Got to the parking lot at 12:40pm. Pay upon exiting. ($84.00 for
a 7 day cruise). We were in line inside the building at 1pm after
giving a porter our luggage (group of 4). First filled out a public
health questionnaire and then proceeded up the escalator and got to
the check in desk at 1:05pm, very quick procedure. At 1:15pm we
were in the line for security, no need to remove shoes. Hand
luggage went through x-ray scanner. Stopped for the ship's
photographer for an embarkation photo. At 1:20pm inserted cruise
card for security photo. We were in our cabin (great midship
location -- B437) by 1:25pm. The elevator was very fast.
Saturday about 2:30pm we met up with our fellow Cruise Critic
roll call members in Skywalkers Lounge.
At 3:30pm we were in the Explorer's Lounge for Muster station D
General Emergency station drill.
SHIP The ship is beautiful and shipshape.
This was I believe the first Princess ship bound for the Mexican
Rivera of the season that did not end up at any Mexico ports due to
flu. We got close to Mexico on April 27th before turning around and
OUR CREW Everyone was terrific. Captain Tony Herriott from
England, Passenger Services Director (PSD) Shelia Griffin, Cruise
Director (CD) Josh Dayboll, and the cruise staff Alex & Trevor.
Our favorite bartender was Clint in Club Fusion.
CABIN We had a balcony cabin BC category. We were in a great
midship location real close to the Panoramic elevators, but not
that close that it was a noise problem.
Our cabin steward was Florin from Romania who was excellent in
keeping 1 of 19 rooms stocked and cleaned. Luggage arrived very
fast just after Muster Drill.
ACTIVITIES We went to the Champagne Art auction and listened to
Rachel describe how Princess can offer art so reasonably. When the
Patter says all in attendance receives a free work of art, well, it
has to be shipped to you for around $20.00. You can't take it with
you, and so it is really not free.
We went to listen to Jing the acupuncturists talk one day. It
was very informative. We caught the end of the Captain's talk on
Navigation at Sea one day in the theater.
We played Bingo, wooden horseracing, and trivia a few times, and
we learned something new each time. We went to tequila tasting in
the atrium, then to Explorer's lounge for guacamole and chips.
We really enjoyed the many activities. There is so much or so
little to do on a cruise -- so it is up to YOU.
We attended the champagne waterfall and had our photo taken.
We went on a Scholarship at Sea program Princess Theater
Backstage Tour which was truly phenomenal. Loved this up close and
personal tour, we learned a lot of what has to go on to keep us
passengers entertained. They all do a terrific job.
ENTERTAINMENT We went to see 3 great production shows -- Piano
Man, Do you Wanna Dance, and I Got the Music, which were great and
featured the La Passione String quartet.
The crew talent show is not to be missed. We saw the passenger
feud game show, saw one show of Pop Star where passengers perform,
enjoyed the music of Passion, and Los Brilliantes Mariachi's.
We loved comedian Kevin Jordan (flashlight man), he performed in
the Princess Theater and another evening for those 18 years+ at an
R-rated show in Club Fusion. Saw him both nights.
Dan Bennett, a comedy juggler/musician -- we did not care for
Steve Morris, a musician/comedian was ok the first night and the
second night a little better. I understand the comedy, but wish he
would just finish a song. Loved the music, the comedy was just
Wavelength (Scott-Band leader/bass, Rich-guitar lead vocal,
Phil-drummer, Chris-guitar) the wonderful band from Vancouver
Island, Canada -- they played 4 types of shows for our seven day
cruise; small venue rock at the sailaway party and in The
Explorer's Lounge, an unplugged acoustical concert in Explorer's
Lounge as well as a concert with the Princess orchestra,
keyboardist Trooper, and La Passione strings in The Princess
Theater. We attended the So You Wanna be a Rockstar with passengers
singing the lyrics and Wavelength playing in The Explorer's Lounge.
This was our very favorite music for the week and the highlight of
our "girls" cruise. They are billed as a 4 piece classic rock band.
They played every night except one when they had the day off. I
guess a day off is in order. They have a MySpace page (Wavelength
Roxx) and currently no web site.
The music in the Princess Theater was under Doug Tann, the
singers were Becky Allen, Collin Mackenzie, Eric Ruiz, and Benjamin
Perez. They were all very good, but we especially liked Becky and
Roger Carr played on the baby grand in Crooner's, and he seemed
to have a following every time we passed by.
There are movies in either the Princess Theater, Explorer's
Lounge or on your stateroom TV. Some of the movies on this cruise
were Slum Dog Millionaire, Last Chance Harvey, and The Curious case
of Benjamin Button, Defiance, and Body of Lies, Confessions of a
Shopaholic, Tale of Despereaux, Australia, Quantum of Solace,
Valkyrie, Revolutionary Road, Frost Nixon, Mall Cop, Not Easily
Broken, The Reader, & The Dark Knight.
