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Singapore to Yokohama (Tokyo, Japan) – 11-25 April 2016. This was our fifth cruise and our third with Princess. My wife and I had a mini-suite on the Dolphin deck port side forward. We originally reserved a Lido deck balcony for easy access to the Gym and Spa. Before final payment a sale was announced significantly reducing the price for the Lido balcony (over $900 for both of us). A great deal we thought. Later, two weeks prior to departure, we received an Up Sell offer to the mini for $299 per person. End result we had a mini-suite for less than the original cost of the Lido balcony. We couldn’t have been happier. Singapore - We arranged our own transportation to Singapore with a Princess transfer from the airport to the Swissotel Stamford Hotel near city center in Singapore with an extra day in Singapore to explore on our own. The transfer from the hotel to the ship was very well organized without excessive waiting. We were given a room on the 24th floor with a partial harbor view from which we watched the Diamond Princess enter port on the morning of the 11th or April. The transfer and the hotel, while a little costly, was worth the expense. We had a really great room with a really great view and in a very central location. We enjoyed the buffet breakfast at the hotel very much. Once at the cruise terminal we breezed through immigration and customs experiencing no line and immediately processed onto the ship, again without waiting in line. We were in our cabin within 15 minutes of arrival at the port. The ease with which we boarded the ship made the hour or so wait for our suitcases seem endless but we realized it only seemed long due to the speed by which we were able to board. The Ship The ship was very well maintained. Public areas were spotless and décor was interesting and appropriate. There was always a place to sit and relax in public areas and we never had to wait to be seated in any of the dining rooms. We did notice a lot of wear and torn edges on carpets on the Sports Deck. We did not eat at any of the specialty restaurants during this trip. The mini-suite was a very much valued perk over the balcony since it was a rather longer 14-day cruise. The extra room, larger balcony, bathroom with a tub, and sofa were much appreciated and used. Our cabin was clean and well designed. The closet was large and had an adequate number of hangers for all our clothing. Terrycloth robes are available for the asking. The queen sized bed was comfortable however we found the pillows to be too soft and not to our liking. The bathroom very clean and everything worked as it should. The shower/bath tub was completely adequate. The bathroom had plenty of counter space and shelves for personal items. Towels were quickly replaced. We did not like the body wash and shampoo provided from bottles mounted on the wall and wish that bar soap and bottle shampoo would make their way back. Halfway through the cruise Princess re-installed the Japanese style heated toilet seat with robo-wash and air dryer. To put it mildly we find that this is not to our liking but understand the Diamond was entering the Japan market for the next cruise. Service Without exception the staff was friendly and responsive. Our cabin steward was always helpful and attentive without being in the way. The staff always greeted customers in a friendly and unobtrusive manner. We were very pleased with the staff. Meals Since this is an often contentious area I want to remind everyone that these comments reflect our personal experiences and others may have a different opinion. The dining room staff was attentive, friendly, and efficient. The food was always well presented and of high quality. Meals were served at the appropriate temperature and without excessive waiting. We opted for “Anytime” dining and never had to wait to be seated at a private table for two. I will add that the private tables for two are so close together that everyone is effectively sitting at a table for four or more. Don’t expect to have a private conversation during meals. We greatly enjoyed the Horizon Buffet on the Lido deck. Food was always well prepared and presented and in wide variety. The buffet became an important stop during our travels on the ship. We never had a difficult time in finding a place so sit. Tables were cleared and cleaned immediately as soon as vacated. Ports and Activities Singapore - Singapore is beautiful city with lots to do and see. There are many wonderful parks and other attractions. Singapore is truly a multicultural and modern city. We recommend Gardens by the Bay, a huge, colorful, futuristic park in the bay area of Singapore. Did I mention that Singapore is hot? Ho Chi Minh City (AKA Saigon) – Saigon is a long 90 minute ride from the port city of Phu My. The tour company provided an interesting guide who entertained us with facts, figures, and historical information about this part of