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14 Princess Kobe Cruise Reviews

We chose this cruise because we wanted to see more of Japan. There's six of us in the group (3 couples). We we like cruising (especially with Princess) and the timing fitted our schedule and the itineraries are excellent. We did a ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we wanted to see more of Japan. There's six of us in the group (3 couples). We we like cruising (especially with Princess) and the timing fitted our schedule and the itineraries are excellent. We did a 2-days pre-cruise tour of Osaka and Kyoto. The beginning the Japan walkathon we have to do. On 6/20, we boarded Diamond Princess at Kobe Port and the embarkation went on smoothly. Our cabin C507 (Mid-Aft) is perfect choice because we have to spent so many days to spend ashore. Our queen size bed is very comfortable and smell fresh. We chose the 5:30 pm dining at Vivaldi Restaurant which has a perfect location, closer to the lobby of the cruise ship. The services provided by the servers are excellent. They remember our tea and water preferences throughout the duration of the cruise. We love the food selection and the Bento Japanese Box for breakfast. This is quite an experienced, because this is the first time we have this type of meal. Until the end of the cruise we had this food every morning (with variety of fish each time). The live entertainment are awesome. You will never get tired watching Princess singers and dancers. There's variety of shows every night; magic, comedy, opera singers, band, etc. If you love to dance, there's ballroom and disco band to go to . During At Sea Days, we did Zumba, line dancing and participated at some games held at the Piazza. You can also watch Fruit & Ice Carving. Lots of things to do and see. Room Steward will clean your room twice a day. You never want to leave Diamond Princess. But everything has an end. Our disembarkation went very smoothly. By the time we get to the waiting area, our color coded schedule has been called. We love Princess so much, we put a deposit for our next cruise. Once you put a deposit towards the cruise, you will receive an on-board credit automatically. Since we love cruising with Princess, we had two cruises to come. We could hardly wait for our next cruise and shore excursions adventures! Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
We chose this itinerary for our first trip to Japan, and the timing worked with school vacation. We traveled as two families, with 2 teenage girls. We spent 14 days on the Diamond, with two back to back 7 day cruises originating in Kobe. ... Read More
We chose this itinerary for our first trip to Japan, and the timing worked with school vacation. We traveled as two families, with 2 teenage girls. We spent 14 days on the Diamond, with two back to back 7 day cruises originating in Kobe. We spent 3 days in Tokyo pre-cruise, and then flew to KIX with a Princess shuttle to the port. The timing was perfect, and we did not have to wait long to board. Free WiFi seems to be in all the ports in Japan, if you want to save money on internet charges. We did purchase the Princess premium package, and the internet was better than previous cruises, but still slow at times with some trouble logging in particularly when in ports. Our first cruise was 1,500 Non Japanese, 1,100 Japanese and the second week was 2,500 Japanese and 300 Non Japanese. The Movies Under the Stars, some shows and the menu repeated on the two weeks. I would have liked a different menu, but didn't mind the rest. We ate at 7:45 PM which allowed time to relax after a day in port, but didn't allow much time for shows, and rain made a movie in the cabin more attractive (the new TV's give you a lot of choices). The ability to sing and dance with the Japanese guests was tremendous, and we enjoyed our ability to interact (despite language barriers) with them. Activities offered for learning more about Japanese culture were numerous, and trivia was usually in both languages. Meals in the dining room were OK, our wait staff was so kind and entertaining that we ate there even when the menu was not the attraction. Our teens did not attend the teen club after finding out there were only 47 teenagers 13 - 17 signed up, with only 6 who were 17. The teens spent time on various activities and in the gym which was less crowded than other cruises. The ports are mostly far from the attractions and cities, so a taxi or shuttle are necessary if you are not on a tour. Princess does offer a shuttle bus for around $15 at most ports. We did not know this, and so signed up for a mix of Princess and private excursions pre-cruise. Japan is easy to navigate, and on a future trip I might do more on my own. In Summary, we would cruise Japan again, either in the North or perhaps for the summer Festival cruise. We enjoyed the staff on the Diamond, and would have no hesitation returning. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
We chose this cruise because we wanted to see more of Japan, we like cruising (especially with Princess) and the timing fitted our schedule. Spent a week in Shinjuku before we boarded, so had re-acclimatised to Japanese food and ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we wanted to see more of Japan, we like cruising (especially with Princess) and the timing fitted our schedule. Spent a week in Shinjuku before we boarded, so had re-acclimatised to Japanese food and culture before we arrived to board the Diamond Princess. We were in our stateroom within 30 minutes of arriving at the dock. Everything was clean, ordered and minor changes we asked of our Room Steward were done without question or fuss, while we were at lunch. Because we had done our research we knew that we had signed up for two, seven day cruises, beginning at Kobe, stopping again at Kobe mid way and disembarking again at Kobe but with a different itinerary of ports for each week. The Diamond Princess has been based in Japan for the season, so we knew that the cruise would cater mainly for the Japanese market and so expected that the majority of the passengers would be Japanese and that was the case. Of 2800 passengers, some 1500 were Japanese, about 800 were from the US and Canada and about 500 from Australia and elsewhere. Announcements were made first in English, then in Japanese. Written correspondence was available in both languages. Evening shows and entertainment were in English. We had four