Cruising Alaska was magical. Cruising it on the Sapphire Princess was a mixed bag. Here are my grades.
Buffet " C-" Our hearts sank when we ate our first lunch on board. It was awful and the buffet space is small and sterile feeling. But the window seats toward the back of the ship are wonderful and you are somewhat separate from the masses.
Dining Room Food "A" So surprising that the dining rooms could put out such delicious food when the buffet was so bad. We had fixed dining at first then changed to anytime dining for a party of six. Never had trouble getting a table and all of the dining rooms were charming.
Alfredos Pizza and International Cafe "A" two great places to grab lunch in a relaxed, intimate, but easy setting. A couple of the waiters were kind of rude to my elderly parents, however, the only rude people on the entire ship.
Spa "D-" Worst massage and spa experience of my life and I love a good massage and spa. I've never had someone try to sell me products while they are giving me a massage. The receptionist also tricked us into a more expensive massage than we had asked for. And I say "tricked" because she did the same routine to my sister-in-law the next day so it wasn't an accident. The locker room is tiny on this ship and they won't let you wear the spa robes to your room, so you have to change in the middle of a tiny locker room with 20 other women in the room...no changing rooms. Very stressful after a massage. The massage was even worse but I won't go in to more detail. Just VERY disappointed by the spa facilities and this may affect whether or not I ever sail on another Princess ship.
Staterooms "B" We had balcony guarantees for three couples. They gave us all handicapped rooms on the Baja deck. The large rooms, balconies, and showers were great, but the cabins showed signs of wear and tear. This ship generally showed the most wear and tear of any ship I've sailed on. Not sure if the handicapped rooms receive more abuse than another room. These rooms were right by the elevator which my parents loved and my brother-in-law freaked out about. Turned out that noise from the elevators was not an issue, we all slept well every night.
Entertainment "B" It was just okay. We did enjoy the comedian quite a bit and the former Lettermen singer had a fantastic voice. Really enjoyed the band that played in Club Fusion.
Excursions "A" This grade is in no way dependent on Princess. In fact, we were able to book the same excursions offered by the ship at the dock, often at more convenient times. We absolutely loved the Taku Lodge Float Plane excursion and lunch in Juneau and the The Glacier Point Wilderness Safari in Skagway.
The Sanctuary on Glacier Bay day "A+" We reserved our front of the ship loungers in this "extra fee" space just for the day we would be in Glacier Bay. The staff was excellent, plying us with drinks hot and cold, food, goodies, free photos, all the blankets you needed. It was just a magical way to spend the day in Glacier Bay. Absolutely recommend it. And if the weather is bad, you can cancel your reservation the morning of glacier day.