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Bimmer09

Diamond Princess photo/video review Alaska

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Here goes, hunker down for another long review.....

 

BACK STORY and there is always one with me. We (TC Carol and I) had first cruised Princess in August 2011 on the Coral, Whittier to Vancouver.

We loved the ship, loved Princess and fell in love with Alaska (as you will too)

 

January 2012 and we sailed the Crown to the Southern Caribbean. On board I bought a couple of cruise credits just in case we would want to cruise Princess again. The day after we left the Crown we thought "what next?"

 

Hmmm. Deep in thought for a second..."how about Alaska again?"

 

When we got home I began the tedious (LOL) process of finding a cruise to Alaska and hit upon the idea of doing the reverse trip from the previous-North to Alaska! Genius!

 

When we looked at the ships and itineraries a new one to us-the Diamond- had the right dates. I actually had it as my screen saver for some months and had admired it.

 

Lickety-split, with an e mail to our Princess booking wizard Terry, we were booked and sat back to wait the 7 months (but who's counting) until August 17th rolled around. That day we would fly from Chicago to Vancouver...

 

 

 

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We had both visited Vancouver before we landed there on the Coral in 2011.

I had played there in a band in 1978 for a month and returned in 1984 when a former band-mate, who had emigrated there called me up at home in London and said "Norris-if I pay your fare over to Vancouver will you go skiing with me?" I , of course, said "yes" and a couple of weeks later was slaloming down the slopes of Whistler Mountain like a pro. I had never skiied before that trip but quickly learned to master a key technique-The Reverse Sonny Bono" which is where you ski around the trees, not into them.

(Sonny RIP)

 

With our trips to Seattle (for Opera) in the 2nd Millennium we had driven up to Vancouver to meet this same friend and came to like the city very much.

 

On our Coral trip we had stayed in the Pan Pacific Hotel, which is right where the Princess ships dock and this time would be no exception.

 

Pan Pacific Hotel (taken from the ship)

 

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The PP is the rounded white building. We were on the 19th floor.

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It's a nice half-hour drive from the airport to the City. Before long you are in leafy suburban streets and getting some nice views of mountains and glimpses of the sea as it is hilly.

 

I was especially excited for this trip because.....

 

ANOTHER BACK STORY

 

In 1977, while in London I got a call from a friend who it turned out was playing in a band in Canada. Irish band and they needed a drummer and were returning to Ireland to rehearse-did I want the job? I said yes but long story short, after returning to Ireland to rehearse, didn't like the music (too Irish for me) and offered the job to a friend of mine in London who jumped at it. Our planes passed in mid-air. I went on to play rock music in rowdy clubs in Europe and he settled in to playing Irish music in Canada for drunken but not rowdy Canadians for the next 35 years until he couldn't take it anymore. He lasted 34 years and 364 days longer than I could have.

 

I never heard from him during those 35 years but one day , surfing, found a video on Youtube (Killarney Band at the Blarney Stone, Vancouver if anyone knows it) and through Facebook contacted the band and got his phone number.

 

So as a result of a phone call or two he was up for a meeting-after 35 years- when I would be at the Pan Pacific prior to the cruise.

 

I called on my cell from the plaza in front of the hotel at the appointed time

as I had arranged to call him and let him know I was arrived so that he could jump in a cab and come over. When I called him he answered and just in passing I asked him where he was. He said-across the street-waving at you!

 

There have been many magic moments in my life and this was one of them, for there he was after 35 years. Later, after catching up as we sat and strolled around Gastown he came up to the room to meet Carol.

 

This is me and my long-lost friend, Terry.

 

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Looking forward to more of your experiences onboard the Diamond Princess to Alaska. We are sailing in May from Vancouver for a trip of a life time.

 

Cheers from 'Down Under'

 

sharon

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When we walked into our room, this was the sight that greeted us below our window...

 

It was Radiance of the Seas and it was just about to cast off. Great timing!

 

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We watched her sail away

 

 

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We talked to Terry over cocktails down by the hotel pool.

 

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Terry couldn't stay to join us for dinner at the 5 Sails-the hotel's fine dining restaurant so we bid our farewells and went to take our seats.

 

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The sun was setting....

 

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Relaxed now we settled down with some wine (Pinot Grigio) and enjoyed stellar attentive service.

 

I think this fish is Arctic Char....

 

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Although there is no photo as I attacked my foie gras with truffles like a hungry jackal I can testify to it's deliciousness. Any time I see foie gras I order it.

 

Carol had some scallops on a cauliflower mousseline with a caper emulsion and she gave me one and it was perfection on a plate.

 

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Here is a photo of Austrian ravioli which Carol ordered. Stuffed with spinach,herbs and ricotta...

 

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Seared filet of Alberta angus beef landed on the table in front of me and was dispatched swiftly. Truffle scented oxtail ravioli, parsnip puree and some bone marrow. Fantastic cooking!

 

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Meantime Carol got to tuck-in to this....

 

"The Catch" which was lobster, scallop, Arctic Char and lemongrass scented sabayon.

 

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I rounded off a superb meal with a generous Sambuca and espresso.

