We chose this cruise because we wanted to see more of Japan, we like cruising (especially with Princess) and the timing fitted our schedule.
Spent a week in Shinjuku before we boarded, so had re-acclimatised to Japanese food and culture before we arrived to board the Diamond Princess. We were in our stateroom within 30 minutes of arriving at the dock. Everything was clean, ordered and minor changes we asked of our Room Steward were done without question or fuss, while we were at lunch.
Because we had done our research we knew that we had signed up for two, seven day cruises, beginning at Kobe, stopping again at Kobe mid way and disembarking again at Kobe but with a different itinerary of ports for each week. The Diamond Princess has been based in Japan for the season, so we knew that the cruise would cater mainly for the Japanese market and so expected that the majority of the passengers would be Japanese and that was the case. Of 2800 passengers, some 1500 were Japanese, about 800 were from the US and Canada and about 500 from Australia and elsewhere. Announcements were made first in English, then in Japanese. Written correspondence was available in both languages. Evening shows and entertainment were in English.
We had four ports the first week, including Taipei in Taiwan and then back to Kobe for a day and five ports the second week which included Busan in South Korea. We did our own thing in half the ports, working out where we wanted to go and what we wanted to see and then doing it. The Princess excursions were expensive, but well organised and guided. We were glad of a sea day as our final day, just to rest up a bit before we disembarked.
The dinner menu in the dinning rooms catered for both Japanese and western tastes with enough variety for all but the unadventurous or very fussy. Serves are small, but we always go to late sitting (7:45pm) and when you're sitting down to a five course meal with wine and good conversation, you don't need huge plates of food. Our table waiters were excellent, bringing extras to the table when we asked and with their recommendations of dishes and wine.
Horizon Court is what it is . . a buffet, catering for a multitude of tastes. The quality of the food is of a good standard again catering to both Japanese and western passengers.
We went to the Sterling Steak House for one dinner. The restaurant is set up in a partitioned off section of the Horizon Court but it's well done. The tables are set and the waiting staff are of the same caliber as you would expect in a restaurant. The meal was excellent and well worth the cover charge.
All in all a great three weeks away and another enjoyable Princess Cruise.