Excellent choice! My favorite of all the Princess ships sailing Alaska.
All the balcony cabins are basically the same. The things that distinguish one catagory from another are the location and the size of the balcony itself. The cabins on Lido Deck are desirable because of their proximity to the pools and open decks--and noise is not an issue. The cabins on Caribe Deck are also desirable because the balconies are larger than the others.
The suites come in a variety of shapes, sizes and locations. It just depends on how much room you want and where you want to be. I have not had the pleasure of staying in a suite yet but from talking to those that have, I would say you pretty much get what you pay for.
My favorite catagory is the mini-suite; it's a lot more room for not a lot more money than a balcony cabin. You get a much larger bathroom with tub, bigger closets and more storage space, sitting area, and a larger balcony. The last two on Dolphin Deck and Emerald Deck have even larger balconies, but most of us know this, so you really have to book way in advance to lock one of them up. And the first two on Dolphin Deck are what they call "Family Suites"; they are actually two interconnecting mini-suites, should you need that much room.
So it really depends on how much room you want and where you want to be. I would suggest a balcony on Lido or Caribe deck or any mini-suite.
Once again, congratulations on your choice and have a wonderful cruise.
I agree, the Sapphire is a great choice. I haven't sailed her myself, but had two family groups sail cruise/tours this summer, either starting or ending with the Sapphire cruise. The reports back were very positive. I think you'll have a great time. They sailed in Cat. BC balcony rooms, at the back of the deck, and loved the location. Depending on the direction (north or southbound) you may want to opt for a room on the land-side of the ship.
We have sailed with the Sapphire 13 days (March 2007) in Australia/Newzeeland. Our cabin C247 on Caribe Deck had a larger balcony and was very fine. It is a wonderful ship.
But sometimes there was a smell bad, like sewage on the ship. Sometimes, I saw on the floor in front of some toilets ventilators for some hours blowing.
I wish You a wonderful cruise, we want to make our next cruise also to Alaska.
Hans from Bavaria
Yes, unfortunately, plumbing back-ups are a fact of life on ships, just like at home. I don't think I've been on a cruise where it didn't happen at least once or twice, either a public restroom or a cabin. Just like on land, some people are not careful about what they try to flush away.
But Princess and HAL do a great job of correcting the problem quickly and the inconvenience seldom lasts more than a few hours.
We are leaving on the Sapphire this coming Saturday. SB to Vancouver. No company can do Alaska like Princess. This will be our 4 in Alaska. You can always manage to see something that you missed on the previous cruises.