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  #1 (permalink)  
Old May 8th, 2004, 02:47 PM
tom and darlene
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Default Sapphire or Diamond?

Hello we are thinking about alska in August (28 or 29) on either the Sapphire or Diamond any advice on:

Which ship?

Difference between a Ocean Stateroom balcony and Mini-Suite Balcony which is better just for two people (husband wife)?

This is our first cruise to Alaska and First on Princess any other advice?

Thanks!!
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  #2 (permalink)  
Old May 10th, 2004, 01:41 AM
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Default Re: Sapphire or Diamond?

I don't know anything about the two ships, but a balcony in Alaska is very worthwhile. I doubt for two people the mini-suite would have much added value, unless you have money to burn.

There are great articles on Alaska cruising on the main page. I think the most common misconception is that it's freezing cold. I was only ever cold the last two trips when the ship was at sea. Other than that, it was light sweater weather. So don't pack for the arctic. It's rain forest most of the trip. Rain-proof gear is nice just in case, but arctic wear isn't necessary.

Denise
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Old May 10th, 2004, 12:24 PM
felton
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Default Re: Sapphire or Diamond?

Having cruised a couple of times, I've not noticed a great deal of difference in locations on a vessle [ I did spend 20 years in the Navy so it's not a big deal ]

Lots of activities and catching the coastline is fine whereever you are. My wife and I didnt spend a great deal of time looking out the window from our room since we lounged on deck and had great fun watching the folks who had never been to Alaska.

Rain gear of some sort I'd recommend... not cold weather needed though
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Old May 10th, 2004, 05:02 PM
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Default Re: Sapphire or Diamond?

I saw the Sapphire Princess sail into Juneau this morning and she is a beaut! Since they don't leave until until 10pm, me and wifey will have to go give her a closer look after work. We sailed to Alaska on the Ocean Princess a few years ago (2000). Was a wonderful experience. We kind of fell in love with it up here and moved up here nine months later! Have not regretted that decision. Was glad to get out of California.
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Old May 28th, 2004, 06:01 PM
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Default Re: Re: Sapphire or Diamond?

I am looking at Sapphire for August too. Would be very interested in hearing about the ship and how the food is. Only thing I have heard so far is about sister ship Diamond. what I heard wasn't good. Hoping that is a minority opinion.

If you hear something I would be please to hear it.
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Old May 30th, 2004, 01:09 AM
Robert Tuttle
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Default Re: Sapphire or Diamond?

Stay away from Diamond Princess. I just got off the cruise from hell. After it crash into the harbor in VIctoria. we missed two port. and if the winds are up you will miss Victoria. GO Holland America or On of the other. Princess new ships stink. the lay out is bad. But hte rooms are nice.
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Old June 6th, 2004, 11:02 PM
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Default Re: Sapphire or Diamond?

I was on Diamond departing Seattle on 8 May (first 7 day Alaska cruise of the season).

Our cruise on Diamond was not without problems. We were lucky that we were not on the following week's cruise as it was the one that had the problems in Victoria and the cancelled ports on the week after that. The ship itself is beautiful (Sapphire is identical to Diamond), and well laid out. The four themed restaurants were all good, with the steakhouse being my favourite - make sure that you book in advance for this one.

The problems we found with this ship was that everything ran late. We left ports late, shore excursions ran late, we queued onboard for an hour to disembark in Juneau, and there was a general level of disorganisation. I can understand that as the first cruise of the season these things happen and it was a new ship. The problem was that these things continually happened.

In Juneau we had booked two shore excursions (Wildlife Quest and Mendenhall Glacier followed by Glacier flightseeing - which was to be the highlight of the trip). Our first shore excursion ran 90 mins late and fortunately we had left 90 mins between the two excursions. We arrived back at the ship to be advised that our flightseeing had been cancelled due to fuel pump problems in Juneau and the aircraft not having enough fuel. The handling of this situation by Princess was atrocious. I understand that this was beyond Princess' control but they would do nothing to recover the situation other than refund the cost of the tour - which they thought was doing us a favour!!!

