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Kon'nichiwa もしもし LAFFNVEGAS Live From The Diamond Princess

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Greetings Princess Cruisers and Friends, my Husband Tom and I are about to embark on our Journey to Japan to board the Diamond Princess for 9 nights Circle Island Japan that the cruise starts on September 9.
 
It's been a few years since I have done a Live From report, most of my "Live Froms" have been done on the Holland America Board and a few on the Norwegian Board so some of you may recognize me from those Cruise Critic Chat Boards.
 
We have been frequent cruisers for quite a few years now and basically have lost count on the number of cruises we have taken. This will actually be our second cruise on the Diamond Princess sailing around Japan, our first was October 2017. We fell in love with Japan as well as loved the Diamond Princess. This cruise in many ways will be almost identical to our 2017 cruise yet different with the ports being different with the exception of going to Busan SK and this cruise being 9 nights rather than 8 nights.
 
Everything we have booked was booked through Princess, EZ Air, Hotel at the Keio Plaza, all transfers and Excursions. So I will explain along the way about how Princess does things and does them a bit differently for Japan. In my opinion Princess does an excellent job with cruises in Japan but then they really are the only North American Cruise Lines that has a ship full time or at least almost full time in Japan with many crew members that are Japanese. 
 
Shortly after returning from our previous cruise in 2017 we knew we wanted to return so I had originally booked the Diamond for another 8 night for October 2019 that spent a lot of time in Northern Japan with stopping in Russia. Unfortunately 9 months after I booked the October cruise in September 2018 Princess had a Redeployment that canceled the cruise that we had booked so we had to make a change so we decided to move it up a month for a 9 night sailing for September 9, 2019, of course I then had to try to get our same Mini Suite cabin that we had originally booked and to book at least 3 nights Pre Cruise Hotel stay at the Keio Plaza. We loved the hotel from our first stay and found it to be a great location in Shinjuku. Last time we stayed was also for 3 nights, the pricing that Princess offered was actually quite good since it included Transfers from the Airport to the Hotel and Hotel to the ship in Yokohama. Although this time was not such a great deal, Princess increased the cost through them about 60% higher yet the actual hotel price was about the same that they were charging in 2017 if we would have booked direct. The problem is that there is not an easy way to get to Yokohama pier with lots of luggage without costing a lot of money and taking the very efficient train system would be good if not for the luggage, so we did just bite the bullet and kept with our reservations through Princess. We do plan to return but will feel far more confident getting around Japan next time and will most likely book a hotel in Yokohama area and be able to walk to the pier. There were things I wanted to do in Shinjuku which was another reason we stay with this plan. 
 
We start our Journey this evening with a Red Eye out of Las Vegas flying to Toronto on Air Canada Rouge, ....yes you read that right lol We head to the East Coast of North America before we go the opposite direction. I booked our flights with Princess EZ Air the day it became available, we did that last time as well because we found that is when you will find the very best pricing for Business Class Air. When flying into Tokyo we prefer to fly into Haneda  which is an Airport much closer to Tokyo/Shinjuku area than Narita is but often the cost of the air is more expensive so like last time we are flying into Haneda and returning through Narita. In 2017 we flew America but the cost of American this time was almost $1000.00 per person more then Air Canada. I had heard good things about Air Canada Business Class and their Signature Class Lounge along with the Maple Leaf Lounge in Toronto that and the fact that on the return we could do US Customs in Canada rather than in the US, then with the price being much better it made it a no brainer despite the fact we leave on a flight this evening at 11:45 pm and will arrive in Toronto at 6:52 am tomorrow morning, then have about 6 and a half hour lay over to board our flight on a 777 to Haneda. We will arrive in Tokyo at 3:40 pm on Friday.
 
I plan to post daily filling you in on little details of what we are doing and will also post lots of pictures along the way. Hopefully you will feel like you are cruising with us.
 

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Enjoy the journey! I'll be following you along the way! We really liked the Diamond Princess when we sailed the Mexican Riviera some years ago.

