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21 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
I’ve been on 13 cruises in the past four years and I’m hooked. Enjoyed Emerald Princess at Christmas three years ago (although apart from Crab Shack and Chefs Table the food was pretty poor). I was too busy to write a review however ... Read More
I’ve been on 13 cruises in the past four years and I’m hooked. Enjoyed Emerald Princess at Christmas three years ago (although apart from Crab Shack and Chefs Table the food was pretty poor). I was too busy to write a review however and eventually forgot. So summer 18 I decided to give Sapphire Princess a try: Room Good - super bed, good TV and good movies/ programmes. Awful smell from shower/ loo Staff Truly excellent. But a seasoned couple with 40cruises under their belt told me that in the past few years Carnival (who own Princess) have made cabin staff go from making up ten rooms twice daily to eighteen rooms in the same time. The couple felt guilty and upset for the staff about this. I too, had wondered why the staff had had to work for longer and longer every day. Now I understand. Excursions These same old time passengers - and others - advised that I should use Cruise Excursions which operate in each port of call, rather than Carnival’s Princess. This is because the Carnival ship’s charges are extortionate in comparison to Cruise Excursions, so more and more passengers are arranging excursions with Cruise Excursions before they leave to go on these cruise.ps. Entertainment Excellent - very good - only 45 minutes per evening unfortunately which is too little. Fitness I was lazy on this cruise so don’t know. : ( Food I have never written a review before now, but the food and corporate greed are the reasons I am writing this one. The food was truly awful. It was cheap canteen standard and so many passengers muttered about it - but said they never wrote reviews - that I decided someone had to do it or the food would just get worse. I stuck with salads but sent two dinners back which I’ve never done. The PR manager handled it excellently however - and, to be fair, this aspect iof Carnivals service is very good. I met one passenger who had sued Carnival - he didn’t say why - but he won. An example of cost cutting verging on the dishonest was when I asked for fresh orange juice. Instead I was given the reconstituted stuff they use on board and charged $4. So I went to the bar where it was made and asked again for fresh juice. The waiter genuinely seemed to believe it was fresh but I had had a look. I saw that Carnival had put reconstituted juice in a jug marked fresh juice and then charged me for it.... Rather than cause a fuss I pai but my goodwill was running out. The next day I did get fresh juice from fresh oranges but this time the fee was $4. 95.... I again paid but it was the last straw. One reason was that these incidents reminded me of Easter 18 - I was on another Carnival ship - P n O Ventura. As a solo passenger I pay hundreds of pounds more for a room - up to double the cost. I got the usual two chocolates in my room that first night. The next night I got only one. The manager explained that since I was the only person in the room I would only get one chocolate... For some reason a few other solo passengers got two ... Is this discrimination I ask? Seriously when another solo passenger and I complained, he reinstated the two chocolate policy for the duration of the cruise but said he would reintroduce it when we left. That is plain mean. Enrichment This is just another means of selling. Summary : Corporate Penny Pinching This is a lovely ship and, to a man, the staff is superb. But it is being ruined by corporate greed. Everywhere standards are being driven down by skinflint penny pinching. Carnival I am not saying that your board made the above decisions personally. But your policy of ruthlessly driving down costs by every nickel and dime - while posting profits in the billions - is responsible for such practices. With service such as that above however, your gravy train may seriously derail. At Christmas 18 I am going to India with Voyages to Antiquity. I hear they are decent people. I am looking forward to it. Meanwhile I’ve still got the cruising bug but this time around I shall keep you posted and would appreciate others helping. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
We chose this cruise as several s places I had not been to. We enjoyed KL, and Pennang, and the shopping was good. I had been to Bali 18 times so knew my way around no problem, like my second home. Phuket I did not like as stinking ... Read More