ports the first week, including Taipei in Taiwan and then back to Kobe for a day and five ports the second week which included Busan in South Korea. We did our own thing in half the ports, working out where we wanted to go and what we wanted to see and then doing it. The Princess excursions were expensive, but well organised and guided. We were glad of a sea day as our final day, just to rest up a bit before we disembarked. The dinner menu in the dinning rooms catered for both Japanese and western tastes with enough variety for all but the unadventurous or very fussy. Serves are small, but we always go to late sitting (7:45pm) and when you're sitting down to a five course meal with wine and good conversation, you don't need huge plates of food. Our table waiters were excellent, bringing extras to the table when we asked and with their recommendations of dishes and wine. Horizon Court is what it is . . a buffet, catering for a multitude of tastes. The quality of the food is of a good standard again catering to both Japanese and western passengers. We went to the Sterling Steak House for one dinner. The restaurant is set up in a partitioned off section of the Horizon Court but it's well done. The tables are set and the waiting staff are of the same caliber as you would expect in a restaurant. The meal was excellent and well worth the cover charge. All in all a great three weeks away and another enjoyable Princess Cruise. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
This cruise gave us the opportunity to see parts of Japan we hadn’t visited. The break down of passengers would have been approx. 80% Japanese, as expected with 20% from many other nationalities. We found the cruise interesting, ... Read More
This cruise gave us the opportunity to see parts of Japan we hadn’t visited. The break down of passengers would have been approx. 80% Japanese, as expected with 20% from many other nationalities. We found the cruise interesting, entertaining and a lot of fun. We do not speak Japanese and communication was not a challenge, just a lot of fun getting to know the people and their manner. Politeness was always at the forefront. We Had close contact with a number of Japanese folk, lunch with a group of 4women we met on a tour, and elderly couple who spoke some English and many others during the days/nights. The shops on board were as good or better than anything we have seen previously and I give the singers and dancers a 10 out of 10. Public rooms as always were very clean tidy and well presented. STAFF also as always were there to help with a smile and some great conversation. 10/10 for Staff/Crew. The ship, Diamond Princess was like a new ship in appearance and facilities. We did have, in our section a few toilet blockages (due to,lack of care by a passenger) whoever these were attended to immediately and cleared. Other than that the cruise was close to perfect. The weather, although often overcast was warm to hot and overall good throughout our 12 days onboard. Our Captain was friendly, very informative and a man who obviously enjoyed his job. He spoke with a degree of passion about his ship and crew and made everyone feel like part of his family. We couldn’t have asked for a better cruise and would recommend this to anyone interested in history and culture to take a similar cruise. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
Our second time on the Diamond and an even better experience than two years ago. There was a real feeling of friendliness, generated by the whole crew, that made the sailing experience exceptional. Whoever is in charge is doing a great ... Read More
Our second time on the Diamond and an even better experience than two years ago. There was a real feeling of friendliness, generated by the whole crew, that made the sailing experience exceptional. Whoever is in charge is doing a great job and is fortunate to have an exceptional crew Embarkation was quick and efficient. Loved the sake barrel tradition before the sail away and the large numbers of Japanese passengers on both the cruises made them the trip even more interesting and informative. Our cabin was a standard balcony looked after by Arnold, who was first class in all respects: we've never had a bad Steward but Arnold was one of the very best. We dined in the Vivaldi restaurant every evening. The food varied from good to excellent, although having a couple of repeat menus on a 12 night cruise was a little disappointing. Our waiters, Marlou and Jefforine were simply wonderful, they took time and care and were always cheerful and positive. Although they were efficient they went about their business in a relaxed, friendly manner and appeared to be genuinely happy to talk to us. Without doubt they enhanced the whole dining experience. Everything worked well, we arrived at our ports on time and enjoyed most of our stops. The on board destination expert gave us useful and relevant information that enabled us to travel independently in most instances. We will use Princess again Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
To start we only did the first 7 days of the itinerary listed above. We started in Kobe then went to Kochi, Hiroshima, Beppu, Kagoshima, and Busan. We initially chose this cruise because it went to Hiroshima which is a port we wanted to go ... Read More
To start we only did the first 7 days of the itinerary listed above. We started in Kobe then went to Kochi, Hiroshima, Beppu, Kagoshima, and Busan. We initially chose this cruise because it went to Hiroshima which is a port we wanted to go to, but the port that I loved most was Busan. It was such an amazing city and there was even a port festival going on while we were in port and it included fireworks. What a special surprise! We had a mini suite which allowed us to spread out in our cabin, but I'm not sure it was worth the upgrade amount that we paid. One great thing that I loved was that there were so many movies that were available in the stateroom on-demand. They were completely free and there was a great selection. Overall the ship was largely the same as other princess ships I have been on and the food was the same, although there were great Asian touches in food and entertainment that catered to Japanese tastes. Overall this was a great introduction to a part of Japan and South Korea that I have never been to before. It makes me want to go back and explore more. The only downside was that there was only 1 sea day. I usually like a number of sea days so that I can use the amenities offered on the ship and can relax without feeling like I'm missing out on anything on shore. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Great cruise and Itinerary The only thing different about this cruise from other Princess cruises is that the portion size for dinner is smaller than what you are used to. We were warned about this from our waiter. No worries however, ... Read More
