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Bimmer09

Diamond Princess photo/video review Alaska

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After lunch Carol went back to the cabin to unpack whereas I made a beeline to one of my favorite spots-the Tradewinds bar where I was soon enjoying a cigarette in the sun and was immediately approached by a bar waiter called Juan (who you will meet in a video clip towards the end of this review) who had what I like in a bar waiter; (a) a good memory (b) a great sense of humor.

 

Life is good when you are in the sun, on a ship, with another big ship just alongside, with the skyline of Vancouver to gaze upon. A beer, a cigarette, excited, friendly people milling around, discovering a great ship. Can it get any better than this?

 

Of course it can!! Just when my second beer arrived, along with my new "Clean Sweep Card" (Princess pays your week's bar bill if your lucky card gets picked on the last day in a drawing) MUTS (Movies Under The Stars/Sun) blasted to life-loud and clear-with a Bon Jovi concert. Luckily I like Bon Jovi (but don't buy their music) and soon my toes were tapping.

 

However I soon had to go as Muster Drill was soon to be called and I like to be in my cabin, with life-jacket in hand when the signal is sounded. Once the drill (in Club Fusion for aft dwellers) would be over then this ship would be mine to explore.

 

At 4pm the ship slipped it's moorings and from my lofty perch on top of the bridge I video-taped (actually a hard drive) our sail away from Vancouver...

 

(coming soon)

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No band playing. The ship gliding quietly by the people down on the beaches who have gathered to watch the sail away.

 

We were cruising.

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There will be several reasons why the Diamond is currently my favorite ship and the first one is the WIDE Promenade deck, which has space for padded teak loungers and space for walkers and runners too.

 

Carol is napping in one far down the deck as we leave Vancouver behind.

 

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It also has access to the bow, which ships like Coral and Island lack.

 

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And it has a Skywalkers, where we would go for pre-dinner cocktails and munchies.

 

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wish there was a 'like' button....

cant wait for the next installment...

 

sharon

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Love this! We are sailing the Diamond at the end of May (Whittier to Vancouver with a land tour of Denali/Talkeetna). We are staying at the Pan when we arrive in Vancouver AND we are staying in the suite just next to yours (C752) so these pics are PERFECT and getting me SO excited! More please :)

L

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So we are at sea (again) having just left Vancouver and beautiful weather

and we would be at sea -off the coast of primarily British Columbia for the first two days. Never lost sight of land-even in the dark, as I had a nice powerful flashlight (an app on My iPhone).

 

After taking the photos you have seen I joined Carol down on our balcony and met our room steward, Wee from Thailand. He brought us champagne and immediately I could tell he was a fun guy on top of his game as a room steward and as the week passed he wins my nomination as best steward so far.

He even took over the chore of booking restaurants for us and seemed to "know" someone in each so that we could get a good table. He was like a butler

that way and wouldn't let us lift a finger if possible. So I let him brush my teeth each morning and night for the rest of the week-what's wrong with that?

 

First night for us always means Sabatini's and it is there, waited on hand and foot (they brought us gloves and slippers) with a nice glass of wine from a bottle of Pinot Grigio I had just bought, that we realize that yes, yes indeed, we are on a cruise ship again and there is nothing that beats that.

Well fed, pampered, served and comfortable with lots of great things about to happen during the next week....the First night is always brilliant. We are where we want to be-on a Princess ship heading to some great ports that in no way remind us of Chicago.

 

We had a Thai waiter serve us in Sabatini's and we had for the first time the Branzino baked in a Salt crust (which appeared in my Ruby review). We like fish and sea-bass especially and this is a winning dish. It was released from it's crusty prison with some deft knife work at the table. It's a serving for two.

We had a great meal.

 

The Sabatini's on Diamond (and Coral) are not the vast spaces overlooking the aft decks on deck 16 as on the Crown and Ruby. These are long narrow rooms with only a couple of windows looking onto Promenade deck and the sea beyond. We were lucky to get a window seat for most of our meals there

(mainly breakfasts)

 

From Sabatini's we hit Club Fusion for some karaoke and there was a good turnout and some wild and vocal party-people, so the mood was merry and lively and great fun. Some fine singers too.

 

As I recall, Carol went to the Welcome Aboard show and I , being up so early, went to bed. I set an alarm call on the phone to wake me at 4.30 a.m...

 

I was going to get up early-as I always do in Alaska-to photograph the ship while the rooms were empty.

 

So that's what is coming next.

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The beauty of sailing in a suite is that one person can get up really early and once left the bedroom can prepare for the day ahead without disturbing anyone sleeping. The bathroom is split into two. On the bedroom side is the tub and shower (glass doors, multi jets, spacious) and then another door leads to the toilet and sink area and from there a door leads to the living room and the balcony. The bedroom has it's own doors to the balcony.

