Cabo San Lucas. Only 3 activity options for Ensanada. Since we were on this cruise a few years back, we chose not to take part in any shore excursions. We simply just got off the ship and roamed the area in and around the ports. The disemabarkation process was slightly confusing in that we were adhering and following our written instructions as given but found out that was more of a formality than a strict policy. We were told we could only disembark at a certain time from a certain location but it turns out we could actually go when ready. All in all, the experience was good. At some point in the future we would take this ship again. Though we liked the minisuitre experience, we may opt for a higher deck for more deck/porch privacy. Decks 9 & 10 are exposed to ALL folks above you. The advantage of this is more direct sun on the porch. The disadvantage is that there is very little privacy as you have NO "roof" above you. Decks 11 & 12 have roofs above the porches. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2012
This is a brief overview of my 14 day pre-Xmas cruise to Hawaii on the Sapphire Princess. I spent a pre-cruise night at the LAX Marriott. Transportation to San Pedro was via motorcoach the following afternoon. Embarkation was a ... Read More
This is a brief overview of my 14 day pre-Xmas cruise to Hawaii on the Sapphire Princess. I spent a pre-cruise night at the LAX Marriott. Transportation to San Pedro was via motorcoach the following afternoon. Embarkation was a breeze. I have Platinum status with Princess and from arrival at the pier to my cabin took approximately 20 minutes. The Sapphire Princess was decorated for Christmas...even had a small decoration on my stateroom door. I had an interior stateroom. I'm not in the cabin much, so I don't need anything fancy. I prefer to eat at the Horizon Court Buffet & International Cafe. I always found plenty of things to eat. Activities are too numerous to mention. You can be as busy as you want or as lazy as you want. I want to give a special shout out to my guys Alex and David of the cruise director's staff....YOU GUYS ARE AWESOME! These 2 wonderful guys kept me dancing at all the parties, singing in the pop choir, and went out of their way to make sure I was having a great time. I really enjoyed my cruise to Hawaii on the Sapphire Princess. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2012
We occupied three staterooms, and Celebrity has been our line of choice for three of our first five cruises. First time on Princess for all of us. The Sapphire is a beautiful boat and our whole family really enjoyed the whole ... Read More
We occupied three staterooms, and Celebrity has been our line of choice for three of our first five cruises. First time on Princess for all of us. The Sapphire is a beautiful boat and our whole family really enjoyed the whole experience. I guess I'll start in the usual way; Embarkation. It was nice to utilize the Elite line for check-in as we had booked a suite. I can see why having this status makes life easier. Princess was very accommodating regarding check-in and the actual ship-boarding toward our children who were booked in balcony and inside cabins. When it was time to actually board the ship, they again made it very clear that we should all board together. First stop; the Sanctuary where we booked two spaces for the week. Even on the colder, windier days, we utilized our space from about 10AM to 2PM. It was nice to work on my iTunes inventory, while DH worked on creating a software program. If it was cold, they piled us with blankets, so the weather was not a problem. We would have been OK socializing if we had been approached, but it really was extremely quiet and peaceful. We did avail ourselves of the cabana couples massage and it was therapeutically enjoyable. I read it here on cruise critic, and I thought I understood the idea of an aft cabin, but MAN, what a walk! With the aft walking and really enjoying the fully covered promenade (with steps), it was great to find upon returning home that I had actually gone down two pounds! It was also sure nice to get familiar with the carpet colors so that we could distinguish starboard from port. Thanks again cruise critic. Hubby and I had a beautiful PH aft suite C757; category S3. The reason I mention the number is that we got to know our neighbors next door who had the same PH, but category S6. While the layout was the same, our cabin was a bit wider. We had a two person loveseat with a full size desk/lamp set-up in the living area, while the other cabin, C755 had a full size sofa, with no desk. The bedroom portion along with bath area was identical. Our balcony was wider as well. I'm not sure what to say about the mattress.... It was comfortable and the mattress itself was fairly normal, but the nice dense "pad" that aided in combining the two twins was extremely helpful. We did bring our own memory foam mattress pad, and then the bed was exuberantly comfortable. Large Jacuzzi tub was pleasant, and the shower head provided plenty of hot water and a good constant pressure. I really would have liked a handheld version, though. It measured about 32" square, so only enough room for one, and it was necessary to position the showerhead every day off to one side to avoid being sprayed when turning on the water. Oh yes, the mini-bar set up. We traded almost all of our liquor for water, because we forgot to bring some, and the trade in ratio was one for one, no matter what the beverage was. We had to call room service for this. Our room steward was named Jefferson (Jeff) and he was a great steward who cleaned up after us and efficiently kept our room ship-shape. We had started to utilize his services somewhat like a butler, but Jeff was very adept at channeling our needs to the specific person or department necessary. i.e. dining, shore-ex, ship's tour res, etc.... Being that we signed up before the deadline, we did receive free internet and although I never got kicked off, service was rather slow. Having free laundry was a relief because I forgot to pack a few things, and needed the laundry to keep up with our general usage. Also, DH spilled something greasy on his wool trousers, and sending them out for dry-cleaning was no problem at all. I also sent out a silk/satin top that needed pressing and it came back very smooth. Dining with Anytime Dining was a tad uncomfortable at first, but things did work out eventually. More on that later. First night was in Sabatinis because it was complimentary, and also we wanted to try it. It did not disappoint. Since there were six of us (yes, we did have to pay the cover charge for the kids), we were able to try and taste a good portion of the menu. Tender calamari; perfectly prepared filet, lamb, pasta samples, ....Fabulous. Anyway, more about Anytime Dining. Hubby and I prefer dining a bit later, so it never would have been a problem for us, but family really wanted it earlier. On this particular ship and /or sailing we were not able to book a standing time/table through the dining line, but the matre de at Savoy was able to get us a standing table for the last four nights of the voyage. Anyway, the system really is not effective and one cannot just saunter in and score a great table in prime time dinner hours. I witnessed many a scurrying crowd elbowing forward vying for attention. On the evening that we dined in Vivaldi, which was the first formal night, service was inconsistent. The waiter could not understand nor convey my daughter's wishes for a plate of vegetables. Yes, vegetables. After repeating the word back and forth so much that a stutterers voice comes to mind, she just said that whatever he brought would be just fine. Yes, we were laughing quite a bit, albeit under our breaths for quite some time. We all ordered the infamous Fetuccine Alfredo at one point or another and shared bites were usually requested. French Onion Soup, lobster tail, peppercorn steak, veal raviolis, baked chicked, fried chicken, all were good. Was it 5 star? Not really. But we were really having so much fun, that it did not matter so much. We also brought most of our wine with us, and we very happy to pay for corkage fees. Next comes Alfredo's Pizza. Well, the pizza is amazing, and after some awkward moments, the waiter finally managed to open our wine. Again, with the six of us, we ordered a real olio of combinations and it was very tasty to try everyone's concoction. Huge bummer not to be able to take it out of the restaurant and the menu could certainly benefit from a few sides and desserts. I heard other folks commenting about the same thing. It would have been fabulous to have it while we were enjoying wine pairings, wine tastes, bottles of wine, and even just a glass (or two) in Vines. I will get to Vines a bit later. OK, on to Savoy, where we spent three super wonderful evenings under the care of Allen. He was funny, clever and a great waiter. He listened when I mentioned a particular arugula salad, and then handed me a pad of paper and said to write exactly what I wanted. Even the orange vinaigrette was to my exact specifications, and from then on it was "my" salad, that was brought to me in the usual dinner course. He engaged my teenage son (17) with some clever magic tricks, and indulged my older son in his quest to consume the entire menu. Allen was nice enough serving our wine, but we did get the sense that he was quite unfamiliar with general wine service and could have used a bit more training in that area. A bit nicer stemware would have been appreciated, but was not a deal breaker. Two of my children enjoyed the afternoon tea service regularly, and were very happy with it. Also, they enjoyed the pub lunch immensely, and commented favorably about it. Ironically, Dear Husband and I seemed to find our way back around 2PM to our aft balcony to enjoy a luxurious room service lunch. Suite guests can order whatever is on the dining room menu and at one point, the lady on the phone asked for more time because she would need to visit more than one dining room for our request. We usually started the evening in Vines, and we participated in four wine pairings. New world, Old world, white wine and sushi, and lastly Champagne and chocolate. 10 people would gather at the big table and the sommelier would guide us along (loosely) and disseminate information and whatever witty wine gossip he knew. The server was named Florian, and he was the nicest most congenial man we had ever met. Funny, accommodating, never patronizing, tons of wine knowledge, I could go on and on. OK, he was quite good looking as well. There, I've said it. Anyway, we met quite a few nice folks there and by the end of the trip, it was quite nice to wander in and hear, "Hey! The Smiths were looking for you, they said to come back after dinner, they'll be here." All three of our children had a marvelous "night life." At the Ultimate Deck Party, it was hilarious to spot them one by one, moving to the music. We tried to discreetly boogie away to give them some space, but then bumped into another. It was great fun to talk about their previous evenings at dinner and to hear the ship's gossip. It is nice to see the current Facebook posts with all their new friends' names. DH and DS took the Ultimate ship Tour and really loved it. They were so excited with all of their new-found knowledge. They talked about the fueling delay and what it cost the ship in utilizing extra fuel to get to our next port on time. They both adored the bread machine that made all of those delicious dinner rolls. (I had at least two every evening). They also spoke about the different kinds of fuel that the ship can use depending on the Coastal regulations in effect. One last thing. It gave me immense pleasure to see the restaurant Vivaldi actually turn away a guest on the first formal night who was wearing a plaid farmer's shirt,jeans,and flip-flops. His significant other was ashamed of him and continued to grab his arm to get him out of there. She was dressed up a bit, although by no means formally, and really tried to get him to leave. He was not drunk as far as I could tell, just stubborn and well, whatever, you get the point. After a third manager had been summoned, they finally left. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2011
