Diamond Princess - Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2017 (Berlitz Cruise Guide) (2016)

Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2017 (Berlitz Cruise Guide) (2016)

Diamond Princess


Berlitz’s Ratings

Ship: 384 out of 500

Accommodation: 147 out of 200

Food: 251 out of 400

Service: 293 out of 400

Entertainment: 78 out of 100

Cruise: 295 out of 400

Overall Score: 1448 out of 2000

Diamond Princess Statistics

Size: Large Resort Ship

Tonnage: 115,875

Lifestyle: Standard

Cruise Line: Princess Cruises

Former Names: none

IMO Number: 9228198

Builder: Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (Japan)

Original Cost: $400 million

Entered Service: Feb 2004

Registry: Great Britain

Length (ft/m): 951.4/290.0

Beam (ft/m): 123.0/37.5

Draft (ft/m): 26.4/8.0

Propulsion/Propellers: diesel-electric (42,000kW)/2

Passenger Decks: 13

Total Crew: 1,100

Passengers (lower beds): 2,702

Passenger Space Ratio (lower beds): 42.8

Passenger/Crew Ratio (lower beds): 2.4

Cabins (total): 1,351

Size Range (sq ft/m): 168-1,329.3/15.6-123.5

Cabins (for one person): 0

Cabins (with private balcony): 750

Cabins (wheelchair accessible): 28

Wheelchair accessibility: Good

Cabin Current: 110 volts

Elevators: 14

Casino (gaming tables): Yes

Slot Machines: Yes

Swimming Pools: 3

Hot Tubs (on deck): 9

Self-Service Launderette: Yes

Dedicated Cinema/Seats: No

Library: Yes

Onboard currency: US$


This large ship has relaxing decor, for mature-age cruisers

Overview. If you are not used to large ships, it may take you some time to find your way around Diamond Princess. The passenger flow has been well thought-out aboard this ship, and works with little congestion. The decor is attractive, with lots of earth tones.

The Ship. Diamond Princess, sister to Sapphire Princess (both built in Japan), has an instantly recognizable funnel due to two jet engine-like pods that sit high up on its structure but really are mainly for decoration.

Four areas focus on swimming pools. One has a giant poolside movie screen, and another is two decks high and is covered by a retractable glass dome, itself an extension of the funnel housing. One pool lies within The Sanctuary - an adults-only, extra-cost (it’s worth it) relaxation area.

There is plenty of space inside the ship - but there are also plenty of passengers - and a wide array of public rooms, with many ‘intimate’ - this being a relative word - spaces and places to enjoy. The passenger flow is well thought-out, and there is little congestion anywhere, except perhaps for waiting for elevators at peak times (usually each evening, before dinner).

The interior focal point is a piazza-style atrium lobby, with Vines (wine bar), an International Café (for coffee, pastries, panini sandwiches, etc.) library/Internet-connect center, and Alfredo’s sit-down pizzeria.

A Wedding Chapel has a web-cam that can relay ceremonies via the Internet. The ship’s captain can legally marry American couples, due to the ship’s Bermuda registry and a special dispensation (which should be verified when in the planning stage, according to where you reside). Princess Cruises offers three wedding packages - Pearl, Emerald, Diamond; the fee includes registration and official marriage certificate. The Hearts & Minds chapel is useful for renewal of vows ceremonies.

The large Grand Casino has more than 260 slot machines; there are blackjack, craps, and roulette tables, plus other table games. Linked slot machines provide a combined payout.

Other facilities include a library/computer room and a card room. Ship lovers should enjoy the wood-paneled Wheelhouse Bar, housing memorabilia and ship models tracing part of parent company P&O’s history. Aft of the International Dining Room is the Wake View Bar, with a spiral stairway leading down to a great viewing spot for watching the ship’s wake; it is reached from the back of Club Fusion, on Promenade Deck. Skywalkers Nightclub is set around the base of the funnel structure and has a view overlooking the aft-facing cascading decks and children’s pool.

There are many extra-charge items such as ice cream, and freshly squeezed orange juice. There’s an hourly charge for group babysitting services and a charge for using the washers and dryers in the self-service launderettes.

In 2014 the ship underwent a $30 million refit that included the addition of 14 cabins, and the installation of Izumi, an 8,800-sq-ft (817.5-sq-m) onsen-style Japanese bath and garden area on Deck 15 aft (including gender-separated indoor and outdoor Cypress baths, and Stone baths with adjacent Uteseyu hot water cascades), in what was formerly part of the youth area.

