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lesa1031

Diamond Princess Review 6/4 - 6/11

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We just returned today from a spectacular week on the Diamond Princess in Alaska! The ship is stunning...beautiful, clean, and well designed. Here are a few tips, opinions...

 

1. The food is great! However, we found the quality to be much better in the dining rooms than in the Horizon Court. Also, the Horizon Court sometimes gets crowded. Who wants to fight the mob when you can get EXCELLENT service in the dining room? We opted for Personal Choice Dining and split our dinners between the Sante Fe and Pacific Moon. NOTE: THE MENU IS THE SAME AS IN THE INTERNATIONAL DINING ROOM! Also, the breakfast and lunch in the International Dining Room were very nice!

 

2. The evening entertainment in the Princess Theater was awesome. We attended four shows, "The Piano Man" being the very best! "Undercover", a spy themed song and dance show, was also great. There were two comedians on board who were good too.

 

3. Embarkation - This went very smoothly for us! We arrived at the pier around 10:00 and quickly checked our luggage and got in line. Unfortunately, the check-in didn't start until about 11:30ish. We were on board having lunch by 12:30! Tip - the taxi fare from the airport to the ship for our group of four was only $26. This is much cheaper than the transfers the Princess offers!

 

4. BINGO - Avoid this activity. Princess must make a killing on this activity which is offered once or twice per day. While entertaining, the odds of winning are slim and the payouts are small.

 

5. Shore Excursions - I strongly recommend arranging these on your own. You will get more for your money! Here are a few suggestions:

 

Juneau: We hired "Juneau Limosine" for our group of six. We had a personal three hour tour which included ALL the highlights at our pace for less than $300. This is just $50 per person which is a steal compared to the outrageous prices on the Princess shore excursions.

 

Skagway: Two from our group did the Princess sponsored horseback riding. It was pricey...and we wouldn't pay the price next time. The White Pass Railroad trip was beautiful but the quality of the tour guides was just fair.

 

Ketchican: Four from our group did the "Totem and Town Tour" sponsored by Princess at $39 each. In hind sight, we should have gotten a taxi and did the trip on our own. Taxi's were readily available!

 

Victoria: Due to our delayed arrival, most of the Princess excursions were cancelled. Five of us got off the ship and grabed a taxi-van. The driver was wonderful...we got to see all the Victoria highlights in about 1.5 hours for around $100, including tip. Once again, this is just $20 per person!

 

Disembarkation was very smooth. We were off the boat and in our taxi before 8:30 and at the airport before 9:00! (Princess gives priority times to those with early flights.)

 

All in all, we were very pleased with our trip. Feel free to post questions and I'll try to answer asap.

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Thanks for a great review. Can you tell us the type dress for both men and women that you saw in the dining room on both formal and casual nights. Thanks so much.

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The formal nights were not as formal as I expected. Many passengers were dressed in tuxedoes and long formal dresses. However, there were just as many men in casual pants and sport coats and ladies in shorter dresses. I wore dress pants and a glitzy top and felt very comfortable.

 

The smart casual nights were interesting! Most men were in dress pants or Docker style pants with either a knit shirt with a collar or oxford dress shirt without a tie. However, there were many men in jeans, T-shirts and even a few in shorts. Most ladies were in casual pants or capris.

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We were late to the schedule for both Juneau and Victoria. In Juneau we arrived about 2:00, as best I remember. In Victoria we were on hour late, arriving at 8:00.

 

The late arrival in Juneau was due to late departure in Seattle due to a couple of passengers whos flight was late. They blamed Victoria on the rough seas...but I heard that the Oosterdam made it on time.

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Lesa - Thank you for your review. I may have misunderstood you, but I thought you had PC dining and ate at Pacific Moon or Sante Fe. But you also stated that your wore pants and a glitzy top. Are folks dressing up formal to eat PC dining ?? It was my understanding that every night PC is nice casual dress. Have I missed something ???? Also, does anyone know what is happening to Diamond that she can not seem to make it to Juneau on time this season ??? Prop problems. If so, this is really disheartening for so many with early shore excursions.

