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  #61 (permalink)  
Old March 4th, 2011, 03:19 AM
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Originally Posted by woodk View Post
Kuki I have a question as we are sailing on this ship on March 26th. How is the buffet at midnight. We love to go up and get some nice fruit before bed and a good cup of coffee. Do they have anything else on the buffet at midnight. I understand they are all cutting back on what they serve at midnight.
Thanks. My wife and I are following your comments every day and making notes.
Princess does indeed offer the 24 hour Horizon Court, and with early seating I thought we would try it more. However, I haven't as of yet. I did order room service a couple of times late at night, after writing my report for the day, and it was surprisingly fast arriving.

I will make a point of checking out the late night Horizon Court menu in the next couple of days.
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Old March 4th, 2011, 10:16 AM
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Thanks for the laugh. I really needed it, but I am sorry you did not get to see the whales. I am glad the ill person is now better and got free laundry service, but I'd rather take a few hours to do my own than be stuck int he cabin for 24. All's well that ends well though. Hope the person taken off the ship makes a quick recovery. Hope the dining room service continues to go smoothly now that things are where they should be.
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Old March 4th, 2011, 11:16 AM
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What you said about loyal Princess cruisers is just what I found as well. Years ago I was on a Princess cruise and I thought the food was bland - and I mentioned it to some people we were chatting with, and they were loyal Princess cruisers.

Princess can do no wrong for these people, and kudos to Princess for having such a loyal following. These folks love the food just the way it is. One said "I like that I can spice it up myself and not have a chef deciding what I want".

I have often been surprised to see how well Princess does with loyalty and then wonder why Holland America tooks several years to get even a basic loyalty plan in place (they are sister companies).
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Old March 4th, 2011, 03:06 PM
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Indeed kudos to Princess for creating an enviroment that keeps so many of their passengers dedicated and loyal.

Certainly all lines have some hard core dedicated repeaters, but no doubt they're jealous of the zealousness of Princess repeat passengers.
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Old March 4th, 2011, 03:15 PM
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I'd just keep it simple and ask people to respect each persons needs to the best of their ability when sharing space on a ship of 3,000 + souls.

In terms of your suggestion of dedicated balcony cabins at the stern (if I had that right). we should not go in that direction as you take away my right to choose a view I might enjoy on a ship as much as you do.
The "smoking cabins" wouldn't necessarily have to be on the stern, facing aft. They could be along the sides aft.

I do have to chuckle a bit when it's said that would limit the choice of the views. The choice would stll be available, but people would know in advance they are booking in area where smoking is allowed, and might occur. Plus they wold be assure there would be no smoking allowed in cabins or on balconies on the other 80 % of the ship.

After all, for a comprise to work, there has to be a compromise

Of course they could just set a policy or no smoking anywhere, and let smokers decide if they choose to cruise on the ship or not. As a smoker I'd be ok with that too. It would eliminate the doubt and I'd make the decision.
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  #66 (permalink)  
Old March 5th, 2011, 01:51 AM
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Sapphire Princess - March 4
Last night, after leaving Hilo, I was disappointed the ship did not take the route along the Hilo coast where we may have had a view of the lava from the still active volcano flowing down into the ocean. That has been one of visual highlights of previous Hawaiian Island cruises, but it wasn’t to be this trip.

This morning I made my way up to the Horizon Court, as I do each day, to get my morning coffee. Like all good cruisers I travel with my travel mug, large enough to hold at least 3 cups of coffee, before a reload is necessary.

As I approached the self serve coffee towers, a crew member asked if I would like coffee. I told him I hadn’t emptied the remnants of yesterday’s coffee yet, so would have to empty it first. Without even asking, he took my mug from me, emptied the contents, and rinsed it with hot water several times, to clean it, and heat the mug at the same time, and then proceeded to pour me fresh coffee. Now that is attentive (though unnecessary) service.

While enjoying my coffee on deck this morning, and trying to gain consciousness, I got involved in conversation with a passenger I hadn’t previously met. As our conversation continued, I learned he was traveling with his brother because he’d lost his wife a year ago.

