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My husband and I took our very first cruise on the Diamond Princess in 2014. It was a 7 night trip from Tokyo to Hong Kong. We deliberately chose a short itinerary as we weren’t convinced that we were going to enjoy cruising. It was also our first trip to Japan, but our fifth visit to Hong Kong which a city we adore. It turned out there was no need to worry whether we would like cruising or not, as we became hooked almost immediately. We were so impressed by the service and facilities on the Diamond and couldn’t have asked for a better introduction to cruising. In 2015 we had the opportunity to cruise again, this time for 7 nights in the Pacific Islands on the Sun Princess. Although we enjoyed the experience, it was quite different to our first cruise and we felt that the larger Diamond Princess suited us better than the smaller Sun Princess. So when we came across an itinerary for 14 nights on the Diamond Princess sailing from Singapore to Tokyo and visiting 7 ports in April 2017, we couldn’t book quickly enough. My parents decided to join us on this trip. They have cruised before, but this was their first time with Princess. The first time we travelled on the Diamond Princess, we waited in a queue for five hours at Yokohama before finally boarding the ship. So we were very pleasantly surprised to arrive at the Marina Bay Cruise Centre just before midday and arrive on board the Diamond thirty minutes later, even though our official boarding time was from 3:00pm. The entire process of going through security, check-in and boarding was very efficient and we were thoroughly impressed. It meant that we had plenty of time to reacquaint ourselves with our favourite ship before it departed Singapore at 6pm. • On our first cruise on the Diamond we were lucky enough to be upgraded from an interior stateroom to a balcony room. On our second cruise we stayed in an obstructed oceanview stateroom and this time we booked an interior room which we found surprisingly spacious and comfortable. The ship had been in dry dock for almost a week immediately prior to this trip and it was immediately apparent that all of the carpets had been replaced and the old girl was looking pretty good. • The Cruise Director told us that the ship was at capacity on this trip, with Australians being the largest group on board, followed by the British, then the Americans. All announcements were made in English only and menus were also in English. On our first Diamond cruise the ship had Japanese-style toilets throughout, however on this trip they were all western-style with the exception of a couple in the common areas. • We have been impressed by the food on both of our prior Princess cruises and the high standard was maintained on this one. The food was predominantly western and European, with some Asian dishes available. Anytime dining was available on this itinerary and we alternated between the various dining rooms and Horizon Court for dinner although the pizzeria remains my favourite dinner option. The only specialty restaurant we dined in was the Sterling Steakhouse, where the food was magnificent and the service was outstanding. Afternoon tea in the International Dining Room is also really lovely and a great experience. • Princess isn’t known for its entertainment. We generally don’t go to a lot of shows and the production shows we did go to were very cheesy, as expected. The cooking demonstration and galley tour was probably the highlight of the onboard entertainment and activities. As it was a 14 day itinerary, we did find the range of activities limited and many were repetitive, while others were only offered once which meant that they were full and people were turned away. For example, rather than having six hula classes and one origami class scheduled during the cruise, perhaps they could have scheduled three of each. We also felt the band on this cruise was sub-standard, which was disappointing as we quite like the live music events. • I always take a couple of books with me to read and leave in the library. The Diamond library has a reasonable selection and I managed to read my two books plus another two over the 14 days of the cruise. • Port lectures were provided for every port and generally ran for 30 to 45 minutes. We tended to watch them on TV later rather than attending the live presentation, but it was useful to have this information at hand. • The Princess @ Sea system was excellent, allowing us to coordinate our itineraries, add in our own reminders, keep track of our onboard account and message each other throughout the day. Having said that, we did notice a number of errors in the descriptions and locations of some activities so we generally checked the Patter as well to make sure we had the right information. • We discovered the Izumi Bathhouse on our first cruise and absolutely loved it, so this time we took up the special offer which gave us five visits for US$60. From 8am until 10am each day the bathhouse was open for nude bathing, with swimsuits required at all other times. I found it was quite busy during the swimsuit sessions but I had the place to myself during the nude times. • We pre-purchased the all-inclusive photo package for this trip and it was well worth it as we ended up with over 50 prints plus the digital files. The photography team were fantastic and we got to know them quite well by the end of the trip. Hot tip – if you do buy the all-inclusive package, collect your digital files and prints each day. Don’t wait until the last night, as the queues in the photo gallery are enormous. • It’s hard to judge, but I would estimate that the average age of passengers on this trip was somewhere between 50 and 60. There were only a couple of dozen children on board and we barely saw them. The nightclub was deserted most nights and the casino was not well utilised. My poor hubby likes to play a bit of poker when we’re on holiday but he struggled to find an opponent most nights! • We surrendered our passports when we checked in and received them back the day before we arrived at Osaka, our first port in Japan. We were provided with a landing card for the ports in Vietnam and a copy of our passport for Taipei and Hong Kong. • We did feel that the stateroom service was inferior on this trip compared to our previous two cruises. When we spoke to our stateroom steward she told us that they now have more rooms to look after than they used to, plus there is only one steward per stateroom when we have had two on our previous trips. Although our room was kept clean, we did sometimes have to wait until quite late in the day for it to be refreshed.