Vietnam. We visited numerous museums and historical government locations. The highlight for us was the water puppet show. I suggest that if you take an organized tour that you select one with a less intense itinerary. We found ourselves standing outside the gates of many attractions for a photo opportunity without ever having entered. I was very disappointed. A traditional buffet Lunch was provided at a large hotel in downtown Saigon which was very well done. The food was interesting and very tasty. Nha Trang – Nha Trang was a tender port. The Diamond Princess anchored in the harbor and visitors were taken ashore in tender boats. My wife and I elected to not engage a sponsored tour in Nha Trang so we waited until the mad dash for the tenders was over before taking the short 15 minute ride ashore. When we arrived at the pier we found nothing to see or do. After a short walk around the area we re-boarded the tender and returned to the ship. I cannot comment further on Nha Trang. Chan May (Da Nang/Hue) My wife and I participated in the Imperial Citadel & Tu Duc Royal Tomb guided tour. We arrived in Da Nang after a pleasant hour or so drive from the port of Chan May. Our personal highlight was a short river cruise on the Perfume River and a buffet lunch at a local hotel. Our tour guide was a pleasant man who related his family’s personal experiences during the war. He was open and friendly and assured everyone that most locals felt that everyone was equal in loss during the conflict and the Vietnamese were looking to the future. He and everyone else we met were very friendly and welcoming. We spent a very enjoyable day in Da Nang. Hong Kong – We spent nearly two days in Hong Kong. Our tour stops included Victoria Peak, the Aberdeen floating village, Stanley Market, and a Harbor Cruise. We had a Dim Sum lunch at the famous Jumbo Kingdom floating restaurant in Aberdeen. The second day in port we took the free shuttle bus to Hollywood Plaza shopping center to look around before returning to the ship for a 5:00 PM departure. Hong Kong is extremely crowded and many activities require lengthy waits in lines. Keelung Taiwan (Taipei) – Our least favorite cruise stop. We took a short ride from the port city of Keelung to Taipei the capital city of Taiwan. Our stops included the Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall, the National Palace Museum and the Martyr's Shrine. We also stopped beside a small park with a view of the Taipei 101 building for a photo opportunity. The 4.5 hour tour did not include any meals or snacks. Throughout the tour we felt like we were being sold “Taiwan” with much emphasis being placed on military triumphs and less on culture and history. We don’t recommend spending much time or resources in this port. Kagoshima, Japan – In this port we tried the Ibusuki Sand Bath (also known as the Ibusuki Sunamushi Kaikan Saraku). This tour provides an interesting way to enjoy the benefits of the heat and minerals of a traditional hot spring in addition to a 15-20-minute-long sand bath treatment followed by a traditional communal Japanese bath. We were provided a kimono and obi to wear while we were covered with very warm black volcanic sand. The treatment is amazing in its ability to relieve aches and pains. Following the sand bath, we were treated to a traditional Japanese meal at a hotel dining room. While this tour is for the adventurous we recommend it highly and regard it as the highlight of our cruise. Osaka, Japan – In this port we participated in a tour of the Osaka Castle. Situated in a very nice city park with many interesting things to see, vendors selling food and souvenirs, and wooded trails the castle was a disappointment. Having previously burnt down the castle itself was rebuilt (concrete and steel). There was a long line of visitors waiting to ride the elevator so we decided to walk up the stairs to the 8th floor observation deck. The castle was very crowded and there was little opportunity to view any of the display items. We visited here on a Sunday so a crowd was to be expected. A visit on a non-holiday/weekend day might have better results. Yokohama, Japan – This was the disembarkation port for our cruise. We used a Princess Cruise transfer from the port to Narita airport (approximately 2 hours). The transfer was extremely well done with guides and assistance at every point where things could have confusing. Bottom Line This was a great experience with a great itinerary. Princess Cruise provided a wonderful vacation with enough new and unique experiences to last a lifetime in a safe and organized manner. Great food, great service, and a very friendly atmosphere. Well Done Princess! We had a wonderful time. The ship was beautiful and the crew attentive and friendly. Food was very acceptable and plentiful. Entertainment was what can be expected and certainly a good finish to another wonderful day at sea. We would unreservedly recommend this cruise line and this ship.

