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BruceMuzz

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About BruceMuzz

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About Me

  • Location
    Shanghai, PRC / Sete, France
  • Interests
    languages, Japanese woodworking
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Virgin
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Mediterranean

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  1. The port of Tianjin is called Xingang (literally new port). You can catch a bus or taxi from Xingang to Tianjin. The trip is about 30-40 minutes. From Tianjin the best way to Beijing is via Bullet Train. Not quite as good or fast as the Japanese bullet trains, but OK. Tianjin to Beijing (Beijing South Station) is about 90 minutes via Bullet Train.
  2. You usually need to purchase the Japan Rail pass before entering Japan - but not always. You normally receive the pass at home, and then have it validated at a Japan Railways Station after you arrive in Japan. In Yokohama, you have 2 major choices to do this: Yokohama Station is the main JR Station in Yokohama. It is 15 minutes away from Osanbashi Cruise Terminal by taxi or subway. You can board the Shinkansen (Bullet Train) and many other JR Trains there. Or you can take a taxi from Osanbashi to Shin-Yokohama Station (also about 15 minutes away by taxi) to have your JR Pass validated. Only Shinkansen trains pass through this station.
  3. I live in Japan. My ship cruises around Japan 4 months each year. A bit of information: Northern Japan (Hokkaido) has a climate very similar to Alaska. Southern Japan (Okinawa) has a climate very similar to Hawaii. Most of central Japan is very humid and hot during July, August, and September. Rainy season in Central Japan is all of June and most of July. It rains every day. Typhoons can happen just about any time, but most often from August through October and February through April. The best overall weather for cruising Japan is April to mid-June and September to November.
  4. Island Princess is making an unscheduled stop at Vancouver tomorrow due to engine problems. Has anyone heard anything about this?
  5. Kay, You have already answered your own questions. " It varies wildly. " and "Whatever the average is, it can be exactly the opposite at any given time." I have worked on cruise ships sailing to Baja from California in February for the past 30 years. Very rarely have 2 of those cruises been remotely alike. There is no pattern, there is no way to predict. Sometimes calm / sometimes rough. Sometimes hot / sometimes warm / sometimes cold. Sometimes rainy / sometimes cloudy / sometimes sunny. Any individual historical experience that anyone gives you here is just that - an old story that may never be repeated when you sail.
  6. BruceMuzz

    Fishing

    There are very few cruise ships that will agree to cook fish caught be passengers. The US Public Health Service specifically forbids it - unless a lot of official paperwork certifying the quality of the fish is filled out by pre-approved professionals. US Flag ships are not required to follow these regulations. You may be able to do it on one of them. Yes, fish can be shipped back home. Final cost will be about 5 times what it would cost you to just buy it at home.
  7. That is correct. After Shibuya, the sign on the front of the train will change, and it will no longer be an express. But that doesn't matter. Shibuya to Shinjuku Sanchome is just a few stops.
  8. Chinese law still specifically forbids foreign currency in China - although most of the time it is overlooked. Chinese nationals can now legally exchange foreign currency at banks, but it is a bit of a hassle. How would an American waiter or taxi driver feel about getting a tip in Chinese Renminbi? In the bigger Chinese cities, there are many ATMs for withdrawing currency. Foreign credit cards may or may not work in them.
  9. Not quite right. Get on the Minatomirai Line ( 急行 Express Train) at Nihon-Odori Station in Yokohama. The train technically ends at Shibuya Station in Tokyo. Actually the very same train continues to Shinjuku Sanchome Station with a new designation "Fukutoshin Line". You just remain on the same train until Shinjuku Sanchome.
  10. When you exit the Osanbashi Cruise Terminal in Yokohama, you need to go to the Minatomirai Subway Line Station called "Nihon-Odori". This station is located just 2 blocks away from the Terminal. You are nearly at the end of the line. One direction takes you just one stop to Yokohama's Chinatown. The other direction takes you through Yokohama Station to Shibuya Station in Tokyo. The Local Train will take about 1 hour to Shibuya; the Express will take about 31 minutes. The cost is the same for both trains -about 500 yen. At Shibuya Station the train changes names - to Fukutoshin Line. But you need not do anything. Just stay on the train a few more stops to Shinjuku-Sanchome Station. Shinjuku-Sanchome Station is a very short taxi ride from your hotel.
  11. There are dozens of very nice hotels within walking distance of the Osanbashi Cruise Terminal in Yokohama. Getting from Narita to Yokohama is painless. In the basement of the arrival terminal, you will find a desk selling tickets on Narita Express Train. Just purchase a one-way seat to Yokohama Station. Cost is around US$40 per person. Travel time is about 100 minutes. From Yokohama Station you can take a taxi to the hotels near the Cruise Terminal for about 1,500 yen. Travel time is about 10 minutes.
  12. Not quite accurate. The Japanese have some very conservative (and old) laws regarding communications by foreign flag ships. C-Band communications from and to the ship are not legally allowed. Older ships use C-Band for Satellite telephone and internet. Newer ships use K-Band for Satellite telephone and internet communications, which is perfectly legal in Japan. Plus, K-Band has better connections and higher speeds. If your ship has K-Band, you will have no problems with internet (from the ship) in Japan. On shore, however, you may have difficulty finding free WIFI / internet. This is just starting to become popular in Japan. Your Cabin Steward, Barman, or Waiter can tell you where the fastest, closest free WIFI is to be found in any Japanese port.
  13. As mentioned above, the cruise terminal is now at Xingang (literally "New Port"). Beijing is the best option for buying what you need. Tianjin is OK as well. Xingang has nothing.
  14. I have managed cruise ships on many different lines for many years, but have never heard of NC. No Choice?
  15. There are many supermarkets and shops in Tianjin that carry a wide range of alcohols. China has very little tax or duty on foreign spirits, so you should be able to find what you need for about half of what you would pay at home.
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