Just got back today from a voyage aboard the Diamond Princess from Los Angeles to the Mexican Riveria. I must say that I can't see us traveling aboard a Princess ship again. We had a good time, but there are better cruise companies. Last year at this same time we traveled aboard the Saphire Princess on the same itinerary. The Diamond Princess is the sister ship and we would have thought the experience would be the same. It was not. Sadly the experience was crappy. Embarkation: Getting on the ship was an adventure. Check in resulted in waiting in huge lines. They did not start boarding until after 1pm and as a result the waiting area at San Pedro cannot handle the volume of passengers carried by todays large ships. The port employees were really rude and treated passengers like cattle. They kept yelling at people to stand back away from the entrance to the security area. The problem was there was nowhere for people to go as the room wasn't big enough and there was not enough seats to go around. Crowd levels: This cruise was oversold and we learned from other passengers that they were making deals to passengers to change travels dates in the weeks leading up to the cruise. It was a complete sellout. The theater was not big enough to hold everyone. I have been on ships that were smaller than the Diamond and had a showroom that was bigger. The show lounge was just too small for the crowd and if you did not arrive an hour before show time you could forget being able to get a seat. The pools were packed. On one of the days the pool guy did not do his job for the indoor convertible outdoor pool as it turned green and had to be closed. One of the pools on the stern was drained later in the cruise for some unknown reason. Food Service: We got stuck with anytime dining. While we originally looked forward to having a variable dinner hour this turned out lousy as service was bad. We often found ourselves or other table mates getting up to hale a waiter so we could get service. Once your food was delivered forget getting anything else until dessert. One incident stands out. On day two at 8:45am we arrived at the International dining room for breakfast. After being seated the waiter scolds us for coming at the peak time and tells our table that if we want hot entries like eggs or oatmeal that we would need to wait at least 30 minutes because the kitchen is busy. Our food arrived at 9:25 and then 5 minutes later the waiter tells us the dining room is now closed and if we need more coffee the pot is on the station next to the table. We were disappointed with the food quality this trip. We enjoyed the same exact menu the prior year, but the food quality was poorer this year. It appeared that Princess has cheapened out and is using lower grade food. For example the breakfast sausage quality was definitely reduced as was other beef products. The coffee was not as rich as the prior year. The New York steak they serve as always available was not very good and a step below what you get at Denny's. Last year they always had a hot dessert in the buffet. That was cut this year. Generally speaking the desserts were rather poor quality. My chocolate moose on the last night tasted more like piped Betty Crocker icing. My wife had some tapioca pudding that was more like a glob of white slime. Whatever happened to baking cakes onboard? It was obvious they used frozen cakes, but they could at least get some that had some flavor. Entertainment As it turned out the production shows were the same as last year. We were excited to see Piano Man again as we loved it the prior year. However, another disappointment. The vocal performers were lousy. While the females vocalists were not too bad, the males were horrible. We did not even bother seeing the Undercover show. Brendan the piano bar guy was great and we spent a lot of time listening to him. This guy is really good. The comedians were funny and had some good original material. It was nice that none of them told stupid cruise toilet jokes. We also saw an Australian vocalists who was fantastic as was an illusionist that performed. State Room Our room porter was fantastic. It was as if the guy was always waiting for to leave our room and then got right on it to clean it up. Passengers The lousy service kind of put a damper on dinners as we found ourselves sitting through meals listening to our table mates complain about the experience. On two occasions I motioned my wife to zip it as I got tired of hearing the complaints. I kept telling her lets just wait until I get back to complain as I don't want the discussion of the service to ruin our trip. Even though the service was crappy we still had a good time. My big beef is it felt as though the dining staff had the attitude that they had the perfect job if it wasn't for these pesky passengers. On the last night I deducted three days of automatic tips from my bill. Then I put $20 into an envelope and gave it to our cabin steward. He deserved it. I would travel with Princess if it was the only cruise line on earth. But they aren't, and there are several others to choose from. Maybe next time we will give one of the other lines a try not owned by Carnival.