Diamond Princess Atrium
I’ve done a fair bit of cruising over the years, and I think the Diamond Princess is my favourite ship. It’s not too big – around 2500 passengers and probably around 1000 crew. That sounds like a lot but there are some twice the size. I’ve never been on one that big, so I can’t say what it’s like, but 2500 is rather like a village at sea… Small enough that you will run into the same people in the places you like to go, so you meet people and form friendships, get to know the staff in your favourite restaurant, and if you go into the same shop a few times, they remember you too. And if you prefer to keep to yourself, it’s amazing how much privacy you can find to read, think or meditate. And yes, you do have the option of eating yourself into a stupor if you wish, but having done it so many times now, I tend to eat normal sized meals, so I don’t feel sluggish – and my clothes fit as well getting off as they did when I got on. (That said, this ship has some of the best old-fashioned pizza you will find anywhere – I don’t know how they do it!)
So this is the atrium, three stories high. I love how the stairs and walkways sort of twist around, rather like an Escher drawing. This was taken late in the evening, so it’s quiet, but during the day it bustles like a town square, with musicians playing, people sitting in comfy couches with coffee or a glass of wine and a sweet. I’ve been on a few ships where this area is gaudy to the point of being almost blinding, but even with all the Christmas decorations, the Diamond is still a bit elegant and if not understated, very easy on the eye.
This was probably my best cruise so far, sailing from Sydney via Hobart & Melbourne, the south island of NZ and the up the east coast ports, ending up in Auckland, where we caught a taxi home. I’ll probably do it again in a couple of years. Can’t wait!