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Mike Henry

Age: 38


Number of Cruises: 5

Cruise Line: Princess

Ship: Sapphire Princess

Sailing Date: 2011-02-12

Itinerary: Mexican Riviera

Overall the cruise was not bad, as I said in an interview on Fox 13 shortly after. The weather was ideal since Utah was getting a huge dump of snow. I found the ship to be a little worn but the Sapphire is going in for a major overhaul next year. I've sail on Princess 3 times already and I'm staying with Royal Caribbean since this ship caters to the more retired crowd. There are a lot of 50+ aged passengers and not really catered for the younger crowd. Not a bad experience but if there was a stair what wasn't followed by a fart from an older person, I never found it.

I was a chef for quite some time and owned a restaurant so the food I'll be describing is pretty spot on. THE INTERNATIONAL DINING ROOM was alright but, there wasn't anything that knocked my socks off. The service was alright but the crew are over worked and under paid with very little time off if any. It's pretty fair but I would expect more since it's the main dining room. If you ask they will prepare something special on the fly. I was craving Escargot and since it wasn't on the menu the Chef made it for me the next night. That was nice of him. THE BUFFET was ultra nasty! Deep fried, oily, greasy, fattening and lacked flavor. (Hello, it's called garlic, so how's about using some there cowboy). I was told by a friendly crew member that the food is cooked kind of bland because of the older crowd. Well, I still have my own teeth and like a little texture and flavor when I eat. Lots of people coughing, touching their face then using the utensils, people putting food back in the service line when they figure out they don't want it and people piling their plates to the sky, only to leave it hardly touched when they leave the table :-( Traversing through the crowds to get fruit or new food item placed in the service line was like the first 20 minutes of Saving Private Ryan. A cook put something new and I kid you not, the vultures descended down on it like a wounded gazelle. NEPTUNE BAR AREA actually has a pretty decent pizza. Since the buffet was hit and miss I ate a lot of pizza back in my room. :-) Mmmmmmm, pizza! ROOM SERVICE was pretty good but it takes about a 1/2-1hour from when you place your order for food. The menu is pretty generic with the food selections but good enough for a late delivered snack. Upon request they will deliver a pizza to the room for a charge. SABATINI's was awesome! I finally found some delicious food with flavor and awesome service. It's only an extra $20 dollars to dine there per person. STERLING STEAKHOUSE was another surprise with really good cuts of meat and friendly prompt service. My Fillet Mignon was cook perfect and was great. Not as great as Lawry's or Ruth's Chris Steakhouse but a pretty good run for the money. It's only a $15 dollars per person to dine there. The only drawback is that at night a part of the buffet dining room is sectioned off and labeled Sterling. Kind of tacky, but what cha' gonna do? ALL THE BARS were well bars so there you go. I hung our in Churchill's and talk to a really cool bartender. Nice selection of martinis at the Crooners Bar.

As always I have to have a Suite since there's more room and more luxurious. Everything seemed clean but you can tell the bathroom needs an upgrade. I was kind of irritated the blue glass under the railing on the balcony was spotty from salt deposits for the previous sailing. It was a suite with an awesome view. I love the back of the boat right under the engines since there is a slight vibration that felt like a mini massage to rock you to sleep,

They are pretty fair. Lots of fun activities like Wii at Sea, Trivia Games and themed activities, The arcade sucks big time. Three of their games weren't operational for at least 2 months. I went on this cruise two months prior to this sailing on the same ship and the games were dead. Really 1.50 for a game of air hockey? Never-the-less, I went though about $20 bucks in the arcade. As usual the casino was a freaking rip. I keep feeding the kitty and get no pay out. Go to the Bahamas Nassau and play games at Atlantis. The Spa is pretty nice but they got a little pushy trying to get you to buy into some of those bogus treatments. I had a "massage" which was literally a rub down. If I want a massage I want to feel it. Also had a relaxing facial as well that I enjoyed. The gym is tiny and a joke compared to other cruise lines with very little activities other than the main trainer lecturing the passengers on the evils of deodorant and Diet Coke. Nobody gets between me and my Diet Coke Mr. Trainer guy!

PUERTO VALLARTA is a pretty decent port of call. I can't stand Walmart but right across from the ship there's one there if you need to pick up sundries or snacks other than that crap buffet. I went on a snorkeling excursion and booze cruise back. Well I went on the excursion and just kayaked since the water was freezing cold and I got a little tipsy from my beers. Pharmacias are everywhere for cheap prescription drugs. MAZATLAN is a freakin' hole. Out of all my trips to this port I never leave the secure port shopping. Beware of spiked drinks though. Some bars mix clear grain alcohol with other alcohols to stretch their peso. I just go there for a couple buckets of beer, tacos and chips. The shopping vendors are pretty pushy and persistent but hey, they've gotta family. I heard if you go out into the city it's dangerous because of the drug cartels. Cruise ships are opting out of this port and thank goodness. Oh, and the prostitutes I hear are every where but hey, a girls gotta eat right? God, HIV must be a huge problem out there. CABO SAN LUCAS is the best port of the three. It's pretty safe. I feel confident when walking the downtown streets. Go for the local fair when looking for something to eat. I found a little restaurant and had the best shrimp cooked in light but tasty chili sauce. What's the point of going to a foreign country and eating at US style chain. This is last stop shopping so get you shop on!

It wasn't bad. Not fantastic but not bad. The embarkation process is long that lasted about an hour and a half until we could go on board. Once on board the staff seemed to be friendly enough and helpful. Like I commented above, the average age seems to be 50+ so if you're young and looking for excitement Princess may not be for you. I went to the Skywalkers Night Club every night around 11pm and there was awesome club music but literally a ghost town. You'll want Royal Caribbean or Carnival for the younger crowd. Luckily I saw very few kids since, I cannot stand little children running around and spilling my cocktail. So that's about it for me. I hope that it's helpful to those looking for a cruise line.

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