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We've been on several Princess cruises, this was our second trip to Alaska, but have not gone this far north. The extra days to go to Whittier and Glacier Bay was a better Alaska experience. I say that because you just aren't seeing the typical tourist town. You are seeing miles and miles of wilderness, we were so lucky to see a lot of sea life. This was our first time with a balcony. It was wonderful having the balcony, we had our ocean breezes and star gazing on demand. Getting away from the crowds and being able to enjoy fresh air and sunshine was great, even if you didn't feel like getting dressed. The six days crossing the Bering Sea was a very relaxing time and we loved being on the water. We both felt that the cruise directors office did a poor job of preparing the cruisers on what to expect on each port of call. We had days of talks on Japan, almost the entire 6 day crossing. Then on the day before Russia there was a very dry, read from script, talk of Russia. Albeit, history is fantastic for the most part, however, when you have a few short hours to see a port, speaking to that port and what it has to offer would have been a valuable asset. Instead we get a boring, monotone history lesson on what the Czars did and why. I wanted to know about the port, what it had to offer, what was significant, what should be avoided, like being in a bus all day because of traffic. Also, there should have been a seminar to cover all of the tours offered. It would have been great to know that the City Tour and the Historic Tour of Russia were almost exactly the same tour. Also, if we would have been informed that the traffic is so horrible in Russia, maybe it would be a good idea to take maybe one tour and do a walking tour for the rest of the day. There was no shopping talks, like we had on a previous Princess cruise to Hawaii. I don't know what I expected, fishing villages in So. Korea and China? It would have been great for someone to say, "Hey, these are big cities with everything to offer, shuttle buses, shopping, walking tours, and oh, here are the tours we are offering, pros and cons, if you are looking to see a Temple, these tours are fantastic, if you are looking to see the country side, these tours are great, etc. Since this was the first time to Asia it was a real shock to see that there are no western toilets! On the tour papers, in small print on the back, it stated you had to supply your own toilet paper and hand cleanser. No mention that you had to squat over a porcelain urinal. I never saw a local carrying a satchel with their toilet supplies, do we want to know that they have no need for toilet paper or hand cleanser? The air pollution in Russia and China was absolutely terrible. There should have been a warning by the ship if you had breathing problems or sensitive to air quality you should take notice and take precautions accordingly. After several days of terrible air, I got really sick when I got home. I guess the worst thing I have to say about this 22 day cruise was the ship did a very poor job of describing ports of call and preparing us with what was offered. Also, in the evening after So. Korea, the ocean was full of squid boats, with bright lights, some getting pretty close to our ship. Our neighbor was practically in hysterics thinking we were being invaded by North Korea or China. Putting a note in the Princess Patter to make sure you notice the fishing boats at night would have been a comfort and a bit of trivia for the cruisers. The diamond Princess is huge, good and bad. Good that there is a lot to do. Bad that there isn't really a quiet place to hang out and read. The library is tiny, the writing area outside of the library is out in the walkway area, not quiet at all. I was hard pressed to find a quiet place with like minded people. So, I spent a lot of time in our room, enjoying the ocean and fresh air, in peace. The staff was again great. One funny thing, A year and a half ago, in December, we went on a 15 day cruise to Hawaii, we met one of the photographers, we call Gorgy. He was fun and we had some banter back and forth, bought a few pictures. Then the next May we took a 10 day from San Francisco to Alaska, the same photographer was on ship. He remembered us and that was neat. Again, fun banter back and forth. So, this cruise, 22 days from Alaska to Asia, we were happy to run into Gorgy again! What are the chances? He was helpful in pointing us to local restaurants and things to see. Also, one evening I wasn't feeling well at dinner and had to leave the table. The waiter sent to our room a green apple, which he said would help and it did. The next evening, everyone, from the Hostess to the waiter, bus boy and Maitarde asked how I was feeling. At first I was a little embarrassed, but then I realized they were really concerned that I was not well. When I first got home, I was ill from the bad air for about 5 days, not sure what it was actually, just chest congestion and feeling like crap! Then