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7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
Embarkation from Singapore was a little slow, arrived at the pier at 12 noon and didn't board until 145pm. Cabin was ready straight away and luggage was waiting for us at our door. Cabin D307 Dolphin Deck 9. We met our cabin steward ... Read More
Embarkation from Singapore was a little slow, arrived at the pier at 12 noon and didn't board until 145pm. Cabin was ready straight away and luggage was waiting for us at our door. Cabin D307 Dolphin Deck 9. We met our cabin steward straight away James, he was wonderful. Cabin was a Mini Suite Balcony. Loverly cabin well worth the extra $$$. It was spacious and a great layout the balcony was large. Then it was Full steam ahead at 5pm. Went dinner at the international restaurant. Food was good quality and well presented never cold. We also ate breakfast in the restaurant as we didnt like the noise in the Buffet Horrizon Buffet. Entertainment was great and the shows well Choreographed. Ports of call Kota Kinabalu,Phu My. Nga Trang, Sihanoukville, Bangkok and unfortunately KO Samui was missed due to Tender Issues. All ports were good but remember it is Asia and its hot and most places are under developed and still very new to cruising. You'll be jumped on by touts as soon as you get off the ship. Make sure you barter for everything, especially taxi and tour fares. Back to the ship... There was plenty of things to keep you occupied whilst on board. From bingo, trivia, shopping, casino or just relaxing by the pool close to you favourite Bar (plentyof them). Cocktail prices were 7-12 US$ but in the wheelhouse bar between 3-4pm it is happy hour. By one drink get the 2nd for $1. Overall it was a good trip but very packed as it was christmas and to many Kids. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2013
Just returned from the Christmas cruise aboard the Sapphire Princess. I had read the reviews prior to leaving and was a bit nervous after to reading them. I have not cruised with Princess before but have cruised multiple times with Royal ... Read More
Just returned from the Christmas cruise aboard the Sapphire Princess. I had read the reviews prior to leaving and was a bit nervous after to reading them. I have not cruised with Princess before but have cruised multiple times with Royal Carribean. I have to say we were pleasantly surprised. We were a party of six adults and two babies. We had three mini suites on Dolphin deck. A good location on the ship. We had the 5:30 seating each night for dinner (chosen because of babies eating schedule). I have to say that the food was much better than ALL of the reviews that I had read. My two son chose to try "anytime dining" one night while I babysat and their comments were that the main dining rooms food was just as good! Did not like how the waiter was always trying to upsale us drinks etc not included for the evening meal. I do have to say that overall a bit disappointed with lack of service minded staff on the ship. This includes the bars, pool decks, coffee bars, shops on Plaza deck. Ship employees seemed to have a lack of customer service. One employee in the promenade bar asked me what "blend" my granddaughter was? And how lucky she was to be born in America because working on this ship was NOT a great career. So, ship was good, food was above average, service not so good..   Read Less
Sail Date: December 2013
This was our 14th total cruise, 7th with Princess, and our 2nd time on this particular cruise and ship. This was our 1st time staying in a mini suite stateroom. My wife is a "bath tub" person and the mini suites have a decent ... Read More
This was our 14th total cruise, 7th with Princess, and our 2nd time on this particular cruise and ship. This was our 1st time staying in a mini suite stateroom. My wife is a "bath tub" person and the mini suites have a decent size bathroom with a tub. Also, if you are ones that prefer completely different TV programming, their are 2 TV's in the minisuite cabins. Also, there IS a refrigerator but it is quite small and hardly holds much or anything of size. The ship is on the larger side which is fine with us. The one draw back of this large ship is our cabin was VERY forward (only 5 cabins from the front) and to get to the back of the ship (such as to dining rooms or the bufftt on the 14th deck in the back) it was quite a VERY long walk. This is another perk of mid-ship cabins if you can get one. Overall, the cruise and ship was fine and simple. We're not one's to participate in many activities so I can't review on any of those. However, we did notice the overall quality of the main event shows each evening has dropped a little from our last few previous cruises. It's evident the entertainers, singers, and dancers work hard to prepare and their "showmanship" is good, but the shows have become simplistic and basic. Lots of flash, lights, color, etc. but not too much of a "Wow" factor as we've experienced on previous cruises. Our cabin steward was good and very attentive. The restaraunt service and waiters were very good as well. The bar drinks are watered down and are still pricey. Since this is a Mexican Cruise, you're much better off grabbing drinks on shore. They really do it right in Miexico and 75% cheaper than on the ship. Because we were on this cruise during the Christmas vacation time frame, there were many more children on board than you may typically