 

So, showered and dressed and loaded up with camera and camcorder I would set off on an almost deserted ship to photograph some rooms before the other passengers woke.

 

This is the long corridor on Caribe outside our room...Blue-bordered carpet=Starboard. Red bordered carpet =Port.

 

 

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My first stop is always Horizon Court buffet for coffee (syrup). Later I may have another, but this time fresh brewed from the coffee bar on deck 5 in the Piazza. There I have to use my Coffee Card for unlimited brewed coffee and 15 speciality coffees (espressos, cappuccinos etc). I always buy one and they are about $30 + tax. You don't have to drink the 15 Speciality coffees all at once...

 

After my first cigarette, out on an aft deck usually, I head back into HC for my first breakfast of the day- the hot food comes out at 5.30 and is mighty tasty!

I load up a very unhealthy plate rich in meats and potatoes as I have never counted a carb in my life,even though I am good at math. I even ask for a few extra grams of trans fats. Bring on the calories- I am going to need them!

Service in HC is always impressive. When most people are in bed, drooling on their pillow, these men and women from the corners of the globe are wide-awake and smiling. Great start to the day....and there is only me to serve!

 

 

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Horizon Court Buffet

 

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Wheelhouse Bar...scene of some lectures (Navigation for instance) and in the evenings a band. There's a small dance floor and many people happy to use it.

I am not a dancer but love watching people who enjoy it and are good at it. I go to a South American restaurant in Chicago sometimes and at weekends they have a dance floor with fit young people dancing Salsa which is unbelievable in it's complexity- people tossing their partners into the air like rag dolls!

 

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On some ships Wheelhouse bar is where they serve Pub lunch.

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The smoking lounge, complete with Pool Table stuck to the ceiling. There is a full bar in here in the evening. I usually had it to myself in the morning except for sharing it occasionally with Dan, the wacky Assistant Cruise Director.

 

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There are some good black and white photographs of Winston Churchill in this room. One of my heroes, especially for his great writing style- a page-turner!

His "Second World War" is the best book I have ever read -but it helps if you are British and the son of someone who fought in it (at sea) when he was 18.

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Just outside Churchill's is a relaxing spot, off the Princess Theater lobby.

 

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Crooners Martini/Piano bar Deck 7

 

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The small stage is set for a string quartet.

 

Deck 7, near the shops

 

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The shops put out tables and have sales with alarming frequency.

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The Wake View bar, tucked away down a spiral staircase in the back R corner of Club Fusion. Quiet and cosy with a view of the wake (otherwise the name would be goofy). Found only on the two Japanese ships-sisters Diamond and Sapphire.

 

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Love the art!

 

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The Plan for our sea day , passing through the calm waters of BC was to

(1) have breakfast in Sabatini's at 8.30.(2) Go to the Sanctuary as the weather

mandated it (3) enjoy a Pub lunch in the Savoy dining room (4) Sanctuary and (5) have an Ultimate Balcony dinner as it was Formal Night and we didn't want to dress up. After that it would probably be karaoke in Club Fusion.

 

On our first visit to Sabatini's for breakfast we met Nicholas, from the Philippines who would be our waiter from here on in, each morning. A most excellent fellow. Corned beef hash from the main galley? No problem! Service is a Sabatini hallmark- nothing too much trouble and always wanting to fill your glass or cup. Smiles.

 

Weather was about 70 degrees, occasional clouds. The Sanctuary was sparsely populated which is how we like it. Naps were taken. I slipped down a deck to the Tradewinds bar for a pre-lunch beer and watched an Alaskan wildlife video on MUTS. Relaxing and exciting at the same time as Alaska would be waiting for us in the morning as we were due to sail into Ketchikan @ 7 a.m.

 

Pub lunch introduced us to the Savoy Dining Room.....

 

# 3 Favorite thing about Diamond Princess...it has 4 anytime dining rooms for dinner. 4 small, uniquely decorated/themed rooms. We had thought (or I had) about which room to base our dinners in. I wanted anonymous decor...I did not want Chinese Decorations(Pacific Moon), nor Italian(Vivaldi), nor Santa Fe(an) while sailing to Alaska...I wanted a dining room that could be anywhere and the Savoy, with it's rich dark woods and lack of geographic specificity was my choice. Good choice it would turn out to be!

 

Pub lunch is a nod to Princess' British heritage (once part of P & O before Carnival bought PCL) and features realistic British pub victuals served fast and piping hot. They only have a few dishes to prepare (beautifully); Fish and chips (fries) Steak and Kidney Pie (oh! good lord!), Bangers (sausages) and mash (potatoes) and Ploughman's Lunch (crusty bread, ham, cheese and the almighty Branston Pickle). Washed down with Guinness!

