We actually did a 16 day cruise from 7/11 to 7/27 on the Diamond Princess. Overall, we had a great time and we found most of the staff to be quite friendly and helpful. Japan is an amazing place to travel to as it is clean and the people are kind and helpful. All the ports we traveled to were wonderful. Sadly, we missed Okinawa, a decision that was made in haste, as the storm was weaker than expected and passed through well before our expected arrival. The $50 on board credit, helped, but it was a tough port to miss.
Service: As usual, the service was quite good. This is an area where Princess shines and the Diamond Princess did not disappoint.
Embarkation: Our embarkation was the worst we have ever experienced in 32 cruises. The terminal in Yokohama was hot, with no AC, and packed with uncomfortable passengers. The entire boarding process was chaotic and Princess did not offer cold towels and only set out scant amounts of water. But, they were fully equipped with excuses, which after a while became quite tiring.
The Cabin: The Diamond Princess was having issues with the AC system when we were onboard. Our room was nice, but always warmer than what we deemed as comfortable. This, even with our AC temperature set consistently to the coldest setting. I do not believe that room ever got below 74F or 23C. At times, it was uncomfortably warm, near 80F or 27C. We also had a musty smell in our room. I complained, because my allergies were going crazy, and they cleaned the rug, but it did not help. After a while, I figured it was likely the AC system that was giving off the smell. The only reason I didn't demand another room was because the smell was mostly confined to the entrance and the closet area. Another unusual room issue we had was extremely warm water coming out of the tap and the shower in the bathroom. The coldest water setting was around 78F or 25C.
Entertainment: The entertainment and the activities were good, but it was disappointing that the shows were the same for the second 8 days as they were for the first 8 days. If we had known that, we would have considered not doing two legs. The Isumi Spa is very much worth experiencing. Make sure to put that on your list. We did it and loved it. This spa is unique to the Diamond Princess.
Dining: Normally, Princess excels here, but the diners were disappointing as, like the shows, the menu was exactly the same for the second 8 days as it was for the first 8 days. That, we really did not understand. It was tacky and cheap at best. The menu mostly had cooked fish items and was not as good as we have had on past cruises. The Steak House and the Sushi Restaurants were good, but remember they cost extra. As for the buffet, it was ok, if you like fighting for a place to sit and do not mind stepping on people, all for food that was average.
Ports and Shore Excursions: My best advice is not to do any of the shore excursions with Princess in Japan. If you do, expect to pay more than double charged for the Japanese Tours. The tour to Ishigaki was a rip off, as the Diamond Princess did not prioritize the tours as they said they would. We waited over 1 1/2 hours in the theater before we get a tender. In the end, our very expensive full day tour ended up being a rip off and a half-day tour. Other passengers got off the ship early and did a similar tour, from the tour desk on shore, for 1/10th the cost. We did Kanazawa on our own and this historic city was our favorite stop. If you go to Taipei then we suggest doing the Full Day excursion. It was one of the best tours we have ever done and it was a good value. We also enjoyed our Busan, South Korea tour. But, as for the Japanese tours, for the money, we would have been better off doing them all on our own.
Room: Until the Diamond goes in for renovation, I suggest staying away from the top floors (14,12 and 11) as people were complaining about the AC not working well. We had a musty smell in our room and both of us experienced allergy flares that we normally do not have in the summer. If this happens, demand a different room as they may not be able to fix it. Be careful with the tap and shower water, which was unusually warm in our room. Another issue we had during the first leg was poor TV reception. This included the movies and shore excursion clips.
We love Tokyo! It is about a 50 minute train ride to downtown from the port. Yokohama is a nice city to walk in. You can literally walk right out of the port into the city.
Nice tour, but expensive. Consider taking the shuttle into downtown and doing Hiroshima on your own as you can see more at a better price.View All 5 Atomic Bomb Dome Reviews
Nice tour, but expensive. Consider taking the shuttle into downtown and doing Hiroshima on your own as you can see more at a better price.View All 12 Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park Reviews
We did that UN Cemetery and then when into the mountains and visited the Tongdosa Temple and grounds. Both were nice. In hindsight, I would have prefered to do the Cemetery and seen more in town rather than traveling to Tongdosa.
We did the Izumo Grand Shrine. Very historical and interesting, but the tour price was too high and they did not provide water on a hot day. At $160 per person, they should at least provide a $1 bottle of water.
This is a review for Kanazawa and Sakata on Japan's west coast. We loved both cities and count them as our favorites on the cruise. Cruise Critic does not have the ports listed and we liked both so much we wanted to add them.
We missed our stop in Okinawa and made it to Ishigaki. Sadly, we would have prefered it be the other way around. Ishigaki is like a caribbean island, owned by Japan. It is pretty and picturesque, but not very historical.
We did the full day tour that hit nearly everything on the list. This was an excellent tour and a good value, with a wonderful lunch at one of the prettiest hotels in the world.View All 25 City Tour Reviews