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MsSommelier

Which ship for west coast Japan?

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Cruises for 2020 are almost or already sold out, so we're trying to make a quick but informed decision and I hope you can help. Has anyone done this trip with A&K or Bremen or another similar cultural in depth cruise?

Itinerary with Bremen sounds great but cabins are very small and without balcony but if guides etc are worth it, we are open.

Many thanks!

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Not with these ships but Ponant and the guides were soso. We added a land trip where they had better guides, better language skills and more cultural insight. Will do the same in 2019 with Azamara and an additional land trip by the same small company https://www.uniquejapantours.com/about-us/

 

Maybe the German speaking Japanese guides for the Bremen will be better than the English speakers we had for Ponant.

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Thank you Floridiana for the recommendation for the guides. Abercrombie and Kent are using Ponant (Le Soleal) for the west coast Japan cruise, but it sounds like maybe you did the cruise directly with Ponant?

 

We normally cruise luxury lines, but if the guides are really good with the Bremen, I'll put up with a small cabin and no balcony. (Crystal Endeavor is already sold out for 2020 itinerary, or at least that is what my TA says). And A&K is putting quite the premium on the Ponant based cruise (like double) and I'm not sure it's worth it unless their guides are super duper. I've never used A&K - has anyone here?

Thanks again for any insights.

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I have done a culture/history focused cruise around Sicily on the Hanseatic which was amazing. Can't say anything about the Bremen but the cruisers onboard who had done both were happy with the Bremen as well.

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We booked directly with Ponant. The cruise after ours was chartered by Tauck and they brought their own guide on the ship, maybe even for the land tours.

 

We had a cabin with a balcony on the main deck. The balcony was useless because a) the weather was foggy b) the balcony was built for an expedition with a high solid metal railing, no seeing through. You had to stand to look outside. The cabin was small!

 

Both our ship based cultural enrichment speakers were more or less useless (for China and Japan), lack of proficient English language skills/pronunciation. The cruise director and the hotel director both spoke excellent fluent French and English.

 

If the price is comparable and you speak German, I would go for the German ship unless you find their formal evenings annoying. On Ponant, it wasn't overly formal (no tuxes, no ball gowns) and we avoided the second captain's reception by going to their buffet restaurant.

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Thank you both for the feedback. We have booked the Bremen, May 11 to 23, 2020 plus a 5 night Nachprogramm (Post Cruise Program) to Tokyo, Kyoto and Nara.

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