My husband and I decided to escape on Princess this Christmas holiday. We have never been away for the holiday. We thought Hawaii, the beauty of the islands and the warm weather just might be the ticket. (No. VA.) We were not disappointed. ... Read More
My husband and I decided to escape on Princess this Christmas holiday. We have never been away for the holiday. We thought Hawaii, the beauty of the islands and the warm weather just might be the ticket. (No. VA.) We were not disappointed. Everything Princess created for this holiday sailing was something that delighted our spirits. Santa even showed up with gifts for the children. It even snowed in the piazza. That's a remarkable sight. Princess is our cruise line of choice. We were not disappointed. We have been on several different ships with Princess, never the Sapphire. We liked the style of the Sapphire very much. New to us were several dining rooms to choose from. Smaller rooms. Decorated differently. Although the food was the same it felt as if you were dining in a different restaurant. With anytime dining this allows us the freedom to choose whatever we feel suits us best. Great option! We chose the Santa Fe first. Because we are early birds we go to dinner early and retire early. So, one of the first things we did was to check on each of the dining venues available to us as anytime diners. We decided on the Santa Fe. Because this is part of what we enjoy on our cruises we like to make our selection early. In the end, since there were a great many families on board we learned selecting early to be helpful. There proved to be more competition for early dining. At the restaurant (shortly after embarking) we were greeted by a most helpful young man who selected a dining table for us. Little did we realize how fortunate his choice for us would be. What a difference our waitress and her assistant made to our trip. We felt as if we were dining in her home. The service was excellent and the kindness, attention to our needs, and professional style could not have been better. This detail set the theme for the rest of the trip. Our cabin was perfect. My husband has difficulty walking especially up and down stairs. Our first ocean view balcony although somewhat small was very clean and comfortable. With the balcony adding to the space this allowed enough area to relax in quietly breathing in the fresh sea air. Our attendant did an outstanding job keeping the cabin perfectly clean and tidy adding to the comfort. He never intruded in our quiet time but magically appeared to refresh our premises while we were away. We always enjoy talking to the other passengers. The addition of the families was very special. Lots of little one to watch as well as the older youth. I'm uncertain whether it was because of the holiday or maybe the beautiful weather we encountered in the Hawaiian islands but the tone of the atmosphere was delightful! This trip is in the winter in the northern hemisphere. The winds can be a bit strong on the islands this time of year. Although the Pacific was gentle the wind affected our getting into port in Kaui. Our only disappointment. An island we were looking forward to seeing. The captain tried but he just couldn't safely enter. So, he sailed around the island so we could see a special area that you can't see by car. Then he ventured out to another island close by so we could see that before sailing on. Honolulu was amazing decorated for Christmas! We forgot about the holidays given it was just the two of us (65 & 70). This brought it back. Oahu is a port with a full day. Princess arrives early and departs late. A great opportunity to really drink in the port. I wish this was possible with all the ports. That would be so much better!!! This day we were able to see the other side of the island and spend the evening in Honolulu. We tendered in Maui. That was fine too. Nothing could have spoiled this sailing for us. The big island only gave us time for one item on our list which was the tropical gardens. We were driven by cart to the depths of the garden and back when we were ready. Not much walking and plenty of benches. For us an outstanding choice touching the beauty of the island! The on board lectures were interesting .. history of the islands and its people. The shows great. Their female Zumba instructor (Zumba new to me) was fantastic. That was set outdoors .. even better. Did a walk for the cure. All great for the waist line! Everyday at sea there are so many things to choose from it is difficult to fit in a nap or balcony time . My advice ... get going! Take the family out for the holiday or any other opportunity. Enjoy the Princess style it is well worth the expense. We find by choosing Princess we receive the quality we are looking for and can do more cruises. We have wonderful memories. Great nights rest. I am not an employee ... I'm a fan of what is offered by Princess. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2011
I have never written a cruise review before, but wanted to write a detailed one, in appreciation for all the great tips and information I have learned from reading previous reviews here. Here goes my very long review! We went on the 2 ... Read More
I have never written a cruise review before, but wanted to write a detailed one, in appreciation for all the great tips and information I have learned from reading previous reviews here. Here goes my very long review! We went on the 2 week 17Dec11 -- 31Dec11 roundtrip cruise on the Sapphire Princess from LA to Hawai'i to LA (H149). Overall we had a wonderful time, and just loved this cruise. Cruise Director Dave Carson was great (more on him later), and many of the activities, TV shows, and movies were themed around Hawai'i, which made the cruise feel so special. My husband and I live just 70 miles north of the cruise terminal so we drove and parked our own car (total parking bill at the end was $168). We pulled into the parking lot at 1:30 pm and were sitting in our room by 2:15 pm. We have only cruised 3 times total on Princess so we have no special status or expedited lines, but the whole embarkation process was very smooth and easy. We wanted to carry our medium-sized luggage with us onto the ship as we could easily manage it ourselves, but were not allowed to do so. We were only permitted to carry our backpack and small duffel. However, our luggage was waiting outside our room by 4:30 pm, so it was not too bad. We were able to get a mini-suite on the Dolphin (Deck 9) for less than the original cost of a balcony room. We had booked a balcony room in December 2010 via an internet travel agent, and checked on the price monthly via e-mail all year long. We changed to a mini-suite when the price dropped sometime in the summer. The mini-suite was very nice, especially the spacious bathroom. However the bathtub was set so high, I think it might be difficult for some people to get in and out of. While the mini-suite was nice, it was only a little bigger than our previous regular balcony staterooms on Royal Caribbean's Mariner of the Seas or on the Carnival Splendor. The Sapphire Princess mini-suite has a sofa where I could sit comfortably and read or watch TV. In a regular Sapphire Princess stateroom, one has to either sit on the bed or in the single chair in order to read or watch TV. I would never bother with a mini-suite on the Mariner of the Seas or the Carnival Splendor as their balcony staterooms feel very spacious to me and come standard with a comfortable sofa, coffee table, and chair, but I think the mini-suite is more of a "necessity" for me on the Sapphire Princess (lol!). Our cabin steward was great, and kept everything in tip-top condition for us. We originally had fixed time dining at 8 pm in the International Dining Room, but our whole table was moved 2 days later at the request of our tablemate due to some extremely loud and unruly children seated next to our original table. Princess assigned us to fixed 8 pm dining in the Vivaldi Dining Room. It is a shame neither the parents nor Princess made any attempt to control these children, but to Princess' credit, they did move us with no hassle. I have multiple food allergies and am vegetarian, so the travel agent notified Princess of this at the time of the booking. I also spoke to the Food & Beverage (F&B) Supervisor in both the International Dining Room and the Vivaldi Dining Room, and they could not have been kinder or more understanding about meeting my multiple and very specific dietary needs. After 2 days of the special food they prepared for me, I asked if I could have Indian vegetarian food (which I love) instead, as I was not really enjoying the other food. Mind you, there is always one vegetarian entrée on the menu, but Indian food was never on the menu. F&B Supervisor Adrian Trifas in the Vivaldi Dining Room was so kind and helpful and assured me it would be absolutely no problem. I was always provided with 2 separate Indian lentil/vegetable preparations, rice, raita (yogurt salad), papads (rice wafers), and Indian flat bread. I could not eat this much, so I requested they eliminate the papads and Indian flat bread. After 2 days of this, I asked Adrian if the lentils/vegetables could be toned down in the spice level as they were a little too hot for me. Again, I was met with nothing with kindness and an immediate accommodation of my request. They never repeated the lentil/vegetable dishes, and I thoroughly enjoyed all of the delicious food they made for me. My husband (who is not vegetarian), ordered off the regular menu, and enjoyed a variety of dishes including the hot soups, cold soups (served like smoothies), the escargot, the lobster tail, steak, etc, etc. We selected a table for 8, and were blessed to be assigned really lovely and charming table mates. The other 3 couples were quite different from us, but we really looked forward to seeing them every night at dinner as their delightful company really enhanced the whole cruise experience for us. My husband and I both agreed the desserts were actually better at the Horizon Court buffet than in the MDR, as the cakes and tarts seemed