Diamond Princess' 1,337 cabins are spread among eight decks. Staterooms are comfortable and soothing, furnished in mellow colors of blue, gold, tan and pale sienna. They're not the downsized options you might find on newer cruise ships; even the smallest inside room has enough space to store an average passenger's necessities. Large, well-placed built-in mirrors add to a feeling of space. Walls are buff-colored, with medium-colored wood trim accenting the walls, ceilings and doorways. Bathrooms in non-suite staterooms are a bit tight, but manageable. The decor of the cabins we viewed was fresh and mostly in great condition.
All standard staterooms are furnished with a queen bed (which can usually be split into twins), small round table, desk/vanity (with three drawers) and chair, two bedside tables (with two drawers and a shallow shelf) each topped by a lamp and ample closets with both hanging sections and shelves.
Accessories include a mini-refrigerator, a (rather wimpy) wall-mounted hair dryer next to the vanity, a phone, a small safe (located in the closet), an electric tea kettle with Japanese teacups and green teabags (exclusive to Diamond Princess) and an ice container. Unlike other ships in the fleet, this one furnishes robes and slippers to every cabin class. Art is cheerful framed water landscape prints.
The interactive flat-screen TV can access ship information, including the cruise directors' daily briefing, port talks, some performances, shore excursion information and a nifty map with the ship's position and other information. You can also choose from a nice selection of on-demand movies and TV shows, as well as live news from BBC, MSNBC and Fox.
Cabins have a double U.S.-type 110-volt socket next to the desk, as well as a universal 240-volt socket above the desk. There is also one U.S-type socket and one European-type socket for razors in the bathroom.
The compact bathrooms in the regular cabins have a shower stall with curtain which, when left open, helps make the bathroom seem less claustrophobic. The curtain is also configured to make the shower stall surprisingly less constricted than we expected when you're inside it. The shower has a wall-mounted, hand-held showerhead, with a lever that flips between a gentle rain-type flow to a more focused and forceful flow. We never experienced the fluctuating water temperatures that plague many ships, although we wished the water pressure could have been a bit stronger. Pump bottles of the ship's Lotus Spa-branded shower gel and shampoo/conditioner are in a wall holder in the shower.
A facial tissue holder is built into the vanity, which has a small amount of counter space, in addition to the sink. Three tiers of shelves are in the wall at one side of the vanity, with a pair of drinking glasses on one shelf. Basic toiletries include a bar of soap, a tube of lotion and a shower cap (all Lotus Spa-branded). A shallow shelf running underneath the vanity has some extra space, in addition to holding backup toilet paper and tissues. We suspect that two women sharing a cabin might find bathroom storage a bit tight. A double hook on the door is helpful if you have a hanging toiletries bag.
More than 350 rooms have two extra fold-down beds, and several have one extra fold-down bed, with options in every class. There are two dozen pairs of connecting cabins, as well. Plus, you'll find two family suites, which have two bedrooms separated by a living room with two single sofa beds, and two bathrooms.
Twenty-seven cabins are accessible, in a choice of five cabin categories, ranging from inside to suite. Standard accessible cabins offer considerably more room than their non-accessible counterparts and include full wheelchair-turning space, a roll-in shower equipped with grab bars and a fold-down bench seat, an easy access closet and accessible writing desk. There are also additional low shelves on the wider-than-usual bedside tables.
Interior: These cabins range from 168 to 182 square feet, and come with all the furniture and amenities described above. In most cases, the head of the bed(s) is placed against the side of the ship.
Oceanview: Ocean-view cabins are approximately 183 to 200 square feet, and have either portholes or a rectangular picture window. In some cases, their view is obstructed by lifeboats -- so choose carefully. These cabins have essentially the same layout as the interior rooms.
Balcony: Seventy-five percent of the cabins on Diamond Princess feature private balconies. Of those, 522 are standard or premium balcony staterooms, ranging from 237 to 277 square feet, including the balcony. These cabins also feature more hanging closet space than the previous categories, as well as a different floor plan, with the heads of the beds against an interior wall. There's an additional upholstered bucket chair inside and two mesh chairs, a small round table and a footstool outside on the balcony. One particularly appealing feature is the floor-to-ceiling sliding-glass doors, which bring much more light and great views into the cabin. As you look over your balcony, in most instances, you won't be looking straight down to the water -- but rather, overlooking the longer balconies of the mini-suites on Deck 9.
