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6 Tokyo (Yokohama) to Trans-Ocean Cruise Reviews

TOO MANY PEOPLE. Beautiful is the word that most readily comes to mind when looking at this ship. It really is beautiful. The décor is stylish, even luxurious, and as yet not in the least worn. But with 3 300 or so passengers, it is also ... Read More
TOO MANY PEOPLE. Beautiful is the word that most readily comes to mind when looking at this ship. It really is beautiful. The décor is stylish, even luxurious, and as yet not in the least worn. But with 3 300 or so passengers, it is also too big for our liking. Not that there were lengthy queues: it’s just that we got fed up with LIVING IN A CROWD. Diamond Princess does have what they call The Sanctuary, which is what the name suggests, and is like The Dome on Pacific Dawn (but much smaller) and you have to pay to use it. No doubt, this is to limit the demand but, to my mind, this is an admission of failure – too big a ship = many people craving sanctuary! Of course, there is another viewpoint which might possibly influence a global American company: big ship = economies of scale = tasty profits. Too many people also mean a greater chance of illness unless special precautions are taken. So we were surprised mightily to find that Princess has actually reduced the number of hand-cleanser stations around the ship. They are outside the restaurants and other food serveries, but not in lift bays or at the top of stairs. They do have a hand-washing station at entrances to the buffet (using soap and water, a good idea), and a staff member stands there to encourage people to use the facility, but many people by-pass them. Also, unlike on HAL ships, the Captain never mentions the importance of hand-washing at every opportunity (such as his midday announcements which, surprisingly, are largely given over to tourist information about the next port). These things should not be de-emphasised, as my cabin-mate, who was confined to his cabin for three days with a horrible virus, could tell you. (This was despite our using portable bottles of hand cleaner and antiseptic wipes in the cabin). It seems strange that the line which owns the notorious Sun Princess should be the one giving least emphasis to these matters. I also contracted a virus, this time a flu virus and, a week after disembarkation, am only just beginning to recover. So much for ‘Come back new”. And while the ship may be physically beautiful, many of its passengers were not. Not surprising, of course, that disgusting greed (often combined with obesity) should be on display on a cruise ship. All the same, people are often what you make them, and we met a lot of friendly, interesting people on this ship. FOOD. The food is good in the buffet, where we ate most of the time, though not quite as good as on HAL ships. Seafood is plentiful, and there is none of the Vietnamese basa common on P&O. The prawns are plentiful, but one does tend to get sick of farmed Chinese prawns, which taste of nothing in particular. They outdo themselves with their desserts, which are of Holland America standard and a total contrast to the ghastly muck served on Legend of the Seas and Pacific Aria on recent cruises. We did not sample the specialty restaurants mainly because we can no longer handle large servings of food, though we had every intention of visiting Kai Sushi (the Japanese restaurant), until we found that (contrary to the menu currently online) it now serves nothing but sushi and sashimi. We went to the Pacific Moon dining room four times, but were very disappointed as on only one occasion could the food be described as good. At one session, my ‘rib filet’ had the light colour and texture of veal, and was very well done (not medium rare as requested). On another, there was a quite ghastly pasta dish (pasta mixed with a tiny amount of alleged oxtail ragout). IRRITANTS. Some things about Princess’s product and service are just irritating because user-unfriendly at best. Examples? First, for 22 days, we had no Australian news except the tiny amount available on Sky News (which is mainly gabbing) and the BBC. We knew nothing of the Queensland election or of the same sex marriage plebiscite. Of course, we could always have paid to get such news through the ship’s internet etc., which says a lot about Princess’s attitude and service. Some cruise lines go the extent of providing a daily news sheet for passengers, but the least one could expect is that a couple of the self-serving ads in ‘Princess Patter’ be omitted to make way for significant news. Second, though the ‘movies under the stars’ experience on Princess is just great, (they even provide padding for the deck chairs in the evening), it was irritating that the daily guide in Princess Patter provided only the movie title with not the barest synopsis. Third, supplies of vegemite in the buffet ran out by Singapore. Personally I missed my breakfast fix mightily and, on a ship with 80% Australian passengers, its absence certainly indicates sloppy management, and perhaps, just perhaps, a small touch of cultural arrogance (after all, a craving for vegemite is not an American trait, so surely cannot be taken seriously. And, in any case, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, which (amazingly) appear on the room