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Sapphire Princess Cruise Review
4.5 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
1,054 Reviews

Sapphire Princess - Australia/New Zealand

Sapphire Princess Cruise Review by Mike W

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Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Apr 2007
  • Destination: Australia & New Zealand

Embarkation at Auckland was excellent as was delivery of luggage etc.

The ship was impressive and spotless always. Staff were continuously cleaning or painting, sometimes, however, this was a little intrusive particularly at night.

The trips are well organized and not too expensive as is sometimes the case on cruises.

The ports of call were all interesting ( we missed Hobart due to rough seas but that meant we stayed overnight in Melbourne which was great).

The charge for transporting passengers into town from the docks was I thought a little mean.

Food in the Italian Restaurant, Sabatinis, was absolutely excellent and well worth the additional $20 charge. We were on fixed dining in the International dining room, second sitting, and the food was fairly poor. Fish dishes were dry and overcooked, food was not very warm , steaks were tasteless, all in all if you hadn't been told what the meal comprised of you would have difficulty guessing. The service was excellent if a little rushed. Food in the Horizon self service was at best OK but getting a table was often impossible.

I cannot understand how food can be so good if you pay $20 extra and so bland elsewhere.

Entertainment was also poor,perhaps the worst I have experienced on a cruise, nowhere near the standard of RCC or P&O cruises.

The Captain (Captn Bates) was very amusing and his daily anecdotes were a treat).

The ship was like a ghost ship at midnight unless you went to the disco. My wife and I would be sat with a couple of friends at the bar in the Atrium area, the only activity would be that of cleaners hovering around us which was not what I would have expected.

If you choose second sitting, as we did, a lot of the "entertainment" started at between 9pm and 9.30pm so we would miss most of it. Entertainment would be on and it would then end without any announcement as to what followed, the venue would be in silence for 15 or 20 minutes. During that time most people would wander off, then suddenly fresh entertainment would start but by then the venue would be nearly empty. The cruise director and his staff did not provide any continuity between events. One issue I had was that everything was charged in US dollars yet at the end of the cruise they convert the bill back from dollars into the currency of the credit card used at a fairly poor exchange rate and then charge 3% on top. You can opt out of this apparently if you tick a box on one of the forms you have to fill in on Embarkation, but its not made clear. My Credit card does not charge for foreign currency conversions and uses the bank foreign currency rates so I think I have overpaid by 8% or more which was quite significant on my bill. I queried this at the pursers desk on receipt of the bill but they were not interested, they said I should ring Princess cruises in Southampton, England, not an easy thing to do from Australia with a 9 hour time difference.

Cruise lectures were good , the computer courses were informative if a little,pricey. Internet access was,I recall 75cents a minute, far too expensive and there were too many Art Auctions.

Generally below expectations mainly because of the poor entertainment and below average food.

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Mike W
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