Great cruise and Itinerary The only thing different about this cruise from other Princess cruises is that the portion size for dinner is smaller than what you are used to. We were warned about this from our waiter. No worries however, because if you are still hungry they will bring out another serving.! The only problem we encountered is that the tv in the room kept freezing while watching movies at night. This was a little frustrating. The entertainment was okay. Not the best but not the worst. If you like the casino, it was closed for most of the cruise. Japan does not allow gambling while in their waters. The excursions offered on the ship were nice and the tour guides spoke English very well. There was a lot of walking involved and a lot of stair climbing. I suggest getting in shape prior to travel.If you want to see Japan, this is the way to go. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
We chose this cruise because we had never been to Japan or the Ryukyu Islands before. Husband and I flew from Perth, Western Australia to Osaka (KIX) via Singapore and were picked up by Diamond Princess shuttle bus for transport from ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we had never been to Japan or the Ryukyu Islands before. Husband and I flew from Perth, Western Australia to Osaka (KIX) via Singapore and were picked up by Diamond Princess shuttle bus for transport from airport to ship docked at Kobe. The Terminal at Kobe was very crowded when we got there but embarkation was quick and efficient with lots of staff on hand. We were delighted with our Deck 11 Ocean View deluxe cabin overlooking the bow. We only expected a window but instead had full length double glass doors with access to a little balcony that overlooked the bow of the ship, just under the bridge. Access to the balcony was limited to when the ship was in port, our room steward locked it when ship was at sea but we made good use of it during port days especially when the ship sailed in the late afternoon when we would go out on the balcony and experience her heading out of port. Only downside was this cabin was a long walk from the nearest lift and a long trek to the stern of the ship where the Horizon Court dining room is. But worth it. We went to the late session (7.45pm) Fine dining every night and found the menu and service excellent with a mainly Western cuisine plus favorite International dishes on offer plus a side menu of Japanese dishes. Good wine list. There were 3 formal nights during the 14 day cruise and we were delighted to see some of the Japanese ladies in their Kimono's. Passengers were a mix of Japanese, European, American, Canadian, British and Australian. Over 50% were Japanese but they kept mainly to themselves and family groups, those we did come into contact with were extremely polite and accommodating. Lots of different dining rooms on ship, some with surcharge. We did not go to any of these, food in dining room was superb and Horizon Court offered huge choice of Western & International dishes with 'make your own' Sushi bar and Noodle bar on the side. Crew all spoke English, and all the Shows in Princess Theatre were in English. Any films shown had Japanese sub-titles. New show in the Princess Theatre every night for a 7 days, one at 7.45 and repeat at 9.45pm with some brilliant artists. Unfortunately the shows were repeated the following week, Lots of entertainers in the bars and lounges with plenty to choose from. Not many enrichment talks unfortunately, port information all on cabin TV and sadly our TV did not work some of the time (due to dodgy Internet reception) Plenty of Japanese based activities such as how to do Origami or wear a Kimono etc during day time. Jewellery store, Watch store, designer handbags, Perfume and Make-up all duty free, plus small store selling essentials, souvenirs, tee shirts etc. All in US dollars. All power points on board took American 2 pin plugs so take an adaptor that fits your device. Ship called into Okinawa, Ishigaki, Keelung (Taiwan), Kobe, cruised the Sea of Japan, Busan (South Korea) Nagasaki, Aburatsu, Kochi and Tokusima. We did 5 shore excursions with Princess. Would have liked to have done more but found the cost excessive. Ship docked at all the ports except Ishigaki where tenders had to be used to ferry passengers ashore and delays occurred because of a high swell and strong winds. Disembarking at the other ports was quick and easy and ship provided buses for those who did not go on a tour to transfer passengers into town. There were also markets set up by the locals on the dockside in every port, plus free WiFi. The tours we did all had English speaking guides who were fun and obviously enjoyed their jobs. Best tour (and most expensive) was from Nagasaki to Arita (porcelain factories) Highly recommend this one, scenery was breathtaking, a rare look at rural Japan and Arita a picturesque old Japanese town dating back to 1600. No temples or castles on this tour. Shopping in Japan is a delight and the Japanese handicrafts are exquisite but be warned, they are NOT cheap. HINT.... Make a list of the value of each Yen bank note in your own currency as they have 10,000 - 5,000 - 1,000 bank notes plus 500, 100, 50 and 10 Yen coins.(10,000 and 1,000 notes easy to mix up as they look alike) Lots of vending machines selling cold bottled water and flavored drinks on shore costing about 120 to 150 Yen. Have coins on hand. Best to change your currency to Yen at a bank or money changer before you get to Japan. Exchange rates on ship not good and not as easy to find a money changer in Japan as it is in Indonesia, Singapore or Malaysia. Some shops will change money for you but rates are not good. I changed all my money into Yen & currency for Taiwan & Busan at Changi Airport on the way to Osaka. Disembarkation in Kobe at the end of the cruise was quick and very efficient. We did an Disembark tour to Osaka Castle and bus dropped us off at airport at 2pm. Anyone who did not enjoy this cruise must be a grump, but unfortunately there are always passengers on these cruises that spoil it for others such as those who do not return to the ship or tour bus on time and create delays. Diamond Princess was in top notch condition proudly displaying her new logo on the bow. Crew did everything they could to please and help passengers, great food, good company, new places to visit on a floating palace, what more could you want? This is our 4th cruise with Princess and Yes we will go again and again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