Minisuite: Diamond Princess' 184 mini-suites are primarily located on Deck 9, with a few on Deck 8. They're approximately 354 square feet, including the balcony, which is deeper than those on the regular balcony cabins. Balconies are fitted with two mesh loungers with footstools and a small table. These cabins have a separate interior seating area next to the balcony, with a chair, sofa bed and small coffee table. The desk/vanity, equipped with a lamp, is a bit smaller than in the regular cabins, and serves to help separate the sleeping and seating areas. Across from it, a rounded cabinet also helps to divide the spaces. It has a granite-topped bar and two large shelves; up-top are two flat-screen TVs -- one facing the bed and one facing the seating area. The bed benefits from a cushy mattress-topper and you benefit from a complimentary glass of Champagne on embarkation day. The bathroom is more spacious, thanks to the tub, although the vanity space is similar to regular cabins. You do get the benefit of a high-tech Japanese toilet, though, with various water jets controlled by a panel attached to the vanity.
Premium mini-suites (in the most desirable locations) are designated Club Class. In addition to a half-bottle each of red and white wine per cabin and canapes (upon request), these passengers also have a special no-wait seating area in the Santa Fe dining room for dinner and sea-day meals, plus additional menu options and tableside preparations. They also receive priority embarkation and disembarkation.
Suites: There are 28 suites in five suite categories on Diamond Princess, ranging in size from 205 square feet to 904 square feet, with balconies from 114 square feet to 425 square feet. Suite passengers receive a complimentary mini-bar setup, a pillow menu, fresh flowers on embarkation, DVD player with access to a DVD library, cruise-card wallets and Club Class privileges. Other suite perks include an elite pre-dinner lounge, priority embarkation and disembarkation at tender ports, free same-day laundry and dry-cleaning, free use of the Lotus Spa thermal suite and an included meal at a specialty restaurant on embarkation evening (on cruises of six days or longer). Upgraded Lotus Spa toiletries include conditioner, lip balm, loofa mitt, bath salts, gel eye mask, linen mist, nail file, cotton balls and cotton swabs.
Five Premium suites (705 square feet, including the balcony) are located at the front of the ship, with a triangular configuration. They feature a seating area with a sofa bed, chair, coffee table and end table with lamp. Furniture is light-toned wood with sea-green and light-gold upholstery. The bedroom is separated from the living area by curtains. It has its own TV, a vanity with lighted magnifying mirror and a dresser with nine drawers, plus four additional drawers and shelves in a cabinet. There are sliding-glass doors to the balcony from both the living room and bedroom. The outdoor area is furnished with two wooden loungers with a small table, a dining table and two chairs. The bathroom has the standard shower-over-tub setup.
The 15 Penthouse suites are approximately 555 square feet, including the balcony. They feature a seating area with a sofa bed, chair, coffee table and end table with lamp. Furniture is light-toned wood with sea-green and light-gold upholstery. The granite-covered bar is equipped with a small sink. The bedroom is separated from the living area by curtains. It has its own TV, a vanity with lighted magnifying mirror and a dresser with nine drawers, plus four additional drawers and shelves in a cabinet. There are sliding-glass doors to the balcony from both the living room and bedroom. The outdoor area is furnished with two wooden loungers with a small table, plus a dining table and four chairs. The bathroom is clad in marble -- a definite upgrade from other cabin classes -- and includes both a shower stall and a jetted tub, upgraded fixtures and a bouquet of fresh flowers.
The six Vista suites (525 to 548 square feet, including the balcony), located aft on Decks 8, 9 and 10, are similar in set up and amenities to the Penthouse suites, although they have a support beam obstructing part of the view from their balconies.
The 692-square foot (including balcony) Owner's Suite, on deck 11, has an oversized, aft-facing balcony, with similar furniture to the other suites. It also has a glass-topped dining table for four and includes an additional upholstered chair and an occasional table in the living area.
At 1,329 total square feet, the Grand Suite even surpasses the Owner's Suite as the largest, most luxurious stateroom on Diamond Princess. Also located on Deck 11, it features impressive double doors and a lovely marble mosaic entryway, flanked by columns and niches holding orchids. The living room has a sofa, loveseat, two upholstered chairs, a coffee table, two side tables and two end tables with lamps. Built-in cherry-wood cabinetry includes a wet bar and plenty of mirrored shelves with glassware. The wraparound unit also encloses the flat-screen TV, and has seven large cabinets with doors. The desk comes equipped with a laptop computer and additional wall shelves. A curved buffet, topped by lamps and an orchid, separates the round dining room from the living area. The round, glass-topped dining table, seats six. Faux finishes and fanciful murals with peacocks and Roman ruins decorate the walls of both the living and dining areas (you may consider them elegant -- or a bit kitschy). The bedroom has built-in cabinets next to each bed, with shelves and two drawers. The vanity has an additional six drawers and the TV cabinet has four drawers. The bedroom ceiling has a faux finish, with seashells painted in the center. The bathroom is divided into a toilet room with single sink, and a larger room with a double-sink vanity, shower stall and separate tub. Vanity tops are in elegant tawny-colored marble, with cherry woodwork; the shower stall, floors and walls are marble. The jetted tub, located in a corner, is surrounded by more beautiful marble mosaics.