We just returned from a Mexican Riviera cruise on the Sapphire Princess. We sailed out of LA, had two days at sea, visited Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan and Cabo, then finished with another day at sea. We took our entire family (2 adults and 15, 10 and 9 year old boys) except for our 3 year-old daughter because she was not potty-trained yet (you have to be potty trained in order to go in the pools on the ship.) I am going to break my review into 6 sections: Itinerary, Weather, Kids Programs, Service, Food, ship.
1. Itinerary: We really liked the itinerary for traveling with the family. When traveling with kids, going to several ports can be quite exhausting for parents. Having 3 days at sea made it nicer for my husband and me since the kids could do their own thing while we relaxed and didn't worry. Our favorite stop was Cabo San Lucas....it was VERY pretty. My only complaint was that we left so early (2pm). The sail back to LA was VERY rough and quite chilly.
2. Weather: It was cool at nights, but quite nice during the daytime. Even during the 1st 2 days at sea (temp in 70s), though windy, we were able to sunbathe comfortably. As stated above the last day at sea was overcast and chilly. At Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan and Cabo, the weather was perfect.
3. Kid's Programs: The Sapphire Princess has kid's programs and since it was during spring break, there were a lot of kiddos. My 15-year-old loved the teen club (Remix) and we hardly ever saw him. LOL. The 9 and 10 year-olds didn't spend much time in the Shockwaves (for ages 8-12.) It was too structured and they felt like the activities were too childish. They still had a blast and met a lot of kids their ages and hung out in pools/hot tubs.
4. Service: The service was hit or miss. Sometimes it was good, sometimes it was awful. We went on the Caribbean Princess 12/09 and we felt the service was MUCH better on that ship.
5. Food: Compared to Royal Caribbean and Norwegian, I think Princess' food is sub-par. Even more so on the Sapphire Princess. The buffet food was NOT good. Dinner was good, but not great. I haven't been on RC or NCL for a long time, so the lack of good food quality MIGHT just be a sign of the times so this might not be a fair comparison.
6. Sapphire Princess: This ship had it's pros and cons. I loved the pools....especially in the back of the ship. It also had a pool that was indoors (with glass ceilings) which is a MUST in case it is cool like our last day. The only down side is there was not a Movie Under the Stars like some of the other ships (Caribbean Princess.) It has tennis courts instead of a basketball court which the boys were bummed about. Our room was quite nice...Princess upgraded our two interconnecting obstructed ocean view rooms to a family suite with an over sized balcony for free and it was REALLY nice. My ONE HUGE COMPLAINT....smoking in the casino....every night except for 1 formal night. On the Caribbean Princess, they compromised and alternated smoking and non-smoking nights. Not on the Sapphire....if you choose a healthy lifestyle, you are punished by dealing with all the smokers in the casino. I was quite disappointed. Sometimes it was unbearable.
Would I do it again? Maybe. It was perfect for our family and we lucked out with the weather. I think next time I will go back to Royal Caribbean to see if it is as good as I remember.