Diamond Princess operates cruises from Yokohama during the summer, with extra Japanese-speaking staff employed in key positions. During the winter (Australia’s summer), the ship operates in Australasian waters.

Families. Facilities are extensive, and include a two-deck-high playroom, teen chill-out room, and a host of specially trained counselors. Children have their own pools, hot tubs, and open deck area at the stern of the ship (away from adult areas).

Accommodation. All cabins receive turndown service and pillow chocolates each night, as well as bathrobes on request and toiletry kits (larger for suite/mini-suite occupants). A hairdryer is located at the vanity desk unit in the living area. The tiled bathrooms have a decent amount of open shelf storage space for toiletries. Princess Cruises has BBC World, CNN, CNBC, ESPN, and TNT on the in-cabin TV system (when available, depending on cruise area).

Many outside cabins on Emerald Deck have views obstructed by the lifeboats. There are no cabins for solo travelers. Your name is typically placed outside your suite or cabin - making it simple for delivery service personnel but limiting your privacy. There is 24-hour room service, but some items on the room service menu are not available during early morning hours. Most balcony suites and cabins can be overlooked from the navigation bridge wing. Cabins with balconies on Baja, Caribe, and Dolphin decks are also overlooked by passengers on balconies on the deck above.

Note that the bath towels are small, and drawer space is limited. The top-grade suites are not really large in comparison to similar suites aboard some other ships of a similar size.

Dining. There are five principal dining rooms with themed decor and cuisine - International (the largest, located aft, with two seatings and ‘traditional’ cuisine), Savoy, Vivaldi, and Pacific Moon. These offer a mix of two seatings, with seating assigned according to your cabin location, and ‘anytime dining,’ where you choose when and with whom you want to eat.

All main dining rooms are split into sections in a non-symmetrical design that breaks what are quite large spaces into many smaller sections, for more intimate ambience and less noise pollution. Specially designed dinnerware and good quality linens and silverware are used: Dudson of England (dinnerware), Frette Egyptian cotton table linens, and Hepp silverware.

Other dining options. Sabatini’s (on Deck 7) is an informal eatery (reservations needed, and a cover charge applies). It serves a multi-course meal, including Italian-style pizzas and pastas with a variety of sauces, and entrées, all provided with flair and entertainment by the waiters. The cuisine here is better than in the other dining rooms, with better quality ingredients and items cooked to order.

Next door is Kai Sushi - a 66-seat restaurant (added in 2014) with its own integral sushi bar. The venue features à-la-carte sushi (for items like maki sushi, nigiri sushi, sashimi), and matcha ice cream, a noodle bar, regional tea tastings, and a special sake menu.

Sterling Steakhouse (on the starboard side aft of the Horizon Court on Deck 14) is an extra-cost (reservations-required) venue for prime steaks and grilled meats and seafood items, with everything freshly cooked to order.

A poolside hamburger grill and pizza bar (no additional charge) are additional eateries for casual bites, while extra charges will apply if you order items to eat at the Lobby bar/patisserie.

Other casual meals can be taken in the Horizon Court, open 24 hours a day, with large ocean-view on port and starboard sides and direct access to the two main swimming pools and Lido Deck. There is little presentation finesse, and oval-shaped plastic plates, not trays, are provided.

Entertainment. The Princess Theater spans two decks and has comfortable seating on both main and balcony levels. Princess Cruises prides itself on its glamorous production shows, performed by its resident troupe of singers/dancers.

A second large entertainment lounge, Club Fusion, presents cabaret acts at night, lectures, bingo, and other activities during the day. A third entertainment lounge can also host cabaret acts and dance bands. Many other lounges and bars have live music, and a number of male dance hosts act as partners for women traveling alone.

Spa/Fitness. The Lotus Spa complex (on Deck 15 forward), with Japanese-style decor, surrounds a lap pool - you can have a massage or other spa treatment in an ocean-view treatment room. Facilities include a beauty salon, male and female saunas and changing rooms, and an aerobics room and gymnasium.

Activities such as yoga, group exercise bicycling, and kick-boxing classes cost extra. For exercise, there is a good sheltered faux teak promenade deck (it’s actually painted steel) which almost wraps around the ship (three times around equals one mile).