Diamond Princess 16 day - Singapore to Beijing: Diamond Princess Cruise Review by ScrabbleNut

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Diamond Princess 16 day - Singapore to Beijing

Sail Date: March 2012
Destination: Asia
Embarkation: Singapore
Others have already described the dismal embarkation process adequately, and I trust Princess Cruises has taken heed.

The cruise itinerary was good but I still think we prefer P&O. We missed being able to make a cup of tea in our room and the first night it was not made clear to us that we could have an "ordinary" cup of coffee with our evening meal- it was implied that we would have to buy the coffee. The service was excellent and very friendly. The food was good, the beef was very tender and succulent. Well balanced meals that didn't make you feel bloated.

Our stateroom was always spotless and we really felt the benefit of being on deck 14 as we only had to go along the deck to visit Horizon restaurant and the swimming pools. We were rather disappointed at the temperature of the water in the spa pools, so we only used it on one occasion, a pity, as I had been looking forward to daily use.

We were pleasantly surprised to have been given a Platinum card, More allowing 250 minutes of free internet time, (which got used up rather easily because of the slow connection speed - not a fault of Princess, but more to do with the ability to connect via the satellite whilst at sea), and also half price cocktails and free finger food in Skywalkers Bar before dinner each evening.

Our cabin steward, Christerlou, was always smiling and accommodating, as were all the bar and table waiters.

Princess has strict controls on the practice of using the hand sanitisers outside the buffet area, but curiously there were none outside any other dining room, as is the practice on P&O and Uniworld. To wash hands prior to dining, one had to go into the restroom.

The entertainment programme we felt was not nearly as good as that of P&O. The Port lecturer, Hutch, was excellent (although his one-on-one "people skills" could be improved) whilst the Chinese lecturer knew her subject but her presentation was very poor.

If you didn't like sport, playing bridge or spending money, there didn't seem much of interest during the daytime, apart from trivia. The highlight of each day for us was the trivia sessions, which are fun. P&O Cruises (Australia) always seemed to have something of interest during the day, ranging from organised Scrabble tournaments, to a published author who gave talks about his books, comedy afternoons or craft lessons for those who are interested. Most "seminars" were just a way of selling something -- "foot balance" was a means of selling shoe inserts. Indeed, even the regular port talk by Hutch was really a sales pitch.

We did not use Princess shore tours, as experience has taught me that you can always do your own thing more easily and certainly cheaper. I was a little disappointed that we went to Nagasaki instead of say, Hiroshima, Yokohama or Osaka. Nagasaki doesn't really offer much in the way of spectacular scenery that the other cities do, it is however the home port for Diamond Princess, so presumably that is why it was chosen. The ship berths at Pusan, South Korea, for only a few hours, so it is well worth disembarking as early as you can so as to take the ship's shuttle to the market area, and maximise the allowable time.

Evening entertainment was OK, but nothing spectacular. I felt sorry for the jazz group from Canada - they hardly had anyone in the Wheelhouse bar some nights, although they played quite good lounge music. The guy playing piano in the atrium (can't think of his name) was very popular with the dancers.

It would have been nice to have had some more little nooks for coffee.

Onboard boutiques hold the same-old same-old stuff. The Asia Bazaars were pathetic; cheap stuff that has obviously been recycled many, many times. There is some classy jewellery available for those who want it.

Overall, a great cruise itinerary, but Princess needs to upgrade its entertainment offering. Less

Published 04/29/12

Cabin review: BBA200 Balcony

A200 : a spacious, very quiet cabin with a furnished balcony which is not overlooked by other cabins. As it is situated about 3 cabins along from the front of the ship, there is quite a walk to get to the other end to take the lift to the International dining room or Skywalkers' Bar - but this is not necessarily a bad thing! Bathroom is well laid out, and includes hair dryer, eucalyptus shampoo, conditioner, lotion, soap and shower gel, and waffle cotton bathrobes (on request). Mirrors everywhere give the illusion of space. A spacious wardrobe (open plan) area. Room under the bed for storing luggage. Flat screen TV and bar fridge. Comfortable bed and choice of pillows. Tip: choose a cabin well away from the lifts and laundry areas, if you want peace & quiet.

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