This was our tenth Alaska cruise. We have cruised with four different lines and this was our third with Princess. You must understand that we cruise Alaska for the scenery and the wildlife, not for the food or entertainment. And one thing we have learned is that captains and naturalists do matter. The captain on the Diamond Princess is as good as we have ever had at sea. He personally spotted brown bears and mountain goats in Glacier Bay and knew just how to get the most out of the glacier viewing. You can just tell if a captain really loves Alaska and this captain does. The naturalist was, likewise, wonderful. He inspired us with his sense of wonder at what he was showing us, and he knew his stuff.
I know those things don't matter to those who cruise to enjoy the great indoors inside a ship. That is not us, and I don't understand why anyone would go to Alaska just for a ship.
But what of the ship? It was better than average, though not the best afloat. The food was satisfactory. Service in the restaurants did not measure up to some other ships and stateroom service was thorough and responsive.
The entertainment, though, was mediocre. Thank goodnes for the scenes on the outside. The band was excellent, but two of the four singers struggled to stay on key and the production shows were high school drama department quality. There was one great entertainer--comedian "Sarge." If you are ever on a ship that features him, don't miss him!
For new cruisers, it's important to be realistic. The Alaska experience hinges somewhat on the weather> Fortunately for us the weather was excellent> We had the most whale sightings we have ever had and saw a number of bears and other wildlife>
Would I recommend the Diamond Princess? In a heartbeat! Take it from an old Alaska cruise veteran: you could do a lot worse than this ship and this itinerary!