We chose this cruise as several s places I had not been to. We enjoyed KL, and Pennang, and the shopping was good. I had been to Bali 18 times so knew my way around no problem, like my second home. Phuket I did not like as stinking hot, humid and dirty. No taxis were at the port as was advised. Only private drivers wanting a day fare, when we only wanted a quick look around,ended up with a non licensed car, trip into Robinsons departments store. Air con great and so was lunch cheap and tasty. Got a taxi back to the ship easily. Thailand the most disappointing part of the trip, and never again. The ship is tired, but very clean and the service was great. The main anytime dining options, 4 different however with same menu was ok. The buffet was great, so much selection and deserts to die for. I have never used the buffet ever before for evening meals on any other cruise, however it was superb. The entertainment was lacking as we were looking forward to the broadway shows, of which 2-3 only, the rest other entertainers. Overall a great cruise, and would recommend. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2013
We used Princess transfers from the airport for the first time and was pleasantly surprised. They were easy to locate and other than waiting for the bus to fill up as others took longer to get their luggage, we were under way within about ... Read More
We used Princess transfers from the airport for the first time and was pleasantly surprised. They were easy to locate and other than waiting for the bus to fill up as others took longer to get their luggage, we were under way within about 45 minutes to an hour. Once there, embarkation was a breeze, there may have been 10 people in line ahead of us. The room itself was great, it was a minisuite on Dolphin deck and was spacious. Never felt cramped or crowded. Having the tub is a great perk of the minisuite, as is the extra sitting area. It was located very close to the elevators/stairs which would have been nice, except for it's location right outside the casino 3 decks below. As there is smoking in the casino, every time we opened our door we were hit with the smell of smoke that rose up through the staircases. The ship itself is not laid out that well, even towards the end of the 15 days I was getting lost on decks that didn't traverse the length of the ship. That being said, my more geographically strong room mate had no problem navigating the ship, so I may be in the minority that found it confusing. The casino is on deck 6 and cannot be avoided if you are walking on that deck. The smoking there is foul (in the opinion of a non smoker) and pollutes most of the ship. In a discussion with a crew member about the smoke, he said that it was kind of like having a peeing and non peeing area of a pool which describes it exactly. It doesn't matter that the rest of the ship is non smoking when there is a large smoking area that you must transit and that keeps its doors open the entire time. The library, which is usually my favourite spot on the entire ship is almost unusable on this ship for a non smoker. It is located right outside the doors to the casino and the smell in there is as powerful as being in the casino itself. The staff were good, but no real standouts, either bad or good, except for the entertainment staff. At the dance parties where I am very practised at remaining at the edges and just observing, the staff had me participating and having great fun. Callie is amazing as Deputy cruise director, probably the highlight of the cruise. The shows itself were not that great, they have reduced the length of them. The history of dance used to be much longer, but none of the production shows now seem to exceed 30 minutes. Also maybe I cruise with Princess too much, but all the production shows are the same. There hasn't been one I haven't seen in quite a few years. I was really looking forward to this cruise as I haven't been to Hawaii before other than one trip to Maui and sea days appeal to me. The weather was incredible, I think in the entire 15 days we only had a couple days of rain, though a lot of the sea days were quite cool, sometimes too cool to be out on deck. Inside there are not enough seating areas and most people ended up congregating in the buffet dining room for their cards, games or reading. The ports were nice, but it felt like there was not enough time in each. Hilo poured rain which is common there, perhaps Kihei would have been a better option there. (for me, as it rains at home a lot, not something overly enjoyed on vacation, other people may enjoy the wet lushness there) The tours in Hawaii are more consistently more expensive than other cruises I have been on. Next time I think investigating private tours might be a better option. Lahaina was incredibly beautiful, there are tons of things to do without a tour, just in walking along the areas close to the port. Nawilliwili was beautiful, we rented a car there for less than $50 and ended up just driving around and looking at things we wanted to see. Gorgeous island. Honolulu was spent at the Arizona memorial and City tour and while in the beginning was not all that convinced about seeing, I was glad we went. It is a sacred experience that makes