Well we just returned from a week on the beautiful Sapphire Princess in Alaska. We had a very good (mostly relaxing) time. The weather was pretty much wet and cold most of the time, but that is to be expected!
We are up to our ears in our move to Mexico so a mini review is all I have time for:
We have been on the Sapphire Princess four times. This was the least positive of our four experiences. I'm sorry to say she seems to be slipping a bit. Beds need to be replaced and the food quality has been downgraded markedly with only a few mercurial successes other than Sabatini's.
Chuck, am so sorry as well that your experience on the Sapphire Princess was not up to par, but I fear things are slipping elsewhere as well.
We were invited to go on our fourth cruise on the Explorer of the Seas again this June (the previous being in '06, '08 and '09 all the same itinerary (Eastern Caribbean)) but declined. One couple, however, went as usual. They, as did the rest of us, found the food just fine on all three previous cruises. We were, however, disappointed when in '08 they really cut back on the menu offerings albeit those we had were most acceptable. This time however, the same couple said the food was just awful. It was so bad that they couldn't even eat the marinara sauce that several of Italian descent enjoyed on previous cruises. Additionally, they said the shows in the huge theater were much shorter (by about fifteen minutes they claimed) and not nearly as entertaining.
I personally think it's stupid to cut back on quality because when a line does that, it loses customers for good. Cutting down on the number of cruises (one on this itinerary another on that) a line sails plus a significant increase in quality would definitely cause more of a hit in the pocket book initially, the lines customer base would not only not be be alienated but probably an increase in loyalty to that line might well increase; all this without raising prices no less. In fact, that would be a great advertising theme; "While we may be cutting back a tad on the number of our cruises, our quality has increased by leaps and bounds!", and then provide concrete examples.
Just my opinion mind you, but I think it would work.