Firstly disregard any negative reviews about the food and staff on the Sapphire Princess as both these areas are the highlights.
The California Coastal cruise was my first cruise ever and I was not sure what to expect. We arrived at San Pedro about 11am and were checked in straight away by very warm and very friendly Princess staff. This only added to my child like excitement. We were told that we would be boarding at 2pm however at 1230pm the call came out for us to board and we were soon on board being greeted by friendly smiles and happy faces. We were told that our rooms were ready and that we could drop off our carry on luggage before going to have lunch. I was very impressed with our mini suite and even more happy to find our luggage outside the door when we left to get lunch.
The sun Gods smiled upon us as we set sail and enjoyed the sail away party on the top deck. Yes the cruise resembled a floating retirement home but the staff still made it fun and enjoyable.
Our first port of call was San Diego. We decided to stay close by the boat and explore the huge floating city. The gym area is first class and the Lotus Spa very nice although they are are very sales driven and focused.
Our second stop was Ensenada. All I can suggest is you stay on the boat. The place is a seedy dive but at least the weather was nice.
Following Ensenada we set sail for San Francisco which involved 2 days at sea and more time to explore and enjoy the boat. This is when we had the chance to visit the signature restaurant Sabatini's. All I can say is WOW. I have been to many nice and high quality restaurants back home in Australia and this was as good if not better. Every single dish was 5 star quality and the taste and presentation was exceptional. In all honesty it was the best meal my partner and I have experienced. We also tried out both the burger bar and pizza bar. The burgers and hot dogs were good and the pizza was up their with some of the best I have eaten. The milkshakes at the ice cream bar were sinfully tasty and worthy of a mention.
San Francisco put on a beautiful day with clear blue skies. We opted for an excursion to Muir Woods and Sausilito. Muir Woods were beautiful and it would have been nicer to have more time. Sausilito whilst pretty was a touch boring and we found ourselves walking in circles killing time until our bus back to the ship.
Our last port was Santa Barbara. The tender process was very straight forward and alot of fun. The town was very pretty but not a great deal to do once ashore. Leaving Santa Barbara that evening provided us with one of the most romantic and memorable moments. We decided to go to the aft of the ship and sit in one of the spas. Not a single soul was around and on one side of the ship the sun was setting and on the other the moon was rising with a magical red glow. It had to be seen to be fully appreciated.
I highly recommend the Sapphire Princess. The food was exceptional, the staff were great fantastic. Our special mention goes to our room steward Ricky and a Sante Fe waiter named Norman. Both these gentlemen were hard working and so very friendly and genuine.
The Sapphire Princess is a very big and very elegant ship. Our only complaint would be that we did not have enough time in her company. We will certainly cruise again with Princess.