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


Mr Rumor
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Glad to hear it all worked out Rich. We had a “camera” issue a number of years ago on arriving in Venice. Also embarking on the Mariner. Not fun!!! I understand the “feelings”!! 

 

I’m at breakfast at the Ritz Carlton in Shanghai. Today we get a whirlwind tour of the Old City, the Bund and the Yu (something) Gardens. Can’t remember the name. Afterward...we board the Mariner. Must say...Deborah and I are ready. Shanghai is quite an amazing city. Most modern city I’ve ever been. Leaving LA and coming here is like being in Disneyland and traveling from Frontierland to Tomorrowland. Hoping for more to be revealed in the next few days.

 

Just a short note about yesterday. We spent some time at the Temple of Heaven in Beijing. While there, we ran into a group of schoolgirls (probably 8-10 y/o). Deborah, who is a semi-retired 3rd grade teacher, was in her glory interacting with these kids. Their English was quite good, as they are taught it from first grade. Our Chinese is the requisite...good morning, pleas, thank you and good-bye. A popular joke her in China goes some thing like this...

 

       “What do you call someone who speaks two languages...Bilingual.

        What do you call someone who speaks three languages...Trilingual.

        What do you call someone who only speaks one language... American”

 

Enough for now. Need to go check out of the room....

 

 

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Firstly, I am sorry to hear that you had issues with the food that you ate (assuming that this was the problem),  Thankfully you had Cipro.  Dennis had a similar issue on our last cruise and our antibiotics really helped!  Also happy that Ginny was able to get her camera back.  All's well that ends well!

 

Really enjoying your photos and commentary.  Earlier I said that you are doing the same itinerary that we did.  Actually, we did the same itinerary as someone else (going from Japan to Vancouver).  We "almost" made it to China but it didn't happen and now we have both lost interest so reading about your experience is wonderful.

 

Be well and enjoy!

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14 hours ago, Mr Rumor said:

Wes, thanks for the Myammar check-in and hope you’re having a fantastic time!

 

Hi from the Portman Ritz Carlton in Shanghai.  We had a drizzly welcome following the roughly two hour flight from Beijing aboard a China Eastern Airbus.  Our wonderful guide Jason accompanied us, but for our half-day Shanghai excursion tomorrow (Yuyuan Garden and Jade Buddha Temple followed by lunch at a local restaurant) before boarding the Mariner, he’ll share guide duties with an associate, Celina, a Shanghai resident.

 

We had one stop on our Beijing schedule this morning before heading for the airport, a visit to the Temple of Heaven.  Built in 1420, the same year that the Forbidden City opened, the temple was used by emperors in both the Ming and Qing dynasties to pray for bumper harvests and favorable rain. Today the grounds of the temple are very popular with the locals, especially the many scores who come each day to play cards and other games of chance.  We passed literally a football field’s worth of active games like this one as we made our way to the Temple’s most important building, the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest:

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As we stood taking in the Hall a few minutes later I felt someone brush up against me.  A pickpocket?  Noooooo, it was a local who was maneuvering her way into a photo with me!

 

I was happy to oblige, then asked her and her four lady friends if I could turn the tables and photograph them with Ginny and fellow tour member Patsy:

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A few minutes later a group of schoolchildren took their spots on the steps leading up to the Hall.  They were a happy bunch, and I was delighted to capture them at their giddiest: 

01F3A61B-B7B8-45BF-8630-FDE5B5AA3187.thumb.jpeg.59abbda7ffd38c6bcf78fbb34d4f4b11.jpeg

 

Unless I think of something to post about from the hotel tomorrow morning, the next time you will hear from me is from aboard the Mariner.  I feel real happy about that—just about as happy as any of those kids!

 

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@Mr Rumor it felt wrong somehow, to "like" your story of lost and found, but I'm focusing my "like" on the "found" and most certainly not on the first bit (or your discomfort!)  I did something similar last month and it was a rather unhappy couple of hours until it was sorted out but thankfully it was soon forgotten as the experience was overlaid by many more happy times and lovely people!  These things are so easily done when we are tired and a bit displaced.  I'm glad you are feeling better as well.

 

Bon Voyage for later - and phew😅 for now!

