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Old March 13th, 2011, 01:36 PM
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Sapphire Princess - The Wrap Up
I have to say it was very nice this morning to get into a shower that was bigger than I was, and use a bath towel that was larger than my hand towels.

On the other hand, no one (other than a restaurant) to make me supper last night; no chocolate on my pillow; no one making my bed and cleaning up while I was enjoying my morning coffee. My choices for breakfast were make my own, or do without. I think you get the idea…

This article will be a bit of free flowing piece with no real order, just to toss out some of the things I may have missed discussing along the way.
Since a significant fire on a Princess ship a few years back, there is a sprinkler system along all the balconies on the passenger decks. If you have a look around you’ll also see many cameras hanging overhead connected to the ship’s surveillance system.

The cabins on the Sapphire now all have flat screen televisions. Our standard balcony cabin was nicely decorated, and very well kept. The pillows have more in common with those found on airlines though.
Beds have a very comfortable duvet covering them, but really should have an under sheet, between the duvet and the sheet covering the bed. I’m sure the duvets are likely laundered or changed between cruises, but still an under-sheet is required.

Food in the dining room was quite good, with a good variety. Mrs. Kuki is a fish eater, and she found some of the fish on the dry side. So, on this ship, the beef eaters may be better off than the fish eaters, which is a bit unusual on a ship.

There’s also a Beef Tenderloin Medallions dish that is on the “always available” menu, on the left side of the menu, that is really tasty.
Breakfast buffet is not the best choice on this ship. I’d recommend using either of the freshly made egg and omelet stations , or the waffle station (out by the pool) where ice cream is served later in the day.

There’s a pizzeria pool side, open most of the afternoon and evening, which serves wonderful thin crust pizza. Some nights I’d slip up there last thing to grab a slice and take it back to my cabin.

The pool-side grill, serving hot dogs, brats, and hamburgers is also very good. And I loved the French Fries they serve. I’d often go by just for a plate of fries.

This ship has two alternate restaurants, which come with an extra cost; Sabitini’s and Sterling Steakhouse. This is the first time I’ve sailed a ship which offers alternate dining restaurants, where we didn’t try either one. First off we were satisfied with the food in the dining room, and none of our tablemates suggested trying one of the alternates, so I didn’t want to be the one to suggest we all spend extra to try one.

The overall entertainment on this ship is quite good, with particular note to the “headliners”. However the ship’s showrooms are too small for the crowds, and you do have to queue up at least a half hour prior to show times to get a seat.

Service throughout the ship, with the exception of the dining rooms, is very good. We did not find dining room service to be bad, just inconsistent, and at times awkward.

Consistency is what was lacking. And it’s that inconsistency which leads me to say I wouldn’t consider our experience on the Sapphire a Premium Brand experience.

I think the inconsistency is more expected, and acceptable on a “mass market” ship. A Premium Brand label demands that little bit extra.

This cruise ended up being more of a relax and enjoy cruise, rather than a participatory one. That is the great thing about cruising, you can do as little or as much as you care to. If you want to keep busy there are all sorts of activities and events scheduled that you can watch or participate in. The choice is yours. And that I chose to do a lot of relaxing and socializing with our CruiseMates friends certainly made the cruise no less enjoyable for me.

There were some things I didn’t care for, or that I felt could be done better, they didn’t even come close to ruining our cruise.

While I’m not in love with the Grand Class ships, we did enjoy a wonderful cruise, and I have little doubt that if you’re booked on the Sapphire any time soon, you will as well.

She is due for a dry dock in 2012, but no worries, she is still presently in excellent shape.
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