 

I dispatched a steak and kidney pie to the welcome embrace of my expanding stomach and then it was time for (1) a beer and (2) a nap in the quiet of the Sanctuary....zzzzzz

 

Coming up....an Ultimate Balcony Dinner dessert on video.

Later....Docking in Ketchikan at dawn on video.

 

More soon.

 

Norris

Edited by Bimmer09
correct spelling

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As Senior Event and Meals planner I had chosen the Sunday evening,sailing close to the mountainous coast of B.C for our outdoor balcony meal. I figured warmer temperatures and smooth seas and less chance of rain this far South.



 

I chose 6 pm (over 8 pm). This meant we had to skip Afternoon Tea and go for 5 hours between meals , setting a new cruise record for abstinence.

 

A Room Service team of two, led by Alexandra (Ukraine) were ours for the next 90 minutes or so. We missed the Champagne Fountain and Captain Sagani's Welcome Aboard speech.

 

The photos were seen on my Ruby review (didn't do UBD there) but for those who missed them, here they are. They will be followed by a short video, starring the yummy dessert.

 

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Crab Tart (which was after champagne and canapés)

 

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At one point in this video Carol is watching dolphins frolicking behind us (in the sea-not on the balcony!) but she was watching through a set of 10 x 50 binoculars and I had no hope of getting a good shot with a camcorder on zoom on a moving ship. Even though the cam (Canon Vixia HD) has image stabilization there's only so much correction it can do.

 

Alaska Cruising Tip # 17....take a good pair of binocs for wildlife viewing.

 

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Having been to Ketchikan before I was excited. Last time we took an excursion



with Island Wings. We took off from the water, just behind the Coral Princess and flew over Misty Fjord for an unforgettable 90 minutes, capturing it in photos and video.

 

This time I wanted to touch Alaskan soil and be down on the ground. We had booked an excursion into a Temperate Rain Forest where there were bears living.

 

I wanted to be up early so that I could watch the ship approaching Ketchikan

so I went to bed early on Sunday night.

 

This is what greeted me....

 

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Wee's handiwork. I wasn't sure at first what it was- maybe an octopus or an elephant? What's the difference anyway, you ask? Well I know that if I was standing in a lush savannah valley and a 3 pound octopus charged me I would probably (a) laugh and (b) reach for a frying pan, some garlic and butter.

An elephant on the other hand might cause me to climb the nearest tree and send my underwear out for laundering.

 

Next morning I was indeed up, in the dark, fed and ready to welcome Ketchikan back into my life....

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A word about uploading videos. This 5 min.38 sec clip took about 15 minutes to prepare on the computer using iMovie then another 50 minutes to upload to youtube! The resolution youtube offers me is 720p whereas I am uploading 1080p and losing 30% of the clarity and detail the camera offers me at home on my Sony TV. Frustrating but that's life in the Big Ci -er, small Alaskan frontier town.

 

Anyway this will be followed by the stills taken between video shots.

 

I need an assistant...

 

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A word about uploading videos. This 5 min.38 sec clip took about 15 minutes to prepare on the computer using iMovie then another 50 minutes to upload to youtube! The resolution youtube offers me is 720p whereas I am uploading 1080p and losing 30% of the clarity and detail the camera offers me at home on my Sony TV. Frustrating but that's life in the Big Ci -er, small Alaskan frontier town.

 

Anyway this will be followed by the stills taken between video shots.

 

I need an assistant...

 

 

I am so enjoying your review, video and photos. Do you know if this is berth 4 that you docked at? It would be the one the furthest out from town. We are going to dock at it in May. Here's a map of the 4 berths and city layout.

 

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showpost.php?p=36607618&postcount=305

 

Thank you.

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I'm loving your reviews! It was funny because I read your Ruby one first, and then when I read this one, I thought, wow, this seems like the same person, and it was! :D Your wit is delightful!

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I am so enjoying your review, video and photos. Do you know if this is berth 4 that you docked at? It would be the one the furthest out from town. We are going to dock at it in May. Here's a map of the 4 berths and city layout.

 

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showpost.php?p=36607618&postcount=305

 

Thank you.

 

It is the berth all the way at the end as you approach from the South. It is also where we berthed on the Coral in 2011. Island Wings is the first seaplane berth beyond the ship. Photos coming up will show berth 4's relationship to the town.

 

Thanks for coming along on this trip with me.

 

Norris

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Most of these shots are from the roof of the bridge with Captain Sagani at the controls underneath me. He does the 4 a.m to 8 a.m shift. It was about 6.30.



 

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I forgot to mention that on the previous day just before the UBD we saw a Princess ship passing us, heading South. It was a couple of miles away. I thought it was the Coral and the binoculars confirmed that. There was no horn salute.

 

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I love this little town.

 

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