Diamond Princess Cruise Review by Bisbee16: An exciting itinerary and a great way to travel
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An exciting itinerary and a great way to travel
This is a beautiful ship with superb staff. Princess is known for the friendliness of their crew. Almost unfailingly one is greeted, apparently sincerely or a good show of the same, with a smile and a warm greeting. We have sailed on Carnival, Disney, Norwegian, and RCI and have not encountered this on another cruiseline. Mark, the cabin steward for L201, was exceptional in his service and approachability. He must have had eyes in the back of his head because he would time his cabin service for the time that people were out of the cabin even if it was only for a short time. He knew everyone's names and schedules within days of the cruise starting so he could plan his service. Thanks, Mark!
The dining on this cruise was good or very good at times but not excellent. We tired of the long dinners with too fancy food selections and sometimes opted for the buffet or the other more relaxed dining venues.
It is true that the ship is too large to dock in the cities so be More prepared to go on long bus rides at almost every port. The bus rides can be as long as 2 hours each way which makes for a very long day. By the end of this cruise we were so tired of these long bus rides day after day that we decided to visit the closest city that Princess bused people to from the port. This was Laem Chabang. Many of our fellow passengers did opt for the long bus trip to Bangkok but we were happy with our choice just to go on land.
We went to the CuChi tunnels in Viet Nam. This is a sobering experience. One has the opportunity to enter a small tunnel typical of those used by the Vietnamese during the war. The wood platform and grass are put into place once one is in the tunnel and it is completely dark. Not for those timid of enclosed spaces! We did enter the Americanized (larger) tunnel and thankfully this wasn't too long but gave us an opportunity to experience being underground. Examples of booby traps for soldiers are demonstrated also and this is heart wrenching. All in all this excursion was well worth it but distressing to know what our soldiers went through during the war.
Princess employs an enrichment speaker (named Hutch) who talks about the history, culture, and sightseeing at the various ports. These are wonderful.
Princess also had a wide variety of activities and experiences onboard during sea days. There are a number of Aussies who typically take these cruises and they are really fun.
We love Princess and would happily travel again with them. Less
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Cabin review: BAL201 Balcony
L201 is a great location. This cabin is at the end of the hallway, with a crew entrance for officers next to this cabin. Because of this location it is very quiet with minimal foot traffic outside the door. The bridge area extends out on both sides of the ship and somewhat obstructs the view from this balcony but it is fun to sit on the balcony and wave to the officers who are surveying the area with their binoculars or observing the tie-ups.
Port and Shore Excursions
Stanley Market has some terrific buys and it is too bad that the tour did not allow us enough time here (but in Princess' defense we HAD selected a tour that included multiple stops). The tour included Victoria Peak which had panoramic views of the city.
The approach to the port involves sailing under a bridge which was great fun. The sail away from this port at night while a laser light show plays is spectacular!! Don't miss either of these experiences.
Hong Kong is an interesting mix of the old and the new. Almost everywhere there are high rise apartment buildings and some are designed around including a large hole that is many stories high within the building. This allows the dragons to fly from the mountains behind the high rise and brings the occupants good luck (or avoids bad luck depending on which version one hears). The architecture in this city is beautiful.
Be prepared to be fingerprinted and having your picture taken as you go ashore as this is standard practice at Japanese ports. We took the excursion that went to the Peace Park and to ground zero where the "Fat Man" atomic bomb was dropped in August 1945. It is no wonder sometimes that Americans are seen as insensitive: we saw 2 Americans (judging by their baseball caps, other clothing and appearance) eating ice cream cones and having their photo taken as they smiled while standing in front of a statue of a mother holding her dead baby.