I just obtained an "Alaska" brochure and the deck plans for MV Diamond Princess
(officially listed as "preliminary" but probably won't change much) and for the new MV Pacific Princess
. having commented before on the deck plans of MV Coral Princess
(and sister MV Island Princess
), which generally appear to be sound layouts, so I won't comment on them again here.
First, the bad news
is that the deck plans of MV Diamond Princess
are very similar to those of MV Star Princess
-- and that means that they succeeded in copying nearly all the mistakes, though a couple problems appear to be fixed. Here are the noticeable differences.
>> 1. The card and game room is either gone or moved. If it's moved, I have not yet located it.
>> 2. Each of the two main dining rooms that open onto the atrium on the Plaza Deck and the Fiesta Deck aboard MV Star Princess
is split into two smaller main dining rooms aboard MV [i] Diamond Princess[i]. These dining rooms also have names suggestive of the "sucker" restaurants on several of Princess's newer ships, so I suspect that some of them may carry surcharges.
>> 3. There's some rearrangement of the spaces on the Promenade Deck. In particular, the Wheelhouse Bar moves to the space over the casino and actually might be big enough, with the Internet Cafe moved to the space occupied by the Wheelhouse Bar aboard MV Star Princess
. Also, "Fabio's" (which was the pizzeria aboard MV Ocean Princess
) has replaced "Sabatini's" -- which might mean that there's no surcharge -- and the aft show lounge has a different arrangeent.
>> 4. There's some reconfiguration of cabins, including suites and standar staterooms with forward balconies. These balcones probably will have a lot of wind, especially when the ship is cruising at 20+ knots.
>> 5. The two sides of the Horizon Court are interconnected at the very rear. This might be the classic "too little, too late," though.
>> 6. Skywalkers' Disco is moved forward so straddles the top of the aft stairways and elevators rather than a racecar-style "spoiler" over the fantail. Oh, and the two sides of the Horizon Court do connect, but only at the very back. I really won't cry if the assessment of the fire damage to this hulk shows that it's beyond economical repair and the company cancels the contract for her construction. Honestly, I really won't. And I really won't cry if MV Sapphire Princess
has a similar fate, either. I promise. In fact, I'll cry if either of them do
enter service! There are some minor improvements, but they really should have started with a clean sheet of paper as on MV Coral Princess
The promenades might be wide enough to accommodate the magical teak deck lounges that are so popular aboard MV Sun Princess
and her sisters, though it's difficult to be certain solely from a deck plan. Unfortunately, there's still only an elevator/stair lobby for gathering space outside of the aft dining room and those who wish to walk laps around the Promenade Deck still have to ascend and descend stairs to the bow walk (on the Emerald Deck) to go around the bow. The main atrium and the topside pool areas appear to have substantially the same configuration as those aboard MV Star Princess
-- which are too small for the size of the vessel.
Second, the good news
is that the new MV Pacific Princess
appears to have positively the best layout of standard cabins in the whole princess fleet. The standard cabins aboard this vessel have a small sitting area with a "sofa" (love seat?) in addition to the features found on other Princess ships. The layout of this vessel, which apparently is is identical to sister MV Tahitian Princess
, does appear to be workable, if not quite optimal. The only obvious faux pas are (1) three evening spaces -- Sabatini's Trattoria and the Sterling Steakhouse, located aft, and a lounge with a bandstand and a dance floor, located forward -- located at the top of the ship rather than in the vicinity of the Promenade Deck, (2) several cabins with forward balconies 9expect high winds when underway), and (3) the fact that the Promenade Deck does not wrap around the entire ship (but there are athwartships passageways at the forward and aft ends of the promenades, enabling walking of laps on one level). Nonetheless, the ship is small enough so this probably won't be the as significant as it would be on Princess's other new vessels.
Happy cruising, everyone!