too dried out in the MDR. Soft serve was available up on deck during the day but regular ice cream was only served in the MDR. I tried 2 or 3 of the ice creams but was very disappointed in the non-premium quality, compared to what we had 2 years ago on a previous Sapphire Princess cruise. While we did not enjoy our June 2011 cruise on the Carnival Splendor very much due to the relentless blasting of music at an extremely high volume everywhere on that ship, at least they served Haagen Daaz in the MDR (or something that tasted like it), but the Sapphire Princess ice cream was a big disappointment to me. I ended up ordering the sorbet most nights and was happy with that. We also went to the British style pub lunches that were offered 3 or 4 times during the cruise. Although there was nothing vegetarian on the menu for me, my British husband greatly enjoyed these meals which reminded him of the "old country", so it made me happy. We ate breakfast and lunch every day at the Horizon Court Buffet or the Pizzeria. I always only have a toasted bagel and tea for breakfast so I was fine, but my husband said he was a little tired of the breakfast selection by the end of the 14 days. The lunch selection seemed more varied, and always included a vegetarian pasta dish, as well as rice and one vegetarian Indian dish. The staff at the Horizon Court were so friendly and genuinely helpful in bringing us beverages and immediately clearing up tables. They procurement dept did not plan too well though as they ran out of lemonade on about Day 11. Good thing my husband had brought his own individual serving packages of Crystal Light with him. The Horizon Court was congested several times though, and I think both sides of the buffet could have been opened up more often to alleviate the crowding. Only thin crust pizza is available in the Pizzeria, and it is excellent and actually better than most land based pizzerias I have been to. Cheese and pepperoni pizzas are always available, and they rotate a signature pizza of the day (sometimes vegetarian and sometimes not). I was a little apprehensive about the condition of the ship as the Sapphire is scheduled to go into dry dock in mid-January 2012, but I was pleasantly surprised at the excellent condition of all the public areas and the very nice condition of our mini-suite. Cruise Director Dave Carson was amazing and put together a really special Hawai'i themed program over the 14 days, which really enhanced the whole cruise experience for me. His knowledge of the islands, the culture, the Hawaiian language, and Hawaiian music is extensive and he said he had been travelling to the islands for 20 years. It really showed, and I think Princess would be doing a disservice to passengers on any Hawai'i cruise without a Cruise Director who is knowledgeable about Hawai'i and who does not prepare Hawaiian themed activities. My husband and I participated in multiple activities, and on several occasions, we had to make choices between 2 equally tempting things scheduled for the same time. We never paid extra for any activity as the ones we went to were all free. An activity I especially enjoyed was the ribbon lei making class on the outward journey, and a real orchid lei making class on the journey home (orchids were picked up in Honolulu). Dave Carson gave progressive ukulele lessons daily on sea days, and our dining companions who took his classes said he was a wonderful teacher. Dave Carson also gave wonderful hour long port lectures on each island, prior to our arrival in Hawai'i. His in-depth knowledge about the islands was evident, and we never once had to suffer through any of those ridiculous shopping "tips" during his port talks. The ship was unable to dock in Kauai due to bad weather, and Dave provided an impromptu 1.5 hours of excellent and informative commentary as the captain cruised us around both Kauai and the forbidden island of Ni'ihau. Debbie from Canada, one of Dave Carson's staff members, was another standout and was so knowledgeable about Polynesian culture and led many of classes. She is also an excellent hula and Tahitian dancer, and offered daily classes on sea days. Students from Debbie's and Dave's classes put on a very nice performance the last night of the cruise. Naturalist Pat Kramer gave excellent talks every sea day on Hawaiian culture, movies filmed in the islands, whales, the attack on Pearl Harbor, Polynesian navigation, the flora and fauna of the islands, etc, etc. Her knowledge, enthusiasm, and un-stilted, natural speaking style made us look forward to her presentations. Completely un-Hawaiian related, but thoroughly enjoyable, attorney Michael Bishay gave intellectually engaging and fascinating presentations every sea day on different criminal cases. We learned a lot about legal issues and had some of our notions about the law challenged in a super interesting, non-dry, and non-boring way. His presentation style is very audience interactive, and we loved his talks. I give presentations very often for work myself, and although I am nowhere in Michael's class, I can recognize a superb presenter when I hear one. If he is ever speaking on your cruise, do not miss going to his presentations! I loved how Cruise Director Dave Carson arranged for many of the TV shows and movies to reflect the Hawai'i theme. There were shows on Hawaiian language lessons, multiple documentaries on whales, volcanoes, formations of the islands, movies about the attack on Pearl Harbor, about the young Princess Victoria Kai'ulani, etc, etc. There were even re-runs of the old show Magnum PI which was filmed in Hawai'i, for nostalgia's sake. There were also multiple non-Hawaiian themed movies which were pretty new which I wanted to see, but which I had no time to see either in the Princess Theater or on TV, as we were too busy with all the other fun things we were doing. One of my "rules" on any cruise vacations is that I must get a treatment at the spa during every sea day, so that I can truly relax. Thanks to previous reviews I read here, I only made a few appointments via internet for the first 4 days of the cruise, and waited for the deals to begin. Well the deals started on the third day and saved me big bucks. Thanks to all previous reviewers! Some involved getting a treatment at 8 am, but most of the deals involved getting treatments at whatever time I wanted and were 50% - 60% off the normal treatment price. Some of the deals were advertised on flyers sent to every cabin, some were offered to me by the masseuse for a future treatment, and some I got just by asking at the spa front desk. We went to all of the production shows, the comedy acts, the ventriloquist, the juggler, and the special evening singing acts. We were able to see a new performance every night, and really enjoyed ourselves. Some were definitely of a better quality than others, but overall we had a great time. We opted for the disembarkation where we would handle our luggage ourselves. We were told to wait in a lounge at 8 am, but due to a hold-up by US Customs, were not allowed to get off till 8:40 am. Once we got the all-clear however, everything went very smoothly, and we arrived back at our own home by 10:15 am. While there were some things we definitely did not like, overall we had a fantastic time and loved our visit to the islands. Cruise Director Dave Carson's Hawaiian themed program really enhanced our cruise. While on board, we signed up for a future cruise and put down a deposit. We can hardly wait to begin planning our next Princess cruise! Read Less
Sail Date: November 2011
My husband and I are a young 70, and we booked a cruise on the Sapphire Princess over the Thanksgiving holiday because we were not going to be with family. It never occurred to us that a holiday cruise would be populated by large family ... Read More
My husband and I are a young 70, and we booked a cruise on the Sapphire Princess over the Thanksgiving holiday because we were not going to be with family. It never occurred to us that a holiday cruise would be populated by large family groups and 600 children! Silly me. Of course there would be children. Most of the children were well behaved and most of the parents/grandparents were attentive to their children. Some, however, were not and seemed content to let the crew and the rest of the ship's passengers do the baby-sitting. We ate at all but one of the dining options available on the Sapphire Princess--Santa Fe, Pacific Moon, Savoy, and the International Dining room as well as at the premium Sabatini's and Sterling Steak House. It seemed that we were always eating!! Great food. Most of the dining room service was very good, and service in Sabatini's was outstanding. The situation at the buffet was occasionally less pleasant. There was one roving gang of 6 teens who made eating at the buffet unpleasant, even to the extent that they threw French fries at each other and even at other passengers. Complaints to ship personnel did not bring any improvement. These same teens snarled obscenities at me when I asked them to unblock the hallway leading to the elevator lobby. I observed them terrorizing younger children in the pool, and my friend reported that they even traipsed across her pool lounger while she was on it. I realize that it is the parents' responsibility to monitor their children's behavior, but the parents of these children didn't do it. My complaints and those of at least one other passenger to passenger services did not bring any results that I could see, but I honestly don't know what the ship's crew could do about it. Staff and service otherwise was excellent. We had wonderful experiences at the Crooners Bar and in the shops. Our cabin steward kept things tidy and did so entirely unobtrusively. We were fortunate to have a mini-suite, but the uncertain weather did not permit us to take advantage of the balcony as much as we might have liked. I think if we were on the starboard side, the balcony would have been warmer. As it was, it was a bit chilly because it was mostly in the shade during the sail down and then sailing back, it was cloudy and chilly during the daytime so there wasn't much sun. The shore excursions were OK, but nothing exceptional. In my opinion, Ensenada was not a really acceptable substitution for Mazatlan or Puerto Vallarta. The buffadora was interesting, but not as interesting as, say, a visit to a colonial town might have been. And we're not beach people and don't party hearty, so an extra day in Cabo didn't really replace the cancelled ports either. I do not understand why Princess cancelled those ports because other cruise lines are still sailing there. The "safety" explanation didn't wash with me because I've spent a week or more in those ports recently and there was no more of a safety issue there than in Cabo or in Los Angeles, maybe less. I was impressed by the disembarkation process. It went very smoothly; all that was required was to read and follow the instructions and listen to the announcements. The crew was, as always, polite and professional, sometimes in the face of considerable provocation from belligerent passengers. In general, we found the cruise a pleasant experience and we'd recommend sailing on the Sapphire Princess to others. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2011