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Well this thread has become of even more interest to me. Yesterday, I received two Emails from Regent. Regent was 'enhancing" my B2B of Hong Kong to Shanghai and Shanghai to Bangkok in March 2020 by Eliminating Shanghai, changing 5 of the 9 ports in the 1st leg, cutting easy access to Koyoto (via Kobe) and several other changes. I canceled both cruises.

I'm now scanning various cruise/land sites for ideas for ideas for Asia in early Spring 2020. Any ideas are welcome. I will start a new thread. Thanks

Jim C

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3 hours ago, DeepFreeze63 said:

Well this thread has become of even more interest to me. Yesterday, I received two Emails from Regent. Regent was 'enhancing" my B2B of Hong Kong to Shanghai and Shanghai to Bangkok in March 2020 by Eliminating Shanghai, changing 5 of the 9 ports in the 1st leg, cutting easy access to Koyoto (via Kobe) and several other changes. I canceled both cruises.

I'm now scanning various cruise/land sites for ideas for ideas for Asia in early Spring 2020. Any ideas are welcome. I will start a new thread. Thanks

Jim C

I was actually booked on this current cruise but decided to cancel. We decided to go to Antarctica instead this past Nov. The timing also interrupts our ski season which ends Apr 21st and DH already has 100 days on the slopes but always wants more ;-).

We chose to go with Celebrity Millennium and the itinerary was very similar and has 3 days in Beijing vs Regent. The ship has just undergone an extensive dry dock and remodel. Staying in a suite on X works very well for us and X has been doing this location for a long time which should be a perk. Our cruise is end of Oct. 2019 and we embark in Shanghai. Jut an FYI for you.

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Hello from the Mariner!  We had a quick dinner in Sette Mari—appetizers, soup and ice cream—so we could beat it back to our room to enjoy the evening’s entertainment from our balcony:  the spectacular Shanghai skyline.  

B3785006-E3B4-48DA-BD8E-2D938B5AE6D1.thumb.jpeg.f615969274effbc1d15ca196b3db430b.jpeg

 

Even though we’re fully unpacked, we don’t feel quite settled in yet, as the final day of our pre-cruise program occupied our morning and early afternoon.  We finally embarked shortly past three.

 

Our day began with a visit to one of Shanghai’s 200 Buddhist temples, the Jade Buddha Temple, one of Shanghai’s top attractions.  Although we weren’t allowed to photograph the two-meters-tall Buddha,  exquisitely carved from a single piece of white jade, for one buck we could buy a collection of postcards, including one featuring this photo of the Buddha:

FF85BAA3-5306-48EE-89F0-310813A70D79.thumb.jpeg.9c2fe1b89d2ca6bf22677aed8b90db8b.jpeg

 

A couple of other temple scenes that caught my eye:

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(I shared the above photo with Celina, Jason’s associate.  She explained:  “One way for monks to practice calm is by doing calligraphy.”)

 

Next stop on the program was a walk through the oasis of calm in Shanghai’s bustling Old Town known as Yu Garden, where I spied this couple wielding a selfie stick:

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Then it was back into the bustle for a short shopping stint.  Ginny was delighted with her purchase of several silk scarves at a dealer recommended by Celina.

 

To thank Celina, Ginny brought out Stowie, our traveling companion, for a little nuzzle.

F5763C60-7D4F-44AD-86DD-59FE33A412CB.thumb.jpeg.e05f0f376a00b9279b022c2ce498b536.jpeg

 

Lunch at the Xian Qiang Fang, known for its take on typical Shanghai Chinese food (said to be lighter and sweeter than other types of Chinese cuisine), completed our program.  Dishes included Sweet and Sour Bass, Sautéed Chicken Cube with Chili and Peanut and Lotus Root Stuffed with Sweet Rice.

 

On our drive to the port, Jason had these closing words, “You are the most popular tourists.  We guides feel lucky if we get to show you around.  You are open-minded, friendly, well educated.  I can share with you lots of things.  Most Chinese don’t understand freedom and democracy.  This sometimes makes me feel lonely.  I feel accomplished in giving you this tour.  I hope I represented my country well.”

 

(You did, Jason!)

Edited by Mr Rumor
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Really glad to be reading this wonderful thread Rich, Ginny, and of course Rachel.  To add to the comments from DeepFreeze63, on the Regent Facebook age saw where it appears China is being removed from all Regent sailings and lots of SE Asia itinerary changes are being reported now and in the future.

