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We were on the sapphire princess from december 7 - 28, 2019 for a 21 day cruise of southeast asia, including thailand, malaysia, vietnam, cambodia, and bali.. The trip turned out to be a very unpleasant vacation. Princess let us passengers, down badly. We have been on 33 cruises with a total of 6 different cruise lines including princess -- the sapphire princess was one of the poorest, if not the poorest, run ships we have been on and communication was next to nil and always incorrect. There were so many problem and stresses which accumulated and continued from the first day of the cruise. Mismanagement of Immigration Requirements by Princess The immigration requirements at of each southeast asian country, were cumbersome although singapore, thailand, vietnam (visa required), and cambodia (visa required) were the most complicated. However, princess was too disorganized to help passengers deal with the various immigration rules, regulations, and authorities. The sapphire princess staff did a dismal job of communicating what immigration procedures passengers should follow and what documents were needed for each port. At every port, written instructions were vague and information received from security, guest relations, and the tour desk was always contradictory. the actual truth of the matter was always something different from anything communicated. To make matters worse, the ship held our passports and was supposed to hand out copies of the passports and identity cards before passengers disembarked for the particular port. In some cases, passengers needed to have their passport to show port immigration only to have to hand them in immediately back to the princess staff. Finding where to pick up passports, identity cards, passport copies from sapphire princess was always a ridiculous circus, with much misinformation from sapphire written and spoken communication causing passengers so much unnecessary stress. Every evening, the night before a port day, there were literally hundreds of passengers (maybe more) standing in line trying to get needed documents to get through immigration the following day. Customer Disservice a Key characteristic of Sapphire Princess Staff I spoke with many passengers who had gone to desk services, the tour desk, or to security to get help with any problem. I had to help with a variety of issues including tours problems, immigration, account overcharges, etc. 12 of the 21 days of the cruise. The response of the staff was always the same -- “it is your fault because you did not ... Or you should have ...” there is only customer disservice on the sapphire princess. I strongly believe that the sapphire princess staff were instructed to defend the decision by their managers and to find ways of blaming the guest, regardless of whether or not the managerial policy or decision was fair and reasonable. Therefore, passengers, including me, often had to work up the chain of command to have their poor treatment dealt with. Most passengers eventually gave up dealing with the sapphire princess staff and decided to work through either princess customer service or their travel agent to redress the wrongs they suffered. Double Charging Passengers for Cambodian Visas The ultimate blow to passengers were those who had purchase cambodian visa in advance of the cruise were charged for the visas any way. I myself had been issued a visa by the cambodian government and had shown it to guest services several days before the ship had docked in cambodia. Guest services said the visa was correct. So what happened. I was told that the government of cambodia had issued the wrong visa. Citizen of cambodia were told by princess that cambodia required visas for their own citizens. Of course, the sapphire princess staff were wrong and passengers will be contacting princess cruise lines to redress the situation. Getting to the ports made worse by Princess Southeast asia is not a great cruise itinerary. It was a learning vacation in knowing what not to have as an itinerary, major tourist attractions hours away from the port city of the ship and others only accessible by tender. Of course, princess added to the stress, especially with the tender process -- the tenders themselves took anywhere from 50 to 90 minutes round trip to the ports needing tenders. However, it took the sapphire princess a minimum of 2 hours and as much as 3 hours plus to tender all passengers to the ports. We usually staying at a port only about 8 hours, so that left little time really to do sightseeing, eating, shopping, etc. Princess used only 5 cramped hot tenders and only one side of the ship, two docking ports, to get passengers to the port. I have been on other cruise lines, who for ships with comparable numbers of passengers, used 4 docking ports (two on each side of the ship) and about 8-10 tenders (3 or 4 of which had been hired from the local port. Kuala lumpur, ho chi minh city, and bangkok were a minimum of a 2 hour drive from the industrial port at which the sapphire princess docked. We again, stayed an average of 8 to 10 hours at these ports, with a round trip travel time of 4 to six hours -- not much time to be a tourist. PRINCESS WAS UNCARING ABOUT JET LAG My final comment has to deal with jet lag. The first day we arrived a large majority of the sapphire’s passengers were seriously jet lagged from 20 plus hours of travel to singapore. Although the itinerary included bali, the ship started with three port days in a row -- kuala lumpur, penang, and phuket. No seas day to help us adjust to the time change. However, the ship had to pass by singapore on its way to bali -- we then had 3 seas days to bali and 2 sea days back to singapore. If princess had any consideration for jet lag, the cruise could have take two seas days and gone to bali first. However, it is another sign of the sapphire princess complete disregard for the needs of its passengers.

Sapphire Princess -- Mismanagement and Customer Disservice

Sapphire Princess Cruise Review by briangdg

7 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: December 2019
  • Destination: Asia
  • Cabin Type: Oceanview (obstructed view)
We were on the sapphire princess from december 7 - 28, 2019 for a 21 day cruise of southeast asia, including thailand, malaysia, vietnam, cambodia, and bali..

The trip turned out to be a very unpleasant vacation. Princess let us passengers, down badly. We have been on 33 cruises with a total of 6 different cruise lines including princess -- the sapphire princess was one of the poorest, if not the poorest, run ships we have been on and communication was next to nil and always incorrect.

There were so many problem and stresses which accumulated and continued from the first day of the cruise.

Mismanagement of Immigration Requirements by Princess

The immigration requirements at of each southeast asian country, were cumbersome although singapore, thailand, vietnam (visa required), and cambodia (visa required) were the most complicated.

