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I chose this cruise as an alternative to visiting the Pacific again. I stayed in Southampton prior to the cruise taking the NEX bus down from Heathrow T3 for £19. Very easy to do and it took less than 2h. Embarkation was running smoothly until they had a problem with the gangway and they didn’t board passengers for at least half an hour. Of course, people kept piling into the terminal. They kept announcing for people to sit down but there weren’t any seats left! Eventually they began boarding in priority order…elite first. As I had a non-EU passport, it was taken off me and returned after we left Lisbon on Day 11. A photocopy was sent to my cabin to carry with me while ashore. I was really pleased with my cabin when I saw the big TV, great for viewing and I also had tea and coffee making facilities which I was not expecting. My kind of room. The sun was shining as the 2746 of us (almost 2000 UK, over 600 Elite and over 800 Platinum members and 55 Aussies) as we headed out past the Isle of Wight. We got a great view of the USS Truman aircraft carrier anchored off the coast. It was a little rough going across the Bay of Biscay and we made our scheduled stop in Vigo. Hurricane Leslie had blown up a storm near Madeira so we did not stop there. Instead the ship sailed full speed to Lanzarote and we had an extra afternoon and evening there rather than just staying at sea. The ports of Tenerife, Gran Canara and Lisbon followed. I got up early (about 7.30am) to see the landmarks of Lisbon from the water as we sailed up the river. It had been raining but the sun came out and it looked great. Port information lectures were given by Debbie Shields who was excellent. She mixed history with relevant information for sightseeing and visuals to assist. She was available for questions and the lectures were put on the TV. I attended the lectures but also referred back to some of the info on TV. I also attended some of the lectures given by Jevan Morris that focussed on Lord Nelson. Very interesting. I’m not into games, trivia and shopping so although plentiful I didn’t attend any of those activities. Ann Widdecombe, the former UK politician gave an interview with the CD. I had never heard of her but was told she was good so I wandered down to the theatre about 15 mins before the talk which was at 3pm. I’ve never seen so many packed in and around the theatre. You physically couldn’t get in. Apparently the first thing she asked the CD is why Princess didn’t have a bigger theatre. I ask the same question. With 2 shows at night (8pm and 10.15pm), 2746 passengers, 879 theatre seats, more than a third miss out every day. I went to the 10.15pm show as you could never get in to the 8pm show. I always enjoy the shows whether it be the Princess entertainers or guest entertainers. Some I’ve seen before but I go again as they are great entertainment. I wish there was a more equitable system or a larger theatre so everyone could get to see what they have paid for. I had dinner each night in the Vivaldi dining room with a few regulars and a few that joined the table just for that evening. I had room service breakfast each day served by the same young lady and ate at the buffet or grabbed a piece of pizza for lunch. I was delighted to eat those old English favourites like my mum and gran used to make and I hadn’t eaten for years……bread and butter pudding, various rice puddings, tapioca and even Yorkshire pudding. Cheerful, friendly and professional service by the wait staff. The night we stayed in Lanzarote I was awoken around 2am by the PA system bellowing out for the medical response to team to head to some cabin on the Dolphin deck. It gave me a fright until I came to my senses and realised where I was. Wouldn’t have been at all surprised if there were a few more medical incidents following that. Surely doctors and the rest of the medical staff have pagers to use a night rather than wake up nearly 4000 people. I chose half day shore excursions. Very good with excellent and knowledgeable guides. This gave me a couple of hours to have a wander round when we got back. Its great being able to use your phone to check your account, order breakfast, buy excursions, future cruise deposits. In a few places the internet was hard to connect to. I had 4h complimentary which was plenty to check e-mails and news headlines from home each day without looking for places in port. Overall, an excellent cruise and well worth the 24h flight in economy.

Cruising the Canaries.....

Sapphire Princess Cruise Review by Yaya_in_Oz

1 person found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: October 2018
  • Destination: Canary Islands
  • Cabin Type: Oceanview (obstructed view)
I chose this cruise as an alternative to visiting the Pacific again. I stayed in Southampton prior to the cruise taking the NEX bus down from Heathrow T3 for £19. Very easy to do and it took less than 2h.

Embarkation was running smoothly until they had a problem with the gangway and they didn’t board passengers for at least half an hour. Of course, people kept piling into the terminal. They kept announcing for people to sit down but there weren’t any seats left! Eventually they began boarding in priority order…elite first. As I had a non-EU passport, it was taken off me and returned after we left Lisbon on Day 11. A photocopy was sent to my cabin to carry with me while ashore.

I was really pleased with my cabin when I saw the big TV, great for viewing and I also had tea and coffee making facilities which I was not expecting. My kind of room.

The sun was shining as the 2746 of us (almost 2000 UK, over 600 Elite and over 800 Platinum members and 55 Aussies) as we headed out past the Isle of Wight. We got a great view of the USS Truman aircraft carrier anchored off the coast.

It was a little rough going across the Bay of Biscay and we made our scheduled stop in Vigo. Hurricane Leslie had blown up a storm near Madeira so we did not stop there. Instead the ship sailed full speed to Lanzarote and we had an extra afternoon and evening there rather than just staying at sea. The ports of Tenerife, Gran Canara and Lisbon followed. I got up early (about 7.30am) to see the landmarks of Lisbon from the water as we sailed up the river. It had been raining but the sun came out and it looked great.

Port information lectures were given by Debbie Shields who was excellent. She mixed history with relevant information for sightseeing and visuals to assist. She was available for questions and the lectures were put on the TV. I attended the lectures but also referred back to some of the info on TV.

I also attended some of the lectures given by Jevan Morris that focussed on Lord Nelson. Very interesting.