 

This may be the last Regent cruise to China and glad those aboard will be able to enjoy what they booked.  No explanation and strange with the seeming better relations the US is having with China.  Have a wonderful rest of your vacation. 

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Thier has to be a reason, we just don't know it.  I can't see Regent cancelling out a port(s)in China that is popular  without a good reason-it could be a cost reason, government issues.  After all it cost Regent when people cancel a cruise with reason---think about all the paperwork involved.  It doesn't help cruisers that want to go-but in time we should see a reason why this is happening.

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7 hours ago, DeepFreeze63 said:

Well this thread has become of even more interest to me. Yesterday, I received two Emails from Regent. Regent was 'enhancing" my B2B of Hong Kong to Shanghai and Shanghai to Bangkok in March 2020 by Eliminating Shanghai, changing 5 of the 9 ports in the 1st leg, cutting easy access to Koyoto (via Kobe) and several other changes. I canceled both cruises.

I'm now scanning various cruise/land sites for ideas for ideas for Asia in early Spring 2020. Any ideas are welcome. I will start a new thread. Thanks

Jim C

................... and what reason(s) have Regent given for this significant change of itinerary?

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1 hour ago, ronrick1943 said:

Thier has to be a reason, we just don't know it.  I can't see Regent cancelling out a port(s)in China that is popular  without a good reason-it could be a cost reason, government issues.  After all it cost Regent when people cancel a cruise with reason---think about all the paperwork involved.  It doesn't help cruisers that want to go-but in time we should see a reason why this is happening.

Oftentimes it's the insurance carrier that will drive these decisions - either not providing coverage or jacking the price so as to make it economically unfeasible to go.  I did a quick Google search to see if there might be anything in the news that would result in the rescheduling of the Chinese ports but wasn't able to find anything.

 

Does anyone know if it's just Regent rescheduling or are there other lines as well?  I know when they pulled out of Istanbul a few years back there were still other lines sailing there, at least for a while.

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45 minutes ago, flossie009 said:

................... and what reason(s) have Regent given for this significant change of itinerary?

No reason given and the "enhancement" introduction really set me off -  God Bless my wonderful TA for listening patiently to my rant.

Well, I'm about  over my great disapointment. We had visited Shanghai in both 1992 and 2002 - when the river was black and the Bund looked across at a swamp. We're now booked on the Bangkok to Abu Dhabi in March 2020; we been to both before but in 1981 for Bangkok and before the Louvre for Abu Dhabi. I know it will be HOT; any ideas from those who have traveled this route in the heat (we've done it before but in cooler late November) are most welcome.

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On 3/27/2019 at 1:14 AM, Hambagahle said:

And be prepared for very dirty toilets!!  Not in your hotel of course but during sightseeing!  About the worst I have ever seen...

 

That would definitely be gross.  Perhaps it is a good thing that our two scheduled cruises to China were changed.  This is one place where I enjoy seeing photos but have lost interest in going there.  Much prefer (based on what I see and read) Southeast Asia and Japan.  

 

In any case, keep the photos coming.  They may become valuable someday -- just in case all cruise lines start cancelling China cruises as Regent has.

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Jim/DeepFreeze63, I was very surprised to hear of Shanghai being scrubbed from Regent 2020 itineraries, as are the several fellow “Shanghai and the Great Wall” pre-cruise alumni I’ve shared the news with.  We’re all grateful we didn’t wait any longer to book this itinerary as we’re having a splendid time.  If I learn anything onboard about the itinerary change, I’ll post about it.  (BTW,  we’ve booked Bangkok-Abu-Dhabi in 2020 as well, so look forward to meeting you then.)

 

We signed up for our Water Town of Zhujiajiao excursion mainly because after several days of exploring two of the biggest cities in the world we thought the excursion would be a refreshing change of pace.  Little did we know that after a two-hour drive, we were still in Shanghai, which, according to our jovial guide Yuan, is 6300 square kilometers huge!

 

Regent’s description of the excursion is skimpy.  Not mentioned is the fact that the old town section, our destination, dates back centuries and that Shanghai residents favor Zhujiajiao as a weekend getaway.  Yuan:  “You feel tired of the hustle and you just want to relax.  It’s like taking the time tunnel back to the 16th and even the 15th Centuries.”  