experience. This was not a bad thing but at times it was noticable in and around our cabin of them running around or "whining" to their parents about something. As far as this itinerary, it was a simple one. Many types and variety of activities for both Puerto Vallarta and Cabo San Lucas. Only 3 activity options for Ensanada. Since we were on this cruise a few years back, we chose not to take part in any shore excursions. We simply just got off the ship and roamed the area in and around the ports. The disemabarkation process was slightly confusing in that we were adhering and following our written instructions as given but found out that was more of a formality than a strict policy. We were told we could only disembark at a certain time from a certain location but it turns out we could actually go when ready. All in all, the experience was good. At some point in the future we would take this ship again. Though we liked the minisuitre experience, we may opt for a higher deck for more deck/porch privacy. Decks 9 & 10 are exposed to ALL folks above you. The advantage of this is more direct sun on the porch. The disadvantage is that there is very little privacy as you have NO "roof" above you. Decks 11 & 12 have roofs above the porches. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2012
This is a brief overview of my 14 day pre-Xmas cruise to Hawaii on the Sapphire Princess. I spent a pre-cruise night at the LAX Marriott. Transportation to San Pedro was via motorcoach the following afternoon. Embarkation was a ... Read More
This is a brief overview of my 14 day pre-Xmas cruise to Hawaii on the Sapphire Princess. I spent a pre-cruise night at the LAX Marriott. Transportation to San Pedro was via motorcoach the following afternoon. Embarkation was a breeze. I have Platinum status with Princess and from arrival at the pier to my cabin took approximately 20 minutes. The Sapphire Princess was decorated for Christmas...even had a small decoration on my stateroom door. I had an interior stateroom. I'm not in the cabin much, so I don't need anything fancy. I prefer to eat at the Horizon Court Buffet & International Cafe. I always found plenty of things to eat. Activities are too numerous to mention. You can be as busy as you want or as lazy as you want. I want to give a special shout out to my guys Alex and David of the cruise director's staff....YOU GUYS ARE AWESOME! These 2 wonderful guys kept me dancing at all the parties, singing in the pop choir, and went out of their way to make sure I was having a great time. I really enjoyed my cruise to Hawaii on the Sapphire Princess. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2012
We occupied three staterooms, and Celebrity has been our line of choice for three of our first five cruises. First time on Princess for all of us. The Sapphire is a beautiful boat and our whole family really enjoyed the whole ... Read More
We occupied three staterooms, and Celebrity has been our line of choice for three of our first five cruises. First time on Princess for all of us. The Sapphire is a beautiful boat and our whole family really enjoyed the whole experience. I guess I'll start in the usual way; Embarkation. It was nice to utilize the Elite line for check-in as we had booked a suite. I can see why having this status makes life easier. Princess was very accommodating regarding check-in and the actual ship-boarding toward our children who were booked in balcony and inside cabins. When it was time to actually board the ship, they again made it very clear that we should all board together. First stop; the Sanctuary where we booked two spaces for the week. Even on the colder, windier days, we utilized our space from about 10AM to 2PM. It was nice to work on my iTunes inventory, while DH worked on creating a software program. If it was cold, they piled us with blankets, so the weather was not a problem. We would have been OK socializing if we had been approached, but it really was extremely quiet and peaceful. We did avail ourselves of the cabana couples massage and it was therapeutically enjoyable. I read it here on cruise critic, and I thought I understood the idea of an aft cabin, but MAN, what a walk! With the aft walking and really enjoying the fully covered promenade (with steps), it was great to find upon returning home that I had actually gone down two pounds! It was also sure nice to get familiar with the carpet colors so that we could distinguish starboard from port. Thanks again cruise critic. Hubby and I had a beautiful PH aft suite C757; category S3. The reason I mention the number is that we got to know our neighbors next door who had the same PH, but category S6. While the layout was the same, our cabin was a bit wider. We had a two person loveseat with a full size desk/lamp set-up in the living area, while the other cabin, C755 had a full size sofa, with no desk. The bedroom portion along with bath area was identical. Our balcony was wider as well. I'm not sure what to say about the mattress.... It was comfortable and the mattress itself was fairly normal, but the nice dense "pad" that aided in combining the two twins was extremely helpful. We did bring our own memory foam mattress pad, and then the bed was exuberantly comfortable. Large Jacuzzi tub was pleasant, and the shower head provided plenty of hot water and a good constant pressure. I really would have liked a handheld version, though. It measured about 32" square, so only enough room for one, and it was