Just off the Diamond Princess in Japan- AMA!!

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#41
Okemos MI and Maui HI
1,567 Posts
Joined Feb 2001
Originally posted by bluebell sparkle
Our stops are Kobe to kochi, Hiroshima, kagoshima, busan and beppu, with a few nights in Kyoto and Tokyo beforehand, so any tips anyone has for any of these ports are much appreciated! It's so much to see in 2 weeks, so want to make sure we make the most of it.
We took the ship's hot springs tour. at Beppu. Very interesting. At Kagoshima, we went to the Samurai houses. Busan doesn't offer a lot but the fish market is a hoot to go to or you could go to the huge Lotte mall ( about a 20 minute cab ride from the boat. There will be a money exchange trailer set up on the dock at Busan to exchange your currency for Korean Won. We did a day trip to Hiroshima before the cruise and it was absolutely fascinating that just a few blocks from Ground Zero there is now a high fashion district with stores from Gucci, Ferragamo,etc. Whatever you do, when the opportunity presents to sample local food, do it!
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#42
Okemos MI and Maui HI
1,567 Posts
Joined Feb 2001
Also, for those spending time in Japan pre or post cruise, I HIGHLY recommend that you learn about and use the public metro and rail system. Go to Japan Rail for details. You can buy an unlimited rail pass prior to your departure that can whisk you literally anywhere in Japan.You exchange it for your actual tickets either at your arrival airport or at any of the rail stations. The metro signs are in English as well as Japanese. You can purchase a discounted metro pass at one of the BIC Camera stores in Tokyo. Just bring your Passport. The best Wi-Fi value out there in Japan is Ninja Wi-Fi. It's a pocket wi-fi device that cost us $100 USD for almost 3 weeks of usage! Saved a bundle on Verizon fees. There is typically a brochure in with your Japan Rail voucher pack. Google Translate is an essential App for your phone.

In Tokyo, don't miss going to the Asakusa Temple complex for a real taste of local culture. You can also do the free walking tour of the Imperial Palace grounds. And go eat at a real Ramen-Ya. Yum!
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#43
20 Posts
Joined Jun 2017
Originally posted by Aloha 1
We took the ship's hot springs tour. at Beppu. Very interesting. At Kagoshima, we went to the Samurai houses. Busan doesn't offer a lot but the fish market is a hoot to go to or you could go to the huge Lotte mall ( about a 20 minute cab ride from the boat. There will be a money exchange trailer set up on the dock at Busan to exchange your currency for Korean Won. We did a day trip to Hiroshima before the cruise and it was absolutely fascinating that just a few blocks from Ground Zero there is now a high fashion district with stores from Gucci, Ferragamo,etc. Whatever you do, when the opportunity presents to sample local food, do it!
we plan to try and do most tours ourselves, hopefully this will be easy enough. The hells in beppu look great, and really looking forward to Hiroshima, that was the main reason for picking this cruise. Any local food in particular, or just generally all Japanese food? We are looking forward to beef in Kobe for lunch after the cruise!
#44
195 Posts
Joined Apr 2008
Thanks for all the great informative about Tokyo. We are also going to ishinomaki, Hakodate, Vladivostok, sakaiminato, busan, kochi, and Tokushima. If anyone can help I'd appreciate it. The live blog about the diamond princess will be great to read also.
#45
Okemos MI and Maui HI
1,567 Posts
Joined Feb 2001
Originally posted by bluebell sparkle
we plan to try and do most tours ourselves, hopefully this will be easy enough. The hells in beppu look great, and really looking forward to Hiroshima, that was the main reason for picking this cruise. Any local food in particular, or just generally all Japanese food? We are looking forward to beef in Kobe for lunch after the cruise!
In Hiroshima, try Okonomiyaki. It's like a grilled pancake with cabbage, veggies, shrimp. Oishi!
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#46
2,926 Posts
Joined Nov 2000
We just booked the August 4 Diamond Princess - festivals cruise. Literally an hour ago.

Passport question:
Princess website at checkin says 6 months passport required post-cruise
I had checked government websites prior to booking since flying to Japan which showed Japan requiring a validity of "time of travel" only - no extra months. Same thing with our South Korea port.
Our daughter's passport according to Princess rules will expire 12 days prior to 6 months post cruise

Is there some reason Princess adds extra months when governments are more lax?

Trying to figure out now how to get a passport before flying out in ten days. Cruise paid in full. Can call tomorrow to get appt at local passport facility that we can walk out with it in hand same day but the whole six month thing baffles me Princess is stating (cruise ends Aug 12 and passport expires January 30 - child passports only good 5 years of course )

Holland America tried doing that same thing for Alaska but ended up not being a problem on hubby's - they wanted 6 months validity for northbound Vancouver departure and his expired four months later. Was so weird because we cleared customs in Vancouver prior to boarding ship and all ports were American (and we are US citizens). It makes me wonder if many cruiselines list 6 months without any regard to the actual country laws?


