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5 Night Asia Cruise from Singapore

5 Night Asia Cruise from Singapore

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Exterior shot of Sapphire Princess in Whittier, Alaska
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Itinerary

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  • Day 1
    Singapore
  • Day 2
    Kelang (Kuala Lumpur)
  • Day 3
    Penang
  • Day 4
    Phuket
  • Day 5
    Cruising
  • Day 6
    Singapore

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

Although we have cruised with Princess before, at 24 nights this would be our longest cruise with them and anyone else for that matter. The itinerary covered Canada and New England in the Fall, the only drawbacks was that there were going ... Read More
Although we have cruised with Princess before, at 24 nights this would be our longest cruise with them and anyone else for that matter. The itinerary covered Canada and New England in the Fall, the only drawbacks was that there were going to be a lot of sea days, and difficult to predict weather. We booked this cruise in May 2018 and had got a good deal, with the 321 offer, Future Cruise Credit and we ended up with $1400 on-board credit. This would also be our first cruise in the Elite loyalty tier. Embarkation/Disembarkation The ship was using the Ocean Terminal in Southampton. We had priority boarding and so did a lot of others, from arriving at the terminal to getting to the cabin took 25mins. Check in took a bit longer as they had to confirm that we had valid US visas (ESTA). Disembarkation was straightforward, a few days before a form was left in our cabin for us to complete with our preferences. We selected Independent 09:00, we got 09:15 but this was not a problem. After breakfast on disembarkation morning we went to Club Fusion (the Elite waiting lounge) but it was far too crowded, so we moved on to the Savoy Dining Room, where there was seating. We were called 15mins early, walked off, collected our luggage from the Reclaim which was grouped by the coloured and numbered luggage tags provided by the ship. Cruise Critic Roll Call Meet and Greet We did have a M&G on the first sea day, a nice chat with quite a varied bunch. Dining We had chosen Freedom dinning and this gave us a choice of three MDRs for dinner, breakfast and lunch could be taken in the International Dining Room. At times we struggled with the menus, and we are not picky eaters. They seem to operate a two week menu rotation which meant that by the end of the cruise the choices were becoming very familiar. In general the food was well prepared and presented, but seemed to lack flavour. For Dinner we tended to eat in the Vivaldi, where the hostess Danielle did a great job of getting us a table of 6, 4 or 2 we find that with the noise in the dining room tables of 8 or 10 can be difficult. If there was a queue we would try one of the other MDRs. Wine prices are high, part of our 321 offer included a free bottle of wine each up to the value of $32, in the extensive list we could only find three bottles that met this price. Breakfast in the MDR can be a slow affair; we tended to use the Horizon Court (buffet) where there was a better selection of food, particularly fruit. The buffet can become congested at peak times and you had to be prepared to walk to the indoor swimming pool to find a table. We had lunch in Alfredo’s Pizzeria; this offers a reasonable choice of pizza and quick service. We also ate on the Lido Deck pizzeria Prego, I thought that the quality of pizza here was better, very thin, crispy and piping hot, but there are only three choices. The Trident Grill offers good burgers, hot dogs and fries. Bowls of fries were very popular. We also ate in the speciality restaurants Sabatini’s and the Sterling Steak House. Sabatini’s is great for a special occasion, you get a lot of food for the $29 uplift, the menu is interesting and the service is very good. Sterling again has a $29 uplift, if you like steak this is very good, on the occasion we used it for some reason service was slow. We also treated ourselves to the Chef’s Table, we booked it as soon as we got onboard, and the cover charge is $95. This was an exceptional experience; we were expecting a tasting menu we got a six course banquet with wine. This event only happened twice with 10 people at each sitting. It commences with a tour of the galley, with canapés and Champagne, before going on to a private area in the Pacific Moon MDR. Very memorable. Bars We decided to purchase the Premium Drinks Package, this may seem expensive at £49 per person per day but we calculated that due to the 18% applied to all drinks we would break even at six drinks each per day. Specially teas, coffees and bottled water were also included in this package. Our main watering hole in the evening was in Vines wine bar where Christian and Maria kept our glasses topped up. It’s a small area off the Piazza, it also got used as a waiting room for the Vivaldi MDR. We also tried most of the other bars, in general we found that if you sat at a bar the service was prompt, sitting at a table the service could be patchier. Drinks prices are quite high. Cabin Our cabin was on D deck starboard side just aft of midships (D523), this gave a smooth ride and convenient access to the rest of the ship. The cabin is classed as a Mini-Suit, starting with the bathroom, a clothes hanging area, the bedroom, a sitting area, and a good sized balcony. The bathroom has a full size bath with over bath shower; towels were changed every time they were