service menu, are a reasonable substitute, aren’t they?). Australians are famous for their love of good coffee, and most will not tolerate the kind of appalling muck served on Princess and dignified by them with the holy name ‘coffee’. Another example of cultural blockheadedness. We bought a bottle of Nescafe in Singapore – it was 10 times better than the ship’s coffee. ENTERTAINMENT. We generally made our own entertainment, supplemented by the musical groups on offer, which were generally good. We did not sample the shows in the Princess Theatre. These tend to be earsplittingly loud on cruise ships, and on this cruise the presence of an entertainer (presumably a comedian) called Chuck Curry was enough to ensure that we stayed away. SHORE EXCURSIONS. We do not usually take any of the ship’s excursions, because they are usually over-priced, and we do not have loads of money. We did do one on this cruise – Highlights of Hongkong – and very much regretted it. It took us up the funicular to Mt Victoria (which was OK), then on a five minute sampan ride among the boats in the Aberdeen fishing village (so-called) (which was almost totally uninteresting), then down to the Stanley Markets (which disappointed everyone, mainly because it is quite small) and finally to a jewellery factory (so-called)(which was no more than a jewellery ‘department store’). This excursion began at about 10am and we got back to the ship at 4 pm, and there was no provision for a lunch stop, or any kind of food stop!! Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
Our primary reason for choosing this cruise was the cost & a reasonably cheap airfare to fly to Japan. There were not many ports on this repositioning cruise, however many we had not been to for quite some time making it like a new ... Read More
Our primary reason for choosing this cruise was the cost & a reasonably cheap airfare to fly to Japan. There were not many ports on this repositioning cruise, however many we had not been to for quite some time making it like a new experience. We spent three nights in Tokyo before the cruise which was an enough to wet our appetite to return to Japan for a more detailed land trip in the country. Embarkation was a slow process even though we were Elite Captain Circle members, not very well organised. Disembarkation was a joy as all the customs trivia was taken care of on-board prior to our arrival. In general we found our cabin to be ideal for us, as always with Princess the food & crew were excellent although we felt the entertainment had slipped a notch which seems to be the trend on Princess lately. The Princess singers, dancers & orchestra are great as usual though many of the support acts were not so great. Overall a great trip. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
We (DH, Mum and I) booked this as a repositioning cruise with minimal ports as we LOVE our sea days! Mum had an inside cabin D715 and we had an aft mini suite E721 Embarkation in Yokohama was quite smooth. Just had one gripe and ... Read More
We (DH, Mum and I) booked this as a repositioning cruise with minimal ports as we LOVE our sea days! Mum had an inside cabin D715 and we had an aft mini suite E721 Embarkation in Yokohama was quite smooth. Just had one gripe and that was when they were calling numbers we could not see or hear. We knew that something was being said but not what was being said. They really do need to organise their PA system better. Yokohama weather was very cold. 1st Port of Call - Shimizu This was a Princess excursion as we wanted to see as much of Mt Fuji as we could. We went to the second station (before we set sail they cancelled the first station due to weather issues). It was a carpark and the souvenir shop was closed! Toilet stop only. Our best view of Mt Fuji was when we arrived back at the ship. And what a magnificent view it was! 2nd Port of Call - Hong Kong After three days at sea we arrived in iconic Hong Kong and tied up at the Kai Tak Terminal. We had booked the HOHO bus with friends way before we had left home. We caught a Princess shuttle to the Star Ferry Terminal. Got on the first HOHO bus to the cable car stop and the line was impossibly long! Luckily a HOHO employee was walking the line and taking people to the front. We still waited a good 45mins to get to the top, and the view was well worth it. But the amount of people up there was over the top and we came straight back down after getting pics. We then went around the island and this was fantastic. We really were not expecting to see all the lushness of jungle, beautiful vistas and amazing bays. We thought Hing Kong was all about sky scrapers, so this was a wonderful port for us. Hong Kong we will be back! 3rd Port of Call - Nha Trang Only one sea day before arriving at Nha Trang where we had booked a private excursion in to a village. Two weeks before we arrived they had had a typhoon hit land and caused masses of destruction. Their fish farms were annihilated and they will have to start from scratch. There was so much rubbish around as the water level had risen and they were still in the throes of a massive clean up. The Nha Trang people were going about their day with smiles on their faces even after everything they had been through, and I feel very blessed with what we have in Australia. 