necessary to position the showerhead every day off to one side to avoid being sprayed when turning on the water. Oh yes, the mini-bar set up. We traded almost all of our liquor for water, because we forgot to bring some, and the trade in ratio was one for one, no matter what the beverage was. We had to call room service for this. Our room steward was named Jefferson (Jeff) and he was a great steward who cleaned up after us and efficiently kept our room ship-shape. We had started to utilize his services somewhat like a butler, but Jeff was very adept at channeling our needs to the specific person or department necessary. i.e. dining, shore-ex, ship's tour res, etc.... Being that we signed up before the deadline, we did receive free internet and although I never got kicked off, service was rather slow. Having free laundry was a relief because I forgot to pack a few things, and needed the laundry to keep up with our general usage. Also, DH spilled something greasy on his wool trousers, and sending them out for dry-cleaning was no problem at all. I also sent out a silk/satin top that needed pressing and it came back very smooth. Dining with Anytime Dining was a tad uncomfortable at first, but things did work out eventually. More on that later. First night was in Sabatinis because it was complimentary, and also we wanted to try it. It did not disappoint. Since there were six of us (yes, we did have to pay the cover charge for the kids), we were able to try and taste a good portion of the menu. Tender calamari; perfectly prepared filet, lamb, pasta samples, ....Fabulous. Anyway, more about Anytime Dining. Hubby and I prefer dining a bit later, so it never would have been a problem for us, but family really wanted it earlier. On this particular ship and /or sailing we were not able to book a standing time/table through the dining line, but the matre de at Savoy was able to get us a standing table for the last four nights of the voyage. Anyway, the system really is not effective and one cannot just saunter in and score a great table in prime time dinner hours. I witnessed many a scurrying crowd elbowing forward vying for attention. On the evening that we dined in Vivaldi, which was the first formal night, service was inconsistent. The waiter could not understand nor convey my daughter's wishes for a plate of vegetables. Yes, vegetables. After repeating the word back and forth so much that a stutterers voice comes to mind, she just said that whatever he brought would be just fine. Yes, we were laughing quite a bit, albeit under our breaths for quite some time. We all ordered the infamous Fetuccine Alfredo at one point or another and shared bites were usually requested. French Onion Soup, lobster tail, peppercorn steak, veal raviolis, baked chicked, fried chicken, all were good. Was it 5 star? Not really. But we were really having so much fun, that it did not matter so much. We also brought most of our wine with us, and we very happy to pay for corkage fees. Next comes Alfredo's Pizza. Well, the pizza is amazing, and after some awkward moments, the waiter finally managed to open our wine. Again, with the six of us, we ordered a real olio of combinations and it was very tasty to try everyone's concoction. Huge bummer not to be able to take it out of the restaurant and the menu could certainly benefit from a few sides and desserts. I heard other folks commenting about the same thing. It would have been fabulous to have it while we were enjoying wine pairings, wine tastes, bottles of wine, and even just a glass (or two) in Vines. I will get to Vines a bit later. OK, on to Savoy, where we spent three super wonderful evenings under the care of Allen. He was funny, clever and a great waiter. He listened when I mentioned a particular arugula salad, and then handed me a pad of paper and said to write exactly what I wanted. Even the orange vinaigrette was to my exact specifications, and from then on it was "my" salad, that was brought to me in the usual dinner course. He engaged my teenage son (17) with some clever magic tricks, and indulged my older son in his quest to consume the entire menu. Allen was nice enough serving our wine, but we did get the sense that he was quite unfamiliar with general wine service and could have used a bit more training in that area. A bit nicer stemware would have been appreciated, but was not a deal breaker. Two of my children enjoyed the afternoon tea service regularly, and were very happy with it. Also, they enjoyed the pub lunch immensely, and commented favorably about it. Ironically, Dear Husband and I seemed to find our way back around 2PM to our aft balcony to enjoy a luxurious room service lunch. Suite guests can order whatever is on the dining room menu and at one point, the lady on the phone asked for more time because she would need to visit more than one dining room for our request. We usually started the evening in Vines, and we participated in four wine pairings. New world, Old world, white wine and sushi, and lastly Champagne and chocolate. 