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6 San Francisco Princess Sapphire Princess Cruise Reviews

This was our ninth cruise, fourth to MR, first time on Princess and many of the things we have come to take for granted on Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, and NCL were not there. Small things admittedly but they add up after 10 days. (1) ... Read More
This was our ninth cruise, fourth to MR, first time on Princess and many of the things we have come to take for granted on Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, and NCL were not there. Small things admittedly but they add up after 10 days. (1) Embarkation was a nightmare as there was a bottleneck filling our health questionnaires, many queued up outside and a rainy day would have been especially bad, this could have been fixed by passing clipboards down the line to people and when you finally got checked in they wanted you to board in groups but there wer not enough areas to wait. (2) we (and many others on board) got some upper respiratory thing that kept us confined to our cabin for 3 of the 10 days, I blame this partially on Princess as the first signs appeared after 3 days and there were not NEARLY as many opportunities for hand sanitizer as on other cruises. (3) the buffet had all the charm of a hospital cafeteria (white tile); tucked back in a corner under so much sneeze guard (HAH!) your could barely get to it.--and the placement of the food was so weird, people were always backing up to get something to go with their plate and it gave the impression of being disorganized. (4) much deferred maintenance on the ship; our draperies had safety-pinned hems; almost half the lights were burned out in the pool, there are few public bathrooms and the heavily used ones remained with wet dangerous floors some stalls remained inoperative the entire cruise. (5) crew was incredibly unevenly trained (trying to be kind) never on a cruise before have I had to hold the doors open for a crew member, move aside to let them through or back up so they could proceed, I took for granted that THEY usually do that in deference to passengers. (6) the set-up of the ship is very confusing as hardly any of the decks go all the way fore and aft; many walls are at angles--we never did find the fitness area or a track for walking... Sad trip as the weather was cold and rainy (obviously not their fault) but I don't think I would be back on Princess anytime soon. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
Just got back from October 2-12 sailing on Sapphire Princess. 10 day cruise to Mexico. It was somewhat disappointing. Ship is new and nice. Cabins are good, and so are balconies. Entertainment very very good. Food is terrible in the ... Read More
Just got back from October 2-12 sailing on Sapphire Princess. 10 day cruise to Mexico. It was somewhat disappointing. Ship is new and nice. Cabins are good, and so are balconies. Entertainment very very good. Food is terrible in the Horizon Court (24 hours buffet), and fairly decent in the dining room. Service is mediocre at best. Cruise director and his staff were excellent. New thing!!! Juices are no longer free after 11:30am. They are still free for breakfast, but you have to pay for them during lunch and dinner. They also started charging $1.75 plus tips for cappuccino at dinner. The only thing you get free is tea, ice tea, coffee and milk. And the biggest disappointment was Princess' staff hustling (and I do mean hard sell tactics) for passengers to get a drink from the bar. Every 30 seconds to 1 minute someone comes up to you and insists that you do want a drink from the bar. This was very very annoying!!! Read Less
Sail Date October 2004
SAPPHIRE PRINCESS The Sapphire Princess is prestige vessel which came into service in May 2004, almost 116000 tons and can carry some 2600 passengers. I recently cruised on her from San Francisco to the Mexican Rivera and return. In such ... Read More
SAPPHIRE PRINCESS The Sapphire Princess is prestige vessel which came into service in May 2004, almost 116000 tons and can carry some 2600 passengers. I recently cruised on her from San Francisco to the Mexican Rivera and return. In such a short time, the crew seems to have become well acquainted with this ship. The ship is spotless and well-maintained, with delightful lounges and comfortable seating. Show lounges have good sight lines of the stage. Unfortunately the decoration of the lounges is not a strong point - dark colours, too much use of plastic and artificial features. The casino is a case in point. The panoramic glass elevators in the atrium have views obstructed again with plastic designs, which in my view ruins the feature of these elevators. Entertainment on board was excellent, with well performed production shows from a very enthusiastic team, though on a ten night cruise, I would have thought