Our second time on this ship was memorable for all the right reasons

Diamond Princess Cruise Review by Kellyansapansa

8 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: April 2017
  • Destination: Asia
  • Cabin Type: Interior
My husband and I took our very first cruise on the Diamond Princess in 2014. It was a 7 night trip from Tokyo to Hong Kong. We deliberately chose a short itinerary as we weren’t convinced that we were going to enjoy cruising. It was also our first trip to Japan, but our fifth visit to Hong Kong which a city we adore. It turned out there was no need to worry whether we would like cruising or not, as we became hooked almost immediately. We were so impressed by the service and facilities on the Diamond and couldn’t have asked for a better introduction to cruising.

In 2015 we had the opportunity to cruise again, this time for 7 nights in the Pacific Islands on the Sun Princess. Although we enjoyed the experience, it was quite different to our first cruise and we felt that the larger Diamond Princess suited us better than the smaller Sun Princess. So when we came across an itinerary for 14 nights on the Diamond Princess sailing from Singapore to Tokyo and visiting 7 ports in April 2017, we couldn’t book quickly enough. My parents decided to join us on this trip. They have cruised before, but this was their first time with Princess.

The first time we travelled on the Diamond Princess, we waited in a queue for five hours at Yokohama before finally boarding the ship. So we were very pleasantly surprised to arrive at the Marina Bay Cruise Centre just before midday and arrive on board the Diamond thirty minutes later, even though our official boarding time was from 3:00pm. The entire process of going through security, check-in and boarding was very efficient and we were thoroughly impressed. It meant that we had plenty of time to reacquaint ourselves with our favourite ship before it departed Singapore at 6pm.

• On our first cruise on the Diamond we were lucky enough to be upgraded from an interior stateroom to a balcony room. On our second cruise we stayed in an obstructed oceanview stateroom and this time we booked an interior room which we found surprisingly spacious and comfortable. The ship had been in dry dock for almost a week immediately prior to this trip and it was immediately apparent that all of the carpets had been replaced and the old girl was looking pretty good.

• The Cruise Director told us that the ship was at capacity on this trip, with Australians being the largest group on board, followed by the British, then the Americans. All announcements were made in English only and menus were also in English. On our first Diamond cruise the ship had Japanese-style toilets throughout, however on this trip they were all western-style with the exception of a couple in the common areas.

• We have been impressed by the food on both of our prior Princess cruises and the high standard was maintained on this one. The food was predominantly western and European, with some Asian dishes available. Anytime dining was available on this itinerary and we alternated between the various dining rooms and Horizon Court for dinner although the pizzeria remains my favourite dinner option. The only specialty restaurant we dined in was the Sterling Steakhouse, where the food was magnificent and the service was outstanding. Afternoon tea in the International Dining Room is also really lovely and a great experience.

• Princess isn’t known for its entertainment. We generally don’t go to a lot of shows and the production shows we did go to were very cheesy, as expected. The cooking demonstration and galley tour was probably the highlight of the onboard entertainment and activities. As it was a 14 day itinerary, we did find the range of activities limited and many were repetitive, while others were only offered once which meant that they were full and people were turned away. For example, rather than having six hula classes and one origami class scheduled during the cruise, perhaps they could have scheduled three of each. We also felt the band on this cruise was sub-standard, which was disappointing as we quite like the live music events.

• I always take a couple of books with me to read and leave in the library. The Diamond library has a reasonable selection and I managed to read my two books plus another two over the 14 days of the cruise.

• Port lectures were provided for every port and generally ran for 30 to 45 minutes. We tended to watch them on TV later rather than attending the live presentation, but it was useful to have this information at hand.

• The Princess @ Sea system was excellent, allowing us to coordinate our itineraries, add in our own reminders, keep track of our onboard account and message each other throughout the day. Having said that, we did notice a number of errors in the descriptions and locations of some activities so we generally checked the Patter as well to make sure we had the right information.

• We discovered the Izumi Bathhouse on our first cruise and absolutely loved it, so this time we took up the special offer which gave us five visits for US$60. From 8am until 10am each day the bathhouse was open for nude bathing, with swimsuits required at all other times. I found it was quite busy during the swimsuit sessions but I had the place to myself during the nude times.

• We pre-purchased the all-inclusive photo package for this trip and it was well worth it as we ended up with over 50 prints plus the digital files. The photography team were fantastic and we got to know them quite well by the end of the trip. Hot tip – if you do buy the all-inclusive package, collect your digital files and prints each day. Don’t wait until the last night, as the queues in the photo gallery are enormous.