The 28 day Sapphire Princess cruise from LA to the South Seas ran the gamut of service and enjoyment. THE EXCELLENT: Our mini-suite and our steward, Dionie. We had an AA mini-suite that more than fulfilled our needs and comfort and it ... Read More
The 28 day Sapphire Princess cruise from LA to the South Seas ran the gamut of service and enjoyment. THE EXCELLENT: Our mini-suite and our steward, Dionie. We had an AA mini-suite that more than fulfilled our needs and comfort and it was always serviced in a timely manner. Our waiter (waitress) Amyout was the best we've ever had in 35 years of cruising. An amazing lady. Our assistant waiter, Jeronimo, was excellent as well. The folks serving at the Savoy coffee bar were also at this level. Most of the staff on board was in this category (with exceptions to be named later) as they always were friendly and helpful. Most of our fellow cruisers also fell into this category. THE GOOD: The food was good to adequate. Nothing really exceptional but nothing awful, either. The ports were good to excellent but it would have been nice to be in the S. Pacific islands (not Hawaii) longer. I would rate the entire cruise experience as GOOD. THE BAD: Poor planning regarding Captain's Circle events. The CC party was 2,000 fellow Gold and Elite and Plat. cruisers wedged into the atrium for what? Maybe a watered down drink if you were "lucky" enough to snag one. Poor planning regarding activities on the 8 day voyage returning to LA. In some cases, the most interesting events were planned at the same time. The inability to get into the theater or Wheelhouse Bar to see the "entertainment." If you didn't get a seat and hour or more before the show, you didn't get one. The entertainment was stretched to the limit and most of the entertainers were repeaters that most of us had seen on other Princess cruises. The daily Patter was mainly advertisements for overpriced on board "sales" and services. It never listed the specialty buffets on Deck 14 held every other day or so. The only way one found out about them was to happen upon them. The Patter also tried to convey the message that there were limited taxis and transportation available in the Samoan Islands and Moorea trying to get passengers to book the ship's tours. However, there were always many, many taxis and private tour buses waiting at each port. I would imagine the Cruise Director is responsible for all of this so I guess I'd have to rate him "Bad." Noon announcements from the Bridge were given by a person with a very, very strong accent that made them completely unintelligible. Being from a bi-lingual family, I have complete empathy for his problem but the announcements were useless because of this. Two of my table mates asked me, quite seriously, if he was speaking English. THE UGLY: The Future Cruise person was the rudest, most sarcastic, most snide and unfriendly cruise line employee of any category that I have ever encountered. At a very large Cruise Critic Meet and Greet she was at her worst--and she told us she didn't care if we liked her or her methods or not because she "had a very good pension she could retire on" at that moment and nothing was lost according to her. In another instance I was dropping off my future cruise paper in the proper box (I wouldn't talk to her) and I heard her comment to a passenger as she was writing down her name, "I don't know how to spell it and, frankly, I don't care." She was unbelievable. OVERALL: My wife and I did have a good time on the cruise. We're into relaxing and taking it easy and so down time is important to us. On a trip of this length, there's lots of that. Our room steward made us comfortable in our cabin and our waitress made us comfortable at dinner and we met lots of great people and saw some beautiful islands--and it was a cruise out of LA, and that's important to us. The tours were adequate and, as usual, over priced but we knew that going in. So much of what takes place on a cruise is open to many levels of criticism depending on the individual. Would we take this particular cruise again? Probably not. However we will take Princess again and already have a 20 day Caribbean cruise on Emerald Princess booked for March of next year. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2010
This was our fourth year spending Christmas at sea. We sailed with our two college age sons and found the Sapphire Princess to be a nice place to spend the holidays. Overall, the ship was in very good condition and felt familiar after ... Read More
This was our fourth year spending Christmas at sea. We sailed with our two college age sons and found the Sapphire Princess to be a nice place to spend the holidays. Overall, the ship was in very good condition and felt familiar after sailing on Diamond Princess several years ago. We had two rooms, ours a mini-suite and an outside for our sons, both on Emerald deck. After a very poorly organized luggage drop off system at embarkation where hundreds were forced to wait in pouring rain while the port and Princess personnel got their act together, the balance of embarkation was quick and easy. Our cabins were ready for us, and our steward, Melchor was there to greet us. He did a fine job the entire cruise. We liked the oversized covered balcony and while the decor was a bit tired, with a few carpet spots and some wear, we found the cabin to be very spacious and a great gathering place for the four of us. The boy's outside cabin was spacious with plenty of storage and a decent view around the lifeboats. Despite the ship sailing full, there were very few times when it seemed crowded. We think Princess ships are very well designed and easy to navigate. As you would expect at Christmas, there were lots of kids on the ship, but they were generally extremely well behaved...no comment on a few of the poorly behaved parents... It seems some people go on cruises to hear themselves complain! Overall we found the meals in the dining room to be good to very good. We did anytime dining and only had one wait of about 15 minutes for a table for 4. We could have avoided this with a reservation, but didn't bother. Generally, the dining room service was very good, and once, outstanding, with Hector in the Vivaldi dining room. He treated us as if he knew us all week, rather than for a single meal. We found the buffet to be adequate. There were always some good items, and some very ordinary items. Breakfast became redundant after a day or two...nothing special, or beyond mediocre. Lunch was also ordinary, but always fresh. It's not that the food was bad, just a bit more pedestrian than we experienced on Princess in the past, and certainly less inspiring than the excellent buffet selections and variety we experienced on Celebrity last year. Generally, the overall service on the ship was outstanding. The people were friendly, but certainly not intrusive. We liked that we didn't have people trying to sell us drinks constantly. Yet when we wanted something, there was always someone close by. We enjoyed many of the activities, especially the trivia contests, the ones we won, in particular. There was always something to do, or a place to go to read a book, catch a movie, or enjoy the sun. We also enjoyed the art auction. There were some great values and some horrific ones. The couple leading the art auction were nice, but the guy was a bit over the top, and contradicted himself often. We know what we like, know values, and picked up a few pieces. We do believe that Princess does art at sea better than anyone. We found the production shows to be what is expected on cruise ships, but enjoyed the comedian and the magician. It's a shame that the shows are repeated so often. More variety would have been welcome. We did not do any of the ship's excursions, but had good times in port on our own. PV was fine for a walk and stroll along the beach. Mazatlan was not impressive, at all... But Cabo was great; we hired a boat for whale watching and sightseeing and had a great time. While we were ready to leave the other ports, we wish we would have had much more time at Cabo. Unfortunately, we were only in port from 7 to a last tender at 1. And one minor pet peave...I hate that all the taxis are forced to drop you off at Diamonds International...even when in a back alley like Mazatlan. Once back in Los Angeles, disembarkation was a breeze. We carried our own luggage, were off the ship in the first group and through customs and in a taxi to the airport all in less than 15 minutes! Overall, a very fun cruise. We like Princess ships and crew. And while I know it is part of their job, we really appreciated that the entire staff provided us a fantastic Christmas, while being away from their families. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2010
We sailed the Sapphire Princess out of Los Angeles on December 4, 2010. This was the fourth cruise for my mother and I, the second Princess cruise this year. My husband and his mother were with us, the first time for both. ... Read More
We sailed the Sapphire Princess out of Los Angeles on December 4, 2010. This was the fourth cruise for my mother and I, the second Princess cruise this year. My husband and his mother were with us, the first time for both. Embarkation was a breeze. We arrived at the port around 12:30 and got right on the ship, no problems, no waiting. We had arrived from Maui the night before the cruise and stayed at the Belamar Hotel in Manhattan Beach, just a mile or two from LAX and a much better location than the airport. We used Sav-On Shuttle from the airport to the port and back and they are on time, honest, reliable and I highly recommend them for a shuttle to port. Our inside cabins were well appointed, clean and I got my egg crate mattress pad right away. Mom and I were very comfortable in our cabin, my husband and his mother complained constantly about the air conditioning and lack of fresh air. Note to self, husband needs balcony cabin. The ship was clean and well maintained. I loved the pools on the rear of the ship, lots of sun and hardly anyone out there. I also tried the lap pool inside the spa and it was nice, not too many people. I avoided the main pool as it was too noisy. However, is party party is your thing, it's a great place to be. Quite honestly, in comparison to my March 2010 sailing on the Island Princes for Panama Canal, the food and entertainment were below my expectations and I was a bit disappointed. The food in the restaurants was no better than the food in Horizon Court, just better presented. The entertainment was BORING and after a couple of attempts I gave up completely and enjoyed Scrabble games with my family and TV in my cabin. The highlight of our trip was the jewish experience on board. We celebrate Hannukah and the ship had a menorah and a celebration each and every night of Hannukah. Latkes were enjoyed each night and we did not have to make them, the best part. We met interesting people from around the country and made great friends. Kudos to the Sapphire for taking care of the non-Christmas people. The sailing was part of their month long Holiday