I also learned that he knew about CruiseMates, as it had apparently been recommended by a writer for AARP’s magazine. I wasn’t completely clear if the article recommending CruiseMates for singles info and our “Seeking Cruise Companion” message board was in the AARP Magazine, or on the AARP Web Site. But either way, it’s nice they are recommending us for those services.

This gentleman was also traveling with a group of friends, one of whom is also traveling with a service dog (in her case a seeing eye guide dog), and apparently she has cruised with Princess quite frequently because she loves the way the line takes care of the needs of her aide dog.

So whether your single or recently widowed, or in need of traveling with a service animal, there’s no need to avoid looking at cruise to satisfy your vacation needs.

I used to land vacation on Oahu for many years, and have cruised here several times before, so unlike many passengers tours of the island, or the requisite tour to the Arizona Memorial were not for us.

If it’s your first visit however, the Arizona Memorial and the Polynesian Cultural Center are must dos! On this itinerary, Honolulu is our only long stay into the evening, so the only opportunity for passengers to attend a Luau is here on Oahu tonight. Another beautiful and interesting, though more costly, option for a tour here is a helicopter flight over Molokai.

My original plans for the day were to go spend some time on Waikiki Beach, repeat the old stroll we used to do down Kalekala Ave., and then meet some of the CruiseMates folks around sunset for drinks and dinner at the famous House Without a Key Bar/Restaurant, which sits outdoors on Waikiki Beach. The weather wasn’t particularly cooperative, with clouds and showers moving in and out all day. By afternoon the rain was quite heavy and continued, so we abandoned our plans for dinner.

No doubt there were people onboard who were perhaps on their first or only trip to Hawaii, who were very disappointed to sail all the way to Hawaii to end up with a rainy day. My disappointment was eased because we’ve been fortunate to have spent quite a bit of time here before, and the fact I’ll be returning on another ship near the end of next month.

Mrs. Kuki took good advantage of the mediocre weather, and a very quiet ship this morning to make use of the self serve laundry facilities onboard. For those interested, it was $1 per load in the wash machine, $1 per dryer, and $1 for laundry soap.

This might be a good time to mention there appears to be a contingent of Canadians onboard. We’re all running around saying “EH”, and looking for maple syrup.

With all the Canadian flag paraphernalia on everything from socks to backpacks to sweatshirts, it reminds me of the 70s when everyone traveling in Europe thought it better to be viewed as a Canadian.
I’ve been telling them all not to worry, in Hawaii most everyone speaks English, and U.S. currency is widely accepted. <wink>

Attendance in the dining room was very light tonight, with many doing luau’s or the buffet after long tours. Therefore, we had a lot of time to chat with our waiter and assistant waiter. It’s always a bit “interesting” to hear stories from the wait staff. Our waiter is a veteran of the industry; this being his 16th ten month long contract with Princess. He spoke of when he started with Princess, and they paid him to go to their “school” in the Philippines, compared to now when many crew are paying agencies at home up to $5000 U.S. to get them work with the cruise lines.

We of course also had the mandatory discussion about what long hours the wait staff are required to work. And, indeed they do work very long hours, with split shifts, seven days a week throughout their contracts, with very little time off and very minimal base salaries. But frankly I think those discussions are a bit out of place to have with passengers. It’s a bit too much like : “I work very hard, so tip me extra”.

They do work hard, and I’m happy to tip (and extra if service is superb), but let’s face it, the total income is fairly reasonable, compared to what he could make on land at home, otherwise he wouldn’t be in the midst of his 16th contract with Princess.

When engaged by the passengers the crew should certainly feel comfortable talking about their lives, their families, etc. However, I think talk of salaries should be kept out of it. Everyone (except me) works very hard for whatever money they make, and I don’t think the crew want to hear about all your financial struggles in life to get you to the point that you can afford a cruise.
A harsh position? Perhaps.
 
