My wife and I stayed on board for 2 cruises; these were our 14th and 15th cruises, our 4th and 5th cruises with Princess, but the first two on Diamond Princess.
It was very clean and had a relaxed atmosphere, 1,600 passengers on the first cruise and 2,600 on the second cruise, on the second cruise most of the passengers appeared to be Japanese.
Appeared to be very well trained and managed to keep smiling 99.99 percent of the time.
We had a balcony cabin B735, we both thought the cabin was in a good position, fairly quiet because it was at the back of the boat away from the lifts and had cabins above and below it. The cabin steward Tavorn from Thailand kept the cabin very clean and tidy and however busy he was always managed to smile and to say hello.
The Princess web site appear to show that ‘Anytime Dining’ is available on Diamond Princess, this is not the case, on both these Japanese cruises it was not available. However we fell lucky and we were given a table for two, 2nd sitting, Pacific Moon dining room. We were served by two brilliant Pilipino waiters Gary and Adonis; they were warm, welcoming and professional, in fact so good at their jobs we ate in the Pacific Moon for all 18 nights. The food was good but the portions rather on the small side, but the very obliging waiters would bring any extras we fancied.
There was a good classical pianist and a fairly good illusionist, but the rest we would say were just middle of the road
We had pre booked shore excursions for every port and were rather disappointed with Princess’s administration, a few days before sailing they cancelled one of our excursions, they did not bother to actually tell us but sent us an emailed statement of our excursions, it was only by chance that we noticed one was missing from the statement. We emailed Princess twice asking why the excursion had been cancelled but they did not have the courteously to reply. When we enquired on board why the excursion had been cancelled the Shore Excursion department were unable to answer, but give us the email address of someone we could ask. We observed that the same excursion was still been offered but guided Japanese not English. The shore excursions could have been organised a little better. If five coaches were doing the same excursion, they would go to the same site at the same time as the other coaches rather than staggering the time at the sites, one of the local guides told us the Japanese always like doing everything together, and we believe that it is possible that the shore excursion timings were arranged by the Japanese tour operators rather than Princess .
On the morning of disembarkation passengers should have had their final account sent to their cabin during the night. Ours failed to arrive, so phoned passenger services and was told there could print one off if I came down to the reception desk. This I did, there was a long queue and when we got to the front and received our statement there was no explanation or apology as to why it had not been delivered to our cabin.
Princess booked us on an 11.15 AM return fight to the UK, we nearly missed it, the ship docked before 6 AM but we were unable to disembark until 7.25 AM because the local authorities had not given the ship clearance until that time. We boarded the Princess Airport transfer coach at 7.45 AM and sat there until 8.10 AM, the coach only left after some of the passengers started to grumble that they were going to miss their flights. The lady in charge of getting the passengers on the coach told the passengers that she had instructed the driver to go straight to the Virgin Atlantic check-in area at Narita airport. When we arrived at Narita the coach driver dropped all the passengers off at the wrong end of the airport, entirely the opposite end to Virgin Atlantic. A very helpful young lady (not sure if she worked for the airport or Princess) kindly jogged all the way with us to the Virgin Atlantic check-in desk, we made it a few minutes before the flight closed. Without this young lady’s help we would have missed the flight.
Two 9 day, back to back Princess Cruises are a very good way to see Japan at a reasonable price and overall we believe the cruises represented good value for money.