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We arrived in Kobe the day before the cruise and spent the night at the Okura Kobe hotel down by the waterfront area. An excellent hotel with unusually large rooms for Japan and a mixed Japanese/International breakfast. Our room had a view of the port and the cruise terminal from the 26th floor and also the exceptional Japanese toilet, which we wanted to take home! There was also a Starbucks on the waterfront next to the hotel which was handy for my wife’s coffee fix at midday before we set off for the ship. A 10 minute taxi ride had us at the terminal and we were processed fairly quickly and onboard in approx. 30 minutes, so off to a good start. The ship overall was well cared for despite its age with only minor signs of wear and tear, but nothing that would put anyone off. I particularly like the grand class for the internal layout and the large full walk- around promenade deck. We had a club class mini suite on the starboard side mid ship, having had the same on the Crown on our last Princess cruise. Lots of space, large balcony and decent sized bath. Also, probably, the only larger cruise ship with Japanese toilets! The main benefit of the c.c. for us is the dining experience. The Diamond does not do anytime dining in the main dining rooms unless you are c.c. in the Santa Fe dining room on deck 6. The dining experience was very good although the food maybe wasn’t always as good as on previous cruises. The head waiter, Raj, prepared an “off menu” choice each night within the dining area and on one night {after a little persuasion} he also cooked a selection of Indian foods from his homeland which was much appreciated. Due to the jet lag and some early rises we only made 2 of the shows but thoroughly enjoyed “The secret silk” and the high quality singing show on the last night. {sorry, forgot it’s name} The passenger demographic on this cruise was probably 60% Japanese with also a large number of people with Japanese heritage from the States etc. and a much smaller number of Australian/brits/Canadians. The atmosphere on board was probably the most courteous we have seen. On one cultural themed event my wife got to try on a kimono helped by volunteer passengers and the entertainment staff, many of whom spoke Japanese, which she loved. Most of the ports of call on this port intensive cruise were unknown to us beforehand but that was part of the appeal. Our first stop was Kochi. The Princess tours did nothing for us and were very expensive for what you got so we arranged a local volunteer guide along with some fellow passengers in advance and she met us off the shuttle bus in town. We spent several hours with her showing us the castle and the temple/botanical gardens on the hill outside town. We also had a traditional Japanese meal kneeling/sitting on the floor. Everything was in Japanese so we took pot luck! Probably saw more through the eyes of a local than on an organised tour. Onto Hiroshima the next day and we booked a Princess tour called “tram and foot” which, although we got to see the main sights in the centre of the city, was not what we had expected. The 2 ladies who ran it were polite and well meaning but I don’t know if a previous passenger had wandered off because we were herded around like an infant school class who had never crossed a road before! It started raining heavily towards our last stop at the beautiful Japanese gardens so we were glad of the bus nearby. Onto day 3 and Matsuyama. This was the first time the ship has called at this port. The ship arrived at the dock at approx. 530 in the morning to a large group of people singing, a band playing and children waving flags! This was happening a short distance from our balcony and certainly gave us {and most others} an earlier wakeup call than we had planned! We saw the funny and, well intentioned side of it, and hope the others who had been loudly wakened did too! As is tradition the Captain received a plaque from the city to be displayed onboard. We took the ship shuttle the short distance to the train station and then the train into the centre of the city. The locals had really put out the welcome mat for us all with lots of English speaking staff to give directions or helpful advice. We wandered about on foot and used the trams to explore and had a great day climbing up to the castle and seeing the old buildings around the city. They also offered a free trip on the Big wheel on top of the Station building when buying the train/tram tickets for the day. On getting back the port, again the locals had gone out of their way to welcome the passengers with shows and local crafts, tea ceremony demonstrations etc. which lasted even after we pulled away from the dockside. In addition they opened the port to the curious locals to come along and hundreds did to enjoy the entertainment and wave us off. A truly moving and memorable experience. Day 4 and the port of Aburatsu for the Miyazaki area. We chose another Princess tour covering both the castle and a small Island with a temple on it. The main reason for a Princess tour was the shorter time in port and the distances involved to get to the main sights. The weather was better and the tour guide treated us like the adults we all were. The castle was nothing special but we enjoyed the Japanese lunch at the Holiday Inn and the Island nearby that was linked via bridge. Final port day and a lunchtime arrival in Busan, South Korea. We booked an independent tour along with a few other passengers and had a great guide, Beth {not her real name which was too hard to pronounce}. She had lived in England and Edinburgh {our area!} for several months whilst studying and her English was very good as was her delivery of information. We were driven about the main sights including the cultural village which some say reminds them of Santorini {only if you’ve been drinking and never been to Santorini!} and had a Korean barbecue meal with the locals. Passed under the neon lit up bridge as we left port. An enjoyable day. A day at sea where we passed through the Kanmon Straits in the morning and under another bridge before hitting the open sea and some relaxation and a try on the totally useless putting green. Easy disembarkation and taxi back to the same hotel we had started from followed by a few days in Kyoto with family and another few days stop over in Dubai on the way home to adjust to the time difference {and enjoy the 40 degree heat}. Overall a good cruise made all the better by the amazing people of this country.