one more grateful for what we have and helps to recognize the sacrifices that went into providing it for us. The 5 sea days heading back from Hawaii towards LA were very long. The weather cooled off the closer we got and there seemed less to do. Towards the end of the cruise, they started repeating the Movies under the Stars which seems strange. It wasn't a back to back, it was 15 days roundtrip and after the movies were on the big screen, they were played the next day in your room. So towards the end of the trip when you have done most things onboard that you want to, why would they also repeat the movies? We watched the Movies under the Stars almost every night until they started repeating them. After that the days got a bit boring towards the end and we were just kind of looking forward to it being over. Ensenada was a great stop. Wasn't really expecting it to be, but it was stunningly gorgeous weather, the wine tour was good and just walking around close to the port was good shopping. We used the first self walk off as we had an early flight and it was completely painless with very little waiting. Not sure how it was later into the process, but as we were one of the first groups off, it was very smooth. One thing to note, Princess has never really enforced their alcohol polices before, (in my experience) but one couple we met on board had alcohol poured out from their suitcases before it arrived on ship. It seems like they are now enforcing them, so adhere to it so you don't lose your alcohol. All in all I enjoyed this trip, mostly because of the stops. I wouldn't sail on the Smoky Sapphire Princess again.   Read Less
Sail Date: October 2013
I have sailed on three of the Princess ships now and the Sapphire is the largest so far. My stateroom was in the front quarter of the ship and the dinning room was at the stern so I had to walk three footballs in length to get to supper! ... Read More
I have sailed on three of the Princess ships now and the Sapphire is the largest so far. My stateroom was in the front quarter of the ship and the dinning room was at the stern so I had to walk three footballs in length to get to supper! And you can't get there from here either. It turned out that the best way to get there was go walk the length of the ship to the aft elevators to get down to the proper deck. You are unable to get there from any of the decks in the middle of the ship. And the first seating is at 5:30 PM. I like to eat early due to acid reflux, but that was a little too early. Then, from the main dining room, it is quite a hike to the bow of the ship and the theater for the evening's show. Aw well. Exercise after dinner is probably good. I knew it is a big ship, I just didn't realize how big it really is. There are lots of good things about the Sapphire Princess though. For one, the promenade deck goes all the way around the ship. Nice. And passengers can get to virtually everywhere on the far upper decks too. That was really nice as we entered, and left, exotic island ports, especially being able to get on top of the bridge! Some of the dining room menus were not as interesting as they were on the other Princess ships I have cruised on. But the other venues well made up for those few days. Sabatini's was wonderful as always. The Sterling Steakhouse is actually a section of the Horizon Court that is divided off in the evenings so the ambiance was lacking a little. But the service and food there was definitely up to par with the other ships. Alfredo's Pizzeria, in the atrium has caused me to decide to never again partake of the pizza on the pool deck. And the cafe in the atrium, with all the little hot sandwiches and great deserts proved to be a great place for a light lunch. There was absolutely no problem finding too much good food on that ship! And they managed to always have something interesting going on. Maybe too much. You just can't take it all in. We had 8 sea days getting back from Tahiti to LA and it went by like it was only a couple of days! Read Less
Sail Date: September 2013
This was my first cruise on Princess and my wife's first cruise ever. My wife was very impressed with her first cruise experience and now has a better understanding of why I love it so much. The Sapphire Princess is a beautiful ship ... Read More
