We flew to Sydney in readiness for this cruise, and stayed at the Sir Stamford Hotel, great hotel and great location, a few minutes' walk to board our cruise ship. The Diamond Princess met most expectations, beautifully maintained, elegant decor, many pool areas and places to relax. Great selection of movies under the stars on the big screen, good variety of entertainment, plenty of varied options of things to do on sea days.
The anytime dining was a great choice, eat where you liked, when you liked, and with whom you liked. The food was good, plenty of variety. The staffs were exceptional, helpful, friendly, and nothing was a bother, a pleasure to get to know them.
Our mini suite was good but had a very small bathroom compared to others we have had. Just a shower over the bath. Great balcony, but no privacy as they are tiered, those above you looked directly down on you!!!
The itinerary was great and at all stops things ran very smoothly. Our ports of call were Airlie Beach, Port Douglas, Darwin, then Hong Kong, all very enjoyable and in perfect weather. Sam pan ride and trip to the Peak in Hong Kong were great fun. Our good weather came to a stop in the Taiwan Straits, but once in the South China Sea it improved and we arrived in Keelung. We went to Taipei for the day; it was ok but nothing exciting and not as friendly as the ports that followed. Nagasaki was next and we had a wonderful welcome from their dancers and orchestra. A beautiful clean city with a sad past the atomic bomb etc., friendly, interesting and welcoming. On to bus to South Korea another great welcome, lovely city and they certainly know how to look after their tourists, great place. Missed Shanghai, due to illness, but those who went said it was great, especially the Bund. China next the city of Dalian and then on to Tianjin, a couple of hours drive to Beijing. Amazing hotel the KEMPINSKI great location to everything. Beijing was definitely the high light of this cruise. The panda bears, Forbidden city, Temple of Heaven, Tiananmen Square, Summer Palace and The Great Wall of China. How incredible all this was, we had our own private car and an English speaking guide for all these trips, fantastic. We flew home with Air China. This part was all organised by our travel agent Flight Centre for a very reasonable price, it was just fabulous. Now to the issue that put a damper on our cruise.
PRINCESS SMOKING POLICY. There were 3 areas allotted to smokers.
1. Port side deck 7 where the walking track is, so snide remarks and rudeness from the non-smokers.
2. One small section port side deck 14, and as this was in the area for lunch time entertainment, the non-smokers wanted it, so once again snide comments and rude remarks everyday.
3. The Churchill lounge, a small bar room inside the ship. This room was not serviced during the day, only when the bar opened in the evenings. This resulted in overflowing ashtrays, and coffee cups, the many crews who smoked also used this room. This room also posed a problem, passing wingers complained and so we had to be shut in, doors all shut. So to sum this up you could say we had about 4% of the ship to use if wanting a smoke. We pay big dollars for mini suites with balcony for our comfort and now we cannot smoke on these balconies.
So we and many others had no alternative but to put up with these rude arrogant people every day of the cruise. Whilst we appreciate Princess cannot be responsible for their nonsense, they will certainly need to re-think how they implement their policy. We and many others will certainly not be going ahead with the future cruises we have booked with Princess.
Why would any sane person pay thousands of dollars to put up with that sort of crap?