Princess Cruises - Cruisemates Reader's Cruise Reviews
CruiseMates' Readers Cruise Reviews
Princess Cruises

Diamond Princess
by J. Meyers
Mexico
November 4, 2006

We have done only one other cruise, a repositioning cruise on the Norwegian Spirit last year. Myself (43 years old), husband (38 years old) and 14 year old son were on this cruise and had an Inside stateroom Aloha Deck 10330.

We drove to the San Pedro port and self parked ($12.00 a day) and we were parked right in front of our ship, a mere five minute very easy walk from car to ship. Embarkment seemed to be very smooth, a bit of waiting around and then we were on the ship by 1:00. I had seen the ship in my home town and the Diamond had looked very big then. When you get on the ship it is even bigger but laid out very well. I am directionally challenged and by the end of the week I was hardly ever getting lost -- much.

Oh we bought on board four bottles of wine, six pack of beer, some wine coolers, and a 6 pack of water. One of the beer and all the coolers, and one bottle of wine were not drunk. No questions what so ever. Our luggage arrived in bits and pieces but it did all get to our room.

We had a quick lunch at the smallish buffet but which had a good selection of salads, breads, lunchmeats, and hot entrees, desserts. Our son ate here quite often and we did use the buffet for a quick snack or small meal to tide us over until a later dinner. Had one breakfast here but did not really care for it. One lunch they had an incredible roasted suckling whole pig!!!! It was very good. The chocolate chip cookies were to die for!! I took some back to the cabin with some cartons of milk. They made a great late night snack.

Rooms
Our cabin seemed a little bigger then the Spirit with a lot of closet space and hangers, drawer space and shelves inside another closet (this closet had a safe in it). Our cabin slept four, we had twin beds put together to make a queen size bed and two bunk beds that folded up into the roof, and we had the upper bed on the right side put down every night as the left upper bed blocked the TV. Beds were quite comfortable and certainly large enough. We unpacked and threw the suitcases underneath the bed. We asked for bathrobes and more pillows. There was an outlet to plug electrical things into by the desk area. Someone had said to bring a power bar, which we did, but did not use.

Staterooms had mini fridges (not stocked), which was well used by us for storing milk, beer, and water. Also each room has blue and white striped pool towels. They were replaced when we bought used ones back from the pool or the ports. Bathroom small but with more then enough room and shelves. Shower pressure was good but the water temperature changed quickly and went from warm to hot or cold, not always nice! Olivia was our cabin attendant and she was quick and so polite. We were always commenting about the long hours she (as well as all of the staff) worked. I hope I never read about anyone ever questioning the tipping procedure on the Princess…The staff works very hard for their money and deserve much more then they get. I had been aware that any extra money we gave her would have to put into communal pot. Hence she would not really be getting more…so I gave her bottles of professional hair care products and such as an extra tip. Friends had a balcony start room on the Baja deck and it was very nice. A little larger then our room and the balcony was wonderful with it’s own table and chairs. Next cruise we are having a balcony. They especially loved their room Stewart and miss him very much…the real world is hard to get back into after a cruise…isn’t it Happyroos?? Internet charges were very slow and expensive at .35 US a minute and it was slow…we did it once to check our email and realized how expensive it was going to be and then saved our emailing for when we were in Ports (usually internet cafes charge 15 pesos an hour).

Staterooms had mini fridges (not stocked), which was well used by us for storing milk, beer, and water. Also each room has blue and white striped pool towels. They were replaced when we brought used ones back from the pool or the ports. Bathroom small but with more then enough room and shelves. Shower pressure was good but the water temperature changed quickly and went from warm to hot or cold, not always nice!

Olivia was our cabin attendant and she was quick and so polite. We were always commenting about the long hours she (as well as all of the staff) worked. I hope I never read about anyone ever questioning the tipping procedure on the Princess. The staff works very hard for their money and deserve much more then they get. I had been aware that any extra money we gave her would have to put into communal pot. Hence she would not really be getting more. So I gave her bottles of professional hair care products and such as an extra tip.

Friends had a balcony stateroom on the Baja deck and it was very nice. A little larger then our room and the balcony was wonderful with it's own table and chairs. Next cruise we are having a balcony. They especially loved their room steward and miss him very much. The real world is hard to get back into after a cruise, isn't it? Happyroos??

Internet was very slow and expensive at .35 US a minute and it was slow. We did it once to check our email and realized how expensive it was going to be and then saved our emailing for when we were in ports (usually internet cafes charge 15 pesos an hour).

Food
This is going to be long. We LOVE food. Sorry.

