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Review of the Diamond Princess
Cruise Date: November 2010
Booking: Travel Agency
Cabin number: D419
Cabin category: mini suite
Diamond Princess Asia
Just returned from 16 days on the Diamond Princess, from Beijing to Singapore.
Please bear in mind this was my first ever cruise when eveluating my comments.
First impressions, the ship was gorgeous and the cabin / suite was gorgeous.
The checking in process was a masterpiece of efficient organisation..
We were glad to say goodbye to Beijing which we found a dark and depressing place.
We were even more glad to say goodbye to those maniac chinese drivers..
we had opted for anytime dining and although all restaurants were serving the same food
we settled on the savoy as being our favourite as it tended to be a little quieter.. Food quality was outstanding in the restaurants .. Breakfast was mostly in the Horizon food court, which unfortunately was well below the quality of the restaurants.. Being typically english I like a light cooked breakfast ..
all forms of eggs were available and all could be bounced off the floor as they were so overcooked and dry.
almost all cooked breakfast items were lukewarm, dried up or overcooked..
Also, when you sat down with your breakfast you would be approached by waiters with the offer of tea or coffee.... It's not very good but I would advise you to take one and just let it sit there... If you say no, you will be asked again and again and again by every member of staff untill you give in ..
Thats pretty much the only negative comments I have about the catering..
When I booked the trip I was encouraged to book shore escursions as they were "selling out fast"
This was just sales talk as there was not a single trip that could not be booked right up to the night before on the boat.. Every port that we stopped in also had the option of a free shuttle bus into the nearest town.. so if I had been a bit more clued up I would have chosen that option.. I did in fact get a refund on one of the tours when I found out that I would be spending about 5 hours on a coach..
Duty free shopping on the boat was generally not at all very cheap.
SHORE EXCURSIONS... these are the ones I did
First port of call Pusan in North Korea..
I booked a trip to the Beomosa Temple... very nice place and very nice people..
Pusan town was nothing much to see, unless you fancy seeing the fish market..
Next stop NAGASAKI Japan.. The boat moors up right by the main road and the transport links are easy and cheap... I had booked a walking tour and it was pretty dull... It would have been simple to do on my own.. almost all street signs are in english.. I liked the town and the people..
Next stop SHANGHAI... the boat moors a good hours drive from shanghai, but you could still get a free bus.. I booked a trip to "The Humble administrators garden" with canal cruise and lunch thrown in..
A very nice and interesting excursion.. great food and the gardens were spectacular... we also stopped at a silk embroidery sale room which was purely to try and extract some cash from us..
People I spoke to said that Shanghai was a great deal nicer than Beijing..
Next stop.. HONG KONG.
I had an open top bus ride booked... not impressed at all.. Best bet here is to get the free bus into the main shopping area. Hong Kong is nicer than I was expecting and I wouldnt mind going again..
Next stop Nha Trang VIETNAM. A very poor country but very interesting to see, the whole population seems to get around on mopeds and they all seem to be out at the same time.. I did a river cruise which was pretty poor, I think the free bus would have been the best option once again.. On the quayside there was was a market selling every type of fake rolex and cartier watch under the sun.. never seen so many and dirt cheap at about 25 dollars ...
Next stop was Ho Chi Minh City VIETNAM I cancelled this one when I found out it was 5 hours of driving on very bad roads.. we had a quiet day on the boat and it was lovely to have the boat so empty for the day ..
Next stop THAILAND , we didnt have anything booked for today, but I took the free bus to Pattaya beach for a nose around... It was a bit like an asian Benidorm , but with a lot less beach.. Nice and cheap for shopping though, and well worth a look..
Next stop THAILAND again... this time we were booked for an elephant ride and a trip to the Big Buddha temple.. Elephant ride was fun but I was upset to see they kept some big cats in tiny cages .. after our ride we drove on to the bid buddha temple but when we got there we were told we only had fifteen minutes !! You would need a couple of hours minimum .. !!
Disembarkation port was Singapore, a beautiful ( but mega humid) place where we had a few extra days , if you are there be sure to check out the zoo ..
Throughout the trip the excursions had been organised with the precision of a swiss watch..
Disembarkation was a different matter... total disorganised chaos .. imagine several thousand suitcases all in one small hall and several thousand people all hunting for theirs... it was a battleground..
Sorry to waffle on so long... heres a few random closing comment
crew and staff on board ship all excellent
I was not keen on the way they try to extract money from you at every opportunity.... photos taken on board were an extortionate price... Computer access on board was an extortionate price..
If you want a nice iced jug of water brought to your room its free and all part of the service.. if you want a small bottle of water as you go off on an excursion its 2 dollars ..
Movies under the stars... great.. free popcorn and later in the film free milk and cookies.
Price of alcohol a bit high but not unusually so.. watch for happy hour, they wont mention it unless you ask..
Spa treatments are way way over the top with the prices..
Entertainment was excellent..
I still dont like the auto tip system and will make some adjustments if I do it again..
Once again, please bear in mind this was my first ever cruise and the comments made are just my opinion..
I have a whole bunch of photos of my trip online... drop me a line if you would like to see them
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