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Richard

Age: 58

Occupation:Executive

Number of Cruises: 7

Cruise Line: Princess

Ship: Diamond Princess

Sailing Date: November 20th, 2004

Itinerary: Mexican Riviera

After months of anticipation and researching dozens of reviews, my wife and I finally experienced our first cruise with Princess on the 11/20 Diamond sailing to the Mexican Riviera. We have cruised other lines and also have extensive domestic and international travel experience. It is my turn to share our experience on the Diamond; I will forego comments on the ports since that has been thoroughly covered many times. My only comment on this topic is that I thought I was going to lose it if 1 more person shoved a silver bracelet or necklace in my face with the “almost free amigo” sales pitch.

You have to really work hard at finding much to complain about with this ship and its’ crew; sailing on the Diamond completely exceeded our expectations.

Service: the crew is very professional, friendly and seemed to be totally committed to satisfying every need of the ship’s passengers, no matter how petty. While the cabin attendant is luck of the draw, ours was very thorough. The dining room head staff and waiters are very professional; with the exception of the Pacific Moon, most appear to be Italian and Portuguese. Service in the Pacific Moon was poor; it was slow and the waiters always seemed confused. As with most ships, the casino staff is friendly, appreciative of tips and tolerant with inexperienced gamblers. Some of the craps dealers appeared confused and if you play this table game you need to make certain of pay-offs and that your bets are properly placed. For a change, the purser’s staff is also very friendly, which must be hard considering that they have to listen to so many trivial complaints hour after hour, day after day.

Food: the food was good to very, very good. We were a little disappointed with the Sterling after reading so many positive comments about the steaks that were served; the cuts were tough and tasteless. Desserts in all venues are imaginative, irresistible and nicely presented. For a buffet, the Horizon Court also was impressive; food is tasty, fresh and plentiful. As with so many other comments about the pizza, it is really terrific. Being an Italian from NY I know quality pizza and this is about the best. Sabatini’s is a wonderful dining experience and is well worth the $40 cover charge for a special dining experience. The seafood soup was the food highlight of the trip.

Entertainment: the Piano Man is excellent and we were very impressed with the costumes, energetic performances and choreography. A very talented singer and a funny comedian also performed in the main theater; the alternate show, Undercover, was our least favorite.

Passengers: all age groups were represented with about 700 under the age of 18. I had concerns about booking a holiday week but was surprised that most of the kids were polite and well behaved. Unfortunately, 3 dinners were difficult to enjoy because of screaming and crying children. This is the parent’s fault and it’s hard to understand why they subject people to this annoyance. The staff must struggle with how to manage this issue but their options must be limited. Parents, if your children can behave please don’t bring them to the dining rooms or shows; you may be used to their incessant crying and whining but others don’t appreciate it. On the other, some children were very well behaved and their parents are to be commended.

Cabin: our balcony cabin was similar to other ships; perhaps the shower may be a little smaller. I will repeat a suggestion I read and it’s worth noting. The beds are hard a rock and may be uncomfortable for some. Upon arrival, your attendant will put a pad on your bed if you request it and it will make it much more comfortable. They go fast so ask early.

PC Dining: this is the way to go in my opinion. The concierge staff was very accommodating and reservations were easy to make and always available. It was easy to meet people and you don’t need to be concerned about changing tables if you’re not pleased with your tablemates.

Embarkation and Disembarkation: We arrived about 11:30 AM and didn’t board until 2 PM; the ship was 1 hour late getting in. Disembarkation started about 8 AM and we were in our cab by 9:45 AM. It is well worth the small investment to obtain a passport; it speeds up this entire process. The luggage color and number system make it easy to find your bags and is the best we have seen.

We are sold on Princess after this wonderful experience. If you have any questions, feel free to E-mail me.

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