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8 Night Asia Cruise from Hong Kong

8 Night Asia Cruise from Hong Kong

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Exterior shot of Sapphire Princess in Whittier, Alaska
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Itinerary

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  • Day 1
    Hong Kong
  • Day 2
    Cruising
  • Day 3
    Taipei (Keelung)
  • Day 4
    Okinawa
  • Day 5
    Cruising
  • Day 6
    Nagasaki
  • Day 7
    Fukuoka
  • Day 8
    Cruising
  • Day 9
    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

Not our first cruise, but has been a while. We decided to celebrate NYE cruising with our two teenage boys, and for the most part, the cruise was really enjoyable. THE GOOD Fully booked cruise, 2600 passengers, yet the ship never ... Read More
Not our first cruise, but has been a while. We decided to celebrate NYE cruising with our two teenage boys, and for the most part, the cruise was really enjoyable. THE GOOD Fully booked cruise, 2600 passengers, yet the ship never felt congested (in fact, at times it felt half empty). The shear number of public areas is fantastic, which effectively spreads out the guests and creates a really open feel. Sure the Horizon Court Buffet can get busy at peak times, but we never had trouble finding a table, and the vibe was actually really good with no issues sharing a table (which we enjoyed, as it was a chance to chat to other travelers). Contrary to some reviews I have read recently, I felt the food was at a very high level. The Horizon Buffet had a good variety, and I never was bored of the choices (I did the 10 day cruise, I suspect after 21 days it could get boring... but hey, better than cooking and washing up at home). The three anytime dining restaurants were excellent, with each having the same menu (Pacific Moon, Vivaldi and Savoy). I could not fault the food or the service, and it was a highlight of each day. The Creme Brulee was a particular favorite of my family. The Cruise Director (Matt "Gooooood Time" Baker) were funny and upbeat, and did their best to keep the party going (particularly on NYE). This is a really tough gig, as the demographic on cruises is so varied. All in all, hats off to them, they did a great job IMO. The decor and layout of the boat is OK, and comments that it is dated are a bit harsh. I have seen pictures of some really new ships, and yer they look pretty amazing, with GoKart tracks, and wave pools and sky diving, but read the reviews, who likes lining up for 1 to 2 hours on a ship to have a go at a showground attraction?? No lines for activities Sapphire. We had a Quad Bunk room with an Obstructed view.... no romance on this cruise, but hey, it was a family experience and the room was spacious and well appointed. No complaints here. The daily shore excursion enrichment seminars were fantastic, and the lady that ran these was excellent, with honest advice and a real knowledge of each shore visit. Hygiene was taken very seriously, with staff constantly reminding passengers to wash their hands. No illness outbreak that I was aware of. THE AVERAGE Christmas Cruise meant lots of kids, and for us this was great. My kids are 13 and 14 and in their Teen "Surf Club" program, there were 180 kids, and 500+ kids all up. For us, this was fantastic, as a big part of the cruise was our kids meeting friends and having a great time. The young lady running the Teen program (Valeria) was amazing and patient. Unfortunately I just don't think there was enough in the program to keep this age group engaged (another tough gig to be honest). My kids really wanted to participate in group activities, but many were a bit young, and they often opted to swim or catch up with kids outside the program. I felt this was a missed opportunity from Princess Cruises to really excel and have activities that were age appropriate and engaging. It wasn't bad, just not great. Entertainment. Sapphire has a pretty big auditorium, that largely sits empty. I felt there could have been more entertainment in this area. As someone has mentioned, rather than cinema outside in the hot, a daily Matinee Cinema would have been great, especially if the movies were current. The comedian was OK, and missed the mark a lot, and some shows felt flat. The Dance/Singing troop were pretty good, but under utilized. The Band "Xtasea". They were competent, but looked really tired. I think 2 bands were needed, as the play list was pretty repetitive. Two 45 minute sets a night, and then that was it, pretty much the only night time entertainment after 10:30pm was in the nightclub with a DJ, and it was pretty flat most of the time. THE BAD Internet. Pretty much non existent. Paid $99US for 240 minutes, barely had a chance to browse of download an email. Was told in the internet cafe that they had problems, and I was refunded the $99. ITINERARY The ship got struck by lightning on the 2nd sea day out of Bali, and that crippled the ships Radar. We had to anchor while repairs were conducted, and we finally got underway at around 2am the next day. This meant no KL port call, and the ship sailed to Penang, then cancelled Phuket and instead made a port of call at Langkawi. Personally, they should have just skipped KL and continued on with the set itinerary (Penang, then Phuket). Many passengers were upset about this. KL port is terrible, and the nearly 2hr coach ride to anywhere eats into any shore time. I feel it should be scrapped as a port of call. All in all, we had a great time, and I would not hesitate to book a trip on the Sapphire again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