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  #67 (permalink)  
Old March 5th, 2011, 02:26 PM
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Default C753- On the right - 3rd from the top

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  #68 (permalink)  
Old March 5th, 2011, 05:00 PM
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Kuki
You hit the nail on the head in the problem was more to do with the collection of food from the kitchen which I had suggested prior.
Sometimes a pecky order exists within or certain food items run out or picked up by a different server,
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  #69 (permalink)  
Old March 5th, 2011, 05:13 PM
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Kuki,
Nice view and picture and do not tell me if I book a balcony for smokers in the future I'll have to prove I smoke as in a means test. To me its like taking a ride on a steam locomotive as it round the curve , smoke belching out for all those with their heads out the window. Lovely...

" After all, for a comprise to work, there has to be a compromise :-) "
Ah, the Canadian way, a dual compromise.

" Of course they could just set a policy or no smoking anywhere, and let smokers decide if they choose to cruise on the ship or not. As a smoker I'd be ok with that too. It would eliminate the doubt and I'd make the decision "

They tried that few years ago on one of the Carnival lines and they lost monies and had to police the ship for smokers if I remember , so back to the revenue stream.
Your right, it can be the next step but a ship contains a mixture of folks from different countries and cultures so if you expect a lot of Greeks or Russia's and some Europeans on your cruise , might not happen if they cannot smoke.

I used to be a smoker and still lean closely to the pugent smell of a pipe and now I follow the trail of a cologne as a beautiful woman walks by.
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  #70 (permalink)  
Old March 5th, 2011, 05:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kuki View Post
Sapphire Princess - March 4
" This gentleman was also traveling with a group of friends, one of whom is also traveling with a service dog (in her case a seeing eye guide dog), and apparently she has cruised with Princess quite frequently because she loves the way the line takes care of the needs of her aide dog.

So whether your single or recently widowed, or in need of traveling with a service animal, there’s no need to avoid looking at cruise to satisfy your vacation needs.

It’s always a bit “interesting” to hear stories from the wait staff. Our waiter is a veteran of the industry; this being his 16th ten month long contract with Princess. .

We of course also had the mandatory discussion about what long hours the wait staff are required to work. And, indeed they do work very long hours, with split shifts, seven days a week throughout their contracts, with very little time off and very minimal base salaries. But frankly I think those discussions are a bit out of place to have with passengers. It’s a bit too much like : “I work very hard, so tip me extra”.

They do work hard, and I’m happy to tip (and extra if service is superb), but let’s face it, the total income is fairly reasonable, compared to what he could make on land at home, otherwise he wouldn’t be in the midst of his 16th contract with Princess.

When engaged by the passengers the crew should certainly feel comfortable talking about their lives, their families, etc. However, I think talk of salaries should be kept out of it. Everyone (except me) works very hard for whatever money they make, and I don’t think the crew want to hear about all your financial struggles in life to get you to the point that you can afford a cruise.
A harsh position? Perhaps.
 
Kuki
Nice point about the service dog, was not aware Princess allowed. Good for them, a good policy.

I agree, if the work was that hard and not paying well, one would not be into their 16th year. As one of the younger waiters told me when I chatted with her in the buffet, I chose this job even though I'm working the buffet before I do the fixed dining tonight. Her husband (she called him "my Prince" (I wish) worked a few tableas away from us and were going on a months vacation between contracts, both in their twenties.

Crew appreciate when they have the time , if passengers chat about families and different experiences but not if you talk about what it took for you to pay for the cruise.

Have a great day
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  #71 (permalink)  
Old March 5th, 2011, 06:41 PM
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Default Kauai

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Old March 5th, 2011, 06:52 PM
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  #73 (permalink)  
Old March 5th, 2011, 07:34 PM
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Great pic with the weather report :-)
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  #74 (permalink)  
Old March 5th, 2011, 07:57 PM
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Love the pics. Thanks. That's my kind of weather report.
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Old March 5th, 2011, 10:09 PM
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The past 5 cruises we been on over half were from Canada!!!! If you count the English people the ship sometime has over three quarter who are not from the US. We are on this same trip on March 26th and they put a notice in our booking that there will be 25 guide dogs on our trip. So I guess Pricess does this all the time. We are alright with these dogs on the ship, no big deal. We love the pictures, please keep sending them.
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Old March 6th, 2011, 01:17 AM
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So..... you have been to PARADISE aka Kauai......
Question: Am I correct in saying that this is one of the best places on earth?

