1. Home
  2. Cruise Reviews
  3. Sapphire Princess
We are experienced cruisers in our 50s and I like to do my research about ports before we travel to get the best out of holidays. We chose this cruise due to price and date covering our anniversary and booked 9 months beforehand and had soft drink package only. For September we were exceptionally lucky with unusually warm weather and calm seas. Embarkation at Southampton very quick and smooth and we were onboard by 1215. Used car parking meet and greet service at terminal and very efficient and lovely staff and porters. We were going out from one terminal/berth and returning to the other end of Southampton and it all worked very well. We did a quick tour of spa/gym but declined all the selling which di go on all week such as sparkling water at dinner, photos etc, polite decline and not an issue. The ship had understandably adapted to its predominantly UK passenger base in terms of beers, entertainment and to some extent food. 1900 UK, 500 USA and the rest were Canadian, Australian and Chinese /Asian I think. Cabin B229 internal cabin chosen as we prefer higher deck without public rooms above or below due to noise. Best layout of an internal cabin we have had with separate dressing/wardrobe area and shower room away from main sleeping area. Huge ( too big) new flatscreen TV and multiple channels including Sky Sports, BBC etc. Kept to high standard all week and two glitches when a light bulb blew in bathroom and safe door know came off were quickly resolved via our stateroom attendant. Duvet and pillows were sumptuous and we slept very well all week – Princess should sell them for delivery to your home! We felt the food in main dining room, buffet and coffee shop/café to be some of the best we have had at sea in similar venues (we have been Azamara, Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, P&O etc) . Patisserie and breads all excellent and we saw many passengers having their dietary/allergen needs taken care of in a sensitive way. Wine was about $30 to $40 and they would keep bottle to finish off the next night even on anytime dining. Formal night we wore a normal suit and cocktail dress and went out of place amongst tuxedos and long dresses. We could have eaten in buffet at anytime as food was so good and varied up there; only thing that detracts is the plastic plates and mugs. Unusually for us we always had breakfast up there rather than served in dining room as it was so good. For every meal whether breakfast or lunch up there always managed to get a window table. Even though we were celebrating our anniversary we didn’t feel the need to use the specialty restaurants for their costs or previous reviews. We always got a table for two and only had to wait about 10 minutes one evening. The only downside with tables for two is that one seat is a banquette/bench style and very, very low; there were not tables for two with two proper chairs. They were close to other tables which was nice for polite between courses chit/chat but without the pressure of sharing table for 8 for example. Entertainment onboard we found to be very good. We really enjoyed being in a full theatre every evening. The guest speaker on the last sea day was Eddie the Eagle Edwards who was very engaging. I felt sorry for those who couldn’t get into the show or were standing as he only did one session. We really enjoyed the comedy ventriloquist Gareth Oliver who could have filled the main theatre ( and has done so before) but he had been allocated a smaller lounge, the comedian Jeff Stevenson and the Magician/Illusionist act Amethyst. We weren’t so fussed by the Bootleg Beatles out on deck or the DJ Brickhouse ( we popped up to nightclub a couple of late evenings) and we didn’t make it to a couple of shows as too busy having a good time at dinner etc. The casino was pretty quiet but we played a bit of roulette and came away up so pleased with that! We found the volume on Movies under the Stars screen in the daytime too loud ( they showed live soccer and recorded concerts for example), but enjoyed the adults only pool at the front of ship which was sheltered and quiet. We did the book the Sanctuary for sea days but the design meant it was very windy as not fully enclosed so we cancelled without charge; the staff were lovely and I sensed this happened often. We also like the back of ship with multiple levels of pools, jacuzzis and sunbeds. Ports: We were not interested in the shore excursions as to be expected were very expensive ( or shore extortion desk as the ventriloquist referred to!) Zeebrugge we had been a few times before and weren’t that fussed about Bruges, war cemeteries again and thought we might stay onboard but as a lovely sunny day we took free shuttle bus to port building where you buy tram ticket to Blankenberg 6 Euro each for day pass. We got off a couple of stops before the centre of town and walked through the sand dunes and along a gorgeous beach, along the prom, to the marina and mooched. Plenty of places for a coffee/beer and bought some chocolates goodies. If you have young children the beach and the various facilities on seafront make for a lovely family day near to ship. Copenhagen: Massive queues for the free shuttle bus so we nipped across road to catch local bus into city instead as I already had the details for that from home. Tourist office and bus ticket machine opposite ship dock. (24DKK each single) We were docked a good 20 minutes out of city centre. We had been to Copenhagen before so avoided the usual stuff. We went to a local food market Torvehallerne and walked via a nice park into city centre to join a free walking tour we had booked where you tip what you feel its worth. Very enjoyable 2.5 hours with knowledgeable guide who gave her insight into way of life including cycling, and their society such as schooling, healthcare and taxes as well as showing us some of the sights including Royal Palace. Skagen Highlight of our week in the centre of Danish sea fishing industry. Greeted by local folk singers dockside, then a flat pavements walk of about 15 minutes in to town centre or there was a free shuttle bus. Tourist Office was in town near drop off point and sold bus tickets (50DKK Euro day pass). Lots of shops and cafes and towards train station there were larger supermarkets such as Netto/Lidl if you need to stock up. I had found the bus times online at home and was more up to date than what the tourist office was handing out. We caught local bus to Grenen and then bought the tickets for the sand tractor out to the point where the seas meet. The bus times didn’t work for us coming back so we walked back from Grenen along normal pavements/cycle route via the lighthouse and old fire beacon, which at gentle amble took under an hour on a glorious sunny and warm day. We hope to return one day and visit some of the other sites such as the buried church and the artist area. Marching bands played as we sailed off which was quite emotional with the locals coming down to wave us off; we had a real sense they valued our presence in their beautiful town. Oslo We were due to dock at 0700 and knew the weather was turning so were prepared for the cloudy and damp early approach but it was so serene and pretty. We had been before so juts chose to have a mooch and take No.12 tram out to Vigeland Scuplture Park which we had briefly visited on an all Oslo tour many years ago. ( 35 NKK each way tickets from booth on waterfront) We got off the tram a couple of stops early on the way back to swing by the Royal Palace where they had full ceremonial guards parading and a quick google on my phone of the Norwegian Court Circular listed who was coming to visit. We sat on a bench at the Parliament building and chatted to a local elderly lady which was pleasant; moments like that where you touch on normal life rather then being herded on a coach are delightful. We sailed at 1600 and it was a beautiful but cold and windy sail out to Oslo down the fjord but worth being outside for.

