Just got back from the 16 day Diamond Princess cruise originating in Singapore and terminating in Beijing. Overall I was very pleased with the itinerary and ship.
Our embarkation in Singapore went off smoothly though an indication of issues later on. It seems that the Diamond is a large ship for this part of the world and due to its size is limited in direct access to numerous ports. The implication is that it has to dock in commercial ports in sevral countries and then yu get bused to the primary city of interest. So in Singapore the ship docked in the commercial port and we boarded buses at the Marina Bay Sands Convention Center to be transported to the ship. This went off pretty smoothly though once we reached the ship there were lines to board. Luckily the rain shower had just passed so no big deal.
The ship though showing some age was well maintained. There is no reason why railings in elivators and in some of the stairways should be peeling but they were. I think this might be due to the sanitizing being sone due to outbreaks of the noro virus.
For regular Princess cruisers no big surprises, you know what to expect as far as the ship goes. Horizon court is a madhouse when everyong is trying to get out first thing in the moring. Tendering is a real issue with a ship this size but luckily there was only one tender port. First show in the Theater is pretty much packed. It seems that the number of production shows is decreasing but the ones that they do were fine. The Explorer Lounge was able to absorb some by offering some music and comedy in parallel with the Theater times which we found to be nice. Food was okay but again seems to be decreasing in quality in the main dining rooms. We do Anytime dining and we loved it. It is a great way to meet a number of different people and very flexible. We only had to rally wait once for a table.
This cruise offered a great variety of ports which was why we selected it. It met all of our expectations. The only dilema with ports is a very long commute into Bangkok and Ho Chi Minh City of over 2 hours each way. This is due to the size of the ship and perhaps a reason some people would choose a smaller ship. Shanghai and Hong Kong were both about 45 minutes each way which though not intolerable pretty much limited you to getting off the ship and staying off for the entire day. The Busan prt stay was really too small only until 2pm which limits your abilty to see very much.
So if you like the services of a large ship don't hesitate to take this cruise though if you like the idea of docking nearer some cities try a smaller ship.