Our Cruise to Hawaii on the Diamond Princess

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1    Introduction & at-sea days
2    Lahaina
3    Nawiliwili
4    Honolulu
5    Kona
6    Hilo
7    Dining
8    Entertainment, days at-sea, Ensenada, & home

Hi Friends,

This trip report is a little bit different from most of the ones I have done in the past.  It is not about a motorhome trip, but an ocean cruise to Hawaii!

Actually, the trip did start out as a motorhome trip.  Rosemarie and I went to Pomona, CA with the Sun Country Road Runners to an FMCA international convention.  We arrived a couple of days early, and stayed for the 4 day convention, totally enjoying the vendor exhibits, the many seminars and crafts, and the evening entertainment.  When the convention was over on Friday, we drove the motorhome to Escondido, parked it in the Averys' driveway (Thanks again, Merle and Alden!), visited with Debbie, and on Sunday, drove the Subaru to San Pedro to catch our ship.

The cruise lasted 15 days, sailing from Los Angeles Harbor to Hawaii, stopping at 5 ports there, then sailing to Ensenada, then returning to Los Angeles.

Our full inerary was:

Sun        Mar 2           Depart Los Angeles at 4 PM
Mon       Mar 3 thru Thu Mar 6      At sea (4 days)
Fri          Mar 7           Lahaina (Maui)
Sat         Mar 8           Nawiliwili (Kauai)
Sun        Mar 9           Honolulu (Oahu)
Mon       Mar 10         Kona (the big island of Hawaii)
Tue        Mar 11         Hilo (the big island of Hawaii)
Wed      Mar 12 thru Sat Mar 15    At sea (4 days)
Sun        Mar 16         Ensenada
Mon       Mar 17        Arrive at Los Angeles at 7 AM

I am writing this report after returning home as I was asked by several friends to do so, and as I had no computer along with me and I did not take notes, I am going to discuss this trip more by topic than by strict chronological order.  The primary focus will be to display some of my 1100 photographs of the trip.

Description of the ship and our first 4 days at sea

We arrived in San Pedro and found the parking lots for the port in good time.  They had said we could board starting at noon, but to avoid lines, we should arrive after 1.  We were there at 11.  We proceeded to enter, went through the various security stations and cruise check-in, and encountering a steadily moving line, were on board well before noon.  Our bags arrived at our cabin, one at a time over the next couple of hours.  Our cabin was described as "Ocean view, obstructed"  I had immagined that we would have a nice window looking directly into the side of a lifeboat.  I was only partially right!  We had a nice window which was partially obstructed by the top of a lifeboat and some of its riggings.  We really could see just about anything there was to see without any problem.  We immediately headed out to find the buffet for lunch, and to explore the ship.

As we worked our way up the line to board, we got our first close-up view of the ship
  Our cabin was very comfortable.  It was not as cramped as people had led me to beleive it would be. 
Looking from the foot of the bed, you can see our desk, TV, and the hallway to the door.  On the right side of the hallway is a spacious closet and the bathroom (not spacious, especially the shower).
  Although our window had an "obstructed view" we had no problem seeing just about anything out there.
Looking out our window we see another cruise ship leaving from Long Beach Harbor.  This was the last ship we saw until we were approaching Hawaii.

The Diamond Princess is a huge, beautiful ship.  There are 3 swimming pools for the passengers, plus one strictly for the crew, along with a couple of hot tubs by each pool.  There are a total of 18 decks, with deck 9 being at the top of the basic hull and deck 14 being the top full deck.  The other 4 decks were all superstructure above covering only specific areas of the ship.   Deck 4 is the lowest deck any passengers use, and then only for embarking and disembarking, as it is just above the waterline.  Decks 1 through 3, and much of 4 are where the engines and much of the support functions are located including some of the crew cabins.  For any of you interested, some of the basic statistics of the Diamond Princess (right off the data sheet) are:

Overall length: 946 ft.
Maximum (Deck 9) width:  136 ft.
Maximum width over bridge wings:  164 ft.
Total height above the keel:  203 ft.
Height above the water:  177 ft.
Maximum draft:   28 ft.

