I had high hopes for the Princess cruise since my wife had sailed on them 10 years ago to Alaska and said they were good. We normally sail on Holland America and Royal Caribbean. The cruise started well since we reported late to embarkation and had no troubles getting on. We also liked the Princess life boat drill since we met in the theatre and didn't have to stand under each life boat and be crowded together. My wife and I enjoy dancing and we always have many opportunities to dance on cruise ships but not this one. When we went to the lounge to dance before dinner they were having a Big Band music hour. That was fine with us but when we asked the DJ to play Jump, Jive, and Wail by Brian Setzer he told us he had never heard of the song or artist. After the Big Band hour was over I asked him to play something by Bruno Mars. Yes, he had never heard of Bruno Mars either. What I found out later was that the corporate office of Princess did not want to pay the money it would More
take for a professional DJ on a 14 day cruise so they had one of their team members play the part. We went to the other lounge to see what was going on there and found out they were given two CD's so they just played those over and over. Skywalkers lounge was dead the entire trip. The two bands were good but they didn't start until 7:30 and we chose the late dinner seating. Only once did the band play outside by the pool and that was when we were leaving Honolulu. The "DJ" did play outside by the pool from 1:00-1:30 three days before we docked again in LA. The worse part of the trip however was when we docked in Honolulu. My wife and I had booked a morning excursion through Princess to Pearl Harbor to see the Arizona Memorial. This was booked at least two months in advance. When the driver picked us up he said he would stop by the memorial to see what time we would be able to get in. He came back and told the group of 50+ that we would go to the Missouri and come back at 11:15 for the Arizona memorial trip. When we got back he went in and then told us they had no more tickets left. What we heard later was that he told someone else he knew at 8:00 a.m. we couldn't get in but the excursion company told him not to say anything. I don't fault Princess for this but if you visit Hawaii you should be able to view the Arizona memorial. The other excursion to Pearl also included a city drive and when those passengers were picked up their guide had tickets in hand. They got to go to the memorial even though they arrived later than us. I would suggest to anyone else going to the memorial on a cruise that they buy tickets online beforehand. It is only $1.50 and you can buy them in advance. Skip the excursion. My other gripe was the Spa membership that my wife and I purchased for $299 per couple. On other ships we had our own private pool along with all the other amenities. This ship did not feature that and access was available for everyone if they just went through the door. We saw numerous people in the spa who did not pay for membership. I did go once to the front desk because no heat beds were available and when they asked the people using them were not members. Suddenly we had heat beds. So the general rule here is if you go on the Sapphire don't purchase the Spa membership because you can use it anyway.
I will say the ship was overall very nice and well kept. The food was average. I was disappointed that sushi was not available except twice on the buffet while we were on the ship. I am used to having that daily for lunch on other cruise lines. Less