Just off the Diamond Princess in Japan- AMA!!

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#1
79 Posts
Joined May 2011
Hello! Just returned from 13 days on the Diamond Princess cruising Japan. I don't see the exact cruise I did but its very similar to this one:

http://www.princess.com/find/cruiseD...yageCode=M818A

Since there's not a lot about these cruises on here, I wanted to open myself up for questions. A few things to know:

-I don't gamble or drink so I can't really speak to those.
-This cruise is 90%+ Japanese cruisers. On our trip IIRC there were over 2100 Japanese & the ship holds about 2600 passengers. I don't have a complete passenger breakdown but I do remember about 160 Americans and between 250-300 Australians.
-We only took Princess excursions.

So, ask me anything!!
#5
6,285 Posts
Joined Jan 2007
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.
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#6
Los Angeles Ca.
5,064 Posts
Joined Nov 2010
Were announcements done in both English and Japanese?
Were the menu's mostly Asian foods?
Were the Princess shore excursions in English or both languages?
Were your table mates English speaking?
Were the signs (like at the International cafe) in both languages?

I'm booked on the June 8 circle Japan cruise and am wondering if I'll feel like an outsider based on the percentage of English speaking passengers you stated.
#7
Suburb of Chicago
1,846 Posts
Joined Jan 2006
The demographics surprises me greatly as we took that cruise 3 yrs. ago and expected what you saw but ours was totally different. Aussies comprised the majority, then US, Canadians. Japanese were 4th.
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#8
5,554 Posts
Joined Dec 2005
Originally posted by cowgrrl
-This cruise is 90%+ Japanese cruisers. On our trip IIRC there were over 2100 Japanese & the ship holds about 2600 passengers. I don't have a complete passenger breakdown but I do remember about 160 Americans and between 250-300 Australians.
How does the dining room work? I don't think princess is going to have too many japanese speaking wait staff?
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#9
Okemos MI and Maui HI
1,573 Posts
Joined Feb 2001
We took the 9 nite Inland Sea/Kyushu trip last August. First, all announcements are made in both English and Japanese. A highlite was the many on board lectures that taught you some rudimentary Nihongo ( Japanese) and history. we found the passenger mix about 55% Japan and the rest Brits, Aussies, and Americans. The MDR was excellent, with the best attention to detail in plating I've ever seen on Princess. The Japanese eat with their eyes as much as with their stomach and it was obvious that P had taken that to heart. And never a cold plate! There was both a standard Western menu and a Japanese menu. The in suite entertainment had several Japanese history programs on offer along with the usual movies, etc. At every port, local entertainment came on board. If you've never seen someone play a Shamensan, that's a treat. Only downside was the fact that we had to make one stop outside Japan ( Korea) and then had to go through Japanese Passport Control before the next port. Although this was done on board, the process took better than 2 hours to get through the line. We thoroughly enjoyed this cruise and would highly recommend Princess for this area.
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#10
79 Posts
Joined May 2011
Originally posted by ggprincess2004
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.
#11
79 Posts
Joined May 2011
Originally posted by cruzsnooze
Were announcements done in both English and Japanese?
Were the menu's mostly Asian foods?
Were the Princess shore excursions in English or both languages?
Were your table mates English speaking?
Were the signs (like at the International cafe) in both languages?

I'm booked on the June 8 circle Japan cruise and am wondering if I'll feel like an outsider based on the percentage of English speaking passengers you stated.
-Announcements in both languages, typically English first.
-Asian foods on the 'Anytime' side but the changing menu was 75% typical Princess dinner items. The Horizon Court skewed a bit Asian as well but there was still plenty. Room service was all American except for 2-3 items.
-Shore excursions in English or Japanese. You choose which language when you book.
-We were a large group so all tablemates were English speaking.
-Signs in both languages. In the elevator landings & elevators signs in both languages. Patters printed in Japanese or English.

We definitely felt in the minority but didn't feel like outsiders. We met other English speakers on the shore excursions and as we were a large group, we tended to just hang with each other.
#12
79 Posts
Joined May 2011
Originally posted by pablo222
How does the dining room work? I don't think princess is going to have too many japanese speaking wait staff?
Anytime Dining is not available. You have a set time and I assume they assign staff based on who is needed for Japanese-speaking and English speaking.
Our waiter apparently spoke both English and Japanese (& maybe other languages, IDK) as there were Japanese at tables around us & he spoke to them fluently.
#13
Grand Junction CO
1,298 Posts
Joined Jul 2006
We are sailing on a 16 day itinerary in August. Ours will be a tour of the two largest islands.
Do you have opportunity to interact with the Japanese passengers? I enjoy cultural experiences, and I am looking forward to this.
How was formal night? Kimonos? Ooooo, I hope so!
What was your favorite excursion? Any other your would recommend? We do Princess excursions, too.
Weather? Husband is worried about the summer heat.
How much TV is in English? Husband is addicted to CNN. Are movies subtitled?