celebration. The ship was decorated nicely with christmas trees and garland, even on your cabin door. I could have done without the copious amounts of christmas songs, but it was nice for everyone, so it was okay for me. Very festive indeed. We did not use the Spa services, but I did hear from a well travelled agent that the therapists were of good quality. My husband and I both work in spas in Maui and so we tend to be a little pickier than the rest. My husband utilized the sauna in the spa, and you did NOT have to purchase the $99 week long pass that they try to sell you to use the sauna. It's free, but no one tells you that. Also, if you are a coffee drinker, wait until the first night of the cruise and you will receive a coupon book with a 2-for-1 coffee card coupon. This coffee card will get you unlimited freshly brewed coffee and cappucinos and lattes on Deck 5. Well worth the money. All in all, I love Princess, the Sapphire was very nice, we had a great time, I would recommend this cruise to anyone looking at this itinerary. I helped organize a Cruise Critic meet and greet and we invited the captain and officers and they came to meet us. It pays to organize your meet and greet ahead of time with the ship's correspondent. We had a great turnout and it was nice to meet the captain on the first sea day. We took two ship shore excursions and one with Mazatlan Frank. All excursions were good and perfect for my 84-yr old mother in law with limited walking ability. We took the city tour in PV, went with Frank in Mazatlan, and took the San Jose del Cabo tour in Cabo. All are good choices. We chose self-debarkation and it was a breeze. Get to the specified lounge early, it becomes chaotic if you wait too long. Got right off the ship in less than 20 minutes and on to Sav-on Shuttle. We could not make a 9 am flight, so we stayed at Sheraton Four Points at LAX, mom made her 11 am flight with no problem. Hope this helps those who read it. Safe journeys to all. Laura Kaplan LAURALOHA Maui Read Less
Sail Date: December 2010
Introduction: We are frequent cruisers, consisting of family of 4 including my 2 children ages 11 and 13. As my children enjoy cruising, I try to book our vacations on cruises as much as possible. Our last trip and first cruise on ... Read More
Introduction: We are frequent cruisers, consisting of family of 4 including my 2 children ages 11 and 13. As my children enjoy cruising, I try to book our vacations on cruises as much as possible. Our last trip and first cruise on Princess was from Fort Lauderdale on Emerald Princess at the end of August. I have to admit that my children were very unhappy on Princess as there were a few children and not too many attractions for them to do. Previously, they have sailed on Carnival Spirit and were very excited to return on Carnival. We decided to sail again for New Years, and I chose to give Sapphire Princess another try with hopes that my children would not be bored this time. So here we go! Trip: We left the house around 1:45pm and got to port around 2:45pm, and have to admit that we were almost the last ones to board the ship, that means no lines, no waiting, just register and walk in, how hard could that be? After getting on board we went to locate our suite on Dolphin Deck. Suite: Because we had a suite on Princess Emerald, we knew exactly what to expect. Here is a little description of it if anyone cares: Two twin beds connected, separate sitting area with sofabed and with a bunk bed on top, 2 TVs, full bath tub, huge closet, and big balcony with no covering, that means no privacy, if you like one. We didn't care so we enjoyed our balcony the way it was. BTW, I requested for egg crate for the beds, and upon quick checking of the beds, I found none, but when I told the steward, he put them on by the end of the day. Our Steward from day one,had a lot of attitude, like once, we told him to come back for service, then he started knocking on the door every 5-10 minutes, then he gave us a lecture about putting a privacy sign so instead of waiting for us he can proceed with his break. I explained him that he did not have to wait and that he can go ahead and take his break, but he refused telling with sarcasm: "It's ok, I'll wait until you free the room". Wow!!! There were couple other occasions, including on the last day, but I rather not talk about it. It's just that we never experienced such a rudeness from Stewards before, and we usually pay more tips for suites and additionally leave extra tips, besides the prepaid tip, with many thank you's. But I still could not depart without leaving him extra tip, hoping that he just had a bad week. Sea days: The first 2 days, we spend on the sea, one of our activities with children included BINGO!!! Kids loooove Bingo, so do I, and that's why we almost attended all of them and won once. Other activities included karaoke nights, comedy shows, casino, formal dinners, dances, library time and other things. Dinner: Our diner was the International, we liked our servers and wrote a "You made a difference" card at the end. Only went 4 out of 7 evenings. Food was good. Though, kids and I like dinner buffets better. Casino: We are gamblers and play tables a lot. Loved the dealers, with great smiles and very friendly, they also got "You made a difference" cards. Shows: We went to 2 comedy shows and both were very funny in my opinion. Port of calls: Puerto of Vallarta- weather sucked, with cold ocean water. We walked to Krystal Resort not too far from port. Not much to do!!!Water was ice cold, very unusual, as we traveled to Mexico previous winters and always swam in the ocean. Mazatlan- weather sucked, with cold ocean water. Took water taxi to Stone Island, nice but again not much to do!!! Cabo- nice weather, but here is the catch, ship sails by 2pm, we had to board latest at 1pm, what can you do in an hour or 2 when the sun is just starting to warm up around 12, not much but to shop in the port. In our case, my kids and I took the ferry to shore, we walked, then went to see the Dolphins for 20 minutes, then quickly came back to port. Overall, my children were happier on this cruise, and there were more children on this cruise. But one thing I have to point out is that they converted the basketball court into tennis court. My kids love playing basketball, and usually basketball court can accommodate up to 10 or more people at the time versus tennis which plays 4 the most, that said, every time we walked there, the court was taken. This ship was beautiful and fresher than Emerald. The staff was wounderful!!! Did we have a good time? Yes!!! Will we return to Princess again? If the price is right!!! I hope my review helps!!! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2009
This was our fifth cruise with Princess and likely to be our last. At first we thought the broken public toilets, non-working drinking fountain in the gym and stopped clocks were minor maintenance issues that would be addressed within a ... Read More
This was our fifth cruise with Princess and likely to be our last. At first we thought the broken public toilets, non-working drinking fountain in the gym and stopped clocks were minor maintenance issues that would be addressed within a day.... but after three days without water in the gym and never knowing what time it was by the pool, it seemed more like a lack of attention to detail. Our cabin was great - a balcony cabin, aft, on the Caribe deck. (DEFINITELY grab the Caribe deck if possible, the outdoor balconies are at least 30-40 feet larger than other balcony cabins.) We cruised during Christmas week and the ship was filled to capacity with 700 of the 2800 passengers being under 18. They had Christmas carolers and Santa and real snow from the top of the atrium which were nice touches but the entertainment was sorely lacking. Every other night was a "repeat" of the previous night - the comedians were mediocre at best and the main singers in the production shows seemed more like the understudies. We ate in both alternative restaurants - Sabatini's Italian Restaurant had great service but seemed more focused on quantity than quality with scallops that were small and tasted like something previously frozen from my local grocery store. The Sterling Steakhouse seemed like an afterthought on this ship as it was set in a corner of the main buffet - no special decor, not even dimmed lights. The meal was good but not nearly as great as other Sterling restaurants in the Princess Fleet. The best thing that Princess has done was to create four alternative dining venues (Savoy, Pacific Moon, Santa Fe and Vivaldi) where you can eat if on 'anytime dining'. The International Dining room is for assigned seating as well as breakfast and lunch. The menus are all the same with one themed dish for each restaurant. The spa is typical of Princess' larger ships with the same high pressure sales and daily specials. In Puerto Vallarta we booked the Las Caletas Island getaway which was wonderful! If you can, book this directly with Vallarta Adventures in advance of your cruise and you'll save $34 a person! The tour guide located a pod of whales on our ride to Las Caletas which were worth the price of the trip alone! Las Caletas is a private cove with lunch, snorkeling, kayaking, monkeys and birds as well as good, inexpensive massages ($50 for an hour). Mazatlan was our day for shopping so no excursion was booked although we heard that the canopy tours were good. We only had a few hours in Cabo San Lucas which is a shame - it would have been nice to have an entire day. Beware that a tender is required to get to shore and the wait times were up to an hour at one point. Overall, it was a nice getaway but next time it will be a return to Royal Caribbean or Celebrity. BTW, we did get a fantastic rate through Vacationstogo.com (ask for Clarkson) which we booked five months in advance - we had balcony cabins with shipboard credits of $50 for only $849 per person. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2009
We were on board the Sapphire Princess on Saturday, December 26th, within about 15 minutes of parking our car. We were ushered right past the lines as we have finally hit "Elite" status. What a blessing! I was immediately and ... Read More
We were on board the Sapphire Princess on Saturday, December 26th, within about 15 minutes of parking our car. We were ushered right past the lines as we have finally hit "Elite" status. What a blessing! I was immediately and continually impressed by the friendly and gracious crew. In spite of the fact they must have been terribly homesick during this time of year, everyone we encountered was kind and cheerful. The Mexican Riviera isn't my favorite itinerary, possibly because we have been there three times now, but we always manage to have a wonderful time every time we go. In Puerta Vallarta we did an all inclusive beach resort and laid out in the warm sunshine, had lunch and could have taken advantage of all the free drinks we wanted, but sun and booze don't sit well with me. The resort was lovely though, and our guide was constantly on the move trying to make sure we all had everything we needed. In Mazatlan we opted to stay on board the ship rather than go into town and had a very relaxing day. Cabo is a wonderful place to have lunch and shop. We did not book an excursion here due to the short time we were in port. I love Princess, and I was not at all disappointed with the ship. I would say that the large Internet area would be much more suited for use as the Sterling Steakhouse rather than have it a part of the Buffet area. Seemed a little odd to me. Had an overall wonderful trip. Always hate having to get off the ship, though! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2008
