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16 Night Asia Cruise from Shanghai

16 Night Asia Cruise from Shanghai

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Exterior shot of Sapphire Princess in Whittier, Alaska
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Itinerary

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  • Day 1
    Shanghai
  • Day 2
    Cruising
  • Day 3
    Cruising
  • Day 4
    Tokyo (Yokohama)
  • Day 5
    Shimizu
  • Day 6
    Osaka
  • Day 7
    Kochi
  • Day 8
    Cruising
  • Day 9
    Shanghai
  • Day 10
    Cruising
  • Day 11
    Hibiki
  • Day 12
    Maizuro
  • Day 13
    Niigata
  • Day 14
    Hakodate
  • Day 15
    Cruising
  • Day 16
    Cruising
  • Day 17
    Shanghai

Sapphire Princess

Sapphire Princess - Princess Cruises

Pros

After 2018 refurb, ship sports a new kids' club, refreshed spa and top-notch entertainment

Cons

Bathrooms still in need of a refurbishment

Bottom Line

A good-value ship packed full of entertainment and activities


Cruise Reviews

The highlight of this cruise was seeing the northern lights above the Arctic circle in Alta Norway. Spectacular show on our second day of port stay so we were fortunate to see the northern lights. Our other stops in Norway were ... Read More
The highlight of this cruise was seeing the northern lights above the Arctic circle in Alta Norway. Spectacular show on our second day of port stay so we were fortunate to see the northern lights. Our other stops in Norway were Alesund, Tromoso and Stavanger. This was the last cruise ship to all these ports for the season and we were the only ship in port. As a result shore offerings were somewhat limited with almost no independent options. The ship tours were adequate and the weather this late being a bit limiting on options. As mentioned above, the highlight was the two day port call in Alta in hopes of seeing norther lights. Our first night was overcast with snow so a total bust. Our scheduled ship excursion to viewing point at secluded slate mine the first night was pretty much a wash out as a result of the bad weather. Second night worked out much better as the weather cleared and the northern lights were visible. Some passengers were complaining but you have to realize that there is no way to control the weather. The ship is a nice medium size, clearly my preference over the Princess mega fleet e.g. Royal, Regal. Captain's daily updates were informative and he made a few adjustments to port arrivals/departures to avoid some rough north sea weather. Considering, we had a very smooth trip, just one night of chop. Crew did a nice job, especially our Cabin attendant and Cruise director/entertainment team. Food was better then our last Princess experience. Disappointing room service options for breakfast but this seems to be Princess standard menu across all ships. Boarding and disembarkation were efficient with no issues. We took the Princess Bus from Victoria Coach Station in London to Southampton and bus to Heathrow airport on return. There were several bus loads so a bit crowded but nicely handled. Overall good service as expected from Princess, very relaxing and we were fortunate to see the northern lights. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
The main purpose of this cruise....the Northern Lights. Spoiler alert.....we saw them! Having spent a couple of nights in London and Southampton pre cruise the day finally arrived to board the Sapphire. Embarkation was delayed due ... Read More
The main purpose of this cruise....the Northern Lights. Spoiler alert.....we saw them! Having spent a couple of nights in London and Southampton pre cruise the day finally arrived to board the Sapphire. Embarkation was delayed due to a satellite needing replacing on the ship but after a few hours waiting in relative comfort we were onboard. I had an obstructed window E212, a step up from my usual inside. Although a lifeboat hung in the lower half of the window, it was sea views over the top. The room was spacious enough for my solo traveling needs and was kept spotless by my awesome room steward "Chai". The bed was amazingly comfortable, the television had a huge selection of new movies and tv shows. This was my first time on the Sapphire and she had everything I love about Princess. Pizza slices by the pool, burgers, amazing milkshakes from Swirls. The cruise staff were great, the activities were good fun and there was plenty to choose from. I won elevator roulette (a game that is always a highlight of the Princess games). Confession..... I'm not really a MDR girl but I did eat there a couple of times. I found the service to be slow but I think this is just how Princess does MDR meals (one of the main reasons I prefer the buffet). The food though was good, no complaints