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Old 08-05-2008, 07:07 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2008
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We were on the Diamond Princess Alaska northbound July 19-26. It was fantastic. The ship is gorgeous. Service was outstanding. The cruise ship was fully booked according to a sign at the main desk. I was a little concerned about a ship that big with so many people on it that it would seem crowded, but no. We never waited more than 30 seconds for an elevator. We were trying to keep costs down as much as possible so had an inside cabin which was just fine. We spent very little time there anyway. We always found a good spot outside on deck or inside near a window for watching the beautiful scenery. We did the anytime dining and never once had to wait for a table. We met so many interesting, fun people at each meal. The food was generally very good. My husband had a couple of steaks that were not as good as he hoped, but the seafood was all excellent and desserts were out of this world. My only criticism was that we got a little tired of the upselling. Apparently princess owns a lot of the stores at the ports and they spend a lot of time pushing diamonds, purses, etc. maybe because we were not there to shop, we found it somewhat annoying. But everything else was great. The excursions to Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau and the White Pass train in Skagway were terrific. I'd recommend this trip to anyone and everyone!
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Old 08-05-2008, 07:07 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2008
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We were on the Diamond Princess Alaska northbound July 19-26. It was fantastic. The ship is gorgeous. Service was outstanding. The cruise ship was fully booked according to a sign at the main desk. I was a little concerned about a ship that big with so many people on it that it would seem crowded, but no. We never waited more than 30 seconds for an elevator. We were trying to keep costs down as much as possible so had an inside cabin which was just fine. We spent very little time there anyway. We always found a good spot outside on deck or inside near a window for watching the beautiful scenery. We did the anytime dining and never once had to wait for a table. We met so many interesting, fun people at each meal. The food was generally very good. My husband had a couple of steaks that were not as good as he hoped, but the seafood was all excellent and desserts were out of this world. My only criticism was that we got a little tired of the upselling. Apparently princess owns a lot of the stores at the ports and they spend a lot of time pushing diamonds, purses, etc. maybe because we were not there to shop, we found it somewhat annoying. But everything else was great. The excursions to Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau and the White Pass train in Skagway were terrific. I'd recommend this trip to anyone and everyone!
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Old 08-06-2008, 05:37 AM
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Cape Coral, Fl.
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I know what you husband means about some of the cuts of meat. After a while cruising with Princess you'll eventually learn which ones are so-so & order something else on that night. It also varies with different ships depending on where they buy their beef.
As far as the hard sell on Princess - it's just a way of doing business these days. Going back a about 6 or 7 years ago it wasn't as apparent but in order to stay in business they keep trying to come up with newer ways of selling stuff. Even the port talks are one big ad steering the pax into their preferred shops & are not very informative about much else. They don't actually own the shops but have contractual agreements with them to push people their way by trying to frighten you into thinking you'll get better prices, not being ripped off buying jewelry elsewhere & the biggie is the "return guarantee". They get kickbacks from the shops that Princess advertised as the best. This has been going on for years.
The newest & biggest sell option is now to sell you a booklet at the port talks (for I think $25) which supposedly get you numerous free things to make up the cost. I haven't heard of to many people that were thrilled with buying them. Perhaps there are some.
If you can overlook all the sell sell sell on the ships, Princess still gives a good value for the money & the way I look at it is if they can keep the initial price of the cruise reasonable by selling tours, pictures, shopping recommendations, alternative restaurant choices, bingo, casino, drinks, etc. I take advantage of a cheaper cruise & turn the other way when the hard sell starts.
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Old 08-06-2008, 09:39 AM
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Location: Irvine, CA
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LynnfromVa,

Thank you for the current information on the Diamond Princess. We leave, northbound for a cruisetour on the Diamond, Aug. 16th.

Did you see much wildlife from the ship? I have been watching the weather and it seems there had been alot of rain during your cruise. How did the rain effect your land tours?

Did you eat at any of the specialty restaurants? If you did, what did you like?
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Old 08-06-2008, 11:11 AM
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Cape Coral, Fl.
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Hi Irvine Travler, I know you mostly interested in the Diamond but on our Dawn P. we saw mostly whales from the front of the ship. You'll have to be patient but on our cruise the guest lecturer announced where the best locations would be. Also lots of eagles in the distance so don't forget binoculars. We did see one brown bear from the ship but it was only a a brief moment & it was gone. In order to see more wildlife you'll have to take a tour for better luck.
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Old 08-11-2008, 11:56 AM
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There was a naturist on board (she was very specific that she was NOT a naturalist... those being people who don't wear clothes... ha...) Anyhow, on several occasions she made announcements that coming up at a certain time we would be in a location good for whale watching. So my husband and I went to deck 8 forward right at the front of the ship and staked out a spot. Sure enough we saw whales in the distance through our binoculars. As they were spotted the naturist would announce it so everyone knew where to look. We were lucky enough to be standing on the starboard side the next day where a whale came up right next to the ship! So cool. In glacier bay, we saw dolphins, sea otters and harbor seals from the ship. Some people spotted a bear on shore but we missed it. There were also various types of birds, but I wasn't quick enough to see too many of those. There are lots of excursions out of Juneau especially if you really want to get up close to the wildlife.
The weather wasn't real great but we were prepared (rain jackets with hoods so we wouldn't have to fumble with umbrellas). Most of the time it was a misty drissle... not pouring rain. And we did actually get some clear spots as we walked around Ketchikan and Juneau... and on the train ride out of Skagway. You'll have a great time.
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Old 08-11-2008, 12:06 PM
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... oh two more questions you asked...
We were lucky on the land tours. The sun actually peaked out for awhile while we were touring Denali although not clear enough to actually see "the mountain". And it stayed clear while we were on the Discovery riverboat in Fairbanks but later that evening it poured down rain while we were trying to go out to dinner.
We did not go to any of the specialty restaurants on the ship. we stuck with the four anytime dining restaurants and the buffet. I heard folks say that to really get the most out of the dining experience at the specialty restaurants you need to allow about three hours. We always had shows and other stuff we wanted to do so didn't want to take that much time.
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Old 08-11-2008, 01:55 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Costa Mesa, California
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We have dined at Sabatini's on two Princess ships, but not on Diamond Princess; but since our two experiences were equally wonderful, I would expect the same on Diamond.

And yes, to fully appreciate it you need to allow 2-3 hours. You could plan an early dinner on a sea day and still be able to catch the late shows.

You pick your entree (we would recommend the lobster and the Chilean sea bass); and they bring you everything else on the menu--literally! It is a lot of food; that's why it is important to eat slowly and relish every morsel. The service is outstanding--even better than the main dining rooms.

We have not tried the Sterling Steakhouse yet. Hopefully someone else can give you input on that.

Rick
 
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