Hope some of you recent Sapphire Cruisers can help. I understand our cruise is sold out. Have any of you traveled with a full load of passengers & if so, were the facilities overcrowded? Also, I have now heard that in Personal Choice dining, you can only make reservations one nite at a time instead of for the whole week. Is that true? How has the food & service been. Have heard the Horizon Court buffet service is very disinterested & the food bad. Also that the service in the PC restaurants can be very iffy??? What's the story?
I'd be interested in knowing if you can make your Anytime Dine reservations all at once like it use to be -- or if indeed you can only make one night at a time. Where did you hear that, Lisa? We've always been pleased with Princess food, service, etc. And have sailed on 'full ships' in the past with no complaints.
My cruise on the Sapphire was last October so it isn't all that recent, but I'll answer some of your questions the best I can:
1) Our sailing was completely sold out, but yet we never felt overcrowded. The ship is laid out very nicely and I think that gives it a less crowded feel.
2) I don't know what the current rules are for making reservations for Personal Choice, however at the time that I sailed the same rumors were floating around about only being able to make reservations for one night at a time. We had no problem making reservations for 2 tables for the Sterling Steakhouse (this was back when the PC restaurants still had different menus and the Sterling was the most popular) for the entire 10 nights on the day of boarding.
3) We did not care for the food in the PC dining room (the Sterling Steakhouse was the only dining room we tried). We thought the steaks were of very low quality and not prepared well. Also, the service was very rushed. But this was last October and things could have changed considerably since then.
4) We absolutely loved the buffet and ended up eating there 8 of the 10 nights. We are a bit unusual in that we usually prefer the buffet to the formal dining room just because we hate the long drug out dinners (which makes it a little ironic that we thought the service in PC was too rushed) and all the formality. This was the first time we tried PC and we had hoped that we would like it better than traditional, but we didn't and we ended up at the buffet again. However, this was the first cruise where we all actually LOVED the buffet food and didn't just tolerate it. There was a very large selection that changed several times throughout the day. I especially liked that if you went back for a late night snack, there would be different selections than what was available at dinner (but yet it would still be a full buffet and not just desserts). There are 9 of us, including 4 picky-eater children, so having a wide variety made it alot easier to keep everybody happy at mealtime.
The Sapphire is a great ship and has become my family's favorite (by far) after 12 cruises. You'll have a great time!
Idaho Spuds, I talked to a couple who had just returned from a cruise on the Diamond (sister ship to Sapphire). They said they had to make reservations each morning & they would not let them make them in advance for the whole trip. Also, if you read the message boards, this one & Cruisecritics.com, you will see that much has changed in the PC concept from what is indicated in Princess Brochures etc. They all have the same menu. They don't take reservations for the periond apx. 5:45 to 8 p.m., so essentially you have the same dining times as Traditional Seating. I am really upset about this because 5:45 is way too early for our group of 10, and 8 p.m. is way too late. We had intended making reservations in advance upon boarding since I know a group of 10 may not be easy to accommodate. Experienced cruisers tell me this is "Marketing," & I should not be surprised, but this is not what we bought when we booked this cruise.
We were just on the Sapphire Princess and the ship was almost sold out in Alaska.
The only time that we noticed the crowds were down on deck 7 by the photo gallery (like it is on every ship) and up in the Horizon Court on a day when you docked early and the flow was not correct up there but they were trying to prevent disease and the santizers were at the beggining of the line and you could not enter where the line should end at.
The shows- the same way as normal- get there early and save a seat not more than one.
The rest of the ship- we really enjoyed the ship, one of the better ones designed. We liked how the elevators were totally seperate from the rooms.
We're fresh off the Sapphire and found the Dine Anytime worked very well. We immediately called to make reservations and were able to make the first four evenings right away. We chose a different restaurant each night and 8:30. No problem and it was explained that they just take 4 nights reservations so everyone can enjoy each, if they so desire, and then decide what they want to return to. On the 4th evening (after 6pm) you are able to telephone in your requests for the remaining 3 nights. Worked very well. On the last evening, we were early for our 8:30 reservation and our table wasn't quite ready, so we walked over to the next restaurant and asked if there was a table for 2 available. "Absolutely" we were told. And just so advised the Savoy that we were 'dining next door'. We found they were most accommodating and friendly and cheerful the entire cruise. As advised previously, there is just one menu (per eveing) that is offered throughout the ship, including the traditional dining room. So everyone is choosing from the same menu no matter where you dine. That menu changes each evening. In addition, the four theme dining rooms have one 'special' that is different in each of the four (Fajitias in Santa Fe, for example). That 'special' remains the same throughout the cruise.
On the last evening, we were early for our 8:30 reservation and our table wasn't quite ready, so we walked over to the next restaurant and asked if there was a table for 2 available.
Was it hard to get a table for 2? Do they push hard to put you at larger tables with other folks? We'll be on Sapphire on April 1 and have chosen Personal Choice dining for the flexibility. We did this in Alaska and loved it.
On the sisiter Diamond, we never had problems getting a table for 2. I seem to recall once that I had to point out a table for 4 when they were telling us to wait. The bulk of the 2's are a long banquet with the tables separated out along it
__________________ Harry Martin
Moderator - Mexico and G/L message boards
It was NEVER a problem to get a table for 2. It's a popular choice, but there are lots of them. Most seem to be along the outside rim, but in the Santa Fe we were seated at an 'inside' table for two, right about in the middle of the room. All were nice. On the 'outside rim' the person seated facing inward has a nice padded seat (and a padded armrest if you're on the end). I would recommend calling in your reservation upon boarding, requesting that table for two if this is your desire. You can always change. Also, we had 8:30pm and found if we were a bit early we were still seated immediately. It was their desire to accommodate you.
My wife and I were on the Sapphire to Mexico just two weeks ago.. (Oct. 1 to Oct 8, 2005).. Ever thing was just fine.. It is a very nice ship.. I would go again next week if could.. The above posts are all correct.. My advice is don't worry with your questions, just get on the ship and enjoy the trip and yourself.. OM