Diamond Princess Sets Sail Once Again in First Journey Since Pandemic

The ship, known for a widely-publicized pandemic outbreak in 2020, has set sail from San Diego.

Aerial view of the Diamond Princess set sail

Courtesy of Princess Cruises

The Diamond Princess, which gained widespread notoriety at the start of the pandemic with a COVID-19 outbreak in Japan, has finally set sail again.

The 2,670-guest ship sailed from its new homeport in San Diego on Sunday, Princess Cruises shared with Travel + Leisure. The ship, now classified as a MedallionClass ship, includes features like keyless stateroom entry, turn-by-turn directions to navigate through the ship, and the ability to order food, drinks, and more for delivery through the app.

“Homeporting Diamond Princess in a destination as remarkable as San Diego and now giving our west coast fans four convenient to drive California departure points to enjoy the Original Love Boat is an outstanding combination,” John Padgett, Princess Cruises’ president, said in a statement provided to T+L. “Whether you’re looking for four-, five- or seven-day convenient west coast vacations, or vacations that extend to Hawaiian or South Pacific, Princess Cruises has you covered at incredible values.”

Through February 2023, Diamond Princess will sail five- to 16-day itineraries along the Mexican Riviera, the California coast, and to the Hawaiian islands. On Nov. 27, the ship will also sail a 20-day cruise to Central America.

After that, the ship will head back to Japan, according to Princess’ website.

The Diamond Princess captured the world’s attention in 2020 after an outbreak on the ship forced both crew and passengers to quarantine on board for two weeks. Following that, more than 700 people became infected and several passengers died.

Japan plans to once again welcome cruise ships back, lifting a more than 2 1/2-year ban. When cruising does resume, Japan will require all crew to have three COVID-19 vaccine shots and will require most passengers to have at least two shots.

Last month, Japan reopened to independent travelers. All visitors must be either fully vaccinated with a booster shot, or show proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours of their departure flight, according to the Japan National Tourism Organization.

For its part, Princess Cruises introduced a $1 deposit deal in time for Cyber Monday on Nov. 28, the cruise line told T+L, allowing guests who book a cruise on that day to wait to pay the remaining balance until 90 days before their trip. The $1 deposit offer does not apply to cruises sailing within 90 days of Nov. 28.

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