Propulsion type:  Diesel Electric /Gas Turbine
Diesel generators: 2 x 9450 kW,  2 x 8400 kW
Gas turbine: 1 x 25,000 kW  (that's 25 megawatts!)
Propulsion electric motors: 2 x 20,000 kW @ 145 rpm
Full Sea Speed:  22.1 knots at 138 rpm
Propellers:  2 fixed pich keyless type, 6 bladed, inward rotating
Thrusters:   Bow 3 x 2200 kW (9000 horsepower)
                  Stern 3 x 1720 kW (7000 horsepower)
Rudders:    2
Stabilisers:   2 Folding-in fins, length 23.8 ft.

Anchors:          weight = 15.1 tons
Stern Anchor:   weight: = 8.3 tons

Passengers:    2600
Crew:            1100

Capacities:     Marine Gas Oil:  558,196 gallons
                      Heavy Fuel Oil:  491,888 gallons
                      Fresh water:       917,205 gallons

Gross tonnage:  115,875 tons
Displacement:      60,636 tons
Delivered February 26, 2004 by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd.,  Nagasaki
Port of Registry: Hamilton, Bermuda

Do you think your gas mileage is bad?  The ship gets about 66 ft/gallon!

The Neptune Pool is on the Lido deck (Deck 14) and looks up at some of the higher decks.  Many of the ship's activities took place here.
From the bow, the bridge is a very impressive structure.
Looking to the stern, we see the third passenger pool, and the crew pool below.  The ship creates quite a wake at 20 knots!
The Atrium is the centerpiece of the ship.  One of the two decorated glass elevators is in the left foreground.  All the shops and botiques face onto the atrium, along with the library, the Purser's desk, and the Tour desk.  It covers decks 5, 6, and 7.

There are almost endless opportunities to eat!  We had chosen the "anytime dining" option which allowed us to eat anywhere from 5:30 to 10:00 PM, and had 3 dining rooms available for the normal dinners.  I say "normal" with tounge in cheek, as lobster, crab legs, and prime rib are not really my "normal".  There is also a 24 hour buffet which we used for breakfast, often for lunch, once for dinner, and once for dessert after the evening show.  If we had chosen the conventional dining with early or late seating, we would have been in yet another dining room.  In addition there were a couple of "luxury" dinning rooms which we could have gone to by paying a $15 or $20 cover charge.  We did not.  Although we did not try it, there was room service available at any time for no charge.  There also was a daytime pizza stand which served cheese, peperoni, and a daily special pizza, and a hamburger/hot dog stand with a variety of options.  Also there was a daily special buffet on the Lido deck (#14) which had, among others, Italian one day, Mexican another, desserts another day, and a "chocolate lovers paradise" one day.  We did not go hungry!   I did try to excercise restraint!  A side note:  After 15 days of this amount of food available, I only gained 2.4 pounds!  That was a major victory for me.

During the days there were many opportunities for activities.  We generally attended one or two talks about the history of Hawaii, Pearl Harbor, Other World War II battles, or similar topics.  Also available were ukulele lessons, dance lessons, including hula, ballroom, and Western linedance, and In the evening there was always a theater show plus several lounge shows.

There was an ice carving demonstration at the Neptune Pool. 

We had wondered how we would react to 4 consecutive days at sea.  We found that we really liked it.  It provided a relaxing scenario with the opportunity to participate in as many activities as we liked, with ample time for relaxation.  We found that we were able to fully explore the ship and its offerings during the sea travel, and to concentrate on touring Hawaii once we arrived at the islands.

The trip over was quite comfortable.  The seas were moderate with swells from 4 to 7.5 feet.  Winds were typically in the 20 knot range.  The ship rolled gently, causing a slight problem walking down the narrow corridors.  Other than an occasional stumble, I had no trouble.  Rosemarie took seasick pills during our at-sea days as a precaution and had no problems, I decided not to take any pills and also had no problems.

Continue to page 2 (Lahaina)

Dick Mason, Prescott, AZ 3/20/08