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My husband and I took a 7 day cruise to Mexico with the Princess Sapphire in January 2009. We had a wonderful experience from start to finish. We stayed at the LAX airport Marriott the day prior. Agents from Princess met us at the airport and made sure we got on the right bus to the hotel. There were also Princess agents at the hotel that gave us information about our transfers to the ship the next day. We met in the hotel lobby the morning of the cruise and the agents were very organized at getting the crowd of people onto buses to the port. Embarkation was done in about 30 minutes at the port. We have always had good luck with this process and are repeatedly amazed at what a great job Princess does in processing the number of people they do. Our room was very clean. Our cabin steward met us shortly after we arrived. Her name was MaryAnn and she did a fabulous job the whole cruise. Any request we had was always accommodated. We had a balcony on the Aloha deck midship- this is the third cruise that we purchased a cabin on that deck. The only problem is some noise from the buffet restaurant above us. We occasionally heard carts rolling across the floor. We had first seating in the International diningroom. We sat at a table with three other couples. We can't say enough about how satisfying it was to be with a group that got along so well together. We always looked forward to meeting at our table and hearing about everyone's day. They were a great group of people who added to a wonderful cruise. It was my husband's birthday and Princess provided balloons and the captain signed a birthday card. Our waiters, George and Julius, did sing happy birthday and provide a traditional chocolate birthday cake, but I think they forgot about it until I mentioned it to them. Their service was very good and in general the service in the diningrooms was excellent. Only once we had a waiter who was very curt and unfriendly. That was certainly not the norm! The food was excellent. It wasn't 5 star but we also didn't pay 5 star prices. We were more than satisfied with the variety, temperature and taste of the food. The breakfast menu in the diningroom is more limited than on our last cruise. Be aware that whole grain toast is in fact a roll- not bread. As others have mentioned, Princess must do something about it's awful coffee. I don't understand why they can't seem to make coffee that at least tastes like coffee rather than brown water. We did purchase a coffee card so we could have decent java. This card entitled us to fresh brewed coffee, hot chocolate and latte's. These however are only available at certain bars that have the machines to make them. It would be nice if Princess provided the speciality coffee's without an extra charge. We ate in the buffet a few times and cannot say it was the quality that you would find in the diningrooms. We had room service once and it was very prompt. We could not get fresh squeezed juice unless we paid a hefty price for it. On our first cruise we got this without problem but either they just provided it or Princess changed it's policy by the time we took our second cruise a year later. The general areas of the ship were clean and in good repair. Smoke continues to be an issue in the casino area. They did have one non-smoking night. Entertainment was the best we've had on any cruise. The cruise Director "Josh" did an excellent job. He hired an entertainer named Steve Moris who was one of the Beach boys. He is a comedian and musician. One night they set up a stage at the back of the ship and he entertained a hugh audience that very much enjoyed his singing songs from the "old days". It was wonderful to sit under the stars with a nice breeze and listen to excellent music. The piano man evening in the theatre was very entertaining too as it has been on our other two cruises. The hot tubs are only hot water now. There is no jets working on any of them. The maintenance manager spoke with us as we thought they weren't working and he told us that it was now a regulation on all cruise lines that they not have jets working due to bacterial growth in the pipe line. What a shame. Wish they had posted a sign about that as it was a great source of discussion for many people wondering why they weren't working. We attended the cooking demo and galley tour. It was very entertaining and I would highly recommend it. Since it was my husband's birthday I wrote a letter to the Captain asking if it was possible for my husband to have a tour of the bridge. I understand that due to security reasons that might not have been possible. However, not only did he not get the tour but not even a call or note from someone acknowledging the request. I thought that was quite rude. The Captain did not seem at all personable when we met him at the cocktail party that is held for Captain Circle members. I suppose the most important issue is that he at least got the ship to Mexico and back safely. The photographers on this cruise were the poorest we've encountered on any of our cruises. We didn't purchase any pictures due to the poor quality and the ridiculously expensive prices for them. In Puerto Vallarta we took the tequila factory and mexican fiesta tour with Princess. It was about 5 1/5 hours and cost $49.00. It was a very good tour with an interesting tour and tasting at the tequila factory and then a fiesta that was somewhat corny but entertaining. We could shop for about 15 minutes at the factory as well as at a small strip mall in town. We did a short tour of Puerta Vallarta and the downtown and had about an hour in the downtown to join a walking tour or venture on our own. We toured around ourselves looking at the lovely statues and sand art on the waterfront. There is a candy ship just off the malecon that has a very good selection of nuts and candies. Our tour guide Paula did a great job with providing information and answering our questions. In Mazatlan we struck out on our own. We hired a pulmonia taxi at the port. What a zoo that is. People hassle you constantly to buy something. We talked to two taxi drivers as they wanted ridiculous prices to take us on about