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GG3: I think you are on the same cruise I am on the 25th. The dress for the ship whether you have traditional dining or PC is the same. Formal night is formal night in all the dining rooms. The other nights are smart casual. If you plan on just going to the buffet on formal nights, then you definitely don't have to dress formally. We have a roll call going and would love it if you joined us.

 

Hulagirl

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Can you look at your patters for Juneau and let me know what time Libby Riddles talk is at?

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:eek: I hate to inform hubby of this, since for some darn reason, I got the notion that PC was casual dining every night and that Traditional had 2 formal nights in the main dining room. I told him we just had to dress "smart casual" every night and he loved it. On our other 3 cruises, we had formal dining, and we are indeed rule followers and will do what is expected -----but oh man, I hate to tell him. Plus I was counting on that extra luggage space for souveniers. :) Can anyone tell me what time the entertainment is each evening. Hula - will try to find you on roll call.

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gg3:

 

I do hope you find the roll call. It should be back up near the top or at least back on the front page. Can understand the not wanting to dress formal. It would be nice to go and just not have to deal with that sometimes. It is fun for one night, but truly, I could be happy with the rest being casual. Good luck telling you husband. I'm sure he won't be thrilled either, but I'm glad you know before the last minute or when you got on board.

 

Hope you find us. There isn't a big group, but everyone seems very nice.

 

Hulagirl

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Hula - will try and reply to roll call, sometime today - so do we have one or two formal nights ?????

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Should be two formal nights. First should be Sunday and the second on Thursday. Cruise is getting so close and I need to get my clothes arranged. See you on the roll call.

 

Hulagirl

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Can you look at your patters for Juneau and let me know what time Libby Riddles talk is at?

 

Libby Riddles was scheduled for 7:00 although due to late arrival we were not back onboard and don't know how well attended it was.

FYI: there were lots of dark suits and dressy tops/black pants for women on formal night. On all of our Alaska sailings the "Formal" has tended to be less so, perhaps now even more than before due to airline weight restrictions on baggage etc and that fact that some people bring a LOT of heavy clothes...

The onboard naturalist, Michael, was excellent acc. to group members who attended his presentations. His narration in Tracy Arm was excellent.

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We just returned from the Diamond as well...we were on E deck partially obstructed which was perfect location, but a tad bit small for a family of 4 all @ once. We were not notified of the International Dining 1st sitting time change and showed up @ the original time and got some "gruff" from the waiters. It was in the Patter but chose not to read it until going to bed. 5:45 was just too early and so with that we were not that happy. And day in Victoria dinner is @ 5:30 early sitting....

 

As far as Ketchikan, you can get to the totem poles by city bus $2.00 adult EXACT CHANGE and $1.50 children. You can catch it up by the Federal Building it runs about every 30 minutes. By the time we got there we didn't have time for the tour, so we turned around and went back. We were told by a family that the cab fare was $55 roundtrip and the cab waited

 

Overall we had a great time..I thought more time could've been spent in Juneau as there were quite a few things you could do on your own, we did the kayaking in Auke Bay...it got VERY WINDY, and I felt for the amount we paid not worth it. In Skayway we did the train, very scenic..kinda boring for kids. Tracy Arm was the highlight of the week, 5 hours of cruising..and if you head to the aft of the ship while the Capt is turning her around you have the best view for the return and deck chairs w/ waiters.and no people to speak of....best move we made as weather was awesome! And out of the wind...

 

We thought the food was very good, but we are not picky eaters, way too much seafood on the menu for me. Some things @ Horizon Court were very good, corn seemed to be frozen in the salad line? We had a great waiter and assistant and nice table by the window in the International Dining room. The curry lamb @ lunch was very well done, and cold soups also good.

 

I had glyco peel in spa, expensive for 25 minutes, and then they want you to go back for part 2, which I declined. Steam and sauna free on Diamond so take advantage of it, and I was always alone in each one...

 

If you take the stairs most of the time you get a good workout for week, went to gym twice treadmills always busy but you can sign up for a time slot day prior. Gym was always crowded!

 

If you have a large group as we did, 9 of us I would recommend taking walkie talkies..Ship is big and if you separate can have a terrible time trying to find someone...you can lease them from Princess also, but I don't know the amt.

 

Have a good time...We bought our kids each an unlimited Soda sticker, that was quite expensive but I did get a few out of it...:eek:

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