This was our first cruise on Diamond Princess. We are veteran cruisers and chose this particular cruise for the itinerary it offered.
The ship is especially well laid out and has elegant decor. It is well maintained and the staff is very attentive. The Calypso Pool is an especially cheerful place - beautiful mosaics and dramatic lighting at night.
The food was exceptionally good in all venues. We liked the flexibility of Anytime Dining.
Cabin Great location - close to the atrium elevators. While Princess calls this a "fully obstructed view" many cruise lines would have called this a "partially obstructed view." We had a good view over the top of the lifeboat. (We could completely see the Sydney Opera House over the lifeboat.) I believe you would be able to see over the lifeboats from almost any of the cabins in this category on deck 8. We also had a small view down to the water, next to the lifeboat.
The cabin felt fairly roomy for its size, probably because there was only an armchair, not a settee or sofa. There was a flatscreen TV, about 36", a refrigerator, vanity with 3 small drawers and a desk chair. There was one long closet, about 7' of hanging space, which felt underutilized because it didn't have any shelf space (other than the shelf above the rod in the closet) that some other ships have. The shelves were in a separate closet, about two feet wide, and the safe (which used a keypad entry) occupied one of the shelves. The bathroom was typical in size and had a shower curtain (not doors).
We liked most of the ports. The towns of Airlie Beach, Port Douglas, and Darwin, Australia are somewhat similar. There is not a lot to do, especially in Airlie Beach, unless you want to go to the Barrier Reef, which we have already done in the past. Many shore excursions seemed overpriced. Taiwan was a disappointment. We took a shore excursion, but the guide's English skills were poor. The city itself seemed less prosperous than the other cities we visited. Busan, S. Korea was one of the prosperous cities. They have the second largest fish market in the world - really a sight to see! Busan goes out of its way to make cruise ships and passengers feel welcome. Shanghai was wonderful. We toured on our own without a problem. The metro is clean and easy to use, with signage in English. We rode the fastest train in the world, the maglev, from a metro station in Pudong to the airport and back just to experience it --well worth it. We shopped at an underground market at the Science and Technology Museum metro stop, then took the metro to the Bund. The buildings look like something you would expect in Brussels. The promenade along the river goes for many blocks and offers good views of both the Bund and Pudong with its world class skyscrapers and the Pearl Tower.
In Dalian, China we took a shore excursion from the ship that featured a visit to the home of a local family. That was one of the highlights of the whole trip. The cruise ended in Tianjin, China, the port for Beijing, about a 2 1/2 - 3 hour bus ride to Beijing.