DINING Marcello Berardi is the Executive Chef and Jacques
Ghennai is the Maitre D Hotel.
Hours in the International dining room for breakfast were
7am-9am and noon to 1:30pm for lunch.
You may make reservations for anytime dining if that is the
dining you have by dialing 3463 on your stateroom phone or push the
dining button on the phone.
Early traditional was at 6:00pm in International & Vivaldi
and late at 8:15pm in International only.
Sterling Steakhouse is $15.00 per person (we did not go here).
Sabatini's is $20.00 per person. (we did not do this; heard it was
very good, but make sure you go when you are really hungry).
Sabatini's offers a full array of appetizers, pastas, Italian
We attended afternoon tea one afternoon. You can go anytime
between 3:30pm and 4:30pm. It was held in the Pacific Moon dining
Our dining room waiter was Emmanuel from the Philippines and Jr.
Waiter was Adelin from Bulgaria. Our head waiter was Michael from
Jamaica who was so accommodating. We were at table #47.
On the last morning of the cruise the International dining room
hours were 6:30am to 8:30am. Horizon Court Buffet opens 5:30am to
9:00am. Lobby bar, Crooner's, and Calypso open for cash sales.
Chef's Table is a brilliant insight into the workings of the
kitchen. French champagne and hors d' oeuvres served in the galley
during rush hour followed by a multi course tasting menu at the VIP
chef's table. Includes wine pairing at $75.00 per person. Space is
limited, call the dining hotline (we did not do this).
Our formal nights were changed to reflect our changed itinerary
-- to Sunday, April 26th and Wednesday, April 29th.
Sorry, hope you are still with me. I try to be as accurate as
possible and informative as well.
Room Service: Sandwiches-club, roast beef, turkey, tuna salad,
& veggie. Garden salad, Caesar with chicken, & chef salad.
Balcony dining is 7am-11am for breakfast or 5:30pm-10pm for dinner.
The champagne breakfast is $32. per couple and includes the
following: Heidsieck monopole champagne (1/2 bottle), oven fresh
breakfast patries, cold smoked salmon, medley of fresh fruit and
forest berries, and bacon & onion quiche Lorraine, &
coffee, tea, or milk. The dinner is a 4 course meal for $100. per
Spring water 1.5 liters in the stateroom is $3.50, 12 oz. cans
of coke, diet coke, or diet sprite are $1.95. All are 15% gratuity
Complimentary stateroom breakfast is done by a door hanger found
on your bed in the evening. Choices are juices, fresh fruit,
yogurt, cold cereals, breads & pastries, preserves, beverages.
Service times are from 7:30am to 10:30am.
Complimentary fresh fruit can be delivered to your stateroom via
a door hanger. Choices are apples, bananas, kiwi, oranges, &
pears. (we never had room service).
Crooner's Bar: I think the bartender said there were 32
martinis; I tried to taste them all. Most of the Martinis were
about $7.48 with the gratuity.
Fountain soda program with souvenir tumbler is $4.25 per day
plus 15% gratuity. Unlimited fountain soda for the duration of the
cruise, you get a sticker on your cruise card. (my cabin partner
did this, and found it great).
MISCELLANEOUS Computer internet rates were .75 cents/min. &
$3.95 for 1st time connection fee. There are packages also that
drop the price per minute.
The Captain's Circle party was on formal night on April 29th.
The passenger(s) with the most days on our cruise had 704 days with
78 cruises. Wow! Debi was our circle hostess.
The Ultimate Ship Tour offers a limited number of passengers the
chance to participate in a behind the scenes tour of the ship for
$150.00 per person. (some of our fellow roll call members did this
and loved it).
Future Cruise Sales consultant was Ann; you put a $100.00
deposit down per person for a future cruise and receive shipboard
credit for your next cruise. No need to book a particular cruise
date, though you may if you wish.
We attended the onboard outlet sale held in the Santa Fe dining
room, which was packed almost the entire 3 hrs.
The washers and dryers were $1.00 each; I did a load of wash and
hung the rest to dry.
Had a great cruise on The Sapphire despite not going to Mexico.
The crew went above and beyond. There were several Princess
employees onboard cruising for their vacation and we enjoyed
getting to meet them.
DISEMBARKATION -- May 2, 2009 We went to the International
Dining room at 8:10am, done at 8:50am. We had all our hand luggage
with us so our room steward could clean. Orange 3 was supposed to
meet in the Casino at 8:40am, we were still eating breakfast. Went
straight to gangway at 8:55am as orange 3 had already been called.
The luggage was all lined up according to which color tag you had.
It was all very organized. We were handed a traveler's alert health
notice issued by CDC and we handed in a customs declaration form.
There was no passport control as we never were in a Mexican port.
We were in the car at 9:10am, saw Prime Time shuttle, plenty of
taxi's, and the Super Shuttle.
Thank you to the whole crew of The Sapphire Princess.