that three production shows would have been in order rather than just two. I do not consider an `Art Auction` to be "Highlighted Evening Entertainment." The Cruise Director and his assistants were visible throughout the ship both day and night and were always smartly dressed and most pleasant. Although, maybe it's my age, but I did not appreciate being called `sweetie` constantly by a member of this team. The entertainment programme by the individual artistes was varied, entertaining and of a most professional standard. On this cruise, I chose traditional dining, second seating - this was a good choice for me. We had excellent service from a very attentive waiter and assistant waiter, who had the knack of anticipating every need. The food was of the highest quality, plentiful and varied. The desserts were made to "die for." Presentation of the food was not as good as on other lines, but the China that Princess uses, with the designs on the plates seemed so bold that these designs took away from any presentation displays coming from the galley. Meals in the dining room were a delight - especially breakfast and dinner. The are many other venues on this ship for alternative dining and reports from these restaurants were also good. The Horizon Court is the informal dining court on this ship. It was always busy and offers a very varied menu. There is an abundance of fresh fruits, remarkable breads and again mouth-watering desserts. Unfortunately the hot dishes looked rather un-inviting and were often tasteless, and reminded one of poor cafeteria style food. Salads on the other hand were always fresh, and of the highest quality. Cooked Breakfasts appeared and tasted very greasy. Juice was only available at breakfast time and only orange and grapefruit, others you had to ask for. On entry to the Horizon Court one is presented, with a plate - no tray which causes difficulties especially to Europeans who like each course on a separate plate, rather than all the foods piled on one. Unfortunately staff on duty in this area were slow at clearing tables and on occasion it was difficult in getting a clean table at which to eat. Even though the ship can carry up to 2600 passengers, it never feels crowded, except around the main swimming pool. However there are ample other places on deck to relax either to the front of the ship or aft which was my favourite area. A number of bars are conveniently situated all over the ship. Drinks are well presented, of good quality and are reasonable price. On occasion, some of the waiters were aggressive in their approach. They apparently don't like the pre-pay soda system in operation. One of the most noticeable things on the ship was the lack of happy smiling faces from the staff - especially the bar staff (throughout the ship) and the waiting staff in the Horizon Court- my they were a glum bunch - so solemn, so dour. Perhaps it's just their make up, as most appeared to come from Eastern European and similar countries. On this cruise, I chose an inside cabin on Caribe deck. The cabin was comfortable and well appointed with a most attentive cabin attendant who kept the cabin spotless. Insulation between the cabins is poor so if you want to have a private conversation, ensure that you switch on your television. The cabin was eerie in many respects, the use of mirrors had a strange effect. If you looked in the mirror of the vanity unit, by reflection with the mirror over the bed, you saw the television and other items up to 14 times in a curve like environment giving the impression of a underground tunnel. Talking about televisions, more or a better selection of movies would have been appreciated. The en-suite was functional but had one of the smallest shower units that I have ever seen on any cruise ship. Shower pressure was good with lots of hot water. The toilet system is vacuum operated and what a noise it makes, you not only hear the action of your own system flushing but of those in adjacent and nearby cabins - funny at first but most annoying as the cruise progressed, especially late at night and early in the morning. Tender operations at the ports of calls requiring this operation were efficient and well executed. In all, not a bad cruise experience, except when we were dumped on the pier at the end of the cruise, instead of the provision of hotel facilities as booked, but that is another story. Princess as with many other cruise operators have introduced cutbacks, some most noticeable, others discreetly - thankfully they have retained the traditional welcome aboard Captains Cocktail Party, albeit cut down in duration as with the Captains Club party. In summary the cruise experience with Princess on the Sapphire Princess was good but not all that good compared to other experiences with this particular company. Read Less
Sail Date October 2004