used. Another nice touch was that a rubber bath mat was provided, particularly good when the ship is rolling. The bed and pillows are extremely comfortable. There are two large LED TVs, the selection of material to watch was very big, with a particularly good selection of movies. Our cabin steward Ramon Blanco, was friendly, efficient and eager to please. Entertainment The entertainment was disappointing; only four theatre production shows, relying mainly on cabaret type shows. The limited capacity of the theatre, and it’s not small, meant that if you wanted a seat you needed to be in there 30mins before curtain up. To try to relieve the capacity issues, matinee performances of the productions shows were staged on sea days. We did go to one production show which relied heavily on bright lighting and a loud sound track. Highlights were the encounter shows with Linda Gray and Valerie Singleton. The Enrichment lecturer Jevan Morris with his nautical themed lectures was also very good. Photography The photography was disappointing, where they used flash it did not give a good result, we did not buy any prints. Gym A good gym with everything you could want, most of the machines looked to be new. As usual it could become congested at peak times. The majority of treadmills are now in the fitness studio and can not be used when a seminar or class is in progress, this could be improved by swapping some of the cross trainers in the gym for treadmills. Shops Lots of shops to choose from, but prices were high. We thought that the amount of paper being posted to the cabins by Effy and the Art Autions was starting to have an environmental impact. Ports of Call Saint John’s, NF, Canada Our first stop after four days at sea, we were glad to get off! We took a ship walking tour led by local guide Jed Butt ably assisted by Caroline bringing up the rear. The tour was pleasantly paced and informative; fortunately it was a bright though chilly day. One particular highlight was unexpectedly being invited into the Governer’s House, a first for Jed. People were warm and friendly, and wanted to engage in conversation. This was a reasonably accessible tour; one of the party completed it on a mobility scooter. A nice touch was that two Newfoundland dogs were brought onto the ship for an encounter session before we sailed. Sydney, NS, Canada Our first sight was a large terminal and the world’s biggest fiddle! We took a historic walking tour; and our guide Wilfred came dressed in 18th century costume. We covered most of the historic sites in a living history style walk which ended with tea and biscuits at the museum. We were in luck as there was a vintage car show on in the main street which was worth a look round. Charlottetown, PEI, Canada A nice bright sunny morning, and we are off on a food and drink tasting walk. We munched and drank our way round Charlottetown in the company of Becky. Generous tastings included, oysters, craft beer, mussels, fries and a lobster roll. New York, USA We did not have anything planned for our first morning and afternoon in NY, and decided to walk down a couple of blocks from our berth on Pier 90 to the Intrepid Air and Space Museum. Most of the exhibits are housed in an aircraft carrier which has a large selection of aircraft including an SR71 spy plane and a space shuttle. On the pier there is a Concorde ($20 extra) and a submarine (included in entrance fee). We were lucky that it was quiet, definitely worth two or three hours of anybody’s time. In the evening we took a tour of Manhattan by night, this took in Brooklyn with a great view of Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty. Our guide Tony gave an interesting commentary and even threw in a visit to Grand Central Station. We were dropped in Times Square for an hour, 10:00 in the evening and the place in crazy, we didn’t feel threatened, just overwhelmed. Next day was a full day coach tour of Manhattan, but the UN General Assembly was in session and Donald Trump was in town, things got very congested. Our tour guide Anthony coped admirably. We took in the Lincoln Centre, Top of the Rock and the 9/11 Memorial. How the driver got the coach round the streets needed to be seen! Newport, RI, USA This was a tender transfer. We took a short guided walk let by Gail which was very informative had provided orientation. It’s a very pretty town with plenty to see. We took lunch in a local restaurant, lobster roll and fries. We would have stayed and explored a bit longer, but when we got back to the tender berth the queue was already lengthy. The tender operation was very efficient and the queue moved quickly. Boston, MS, USA This did not go well, there were problems with the berth and the gangways which caused lengthy delays in getting off and joining our tour, these should have been predicted. These problems resulted in wasting an hour and a half in the theatre waiting for the gangway to be repositioned and a compressed tour. During this time the communication from the ship was not great and they could have kept us better informed. We took a walking tour led by Patrick who kept the information coming. We did see everything we were meant to see, but at route march pace. The tour was compressed from 3.5 down to 2.5 hours, we decided to miss the Quincey Market and take the shuttle bus back to the ship, because the shuttle bus queue would only get longer as the afternoon progressed. Rockland, Maine, USA Our second tender port. Our tour was early afternoon, so we decided to stay on board in the morning rather than having to make additional tender trips to join our