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gaschatt

Diamond Princess 7/3 - 7/10

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Myself and my 9 year old son just got back a couple of hours ago. Here's a rundown:

 

Embarkation- Arrived around 11:15 and was able to go right to the registration counter with a line of two or three in front of us. They were still disembarking the last few from the previous cruise (luggage mix-ups) so we could not board until around 12:15. During that time the parking lot and the Check-in area got pretty chaotic and the lines were stretching out the door from noon until around 1:30, but they seemed to be moving quickly. The Seattle port is basically a converted warehouse with none of the niceties of the more established ports. It does the job, but don't expect any frills.

 

Room-Emerald 415-Was sold to us at the same price as all the obstructed view rooms, but is officially a partially obstructed rooms. In reality this room is an Oceanview room with no more obstructions than the over hanging deck above and below. I would say the view is equal to the oceanview rooms at the front of the Emerald Deck and no one walks by your windows as they do in those rooms. Beds were very comfortable, room adequately sized, shower a bit small, but manageable. The positioning of the handle in the shower (or Oh sh*t bar as I liked to call it) is odd and in the way. They should have put it in the corner adjacent to the controls and it would have been just as accessible in a hurry and not as much in the way. The showerhead and pressure was excellent. The toilet flush's (or rather sucks) with ferocity. This cabin is directly above the Crooner's Bar on the Promenade and you could occasionally hear the noise when Bert Stratton and his audience was going at it, but it was not that disturbing (why they don't always have him in a larger room I'll never figure out as his audience always overflowed the room)

 

Ship- As said many times before the Diamond is a beautiful ship with understated elegance that won't intimidate those who don't want the feeling they may not be in the right place and won't disappoint those who are looking for a classy feel. I did notice that there was occasionally glassware and dishes abandoned in odd places, but it was not a big issue and the ship was constantly being cleaned. I know they don't want to give people the feeling that they should bus themselves, but they should have areas to place your glasses/dishes around the ship. A couple times I held an empty glass and had no place to put it until I ran across a bar

 

Kid's Area- Though I had my 9 year old with me we did not use the kid's area's. We checked in there, but he was in the 6-9 group and clearly was a lot bigger than the other kids there. The Playstation games were also a bit young for him. We spoke to them a bit about moving him up a level and they hedged on it and asked us to let them know later if this was an issue. David stuck with me all the time and was entertained enough to not want to go up there anyhow. By the way there were around 400 kids on this cruise, but I didn't think they caused issues or problems at any time

 

Horizon Court-The food in here was very good, except at breakfast when I found everything very fair and often cold (no matter what time I went). I didn't like going in there much. Even though you did not have to wait long people seem to take on a different personality and become somewhat rude in a buffet line. The layout is a bit confusing and some people were militant about keeping there place in line for the hot food. One woman nearly had a coronary when I stepped out of line two or three steps to get my son a bowl and then tried to get back in. She aggressively cut in front of me and then called her husband over to make sure he went before me as well. Of course she then spent what seemed like hours serving herself. David also commented that he didn't like going in there as people cut him off constantly. The Pizza and Burger area was a much more relaxing and accessible place to eat (using Horizon tables). All the food there (Pizza, burgers, fries, dogs, Knockwurst) was excellent.

 

Anytime Dining- I found this a great option and almost all the food was excellent. I made reservations the first day and found I couldn't change them (unless I wanted to eat at eight) after that. I still think this is a better way to go than fixed, but you kind of need to plan ahead. It does give you the ability to set your dining times around your shore plans. Eating in a different room every night really felt better to us and we wanted a table for two (which you can't get in fixed) since David (who is a bit shy) got kind of tired of answering all the same questions from the adults and listening to them tell him how cute he was (I should be so lucky). He tried many foods for the first time and was happy with almost everything he had (same goes for Dad). He never ate much beef before, but once he tasted the Prime Rib he wanted it every night. He has pretty good tastes as it was excellent. The service varied from server to server, but overall it was pretty good and I did not miss having the same team every night.

 

Entertainment- Surprisingly good. David went with me everywhere. We weren't keen on watching Production shows, but the comedians were very good and there were four nights with them (including magician comedian and singer comedian). We really enjoyed watching the game shows and found the naturalist, Michael, interesting and appropriatley informative, though I did think his speaking style was a bit odd.

 

Won't review ports unless someone wants particular's(please ask me if your interested). We were around 15-30 minutes early into all of them (if you count the pre-planned hour of being late into Juneau). Got to all ports, but did not get around the final bend at Tracey Arm as the ice calved from the glacier from the abnormally warm weather two weeks prior had left a pretty solid ice field in front of the Sawyer. Don't think a smaller cruise ship (i.e. any Princess Ship) could have gotten in there, although some much smaller ships were going in.

 

Disembarkation went relatively quick once we were called (we were in one of the last groups). We were on the road by 10:45.

 

Overall I though it was a great cruise. David and I talked on the way home about taking the other route (through Glacier Bay) next year and probably will if finances allow.

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Gaschatt,

I am glad you liked it so much, I was confident you would. We will miss all your questions but is nice can answer some of them for others now too. Welcome home.

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SRPHNX, thanks for your help, having knowledge beforehand helped (especially with nine year old in tow).

