Sapphire Princess Cruise Review to Alaska - Inside Passage

Contributor Level: Purser

Experience
2-3 cruises

Review
1

Helpful Vote
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3 out of 5

Princess Sapphire Inside Passage to Alaska

Sail Date: May 18, 2013

Reviewed: 3 years ago

Traveled As: Family (older children)

Room Type: Oceanview

Princess Sapphire provided an enjoyable cruise experience. I liked several features of this particular luding movies under the stars, the exercise room with spa, afternoon tea, the friendly and helpful staff, Sabatini's and Sterling restaurants, the numerous activities available to passengers at all times and the port destinations (Alaska is simply magnificent). The food in the premium restaurants was well-prepared and served with a flourish. The afternoon tea was something I looked forward to everyday and found it refreshing. Our room steward was exceptional and refreshed our room as many as four times a day. Our steward, Jeff, much deserved the consummate host award. The ship offered great activities (trivia games, dance workshops,, health workshops, naturalist discussions about glaciers and Alaskan wildlife, Princess PopStar-their version of American Idol-- and movies under the stars, karaoke, etc.) Alaskan ports was great, wonderful scenery and some good excursions.

However, the cruise had some downsides. The food in the dining rooms (Santa Fe, Pacific Moon, Savoy, etc.) was okay. The menus did not vary. For example, all of these open-seating restaurants (five in all) served the same menu on the same day. So you really didn't have choice in menus. We'd check out the menu of one of the five and if we didn't like it, we'd go to Horizons (a buffet) for dinner. I was served prime rib well done in the Savoy when I ordered medium rare. When I sent the prime rib back, they returned with a medium order--maybe a communication glitch but still annoying. We had a two-week cruise. Some waiters constantly harassed us to go to wine tastings. My husband tried diplomacy. In one restaurant--the Savoy--the waiter hounded us, asking us four or five times if we wanted to attend the wine tasting. At the start of the second week, we were told we would not have to attend muster. However when we tried to go eat dinner while others went through muster, we were told we could not eat (by Pacific Moon). We were turned away like criminals. However, my husband went and found another restaurant that accepted us like the political refugees we had become. Generally the buffet in the Horizon was very good but it got a little repetitive, with leftovers and repeat dishes.

We didn't have adequate time to spend in Anchorage. We got there around 8:30am and had to leave at 5:30pm, not enough time to really go on any of the ship excursions. I really wanted to see Anchorage--but the excursions left early and we didn't arrive early enough to take advantage of them (give we had to turn in our old princess room keys, get our pictures taken and get new keys). Very disappointing.

The ship library had very limited hours. I had a Kindle and could read any book I wanted at leisure. But my husband wanted a book and had to wait a few days so that he could get into the library to check out books.

It was annoying that smoking was allowed on the ship--in the casino, on the decks, etc. After we were told that we couldn't have an iron for our clothing, a coffee maker, etc because of fire hazard, it seemed contradictory to allow smoking on board--as cigarettes and cigars are responsible for a large number of accidental fires.

Most of the entertainment on the ship was generally average to mediocre. The dancer/singer group in the Princess Theater was so anachronistic and almost embarrassing. Only one comic was good. The magician comic was terrible. Thank god for the ports and the Kindle. Some of the lounge/bar entertainment was pretty good--the New Deal, some of the piano bar singers--but for the greater part of the voyage, my husband and I favored books, movies and of course, the ports.

Overall, I enjoyed the cruise but prospective cruisers must keep in mind that it's not a luxury cruise, that it's a medium-range type cruise, that the food will not knock their socks off but it will be generally good to very good, and that they should make sure they like the ports--because the ports are most important at the end of the day. I highly suggest taking advantage of the premium restaurants--the service and food are much superior.
Ship Quality
Food and Dining
Cabin / Stateroom
Service and Staff
Entertainment
Onboard Activities
Destinations and Excursions


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