4th Port of Call - Phu My The day after Nha Trang we arrived in Phu My where we had again booked a private excursion (from Tommy's Bar), and we got to see the lay of the land around where the Battle of Long Tan had played out. This was a very emotional tour and made me very aware of what sacrifices our Australian service men and women made. It also opened my eyes to what the Vietnamese people went through during and after the war there. Feeling blessed to be Australian again! 5th Port of Call - Singapore On our sea day to Singapore the captain let us know that our stop at Bali was going to be dropped. The volcano (Mt Agung) was getting too active again, so unfortunately we were going to have an overnight stay in Singapore! **sigh** **roll eyes** Well if we have to! We couldn't have chosen a better port to have an overnighter in. We did Singapore on our own using the MRT. Got a two day tourist pass that we used until our feet hurt. I love that you can get anywhere just using the MRT. Did all the usual things as Mum hadn't been to Singapore before - Gardens by the Bay (at night), river cruise on a bum boat, Chinatown, Bugis, Clarke Quay,and of course shopping! 6th Port of Call - Darwin After four days at sea we caught up with friends who live in Darwin, and enjoyed the day relaxing beside their pool. It was so humid and we couldn't believe we had left Yokohama in heavy coats to now be in Darwin dressed in shorts and t-shirts. After five sea days we were in Sydney - what already! We couldn't believe the time went so fast. What does one get up to on sea days? Well most days we ran out of time to get everything done. We played mahjong, did trivia (and had an absolute ball even though we hardly knew any of the answers), swam, watched recently released movies, saw great shows, enjoyed the entertainment around the pool areas, and so much more! I need to say something about the Japanese spa IZUMI! It was a truly amazing experience. We would go at 9am so that we had the one hour of nude time, and one hour of outside time. The nude time was in a female only environment, and you have a thorough shower first and then into the jacuzzis and saunas. The windows beside the jacuzzis were HUGE! It felt amazing to sit in a spa and look out at such an expanse of ocean. They use a blue light in the water to keep it bacteria free instead of chlorine, and I found it very soft on my skin. The mist sauna was just the best, but because they only had one we only got to use it every second day. The men and women changed sides each day so we all got to use the mist sauna (everything else was the same, spas, dry sauna and showers). Two hours in Izumi cost AUD$15 or five visits of two hours for AUD$60 I loved it and it helped me to not only relax, but also helped me to stretch the muscles in my body as I suffered a stroke in April 2016. Our MDR experience was just amazing! The food, and our wait staff (Efren and Rizalito) were just fantastic and really helped me keep to my diet. I need to keep my salt intake really low as it gives me vertigo and when I eat in the MDR I have never suffered a vertigo attack. They take your dietary needs very seriously, and for that I really thanked them! Overall we were thrilled with this cruise. It surpassed our expectations and took us to ports that we had not been to before. Well done Princess - we'll be back! Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
The main purpose of our trlp from australia was to visit japan for 3 weeks in nov 2017, travelling around the country on a japan railways pass. When i saw this one way cruise advertised, it fit in perfectly with our plans to go back to ... Read More
The main purpose of our trlp from australia was to visit japan for 3 weeks in nov 2017, travelling around the country on a japan railways pass. When i saw this one way cruise advertised, it fit in perfectly with our plans to go back to australia by a different route. we have been on 4 other cruises in various parts of the world before, but never to asia. the itinerary leaving from yokohama was good, visiting shimizu, hong kong, singapore, nha trang, saigon, bali and darwin australia and it appealed to us in that we had never visited any of these ports before. We used smile tours in saigon and pham tours in nha trang who were fantastic. Summarizing the cruise : it could have been better. the main negative for us was that being non drinkers, there were few quiet public spaces to relax in comfortable chairs. there were so many bars, with people noisily enjoying themselves and only a tiny library with uncomfortable seats for people like us, who enjoy a bit of peace and quiet. (we are used to holland america line's spacious libraries). also princess unfortunately is no different to every other cruise line in pushing art auctions, drink packages, jewellery sales, photo sales at every opportunity, which makes things pretty boring, and expensive !! surely the marketing gurus of cruise lines, should be able to come up with something different. not everyone who travels on cruise boats is a millionaire !! Another major gripe of mine is that on this cruise there were a number of mostly australian senior citizens, who were very careless about hygiene, coughing and blowing their noses without adeqeate care. my wife's immune system is not the best and i was worried that she might catch something. surely cruise lines can impress on unwell passengers that they confine themselves to their cabins, or make them wear masks as they do in japan, to stop them spreading their germs. The ports we visited were interesting. i arranged all my own excursions, on the internet with local operators, as princess line's offering were far too expensive and didn't seem all that interesting and use bus's with far too many passengers. Last but not least why can't any cruise company provide decent coffee, without the need to resort to a coffee card !! Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