a five minute ride. We ended up paying $5.00 to go to the historic district. There we toured the Cathedral, public market (that's a real eye opener with every part of cows, pigs, chickens being cut up and displayed in not very clean areas) and the Angela Peralta theatre. The theatre is interesting to see and worth spending about $1.20 each to tour and read the history. We hired another driver to take us to the Golden Zone and spent time looking around and at the Las Flores resort. He charged $10.00 US funds (they prefer US money to pesos) for the ride and drove slow by Mexican standards (at our request) and pointed out various points of interest. He also agreed to pick us up to return us to the ship and was indeed at the agreed place on time to do that. The resort has a nice patio overlooking the beach. We couldn't swim due to a red flag being up but we enjoyed sitting on the patio and having something to eat. We had chips, salsa and drinks. The salsa was very fresh and delicious. Service not so good. The beach vendors don't come up onto hotel property but will call out to you to buy their merchandise. There is a nice spice shop by the hotel where you can get coffee beans, spices and good quality vanilla. We were bombarded by the constant calling out to us by time share sales people and taxi drivers when we walked about on the street. We politely said no or ignored them. Although annoying we never felt unsafe. In Cabo we took a 4 hour yacht tour with Princess. It was $99.99 a person. Good to do once but wouldn't go again. It is a nice yacht but had engine troubles more than once. The crew was very nice but they mostly spent time with the people on top deck rather than those inside the yacht or at the front. They made an effort for us to see whales and El Arco rocks. We appreciated that they traveled slowly so we could see the coastline. We went to a small beach in a cove for snorkeling and swimming. It was a lovely, calm area but other tours were also there and it became quite crowded in a small area. The water was supposed to be 75 degrees but be aware it is seems much colder. The water is incredibly salty as well. Snacks were provided but it wasn't much- some salsa, chips and dried beef kebabs. You could fish but only one person tried it for a short period. Kayaks were supposed to be included but we didn't see any. They also supplied drinks which was pop, beer or tequila and mix. Due to the short time we docked in the Cabo area there was no time to do anything else but the tour. In fact we were a little late getting back to the ship, as were some other tours. We did not have any problems with our bill. We paid it the afternoon before to avoid long line ups. Our disembarkation took about 5 minutes. Again, Princess was very organized and guided us through the port, customs, luggage and bus pick up. Our cruise was so enjoyable we plan to do it again next year on the same ship. Hopefully everything will be just as great.

A wonderful trip to Mexico

Sapphire Princess Cruise Review by Alberta54

Trip Details
My husband and I took a 7 day cruise to Mexico with the Princess Sapphire in January 2009. We had a wonderful experience from start to finish. We stayed at the LAX airport Marriott the day prior. Agents from Princess met us at the airport and made sure we got on the right bus to the hotel. There were also Princess agents at the hotel that gave us information about our transfers to the ship the next day.
We met in the hotel lobby the morning of the cruise and the agents were very organized at getting the crowd of people onto buses to the port. Embarkation was done in about 30 minutes at the port. We have always had good luck with this process and are repeatedly amazed at what a great job Princess does in processing the number of people they do. Our room was very clean. Our cabin steward met us shortly after we arrived. Her name was MaryAnn and she did a fabulous job the whole cruise. Any request we had was always accommodated. We had a balcony on the Aloha deck midship- this is the third cruise that we purchased a cabin on that deck. The only problem is some noise from the buffet restaurant above us. We occasionally heard carts rolling across the floor.
We had first seating in the International diningroom. We sat at a table with three other couples. We can't say enough about how satisfying it was to be with a group that got along so well together. We always looked forward to meeting at our table and hearing about everyone's day. They were a great group of people who added to a wonderful cruise. It was my husband's birthday and Princess provided balloons and the captain signed a birthday card. Our waiters, George and Julius, did sing happy birthday and provide a traditional chocolate birthday cake, but I think they forgot about it until I mentioned it to them. Their service was very good and in general the service in the diningrooms was excellent. Only once we had a waiter who was very curt and unfriendly. That was certainly not the norm! The food was excellent. It wasn't 5 star but we also didn't pay 5 star prices. We were more than satisfied with the variety, temperature and taste of the food. The breakfast menu in the diningroom is more limited than on our last cruise. Be aware that whole grain toast is in fact a roll- not bread. As others have mentioned, Princess must do something about it's awful coffee. I don't understand why they can't seem to make coffee that at least tastes like coffee rather than brown water. We did purchase a coffee card so we could have decent java. This card entitled us to fresh brewed coffee, hot chocolate and latte's. These however are only available at certain bars that have the machines to make them. It would be nice if Princess provided the speciality coffee's without an extra charge. We ate in the buffet a few times and cannot say it was the quality that you would find in the diningrooms. We had room service once and it was very prompt. We could not get fresh squeezed juice unless we paid a hefty price for it. On our first cruise we got this without problem but either they just provided it or Princess changed it's policy by the time we took our second cruise a year later.