• It’s hard to judge, but I would estimate that the average age of passengers on this trip was somewhere between 50 and 60. There were only a couple of dozen children on board and we barely saw them. The nightclub was deserted most nights and the casino was not well utilised. My poor hubby likes to play a bit of poker when we’re on holiday but he struggled to find an opponent most nights!

• We surrendered our passports when we checked in and received them back the day before we arrived at Osaka, our first port in Japan. We were provided with a landing card for the ports in Vietnam and a copy of our passport for Taipei and Hong Kong.

• We did feel that the stateroom service was inferior on this trip compared to our previous two cruises. When we spoke to our stateroom steward she told us that they now have more rooms to look after than they used to, plus there is only one steward per stateroom when we have had two on our previous trips. Although our room was kept clean, we did sometimes have to wait until quite late in the day for it to be refreshed.
Kellyansapansa’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Interior
Cabin IF P234
The cabin was very well organised, with a practical layout which made excellent use of the available space. We chose a queen bed configuration and had plenty of room with a bedside table on each side. There was plenty of cupboard and hanging space and enough shelves in the bathroom so we could unpack everything and not have to live out of our suitcases. The bed and pillows were incredibly comfortable and our cabin was lovely and quiet so we slept exceptionally well throughout the cruise. The location of this cabin is very convenient to the atrium and other regularly used facilities. I would not hesitate to book this type of cabin again.
Lido Deck Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Da Nang
    Having done quite a lot of research before our trip, we felt that there wasn’t much to see or do in this port. We did disembark and have a look at the little market on the pier, but my husband and I then went back on board and spent the day enjoying the ship facilities without the usual crowds. My parents took a free shuttle bus to a nearby beach resort, which they said was pleasant.
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  • Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)
    (Vung Tau). This port is listed as Ho Chi Minh City in the cruise itinerary, but the ship actually docks at Vung Tau and HCMC is 100km away. Rather than spend half the day on a bus, we booked a private tour of Long Tan and Nui Dat. We were picked up from the port at 8:00am by our tour guide. There were two other people on our tour, so we were a party of six plus the driver, our guide who was an Australian Vietnam Vet and a local Vietnamese guide who spoke excellent English. It was a full day tour and we visited the Bong Lai Orphanage, Nui Dat, the Vietcong tunnels at Long Phuoc, the memorial cross at Long Tan, a Buddhist temple, into Vung Tau for lunch at Belly’s Watering Hole, Long Hai lookout and the Museum of Worldwide Arms, before arriving back at the port around 4:00pm. It was a fantastic day and our guides were very knowledgeable, well worth the US$60 per person we paid.
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  • Hong Kong
    My husband and I have been to Hong Kong many times before, but this was the first visit for my parents so we took them on a whirlwind tour of our favourite places. We disembarked as soon as they let us, at 8:00am. We’re not fans of the Kai Tak Cruise Terminal as it’s so far out of the way and the transport options are limited. We jumped straight into a taxi and made our way to the Garden Road Peak Terminus and taking the famous funicular up to Victoria Peak. We recommend doing this first to beat the crowds, otherwise you can queue for quite a long time at the terminus. In addition to the usual smog it was quite an overcast day so we didn’t spend too long at the Peak before catching the tram back down the hill. We then walked through Central and along Queens Road to the Mid Levels Escalators which are a bit of fun, before walking across some of the many skybridges to Exchange Square and then to Central Pier. We caught the wonderful Star Ferry across to Tsim Sha Tsui, took the obligatory tourist photos at 1881 Heritage and window shopped along Canton Road. We then backtracked, strolling past the magnificent Peninsula Hotel for a look before wandering up Nathan Road for a bit. We bought Tourist Day Passes and caught the MTR to Prince Edward and went for a walk through Flower Market Street and then the Yuen Po Street Bird Garden, before hitting the Ladies Market. We jumped back on the MTR and went to Fa Yuen Sneaker Street in Mong Kok, then caught the MTR again to Jordan for a walk through the Temple Street night markets. One final trip on the MTR back to Tsim Sha Tsui and we found ourselves a good viewing spot for the Symphony of Lights at 8:00pm, before catching a taxi back to the ship.
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  • Nha Trang
    This was our only tender port on this trip. The ship docked on time at 8:00am but unfortunately the tenders ran into some fishing nets on their first run which caused a delay, so we didn’t arrive at Nha Trang pier until 10:30am. We caught the free shuttle bus into the city centre and then went for a walk. We visited the Cho Dam markets and had fun bargaining for a few small souvenirs, then just wandered around the streets for a while enjoying the atmosphere. It was very hot and humid so we decided to head back to the ship at around 1:30pm, with time for some lunch and a swim before sailaway at 4:00pm.
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  • Osaka
    This was the second visit to Osaka for my husband and I but on our first visit we spent the day at Universal Studios, so this was our first opportunity to explore the city. Unfortunately the weather was cold and wet, so we didn’t get to see as much as we had planned. The ship was scheduled to depart at 11pm but we were advised by the Captain that due to bad weather we would be staying overnight at Osaka and departing early the next morning. We disembarked and walked to the nearby train station, where we purchased one day travel passes from a machine, with the assistance of an English-speaking attendant. We caught a train to Osaka Castle and walked through the surrounding park, admiring the stunning cherry blossoms. We caught another train to Shinsaibashi and explored the famous covered shopping arcades, before wandering through some of the smaller side streets towards the Dotonbori Riverwalk. We bought tickets for a Tombori River Cruise but unfortunately the rain had well and truly set in by this time so it wasn’t as much fun as it could have been. We decided to head back to the ship after this as we were all soaked through despite our rain gear. We had a look around the Tempozan Marketplace when we arrived back at the pier, and picked up some small souvenirs although the prices were higher than we had seen elsewhere. We went back to the ship and dried ourselves off and had something to eat, then at around 5:30pm we disembarked again and walked over to the Kaiyukan Aquarium. It was a fantastic experience and I would rate it as the best aquarium I’ve ever visited, and a must-do if you are visiting Osaka. There are many different exhibits including the famous whale sharks, which I could have watched for hours. There is also a shallow pool where you can pat small sharks and stingrays which was a definite highlight.
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  • Singapore
    We started with the Bugis Street Markets, which we found underwhelming. The range of products was limited, with many stalls carrying the same items, and prices were no cheaper than those at home so we moved on to Raffles for the obligatory Singapore Sling. There was a queue for the famous Billiards and Long Bar but we only waited a few minutes before being ushered in and shown to a table. We’d been advised to ask for freshly made cocktails and this tip paid off, as ours looked much nicer than the premixed jugs we saw being served to other customers.

