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Princess and the Pea

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  • Smith7
    started a topic Princess and the Pea

    Princess and the Pea

    The title for me was inspired by the comfort of the cabin but I will come to that shortly.

    Our 3 day forum cruise on Sapphire Princess was a resounding success. I booked this cruise last November just because my OH and I wanted to try the Princess product, never having sailed with them before. We didn't want to risk a longer cruise with Princess because we guessed that it wouldn't measure up to our favourite cruise lines. However, I am a believer in the 'don't knock it until you've tried it' attitude so for 3 days thought it worth a go.

    It became apparent soon after we booked that the cruise was popular with others on the forum too and so it morphed into the 2018 Forum cruise.

    We were delighted of course because we knew from the experience of past forum cruises that we were in for a great time, whether or not we liked the ship.

    On arrival in Southampton, despite being given a boarding time of 12.30, we were whisked through check in and were on the ship well before the time given.

    The crew were very welcoming ( I've never known a crew be anything else) and we were soon up in the buffet restaurant having lunch. Before we knew it, we were joined by forum friends and began a 3 day catch up on life since our last meetings.

    Unfortunately, I was not impressed by the Horizon restaurant (Buffet). The food on offer for lunch was fine but as someone else said and I agree, I don't like melamine plates, dishes and mugs. I also found that the staff were so keen to clear away used plates, that my OH had barely taken the last mouthful of his lunch when his plate was whisked away whilst he was still chewing.

    We ate breakfasts in the buffet because we prefer to see the wide variety of choices before we help ourselves rather than go to the MDR and order a specific meal.

    After lunch, we made our way to our cabin, which was an inside on deck 14 forward. Our cases had arrived and so we set about unpacking and getting organised before the muster drill which was scheduled for 3.15 ish.

    We found the cabin to be more than adequate with plenty of hanging space in a walk in area opposite the bathroom.

    This is where the Princess and the Pea comes in. The bed was SO comfortable which scores lots of Brownie points for me, given that I do not generally sleep well. That said, I slept like a baby on this cruise.
    The downside of the cabin however, was the stained runner across the bed and the lack of a shower cap or extras that normally come as standard on most other cruise lines. When I asked the cabin steward for a shower cap however, he gave me 2! Nevertheless, it was a pleasant cabin and very comfortable.

    Our pre-dinner drinks gathering was soon upon us and so 21 of us spent a happy time catching up with old friends and meeting new ones.

    Although we had all chosen Any Time Dining, it soon became apparent that we would be breaking into 2 groups. We were among the early group and managed to get 10 of us into the Vivaldi restaurant at 7 pm. Those that wanted to eat later either had to wait ages for a table in either of the 3 designated MDRs or eat in one the specialist venues or the buffet.

    I'm not sure how the restaurant staff manage to juggle set dining times and Anytime Dining in the same 3 restaurants, except to say that if you don't book early in the morning for dinner that evening, you cannot guarantee getting a table without a significant wait.

    I have no complaints about the food on Sapphire but I did find the service a bit lacking at times. Maybe that was because tables were in demand, which is why some of our number felt rushed at times.

    The ship itself was OK but a bit underwhelming. I liked the many pictures on the walls but many of the bars were furnished with dark wood and the lighting made it look even more dismal. It reminded me of the Holland America ships.

    The 2 pools were popular as there quite a few families on board and the kids had little else to amuse them apart from swimming.

    The on board entertainment was varied, There was a sports bar, where I got got to see the Arsenal Match, having elected to stay on board that day. There was also a massive screen on the pool deck but too noisy for me and not very warm either. Films were shown in the evening on the open deck too, if you could stand the chill.

    Other bars offered live music in the evening and The Explorers Bar (dark wood again) was the place to go for games and quizzes.

    There were no guest speakers, which is always a disappointment for me but I suppose that was because it was a mini cruise.

    So, would we book another Princess cruise? I think it very unlikely.

    We will always prefer smaller, traditional ships (with the exception of Cunard) and are not keen on American style cruising.

    That said, if a future Forum cruise happened to be on a Princess ship, we would book instantly.






  • Smith7
    replied
    Originally posted by cymrucruiser View Post
    Just reread this and noted the comment about the kids not having much else to do other than the pool. We went and checked out the kids clubs before sailing and were let into every one, once we explained what we both did for a living and had potential little cruisers. The clubs looked great.
    We passed the teenage venue on the way up to the nightclub on the last night, it looked busy.
    Thanks for that. That's the trouble with mini cruises; it's easy to miss things if you don't go looking for them.

    Leave a comment:


  • cymrucruiser
    replied
    Just reread this and noted the comment about the kids not having much else to do other than the pool. We went and checked out the kids clubs before sailing and were let into every one, once we explained what we both did for a living and had potential little cruisers. The clubs looked great.
    We passed the teenage venue on the way up to the nightclub on the last night, it looked busy.

    Leave a comment:


  • antalismy, UK
    replied
    As I've always wanted to try Princess cruises, the write up has provided some info about the ship, esp the use of melamine wares in buffet restaurant. I'm never in favour of the use of melamine wares for serving food, esp. hot food for health & safety reasons. Besides the hot food will rapidly becomes cold when serve on melamine wares. NCL uses melamine wares in the buffet restaurant too. Thanks again.
    Last edited by antalismy, UK; 11th October 2018, 12:03 AM.