Departed Tokyo on 7 May, ticket clearly marked Tokyo, but I am sure I was not the only person who went to Yokohama overnight pre-cruise. The fault of too much confidence due to too many cruises, I even went to the Yokohama Terminal, but it ... Read More
Departed Tokyo on 7 May, ticket clearly marked Tokyo, but I am sure I was not the only person who went to Yokohama overnight pre-cruise. The fault of too much confidence due to too many cruises, I even went to the Yokohama Terminal, but it was about 1 1/2 hours by train and taxi to reach Harumi Terminal Tokyo. Yes, a smaller ship can berth in Tokyo but this terminal is less convenient than Yokohama. It is far away from what you want to see in Tokyo and there is lack of public transportation at the pier. Ship departs to brass band fanfares....almost 200 persons took part for our ship's farewell, this ship was quite full, but perhaps just 300 guests. Rough full sea day to reach Kushiro the third day. This port is perhaps conveniently en route but otherwise one of the worst ports to visit. The facilities include only two markets, interesting only if you are interested in seafood and raw fish. Gala Welcome Dinner on sea day was good with foie gras and lobster. The afternoon tea was great and classy. Two sea days before Petropavlovsk, Kamchatka. The sea was surprisingly calm in this northerly region and the ship's excellent cuisine and services helped make very comfortable restful days. Le Champagne now increases cover charge to $40 but still worth it. For this you can order multiple courses of caviar, foie gras, scallop, and lobster and it is a must for me whenever I cruise on Silversea. One excellent point on this ship is that they deliver menu of the next day each night, so you know in advance when to do the Le Champagne dinner, or the Italian dinner, or stone grill, as an alternative. Petropavlovsk turned out to be an excellent port of call. I took a morning excursion for local sights and saw interesting things of Russian cultural interest, and on return I opted to end at the town centre, where I caught the ship's free shuttle bus back to the ship. The city centre's supermarket was interesting though it is not convenient to make a desired purchase of a giant Kemchatka crab to take home. Two more sea days to cross the pacific but it actually is three whole days as we gain a day at the International Date Line, but it is a pity that on arrival at Dutch Harbor we were unable to visit as heavy fog rendered a zero-visibility situation and the pilot cannot join the ship. The ship reached the port areas before 6am and tried to call the pilot for hours in vain. There is no choice but to abandon this call as it appeared, but when we sailed another sea day till early afternoon the weather was sunny and clear. So it is four sea days, but sea days are to be enjoyed and are expected on a reposition cruise, on a 5-star ship. Though it was a pity missing Dutch Harbor. Add one more sea days to finally reach Kodiak Island in the USA. The centre of town is only a 20 minute walk but ship still provides free shuttle bus. We had a whole day at this 'nothing to see' small town, but there is something to see in the afternoon excursion of the Russian heritage tour. Next morning we were at Homer, Alaska, which is interesting. I took a morning excursion and see much of this interesting town connected by road to Anchorage with a 4-hour drive. On return I also explored the 'Spit' area which is a long strip of land along harbour offering interesting local shops and restaurants to explore, with a really beautiful scenic backdrop of yacht harbour and snowy mountains. To me this unspoilt town is the most interesting place to visit in Alaska, above all touristy inner-passage ports. This is a very relaxing trip on a truly first class cruise of impeccably service that you feel welcome almost every moment. The more traditional dining suits me best, even in comparison with other Silversea ships. Interesting that there is difference between this ship and Silver Spirit in cuisine. On arrival at Seward we were offered free scenic railway transportation either to airport or to a town hospitality centre in Anchorage Captain Cook Hotel. This is a great gesture of Silversea and a real treat. My last trip between Seward and Anchorage was by road, but the train ride in a special coach chartered by Silversea was a surprising highlight, much better than by road. It took longer because we went up a 1000-ft mountain range before descending, passing through snow clad landscape, with glaciers virtually hanging outside the window, It was a highlight 4 hours by any standard. All in all, a very satisfactory cruise despite the loss of Dutch Harbor, and for this region the sea condition was surprisingly smooth. I may even opt to return one day, probably also on Silversea, but this is not for port-incentive minded passengers. For me, the ship, a good one, is the destination. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