Choose because friends were celebrating anniversary and wanted this itinerary. Did not care for the cruise. Ports were ok but heat hard to take. Food in main dining room mediocre , tasteless with limited choices. In buffet if you wanted ... Read More
Choose because friends were celebrating anniversary and wanted this itinerary. Did not care for the cruise. Ports were ok but heat hard to take. Food in main dining room mediocre , tasteless with limited choices. In buffet if you wanted smoked Salmon had to request and the they had to goto deck 5 tog get it. Shrimp cocktails or simple Caesar salad was by special request to your. Our cabin b627 was small bathroom very small and shower with showere curtain little room. No toiletries were provided other then showere gel and shower gel shampoo. Hard to get shampoo out and onto hand. Refrigerator in room empty so you could not get a drink, I realize you would have to pay but not given the option. Cabin Stewart was very good. The shows were good except that three were repeats and since many w ere back to back there should have been new programs. Especially Ike's tiki Dave alone and with hie wife. The repeat show was when he appeared solo. The other repeat was the dance duo. Bravo was excellent also had several repeated numbers but second a how added the violonist. He was great. The cruise the director was just there. The Japanese interpreter was better and I don't speak Japanese. On the pool deck there was no service, no towels placed on chairs no one coming around to see if you wanted a drink. It was completely sef serve. Also. Missed the small newspaper that gives you a roundup of major news events world wide. When getting off the ship in first ports water was not available for purchase and it was very hot. A plus was the Japanese style bath in the spa area. All did not enjoy this cruise and would not sail princess again. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
This was my 25th Princess cruise and 1st one to Asia. This time I was traveling solo. I booked a 2 night pre-cruise package in Osaka. The flight on Cathay Pacific through Honk Kong was uneventful. Japanese emigration was quick and my ... Read More
This was my 25th Princess cruise and 1st one to Asia. This time I was traveling solo. I booked a 2 night pre-cruise package in Osaka. The flight on Cathay Pacific through Honk Kong was uneventful. Japanese emigration was quick and my driver was waiting for me. The drive to the Imperial Hotel was about 1/2 hr. My room was ready so I freshened up and at 2:00pm went to explore the Osaka Castle. The next day I had breakfast at the hotel and used the free shuttle to get to Osaka train station and explore Osaka. The following day at 11:30am we all met in the lobby to travel to Kobe for embarkation. The drive was about 1hr with no traffic issues. I was in my balcony cabin (free upgrade) at 1:30pm. Most of the passengers were Asian with many Australians and few Americans and Canadians. All of the activities on the ship were conducted in English and Japanese. I attempted to try couple of Japanese themed activities like furoshiki gift wrapping and origami lessons but gave up since everything took so long and became confusing with many people speaking different languages. There was no port lecturer on this ship. Each port had a short 2-3 minute video that could be played on the tv in the cabin. There were no lectures on Japanese culture or history. I took all Princess excursion and they were excellent. The Japanese tour guides were outstanding, easy to understand and very eager to tell us everything about their country. That made up some for not having a port lecturer on board. Our Busan, Korea guide was not so good as he spent most of the time talking to the driver. In all of the ports (except for Korsakov, Russia) there were shuttles or local buses to take passengers into town. The ports were very industrial with nothing of interest within walking distance. If one just wanted to wonder around town, there was no need for an excursion. I did not have an excursion in Hakodate and Otaru. I took the shuttle to train station in Hakodate and walked to the Hakodate Ropeway for a fantastic view from the top of the mountain. In Otaru I walked to the canal area and the main shopping street. In Korsakov I joined a Princess walking tour. They used local school buses to transport us to several points of interest where local college students acted as guides. We were not allowed to wonder around on our own. The tour ended at a culture hall with a very nice folkloric dance and song performance. We could take pictures with the performers afterwards. There were locals there selling food, souvenirs and handicrafts. They accepted US $, Yen and Rubles. In two ports where we left late in the evening, local folk groups came onboard to perform for us Japanese songs and dances. I my opinion the entertainment on this ship was above average. There was a Jamaican singer Monique that currently lives in Japan, that was excellent. Both of her shows were standing room only. In general one had to get to the theater at least 30 minutes before the show to get a good seat. Disembarkation was very smooth as I had a Tokyo tour booked since my flight did not leave until 5:30pm. Flight to Chicago was again uneventful. For the 1st time I used the new Immigration kiosk at ORD but there was still a line to see an officer face-to-face. I was a great cruise and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who would like to visit Japan for the 1st time. I am thinking of booking another japan cruise for 2017 - this one goes to other southern Japan ports and Taiwan. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
After being on over 30 cruises, this had to be in the top 2-3. It started off really bad when Princess didn't have any shuttle service at the airport with around 80 people there wondering what to do now. Somehow, someone procured ... Read More