Sail Date: December 20- December 27, 2008 Passengers: We had a 53 year old man, a 43 year old woman, a 38 year old woman celebrating her birthday (39), and a 14 year old teenager. Itinerary: Day 1- Los Angeles Day 2- At Sea Day 3- At ... Read More
Sail Date: December 20- December 27, 2008 Passengers: We had a 53 year old man, a 43 year old woman, a 38 year old woman celebrating her birthday (39), and a 14 year old teenager. Itinerary: Day 1- Los Angeles Day 2- At Sea Day 3- At Sea Day 4- Puerto Vallarta Day 5- Mazatlan Day 6- Cabo san Lucas Day 7- At Sea Day 8- Los Angeles EMBARKATION: We arrived at the San Pedro Pier at around 2:30 PM, after wishing our nearby relatives a Merry Christmas. We are from LA, so this was a very easy trip to the embarkation point. We arrived, dropped off our car, and went through security. We were in the ship in about 30 minutes from our arrival, and about 15 minutes after checking in. Very smooth embarkation. Day 1- Los Angeles: After embarking the ship, we went to look at our room, unwinded for a few minutes, and went straight to the buffet ( =p ). It was very crowded, but the food was really good, and we knew that we were going to gain wait on this trip! After eating, we walked around and toured the ship. To be honest, the ship's appearance fell below my expectations, but after being on it for a few days, my opinion of it changed. It was a very nice, comfortable ship. We returned to our room, and just relaxed for about forty five minutes or so. We went to the sailaway and loved to hear the ship's horn signal our departure. We stood on the ship's balcony and we enjoyed the sailaway sunset. After this, we went to our stateroom and geared up for our 8:15, second seating, dinner in the International Dining Room. There, we met our server, Mateo, and we enjoyed a great opening dinner. Days 2 and 3- These were both sea days with very calm waters, and we participated in the ship's activities and ate great food on both nights. These days went by so quickly! Before we knew it, we had reached our first port of call! Day 4- We arrived in Puerto Vallarta, and we got off the ship around 11 AM. We just walked around town, had a magnificent lunch in the mountains at an empty, family-owned restaurant, overlooking the entire city, and relaxed! It was a great stop, beautiful. We have been here before, so we just enjoyed coming back for a few hours! Day 5- Christmas Eve. in Mazatlan. It was a nice stop, as well. Here, we did a little less. We went to the Golden Zone and had lunch on the beach. We overlooked the beautiful ocean, relaxed at a hotel, and returned onboard. We had also been here before, so it was a nice sampler to make us want to return! Day 6- Christmas Day! We were given stockings filled with candy, and Santa Claus came onboard! We stopped in Cabo today, but only for a few hours. Princess should rearrange the itinerary, so that passengers can have more time here. We went jetskiing, had lunch, and our time was up. Back on board, we enjoyed the festivities and saw whales, and dolphins on board leaving Cabo! Day 7- At Sea- Perhaps the worst sea day that I have experienced in my time as a cruise. Never have I seen such rough seas. Bags laying across the ship, public venues being closed due to sanitization methods, and half the ship locked away in their staterooms, left a bitter taste on our mouths for the last day of this cruise. It was smooth sailing upto today. I played Bingo to pass the time, and it was really bad in the Explorer's Lounge. People ran out of the room, ready to regurgitate. Mother and Son ate in the dining room, alone this night, as everyone else was sick as a dog. The food was really good in the dining room, this particular night as well :D. Day 8- Los Angeles- We had breakfast on board, and we were off the ship by 8:45, and it was hard to say goodbye! DINING: The ship's food was good to very good. The only dish that really disappointed me during the whole trip was the Beef Wellington. It was soggy and disgusting, and I wish that I had ordered lobster. Everything else, was fantastic, and I've never had better Chicken Kiev in my life. The lunches were great, breakfast was plentiful, tea was great, and dinners were the highlight of every evening. Our server was okay; he tried to please us, and we were generally happy with Mateo. ENTERTAINMENT: The Sapphire was lacking in this department. Onboard activities weren't that abundant, even on Sea Days, and it was disappointing. Nevertheless, it was fun to be onboard. The shows were okay, some were good, but we're not big Broadway-style people. The comedians were okay, one was particularly good, and we had a great time onboard. SERVICE: The service was great onboard, the staff was friendly, and always managed to present a smile, and give a friendly greeting. SHIP: The ship was generally nice. It was a very comfortable ship, and it was in great condition. Beautiful artwork all around the ship. STATEROOM: This was the first time we had booked an inside- and the first we had four people to a room. Usually, we had three in a balcony, or ocean view, but we had no problem with an inside. It was a bargain, and it was a very nice room! OVERALL: I enjoyed this cruise. It was a great one week escape from hectic life, and it was great to be pampered for a week =D. I recommend this cruise to anyone, as it was a great experience! Read Less
Sail Date: November 2008
The 2008 Thanksgiving Mexican Riviera cruise out of Los Angeles was a mad house. This is a large ship, the largest I've been on with Princess, and there was not enough room for everybody because it was packed to capacity. There was a ... Read More
The 2008 Thanksgiving Mexican Riviera cruise out of Los Angeles was a mad house. This is a large ship, the largest I've been on with Princess, and there was not enough room for everybody because it was packed to capacity. There was a line for breakfast, lunch and dinner no matter where you went including traditional dining every single day! In fact there was always a line everywhere (photos, shops, everywhere). I've never seen this on a Princess ship. I was glad that I loved retreating to my huge aft balcony a lot because it was the only place where I could find enough room! I was on the Ship for 3 days before my nameplate showed up! When I asked the purser to get me a name plate he said that was easy to do but it took him three days! No so easy after all I guess. I had also requested egg crates for the bed but my Steward insisted that I didn't and that there were none left. We had to insist strongly before we got our egg crates. I know my TA faxed the request. Our room was okay; the drawers were broken and had to be messed with to get them closed. The beds seemed smaller and shorter than on other ships but this is my first balcony room and I am used to mini suites so I was in bathroom shock for the first few days. I wrestled with the shower curtain but it often won and wrapped itself around me as if it were my new lover! I finally dealt with the overly amorous curtain by keeping it opened most of the way, which created a small lake but with enough extra towels that was easier for me to deal with! Around the middle of the cruise I noticed that many of my toiletries were empty. The brand new deodorant was depleted, the brand new Elemis products that I had brought explicit for this cruise were empty, my moisturizers were empty, my facial soap and oils were almost empty, my toothpaste was gone, and all of my lipsticks were broken and smashed down. My perfumes were empty, and my sunscreens were depleted too. This was the creepiest experience I had to date on a Princess ship. Clearly my room steward did not like when I complained about not getting the towels I asked for (remember the lake) and not getting our patter one night. I can not think of any other reason why this happened, I did not stiff him and I did not put in any formal complaints. beware of hostile room stewards, I am calling Princess on this guy today! This is my second Mexican Riviera cruise this year and I notice a big difference in the quality of food no new menus here and it just doesn't taste very good. My traditional dining room table assignment made me crazy the first night because I was surrounded by families who let their kids run like banshees through the dining room. One child kept coming up to my table with her dripping nose sniffing my food. Yikes. I asked the Maitre d to change our table. He asked me to come and talk to him every day about whether a table opened up. Gee this is not my idea of a relaxing cruise. I had no intention of complaining again because that makes it worse for me and I can't relax. We switched to anytime dining after the first night. This was the first formal night and there were tons of people everywhere taking formal photos and milling about and I couldn't find anyplace to stand. We got into a line to take a formal photo and it took forever to get to the front. The photographer was being very professional but we always look goofy in this kind of shot. Anyway, by the time we were done, there was a 45 minute wait for anytime dining. It was this way every night. I almost gave up and went to the Buffet but I complained one last time to the purser's desk about our seating and the Maitre D John Paul changed us to the International Dining room and we got a fantastic table for 8 with the best group of people we have met on a cruise so far. We really enjoyed getting such a good (and diverse) group of people, it made dinner so fun. We were always the last table to leave every single night! No meals were real standouts, and none were real stinkers either. The Turkey dinner was rubbery, but I met someone who had a juicy piece so I guess there was some inconsistency. I tried the Fajitas and I hated them with their melted cheese on top and too few pieces of Chicken. There was no ripe fruit on the trip either, no berries except Strawberries, and only the Pineapple was tasty. We couldn't get a reservation at any of the specialty dining rooms because of the massive crowds. . The new waffle bar was good; one of the girls at our table had to get the name of the waffle mixture because she loved it so much. I'm not much of a foodie so I really don't care as long as they have sorbet at desert. I love their sorbet. They are getting the new dinnerware in a few cruises, but no new menus yet! We all suggested that they bring out the waffle bar in the afternoon with the Ice cream (3:30 HC) because those waffles with Ice Cream would be to-die-for. Maybe it's not such a good idea! The chair hogs were out in full force. Although half of the lounges were empty of people much of the