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13 Night Australia & New Zealand Cruise from Melbourne

13 Night Australia & New Zealand Cruise from Melbourne

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Exterior shot of Sapphire Princess in Whittier, Alaska
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Itinerary

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  • Day 1
    Melbourne
  • Day 2
    Cruising
  • Day 3
    Cruising
  • Day 4
    Cruising
  • Day 5
    Isle of Pines (New Caledonia)
  • Day 6
    Mystery Island
  • Day 7
    Port Vila
  • Day 8
    Champagne Bay (Vanuatu)
  • Day 9
    Cruising
  • Day 10
    Noumea
  • Day 11
    Cruising
  • Day 12
    Cruising
  • Day 13
    Cruising
  • Day 14
    Melbourne

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

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
Just completing a 24 day cruise of New England and Canada on the Sapphire Princess and having had a 3 year break from Princess Cruises. Having completed over 41 cruises I have experienced a lot of great service and friendly staff to ... Read More
Just completing a 24 day cruise of New England and Canada on the Sapphire Princess and having had a 3 year break from Princess Cruises. Having completed over 41 cruises I have experienced a lot of great service and friendly staff to amazing places with P & O, Princess, Celebrity and Royal Caribbean, unfortunately this Princess ship has not given the quality of service I have enjoyed in the past. The food was well below the expected standard and not on par with my previous experience with Princess, in particular the standard was variable and the quality of beef (particularly steaks) was poor with menus which were too repetitive and limited. Getting served in Cafe Piazza is often slow and although bar service is fine the lack of bar menus mean you have to ask what is available. Cabin (L246) was okay but lamps were faulty (until they were changed) and the sink in the bathroom wouldn’t hold water for long, the shower flooded and leaked when used. Water temperature was poor and I am still undecided which way is hot and which was cold. The in cabin entertainment would have been good if the on demand service was reliable and didn’t keep stopping. The cabin was kept clean by the steward and she was helpful. I have been on this class of ship with others and the rear of deck 7 is A show lounge which takes pressure of the theatre when it is full but for some reason the Sapphire has Club Fusion which is not used as such. This meant the theatre was frequently full and there were totally insufficient wheelchair spaces. I was also concerned that people were allowed to stand at the back and down the side stairs while others sat on the stairs, I have concerns that the fire regulations in relation to maximum personnel allowed were not adhered to. Entertainment was good if limited in venues and some great acts to entertain you over a broad range. The ports were all good and though I didn’t participate in any trip I heard good comments about them. I am wheelchair bound and generally the ship was accessible with the exception of decks 15 and 16 and the pool and jacuzzi had a disabled hoist. My only criticism is the shuttle buses which never secured me during transit though this may be outside the company’s control. Th Sapphire Princess is in need of a refit and I believe this is happening sometime this year but that won’t address other shortcomings with her. Altogether a disappointing holiday which failed to meet previous standards and I have already got a cruise on Royal Princess booked for next year (Alaska with land addons so can’t cancel) but I suspect the issues are mainly ship specific, I don’t expect to return to Princess again after that. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
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