tour. Our tour was hosted by Marilee, and took us to a vineyard and winery, followed by time in Camden. It was a bright sunny day and the fall colours were really starting to show. Saint John, NB, Canada Today’s tour took in the reversing rapids; we saw them in both directions. It also included a run out to St. Martin’s, to see the beach and sample clam chowder. Our guide Barbara kept us informed and entertained with her commentary, and passing a basket of interesting objects down the bus. The chowder was excellent, the beach was beautiful, and the covered bridges interesting. On our return to Saint John we had some free time in the covered market before returning to the now reversed rapids. Halifax, NS, Canada Again we ended up on one of those trips in the middle of the day, and as a (free) shuttle was needed to get out of the docks stayed on board until our trip. The start was delayed due to a traffic accident in town; the ship could have communicated this better. We had driver/guide Bob, who turned up in his kilt. The run to Peggy’s Cove was very scenic and you got a good feeling of how isolated our destination was. Bob kept the information flowing in a very light hearted way. We had an hour at Peggy’s Cove, this was plenty of time to walk up to the light house, see the cove and walk round the shop. The return trip was a different route providing different scenery to look at. Anything Else? We were under no illusions that there were going to be a lot of sea days on this trip, and Princess could have tried harder but stuck to their 14 night American customer model. Overall it was a successful and enjoyable cruise for us, we were even able to cash in our unused onboard credit, up to $250. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
With excitement we looked forward to this cruise. We would be sailing with Princess after 5 years because the itinerary was so special and it would coincide with my special birthday. Embarkation and disembarkation was brilliant, it was ... Read More
With excitement we looked forward to this cruise. We would be sailing with Princess after 5 years because the itinerary was so special and it would coincide with my special birthday. Embarkation and disembarkation was brilliant, it was quick and well organised just how I had remembered and valued Princess for unfortunately this is where my admiration began and ended. The cabin was small but serviceable, bathroom tiny and in need of major update especially the  shower. The shower only had a shower curtain that had seen better days. The balcony was nice with 2 chairs and small table but old and tired. The room was well maintained by our Stewart Heinrich Tajano. He was excellent, very friendly and nothing seems too much bother. The quality and choice of food on offer was such a disappointment since our last Princess cruise around 5 years ago. Not an inspiring menu and I have never seen so many meals left, returned or complained about as I have on the Sappire Princess . Food undercooked, over cooked, not sufficiently defrosted, tough steak, rubbery lobster food served cold, lack of or poor presentation of meals and I am still looking for the sticky toffee in the so called sticky toffee steamed pudding. Food for formal evenings should be special and not as one couple I overheard say 'I got all dressed up for the best meal on the menu being fish and chips'. To be honest I have seen better menu's and quality of food in my local cafe.  I decided to get a drinks package as always seems easier when cruising with other companies. We'll don't bother where princess is concerned, as I found out on this cruise.  Apparently you cannot have cans of coke or canned/bottled mixer drinks with the full drinks package, mixers and soft drinks have to come out of the pump otherwise you must purchase the mixer seperately. In addition, should a drink exceed the $12 drink limit for your package you must pay the total for you drink and not, as you can with Celebrity, only pay the difference, i.e. drink $14 package $12 you would be charged $2.  Of course don't forget the 18% bar gratuity that is then added to every drink. However it has been suggested that this gratuity can be removed.  The wine selection by the glass is poor and the cost of bottles of wine is quite expensive.  Anytime dining has 3 smaller sized restaurants and this is the option we had chosen, unfortunately for the first 7 days of the cruise it was a shambles. Waiting times anywhere from 30 to 50 minutes if a table for 2 wanted. It was not unusual to be asked to move to another dining room and then told no table. If you wanted to be certain of a table for 2 you needed to ring up every morning from 8am. In the end I had to ask staff were there no tables for sharing as we hadn't asked specifically for a table for 2.  I have never in all my time cruising ever been asked to move to other dining rooms but this seemed normal practice on this ship. The Horizon Court on deck 14 is a buffet service. The choice of food most times was boring and the food quality could have also improved, however, on the whole it was better than what was served in the dining room.  The layout of the food in the buffet was poor and for the size of the ship and amount of passengers was rather small.  The service regarding beverages was good and staff were always helpful.  