    We spent our second day in Singapore at the famous Zoo. We arrived early for the Jungle Breakfast which was fabulous and well worth the extra cost. The buffet breakfast was magnificent, with a huge range of western and traditional dishes, all very fresh and using high quality ingredients. It was lovely eating breakfast while peacocks and other birds wandered around the tables. There were four orangutans brought out for the show, with the keeper explaining their histories and how they came to be at the zoo, as well as the conservation efforts the zoo is involved in. We were given plenty of opportunities to have our photos taken with these gorgeous creatures. Professional photos were available for purchase, but we were very happy with the many photos we were able to take with our own cameras.

    After breakfast we spent a full day wandering around the rest of the zoo. There are many animal exhibits and enclosures to visit, as well as feeding sessions and other shows to watch. We paid $5 each to hand feed a giraffe, which was a fabulous experience and well worth the small additional cost. We were given ample time and didn’t feel rushed by the keepers at all during this experience. The Rainforest Experience was another highlight. We were lucky enough to arrive just as plates of food were being put out for the animals and so we had plenty of photo opportunities as bats, lemurs, monkeys, mouse deer and assorted birds ran and flew past and around us as they feasted on bananas and other fruits.

    That night we went for a walk through Little India and dined like kings on a delicious range of curries and freshly made naan bread. It’s a very picturesque area and well worth a visit. The next morning we went for a quick walk along Orchard Road to check out some of the famous department stores before making our way to the Marina Bay Cruise Centre which was about a 15 minute taxi ride from the city centre. Our time in Singapore was short but very enjoyable, with our only regret being that we didn’t have time to visit the Gardens by the Bay which we have heard are magnificent.
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  • Taipei (Keelung)
    This was the second visit to Taipei for my husband and I, and the first time for my parents. The ship actually docks at Keelung which is approximately 30km from Taipei City. When you walk off the pier you will be mobbed by taxi touts wanting to sell their services. Their aim is to lock you in with a driver for the day by negotiating a fixed price up front, but be warned that this is very expensive. We ignored them and walked a couple of blocks away and then flagged down a regular taxi. We did this throughout the day and ended up paying around half of the daily rate we were quoted. Just make sure that the drivers are using the metre. We headed to the National Revolutionary Martyr’s Shrine first and watched the changing of the guard ceremony, which was spectacular. We were pleasantly surprised by the lack of crowds and had a great view of the ceremony which takes around 30 minutes in total. We then flagged down a passing taxi and went to Ximending, a shopping district in central Taipei. We had a lot of fun exploring the different alleys and laneways including Little Hong Kong, Tattoo Street and American Street. At around 2:30pm we caught a taxi back to Keelung and spent some time exploring a couple of shopping malls and department stores before boarding the ship.
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