February 2015 - Sapphire Princess to Other (Asia/Africa/Middle East)
As veteran cruisers, we were markedly disappointed in our cruise experience on the Sapphire Princess Feb 15–28. We had been looking forward to a new experience after having been on Celebrity multiple times, Royal Caribbean and Carnival
While we had some individual highlights, here were our issues: 1) The overall crew attitude was not been welcoming, as if we had been a bother to them. In fact, they seemed more interested in socializing with themselves. Example of poor service: My room card stopped working--went to desk-- said she would replace it, but reprogrammed it instead. Went to room, still didn't work and had to go back. Employee blamed me for why it didn't work. This happened a week later again-- scolded again but none of the staff ever said sorry for my inconvenience, even when I called this out after the 3rd episode. The irony is that Princess shows you on TV their service standards and their acronym for the program? Based on our experience, the acronym should be FAIL! 2) Dining-- no question, the worse service and quality of food of any cruise we've been on-- it seems as though Princess was going cheap. Only positive is having lots of fresh fruit around. Service from our waiter Francisco was very impersonal at best, the bus boy, Joni, was useless-- in-attentative and incompetent. He couldn't answer any of our questions about the menu. The Maitre'd in the Dining Room was not helpful either, never smiled. The menu repeated twice in our 12 days on board --exactly the same--which we found disappointing. Even though our expectations were not super high, we stopped going to our assigned table in the Vivaldi dining room at 8 pm the last several days because the service was better elsewhere. This is not very efficient for Princess and leaves us, the passenger, with a bitter taste in our mouth. The positives--excellent system for getting you off the boat for shore excursions and disembarkation.
I don't think this is us being overly picky--many others on our cruise felt the same and were going to be telling Princess about it. One comment we heard from veteran Princess cruisers was that you have to know how to work the system and demand to get what you need. I feel that I shouldn't have to work that hard on my vacation since I do that at work all of the time.
There were other issues, but the bottom line is this: Make sure your cruise is not 2 separate cruises put together, otherwise you will get repeat dinners in the main dining room and repeat entertainment shows without getting credit for going on 2 cruises. Also, fellow cruisers told us that service varies ship to ship and, in their experience, the Sapphire Princess was one of the worse.
If you are very price conscious, then maybe this cruise will be acceptable for you. For us, we'll be looking to go back to Celebrity whenever possible.