After being on over 30 cruises, this had to be in the top 2-3. It started off really bad when Princess didn't have any shuttle service at the airport with around 80 people there wondering what to do now. Somehow, someone procured busses and got us to the ship. Several took taxis which cost around $200. After around a week, Princess inc. compensated us for all we went thru. As the ship is homeported in Japan, life revolves around the Asian culture. For the 25 days cruise we probably averaged 75-80% Japanese/Chinese people. To enjoy overseas travel, you have want to be there, which we do. It was really interesting to see all the differences between Eastern and Western culture. Starting with the food, salad and meso soup at every meal, little use of the bars, pools and casino. Also the friendliness of everyone on the ship. Most of the Japanese seemed to know at least several English words and even though most Americans didn't learn any Japanese, it didn't seem to matter. Was really surprised the ship didn't have Sim Do or Baccarat tables in the casino. The cruise director didn't speak any Japanese and was really out of his element. The rest of his crew was Japanese and were fantastic. They all spoke pretty good English, with an accent, which made it all the more enjoyable to listen to them. Everything on the ship, written and oral was in both Japanese and English. There was always more than enough to do. Every sea day had at least 6 different dance lessons along with classes in both languages, movies in English, in Japanese and with Japanese subtitles, the usual trivia contests and various other games. The best being the Yes/No game. If you have never played it, you need to have the staff on your next cruise run it. The food in the dining room was so-so with small portions and a very limited Western selection. The food on the Lido deck was some of the best I've experienced. The desert bar had un unlimited selection every meal. My only complaint was that it all wrapped up at 11PM. I have been on ships that it only opened up again at 11PM. I consider the shore excursions as "seeing a lot but not seeing anything" They took you to many places, but with very little time at any one place, so you never got much insight as to what you were seeing. All of the customer services, ie. front desk future cruise couldn't do enough for you and kept some exceptionally long hours. Debarkation went very smoothly Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
To celebrate my Daughter's 21st Birthday, my Daughter and I boarded the beautiful Diamond Princess in Kobe for 2 back to back cruises - one 8 night cruise followed by a 10 night cruise. I did my homework before we left and knew that ... Read More
To celebrate my Daughter's 21st Birthday, my Daughter and I boarded the beautiful Diamond Princess in Kobe for 2 back to back cruises - one 8 night cruise followed by a 10 night cruise. I did my homework before we left and knew that the majority on board were going to be a much older demographic and would be majority Japanese/Asian passengers. This certainly was the case. We knew this was not going to be a party cruise but one to see snapshots of both Taiwan, Japan and Korsakov in Russia. Although I have cruised many times and my Daughter only 4 times, we have never cruised Princess before. We read many reviews however, as cruising is a personal opinion and perception, we wondered what it would be like. It was fabulous. From the first step aboard the ship we were welcomed and treated like VIPs. Spending 18 nights anywhere can start to wear thin however we enjoyed every single minute. Although there were definitely language issues with fellow passengers, a smile is universal and we became quite gifted in the charade department :) All crew and staff spoke English and most of them spoke Japanese. As we booked the cruises separately we had to change cabins after the first cruise. The first cruise we had a fantastic cabin mini suite E728. This cabin is at the rear of the ship and has an extended balcony. It was spacious and we enjoyed every minute in it. It has a bath, roomy bathroom (for a ship), twin beds (or they can go together to make a queen), plenty of space for clothing to be hung up and drawer space, 2 tvs, sitting room with couch and table and of course the lovely balcony with table and chairs. This was particularly lovely when coming in and going out of ports. Many ports put on a welcome or departure show - dance/drums/flag waving etc. Leaving the balcony door a little open at night gave a wonderful sea serenade going to sleep. Our second cruise cabin was inside as this was all they had left when we decided to add the second cruise. We were dreading moving from our beautiful cabin but we were just so happy to be on board that we embraced our new "digs" and looked for the silver lining. We slept well as it was dark and we still had enough room for all our stuff (2 women who just cannot seem to travel light). We moved to inside cabin C214. Perfectly adequate. The food was we were told, influenced by the majority of the passengers who were of course Japanese/Asian. There was a wonderful mixture of asian/western food and we enjoyed every meal. After the first cruise we decided we preferred to dine in the Horizon Court Buffet as there was no anytime dining and we had a late dining sitting 7.45 plus we much preferred the ability to choose a plate of mixed food. We always found something we enjoyed. More than the food was the Staff in the Horizon Court. Whoever does the hiring of these staff should receive a pay rise as they are amazing, beautiful people. Nothing was ever too much trouble from the Supervisors right through all the staff. Supervisors Robert and Luigi were professional, friendly and just lovely Gentlemen as were all the staff in Horizon. Genuine smiles a mile wide and could not do enough for you. Cannot rave enough about these people. Horizon Court service was PERFECTION. Ports were enjoyable - some more than others. Japanese ports were better however Taiwanese ports were "memorable". To be honest we cruise just as much for the ship life as we do the Ports so we are generally happy wherever we go. Probably the biggest surprise was Korsakov in Russia. The show that was put on in the large hall just down from Lenin Square by the Russian dancers and singers was fantastic and gave us a real taste of Russia. Audience participation by fellow cruise members was a delight. We reached Korsakov by tender boat and did a bus