This was my first cruise with Princess. I found the Diamond Princess to be a lovely, fairly large but friendly and well maintained, well operated vessel.
The staff are all friendly, always willing to help and very professional and thorough.
Our cabins were cleaned twice a day, morning and night. At night we would come home to our beds turned down, our cabin cleaned again and a chocolate on our pillows. The cabins are well arrange, comfortable and spacious enough. Plenty of storage for clothes etc.
On the downside, the air conditioning in our cabin was not working. I complained twice and both times someone came and inspected and left a note saying the issue was resolved but there was very little improvement. It was so hot and stuffy at night and unfortunately we did not have a balcony so could not open any windows. We both found it very hard to sleep(and breathe)because of the heat. I know it was not just me because in our group we had 3 cabins between us and ours was considerably hotter than the other 2. Also we were in single beds as I shared my room with my teenage son, I cant imagine how hot it would be if you were to shre a bed in this room. I was disappointed that this could not be rectified. Some of the nights were so cold (outside) but boiling hot in our room.
Food & Drink:
We opted for traditional dining as we were travelling in a group of 6 and we wanted to ensure we were all seated together for the main meal daily without any hassle. Our waiters were awesome and felt like family by the time the holiday had ended. My son turned 16 whilst on the cruise and on his birthday we decided to dine at Sabatinis - one of the specialty restaurants. The food was lovely and for the $20 per head fee well worth the experience. However - I felt the food was amazing everywhere on this boat. The restaurants had a well planned menu which changed daily with good variety. The waiters arranged a birthday cake on my sons birthday and bought it to our table in the restaurant and all gathered around to sing happy birthday(Also balloons and a big Happy Birthday were stuck on our door on his birthday so that was a nice touch I thought). We did not have a bad or disappointing meal throughout the entire cruise.
We bought the 2 teenage kids a drinks package each which cost around US$112 each. I think they got their moneys worth as they ordered alot of Mocktails and milk shakes throughout the 14 day cruise also they could order drinks for us too, as long you have only 1 drink at a time per card.
Kids Club: N/A
The kids did not make use of the kids club but hung out with us for the most part,worked out at the gym daily and there were also quite a few port days so that kept us all occupied. we did register them on embarkation day but they did not get around to going until day 6 and there was nothing happening when they went up so did not return.
Lido Deck - big Screen Movie Screen:
We all enjoyed watching movies on the big screen under the stars late at night or during the afternoon. The hot popcorn and hot chips were great on those cold (trans-tasman) nights (as were the blankets put out for us on the deck chairs). During the hot afternoons cookies and cool milk and soft serve icecreams were the go while watching movies. The Pizza's also were delicious and the icecreams were very welcome on those hot days (the grill, pizzeria and icecream parlor are available until about 11pm and are located in the the big movie screen area).
Spa & Gym:
I made use of the spa facilities a couple of times which were reasonably priced and very professional. Dr Clet was very informative and professional but also easy to talk to. I would highly recommend a consultation with her to arrange all your holiday tweeks she really goes the extra mile to ensure everything is perfect. the kids used the gym daily and found it to be sufficient. Also we attended seminars on healthy eating and life styles - very informative.
there were some fun things to do like card making, seminars, catholic mass (daily, ships tours, Bingo, movies and all the usual things). The scheduling was very poor. Events should have been staggered throughout the day as most things of interest were all programmed at 10am so you spend 1 hour doing something of interest then have to wait until 3pm for anything else to happen. Again often multiple things were scheduled at the same time at 3pm but you could only do 1.
The entertainment was OK but not as good as I have experienced on other lines. We enjoyed the resident 'Princess' singers and dancers on the nights they were performing. Most of the guest performers on at the main theatre during prime time were fairly average (save 2)
Straight forward and without hassle.
Excellent and very fast. We were scheduled to meet at our dedicated restaurant at 09:25am ready for the disembarkation procedure to begin. We were outside with our bags waiting for our cab by 09:40. Like most things on board it ran smoohtly like clockwork.
As is probably expected on cruises the professional photographs taken during the cruise were excellent. we had a dilema choosing just a couple to bring home. I feel they could have sold more if they had reduced prices for multiple purchases but there you go.
Did the Historic, Port Arthur tour wish was very long and quite tiring but well worth it. Very imformative and interesting and some really sad stories. There are alot of ruins but also some restored cell blocks
Our stop at Melbourne was too short. We all had to be back on board by 3pm so were very limited on what we could do while in port. We went shopping but found it to be quite pricey here.
Absolutely breath taking took heaps of photos but none could do justice to the ethereal beauty of the place.
Beautiful and the tour driver on the city tour we did was so informative. I have a whole new respect for this place. So much history and so many national and international firsts originating from this unique city. It was a fine day but still quite a cool wind out of town.
Did a private trip to Weta Workshop with a behind the scenes tour - well worth while if in Wellington. The shopping in Wellington is awesome highly recommended as everything is eaily accessible by foot (10-15minute walk from the port and all found in the city centre and (most importantly) cheaper than Melbourne.
Did not get off the boat here as we live in Auckland and have been many times. We preferred to savour our last day on the boat. Just a foot note - would have preferred to stop in Napier or Gisborne instead of Tauranga - for that very same reason. I spoke to a number of other passengers who were from NZ and 80% of them lived either in Auckland or Tauranga (BOP)so felt that Tauranga was not so desirable. We all would rather see somewhere that is at least 7 hours drive away from our usual home.
It was a wonderful and stress free Christmas and I would highly recommend doing a Christmas Cruise. I wondered if it would feel like Christmas on board but it was just lovely and very Christmas-sy. There were Christmas carols and a gingerbread house competition Christmas eve. A Catholic mass on Christmas eve and Christmas day and also a mixed denominational service on Christmas day led by the Captain. There were also religious gatherings for the Jewish community.
We spent Christmas day cruising the Marlborough Sounds which was beautiful and it was a clear hot day as well. The weather was a mixed bag for the the main part. Melbourne was hot, Hobart was cold. It was very cold during the crossing to NZ but once we got to Milford it was a glorious and hot day. Dunedin was cooler as was Akaroa. Wellington was very hot as was Marlborough but it was rough and foggy during the crossing between the 2. Tauranga was average warm but not too sunny and Auckland was drab but humid.
Would I travel with Princess again - Definately!... and as I mentioned earlier, I would definately take a Christmas cruise again.