time, they were marked with towels and magazines and nobody seemed to care. We asked for help getting a chair but the response (which I heard over and over) is "Madam there is over 700 kids on the ship and we cannot do anything about it". I really doubt it was the children's ideas to save the chairs. I got aggravated and disappointed at paying such a high price for a specific cabin which of course immediately created in me higher expectations for everything. I realize this is a dumb thing to do, and I did really LOVE the huge aft cabin (E735). For a cruise that I take so often (sometimes 2-3 times a year) I have to say that the best one I've ever taken was the one that I paid the cheapest price for because I had no expectations. We did some different excursions this time including snorkeling with sea lions at Las Calates in PV. For some reason they decided to combine the kids' Sea lion encounter with our snorkeling adventure and I ended up getting kicked by 15 children while I felt guilty because I wanted to push them all aside. I paid and extra 75 for the experience, they paid 10. I hated having to be with 15 children since as a teacher I am programmed to watch out for their safety and certainly not ram them aside so I can have my turn. Not what I signed up for, not what I wanted, and not what I paid for! Furthermore, we missed many of the other activities like kayaking, hiking, and snorkeling. Unfortunately, we didn't miss the lunch! All in all for the $174pp we paid through Princess, it was not worth it. Do it independently and skip the Sea lion stuff! I did not complain verbally to Princess because I can't stand the excursion director (who I know from prior ships) so I just wrote up a note and dropped it in their comments box and within 2 hours there was a note in my (finally labeled) room mail box. Princess offered me a 25% discount on this excursion because they were not supposed to combine the tow groups! While this was a nice gesture, I still paid a lot of money for something other than what was advertised. I call that bait and switch! We did a good tour in Mazatlan to the mountain towns of Concordia and Copala which was very interesting. We could only understand about half of what the guide said (Maria), but it was enough to really enjoy. We went to Todos Santos in Cabo and that was pretty interesting. Our guide spoke impeccable English and was very knowledgeable about Baja Mexico, the ride to Todos Santos was beautiful and we saw many whales blowing and breaching from the busall on the Pacific (and none in the Sea of Cortez). The infamous Hotel California is supposed to be in Todos Santos but I don't think it really is. Still, we ate there and they did play the Eagles song over and over and the food was pretty good. The prices in Todos Santos were outrageously high, just like in Cabo; we were not going to pay $20 for a junky fake Hotel California Tee shirt! We would have liked to see more of Todos Santos and less of the shopping opportunities there, still the tour was nice and I would recommend it. The entertainment was good, don't miss Steve Morris, he is a riot! One of the reasons I repeat this cruise is because I love his comedy and he is usually on part of the cruise. He gets the audience singing and involves us in his comedy and it's really fun. His shadow puppets are the best I've ever seen. Bohemian Rhapsody will never be the same for me! Disembarkation was a bummer if you didn't choose walking off with your own luggage. There were few reps around to answer questions and lots of families going wherever they thought they could get off the quickest. It didn't seem like many people were following instructions, and instead they were making up their own rules. I heard one man say" I am an American and I want to get off this boat now!" At least I didn't hear any name calling! Read Less
Sail Date: November 2008
We booked our cruise on the Sapphire Princess to give us a chance to get to know our future son-in-law as well as to celebrate Thanksgiving. As so many others do, we left a day early to avoid last minute snafus. Fortunately, nothing ... Read More
We booked our cruise on the Sapphire Princess to give us a chance to get to know our future son-in-law as well as to celebrate Thanksgiving. As so many others do, we left a day early to avoid last minute snafus. Fortunately, nothing happened! Our flight on Southwest Airlines was smooth all the way, and they did their usual great job with pre-boarding, etc. I'm disabled and use a scooter to get around, so I'll also base my comments on how well Princess does with disabled passengers.. Embarkation at the San Pedro harbor was the best ever. I would suggest, though, that if you have a GPS unit, program it with all your addresses before you leave - it just makes things go easier, especially if you're not familiar with the area. There was only one negative about Embarkation/Debarkation and I'll mention it now. We all know about the fuel surcharges and the "will they/won't they" that's been going on. We were told that Princess would refund the fuel surcharge provided the price of oil didn't go over a certain point over the prior thirty days. In our case, it did -five cents a barrel over on one day (election day). Princess was under no obligation to refund any of our money but it would have been priceless in terms of PR if they had. There were no lines when we arrived at 2:00 p.m., and we literally breezed through check-in. We'd heard that Princess had new rules for debarkation in place, but you could have fooled us. We were up with the chickens only to sit with other sleepy people in a lounge waiting to get in line... remember the drill? Our cabin was C302 on the Caribe Deck and it was phenomenal. Since I'm disabled, we were put into a handicapped cabin and for the first time ever, I didn't scrape my knuckles on the door trying to get in. When I asked, I was told that there were only 10 cabins for handicapped travelers - nothing to be proud of for Princess. Ours was immaculate and our cabin steward very attentive. My daughter and her fiancE had an inside cabin on Deck 14 and they both said they'd book it again - they had easy access to swimming pools, deck chairs, and the buffet as well. There were always deck chairs available, not only in the adults only section, but with the other areas as well. Another plus was the elevators. We've gotten used to waiting in line, going up to get one going down, etc. etc. etc. With the Sapphire Princess, we very rarely had to wait and only once had to wait for a second car. Please let RCL in on your secret!!! We chose the "Anytime Dining" plan and made reservations at Sabatini's for my husband's birthday on the 27th. We chose the Pacific Moon Restaurant the first night out and it was not a good experience - so bad that we asked for the Maitre 'd. We'll never know what he said to our waiters, but they became unbelievably surly - to the point where we got up and left midway through our entrEe, having been there for almost 90 minutes already. We spoke with the Purser's office about it and they called the next day, asking us to plan to visit the Savoy Dining Room the next night, and ask for the Head Waiter. We did, and if you want our recommendation, ask for Table 242 and Mihaila. From that day on, our service was impeccable and we really enjoyed talking with her. In fact, we cancelled our reservations for Thanksgiving to spend it with her. The food was great and the service impeccable. It would have been easy to overdo Thanksgiving and turkey, but they struck just the right note. We were so pleased that we left her one of the largest gratuities we've ever given and did it happily. She and her husband, a chef onboard, will be leaving Princess next spring to return to Romania, and I'm sure she will be missed. This experience alone is why we prefer not to pre-pay gratuities - and it's our opinion that service has declined since cruise lines began the practice. The entertainment was good, the ports as well. Wendy's fiancE is in the Navy and Naval personnel are not permitted to leave the ship during port calls, so we were concerned about that, unnecessarily. There were all kinds of things going on for him to do. In Puerto Vallarta, we booked a taxi tour that we had arranged ourselves. We asked to see the "real" PV as well as the tourist areas and thoroughly enjoyed our day. In Mazatlan, we took a late-morning trek ashore to do a bit of shopping. Much of the merchandise is similar to other ports in Mexico and the Caribbean, but we thought their prices were higher. It could also have been that we're just more discerning about our purchases. Make time for a stop at the blue tent just outside the pier exit. They offer massages, hot stone treatments, etc. and I only wish I had left an extra hour, the masseuse was that good. Even with a $10 tip, her charges are less than half that of the spa onboard. My husband and daughter had intended to do an ATV adventure in Cabo San Lucas, but he developed a serious case of "Montezuma's Revenge" so they stayed aboard ship. She did not feel comfortable taking a cab alone to the site, and while she hadn't wanted to miss it, she found plenty to do instead. I had also planned to stay onboard because this was a tendered port and I wasn't sure how it would be with my scooter. One of the big draws on the Sapphire, for us at least, was the at-sea time. There were only the 3 port calls, and in between plenty of time for leisure, but plenty of time for other things as well. If one is bored with this itinerary, it's their own fault!! We liked the formality in dress, although there were plenty of options if you didn't care for that. What man doesn't look great in a tux!!! We've done enough cruising that he invested in one online several years ago, and it's more than paid for itself. All told, we would recommend this cruise to others, but with reservations. We got the feeling that we were "nickel and dimed" throughout. We're not big drinkers, and don't drink a lot of soda either. With Royal Caribbean and Carnival, we've been used to water, tea, coffee, and other "free" drinks being readily available. Not here. When he asked, my husband was told that he could get a cup of coffee at any of the bars onboard. The first time he did, however, he was given a bill for $1.50, and when he asked, was told it was "special" coffee. That special coffee came from a normal, ordinary coffee pot, and he swears that it tasted just like all the other "free"coffee he drank throughout the trip. Basically, if you wanted anything "free" to drink, you had to go up to Deck 14 to get it. If we sail with Princess again, we'll bring our own! There were other little things that are free elsewhere. That said, this is a lovely way to spend a holiday and a nice tradition to start. Would we do it again? In a heartbeat. In fact, we made a deposit for 2009. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2007
This was our tenth cruise and our second one on the Sapphire Princess. We sailed on this ship when it was new in 2004 and enjoyed it very much so we were interested in doing this longer cruise over the Christmas and New Year holidays. My ... Read More