there. The Sapphire has one of the best buffets I've eaten from on a ship. There was a big variety and the food was hot and plentiful. If you get the chance, try the orange mousse OMG! The Lido deck bar and food venues were shut for a few days due to bad weather (a good call from Princess to get staff out of the freezing temperatures and passengers away from the icy surfaces) but we certainly didn't go hungry. I had the soda package and had no problems getting served (which has been an issue on other Princess ships). The bar staff were friendly and efficient. I also had the all inclusive photo package and found no end of opportunities to get a photo taken, I certainly feel I got my monies worth. First port was Alesund where I did a privately booked tour with Calm Giant Tours. The guide was a lot of fun, very informative and the scenery was simply stunning. I highly recommend. Second port was Tromso. Another private tour with Tromso Individuell. We had two buses and unfortunately the guide of the larger vehicle decided to spend a lot of the time preacher her religious beliefs. At lunch we weren't invited to pray, we were told we would be. Not ok in my books. The sights were nice but I wouldn't use this company again. Then I did a night tour "a light chase" with Tromso Guide. The snow was heavy and chances of seeing the lights practically zero but a good time was had, we even got to visit a Norwegian supermarket which was kind of cool. Third port was Alta and an overnight stay. Day one, a private tour of Alta (museum, cathedral, Sami Lavvu) with Luuso. This tour was fun and informative, the guide was very good. In the evening another privately booked light chase with Paeskatun, the snow was falling so hard and the tour seemed to be overbooked causing delays and confusion when trying to board the buses. With no chance what so ever of seeing the lights we drove in what seemed like dangerous conditions for longer than we should have (these guys should know when to call it off but because they had booked so many people on the tours I guess they wanted to give us our monies worth). The guide was informative about the lights we wouldn't see but if I were to use this company again I would insist on it being the small vehicle that I booked, not a larger bus that they swapped to to take more passengers and make more money. Alta day two was Princess tours. During the day a trip to the dam and a Sami Lavvu, both very interesting. At night a trip to Paeskatuns' head quarters to try and see the lights. The skies had cleared and lady Aurora danced across the sky for us. The slate quarry was interesting and the staff were really informative, I've almost forgiven Paeskatun for the shambles that was the previous night. Fourth port, Stavanger. The sun shone and I walked the city then took a privately booked boat trip to Pulpit Rock with Rodne Fjord Cruises. A lovely day (with amazing internet on the boat which was well used on our way back to town). For anyone thinking of doing the lights cruise or sailing on the Sapphire, I wouldn't hesitate in booking. The one downside was the internet. This ship doesn't have medallionet so the internet was slow and sold by the minute. Being in Norway in the fjords we didn't have service for a good amount of time, not Princesses fault but something to consider when purchasing. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
This was our first time on the Sapphire Princess although we had been on the sister ship, Diamond, earlier in the year in Japan so knew mostly what to expect. We had initially been booked on the Explorer of the seas for a similar ... Read More
This was our first time on the Sapphire Princess although we had been on the sister ship, Diamond, earlier in the year in Japan so knew mostly what to expect. We had initially been booked on the Explorer of the seas for a similar itinerary at the same time but when it got cancelled we opted for this cruise rather than taking the Independence of the Seas {which followed most of our trip} as the Sapphire was in port much longer each time. We flew down to London for 4 nights pre cruise and took in some shows before taking the train to Southampton the day before. Stayed overnight in the Leonardo grand harbour which was very good and gave great views towards the port. Very wet day so ventured out in full rain gear to get the obligatory wine from a nearby Asda! Found a nice Indian restaurant {Bayleaf kitchen} on the High street with great reviews and had an excellent meal before it dried up and we headed back to the hotel. Good breakfast in the morning and pre-booked taxi for 11 o’clock which, as expected, turned into a sea of people all trying to get to one of the 3 large ships nearby. A short taxi ride had us at the terminal around 1140 and as we had a club class cabin