Edited by jhannah

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1 hour ago, LAFFNVEGAS said:
Greetings Princess Cruisers and Friends, my Husband Tom and I are about to embark on our Journey to Japan to board the Diamond Princess for 9 nights Circle Island Japan that the cruise starts on September 9.
 
It's been a few years since I have done a Live From report, most of my "Live Froms" have been done on the Holland America Board and a few on the Norwegian Board so some of you may recognize me from those Cruise Critic Chat Boards.
 
We have been frequent cruisers for quite a few years now and basically have lost count on the number of cruises we have taken. This will actually be our second cruise on the Diamond Princess sailing around Japan, our first was October 2017. We fell in love with Japan as well as loved the Diamond Princess. This cruise in many ways will be almost identical to our 2017 cruise yet different with the ports being different with the exception of going to Busan SK and this cruise being 9 nights rather than 8 nights.
 
Everything we have booked was booked through Princess, EZ Air, Hotel at the Keio Plaza, all transfers and Excursions. So I will explain along the way about how Princess does things and does them a bit differently for Japan. In my opinion Princess does an excellent job with cruises in Japan but then they really are the only North American Cruise Lines that has a ship full time or at least almost full time in Japan with many crew members that are Japanese. 
 
Shortly after returning from our previous cruise in 2017 we knew we wanted to return so I had originally booked the Diamond for another 8 night for October 2019 that spent a lot of time in Northern Japan with stopping in Russia. Unfortunately 9 months after I booked the October cruise in September 2018 Princess had a Redeployment that canceled the cruise that we had booked so we had to make a change so we decided to move it up a month for a 9 night sailing for September 9, 2019, of course I then had to try to get our same Mini Suite cabin that we had originally booked and to book at least 3 nights Pre Cruise Hotel stay at the Keio Plaza. We loved the hotel from our first stay and found it to be a great location in Shinjuku. Last time we stayed was also for 3 nights, the pricing that Princess offered was actually quite good since it included Transfers from the Airport to the Hotel and Hotel to the ship in Yokohama. Although this time was not such a great deal, Princess increased the cost through them about 60% higher yet the actual hotel price was about the same that they were charging in 2017 if we would have booked direct. The problem is that there is not an easy way to get to Yokohama pier with lots of luggage without costing a lot of money and taking the very efficient train system would be good if not for the luggage, so we did just bite the bullet and kept with our reservations through Princess. We do plan to return but will feel far more confident getting around Japan next time and will most likely book a hotel in Yokohama area and be able to walk to the pier. There were things I wanted to do in Shinjuku which was another reason we stay with this plan. 
 
We start our Journey this evening with a Red Eye out of Las Vegas flying to Toronto on Air Canada Rouge, ....yes you read that right lol We head to the East Coast of North America before we go the opposite direction. I booked our flights with Princess EZ Air the day it became available, we did that last time as well because we found that is when you will find the very best pricing for Business Class Air. When flying into Tokyo we prefer to fly into Haneda  which is an Airport much closer to Tokyo/Shinjuku area than Narita is but often the cost of the air is more expensive so like last time we are flying into Haneda and returning through Narita. In 2017 we flew America but the cost of American this time was almost $1000.00 per person more then Air Canada. I had heard good things about Air Canada Business Class and their Signature Class Lounge along with the Maple Leaf Lounge in Toronto that and the fact that on the return we could do US Customs in Canada rather than in the US, then with the price being much better it made it a no brainer despite the fact we leave on a flight this evening at 11:45 pm and will arrive in Toronto at 6:52 am tomorrow morning, then have about 6 and a half hour lay over to board our flight on a 777 to Haneda. We will arrive in Tokyo at 3:40 pm on Friday.
 
I plan to post daily filling you in on little details of what we are doing and will also post lots of pictures along the way. Hopefully you will feel like you are cruising with us.
 

Will be following along.  Have a great trip.  

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Looking forward to hearing about your trip. We are on the Diamond for the first time next July 2020. Our roll call is DEAD so I am excited to watch your posts.  Safe journey to you guys!!!