This was my first cruise on Princess and my wife's first cruise ever. My wife was very impressed with her first cruise experience and now has a better understanding of why I love it so much. The Sapphire Princess is a beautiful ship with excellent amenities. My wife uses a wheelchair full time so we booked an interior handicap room and I was so excited when we first stepped into E-310 and found it to be double the size of the stateroom I had as a solo, At 318 sq ft it is like being in a suite.The accessibility features (such as the roll-in shower and lowered clothes closet) were better that most handicap hotel rooms that we have stayed in and she had little trouble getting around and was quite comfortable living in the room for the week. The food in the MDR was quite good (not great) for me but my wife is vegetarian and her meal selections were quite limited and the food she was served was inferior in terms of quality and taste. We particularly enjoyed the Piazza with Alfredo's Pizzaria where we ate lunch 3 times. Soooooo much nicer than the buffet. Entertainment on board was also quite good with nice music in the Piazza and impressive talent from the singers and dancers in the Princess Theater. The Pacific Coast itinerary was not one that I would care to repeat. The weather was too cool and rainy in Vancouver, Victoria and Seattle and we did not stop in Astoria because of the weather. California weather was nice enough but not as nice as the Caribbean. This first cruise on Princess was nice overall but did not exceed my expectations. Having cruised a couple times on Celebrity I thought this would be a similar experience. Based on this cruise Princess falls below Celebrity in terms of food and entertainment. This cruise was more like Carnival (which I do like because it is an excellent value for the price) but on a more tastefully decorated ship. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2010
After all the planning, work outs, shopping, & anticipation, we finally met up by midnight at the LA hotel recommended by Tripadvisor & AAA. We might be 55 year olds but that night we were like college kids as we gathered & ... Read More
After all the planning, work outs, shopping, & anticipation, we finally met up by midnight at the LA hotel recommended by Tripadvisor & AAA. We might be 55 year olds but that night we were like college kids as we gathered & shared our excitement! We woke the day of departure; imagine our shock as we watched FOX News cover the tragedy of the Chilean earthquake. When they brought up the tsunami warning, we knew we were in for possible disappointment. This is when we knew we were right to buy trip insurance. I called Princess immediately & sat on hold until the rep told me that they had calls in to the authorities & would call us if the trip would be affected. We decided to hope for the best & go ahead with our embarkation plans. Our personal shuttle arrived at noon, graciously took us to our wine shop so we could stock up, & off we went to the LA Harbor. The baggage handlers along side the ship were so much fun -- thanks guys for your warm welcome! Our 3 first time cruisers were WOWED by their initial visual of the ship. The embarkation process was perfect, the best of the 3 cruise lines I've been on. In the waiting area, we watched the news as Princess made periodic announcements that the harbor was closed by the Coast Guard due to the tsunami. In my opinion, the waiting passengers handled the delay well. There may not have been enough seating for everyone but this never happened before so why would there be. We may have waited an hour before they made the happy announcement that the gangway had been lowered & embarkation had begun. The Sapphire Princess was the first ship out of the harbor once the Coast Guard made the decision. We 8 ladies went to the covered front of the ship to experience the trip out to open sea. We said a silent prayer for our neighbors in Chile. The remainder of the trip was a wonderfully normal cruise. The high points of the cruise were: 1. mini-suite balcony. We had two mini-suites & two interior cabins. It is worth the extra dollars to have the larger balcony when traveling with a group as we shared the space with our friends. If it were just my hubby & I, the regular balcony would be fine. 2. Princess allows celebratory wine/champagne to be brought on board. We were celebrating a pending retirement, a birthday & a graduation & Princess' understanding allowed us to celebrate together in our suite. This is why I recommend Princess above the other lines I've cruised. 3. The ship's size. Sapphire is the perfect size. Who wants to sail with 3000 passengers? We had no trouble finding deck chairs, outdoor seating for our Horizon Court breakfasts, lounge seats for the jewelry show, etc. I have zero desire to sail on any super sized cruise ships, even if the fare is less on them. 4. Our traditional dining experience. Traditional dining IS the cruise experience. You can go to a restaurant at home (freestyle dining), why would you do the same old thing on a cruise? I prefer the late seating because we have time to return from our excursions, get all gussied up, have a glass of wine & still make it to the table on time. We were blessed with the perfect waiters, Alan and Joel from the Philippines. (Alan is sacrificing time at home because he is putting his daughter through medical school). Every guest should get to know their waiters on a personal level; it so enhances the cruise experience! We know they see a new table of guests every week but the way they treated us made us feel like we were special every night. We tipped them very generously. Hello Alan and Joel! 5. Skywalker Lounge. We had along one daughter for whom this trip was her graduation gift She actually likes to be with us eve though some of us are old enough to be her grandma. We took her to the Skywalker Lounge every night so she could dance the night away &that she did. If some of the crew were up there they made it a point to dance with her a few times & we got out there to dance too.We helped her make wonderful life long memories. 