The general areas of the ship were clean and in good repair. Smoke continues to be an issue in the casino area. They did have one non-smoking night. Entertainment was the best we've had on any cruise. The cruise Director "Josh" did an excellent job. He hired an entertainer named Steve Moris who was one of the Beach boys. He is a comedian and musician. One night they set up a stage at the back of the ship and he entertained a hugh audience that very much enjoyed his singing songs from the "old days". It was wonderful to sit under the stars with a nice breeze and listen to excellent music. The piano man evening in the theatre was very entertaining too as it has been on our other two cruises.
The hot tubs are only hot water now. There is no jets working on any of them. The maintenance manager spoke with us as we thought they weren't working and he told us that it was now a regulation on all cruise lines that they not have jets working due to bacterial growth in the pipe line. What a shame. Wish they had posted a sign about that as it was a great source of discussion for many people wondering why they weren't working. We attended the cooking demo and galley tour. It was very entertaining and I would highly recommend it.
Since it was my husband's birthday I wrote a letter to the Captain asking if it was possible for my husband to have a tour of the bridge. I understand that due to security reasons that might not have been possible. However, not only did he not get the tour but not even a call or note from someone acknowledging the request. I thought that was quite rude. The Captain did not seem at all personable when we met him at the cocktail party that is held for Captain Circle members. I suppose the most important issue is that he at least got the ship to Mexico and back safely. The photographers on this cruise were the poorest we've encountered on any of our cruises. We didn't purchase any pictures due to the poor quality and the ridiculously expensive prices for them.
In Puerto Vallarta we took the tequila factory and mexican fiesta tour with Princess. It was about 5 1/5 hours and cost $49.00. It was a very good tour with an interesting tour and tasting at the tequila factory and then a fiesta that was somewhat corny but entertaining. We could shop for about 15 minutes at the factory as well as at a small strip mall in town. We did a short tour of Puerta Vallarta and the downtown and had about an hour in the downtown to join a walking tour or venture on our own. We toured around ourselves looking at the lovely statues and sand art on the waterfront. There is a candy ship just off the malecon that has a very good selection of nuts and candies. Our tour guide Paula did a great job with providing information and answering our questions.
In Mazatlan we struck out on our own. We hired a pulmonia taxi at the port. What a zoo that is. People hassle you constantly to buy something. We talked to two taxi drivers as they wanted ridiculous prices to take us on about a five minute ride. We ended up paying $5.00 to go to the historic district. There we toured the Cathedral, public market (that's a real eye opener with every part of cows, pigs, chickens being cut up and displayed in not very clean areas) and the Angela Peralta theatre. The theatre is interesting to see and worth spending about $1.20 each to tour and read the history. We hired another driver to take us to the Golden Zone and spent time looking around and at the Las Flores resort. He charged $10.00 US funds (they prefer US money to pesos) for the ride and drove slow by Mexican standards (at our request) and pointed out various points of interest. He also agreed to pick us up to return us to the ship and was indeed at the agreed place on time to do that. The resort has a nice patio overlooking the beach. We couldn't swim due to a red flag being up but we enjoyed sitting on the patio and having something to eat. We had chips, salsa and drinks. The salsa was very fresh and delicious. Service not so good. The beach vendors don't come up onto hotel property but will call out to you to buy their merchandise. There is a nice spice shop by the hotel where you can get coffee beans, spices and good quality vanilla. We were bombarded by the constant calling out to us by time share sales people and taxi drivers when we walked about on the street. We politely said no or ignored them. Although annoying we never felt unsafe.
