This was our 5th cruise with Princess, but the 1st on Sapphire Princess. This was the best of any of the Princess cruises or the 5 other cruises on Carnival, Norwegian and Royal Caribbean.
We arrived at the port at 11:30 am. Boarding started at 12:15 pm and we were on board and in our cabin by 1:15 pm. We left port 2 hours late due to a medical emergency. The late departure and high seas delayed our arrival in San Francisco from 1 pm Sunday until 4 pm. Due to the late arrival, all Sunday afternoon excursions through the ship were cancelled. This did not effect us since we were planning on walking around The Wharf, which we were still able to do. Due to the late arrival, the Captain decided to stay in SF until 4 pm Monday, which worked out better for us. Had a light rain shower Sunday night but awoke to a cloudless sky on Monday morning. We had booked the 9:10 am tour to Alcatraz. Well worth the trip. After about 3 hours on The Rock, we went back to The Wharf, had lunch and walked around for a few hours. Sailing into and out of San Francisco Bay was so beautiful. Such a thrill sailing under the Golden Gate Bridge.
Santa Barbara - I booked a private tour with Santa Barbara Hot Rod Limo (www.SBHotRodLimo.com). Had a great time. The tour was in an extended hot rod limo convertible that seats 8 people. Great way to tour the town. The weather was again beautiful. The tour lasted 2 hours and covered all the highlights of Santa Barbara. What a beautiful town.
Catalina Island - Another beautiful sunny day. We walked around the port area and had lunch. Very pretty port.
San Diego - We did not book anything in advance. After having breakfast on the ship, we got off and took the Hop On/Hop Off tour. Weather was a little cool and partly cloudy. The tour was OK but a little disappointing after visiting Santa Barbara and Catalina.
Ensenada - Could have done without this port but I understand the necessity of the ship stopping here. We got off the ship and took a bus to town ($3 round trip) Walked around for about 2 hours and headed back to the ship.
Disembarkation - Arrived at the Club Fusion lounge at the scheduled time of 9 am. Our group was called at 9:20 am. We were in our Supershuttle van at 9:40 am on on our way to LAX.
Dining - we did the Traditional dining, 5:30 pm seating, in the International Dining Room. Richard and Angle were probably the best servers of any we have ever had. There attitude and service were exceptional.
Cabin - Had a Mini-Suite on Emerald Deck. Mini's cost more but we prefer the extra room in the cabin and the larger bathroom. Well worth the extra cost to us. Cabin steward (Nick) was also great.
Shows - Saw 2 variety shows, 1 good, 1 not so good and 2 entertaining comedians.
Ship - I can not say enough about this ship and crew. Everyone seemed to want to go out of their way to make us feel special. The was the best crew of any ship we have sailed on. Hats off to Princess for making this a very special experience.