Diamond Princess Cruise Review by ggtirevite: Another great Princess cruise (2nd)
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Another great Princess cruise (2nd)
We stayed on the first half of this cruise, which was continuing on to Tokyo (oh, would vacation time not be so limited ...)
Second cruise on Princess in 6 months and we were not disappointed. The first one wasn't a fluke, Princess is definitely the best cruise line we've been on. This was the 'maiden' voyage of the ship after a refurbish in port, so a few kinks were being worked out, including the TV reception. But they had added on demand movies to be selected from inside the room, and for the moment, they were free (and recent).
Food once again was very good, considering that it's like hotel food, not gourmet. We did 'anytime dining' and it was easy to get reservations, or just walk in. Staff was very courteous, everywhere except at breakfast, where a lot of the staff we encountered seemed overwhelmed, ignoring passengers, not smiling or greeting. The seafood in particular was never overcooked. Good selections at the buffets for breakfast and lunch when we were at More sea.
We had a great experience at the Italian restaurant ($25), but the splurge was doing the captain's table on the last night before we disembarked. We were treated like kings with 4 other couples. The Head Maitre D (Jose) and the Executive Chef took us through the galley for 4 fantastic bite sized appetizers with Champagne, and we had a peek at the kitchen operations. We were then whisked to a corner table in the International Dining room where we had Lobster and Filets dinner, paired with wines, fantastic desert, a group and individual pictures, as well as a Princess cookbook autographed by our hosts. At each course, the Chef would come back to our table to present, explain preparations and answer questions. This was $95/person, and we would absolutely do this again (two of the 5 couples had already done it once). If this sounds interesting, please book early (we saw the 'ad' in the newsletter, the Patter, the first day and we signed up right away with dining reservations; we were told that we would hear back if we made it or not). According to Jose, we were 'selected' among 38 people who asked (not sure how that selection went, but were happy to be 'in').
We also attended a 'premium' wine tasting in one of the dining rooms, where Jose, and the maitre D's of each of the main dining venues each presented a wine. There was a French Champagne, Chablis Premier Cru, an Australian Chardonnay, a Priorat from Spain, and the Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon Private Reserve (a treat). $30/person, a lot of fun, if it were not for a table of Russians next to us, who clearly didn't understand english and were preventing the rest of us from hearing the stories and explanations from the dining staff. It would have been nice for the dining team to just reseat them a little further from the rest of us. A few people tried to complain, but to no avail. Some people at our table were clearly upset.
We did one excursion to Hue in Vietnam, which was memorable, seeing the Citadel, a pagoda, etc. Great guide.
The entertainment is targeted for people 15 years older, so a bit 'blah'. We tried the casino, a bit small, but then again, we're not gamblers ...
We love Princess, and will surely be back for another one, maybe Alaska next ... Less
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Cabin review: Diamond Princess D224
Great mini-suite cabin on the forward side, left (sorry, can never remember if that's port or starboard). Not terribly sure about the distinction between AA, AB, etc, so I picked the first one. Lots of space, two new flat screen TVs (one facing the bed, the other facing the couch). The biggest bathroom i've seen, included a tub. And (discovery of discoveries), one of these toilets with bidet and remote control. WOW! Best cabin ever, very comfortable. Also, we were right next door (diagonal) with the guest laundry room, with 4 ironing boards, and washing machines, driers, etc. Very convenient for a quick press before dinner.