tour - 2 hours of fun. One thing that surprised me and will no doubt surprise many other cruise goers was that for the first time I am aware of you could purchase alcohol packages for just the sea days. So, from day one and two you could purchase just sea days. I think it worked out to be approx $65 Australian Dollars per day. We did not know this until we met up with fellow young Aussie fellows (of course they had the alcohol packages) and just paid for the sea days so they got the best value. They loved this. We did not buy the alcohol package but purchased the Bubbles and More package ($10 US per day including gratuities) which gives you Hot Chocolate, sodas, thick shakes, milk shakes, ice cream sodas and best of all Mocktails. We had plenty of these. Virgin Pina Coladas, Chocolate Banana (yummo), Virgin Strawberry Daiquiri and Nojitos. There are others but these are the ones that we tended to drink. We found this package to be super good value for us. When we wanted an alcoholic drink, we just paid for it. Another good thing we did is buy a bottle of vodka from Room Service. It cost us $17 US for a medium size bottle of vodka and we had mixers in our mini bar. We would have a drink whilst getting ready and it was very good value. There were lots of options of types of bottles of alcohol you could buy via Room Service. You do have to consume this in your room however. The nightclub, Skywalkers, closed at midnight as it was not patronised sufficiently to support keeping it open. That was fine. (I believe when this ship does Australian Cruises, the nightclub is open until almost sun up). We all (a group of people we had befriended along the way) congregated up there in the beautiful surroundings had fun and ordered double drinks at last call and talked on for another couple of hours. Sometimes the younger ones went hot tubbing, to the casino and/or went on to breakfast then hit the cabin for some zzzzs. There was great camaraderie amongst the members of this group and was a fantastic opportunity for them to meet up with people of other cultures and nationalities. I have read on other reviews that drinks packages were rammed down Passengers throats however, we did not find this at all. We had to seek out the drinks packages. They were available at a table at the Lobby Bar with a lovely young lady selling them however, they were not actively pushed nor was anything else. Unlike many other cruiselines I have been on, there was nothing that was being pushed. We received leaflets with our Princess Patter (daily activities guide) for massages or gift shop/specialty store sales etc but nothing more than that. Entertainment was a bit hit and miss. Some good and some average. We always found fun in sharing company with other passengers and rarely had an early night. TVs in rooms were great. Flat screen TVs and lots of channels to choose from. I was surprised by the amount of free movies you had to select from and they were on demand so you didn't have to wait for a start time. You could also leave your movie and come back and resume it from where you left off. Room Service was fantastic. 24 hours per day and lots to choose from plus it is free. Lots of other cruise lines charge for room service but not Princess. The only thing they will charge you for is Pizza delivery. Not the pizza itself but a one off charge of $3 for the delivery. So, you can have however many pizzas you like and just the one charge of $3. We LOVED room service. Pick up the phone, make your order and within 15-30 minutes your food delivered. Missed dinner or late night snack - tea or coffee - they are more than happy to bring it to your cabin for you with a smile and good nature. Breakfast can be ordered daily if you like. We did sometimes but often missed breakfast due to the late hours we kept. We usually had Brunch in the Horizon Court. Afternoon tea is also served in the International Restaurant. Beautiful little cakes, tarts, slices, sandwiches, scones with jam and cream washed down with freshly brewed tea and coffee. Boy oh boy have we missed room service since coming home !!! We found the ship to be a pretty ship. So many things to see in each room. Pieces of art to mummies and a bucking bronco. We loved it. I would definitely cruise aboard this ship again. If you are thinking of cruising on this ship, we would recommend it. Princess have definitely won us over. We would highly recommend them. Thank you Princess and particularly the staff aboard Diamond Princess so very much for making our trip so enjoyable and memorable and particularly my Daughter's 21st Birthday memories something she will always treasure. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
Our cruise was around Honshu Island, Kobe to Kobe. Our enjoyment of cruising around Japan is based on our visiting locations we would not likely visit otherwise, the out of the way ports that are not standard tourist destinations. This ... Read More
Our cruise was around Honshu Island, Kobe to Kobe. Our enjoyment of cruising around Japan is based on our visiting locations we would not likely visit otherwise, the out of the way ports that are not standard tourist destinations. This was our shortest cruise in Japan with the fewest ports but we were not disappointed. We arrived in Japan a week early, anchoring our land vacation in Osaka, from which we traveled three days to Kyoto and once to Himeji Castle. Osaka is a bustling city, with lots of focus on food, and as we stayed at the Swissotel Namba, above the Namba railway and subway station, it was an easy place to call home for 7 days prior to the cruise. Embarkation from neighboring Kobe was without problem, although we had already set sail before my luggage made it to our stateroom. Osaka is known for its jazz, and a jazz band sent us off from the pier with several upbeat numbers. The Japan cruises on the Diamond do not have Anytime Dining. I understand this is because only some of the wait staff speak Japanese, and they make a concerted effort to be sure that Japanese passengers are served by staff who can speak the local language. We had requested a table for 2 at the early seating, and although the time was accommodated, we were put with 3 Japanese couples (because of our Japanese surname), somewhat problematic since we do not speak Japanese. The Maitre d' was very helpful in moving us, and although we had to move to late dining, we ended up sitting with another couple we had befriended beforehand from Cruise