Dining Rooms and Anytime Dining Plan: WONDERFUL. We ate the first night at the Savoy and had a Philippine jr jr server named April. OMG she was a hoot!!! Very good server, and funny. We went back twice more and asked to be in her section, as did other tables around us. I think Elisa was the server. We loved them both especially April, every night she made us the best after dinner cappuccinos!

That first night at Savoy's we dined on an incredible Prime Rib, which was ordered and came medium rare. It was very thick and the baked potatoes that came with it were perfectly cooked.

Mazatland day Savoy's (again) they served Alaskan crab legs as an entree at dinner and rack of lamb. The three of us LOVE both so we asked Elisa/April if we could get a plate of just crab legs for one of our starters and racks of lamb for dinner?? It was all-wonderful J bar none, one of the best meals we have ever eaten. My lamb was a prefect medium rare.

Went to Sante Fe one night. I had the fajitas and they were oily and not good. My husband had and liked it very much. The fettuccini Alfredo is outstanding J YUMMY.

We did eat one night at Sterling's with a group of friends (party of ten including the two teenagers) but to be honest the service was not good and the food was not outstanding. I thought the prime rib at Savoy's the first night to be just as good and Elisa and April's service was much better. We had reserved for Sabitinos the last night but after the dinner at Sterlings we canceled it, the regular dining rooms are wonderful -- all on their own. When we cruised with Norwegian Spirit, we did feel the need to eat (and pay for) their surcharge restaurants, but the food on the Princess was heads above the Norwegian, as was everything else on Princess.

The wine list and the wines by the glass were good and very responsible. We did bring on board four bottles of wine and were charged a $15.00 surcharge with each bottle. Bucket of 5 beer (Becks or Dos Equix) were around $14.00. Basically you got one free as beer went for $3.50 a bottle. Good deal, we got a bucket at the pool one day and took the rest back to our cabins' fridge.

Drinks aboard the ship ranged from $4.50 -- $6.50 more for the Princess Take home glass. We passed. We found the drink prices to be very reasonable.

We love Sushi and were excited about the Sushi bar that they had by the pool one day, sadly the sushi wasn't quite up to par. That said, living here in BC we have some of the best Sushi restaurants around.

I used the Ice Cream Sundae bar by the pool one day and had the best Chocolate Coke float in the world ($3.99) worth every penny. The pools were numerous and we loved the daily activities at the Horizon pool each day. Went swimming a lot, which is unusual for us. Lots of pools to choose from. All wonderful. Loved the Battle between the sexes pool games… LOL. Last day at sea it was so rough that we were joking that they had installed a wave pool at Horizons (deck 14).

Last port day (Cabo) was the last formal night and lobster was served to the delight of many cruisers. The males in my family polished off four each, I had two small tails with my beef Wellington. Once again Elisha and April were wonderful. If you are on the Diamond Princess try to get a section with these two at the Savoy. April urged us to try Lemoncello (a lemon infused after dinner liquor). Very nice, she saw that I enjoyed it and poured me a free refill. The shot glasses were included in the price.

Ports
Puerto Vallarta: We had been to Puerto Vallarta last year and had fallen in love with it. PV time is one hour ahead of the ship time so when we left the ship at 7 it was really 8 PV time. We got van from the ship (50 pesos EACH person there ended up being 7 passengers they crammed in). RIP OFF!!!! Go past the vans to the cabs just outside the gates, a cab costs 50 pesos for the whole entire cab. We went to the start of the El Malecon (boardwalk). It was so hot!!! 30 Celsius hitting 40 with humidity. We toured the market in town and the one down by the river (which we prefer) and the huge church. By 11 we were hot and ready for a swim!! First we went to this amazing taco restaurant right below Hooters (located on the El Malecon, best tacos and such in PV and very cheap. YUMMY. After a cheap excellent lunch we cabbed it ($50 pesos) to the Krystal (very close walk to the cruise ship)

Krystal Resort charges $20.00 a day per person (they charged our 14 year old $15.00) to use their pool and such; the $20.00 is applied to be used as a credit towards food and drink at the bar/restaurant. Massive construction, not very clean, indifferent staff, no beach toys, no towels, son ate at the buffet; husband said it didn't look great. Beach wasn't as nice a Nuevo Valletta, in fact, it was quite rocky. To be honest it really wasn't a good deal, I wish we had gone elsewhere. We had great company and really enjoyed our day but I would never go back to the Krystal.

Before the cruise I had contacted Marival where we had stayed last year and they charged $45.00 per person all inclusive -- towels, pools, incredible restaurants, drinks, lots of beach toys including a catamaran, everything included, beach was flat, nice and sandy, staff were incredible J. In hindsight it would have been better to spend more and have spent the day there.

