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Random Notes, Mariner, 3/28-4/15/19, Shanghai-Tokyo--LIVE!*


Mr Rumor
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To live-blog or not to live-blog?  I didn't ask that question of myself between 2013-2018 when I wound up blogging all of our Regent cruises.  But I've been tossing that question around since reading of Japan blocking or restricting the internet in its territorial waters.  If still true today, that would be quite the live-reporting impediment on a cruise such as this one, with seven Japanese ports!

 

I did take heart Thursday when a Mariner staff member got back to me on the subject:  "All is good, don't worry."   So while I'm not ready just yet to burst into "Hakuna Matata,"  I've decided to take the china and silverware out and give this blog a shot, starting with a little table-setting.  But don't be surprised if my Notes become even more Random than usual as soon as we hit Japanese waters!

 

Ginny and I booked Shanghai-Tokyo with its choice of included pre- or post-tours a little more than two years ago (we included pre-"Shanghai and the Great Wall" and paid for post-"Tokyo and Hakone").  We each visited Japan in our 20s, Ginny as the guest of her U.S. soldier boyfriend at the time, me as the Royal Viking Sea's shipboard editor on the Sea's maiden Circle Pacific cruise.  But we have never touched foot on mainland China or South Korea soil.  So we're excited to cross this itinerary off our bucket list.

 

We've had nary an upgrade or cancellation offer from Regent these past two years, but I have amassed a small collection of Regent "Important Information" communiques, relayed to us by our TA.

 

The first one, in July, 2018, concerned fairly substantial "adjustments" to our itinerary due to the fact that "Currently the Ministry of China is not authorizing ships to sail directly between China and South Korean ports."  (Goodbye Dalian, China and Nagasaki; hello, Jeju, South Korea.)   The second one, this past January, concerned a four-hour later departure from Shanghai than originally scheduled, due to "tide restrictions."   I understood the significance of this change when, a couple of weeks later, we received communication No. 3 stating that our subsequently delayed arrival time of 5 p.m. in Beijing would preclude the four afternoon excursions from operating.  (Goodbye, "Chinese Folk Art.")   Why Regent's planners didn't know about Shanghai's tides on March 29 when creating our itinerary escapes me--and, yes, there was grumbling on our Roll Call.

 

But these matters are in our wake now as we look forward to making some very special memories on this our eighth Mariner cruise, and first since the refurb.  The excitement will start on the first day of our pre-cruise tour next Tuesday, when we will celebrate our joint birthday (it's true!) with a jaunt on the Great Wall. (By the way, Happy Birthday to our friend Rachel, a fellow March 26 celebrant!)

 

Ginny is also thrilled to be seeing for the first time in decades a friend she made in Japan half a century ago. Yasuo and Ginny have stayed in touch all these years and in Kobe--after what we know will be an amazing day in Kyoto--we will host him and his wife Hiromi for dinner in Compass Rose.  According to Yasuo, our visit couldn't come soon enough:  "We old now!"  (Say, Yasuo, aren't we the same age?  Speak for yourself!)

 

We're also looking forward to hosting other special dinner guests on the last night of the cruise, in Tokyo. I met Hozumi on the Peter, Paul and Mary website message board more than a dozen years ago, but this will be only the second time we've seen her and husband Yuki in person.  We finally met them in the Land of Enchantment in 2015 when they came to visit with a special request that we attend  Strauss' "Salome" at the Santa Fe Opera.  (Hozumi explained:  "We can never see that opera in Japan.  Japanese people don't like violence!")  We also have a dinner date with our Yokohama friends the last night of our post-cruise tour.

 

Well, with the table set on what will be our 19th Regent cruise, it's now time to pack the car!  We'll soon be driving down to Albuquerque, where we'll overnight due to our 6:20 a.m. flight to Los Angeles tomorrow.  We'll be traveling with a number of our fellow Roll Callers on AA Flight 181 to Beijing.  I'm hoping one or more will want to join in on this blog! 

 

Great as always to have you along and, OK, here goes:  Hakuna matata!

 

Rich

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Have a great trip; you are hitting my favorite part of the world.  Regarding internet access, yes, Regent has found a way around Japanese restrictions, they use a different satellite with a different frequency.  It was great to be able to still use the internet when we were in Japan on Voyager in late 2017.

 

Enjoy the Cherry Blossoms!

 

Marc

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Hooray!  Can’t wait to follow along with your adventures!   Mariner is a beautiful ship with such lovely public spaces.  Please say hello to Lacsman, Head Sommalier and my very favorite Regent person...and give Franck a bisou, bisou from us!  

 

Jennifer & Georges

 

PS...Happy birthday to you and Ginny!  

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We also board Mariner in Tokyo on the 27th April so please take good care of her and enjoy the ride @Mr Rumor (and Ginny) !   We'll be getting our sea legs by sailing along with you first - so looking forward to it.  Thanks for sharing!

