This cruise was disappointing in several areas. Clearly, the Diamond Princess is set up to cater to the unique (and unusual) needs of Japanese passengers. Service is poor if you aren't Japanese and the entertainment venues were overrun with geriatric Japanese line/ballroom dancers. We waited over 90 minutes to disembark for a Princess tour with the explanation that there were not enough tenders and the on-board Japanese groups (they use tour guides on the ship) had to be taken care of first (sort of defeats the purpose of booking an excursion through the ship at tender ports!). This 12 night cruise was actually a 7 night followed by a 5 night. The second part of the cruise (5 days) was extremely repetitive from the entertainment, to the food (which declined in quality), to the service. Our dining room was so poor (70 minute wait for the main course on a formal night and then the lobster was old, apparently reheated, and not even grilled; further the menu is half Japanese food severely limiting the non-Japanese options each night) that, my wife and I, for the first time in 7 cruises, abandoned the dining room for the buffet over the last three nights of the cruise. We specifically booked this cruise because friends had spoken highly of Princess (our previous cruises were on Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Norwegian, and Carnival). Several fellow passengers on this cruise, one with 19 Princess cruises, told us that the Diamond Princess was not indicative of Princess as a whole. Additionaly, the shore excursions, while enjoyable, were much higher than comparable excursions on other lines. FYI, I tried to find alternative excursions but without 6-8 peopele I didn't have much luck.
Booked any available cabin and was given a Club class mini-suite. Good upgrade and it allowed for anytime dining.
Embarkation was fine although $140 to get two folks from the Osaka airport to the cruise terminal in Kobe was a bit high.