Thank you for posting this!
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#14
79 Posts
Joined May 2011
Originally posted by Tina G
We are sailing on a 16 day itinerary in August. Do you have opportunity to interact with the Japanese passengers? I enjoy cultural experiences, and I am looking forward to this.
How was formal night?
What was your favorite excursion? Any other your would recommend? We do Princess excursions, too.
Weather? Husband is worried about the summer heat.
-We had a few opportunities to interact with the Japanese passengers but we found many didn't speak English & we speak little to no Japanese so that made it a bit difficult. Everyone was very polite though, despite the language barriers.
-Formal night was AMAZING!! There were some women in kimono but even if they were not, everyone we saw BROUGHT IT!! Gorgeous dresses & a good number of the men in tuxes. It was the most formal Formal Night I've attended.
-Favorite was probably Takatomi Island (in Ishigaki), Highlights of Taiwan or the Okinawa one that had you going to a distillery (can't remember the name) Least favorite was probably Best of Busan.
-It was VERY humid. I'm from TX and I'm use to heat but the humidity was terrible. Definitely bring your own water bottle and coins for vending machines (Pocari Sweat & Aquarius are both sports drinks).


ETA: Movies are in English and subtitled except for a few. I know Finding Dory was dubbed and there were a few more than were dubbed but if they were they did an English showing later.
Definitely English language programming & a lot of it. I don't remember if CNN was specifically on there but I know BBC was as I watched it a few times.
#15
Suburb of Chicago
1,846 Posts
Joined Jan 2006
Originally posted by Aloha 1
We took the 9 nite Inland Sea/Kyushu trip last August. First, all announcements are made in both English and Japanese. A highlite was the many on board lectures that taught you some rudimentary Nihongo ( Japanese) and history. we found the passenger mix about 55% Japan and the rest Brits, Aussies, and Americans. The MDR was excellent, with the best attention to detail in plating I've ever seen on Princess. The Japanese eat with their eyes as much as with their stomach and it was obvious that P had taken that to heart. And never a cold plate! There was both a standard Western menu and a Japanese menu. The in suite entertainment had several Japanese history programs on offer along with the usual movies, etc. At every port, local entertainment came on board. If you've never seen someone play a Shamensan, that's a treat. Only downside was the fact that we had to make one stop outside Japan ( Korea) and then had to go through Japanese Passport Control before the next port. Although this was done on board, the process took better than 2 hours to get through the line. We thoroughly enjoyed this cruise and would highly recommend Princess for this area.
Now you have reminded me of the TV shows in our cabin. There were some Aussie news shows but as we went during baseball season in Sept. there were both Japanese and American baseball on. Pretty cool!
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#16
26 Posts
Joined Jun 2017
This is so helpful! We are booked on a southern islands cruise next May for our honeymoon as part of a tour of Japan, so it's great to hear all of this! I know we will be very much in the minority, both age and nationality, but we booked the cruise to see japan, not just to cruise. I hope there is plenty of opportunities to eat lots of Japanese food and get involved in Japanese culture.
#17
198 Posts
Joined Apr 2008
Thanks for posting. We are on the grand Japanese trip next July. I just was wondering what they offered cultural wise onboard ship. Did they talk about the ports and did they have origami or other things Japanese to immerse yourself in their culture.
#18
Suburb of Chicago
1,846 Posts
Joined Jan 2006
Originally posted by bluebell sparkle
This is so helpful! We are booked on a southern islands cruise next May for our honeymoon as part of a tour of Japan, so it's great to hear all of this! I know we will be very much in the minority, both age and nationality, but we booked the cruise to see japan, not just to cruise. I hope there is plenty of opportunities to eat lots of Japanese food and get involved in Japanese culture.
.

We found the Japanese to be some of the most polite people we have ever met and Japan to be very clean. If you are stopping in Hakodate I can provide a link to a goodwill assn. that has guides at very reasonable prices.
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#19
12 Posts
Joined Mar 2017
Thank you for offering your experiences.

In the staterooms, were the new type of flat screen/entertainment on demand TV's fitted, or were these still the old set time programming systems?

Did you see a way to plug an auxiliary/HDMI source into the TV, and select it?

Thanks and Kind Regards,
Craig
#20
79 Posts
Joined May 2011
Originally posted by bapaleg
Thanks for posting. We are on the grand Japanese trip next July. I just was wondering what they offered cultural wise onboard ship. Did they talk about the ports and did they have origami or other things Japanese to immerse yourself in their culture.
I don't remember port talks but they did have videos in the room. They had a Japanese Tea Experience (that unfortunately we didn't get registered for in time) and traditional performers throughout the cruise.