Sapphire Princess Cruise Review by Martha Faith
- Sail Date: December 2011
- Destination: Hawaii
- Cabin Type: Balcony
My husband and I decided to escape on Princess this Christmas holiday. We have never been away for the holiday. We thought Hawaii, the beauty of the islands and the warm weather just might be the ticket. (No. VA.) We were not disappointed. Everything Princess created for this holiday sailing was something that delighted our spirits. Santa even showed up with gifts for the children. It even snowed in the piazza. That's a remarkable sight. Princess is our cruise line of choice. We were not disappointed.
We have been on several different ships with Princess, never the Sapphire. We liked the style of the Sapphire very much. New to us were several dining rooms to choose from. Smaller rooms. Decorated differently. Although the food was the same it felt as if you were dining in a different restaurant. With anytime dining this allows us the freedom to choose whatever we feel suits us best. Great option! We chose the Santa Fe first. Because we are early birds we go to dinner early and retire early. So, one of the first things we did was to check on each of the dining venues available to us as anytime diners. We decided on the Santa Fe. Because this is part of what we enjoy on our cruises we like to make our selection early. In the end, since there were a great many families on board we learned selecting early to be helpful. There proved to be more competition for early dining. At the restaurant (shortly after embarking) we were greeted by a most helpful young man who selected a dining table for us. Little did we realize how fortunate his choice for us would be. What a difference our waitress and her assistant made to our trip. We felt as if we were dining in her home. The service was excellent and the kindness, attention to our needs, and professional style could not have been better. This detail set the theme for the rest of the trip.
Our cabin was perfect. My husband has difficulty walking especially up and down stairs. Our first ocean view balcony although somewhat small was very clean and comfortable. With the balcony adding to the space this allowed enough area to relax in quietly breathing in the fresh sea air. Our attendant did an outstanding job keeping the cabin perfectly clean and tidy adding to the comfort. He never intruded in our quiet time but magically appeared to refresh our premises while we were away.
We always enjoy talking to the other passengers. The addition of the families was very special. Lots of little one to watch as well as the older youth. I'm uncertain whether it was because of the holiday or maybe the beautiful weather we encountered in the Hawaiian islands but the tone of the atmosphere was delightful!
This trip is in the winter in the northern hemisphere. The winds can be a bit strong on the islands this time of year. Although the Pacific was gentle the wind affected our getting into port in Kaui. Our only disappointment. An island we were looking forward to seeing. The captain tried but he just couldn't safely enter. So, he sailed around the island so we could see a special area that you can't see by car. Then he ventured out to another island close by so we could see that before sailing on.
Honolulu was amazing decorated for Christmas! We forgot about the holidays given it was just the two of us (65 & 70). This brought it back. Oahu is a port with a full day. Princess arrives early and departs late. A great opportunity to really drink in the port. I wish this was possible with all the ports. That would be so much better!!! This day we were able to see the other side of the island and spend the evening in Honolulu. We tendered in Maui. That was fine too. Nothing could have spoiled this sailing for us. The big island only gave us time for one item on our list which was the tropical gardens. We were driven by cart to the depths of the garden and back when we were ready. Not much walking and plenty of benches. For us an outstanding choice touching the beauty of the island! The on board lectures were interesting .. history of the islands and its people. The shows great. Their female Zumba instructor (Zumba new to me) was fantastic. That was set outdoors .. even better. Did a walk for the cure. All great for the waist line! Everyday at sea there are so many things to choose from it is difficult to fit in a nap or balcony time . My advice ... get going! Take the family out for the holiday or any other opportunity. Enjoy the Princess style it is well worth the expense. We find by choosing Princess we receive the quality we are looking for and can do more cruises. We have wonderful memories. Great nights rest. I am not an employee ... I'm a fan of what is offered by Princess.
Martha Faith’s Full Rating Summary
Our cabin C628BA was in a great location for our needs. In case of an emergency we would use the stairs which were within a few steps from our cabin. This is a comfort to me while sailing. Due to a past illness, my husband cannot walk fast or manage stairs quickly. Carib is on deck 10. Higher would present a real problem in case of an emergency. This cabin is also located close to the rear elevators. A real plus for us. The Sapphire elevators in the rear of the ship are in a large square rather than a line (similar to the atrium style). This is an outstanding design. You are not running from one side of the ship to the other trying to catch an elevator. Zip right up to the Horizon for breakfast if that was our choice. Zip right down to deck 7 the promenade deck for activities. As far as other items inside the cabin ... there were a few minor items I made note of and will only share here. The two chairs provided had a few stains. There were a few nicks in the wood decor of one chair and desk. The light switches on the bedside lamps are loose from ware. This type of switch doesn't last long. I know this from a lamp at home with a similar switch. We have experienced other ship's lights that suffer from this problem. It is a poor design. Perhaps a better alternative would be to have lamps that turn off by a toggle switch on the wall. The bathroom was very very clean. Although this ship I believe was built in 2004 this area has held up well. Perhaps our cabin steward is to thank for this. There was no fan that I could find to ventilate the bathroom after a shower. Even without a fan, there is not one sign of mold! The rugs were clean. The pillows could definitely use a good upgrading. I requested an extra for both my husband and myself. One was like a flat rubber pancake. The other two were much softer. I'm not sure how to solve keeping pillows sanitary with so much use and provide support and comfort. There must be something out there. Our mattress too was a little stiff. I have an occasional mild discomfort with my hips. Although we had an "egg crate" topper provided, my hips hurt a great deal during this sailing. Now that we are home to the comfort of our own bed the pain is gone. I always request the egg crate topper. I learned to make this request after our first sailing. Until this trip I have not experienced such discomfort every night. The balcony cabins are on the small side. There is a little dancing you need to do to get around one another. The balcony offers a wonderful escape and added space. I prefer a mini suit for the additional space it provides. The bathroom does have enough room although the shower is cozy. We found the storage quite adequate with room to spare. Enough storage to put all of our things away keeping our cabin uncluttered. We were perfectly comfortable in our cabin. Oh, the internet in our cabin on this trip worked well. Slow as usual when out to sea with a pretty reliable connection. These are my notes of our personal experiences in answer to the CC's question in this section. Not meant to be criticisms. We can't imagine the magnitude of work and expense that goes into keeping these ships in top shape ... safe and a draw to the pleasures of sailing the world. We had a fantastic trip to the Hawaiian islands and hope to sail the Pacific again.
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