Five Things to Know About Princess Cruises' Sapphire Princess Cruise Ship
World's Best 2016 Awards Rank: #9 Mega Ocean Ship
Best for: Families, couples, passengers who love the ritual and glamour of traditional cruising
Sails: Asia, the British Isles, the Mediterranean, the Middle East, Northern Europe
At a Glance: A Travel + Leisure World’s Best 2016 winner, placing ninth in the Mega Ocean Ship category. Like its sister ship the Diamond Princess, this elegant 2,677-passenger Gem class is all dark wood, marble, and brass, with enough modern touches (resort-style pampering, crowd-pleasing specialty restaurants) and cruising traditions (formal nights and set seating times) to please almost any passenger.
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Formal Nights and Other Traditions Live On
While many other lines are loosening their dress codes, Princess Cruises continues the tradition of formal nights. (Note, however, that men are more likely to wear suits than tuxes and women tend to stick to cocktail-party attire.) Those who like to stick to cruising traditions at dinnertime can choose to eat at International Dining Room, which serves passengers at a set time and a set table. Four other dining rooms offer open, anytime seating. Bonus: Each night, dining room menus include options created by celebrity chef Curtis Stone.
The Ship is Great For Couples
Couples hoping for a little Love Boat-style magic won’t be disappointed. There’s dancing at Club Fusion; couples massages in the Lotus spa; stargazing on the deck; and wine-and-tapas nights at Vines in the multi-deck Piazza atrium. There’s even a wedding chapel on board—unlike on most lines, Princess’s captains can actually marry couples at sea. Don’t miss Movies Under the Stars, when passengers cuddle under blankets on lounge chairs by the pool and watch films while snacking on popcorn and cookies and milk.
The For-Fee Restaurants Are Worth the Splurge
If you’re in the mood for Italian, make a reservation at Sabatini’s, where you can order everything from penne with braised short rib to lobster three ways. Carnivores can book a table at Sterling Steakhouse and dig in to generous cuts of New York strip steak or Porterhouse.
The Chef’s Table Is A Must
Passengers who’ve ever wondered what happens behind the scenes in a ship’s galley can sign up for the Chef’s Table. Guests sip bubby and eat hors d’oeuvres while touring the kitchen during dinner service, then are seated at a private table in one of the main dining rooms for a special multicourse feast.
Quiet Time Is A Priority
Sapphire Princess is a family-friendly ship, so there may be times when you want to escape to the adults-only Sanctuary relaxation area to decompress. Staff walk from lounge chair to lounge chair, offering Evian spritzes and chilled towels to passengers. (The lap pool in the Lotus spa is also adults-only.)