My DH, DD's, 2 SIL's and myself just returned from our Mexican Riviera cruise on the Sapphire Princess. DD1 did this cruise last year and really enjoyed it. She convinced the rest of us to try it this year. DD2 and our SIlL's have never cruised and it was so much fun seeing their reactions to all of the new experiences.
We had perfect weather the entire trip. The seas leaving LA were a little rough, but we all enjoyed the roll and pitch of the ship.
My DH and I renewed our wedding vows on the 16th(our 30th anniversary). Manuel helped set up all of the arrangements. He met up with us at the Wheelhouse Bar before the ceremony where he gave me my bouguet(sp) and my DH's bouteniere(sp) He then told us that the Captain would be with us shortly and explained how things would go. He was very nice and helpful. As part of the package we were supposed to have a tour of the bridge. By Thursday night we hadn't received the invitation for that. We saw Manuel at the Captain's cocktail party and we asked him about it. He said that we should have received our invitation that morning but that he would check on it right then. He came back immediately to let us know when the tour would be.
Our DD's spent most of their time playing trivia, bingo and sitting by the pool.
Our SIL's enjoyed the casino and watching for whales and dolphins. They were able to see a few whales and a lot of dolphins. They went on excursions at all of the ports. Their favorite was in Puerto Vallarta where they were taken to a private beach. They were able to see manta rays, whales and dolphins on their way to the beach. They were served some amazing food while they were there. The tour group was only about 40 people which made it very nice to enjoy the beach.
Their other excursion in Mazatlan was to another beach. They had a good time but not as good as the day before.
Their last excursion in Cabo was a snorkeling one. They enjoyed seeing all of the fish and having them swim right up to them.
DH spent a lot of time taking pictures of everything! We went into Puerto Vallarta on our own and just wandered around. We saw some amazing sand sculptures on the beach.
We were going to walk around on our own in Mazatlan but there was a tour operator on the shuttle from the ship to the end of the dock, he told us about his tour and his prices ($25.00 per person for 3 hours) He would have taken us out for the entire day but we needed to be back at the ship by 2pm. I am not sure how much the tour would have been if we had done the full day tour. We decided that we would go with him as the price of a taxi would be $40 roundtrip, and we wouldn't really see Mazatlan. He was very informative, and funny. We saw a lot of Mazatlan that other tour groups didn't see. He let us get out often to take pictures and didn't rush us at all(there were 8 of us in the group.) His van was clean and well maintained. I mention this because we were on another van where it felt like the seats were not bolted down.
His name is Jose Osuna and he is licensed and certified as a tour guide. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. I would highly reccomend this man as a tour guide.
The Sapphire is a beautiful ship and everyone that we saw was friendly. Any crew member that we walked by, said hi to us and smiled.
My DH and I were lucky enough to be chosen for the Ultimate Ships Tour. My DH used to be in the Navy (submarines) and was interested in seeing how the ship worked. There were 11 of us in the tour and Andrew led us. He said that we were the largest tour that he had ever led. Usually there were only 4-5 people. We were amazed at how much goes on behind the scenes. We went backstage at the Princess Theater and met some of the singers and dancers. They have over 1000 costumes which are stored on a system like you would see in a dry cleaners. The galley was my favorite part of the tour. They were making soups and sauces for lunch and everything smelled so yummy! They also were making rolls yum! They served us a fruit drink and some cookies while we were there.
We saw the laundry which as you can imagine was HUGE! They have a machine which folds all of the sheets, and tablecloths. It was fun to see. There is a smaller machine that folds the napkins.
Of course for my DH the highlight of the tour was the engineering room(he was a navigator electricians tech in the Navy) and the bridge. I was impressed with what the engineering department does. They are the ones who take care of all of the electrical aspects of the ship. They are the ones making the water that we drank on board, they take care of all of the garbage incineration and disposal. Plus a lot more. Which I didn't realize.
The bridge is floor to ceiling glass! Everywhere you look you see the ocean. The room is really big but the "command station" isn't as big as you would think. My DH was surprised at how small it was in relation to the rest of the room. The Captain spoke with our group for a few minutes before he had to get back to work. Fausto gave us a tour of the bridge and he went into a lot of detail. My DH really enjoyed this. We were served champagne and canapes while we were there. We did a lot of walking and stair climbing but it was worth it. I would reccomend this to anyone interested in learning more about the ship.
We had anytime dining, and our DD told us that the Vivaldi Dining Room was the best one to eat in. She was right, we went there our first night at 8:15(when they reopened for anytime dining). We were seated at Jansen and Antok's table. Jansen is from the Philipenes and Antok is from Bali. They were both very friendly and funny. We learned that Jansen's wife and son were going to join him in a couple of weeks. Then he was going home for a couple of weeks. He will be sailing with the Sapphire when she does the Alaska route. Antok is very funny, he did card tricks with our DD's(28 and 29) and he also did some brain teasers for us. DD1 was able to figure them out which he thought was very good. One of my SIL's doesn't like mushrooms and after she had a soup that had mushrooms in it Jansen and Antok both noticed that she didn't eat it and asked her if it was ok. She told them why she didn't eat it. From then on they told her if anything had mushrooms in it. They also joked with her and told her that they were going to put extra mushrooms in her food. It was great and so much fun! We made reservations to eat at their table every night. The first night my DH ordered a cherry coke, when he got it I took the cherry and ate it.( Which I always do) Jansen and Antok noticed and every night there was a small bowl of cherries at my place. My DH and SIL also had their drinks on the table shortly after we sat down. We had our own traditional dining in the anytime dining room, we loved it! We all enjoyed our meals on board the ship. My favorite was the Oso Bucco in the Vivaldi Dining Room. The meat was falling off of the bone tender and the risotto was so creamy. My DD2 had stuffed peppers in the International Dining Room for lunch one day, she said that the rice and raisin filling was so good. She wished that she could have the recipe.
My SIL's loved the cheeseburgers the said that they were so fresh and juicy. After taking the tour I found out that they grind there own beef for the burgers. Which would explain why they were so fresh tasting.
We had mini suites on the Dolphin deck (D 729, 731 and 733). We were able to open the connecting balcony doors which made it easier to move from cabin to cabin. The cabins were clean and comfortable. We spent a lot of time on the balconies watching for whales and dolphins. The mattresses in all three cabins were different. It was kind of like Goldilocks and the Three Bears. My SIL's beads were medium firm, DD's were soft(which they like) and DH's and mine were firm! Our steward's name was Philip. I don't know where he was from as we hardly saw him.
I enjoyed the entertainment on the ship. I saw the Piano Man and I Got The Music productions. The singers and dancers that were on board had just come on the week before. So in places they were a little rough. But all in all both were good shows. We also saw the comedian, Carlos Oscar. We enjoyed him and his clean comedy. He is trying to get a tv show on the air. I hope that he does.
My DD's,DH and I all used the Lotus Spa. We all had nice relaxing massages. The best part was that no one tried to sell us anything! I had my hair done for our vow renewal and Zara did a fantastic job of putting my semi long thick hair up and making it look pretty.
We are planning our next cruise now. I am hoping that it will be soon.
If you have any questions I will try to answer them. And if I can't then I'll ask the other 5 people who were with me!