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We returned from our 7-day cruise on Sapphire Princess from Singapore which departed Singapore on 2/18/18. Ports of call: Koh Samui, Bangkok and Ho Chi Minh City. We live in Los Angeles and decided to arrive Singapore a couple of days before sailing since it's a 17-hour plane ride and we have never been there! The plane ride was great even though it was long. Flight arrived on time. Immigration was a breeze. Bags came out pretty quick. Customs was no issue. We took a taxi to our hotel (Orchard Parade Hotel). It was about 25 minutes and approximately US$20. Please note that there are two taxi lines at the airport; one for regular taxi and one for premium taxi. We took the regular taxi. Pre-cruise hotel: Orchard Parade Hotel - booked on our own. Excellent hotel in a central location and close to shopping centers, restaurants and MRT station. Hotel staff was very friendly. Service was excellent. We got a Deluxe Superior room and it was very roomy, comparable to most hotel rooms in the US. All rooms were recently renovated! My room was very clean and bed was very comfortable. It took no more than 15 minutes to get the pier using Uber and it was ~US$10 on Sunday. Embarkation: We arrived at the pier around 2pm and were surprised the check-in line was still quite long. We got on the ship around 3ish and were instructed to go to our muster station for the drill right away. We were pleasantly surprised that the drill was done inside one of the bars which was GREAT because it was hot and humid that day! Ship - The ship was built in 2004 and I believe it was renovated a few years back and due for dry dock in the next couple of months. So it is a little older but it was obvious that the maintenance staff does a great job maintaining condition of the ship. Ship was clean throughout. Cabin: We got an inside cabin and first impression it was larger than other cruise lines we have been on. I think it is because there was no sofa. Everything worked great in the cabin. Public areas: Well maintained and clean. Staff: This is the best cruise staff I have ever encountered and I have been on about 9 cruises. Everyone was very friendly and helpful. Mgmt level staff were "on the floor" working w/ the staff and I think that might have made a difference in the service level. We were impressed with the service level. Food: Overall, we thought the food was great on this cruise. Horizon Court - the Buffet: We thought food was great for a buffet. Very flavorful. We tried late night snacks once and were surprised how great the Indian dishes were! There is congee for breakfast too! During the times we went, we found most dishes were fresh. Dining room - We had Anytime dining and it worked out great for us. Food and service in the dining room was great. During busy times, service could get a little slow. We only had breakfast in the dining room. Breakfast menu is kind of limited so we went to the buffet for better selections. International Cafe - We bought a coffee card and found it a good value. You get 15 specialty drinks and unlimited premium tea and coffee. Service at the cafe was excellent. Pizza on deck 14 - Best pizza! I had one slice everyday. Burgers, brats and hot dogs on deck 14 - also great! Entertainment - we attended two shows both on formal nights and both were great! We also saw performers in the Piazza in the afternoon and before dinner. Port of calls: Koh Samui - great island. We hire Mr. Samui for a private tour and it was the highlight of our trip. It was a 5-hour tour of the island. We visited all the main attractions and a 30-min elephant ride (cost not included in the tour). Driver spoke good English and very pleasant. We would definitely use them again. Bangkok - The bus ride to the city was about 2 hours and 20 minutes. We did the Bangkok on Your Own through the ship. There are two BoYO options; one w/ a stop at Wat Po for $10 extra and one without. If I have to do it again, I would definitely pay $10 more for the Wat Po stop. The bus drop you off at Asia hotel downtown on one side of the river. Most main attractions we were interested in were on the other side of the river which was no easy task to get to. It took a metro ride and then water taxi! The water taxi was a great experience and you feel like you are in Venice! We barely have enough time to visit the Grand Palace. Water taxi is 50Baht one way or you can buy an all-day pass for 180Baht. We made a mistake of buying the all-day pass since we were able to utilize it due to time constraints. Bangkok is an amazing city, beautiful and impressive skyline! Ho Chi Minh City - The bus ride to the city is about 1 hour and 30 minutes. We did HCM on Your Own and it was more manageable than in Bangkok. Bus dropped us off in downtown and it was a walkable distance to most attractions. The tour bus provides a local map which was very useful. For shopping, I'd recommend the Ban Thanh Market as vendors are willing to negotiate with you. The vendors by the pier will not and their prices are higher. For US passport holders - there is a $56 visa fee to enter Vietnam if you choose to do it through the ship. I researched the cost to do it on my own and I think it's about the same. For other countries that do not require a visa to enter Vietnam, I believe Princess charges $26 for admin fee for entering Vietnam even if you do not leave the ship. Please check w/ your travel agent to avoid surprises. Disembarkation - Very well organized. We were scheduled to get off the ship at 9:30 and it was on time. We got through immigration and got our bags in less than 30 minutes. Easy taxi ride back to Orchard Parade hotel for a 2-night stay before flying back to LA. Overall it was a great cruise! Glad we did it even though it was a long way from home for a 7-day cruise. Wish we had time to do the 17-day version. Next time :-)

Great 7-Day cruise!