So.....Kuki, your cabin.

We had the opportunity for an aft cabin pretty close to where yours is and declined because reviews spoke of smells of kitchen "odors" towards the aft. Are you experiencing this?

You are travelling in Paradise. I am in awe!!!!

Jennc
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Old March 6th, 2011, 10:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jennc View Post
So..... you have been to PARADISE aka Kauai......
Question: Am I correct in saying that this is one of the best places on earth?

So.....Kuki, your cabin.

We had the opportunity for an aft cabin pretty close to where yours is and declined because reviews spoke of smells of kitchen "odors" towards the aft. Are you experiencing this?

You are travelling in Paradise. I am in awe!!!!

Jennc
I believe there's only one aft cabin or possibly two that can be effected by the vent out there. I don't think any on Caribe deck are. We've had Kuki's Cabin a couple of times and LOVE it
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Old March 6th, 2011, 11:07 AM
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Aloha,
A few questions? Does a smartphone or a cell phone work between islands? Do you need cash in the casino? And finally, they won't let you take a bottle of wine or two back onboard? We are sailing Mar 30th. Thank you,
Later in Life,
Mark

Last edited by melmark4; March 6th, 2011 at 11:09 AM. Reason: Forgot to say Thanks
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Old March 6th, 2011, 01:20 PM
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Sapphire Princess - March 5
It’s now half way through the cruise, and the good news is I can still fit in the shower.

Awoke this morning to find the ship tied up at the pier on the island of Kauai. I was not…tied up that is. Waking passengers were looking at very cloudy skies, and a few showers. For a time it appeared it might be a day of disappointment for passengers ready to see the beautiful sites of what is justifiably known as the “Garden Island”.

Early on some of the helicopter tours were cancelled. That’s truly a shame because flying over this amazingly lush, green and beautiful island is one of my fondest memories.

Mrs. Kuki and I planned to do our tour of one of the most famous sites throughout the Hawaiian Islands; an ABC Store.

During the last few times I visited Kauai I played golf. Two of my favorite golf courses are located here, Kauai Lagoons at the Marriott Hotel, and the Poipu Bay Golf Club. Kauai Lagoons is located within minutes of the pier, and one of its very scenic holes is visible from the ship. On my next visit, in April I’ll be playing Poipu Bay. Today, Mrs. Kuki and I walked the 10 minutes or so to the Aloha Shopping Center, which is located next to the Marriott Resort property, and right off the beach.

It’s mostly just souvenir shops, bars and restaurants, with one of the outlets for “Dukes” which is a name well known in the Hawaiian Islands, named after one of the most famous surfers. Sadly, it appears Hawaii hasn’t been spared from the tough economic times. Both yesterday in Honolulu and today in Kauai, we saw too many space available signs in the windows of retail property.

From the pier free shuttles are offered to the Aloha Center, Hilo Hatties, and even K-Mart. Some CruiseMates friends headed to Hilo Hatties, and agreed to purchase one of the best snacks ever for me; Macadamia Nut Brittle. YUM!

I bought some in Hilo, but I snacked away half my supply yesterday. If you’re coming to Hawaii, take my recommendation and try some. You’ll be thanking me, even if your waist line doesn’t.

By afternoon the sun was shining, and I’m sure those who booked ship’s tours, private tours, or just went to the beach enjoyed the Aloha Spirit. I spoke to a number of people who did the Arizona Memorial tour yesterday, and to a person they were all touched by the history of it, and it’s fallen heroes.

