In 2007, I sailed the Diamond Princess, part of the Princess Cruise Lines fleet. She can accommodate a little over 2,600 passengers and 1,000 crew; with a space ratio of 43, I always felt like I was one of a few hundred, rather than thousand. The Diamond Princess’ public decks were laid out to ensure good traffic flow, and the decor around the ship was not glitzy and funky, but rather understated with a touch of elegance. I easily felt like I was on a premium cruise line, and had paid much, much more for the cruise than I had. I enjoyed the Crooner’s Piano Bar, which featured a very pretty woman playing a piano and singing in a sultry voice; in my mind, it brought to mind the dinner clubs of the 40’s and 50’s that are so often portrayed in movies. I was most impressed with the Skywalker Nightclub; this lounge-by-day and disco-by-night was located on Deck 17 aft – the highest point on the ship. It offered great views of the ship’s wake, as well as forward views. We had one night there was wet weather, and it was entrancing watching the waves from Skywalker’s.
The staterooms were comfortable, and had the right amount of space. I liked the atypical layout where the closet area was out of sight of the bed area – it helped to make the stateroom feel larger. My favorite part of this cruise was the dining experience. Breakfast and lunch was available at the Horizon Court buffet on the Lido Deck, and we enjoyed pizza, hamburgers, and hot dogs at the Trident Grill near the pool. Dinner was a fancy affair in the International Dining Room, where we were served each night by a terrific waitstaff. We could have chosen Princess’ Anytime Dining at one of four themed dining rooms, but we are fans of Traditional Dining. The ship boasted two specialty restaurants: a steakhouse and an Italian ristorante, but we never got around to dining at either place.
Overall, I was pleased with the ship’s appearance inside and out – it was obvious the ship was built well and cared for properly. I would not hesitate to sail on her again if the chance came up. The ideal client for Diamond Princess, and in fact, Princess Cruises as a whole, would be the cruiser who has a slightly refined taste but doesn’t have the budget for the premium or upscale lines. Also, the person who appreciates quality service, quality gourmet food, and entertaining activities onboard and off would be a great fit.
** In the years since this review, Princess has refurbished the Diamond Princess twice – once in 2010, and again in 2014. New spaces have been added, including a sushi bar and Japanese-style bath.
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