We ended up on the Sapphire Princess about a month or so before the cruise because of the cancellation of our Carnival Splendor cruise to the Mexican Riviera. We were happy that we were able to find an alternative cruise and also excited to try out a princess cruise. We were upgraded to a AB mini suite which was pretty great. I think we were on a AE room originally. So first time upgrade so we were happy with that. We had a convention at the Long Beach convention center and stayed at the Hilton Long Beach. The room was very nice and we got it at a very good price. A short ride over two bridges and we were at the San Pedro pier.
We arrived at about 1:00 p.m. and there were absolutely no lines to check in….We just walked up to the counter, got checked in and waited in a very short security line. Beware, the security guards were not very customer friendly. We witnessed several scoldings to other travelers. They need a lesson from Disney on how to be friendly. We got on the ship immediately and to our surprise we were able to go straight to our room. Within an hour our bags were in our room. The room was very spacious. Nice layout with two TV’s, nice sitting area and a very large balcony. We were on the Dolphin level so our balcony sticks out the farthest and there are many balcony levels above you that look directly down at your balcony. It didn’t bother me too much but I did have to look up so see who was watching me. The two TV’s were fun because they have the same remotes so we were having remote wars going on the whole trip changing each others channels and lowering volumes. Our room attendant, Joey, was great and very proficient at his duties. We were surprised that there was no fruit in the room. We had to request it. After we ate the first plate of fruits we thought they would fill it again…knowing that we like to eat fruit but it was never refilled. I am sure if we requested again they would have refilled the fruit dish. One suggestion is to buy water before you go on the cruise and bring it on with you. We went to the local Walmart in Long Beach and bought the smaller size bottles which was perfect. We drank our water the entire trip, took some on shore and it was the best thing to keep hydrated.
Entertainment was good. The best entertainment we experienced on board was Steven Morris. He was in the opening night show and had two other stand up shows. He was great! He mixes music with comedy so it was very entertaining. The former cop comedian was fun but after watching Steven Morris a little less exciting. The musicians and dancers on board were great…normal cruise level of entertainment. Casino was nice but too smoky. I always wonder why they allow people to smoke in the casino…maybe one day these cruise lines will get the message about 2nd hand smoke.
Ports of Call. We booked shore excursions in Cabo San Lucas and Mazatlan. Puerto Vallarta we just took a taxi and had the driver show us around the town. Puerto Vallarta was our first stop. When we got back on the ship and took off for Mazatlan, the captain came on the intercom and told us that the cruise lines have decided to change the cruise Itinerary because of violence in Mazatlan. So we would be heading to Cabo San Lucas after one day at sea, then the day after in Ensenada. We were actually happy for the change in itinerary as we had not been to Ensenada before. We chose to book our shore excursions on the internet and not though the cruise line…much much cheaper. So we thought we lost all our money because we would not be doing our Mazatlan ATV rides and we would be one day earl y for our wave runner reservations in Cabo. I emailed the company and they gave me several alternatives and we ended up with a refund for Mazatlan and our wave runner was no problem in Cabo. If you enjoy jet skis or wave runners our experience in the Cabo bay was fantastic. Maybe the most fun my wife and had on any shore excursion. There was two giant cruise ships in the middle of the Cabo bay and the famous arch…we just went from one end of the bay to the other, around the ships and just had so much fun. I would recommend to any one.
Food. The buffet lines in the Horizon Court were kind of funky in the Sapphire. It is in a circle and does not have a good flow to the buffet lines. Food was average…nothing very spectacular. As a bacon lover…while on vacation…I was so disappointed in the bacon. Paper thin and mass produced so didn’t taste very good. Made to order omelets were okay. We ended up eating breakfast in the dining room after the first couple of days. We felt the food was better … just took much longer to finish breakfast. Dinner was also average. Nothing special about the dinner food. In fact the first night the food was pretty yucky. Didn’t like it .. but each night got a little better. We ate at Sabatini’s and the Steak House. The New York on bone was fantastic. 16oz. Would rate both Sabatini’s and the Steak house high on our list.
SPA. My wife went to the spa for a hair wash before one of the formal nights and also got a facial. From previous experience I told her not to buy any thing from the spa after the facial. Sure enough she came back to the room with a suggested purchase list of $1000 in products the spa gal wanted her to buy. Was proud of my wife for not buying any of that product which I am sure is good but a little over priced. We were disappointed the in the SPA facilities, but that is just from comparing from other cruise lines.
Over all, out of the six cruises we have been on this is the first one that I was a little bored on. Stayed in the room a lot and there were activities on board but not as much as other cruise lines. Celebrated my 50+ birthday on the cruise. I would go on a Princess Cruise again but the price would have to be right. Aloha and happy cruising.