14 Day Hawaii R/T Los Angeles: Sapphire Princess Cruise Review by lovetocruisenow
Overall Member Rating
14 Day Hawaii R/T Los Angeles
Embarkation: Los Angeles
All in all in was a very nice cruise. The dry dock work on the Sapphire turned out very well. The new Piazza is great -- includes the Vines Wine Bar, Alfredo's Pizzeria, and the ever popular, International Cafe. There were other areas around the ship that showed signs of refurbishment but many that didn't.
Our room was great. It was at the middle of the ship, near the main bank of elevators and stairs. We got an unobstructed view at an obstructed view price and we had the best cabin steward we've ever had in our almost 30 cruises.
The dining rooms on the Sapphire were interesting. They are set up a little different than most of the Princess ships. One large dining room was reserved for traditional dining, with both an early and late seating. The other areas that would normally be two large dining rooms were divided into four smaller dining rooms - each with a different "theme". There was the Sante Fe (Tex/Mex), Pacific Moon (Asian), Vivaldi (Italian), and Savoy (French). Each of these dining rooms had the regular menu available and one additional entree that matched the "theme" of that room. It was a nice addition. Also, for some reason, dividing the dining rooms seems to have helped with the flow of people. We did anytime dining and never had to wait for a table! We dined at Sabatini's one night and it was as yummy as always. We did not dine at the other specialty restaurant, Sterling Steakhouse, mostly because it lacked character. On the Sapphire Princess, The Sterling Steakhouse occupies the back portion of the Horizon Buffet during the evening hours -- with no true separation of space. During the rest of the time, it just reverts back to Horizon space. Very poor planning I think.
The production shows were okay, none of them "great". We were in the middle of changing lead singers and some of the dancers and that made it even worse. The rest of the entertainment was pretty good to very good. Some of the other entertainers like Dan Riley were very, very good. The band in the Wheelhouse, Ocean's Quartet, was excellent. They were very talented musicians with a very good lead, female singer. They played a wide variety of very danceable music and the floor stayed full of dancers. The Explorer's Lounge band, Indigo, was good also, very good for listening but not as "danceable". The real treat of the cruise was the trio playing in the Piazza. The Pat Juneau Trio was GREAT! and such a treat. The played sets every evening and some times during the day. They also played around the pool on occasions. They played a variety of very good music and were very user-friendly. It's very rare to get dance music in the Piazza so this was a very nice surprise.
For those interested in learning more about the Hawaiian Islands or the environment around them, there were two lecturers on board who provided very interesting talks throughout the cruise. There was also a good assortment of movies -- on the MUTS, inside in the theater from time to time, and on the cabin TV. There were lots of activities on he sea days and lots and lots of "Hawaiian" themed things such as making leis. learning to hula, or learning to play the ukulele. There seemed to be something for everyone.
As always, the Princess staff was great -- all the waiters, bar guys and girls, buffet folks, etc. Princess does a great job in the this area -- much better than most. Less
Cabin review: FE412
We stayed in E412 -- an outside cabin sold as obstructed view. The good news is there's no obstruction. It's a great cabin at a great price. It's also located in the middle of the ship on the 8th floor -- very convenient to the floor where most of the activities take place. It was also located near the main bank of elevators and stairs. Very convenient. The bed is in the "under the window" configuration.