For those not keeping track....SAPPHIRE was/is brand new....I was on the 5th Voyage weekly roundtrip voyage from Seattle to SE Alaska and back.
Ship: all in all misc amenities are GREAT. I'm not a highly experienced cruiser, with only one previous Caribbean 10 day voyage on the Radiance of the Seas. Sapphire food was very good and the misc dining room options give you many choices of menu and reservation or walk up times. As with Royal Caribbean I don't understand why carbonated soft drinks are NOT included with meals......Princess sells a REFILLABLE FOR FREE ALL CRUISE Coke Glass for $20.00 which many people bought....
My BIGGEST Complaint is about NOT seeing any GLACIERS. My #1 off ship incentive for this particular cruise itinerary was cruising TRACEY ARM (a body of water) and SEEING the Face of SAWYER GLACIER with spectacular views of ice calving off, etc. Other cruise people with me, had been to TRACEY ARM in 2003 aboard a different Princess ship and gone the entire length of Tracey Arm to SEE the Glacier. This time apparently there was too much "ice flow" in the water and the ship didn't want to hit any of this broken off glacial "ice flow".....so they turned around and left Tracey Arm and sailed onto Juneau. At this point I was so upset, that I booked a floatplane excursion with Wings Over Alaska at there dock side office close to cruise dock, at a cost of $145 which was $20 less than princess charged for same excursion........This flight took me OVER the Juneau Ice fields and Mendenhall Glacier. An interesting airborne perspective that was GOOD, but still not the excitement or spectacular view of face to face with GLACIER VIEWING at close up sea level..... My point is watch your itinerary and ASK questions...as Tracey Arm "cruising" is NOT Sawyer GLACIER viewing !!!!!!!!!!
Sapphire Princess entertainment was GOOD, but not exceptionally GOOD......The ships company did TWO production numbers....one called "Piano Man" featuring the music of Elton John, Billy Joel, Neil Sadaka and LIBERACE was VERY GOOD. Other nights They had Two Good Comedians, a Mediocre ventriloquist, and a so-so Hypnotist..... I personally didn't care for the humor poked at the U.S based crowd by the U.K. born cruise director and staff.....but maybe that's just my thin skin.
Once again I must say that overall the NEW ship is great, along with ALL the misc amenities, food, staff etc etc I also overheard other cruisers talk about the HIGH prices they paid for their misc trips.....RELATIVE to my price.....I BELIEVE that the SEATTLE based Alaskan Cruise sellers like LAKE CITY TRAVEL SERVICE who sell the SEATTLE (home port) based Alaskan Cruises can offer YOU a better $$$ deal than YOUR local travel agent in Kansas, regardless of your past relationships.....The Seattle Travel agents are doing TEN times the business to ALASKA and CAN get you a better price.....Also call Parker Cruise in Kirkland, WA.
Regards, Chuck Sharin Seattle, WA USA