Number of Cruises: 2
Cruise Line: Princess
Ship: Sapphire Princess
Sailing Date: October 15th, 2005
Itinerary: Mexican Riviera
Both my husband and I are 26 and traveled with my parents. We have cruised on carnival in the past and my parents have cruised princess prior to this trip. The first part of the review will read like a journal and I will finish with overall comments, favorites, and suggestions.
Embarkation was a bit disorganized as there was no loud speaker working and everyone was in a rush to get on the ship. We arrived at about 11 am and were given a number one to board the ship. The staff struggled with the amount of people that were impatiently waiting to get on the ship. We were on the ship around noon and headed to our staterooms. We booked an inside room on the Aloha deck which was nicely arranged with plenty of storage room and all of the necessities. The bathroom is small, but adequate and also offers room for storage and hooks to hang towels and robes on the door. The closet space was more than sufficient for our four suitcases worth of stuff. We were impressed with the refrigerator in the room as carnival did not offer that. The beds were hard and the bedding is comparable to average hotel bedding. We met our steward, Jaime, who was awesome and got us extra pillows and a blanket immediately. Throughout the trip he not only cleaned up our room, but also organized our belongings! My parents balcony room was located on the Baja deck and was similar to ours except with a balcony. Next thing we did after checking our rooms was to make dinner reservations, which was a breeze. We were allowed to pick any time to eat, but could only make reservations through Tuesday. We were told that the buffet was the only option for lunch, so we headed there and enjoyed a nice lunch. Later, we looked at our patters and were disappointed to see that the dining room was open after all. The buffet worked out though and because we were on the ship early it was not too busy. I enjoyed the layout as it allowed for jumping between stations to get the items that you want. My mom and I also purchased our coke stickers at lunch time, which turned out to be a value for both of us. We enjoyed a few drinks and hung out on lounge chairs near the Aloha deck pool for sail away. There was no excitement at sail away, which was somewhat disappointing. That evening we dined at Pacific Moon and enjoyed it very much. Each dining room has one special and the Pacific Moon had the best special of the dining rooms. The first night I began my nightly desert tradition having sorbet, which was awesome particularly the honeydew sorbet. At night, we went to the welcome aboard show with Lorenzo Clark. The show was a good opportunity to get a glimpse of what was to come and to see the cruise staff. Later, we toured the ship and spent the evening at Skywalkers. Skywalkers was a fun place for us to hang out and dance, which we frequented every night of the cruise.
We woke early as we had made an appointment for a couple‘s massage at the spa. The massage was more like getting a serious beating than a massage. Laying on the floating water mattress was pretty good, but it sounded like there was a basketball game going on above. The sales pitch was pretty hard after the massage and we were told that we needed a lot of work. It was more assumed that we would purchase the items than asked. I refused as they were quite expensive, and I wasn’t really interested. We went to morning trivia and to our surprise came in second place. For lunch, we went to the dining room. The food was wonderful. We wandered around the ship for most of the morning. In the afternoon, we went to the ballroom dance class and had a great time. They break it down and it is quite easy to learn a dance in an hour. This was a formal night and we ate dinner in the Savoy, which was our least favorite dining room. It was beautiful, but our waiter was horrible! It was also the only dining room that did not offer us a special. Our evening events were seeing a comedian, princess pop star, and finishing the evening at Skywalkers. Princess pop star was so much fun that we attended each heat and the final.
Again, we slept in. We had room service in my parent’s room as they had tried to go to the buffet and found that it was crowded. Additionally, we ate lunch in the dining room and found that we were sad that we did not have traditional dining as the wait staff there were excellent. We hung out at the pool and watched wet, wacky pool games. It was fun to watch and well worth going to. My husband enjoyed a water volleyball game and the rest of us hung out on lounge chairs at the pool sipping drinks. Drink of the day was pina colada, which was super! For dinner, we went to Sante Fe and enjoyed their special fajitas. This evening we saw Lorenzo Clark. My husband got to be a part of the show by throwing him cigarettes. He was quite funny. We also saw Piano Man as we had missed it the night before. Despite the music being a bit old for us, it was quite impressive to see the dancing and the many, many costume changes. Definitely, check out this show! We enjoyed the second round of pop star later. We also checked out the light snack buffet, which we frequented many nights.
Puerto Vallarta day! Again, we had breakfast on the balcony and checked out the sights of Puerto Vallarta. We did not plan an excursion, but ended up taking a tour with a couple of other passengers through a local tour guide. We visited a tequila making factory, the jungle, and saw local landmarks. The jungle was amazing. Our stop was at one of the canopy tour companies where the movie Predator was filmed. It was a beautiful spot and the zip lines looked quite fun. We hope to go back someday to try that out. Our guide dropped us off in town and we went shopping and parasailing. Our final stop was the Hard Rock Cafe and then back to the ship. We took a dip in the pool upon return. We cancelled our reservation for the evening as we had not had lunch and walked up to the Pacific Moon without a problem. This evening we attended the tropical deck party, which was possibly one of my favorite events due to fun dancing and games. The music was great as they had an energetic, young band. We particularly enjoyed getting to know one of the dancers and hanging out with one of our favorite junior cruise directors.
Mazatlan day! We set up a tour (the city and beach tour) with Mazatlan Frank several months before the cruise . This was a tough day as the previous day was such fun that it would be difficult to meet or beat. The tour was informative and we got to see quite a bit of the city. We visited both new and old Mazatlan, a cathedral, a local artist’s studio, shopping points, and a restaurant on the beach. We also made a stop to see the cliff divers, which was amazing, but the vendors here were super aggressive. We ate at the Sante Fe again tonight because we had met a great waiter here. It was easy to walk in and request a certain waiter. I had one of the best deserts this night, a peach stuffed with souffle. Yummy! Tonight’s events were country trivia (which we know nothing about), a comedy show, liars club, and pop star. Liars club was a lot of fun! I think we had room service late at night and found that the club sandwich was our favorite room service treat.
