Overall a great experience, but a mountain of minor annoyances.
Diamond Princess Cruise Review to Other (Asia/Africa/Middle East)
It's important to start by saying that I had a great time. The staff were overall friendly and professional.
While it was upsetting that we had to remove a port from the itinerary due to Typhoon Malakas, I do not expect the crew to be able to control the weather. We were compensated fairly for the change, and the changed itinerary successfully accomplished its goal of avoiding most of the harsh weather.
However not a day went by that I did not discover some minor annoyance that could easily be avoided. This list is not comprehensive but will serve as examples:
- I was given several gift cards for Princess the day before leaving on my vacation; there was no way to apply these to my shipboard account online and the process of applying them in person was arduous. Eventually I had to entrust the cards to guest services to be processed by some other party and be notified later that it had gone through.
- It is widely advertised that one can access the Princess Patter and other information online through the Wi-Fi, however it is both incomplete and dreadfully slow rendering it all but useless. The site lacks simple information such as a Deck Plan or a complete list of Bar, Restaurant, and Club hours. In fact even the printed version of the Patter only contains a partial list.
- At least one of the beverages in the menu (namely, Monster Energy Drink) was not actually available. On the second day of the cruise I asked around every bar and apparently got the very last can on the entire ship! I inquired again after each port, but it had not been restocked.
- The nightly show times are such that they conflict with dinner times, so that if one wants to eat dinner at their assigned time they only have one showtime to choose from. Additionally (at my showtime at least) the theater was not large enough to accommodate all the people who wished to see the show, leaving several dozen people standing along the back and side walls and many more turning around and leaving after seeing the crowd.
- During one free-seating night we arrived right when the restaurant opened and waited an hour before receiving the first course of our meal. We rushed to make it right when they opened so that we could hurry on to other attractions; I feel like the effort and that hour of waiting were wasted.
- I purchased a ship-to-airport transfer that indicated that my boarding pass would be delivered to my room and my luggage would be checked through to the airline. Neither happened, instead I was required to collect my luggage and load it on a bus, then check my own bags and check-in and collect my own boarding pass. I apparently paid $48 per person for a bus ride; I could have gotten a taxi for cheaper...
- The elevators in the main atrium were divided into two unlinked banks. People would constantly summon both sets resulting in a second elevator unnecessarily stopping at the deck after the people got in the first one.
- The TV in the room had several HDMI ports, but no way to switch the input. I brought a laptop to play movies on, but was forced to watch them on the small laptop screen and waste the big HDTV in the room (I had already seen all the movies that interested me on the in-room entertainment system).
- Outlets in the stateroom were all far away from the bed, so I couldn't easily charge the laptop while watching a movie on it in bed.
Obviously these are mostly minor complaints, but they add up and most of them are very easy to fix. A bit of effort tackling at least the low-hanging fruit (e.g. useless web portal, no gift card option on Cruise Personalizer, accurate bar menu) would easily improve customer satisfaction.
Food and Dining
Service and Staff
Cabin / Stateroom
Make your own arrangements rather than using the airport transfer. You can personalize to your particular flight plans and probably even save money.