We chose this itinerary for our first trip to Japan, and the timing worked with school vacation. We traveled as two families, with 2 teenage girls. We spent 14 days on the Diamond, with two back to back 7 day cruises originating in Kobe. We spent 3 days in Tokyo pre-cruise, and then flew to KIX with a Princess shuttle to the port. The timing was perfect, and we did not have to wait long to board. Free WiFi seems to be in all the ports in Japan, if you want to save money on internet charges. We did purchase the Princess premium package, and the internet was better than previous cruises, but still slow at times with some trouble logging in particularly when in ports. Our first cruise was 1,500 Non Japanese, 1,100 Japanese and the second week was 2,500 Japanese and 300 Non Japanese. The Movies Under the Stars, some shows and the menu repeated on the two weeks. I would have liked a different menu, but didn't mind the rest. We ate at 7:45 PM which allowed time to relax after a day in port, but didn't allow much time for shows, and rain made a movie in the cabin more attractive (the new TV's give you a lot of choices). The ability to sing and dance with the Japanese guests was tremendous, and we enjoyed our ability to interact (despite language barriers) with them. Activities offered for learning more about Japanese culture were numerous, and trivia was usually in both languages. Meals in the dining room were OK, our wait staff was so kind and entertaining that we ate there even when the menu was not the attraction. Our teens did not attend the teen club after finding out there were only 47 teenagers 13 - 17 signed up, with only 6 who were 17. The teens spent time on various activities and in the gym which was less crowded than other cruises. The ports are mostly far from the attractions and cities, so a taxi or shuttle are necessary if you are not on a tour. Princess does offer a shuttle bus for around $15 at most ports. We did not know this, and so signed up for a mix of Princess and private excursions pre-cruise. Japan is easy to navigate, and on a future trip I might do more on my own. In Summary, we would cruise Japan again, either in the North or perhaps for the summer Festival cruise. We enjoyed the staff on the Diamond, and would have no hesitation returning.
The balcony cabin is midship, and very quiet. The location was perfect. There is plenty of storage, and the updated TV was terrific with improved ship's location, weather and movie selections. We appreciated the new lamps with USB ports and extra outlets for charging our devices. The bathroom is typical, and does not appear to be updated. We did have a glitch, when routine maintenance was done in a hallway maintenance closet, our bathroom had water on the floor, and the next day water on the carpet inside the room door. This was cleaned and dried quickly, and we received a complimentary bottle of wine for our trouble.