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#47
2,926 Posts
Joined Nov 2000
Originally posted by MandyGirl
We just booked the August 4 Diamond Princess - festivals cruise. Literally an hour ago.

Passport question:
Princess website at checkin says 6 months passport required post-cruise
I had checked government websites prior to booking since flying to Japan which showed Japan requiring a validity of "time of travel" only - no extra months. Same thing with our South Korea port.
Our daughter's passport according to Princess rules will expire 12 days prior to 6 months post cruise

Is there some reason Princess adds extra months when governments are more lax?

Trying to figure out now how to get a passport before flying out in ten days. Cruise paid in full. Can call tomorrow to get appt at local passport facility that we can walk out with it in hand same day but the whole six month thing baffles me Princess is stating (cruise ends Aug 12 and passport expires January 30 - child passports only good 5 years of course )

Holland America tried doing that same thing for Alaska but ended up not being a problem on hubby's - they wanted 6 months validity for northbound Vancouver departure and his expired four months later. Was so weird because we cleared customs in Vancouver prior to boarding ship and all ports were American (and we are US citizens). It makes me wonder if many cruiselines list 6 months without any regard to the actual country laws?


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Update:
Princess said they require 6 months (5.5 months won't work for Japan on ship) so we are driving to Arkansas for a same day passport appointment renewal Monday for her. Whew!


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#48
Phoenix, Arizona
59 Posts
Joined Jul 2011
Thank you for all this great information. Did you notice if any men tourists wear shorts at all in the cities? DH is considering what to pack for August - hot and humid so jeans might be uncomfortable. Any impressions would be most helpful.
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#49
Australia
91 Posts
Joined Oct 2016
I love Japan though have flown there almost every time. The one time I have sailed there it only stopped at Osaka, Did you go to Osaka? Amazing place but I really wish you got more time at these stops when sailing. We had a brass band waiting for us in Osaka, the Japanese are amazing people. One member recorded almost every port, I don't know this person but this is the day in Osaka, my stateroom was directly under where he is filming from, best cruise ever.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ENIs8Ox4Reg&t=6s
#50
Sydney, Australia
7,484 Posts
Joined Jan 2014
Originally posted by larana
Thank you for all this great information. Did you notice if any men tourists wear shorts at all in the cities? DH is considering what to pack for August - hot and humid so jeans might be uncomfortable. Any impressions would be most helpful.
I suggest convertable travel/hiking pants for both men and women. Good brands will keep you cool and comfortable in hot humid weather, and you'll never end up feeling embarrassed because you're the only one in shorts - just zip the legs back on. They are an essential part of my travel wardrobe.
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#51
Okemos MI and Maui HI
1,567 Posts
Joined Feb 2001
Originally posted by larana
Thank you for all this great information. Did you notice if any men tourists wear shorts at all in the cities? DH is considering what to pack for August - hot and humid so jeans might be uncomfortable. Any impressions would be most helpful.
We were there in August and the average daily high was 95 F. Shorts every day. Japanese men have loosened up their dress in the summer to coincide with the Governments desire to save energy. hence offices are warmer and ties are increasingly not worn.

I never felt out of place with my shorts, even at any casual lunch or dinner.
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#52
Okemos MI and Maui HI
1,567 Posts
Joined Feb 2001
One more travel tid bit: A great website for traveling by rail in Japan is japanrailpass.net. Also, there is a website blog by Takashi which is very helpful in planning itineraries: jprail.com. And finally, jrail.com. Between these 3, you'll find everything you need!
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#53
6,169 Posts
Joined Jan 2007
How was embarkation? Did they actually enforce staggered boarding times?
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#54
California
1,749 Posts
Joined Feb 2005
We had a port lecturer when we did our 17-day Grand Japan cruise on Diamond Princess in 2015. Heather (she is usually on the Asia sub-forum) was wonderful in providing good and detailed information about each port. I am surprise that they do not do that anymore. Maybe post your questions about the ports on the Asia sub-forum and Heather may answer. Loved the Diamond Princess and will be on her again in November 2018. Can't wait! Trip report on my blog for anyone who is interested.
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8 Other Cruises between 1993~2007 on NCL, Princess, Celebrity, Victoria and Carnival
2008-Carnival Splendor 8-day Inaugural Genoa to Dover
2008-Carnival Splendor 12-day Baltic
2008-NCL Star Mexican Riviera
2009-Victoria Queen-Yangtze River, China (Shanghai to Chongqing)
2009-HAL Zaandam-Alaska
2010-NCL Gem-14-day B/B Venice (Adriatic, Turkey, Greek Isles)
2011-Diamond Princess-Alaska 12-day Cruisetour
2012-MSC Splendida-Western Mediterranean
2012-NCL Jade-Eastern Mediterranean and Holy Land
2014-Carnival Inspiration-Baja California
2014-Royal Caribbean Radiance OTS- 13-day R/T Sydney/New Zealand
2015 Carnival (Inspiration)-Baja California
2015 NCL Jade-11-Day Western Mediterranean
2015 NCL Jade 10-Day Eastern Mediterranean
2015 Crown Princess Wine Country Coastal
2015 Diamond Princess B2B Grand Japan
2015 Sinorama Gold 8 Yangtze River
2016 HAL Volendam Asian Adventure
2016 HAL Volendam Far East Discovery
2017 NCL Getaway Transatlantic
2017 HAL Zuiderdam Fjords & Highlands
#55
2,926 Posts
Joined Nov 2000
Originally posted by ROCruiser
We had a port lecturer when we did our 17-day Grand Japan cruise on Diamond Princess in 2015. Heather (she is usually on the Asia sub-forum) was wonderful in providing good and detailed information about each port. I am surprise that they do not do that anymore.

