January 2, 2008
I have mixed feelings about my Jan 2008 cruise on the Diamond Princess. I enjoyed the food and the staff; our steward, and our two waiters were wonderful. But I really didn't care for the ship at all. I was probably most irritated by the Internet Café, which was virtually a waste of time and money. I foolishly bought a nonrefundable $75 package for the internet, not knowing that the ship has a notoriously poor satellite connection. In 85 minutes I was able to send one email. I understand that when you are in the middle of the Pacific sometimes the connection will be slow, but the connection was never good, and as this became increasingly clear to the passengers the internet café eventually became a deserted room and remained so for the length of the cruise. If you are planning on taking a cruise on this ship, you might want to just wait to go to an internet café in port. It's cheaper and faster.
Since it is named the Diamond Princess one might expect the ship would sparkle, but sadly it doesn't. A little bit of spit and polish, some window washing and the replacement of some furniture in the Lido buffet would help. It is a huge ship which houses 2,670 passengers but the ship is stingy in the space it allocates in the common areas. The ceilings are low in the seemingly windowless dining rooms. The gym is ridiculously small, claustrophobic. The theatre doesn't have enough seats to accommodate the passengers in two sittings so they offer a matinee performance so everyone has a chance to see a production.
Aside from the string quartet which played in the atrium, this cruise seemed to lack even the marginal shades of elegance I normally associate with cruising. I don't expect to cruise on Princess again, even though this last cruise would entitle me to the next level of benefits for frequent travel. If they had honored my complaint at the purser's desk by giving me some credit for the internet, I might feel differently about Princess. As it stands, I wouldn't recommend this line to anyone.