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Sapphire Princess Review

4.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating
972 reviews
6 Awards

An average ship for the gourmand (NOT gourmet) marred by poor management

Review for Sapphire Princess to Asia
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gomontavista
10+ Cruises • Age 60s

Rating by category

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Dining
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Additional details

Sail Date: Dec 2019
Cabin: Oceanview

The Sapphire Princess has a well seasoned crew with some staff having over 15 years of experience. They provide generally good and attentive service but with a few exceptions, fail to really engage passengers (Our International Dining Room wait staff was very good and drew our respect for her honest opinions and suggestions about what to do in port and life in general). Wait staff in the buffet was generally good, with okay service if providing water and coffee though we noticed some staff at the beginning of our cruise seemed to avoid assisting non-whites. We heard that some passengers complained of this, and things got better during the cruise.

Breakfast in the buffet was extremely repetitive, with very little variation day to day. For a short cruise, it would be okay, but for our back to back 20+ day cruise, it got tedious. The other disappointment was the quality of the food. Nothing is fresh! ALL food at the buffet appeared to be cooked hours early and kept in warming ovens until served. Soup was never hot. Freshness ranked at the bottom of the list in our 10+ cruise history.

The dining room was not much better. Food, including soups, was rarely hot and the creme brulee appeared to be stored in refrigerators for days (generally served cold with sale biscuits on top). Seafood was not fresh with two in our party getting sick from scallops and shrimp in appetizers. There was a certain sameness t the appetizers as well, which was disappointing since prior Princess Cruises provided much better quality and originality (Escargot was on the menu once, but most selections were meh). Entrees were inconsistent - some good, some bad, and there was significant variation even with the same dish ordered by different members of our party. Menus were also repetitive, so one leg okay, but two ... no. We are used to having steak as an alternative on the menu, but were surprised to see that on this cruise, the beef choice was a hamburger.

Cabin Review

Oceanview

This cabin far forward starboard suffered from loud wave crashing when the ship sailed quickly, and noise when anchoring or docking, or often in port, were very noisy starting before sunrise through much later.

USB jacks on the nightstands were convenient.

Port Reviews

Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)

Found a group who had chartered a bus and provided a city tour. Note that traffic is pretty bad, so the return seemed tedious

Sihanoukville

On our visit in late 2019, the whole city was being rebuilt by the Chinese (including roads) with Chinese style buildings, signage and other development like casinos. If you visit, wait a few years for development to be completed. Also, be alert to visa issues.

Koh Samui

City is very convenient (walking). We got a massage and shopped for snacks at the local air-conditioned newer grocery store.

Kelang (Kuala Lumpur)

Take the city tour, but expect lots of traffic. A friend picked us up and we visited Klang for Bak Koh Teh (nothing in this city but food), then drove to KL.

Bali

Take a tour and go to the high country. The local city is very poor with high pressure sales. Also, this is the first time we negotiated a price with a taxi for a city tour after which they took us to the beach (we are not beach people) and left us. We had to find our own transportation back to the ship. Lesson: Always take a cellphone photo of the port so you know where to return!

Penang

Very interesting town with easy access and very helpful maps. All tourist spots are pointed out, and they speak English. Note that foreigner prices are generally much higher than prices for Maylasians (you need a Maylasian ID - we didn't).

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