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Diamond Princess Review

4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating
902 reviews
1 Award

Big ships like this are not for me!

Review for Diamond Princess to Asia
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vermouth
10+ Cruises • Age 80s

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Sail Date: Nov 2010
Cabin:

I had low expectations for this cruise, my first on Princess, and I was pleasantly surprised. The itinerary and date were perfect and the price really reasonable, so a friend and I signed up for a mini-suite with balcony. That was a good decision, as smaller rooms had nowhere to sit except the beds. I realize that the large size of the ship made the low price possible, and in heavy seas, which we experienced, the ship was pretty stable, although huge waves crashed up to our 9th deck balcony one night. No complaints about the food, it was fine (and I am a foodie, very particular). Service was excellent and lectures were good, especially the ones by James Leavell, a professor of Asian studies.

So why am I complaining? Embarkation was a nightmare! It took hours and hours, in two terminals, with a bus ride between them. But the very worst thing about this cruise was that the ship was too large to dock near the ports we visited. At almost every port, we were docked 1-2+ hours away from the city named in the itinerary, in container ports where there was nothing to see, just endless rows of containers, and unrelenting noise. So the pleasant balcony time which we anticipated in ports never happened. And our touring time in each port was shortened by 3-5 hours each day, (the time it took for the round-trip drive from the container port to the sights) leaving very little time for seeing things. I'm still fuming about this, seven months later!

We hired local guides and drivers in many ports, and that worked out well: no huge busses that take 10 minutes just to load passengers. Our private tours cost about the same as the ship's excursions, and we had control over what we did. We did stop at most of the major ports between Singapore and Beijing, a trip of nearly 4000 miles! We spent three days in Beijing after the cruise, seeing the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, the Night Market, the Opera, the old sections, having a good Peking Duck dinner at an exquisite restaurant (Da Dong), and taking a short flight to Xian to see the Terra Cotta Warriors. We had a great hotel in Beijing, the Park Plaza Wangfujing. Stylish hotel, good location, lovely rooms, good Breakfast and service, and at a very reasonable price.

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