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Our cruise was part of a package that started with 3 nights in Tokyo then a flight to Osaka with 2 nights there. We then joined the ship at Kobe for the cruise after which we spent another night in Osaka before flying home. It was our hope that the trip would give us an introduction to Japanese culture as well as being interesting, stimulating and enjoyable. Looking back I would have to say that it exceeded our expectations. We will sail with Princess again. Embarkation Seamless and quick. Welcomed on board to sounds of shamisen player then to cabin to be met by steward who proved to be first rate throughout the cruise. Went to breaking of sake barrel at 3.30 and enjoyed my first taste of the national drink. Safety drill was in English and Japanese, so pretty long. But sitting in an a.c. theatre made all the difference. Noted about 75% of passengers were Japanese: so glad I'd at least learned some basic phrases, such as thank you, excuse me, good morning etc. Actually not necessary as most of the Japanese had better basic English than my limited phrases: funny in lifts etc. Japanese guy says hello in English I say hello in Japanese!! Dinning: We had asked for, and got, a table for 2 on first sitting at 5:30pm. On days when we in port at Dinner time the ship operated open dinning; just show up at anytime during the service times. This worked very well for us. We never had any problems and the food varied from good to excellent. There were always two menus, European and Japanese but the items were interchangeable which enabled us to try some new dishes. The food and the service were good enough for us to always dine in the Savoy every night! Breakfast venue varied. Horizon Court was a bit busy on occasions but the selection and the quality of food were very good. I loved the almond pan au chocolate pastries. We went to the dinning room when wanted a relaxed breakfast: the service was consistently good and the environment pleasant. On a couple of occasions when we needed an early start we used room service; the food arrived on time and although the choice was limited it was pretty good. Lunch venue, when taken, was again varied. Again all the food was very good as was the service. I had the odd free ice cream, I really enjoyed the green tea ice cream although other flavours were available. Entertainment and enrichment. There were a huge choice of recent films, some shown in the theatre, some on movies under the stars and many free on the in cabin tv. One slight fly in the ointment was the use of Japanese subtitles on The Reverant that obscured the Native American translation. We really liked Diana Kichijitsu, a Liverpudlian who has lived in Japan for 26 years, who introduced us to Rakugo: comedic story telling. While in port in Hakodate and Aomori local folkloric performers did shows in the Princess theatre which we found interesting and enjoyable. Also it was pleasing to have the chance of learning some more Japanese in the lessons on board. Although the production company shows were o.kish I felt that they lacked a certain something but the 'Angelic Duo' two Ukrainian violinists,Christopher Watkins and the Vocalist Monique Dehaney hit the right note with us. Itinerary This worked well and we very much enjoyed the ports of call in Japan but I'm not a fan of ships tours and I did find the lack of information for independent exploration a little disappointing. It all turned out alright in the end and you may find my port reviews useful. One sour note was the visit to Korsakov: for various reasons we decided not to get off the ship here and reports from people that did tour suggest that we made a good choice. However, we still had to officially leave Japan and then re-enter Japan later. Computer problems in Otaru resulted in a very long wait to re-enter. We were scheduled for 8 and cleared immigration at 10.40. Shore Excursion Didn't do any. No "not applicable" in ratings so terrible doesn't mean anything! Disembarkation Seamless.

Not so rough Diamond.

Diamond Princess Cruise Review by southampton observer

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Trip Details
  • Sail Date: May 2016
  • Destination: Asia
  • Cabin Type: Balcony
Our cruise was part of a package that started with 3 nights in Tokyo then a flight to Osaka with 2 nights there. We then joined the ship at Kobe for the cruise after which we spent another night in Osaka before flying home. It was our hope that the trip would give us an introduction to Japanese culture as well as being interesting, stimulating and enjoyable. Looking back I would have to say that it exceeded our expectations. We will sail with Princess again.

Embarkation

Seamless and quick. Welcomed on board to sounds of shamisen player then to cabin to be met by steward who proved to be first rate throughout the cruise. Went to breaking of sake barrel at 3.30 and enjoyed my first taste of the national drink. Safety drill was in English and Japanese, so pretty long. But sitting in an a.c. theatre made all the difference. Noted about 75% of passengers were Japanese: so glad I'd at least learned some basic phrases, such as thank you, excuse me, good morning etc. Actually not necessary as most of the Japanese had better basic English than my limited phrases: funny in lifts etc. Japanese guy says hello in English I say hello in Japanese!!

