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Old 05-12-2008, 10:26 PM
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Hello there. I could sure use some input here.
We just inquired today about getting a last minute Alaskan cruise for May 31, 2008 (7 day, Vancouver to Wittier). Our agent told us she has a mini-suite available (supposedly the last one!) on the Dolphin (AB) deck, midship. The cost is $1748.65 each. Is this a good price or is it the norm for such a room? And I'm worried about the room's balcony - is it really bad to be viewable from above? I mean, aside from not being able to nude sunbathe, what am I not forseeing as a problem? Can people actually see into the room? One other concern I have is the dining. There is only "personal choice" left, and I'm not sure exactly what that means. I've only done the late dining before and liked not having to worry about reservations or standing in line. What do I need to know about this?
I tried reading all I could find on these subjects but after two hours of reading, I thought I'd finally just ask for myself! This site is so helpful and I'm so glad I found it. I'd sure appreciate any advice you care to offer, as we need to not only let her know by tomorrow, but we have to pay then too!!!
Thanks so much,
Mary
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Old 05-12-2008, 11:57 PM
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Hello Mary, and welcome to cruise-chat;

well, first off, that is a pretty good fare for that cabin since the brochure rate is $1924.00. Any savings this close to sailing is a good thing.

Sapphire Princess is one of my favorite ships and I've had mini-suites on Dolphin Deck several times. First off, nobody can see into your cabin and second, other passengers have always been very respectful of our privacy. My wife and I have never had one uncomfortable moment because our balcony was open from above.

As for the Anytime Dining, we have never made reservations and never had to wait more than a few minutes for a table. The only downside is not having the same waitstaff each night; although if you find a table you like, you can reserve it for the same time each night.

Sapphire Princess is one of the best maintained ships in the Princess fleet. We have been on her several times and are going again this October. My advice would be to think no more about it; put down your deposit tomorrow and have a wonderful cruise.

Rick
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Old 05-13-2008, 05:41 AM
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Hi Mary,

I agree with Rick. This is a very good price. We paid almost $400 more per person than the price you quoated for an AA Cabin last year on the Golden to Alaska. Very little difference between an AA and AB, just location. In fact, the an AA and an AB cabin could be right next to each other!

In terms of the totally uncovered balcony, we adjusted to it. The little rain we had was the only issue. You'll probably appreciate the warm sunshine on the balcony in the cold Alaska waters! With that said, we don't plan to book another uncovered balcony again. The weather is too unpredictable: rainy days, blazing sun, etc. No one can see into to your room. Just people above can see you when you're out on the balcony. Again, we adjusted to it.

We were on the Sapphire last month (with a covered balcony .) She is a beautiful ship. A bit newer than the Golden, and I liked the four anytime (personal choice) dining rooms. Even the Sterling Steakhouse in the converted Horizon Food Court area was done very tastefully.

Enjoy your vacation, what ever you decide.
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Old 05-13-2008, 06:54 AM
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Hi Mary and welcome to Cruise-Chat. I have to agree with both Rick and Todd, it's a great price. The balcony not being covered is not a bad thing at all, unless it's raining, even then it's nice to be able to see out. No one can see in your room, unless you are next to each other in port and they have good binoculars. We used to do traditional dining and tried the Personal Choice a few years ago. We now enjoy that more than traditional. As Rick said, the only down side is not getting the same wait staff each evening. But the plus side is, you get to meet more people. We've made reservations and we've just gone down to be seated when we were ready. We've never had to wait very long for a table, but we tend not to be there at 7-7:30. I have talked to some that eat at that time and their wait time was never very long, the longest I've heard is 20 minutes. Plus you have the options of Sabatini's or the Sterling Steak House (which are both extra fee, but well worth it), or the buffets (which are included). I do hope you snapped up that room and will be sailing on the Sapphire May 31. She's a beautiful ship, we've not been on her, but have seen her in port. We have been on the Emerald and the Caribbean, which are very similar in layout. The Dolphin deck is a very convenient deck, and I truly believe you'll have a wonderful time. Best wishes, and once again, welcome aboard!
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Old 05-13-2008, 08:24 AM
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Quote:
Very little difference between an AA and AB, just location. In fact, the an AA and an AB cabin could be right next to each other!
Todd,

We are booked on the Sapphire and opted to upgrade to the Mini-suite for $100.00 per person. It says on our travel information that we are in section AD - but no room numbers. Is AD ok or were we better off in a regular room with a balcony in the middle of the ship higher up?

Lizzy


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Old 05-13-2008, 08:35 AM
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Well I thank you all for your replies! I feel much better about it now. The only reason I'm still apprehensive about it is the rain factor. Is the first week of July typically rainy? Being from Arizona, I rather like when it rains, but I like to sit on a balacony (covered!) to enjoy it! How often can we expect drizzle?
And last question (for now...) are the drapes black-out drapes?
Thanks,
Mary
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Old 05-13-2008, 09:48 AM
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Mary, there is just no way to predict the weather in Alaska. If you are really concerned about the rain, you might consider a regular balcony cabin on Aloha or Baja deck. They are covered and the cabins are really quite nice--plenty of space for a 7 night cruise. Or Caribe deck; the cabins are the same size as Aloha and Baja, but the balconies are larger and partially covered.

But the price for the mini-suite is so good I hate to see you pass it up.

Lizzy, I'll just jump in here if you and Todd don't mind; $100.00 more for a mini-suite is a great deal--take it! It dosen't matter where it is. No matter where you are on the ship you are going to do some walking. Fact is I've booked a catagory AD (on Emerald Deck) for myself for our next cruise. I was curious to try one with a covered balcony.

Rick


Sorry Mary, I forgot the other part of your question--Yes, the drapes completely block out the light. There are actually two sets: the black-out set and a more sheer set for daytime.
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Old 05-13-2008, 10:38 AM
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Rick, I thank you for your prompt reply, again!
I've just spent the last hour checking out photos of the sapphire on webshots.com. I know exactly what to expect now. Not crazy about the TOTAL lack of privacy, but do prefer looking over to the water vs. looking at the people on balconies. And heck, there is always star-gazing at night, eh?
In one of the pictures I saw of the shipped docked, it looked like Dolphin deck was eye-level to those on shore. Is that correct and if so, does it prove to feel like you're an animal in a zoo, being looked at? Although, I guess we won't be aboard to notice?!?
I think I just need to pull the trigger here and not analyze it to death.
Oh, and thanks for the note about the drapes. The black-out ability is a neccesity I can't do without.
Mary
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Old 05-13-2008, 11:07 AM
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I guess you might be close to eye-level if you were docked at a two-story terminal or Canada Place in Vancouver or the terminal in Auckland. I never really thought about it.

Yes, just drop the hammer and do it! I really, really think you'll find the privacy a non-issue.

Rick
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Old 05-13-2008, 03:11 PM
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ok, we decided to go ahead with the cruise and in finalizing found out our passports need to be valid for 6 months AFTER our return??? Ours expire Sept. 14, so they wont work. Is this for real? I've just spent hours looking on the internet and calling everywhere and can't find an exact answer but I did find that the minimum turnaround time (expediting) for renewing our passports is 3 weeks. We only have 2 before we'd leave. Does anyone know the facts about this and could you respond asap? Please!
 
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