we had a lovely time on board the Diamond Princess from Sydney to Melbourne and Tasmania. this was our third cruise and our second cruise with Princess.
our departure time from Sydney was 8.00 pm and embarkation was listed as between 2.00 - 7.00 pm.
we arrived at circular quay at 1.55 pm and decided to check out the queues at luggage drop-off and embarkation. there were no queues at either so we dropped our bags off at 2.00 pm and by 2.15 pm we were on board the Diamond Princess.
our inside stateroom on Baja deck was surprisingly spacious. there was a wardrobe area in front of the bathroom. at the end of a short corridor was a safe and 4 shelves hidden behind a full length mirror. opposite the door to the bathroom, there was a 2 metre length of hanging space (plenty of hangers). this wardrobe area separated the bathroom from the bed area of the stateroom. the bed area was approximately 3.2 x 4 metres in area.....bigger than the stateroom on the Sun Princess and the Rhapsody of the Seas.
the Diamond Princess was well kept and nicely decorated. there were many public spaces for the passengers including a library, an atrium, a writing area, an explorers lounge, a wheelhouse bar etc.
we've always liked the food on the Princess ships and the Diamond food was excellent. the bread rolls at dinner are made from scratch and were always soft and delicious. the desserts were not too sweet (and much too tempting for us)...whether at Horizon Court or in the dining rooms.
we had chosen to have traditional dining but decided to change to anytime dining by the time we boarded the ship. this change was easily done by going to Sabatini's dining room that first afternoon and notifying the staff of our wish to change our dining option. with the anytime dining option we could dine at Santa Fe (anytime), Pacific Moon (anytime) or Vivaldi (after 8.15 pm). this flexibility was appreciated especially towards the later part of the cruise when there were too many activities on in the evenings. we had the option of dining with others (shared table) or by ourselves. we met many interesting people during our meals on board.
the cruise director on this cruise was Kelvin Joy. he is a funny, easy going person. he and his crew of 7 staff members certainly provided a full schedule of activities for the passengers.
we took part in line dancing, zumba, pop-up choir, movies under the stars, live stage shows, trivia contests, movies in the Princess theatre, port talks, dance parties in various venues on the ship, dancing at skywalkers lounge.......so much to do and no time to be bored!!
the Diamond Princess is a big ship which helped us to burn up the calories we consumed at meal times. walking those long corridors to get from aft to forward, going up and down those stairs, dancing, going to the gym ....all these helped us to keep our weight steady during the cruise.
although there were over 2500 passengers (and 1200 crew) on board, we generally did not feel the ship to be overcrowded. the only times we felt the large numbers were busy times at the Horizon court buffet, pre-shows at the Princess theatre and waiting to board the tenders back to the ship.
our ports of call were Melbourne, Hobart and Port Arthur.
Melbourne started out warm and sunny and quickly changed to cold and raining. this had us quickly going back to the warmth and comfort of the ship.
Hobart was quiet (Sunday) and we enjoyed our walk around Salamanca Place, the nearby parks and the charming houses in Battery Point.
Port Arthur was very interesting and the history of the area was well set out and displayed. well worth visiting.
disembarkation at Sydney was smooth and easy.
we had a relaxing and enjoyable holiday on the Diamond Princess.
we like the Princess cruise ships and will definitely be cruising with them again.