Source: Cruise Junkie dot Com

Events at Sea by Sapphire Princess

Events by Ship:
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The events listed have been reported in the public domain or to cruisejunkie by passengers or crew members onboard.  The list is by no means comprehensive.  For that reason it is necessary to be cautious in drawing conclusions from the potentially limited data.  Keep in mind that some companies may be more transparent than others about things that go wrong; conversely, some companies may be better at concealing events and thereby project an appearance that is inaccurate.  With that said, the following list is still interesting, as are the patterns when viewed separately by ship.

28.7.10 Anchorage Daily News reports federal authorities are investigating the cause of death of a whale found stuck on the bow of the ship near Juneau this morning. The Coast Guard says the adult humpback whale was discovered on top of the bulbous bow of the Sapphire Princess about 8 a.m. as the ship was south of Juneau near Tracy Arm. The ship waited south of Juneau following the discovery while a tugboat crew worked to dislodge the carcass. The vessel was cleared to proceed to port after 3 p.m. The tugboat was hauling the carcass to an undisclosed location where authorities could conduct a necropsy to determine the cause of death of the whale. UPDATE: A necropsy indicated the whale likely was dead before it was impaled by the ship. The ship had a similar strike in 2009 -- See July 25, 2009.
Whale impaled
12.7.10 From a passenger: We just returned from our Alaska cruise leaving Seattle July 4th, 2010 and returning July 11th, 2010. One night my family and I were in the dining room when all of the sudden the boat felt like it was sinking. Glasses flew off the water station. A lot of items were thrown off into the ground. The water level rose to the dining room windows. I saw one man who had been sitting and eating completely fall out of his chair the list was so severe. I was thrown on the other side of the dining room. About a minute later the ship right sided. About 3 to 5 minutes later an announcement was made that a hump back whale had traversed in front of the ship and the crew took evasive actions to avoid hitting the whale. I find this incident to be suspicious as I have to ask why the crew would risk passenger safety for a whale ? I am not sure the extent of the injuries (if any at all). I just know the incident had scared the heck out of us.
Severe list
22.1.10 From a passenger: The ship cancelled our stop at Cabo San Lucas yesterday, January 21, 2010, due to high seas because of storms that had passed through north of Cabo, which would have slowed us down and possibly made people miss their flights home from Los Angeles on Saturday. Good thing they did, we think--pretty rough seas today.
Canceled port call

The following was received today from a reader - I include it here because it is (in my mind) outrageous -- children throwing food overboard are expelled from the ship, but the ship itself regularly discharges liquified food waste as part of normal operations. Make up your own mind on who is "right." For Christmas, my husband and I gave our two grown sons and their families a cruise to Mexico on the Sapphire Princess departing and returning to Los Angeles. We were spending Christmas on the ship. It would have been the first time I had managed to get both families together in 20 years for the holiday. On Dec. 23, at sea between Mazatlan and Cabo San Lucas, my two grandsons, age 13 ands 15, were in a cabin of another boy they had met on the ship and they had thrown some articles of food overboard including a fork. Apparently, they were spotted on camera by security. The next day in Cabo San Lucas (Christmas Eve day), my son, his wife and the two boys were ordered off the ship by Captain Tony Herriott and had to pay their own way back to Los Angeles. Three other families whose sons were also involved were ordered off the ship. The Captain's actions devastated us all. Needless to say, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were very depressing days for the seven of us that remained on board. There is now a new Christmas Grinch out there and he is the Captain of a Princess cruise ship!