when I was asked if I liked the cruise I was like, "Never want to go back there again." No toilets in Asia, Russia was dirty and traffic was horrible. Now, if we did take this cruise again. I would not take any tours with the ship. I'd take the shuttle in So. Korea and walk around the town, which I did a little in the morning but had to go back to the ship for a tour at noon. I would not take a tour in Russia. The ship is practically parked down town. I would walk around and see what there was to see. We had a great time in Japan. Muroran was awesome. I think Bolta was the bomb! I wish I had of bought more figurines. They are hilarious. China tours were so tight on time there was no time to shop, on any of the ports actually. No shopping unless you went on your own. Russia had some tables set up near the buses, Japan had tables set up, So. Korea did too, but if you don't buy post cards and such before your tours you may not have time to get anything. I ended up taking the addresses with me and writing cards on the bus. Oh yeah, it took one month for the Russia post cards to reach the USA west coast. So, it boils down to this. No shopping on any tours after Alaska. After Japan the air pollution is awful. People in Pusan, So. Korea and Muroran Japan were very nice. No toilets, like you are used to, in Asia. The Great Wall was a once in a life time event. Seeing the Water Cube and Bird's Nest, T Square, and the forbidden city are have to's. We saw the city stuff by cab. Also, one more thing they didn't tell us. The hotel room in Beijing electricity only comes on when you slide your room key into a slot on the wall next to the light switches. If you have two room keys you can go out and leave the AC on to cool the room. Oh yeah, don't be shocked by the gas mask in a can in your closet, next to the ironing board and slippers. If the tour guide on your bus wants to sell you a stamp with your name and your Chinese name, it's pricey at $20.00, buy one on the great wall for half as much. Mine was wrong and there was no getting another one. There are souvenir tables at the great wall and the prices are not bad, this maybe your only chance to get little tokens and post cards. That's it...

from Alaska to Asia, what a ride!

Diamond Princess Cruise Review by AuntJuie

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: September 2009
  • Destination: Asia
We've been on several Princess cruises, this was our second trip to Alaska, but have not gone this far north. The extra days to go to Whittier and Glacier Bay was a better Alaska experience. I say that because you just aren't seeing the typical tourist town. You are seeing miles and miles of wilderness, we were so lucky to see a lot of sea life. This was our first time with a balcony. It was wonderful having the balcony, we had our ocean breezes and star gazing on demand. Getting away from the crowds and being able to enjoy fresh air and sunshine was great, even if you didn't feel like getting dressed. The six days crossing the Bering Sea was a very relaxing time and we loved being on the water. We both felt that the cruise directors office did a poor job of preparing the cruisers on what to expect on each port of call. We had days of talks on Japan, almost the entire 6 day crossing. Then on the day before Russia there was a very dry, read from script, talk of Russia. Albeit, history is fantastic for the most part, however, when you have a few short hours to see a port, speaking to that port and what it has to offer would have been a valuable asset. Instead we get a boring, monotone history lesson on what the Czars did and why. I wanted to know about the port, what it had to offer, what was significant, what should be avoided, like being in a bus all day because of traffic. Also, there should have been a seminar to cover all of the tours offered. It would have been great to know that the City Tour and the Historic Tour of Russia were almost exactly the same tour. Also, if we would have been informed that the traffic is so horrible in Russia, maybe it would be a good idea to take maybe one tour and do a walking tour for the rest of the day. There was no shopping talks, like we had on a previous Princess cruise to Hawaii.
I don't know what I expected, fishing villages in So. Korea and China? It would have been great for someone to say, "Hey, these are big cities with everything to offer, shuttle buses, shopping, walking tours, and oh, here are the tours we are offering, pros and cons, if you are looking to see a Temple, these tours are fantastic, if you are looking to see the country side, these tours are great, etc. Since this was the first time to Asia it was a real shock to see that there are no western toilets! On the tour papers, in small print on the back, it stated you had to supply your own toilet paper and hand cleanser. No mention that you had to squat over a porcelain urinal. I never saw a local carrying a satchel with their toilet supplies, do we want to know that they have no need for toilet paper or hand cleanser?
The air pollution in Russia and China was absolutely terrible. There should have been a warning by the ship if you had breathing problems or sensitive to air quality you should take notice and take precautions accordingly. After several days of terrible air, I got really sick when I got home.
I guess the worst thing I have to say about this 22 day cruise was the ship did a very poor job of describing ports of call and preparing us with what was offered. Also, in the evening after So. Korea, the ocean was full of squid boats, with bright lights, some getting pretty close to our ship. Our neighbor was practically in hysterics thinking we were being invaded by North Korea or China. Putting a note in the Princess Patter to make sure you notice the fishing boats at night would have been a comfort and a bit of trivia for the cruisers.
The diamond Princess is huge, good and bad. Good that there is a lot to do. Bad that there isn't really a quiet place to hang out and read. The library is tiny, the writing area outside of the library is out in the walkway area, not quiet at all. I was hard pressed to find a quiet place with like minded people. So, I spent a lot of time in our room, enjoying the ocean and fresh air, in peace.
The staff was again great. One funny thing, A year and a half ago, in December, we went on a 15 day cruise to Hawaii, we met one of the photographers, we call Gorgy. He was fun and we had some banter back and forth, bought a few pictures. Then the next May we took a 10 day from San Francisco to Alaska, the same photographer was on ship. He remembered us and that was neat. Again, fun banter back and forth. So, this cruise, 22 days from Alaska to Asia, we were happy to run into Gorgy again! What are the chances? He was helpful in pointing us to local restaurants and things to see. Also, one evening I wasn't feeling well at dinner and had to leave the table. The waiter sent to our room a green apple, which he said would help and it did. The next evening, everyone, from the Hostess to the waiter, bus boy and Maitarde asked how I was feeling. At first I was a little embarrassed, but then I realized they were really concerned that I was not well.
When I first got home, I was ill from the bad air for about 5 days, not sure what it was actually, just chest congestion and feeling like crap! Then when I was asked if I liked the cruise I was like, "Never want to go back there again." No toilets in Asia, Russia was dirty and traffic was horrible. Now, if we did take this cruise again. I would not take any tours with the ship. I'd take the shuttle in So. Korea and walk around the town, which I did a little in the morning but had to go back to the ship for a tour at noon. I would not take a tour in Russia. The ship is practically parked down town. I would walk around and see what there was to see. We had a great time in Japan. Muroran was awesome. I think Bolta was the bomb! I wish I had of bought more figurines. They are hilarious. China tours were so tight on time there was no time to shop, on any of the ports actually. No shopping unless you went on your own. Russia had some tables set up near the buses, Japan had tables set up, So. Korea did too, but if you don't buy post cards and such before your tours you may not have time to get anything. I ended up taking the addresses with me and writing cards on the bus. Oh yeah, it took one month for the Russia post cards to reach the USA west coast.
So, it boils down to this. No shopping on any tours after Alaska. After Japan the air pollution is awful. People in Pusan, So. Korea and Muroran Japan were very nice. No toilets, like you are used to, in Asia. The Great Wall was a once in a life time event. Seeing the Water Cube and Bird's Nest, T Square, and the forbidden city are have to's. We saw the city stuff by cab. Also, one more thing they didn't tell us. The hotel room in Beijing electricity only comes on when you slide your room key into a slot on the wall next to the light switches. If you have two room keys you can go out and leave the AC on to cool the room. Oh yeah, don't be shocked by the gas mask in a can in your closet, next to the ironing board and slippers. If the tour guide on your bus wants to sell you a stamp with your name and your Chinese name, it's pricey at $20.00, buy one on the great wall for half as much. Mine was wrong and there was no getting another one. There are souvenir tables at the great wall and the prices are not bad, this maybe your only chance to get little tokens and post cards. That's it...
AuntJuie’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Cabin l214
L219, was on same deck as Horizen Court. It was great, quick snack, and pool access. Only problem no laundry on this deck. Balcony was private, except the bridge can see half of balcony. Wave noise is great!
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