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Sapphire Princess Review

4.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating
1054 reviews
6 Awards
See all photos
Editor Rating
4.5
Very Good
Adam Coulter
Cruise Critic UK Managing Editor

The 116,000-ton, 2,670-passenger Sapphire Princess debuted in 2004 as the fifth of nine ships in Princess Cruises' wide-ranging Grand class. While it is the largest of the Grand-class ships by volume, it carries more than 400 fewer passengers than its youngest siblings.

Pros

After 2018 refurb, ship sports a new kids' club, refreshed spa and top-notch entertainment

Cons

Bathrooms still in need of a refurbishment

Bottom Line

A good-value ship packed full of entertainment and activities

About

Passengers : 2,670
Crew : 1,100
Passenger to Crew : 2.43:1
Launched : 2004
Shore Excursions : 541

In 2018, ahead of a two-year stint in Europe for the first time since it was built (in Japan, incidentally), the ship went through a significant refurb. Though less far reaching than a 2012 makeover, the two-week dry dock did see the addition of a new kids' club -- Camp Discovery -- and Club Class Mini Suites, as well as new carpeting and furnishing.

The ship may be relatively old (14 years in 2018), and in parts it does show its age (some of the cabins and bathrooms could do with a spruce up, for example), but the refurbs have gone a long way to making it look and feel fresh. It also packs a lot in for what is classified as a midsized ship. It may not have the big wows that some modern ships have (no climbing walls or FlowRiders for example), but it does squeeze a lot in to entertain any age group.

The kids' club is one of the best we've seen on a ship this size; there is a full-size basketball court on the top deck, multiple swimming pools, a putting/bocce green, Movies Under the Stars, numerous restaurant options and a wealth of bars -- as well as the best-situated nightclub at sea.

Everything on Sapphire Princess centers around the Piazza, which acts as a meeting spot and a place to hang out, have a drink or a bite to eat, inquire about your onboard bill or do some shopping. The circular, three-deck space also doubles as an entertainment hub, with nightly music and occasional acrobats. As a result, Sapphire is surprisingly easy to navigate as all roads lead to and from here.

Even with the ship sailing full, passenger traffic is light pretty much everywhere -- with the exception of the Promenade area between Club Fusion and the Explorers Lounge, especially on formal night.

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Another thing you might notice is that there isn't a main dining room, or rather what would be the MDR is split into five dining rooms (instead of Princess' typical two) -- which has the effect of cutting down on the cruise ship banquet ambience of big restaurants, but creating a more intimate dining experience.

Sapphire Princess is a ship that knows exactly what its passengers want -- quality food, lots of entertainment and a relaxed, easygoing vibe. It's packed full of things to do, day and night and despite being (relatively) small, punches well above its weight.

Fellow Passengers

The typical Princess passenger is about 50 and relatively well-traveled. The line also attracts a solid number of multigenerational groups -- families and older folks traveling with their children and grandchildren -- and some younger couples. During school vacations, the ship fills up with kids.

The ship divides its time between Southampton and Singapore, and the passenger demographic reflects this. So expect a lot of Brits and Northern Europeans during the summer; and Australians, Singaporeans, Malaysians, Japanese and Chinese during the winter. Announcements are in English when it's in Southampton and English, Chinese and Japanese when it's in Singapore. You'll also notice all signage in Chinese as well as English.

Sapphire Princess Dress Code

Sapphire Princess is not a dressy ship, but during a seven-night cruise there are two formal nights (cocktail dresses, gowns or dark pants suits for ladies, dark suits or tuxedos for men), and five smart casual nights (most men wear a shirt and sports jacket outfit while women dressed up in skirts or pants with a nice blouse and jewelry). During the day, resort casual is the norm.

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Find a Sapphire Princess Cruise from $129

More about Sapphire Princess

Where does Sapphire Princess sail from?

Sapphire Princess departs from Melbourne, Brisbane, Fremantle, Sydney, Adelaide, Shanghai, Whittier, Vancouver, Los Angeles, Buenos Aires, Auckland, and San Francisco

How much does it cost to go on Sapphire Princess?

Cruises on Sapphire Princess start from $129 per person.

Is Sapphire Princess a good ship to cruise on?

Sapphire Princess won 4 awards over the years, including Best Overall, Best for Embarkation, and Best for Service in 2019.
Sapphire Princess Cruiser Reviews

A very dull Sapphire

The problem with Princess is that you don’t sign for your drink, you just order a drink and it’s added to your account.... Read More
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Bob g J

10+ Cruises

Age 60s

Good service, bad food, too many missed ports.

The Sapphire is an older ship needing repairs and a new WiFi system. You could spend hours not getting emails.... Read More
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MGBark

10+ Cruises

Age 60s

Great Christmas Break!

Princess cut majestically through the benign, blue, ocean waves.... Read More
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Bladerunner1965

2-5 Cruises

Age 50s

In search of the Northern Lights.

This was my first time on the Sapphire and she had everything I love about Princess. Pizza slices by the pool, burgers, amazing milkshakes from Swirls.... Read More
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MrPantsOz

6-10 Cruises

Age 40s

Princess Cruises Fleet
Grand Princess
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