Five Things to Know About Princess Cruises' Diamond Princess Cruise Ship
World's Best 2016 Awards Rank: #5 Mega Ocean Ship
Best for: Families, couples, passengers who love the ritual and glamour of traditional cruising
Sails: Asia, Australia and New Zealand, the South Pacific
At a Glance: A Travel + Leisure World’s Best 2016 winner, placing fifth in the Mega Ocean Ship category. After a $30 million refurbishment in 2014, this elegant 2,706-passenger Gem class ship added plenty of touches to fit its mostly Asian itineraries, including a sushi restaurant and the largest Japanese bath at sea.
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Formal Nights and Other Traditions Live On
While many other lines are loosening their dress codes, Princess Cruises continues the tradition of formal nights. (Note, however, that men are more likely to wear suits than tuxes and women tend to stick to cocktail-party attire.) Those who like to stick to cruising traditions at dinnertime can choose to eat at International Dining Room, which serves passengers at a set time and a set table, or Vivaldi, which has an early seating, then switches over to open seating. Four other dining rooms offer open, anytime seating. (On sailings out of Japan, all five dining rooms have two set seating times.) Bonus: Each night, dining room menus include options created by celebrity chef Curtis Stone.
Romantic Touches Abound
Couples hoping for a little Love Boat-style magic won’t be disappointed. There’s dancing at Club Fusion; couples massages in the Lotus spa; and sunbathing at the adult-only Sanctuary deck. There’s even a wedding chapel on board—unlike on most lines, Princess’s captains can actually marry couples at sea. Don’t miss Movies Under the Stars, when passengers cuddle under blankets on lounge chairs by the pool and watch films while snacking on popcorn.
Most Cabins Have Balconies
Most passengers on board have outdoor space, whether they’re in a balcony stateroom, which starts at 214 square feet; a 323-square foot mini suite, each of which have a sofa bed; or a suite, which starts at 460 square feet and comes with access to the Lotus Spa’s Thermal Suite. Groups can choose a family suite, which sleeps eight and is basically a mini suite connected to an interior stateroom. On a budget? Interior staterooms star at a comfortable 168 square feet, while oceanview cabins start at 183 square feet.
The For-Fee Restaurants Are Worth the Splurge
If you’re in the mood for Italian, make a reservation at Sabatini’s, where you can order everything from penne with braised short rib to lobster three ways. Carnivores can book a table at Sterling Steakhouse and dig in to generous cuts of New York strip steak or Porterhouse, while seafood lovers head to Kai Sushi to pull up a seat at the sushi bar or order a roll at a table.
Quiet Time Is a Priority
Diamond Princess is a family-friendly ship, so there may be times when you want to escape to the adults-only Sanctuary relaxation area to decompress. Staff walk from lounge chair to lounge chair, offering Evian spritzes and chilled towels. (The lap pool in the Lotus spa is also adults-only.) For true serenity, try the indoor-outdoor Izumi Japanese bath, or onsen, to zone out in the saunas, steam rooms, hot tubs, and Japanese garden.