The final instalment of my Sapphire Princess cruise review trilogy post. If you have missed out on the earlier two parts, here they are:
Before I went on my first cruise more than a decade ago, I had initially thought that a cruise holiday was the most unexciting of all. Where’s the scenery? Where’s the shopping mall? Where’s the beach? BORING.
When I finally went on my first cruise (with some reservations), I was so glad to have gone on it otherwise I wouldn’t have known there were actually a lot of stuffs to do and new things to try out on the ship. It was as though a travel agent had everything planned out nicely on an itinerary so there wasn’t any planning or researching work to be done on my end. And even if NOTHING on the list sounded appealing, it would still be fun just chilling out by the pool with a book or soaking in the tub and doing nothing else. I mean, isn’t that what a relaxing holiday is all about?
Most if not all of the cruise companies seem to operate daily activities in similar fashion. Activities like speed bingo, treasure hunt, morning exercise classes, activity workshops or game tournaments are rather common across different cruise liners.
Here are some of the other stuffs we did onboard Sapphire Princess for our 4D3N cruise besides chilling by the pool, eating and playing jackpot in the casino all night long, lol :
The Neptune’s Reef & Pool was turned into an outdoor theatre with 4-5 showings per day. We watched The Hunger Games: Mockingjay during a 10pm session and enjoyed free flow ice cream cones and popcorn (what a bonus!). Blankets were also available for night time showings because it was very windy (those with long hair – please tie up your hair unless you want a bad hair night – and you’d know what I mean when you’re there, lol) and a little chilly – could even feel water droplets falling on our skin. It was almost like a 4-D experience under the stars, in the wind, on the sea 😉
One of my favourite activities during the cruise was Speed Bingo (USD10 per game card) because I like the thrill of winning something just like taking a gamble. The grand prize was an iPad Air and I was one of 2 persons who had only 1 last number (O72 – will never forget you! haha) before hitting a bingo so I had a 50-50 chance of winning. But obviously I didn’t or else I would be sounding much more excited than this, lol. Gutted!
The Piazza was like the heart of entertainment where piano/guitar performances, singing, magic shows, family games, fruit & vegetable carving demonstration, treasure hunt draw, fashion show, etc were held.
Sapphire Princess’ team of singers were pretty outstanding 😉
On our last evening, there was also a Farewell Balloon Drop Party held at the Piazza in celebration of Princess Cruises’ 50th Anniversary.
Every evening, we were entertained by various pre- or post-dinner shows at The Princess Theater. I highly recommend their in-house original production shows “Do You Wanna Dance” and “Stardust” if you’re a fan of high energy performances and glitz.
“Heart of Spades” is an acoustic rock duo act from Melbourne, Australia. Took this video when they were playing A Thousand Years.
The Explorers Lounge was where we spent some time every evening for after-dinner drinks and also to catch standup comedies or to enjoy the performances of their resident band.
One unique thing that I had done here and never before in other cruise ships was the Galley Tour.
Really fun to take a peek at the huge kitchen where we could see chefs at work 🙂 And thanks to them, we felt so spoilt with all those good food!
Other miscellaneous activities included Ukulele Class, Poolside Zumba, Photography Class, Hula Dance Class, Fitness Seminar, Champagne Art Auction, Ballroom Dancing Class and plenty of themed parties for the party animals. There were also chargeable ones like the Grapevine Wine Tasting.
For the Straits of Malacca cruise, the Sapphire Princess actually docked for several hours at Georgetown, Penang and Port Klang so besides being ‘confined in a ship’, we took a break and did some exploration on our own. For those who prefer organised tours, there are different shore excursions and shuttle bus services available for prior booking at additional $$$.
For those in Singapore who had watched the MediaCorp Channel 8 drama “The Little Nonya” years ago, the Pinang Peranakan Museum might look familiar 😉 Yes, this was the mansion that was filmed in the show.
Cold towels and iced water were provided prior to returning to the ship. Such thoughtful service 🙂 Thumbs up!
While we were exploring the streets of Georgetown, we also stumbled upon a cafe that served up some delectable sweet treats. Read my Coffee Affairs @ Bishop Street, Georgetown, Penang post.
[Update Jan 2016: Port Klang Cruise Centre is now known as Boustead Cruise Centre]
The cruise centre had some souvenir shops and a minimart that sold overpriced stuffs, lol.
This place is really a land of nothing. 真是个鸟不生蛋的地方! (means a deserted place that birds don’t even lay eggs in!)
Before and During Disembarkation
Though I had provided my credit card details to the travel agent for miscellaneous billing, I still decided to settle bill in cash as we had USD on us. We did that on the last evening at 11pm which was the cut-off time for account settlement and the queue was so long, we waited for like 1.5 hours till past midnight. For convenience sake, I guess it’s best to charge to credit card or settle bill/close account much earlier and not wait till last minute like we did.
On the morning of disembarkation, our room steward handed us our passports before we left. We opted for “walk-off” disembarkation so we had to handle our own luggage which was quicker as we didn’t have to leave luggage outside our cabin for collection and then wait to pick it up again at the cruise centre.
When we first boarded the ship, we met with a couple of rather unfriendly faces that didn’t make us feel welcome so started off feeling a little disappointed but most of other crew we met were extremely warm, friendly and helpful.
Service was impeccable except when we were faced with a black-faced, grouchy and rather rude waitress during the British Pub Lunch whom we met again during the International Crew Talent Show as she was one of the singers. Great singing but just didn’t think she was suited to be a service staff, lol.
Our room steward was extremely helpful and friendly who took great care of us and made us feel at home.
Service at the dining rooms during dinner every night was fantastic – prompt and professional.
Food was awesome. We enjoyed every dinner at the respective dining rooms and was also kept amused by one particular waiter who kept saying “showtime!” whenever he served a course, lol. Great choice of buffet food though Asian cuisine wasn’t quite their forte, I loved everything else.
Days were well spent and jam-packed with various activities so we were kept occupied throughout with little time to sleep. 🙂
For a few days after coming back from the cruise, we actually had withdrawal syndrome because we missed the cruise badly.
Overall, this was indeed the BEST cruise I ever had to date. Way exceeded my initial expectations.
Blogging about my experience of the cruise really brought back so much fond memories. I hope my detailed cruise review has been helpful to those considering taking a cruise holiday soon or going for your first Sapphire Princess cruise. 🙂
Goodbye, my Princess. Till we meet again, very soon 😉