Critic; it worked out perfectly although it meant that we didn't partake in much evening entertainment because we like to relax before dinner and afterwards it was just too late. Ports of call included Hakodate (on Hokkaido), Akita and Fushiki-Toyama on the Sea of Japan, and Busan, So. Korea. Because large passenger ships in many Japan ports are a relatively new occurrence, the passenger ports do not have sufficient depth for a ship as large as the Diamond. We docked in commercial ports, but the local community provided continual shuttle bus service into each of the cities for those of us who do not take Princess excursions. (We had previously experienced this issue on the Diamond when we cruised from Singapore to Beijing, and I swore that I wouldn't cruise on such a large ship again because of the long wasted commute time between the ship and the cities, but Japan is small enough that these commutes were only about 20-25 minutes maximum.) We had been to Hakodate on a previous cruise so chose to take the shuttle to the JR Hakodate Station, where we wandered around the morning market (still open despite its being early afternoon) and enjoyed great very fresh seafood in a small restaurant. (You could buy live crab--the biggest I've ever seen--at the market and for a fee have the restaurant cook it, but we chose to order from the menu, which, typically for Japan, had photos you could point to; it was delicious.) Local high school girls were part of a welcoming committee at the JR Station, and they provided directions to the other places we wanted to visit in the afternoon. English may not be a strong point for them, but they were very helpful regardless. I'll note here that whenever we asked for directions in each port we were always told our walk would only be about 10 minutes. Japanese must walk very fast because we always took 2 to 3 times that long and eventually learned that we were better off hiring a taxi. Cabs in rural towns have a minimum fare, generally not more than $6-$8 US, and it was worth the price. From Hakodate we traveled to Akita. Akita does not have a very sophisticated bus system so it becomes somewhat problematic getting around. This also means that there are no Goodwill Guides in the city (Goodwill Guides are a free guide service available in many Japanese cities that you pre-sign up for, and we have used them extensively--visit goodwill guides in Japan on Google for information--but they use public transportation so I assume this explains why there are none in Akita), but there was an English speaking welcoming group at the shuttle stop, and they were very helpful. We took the Shinkansen from the JR Station (more than 10 minutes from the shuttle stop) to Kakunodate, an old samurai town about 45 minutes away. I had printed the train schedule from Hyperdia dot com so I knew the train times and could show that to the clerk at the station in order to purchase our tickets. This was a little problematic since she spoke no English, and it took a while for me to understand thru various gestures that she was asking if we wanted to purchase a reserved seat. We didn't, and had to move a couple of times because we sat in seats that others had reserved, but it turned out fine. We were quite taken with Kakunodate and would like to return on a future trip. (There is a Facebook page for Discover Akita, which I had visited several times before the cruise, sending messages with various questions that were quickly answered.) We also look forward to seeing more of Akita. We were sorry to have returned to the ship too late to see the special presentation from their annual lantern festival, which we had seen previously in Honolulu, so that, too, will have to wait for another time. Next stop was Fushiki-Toyama. The principal excursion from here is to Kanazawa (not to be missed) or to see the grassho houses at Shirakawa-go, but we had been both places before, and we were happy to wander around on our own. The local tourist bureau had arranged for volunteers at various locations around the city (wearing either yellow or red vests, depending on whether they spoke Japanese or English), which was very helpful. We wanted to visit Takaoka, an area within the Toyama vicinity that is known for centuries of copper work. (Most of the old temple bells in Japan were forged there.) From the shuttle drop off point, we were told it was only about a 10 minute walk (a very very long 10 minutes) but we had fun stopping in little merchant stores along the way. At one point a volunteer called to us from across the busy main street, offering the suggestion that we visit their new Takaoka Mikurumayama festival museum, containing one of the floats they use in their annual festival. It was only a couple of blocks away, and she cheerfully escorted us there. Although we didn't expect to enjoy it, we had a delightful experience. There were various hands on exhibits and a 20 minute video (in Japanese but very easy to understand even with no knowledge of what was being said). From there we walked to the Takaoka Copperware neighborhood, where we were again met by local volunteers, who explained the local history and briefly guided us around. On our return from Takaoka, we stopped at the Daiwa department store, where they were holding a Japanese food festival. It was a feast for the eyes, and we could buy small amounts of various foods, sampling others as we wandered around. From the port of Fushiki, we had a sea day to and from the port of Busan in So Korea. We have visited here several times so this time we just wandered around the fish market (huge) and the tourist shops, and returned to the ship. (This is one port in which we have taken Princess excursions on prior visits, including temples both at seaside and in the country, and the national museum. These were all worthwhile.) Princess is known for its great itineraries, and this one was no exception except we would have liked one more Japan port. Ahhh-next time. The ship itself is big but easy to navigate once you get used to it. We attended shows in the Princess Theatre twice, the first typical Princess entertainment and the 2nd a Shinto ceremony, which was enjoyable and fascinating. At the various ports a sail-away show was provided, generally by local students, and that was great fun to see. My husband enjoys dabbling in the casino but it was often closed (Japan regulations) and there was no video poker (his game of choice; previous cruises on the Diamond had had video