10 people would gather at the big table and the sommelier would guide us along (loosely) and disseminate information and whatever witty wine gossip he knew. The server was named Florian, and he was the nicest most congenial man we had ever met. Funny, accommodating, never patronizing, tons of wine knowledge, I could go on and on. OK, he was quite good looking as well. There, I've said it. Anyway, we met quite a few nice folks there and by the end of the trip, it was quite nice to wander in and hear, "Hey! The Smiths were looking for you, they said to come back after dinner, they'll be here." All three of our children had a marvelous "night life." At the Ultimate Deck Party, it was hilarious to spot them one by one, moving to the music. We tried to discreetly boogie away to give them some space, but then bumped into another. It was great fun to talk about their previous evenings at dinner and to hear the ship's gossip. It is nice to see the current Facebook posts with all their new friends' names. DH and DS took the Ultimate ship Tour and really loved it. They were so excited with all of their new-found knowledge. They talked about the fueling delay and what it cost the ship in utilizing extra fuel to get to our next port on time. They both adored the bread machine that made all of those delicious dinner rolls. (I had at least two every evening). They also spoke about the different kinds of fuel that the ship can use depending on the Coastal regulations in effect. One last thing. It gave me immense pleasure to see the restaurant Vivaldi actually turn away a guest on the first formal night who was wearing a plaid farmer's shirt,jeans,and flip-flops. His significant other was ashamed of him and continued to grab his arm to get him out of there. She was dressed up a bit, although by no means formally, and really tried to get him to leave. He was not drunk as far as I could tell, just stubborn and well, whatever, you get the point. After a third manager had been summoned, they finally left. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2011
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. ... Read More
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. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2011
I have never written a cruise review before, but wanted to write a detailed one, in appreciation for all the great tips and information I have learned from reading previous reviews here. Here goes my very long review! We went on the 2 ... Read More
I have never written a cruise review before, but wanted to write a detailed one, in appreciation for all the great tips and information I have learned from reading previous reviews here. Here goes my very long review! We went on the 2 week 17Dec11 -- 31Dec11 roundtrip cruise on the Sapphire Princess from LA to Hawai'i to LA (H149). Overall we had a wonderful time, and just loved this cruise. Cruise Director Dave Carson was great (more on him later), and many of the activities, TV shows, and movies were themed around Hawai'i, which made the cruise feel so special. My husband and I live just 70 miles north of the cruise terminal so we drove and parked our own car (total parking bill at the end was $168). We pulled into the parking lot at 1:30 pm and were sitting in our room by 2:15 pm. We have only cruised 3 times total on Princess so we have no special status or expedited lines, but the whole embarkation process was very smooth and easy. We wanted to carry our medium-sized luggage with us onto the ship as we could easily manage it ourselves, but were not allowed to do so. We were only permitted to carry our backpack and small duffel. However, our luggage was waiting outside our room by 4:30 pm, so it was not too bad. We were able to get a mini-suite on the Dolphin (Deck 9) for less than the original cost of a balcony room. We had booked a balcony room in December 2010 via an internet travel agent, and checked on the price monthly via e-mail all year long. We changed to a mini-suite when the price dropped sometime in the summer. The mini-suite was very nice, especially the spacious bathroom. However the bathtub was set so high, I think it might be difficult for some people to get in and out of. While the mini-suite was nice, it was only a little bigger than our previous regular balcony staterooms on Royal Caribbean's Mariner of the Seas or on the Carnival Splendor. The Sapphire Princess mini-suite has a sofa where I could sit comfortably and read or watch TV. In a regular Sapphire Princess stateroom, one has to either sit on the bed or in the single chair in order to read or watch TV. I would never bother with a mini-suite on the Mariner of the Seas or the Carnival Splendor as their balcony staterooms feel very spacious to me and come standard with a comfortable sofa, coffee table, and chair, but I think the mini-suite is more of a "necessity" for me on the Sapphire Princess (lol!). Our cabin steward was great, and kept everything in tip-top condition for us. We originally had fixed time dining at 8 pm in the International Dining Room, but our whole table was moved 2 days later at the request of our tablemate due to some extremely loud and unruly children seated next to our original table. Princess assigned us to fixed 8 pm dining in the Vivaldi Dining Room. It is a shame neither the parents nor Princess made any attempt to control these children, but to Princess' credit, they did move us with no hassle. I have multiple food allergies and am vegetarian, so the travel agent notified Princess of this at the time of the booking. I also spoke to the Food & Beverage (F&B) Supervisor in both the International Dining Room and the Vivaldi Dining Room, and they could not have been kinder or more understanding about meeting my multiple and very specific dietary needs. After 2 days of the special food they prepared for me, I asked if I could have Indian vegetarian food (which I love) instead, as