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Princess Cruises: Sapphire Princess

  • Princess Cruises

Sapphire Princess Review

Launched in 2004, Sapphire Princess, and her sister ship Diamond Princess are the only two ships in the fleet that were built in Japan. Recent renovations have added many of the cruise line’s most popular signature elements, including Movies Under the Stars and The Sanctuary, a tranquil adults-only haven.

Launched in the same year, these sister ships include all the features traditionally enjoyed on Princess's Grand-class vessels, but with a twist. They're larger than their Grand-class fleetmates, yet carry fewer passengers relative to their size. As a result, they have sleeker profiles, a higher ratio of space per person and feel much roomier.

Inside, the arrangement of public rooms is a bit different, with the signature Wheelhouse Bar moved forward of its position on Grand-class ships and, in its place, an expanded Internet Café, where beverages and snacks are served. An Asian-theme full-service spa offers a relaxing thermal suite, for a fee. All the elements of a Princess ship are here, particularly the small-ship atmosphere and sparkling, yet understated, interior decor.

Princess Cruises may be best known for introducing cruise travel to millions of viewers, when its flagship became the setting for The Love Boat television series in 1977. Since that heady time of small-screen stardom, the Princess fleet has grown both in the number and size of ships. Although most are large in scale, Princess vessels manage to create the illusion of intimacy through the use of color and decor in understated yet lovely public rooms graced by multimillion-dollar art collections.

Princess has also become more flexible; Personal Choice Cruising offers alternatives for open seating dining (when you wish and with whom you please) and entertainment options as diverse as those found in resorts ashore.

Lovely chapels or the wide-open decks are equally romantic settings for weddings at sea with the captain officiating.

What You Should Know

Pros

  • The higher passenger-to-space ratio of these two ships offers a less crowded feel than most of the Princess fleet
  • Closets opposite the bathroom leave cabin entrances unobstructed by multiple doors
  • The Churchill Lounge is a popular spot for smokers, leaving other public rooms almost smoke free

Cons

  • The four intimate open seating dining rooms are smaller than on other Princess ships and can fill up fast
  • There is a charge for specialty coffee drinks and premium ice cream
  • To walk all around the ship on promenade deck you’ll have to negotiate a flight of stairs
Ship Stats
  • Crew Members 1,100
  • Entered Service 2004
  • Gross Tons 116,000
  • Length 952 feet
  • Number of Cabins 1,337
  • Passenger Capacity 2,670
  • Width 123 feet
  • New

Feb 28, 2017

Review of Sapphire Princess

Barbara Rock Age: 54 Occupation:Retired Realtor Number of Cruises: 5 Cruise Line: Princess Ship: Sapphire Princess Sailing Date: 2013-05-2 Itinerary: Los Angeles to Los Angeles My girlfriend and I were wanting a getaway and booked a great cruise on The Sapphire Princess. April was a great time because it wasn't too hot. Winds were high but a light jacket was only necessary. The band that played as the house band called " the new deal" was great. They

engaged the audience well and played a great variety. The drummer was excellent and didn't overpower like most do. I am a drummer as well so I could see how good he was. The singers in the band were very good as well. The live shows with the comedy was great. Two black comedians were rappers and just had such great one liners to keep you laughing the entire time. All the staff who MC'd the different events were very relaxed and fun. The number of seniors on this particular cruise was frustrating to me only because my girlfriend and I were only in our 50's, but it left the gym clear as well as the stairs! I'd have to say the live bands were the best part because you would relax and listen to real musicians. The piano lounge singer was a hit for the older crowd. Food was great but maybe the cruise lines should start offering half orders of different foods because a whole steak along with the other side dishes, desert is too much. Offer 1/2 size cheeze cake or whatever the desert. Also offer1/2 size entres because we don't all eat that much. Lots of waste and with people going hungry in this world it seems a shame. Unless there are pigs down in the lower levels eating all the leftovers and scraps and then when they are fat you can have bacon etc. Food was excellent and the best I have had on a cruise line. Very adequate and roomy even for two women who have lots of clothes. Setup was great for all of them and a huge variety as well. My room mate loved the trivia game and the marriage newlywed game in the lounges. Don't book the submersible submarine at Catalina Island stop. It is a waste of time and money. I could go to a pond and see that. Trip was relaxing. Hot tub available all the time. The huge widescreen on the top deck for movie under the stars with popcorn and a blanket was a cool idea. Loved to have lunch up on the bar watching Paul McCartney in concert huge on the screen.

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  • New

May 1, 2013

Los Angeles to Los Angeles

My girlfriend and I were wanting a getaway and booked a great cruise on The Sapphire Princess. April was a great time because it wasn't too hot. Winds were high but a light jacket was only necessary. The band that played as the house band called " the new deal" was great. They engaged the audience well and played a great variety. The drummer was excellent and didn't overpower like most do. I am a drummer as well so I could see how good he was.

