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Review of the Sapphire Princess 11/10/08-18/10/08
This will be a fairly long review of Princess's biggest ship and hopefully it will cover the main points of interest.
The ship itself was in very good condition and sparkled throughout. We had Cabin 757 on Caribe deck. This is a Premium suite overlooking the ship's wake. There are many "goodies" having a suite! One of which is a complimentary bar set up! 8 miniatures of various liquors and soft drinks and bottled water. I chose to exchange the liquors for a 375ml. bottle of rum as it is my favourite drink whilst cruising. This was done quickly and efficiently by room service. The suite whilst not as big as those on Holland America's Maasdam, was tastefully decorated with soft blues and various other tones. There was a whirlpool bath, separate shower and the toilet and bathroom area was adjacent to the shower. There were 2 T.V.'s and a DVD player. Some of my pre- orders were waiting for us such as shrimp on ice and chocolate covered strawberries. But the big plus as far as I was concerned was the view over the stern. Sitting in one of the padded lounge chairs staring at the churning water was mesmorizing. Despite the location of our suite, engine vibration was hardly noticeable.
Dining in the fixed time International dining room was by and large quite good. Sadly our waiters never bothered to learn our names (we were a table of 5) and service whilst pleasant enough was not up to Princess's normally high standard. Food with one exception was very tasty and nicely presented. Deck 14 was the buffet. The food here was very good indeed. We had breakfast and lunch here every day except when on shore excursions. Service here was very good from the servers and waiters.
Entertainment was the biggest disappointment. Whilst the 4 main shows were by and large excellent the lounge entertainment was weak. Why oh why do the cruise lines hire people who are tone deaf??? I mean surely they can tell when people can or cannot sing or play in tune. The pool band along with the Explorer's Lounge group were absolutely dreadful! The atrium trio were the exceptions. During lunch time and Happy hour they played lovely light classical music. There was one good comedian but he left the ship on our first port of call. We love Princess but sad to say Carnival's lounge entertainment is superior.
The Cruise Director and his staff were the best we have encountered in our 14 cruises. They were mostly British, Canadian and Australian. Their enthusiasm was infectious and they did a great job getting passengers involved with the various activities.
Captain Pickford stood at the entrance to Club Fusion to greet returning past guests. His handshake was that of a wet lettuce!!! Talk about being bored to tears! We found out later this was his last cruise before returning to his home in Australia.
We did not go to Sabbattini's or The Sterling Steak House as they were fully booked. Neither did we visit the Casino or spa. One big disappointment as far as my wife was concerned was that the Sapphire Princess does not have Movies Under The Stars or MUTS. I think they should install MUTS on all their ships especially as the lounge entertainment was so forgettable!!!
The only real startling surprise was that our room steward Jonathan forgot to make our room up on our first night! When we returned to our room after midnight the balcony doors were wide open causing the curtains and blinds to be flying everywhere!! The bed was unmade, used drink glasses were on the table and the bathroom towels were wet. I was stunned! To be in a suite and have this happen is a no no. I called down to the front desk asking if this was something new for the first night!! I was told the room should have been made up. Next morning I confronted Jonathan. He was shocked as he thought he had done our room. Ah well we all make mistakes. The rest of the week we were treated like Royalty!!!
On the Sapphire Princess there is an area called The Conservatory. This is a covered pool midship with various plants for decoration There are fish motifs on the pillars supporting the roof making it very colourful. The pool chairs have thick mattresses to relax on and this pool is not as crowded as the uncovered Neptune pool aft of it.
Our favourite area was the terrace pool aft on lido deck. The water in all pools is fresh but cold! However coming off a shore ex: in 95 degree heat this pool was most refreshing.
Summing up the Sapphire is a lovely ship with lively and quiet areas everywhere. Highly recommended.