Departed Tokyo on 7 May, ticket clearly marked Tokyo, but I am sure I was not the only person who went to Yokohama overnight pre-cruise. The fault of too much confidence due to too many cruises, I even went to the Yokohama Terminal, but it ... Read More
Departed Tokyo on 7 May, ticket clearly marked Tokyo, but I am sure I was not the only person who went to Yokohama overnight pre-cruise. The fault of too much confidence due to too many cruises, I even went to the Yokohama Terminal, but it was about 1 1/2 hours by train and taxi to reach Harumi Terminal Tokyo. Yes, a smaller ship can berth in Tokyo but this terminal is less convenient than Yokohama. It is far away from what you want to see in Tokyo and there is lack of public transportation at the pier. Ship departs to brass band fanfares....almost 200 persons took part for our ship's farewell, this ship was quite full, but perhaps just 300 guests. Rough full sea day to reach Kushiro the third day. This port is perhaps conveniently en route but otherwise one of the worst ports to visit. The facilities include only two markets, interesting only if you are interested in seafood and raw fish. Gala Welcome Dinner on sea day was good with foie gras and lobster. The afternoon tea was great and classy. Two sea days before Petropavlovsk, Kamchatka. The sea was surprisingly calm in this northerly region and the ship's excellent cuisine and services helped make very comfortable restful days. Le Champagne now increases cover charge to $40 but still worth it. For this you can order multiple courses of caviar, foie gras, scallop, and lobster and it is a must for me whenever I cruise on Silversea. One excellent point on this ship is that they deliver menu of the next day each night, so you know in advance when to do the Le Champagne dinner, or the Italian dinner, or stone grill, as an alternative. Petropavlovsk turned out to be an excellent port of call. I took a morning excursion for local sights and saw interesting things of Russian cultural interest, and on return I opted to end at the town centre, where I caught the ship's free shuttle bus back to the ship. The city centre's supermarket was interesting though it is not convenient to make a desired purchase of a giant Kemchatka crab to take home. Two more sea days to cross the pacific but it actually is three whole days as we gain a day at the International Date Line, but it is a pity that on arrival at Dutch Harbor we were unable to visit as heavy fog rendered a zero-visibility situation and the pilot cannot join the ship. The ship reached the port areas before 6am and tried to call the pilot for hours in vain. There is no choice but to abandon this call as it appeared, but when we sailed another sea day till early afternoon the weather was sunny and clear. So it is four sea days, but sea days are to be enjoyed and are expected on a reposition cruise, on a 5-star ship. Though it was a pity missing Dutch Harbor. Add one more sea days to finally reach Kodiak Island in the USA. The centre of town is only a 20 minute walk but ship still provides free shuttle bus. We had a whole day at this 'nothing to see' small town, but there is something to see in the afternoon excursion of the Russian heritage tour. Next morning we were at Homer, Alaska, which is interesting. I took a morning excursion and see much of this interesting town connected by road to Anchorage with a 4-hour drive. On return I also explored the 'Spit' area which is a long strip of land along harbour offering interesting local shops and restaurants to explore, with a really beautiful scenic backdrop of yacht harbour and snowy mountains. To me this unspoilt town is the most interesting place to visit in Alaska, above all touristy inner-passage ports. This is a very relaxing trip on a truly first class cruise of impeccably service that you feel welcome almost every moment. The more traditional dining suits me best, even in comparison with other Silversea ships. Interesting that there is difference between this ship and Silver Spirit in cuisine. On arrival at Seward we were offered free scenic railway transportation either to airport or to a town hospitality centre in Anchorage Captain Cook Hotel. This is a great gesture of Silversea and a real treat. My last trip between Seward and Anchorage was by road, but the train ride in a special coach chartered by Silversea was a surprising highlight, much better than by road. It took longer because we went up a 1000-ft mountain range before descending, passing through snow clad landscape, with glaciers virtually hanging outside the window, It was a highlight 4 hours by any standard. All in all, a very satisfactory cruise despite the loss of Dutch Harbor, and for this region the sea condition was surprisingly smooth. I may even opt to return one day, probably also on Silversea, but this is not for port-incentive minded passengers. For me, the ship, a good one, is the destination. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016

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