This cruise was 10 nights long and it was absolutely WONDERFUL! We live in the San Francisco Bay Area and this ship sailed from Pier 35 in San Francisco. This is the very first cruise that we didn't have to fly to our destination. ... Read More
This cruise was 10 nights long and it was absolutely WONDERFUL! We live in the San Francisco Bay Area and this ship sailed from Pier 35 in San Francisco. This is the very first cruise that we didn't have to fly to our destination. Yeah! We were on board the Sapphire Princess around 11:20 a.m. The first thing we did was check out our Mini-Suite D730 on the Dolphin Deck aft. The suite was nice and roomy. We had originally booked a regular balcony, then our Fantastic TA told us about a "Flash Sale" regarding the mini-suite so we upgraded. We couldn't pass up the price! Later when prices began to rise, and while monitoring the web for availability I was dumbfounded to see internet pricing for INSIDE ROOMS more expensive than our mini-suite. In reality though, next time I would save the money and stick with a balcony. The balconies were on the higher decks. Our mini-suite's deck was completely open. The first morning after the evening of sail I walked out on our deck around 7:00 am to check out the views and the weather. I heard a very LOUD "Good Morning" from one of our neighbors on a higher deck. There is no way you could walk around au nautral. Ha,ha! The ship itself is absolutely gorgeous, and HUGE. This was our 17th cruise, so I have been on a lot of nice ships, but this one just blew all the others away. Food: 5 stars The eats were outstanding, especially the BREADS, pastas and hot soups. Be sure to try the Warm Rice Pudding, with a Creme Brulee Topping in the Santa Fe Restaurant. It is heavenly. Although we wanted Traditional Seating (like almost everyone else on this ship) we ended up with Personal Choice Dining. There are 4 restaurants to chose from. We like to eat early so the first 2 days we just walked right up and got in right away. The 3rd day I called to make a reservation at one of the restaurants and the concierge service told me all 4 restaurants were RESERVED until 10:00 p.m. that night! After that fiasco, I called & booked the reservations for the rest of the cruise all at one time. They do hold 10-20% of the tables vacant for WALK-IN'S for the 5:30 time frame, but after that you will need to sit and wait. Service: 5 stars for the Cabin Steward ---- 4 stars for the Waiters & Assistant Waiters Ports: 5 stars for all. Catalina Island, Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, Cabo San Lucas, San Diego Catalina Island: It was our third time there so we walked to the Casino, and down the seaside front where there are lots of cutesy shops. Catalina is a very charming town, and not to be missed. Puerto Vallarta: It was a very HOT, OVERCAST, and Muggy. We took the ship's off the Beaten Track Tour. I had taken this last October with my Mom and our driver at that time took us up into the hills to see where the RICH & FABULOUSLY WEALTHY LIVE, then we went shopping where the locals go. That trip was much better. This time our driver did nothing special. Just took us down the waterfront, Casa Kimberly where Richard Burton and Liz Taylor lived, and shopping where the tourists hang out. I was disappointed. Having said that P.V. is a beautiful place. Mazatlan: This was the highlight of our trip. I had booked an independent tour via internet with Frank of Mazatlan Tours/Ole Tours. I had advertised on the cruise msg boards for others to join us, and were fortunate enough to have 5 other people hook up with us on this journey. Frank met us at the cruise terminal. He took us all around the island, and showed us "The Real Mexico" with all its points of interest. He has a dynamite personality, and made the tour not only fascinating, but LOTS OF FUN AS WELL. He charged us $40 p/p and it included a great lunch at a Mexican Cafe. Everyone had a terrific time, and we were all sorry to say goodbye to our new amigo Frank. For those interested I highly recommend him. Check out www.mazatlan-tours.com His personal e-mail is fkole2000@hotmail.com. Cabo San Lucas: It was boiling hot, humid, and totally sunny. My husband was getting overheated so we just walked around down the main drag. Cabo is a lovely city, we have been to this port twice before so we just bummed it. San Diego/La Jolla: We did the ship's excursion called Diego & La Jolla Highlights Tour. This tour is fantastic, we drove around for about 4 hours with a few stops in between. The scenery is breathtaking. San Diego and La Jolla have excellent weather year round, and our day there was a perfect one. If you want a good time, kick up your heels in old town. Disembarkation: The best we have ever experienced. Princess has instituted a winner in creating "Express Checkout." We left our bags in our room and walked off the ship with them at 7:30 a.m. Hailed a cab, got on Cal-Train and walked through our front door at 10:15 a.m. Summary - LOVED THE SHIP, THE FOOD, and PORTS. Read Less
