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Diamond Princess 4/17/04 review

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Diamond Princess, April 17-24, 2004




We left our hotel in Redondo Beach at 9:45 a.m. and had a long, uneventful ride to the pier. Gave our baggage to the porter and entered the building. Got numbers 404, 405 and 499? Thought it was odd that they were not together but directed us upstairs. We had Express on our tickets but still have no idea what that meant. Upstairs we entered the line that corresponded to our deck and checked in. Painless. Nice terminal too. We took a seat and watched a couple of groups boarding for a tour (British Business Council, some TA group). Right around noon we were walking on board!! You go through security screening and enter the port on the opposite side of the ship. You cannot take pictures of the ship from this side. Then it’s over and onto the ship. We entered on deck 7 and went up one deck to our cabin, E302 which was an obstructed view outside stateroom that was a handicapped access room. It was large with extra room to accommodate a wheelchair. We then went down to the Passenger Services Desk to let them know that if anyone needed a handicapped room we would move. After checking our room, meeting our room steward Rene (who I never saw again!) we headed to the buffet. After the buffet we went to the drill and it was held in the Casino – it was quick and painless and then it was on deck for the sailaway!




We headed up to the sailaway buffet and it is confusing the first day if you do not know that you are not supposed to make one long line. It’s broken up so you are better off if you duck and weave to the stations you want. Our food on the first day was: Chicago Round, Fresh Fruit (watermelon, pineapple, cantaloupe), salad, fish. Ice tea was good. My recommendation – walk all the way to the back of the buffet towards the aft (adult pool) and there are tables with round cushioned banquettes to sit on – nice secluded tables and never crowded.


We ate every single breakfast and most lunches at the Horizon Court. We had great food. In the mornings the breakfast doesn’t vary much – eggs (scrambled or over easy, also omelettes made for you), corned beef hash, bacon, sausage, oatmeal, some type of potatoes, croissants, donuts (yum), Danish, toast, bagels, English muffins, fruit, and a whole section with rice, congee, fish, salmon, etc. Lunch was varied and I can’t even remember the half of what we had – lamb curry, caprese (mozzarella, tomatoes with basil and balsamico vinaigrette), Chicago round, fruit (watermelon, pineapple, cantaloupe, mango, papaya), pastries, shrimp cocktail, stuffed veal breast, fried fish, lasagna Bolognese, different pastas, Rockfish fillet, pate, lox and cream cheese and so much more that I can’t even recall.


We also had hot dogs from the Grill and those were fabulous! Big and beefy, more like a knockwurst with toppings.


Never did try the pizza so can’t comment.




We had PC dining and made our reservations day by day. We did run into not being able to eat in the Sterling the last 2 nights of the cruise but we had already eaten there twice so it didn’t bother us. Next time we will book at the beginning of the week for the last two nights. Otherwise we never really had any problems eating when we wanted, where we wanted. Here’s an overview of our experiences:


Sterling – This was our first two nights of the cruise. Wonderful service the first night by David and Lisa. We had Prime Rib, Fettucine Alfredo, shrimp cocktails, cream of porcini mushroom soup, salad. The second night we sat at a different station with a wonderful waiter who I can’t remember his name (Gabriel?). Again more shrimp cocktail and prime rib. This is a great dining venue. Feels like a good steakhouse – like the Capital Grille and everything we had was outstanding.


Vivaldi – A nice room, good service. I remember that the menu for this room didn’t really thrill me but my husband enjoyed the pasta with the seafood on the menu. We loved the prosciutto with melon appetizer. The cannoli was odd – more deep fried than we remember them being? I can’t remember everything we ate here but I had lamb chops and a wonderful tiramisu. We had great service here from Paolo and enjoyed our lobster and beef Wellington here on the second formal night.


Santa Fe – The décor is wonderful. We had a nice table with a bench and the guacamole was good, spicy. The chips were fine nothing to write home about. The Kahlua rice pudding was wonderful! The service from Martin and his assistant from Kenya (can’t remember her name!) was wonderful.


Pacific Moon – We really enjoyed this dining room. We had sushi which is varied every night, the Dim Sum sampler, the Shrimp and Scallop stirfry over glass noodles (wonderful!) plus we had items off of the traditional menus – avocado stuffed with seafood, salads, fresh fruit sorbets (must try – different every night!), more prime rib, shrimp cocktails.