I was not really enjoying the other food. Mind you, there is always one vegetarian entrée on the menu, but Indian food was never on the menu. F&B Supervisor Adrian Trifas in the Vivaldi Dining Room was so kind and helpful and assured me it would be absolutely no problem. I was always provided with 2 separate Indian lentil/vegetable preparations, rice, raita (yogurt salad), papads (rice wafers), and Indian flat bread. I could not eat this much, so I requested they eliminate the papads and Indian flat bread. After 2 days of this, I asked Adrian if the lentils/vegetables could be toned down in the spice level as they were a little too hot for me. Again, I was met with nothing with kindness and an immediate accommodation of my request. They never repeated the lentil/vegetable dishes, and I thoroughly enjoyed all of the delicious food they made for me. My husband (who is not vegetarian), ordered off the regular menu, and enjoyed a variety of dishes including the hot soups, cold soups (served like smoothies), the escargot, the lobster tail, steak, etc, etc. We selected a table for 8, and were blessed to be assigned really lovely and charming table mates. The other 3 couples were quite different from us, but we really looked forward to seeing them every night at dinner as their delightful company really enhanced the whole cruise experience for us. My husband and I both agreed the desserts were actually better at the Horizon Court buffet than in the MDR, as the cakes and tarts seemed too dried out in the MDR. Soft serve was available up on deck during the day but regular ice cream was only served in the MDR. I tried 2 or 3 of the ice creams but was very disappointed in the non-premium quality, compared to what we had 2 years ago on a previous Sapphire Princess cruise. While we did not enjoy our June 2011 cruise on the Carnival Splendor very much due to the relentless blasting of music at an extremely high volume everywhere on that ship, at least they served Haagen Daaz in the MDR (or something that tasted like it), but the Sapphire Princess ice cream was a big disappointment to me. I ended up ordering the sorbet most nights and was happy with that. We also went to the British style pub lunches that were offered 3 or 4 times during the cruise. Although there was nothing vegetarian on the menu for me, my British husband greatly enjoyed these meals which reminded him of the "old country", so it made me happy. We ate breakfast and lunch every day at the Horizon Court Buffet or the Pizzeria. I always only have a toasted bagel and tea for breakfast so I was fine, but my husband said he was a little tired of the breakfast selection by the end of the 14 days. The lunch selection seemed more varied, and always included a vegetarian pasta dish, as well as rice and one vegetarian Indian dish. The staff at the Horizon Court were so friendly and genuinely helpful in bringing us beverages and immediately clearing up tables. They procurement dept did not plan too well though as they ran out of lemonade on about Day 11. Good thing my husband had brought his own individual serving packages of Crystal Light with him. The Horizon Court was congested several times though, and I think both sides of the buffet could have been opened up more often to alleviate the crowding. Only thin crust pizza is available in the Pizzeria, and it is excellent and actually better than most land based pizzerias I have been to. Cheese and pepperoni pizzas are always available, and they rotate a signature pizza of the day (sometimes vegetarian and sometimes not). I was a little apprehensive about the condition of the ship as the Sapphire is scheduled to go into dry dock in mid-January 2012, but I was pleasantly surprised at the excellent condition of all the public areas and the very nice condition of our mini-suite. Cruise Director Dave Carson was amazing and put together a really special Hawai'i themed program over the 14 days, which really enhanced the whole cruise experience for me. His knowledge of the islands, the culture, the Hawaiian language, and Hawaiian music is extensive and he said he had been travelling to the islands for 20 years. It really showed, and I think Princess would be doing a disservice to passengers on any Hawai'i cruise without a Cruise Director who is knowledgeable about Hawai'i and who does not prepare Hawaiian themed activities. My husband and I participated in multiple activities, and on several occasions, we had to make choices between 2 equally tempting things scheduled for the same time. We never paid extra for any activity as the ones we went to were all free. An activity I especially enjoyed was the ribbon lei making class on the outward journey, and a real orchid lei making class on the journey home (orchids were picked up in Honolulu). Dave Carson gave progressive ukulele lessons daily on sea days, and our dining companions who took his classes said he was a wonderful teacher. Dave Carson also gave wonderful hour long port lectures on each island, prior to our arrival in Hawai'i. His in-depth knowledge about the islands was evident, and we never once had to suffer through any of those ridiculous shopping "tips" during his port talks. The ship was unable to dock in Kauai due to bad weather, and Dave provided an impromptu 1.5 hours of excellent and informative commentary as the captain cruised us around both Kauai and the forbidden island of Ni'ihau. Debbie from Canada, one of Dave Carson's staff members, was