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Ray

Age: 67

Occupation:Retired

Number of Cruises: 15

Cruise Line: Princess

Ship: Diamond Princess

Sailing Date: 12-24-2008

Itinerary: Alaska to Bangkok

The cruise and the ports were great. The people (wait staff, room stewards) were the best. Passenger services was an oxy-moron in that everything they did was for their convenience and not the passengers. We booked a full year before the cruise and requested traditional dining and early seating. Our request was honored, however, we were assigned to a dining room where we had to walk up two floors and down one to get there. This wasn't terrible, but their was a traditional dining room with early seating on our floor. We had no Internet for the first three weeks and they constantly told us different stories about when it would be usable and even out and out lied to us. The staff at the pursers desk was grossly under trained and couldn't answer the simplest of questions and at times were down right rude. Upon arrival on the ship we were greeted by a staff person to guide us to our room, however, he had to ask us if we had our ship's map so that he could direct us! The shore excursions were poorly organized and grossly over priced. We had booked several private tours before hand and they were far more comfortable and less expensive. We are not gourmands, but we thought that the food was up to par for this class of ship. We have sailed mostly on Celebrity and I thought that the food on this ship was at least as good and in some cases better. We did hear several passengers complaining about the food, but in all honesty, we had no complaints. We found our stateroom adequate and on par with most of the cruises we have taken and our room steward, Rosa, was the best we have encountered. She was very personable and went out of the way to serve her guests. The onboard activities were about what you would expect on a ship of this class. Constant and incessant art auctions were a bit over done and the "sales" were the usual stuff. There were dance classes, bingo, casino contests, and the usual. The shore excursions on Princess, at least on this ship, were poorly organized and very over priced. They totally ignored the time that you were requested to arrive at the mustering point. We quickly learned that if you showed up at the time requested, you were assigned to bus #7 or 8. Meaning that about 300 people had already gotten there before the assigned time. Much of the time on these excursions is spent getting 50 people off and then back on the bus. I would suggest that if you have at least 4 people in your party, you can arrange private tours in advance that are far more enjoyable and less expensive. For instance, in Beijing, we had a private tour in a van for four of us that took us to a part of the Great Wall where the tour busses don't go and we had an uncrowded and pleasant time upon the Wall. We also had time to go to Tienenmen Square and the Forbidden City. The tours from the ship were able to only take in one of these sights at a time for more money than our tour cost us. Over all I enjoyed the trip immensely. Primarily because of the people we were with and the ports that we visited. The ship was comfortable and most of the staff accommodating. The management of the ship, however, was lacking and off-putting at times to the extent that I will not book on Princess again.

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