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4 hours ago, LAFFNVEGAS said:

 I had heard good things about Air Canada Business Class and their Signature Class Lounge along with the Maple Leaf Lounge in Toronto

You may not see this in time, but you may find you are directed to the Maple Leaf Lounge in the International departures area in Toronto, rather than the Signature Class Lounge.  I think you have to be on an Air Canada direct-booking ticket at more-or-less full fare in order to be admitted.  Hope it works because the International Lounge is okay, but not anything overly special.  Too bad no non-stops to Haneda from Vancouver for you.

 

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following!  Safe flights and have a wonderful cruise!!

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6 hours ago, steelers36 said:

You may not see this in time, but you may find you are directed to the Maple Leaf Lounge in the International departures area in Toronto, rather than the Signature Class Lounge.  I think you have to be on an Air Canada direct-booking ticket at more-or-less full fare in order to be admitted.  Hope it works because the International Lounge is okay, but not anything overly special.  Too bad no non-stops to Haneda from Vancouver for you.

 

 

Good Morning from Toronto Canada, we have arrived in our first stop. It was absolutely beautiful flying into Toronto as the sun was rising. The pictures do not do it justice. 

Actually when we checked in for our flight in Las Vegas the Air Canada Agent told us about going to both lounges. After going through the area for connections and scanning our passports we headed straight to the Signature Lounge. When we check in the gentleman gave us full details about the Lounge and told us to also go enjoy the Maple Leaf Lounge after we had the breakfast buffet but to be sure to come back for lunch at 11:00 😃 Then a Hostess checked in our carry on. 

 

 

 

 

 

0061D573-096C-4807-A50A-EC129621A760.jpeg

5DFB7773-1B29-4B57-BDC4-368D475984A6.jpeg

000046C4-AA06-4331-9D53-1B3605AF41B9.jpeg

1A648B4C-1B03-4EB1-B5F1-39356687E203.jpeg

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Beautiful pictures.  I'm hitching a ride with you on this live from 😉

 

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1 hour ago, LAFFNVEGAS said:

 

Good Morning from Toronto Canada, we have arrived in our first stop. It was absolutely beautiful flying into Toronto as the sun was rising. The pictures do not do it justice. 

Actually when we checked in for our flight in Las Vegas the Air Canada Agent told us about going to both lounges. After going through the area for connections and scanning our passports we headed straight to the Signature Lounge. When we check in the gentleman gave us full details about the Lounge and told us to also go enjoy the Maple Leaf Lounge after we had the breakfast buffet but to be sure to come back for lunch at 11:00 😃 Then a Hostess checked in our carry on. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Congrats on having the Signature access!

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12 hours ago, LAFFNVEGAS said:

I plan to post daily filling you in on little details of what we are doing and will also post lots of pictures along the way. Hopefully you will feel like you are cruising with us.

Safe travels! 🙂

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Having lunch in the Air Canada Signature Lounge, this definitely puts flying Business Class to New level. Service is impressive, but to my understanding they only have the Signature Class Lounge/Dining in Toronto. 

I think we both look like we have been up for over 24 hours 15 more hour till we land in Tokyo. Two years ago when we did this despite have Business Class neither of us slept since we were so excited, I think this flight we will definitely sleep.

Here are some pics , we definitely look like we have been up over 24 hours.

 

E016DEF0-5C0D-4268-A290-21BFCC864971.jpeg

BABC7664-B80B-4C54-915C-9FFC6C54F794.jpeg

B6ACDE5B-C8FA-4629-880D-D7DB65AF66B4.jpeg

C5A9FFA9-C57F-43C7-AEB1-F1D02E046525.jpeg

D1D7C1B0-7AD5-4250-8B1A-252FC1F35C22.jpeg

B10209B0-95B1-4304-8894-643D3B910746.jpeg

298E4DF9-A1E7-4D33-ADAD-9F6D22FC186F.jpeg

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wowzerz !  a couple more glasses of wine and definitely sleep  😄 

Edited by c-boy

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I'm really looking forward to hearing about your trip.  I would like to do this cruise, possibly next year, and I will be traveling by myself.

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