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This was our 9th cruise on Princess (our second time on the Diamond Princess). I had read that there had been some renovation on the ship recently but it was not done in its entirety. Being loyal and well familiarised with Princess we return for their approachable and excellent system of service, appealing itineraries and the now Captains Circle benefits we receive (plus more). So I'll cover the exceptional and the disappointing factors of this 8 night cruise to Melbourne and Tasmania. HOUSEKEEPING - The housekeeping was off this trip. We hardly saw our steward - literary twice the entire cruise. We'd page him and he'd never show up. We needed to request our luggage to be actually delivered two hours after we set sail which the steward went to the staff stairwell and dragged out the luggage which had been sitting there unattended for two hours. He also delivered our laundry late and never delivered ordered fruit to our room. There was some small pieces of rubbish left around the room from the previous cruise and the carpeting was lifting in certain spots of the room. Very under par... But besides those comments our mini suite was well kept and presented. TV SYSTEM - The television system has been updated to an "inflight" style coverage of television, movies and other programmes. In theory it was great, however the system has a few glitches e.g. TV switches on and off on its own, drop out coverage or lack of on some channels, limited local news headlines or updates. It takes some time getting used to but had potential. DINING - The dining experience was one of our best of the last few cruises in the International Dining Room. Service was fast and professional. Our waiters were experienced and it showed. The dishes were well cooked, well presented, clean and enjoyable. Head chef Sean Caudon was exceptional - a truly lovely man who has put together a fabulous team of cooks and all credit to Matri'd Daniele for his professional dining rooms. Sabatini's, as always, was fantastic and worth every extra penny. I did like the fact all seated dining rooms now feature a "daily special" meal which gives that little bit extra variety and excitement. JAPANESE MAKE OVER- The last time we travelled on this ship was 2008, and there was major discussion from crew regarding a Japanese overhaul - from itinerary to the ship. That is exactly what happened. All signage on-board is bilingual (Japanese + English); the menu features a Japanese dish, there are Japanese baths now as well as Japanese speaking staff to cater for the clientele... Even the bathrooms, and I mean all bathrooms on-board (including public bathrooms) have Japanese toilet accessories which I personally found uncomfortable and unsanitary. The smelt foul - of urine and fishy plastic. We asked our steward to remove them from our room immediately; I am unsure why they're even there. But this is a minor complaint. The smell, however, in the bathroom of urine and fish took a few days to be removed, with plenty of air freshener over the top. Not a big fan of the Japanese touches but considering the market and where the money is coming in for Princess, I understand why has been done. SPA/GYM - The spa prices were too steep for us to want any form of treatment. They seem to climb every cruise we do! The gym though was pleasant. Ryan the fitness instructor was a gem and a fantastic human being. Enjoyed his classes and seminars. Equipment was clean, regularly available and well maintained. EMBARKATION/DISEMBARKATION- After having travelled in the UK on Princess, Sydney was a little more disorganised with embarkation and disembarkation. Arriving to port side to embark, things were a little chaotic with staff screaming over the top of each other but things got done. ACTIVITIES - It seems the same old activities were put on. Nothing too exciting in the Patter programme though a few events I hadn't seen before were pretty good like Aviation Challenge, Family Fun Day and Liar's Club. How many times can morning trivia be done? EXCURISONS - The itineraries of both excursions we chose were fabulous. In Melbourne we did the Puffing Billy tour which I would highly recommend. The steam train ride itself was a treat for young and old, and the time spent in the Danduong region was absolutely lovely. The tour in Port Arthur to the Lavender Farm and Wine Tasting requires mention. The sites we saw were amazing and very much enjoyable (again recommendable). However the tender operation that morning was shocking. The excursions team had us meet at 7.15am (1 3/4 hours before our tour began which was very inconvenient). We sat over an hour waiting for a tender!!! Then when we arrived to the port side, it was mass chaos. There was no tour line up, people were wondrously walking around bumping into one another, straying off... It was very disorganised! I had a word to a staff member on-board regarding this and all she could do was apologise (no explanation given). The tour did start on time but since they shipped us out too early to a very disorganised Port Arthur we ended up waiting in the sun for half an hour without any seats for the elderly (not that it affected me standing being 22 y.o. but the older passengers were struggling in the hot sun). Princess need to review the guides and driver on that tour: the lady we had was very unknowledgeable and lost most of the time (wondering in different directions, straying from the tour group, leaving us with other guides and not being to answer basically anything asked of her, instead "preferring to make up a good story". The driver was unaccommodating and sexist. DISAPPOINTING princess hire these people. Passengers behind us were laughing at the ridiculousness of this duo, it was embarrassing. INTERNET- Princess have updated their internet and online account system which is very helpful and more convenient than previous systems (our last cruise on the Ruby Princess had an awful internet system!). OTHER - No International Café - only a lobby bar which disappointed us due to their divine lunch options and salad bar we've experienced on other cruises. The captain was absolutely lovely. Though he didn't have routine updates to the passengers (other Captains have made daily 12pm or 6pm messages over the PA), he did inform us of important information and always humbly thanked his crew. We had very tricky sea conditions at two ports which made our seas bumpy but his advice and warning put us at ease. We were lucky to have Captain Todd! Unfortunately travellers do not adhere to dress requirements, I was pleased the dining rooms enforced this strongly, however in public spaces I expect the bare minimum people to wear shoes and pants. It was disgusting to have people walking past cafes and the dining buffet upstairs without footwear and clothes on (i.e. swimming costumes); it is also unhygienic and disrespectful. I personally think it horrible and wish this was enforced more but you can't upset holiday makers :/ We would go Princess again as we are always satisfied by the on-board service, particularly from the hospitality industry. Housekeeping was lacking on this occasion. But all staff from dining to bar to those in higher ranking positions were excellent and we were very impressed have Princess have upped their game since our last cruise. Some disappointing aspects but we will return in December for our next princess voyage.