If Princess marketed this to entice cruisers to their brand it certainly worked!

Sapphire Princess Cruise Review by Morechampagne

10 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: September 2018
  • Destination: Baltic Sea
  • Cabin Type: Interior
We are experienced cruisers in our 50s and I like to do my research about ports before we travel to get the best out of holidays. We chose this cruise due to price and date covering our anniversary and booked 9 months beforehand and had soft drink package only. For September we were exceptionally lucky with unusually warm weather and calm seas.

Embarkation at Southampton very quick and smooth and we were onboard by 1215. Used car parking meet and greet service at terminal and very efficient and lovely staff and porters. We were going out from one terminal/berth and returning to the other end of Southampton and it all worked very well. We did a quick tour of spa/gym but declined all the selling which di go on all week such as sparkling water at dinner, photos etc, polite decline and not an issue.

The ship had understandably adapted to its predominantly UK passenger base in terms of beers, entertainment and to some extent food. 1900 UK, 500 USA and the rest were Canadian, Australian and Chinese /Asian I think.

Cabin B229 internal cabin chosen as we prefer higher deck without public rooms above or below due to noise. Best layout of an internal cabin we have had with separate dressing/wardrobe area and shower room away from main sleeping area. Huge ( too big) new flatscreen TV and multiple channels including Sky Sports, BBC etc. Kept to high standard all week and two glitches when a light bulb blew in bathroom and safe door know came off were quickly resolved via our stateroom attendant. Duvet and pillows were sumptuous and we slept very well all week – Princess should sell them for delivery to your home!

We felt the food in main dining room, buffet and coffee shop/café to be some of the best we have had at sea in similar venues (we have been Azamara, Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, P&O etc) . Patisserie and breads all excellent and we saw many passengers having their dietary/allergen needs taken care of in a sensitive way. Wine was about $30 to $40 and they would keep bottle to finish off the next night even on anytime dining. Formal night we wore a normal suit and cocktail dress and went out of place amongst tuxedos and long dresses.

We could have eaten in buffet at anytime as food was so good and varied up there; only thing that detracts is the plastic plates and mugs. Unusually for us we always had breakfast up there rather than served in dining room as it was so good. For every meal whether breakfast or lunch up there always managed to get a window table.