poker). There was often entertainment in the Atrium. On our last Japan cruise there had been Japanese-English classes but not this time. There was a daily carpet bowling contest outside of the internet cafe, and it was well attended; the Japanese passengers appeared to enjoy this. Our port lecturer, Heather Hopkins Clement, was excellent. Although her lectures were in Japanese, she followed them with a lecture in English, which was also available on the stateroom television, and she had late afternoon sessions at her desk for any additional questions. Our cruise had about half of the passengers from Japan, and that added to the overall positive ambiance of visiting their country. Breakfast in the Horizon Court always included miso soup; lunch always had a ramen station. Dinner in the dining room was traditional Princess fare with at least one item of each course available with Japanese food. One thing we noticed (maybe an anomaly) this cruise was that it had much less emphasis on the sale of items, especially beverages, which were noted as available in the Princess Patter but not pushed on the passengers, as we have previously experienced. Although we didn't attend the Izumi baths, we did enjoy massages, a first for my husband. Asians are not shy about their bodies, so although there is every opportunity to be modest in the spa, I was initially taken aback in the women's locker room by women sitting around talking while wearing only their birthday suits. (The baths are communal, alternating areas available to men or women by the day; the locker rooms are same-sex only.) Disembarkation in Kobe was not as smooth as embarkation had been. We were going to spend the night in Arima Onsen in the hills above the city so we wanted to ship our luggage directly from port to Kansai airport, and that became an hour-long ordeal since there was only one English-speaking staff person for the luggage transport service. In the long run it was well worth the $25US that it cost us not to have to lug around our bags, and they were waiting for us the next night when we arrived at the airport. We took the train to Taketoritei Maruyama in Arima Onsen, where we actually did not even need our carry-on bags since our stay included traditional Japanese clothes, a fabulous kaiseki dinner and equally elaborate breakfast in a private dining room, and a hot spring in our hotel room; we could have arrived with little more than our toothbrushes (although they provided those, too). We love visiting Japan. You cannot experience more open and welcoming people. Besides the nightly sail-away performances, the ship was greeted in each port by folks from the tourist organizations, providing visit information and maps in English or Japanese. In Fushiki-Toyama, they even had bicycles available, free of charge, for anyone who wanted to visit the general area. We will be back. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
We were a group of two couples – family related – and the few days before we left Australia were filled with uncertainty because of a typhoon heading for Japan. With much relief we did make it to Japan the evening of 4th Oct, and what ... Read More
We were a group of two couples – family related – and the few days before we left Australia were filled with uncertainty because of a typhoon heading for Japan. With much relief we did make it to Japan the evening of 4th Oct, and what a delightful stay in the Rose Hotel, Yokohama. The rooms were large – two queen beds in each room, and the staff were fantastic. It felt like home away from home. And then messages started to come through about the impending typhoon – Phanfone, was it? – which was due to hit Yokohama and Tokyo Sunday night, causing a delay with our cruise. The day was a brilliant clear day, which we spent sightseeing around Yokohama. What typhoon, we thought. Anyhow, it arrived in the middle of the night and brought with it wind and rain. It did not dampen our spirits, though we were disappointed that our cruise ship was delayed two days – Princess Cruises reimbursed us the two days. Our cruise was now a seven day one, instead of nine. There is nothing anyone can do about the weather, so we made the most of it and had a great time sightseeing Yokohama and Tokyo. The Rose Hotel was able to accommodate us the extra two days, which was a relief to us. Embarkation came on the Wednesday morning of the 8th. It went very well, and it took all of 45 minutes from start to finish. Our balcony cabin was spacious, the wardrobe space – and hangers – was huge. We were pleasantly surprised. I can’t say enough about how good the crew were, and the food was fantastic, and the shows were wonderful. The ship lived up to its name. The captain had bad news for us as we headed for Kobe. The itinerary had to be changed yet again, due to another typhoon, a super typhoon heading our way. We spent a lovely day in Kobe, a ship’s excursion to Nara filled in most of the time, and it was an amazing experience for us. Osaka was a bonus – not on the original itinerary – and we were able to catch the Shinkansen to Kyoto – somewhere we really wanted to visit. And I’m glad we did. An absolutely enchanting place. We were told we had to divert out to the Yellow Sea, away from the super typhoon Vongfong, which meant a delay in returning to Yokohama. Another disappointment for us as the rest of the itinerary went out the window. However, we were able to stay with the ship as we had several days in Tokyo at the end of the cruise planned, unlike some of our passengers who had to disembark in Osaka due to flight plans. The Inland Sea cruising day was a calm and wonderful one. I was unsure how I would handle rough seas once they arrived but I survived without a hint of sea sickness. The ship handled the seas wonderfully, though once we were back on land we found ourselves rolling along with a sailor’s sea legs. We were worried for our safety and so therefore accepted any changes that would make for a safer voyage. It was an adventure. There was enough on board to keep us occupied for the remaining sea days. Disembarkation was a breeze. It took a matter of minutes before we found ourselves standing out in the sun at the Osanbashi Pier. Thank you, Princess Cruises for the extra day we had on board, plus the 100% cruise credit for a future cruise. We will definitely be cruising with Princess again.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
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