 

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After a sumptuous meal we walked for a while in the balmy night air-it was 85 degrees F and the streets were packed with revelers. We strolled through Gastown to see the steam clock and then returned to the hotel to escape the noise and hubbub of Vancouver on a Friday night.

 

I slept like a baby- I soiled my diapers-but that's life in the Big City of Vancouver.

 

I had an alarm call at 4.30 and was out on the streets with a coffee by 5 a.m.

There was only me and the people sleeping in doorways at that hour.

 

As 6 a.m approached my "Spidey sense" told me to head back to the pier and when I arrived there, this is what I saw.....

 

 

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Coming up next will be the Diamond backing into the dock, lit majestically by a fine sunrise (video)

 

Then we take a look at the Zuiderdam before boarding the Diamond.

 

Later....

 

Norris

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Lots more DP to come but I have to get on with this life-eating, sleeping,working etc...but I promise you more Diamond Princess than you ever thought possible! She's my favorite ship and I'll explain why as I go along with photos/videos/graphs and pie charts. Or at least pie.

 

Back soon.

 

Norris

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Lots more DP to come but I have to get on with this life-eating, sleeping,working etc...but I promise you more Diamond Princess than you ever thought possible! She's my favorite ship and I'll explain why as I go along with photos/videos/graphs and pie charts. Or at least pie.

 

Back soon.

 

Norris

 

the more review the better!

 

shazz & bazz

from 'down under'

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Bimmer09- I'm on Diamond in Sept, north to south tho, and appreciate your review. When I clicked on the youtube link it tells me I need to log in?? Am I missing something. Thanks again for the review. My first Alaska trip and I am very excited!

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Bimmer09- I'm on Diamond in Sept, north to south tho, and appreciate your review. When I clicked on the youtube link it tells me I need to log in?? Am I missing something. Thanks again for the review. My first Alaska trip and I am very excited!

 

I had my Privacy settings on youtube in the "I want to be alone setting" and even when I tried to get into Youtube there were police and sirens everywhere so I have had a rough night.

 

Everything is fine now- the link is open to all.

 

Norris who has done the Whittier to Vancouver and you are in for a treat!

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Here are a couple of stills which I took between video shots on that warm sunny morning of embarkation in Vancouver.

 

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The aft, where we would be living for the next 7 days. Caribe deck PH suite

center right, just above the white section in the center where there are no cabins. On the deck above and to the left,taking up half the deck is the Grand Suite. There is one deck less than Super Grand Class ships like the Crown, Ruby and Emerald. Capacity is 2600 passengers.

 

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The row of portholes to the Left of the word Diamond are in the Wake View bar, a venue found only in the Diamond and Sapphire.

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Norris, Thanks for all the hard work on the video- made my morning!! It works and is just beautiful.

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Our first cruise was on the Diamond doing Alaska southbound 5 years ago...It's our favorite ship as well! We'll be back on her in Sept. doing northbound (cruisetour) and can't wait!!! Enjoying your review...can't wait to read more!:)

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Norris.. So glad to see the back of the ship. I will be on the Caribe deck also, aft. However I will not be in a suite, just a balcony room. C748

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Thanks so much for doing this -- can't wait to read more! (I'm on the Diamond in July, heading north from Vancouver)

:)

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Very much looking forward to the rest of your review! My husband and I are debating an Alaskan cruise in May or June of this year so this is perfect timing!

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While I was engaged in watching the Diamond back in to the berth, on the other side of the pier this ship was berthing, bow first.

 

 

 

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And the seagull's eye view...

 

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Now it is pretty exciting to see your ship come in and to know that in about 6 hours you will be on it. In the hours between we would pack, have a delicious buffet breakfast in a nice sunny room and then have the bellman take our luggage to the ship. That was a nice treat and an advantage of staying in the Pan. The ship wasn't far away....

 

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We had lots of time and so were relaxed and could spend some time in the plaza outside the hotel watching the comings and goings of cruise passengers.

There was also an Anime festival happening in one of the huge convention rooms at the hotel and an endless parade of young people in fantastic cartoon-hero costumes and they met each other in front of the hotel. Many of them were Asian (as would many of the Diamond passengers be) as Vancouver has a very large Asian population.

 

Time passed pleasantly and quickly and around 10.30 we got in the elevator and took it down to ground level where the embarkation hall is. Just carrying our carry-on bags and cameras. We had priority boarding due to the full suite.

The full suite would count as two cruises towards achieving Platinum status with Princess.

 

Effortless and on-time boarding at noon and I went straight to the Sanctuary (optimists given the vagaries of Alaskan weather) and booked two loungers for the week, in the shade-I did say optimist, didn't I?). Then I sped back down to Passenger Services to get my name on the Ultimate Ship Tour. I was the first name. Huzzah! Now I just had to hope that 11 others would sign up to make it happen.

 

Business out of the way I went to join Carol in our room.

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IMG_2435.JPG

 

Carol was already in relax mode and back where she belongs....on an aft balcony on a Princess ship.

 

We had over three hours to go before the ship would cast off at 4pm and we would say goodbye to the Vancouver skyline.

 

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Lunch was taken in the MDR. The door was closed but we went in and there was only one other table of 6 so we sat down and were greeted warmly and ordered up a quick lunch which I didn't photograph but I know I had the beef medallions.

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