Even though we were celebrating our anniversary we didn’t feel the need to use the specialty restaurants for their costs or previous reviews. We always got a table for two and only had to wait about 10 minutes one evening. The only downside with tables for two is that one seat is a banquette/bench style and very, very low; there were not tables for two with two proper chairs. They were close to other tables which was nice for polite between courses chit/chat but without the pressure of sharing table for 8 for example.

Entertainment onboard we found to be very good. We really enjoyed being in a full theatre every evening. The guest speaker on the last sea day was Eddie the Eagle Edwards who was very engaging. I felt sorry for those who couldn’t get into the show or were standing as he only did one session. We really enjoyed the comedy ventriloquist Gareth Oliver who could have filled the main theatre ( and has done so before) but he had been allocated a smaller lounge, the comedian Jeff Stevenson and the Magician/Illusionist act Amethyst. We weren’t so fussed by the Bootleg Beatles out on deck or the DJ Brickhouse ( we popped up to nightclub a couple of late evenings) and we didn’t make it to a couple of shows as too busy having a good time at dinner etc. The casino was pretty quiet but we played a bit of roulette and came away up so pleased with that!

We found the volume on Movies under the Stars screen in the daytime too loud ( they showed live soccer and recorded concerts for example), but enjoyed the adults only pool at the front of ship which was sheltered and quiet. We did the book the Sanctuary for sea days but the design meant it was very windy as not fully enclosed so we cancelled without charge; the staff were lovely and I sensed this happened often. We also like the back of ship with multiple levels of pools, jacuzzis and sunbeds.

Ports: We were not interested in the shore excursions as to be expected were very expensive ( or shore extortion desk as the ventriloquist referred to!)

Zeebrugge we had been a few times before and weren’t that fussed about Bruges, war cemeteries again and thought we might stay onboard but as a lovely sunny day we took free shuttle bus to port building where you buy tram ticket to Blankenberg 6 Euro each for day pass. We got off a couple of stops before the centre of town and walked through the sand dunes and along a gorgeous beach, along the prom, to the marina and mooched. Plenty of places for a coffee/beer and bought some chocolates goodies. If you have young children the beach and the various facilities on seafront make for a lovely family day near to ship.

Copenhagen:

Massive queues for the free shuttle bus so we nipped across road to catch local bus into city instead as I already had the details for that from home. Tourist office and bus ticket machine opposite ship dock. (24DKK each single) We were docked a good 20 minutes out of city centre.

We had been to Copenhagen before so avoided the usual stuff. We went to a local food market Torvehallerne and walked via a nice park into city centre to join a free walking tour we had booked where you tip what you feel its worth. Very enjoyable 2.5 hours with knowledgeable guide who gave her insight into way of life including cycling, and their society such as schooling, healthcare and taxes as well as showing us some of the sights including Royal Palace.

Skagen

Highlight of our week in the centre of Danish sea fishing industry. Greeted by local folk singers dockside, then a flat pavements walk of about 15 minutes in to town centre or there was a free shuttle bus. Tourist Office was in town near drop off point and sold bus tickets (50DKK Euro day pass). Lots of shops and cafes and towards train station there were larger supermarkets such as Netto/Lidl if you need to stock up. I had found the bus times online at home and was more up to date than what the tourist office was handing out. We caught local bus to Grenen and then bought the tickets for the sand tractor out to the point where the seas meet. The bus times didn’t work for us coming back so we walked back from Grenen along normal pavements/cycle route via the lighthouse and old fire beacon, which at gentle amble took under an hour on a glorious sunny and warm day. We hope to return one day and visit some of the other sites such as the buried church and the artist area. Marching bands played as we sailed off which was quite emotional with the locals coming down to wave us off; we had a real sense they valued our presence in their beautiful town.

