I took the Sapphire Princess to Alaska round trip from Seattle May 29 to June 5, 2005. Im 25 and just went on this cruise with my dad and brother.
Embarkation took awhile in Seattle. The lines were long but since we were platinum we went right in front of everyone and was on the ship within 10 minutes. Most passengers waited for at least an hour in line. The Sapphire is a large ship but when your on her, it feels very cozy. She is a very clean ship and the deck workers are always cleaning the windows and painting or staining. Their were so many spots to get away from people. The life boat deck 7 had tons of nice chairs to sit on and no one was every there. The Golden Princess had no deck chairs so it was nice to have chairs on the Sapphire. We had an inside cabin A245 and it was a nice size. The only bad thing about this ship it was to hot! Our cabin was as cold as it could go but was still hot and the entire ship was also hot. If I had a balcony cabin I would have slept with the sliding door open.
Food The food was very good everywhere. This was the best food I had on a cruise in a long time. The Horizon court Breakfast buffet was great and always had something different. The lunch buffet was also very good and had a ton of choices to choose from and was different everyday. At 3:30 pm they had ice cream in the Horizon court buffet area where the one side was closed. The bad thing was since the side where the ice cream was closed no one new that they were serving free ice cream in the closed area. Of course I found it! We had anytime dining so we could eat at any of the four theme dinning rooms. All served the same thing but each room was different. The Sterling room was my favorite because it was dark and had red wood everywhere. All the dining rooms were very good and always had great service. These dining rooms were nice because they were small so you did not have a ton of people stuffed in one area. It felt like you were in a real restaurant not a cafeteria. You could also go the Horizon court for dinner if you did not feel like dressing up. I have been on so many cruises and sick of dressing up so all of us just went to the buffet instead of the main dinning room. The food everywhere was awesome. From 11am to 6pm the prego pizzeria and the trident hamburger grill was open. Both were great. If you were in a hurry you could go get a pizza that they made in front of you. Room service cheese burger was the best I every had on a ship. We got that everyday for 11pm snack. I can't find one bad thing about the food or service. One thing that I noticed was that a lot of the passengers dressed up and stayed dressed up. Most of the time in Alaska people change out of their dress clothes or don't dress up at all. Maybe since it was a round trip from Seattle and we had a ton of first time cruisers maybe they thought they had to dress up more?
There is a lot of things that I like better on the Sapphire than the Golden Princess. On the Sapphire you can stand in the very front of the ship on top. On Golden Princess, it was only for crew. The Sapphire had deck chairs on lifeboat deck. The Golden had only a few benches. The skywalkers nightclub is much smaller on the Sapphire than the Golden. It is not sticking way up in the air like the Golden Princess. I think that the Sapphire is better laid out than the Golden Princess. Even though the Sapphire Princess caught on fire when it was just about finished and was actually called the diamond Princess it is a great ship and has the best staff I ever had.
The entertainment was pretty good. We had a few comedy shows. I didn't see all the shows because I go to Alaska to see the awesome scenery not be stuck in a inclosed room.
The Internet room was very nice and had a few big windows that you could look out as you wrote an email to someone. Also had long couches instead of chairs. You can also go golfing if you wanted. It might seem easy but try putting when the ship is moving and the wind is blowing the ball around.
Staff- The staff was mostly Asian and European. We saw a waiter Valenteen from the Sun Princess from 2 years ago and he remembered us. He actually came up to us, we did not see him first.
Ports All the Ports are great. I have been to most of these ports 8 times but never get tired of them. I always like to go hiking so I just go hiking everywhere and saves me money. Tracy Arm, is always my favorite place in Alaska. I was first there two years ago on Cruise West where we got on small rafts and went onto a beech in Tracy Arm. With the Sapphire it was still nice, just we did not make it to the Glacier. They said there was to much ice. I have been in a lot more ice than that on big ships and you can always get though. It just takes a little more time to work around the ice. What they didn't tell us was the Diamond Princess was waiting for us to get out of Tracy Arm that is they real reason why they skip the Glacier. I just felt bad for people that never saw a Glacier before.
I noticed that since being on a round trip from Seattle their was a lot more kids and teens. You don't really see that on the one ways. The kids were very well mannered. Only a few were running up and down the halls.
We did not see to many whales this year. I think maybe the ship is to big and may have scared the animals away. I only saw two whales this time. I usually see around 12. Heck, I even saw more whales from the Ryndam three weeks early on the transition to Vancouver. Maybe the whales did not make it yet. The weather was awesome this time. Out of the 8 times I have been to Alaska this is the first time that every day was clear blue skies and no rain.
Disembarkation Getting off in Seattle was the worst I ever had. They had all of us getting off at the same time and joined the Amsterdam which we had to get into one line for customs. It was a mess. Out of all the 24 sailing's I have been on, I think this was the worst set up.
This was the 2nd best cruise I have been on out of 24. The food was great, service was awesome and the weather was the best I ever had. If I could go again this summer I would. I came off the Sun Princess in January and It was the worst cruise I every been on. I was on the Sun Princess before the bad one and it was the best. So, every cruise might be different. Im sure If I went on the Sun Princess next year it would be great again. I really enjoined my self and would defiantly go on the Sapphire again anywhere.