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eagletwo

Diamond Princess Review, July 23-30

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First of all, thank you for all information available on this website concerning cruising and Alaska. Really helped plan our vacation.

 

We started planning this cruise last year for my parents 50th wedding anniversary and chose to go in July of 2005. With the help from our TA, we chose the Diamond Princess. Since eight of us would be going, my mom and dad, my in-laws, our two kids 10 & 13, DW and me, we felt this ship fit our needs.

 

Arrived in Seattle on Friday, July 22 to beautiful weather, mid 70's and clear skies. Took the shuttle to the Hampton Inn by SEA-TAC and enjoyed a nice quiet stay.

 

Being from the east coast, we were all up early, had breakfast at the hotel and got ready to go back to the airport for the Princess transfers. This was really easy. Left the hotel by 10:15 am, arrived SEA by 10:25, on the bus by 10:40 and arrived at pier 30 by 11:10 am. Processing was very easy and we all were on the ship and in our staterooms by 11:45 am. Proceeded to the Horizon Court for lunch (very good) and went back to our rooms by 1:15 pm. Luggage was already delivered and we were unpacked and luggage stowed under the bed by 1:45 pm.

 

Our kids were in C728, inside cabin aft, port side. Plenty of room for these two, they were hardly ever in the stateroom except to slept. Parents and in-laws were in C727 and C731. Very nice balcony rooms and both of our parents were very pleased. My wife and I decided to spend the extra money and chose PH C415. To us, this was worth every penny. Yes the Caribe balcony is half covered, but we really like this and it never was a problem even with some light rain later in the week. Having a full set of table and chairs and two lounge chairs was really nice. We had all eight of us on the balcony during sail away and had plenty of room to spare.

 

Waiting in our cabin were two very nice plush bathrobes, slippers, stocked bar, basket of fruit and fresh flowers. The bed already had the egg crate placed on the bed like we had requested. Sorn, our cabin steward, came by shortly after we arrived with champagne and to welcome us aboard. She called us by name from the minute we arrived and was always available without being intursive. There was also two nice red and black checkered blankets in the stateroom closet for keeping warm on the balcony.

 

Shortly after our arrival, I made dinner reservations for the Savoy dining room since we had chosen Anytime Dining. With the menus the same in all of dining rooms, we chose to eat in the Savoy almost every night with the same wait staff (Gabriel and Noel). Wonderful team! I don't know if it made a difference being in a suite, but we never had a problem making reservations for eight people all week. I even changed around our dining times around three different times due to shore excursion chages and everytime we were taken care of with the times requested.

 

The food on this ship was really good. Our family had no complaints at all. My kid's thought it was great to be able to order a cheese burger if they did not like what was on the menu. A couple of times one of us did not really care for the item we ordered for dinner. No problem, the item was quickly removed and replaced with anything from the menu we wanted to try. And yes, you could order as much as you wanted. One night we tried the Sterling Steak House and all agreed it was worth the $15 cover charge. Really good porterhouse and ribeye steaks!

 

Just a quick note about the ship being late to some ports. I guess we were lucky. We arrived everywhere on time or a little early.

 

My DW and I did renew our wedding vows while on this cruise. It cost a bit for the "full" package but we thought is was worth it. Nice bottle of champagne deliverd to our room, two of the plush robes to keep, a visit to the spa (very nice), service performed in a private ceremony by the captain and an invitation to visit the bridge. Visiting the bridge was also cool!

 

All of our shore excursions were booked through Princess.

 

Juneau

 

We all went on the Mendenhall Glacier & Whale Quest. Misty and cool all day. Mendenhall Glacier was beautiful. Wish we could have stayed longer. The whale watching tour was a bust. We spotted more whales from our balcony coming into Juneau than we saw on this tour. The captain really tried hard to find the whales, but we ended up only spotting about four from a long way from the boat. Even stayed out twenty minutes longer than we should have trying to find more whales. Better luck next time.

 

Skagway

 

Really weird to wake up at see the rock wall outside you stateroom. The grandparents took the kids on the White Pass Scenic Railway. Even my children enjoyed this trip. My DW and I took the ferry boat to Haines and did the Eagle Preserve Scenic Float Adventure. Little cold on the river, but worth every minute. We saw 30-40 eagle's, a moose and a lot of other wildlife. Really enjoyed the lunch provided at the end of the trip. Guides could not have been more friendly. I would do this trip again!