The Japanese people made it special

Diamond Princess Cruise Review by TRUEBLUE66

4 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: May 2019
  • Destination: Asia
  • Cabin Type: Premium Mini-Suite with Balcony
We arrived in Kobe the day before the cruise and spent the night at the Okura Kobe hotel down by the waterfront area. An excellent hotel with unusually large rooms for Japan and a mixed Japanese/International breakfast. Our room had a view of the port and the cruise terminal from the 26th floor and also the exceptional Japanese toilet, which we wanted to take home! There was also a Starbucks on the waterfront next to the hotel which was handy for my wife’s coffee fix at midday before we set off for the ship.

A 10 minute taxi ride had us at the terminal and we were processed fairly quickly and onboard in approx. 30 minutes, so off to a good start.

The ship overall was well cared for despite its age with only minor signs of wear and tear, but nothing that would put anyone off. I particularly like the grand class for the internal layout and the large full walk- around promenade deck.

We had a club class mini suite on the starboard side mid ship, having had the same on the Crown on our last Princess cruise. Lots of space, large balcony and decent sized bath. Also, probably, the only larger cruise ship with Japanese toilets!

The main benefit of the c.c. for us is the dining experience. The Diamond does not do anytime dining in the main dining rooms unless you are c.c. in the Santa Fe dining room on deck 6.

The dining experience was very good although the food maybe wasn’t always as good as on previous cruises. The head waiter, Raj, prepared an “off menu” choice each night within the dining area and on one night {after a little persuasion} he also cooked a selection of Indian foods from his homeland which was much appreciated.

Due to the jet lag and some early rises we only made 2 of the shows but thoroughly enjoyed “The secret silk” and the high quality singing show on the last night. {sorry, forgot it’s name}

The passenger demographic on this cruise was probably 60% Japanese with also a large number of people with Japanese heritage from the States etc. and a much smaller number of Australian/brits/Canadians. The atmosphere on board was probably the most courteous we have seen.

On one cultural themed event my wife got to try on a kimono helped by volunteer passengers and the entertainment staff, many of whom spoke Japanese, which she loved.

Most of the ports of call on this port intensive cruise were unknown to us beforehand but that was part of the appeal.

Our first stop was Kochi. The Princess tours did nothing for us and were very expensive for what you got so we arranged a local volunteer guide along with some fellow passengers in advance and she met us off the shuttle bus in town. We spent several hours with her showing us the castle and the temple/botanical gardens on the hill outside town. We also had a traditional Japanese meal kneeling/sitting on the floor. Everything was in Japanese so we took pot luck! Probably saw more through the eyes of a local than on an organised tour.