There’s no gambling allowed in Hawaii, and the casino was closed all day and all night in both Hilo and Honolulu. Yet tonight, strangely, the casino was opened from 6 P.M to 11 P.M. Most nights I’ve spent an hour or two in the casino somewhere during the course of the evening. It hasn’t been very busy during this cruise, and the staff tell me when the ship is doing the “Hawaii run” the casino generally isn’t busy. Though apparently busier on the return trip, after people know how much they have spent in the islands.

I gleamed some more tidbits about the way some staffing matters are dealt with these days. Apparently there are now stringent rules in place for the amount of time foreign crew members are allowed to be off the ship in U.S. ports of embarkation, as well as U.S. ports of call.

These are cruise line restrictions, not U.S. Customs and Immigration restrictions.

Time constraints have been placed on crew’s time ashore in U.S. ports because of late there is a growing concern (probably due to experience) of crew members, especially new ones, disembarking the ship and just “disappearing” into the crowd. In other words they are getting hired by the cruise line, and once the ship lands in a U.S. port, they are choosing to be become illegal immigrants, seeking out family or friends already in the United States, and seeking illegal land based employment.

The first night of the cruise I met a casino dealer who had just joined the staff that day. During the port visits this cruise, even though the casino is closed, and casino staff are well known for a bit of partying in all ports of call. They’re also a great source of info on where to go and what to do in most ports. However, the new dealer is required to stay onboard during all port visits this trip, if though she didn’t have to work. After the Sapphire returns to L.A. from this cruise, she does a seven day Mexican Riviera before returning to Hawaii again.

CruiseMates David, Sandra and the ship's newest dealer Cherry.


Once the ship makes it back to Hawaii again, this new dealer may be allowed to get off the ship during port visits.
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Last edited by Kuki; March 6th, 2011 at 01:33 PM.
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  #80 (permalink)  
Old March 6th, 2011, 01:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by melmark4 View Post
Aloha,
A few questions? Does a smartphone or a cell phone work between islands? Do you need cash in the casino? And finally, they won't let you take a bottle of wine or two back onboard? We are sailing Mar 30th. Thank you,
Later in Life,
Mark
Interestingly, there is no X ray check of bags being brought back to the ship in ports of call (except embarkation in LA). We've seen people bringing wine, liquor, beer sodas back onboard, no questions asked.

Cash can be used for table games in the casino, or you can use the shipboard charge card (3% surcharge), for slots there is no service charge.

Be careful when at sea with cellphones. Internation roaming charges do apply. Use the cell phones in port.
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Old March 6th, 2011, 01:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jennc View Post
So..... you have been to PARADISE aka Kauai......
Question: Am I correct in saying that this is one of the best places on earth?

So.....Kuki, your cabin.

We had the opportunity for an aft cabin pretty close to where yours is and declined because reviews spoke of smells of kitchen "odors" towards the aft. Are you experiencing this?

You are travelling in Paradise. I am in awe!!!!

Jennc
We've had no odors of any kind noticeable, other than mine. And Mrs. Kuki just tells me it's time to shower
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Old March 6th, 2011, 01:49 PM
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I have been loading more pictures into my Sapphire Gallery which are not posted in this thread. You can view them here...
CruiseMates Cruise Community and Forums - Kuki's Album: Sapphire Princess
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  #83 (permalink)  
Old March 6th, 2011, 02:36 PM
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Hi Kuki,

It is nice to follow you on your amazing adventure on the Sapphire. Getting insights into the cruise and what is good and bad about both the boat and the service. I will be one of the new joiners when the ship docks in San Pedro on March 12th.
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Old March 6th, 2011, 06:59 PM
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Thanks Kuki ... very much enjoying your daily reports. It must take a lot of time away from other things you'd like to be doing, but it is appreciated.
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Old March 7th, 2011, 05:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by melmark4 View Post
Aloha,
A few questions? Does a smartphone or a cell phone work between islands? Do you need cash in the casino? And finally, they won't let you take a bottle of wine or two back onboard? We are sailing Mar 30th. Thank you,
Later in Life,
Mark
Mark,

From the Princess website:
"We kindly request that you do not bring alcoholic beverages (other than wine and/or champagne) onboard for consumption.