6. Shipboard activities. Our group really enjoyed the dancing,exercising & entertainment opportunities on board the ship. We ended up in the ship's video more than once. The crew were full of energy, they appear everywhere &they work hard to make the days at sea fun. We really appreciated what they were doing for the passengers. If we suggested any improvements, they would be: A. the latte bar needs a selection of sugar free skinny latte choices. B. Revamp the nighttime entertainment. That's where we found fault. We thought the dance company costuming absolutely STUNK. Giant gold lame' stars on a man's shirt/pants? Come ON! Talk about emasculating a person. The costuming was circa 1970. The average age on the ship was 55. Hey, we're the baby boomers. The music too; how many years will we hear covers of 45 year old Neil Diamond songs? Let's get a little more current. They had talent but their creativity had been squashed. We stopped going to the shows because they were so sappy. The Island Princess (2008) had more current content. The ship group, the Babydolls, lead singer was not good either, but the thin singer was great. Loudness will not cover a substandard voice. We felt that the karaoke contests had much better voices so we went there whenever there was a performance. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2009
My husband does not relax like "normal people" and, unless they would agree to let him work in the engine room for the duration, cruising doesn't appeal to him. I absolutely love it, so off I went on my own. Embarkation in ... Read More
My husband does not relax like "normal people" and, unless they would agree to let him work in the engine room for the duration, cruising doesn't appeal to him. I absolutely love it, so off I went on my own. Embarkation in LA was extremely efficient, no more than twenty minutes from curbside to stateroom. My stateroom was clean and comfortable. Odd duck that I am, I seem to be one of the few that has never had a complaint about Princess' mattresses. My only complaint about the ship was an occasional "funky" odor in the hallway and on the Promenade Deck. That and the fact that I did not do my homework well enough to realize that the Video Arcade was directly above my stateroom. Small inconveniences, not enough to obsess about. I opted for traditional dining at a table for ten, knowing that while I was not obligated to eat there every night my chair would be waiting for me without reservations should I choose to. My table-mates were varied and interesting. Overall the food was good, some of it excellent. While the service provided by my particular waiter was not as good as I had experienced in the past, it was by no means poor. The deck stewards and buffet stewards were wonderfully friendly and attentive. I liked the fact that the Sapphire has deck chairs on the Promenade Deck, great for reading or just watching the ocean go by. I took the Ultimate Ship's Tour, offered on our last sea day. Although it was a tad pricey I felt it was worth every penny and would recommend it to anyone who's curiosity radar goes off when they see a "Crew Only" doorway. From what I understand a lottery is done on those who have signed up and only a small group is taken (there were eleven of us). Photos are not allowed, but we were accompanied by a member of the photography staff and the pictures she took, as well as a chef's coat and plush robe were delivered to our staterooms that evening. We toured the backstage areas of the Princess Theater with some of the performers, The Medical Center with the Doctor (who is an absolute hoot!), the Galley with the Executive Chef (who had a lovely snack waiting), The print shop, photo lab and laundry with the Purser, the Engine Control Room with the Chief Engineer, and we climbed up into the funnel with the Staff Captain. Last stop was the Bridge where the Captain posed for individual photos and presented each of us with a souvenir of our voyage. My advice to all cruisers, be it first-timers or seasoned, is that your trip is what you make of it. Treat your servers and stewards with respect and you will get wonderful service. When you have to wait for an elevator, look around, realize where you are and how lucky you are to be there. My cruise was not perfect, but it was wonderful. Read Less
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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