We were on the Sapphire Princess to the Mexican Riviera from December 12-19. The embarkation process was smooth, handled professionally, and we were on the ship very quickly.
The ship itself was big, but had narrower hallways, staircases, and deck walkways than the Dawn Princess I had previously sailed on. Maybe the shrunken places are due to having more cabins, rooms in the buffet, theatre, etc to accommodate all 2600 people.
There were various activities at sea, but I noticed there were fewer Scholarship @ Seas or other programs than before. Maybe the economy played a part in this.
The service was not as good as I had on the Dawn. The buffet stewards basically stood around more than assisting people with drink orders and plate cleaning. The waiters in the main dining room, since we had Anytime Dining, some were fast, attentive and hard working, while some also worked slowly. The room stewards seem to be always hard working, though. I had never had a bad service anywhere on the ship.
Our room steward worked hard every time we saw him. Every time we returned to our room, it was clean and neat. We had a balcony room, which was nice for the climate of the Mexican Riviera.
The buffet was good, just like the kind you would see at an average Vegas hotel. Just don't expect Bellagio or Wynn Buffet, and you will be satisfied. The dining room food was good as well. Expect Coco's, Carrow's or Chili's and you will be satisfied. Sabatini's was better, but I didn't think it was worth $20 per person. The Sterling Steakhouse had great steaks, and was better than Sabatini's
The magician was excellent. The dance and singing shows were good. If you expect a school drama play, and not 5-star Broadway, you will be satisfied.
This was handled smoothly, considering 2600 had to get off the ship within 2 hours. We had the express walk-off, which looked like most people had this as well. We were off the ship by 8:00 AM.
The Mexican Riviera cruise on the Sapphire was not as good as Alaska on the Dawn. Maybe it is because this cruise cost much less. Either way, I will sail with Princess again.