I’m not into games, trivia and shopping so although plentiful I didn’t attend any of those activities.

Ann Widdecombe, the former UK politician gave an interview with the CD. I had never heard of her but was told she was good so I wandered down to the theatre about 15 mins before the talk which was at 3pm. I’ve never seen so many packed in and around the theatre. You physically couldn’t get in. Apparently the first thing she asked the CD is why Princess didn’t have a bigger theatre. I ask the same question. With 2 shows at night (8pm and 10.15pm), 2746 passengers, 879 theatre seats, more than a third miss out every day. I went to the 10.15pm show as you could never get in to the 8pm show. I always enjoy the shows whether it be the Princess entertainers or guest entertainers. Some I’ve seen before but I go again as they are great entertainment. I wish there was a more equitable system or a larger theatre so everyone could get to see what they have paid for.

I had dinner each night in the Vivaldi dining room with a few regulars and a few that joined the table just for that evening. I had room service breakfast each day served by the same young lady and ate at the buffet or grabbed a piece of pizza for lunch. I was delighted to eat those old English favourites like my mum and gran used to make and I hadn’t eaten for years……bread and butter pudding, various rice puddings, tapioca and even Yorkshire pudding. Cheerful, friendly and professional service by the wait staff.

The night we stayed in Lanzarote I was awoken around 2am by the PA system bellowing out for the medical response to team to head to some cabin on the Dolphin deck. It gave me a fright until I came to my senses and realised where I was. Wouldn’t have been at all surprised if there were a few more medical incidents following that. Surely doctors and the rest of the medical staff have pagers to use a night rather than wake up nearly 4000 people.

I chose half day shore excursions. Very good with excellent and knowledgeable guides. This gave me a couple of hours to have a wander round when we got back.

Its great being able to use your phone to check your account, order breakfast, buy excursions, future cruise deposits. In a few places the internet was hard to connect to. I had 4h complimentary which was plenty to check e-mails and news headlines from home each day without looking for places in port.

Overall, an excellent cruise and well worth the 24h flight in economy.
Yaya_in_Oz’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
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Embarkation
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Cabin Review

Oceanview (obstructed view)
Cabin OW E217
I loved the big TV. I also enjoyed looking at the ship location app each day. Great to have tea and coffee making facilities in the room. It should be standard on all ships. The bed was very comfortable, liking sleeping on a cloud. The cabin steward was very helpful and professional. The window was partly obstructed by a lifeboat but plenty of natural light got into the cabin. Plenty of room for one person. As a solo traveler I love the obstructed oceanview rooms when you can get them for a few hundred dollars more than the interior cabins. I like deck 8 so I can use the stairs a lot of the time. However, on some cruises they are a lot more expensive so I just get an interior cabin.
Emerald Deck Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Jameos del Agua
    The tour stopped at a couple of lookouts including the spectacular Mirador del Rio. It was a fine day and the views were great. Then it was onto the Jameos Del Agua, the lava tunnel come oasis and museum.
    Once back at the ship I took the free port shuttle that dropped you at the edge of town ( about 1.5km) and I walked along the waterfront and parts of the old town.
    View All 5 Jameos del Agua Reviews
  • Timanfaya National Park
    I took this tour because I wanted to go to the NP and only the buses were allowed drive through the park. There was an included camel ride which I could have skipped. There was a seat each side of the camel and the ride took abut 20 mins. Most seemed to enjoy it and the camel drivers were entertaining. Afterwards we stopped at a bodega to taste some local wine. The sweet one tasted like sherry.
    View All 20 Timanfaya National Park Reviews
  • Jeronimos Monastery
    The Lisbon Highlights tour included a visit to Jeronimos Church where among other things we saw the tomb of Vasco de Gama. I thought we would see more of the monastery as the write up was ambiguous. We did visit the Maritime Museum at the end of the building. The early seafaring exhibits were good. I didn't bother looking at the modern things. We were given time for coffee or gift shopping before making a short stop at the Belem tower which was totally packed with people, a bit different to the last time I'd seen it back in 1996. A stop was also made at Monument to Maritime Explorers. With all the people it probably would have just been quicker to walk between the sights. We then had a drive through parts of the city and the option of being dropped off not far from Commerce Square. It was 40 mins walk back to the ship but I had a blister on my foot so I continued back to the ship. After patching myself up I walked across the road from the cruise terminal building where they had a small market and a few quaint streets and alleys and wandered around for about an hour.
    View All 13 Jeronimos Monastery Reviews
  • Canadas del Teide
    A great day out. The bus climbs through the forests up to where you get wonderful vistas of Mt Teide rising up 3718m. Photo stops are made. The drive continues through the NP where you can see craters, lavas flows, interesting rock formations and so on. We get up to over 2000m or thereabouts I think and the guide tells going down we'll probably fall asleep. Once we get back through the forests he says did you have a sleep. I was sitting at the front and jokingly said no "you talk to much". He said "I talk to make sure the river stays awake". Interesting. Of course he spoke in Spanish.
    There was a free port shuttle bus to the port gates (about 1.5km) but walked into town and wandered around Plaza de Candelaria area where there was a nice park, shops etc.
    View All 27 Canadas del Teide Reviews
  • Santiago de Compostela
    Great excursion. Loved the architecture and learning about the history, also meeting a few people who'd just walked the Camino. It takes just over an hour to reach Santiago de Compostela from Vigo. Very little free time. On talking to guide at the end of the tour I asked him why the tour wasn't a little longer. He said they were employed for half a day or full day and the 5h was considered the max for a half day tour. Interesting. I thought they'd just pay by the hour and tours would be as long as they needed to be.
    View All 28 Santiago de Compostela Reviews