This was my first time taking a cruise with Princess. I selected Diamond Princess for it's itinerary and destinations, and because it fit in my prior travel plans to Tokyo and Osaka. I was traveling by myself. By booking my ANA flight using EZair, I was able to save a couple hundred dollars, still earn ANA miles and chose my seat.
On previous cruises, I sailed aboard much smaller ships, so Diamond Princess seemed very large and crowded. Even on the last day of the cruise, I was still learning my way around Diamond Princess. I was surprised to find that crew didn't always seem to know where things were - for example, when asking for directions to nearest restroom, crew members didn't always know where the nearest one was.
My cabin attendant was very good, timely and polite, but I was frustrated by having to go to a bar each day to pick up bottled water, because the beverage package doesn't include the bottled water for sale which is automatically left in the staterooms.
I didn't like being assigned late seating at 7:45 pm - which meant supper wasn't finished until nearly 9:30 PM. I prefer to eat earlier and go to bed by 10 PM. Instead, most nights I ate elsewhere, including grill, pizza place and Horizon Court. Most of all, I enjoyed the food and service at Sterling Steakhouse and Sabatini's (2 nights in each restaurant for extra surcharge).
I had fantastic meals on excursions in Kagoshima at Sengan en, at Grand Hotel in Taipei, and at the Hue Riverside Boutique Resort and Spa. My favorite excursions were those in Hue, Taipei and Kagoshima.
Embarking and disembarking in Yokohama is very easy and quick, and the cruise terminal is convenient to Japan Rail. It was nice to spend a few hours exploring Yokohama's Chinatown in the morning before boarding the ship in the afternoon.
I found my interior stateroom (C737) to be a long walk from public areas and outdoor decks. Nevertheless, the room itself was nice and I enjoyed good sleep each night. It was reasonably near the guest laundry - which I used three times on a fifteen night cruise.
Prior to the cruise, I visited Kamakura's Hachiman shrine, Hasedera temple, Shijo Kingo's house and the Dai Butsu. I also visited Yokohama's Chinatown the morning of the ship's departure. I spent a few days in Tokyo as well, visiting Meiji Shrine, did some shopping in Shibuya, enjoyed the exhibits at the Mori Art Museum and National Art Center, took in the view from the Tokyo Sky Tree, visited Ginza, Akihabara and more.
I enjoyed the visit to Arimura Lava Observatory. The weather was beautiful and had a clear view of the volcano. Sengan en gardens were beautiful, the luncheon was great. Enjoyed seeing the Shochu distillery and tasting room
Full day tour of the Citadel, pagoda, lunch at the riverside boutique resort, a river boat ride, and visit to an imperial tomb. Beautiful countryside, still recovering from the long war for independence from France, and subsequent American War. You can see bullet holes and most of the Imperial City was destroyed by US troops in 1968.View All 14 Imperial Hue Reviews
Hong Kong is easy to visit on one's own, without paying for an excursion. I took the Star Ferry from Kowloon to Hong Kong Island (for about 30 cents or so), then rode the mid levels escalator up to Mosque Road and back down. visited Hong Kong Park, Tai Kwun Centre for Arts, Man Mo temple, took a round trip double decker tram ride for about 30 cents or so.
Great tour of the Chiang Kai Chek Memorial, Taipei 101, Grand Hotel, Confucius temple, Martyrs Shrine, National Palace Museum and more.View All 25 City Tour Reviews