Oh no... we leave tomorrow for Japan and board the ship August 4. I was looking forward to port lectures. Your trip report has been super helpful - thank you!!


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Upcoming: 06/17 HAL Noordam NB Alaska, 04/18 P&O Australia (Pacific Explorer), 04/18 RCCL Explorer TransPacific, 9/18 NCL Bliss.
Previous: 03/17 RCCL Liberty of Seas, 11/16 Celebrity Infinity (full Panama Canal transit), 05/16 Fathom, 04/16 NCL Escape, 03/16 NCL Dawn, 11/21/15 NCL Jade, 11/30/15 NCL Sky (15th anniversary of cruising - same stateroom!), 01/16 DCL Wonder, 05/14 Carnival Dream , 08/14 Norwegian Star - Baltics from Copenhagen , 09/14 Westbound Transatlantic on Disney Magic BCN-SJU
12/13 Disney Magic Bahamas, 11/13 Caribbean Princess, 06/13 NCL Spirit Barcelona to Venice with Turkey and Croatia,
05/13 Disney Eastbound Transatlantic Galveston-BCN ,
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#57
California
1,749 Posts
Joined Feb 2005
Originally posted by MandyGirl
Oh no... we leave tomorrow for Japan and board the ship August 4. I was looking forward to port lectures. Your trip report has been super helpful - thank you!!


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I am sure you will have a super time cruising Japan no matter what you do! Thank you for the kind words and enjoy your trip!
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Welcome to My Blog

8 Other Cruises between 1993~2007 on NCL, Princess, Celebrity, Victoria and Carnival
2008-Carnival Splendor 8-day Inaugural Genoa to Dover
2008-Carnival Splendor 12-day Baltic
2008-NCL Star Mexican Riviera
2009-Victoria Queen-Yangtze River, China (Shanghai to Chongqing)
2009-HAL Zaandam-Alaska
2010-NCL Gem-14-day B/B Venice (Adriatic, Turkey, Greek Isles)
2011-Diamond Princess-Alaska 12-day Cruisetour
2012-MSC Splendida-Western Mediterranean
2012-NCL Jade-Eastern Mediterranean and Holy Land
2014-Carnival Inspiration-Baja California
2014-Royal Caribbean Radiance OTS- 13-day R/T Sydney/New Zealand
2015 Carnival (Inspiration)-Baja California
2015 NCL Jade-11-Day Western Mediterranean
2015 NCL Jade 10-Day Eastern Mediterranean
2015 Crown Princess Wine Country Coastal
2015 Diamond Princess B2B Grand Japan
2015 Sinorama Gold 8 Yangtze River
2016 HAL Volendam Asian Adventure
2016 HAL Volendam Far East Discovery
2017 NCL Getaway Transatlantic
2017 HAL Zuiderdam Fjords & Highlands
#58
16,263 Posts
Joined Aug 2013
Originally posted by MandyGirl
Update:
Princess said they require 6 months (5.5 months won't work for Japan on ship) so we are driving to Arkansas for a same day passport appointment renewal Monday for her. Whew!
Thanks for the update. I didn't know Princess is enforcing this.
#59
Australia
91 Posts
Joined Oct 2016
Hey cruise people, If you happen to visit Osaka? Do the wonderloop, it's about $30 AU so $20-$25 U.S. If you visit Osaka castle? there are a few food carts. There's a lady running a Karage cart, let's just say her Karage is amazing, specially with Wasabi Mayo. Don't forgot the shirts are all small, I'm skinny and XL is about the smallest I can go. If you're into technology, it's a must to visit Denden town which is also on the Wonderloop. The other ports I've been to are Hakodate and Aomori, though I flew. Both ports have amazing crab dishes, Hakodate has the only squid post box in the world.
#60
3,418 Posts
Joined Oct 2011
I may be doing a one week out of Singapore on her next February.

Was there trivia?
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