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I did want to make one more comment regarding the damage to the Diamond Princess propeller. On the way back from Ketchikan the data on the television at one point said we were cruising at 22.2 knots which is a bit above the listed max cruising speed. At this time I did notice a decent amount of vibration in Club Fusion which is in the aft of the ship. At some points of the room it was enough to make me take hold of my camera instead of leaving it on the table.

 

Regarding the change of scheduling into Juneau (from 11 to 12). We were third in line to dock there and were within sight of the port before 11. I get more of the feeling that somehow the Diamond 'lost' it's place in the docking line and went from first or second to third in the docking order when it skipped Juneau following the accident. Perhaps there was a concern that she would hold up the other two ships in the future. If we were the only ship in Juneau that day I think we would have been in port by 11.

 

The Oosterdam which has a similiar schedule seemed to 'beat' us to every port, but on the Ketchikan to Victoria leg we actually sailed alongside her for awhile and kept pace for a couple of hours. I think the 'beating' of the Diamond into port has more to do with the port schedule than any issues with the Diamonds capabilities.

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Thanks for a honest review. I will be on the sister ship Sapphire, in Oct. Can't wait. Man, I am ready to go on this ship NOW.:D

 

Marilyn

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Gasschat - We just got back yesterday on the NCL Spirit and took a picture of the Diamond Princess from our ship (just ahead of us) on it's arrival in Seattle. If you're interested, I have a couple of pictures I could email you.

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The Oosterdam which has a similiar schedule seemed to 'beat' us to every port, but on the Ketchikan to Victoria leg we actually sailed alongside her for awhile and kept pace for a couple of hours. I think the 'beating' of the Diamond into port has more to do with the port schedule than any issues with the Diamonds capabilities.

 

When I was on the Diamond in May I noticed this too. We left Seattle and Ketchikan before the Oosterdam, but they beat us to Juneau and Victoria. According to HAL, the Oosterdam has a maximum speed of 24 knots (compared to the Diamond's max of 22 knots, according to Princess). Although I also think the Oosterdam 'beats' the Diamond to every port because of the port schedule, it doesn't surprise me since it is, in fact, a faster ship (which may have had an influence on the port scheduling).

 

Glad to hear you had a great cruise! :D

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Hello, Gaschatt, thanks for the great review. Glad you had a good time. Awesome iceberg photo!

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We also noticed the annoying vibrations in Club Fusion while at sea. Since the seas were so calm at the time even though out in the open ocean, it was one of the few reminders while indoors that we were on a ship!

 

Les

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I suspect that the vibration has to do with the location more than the propeller, we sailed the Diamond on April 17th 4 weeks before the accident AND one day after on 5/22. We noticed virtually the same vibrations on both sailings but only in certain places.

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Gaschatt-enjoyed your pictures as we'll be sailing the Diamond next Saturday. And they are right-your son is cute!

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It definitely vibrated more on one side of the room than the other (we moved), but I couldn't recall which propeller was damaged to see if it synched up, I think it was the right side of the room that had the worst of it (I think).

 

The First Officer gave a lecture on Navigation and the Bridge during the cruise. He mentioned how Victoria was tough to dock in and that it was the only port they had a tug on call for. He didn't mention the accident and I didn't have the heart (or nerve) to ask about it, thought it might be bad form.

 

Nick Nash (the Captain during the accident) was listed as Staff Captain (2nd in command, and a demotion of half a bar) during the cruise, but I don't believe he made an appearance nor was introduced during the Captain's reception (maybe on duty on bridge)

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Gaschatt,

Thanks for the beautiful pictures. I was on the Diamond last month and am not a picture taker, so it was great seeing yours. David is adorable and really enjoyed seeing his "formal" pictures. I took my son on a cruise when he was 10 and he had a great time, too.

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gaschatt - I'm so glad you had a wonderful cruise - do you have a bio of the captain please, it would be a great help :D .

 

Thanks

 

Andrew.

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Captain Pickford's bio synopsis from patter-

 

-born 1948

-worked for P&O all his seagoing career

-served on ss Canberra in Falklands War

-Spent 'period of time' in command of 'square rigged training vessel'

-Recently was in command of Dawn Princess in Alaska

-Married with three children

-spends most of his free time in Australia

-Hobbies include flyfishing and bushwalking with his family

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Thankyou for taking the time to post the bio - it was a great help! :) :D

 

Andrew.

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Won't review ports unless someone wants particular's(please ask me if your interested). We were around 15-30 minutes early into all of them (if you count the pre-planned hour of being late into Juneau). Got to all ports, but did not get around the final bend at Tracey Arm as the ice calved from the glacier from the abnormally warm weather two weeks prior had left a pretty solid ice field in front of the Sawyer. Don't think a smaller cruise ship (i.e. any Princess Ship) could have gotten in there, although some much smaller ships were going in.

How was docking in Victoria? How much time did you have in port there?

 

TIA ~

 

 

.

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Was sitting in the Sterling during Victoria docking. From viewing thorugh distant window there did not appear to be any issues and we were on time. Since we did not have any excursion we took our time getting off ship and only spent about an hour and a half walking around Victoria.

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Did Princess do anything special for Independence Day? Any fireworks? Special shows? We are going to Alaska with Princess next year during the 4th of July. Thanks!

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Just some appropriate decorations a couple of mentions of it and some cake/ice sculptures in the atrium lobby.

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