another standout and was so knowledgeable about Polynesian culture and led many of classes. She is also an excellent hula and Tahitian dancer, and offered daily classes on sea days. Students from Debbie's and Dave's classes put on a very nice performance the last night of the cruise. Naturalist Pat Kramer gave excellent talks every sea day on Hawaiian culture, movies filmed in the islands, whales, the attack on Pearl Harbor, Polynesian navigation, the flora and fauna of the islands, etc, etc. Her knowledge, enthusiasm, and un-stilted, natural speaking style made us look forward to her presentations. Completely un-Hawaiian related, but thoroughly enjoyable, attorney Michael Bishay gave intellectually engaging and fascinating presentations every sea day on different criminal cases. We learned a lot about legal issues and had some of our notions about the law challenged in a super interesting, non-dry, and non-boring way. His presentation style is very audience interactive, and we loved his talks. I give presentations very often for work myself, and although I am nowhere in Michael's class, I can recognize a superb presenter when I hear one. If he is ever speaking on your cruise, do not miss going to his presentations! I loved how Cruise Director Dave Carson arranged for many of the TV shows and movies to reflect the Hawai'i theme. There were shows on Hawaiian language lessons, multiple documentaries on whales, volcanoes, formations of the islands, movies about the attack on Pearl Harbor, about the young Princess Victoria Kai'ulani, etc, etc. There were even re-runs of the old show Magnum PI which was filmed in Hawai'i, for nostalgia's sake. There were also multiple non-Hawaiian themed movies which were pretty new which I wanted to see, but which I had no time to see either in the Princess Theater or on TV, as we were too busy with all the other fun things we were doing. One of my "rules" on any cruise vacations is that I must get a treatment at the spa during every sea day, so that I can truly relax. Thanks to previous reviews I read here, I only made a few appointments via internet for the first 4 days of the cruise, and waited for the deals to begin. Well the deals started on the third day and saved me big bucks. Thanks to all previous reviewers! Some involved getting a treatment at 8 am, but most of the deals involved getting treatments at whatever time I wanted and were 50% - 60% off the normal treatment price. Some of the deals were advertised on flyers sent to every cabin, some were offered to me by the masseuse for a future treatment, and some I got just by asking at the spa front desk. We went to all of the production shows, the comedy acts, the ventriloquist, the juggler, and the special evening singing acts. We were able to see a new performance every night, and really enjoyed ourselves. Some were definitely of a better quality than others, but overall we had a great time. We opted for the disembarkation where we would handle our luggage ourselves. We were told to wait in a lounge at 8 am, but due to a hold-up by US Customs, were not allowed to get off till 8:40 am. Once we got the all-clear however, everything went very smoothly, and we arrived back at our own home by 10:15 am. While there were some things we definitely did not like, overall we had a fantastic time and loved our visit to the islands. Cruise Director Dave Carson's Hawaiian themed program really enhanced our cruise. While on board, we signed up for a future cruise and put down a deposit. We can hardly wait to begin planning our next Princess cruise! Read Less
Sail Date: November 2011
My husband and I are a young 70, and we booked a cruise on the Sapphire Princess over the Thanksgiving holiday because we were not going to be with family. It never occurred to us that a holiday cruise would be populated by large family ... Read More
My husband and I are a young 70, and we booked a cruise on the Sapphire Princess over the Thanksgiving holiday because we were not going to be with family. It never occurred to us that a holiday cruise would be populated by large family groups and 600 children! Silly me. Of course there would be children. Most of the children were well behaved and most of the parents/grandparents were attentive to their children. Some, however, were not and seemed content to let the crew and the rest of the ship's passengers do the baby-sitting. We ate at all but one of the dining options available on the Sapphire Princess--Santa Fe, Pacific Moon, Savoy, and the International Dining room as well as at the premium Sabatini's and Sterling Steak House. It seemed that we were always eating!! Great food. Most of the dining room service was very good, and service in Sabatini's was outstanding. The situation at the buffet was occasionally less pleasant. There was one roving gang of 6 teens who made eating at the buffet unpleasant, even to the extent that they threw French fries at each other and even at other passengers. Complaints to ship personnel did not bring any improvement. These same teens snarled obscenities at me when I asked them to unblock the hallway leading to the elevator lobby. I observed them terrorizing younger children in the pool, and my friend reported that they even traipsed across her pool lounger while she was on it. I realize that it is the parents' responsibility to monitor their children's behavior, but the parents of these children didn't do it. My complaints and those of at least one other passenger to