I was not impressed with the plastic crockery and glasses that was used. I was quite shocked that it took at least 5 days for Princess to attempt to enforce handwashing with guests on entering food area, it was not unusual to see guests just walking in without either using the handwashing basins or the gel hand wash. On ship shopping had plenty of jewellery, watches and perfume, all expensive. I feel there needs to be a larger selection in the general shop with regards to chocolate crisps and books and I observed there seemed a constant push for guests to purchase  photos, spa treatments and Effy jewellery. Where entertainment was concerned the shows were well attended every evening but getting a seat was a problem. Entertainment is personal and what suits one person does not suit another, however, the pianist Art Iliardi needs to review his play list. Other entertainment around the ship was in my opinion mediocre. The last formal evening theatre show was excellent and other passengers reported that the theatre shows had been good. The activities around the ship on sea days were at best boring. The library hardly any books and those that were there were in other languages. The first 3 Canadian ports were excellent, beautiful scenary, quiet places with very friendly people who were so helpful. New York was not for me, again this is personal.  Immigration was extremely well organised in New York so we'll done Princess.  I found New York very noisy, dirty and not what I had envisaged. However the sail out at night was fabulous the Manhatten skyline and statue of liberty made it worth while.  Boston was an organisation shambles by Princess. We  expected to be off the ship by about 9.30 well you could forget that there were ques every where and 1 gangway for so many passengers. The hold up appeared to be the 1st gangway was very steep, more like a ski slope and the elderly and less abled persons were having problems leaving the ship. It took until 11.30 until another gangway was secured. After waiting for a length of time and not getting anywhere we decided to stay aboard. Newport was by tender a 30 minute transfer this was much better organised but due to the number on board did again take a good length of time but a lovely place. Rockland by tender was well executed however place is very quiet and everything can be seen in around 90 minutes. St John's a private tour with Go Fundy Tours was excellent and would recommend them. Lots to see here but you need to go out and about with transport to do the place justice. Halifax a private tour with 5 star taxi, excellent, we seem to go everywhere and Darrell our guide seemed to know everyone. Our transatlantic crossings both ways went very well, we were very lucky, no bad weather. Our captain was excellent making sure he avoided any problems from the numerous hurricanes. In summary:  all in all worst cruise I have ever had. Why do you cruise for the itinerary, the food and beverages. The itinerary was very enjoyable the sailing was lovely the food was uninspiring, uninteresting, poorly presented and cooked. I will not be travelling again with Princess. Princess seems to be cost cutting and this needs to stop, they are ruining their hard earned reputation. if this was a school report the comments would be, you are not applying your skill sufficiently, must do better. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We booked this cruise for the itinerary and our Golden wedding anniversary . We have cruised for many years with different cruise lines, and cruised with Princess twice in the Caribbean these were fab with reasonable prices and good ... Read More
We booked this cruise for the itinerary and our Golden wedding anniversary . We have cruised for many years with different cruise lines, and cruised with Princess twice in the Caribbean these were fab with reasonable prices and good restaurant meals. But how different this cruise line has changed the food in the restaurant below average the Portions are smaller than all the cruises we have been on people we spoke to agreed. Some said why don’t you ask for 2 meals others do, why should l ask for 2 meal , the meal l get should be plentiful . Service in dining room most nights took 1.1/2 to 2 hrs We ate in the Horizon after that. Drinks prices were well over priced 90% of people drank water in restaurants . Food in Horizon And international cafe very good. The shows were all very good with a variety of different acts but getting a seat was difficult everynight ,if you weren’t in the theatre 45minutes before the start you struggled to get a seat. This shows how popular the shows were but a little thought could have eased this situation .The Club Fusion was most of the time 75% empty ( no reflection on the excellent group Xtasea who performed there) but the acts from previous nights in theatre could have performed a second time in there thus giving people a second chance to see them when they couldn’t get in theatre at either showing .This did happen once or twice in Explorers Lounge bit this was also like the Theatre you needed to get a seat by 6.30 to be able to get in for the evening.Exlorers was very popular due to gameshows al very enjoyable but why do it all in one lounge when another is sat empty most of the night Sapphire princess is same ship as P@O s Azura and Ventura and their Club Fusion equivellant is full everynight as well as Explorerers. This said we really enjoyed the cruise the staff were excellent ship lovely itinerary good but one last comment .WHAT HAS HAPPENED To THE SAILAWAY PARTIES ? Only cruise we have ever been on with no sailaway parties.and don’t blame the weather it was all good. Such a shame on a fantastic port like New York to sail out of one big disappointment . Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
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