Dinning:

We had asked for, and got, a table for 2 on first sitting at 5:30pm. On days when we in port at Dinner time the ship operated open dinning; just show up at anytime during the service times. This worked very well for us. We never had any problems and the food varied from good to excellent. There were always two menus, European and Japanese but the items were interchangeable which enabled us to try some new dishes. The food and the service were good enough for us to always dine in the Savoy every night!

Breakfast venue varied. Horizon Court was a bit busy on occasions but the selection and the quality of food were very good. I loved the almond pan au chocolate pastries. We went to the dinning room when wanted a relaxed breakfast: the service was consistently good and the environment pleasant. On a couple of occasions when we needed an early start we used room service; the food arrived on time and although the choice was limited it was pretty good.

Lunch venue, when taken, was again varied. Again all the food was very good as was the service.

I had the odd free ice cream, I really enjoyed the green tea ice cream although other flavours were available.

Entertainment and enrichment.

There were a huge choice of recent films, some shown in the theatre, some on movies under the stars and many free on the in cabin tv. One slight fly in the ointment was the use of Japanese subtitles on The Reverant that obscured the Native American translation.

We really liked Diana Kichijitsu, a Liverpudlian who has lived in Japan for 26 years, who introduced us to Rakugo: comedic story telling. While in port in Hakodate and Aomori local folkloric performers did shows in the Princess theatre which we found interesting and enjoyable. Also it was pleasing to have the chance of learning some more Japanese in the lessons on board.

Although the production company shows were o.kish I felt that they lacked a certain something but the 'Angelic Duo' two Ukrainian violinists,Christopher Watkins and the Vocalist Monique Dehaney hit the right note with us.

Itinerary

This worked well and we very much enjoyed the ports of call in Japan but I'm not a fan of ships tours and I did find the lack of information for independent exploration a little disappointing. It all turned out alright in the end and you may find my port reviews useful.

One sour note was the visit to Korsakov: for various reasons we decided not to get off the ship here and reports from people that did tour suggest that we made a good choice. However, we still had to officially leave Japan and then re-enter Japan later. Computer problems in Otaru resulted in a very long wait to re-enter. We were scheduled for 8 and cleared immigration at 10.40.

Shore Excursion

Didn't do any. No "not applicable" in ratings so terrible doesn't mean anything!

Disembarkation

Seamless.
southampton observer’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Balcony
Cabin BE B239
Usual standard that we've come to expect from Princess. Cabin steward fantastic, shower curtain ugh!, balcony a little worn, bed comfortable, plenty of storage.
Wow! A kettle in the cabin and a plug socket that fits a UK plug. No noise from outside. Slept really well.
Aloha Deck Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Kobe
    Not Kobe as we only embarked and disembarked there. Below is some info on the ports we visited. I cannot seem to do this any other way.

    Hakodate.
    Ship docked out of town. Free shuttle to town (NOT an easy walk). Dropped off near station. Morning market well worth a visit. Then walked up hill to various churches and good view.

    Muroran
    Again docked out of town. no free shuttle but for 1000 Yen you can take a local bus tour to visit 7 sites of 'interest'. You could take multiple rides. Packed bus! Cape Chikyu worth a look, very pretty and the stop where you can view the Hakucho bridge is ok. Local market set up on dock side good. Fantastic goodbye dockside show by local kids.

    Kushiro
    Yet again out of town but free shuttle to Moo and Egg building. Local chamber of commerce had set up stalls where tourists could try on a Kimono , practice calligraphy and much more. Very friendly. Visited the Nusamai bridge with 4 statues depicting the seasons, naked women: bad luck for winter?

    Otaro
    Walked into town: a good walk. Sakaimachidori street: lots of interesting shops reasonable prices. Otaro canal a pleasant walk if weather fine.

    Aomori
    Free shuttle although pleasant walk back across bridge. Visited Wa-Rasse museum where floats from previous years' Matsuri festival are on display. Also various interactive activities. A most enjoyable experience.
    View All 33 Kobe Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Kobe Cruise Port Review