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Carol Egan

Age: 64

Occupation:RN

Number of Cruises: 3

Cruise Line: Princess

Ship: Sapphire Princess

Sailing Date: 2011-11-26

Itinerary: Hawaii

We thought this 14 day cruise from LA to Hawaii and back would be relaxing but it felt more like a struggle. Once we were back, my thought was more "Whew, I survived." than "What a wonderful vacation".

The buffet food was about average Las Vegas-type buffet food. Breakfast was the best meal. The dining rooms had some great selections and the plating was beautiful but a lot of the food was just plain bland. Each of the dining rooms had a specialty dish which we had to find out about through word of mouth. In the Pacific Moon dining room, we ordered their specialty, Asian Noodles with shrimp and scallops, and it came to the table sans the seafood. It tasted like something a college student would make out of a package of ramen noodles. Kudos, though to the Sterling Steakhouse and Sabatini's Italian. Both of these charge a $20 per person cover, but it was well worth it. We had really fine steaks at the Sterling and wonderful lobster at Sabatini's. Even the coffee was superior. Good hot dogs and burgers at the deck 14 grill by the pool and good pizza there, too.

Typical mini suite with balcony, nothing to rave about. Adequate. Lost power in the bathroom one night, so no lights until it was repaired. Loud noises outside the cabin when they were working on the lifeboats which were one deck below us. We were on Deck 9, Dolphin deck.

Plenty to choose from, impossible to do it all. Of note were the ukulele lessons which had folks playing decently by the end of the cruise. We enjoyed the Scholarship at Sea lectures each afternoon, especially the 2-part tour of route 66 and classic American icons. Trivia games were fun.

On Kauai, take the "Famous movies and waterfalls" tour. The mini bus screens famous movie clips as you go by the spot it was filmed. We saw places that "Blue Hawaii", "Jurassic Park", "Uncommon Valor", "Donovan's Reef" and others were filmed. Definitely interesting for any movie buffs.

The seas on the way over and back (4 days each way) were rough and negotiating such a large ship was difficult. The average passenger age had to be 75 and you could count the number of children on board on one hand. Scooters and walkers were everywhere. Groups of elderly took up most of the open deck tables all afternoon playing mahjongg and cards. We give this cruise poor marks for communication. Twice we stumbled upon special lunch buffets which were not announced anywhere. Disembarkation at Hilo was a mess. No one could direct us as to where to find the rent a car shuttle. I guess if you are not on one of the sponsored tours, you are on your own. People fought over cabs which seemed to only want to take passengers on tours, not for just a quick transport into town. We enjoyed our tours in Honolulu and on Kauai, but at Lahaina we wondered who was piloting the tender boats taking people to shore when the one my husband was on backed into another tender and damaged itself. Before returning to LA, we made the mandatory stop in Ensenada, MX, it was only 4 hours starting at 4 PM, hardly worth it. To disembark at the end of the cruise, the San Pedro world cruise center makes you walk about 1/2 a mile to get to customs and the luggage pick up, so be sure you don't have back pain or foot pain or its torture. We would not do this cruise again, it was a disappointing vacation. If you want to see Hawaii, pick an island, fly over and stay in a condo for a week or 10 days...that's how to relax.

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