Excellent Eastern Australian Voyage

Diamond Princess Cruise Review by Jessiekouli1

2 people found this helpful
Trip Details
This was our 9th cruise on Princess (our second time on the Diamond Princess). I had read that there had been some renovation on the ship recently but it was not done in its entirety. Being loyal and well familiarised with Princess we return for their approachable and excellent system of service, appealing itineraries and the now Captains Circle benefits we receive (plus more). So I'll cover the exceptional and the disappointing factors of this 8 night cruise to Melbourne and Tasmania.

HOUSEKEEPING - The housekeeping was off this trip. We hardly saw our steward - literary twice the entire cruise. We'd page him and he'd never show up. We needed to request our luggage to be actually delivered two hours after we set sail which the steward went to the staff stairwell and dragged out the luggage which had been sitting there unattended for two hours. He also delivered our laundry late and never delivered ordered fruit to our room. There was some small pieces of rubbish left around the room from the previous cruise and the carpeting was lifting in certain spots of the room. Very under par... But besides those comments our mini suite was well kept and presented.

TV SYSTEM - The television system has been updated to an "inflight" style coverage of television, movies and other programmes. In theory it was great, however the system has a few glitches e.g. TV switches on and off on its own, drop out coverage or lack of on some channels, limited local news headlines or updates. It takes some time getting used to but had potential.

DINING - The dining experience was one of our best of the last few cruises in the International Dining Room. Service was fast and professional. Our waiters were experienced and it showed. The dishes were well cooked, well presented, clean and enjoyable. Head chef Sean Caudon was exceptional - a truly lovely man who has put together a fabulous team of cooks and all credit to Matri'd Daniele for his professional dining rooms. Sabatini's, as always, was fantastic and worth every extra penny. I did like the fact all seated dining rooms now feature a "daily special" meal which gives that little bit extra variety and excitement.

JAPANESE MAKE OVER- The last time we travelled on this ship was 2008, and there was major discussion from crew regarding a Japanese overhaul - from itinerary to the ship. That is exactly what happened. All signage on-board is bilingual (Japanese + English); the menu features a Japanese dish, there are Japanese baths now as well as Japanese speaking staff to cater for the clientele... Even the bathrooms, and I mean all bathrooms on-board (including public bathrooms) have Japanese toilet accessories which I personally found uncomfortable and unsanitary. The smelt foul - of urine and fishy plastic. We asked our steward to remove them from our room immediately; I am unsure why they're even there. But this is a minor complaint. The smell, however, in the bathroom of urine and fish took a few days to be removed, with plenty of air freshener over the top. Not a big fan of the Japanese touches but considering the market and where the money is coming in for Princess, I understand why has been done.

SPA/GYM - The spa prices were too steep for us to want any form of treatment. They seem to climb every cruise we do! The gym though was pleasant. Ryan the fitness instructor was a gem and a fantastic human being. Enjoyed his classes and seminars. Equipment was clean, regularly available and well maintained.

EMBARKATION/DISEMBARKATION- After having travelled in the UK on Princess, Sydney was a little more disorganised with embarkation and disembarkation. Arriving to port side to embark, things were a little chaotic with staff screaming over the top of each other but things got done.

ACTIVITIES - It seems the same old activities were put on. Nothing too exciting in the Patter programme though a few events I hadn't seen before were pretty good like Aviation Challenge, Family Fun Day and Liar's Club. How many times can morning trivia be done?

