Dazzled by the Diamond Princess


Dazzled by the Diamond Princess

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.

The brand new Kai Sushi restaurant is a hit with seafood lovers – they may have underestimated Aussie’s love of Asahi Beer as reserves were running low when we dined. Considering the Diamond is home to 19,000 dinner plates and the kitchens pump out 12,000 meals a day, we’re happy to have food in our bellies. This organisational feat looks easy – the 110 cooks and very efficient waiters never break a sweat. Meals in all of the restaurants are fast and fresh. Aussie beef, butter and vegetables are bought locally, with all the baked goods except bagels made fresh every day.  

The ship’s shops have also had an overhaul, with the introduction of big brand names. You can still buy your Princess Cruises t-shirt and monogrammed teddy bear, but now there’s Burberry, Coach, Ralph Lauren and Fendi available on board. Better yet, it’s duty free.

The Diamond has 1,353 cabins, 740 have private balconies. Interestingly the tiered design of the exterior means balconies on Deck 12 and above will look down on two levels of balconies. For more privacy, book on Deck 12 and above.

The tiered design of the Diamond carries through to the back of the ship where you get a great view of the wake, pool, bar and cabanas on that level. Stairs circle around the edges of the ship and it’s worth climbing all the way to the basketball court on Deck 16 to check out the view. Deck 17’s Skywalker Lounge at the front of the ship is also a great spot for sundowners.

The best sunsets will be as the Diamond Princess makes her way up the west coast of Australia, past Perth and Broome. She’ll do several circumnavigations of the country during her time down under, with trips across to New Zealand and the South Pacific throughout the Summer.

Lisa was the guest of Princess Cruises 

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Lisa Perkovic

About the Author Lisa Perkovic

Lisa is the Expedia Blog Editor and has spent the past eight years travelling the world writing for Australia’s leading newspapers, magazines and blogs. She makes sure the Expedia Blog is always stocked with the best stories, travel tips and destination news from our bloggers and Expedia’s experts. Sydney is her base to drop off souvenirs before heading off on the next adventure. Lisa writes about everything from the world’s weirdest dim sum to cruising aboard monster ships. 3 travel must-haves? A hat, hand sanitiser and underwater camera What's on your travel bucket list? An over water bure in Tahiti, an African safari and snorkeling in Oman    

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