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My husband, 12 y/o son and I did our first cruise on Princess Sapphire from Alaska to Vancouver the first of August. I had booked it through an well recommended internet agency, and got a budget priced room, since past cruisers noted that you spent most of your time up on deck anyway. Our check-in was great, very efficient and speedy with no delays. Note that Whittier is not a place to spend a lot of time, so plan on a couple of days in Anchorage before departure. Pluses - checkin at the pier and checkout at the pier, luggage handling, food, kids activites, shore excusions and ability to enjoy those excusions, quiet, terrific spa (I highly suggest the accupunture series) and pools. Wonderful seafood at dinner. Nice breakfast selection. Nice entertainment with a very family oriented venue. The coffee card was a nice deal but it takes a long time to get the drink back. The liquor on board was reasonable priced in the on-ship store. The ship cooked at fish fillet from the salmon we caught on the shore excusion and presented it to our son in the dining room. The dining room staff was very good. We did the shore events that included the zipline, the salmon fishing, and the hiking/raft ride. Well worth the expense. The ship based excusions were a bit more expensive, but the coupon book bookings were a joke and not to be done! (They would pick up the phone, promise to call us back, then never call back! I guess that they didn't want our money...) By the way, if you book the fishing thru the boat, the captain is required to fillet the fish for you for the cook on the ship, and the ship will cook it. If you go through an outsider, no go for that. Minuses - Housekeeping - the bed for our son was dirty and stained when we checked in, the room was not cleaned very well. We had gotten an interior room with convertible twins, which the internet agency assured me could be pushed together for my husband and I. WRONG! We were warned by the head of housekeeping that it was not allowed and was a fire hazard to push the bed together. I ended up spending the whole trip in what was essentially a room that was 10 by 10 and smaller than a dorm room with the drop down bed (like a bunk) over my husband and each of us sleeping in a twin bed. Not very romantic for our 15th anniversary. The check in for the transportation to Whittier had little old ladies with bullhorns herding us down to buses. The credit card machines didn't work, so they were demanding cash for the transfers to Whittier from Anchorage. How convenient that they knew where the nearest ATM was. The ship constantly hit us up for extras. Internet was ridiculously expensive, they were constantly taking pictures of us and almost harrassing us to buy stuff. I got really tired of finding out that there were things to do on the ship that were nice, but they always, always cost more. The last night they had a "tag" sale on merchandise that they wanted to clear out in one of the bars. Tacky. The first morning when we went to the Glaciers, they didn't have the drink carts out, the coffee ready or the blanket check-out ready. Almost all of us were cold and thirsty. The different dining rooms, we were never able to figure out why the different ones. All the menus were the same expect for the cover charge ones. Overall, the extra expense of the shore trips made this a worthwhile vacation. However, the constant pressure for extra purchases made it less enjoyable and the room was a joke. I will never go again on a cruise unless I have a balcony.

The jewel of a cruise on Sapphire

Sapphire Princess Cruise Review by plastics

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: August 2009
  • Destination: Alaska
My husband, 12 y/o son and I did our first cruise on Princess Sapphire from Alaska to Vancouver the first of August. I had booked it through an well recommended internet agency, and got a budget priced room, since past cruisers noted that you spent most of your time up on deck anyway. Our check-in was great, very efficient and speedy with no delays. Note that Whittier is not a place to spend a lot of time, so plan on a couple of days in Anchorage before departure.
Pluses - checkin at the pier and checkout at the pier, luggage handling, food, kids activites, shore excusions and ability to enjoy those excusions, quiet, terrific spa (I highly suggest the accupunture series) and pools. Wonderful seafood at dinner. Nice breakfast selection. Nice entertainment with a very family oriented venue. The coffee card was a nice deal but it takes a long time to get the drink back. The liquor on board was reasonable priced in the on-ship store. The ship cooked at fish fillet from the salmon we caught on the shore excusion and presented it to our son in the dining room. The dining room staff was very good. We did the shore events that included the zipline, the salmon fishing, and the hiking/raft ride. Well worth the expense. The ship based excusions were a bit more expensive, but the coupon book bookings were a joke and not to be done! (They would pick up the phone, promise to call us back, then never call back! I guess that they didn't want our money...) By the way, if you book the fishing thru the boat, the captain is required to fillet the fish for you for the cook on the ship, and the ship will cook it. If you go through an outsider, no go for that.
Minuses - Housekeeping - the bed for our son was dirty and stained when we checked in, the room was not cleaned very well. We had gotten an interior room with convertible twins, which the internet agency assured me could be pushed together for my husband and I. WRONG! We were warned by the head of housekeeping that it was not allowed and was a fire hazard to push the bed together. I ended up spending the whole trip in what was essentially a room that was 10 by 10 and smaller than a dorm room with the drop down bed (like a bunk) over my husband and each of us sleeping in a twin bed. Not very romantic for our 15th anniversary.
The check in for the transportation to Whittier had little old ladies with bullhorns herding us down to buses. The credit card machines didn't work, so they were demanding cash for the transfers to Whittier from Anchorage. How convenient that they knew where the nearest ATM was.
The ship constantly hit us up for extras. Internet was ridiculously expensive, they were constantly taking pictures of us and almost harrassing us to buy stuff. I got really tired of finding out that there were things to do on the ship that were nice, but they always, always cost more. The last night they had a "tag" sale on merchandise that they wanted to clear out in one of the bars. Tacky.
The first morning when we went to the Glaciers, they didn't have the drink carts out, the coffee ready or the blanket check-out ready. Almost all of us were cold and thirsty.
The different dining rooms, we were never able to figure out why the different ones. All the menus were the same expect for the cover charge ones.
Overall, the extra expense of the shore trips made this a worthwhile vacation. However, the constant pressure for extra purchases made it less enjoyable and the room was a joke. I will never go again on a cruise unless I have a balcony.
plastics’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
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Shore Excursions
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Ages 10 to 12
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Cabin Review

Cabin
Worse than a dorm room. Be prepared to never use it unless just sleeping.
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