In Cabo we took a 4 hour yacht tour with Princess. It was $99.99 a person. Good to do once but wouldn't go again. It is a nice yacht but had engine troubles more than once. The crew was very nice but they mostly spent time with the people on top deck rather than those inside the yacht or at the front. They made an effort for us to see whales and El Arco rocks. We appreciated that they traveled slowly so we could see the coastline. We went to a small beach in a cove for snorkeling and swimming. It was a lovely, calm area but other tours were also there and it became quite crowded in a small area. The water was supposed to be 75 degrees but be aware it is seems much colder. The water is incredibly salty as well. Snacks were provided but it wasn't much- some salsa, chips and dried beef kebabs. You could fish but only one person tried it for a short period. Kayaks were supposed to be included but we didn't see any. They also supplied drinks which was pop, beer or tequila and mix. Due to the short time we docked in the Cabo area there was no time to do anything else but the tour. In fact we were a little late getting back to the ship, as were some other tours.
We did not have any problems with our bill. We paid it the afternoon before to avoid long line ups. Our disembarkation took about 5 minutes. Again, Princess was very organized and guided us through the port, customs, luggage and bus pick up. Our cruise was so enjoyable we plan to do it again next year on the same ship. Hopefully everything will be just as great.
Alberta54’s Full Rating Summary
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
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Cabin Review

Balcony
Cabin BB
Aloha deck mid ship balcony. Balconies are very enjoyable but are only big enough for two people to enjoy comfortably. Mid ship we rarely felt any ship movement. The Aloha deck on the Sapphire is below the Horizon court buffet. You can hear trolly's going back and forth occassionally. Mid ship is a nice area as the front and back of the ship are easily accessible.
Aloha Deck Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Cabo San Lucas
    In Cabo we took a 4 hour yacht tour with Princess. It was $99.99 a person. Good to do once but wouldn't go again. It is a nice yacht but had engine troubles more than once. The crew was very nice but they mostly spent time with the people on top deck rather than those inside the yacht or at the front. They made an effort for us to see whales and El Arco rocks. We appreciated that they traveled slowly so we could see the coastline. We went to a small beach in a cove for snorkeling and swimming. It was a lovely, calm area but other tours were also there and it became quite crowded in a small area. The water was supposed to be 75 degrees but be aware it is seems much colder. The water is incredibly salty as well. Snacks were provided but it wasn't much- some salsa, chips and dried beef kebabs. You could fish but only one person tried it for a short period. Kayaks were supposed to be included but we didn't see any. They also supplied drinks which was pop, beer or tequila and mix. Due to the short time we docked in the Cabo area there was no time to do anything else but the tour. In fact we were a little late getting back to the ship, as were some other tours.
    View All 1,302 Cabo San Lucas Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Cabo San Lucas Cruise Port Review
  • Mazatlan
    In Mazatlan we struck out on our own. We hired a pulmonia taxi at the port. What a zoo that is. People hassle you constantly to buy something. We talked to two taxi drivers as they wanted ridiculous prices to take us on about a five minute ride. We ended up paying $5.00 to go to the historic district. There we toured the Cathedral, public market (that's a real eye opener with every part of cows, pigs, chickens being cut up and displayed in not very clean areas) and the Angela Peralta theatre. The theatre is interesting to see and worth spening about $1.20 each to tour and read the history. We hired another driver to take us to the Golden Zone and spent time looking around and at the Las Flores resort. He charged $10.00 for the ride and drove slow by Mexican standards (at our request) and pointed out various points of interest. He also agreed to pick us up to return us to the ship and was indeed at the agreed place on time to do that. The resort has a nice patio overlooking the beach. We couldn't swim due to a red flag being up but we enjoyed sitting on the patio and having something to eat. We had chips, salsa and drinks. The salsa was very fresh and delicious. Service not so good. The beach vendors don't come up onto hotel property but will call out to you to buy their merchandise. There is a nice spice shop by the hotel where you can get coffee beans, spices and good quality vanilla. We were bombarded by the constant calling out to us by time share sales people and taxi drivers when we walked about on the street. We politely said no or ignored them. Although annoying we never felt unsafe.
    View All 592 Mazatlan Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Mazatlan Cruise Port Review
  • Puerto Vallarta
    In Puerto Vallarta we took the tequila factory and mexican fiesta tour with Princess. It was about 5 1/5 hours and cost $49.00. It was a very good tour with an interesting tour and tasting at the tequila factory and then a fiesta that was somewhat corny but entertaining. We could shop for about 15 minutes at the factory as well as at a small strip mall in town. We did a short tour of Puerta Vallarta and the downtown and had about an hour in the downtown to join a walking tour or venture on our own. We toured around ourselves looking at the lovely statues and sand art on the waterfront. There is a candy ship just off the malecon that has a very good selection of nuts and candies. Our tour guide Paula did a great job with providing information and answering our questions.
    View All 950 Puerto Vallarta Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Puerto Vallarta Cruise Port Review