Other thoughts on food – I have never been on a ship where you could get shrimp every day! It was wonderful. The desserts were wonderful too – the soufflés (chocolate hazelnut with vanilla sauce), the baked peaches with amaretto soufflé on top (OMG), the carmelized napoleon, apple pie ala mode, sorbets. The meals were all really wonderful – served hot.


Afternoon Tea was just wonderful. It is served every day in the Pacific Moon dining room. We went almost every day it was that good.






We went to the shows on the ship – Piano Man which was good and Curtain Up which my daughter enjoyed a lot. We also saw the comedian, Sarge, who is probably one of the best comedians on board I have seen yet. We enjoyed the theater but my dh managed to have 2 chairs in the theater break on him so that was not pleasant (although it made for some teasing). Apparently the seats are only held in place by two knobs and if you fidget (my dh does this) they can become dislodged and you will wind up on the floor. The Cruise Director, Billy Hygate, sang at the beginning of Sarge’s shows. It was quite funny since he is much like Tom Jones when we sings. The theater is a nice large room and the seats are comfortable. We watched Love Actually here in the afternoon during one of the sea days. A nice room.




We met some people that we were conversing with online at Cruise Critic the Wake View Bar on embarkation day and the room is nice. You pass through Club Fusion to get there. A big shout out to Steve and Toni, John and Heidi, Hobie and Eric, Monica and Rocky, Melissa and the kids, Maryliz and DonaP and everyone I have forgotten! It was awesome meeting all of you!


Club Fusion is a nice room with plasma screens mounted around the room. It also has a bank of 5 nickel slot machines that most people didn’t know about and one woman on the cruise hit for about $400 on them. We played Bingo and watched CNN in here on disembarkation day. The Wake View Bar is down a spiral staircase and is a nice cosy room. The bar opened at 5 p.m. every day and would be a great place to get away for a cocktail.


The Wheelhouse Bar – a large, private club style room. I loved it here. Lots of wing back chairs and nice seating areas. This is where the trivia games were held and my daughter and I enjoyed being outmatched by the afficianados in this area.


The Explorer Lounge which is off of the Photo Gallery and just past the internet café and Sabattini’s. When you enter the doorway there are crickets chirping. This is where the Art Auctions were held and my daughter and I attended the last one. It was interesting that the caliber of art was much better than I have seen on other ships and people were seriously buying some art. Fun to watch.


Internet Café – connection was awful here. Go to the Library and log on there. Much better connection time.


Atrium, Crooner’s Bar, Library, Shops on Board – As you pass through the Explorer Lounge you come out to the Atrium right by Crooner’s Bar. This is a nice area and is the Martini Bar on board. We never made it here for a drink and to listen to music but it was always busy. The Atrium is beautiful and spans 3 decks. This is where they do the formal pictures and the shops are on the ends of the levels. I checked out the perfumes on board and found some good deals. The liquor shop/sundries was a small store, much smaller than on other ships I have been on. The Passenger Services Desk is located in the atrium as well. The Library is a nice room and has better internet connection than at the café so I would suggest logging on here. There is a great selection of books on board.


Casino – This was the tightest casino I have ever played in. It has a jungle theme and there are some nickel slots, quarter slots, dollar slots and $5 dollar slots around the room. It’s one of the largest I have ever seen and it was never as smoky as some of the other casinos I have played in. I did manage to hit a few times towards the end of the cruise but it was after spending $$ and not getting much “playâ€.


Pool Areas - We didn’t use all of them mostly because it was rather chilly on the way to Mexico and on the return so we really enjoyed the enclosed pool area. We did pass through the main outdoor pool area and it was always busy, never crowded. I enjoyed the Aft Adult pool area and the hot tubs up there were wonderful. The indoor pool area has two hot tubs warm but not hot – we think the temperature was lowered because little kids use them. The pool was warm and not crowded. Many times I had the pool to myself. The loungers have pads on them and this is just a great area to relax. We also sunned on the deck upstairs from this pool and outside – it was heaven. No one around and nice and sunny.


The main outdoor pool area had an odd smell when you entered the deck by the grill. It was just awful. It disappeared for a few days but returned at the end of the cruise. I don’t know what caused it. It was the only smell I encountered all week long other than the fresh real flowers all over the ship!




