Diamond Princess Cruise Review by reisende
- Sail Date: January 2011
- Destination: Australia & New Zealand
- Cabin Type: Balcony
The ship had a major refit last year (including getting MUTS) and was looking very good and clean. It was a very friendly crew and everyone was helpful and welcoming.
The sailaway from Sydney must be one of the great departures around the world and we were lucky with a glorious sunset too.
The mix onboard was quite international but with still 58% Americans followed by Brits (10%), Canadians (9%), Australians (6%)and Japanese (4%) - there were 2627 cruisers in total according to Guest Relations.
The food was excellent onboard both in the buffet (Horizon Grill) and in the various restaurants we tried (we had chosen anytime dining) although we tended to come back to Sante Fe as it gave nachos and guacamole on the table as well as bread! The only quibble we had was that when we offered to share (rather than take a table for 2) and meet new people the maitre d' sometimes had trouble filling the table within a short timeframe and with the waiter refraining from taking orders until he had the full complement one night we waited over 30 minutes to order.
There was always plenty to do on board although that did mean that it sometimes was difficult to find a quiet spot up on deck between cruise staff led games and MUTS - without paying to go in The Sanctuary that is, something we noted that not many people did so I am assuming that facility wasn't making its profit margins this trip. Seems a shame really as it is quite a large, quiet space.
I managed to win a spa voucher in a raffle (only 11 people turned up to the draw so the odds were good!) and thoroughly enjoyed our couples session 20-20-20 special (back massage, foot massage and facial). I think the 5k charity walk on a sea day (for Breast Cancer) must have been quicker than the staff expected though since no one was there to see us come home - 8 times round the deck in 44 minutes, not that it was competitive of course....
We enjoyed that classical quartet playing in the lobby in the evenings (they even got their own concert in the main theatre one night) but you never knew what time exactly they would be on. Still I enjoyed helping with the jigsaws (I think by relay as it were we finished about six different 1000 piece jigsaws consecutively on the cruise). I was disappointed though that the library was 'locked down' with daytime hours in the main.
The port lecturer (Ronelle Adams) was particularly good in that she was less interested in selling tours (most were sold out when we came on board to be fair) and more in giving information about the country and port/cities that we were visiting including options for the independent traveller. In the end we didn't take any of the ships excursions but we did use their shuttle busses when appropriate.
The future sales agent was very good (and nearly always had a queue. It was interesting to hear about (and take advantage of) Princess's on board offer.
We were very lucky with the weather (this was the time of the floods in south Queensland/north NSW, followed by floods in Victoria and then cyclones in New Zealand) as we were usually in port the day after it started getting better (although a couple of nights - especially across the Tasman - were a little bouncy). The cruising in Fiordland was a glorious sunny day (after am atmospheric misty approach down Milford Sound early in the morning) and the day on the beach at Tauranga was another that lingered in the memory.
We had opted for a Princess package (air plus a 2 day post cruise stay in Auckland) and that was very well handled too. The hotel (Stamford Plaza) was not far from the port or Viaduct Harbour and it was impressive that Princess provided efficient and genial staffing of their support desk daily and ensured we got away to the airport on time.
We went out early as I said and were impressed that the Princess air team gave us open jaw tickets, out with Etihad and home via Hong Kong with Cathay Pacific so we got to see a sample of life. Auckland seemed a nice airport after its recent improvements.
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