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Ginny and I have been happily ensconced in our Albuquerque hotel room for several hours now, with Ginny already at work on her craft project for this cruise, a beaded amulet bag.  

 

Only 6930 more miles to Beijing!

 

Marc, big thanks for confirming we’ll have an internet connection in Japanese waters.  Good on Regent for taking the necessary satellite steps to make this happen.

 

Jennifer/Georges, Rachel, Jackie, Gerry, Jean, ronrick, Gilly and Sheila, thanks for the good-trip wishes and great to have you traveling along once again.  Especially happy, ronrick and Gilly, to be able to further stoke your excitement as you do your final Mariner countdowns.  I’m already looking forward to continuing our adventure via your live reporting once we disembark.

 

Wishing you a great crossing, Sheila!

 

Mikenbob, Ginny and I are looking forward to meeting you and, yes, please do chime in all you’d like on this thread.  This goes for all my fellow CCers on this cruise.  I’ve loved the joint blogs I’ve participated in and feel the more voices the better!

 

Rich

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Rich/Ginny:  first of all, happy Birthday!  We wish you a wonderful trip and cruise. Please ensure you have a great meal and some soju in Korea for us and I will tell you about The Boss’ two day hangover. 

Safe travels!

Z and TB

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1 hour ago, Zqueeze1 said:

Rich/Ginny:  first of all, happy Birthday!  We wish you a wonderful trip and cruise. Please ensure you have a great meal and some soju in Korea for us and I will tell you about The Boss’ two day hangover. 

Safe travels!

Z and TB

Hey it is my birthday too!

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8 hours ago, Zqueeze1 said:

Rich/Ginny:  first of all, happy Birthday!  We wish you a wonderful trip and cruise. Please ensure you have a great meal and some soju in Korea for us and I will tell you about The Boss’ two day hangover. 

Safe travels!

Z and TB

Thanks, Z!  I just checked out a Town and Country article on soju—had no idea it’s 

the best selling liquor in the world!  But a NYC Korean restauranteur didn’t describe its taste in exactly glowing terms:  “rubbing alcohol,” “watered-down vodka.”  Maybe I’ll go the beer route instead!  (Hite?  Cass?).

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7 hours ago, RachelG said:

Hey it is my birthday too!

Rachel, wish our Great Wall walk could have been a joint-joint-birthday event.  I can see George in my mind’s eye striding about 200 steps ahead!

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7 hours ago, RachelG said:

Hey it is my birthday too!

Whoops!  My bad.  I hope you also have a great Birthday along with Mr. and Mrs. Rumor. 

7 minutes ago, Mr Rumor said:

Thanks, Z!  I just checked out a Town and Country article on soju—had no idea it’s 

the best selling liquor in the world!  But a NYC Korean restauranteur didn’t describe its taste in exactly glowing terms:  “rubbing alcohol,” “watered-down vodka.”  Maybe I’ll go the beer route instead!  (Hite?  Cass?).

Soju is something that should only be tried once in your life solely as a square filler. It’s true that it’s more like grain alcohol than anything else, but the taste hides well in a punch (ironically, that’s what it feels like the next day). I’m not a fan of Korean beeers, but I would take a Hite as long as it’s very cold. I don’t know if it’s still produced, but we used to drink OB during deployments to Korea which was all formaldehyde but met the specifications for a quality GI beer: cheap and plentiful.  Can’t wait to read more about your adventure! 

Z and TB

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Will enjoy reading your posts; especially as we lived in Tokyo and Seoul and will be in many of the same ports on Explorer in 2021. We experienced a womderful cruise on Mariner around Australia; felt it was our best Regent cruise so far but then we have never had a bad one! Safe traveling and Happy Birthday to both of you! I am at the table and can’t wait for the next course to be served. 

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Have a wonderful trip.  Please say hello to Ginny for us.  We will be boarding in Tokyo 4/27 as well as a few others.  We really enjoyed the Mariner last November (after the refurb) and looking forward to your comments.  Just wish we were traveling together again.  

 

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Gliding into L.A. atop some cotton candy.

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Shortly before touching down, we got a look at the future home of the Los Angeles Rams and Chargers.  Due to open next year, Los Angeles Stadium at Hollywood Park is already slated to host the 2022 Super Bowl.

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We have pulled up a chair to your table and anxiously await your blog, safe travels and Happy Birthday to you and Ginny.

 

As you know we follow hot on your heels for the Tokyo roundtrip, its hard to believe that it was two years in the making of this sold out cruise, we hope to make as many memories as you during our cruise and we just might include a few paragraphs of our own observations, that is if Tom will be my secretary.

 

It must be Birthday celebration month on RSSC, tom and I celebrating our birthdays in April, Osaka for Tom and Jeju for me!

 

Tell Ginny hello for us and wishing you both warmest birthday wishes!

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