May 2016 - 6 Night Kyushu & Japan Inland Sea (Kobe Roundtrip) Cruise on Diamond Princess
Having sailed on the Royal Princess a couple times (along with plenty of cruises on other lines), I didn't feel this cruise was up to par with what I expect from Princess. Boarding/disembarking was smooth and the ship was clean, but I didn't find the same level of service, food quality or port information. Our cabin attendant seemed annoyed when we slept in on sea days and forgot details such as towels on occasion. I do appreciate the laundry rooms available on board. The buffet food was good, but did not have a lot of variety. Sailing Japan with many Japanese guests meant the buffet had more Japanese options and few of the other cuisines typically offered. The Steakhouse charged $29 for our overcooked steaks (up from the $25 I paid last year) to sit in a section of the buffet which didn't have the same upscale feel . It was also lacking in details such as the flavored salts and attentive service. The Italian Restaurant food was marvelous, but our waiter disappeared halfway through the meal and we were served patchwork from other staff. The regular dining room was fine, but anytime dining was not an option. The ports were good, but frustrating from a schedule viewpoint. It's impossible to see much of Busan in a few hours, so you're pretty much forced to take a Princess tour. Our day in Nagasaki was cut short because we were assigned late times to disembark for the long immigration lines. The ship advertises a day in Miyazaki, but docks an over an hour away in Aburatsu, a much smaller port with little offered (although we did enjoy Obi Castle). There were no real port talks or even maps offered and when we asked onboard for more info about Aburatsu we were told the staff was going ashore that day to find out more about the port (I realize this is the first time Princess has stopped here, but shouldn't they be prepared for their already booked guests?). We found, however, that the locals in most ports were excited to have us and tried to offer us guidance. We also didn't find the same quality/quantity of onboard activities/entertainment/amenities on board, however that could probably be attributed to being on a much smaller ship than the Royal (we sure missed the International Café for a quick bite). Despite all these details, we had an enjoyable time and I do recommend cruising around Japan which is a lovely country.