 

The excursion started with a short gondola ride:

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Yuan was then prepared to lead the group on a tour through the maze-like marketplace (presumably including the post office and traditional pharmacy mentioned in the description), but a vocal tour member—a veteran travel agent, it turned out—spoke up for us and Yuan scrapped his tour script, allowing us to explore the market on our own for an hour.  The time flew by, as we checked out the exotic foods. . .

9F0DF204-A947-436D-AA72-B4CEDB6AF773.thumb.jpeg.9fed5e3cfd450560920a2b9fafb8646a.jpeg

 

. . . and a wide variety of nicely done gift items (no trinkets here).  Ginny purchased a piece of silk embroidery from this beaming young lady, the artist:

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We made it to the agreed-upon meeting place, Fansheng Bridge, a little early and enjoyed the views from there.  It was a nice way to say hi and bye to Zhujiajiao.

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We loved our Zhujiajiao tour and found it a nice contrast to the city, even though it's really just a suburb as you say.  It reminded me rather of Hoi An, in Vietnam - same kind of water-based town with old passageways connected by bridges.  The Post Office is quite interesting, actually, though time spent independently is always good too - glad you connected with the locals (which is always top of my list 😉).

 

Thanks for taking me back there with you!

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Mr Rumour and Ginny wonderful live blog as always. So much detail narration and photographs for us all to enjoy from home. 

Your pace has been non stop since you left home, an action packed itinerary.

Every day is a delight to follow along here.  Thanks, Jean.

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Our cruise was wait-listed for months and, is sailing full.  Of the 689 passengers, 345 are male and 344 are female.  This is only the second time since I began blogging our Regent cruises in 2012 that I can recall males having the slight edge.

 

I’m also a little surprised that there are so many Americans, given the distance we all had to travel.  

 

Here is the complete Passenger Nationality Breakdown spanning 25 countries for Way of the Emperors:

 

United States, 392

United Kingdom, 88

Australia, 75

Canada, 20

Germany, 19

Brazil, 18

Netherlands, 14

New Zealand, 10

Switzerland, 9

France, 7

Bulgaria, 6

Israel, 6

Peru, 4

Argentina, 2

Austria, 2

Belgium, 2

Luxembourg, 2

Mexico, 2

Romania, 2

Serbia, 2

Russia, 2

Singapore, 2

Italy, 1

Malaysia, 1

Portugal, 1

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Just now, Gilly said:

We loved our Zhujiajiao tour and found it a nice contrast to the city, even though it's really just a suburb as you say.  It reminded me rather of Hoi An, in Vietnam - same kind of water-based town with old passageways connected by bridges.  The Post Office is quite interesting, actually, though time spent independently is always good too - glad you connected with the locals (which is always top of my list 😉).

 

Thanks for taking me back there with you!

 

Second Gilly's comments. We took a two hour taxi ride in 2009 and toured on our own for a morning. Got there just as the village was waking up. Loved it....and loved seeing your pictures!

Glad you left to go it alone.

 

Loving your blog and loved visiting China, one of our favorite places.

 

Carolyn

Edited by cwn
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6 hours ago, Hambagahle said:

Rich - your photos are just wonderful!  Can't wait for more...  best to you both

Gerry

 

Have to echo this sentiment.  The pictures are really great...  together with the narrative, it makes me really imagine being there.  Keep up the good work!

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I know that art is supposed to be in the eye of the beholder.  But, still, I’m curious to know if there are any beholders out there who would like to wake up to this artwork on not one, not two, but three Regent cruises spanning at least two different ships?

4016F0E7-4F34-4C82-B008-434C13BA386E.thumb.jpeg.acece17dc8b61ffa90cd229d8d89071f.jpeg

 

I distinctly remember posting a photo of this piece the first time we encountered it, circa 2016.  It was baaaaaack on our Voyager Caribbean cruise last fall.

 

And here it is again!  Although we haven’t booked a  Splendour cruise yet, I am now resigned to seeing it there.

 

My creative wife did what she could with the artwork the first time it confronted us by draping a colorful scarf around it.  It helped.  I’ve suggested to Ginny that one of the nice silk scarves she bought on the last morning of our pre-cruise Shanghai tour might do the trick this time.  I’ll let you know if she gets inspired.

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