we had dinner in the Club Restaurant. This turned out to be a complete disaster. a) Started with prawns covered in tomato ketchup. Strange sauce for this type of starter. b) Next came an “Onion Soup with Croutons”. Well this ... Read More
we had dinner in the Club Restaurant. This turned out to be a complete disaster. a) Started with prawns covered in tomato ketchup. Strange sauce for this type of starter. b) Next came an “Onion Soup with Croutons”. Well this was a disgrace as no Head Chef would normally allow this dish to leave their kitchen. The cheese topping was OK but under that it was full of soggy white bread soaked in the soup with very little onion being present and definitely no ‘Croutons’. This was taken away and I did not want a replacement. c) The next dish was a Chicken & Broccoli Tagliatelle. This dish, in fact, did not have one-piece of chicken in it and 2 very small pieces of broccoli hiding in a plate of pasta & sauce. This dish was eventually replaced with the correct ingredient’s present. I think that this portion was just ladled out from the top of the pot d) My wife’s steak was over cooked and, also, had to be replaced as it was not cooked as requested i.e. medium rare. e) The dining supervisor, Felix, did his utmost to rectify these embarrassing scenarios. f) The maître d'hôtel or Chef did not have the decency to come out to discuss this with us. 2. The following morning, I was telephoned by Guest Services to enquire whether everything was OK. I explained to her what had happened, as above, and she said that she would investigate this. Nothing happened. 3. On another evening we ordered Escargots à la bourguignonne. We were served Escargots in a sweet sauce which was not very nice. As suggested to Felix, in French cuisine, the snails are typically purged, killed, removed from their shells, and cooked (usually with garlic butter, chicken stock or wine), and then placed back into the shells with the garlic butter and sauce for serving. 4. One evening we were served Beef Wellington which just had a wafer-thin strip of pastry strategically placed on top of the serving. Normally this type of dish is served encased in the pastry but probably a challenge for so many people. We must say that that serving of this tender beef was the best that we had on the cruise. Top quality! 5. Along with many other guests we were not to happy with the now 18% “Service Charge” that you apply to, what are in principle, duty free wines. This is on top of the daily ‘gratuity’ charge. 6. We had a photographic sitting and were then told that we would have to pay for the photographs. For guests occupying a Penthouse Suite it is shown on your documentation that they are entitled to a complementary portrait sitting. This seemed a bit unclear and when we discussed this with the guest service desk, we told them that we interpreted this as a single complementary portrait photograph. They also agreed that it was not clear so they would have to discuss this with their supervisor. They left a telephoned answer that only the sitting was complementary. FYI: All guests were also offered a free sitting. I believe that you should delete this from your documentation as it is not an extra benefit. 7. We had the complimentary mini-bar set-up on embarkation day. Should this not have additionally included the complementary wine, 1/2 bottle of red wine plus 1/2 bottle of white wine, as per Club Class, in our stateroom upon arrival? 8. The table waiting staff were all very good. One thing that could be reviewed is the constant attendance at our table by sometimes three different people asking if everything is OK. Of course, we can understand that this is part of their training but can be a bit annoying when we are trying to have a private conversation. I did suggest that when we required their services, we would indicate this. I know this is just a small detail, but can all help to improve the dining experience, not just ours but other guests whom we spoke to also felt the same. 9. The Captains “Party” was a great success now that it was split up into two groups. Much more comfortable and places to sit. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We wanted to go on a cruise to see a specific port and relax. We never go t to the port. No compensation either. Lost money as we booked shore excursion separate to Princess. Our sheets weren’t changed for 10days and everything ... Read More
We wanted to go on a cruise to see a specific port and relax. We never go t to the port. No compensation either. Lost money as we booked shore excursion separate to Princess. Our sheets weren’t changed for 10days and everything cost money. As a diabetic I couldn’t have the house soda as it was sugar based. Ship was looking old. Staff were not friendly and when i asked for fresh towels the steward grunted at me. Room service took a long time to get to room and then it was cold. Drinks are expensive and only had 1 type of soda for a diabetic. Buffet food was excellent. Great range for every pallet. Shore excursions are expensive. Maybe Princess should look at providing a free shuttle to get to town as ports are far away from anything. I usually go with the flow but after being on more than 10 other cruises, this was a massive disappointment and waste of money. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
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