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Princess Cruises is part of Micky Arison's cruise ship-company that began with his father's company, Carnival. Today Princess is one of the largest cruise lines in the world and the The Sapphire Princess is one of the larger ships being 290 meters long (951 feet) and 50 meters wide. With 2670 passengers and 1120 crew it is virtually a floating village. And like any good village the Sapphire has many compelling facets. Built by Mitsubishi Industries of Japan in 2004, it is a modern, well engineered ship with a design that accommodates lots of passengers but never feels crowded. There are three pools on Sapphire, one for adults only which has it's own Jacuzzi spa, a larger outdoor pool with several spas as well as an indoor pool and spa. There is paddle tennis, a jogging track, virtual golf, a nine-hole miniature putting course, a gym filled with treadmills, weights and fitness equipment and the Lotus Spa with massages, wraps, facials, pedicures and other beauty and relaxation treatments. On the seven-day Mexican Rivera cruise I was on, there were about 600 children and Princess has programs to entertain and look after the kids. For younger children there is Shockwave with camp counselors and lots of games and toys. For teenagers there is Remix with dance parties, video games and lots of group activities. The rooms and suites are well appointed, many include outdoor balconies with private table and lounges. Sapphire has many lounges and bars as well as a number of restaurants. There is an option of dining at a set time with other passengers or "any time dining" and choosing one of the various restaurants. There are even two premium restaurants, Sabattini serving Italian fare and the Sterling steakhouse featuring steaks. There is an additional charge to dine at the premium restaurants. Every night the menu changes with different featured dishes, but one can always order standard dishes like Caesar salad, filet steak or fettuccine Alfredo. The restaurants also have an extensive wine list at great value. There are even super premium wines like Opus One at near wholesale prices. Some of the special dinners include Atlantic lobster, always a popular dish on board. But there are also more causal options and even a pizzeria serving lunch near the pool. Entertainment on board goes on day and night. From movies on the stateroom TV and in the theater to live performances. Musical revenues, illusionists, stand-up comedians with family-friendly shows and games like trivia and bingo. There is Skywalkers, a night club at the top of the ship for those wanting to hit the dance floor, Club Fusion with live bands, Churchill's for cigar smokers and a casino with dice, blackjack, poker, roulette and slots if you want to make donations. They also have tournaments which always yields a winner. If you can wean oneself off the ship, the ports on the Mexican cruise offer some exciting activities and experiences. The bustling town of Puerto Vallarta with 250,000 residents is near the jungle with miles of sandy beaches along Banderas Bay. It was where John Huston filmed Night of the Iguana with Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor. One can choose to go ziplining in the jungles, horseback riding, snorkling or just relaxing on a beach with a margarita or two or three. There are also a number of hotels that offer day passes to cruise passengers which opens up their swimming pools and swim up bars. In Mazatlan a tasty spot on the beach is Pancho's where the sizzling shimp fajatias are considered some of the hottest and best around. If you want it a little spicier, as for the fresh green salsa which will raise the temperature to new heights. Further north at the tip of Baja where the desert meets the coast is the resort of Cabo San Lucas. Crystal clear waters from the sea of Cortez makes water sports very alluring like jet skis, scuba diving or glass bottom boats. And of course it was Spring Break when teenagers discover the fun that Mexico offers. From live music, to pulsating DJs the Mexican coast is a party night and day. Spring break is when teenagers show us what they've learned in school all year. Some journey down on a shoestring while others just wear it at the beach! And where spring break makes some parents call "spring broke" - the Princess Sapphire worked out to about $160 per day per person. Not bad when you consider the meals, the entertainment, the stateroom and the travel. For more information go to www.princess.com or call 1-800-PRINCESS (1-800-774-6237)

  • by AroundTheWorld
  • recorded April 2010
  • uploaded Apr 09, 2010
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