Cabo day! The ship arrives early here as they are only in port for a short time. We took our time in the morning and tried the dining room for breakfast. I thought that it was disappointing, but the rest of my family seemed to feel that it was okay. We left the ship at about 9 am and walked through the city with the goal of stopping at Cabo Wabo. We did more shopping here than in the previous ports partly because we did tours at the other ports and partly because we just seemed to see more things we were interested in. We found a beautiful stained glass, a thick, furry blanket, and my husband found a nice fake Rolex. We also found lots of nice quality shirts, particularly from El Squid Roe, Senor Frogs, and the Hard Rock. We had lunch at Cabo Wabo. Lobster tacos are awesome! We traded an artist some cash and an old Nike hat for a neat hand painted Cabo tile. After arriving back to the ship, we did some swimming and got ready for our last formal night. We had dinner at our favorite restaurant, the Pacific Moon. Tonight was lobster night, and was quite good. After dinner, we went to Undercover (a must see). Our dancer friend paid special attention to us as we promised to sit in the front row! We stopped briefly at the Champagne waterfall because we had never seen it and headed to Princess pop star. We followed our tradition of heading to Skywalkers and ordering room service.
Last day... We slept in as we had not had much sleep and sadly missed the galley tour. We did make it to the backstage tour, but that was quite boring. Many people asked questions that were answered in the handout they provided. It was an experience to stand on the stage with all the lights on and feel what the dancers experience. We had lunch in the dining room and for the first time sat with a couple of other passengers. We had one of our favorite waiters and enjoyed our final lunch. I napped today while the boys went to the casino. My mom and I picked up some last minute items at the boutiques along with some alcohol to bring home. We finally tried the pizza near the pool and found that it was excellent. For dinner, we had made a reservation for Sabbatini’s. When we showed up, they said we did not have a reservation. They told us they could have a table ready for us in fifteen minutes. The restaurant was nearly empty and many tables appeared ready. We left annoyed and went to the Vivaldi because we had not eaten there. We really enjoyed this restaurant and were sorry we didn’t try it sooner. They are only open late for anytime dining though, and we tried to eat around 6:00 pm each night. The evening consisted of hanging out at Club Fusion for the 70’s party and the final princess pop star. We watched a hypnotist also, which was quite amusing. We hung out with our favorite cruise staff and exchanged emails so that we could keep in touch. We wandered around the ship after the show, but ended up going to bed because no one was around.
We changed our color group because we had a 1:00 pm flight out of LAX. Luckily, we made the change because disembarkation ran late. We enjoyed breakfast in the dining room before leaving the ship. French toast was great! Leaving the ship was a bit like a zoo, as many people were crowding the exit area even though they were not part of a group that was being called to disembark. There was plenty of seating at Explorers and also many people were waiting on their balconies or on the promenade balcony. I guess everyone is anxious to get off the ship?
For us, it was quite a different experience from our carnival cruise. This cruise was one of our best trips. Many reviews say that it is more for older people, but we had a great time! It is true that the night life is limited, but we had fun late even if it meant we were the only ones dancing. The cruise staff was friendly and available to chat with. It was great to meet and hang out with dancers and singers as well. The food was always good. If you don’t like what you order, ask for something else. I almost always ordered two desserts and found that I always liked one if not both. Anytime dining is nice because you can eat at different times and it allows you the opportunity to see four different dining rooms. The ship is beautiful and was designed with close attention to detail. There is always something to do and activities are varied to meet diverse interests. It’s nice that shows are repeated so that you have the ability to see every show without having to pick and choose between events.
Breakfast: french toast and donuts
Lunch: fried chicken, cheeseburgers, and pizza from the pool area
Dinner: lobster, Pacific Moon dish, Sante Fe fajitas, ravioli, prime rib
Dessert: sorbets, peach stuffed with souffle, and chocolate hazelnut souffle
Pool: definitely neptune pool
Spot on the ship: Skywalkers, Club Fusion
Drink: sour apple daquiri, pina colada
Port: Puerto Vallarta
Room Service item: club sandwich
Event: tropical deck party, princess pop star, Undercover, Piano Man, ballroom dance classes
Fly to Long Beach, avoid LAX.
Leave a day or two early and enjoy a tv show taping or an amusement park. We went to see Joey and to Knott’s Berry Farm.
Plan on having a good time, and don’t let small things ruin your trip.
If you are prone to motion sickness, plan accordingly. You can definitely feel the ship move.
Bring a clock and a power strip with you!
Make sure to check out the beautiful tiling and neat lighting effects throughout the ship.
Do not have a massage. Have one before the trip or try a resort at one of the ports.
Don’t pay for ice cream, there’s plenty to be had at meal times.
Go on the jungle canopy excursion or parasailing if you haven’t.
Get to know cruise staff, especially Stevie.
Schedule tours and activities locally unless there is something that you absolutely must do.
Go to at least one production show.
Eat at the dining room when possible.
Try new things: activities and food that you wouldn’t normally have.
Try to get the traditional dining, but go look at the anytime dining rooms.
Get lots of pictures taken. We purchased several pictures.
Buy the coke sticker if you are a serious soda drinker.
See as much of the ship as possible.
Find activities that appeal to you and ENJOY!
Make sure you have an early group to disembark if you have an early flight.
Try a couple of cruise lines as each has something unique to offer.