Onto Hiroshima the next day and we booked a Princess tour called “tram and foot” which, although we got to see the main sights in the centre of the city, was not what we had expected. The 2 ladies who ran it were polite and well meaning but I don’t know if a previous passenger had wandered off because we were herded around like an infant school class who had never crossed a road before! It started raining heavily towards our last stop at the beautiful Japanese gardens so we were glad of the bus nearby.

Onto day 3 and Matsuyama. This was the first time the ship has called at this port. The ship arrived at the dock at approx. 530 in the morning to a large group of people singing, a band playing and children waving flags! This was happening a short distance from our balcony and certainly gave us {and most others} an earlier wakeup call than we had planned! We saw the funny and, well intentioned side of it, and hope the others who had been loudly wakened did too! As is tradition the Captain received a plaque from the city to be displayed onboard.

We took the ship shuttle the short distance to the train station and then the train into the centre of the city. The locals had really put out the welcome mat for us all with lots of English speaking staff to give directions or helpful advice. We wandered about on foot and used the trams to explore and had a great day climbing up to the castle and seeing the old buildings around the city. They also offered a free trip on the Big wheel on top of the Station building when buying the train/tram tickets for the day. On getting back the port, again the locals had gone out of their way to welcome the passengers with shows and local crafts, tea ceremony demonstrations etc. which lasted even after we pulled away from the dockside. In addition they opened the port to the curious locals to come along and hundreds did to enjoy the entertainment and wave us off. A truly moving and memorable experience.

Day 4 and the port of Aburatsu for the Miyazaki area. We chose another Princess tour covering both the castle and a small Island with a temple on it. The main reason for a Princess tour was the shorter time in port and the distances involved to get to the main sights. The weather was better and the tour guide treated us like the adults we all were. The castle was nothing special but we enjoyed the Japanese lunch at the Holiday Inn and the Island nearby that was linked via bridge.

Final port day and a lunchtime arrival in Busan, South Korea. We booked an independent tour along with a few other passengers and had a great guide, Beth {not her real name which was too hard to pronounce}. She had lived in England and Edinburgh {our area!} for several months whilst studying and her English was very good as was her delivery of information. We were driven about the main sights including the cultural village which some say reminds them of Santorini {only if you’ve been drinking and never been to Santorini!} and had a Korean barbecue meal with the locals. Passed under the neon lit up bridge as we left port. An enjoyable day.

A day at sea where we passed through the Kanmon Straits in the morning and under another bridge before hitting the open sea and some relaxation and a try on the totally useless putting green.

Easy disembarkation and taxi back to the same hotel we had started from followed by a few days in Kyoto with family and another few days stop over in Dubai on the way home to adjust to the time difference {and enjoy the 40 degree heat}.

Overall a good cruise made all the better by the amazing people of this country.
TRUEBLUE66’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Premium Mini-Suite with Balcony
Cabin M1 D403
We had a club class mini suite on the starboard side mid ship. Lots of space, large balcony and decent sized bath. Also, probably, the only larger cruise ship with Japanese toilets!
Dolphin Deck Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Busan, South Korea
    Final port day and a lunchtime arrival in Busan, South Korea. We booked an independent tour along with a few other passengers and had a great guide, Beth {not her real name which was too hard to pronounce}. She had lived in England and Edinburgh {our area!} for several months whilst studying and her English was very good as was her delivery of information. We were driven about the main sights including the cultural village which some say reminds them of Santorini {only if you’ve been drinking and never been to Santorini!} and had a Korean barbecue meal with the locals. Passed under the neon lit up bridge as we left port. An enjoyable day.
    View All 7 Busan, South Korea Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Busan, South Korea Cruise Port Review
  • City Tour
    Onto Hiroshima the next day and we booked a Princess tour called tram and foot which, although we got to see the main sights in the centre of the city, was not what we had expected. The 2 ladies who ran it were polite and well meaning but I dont know if a previous passenger had wandered off because we were herded around like an infant school class who had never crossed a road before! It started raining heavily towards our last stop at the beautiful Japanese gardens so we were glad of the bus nearby.
    View All 1 City Tour Reviews