 

Tracy Arm

 

Wow! We got within 5 miles of Sawyer Glacier due to the ice but this was worth the price of admission. Got to see it for yourself to believe the beauty. Nice overcast day so the ice really showed off the blue "Windex" color.

 

Ketchikan

 

Enjoyed watching the sea planes taking off and landing. Great view from our balcony. We all took a carriage ride around town which was nice and it was great to relax and do a some shopping.

 

Victoria

 

Another beautiful town and the weather was sunny and warm. We went downtown and shopped some and just enjoyed the beautiful city. I agree with some that four hours is not enough to visit. My father-in-law really enjoyed watching the locals drive around town in their 1950 model cars. Seems on nice Friday evenings, the car clubs come out in force and drive around town showing off some really, really nice cars.

 

Seattle

 

Arrived back Saturday morning on time to a beautiful clear day. Getting off the ship was a breeze and we were back to SEA by 11:00 am.

 

We did not attend any of the shows due to being on East Coast time. By 9:00 pm every night we were ready for bed. Formal nights were fun and it was nice to dress up. I wore my tux and the ladies were in gowns. Most folks were in suits and nice dresses. Did see jeans worn by a few folks in the dinning rooms on all nights execpt the formal evenings. The shops on the ship were priced better than some in the ports. I think we made a fuel payment or two with the stuff we bought. The Diamond Princess is just plain beautiful, the crew very friendly and the ship is spotless.

 

Finally, I would do this same cruise again and again. Everything Princess put into thier advertising came true for our family on this trip. The ship, personnel and Alaska were just great. I guess you really do get what you put into a vacation if you just go, relax and have fun! Laugh at the rude people since they don't enjoy life anyway and take your time if things get a little hectic. Happy cruising and again thank you to all for your help!:)

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Thanks for your review - it was very enjoyable to read, very positive too! :) Glad you and your family had a great time. Did your kids spend any time at the Kid's Zone or Teen Center? Looking forward to our cruise and being on the Diamond again. :D

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Our 13 year old daughter really enjoyed the teen zone. My 10 year old daughter felt like there were too many "boys" in her area, so she spent most of her time with us. It was really nice to call the teen area looking for my oldest and have the staff answer the phone in a very pleasant voice, knew my daughters name and knew where she was everytime.:)

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When we were on the Diamond last October the Sterling was an anytime dining venue but there was no charge. There was 3 anytime dining rooms - the Vivaldi (Italian), Sterling (Steak) and another with a Mexican theme. When did they change the names and put a charge on the Sterling?

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Thanks for the review eagle. I can't wait until it is our turn. :D

 

rickdeni, they made the change to the dining rooms a few months ago. The specialty dining rooms have all been turned into Personal Choice dining rooms featuring the regular menu. The specialty dining rooms do feature a specialty appetizer but that is it.

 

The Sterling dining room that you had has now been renamed the Savoy and a section of Horizon Court was turned into the Sterling which now charges a fee.

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I have signed up for the anniversary package for our trip in Jan. I was wondering if you got to pick the spa service or if it is predetermined? My husband is really looking forward to the tour of the bridge...did you have to call for this or do they contact you. Thanks for the review and advice.

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Kayred The wedding vow package included a couples massage (which I highly recommend) and the invitation to the bridge arrived Wednesday night for the tour on Thursday afternoon at 2:00 pm. Please be aware that the tour can be cancelled at anytime do to security concerns. We were at sea in the afternoon and the tour took place with about 20 other passengers. The bridge crew were very nice and allowed us to take a many photos as we liked. The only restrictions placed on us was to not tell everyone you were going to tour the bridge and we could not got out onto the end of the "wings" where the docking controls are located. I guess they don't want 2500 phone calls from passengers asking to visit the bridge.

 

You would need to ask Princess if you can use the credit for any other service is the spa. This was our first visit to any type of spa and it was so nice we booked another session in the week. Our TA suprised us with an additional $150 of spa credit. The certificates were in our cabin when we arrived. Have fun and enjoy! :)

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Thanks eagletwo for the info - we are really getting excited for our cruise. DS is 13 and can't wait to hang out in the Teen Center. DD loved the Kid's Club last year - so I am sure she will love it again! :D

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Thanks eagletwo for the review,I am going on the Diamond next summer and trying to find out as much as I can. Diamond will go the north and south route next year. Mike

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