As we had travelled from Australia to do this trip, and would not be back in Alaska again in the near future, we asked Princess to assist us by providing some form of recognition of our loyalty (we had done a 7 day Caribbean cruise on the Grand 2 weeks earlier and a Mexico cruise on Star 12 months ago) by contributing towards our already booked shore excursions in the next port. They would not do anything to assist. They kept telling me they would book us on another flightseeing trip in another port, but if they had looked into their system they would have seen that we already had Princess shore excursions booked in every port we were visiting!

I was told I had to write to their customer service division when I get back to follow up for any "compensation". This situation was escalated to the Staff Purser whilst on board who said he would arrange for a bottle of wine and the contact details of their Customer Relations area to be delivered to our cabin - neither ever arrived. It was really disappointing as they had a chance to recover their service failure but they just didn't care. I thought by choosing to cruise with Princess each time we might get some recognition but that is not how it works. I will choose another cruise company next time.

Despite this experience, my advice to you would be to choose Diamond over Sapphire as by the time you cruise many of the timing issues and staff settling in will have been sorted out on Diamond. As the Sapphire is 2-3 months younger they may still be getting their act together. The ships are identical but Diamond may be more organised by that time.

Apart from the bad experience with the tour staff, the ship was great, the destination spectacular, and the frontline staff in the bars, restaurants and room stewards exceptional, and the only thing keeping the Princess brand alive.
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Old June 7th, 2004, 03:24 PM
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Default Re: Sapphire or Diamond?

We arrived back at the ship to be advised that our flightseeing had been cancelled due to fuel pump problems in Juneau and the aircraft not having enough fuel. The handling of this situation by Princess was atrocious. I understand that this was beyond Princess' control but they would do nothing to recover the situation other than refund the cost of the tour - which they thought was doing us a favour!!!

As we had travelled from Australia to do this trip, and would not be back in Alaska again in the near future, we asked Princess to assist us by providing some form of recognition of our loyalty (we had done a 7 day Caribbean cruise on the Grand 2 weeks earlier and a Mexico cruise on Star 12 months ago) by contributing towards our already booked shore excursions in the next port. They would not do anything to assist. They kept telling me they would book us on another flightseeing trip in another port, but if they had looked into their system they would have seen that we already had Princess shore excursions booked in every port we were visitin


With all due respect- Alaska flights cancel all the time and are clearly beyond Princess's control, they are a booking agent only. Would you hold your travel agent responsible for getting you anything other than a refund for a canceled tour??? Would you expect more compensation, to be given by your AGENT?? I wouldn't. Frankly- loyality means nothing for a 3 time Princess cruiser- if I am reading this right? I have been on 31 cruises- plenty on Princess. There is an explosion of new customers cruising and prices remain very low. Something has to give and it has in some aspects in food quality and customer service.
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Old June 7th, 2004, 04:01 PM
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Default Re: Sapphire or Diamond?

You folks need to jump over to the Princess Cruise line board and check out the comments regarding damage and mechanical problems to Diamond Princess .
I think that will make your decision.

Re the cancelled tour 1) these tours are run by independent operators and Princess is under no obligation to do more than they did, return your money. What sort of additional compensation did you expect and why? 2) Alaska flightseeing is probably the most cancelled tour there is. Would you rather have flown with a mechanical problem? 3) this is disappointing but your demands for compensation are beyond reasonable.4) by asking for additional compensation, which would never be forthcoming, you escalated a simple disappointment into a service failure that you seem to feel ruined your vacation. My reaction would have been, "too bad, I hope things go better in the next port", as it has been on several occasions when a tour ended up being cancelled. You get your money back, make the best of it and move on.
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Old June 7th, 2004, 04:08 PM
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Default Re: Sapphire or Diamond?

I'm going on the Aug. 14 sailing of the Diamond Princess. If you come on the same week, and spend any time around me, anything else that can go wrong will seem like a minor problem, compared to being around me <G>

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