Sapphire Princess , Day 1, Oct. 10-11/08
Our trip to L.A. took place a day before the cruise, and we found the 5 1/2 hour flight from Montreal, plus the 3 hour time difference, very taxing.
We decided then and there we would probably not sail out of L.A. again in the future!
Princess meet & greet service at the airport proved prompt and efficient. We were met and well taken care of by a Princess representative who stayed with us until we were safely on the shuttle bus to the hotel, the Marriott by the airport.
My sister was met by our cousin Penny who drove her to their hotel, the Holiday Inn by the pier.
Although our hotel was very nice and we had a very comfortable stay, from all reports Penny and Heather really enjoyed their hotel, and had the added bonus of being close to the port and seeing all the ships, including the Queen Mary hotel, which James would have loved!
The shuttle arrangement the next day to the pier was a bit slow. Told to meet in the lobby by 12:00 pm, we did not leave until after 1:00 pm, and didn't arrive at the pier until almost 2:00, the latest we have ever arrived.
Embarkation was quite quick, one advantage was being in the non-U.S. citizen line-up which was much shorter!
1st look from the bus.
My first disappointment was the point of entry to the ship. Usually passengers are ushered into the atrium area where you are greeted with a spectacular view of the centre of the ship. This time, we entered at a non-descript point, into a boring hallway with even more boring artwork, and were immediately ushered into a waiting elevator. No first-look impact this time.
Any lack of the “wow factor” here however, was soon forgotten when we arrived at the very far end of Caribe Deck 10, at our Premium Suite aptly named “Mazatlan”. Cabin C-757 was simply stunning!
Our private entryway opened into a huge room, with a writing desk and sitting area on the left, and a full bar/sink/counter area on the right, followed by a television DVD/CD player above a fully stocked bar and bar fridge.
Waiting for us on the coffee table and bar, were chocolate dipped strawberries, crackers and cheese, a bowl of fresh fruits, shrimp cocktail, and a beautiful flower arrangement.
Seperate from this room, with a closeable curtain, was a huge bedroom with Queen size bed, 2 nightables, and a full dressing table/makeup area and lots of drawer storage.
Off of this room was a small walk-in closet, with more storage, and such wonderful amenities as fluffy cotton robes, slippers, a beach bag, beach towels, extra blankets (the plaid, wooly kind) for sitting outside on cool nights, and of course, the requisite life-vests!
Going in a complete circle, from entrance, through sitting area, bedroom, and back to entrance, you pass through the largest bathroom I have ever seen on a cruise ship!
First there was a huge Jacuzzi tub, next to that, a glassed in marble shower big enough for 3 people, then seperately, the toilet and large sink, counter and storage area.
Back into the main room again, there was a huge patio door onto the bigger balcony, complete with a large teak table and 4 chairs with thick cushions, plus 2 teak lounge chairs also with cushions, and 2 side tables.
All this, and there was still extra space on the balcony, from which you could enter the bedroom area from yet another large patio door!
After our little tour of our cabin, we were famished, so headed up to Lido Deck 14 for the Horizon Court Buffet.
Lunch was excellent, and a good indication of the wonderful meals we were to enjoy the whole week.
After lunch, we decided to try and find Heather and Penny in their cabin, also on Lido deck, forward. They had a very nice little balcony cabin with 2 single beds, and were enjoying the view.
Soon, we all had to head off to our respective muster stations for the lifeboat drill. Ours was held in Club Fusion, Deck 7 aft, which I thought was a far more civilized way to hold the drill, rather than crammed together in line-ups against the outside wall, wilting in the heat!
We had arranged to meet Heather and Penny again afterward and show them our suite. We gave them the tour, then enjoyed some drinks and snacks and watched the beginning of Sail Away from our balcony, before heading back up to Lido Deck for the Sail Away party.
The house band, Josh and the Empty Pockets was good (at least at this event, not so good the rest of the week!), and we danced, got raffle tickets, and had a sail away drink. The cruise staff, mostly Brits and Ozzies, were young, energetic, and a lot of fun. We enjoyed them throughout the week.
The party was cut short after an hour, and Heather and Penny went off to explore the ship before their early dinnertime, while we returned to our cabin to unpack and relax a little before our late seating dinner.
Dinner was at 8:15 in the International Dining Room, Deck 6, aft.
We met up with CruiseMate Frank just outside the dining room, and were seated at table 10 with another couple, Shirley and Don from California, who were fun, interesting, and good conversationalists. We enjoyed dining with them all week.
Dinner was excellent; I had Pina Colada soup (served in a tall glass with a straw!), an excellent pasta with grilled chicken dish, and of course, the Love Boat Dream for dessert!
After dinner, Frank joined us in the Princess Theatre for the Welcome Aboard Show.
This was the shortest song and dance number I’ve ever seen on a ship, followed by our CD Josh Dayboll making introductions, jokes, and introducing comedian Steve Moris, who I thought was very funny.
As a new parent, he is learning childhood songs, and he did the funniest rendition of Little Rabbit Foo Foo I have ever heard. Most people probably didn’t get it, but I sing that annoying song every day in daycare, so I thought it was hilarious!
After the show, we explored the ship a little, found most of the lounges deserted, and stopped in the Explorer’s Lounge briefly to check out a band called D’Version, who I’d been told were French Canadian. They seemed pretty good that night, but unfortunately, there were only about 5 people in the lounge to enjoy them, and they said goodnight soon afterward.
We headed off to bed about midnight, and upon returning to our cabin were shocked to find that our room had not been made up for the night! The patio doors were open, curtains blowing in the wind, bed not turned down, no chocolates on the pillows, dirty dishes and glasses still where we had left them. Never in 13 cruises had we ever had this happen!
James immediately got on the phone to housekeeping and made a complaint, making it clear that he didn’t want to get our room steward out of bed at this hour, but that it had better not happen again!
Aside from this unfortunate incident, our first day on board the Sapphire Princess was just wonderful!