Myself, my husband and 14 yo daughter, were on the January 15th Sapphire Princess sailing. We thoroughly enjoyed the cruise and were blessed with perfect weather. We flew into LAX on the morning of the cruise and used Prime Time shuttle to get to San Pedro terminal. Some lines at check in but no problem..we were on board around midday and allowed to access our cabin immediately. We loved our cabin C702, located just near the aft stairs- great position and very big balcony with 4 chairs and a table, and partially covered so you could choose sun or shade. Other balconies were not overlooking ours which felt quite private. Loved the layout of the cabin, huge closet with lots of hanging space and plenty of hangers, which separated the main part of the cabin from the bathroom, giving extra privacy and an area for changing.
We made a point of always using the stairs rather than the elevators to get some exercise, and I think we saved time this way too. I made regular use of the walking track forward on Deck 15, 10 rounds equals a mile - great view at the front of the ship, and we spotted a pod of dolphins leaping, and a couple of whales spouting all whilst walking. The gym has lots of treadmills and other equipment and scales at the entrance( in pounds and kilograms). Water temperature in the pools was lovely, though I thought the hot tubs were a bit too hot. I tried the adult pool at the lotus spa, swimming against the current but found it not strong enough..I kept reaching the end of the pool!
We had anytime dining, and we like to eat early so we would turn up at the Savoy dining room each evening at around 5.30 and were always seated straight away. WE enjoyed the elegance of the Savoy. We requested the same waiters after a couple of nights and this was no problem. We found the food to be well presented and served beautifully. Buffet food was OK, nothing special. My daughter enjoyed the pizza and hamburger stands on deck 14, and I discovered that the hot dog/hamburger grill made lovely waffles and omelettes in the mornings. Nice to eat outdoors.
We particularly enjoyed the entertainment on board- the production shows "Do you Wanna Dance", Piano Man, and Farewell Showtime were all excellent, and the Comedian Carlos Oscar very very funny. We did not enjoy Steve Morris's comedy as much, but the crew show was great - some amazing talent in the crew. We went on a backstage tour one day which was very interesting. We especially enjoyed the karaoke competitions held in Club Fusion - some very talented passengers too! We also enjoyed the Salsa and Jive dance classes held in Club Fusion...my husband learnt some new moves!
By far the best night was Fiesta night with an outdoor party held poolside on deck 14. The band (Extreme) was amazing and the entertainment staff got everybody up and dancing. The atmosphere was wonderful and we danced the night away under the stars till almost midnight. Extreme would play at the Explorers lounge at other times and we always enjoyed their music. And later at night we would dance at Skywalkers nightclub.
One thing I really liked about Princess cruises is their laundry facilities.
Very cheap $1 for a wash load and $1 to dry a load of washing. You need 4 quarters, but there is a machine which dispenses change from a dollar bill.
And the best bit...free ironing boards- you can pop in any time and iron out a few creases before getting dressed for formal night - so convenient!
After 8 pm several drinks are $2.99 in all areas, we grew to love our Pina Coladas, but I believe Singapore Slings and Long Island Tea was also available, as well as house spirits.
I found there to be a good mix of age groups on board. My daughter attended Remix, the teen club on the first night for registration and the opening at 10 pm. I would strongly recommend attending on the first night as bonds were formed then which lasted for the duration of the cruise. She made some lovely friends and was never bored- happy to hang out with her cruise buddy's. In fact most evenings we would not see her after dinner till midnight! The teens would mainly hang out at the Remix club rooms on Deck 15 or at the ping pong table. She is still keeping in touch with these friends on Facebook.
Disembarkation was a bit slow- we were given 9.40 as a disembarkation time, and had to vacate our cabins by 8 am so there was a bit of waiting around.
Once we were finally off the ship, we had booked Sav-on-Shuttle to take us to our hotel, but we ended up having to wait almost an hour for our shuttle to arrive. Taxis were plentiful and in future I would just take a taxi. There is a sign at the taxi stand with suggested prices - eg, LAX $57 for 1-7 passengers, so it could be worth sharing a cab with some other passengers.
All in all, and excellent cruise which I would highly recommend.