Sapphire Princess Cruise Review by travel4fun_sd

9 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: February 2018
  • Destination: Asia
  • Cabin Type: Interior
We returned from our 7-day cruise on Sapphire Princess from Singapore which departed Singapore on 2/18/18. Ports of call: Koh Samui, Bangkok and Ho Chi Minh City.

We live in Los Angeles and decided to arrive Singapore a couple of days before sailing since it's a 17-hour plane ride and we have never been there! The plane ride was great even though it was long. Flight arrived on time. Immigration was a breeze. Bags came out pretty quick. Customs was no issue.

We took a taxi to our hotel (Orchard Parade Hotel). It was about 25 minutes and approximately US$20. Please note that there are two taxi lines at the airport; one for regular taxi and one for premium taxi. We took the regular taxi.

Pre-cruise hotel: Orchard Parade Hotel - booked on our own. Excellent hotel in a central location and close to shopping centers, restaurants and MRT station. Hotel staff was very friendly. Service was excellent. We got a Deluxe Superior room and it was very roomy, comparable to most hotel rooms in the US. All rooms were recently renovated! My room was very clean and bed was very comfortable. It took no more than 15 minutes to get the pier using Uber and it was ~US$10 on Sunday.

Embarkation: We arrived at the pier around 2pm and were surprised the check-in line was still quite long. We got on the ship around 3ish and were instructed to go to our muster station for the drill right away. We were pleasantly surprised that the drill was done inside one of the bars which was GREAT because it was hot and humid that day!

Ship - The ship was built in 2004 and I believe it was renovated a few years back and due for dry dock in the next couple of months. So it is a little older but it was obvious that the maintenance staff does a great job maintaining condition of the ship. Ship was clean throughout.

Cabin: We got an inside cabin and first impression it was larger than other cruise lines we have been on. I think it is because there was no sofa. Everything worked great in the cabin.

Public areas: Well maintained and clean.

Staff: This is the best cruise staff I have ever encountered and I have been on about 9 cruises. Everyone was very friendly and helpful. Mgmt level staff were "on the floor" working w/ the staff and I think that might have made a difference in the service level. We were impressed with the service level.

Food: Overall, we thought the food was great on this cruise.

Horizon Court - the Buffet: We thought food was great for a buffet. Very flavorful. We tried late night snacks once and were surprised how great the Indian dishes were! There is congee for breakfast too! During the times we went, we found most dishes were fresh.

Dining room - We had Anytime dining and it worked out great for us. Food and service in the dining room was great. During busy times, service could get a little slow. We only had breakfast in the dining room. Breakfast menu is kind of limited so we went to the buffet for better selections.

International Cafe - We bought a coffee card and found it a good value. You get 15 specialty drinks and unlimited premium tea and coffee. Service at the cafe was excellent.

Pizza on deck 14 - Best pizza! I had one slice everyday.

Burgers, brats and hot dogs on deck 14 - also great!

Entertainment - we attended two shows both on formal nights and both were great! We also saw performers in the Piazza in the afternoon and before dinner.

Port of calls:

Koh Samui - great island. We hire Mr. Samui for a private tour and it was the highlight of our trip. It was a 5-hour tour of the island. We visited all the main attractions and a 30-min elephant ride (cost not included in the tour). Driver spoke good English and very pleasant. We would definitely use them again.

Bangkok - The bus ride to the city was about 2 hours and 20 minutes. We did the Bangkok on Your Own through the ship. There are two BoYO options; one w/ a stop at Wat Po for $10 extra and one without. If I have to do it again, I would definitely pay $10 more for the Wat Po stop. The bus drop you off at Asia hotel downtown on one side of the river. Most main attractions we were interested in were on the other side of the river which was no easy task to get to. It took a metro ride and then water taxi! The water taxi was a great experience and you feel like you are in Venice! We barely have enough time to visit the Grand Palace. Water taxi is 50Baht one way or you can buy an all-day pass for 180Baht. We made a mistake of buying the all-day pass since we were able to utilize it due to time constraints. Bangkok is an amazing city, beautiful and impressive skyline!

Ho Chi Minh City - The bus ride to the city is about 1 hour and 30 minutes. We did HCM on Your Own and it was more manageable than in Bangkok. Bus dropped us off in downtown and it was a walkable distance to most attractions. The tour bus provides a local map which was very useful. For shopping, I'd recommend the Ban Thanh Market as vendors are willing to negotiate with you. The vendors by the pier will not and their prices are higher. For US passport holders - there is a $56 visa fee to enter Vietnam if you choose to do it through the ship. I researched the cost to do it on my own and I think it's about the same. For other countries that do not require a visa to enter Vietnam, I believe Princess charges $26 for admin fee for entering Vietnam even if you do not leave the ship. Please check w/ your travel agent to avoid surprises.

Disembarkation - Very well organized. We were scheduled to get off the ship at 9:30 and it was on time. We got through immigration and got our bags in less than 30 minutes. Easy taxi ride back to Orchard Parade hotel for a 2-night stay before flying back to LA.

Overall it was a great cruise! Glad we did it even though it was a long way from home for a 7-day cruise. Wish we had time to do the 17-day version. Next time :-)
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