We have just returned from sailing on the Sapphire Princess from Osaka to Seattle.....4/22/04 to 5/11/05. We have been on about 18 cruises including 9 on Princess and we feel that this ship is just too big. On the day we arrived at the ship, the library was virtually empty. When 16 or more tour buses arrive at the ship at the same time, the lines to get back on the ship are extremely long.....especially bad if it's cold and windy outside. Personal choice dining is a myth. We like to dine at 7PM. 6PM is too early and 8PM is too late for us. For the first 4 days, it worked fine. We called and made a 7PM reservation in whatever dining room we wanted. Then on the 5th day, everything changed. You could only make a reservation at 6:15PM or 8PM.....right back to early or late dining. If you wanted to take a chance without a reservation, you could go to the dining room at any time.....(such as 7PM)....but you would always have to wait and come back about 30 minutes later. The ship is just a year old and perhaps they just haven't worked out all the kinks. Hopefully things will get better.
My best friend and I are cruising together on your cruise! The Sapphire on 5/29/05! I just cruised on the Diamond Princess (to Alaska, no less!) nine months ago and had such a spectacular time then that I am cruising again! (To Alaska!) On the Diamond I had no problems at all with dining arrangements! Most times I made reservations without a hitch.
Also, there was no problem getting back onto the ship after visiting the different ports.
I had NO problems. Ziltch! Had a wonderful time on the Diamond Princess and am looking forward to the same outstanding service on the Sapphire!
Kukana: we're sailing to Alaska on the Diamond in September. We booked the Misty Fjords Flight/Cruise excursion and whale watching through the ship. Any "must sees" we need to think about? I would appreciate your feedback. Thanks.