passenger services did not bring any results that I could see, but I honestly don't know what the ship's crew could do about it. Staff and service otherwise was excellent. We had wonderful experiences at the Crooners Bar and in the shops. Our cabin steward kept things tidy and did so entirely unobtrusively. We were fortunate to have a mini-suite, but the uncertain weather did not permit us to take advantage of the balcony as much as we might have liked. I think if we were on the starboard side, the balcony would have been warmer. As it was, it was a bit chilly because it was mostly in the shade during the sail down and then sailing back, it was cloudy and chilly during the daytime so there wasn't much sun. The shore excursions were OK, but nothing exceptional. In my opinion, Ensenada was not a really acceptable substitution for Mazatlan or Puerto Vallarta. The buffadora was interesting, but not as interesting as, say, a visit to a colonial town might have been. And we're not beach people and don't party hearty, so an extra day in Cabo didn't really replace the cancelled ports either. I do not understand why Princess cancelled those ports because other cruise lines are still sailing there. The "safety" explanation didn't wash with me because I've spent a week or more in those ports recently and there was no more of a safety issue there than in Cabo or in Los Angeles, maybe less. I was impressed by the disembarkation process. It went very smoothly; all that was required was to read and follow the instructions and listen to the announcements. The crew was, as always, polite and professional, sometimes in the face of considerable provocation from belligerent passengers. In general, we found the cruise a pleasant experience and we'd recommend sailing on the Sapphire Princess to others. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2011
The 28 day Sapphire Princess cruise from LA to the South Seas ran the gamut of service and enjoyment. THE EXCELLENT: Our mini-suite and our steward, Dionie. We had an AA mini-suite that more than fulfilled our needs and comfort and it ... Read More
The 28 day Sapphire Princess cruise from LA to the South Seas ran the gamut of service and enjoyment. THE EXCELLENT: Our mini-suite and our steward, Dionie. We had an AA mini-suite that more than fulfilled our needs and comfort and it was always serviced in a timely manner. Our waiter (waitress) Amyout was the best we've ever had in 35 years of cruising. An amazing lady. Our assistant waiter, Jeronimo, was excellent as well. The folks serving at the Savoy coffee bar were also at this level. Most of the staff on board was in this category (with exceptions to be named later) as they always were friendly and helpful. Most of our fellow cruisers also fell into this category. THE GOOD: The food was good to adequate. Nothing really exceptional but nothing awful, either. The ports were good to excellent but it would have been nice to be in the S. Pacific islands (not Hawaii) longer. I would rate the entire cruise experience as GOOD. THE BAD: Poor planning regarding Captain's Circle events. The CC party was 2,000 fellow Gold and Elite and Plat. cruisers wedged into the atrium for what? Maybe a watered down drink if you were "lucky" enough to snag one. Poor planning regarding activities on the 8 day voyage returning to LA. In some cases, the most interesting events were planned at the same time. The inability to get into the theater or Wheelhouse Bar to see the "entertainment." If you didn't get a seat and hour or more before the show, you didn't get one. The entertainment was stretched to the limit and most of the entertainers were repeaters that most of us had seen on other Princess cruises. The daily Patter was mainly advertisements for overpriced on board "sales" and services. It never listed the specialty buffets on Deck 14 held every other day or so. The only way one found out about them was to happen upon them. The Patter also tried to convey the message that there were limited taxis and transportation available in the Samoan Islands and Moorea trying to get passengers to book the ship's tours. However, there were always many, many taxis and private tour buses waiting at each port. I would imagine the Cruise Director is responsible for all of this so I guess I'd have to rate him "Bad." Noon announcements from the Bridge were given by a person with a very, very strong accent that made them completely unintelligible. Being from a bi-lingual family, I have complete empathy for his problem but the announcements were useless because of this. Two of my table mates asked me, quite seriously, if he was speaking English. THE UGLY: The Future Cruise person was the rudest, most sarcastic, most snide and unfriendly cruise line employee of any category that I have ever encountered. At a very large Cruise Critic Meet and Greet she was at her worst--and she told us she didn't care if we liked her or her methods or not because she "had a very good pension she could retire on" at that moment and nothing was lost according to her. In another instance I was dropping off my future cruise paper in the proper box (I wouldn't talk to her) and I heard her comment to a passenger as she was writing down her name, "I don't know how to spell it and, frankly, I don't care." She was unbelievable. OVERALL: My wife and I did have a good time on the cruise. We're into relaxing and taking it easy and so down time is important to us. On a trip of this length, there's lots of that. Our room steward made us comfortable in our cabin and our waitress made us comfortable at dinner and we met lots of great people and saw some beautiful islands--and it was a cruise out of LA, and that's important to us. The tours were adequate and, as usual, over priced but we knew that going in. So much of what takes place on a cruise is open to many levels of criticism depending on the individual. Would we take this particular cruise again? Probably not. However we will take Princess again and already have a 20 day Caribbean cruise on Emerald Princess booked for March of next year. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2010