    Leave a comment:


  • Mrs M
    replied
    Originally posted by Smith7 View Post

    Well I think we will have to agree to disagree on this one.
    I'm sure others will agree with you, as some will agree with me. At least I can't be accused of being blinkered here.

    Leave a comment:


  • Smith7
    replied
    Originally posted by Mrs M View Post

    If you read my follow on comment, in comparing the cruise lines, I used the the same model which in this case, was a mini cruise. Take out the sea day activities on QM2 as Princess didn't have any, I put Cunard and Princess level. Both have their good and not so good points.

    I also said, subjectively,Cunard are still tops in my book.
    Well I think we will have to agree to disagree on this one.

    Leave a comment:


  • Mrs M
    replied
    Originally posted by Smith7 View Post

    I don't agree with you there Mrs M. Having been on a few Cunard cruises, I certainly wouldn't put Princess in the same bracket. However, I have done a few cruises with P & O, which I feel is on a par with Princess.
    If you read my follow on comment, in comparing the cruise lines, I used the the same model which in this case, was a mini cruise. Take out the sea day activities on QM2 as Princess didn't have any, I put Cunard and Princess level. Both have their good and not so good points.

    I also said, subjectively,Cunard are still tops in my book.

    Leave a comment:


  • Smith7
    replied
    Originally posted by Mrs M View Post

    ...and in my limited experience,taking an overall view, I would put Princess and Cunard,although giving totally different experiences, on a level pegging followed by Celebrity. I can't comment on P&O as our one and only cruise was too long ago to count.
    I don't agree with you there Mrs M. Having been on a few Cunard cruises, I certainly wouldn't put Princess in the same bracket. However, I have done a few cruises with P & O, which I feel is on a par with Princess.

    Leave a comment:


  • Mrs M
    replied
    Originally posted by PeterM, Southwell View Post

    Having done 10 each on Princess and Celebrity, I'd have to say Celebrity are way ahead of Princess. Each to his own.
    You say each to his own. I say it's completely down to what your expectations are and your past experiences of a similar model which then might/will colour ''the'' experience. That then becomes an objective opinion asfar as I'm concerned.

    Subjectively, none of the lines I've cruised with so far, beats Cunard!
    Last edited by Mrs M; 10th October 2018, 11:21 AM.

    Leave a comment:


  • PeterM, Southwell
    replied
    Originally posted by Mrs M View Post

    ...and in my limited experience,taking an overall view, I would put Princess and Cunard,although giving totally different experiences, on a level pegging followed by Celebrity. I can't comment on P&O as our one and only cruise was too long ago to count.
    Having done 10 each on Princess and Celebrity, I'd have to say Celebrity are way ahead of Princess. Each to his own.

    Leave a comment:


  • Wansbrough, North Somerset
    replied
    Originally posted by Wilba View Post
    This was our third 2/3 nighter in the past 12 months, all on so called high end lines, Celebrity, Cunard and Princess, and if it were my first time on any of them, I would not be rushing to book with them again.

    I don't think these mini cruises do any cruiseline a favour except for cruise virgins, who are probably the target market. They just feel too rushed and slightly frantic to satisfy the experienced cruiser............Wilba
    I agree with you about mini cruises feeling rushed but sometimes its a good way of getting a quick fix to pacify the urge in between longer cruises. In this instance it proved an excellent way of getting you all together doing something that brought you together in the first place.

    Its great to hear all the feedback and differing opinions which is what helps make this forum interesting to read.

    A forum cruise is on my bucket list.

    Leave a comment:


  • Smith7
    replied
    Originally posted by dst87, Falkirk View Post
    Nice write-up Smith7! Glad you all had a great time!
    Thanks Duncan but we wish you had been there.

    Leave a comment:


  • dst87, Falkirk
    replied
    Nice write-up Smith7! Glad you all had a great time!

    Leave a comment:


  • Mrs M
    replied
    Originally posted by Wilba View Post

    I think the order you have written is spot on for cruise quality...............Wilba
    ...and in my limited experience,taking an overall view, I would put Princess and Cunard,although giving totally different experiences, on a level pegging followed by Celebrity. I can't comment on P&O as our one and only cruise was too long ago to count.

    Leave a comment:


  • Mrs M
    replied
    Originally posted by Smith7 View Post

    Yes, I suppose the melamine in the buffet makes sense being so near to the pool but I don't like using it nonetheless.

    I am pleased to hear that you are now keen to cruise again. My only advice to you is to try different cruise lines so that you can make comparisons and find your niche.
    As the poster who made the initial comment about the melamine, I would agree with pool deck safety as far as glass is concerned [I saw glasses from cocktails and wine etc around the pool area] and think polycarbonate stemware an excellent idea in relevant areas but the Lido [buffet] on QE and QV have the same issue with outside space and still manage to have decent plates etc. so I am with you on the use of melamine in the buffet.

    Leave a comment:


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