However, princess was too disorganized to help passengers deal with the various immigration rules, regulations, and authorities. The sapphire princess staff did a dismal job of communicating what immigration procedures passengers should follow and what documents were needed for each port. At every port, written instructions were vague and information received from security, guest relations, and the tour desk was always contradictory. the actual truth of the matter was always something different from anything communicated.

To make matters worse, the ship held our passports and was supposed to hand out copies of the passports and identity cards before passengers disembarked for the particular port. In some cases, passengers needed to have their passport to show port immigration only to have to hand them in immediately back to the princess staff. Finding where to pick up passports, identity cards, passport copies from sapphire princess was always a ridiculous circus, with much misinformation from sapphire written and spoken communication causing passengers so much unnecessary stress.

Every evening, the night before a port day, there were literally hundreds of passengers (maybe more) standing in line trying to get needed documents to get through immigration the following day.

Customer Disservice a Key characteristic of Sapphire Princess Staff

I spoke with many passengers who had gone to desk services, the tour desk, or to security to get help with any problem. I had to help with a variety of issues including tours problems, immigration, account overcharges, etc. 12 of the 21 days of the cruise. The response of the staff was always the same -- “it is your fault because you did not ... Or you should have ...” there is only customer disservice on the sapphire princess. I strongly believe that the sapphire princess staff were instructed to defend the decision by their managers and to find ways of blaming the guest, regardless of whether or not the managerial policy or decision was fair and reasonable. Therefore, passengers, including me, often had to work up the chain of command to have their poor treatment dealt with. Most passengers eventually gave up dealing with the sapphire princess staff and decided to work through either princess customer service or their travel agent to redress the wrongs they suffered.

Double Charging Passengers for Cambodian Visas

The ultimate blow to passengers were those who had purchase cambodian visa in advance of the cruise were charged for the visas any way. I myself had been issued a visa by the cambodian government and had shown it to guest services several days before the ship had docked in cambodia. Guest services said the visa was correct.

So what happened. I was told that the government of cambodia had issued the wrong visa. Citizen of cambodia were told by princess that cambodia required visas for their own citizens. Of course, the sapphire princess staff were wrong and passengers will be contacting princess cruise lines to redress the situation.

Getting to the ports made worse by Princess

Southeast asia is not a great cruise itinerary. It was a learning vacation in knowing what not to have as an itinerary, major tourist attractions hours away from the port city of the ship and others only accessible by tender.

Of course, princess added to the stress, especially with the tender process -- the tenders themselves took anywhere from 50 to 90 minutes round trip to the ports needing tenders. However, it took the sapphire princess a minimum of 2 hours and as much as 3 hours plus to tender all passengers to the ports. We usually staying at a port only about 8 hours, so that left little time really to do sightseeing, eating, shopping, etc.

Princess used only 5 cramped hot tenders and only one side of the ship, two docking ports, to get passengers to the port. I have been on other cruise lines, who for ships with comparable numbers of passengers, used 4 docking ports (two on each side of the ship) and about 8-10 tenders (3 or 4 of which had been hired from the local port.

Kuala lumpur, ho chi minh city, and bangkok were a minimum of a 2 hour drive from the industrial port at which the sapphire princess docked. We again, stayed an average of 8 to 10 hours at these ports, with a round trip travel time of 4 to six hours -- not much time to be a tourist.

PRINCESS WAS UNCARING ABOUT JET LAG

My final comment has to deal with jet lag. The first day we arrived a large majority of the sapphire’s passengers were seriously jet lagged from 20 plus hours of travel to singapore. Although the itinerary included bali, the ship started with three port days in a row -- kuala lumpur, penang, and phuket. No seas day to help us adjust to the time change. However, the ship had to pass by singapore on its way to bali -- we then had 3 seas days to bali and 2 sea days back to singapore.

If princess had any consideration for jet lag, the cruise could have take two seas days and gone to bali first. However, it is another sign of the sapphire princess complete disregard for the needs of its passengers.
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Cabin Review

Oceanview (obstructed view)
Cabin OW
The Cabin was comfortable with a good amount of Storage. The beds were very comfortable. The view, though obstructed allowed plenty of light and we could see the sky, port and the sea.

Our Cabin Steward was excellent. The room was spotless and she immediately responded to any request. She also was always friendly and cheerful.
Emerald Deck Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

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  • Bangkok (Laem Chabang)
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  • City Tour
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    That night I suffered severe cramps meaning that I had been exposed to my allergy. Luckily, my allergy is gastrointestinal, not fatal. A passenger on the boat who was a dietitian told me that cross contamination was very easy -- either by the chef staff or by the guest at the buffet. Our tour had arrived back to the ship very late, around 7:15 or 7:30pm because of heavy traffic. The ship was due to depart at 6 pm.
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  • Koh Samui
    We were told that the tendering would take 90 minutes round trip so we stayed on the ship. We did find out, that as usual, the Sapphire Princess had published the incorrect information. Friends of ours said the round trip tender took about 40 minutes, but it took 2 + hours for the Sapphire Princess to tender passengers who wanted to go ashore because of inadequate tender service, so it was just as well that we stayed on board. The poor service of The Sapphire Princess had worn us down.
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    Nha Trang is a city being rebuilt. Our guide was wonderful and only pointed out what was interesting. We went to a wonderful Buddhist temple and a welcoming center of a small village.Also, we visited a small farm where we were given a traditional welcoming tea. At the end of the tour, we visited a traditional out door restaurant for a mixture of local fruits and juices. This was probably the best of all the tours we had.
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