The singers in the band were very good as well. The live shows with the comedy was great. Two black comedians were rappers and just had such great one liners to keep you laughing the entire time. All the staff who MC'd the different events were very relaxed and fun. The number of seniors on this particular cruise was frustrating to me only because my girlfriend and I were only in our 50's, but it left the gym clear as well as the stairs! I'd have to say the live bands were the best part because you would relax and listen to real musicians. The piano lounge singer was a hit for the older crowd. Food was great but maybe the cruise lines should start offering half orders of different foods because a whole steak along with the other side dishes, desert is too much. Offer 1/2 size cheeze cake or whatever the desert. Also offer1/2 size entres because we don't all eat that much. Lots of waste and with people going hungry in this world it seems a shame. Unless there are pigs down in the lower levels eating all the leftovers and scraps and then when they are fat you can have bacon etc. Food was excellent and the best I have had on a cruise line. Very adequate and roomy even for two women who have lots of clothes. Setup was great for all of them and a huge variety as well. My room mate loved the trivia game and the marriage newlywed game in the lounges. Don't book the submersible submarine at Catalina Island stop. It is a waste of time and money. I could go to a pond and see that. Trip was relaxing. Hot tub available all the time. The huge widescreen on the top deck for movie under the stars with popcorn and a blanket was a cool idea. Loved to have lunch up on the bar watching Paul McCartney in concert huge on the screen.

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  • New

Mar 13, 2012

Mexican Riviera

First, let me say this was our first cruise. We found the overall experience enjoyable. The Princess staff was among the kindest I have encountered in all of my travels. They strive above and beyond to make you happy. We found the food above average in most cases and plenty of it. Everything was fresh and well prepared and you can make healthy choices, if you want. We ate at the Sterling Steak House one night, which was wonderful.

The regular dinners were also quite good. They offered many choices and if you wanted to try something besides your entree, you could order it as an appetizer, or even in addition as a 2nd entree. The buffet was OK. Probably a step above your home town buffet. We bought a champagne breakfast served in our room, which was tres romantique! Fresh fruit, little pastries and mini quiches..... Well worth the splurge. We got a room with a balcony on one of the upper decks (Baja Deck). I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of storage and closet space. I was also happy there was a safe in the room. THANK GOD, they no longer allow smoking on balconies as our neighbors were complaining that she could not smoke her cigarettes or he, his cigar! The room itself was big enough and organized in such an amazingly efficient way that we were very satisfied. On board activities could use some improvement. The trivia games were not well organized and not well controlled. It got so competitive with people yelling out answers that the poor guy basically lost control and no one won. They could use more seating for their open atrium area, when there are music and/or programs. I actually saw a Princess employee professionally diffuse an argument where an elderly woman sat down but the other woman already sitting there was "saving" seats for people and asked her to leave. Saving seats is a no-no, but its done quite a bit. They got the woman another chair and the sitting woman was allowed to save her seats, which I did not think was wise or consistent. One comedian was pretty good. And there was an Irish singer with her Bulgarian band members that was quite good. We went to a few of her gigs and enjoyed them. But the "Jazz" band was not great nor was the other. The opening night was lacking. And the Princess employee talent program was pretty bad. OK. Here is where we had our biggest problem. Our first stop was Puerto Vallarta. Which we thought was going to be an in-city tour. One of the places we went was a Mexican ceramic factory. I thought there was going to be artisans there demonstrating what they made. But we were dropped off on the bus and basically allowed to buy souveneirs. Several of us went upstairs and found one guy making pottery, but he did not talk to us and we got the feeling we were not welcomed. And what he was making was not art, it was cheap, tourist stuff. What was a bit disconcerting, was that we drove about 35 minutes outside of the city to go to a tequila factory. Since there was a bus from a Carnival cruise that was hijacked and the people robbed just days before, we had decided to stick to the "city" tour so we thought it was a bit of false advertising. At least we did not read we were driving out of the city. But the tour ended up being fun and I drank enough samples that I don't think I would have cared if we were hijacked..... Cabo was awful. That is unless you enjoy ultra tourist traps, no feeling for the true Mexican culture and people of all weights and ages getting drunk and making asses of themselves. They really need to improve this one. If you want to be pampered and the ship is your destination, cruising the Mexican Riviera is for you. And, Princess is a good cruise line to try. Their prices were pretty competitive and their service is excellent. Though I did think their spa-pedi-mani prices were a bit ridiculous. However, they are comperable to what one would pay in an upscale hotel. We did have an issue when we needed to send an email. VERY expensive. And the man there, had a bit of an attitude. We were there for just a few minutes and were never able to connect. Cost $10. I understand from Princess staff that they subcontract this out. I think they need to do better as the service and the attitudes do not match what we experience with the rest of the staff on the cruise. If you want adventure and fun ports, pick a trip other than the Mexican Riviera. Especially, since Mazatlan is no longer a stop and you spend a night in Cabo...... Very disappointing.