Sail Date October 2004
Our 10 day cruise on the Sapphire was great! We didn't know what to expect and were very surprised by every part of the cruise. We usually sail on Celebrity but decided to try Princess. Getting on the ship was easy, no long lines ... Read More
Our 10 day cruise on the Sapphire was great! We didn't know what to expect and were very surprised by every part of the cruise. We usually sail on Celebrity but decided to try Princess. Getting on the ship was easy, no long lines just a very steep ramp to climb aboard. Our room was nice and balcony very large. We had anytime dinning so we ate in each of the 4 DR. They all were wonderful and our party of 8 every night never complained once. The service and the staff were always ready to please. The Horizon Court, which is buffet style 24 hrs. was good, but not a lot of room to move around I was always almost bumping into people. The spa and classes they offered were one of the best I've used. The shows were the BEST. Every night top notch performers made us laugh, sing, and enjoy just watching them. The pizza and Hamburger bars outside by the pools were great. I did gain some lbs but the memories and fun times made each one worth it. I was very sad to leave this beautiful ship and will look forward to sailing her again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2004
My wife and I are in our early 50s and felt like we lived a dream for 10 days. The best description of this cruise is SPECTACULAR! The ship is brand new, beautifully appointed, and although gigantic, it had a personal feel. We NEVER waited ... Read More
My wife and I are in our early 50s and felt like we lived a dream for 10 days. The best description of this cruise is SPECTACULAR! The ship is brand new, beautifully appointed, and although gigantic, it had a personal feel. We NEVER waited in line for anything (other than embarking), and found numerous "quiet places" when desired. The entertainment was first rate, whether it was listening to the pianist in the Atrium, enjoying one of the great shows (Piano Man, Undercover) in the Princess Theater, the comedy of Kevin Hughes in the Explorer Lounge, a string quartet in the Wheelhouse, or dancing to the band in Club Fusion. The multinational crew treated us like royalty. Our cabin stewart "Juan" kept our stateroom immaculate and was there at moments notice when needed. The waiters and waitresses were engaging and helpful with food and wine recommendations when asked. The food was terrific...presented beautifully and delicious, no matter which of the 6 different restaurants we dined in. We were on the Personal Choice dining program which allowed us to have dinner when and where we wanted. We only made reservations for dinner two nights and still had no trouble getting a table immediately. Our favorite restaurants were the Pacific Moon (because our favorite waitress was there), and The Sterling. All the restaurants allow you to order off the standard dining room menu, so the only difference between them were the "special items" specific to each restaurant, the ambiance, and the crew members serving you. We celebrated our anniversary at "Sabatini's Trattoria" on the first night of the cruise. Being from the SF bay area and growing up in the City...I have had the pleasure of visiting many fine restaurants. I would rate Sabatini's among the finest restaurants I have ever experienced. Our dinner involved at least 8 courses (I lost count), service by no less than 4 waiters, great wine, and 3 hours and 15 minutes! It was a fantastic way to start the cruise! We were very active at each port of call, which made our days on shore fun and very exciting. Kayaking at Catalina and Mazatlan, Horseback riding in Puerto Vallarta, Snorkeling in Cabo San Lucas, and the Animal Park in San Diego. All the shore excursions were great, well organized, and reasonably priced from our perspective. We met many passengers of all ages although the average age on board was probably in the 60s, just based on my observations. The weather was perfect and the seas calm for all 10 days. For me one of the really thrilling moments was to sail under the Golden Gate Bridge. I had never done that even though I am a native San Franciscan. I would highly recommend the Sapphire Princess and the Princess Cruise line to anyone looking for a great cruise experience! Read Less
Sail Date September 2004
Sapphire Princess Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.4
Dining 4.0 3.9
Entertainment 4.0 3.6
Public Rooms 4.0 4.4
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.9
Family 5.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 5.0 3.7
Enrichment 4.0 3.6
Service 5.0 4.3
Value For Money 4.0 3.9
Rates 4.0 4.2

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