This was our fourth year spending Christmas at sea. We sailed with our two college age sons and found the Sapphire Princess to be a nice place to spend the holidays. Overall, the ship was in very good condition and felt familiar after ... Read More
This was our fourth year spending Christmas at sea. We sailed with our two college age sons and found the Sapphire Princess to be a nice place to spend the holidays. Overall, the ship was in very good condition and felt familiar after sailing on Diamond Princess several years ago. We had two rooms, ours a mini-suite and an outside for our sons, both on Emerald deck. After a very poorly organized luggage drop off system at embarkation where hundreds were forced to wait in pouring rain while the port and Princess personnel got their act together, the balance of embarkation was quick and easy. Our cabins were ready for us, and our steward, Melchor was there to greet us. He did a fine job the entire cruise. We liked the oversized covered balcony and while the decor was a bit tired, with a few carpet spots and some wear, we found the cabin to be very spacious and a great gathering place for the four of us. The boy's outside cabin was spacious with plenty of storage and a decent view around the lifeboats. Despite the ship sailing full, there were very few times when it seemed crowded. We think Princess ships are very well designed and easy to navigate. As you would expect at Christmas, there were lots of kids on the ship, but they were generally extremely well behaved...no comment on a few of the poorly behaved parents... It seems some people go on cruises to hear themselves complain! Overall we found the meals in the dining room to be good to very good. We did anytime dining and only had one wait of about 15 minutes for a table for 4. We could have avoided this with a reservation, but didn't bother. Generally, the dining room service was very good, and once, outstanding, with Hector in the Vivaldi dining room. He treated us as if he knew us all week, rather than for a single meal. We found the buffet to be adequate. There were always some good items, and some very ordinary items. Breakfast became redundant after a day or two...nothing special, or beyond mediocre. Lunch was also ordinary, but always fresh. It's not that the food was bad, just a bit more pedestrian than we experienced on Princess in the past, and certainly less inspiring than the excellent buffet selections and variety we experienced on Celebrity last year. Generally, the overall service on the ship was outstanding. The people were friendly, but certainly not intrusive. We liked that we didn't have people trying to sell us drinks constantly. Yet when we wanted something, there was always someone close by. We enjoyed many of the activities, especially the trivia contests, the ones we won, in particular. There was always something to do, or a place to go to read a book, catch a movie, or enjoy the sun. We also enjoyed the art auction. There were some great values and some horrific ones. The couple leading the art auction were nice, but the guy was a bit over the top, and contradicted himself often. We know what we like, know values, and picked up a few pieces. We do believe that Princess does art at sea better than anyone. We found the production shows to be what is expected on cruise ships, but enjoyed the comedian and the magician. It's a shame that the shows are repeated so often. More variety would have been welcome. We did not do any of the ship's excursions, but had good times in port on our own. PV was fine for a walk and stroll along the beach. Mazatlan was not impressive, at all... But Cabo was great; we hired a boat for whale watching and sightseeing and had a great time. While we were ready to leave the other ports, we wish we would have had much more time at Cabo. Unfortunately, we were only in port from 7 to a last tender at 1. And one minor pet peave...I hate that all the taxis are forced to drop you off at Diamonds International...even when in a back alley like Mazatlan. Once back in Los Angeles, disembarkation was a breeze. We carried our own luggage, were off the ship in the first group and through customs and in a taxi to the airport all in less than 15 minutes! Overall, a very fun cruise. We like Princess ships and crew. And while I know it is part of their job, we really appreciated that the entire staff provided us a fantastic Christmas, while being away from their families. Read Less
Sapphire Princess Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 4.0 0.0
Public Rooms 4.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 0.0
Family 5.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 5.0 0.0
Enrichment 4.0 0.0
Service 5.0 0.0
Value For Money 4.0 0.0
Rates 4.0 0.0

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