The trip from Auckland, New Zealand to Sydney Australia was the first time we had been on a cruise ship. When I first saw the outside of the "Sapphire Princess" at the dock in Auckland I thought "oh oh..... this is not going to be my cup of tea".... too big... huge... but once we were on board I thought it was a floating palace.... beautiful... We had booked an inside twin cabin... found it to be perfectly adequate. Well laid out... everything in its place. Had no problems at all.. Actually, it was quite good for an afternoon nap as you could really darken the place down and have a proper sleep. The cabin stewards were very attentive and looked after us extremely well throughout the trip. Actually all the staff on the ship were very good and very pleasant. We chose "anytime dining" and found it wonderful. The food was excellent. First class quality, fresh and well presented and of a wonderful variety. We had a few dinners in the dining rooms... The waiters were very attentive and the food was first class... Activities were sometimes "light on"....However, I particularly liked the "Scholarship at Sea" activities.... prior to each port they had a lecturer who spoke of the early settlement of the area and of the indigenous people and their culture. There was another lecturer who had been a district attorney in L.A. and he gave lectures on famous criminal trials. I really enjoyed these activities . The Casino was the usual "loser" for me... I gambled on the slot machines a couple of times... which are American and compared to Australian poker machines very boring.... they all take your money of course but the American ones are not even entertaining.... I suggest Princess really look at the alternative machines available...The entertainment at the Princess Theatre was adequate and sometimes very good. We did not do any shore excursions arranged through the ship... we did our own thing when we arrived at a Port of Call and I think it is the most economical way of organizing things.. I thought the cleanliness of the ship was a credit to the staff... It was exciting to sail into Sydney Harbour just before dawn.... We slid into the dock beside the Sydney Opera House. It looked fantastic silhouetted against the dawn sky. The city was still lit for the night and looked wonderful.... The Harbour Bridge was the backdrop. Disembarkation was slow... I don't suppose there is much that can be done about it... It is a lot of people to get off in a short time... However, overall it was an absolutely fantastic holiday... I loved it and even my husband said he enjoyed it. I thought the ship was a floating palace. Wonderful service and wonderful food. After reading other reviews it seems Princess is not the preferred line.... but for me it was impossible to fault... Perhaps I am naive... but I thought it was fantastic... and on the strength of this cruise have since sailed on a P & O cruise which simply did not compare and have now booked a cruise for next year on the Rhapsody of the Seas sailing from Sydney to North America.... so if this ship gives us as fantastic an experience as the Sapphire Princess we will be delighted.
Inside cabin Sapphire Princess, well laid out. Very adequate. Mirror behind twin beds gave illusion of a window. Good closet space. Good bathroom. The bedside lights can be turned down to virtual moonlight strength which means you can have the softest light in the cabin without the claustophobia of being in a totally blacked out inside cabin.