Mazatland: Didn't really like this place. We took a cab downtown and walked around the Golden Zone, we found that the vendors and timeshare salesmen to be worse here then they were in PV or Cabo, they would be driving around and try to get you to go with them! We didn't really like downtown so we got a cab to the cliff divers and sure enough the vendors were trying to sell my husband something even before he got out of the cab! We stayed to watch a diver and tipped him and then got a $10.00 cab back to ship region very close to the Stone Island water taxis (Water taxis is 50 pesos each -- return trip included).

Got off the water Taxis and walked up the beaten path and around the corner to this incredible beach!!!! WOW Many, many restaurants, we found Victor's. Randi and one of her groups (maybe 15-20) were at the next table.

My husband was really not sure about eating here and I had to do some fast-talking!!!! He thought the restrooms were horrible and I thought they were pretty much what I was expecting, maybe the women's are cleaner then the men's?

We had 6 Pacificos, a cola, the shrimp, fish and rib platter, and our son had the fish sticks. YUUMMMMMYYYY!!!!!! Entire bill came to 25 US. We left 35. For $50.00 US the three of us had an incredible seafood lunch and many ice cold beers and lots of relaxing time at the beach. Victor's has boogie boards and such, I forgot to ask for them.

We were there for about 3-4 hours and took advantage of the water, in fact we had to pull our teenager out of the surf at the end, and he did not want to go back to the Diamond.

My husband noticed a very popular restaurant up the beach and I am now wondering if that might have been the other popular restaurant mentioned in the forum???

That said, Victor's rocked.

Oh there was a very skinny dog there who had just had puppies, we fed her and she was so friendly but so skinny. I gave her a liter bottle of water which she guzzled out of my hand. She seemed to like the water more then the food.

We walked back (5 min walk if that) to the taxis around 3 and by 3:20 (alright we got lost and took our first right when it should have been the second right) we were waiting to board the Diamond again.

Cabo: We arrived in Cabo and after a quick breakfast (cornflakes crusted French toast OMG YUMMY). We were tendered into port. Cabo seemed to be the most Americanized of the three ports. I certainly would return to it. We walked around the Marina first thing in the morning and were not troubled too much from time sharers and venders. Cabo is laid out very well and I can certainly see where it could be a fun party town. Cabo Wabo was interesting to go to. UMMMM, the one of the bars in Sammy Hager's Cabo Wabo nightclub had, ummmm, interesting deco.

We had offers to go in the glass bottom boats and around 11 we were ready to take a tour. 5 of us got a boat tour for $8.00 each. Seems that the price goes down around that time. Our boat driver was great and took us around the area for about a one-half hour ride. We saw the sea lions, Los Arcos, Lovers Beach, and so much more. What a great tour. He stopped at Lovers Beach for 20 minutes before we returned back to the Marina so we could swim. Really cool place.) I want to go back soon! We ended our Port day with 12 Coronas, fresh hot chips, colas, incredible guacamole and salsa all for less then $20.00 for the five of us.

It was too bad that the ship left Cabo at 2. I wish that we could have stopped at Cabo first, done a full day here, cruised to PV, done a full day there, done half day in Matazaland and then cruise back to LA.

Teen Program -- Off Limits
Our 14 year old son was a little unsure if he would really enjoy this or not. We registered him when we were waiting to embark and we liked Kristen, the woman who signed our son up. We took the activities information brochure that the Diamond had slated for this trip and quickly realized they had put a lot of thought and preparation into making sure that the teenagers would have just as much fun as the adults did. There were over 600 children on board and you would hardly have known it. We had to insist that our son have dinner with us four of the seven nights. The rest of the nights he was at the TC (teen slang for the Teen Center). We would check in periodically and once again cannot stress how pleased we were with the Princess's Teen Program. So much better than the other cruise lines we were on. The teens on board that we met all loved the TC and so did the parents.

Shows and Entertainment
We saw two comedians on board and they were very funny without being rude. We took in the cooking tour on the last day and thoroughly enjoyed it; the chef and the Maitre 'd are a riot!!!! The kitchen tour was certainly an eye opener!!! We took lots of pictures. WOW!!!

We partook of the trivia games and my husband won the Ryder's Golf Cup tournament that the ship put on (he won luggage tags). What fun!! We watched the Princess Idol and OM MY!! The woman we saw singing should be on American Idol. What an incredible voice. She was on her honeymoon and we missed the last show (my husband was very seasick the last day and night) but I am sure she must have won it.

What we like so much about the ship was that there was always so much to do if you chose to or nothing at all -- more then lying by the pool, your choice. What is there not to love?? Sorry that the report is so long. I learned a lot from this forum and tried to include information that others might be interested in. We LOVED the Diamond and the only bad thing about a cruise on this ship is having to come home. Princess, thank you so very much. It wa the best holiday this family had ever had. Happyroos Family, we need to start planning the next Princess cruise.