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Dec 20, 2011

Hawaii

We thought this 14 day cruise from LA to Hawaii and back would be relaxing but it felt more like a struggle. Once we were back, my thought was more "Whew, I survived." than "What a wonderful vacation". The buffet food was about average Las Vegas-type buffet food. Breakfast was the best meal. The dining rooms had some great selections and the plating was beautiful but a lot of the food was just plain bland. Each of the dining rooms had a

specialty dish which we had to find out about through word of mouth. In the Pacific Moon dining room, we ordered their specialty, Asian Noodles with shrimp and scallops, and it came to the table sans the seafood. It tasted like something a college student would make out of a package of ramen noodles. Kudos, though to the Sterling Steakhouse and Sabatini's Italian. Both of these charge a $20 per person cover, but it was well worth it. We had really fine steaks at the Sterling and wonderful lobster at Sabatini's. Even the coffee was superior. Good hot dogs and burgers at the deck 14 grill by the pool and good pizza there, too. Typical mini suite with balcony, nothing to rave about. Adequate. Lost power in the bathroom one night, so no lights until it was repaired. Loud noises outside the cabin when they were working on the lifeboats which were one deck below us. We were on Deck 9, Dolphin deck. Plenty to choose from, impossible to do it all. Of note were the ukulele lessons which had folks playing decently by the end of the cruise. We enjoyed the Scholarship at Sea lectures each afternoon, especially the 2-part tour of route 66 and classic American icons. Trivia games were fun. On Kauai, take the "Famous movies and waterfalls" tour. The mini bus screens famous movie clips as you go by the spot it was filmed. We saw places that "Blue Hawaii", "Jurassic Park", "Uncommon Valor", "Donovan's Reef" and others were filmed. Definitely interesting for any movie buffs. The seas on the way over and back (4 days each way) were rough and negotiating such a large ship was difficult. The average passenger age had to be 75 and you could count the number of children on board on one hand. Scooters and walkers were everywhere. Groups of elderly took up most of the open deck tables all afternoon playing mahjongg and cards. We give this cruise poor marks for communication. Twice we stumbled upon special lunch buffets which were not announced anywhere. Disembarkation at Hilo was a mess. No one could direct us as to where to find the rent a car shuttle. I guess if you are not on one of the sponsored tours, you are on your own. People fought over cabs which seemed to only want to take passengers on tours, not for just a quick transport into town. We enjoyed our tours in Honolulu and on Kauai, but at Lahaina we wondered who was piloting the tender boats taking people to shore when the one my husband was on backed into another tender and damaged itself. Before returning to LA, we made the mandatory stop in Ensenada, MX, it was only 4 hours starting at 4 PM, hardly worth it. To disembark at the end of the cruise, the San Pedro world cruise center makes you walk about 1/2 a mile to get to customs and the luggage pick up, so be sure you don't have back pain or foot pain or its torture. We would not do this cruise again, it was a disappointing vacation. If you want to see Hawaii, pick an island, fly over and stay in a condo for a week or 10 days...that's how to relax.

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Sep 13, 2011

Alaska Inside Passage

Extremly disappointed in the food, entertainment, & service. It was difficult to get in & out of the area where breakfast & lunch was served. There were 5 of us on the curise we have all cruised prior (Holland American) once to Alaska & Eastern Carribean. If this had been my first cruise I WOULD NOT GO on another cruise. We all decided we would not cruise Princess again. The food choices where much the same every day, hot food was sometimes

warm to cold, no mid-night buffet, no food carvens, etc. The service in the main dining room was very good. We ate breakfast in the main dining room to stay out of the mass confussion on deck 14. Nothing was special what you would expect at a 2 to 3 star hotel or restaurant. My husband went down one afternoon to get hot water in a couple of cups he was told he couldn't do that he'd have to call room service and have them bring it up. That's fine, but we were able to do that on other curises and sometimes it's just more conveniant to get yourself. On a positive note our cabin was nice & clean. It had good storage & a large closet. The bed had a ridge down the middle where they put it together, not good. It did not have a magnified lighted makeup mirror and we were in a Min Suite. The other cruises have these in all staterooms. The blow dryer was not very good I was happy I brought my own. The tub/shower was VERY high off the ground even for me. We did have a little piece of candy on our bed at night but no animals made out of towels. I know that's not a big thing but it is a special touch. The entertainment was very poor. There was a magician one night & a comedian put on 3 shows, 2 of which were the very same shows & the other had alot of the same as the first 2 shows. The theater was not very large for the size of the ship but since they didn't have very good entertaiment nor a show every night it reallly didn't matter. There wasn't a very good variety again nothing really special . The White Pass train in Skagway was worth the money!!! We did the afternoon it was fantastic. The Rain Forest in Jueanua was ok, not a redo. The horse drawn trolley in Victory ok, not a redo. Wish we had gone with what we knew was a good cruise line. For the money spent on this cruise it was NOT a good value considering what you get for your money elsewhere. As far as this group of 5, we'll not cruise Princess again . We've told all don't cruise Princess.

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