WE chose this cruise in celebration of our 43rd anniversary.
My wife and I had planned for a cruise of this nature and area coverage for a while. The motivation was re-enacted when my wife saw a special promo on this 16 nights cruise trip(it turned out to be a back-to-back cruises in one package).
We thought we could take advantage of the E-Z Air program promoted by Princess on booking new cruises. The agent at Costco Travel tried to get us the entire package together with the ordering. Only to be told by the representative at Princess that the E-Z Air was not available to us. WE had received too many 'specials' in pricing on this cruise already. The agent was so upset with the booking rep at Princess…
Finally, we had to book the cruise through Expedia Travel for our flights and cruise as a package.
The ship was built in 2004. It lacked a lot of new amenities that other ships and cruise lines are offering to its cruisers as part of their exploratory cruising experience especially on sea days. Sea days on board of Diamond were extremely boring. The deck space was closed due to weather - too cold and windy to be roaming around deck in late November.
I noticed technicians dressed in black polos working around ship. They told me they were working on changing the ship into a 'medallion class' ship. I am not sure if the major infusion of capital spending on an old ship would add that much more customer satisfaction in return on the investment. As an observation, there was a. high proportion of seniors(Japanese) traveling on board. They could hardly manage their cell phones. I am not sure if they would appreciate more electronic gadgets to be placed on board of ship.
Entertainment was a repeat of the first week for those on the second leg of the cruise. The same joke and the same magician and his magical acts!
The menu at the dining room, was a repeat of the first week. Portions were very small. we had to eat at the buffet deck again after the 7:15 show. Quality of food was not what I had anticipated on this cruise in comparison even to other Princess' ships I had traveled before. Those who were on their 3rd leg of the cruise grumbled the most. They had to order from the same menu for the third time!
The executive chef Paolo M. could be seen walking around the decks with his assistants. I just wished he could spend more time in the kitchen and to come up with more exciting menus. Food fantasy and exploration are part of the highlights in cruising according to my definition.
Highlight on board: I could taste fresh ramen and soba noodles with miso soup. Also hand made sushi( they provide the ingredients, you do your own wrapping) on the sushi bar at the buffet deck. NO raw fish available of course.
We enjoyed the shore excursions very much. All the bookings were made through Princess. We signed up on every major excursions at every port. The experience was very educational and memorable to say the least. The shore excursions were quite costly, almost as much as what we paid on the cruise itself.
Carpeting could use a bit of replacement work. It was quite worn and dull.
Room service attendant was excellent. She was the one who could make you feeling at home.
A lot of walking inside the castle. The steps were steep and slippery. Not recommended for those who had problem bending and walking at the same time.View All 6 Osaka Castle Reviews