Long time cruisers will rattle off cruise ships all day long if you let them. For first timers, the difference between one ship and another can be confusing, let alone the exact cabin number they should be after.
So, what’s in a name? The Diamond Princess is apt – at 116,000 tonne, 290m long and 63 m high, she definitely commands a presence when docked at Circular Quay.
Dwarfing the Overseas Passenger Terminal and rising high above the Opera House, the Diamond Princess returns to our shores after a $30 million refurb. And as you’d expect, she dazzles like a diamond.
Yes she is outfitted with a lot of standard cruise ship features – well-stocked buffet, spa, gym, specialty restaurants, shops, cabins inside and out – but what stands out are the extra features.
The buffet’s dedicated dessert station has everything from sugar free, gluten free and lactose free to guilt free (low fat) and down right delicious (probably full fat) options. Cookies, cupcakes (a different flavour each day), cakes, mousse, tarts, scones, scrolls all make an appearance during the short five days I was on board.
The Spa’s treatment rooms have ocean views but that’s not what I’m most excited about. The Diamond Princess is now home to an 817 square metre Japanese bath. The largest Japanese bathhouse at sea – perhaps one of the few too. Male and female indoor saunas (with open air skylights), Utaseyu cascading hot water showers and scrubbing stations are all housed inside and at certain times of the day have a compulsory no-swimwear rule (to keep things authentic). Outside is a big hydrotherapy pool and double day beds with some of the best views of the ship’s wake. Even if you want to skip the sauna and hot tubs, and head straight to the exclusive outdoor area, it’s worth the extra entry fee.
The gym’s fitness machines look fairly new but that might just be because of the older clientele on this cruise. We had a lot of fun on the snazzy cycling machine games. These bikes look like your traditional gym bike but the screen is preloaded with games that adjust resistance as you play. A bit like playing Mario Kart except your legs do the work when you hit a hill.