Sapphire Princess Cruise Review by cruzcpl: South Pacific - LA - 28 day - Sapphire Princess
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South Pacific - LA - 28 day - Sapphire Princess
Most people were between 70-95, about 15 kids, maybe a dozen adults below 40, a skattering of adults between 40-60. Polite people, lots of wheel chairs, walkers, and canes. Quiet. Cruise director and staff were excellent for all ages!! Shows and performances were all very good! Lots of interesting lectures ahead of visiting many South Pacific places. The gym was surprisingly crowded all the time - all ages ... a surprise! But a good on in some ways! They allowed 2 bottles of wine - FYI. Line, ballroom, and hula dance lessons were great, and for the last 8 days they FINALLY had some professional dance instructors on board.
Cabin Sufficient ... everything. The balcony chairs were uncomfortable and our steward could not swap out our chairs for comfortable deck chairs as other cruise lines often allow. This deck's balconies are larger than average, but there is NO overhang to keep rain out or to offer shade, and there is NO privacy on this deck's balconies. We More were close to the steps and elevators, which was nice, as was it's amid-ships location.
They had more to do than we expected - we needed a break from all the shhip activities when we started hitting some islands. You can lounge around, but if you want, you can certainly stay busy, even had some trouble doing the things we wanted to do. The Mrs could NOT get into the stretch class first thing in the morning - too crowded! Anytime seating in the dining rooms left service on the slack side, the only poor thinig about the trip really. They also ran out of port specific items in the gift shops (surpringly) but stock probably needs to be limited. Shore excursions sold out quick, islands with limited tour offerings. We did better winging it.
1) This rating is for Apia, Western Samoa (New Zealand) because there is no port selection for this island, in this program
The ONLY stop where the locals met the ship with a singing/dancing cultural welcome!! The Main Samoan city is a large town, but they have a very nice, entertaining, and very informative cultural center where you can learn about Samoa in one place and not have to tour the island, but the island is available. Some people wanting hand outs or selling cheap trinkets, but not a problem.
2) This rating is for Pago Pago, American Samoa because there is not port selection for this island, in this program.
Smaller than the main Samoan island, deep mysterious harbor, more run down looking. American version of a cultural center for Samoa, similar things offered but less realistic. Storm damaged buildings in the area - not repaired. Less inviting, but the island is mysterious looking. Less
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Cabin review: Sapphire Princess D500
Sufficient ... everything. The balcony chairs were uncomfortable and our steward could not swap out our chairs for comfortable deck chairs as other cruise lines often allow. This deck's balconies are larger than average, but there is NO overhang to keep rain out or to offer shade, and there is NO privacy on this deck's balconies. We were close to the steps and elevators, which was nice, as was it's amid-ships location.
Port and Shore Excursions
4WD Island Tour
The local tour vehicles start the day with round-the-island tours, and in the afternoon run point to point shuttles - FYI. We were late getting off the ship but grabbed a local tour guy and grabbed other people from the ship to do an island tour in the afternoon - they can be bought, lol. Happy, informative, positive, funny, pleasant, a typical island guy who is happy to help the tourists and tell of his island. They like the US and not the French all that much. Many hotels with the water huts are wrecked from a typhoon, not repaired. Hurting business, so they like ALL visitors! Beautiful Island - BEST BEST of the 3 French Polynesian ports. Didn't have tome to snorkel, but we were told it was outstanding! Bloody Mary from South Pacific is based on a real person who opened a restaurant here, and the island looks like the inspiration for the movie back drop, but the movie was shot in Kauai, Hawaii, with a painted mountain for Bali Hai. Spoiler, "Bali Hai" is the name of a tribe in Figi, they just used the name in the movie for the ficticious island.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
Totally nice gentleman and a regular guy met us at the pier in his own vehicle, and he was ours for 6 hours - to do or see anything. PERFECT!! Took us directly where we wanted to go, told us about Hawaii as a local and as a tour guide, ansered all our questions 1 on 1, was charming, informative, funny, positive, supportive, just ... perfect! We toured the Volcanoes National Park and a little around Hilo.
Honolulu - stayed in the city on this stop because you cannot see the island in one day!! We will visit the island and tour the whole thing for a couple weeks at a later date, so we focused on the city and Waikiki. City is crowded, traffic, must see includes the International Market and Duke's restuarant right on Waikiki Beach - make reservations (name on their list) when you arrive, it will be over an hour - so walk around the market across the street. Dinner at sunset - PERFECT! FIREWORKS on Friday nights on the beach! Just like you imagine it is, but more crowded that you might anticipate.
Kauai = not listed as a port choice = not developed much, tours to see the sights available, breath taking as you would expect, but ... not developed. Keep expectations in check and look at this island!
Maui = not listed as a port choice = developed some, hotels, and breath taking island locations and interesting things to see and do - more than one has time for. Whales = Dec-April
Bus was crowded, trip was "fast", pointed out lots of churches and not so much on culture or the island. WAY too much enphasis on religion!! Very interesting island, breath taking views and mountains, and quiet inlets! Some traffic. A big island to see in a few hours - you really need a couple days. Outstanding snorkeling we were told again. This island is just 8 miles from Tahiti, the main French Polynesian Island. Small townlets on the island. VIDEO the island's girl dancers - they are incredible!
Tahiti is the biggest and main island of French Polynesia, it is French so THAT was depressing. The port is in a small city with traffic and a blend of nice people and ... French - they have attitudes. Prices were notably high for the tourists, roads were busy (traffic) even well outside the city, and the city is depressing. Island scenery is as beautiful as you'd expect, many roads not maintained, locals appear to be trashing the place - poor and associated issues. It is NOT the tropical paradise you expect ... go to Bora Bora for that. It is where past explorers landed including the Bounty, which is why it is famous. Beautiful people and hospitality of the past is ... history. People work and tourists are to be exploited. Still, it IS a famous place to say you've been to ... but visit Bora Bora, THAT is what you are looking for.
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