Puerto Vallarta – We walked from the ship to the WalMart where we bought a few bottles of Kahlua and 2 insulated mugs (no room in luggage) for iced tea on deck. Then we took the bus which stops at the end of the pier for 4 pesos into downtown. Look for the bus that says Centro. This bus goes to the same place that the $30 ship bus goes to and you get to ride with locals. We consider this one of our highlights from this port. We got off the bus early and walked the length of the area around the bay. Didn’t buy much of anything and took lots of pictures of the statues along the shore. I made a classic tourist mistake – went to a bank that was next to a money exchange. I needed cash (tried to do this at the ATM on board but it wasn’t dispensing cash?) so I thought well I’ll take it out and then exchange it (in the U.S. this wouldn’t be a problem) but when I attempted to exchange it, no luck. They refuse to give up the American dollar – I even went into a bank who said they had no American money even though they had money exchange signs posted. I learned my lesson – next time I will have everything with me ahead of time. After this we went back to the ship and up to the pool area.


Mazatlan – We got off the ship and got on a little bus that took us to the taxi area. We got talked into doing a timeshare presentation (something we normally avoid like the plague) and got a ride to the Inn at Mazatlan. Toured the resort, told them that we were not buying and got our bracelet for the all-inclusive food and bar for the day. Headed out to the pools, palapa huts and ocean to spend the day. Had great food and enjoyed the free cocktails. When it was over we got a city tour and some great pictures. Saw the cliff divers, drove through the Golden Zone which is the only real developed area of the port and headed back to the flea market at the pier. Here I exchanged all those pesos for dollars like this – they like to bargain with you and want to make the sale, so I told them that I would buy if they would give dollars back in change. Worked like a charm.


Cabo San Lucas – We didn’t get much time in this port. We overslept! So we tendered into the port and went to the Market at the pier. We got some great Mexican pottery at good prices too. This is a nice marina with development going on in the hills.


Final Thoughts – We all loved this cruise and were sad to see it end. I would recommend doing some real investigation on getting the most out of these ports as I don’t feel that we did this.


The teen program on this sailing was awful. No one attended and my daughter ended up spending the week with Mom.


The ceramics at sea was fun. There were plenty of activities on board – line dancing classes, dance lessons, arts & crafts, all kinds of classes – photography, computers, ceramics for a fee, the Spa area and Lotus pool looked nice although we never used them.


The ship and artwork around the ship are just beautiful. It never felt crowded even though we were full.


As always YMMV.




Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do then by the ones you did. So, throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

Mark Twain (1835 - 1910)

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Thanks for the nice review!


I will be on the Diamond Princess Sept. 4 from Seattle to Alaska and am enjoying reading the reviews from everybody who have just returned from their trips.


Sounds like you had a good time...can hardly wait for my turn! icon_smile.gif




Oceanic 1986

M.S. Seaward 9/1989

Vision of the Seas 1998

Olympic Countess 2000

Adventure of the Seas 2002

Diamond Princess 9/4/2004

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We'll be on the Diamond for our December cruise this year and appreciate the information


Happy Cruising






Next up:

Caribbean Princess 06/26/04

Star Princess 10/24/04

Diamond Princess 12/22/04

Carnival Miracle 03/13/05


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Thanks for the great review!


This review is so very different from the one posted by whomever that Dr. guy is. I believe that this the very same cruise that he was writing about also.


He talked about how this was the absolute worst food, 'except for the fresh baked cookies' in the intenet cafe, that he had ever eaten in his life and that Denny's would be a step up.


I think it's just some really and truly have a difficult time finding much, if any, good in things.


Again, thanks for the great review Bostongal. I can't wait for my 5-8 Alaska cruise on this ship!



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Another great post about the Diamond Princess. It's hard to imagine eating bad food on Princess if you try the dining room.


Even the breakfast buffet around closing time at the Horizon Court is better than Denny's any day.




8/28/04 Diamond Princess to Alaska


9/27/03 Star Princess to Mexican Riviera


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Bostongal, what a wonderful, well written review, you sound like a very nice person.


Thanks for your contribution.


Life is at it's best when your address floats

One MORE open Booking(s).

<FONT color=red>Alaska</FONT>

Sapphire Princess 09/04

Diamond Princess 05/04 ~~ Mercury 06/02

Rhapsody o.t. Seas 05/98 ~~ Legend o.t. Seas 09/95

<FONT color=red>Mexican Riviera</FONT>

Diamond Princess 12/04

Diamond Princess 11/04 ~~ Diamond Princess 04/04

Sea Princess 01/02 ~~ Vision o.t. Seas 04/02<FONT color=red>

West Coast-Baja Mexico</FONT>

Ecstacy 09/01

<FONT color=red>Eastern Carribean</FONT>

Century 12/97

<FONT color=red>Western Carribean</FONT>

Century 9/96


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