Alcoholic beverages sourced from shore-side and brought onboard, no matter where sourced, will be collected at the gangway for safekeeping and will be delivered to the passenger's stateroom on the last day of the cruise.

A member of the ship's security staff will be at the gangway to assist passengers with the storage of their alcoholic beverage purchases. The only exception to the above rule, is that passengers are permitted to bring one bottle of wine and/or champagne per person purchased in a shoreside location onboard. If the wine and/or champagne is brought to the dining room for consumption, a $15.00 per bottle corkage fee will be applied to the passenger's shipboard account. We prefer that passengers bring wine/champagne no larger than 750ml, however, magnums are acceptable. Wine in a box is not encouraged.

Passengers are also permitted to consume the wine and/or champagne in the privacy of their stateroom only, but it may not be brought into any public lounge for consumption.

Please note that any wines and champagnes supplied from the ship's stock to passengers would not be subject to a corkage fee."

Kuki - It's been so fun reading this virtual cruise! I'll be sailing on the Sapphire in May to Alaska! I have a quick question for you. Are there any stereos in the staterooms or something I can hook up my iPod to to play music while in the stateroom? Thank you in advance and have a great rest of your trip!
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Old March 7th, 2011, 10:45 AM
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Originally Posted by lovepumpkin View Post
Mark,

From the Princess website:
"We kindly request that you do not bring alcoholic beverages (other than wine and/or champagne) onboard for consumption.

Alcoholic beverages sourced from shore-side and brought onboard, no matter where sourced, will be collected at the gangway for safekeeping and will be delivered to the passenger's stateroom on the last day of the cruise.

A member of the ship's security staff will be at the gangway to assist passengers with the storage of their alcoholic beverage purchases. The only exception to the above rule, is that passengers are permitted to bring one bottle of wine and/or champagne per person purchased in a shoreside location onboard. If the wine and/or champagne is brought to the dining room for consumption, a $15.00 per bottle corkage fee will be applied to the passenger's shipboard account. We prefer that passengers bring wine/champagne no larger than 750ml, however, magnums are acceptable. Wine in a box is not encouraged.

Passengers are also permitted to consume the wine and/or champagne in the privacy of their stateroom only, but it may not be brought into any public lounge for consumption.

Please note that any wines and champagnes supplied from the ship's stock to passengers would not be subject to a corkage fee."

Kuki - It's been so fun reading this virtual cruise! I'll be sailing on the Sapphire in May to Alaska! I have a quick question for you. Are there any stereos in the staterooms or something I can hook up my iPod to to play music while in the stateroom? Thank you in advance and have a great rest of your trip!
Aloha,
Thank you for the info. My wife and I thought we could bring a bottle of wine onboard at each port.
Is there free internet access at ports of call? Seems like on our Alaskan cruise we were able to access the internet for free once we were docked.
Have been enjoying Kuki reports and pics.
Later in Life,
Mark
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Old March 7th, 2011, 10:57 AM
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I did not know Princess had a no alcohol policy - but I also have the experience of buying liquor in port which they just let right through - also on Celebrity and Carnival.

A lot of people want to buy booze overseas because of the no-duty option, and I am sure the cruise lines understand that. Especially rum from the Caribbean, or Curacoa from Curacao. Those are "souvenir drinks."
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Old March 7th, 2011, 11:43 AM
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9 cruises with Princess, only one port (PV) did they collect booze. They did collect boxes of booze from people in St. Thomas, but not if it's a bottle or two. They don't seem to mind.

Perfect example was boarding in Vancouver, they had to split the security lines up at Canada Place between NCL and Princess passengers so one line could search for booze while the other line ignored it.
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Old March 7th, 2011, 12:34 PM
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Sapphire Princess - March 26
We spent the day in Maui today; our last port of call before starting eastward back to the continental United States.