This was our tenth cruise and our second one on the Sapphire Princess. We sailed on this ship when it was new in 2004 and enjoyed it very much so we were interested in doing this longer cruise over the Christmas and New Year holidays. My husband and I are in our sixties and live on the Gold Coast in Queensland Australia. We usually have long flights to join cruises in Europe and the US but this time it was only a seven and a half hour flight to Singapore where we stayed overnight in order to see the Christmas Lights. The next morning we took a short one and a half hour flight to Bangkok for our operational overnight stay that we had booked with Princess. This turned out well because our transfers went smoothly and the Menam Riverside hotel in Bangkok was a pleasant place to stay. We had the advantage of being able to check in with Princess at the hotel so that embarkation was a breeze the following day. It took about 3 hours to get to the port but this took longer than usual because of road works. Once on board we found our cabin on Caribe deck and were happy to see that we had a large balcony with nice blue mesh chairs and flooring. The cabin was nicely laid out with good storage space and plenty of coat hangers. The shower was quite small but manageable. We met Marvin, our cabin steward, who looked after us very well for the duration of the cruise. We unpacked our suitcases before muster and then joined our Cruise Critic friends in the Oasis bar. We had already met some of them at the hotel but now we were able to match more names to faces. We were all excited to be at the sailaway together and were looking forward to our 20 day cruise! The ship is large and beautiful. It's one of the Grand Class ships and carries 2800 passengers. The dEcor is classy and elegant with lovely artwork and a pleasing color scheme throughout. I won't go into too many details as a full ship's review can be found elsewhere on this website. It takes a while to explore the ship fully and find your way around but we had been on this ship before so it was easier for us this time! We had opted for anytime dining rather than the traditional dining and I'm glad we did because it was fun eating in the various restaurants and also convenient to eat at different times. We usually booked ahead when we had figured out our plans for the day but sometimes we changed times and it was no problem. Sometimes we ate with friends or on our own and at other times we joined a big table where we met some interesting people from all over the world and from all walks of life. We rotated between the Pacific Moon, Savoy, Vivaldi and Santa Fe restaurants in the evening. In the morning we sometimes had breakfast in the International dining room and at other times we ate buffet-style in Horizon Court. On port days we ordered breakfast in our cabin and ate on the balcony. The restaurant and the room service was consistently good. On occasion we enjoyed afternoon tea in the International dining room. One time when we were at afternoon tea a passenger was being rude to one of the waiters. He told the waiter he was stupid and this irked me because the waiters are often trying so hard to give good service. I loved it when my husband defended the waiter and told the passenger that he would be more likely to get good service if he wasn't so rude! The food was very good everywhere on board and there were only a couple of meals we didn't like. We usually had a drink on our balcony at sailaway and then ordered wine at the dinner table. We occasionally ordered drinks at the bar or in the lounges. The entertainers were not as good as on our last Sapphire Princess cruise but the production shows with the talented singers and dancers were very good. Lenny Windsor, the comedian, was quite amusing and we also enjoyed the dynamic singer Caron Kate Blackwell and her husband, comedian Marty Allen. The best band of all was Deep Blue who managed to get everyone dancing and having fun. What a talented group! They usually played in Club Fusion or around the pool deck. The captain was Attilio Guerini. The cruise director was Sammi Baker who was quite a live spark around the ship. Her assistant Sam was a wonderful teacher for the dance classes together with Tom who also organized the virtual golf team competition on some of the sea days. We went once to the bingo and also to the wooden horse races on a sea day and it was good fun. After attending one of Brad Coates rather uninspiring lectures on Achieving Personal & Financial Freedom in mid-life we decided to free ourselves of him before the next lecture! Christmas Day Santa arrived in the Atrium on Christmas Day. We listened to the announcement that he would be arriving by helicopter to give the children their presents! There were Christmas carols in the Atrium on Christmas Eve and again on Christmas Day. It was fun joining in and watching the children receive their gifts from Santa. The snow machine was an excellent idea and really helped to get everyone into the spirit of things. New Year's Eve A fun time for everyone! We had dinner with friends and then got changed out of our formal dress to attend the pool deck party where Deep Blue was playing. We danced the night away and brought in the New Year with our friends and other passengers. Now to the ports and what we did there. Koh Samui We joined four of our Cruise Critic friends on a private tour, Mr.Ung's Magical Safari,in Koh Samui. We travelled in a jeep which was a bit bumpy but made for some good fun rides! We visited the elephant, crocodile and monkey shows before going on an elephant ride along a winding path through the forest. We managed to get some great photos of us on the ride. We went to a waterfall and gardens before having a delicious Thai lunch at a scenic viewpoint high up in the mountains. We all enjoyed the day and had a lot of laughs together! Singapore We had been to Singapore before so we decided to explore the Tanglin Rd area and the Botanic Gardens, which are lovely and have some beautiful orchids as well as other tropical plants. On the way there we were invited into the newly opened St. Regis hotel and had an interesting conversation with the assistant manager. She introduced us to the butler who took us around the hotel and showed us the bedrooms. They were absolutely lovely and the bathrooms had a plasma TV on the mirror next to the bath - quite an innovative idea! It was a hot day so on the way back from the gardens we called into one of the shopping centers and had a cool drink before catching the shuttle back to the ship. Vietnam We had booked the Ho Chi Minh City on your own tour with Princess. We drove through little villages with run-down shops and houses. It was interesting to watch the people in cone shaped hats riding bicycles and mopeds and going about their daily business. In about two hours we arrived in HCM. I've never seen so many motorcycles on the road all hurrying to get to their destination without stopping to let anyone across the road. We managed to survive by just crossing over and letting them go around us otherwise we would never have got to the other side! Shopping was fun at the markets! We bought shirts, pants, sunglasses and hats at absolutely ridiculous prices! Finally we went up to the rooftop lounge of the famous Rex Hotel for a well- deserved drink! The buffet up there was quite cheap and the food looked good but we weren't hungry enough so we decided to wait until we got back on board. Kota Kinabalu Another private tour booked on the internet with KK tours by one of our friends. Henry was our guide and he spoke good English. First he took us to the water village which was situated in a sea of mud with rubbish everywhere! The houses were on stilts and living conditions were poor and far from sanitary! I thought of my own very comfortable home and was thankful I didn't live there! It was an interesting experience! The next stop was a Chinese temple where we took photos. Then we arrived at the Monsopiad Cultural Village to see the headhunter's house of skulls and the traditional cultural show. It was all very interesting and I would recommend this tour to anyone else. Darwin It was a very hot and humid day so we just went into the city for a look around. We took a taxi to Mindil beach and walked along the sands( no one swimming here because of the deadly box jellyfish!) It was New Year's Day so there wasn't too much happening. We were glad to get out of the heat and back into the ship's air conditioning! Cairns We live in Queensland so we had been here before. We decided to go to the little tourist town of Port Douglas with the Princess tour bus. It was another very hot day so we walked along the main street to Four Mile beach for an hour or so and back to the Old Court House hotel where we sat upstairs on the verandah and had a light lunch and a cool beer. The pretty coastal drive was about 40 minutes each way and we were back on the ship by 3.00pm. Airlie Beach We were lucky with the weather again! After a quick shower at the start it turned out to be a beautiful day. We decided to visit the markets first and then we explored the town. It had changed for the better since the last time we were there. A lagoon area and a boardwalk had been added as well as more sand on the little beach. Luckily we missed the floods that came just after our visit! Brisbane We stayed on the ship as we live just a one hour drive from here. We had the ship to ourselves for the day apart from a few others who probably lived there too. We sat around the pool, read our books and had a nice lunch. It was a very relaxing day! Sydney We were lucky to get a late disembarkation time as our flight from Sydney to the Gold Coast didn't leave until 1.30pm. It was very well organized and on time but we had to wait almost an hour for a taxi as there were two other ships docked in Sydney that day. But that was fine as we had plenty of time before our flight home. Summary On this ship you can really " Escape Completely" as they say in the Princess ads! There were many sea days when you could either do your own thing or join in the many activities provided. We had a fabulous time but we didn't feel as though we had to join in everything. We used our balcony a lot and enjoyed watching the sailaways before dinner. Meeting up with new friends from Cruise Critic really enhanced our cruise and we hope to meet some of them again soon. We met some people who were rude to the staff and complained about everything but you will always get those unhappy people on cruises or anywhere you travel - just move away from them! We met some lovely people on board and all were enjoying the cruise as much as we were. We saw some parents who let their children run around unsupervised on the ship at night but we also met some very polite children who were well controlled by their parents. I wish Princess would stop young children from running around in the bars and lounges late at night. It annoys other passengers and it's also dangerous when drinks are being served. We are looking forward to our next cruise on the Sapphire Princess when she sails from Sydney to Los Angeles in April. 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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