We arrived in LA the day before the cruise and took the Primetime Shuttle to the Clarion (ie Holiday INN) San Pedro. Have stayed here before when it was the Holiday Inn. No changes and it is just fine for an overnight. Not the cleanest but ok. The price is right and they take you to the ship. It is also two blocks from the Gaffey St. Diner. Which is famous if you watch the Food Channel and Guy's Drive in-Diners and Dives. Great home cooking.
We have been on the Sapphire before on a repositioning cruise and found it to be in good condition. It is going in for retrofit later this year they were telling us. It could use some paint etc. plus the upgrades like on the newer ships. Movies under the stars and Vines should be added they say.
We love the way Princess brings you on the ship. It is well organized and fast. This time we were actually on board by 11:30 and in our room.
We had great service as usual on all Princess ships. The shows we saw were fun and entertaining. We especially liked Steve Moris his comedy had us in stitches! We do not do formal nights which there are 2 of. But room service was good one night and the other formal we found a jacuzzi totally free just for us. Did not do alternative dining this trip but I have never had a bad experience on other ships. We were on this trip to relax and be casual the Horizon Court had good food and never had a problem getting a table. Remember to find that table first then go up for food one at a time. This way you are not walking around with a plate of food and no table!
Leaving the ship was also well organized and fast. We were one of the last groups off and we were off the ship by 9:15.
I have not done another cruise line since back in the mid nighties and will continue to stay with Princess. We like the product and the service they provide. Already planning our next trip.