We booked a cruise with Princess cruises via Jetline Cruise Ltd therefore it was pretty much a package holiday.
We had 3 days in Tokyo pre cruise and 2 days in Kyoto post cruise. Jetline booked excellent hotels for us in both locations and we had some excursions (city tours etc) as part of the package. We would have preferred to have stayed in Kyoto a little longer to be able to explore on our own but cannot grumble about the excursions as they were very good.
This was the first time we have cruised with Princess and did not think they were any different from other cruise lines we had done. They are certainly not the worst by any means and we would definitely cruise with them again but nothing stood out for us. The Diamond Princess is a good ship and we had a balcony stateroom which was very comfortable with a large bed. It is a big ship and walking round the promenade deck 2.5 times you will complete a mile in distance. It has a large theatre for entertainment and plenty of restaurants for set dining in addition to the buffet restaurants. The gym was well equipped and in addition to the general pools they also had an adult pool.
The food was very good but why, when they serve mash potato, it is the powdered variety! The vegetables were a bit of hit and miss sometimes being hard and tasteless and other occasions being excellent. However, there was a very good choice available on the menus with some excellent fish dishes. The buffet restaurant was very good with an large variety of food available. The only problem was finding a seat in the buffet restaurant as there was a large number of passengers on the cruise.
The resident dancers and musicians are probably some of the best we have seen on a cruise and the show that stood out for me was Bravo. Additionally I thought a Japanese female vocalist, Kaori, was first class with a beautiful voice singing in either Japanese or English. Her cover of James Taylor's You've Got a Friend is the best I have heard outside of the original. We loved movies under the stars with the added advantage of getting a pizza or burger and chips to watch the movie - much better than pop corn.
All the staff were a credit to Princess Cruise line with daily smiles and a very helpful attitude. It was also good that they would try to have a conversation with you if they had the time.
The cruise itself was in two parts. Japan cruising North to Russia (Korsakov) returning to Yokohama and then sailing South to South Korea (Busan) returning to Yokohama. Unfortunately the excursions from the ship were not very good in our opinion particularly on the Northern leg of the cruise so I would recommend you do your own thing. For example we booked the excursion in Korsakov which took us to a view point to see wit for it - the docks(!) and then Lenin Square. However, we booked this as it was the easiest way to get into Russia without a visa. Other passengers were not happy with their excursions either. The visit to the crane sanctuary basically consisted of viewing cranes in a cage (like a zoo) so was glad we were unable to book this one due to being over subscribed. The excursions on the Southern leg were better though particularly Busan and Nagasaki.
This cruise is geared towards the Japanese market so you need to take this into account. It was clear some western passengers were not aware of this and neither were they aware the cruise was in two legs. But don't let this put you off. The Japanese are a very friendly and polite race of people and willing to converse with you in English. Additionally Japan a must destination to visit as it is very clean and as previously said everyone is so polite and friendly.
Good cabin with TV chair and balcony. A fridge was available and the only drawback was the shower was very small.