Singapore to Yokohama (Tokyo, Japan) – 11-25 April 2016

Diamond Princess Cruise Review by lpops

63 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: April 2016
  • Destination: Asia
  • Cabin Type: Mini-Suite with Balcony
Singapore to Yokohama (Tokyo, Japan) – 11-25 April 2016. This was our fifth cruise and our third with Princess. My wife and I had a mini-suite on the Dolphin deck port side forward. We originally reserved a Lido deck balcony for easy access to the Gym and Spa. Before final payment a sale was announced significantly reducing the price for the Lido balcony (over $900 for both of us). A great deal we thought. Later, two weeks prior to departure, we received an Up Sell offer to the mini for $299 per person. End result we had a mini-suite for less than the original cost of the Lido balcony. We couldn’t have been happier.

Singapore - We arranged our own transportation to Singapore with a Princess transfer from the airport to the Swissotel Stamford Hotel near city center in Singapore with an extra day in Singapore to explore on our own. The transfer from the hotel to the ship was very well organized without excessive waiting. We were given a room on the 24th floor with a partial harbor view from which we watched the Diamond Princess enter port on the morning of the 11th or April. The transfer and the hotel, while a little costly, was worth the expense. We had a really great room with a really great view and in a very central location. We enjoyed the buffet breakfast at the hotel very much. Once at the cruise terminal we breezed through immigration and customs experiencing no line and immediately processed onto the ship, again without waiting in line. We were in our cabin within 15 minutes of arrival at the port. The ease with which we boarded the ship made the hour or so wait for our suitcases seem endless but we realized it only seemed long due to the speed by which we were able to board.

The Ship

The ship was very well maintained. Public areas were spotless and décor was interesting and appropriate. There was always a place to sit and relax in public areas and we never had to wait to be seated in any of the dining rooms. We did notice a lot of wear and torn edges on carpets on the Sports Deck. We did not eat at any of the specialty restaurants during this trip. The mini-suite was a very much valued perk over the balcony since it was a rather longer 14-day cruise. The extra room, larger balcony, bathroom with a tub, and sofa were much appreciated and used. Our cabin was clean and well designed. The closet was large and had an adequate number of hangers for all our clothing. Terrycloth robes are available for the asking. The queen sized bed was comfortable however we found the pillows to be too soft and not to our liking.

The bathroom very clean and everything worked as it should. The shower/bath tub was completely adequate. The bathroom had plenty of counter space and shelves for personal items. Towels were quickly replaced. We did not like the body wash and shampoo provided from bottles mounted on the wall and wish that bar soap and bottle shampoo would make their way back. Halfway through the cruise Princess re-installed the Japanese style heated toilet seat with robo-wash and air dryer. To put it mildly we find that this is not to our liking but understand the Diamond was entering the Japan market for the next cruise.

Service

Without exception the staff was friendly and responsive. Our cabin steward was always helpful and attentive without being in the way. The staff always greeted customers in a friendly and unobtrusive manner. We were very pleased with the staff.

Meals

Since this is an often contentious area I want to remind everyone that these comments reflect our personal experiences and others may have a different opinion. The dining room staff was attentive, friendly, and efficient. The food was always well presented and of high quality. Meals were served at the appropriate temperature and without excessive waiting. We opted for “Anytime” dining and never had to wait to be seated at a private table for two. I will add that the private tables for two are so close together that everyone is effectively sitting at a table for four or more. Don’t expect to have a private conversation during meals. We greatly enjoyed the Horizon Buffet on the Lido deck. Food was always well prepared and presented and in wide variety. The buffet became an important stop during our travels on the ship. We never had a difficult time in finding a place so sit. Tables were cleared and cleaned immediately as soon as vacated.

Ports and Activities

Singapore - Singapore is beautiful city with lots to do and see. There are many wonderful parks and other attractions. Singapore is truly a multicultural and modern city. We recommend Gardens by the Bay, a huge, colorful, futuristic park in the bay area of Singapore. Did I mention that Singapore is hot?

Ho Chi Minh City (AKA Saigon) – Saigon is a long 90 minute ride from the port city of Phu My. The tour company provided an interesting guide who entertained us with facts, figures, and historical information about this part of Vietnam. We visited numerous museums and historical government locations. The highlight for us was the water puppet show. I suggest that if you take an organized tour that you select one with a less intense itinerary. We found ourselves standing outside the gates of many attractions for a photo opportunity without ever having entered. I was very disappointed. A traditional buffet Lunch was provided at a large hotel in downtown Saigon which was very well done. The food was interesting and very tasty.

