Part two - Sydney to Auckland: Diamond Princess Cruise Review by socram13

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Part two - Sydney to Auckland

Sail Date: December 2011
Destination: Australia & New Zealand
Embarkation: Singapore
Following on from my earlier review, this sector was all English speaking and a lot of the Australians had left at Sydney, including our wonderful cruise buddies we'd met on an earlier cruise.
There is no point in describing the stops, but we cannot pass without mentioning the fantastic "Red Decker" bus driver in Hobart. What a fantastic commentary and a great sound system. The driver (Mark) had a wonderfully dry sense of humour and this was an object lesson in how to operate a tour.
Anyway, it is the ship that is being reviewed...
Nothing much had changed since Singapore, and therein lies a problem. The negative first.
Having cruised from Sydney May 2011, seeing the same entertainers with the same acts - sometimes word for word - was a bit disappointing, on the run from Singapore to Sydney. To find that most of those on again from Sydney to Auckland was even more disappointing. Repeats of production shows and films just added to the disappointment.
The only More other niggle (and it is a niggle - nothing to do with the ship) was that when returning to the dock at Port Chalmers (Dunedin), the coach was met by a real 'jobsworth' who wanted photo ID and wanted to check the passengers off against her list - of 3,500 people, many with Asian names...
As you cannot board the ship without your cruise card, I am not too sure what she thought she was preventing.
On the positive side, we had a replacement deputy cruise director (Matt) who was as good as his predecessor was disappointing. Matt clicked straightaway with cruise director Warrenand the morning "Wake Show" improved considerably. We always enjoyed the silliness of the show on the World Cruise so this was a welcome improvement. Top marks for these two for the Christmas day show with Warren playing Santa brilliantly.
Christmas at sea? Fantastic. The decorations were excellent, with several occasions that the fake snow was falling in the atrium with the Christmas Eve carol singing by various crew members a nice touch.
There was a central display of gingerbread houses and buildings and the atmosphere on board was most enjoyable.
Other reviewers have mentioned the photo packages on board and we endorse that. Paying $19.95 for each print is way over the top and for a cruise line that tries to show that it is eco friendly, it is a bit hypocritical to destroy 1,000s of unwanted overpriced prints at the end of each leg. We didn't buy any...
A great ship, fantastic staff, great food - but we do prefer the Dawn Princess. The entertainment lounges on the Diamond are poor as they are not tiered like the Vista lounge on the Dawn. Buffet food collection is a bit crowded at times and the specialty buffet dining (Indian, Mexican, pies, fruit etc) is fragmented as it is away from the main buffet area. The single biggest advantage of the Diamond though, is the covered swimming pool...
Disembarkation was just brilliant. Just 30 minutes after closing our cabin door for the last time, we were home - after a $40 taxi ride...
However, the change in Princess policy to ban smoking in cabins and on the balconies as from mid January is the best news of all, as it took me exactly 40 days to get rid of the effects of the exposure to passive smoking contracted on leg one, just a couple of days out of Singapore. Less

Published 01/26/12

Cabin review: BBA706 Balcony

Great cabin and now that there is no longer any smoking, even better. Decks A & B on the Diamond, have balconies that overlook the balconies on decks C & D.

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