The Longest Cruise we have done and the furthest away

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Review Details

Overall Rating:
Cruise Line:
Princess Cruises
Cruise Ship:
Sapphire Princess
Far East

Review Profile

Annual/regular holiday
December, 2019
56 - 65
Times cruised before:

Cruise Elements:

Quality of Food:
For mass catering the standard was excellent. New Years Eve lobster was great
Let Me Entertain You was really good. All singers were excellent, no complaintes
Shore Excursions:
Na Trang was the best, Kota Kinabalu the worst-but still good
Waiters in Vivaldi and Savoy restaurants could not be bettered
Childrens Activities:
did not have children
Onboard Activities:
Game shows, Trivia, Dancing lessons, Movies under the Stars, CrossingEquator
We had a mini suite which worked out well for the 3 of us
We went on this cruise because of the destination. I had flown through Singapore in 2018 and really liked the city- and we wanted to do South East Asia. Princess was offering Sapphire Princess going exactly where we wanted.
We arrived the day before the cruise, on a direct BA flight from Heathrow. This was surprisingly good and considerably less expensive than Singapore Airlines.
On 28th. December we sailed for Bali with two sea days in between. So we had time to get to know the ship.
We knew Sapphire was a relatively old ship-2004 build- and some comments on forums were not too kind.
Our opinion, was that she is a lovely ship. Our cabin was great-a mini suite shared with our daughter. Plenty of room and a bath as well- though the water temperature was fine for a shower, but my wife felt slightly too cool for a lingering bath.
Our steward, Dom, could not have been better-pleasant and unobtrusively efficient.

There is a full length promenade deck, albeit utilising the front of deck 8 and it is never crowded.

There are some signs of rusting on steel edging to balconies and suchlike, but nothing to speak of and the crew seem to be doing a very good job of maintaining her.

We had the misfortune of being hit by lightening when we were approaching the Singapore straits. This disabled all the radar and the ships techies were tasked with making one serviceable unit from the three damaged ones. This took some 18 hours and the ship could proceed. The resulting itinerary change meant we had to miss Phuket but got to visit Langkawi whilst the other ports had days changed but we still visited them. We were also delayed, at the same time,  by a medical evacuation by helicopter.

We do like trivia quizzes and there were daily ones  which were very good. We enjoyed the game shows, the dancing lessons and all the main theatre entertainment, with the exception of an American comedian who we did not find amusing. The theatre itself is very comfortable with good sight lines and sound and light systems.

We watched one Movie under the Stars and really enjoyed the experience.

We enjoyed every meal in the main dining room-we started off in the Vivaldi Dining room, but mid cruise, the staff were re-allocated and so we tried the Savoy, which was lovely. The staff in both could not be more helpful.

We went to Sabatini's twice and really enjoyed the meals-both lobster and steak were delicious.

The International Cafe is good for casual food and the coffee is very good, though at an additional cost. We bought a couple of coffee cards which effectively reduced the cost by about 25%.

Alfredos does make very good pizzas-though we only used it once.

Ice cream on the Lido deck is free, though a bit bland.

As to the Ports:
Bali-for us disappointing as the town (Benoa) is not brilliant. We are not really beach lovers, so we did anticipate this a bit. However we enjoyed a meal at Bubba Gump and liked wandering around.

Kuala Lumpar- really enjoyed the excursion, which did let us get a good feel for the town and its old colonial heritage

Penang - again, very enjoyable and interesting

Langkawi_Lovely Malaysian island, friendly people

Singapore-quite outstanding. We stayed at the end of our cruise-but the ship came in mid way through and we left on foot to go to Raffles Hotel for a Gin Sling. Found a Starbucks in the Old Boathouse of the Fullerton Hotel.Our daughter went to the Zoo to have breakfast with the Orangutans

Kota Kinabalu- enjoyed this trip, but we spent too long at the museum, which is not terribly interesting unless you are into head hunting. There was a gallery devoted to a hang gliding record, which was a bit too much. .The village housing exhibits on the other side of the car park was very good

Na Trang - was the best trip we did-seeing the Temples, doing a river trip, afternoon tea of coconut and fresh fruit-all accompanied by a really good guide

Ho Chi Minh City - very impressive city- distressing and informative museum of war remnants- palace of reunification excellent. Just a long way to travel in a coach (90 mins each way)., but we did know this in advance.

Sihanoukville - very interesting, but a complete building site throughout the city. Waterfall visit was good and market so interesting. Am pleased I went but would not choose to return.

Bangkok - again, a long coach ride to city (2 hours each way)- but so impressed with Palace and Wat Po. Not so impressed at being told my very long shorts were too short to enter palace and having staff laugh at me when I tried to buy covering trousers in Palace but they would not accept credit card nor dollars. Outside Ihad been told they were fine. Our guide fixed it.
Whole thing was very impressive and we were so glad to have visited.

Ko Samui - again a great stop, with a brilliant guide-Temples, views, Budhas and Thai massages all part of the experience.

So in Summary I would thoroughly recommend this cruise, this ship and this area.

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