Posted July 18th, 2017, 02:58 PM
Great, we board her on Oct 1 and will be on for about 40 days. Lots of questions (we don't gamble and do drink, but not more than a drink or two a day), starting with 1. the general condition of the ship. Your impressions please. 2. Dining, fixed seating only, so which dining room were the US and Aussie people in, and how was the menu and service, which I know is highly subjective. 3. Who was the Captain, CD and Executive Chef? 4. Entertainment, mostly in Japanese probably? or offered in several languages? 4. Port calls and immigration getting on and off the ship for tours, et al, especially if you had a stop in Busan, South Korea, smooth, time consuming, etc.? 5. Did you ever have to surrender your passport for a port call? 6. How were the Princess excursions - quality, guides, any highly recommended or any to really skip because they just were not worth it? 7. Age of passengers? 8. General comments and things to know, including did they actually enforce the boarding times?
Thanks so much for offering to provide info, it has been in short supply and any tidbit will be greatly appreciated.
1. Felt the condition of the ship was fine. It was in dry dock a few months ago & I know at the least they replaced the carpet in the Theater. They also apparently varnished our railing one day in port.
2. Dining: We had early dining (5:30). There were still a mix of Japanese & 'others' in the dining room. The tables surrounding ours were Japanese speaking. Our waiter apparently spoke both (he was from the Philippines). We found the service fine. Everything came quickly & the quality was very good.
3. I don't specifically remember the Captain, CD & Executive Chef. This was technically 2 cruises back to back and we switched CDs mid-cruise from an English gentleman to an American woman. Both were fine although I personally preferred the English Gentleman a bit more. If I find our Patters in our luggage (still unpacking) I'll post them.
4A. Entertainment. Normally in both Japanese and English. Occasionally one time in Japanese & one time in English or some performers did their own translations. For the Princess shows they were only in English but any announcements afterwards were made in both English and Japanese. Most everything was translated.
4B. Ports. In general no trouble. Ishigaki is a tender which I highly dislike due to issues with motion sickness but it couldn't be helped. There were times we had to go through immigration before we left port but it was pretty easy. You just went down to Club Fusion with your passport and room card and it was simple. The biggest problem was getting people to actually go down there. They normally had to make an announcement for a few people specifically to come to the Club.
5. We had to surrender our passport after Okinawa for Taiwan. They gave us copies to carry into town and we got them back the following night.
6. In general we liked the shore excursions but please know that this was our first trip to Asia so everything was new. The only one I thought was pretty 'meh' was the Busan one (Highlights of Busan IIRC). If I had it to do again, I'd of done 'On Your Own' because really all we wanted was to do some Korean Beauty shopping and eat some street food. I really liked the Ishigaki one we did (Takatomi Island). Water Buffalo cart ride and some gorgeous beaches. Also, Best of Taiwan and Best of Okinawa were favorites as well. What we saw in Tokyo was great but our guide was terrible IMO. Can't recall her name but she pretty much just read a script monotone as we drove from location to location.
7. 65+ I'd say. I'm in my 40s and I was definitely one of the younger ones on board. IIRC, there were only 32 teens on board total & probably about that many (or fewer) younger than 13. Its a very 'mature' cruise IMO.
8. The Diamond is one of only 2 ships that does a special English Tea in Sabatinis. Its $10 each or $20 with Champagne. If you like the tea they do almost every day on the ship, I highly recommend this tea. Only a limited number of tickets are sold and the food is great.
Boarding times were enforced but people were very prompt.