EXCURISONS - The itineraries of both excursions we chose were fabulous. In Melbourne we did the Puffing Billy tour which I would highly recommend. The steam train ride itself was a treat for young and old, and the time spent in the Danduong region was absolutely lovely. The tour in Port Arthur to the Lavender Farm and Wine Tasting requires mention. The sites we saw were amazing and very much enjoyable (again recommendable). However the tender operation that morning was shocking. The excursions team had us meet at 7.15am (1 3/4 hours before our tour began which was very inconvenient). We sat over an hour waiting for a tender!!! Then when we arrived to the port side, it was mass chaos. There was no tour line up, people were wondrously walking around bumping into one another, straying off... It was very disorganised! I had a word to a staff member on-board regarding this and all she could do was apologise (no explanation given). The tour did start on time but since they shipped us out too early to a very disorganised Port Arthur we ended up waiting in the sun for half an hour without any seats for the elderly (not that it affected me standing being 22 y.o. but the older passengers were struggling in the hot sun). Princess need to review the guides and driver on that tour: the lady we had was very unknowledgeable and lost most of the time (wondering in different directions, straying from the tour group, leaving us with other guides and not being to answer basically anything asked of her, instead "preferring to make up a good story". The driver was unaccommodating and sexist. DISAPPOINTING princess hire these people. Passengers behind us were laughing at the ridiculousness of this duo, it was embarrassing.

INTERNET- Princess have updated their internet and online account system which is very helpful and more convenient than previous systems (our last cruise on the Ruby Princess had an awful internet system!).

OTHER - No International Café - only a lobby bar which disappointed us due to their divine lunch options and salad bar we've experienced on other cruises. The captain was absolutely lovely. Though he didn't have routine updates to the passengers (other Captains have made daily 12pm or 6pm messages over the PA), he did inform us of important information and always humbly thanked his crew. We had very tricky sea conditions at two ports which made our seas bumpy but his advice and warning put us at ease. We were lucky to have Captain Todd!

Unfortunately travellers do not adhere to dress requirements, I was pleased the dining rooms enforced this strongly, however in public spaces I expect the bare minimum people to wear shoes and pants. It was disgusting to have people walking past cafes and the dining buffet upstairs without footwear and clothes on (i.e. swimming costumes); it is also unhygienic and disrespectful. I personally think it horrible and wish this was enforced more but you can't upset holiday makers :/

We would go Princess again as we are always satisfied by the on-board service, particularly from the hospitality industry. Housekeeping was lacking on this occasion. But all staff from dining to bar to those in higher ranking positions were excellent and we were very impressed have Princess have upped their game since our last cruise. Some disappointing aspects but we will return in December for our next princess voyage.
Jessiekouli1’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Mini-Suite with Balcony
Cabin MD D402
We are always satisfied with the layout of the Mini-Suite + balcony and that is why we book similar rooms every cruise we do. We often get midship since I get sea-sick with even the slightest of movement. The layout was comfortable and accommodating. The bathroom was appropriately sized. The housekeeping has a few discrepancies. The bathroom had a strange toilet seat (Japanese seat) attached which also had a peculiar smell. The shower head was positioned on a slightly uncomfortable angle but the water temperature and pressure were good. The lotus spa soaps etc were awful smelling and we didn't use them once (brought our own soap). Beds were fine, I'm used to sleeping against the wall due to the position of the bed in the room (took one night's sleep to get used to it).
Dolphin Deck Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Puffing Billy Train
    Excellent tour. The guide was a pleasure to spend our day with. Our coach travelled out to the Dandenong ranges where we were able to enjoy a pleasant morning tea in a conservation house in the national park. There was free time available to see the gift shop, walk around the national grounds (seeing the beautiful trees and wildlife) or feed the cockatoos. Then we embarked the Puffing Billy which was well-coordinated and a spirited adventure. Very much enjoyed the time on board the steam train travelling through the country side. We returned to the coach on the highway seeing some major landmarks from afar. Highly recommend!
    View All 16 Puffing Billy Train Reviews
  • Port Arthur
    Port Arthur was very poorly organised on behalf of both Princess and the excursions team, as well as the local guides and management. It was a shambles when we arrived dockside for our tour even before then when tendering... The tour itself was rated as the best tour to take in Port Arthur if you didn't want to see the convict/settlers quarters. Our guide was extremely unknowledgeable and lost, wondering around aimlessly and straying from our group; when asked questions she could not answer and jovially admitted to making up the answers. The driver was no better. This aspect of the tour was disappointing and I learnt absolutely nothing from them.

    The sites we saw though was amazing - the wine tasting, lavender farm and tessellating pavements was fantastic! Thoroughly enjoyed that. The dog line up was a waste of time and most of the sites were closed or unexplainable, and the tour guide preferred to walk us through some nearby flea market - kind of ridiculous! The lavender farm was a standout - the best part of the tour! New facilities, divine little morning tea put on with freshly made lavender infused treats like lavender scones, lavender jam, lavender relish, tea and coffee. The 5 minute explanation and video by the team there on lavender farming, milling and its purpose was fantastic. I really enjoyed it. The grounds are picturesque and pristine. I would definitely return to the grounds again if ever in Tasmania. Unfortunately the disorganisation of the port and the unprofessionalism of the guide let the tour down.
    View All 49 Port Arthur Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Port Arthur Cruise Port Review