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Diamond Princess Cruise Review
4.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
986 Reviews

9 Day Japan Fall Foliage

Diamond Princess Cruise Review by Jus Cruzin'

2 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Nov 2019
  • Destination: Asia
  • Cabin Type: Balcony

This was our first Princess cruise, and though the crew did an amazing job making our dining experiences wonderful, I feel like the activities could have been better and the land tours could have been MUCH better!

We had 4 cabins with 2 people in each, and our travel agent arranged adjoining balcony cabins where they partitions could be removed, so we could go cabin-to-cabin easily. That was the best part of this cruise. Our cabins were mid-ship/aft, deck 11, portside so we were comfortable during the rough weather. Good-sized.

Our travel agent sent us all, but two of us got them upon embarkation and we had to call for the others to be sent. The travel agency also purchased travel mugs for us, but when we called for those we were told that the mugs were out-of-stock on the vessel.

We were shocked to see that we could get ANY beverage we wanted comped, but had to pay $2-4 for water. Had we known that, we would have picked up several large bottles at the convenience store (for 104 yen each!!!)

Our dining room food was quite good for the most part, but sadly the buffet was rather unappetizing. The pizza was consistently good at the take-out stand.

This cruise was especially challenging as we traveled with my 90yo dad who has limited mobility and used a wheelchair for longer distances. Several guests were using wheelchairs and the crew were very helpful when embarking and disembarking and with getting on and off at ports

The destinations for the shore excursions we took were great, and the residents were so grateful for us coming. One tour was from 8:30-2:30 with NO LUNCH. It would have been much better to extend it an hour an give us the option to do lunch on our own. Even though some guidance and tips were provided, they were not specific on how to get there. It's so important to make the best use of our limited time at each port instead of trying to figure out how to get to places, AND because some of the ports were smaller, taxis were not abundant. .

Entertainment was good, but the seating was limited, so we weren't able to get into one of the best performances because of our late dinner seating (we ended dinner at 9:00 and the performance started at 9:15 and ALL seats were taken)

We had rather rough weather because it was in the Fall and one port stop was cancelled, which meant an extra sea-day. IF Princess wanted to provide EXCELLENT service they should have provided better activities or some kinds of activities to combat sea sickness or even discounted wi-fi for that day.

The activities onboard as a whole were just okay....our favorite thing were the after-dinner dance lessons, which at 45 minutes were just enough. The worst activity was Speed water-color painting. We had 5 minutes to do it...It would have been more meaningful if someone showed us some watercolor painting techniques- even if the class was 45min to an hour. There is a lot of time to kill on the cruise....Waiting to get off in Shimizu (after returning from Korea) took almost 3 hours, they could have done better job providing some refreshment while waiting.

Fitness center was small and always packed. I was also disappointed that they charged so much for the Japanese bath- so we did not utilize that option.

We liked the movies they offered and they kept adding new ones.

One commendable thing I noticed was that the crew were diplomatic and assertive when dealing with several aggressive and persistent Chinese passengers who were trying to avoid waiting in lines. The Japanese passengers were very orderly, but some of the Chinese passengers would rush ahead and were subsequently directed by the crew to fall in line, as instructed. They were persistent in trying to go ahead, but the crew would not relent and made them get back in line.

The absolute WORST thing about the trip was our luggage handling AFTER the cruise.

Prior to the cruise, I sent several e-mails to Princess to inquire about luggage transfer to Narita, which normally just takes one day. I was assured that I could get information once on board and that they had a company that passengers use. The ship's young staff's inexperience was not helpful at all. No one could answer questions regarding the transfer company's services. We had to wait until we reached our final port and arrange this ourselves. We finally learned that they do NOT transfer luggage to ANY airport (not Narita or Haneda) and would only do it to our hotel in Tokyo. We ended up having to handle 15 pieces of baggage and a wheelchair on the Skyliner with 8 of us. My dad pushed his own chair and we caused a delay with the train leaving for the last stop as we got all our bags off the Skyliner.

Lesson-learned, the cruise company only cares about you ON the vessel. Overall, probably would NOT recommend this cruise to others. I heard that Norwegian will be sailing in Japan starting next year. May consider that....


Jus Cruzin''s Full Rating Summary
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Onboard Experience
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
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Cabin Review

Balcony

We had 4 cabins with 2 people in each, and our travel agent arranged adjoining balcony cabins where they partitions could be removed, so we could go cabin-to-cabin easily. That was the best part of this cruise. Our cabins were mid-ship/aft, deck 11, portside so we were comfortable during the rough weather. Good-sized.


Port & Shore Excursion Reviews


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Jus Cruzin'
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