Expulsion from ship
14.11.09 From a passenger: I was on the cruise that departed San Pedro, CA November 14th to Cabo San Lucas. The was one of three ships docked offshore. The water had moderate to strong chop with a swell of two to three feet. The wind was from the south at approximate 10 to 15 knots. The ship's tenders were providing ferry service in and out of Cabo that day. Other ships were using commercial tenders or water taxis that were larger and more stable. The trip to shore was more or less uneventful. However, on the trip back to the ship that afternoon, the tenderlost an engine. The drived immediately cut the other engine. The tender was bobbing in the ocean under no power. It was rolling in heavy swells with a pitch of approximately 35 degrees, side to side. This was not pleasurable. The driver made a decision to go back to port and restarted the signle functioning engine and started back. He was then instructed to go to the ship instead and made a u-turn, limping on one engine. He was barely able to make it back to the ship; at no time was anything said to passengers by the crew, and life jackets were not passed out. Once at the ship, there was no plan in place to get the tender under control. The driver could not control the tender with one engine. We bobbed and rolled and bounced off the ship several times. The shipboard crew had a large bale of ropes and were trying to get them untangled to toss a line. It was a Chinese fire drill, and no one spoke English. It was a totally unprofessional exhibition of how not to react in an emergency. We, the passengers, were all aghast at the total lack of seamanship of these inept crewmembers. I have never seen anything like it. Tender nightmare
2.11.09 The ship was cited for violating Alaska Wastewater Quality Standards in September. There were three violations. The ship's effluent on September 8 exceeded the allowable level of zinc, on September 16 exceeded the allowable level of ammonia, and onSeptember 16 exceeded the allowable level of copper. Environmental
23.10.09 The ship was cited for violating Alaska Wastewater Quality Standards in August. There were three violations. The ship's effluent on August 11 exceeded the allowable level of ammonia and on August 11 and August 25 the ship's effluent exceeded the allowable level of biological oxygen demand. Environmental
23.9.09 Vancouver Sun reports a search is underway for a 67-year-old American woman who boarded the ship in Alaska on Sunday but never got off in Vancouver when the ship docked at Canada Place on Wednesday morning. Crew members checked the woman's cabin where they found all her belongings. Rescue crews in three helicopters immediately started searching the waters between Comox and Vancouver on Wednesday, while Vancouver police have boarded the ship at Canada Place. It's not clear where the woman may have gone overboard or how long the search will take. UPDATE: Subsequent reports indicate the woman jumped overboard at 6:08 AM Tuesday morning based on video surveillance equipment. The ship was more than 200 miles south of Ketchikan. Earlier, the cruise line had said she went overboard Monday evening around 6 p.m. near Ketchikan, in southeast Alaska, and the Coast Guard had been searching in that area for two days. Missing Pax (suicide)
1.9.01 The ship was cited for violating Alaska Wastewater Quality Standards in July. There were three violations. The ship's effluent on July 13, July 14, and July 28 exceeded the allowable level of ammonia. Environmental
14.8.09 The ship was cited for violating Alaska Wastewater Quality Standards in June. There were six violations. The ship's effluent on June 2, June 16, and June 30 exceeded the allowable level of ammonia. On June 2 and June 30, it's effluent exceeded the allowable level of copper. And on June 2 its effluent exceeded the allowable level of nickel. Environmental
27.7.09 The Juneau Empire reports the ship twice violated Alaska Wastewater Quality Standards for ammonia in May 2009. On May 19th the concentration of ammonia was 99 mg/L (effluent limit is 80.4 mg/L), May 27th it was 120 mg/L. In addition, on May 19th as a result of a hose leak that resulted in 50 gallons of untreated graywater being released at dock, the ship was cited for one violation of pH, one violation of Biological oxygen demand, one violation of allowable total suspended solids, and one violation of allowable fecal coliform. Environmental
21.11.08 From a passenger: We are booked on the Sapphire Princess for November 22-29, and just got a notification via email that the cruise will have a delayed boarding due to operational reasons.  We were also contacted by phone and told that there had been a delayed departure from Cabo on the current cruise.
Delayed embarkation
The Juneau Empire reports that each ship reportedly violated its wastewater discharge permit in September (2008), according to Alaska state regulators. Wastewater samples from the ship had higher-than-permitted ammonia.
The Juneau Empire reports that each ship reportedly violated its wastewater discharge permit in August (2008), according to Alaska state regulators. Wastewater samples from the ship had higher-than-permitted ammonia (twice on Island Princess, once on Sapphire and Sun Princess. Environmental
The Juneau Empire reports the ships violated its wastewater discharge permit in May, June and July (2008), according to Alaska state regulators. Wastewater samples from the ship had higher-than-permitted effluent limits on several parameters.
The was prevented from making its scheduled port call at Dunedin because of bad weather. Winds were expected to whip up to 110 km per hour in the afternoon so even though the ship could get into port at 6AM, there was concern it would not be able to leave with winds so high. It was to be the last cruise ship visit of the 2007-08 season. The ship continued on to Auckland. Missed port
2007 and earlier
The Sunday Mail reports that passengers were offered compensation after the ship was battered by storms as it sailed from Bankok (Nov. 18) to Beijing (Dec 4). Weather also caused the ship to miss several ports. The mix of rough seas, and extra days at sea and missing ports led to a near-mutiny on the part of a large group of passengers. The compenation was a gesture of goodwill, and as uch it was modest.
The ship's call at Dunedin (NZ) was cancelled because high winds (40 knots) made it too dangerous to enter Port Chalmers.
Missed port
A senior assistant purser was taken off the ship in Ketchikan and appeared in court on charges she stole $400,000 from the ship's safe.  A search of her cabin recovered $400,000 in US bills, Can$40, $4660 in US traveler's checks, and $9700 in credit card payment slips.
According to passengers, the ship is still experiencing engine problems and is "limping its way to Singapore."  It was supposed to be at Singapore at 9:00am on Monday but as of Monday night they were still on their way "at sea" heading towards Singapore.  They're skipping their Viet Nam stop.  The delay was made worse by a lengthy but unsuccessful search for a crew member who went overboard.
Engine problems contine
Crew member overboard
The ship is "limping" to Malaysia after a malfunction in an engine turbine between Darwin and Indonesia on Tuesday -- a scheduled stop in Bali was canceled in order that the ship arrive in Thailand on time.  P&O Cruises spokesman John Richardson said crew members were having trouble starting one of the gas turbines used to boost the ship's speed from 17 to 22 knots. "The gas turbines operate separately to the diesel engine, which is fine, and they allow the boat to perform high speeds." A technician is due to join the boat in Singapore on Tuesday morning.  The 19-day cruise began on March 9th in Sydney. Engine Problems

Canceled port

From a reader: 

As the ship came into the inlet to anchor at Moorea it lost all power and was out of control for about 5 minutes, which resulted in the ship touching the coral reef. Two weeks later the captain admitted what had happened and that to lose control of the ship was the worst thing to happen in his career. He told us that in August one of the front three thrusters packed in and a little while later the second one left him. As we manoeuvred into Moorea the last one as he said, left us resulting in a power surge and cutting all power. The only way to stop the ship was to drop an anchor and he said they just touched the reef. We then had to use tugs from then on and I don’t think even as I write this that the three thrusters have been fixed.

Loss of propulsion
Announced that the ship's maiden voyage will be delayed from May 16 to June 13.  Sapphire's hull was damaged by a shipyard fire when it was originally destined to be the Diamond Princess -- This delay is the coninued after effect of the original delay.

Illness Outbreaks at Sea by Sapphire Princess

From a reader: The ship will dock at Pier 91 in Seattle on Sunday June 6 with reports that a number of passangers have the symptoms associated with norovirus.Passengers and luggage will be removed from the ship separately and the luggage will be stored and handled separately. June 6: King 5 News reports the cruise line confirmed that 96 passengers had contracted gastrointestinal illness caused by norovirus.

Illness Outbreaks by Ship: