First, let me give a brief description of who was going on this trip. Me and my wife both in our early 30's with our 2 yr old boy (he turned 2 on the ship :) ) and my mom and aunt both in their mid 50's. We had been looking to go on a Alaskan cruise for so long and after lots of research and planning we chose to go on the Sapphire Princess. We chose this because we wanted a little bit of luxury but still have a really great play area for our son. We also liked the fact it went out on sunday in Seattle as we flew in Friday night and spent all day Saturday, this is highly recommended. We were about 1/2 - 2/3 right on our decision.
Ship: The ship was about what we expected. It was really pretty with room to move and never felt really crowded. The ship took about a half a day to figure out which I know isn't too bad considering some of the new ships with a maze for a layout. The atrium was beautiful, but did not feel as nice as it could of. They could of made the atrium look a little taller and it would of felt even better.
Rooms: First this first... GET A BALCONY IT"S WORTH THE MONEY!!!!! We took 1 inside cabin for my wife, my son, and myself and my mom and aunt had a balcony right across the way. This turned out to be the best thing as we all got privacy and were able to use the balcony. To our surprise the inside cabin was quite large and spacious. We had more than enough room to have all 5 of our bags and a crib for my son. Never felt cramped at all. The rooms were very basic but nice. I have heard this ship is due for a refit soon and could use a little fixing up as there was couple of nics and scraps. Overall, nice. The biggest issue I had with the rooms (and the ship) was the toilets. They were the most uncomfortable seats I have ever used, and tis seemed to be a general consensus. Princess, please fix this.
Kid Area Ok this is where I need to unload for a second. We chose this ship because, out of the nicer lines, had the best play area for children. We knew we could not leave our son as he was under 3 but we were never prepared for the atrocity that we experienced. The 1st day at sea my wife and I took our son to play, and he started to love it. At that point we were approached by a CL worker who said "we understand you don't know but only one parent can be with the child at the time... but since you were uninfomed we will make an exception". Odd if I am on a family cruise cant my family be together? We said thank you and kept on playing. We took to the outside area where we noticed an unaccompanied 4 yr old walk over to the splash pool (by the way it was about 55 degrees out) strip to his skeevys and jump in. Being afraid for the child's safety my wife informed on of the 4 workers of the unmonitored minor in the pool. The staff member asked "where's his mom?" of course we don't know so she runs out yells at me with a "are you his parent". After I said no she yanks the kid out and yells at him. Another 5 mins later they asked one of us to leave as "there is only one parent aloud per child. Needless to say we did not return.
Food One word AMAZING. Everything was perfect. Especially in the Sterling steakhouse and of course Sabatini's. These are worth the extra as we would of paid to eat at those every night.
Service Princess has a great reputation for service, which they did not disappoint. Our big issue was that every employee and I mean every employee, sells. Right as you get on the ship, walking around and even at the dinner table. I got really annoying. I understand the 1st day trying to sell the soda cards and coffee as they are worth it, but ease up the rest of the trip. Honestly I also do not want my fantastic dessert disrupted by my waiter hocking a $25 cookbook every night. Take away the selling and you have impeccable service.
Ports We went to Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway and Victoria B.C. with a cruise in Tracy arm. All ports with the exception of Juneau were awesome. Juneau's issue was, though other ports had it as well, too much commercialism. It really spoiled the beauty. Make sure in Ketchikan you see rainbow falls and do the white pass train ride in Skagway, expensive but OH MY GOSH, Highlight of the trip. I was also impressed by Tracy Arm. I never heard much about it and when I woke up that morning I didn't need my coffee the beauty was my caffeine.
Overall this was an excellent cruise. Yes there are many opportunities that needed to be taken care of, especially with the kids area. But with the food, the pretty ship and the itinerary it all became perfect.