Oslo

We were due to dock at 0700 and knew the weather was turning so were prepared for the cloudy and damp early approach but it was so serene and pretty. We had been before so juts chose to have a mooch and take No.12 tram out to Vigeland Scuplture Park which we had briefly visited on an all Oslo tour many years ago. ( 35 NKK each way tickets from booth on waterfront) We got off the tram a couple of stops early on the way back to swing by the Royal Palace where they had full ceremonial guards parading and a quick google on my phone of the Norwegian Court Circular listed who was coming to visit. We sat on a bench at the Parliament building and chatted to a local elderly lady which was pleasant; moments like that where you touch on normal life rather then being herded on a coach are delightful. We sailed at 1600 and it was a beautiful but cold and windy sail out to Oslo down the fjord but worth being outside for.
Morechampagne’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Service
Onboard Experience
Free Price Drop Alerts
Get Sapphire Princess price drops
250,000+ people have entered their email

Cabin Review

Interior
Cabin IE B229
Cabin B229 internal cabin chosen as we prefer higher deck and without public rooms above or below due to noise. Best layout of an internal cabin we have had with separate dressing/wardrobe area and shower room away from main sleeping area. Huge ( too big) new flatscreen TV and multiple channels including Sky Sports, BBC etc. Kept to high standard all week and two glitches when a light bulb blew in bathroom and safe door knob came off were quickly resolved via our stateroom attendant. Duvet and pillows were sumptuous and we slept very well all week – Princess should sell them for delivery to your home!
Aloha Deck Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Brugge (Bruges)
    We had been a few times before to Zeebrugge and weren’t that fussed about Bruges, war cemeteries again and thought we might stay onboard but as a lovely sunny day we took free shuttle bus to port building where you buy tram ticket to Blankenberg 6 Euro each for day pass. We got off a couple of stops before the centre of town and walked through the sand dunes and along a gorgeous beach, along the prom, to the marina and mooched. Plenty of places for a coffee/beer and bought some chocolates goodies. If you have young children the beach and the various facilities on seafront make for a lovely family day near to ship.
    View All 356 Brugge (Bruges) Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Brugge (Bruges) Cruise Port Review
  • Copenhagen
    bus into city instead as I already had the details for that from home. Tourist office and bus ticket machine opposite ship dock. (24DKK each single) We were docked a good 20 minutes out of city centre.

    We had been to Copenhagen before so avoided the usual stuff. We went to a local food market Torvehallerne and walked via a nice park into city centre to join a free walking tour we had booked where you tip what you feel its worth. Very enjoyable 2.5 hours with knowledgeable guide who gave her insight into way of life including cycling, and their society such as schooling , healthcare and taxes as well as showing us some of the sights including Royal Palace. Denmark and Norway are both very expensive.
    View All 1,017 Copenhagen Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Copenhagen Cruise Port Review
  • Oslo
    We were due to dock at 0700 and knew the weather was turning so were prepared for the cloudy and damp early approach but it was so serene and pretty and we docked right by the castle. We had been before so juts chose to have a mooch and take No.12 tram out to Vigeland Scuplture Park which we had briefly visited on an all Oslo tour many years ago. ( 35 NKK each way tickets from booth on waterfront) We got off the tram a couple of stops early on the way back to swing by the Royal Palace where they had full ceremonial guards parading and a quick google on my phone of the Norwegian Court Circular listed who was coming to visit. We sat on a bench at the Parliament building and chatted to a local elderly lady which was pleasant; moments like that where you touch on normal life rather then being herded on a coach are delightful. We sailed at 1600 and it was a beautiful but cold and windy sail out to Oslo down the fjord but worth being outside for.
    View All 347 Oslo Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Oslo Cruise Port Review
  • Skagen
    Highlight of our week in the centre of Danish sea fishing industry. Greeted by local folk singers dockside, then a flat pavements walk of about 15 minutes in to town centre or there was a free shuttle bus. Tourist Office was in town near drop off point and sold bus tickets (50DKK * Euro day pass). Lots of shops and cafes and towards train station there were larger supermarkets such as Netto/Lidl if you need to stock up. I had found the bus times online at home and was more up to date than what the tourist office was handing out. We caught local bus to Grenen and then bought the tickets for the sand tractor out to the point where the seas meet. The bus times didn’t work for us coming back so we walked back from Grenen along normal pavements/cycle route via the lighthouse and old fire beacon, which at gentle amble took under an hour on a glorious sunny and warm day. We hope to return one day and visit some of the other sites such as the buried church and the artist area. Marching bands played us away as we sailed off which was quite emotional with the locals coming down to wave us off; we had a real sense they valued our presence in their beautiful town.
    View All 49 Skagen Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Skagen Cruise Port Review
  • Southampton
    Always check the traffic situation getting to Southampton and allow extra time. If there are multiple ships in, it can be very busy and combined with general holiday traffic/boat show/University open days etc people get caught out. We travelled early and had lovely coffee and walk at Ocean Village Marina late morning.
    View All 941 Southampton Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Southampton Cruise Port Review