we were booked in fairly quickly. The only issue was having to argue with the staff for the advertised priority boarding, which nobody seemed to know about! Got on the ship about 20 minutes later just after the club class dining room opened in the Santa Fe restaurant so relaxed over a small lunch until our cabin was ready. Located midship on the starboard side our mini suite had plenty of space and lots of storage. The only issues we had were the plug in the bath refused to open and the balcony door kept sticking but a visit to guest services quickly had these remedied. This was our third time booking club class. I know it isn’t for everyone but we really enjoy the small dining room and the more personal experience that it brings. We always got a table straight away and usually next to the window. All the staff were excellent and each night there was an extra on the menu that wasn’t available elsewhere. I have to say that on this cruise they excelled with this choice on most evenings, from Surf and Turf {including lobster and filet mignon steak!} to fresh pasta. As a result of this we never made it to the buffet, a first for us! The coffee at the international café has improved this year {according to my wife} and was well used. Entertainment onboard was the usual hit and miss stuff. The headliners being good to excellent and the guest speaker, Egwina Currie , was surprisingly interesting and informative. The cruise director, Paul, was humorous without being over the top and is down to earth. Should mention at this point that this was our first time going through the bay of Biscay. The first day, a sea day, enroute to Vigo was reasonably rough and effected a large amount of passengers. We were lucky and ate, drank and slept through it! We attended the c.c. roll call but unfortunately the weather curtailed the large number of people who had signed up. Still, met a lot of nice people. The ports of call were: Vigo- where we took a half day ship excursion on a catamaran over to Illa de Cies. Two uninhabited islands, joined by a small causeway, off the coast with an amazing sandy beach and a great walking path up to the lighthouse. Terrific weather made this a highlight of the cruise. In the afternoon we spent a couple of hours walking around Vigo old town {nothing special} with some great Italian ice cream! The ship thankfully docked right in town. Madeira- Having spent a week here before and also stopped on a transatlantic crossing we were looking forward to some walking in the mountains. We hired a car and headed for the top but unfortunately so had lots of walking groups on the Island. We persevered for a few hours along narrow high level paths before heading off to other, quieter parts. Got some great photos from some lookout points along the way and ended our day back in town. Dropped the car off and had drinks by the pool of the hotel we had previously stayed at and enjoyed the sunny walk back through the gardens to the ship. Tenerife- Another car hire day. Drove over to Puerto de la Cruz and spent a few hours walking around the old town area before driving up to the cable car centre of Mount Teide. Unfortunately the winds were too strong for the cable car to operate but the scenery was very impressive all around. Nice drive back through small villages and stops at lookout points on the way back to port. Gran Canaria- Car hire again down to Maspalomas and a walk through the sand dunes to the large beach. After a few pleasant hours we drove up into the hills to visit a recommended “pretty village”. The drive was a bit nerve wracking but scenic however the weather changed on arriving at the village and thick mist and cold temperatures made for a short visit after some well deserved coffee and cake! The weather cleared on the return journey to the port giving great views. Lanzarote- Booked a Princess tour as it was reasonable in price and spent the full day visiting all the places we had wanted to see anyway. Got a tour of the Timanfaya national park and then a short camel ride before some wine tasting and a decent buffet lunch. The afternoon consisted of visits to Mirador del Rio viewpoint {a house built into the rockface with stunning views overlooking the nearby island of La Graciosa} and Jameos del Agua {a cave system}. Good excursion. Three sea days and plenty of good food in the club class dining room followed by a few hours of walking it off around the promenade deck! Time for some relaxing before disembarking easily at Southampton and a short flight home. A very good cruise experience. We had{mainly} good weather, got into every port on time, the food was excellent onboard and the ports were interesting, each in their own way. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
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