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Sapphire Princess just doesn't seem to be able to get it right. We were on this ship 2 years ago with similar problems; this time it was worse (we went on the Diamond Princess last year which was a little better) - which makes me think that there is something specific to the management and culture of this ship (and possibly the owners' reluctance to do something about it). PLEASE if you feel that the following problems become apparent on your cruise, go to customer services and remove the automatic gratuities. It can be done but many people aren't aware and I think the drop in gratuities is the only way that the ship and company will become motivated to do something. Service - very patchy ranging from grumpy stewards who basically seemed to think it was just a bit too much hard work to do anything (waiters who, with an empty tray, walked past dirty tables and left it to me to tidy and clean the area (the bar man was helpful though - he gave me a few cloths so that I could clean up the mess left by previous table occupants(!)) ; waiters who simply ignored tables at breakfast and didn't ask if we would like a drink; a person at the door to Santa Fe restaurant who seemed to make it their mission to persuade passengers to go elsewhere for food (not positive and proactive just negative and dismissive. (Didn't offer a buzzer that would tell us when a table was free - we had to ask for it)). In terms of leadership and organisation - again it was F&B that let the ship down mainly. The bar on Deck 14 at the back of the ship - was always staffed with just one person - and he had to make cocktails and serve a crowded bar. It was absolutely ridiculous that with so many people they put one person on the bar - very frustrating. The bar above this one - Deck 15 or 16? - was never open. Why on earth was a bar on a ship never open? Cost cutting? Laziness? Forgetfulness? Whatever the reason - not good enough. Half way through a 10 day cruise the ship ran out of mint for cocktails. I can just about forgive this as it is a fresh herb (but I question why they would advertise things like mojitos if the logistics won't support the drinks). What was unforgivable was the cheapest sparkling wine - Korbel - ran out after 5 days. Similarly, Grolsch (beer) ran out after 5 days and Heineken after 7 days. Who on Earth is in charge of supplies for this ship? To add insult to injury, the staff did not replace with a similar value drink, you had to just choose something else and pay that higher price. Some waiters were rude in their dealings with passengers. I heard much chatter about the ship about the disappointment of others in the attitude of staff. Customer service in piazza was hit and miss. Pleasant and friendly yes. But in terms of getting accurate information - no. They told me that the ship was docking at Patong not Phuket Town - which meant that I had to hastily rearrange our transport. They said that a person would come along to fix our TV (all the ship's TVs were out of action for at least 24 hours (I think ours was more like 36 (the ship did credit each passenger $25 for this)) - the guy never showed up. However, if the staff are trying to get you to buy something they are super efficient: "You'd like an over priced photo of yourself? Certainly sir - done." Seriously, whoever has allowed such a cynical, unprofessional culture to develop needs firing. For the sake of balance, there were some positives. I'm a food addict and I didn't think the food was at all bad. The afternoon tea in Horizon Buffet was terrible - very weak selection of cakes and nibbles (especially compared with other ships) - but I thought the selection in the buffet for main meals was very good. And good quality also. I also enjoyed the Santa Fe restaurant (when we were actually let in) both in terms of the quality of food and the helpfulness of the staff. Only had one problem one night when the roast belly pork (advertised as having lots of crackling) was anaemic, fatty and with not an ounce of crackllng - waiter was very good though and dealt with it professionally. Our housekeeper was also excellent - very efficient, very friendly. I note previous comments about the state of the ship. That didn't bother me too much - our cabin was very nice and the communal spaces were OK. So overall it was the Food and Beverage service and logistics that really made me decide I'm not going on Princess again. They simply do not care enough to receive my money.

Rude, abrupt service. Poor F&B planing. Won't go with Princess again.

Sapphire Princess Cruise Review by M1chael

11 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: December 2017
  • Destination: Asia
  • Cabin Type: Balcony
Sapphire Princess just doesn't seem to be able to get it right. We were on this ship 2 years ago with similar problems; this time it was worse (we went on the Diamond Princess last year which was a little better) - which makes me think that there is something specific to the management and culture of this ship (and possibly the owners' reluctance to do something about it).

PLEASE if you feel that the following problems become apparent on your cruise, go to customer services and remove the automatic gratuities. It can be done but many people aren't aware and I think the drop in gratuities is the only way that the ship and company will become motivated to do something.

Service - very patchy ranging from grumpy stewards who basically seemed to think it was just a bit too much hard work to do anything (waiters who, with an empty tray, walked past dirty tables and left it to me to tidy and clean the area (the bar man was helpful though - he gave me a few cloths so that I could clean up the mess left by previous table occupants(!)) ; waiters who simply ignored tables at breakfast and didn't ask if we would like a drink; a person at the door to Santa Fe restaurant who seemed to make it their mission to persuade passengers to go elsewhere for food (not positive and proactive just negative and dismissive. (Didn't offer a buzzer that would tell us when a table was free - we had to ask for it)).

In terms of leadership and organisation - again it was F&B that let the ship down mainly. The bar on Deck 14 at the back of the ship - was always staffed with just one person - and he had to make cocktails and serve a crowded bar. It was absolutely ridiculous that with so many people they put one person on the bar - very frustrating. The bar above this one - Deck 15 or 16? - was never open. Why on earth was a bar on a ship never open? Cost cutting? Laziness? Forgetfulness? Whatever the reason - not good enough.

Half way through a 10 day cruise the ship ran out of mint for cocktails. I can just about forgive this as it is a fresh herb (but I question why they would advertise things like mojitos if the logistics won't support the drinks). What was unforgivable was the cheapest sparkling wine - Korbel - ran out after 5 days. Similarly, Grolsch (beer) ran out after 5 days and Heineken after 7 days. Who on Earth is in charge of supplies for this ship? To add insult to injury, the staff did not replace with a similar value drink, you had to just choose something else and pay that higher price.

Some waiters were rude in their dealings with passengers. I heard much chatter about the ship about the disappointment of others in the attitude of staff.

Customer service in piazza was hit and miss. Pleasant and friendly yes. But in terms of getting accurate information - no. They told me that the ship was docking at Patong not Phuket Town - which meant that I had to hastily rearrange our transport. They said that a person would come along to fix our TV (all the ship's TVs were out of action for at least 24 hours (I think ours was more like 36 (the ship did credit each passenger $25 for this)) - the guy never showed up.

However, if the staff are trying to get you to buy something they are super efficient: "You'd like an over priced photo of yourself? Certainly sir - done."

Seriously, whoever has allowed such a cynical, unprofessional culture to develop needs firing.

For the sake of balance, there were some positives. I'm a food addict and I didn't think the food was at all bad. The afternoon tea in Horizon Buffet was terrible - very weak selection of cakes and nibbles (especially compared with other ships) - but I thought the selection in the buffet for main meals was very good. And good quality also. I also enjoyed the Santa Fe restaurant (when we were actually let in) both in terms of the quality of food and the helpfulness of the staff. Only had one problem one night when the roast belly pork (advertised as having lots of crackling) was anaemic, fatty and with not an ounce of crackllng - waiter was very good though and dealt with it professionally.

Our housekeeper was also excellent - very efficient, very friendly.

I note previous comments about the state of the ship. That didn't bother me too much - our cabin was very nice and the communal spaces were OK.

So overall it was the Food and Beverage service and logistics that really made me decide I'm not going on Princess again. They simply do not care enough to receive my money.
M1chael’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Balcony
Cabin BA A749
Very clean. Nice decor. Balcony was at the back of the ship.
Baja Deck Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins