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Sail Date: November 2017
Met with our expectations and exceeded at times. Well done Sapphire Princess - Captain and Crew. The ship is well maintained. The Princess brand is represented well on this ship. Our back to back trip of 15 days Singapore to Singapore ... Read More
Met with our expectations and exceeded at times. Well done Sapphire Princess - Captain and Crew. The ship is well maintained. The Princess brand is represented well on this ship. Our back to back trip of 15 days Singapore to Singapore had great ports and the Onshore Excursions Princess provided were excellent quality, value and very efficiently administered. Our mini-suite met our expectations D232, however having had a mini-suite on the Diamond Princess at the rear of Emerald deck I really missed having a cover over the balcony and felt very exposed and not able to use the balcony as I like given I prefer not to have direct sunlight when sitting. As much as I love a mini-suite I’d probably opt for an upper deck balcony next time that does have a cover across the balcony if mini-suites on Deck E are unavailable. So if you don’t like the full sun - this could be a consideration when booking your cabin. I had the opportunity to be invited to the 40 most travelled passengers luncheon Princess holds with its Captain and Officers and that was a real treat and perk for my loyalty with the cruise line, well done to Captains Circle marketing, it works, I certainly want to travel Princess again. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
Unfortunately, not a good start - flight from Melbourne cancelled but I was not worried because booked through Princess so knew all would be taken care of! Eventually got to Haneda Air Port and had to wait 3 + hours for prepaid Princess ... Read More
Unfortunately, not a good start - flight from Melbourne cancelled but I was not worried because booked through Princess so knew all would be taken care of! Eventually got to Haneda Air Port and had to wait 3 + hours for prepaid Princess transfer to Cruise Terminal (some waited more than 5 hours) then another 75 minutes before actually boarding ship! After that, everything was pretty well perfect! My Cabin Stewardess, Grace, kept the room spotless - noted when I went to breakfast and had everything in order by the time I returned - even kept an ice bucket full for me. My only complaint; the linen - it was deffinately no where near "new" as suggested in the professional reviews! Dining - I went to the buffet on several occasions, the Main Dining Room for Breakfast and Lunch (when open on sea days) and used "Any Time Dining" for dinner - I could not fault any, there was so much choice in each venue - if anyone complained, then I think you just picked the wrong meal!! I went to the port talks, which were several days before arriving at said port and could be later viewed on the inroom TV - these were interesting and supplied information that the Princess Patter did not mention or only mentioned the night before docking. I went to all the evening shows in the Princess Theatre - I thought the Princess Entertainers were terrific - very energetic. The Cruise Director was a "sweetie" - apparently it was her first cruise as Cruise Director and she was great - especially her jokes!!! I could not fault the service of the dining, bar and cabin stewards - everyone went out of their way to assist with every little thing and were always courteous an very polite. The 2 Princess shore excursions I took were (I felt) good value for money - especially the one in Nha Trang . The organization of getting people off the ship for their designated tour was the best I have ever seen on any of my cruises - The Japanese man ( I am really sorry I don't know his name) was amazing with his organization and composure. I would cruise with Princess again - looking for my next cruise already. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
We have cruised with Princess many times before and are fully versed with what to expect and the service that Princess supply. Our problems started with embarkation. There was absolutely no organisation to this at all. Outside of the ... Read More
We have cruised with Princess many times before and are fully versed with what to expect and the service that Princess supply. Our problems started with embarkation. There was absolutely no organisation to this at all. Outside of the terminal there was virtually no one around to ask and more by luck we managed to find the right place to leave our luggage. Inside the terminal was much worse. As we are now elite on Princess we should have preferential boarding but the queues were huge and no one managing it we finished up in the wrong queue and the process took about 3 hours before we had our cruise card. Part way into the trip Princess did acknowledge that embarkation was a mess and credited everyone's on board account with $50. Usually on board a Princess ship there is quite a variety of entertainment available. However, every night the main theatre was the only event where there was a show. Club Fusion never hosted a live show throughout the cruise and this is usually busy every night. Sapphire Princess has been in the Chinese market for the past three years. Apparently the staff are only used to this and as a result the normal Princess service was missing. The only exception to this was our cabin steward who did his best to rectify the issues with our room. Sapphire Princess is looking very tired. Her dry dock refit can't come soon enough. In our cabin the shower waste didn't work properly, the first time it was used it flooded the rest of the bathroom fortunately it didn't go any further than that. Other issues we had included the air conditioning not cooling the room at all, rather important in the tropics! The refrigerator didn't really work either Before we left for our trip we had booked a number of shore excursions with Princess and finished up booking more on board. These were badly organised by the shore excursion staff as there was no direction and only by our own initiative did we manage to find the correct vehicle for the trip. All the actually trips were really good until we came to Thailand. The cruise had two days in Bangkok,on the second day we had booked a visit to the Tiger Zoo. This was truly horrendous. The conditions that the tigers are kept in are appalling. There are a number of areas where you can have your picture taken with one of the tigers. The cubs that are used are held within small cages that are around 3 feet cubed. To get them to sit on the tourists knees for the photo they are given milk. The rate at which the cubs drink this milk leads you to believe that they must must be really hungry. The fully grown tiger that is available for photos is extremely docile, too docile for a wild animal....... There were a number of really small tiger cubs, possibly only a few days old. These had all been separated from their mother and most were left on their own in a small pen. One of their advertising ploys is the sow feeding the tiger cub, sure enough this is where one of the cubs was with a sow who had piglets on her own. Only the cub was (presumably) asleep and wasn't moving. In the adjacent room was a tiger (possibly the cubs mother) and she had been given two piglets to feed. Only she didn't want them anywhere near her. Other parts of the park offered you the chance to feed tiger cubs that were again in cages about 3 foot cubed. These cubs also seemed to be starving. The rest of the adult tigers are kept in cages that have concrete floors and nothing to entertain their minds. Many were pacing up and down in repetitive fashion indicating behavioural problems. The zoo also had many other animals pigs, rabbits, goats, donkeys and many crocodiles. None of the conditions for these animals seemed any better. We did finish up watching part of the crocodile show and these consisted of two members of the zoo staff tormenting the crocodiles util they snapped. We didn't stay long in this show. The whole park broke our hearts. We raised our concerns with Princess as soon as we returned from this trip but didn't get any feeling of concern or desire to do anything. The excursion staff confirmed that Princess do check out tours before offering them. We are shocked that Princess, who visited this zoo before offering it, thought that it was acceptable. It is a classic example of animal cruelty and Princess are funding this through providing funds from tours. We were assured that we would be contacted before we disembarked regarding our concerns however a couple of days following disembarkation we have still not heard anything from Princess. We are shocked that this type of trip is condoned by Princess through their provision of it. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2017
From the embarkation chaos in the Cruise Terminal to some of the poorly trained staff, this was the absolute worse Princess cruise I have ever experienced it 25 years. No designated queues for check in, such as for “Elite and ... Read More
From the embarkation chaos in the Cruise Terminal to some of the poorly trained staff, this was the absolute worse Princess cruise I have ever experienced it 25 years. No designated queues for check in, such as for “Elite and Platinum level” were displayed. Discussions with fellow Elite level cruisers support my negative experience with this sailing. In fact, Princess Cruises awarded every guess $100 on-board credit to try and appease the dissatisfied passengers after our disorganized, chaotic embarkation day. This ship should have been refitted after the Summer China cruise season, instead of waiting until next March, 2018,as it has become dated and detoriated. Some of my fellow passengers experienced food-poisoning like myself, in discussions during the final days of our cruise. My illness came from the Trident Grill when an inexperienced Chinese cook, grilled a cheese burger for me. Within 3 hours I was vomiting and experiencing diarrhea. After reporting this occurrence, I was isolated to my room until 24 hours after the diarrhea ceased. Difficulties understanding public address announcements were normal, as the young lady once told me jokingly, that she spoke “Chinglish”. Our table mates quit dining with us in the Dining Room, after their numerous, poorly cooked main courses were returned to the kitchen on the first 4 of 5 evenings. They were totally disgusted with the food and never returned to the Dining Room. The staff overall, tried their best and were to be commended for their attitudes, but Princess Cruises must revise their Dining programs, as well as other areas of the cruise experience. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2017
We were really looking forward to this cruise as it seemed to offer everything we wanted to see and experience in the Far East. How wrong we were! The embarkation, immigration and disembarkation used up so much time on many of the days ... Read More
We were really looking forward to this cruise as it seemed to offer everything we wanted to see and experience in the Far East. How wrong we were! The embarkation, immigration and disembarkation used up so much time on many of the days ashore that we were unable to do much of what we had planned. Many of the ports were miles away from the main attractions, for example we docked at Laem Chabang which meant we had a four hour drive to get to Bangkok. This meant eight hours was spent on a coach. At Koh Samui, it was even worse as the ships tenders weren't used (which contradicted the presentation given by the excursions officer) and so we waited for three hours to get ashore. The queue was so bad to return to the ship that the 16:00 departure time was delayed by over two hours to ensure the massive queue (that extended the length of the pier at Nathon) could return. Queues for the restaurants and customer service was also a huge frustration and has resulted in our party of twenty three sending letters of complaint in an effort to seek compensation. Such a shame this effected so much of the amazing countries we had hoped to see more of during our two week cruise. The dining experience in the lounges is excellent and the breakfasts are great as it is always cooked to order. The level of service from the cabin steward and waiters is great, which was more than I could say about the officers who not as helpful and didn't appear to support their staff well enough when issues were raised. We din't take the opportunity to experience the on board activities, other than a photography lecture that was amazing and taught me many new skills to use in the future. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2017
Looked like a great itinerary but the ship had to dock so far away from the places of interest that by the time you got anywhere you hardly had time to explore. Three and a half hours each way to Bangkok and they still ran a trip when the ... Read More
Looked like a great itinerary but the ship had to dock so far away from the places of interest that by the time you got anywhere you hardly had time to explore. Three and a half hours each way to Bangkok and they still ran a trip when the ship was leaving at 5:30, so just an hour to see the sights. The food and waiters were very good, as were the cabin staff but the ship was extremely tired, the management and organisation were appalling and the general staff surly and unhelpful and many could hardly speak English. Too many issues to mention but delays boarding, bad excursion experiences and finally no one to direct you to your coach on disembarkation. Drinks very expensive, always HUGE queues of people waiting to complain at customer services - didn't speak to anyone who wasn't complaining about something or other. We have heard that 50% of the staff were being trained and that the ship is due for refurbishment, but if that is the case we should not have been charged full price. A few good shows but the ships singers/dancers were poor. Quite a lot of activities but more suited to a holiday camp! At the moment we're thinking never again with Princess, but it may just be that we were unlucky that the ship was old and the management incompetent. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2017
We cruised from Hong Kong to Singapore. The embarcation was a nightmare, so much so that Princess credited each guest $50 to spend on board. I thought that that was appropriate givien the fact that people waited for several hours to ... Read More
We cruised from Hong Kong to Singapore. The embarcation was a nightmare, so much so that Princess credited each guest $50 to spend on board. I thought that that was appropriate givien the fact that people waited for several hours to board in Hong Kong. In addition, there was not a separate line for elite passengers who are guaranteed priority boarding. It was only after about an hour that the lines were separated. The cruise staff were mostly limited English speaking which made it very difficult to get any information from guest services. Many times, they did not answer the phone. The Princess Theatre, the main theatre on the ship, was in terrible condition with torn and shredded seat upholstery. That was an embarrassment. I have never been on a Princess ship in such need of repair, and this was my 23rd Princess cruise. There were also many positives. My husband and I had a suite, which was most comfortable. The bed was wonderful and the linens divine. Our cabin attendant was ever present and attendant to our every need. However only one of the two TVs in the cabin worked. We had club dining and found the food and the wait staff excellent. We did only one ship tour in Singapore which was fine. The other tours were all arranged privately prior to the sailing. I found that there were fewer activities during the days at sea than on other cruises. I spoke to several people on this cruise, all of whom had cruised Princess before many times, and they all thought that this ship was in the poorest repair. I understand that it is going in dry dock in March, which, I believe, is several months at least, too late. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2017
The Sapphire cruise itinerary and time of year appealed to us and worked with our schedule. Our friends are Elite Princess members and have had excellent experiences and encouraged us to try Princess. Unfortunately, this particular ship ... Read More
The Sapphire cruise itinerary and time of year appealed to us and worked with our schedule. Our friends are Elite Princess members and have had excellent experiences and encouraged us to try Princess. Unfortunately, this particular ship was not ready to serve passengers efficiently and there was uncoordinated communication about important issues like passports and where to meet for directions and such. Embarkation was a mess and Princess did compensate everyone $50 credit per person for this inconvenience but it was bad to start off the cruise this way. Our cabin steward was wonderful and made the trip pleasurable given the rest of the staff was not always so helpful. The cabin was fine and overall the ship needs some updating. The Princess Theater is worn, seating chairs and wood railing is peeling. The ship was clean and the staff was always working to keep things in shape. The ports of call were great. We did our own local tours and the people that were on the ship became fast friends. The loyal Princess Cruisers admitted this was not what they have ever experienced from Princess in the past. My husband and I traveled together and may consider another Princess Cruise if it fits our needs but we have many other choices to consider. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2017
We were booked in to this cruise as part of a bigger land and sea package tour by UK company Cruise.co.uk. It was one of their "Bucket List" trips which included seeing some of the "7 Wonders". We took in Cambodia and ... Read More
We were booked in to this cruise as part of a bigger land and sea package tour by UK company Cruise.co.uk. It was one of their "Bucket List" trips which included seeing some of the "7 Wonders". We took in Cambodia and China before flying to Hong Kong and boarding the SP. Disembarking at Singapore we flew on to India and had a land tour from Delhi to Jaipur and Agra. The whole package ran in to a 5 figure sum for two people before any extras so it wasn't a cheap trip. As we didn't pay for the cruise separately I guess it came under the umbrella of how the whole trip went and as such suffered from the poor performance of the Cambodia and China sections due to bad planning. Anyway, lets ignore that but let's remember perhaps to put that into the equation . Our arrival in Hong Kong was on a very wet day so we decided to stay on board once we had checked in. Embarkation wasn't too bad by the time we arrived as we were late in the afternoon and presumably most passengers were already on board. Our first meal was proceeded by a visit to the bar at the back of the ship on the open deck and our favourite ( forgot to mention we have largely traveled this route on SP 4 years ago). "I'll have a draught beer please!" "We don't have any!" "Why not?" " We have just been on a cruise of Japan and Korea and the demand was unexpectedly high." "Strange, last time I boarded the ship in Beijing before sailing to Korea and Japan and that's the answer you gave then too. You said you'd be re-stocking in Hong Kong but you never did." Meanwhile, barman slopes off and is replaced by bar lady. "What beers do you have please?" "I'll just take a look, sir" It turns out she doesn't know where to look. She has just arrived on board, been sent to work this bar and hasn't even been shown where anything is kept. That's not her fault but it seemed typical of what was to follow. The SP appears to have been sub let to a Chinese company prior to the November sailing. Lots of the crew were new on board and unfamiliar with procedures due to poor training. Not only that but it appeared that the SP hadn't restocked with essential supplies and there was a shortage of various beers and wines. When ordering at the bar over the next few days it was unacceptable to be told that they didn't have a particular beer try another bar. It was unacceptable to be told that bar didn't have the least expensive gin at $7 a shot so you had to settle for a more expensive one. It was unacceptable to be charged 15% service for a can of beer that is placed unopened on the bar along with a glass. In my opinion drinks are hugely overpriced and as a consequence Princess are the losers. On the SP there are no wine packages, the only one offered is the 15 drinks a day one which for a 14 day cruise for two people is silly money. We just drank a lot less and probably as a result enjoyed ourselves less as we didn't socialise in the bars after dinner. Others find all sorts of ways to try and beat the system and who can blame them. So back to day 1 and off to anytime dining. There are 4 restaurants earmarked for anytime but as there was a huge group of 600 South Americans representing some miracle additive, two dining rooms were set aside specifically for them as requested prior to the cruise beginning. Problem was they din't want to use those restaurants but preferred the buffet which meant that until someone realised what was happening finding a table was not easy for "anytime". As for the food, edible but nothing special. Bland and mediocre. This was the pattern for the whole cruise and I can honestly say I can't remember anything memorable at all, Very disappointing. We ordered a bottle of wine each evening and the quality was acceptable but there is no way you would pay $28 plus 15% for a bottle such as this anywhere else I have been. $32 in total for a bottle you could buy in a supermarket for $6-7 represents quite a mark-up. Breakfast was the usual bunfight at the Horizon Court. Despite the demand the hot food always seemed tepid, the pastries a bit dry. Again, it was OK but not memorable although the choice was huge. Our cabin was an inside one. Perfectly acceptable as we didn't intend spending time in it. We didn't turn the TV on so it was of no importance what was being shown and I can't comment on that. Bathroom was just about big enough and there was sufficient storage for clothes. A fridge and kettle are provided but we didn't use them either.Our cabin steward was lovely and no complaints there at all. The boat itself is starting to look worn in places but not disastrously so. Many pieces of the plastic decking around the jacuzzis were missing which didn't look good and right at the very back the lower deck was cordoned off because the wooden decking was lifting. Deck carpets lifting and worn , signs of rusting, doesn't really bother me. I was told the decor in the theatre was particularly bad with broken chairs and ripped coverings. I only ever stood at the back for brief moments and what I saw didn't encourage me to look for a seat. Poor quality entertainment in my opinion. It wasn't just in the theatre that things seem to be lacking though, the daily sheet of activities always seemed to contain lots of promotions trying to get you to spend money. "Enrichment classes" meant enriching Princess not your mind. As for ships tours, we didn't take any as they are overpriced and sold on the fear factor that if you do your own thing you'll be left behind if you miss the sailing time. Our Bucket List package did include a Junk boat ride in Halong Bay,a visit to Ocean Park in Hong Kong and a trip to the Royal Palace in Bangkok as well as a quick 4 hour tour of Singapore before being dropped off at the airport. We did our own thing and did a tour in Da Nang organised by a Cruise Critic member and advertised on the Roll Call, I had arranged one myself for Phu May and we availed ourselves of the shuttle bus at Da Nang on another day. A quick appraisal then. Ocean Park Hong Kong surprised me. Really enjoyed it, it's more than a theme park and well worth a visit to see the Giant Pandas,Walrus and Penguins kept in good conditions. Halong Bay. Well it was dull, overcast and misty the day we went and that we were told is quite common. Too many boats are licensed so it can be very busy. We visited the caves which have the usual stalactites and mites and appropriate lighting, then we were dropped off on an artificial beach where anyone brave enough could swim in the polluted waters. Personally I found the trip disappointing. Phu May we took a local tour that included a list to some nearby Viet Song tunnels. You don't need to travel far to see some. An excellent tour, check out Vung Tau tours. The second day in Phu May we decided to stay on board. Been to Pattaya before, it's a pit. Ho Chi Minh City is just too far to be bothered IMO. Just another crowded Far Eastern city. There is nothing to do locally either. Phu May. is one of three industrial ports that make up this cruise's stops. Da Nang Day 1 we did the shuttle bus that took us to a low budget hotel in an uninspiring district. Sat on some plastic chairs at a makeshift bar alongside a dual carriageway. Had we had prior information we could have easily picked up a taxi tour here at a fraction of what we paid the following day. Day 2 Da Nang. Took a tour as previously mentioned. It was well subscribed and ended up one minibus and one coach load. We were on the coach. The highlight was an enjoyable lunch but much of what we saw and did seemed as if they we srtugglingto find suitable places to take you to although when we got to Hoi An I could have spent ages wandering around this delightful town. Instead our guide persuaded us to all stick together and visit a silk factory in case we go separated and missed the bus etc etc. No doubt he got his back hander for taking us there. I wouldn't take the trip again but I would visit Hoi An. Bangkok. We were on our organised package here, A promised 2-2.5 hour journey to get there ended up as 4 hours due to traffic. The Places were interesting,"bling" comes to mind and the whole place looked like a Disneyland theme park. A poor lunch was part of probably 3 hours in Bangkok before repeating the journey back to the ship which took a similar amount of time. A tiring day to say the least. Koh Samui was chaotic tendering. Two boats provided by the local port took about 25 minutes each way and had a capacity of 100 people. 3000 passengers wanted to get off. The day was wasted and no more to be said about that. Singapore is a beautiful city. So much to see and do but it's somewhere you can do on your own with ease. We just wandered over to the excellent gardens in the Bay and spent the day looking at the gardens and drinking beers. So that just about wraps up my thoughts. We had done a similar trip previously but on that we got on In Beijing and visited Bosan in Korea,Nagasaki and Shanghai before arriving in Hong Kong after which we went to Phu May, Laem Chabang,and Singapore. This cruise now has three overnight stops which if I'm honest are not really appealing for a second visit as they are industrial and miles from anywhere of interest. The ship? Well hopefully they will get their act together in terms of the crew being training, that's not difficult. Entertainment? Well it doesn't matter what it's like if the weather is OK. Food and drink, Much left to be desired IMO, and to me they are very , very important parts of any holiday. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2017
Management very disorganised so much so every passenger received $50 compensation. Too many commercial ports ship excursions very expensive. Some areas of the ship were in a very poor state eg the theatre. The performances were amateurish ... Read More
Management very disorganised so much so every passenger received $50 compensation. Too many commercial ports ship excursions very expensive. Some areas of the ship were in a very poor state eg the theatre. The performances were amateurish at best, but have the making of a good performance with more shows. Dinning was an issue although allocated table we only got to sit at this once. Food was good but nothing outstanding. The buffet was ok, hand gel was only used in the hot section and not in cold section. I was shocked at how little hand gel was used throughout the ship. Lots of complaints on board with a lot of very angry passengers at customer service they did not have an easy time this cruise. Would I travel to this area again yes but not with princess cruises. Meet some loverly people who made our holiday experience so enjoyable. Read Less
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