Nha Trang – Nha Trang was a tender port. The Diamond Princess anchored in the harbor and visitors were taken ashore in tender boats. My wife and I elected to not engage a sponsored tour in Nha Trang so we waited until the mad dash for the tenders was over before taking the short 15 minute ride ashore. When we arrived at the pier we found nothing to see or do. After a short walk around the area we re-boarded the tender and returned to the ship. I cannot comment further on Nha Trang.

Chan May (Da Nang/Hue) My wife and I participated in the Imperial Citadel & Tu Duc Royal Tomb guided tour. We arrived in Da Nang after a pleasant hour or so drive from the port of Chan May. Our personal highlight was a short river cruise on the Perfume River and a buffet lunch at a local hotel. Our tour guide was a pleasant man who related his family’s personal experiences during the war. He was open and friendly and assured everyone that most locals felt that everyone was equal in loss during the conflict and the Vietnamese were looking to the future. He and everyone else we met were very friendly and welcoming. We spent a very enjoyable day in Da Nang.

Hong Kong – We spent nearly two days in Hong Kong. Our tour stops included Victoria Peak, the Aberdeen floating village, Stanley Market, and a Harbor Cruise. We had a Dim Sum lunch at the famous Jumbo Kingdom floating restaurant in Aberdeen. The second day in port we took the free shuttle bus to Hollywood Plaza shopping center to look around before returning to the ship for a 5:00 PM departure. Hong Kong is extremely crowded and many activities require lengthy waits in lines.

Keelung Taiwan (Taipei) – Our least favorite cruise stop. We took a short ride from the port city of Keelung to Taipei the capital city of Taiwan. Our stops included the Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall, the National Palace Museum and the Martyr's Shrine. We also stopped beside a small park with a view of the Taipei 101 building for a photo opportunity. The 4.5 hour tour did not include any meals or snacks. Throughout the tour we felt like we were being sold “Taiwan” with much emphasis being placed on military triumphs and less on culture and history. We don’t recommend spending much time or resources in this port.

Kagoshima, Japan – In this port we tried the Ibusuki Sand Bath (also known as the Ibusuki Sunamushi Kaikan Saraku). This tour provides an interesting way to enjoy the benefits of the heat and minerals of a traditional hot spring in addition to a 15-20-minute-long sand bath treatment followed by a traditional communal Japanese bath. We were provided a kimono and obi to wear while we were covered with very warm black volcanic sand. The treatment is amazing in its ability to relieve aches and pains. Following the sand bath, we were treated to a traditional Japanese meal at a hotel dining room. While this tour is for the adventurous we recommend it highly and regard it as the highlight of our cruise.

Osaka, Japan – In this port we participated in a tour of the Osaka Castle. Situated in a very nice city park with many interesting things to see, vendors selling food and souvenirs, and wooded trails the castle was a disappointment. Having previously burnt down the castle itself was rebuilt (concrete and steel). There was a long line of visitors waiting to ride the elevator so we decided to walk up the stairs to the 8th floor observation deck. The castle was very crowded and there was little opportunity to view any of the display items. We visited here on a Sunday so a crowd was to be expected. A visit on a non-holiday/weekend day might have better results.

Yokohama, Japan – This was the disembarkation port for our cruise. We used a Princess Cruise transfer from the port to Narita airport (approximately 2 hours). The transfer was extremely well done with guides and assistance at every point where things could have confusing.

Bottom Line

This was a great experience with a great itinerary. Princess Cruise provided a wonderful vacation with enough new and unique experiences to last a lifetime in a safe and organized manner. Great food, great service, and a very friendly atmosphere. Well Done Princess!

We had a wonderful time. The ship was beautiful and the crew attentive and friendly. Food was very acceptable and plentiful. Entertainment was what can be expected and certainly a good finish to another wonderful day at sea. We would unreservedly recommend this cruise line and this ship.
lpops’s Full Rating Summary
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