Diamond Princess' Extensive Drydock
To get ready for her second season of cruising Japan, as well as a stint of cruising from Australia, Diamond Princess is undergoing an extensive drydock to add exciting new features, designed to turn the ship "Japanese".
During her makeover, Diamond Princess is receiving an extensive Japanese bath area (making it the largest bath experience of its type at sea); a new sushi restaurant; enhanced shopping areas' a revitalised Horizon Court; additional staterooms; new interior furnishings and finishes; fresh hull paint and exterior refurbishment; and contemporary and Asian-style touches. The drydock, currently underway at Sembawang shipyard in Singapore, is due to be completed by 2 April 2014.
The most dramatic new feature, the 8,800-square-foot-bath and garden complex will include indoor and outdoor bathing areas to provide a choice of bath styles. The area will feature stone and other natural materials, and a setting similar to the popular-onsen experience for which Japan is well known, so that the serenity and relaxation of a Japanese bath experience is highlighted.
"Because bathing is an important part of the Japanese culture, we want to offer passengers an authentic experience onboard, complete with unparalleled ocean views," said Princess Cruises' President, Jan Swartz. "This is just one of the several additions we're making to the ship to give passengers an appealing Japanese experience."
Passengers will step into the new bath area through a peaceful entrance, where they can access the elegant, open-air Japanese unisex hydro-therapy pool, which is surrounded by refreshing ocean breezes. Outdoors, there is space to relax in plush shaded lounge chairs, as well as a footbath passengers can soak in while enjoying the fresh ocean air.
Indoors, there are two separate, gender-segregated bath experiences with amazing sea views. The ocean-view sauna and bath will feature an open air skylight to help passengers connect with nature. There is also a dry sauna with floor-to-ceiling windows to make the most of the view, and a refreshing gentle mist sauna. The Stone Bath will feature an Utaseya, an invigorating cascade of hot water that is ideal for relieving tension in the back and shoulders.
In addition to this spectacular new Japanese bath area, passengers will also enjoy a new sushi restaurant post-drydock. Kai Sushi has proven to be extremely popular onboard Sun Princess, so a bigger version of the restaurant will be added to Diamond Princess, and will feature both table seating and a sushi bar serving fresh seafood. The restaurant will serve miso shiro, nigiri sushi, maki sushi, sashimi, seafood cocktails, and matcha ice cream with red bean paste for dessert. Sake lovers will be able to try a variety of regional sakes for a taste of many of the ports featured during the cruise.
The duty-free boutiques onboard will be remodelled to offer a new luxury shopping experience, including a new and distinctive luxury watch space, anchored by a special OMEGA shop. The Essence Boutique will offer the first fragrance bar at sea, where passengers can sample and learn about new scents. A full crystal Swarovski installation will be found in the Meridian Bay boutique, as well as Jacqueline Kennedy and Audrey Hepburn collections. And, a new Limelight luxury boutique will offer designer leather and accessories, including fashionable international designers such as Burberry, Fendi, Salvatore, Ferragamo, Coach and Ralph Lauren.
The Horizon Court, the ship's buffet area, will also receive an upgrade to feature contemporary food service areas and action stations for live a la carte cooking, as well as a special pastry shop, refreshed decor and expanded seating. Other changes include 14 new staterooms, a sports court on the roof of Skywalker's Nightclub, a revitalised photo gallery and Platinum Portrait Studio, new art gallery displays, new decor in the Italian speciality restaurant, Sabatini's, a remodelled casino, and the wedding chapel and Internet cafe will be relocated.
Once out of drydock, Diamond Princess is due to set sail on a season of Japan-based cruises, starting on 17 April 2014. Homeporting in Tokyo, the ship will sail a season of 8-night cruises that includes ports of call like Taiwan, South Korea, Hokkaido, Russia and 15 Japanese ports, including 5 night itineraries specially created for Diamond Princess. During the popular holiday period, Golden Week, the ship will feature a special 9-night itinerary that includes opportunities to visit several festivals and a special call to Nagasaki, home to Mitsibushi Heavy Industries where the ship was built, to celebrate Diamond Princess' 10-year anniversary.
And, if a Japan cruise isn't on your radar yet, Diamond Princess will be joining its sister ship Sun Princess in Australia from November, for the busy summer cruising season, so you will be able to enjoy the Japanese-influenced refurbishments in our own waters.
The ship will offer 6 different roundtrips from Sydney, including 2 circumnavigations of Australia, a cruise to Tasmania, a 4-night break to Melbourne and its first roundtrip cruise to New Zealand. There will also be a cruise between Sydney and Fremantle, with new Top End and Southern Australia sectors between the two cities available.
For more information on Diamond Princess' cruises in Japan, or from Australia, call one of our Cruise Specialists on 1300 954 661. They will be able to give you the most up to date pricing and availability to get you on your way for your next dream cruise!
Source: Princess Cruises