Tendering ashore is required during the visit to Maui. The ship anchors off the coast of Lahaina transporting passengers to the pier using its own tenders. Guests not on ship’s tours were required to check in at the Vivaldi Dining Room to pick up tender tickets, and wait there to be called to the matching tender. Everyone in the party must be there when you are ready to go ashore, as you’re escorted to the tender boats when you number is called.

I don’t think anyone, including the ship, enjoys the tendering process, but in Lahaina the tender ride ashore is generally fairly short.

The most popular excursions in Maui are the whale watching tours. And this is certainly the right time of year for whale watching in this area. They are everywhere. Several were sighted just off the side of the ship this morning, and this time I was awake to see them.

Aside from ship’s whale watching excursions, it’s also quite easy to book private versions of the tours as well. Maui also has some great beaches for those who just choose to make their day a relaxing day.

Mrs. Kuki and I had some friends from home vacationing in Maui, so we’d arranged to spend our day with them. They met us at the tender pier, and took us for a sometimes lost car tour of parts of the island.

They also planned a lunch stop for us at one of the most popular restaurants on the island, and their personal favorite; Mama’s Fish House. The grounds surrounding the restaurant are gorgeous, as is the entire setting, and atmosphere inside in the restaurant. The prices, even for lunch, are relatively high, though inline with one would expect from a high quality restaurant.

My friends know that I’m not a fish eater, but know that Mrs. Kuki loves fish. To accommodate my carnivorous tastes they had called the restaurant in advance of arrival to ask if they could offer a steak, even though it’s not on the menu, and were assured they could offer me a Beef Tenderloin.

I’ve always said one should not expect great fish in a steak restaurant, thus it’s also true that one shouldn’t expect a great steak in a fish restaurant. Understanding this I didn’t enter with great expectations.
In earlier portions of the Virtual Cruise I’d given the food and service onboard the ship a fairly “rough ride”, and now I have to say it is approaching superb compared to the service I received in this “high end” Maui restaurant.

The difference of course, on this ship they are serving over 1000 guests at a sitting, so I expect good quality banquet-style meals. In a “high end restaurant” on land, where everything should be cooked a la minute, my expectations are justifiably higher.

The service, though friendly, suffered from beginning to end. From having to remind the server of my diet coke order, to then have to request a straw for it once it arrived.

As mentioned, I didn’t have high expectations of the steak I ordered, but when it arrived it wasn’t the Beef Tenderloin I ordered, it was Short Ribs. I pointed out the error as soon as I saw it, but was told it was in fact the Beef Tenderloin. As soon as I cut into it, it was obvious it was not, and another server admitted the error. My steak arrived shortly after, and it was not done as requested, so the server asked if I’d like it thrown back on the grill.

After Mrs. Kuki and my friends had finished their lunches, the steak had not come back, so I simply declined to wait, and left the restaurant. After I left the server did come to the table to ask if I was returning.

She did apologize to my friends, and the Manager did come over to apologize. And to their credit did not charge for anyone’s meals. However, the kicker is this should never have taken place in such a restaurant, particularly as my meal had been prearranged in advance. I felt bad for my friends as well, because they were a bit embarrassed for having chosen and recommended this restaurant. Though no need to be, as they are good friends who I knew were just trying to take us somewhere nice.

I’ve gone into so much detail of the incident here, because it really should help all of us appreciate the level of cuisine and service they are able to produce most nights on cruise ships. For the cost of what today’s lunch could have been, I could dine at least several times in one of the ship’s alternate restaurants. To put an exclamation point on it all, tonight I enjoyed Chateaubriand in the dining room with Béarnaise sauce and it was outstanding.

It’s always good to get one of life’s little reminders once in awhile.

Tomorrow morning we’ve got the CruiseMates group, team treasure hunt to begin our sea days back. And a couple of days later, the Ugly Aloha Shirt contest, and a couple of other mixers for the group coming up after that.
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Old March 7th, 2011, 12:50 PM
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In every port except for LA and Maui, no Xray machines were used to check pax bags.

People openly brought on beer, liquor, wine, sodas. No one blinked.
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