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Miaminice

Japan Cruise on Westerdam - 04/14/19 - Live(ish) report

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7 hours ago, ger_77 said:

The one thing we discovered when staying in hotels in Japan, is to book "twin" rather than "double" rooms.  With "twin" you get two twin beds (39" wide), while a "double" usually gives you a 54" bed.  You get more sleeping room per person with twin beds.

 

Loving your photos!

Smooth Sailing!     🙂🙂🙂

 

 

 

Good advice!!

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, Miaminice said:

Japan Cruise 2019 - Day 3 - Shimizu

I guess I don’t have to mention that we were happy bunnies when we woke up to blue skies in the morning and a view of an unveiled Mt. Fuji. We are so blessed!

 

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We had arranged a tour with Koji, a guide we had already toured with two years ago, and connected with two other couples to join us. While having breakfast at the Lido restaurant we could already spot Koji on the pier.

He took us to Hongu Sengen Taisha shrine, a beautiful site which we hadn’t seen on our last visit.

 

From your earlier Celebrity blog, I have read which operator you used for this tour, would you mind indicating which specific tour this was, or was it a customized tour?

 

Or is it "Private Tour from Shimizu Port #2"?

 

Thanks in advance

Edited by Alphen

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You could enter your Mt. Fuji pics in a contest and/or have a canvass made with one of them. Even a black & White would do it justice.

 

Again, thank you for sharing.

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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, Alphen said:

 

From your earlier Celebrity blog, I have read which operator you used for this tour, would you mind indicating which specific tour this was, or was it a customized tour?

 

Or is it "Private Tour from Shimizu Port #2"?

 

Thanks in advance

 

It was customized... we had been in Shimizu before (see my signature for a link) and chose places we hadn’t been to before.

 

plus, Koji was great in adapting based on our progress.

Edited by Miaminice

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Posted (edited)

WOW following and really getting excited with our cruise and 16 night land next March/April.  Are you using the skyroam solis?? If so how is the connection/speed ?  Mine arrived last week and yet to set up.  Keep posing those wonderful photos and happy sailing. Cheers Denise

Edited by neenee61

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5 hours ago, neenee61 said:

WOW following and really getting excited with our cruise and 16 night land next March/April.  Are you using the skyroam solis?? If so how is the connection/speed ?  Mine arrived last week and yet to set up.  Keep posing those wonderful photos and happy sailing. Cheers Denise

 

I am... and I am pretty satisfied with the speed. A good 4G or 3G connection...

 

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1 hour ago, Miaminice said:

 

I am... and I am pretty satisfied with the speed. A good 4G or 3G connection...

 

Thank you so much for the follow up. Have a wonderful cruise.; Cheers

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Japan Cruise 2019 - Day 4 - Osaka/Kyoto 

 

88359714-0D92-4287-AD13-891FCD34DBF6.thumb.jpeg.7124b8451203e3689edc4d835f1021b5.jpeg

 

In the morning we were picked up at the pier by a private guide again and drove to Kyoto in a very comfortable minibus. On our last visit we had not seen the famous Fushimi Inara Shrine, best known for its tunnels of countless red Torii Gates. Wow is all I can say...

 

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Our next destination, Sanjyusangendo Temple, wasn’t less impressive. 1,001 buddhist statues welcomed us in the 120 m long wooden hall. 124 of them are still the originals and over 700 years old.

 

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When it was lunchtime we went to „Shigetsu“, a vegetarian Zen restaurant within the gardens of Tenryuji Temple (a World Heritage Site).

 

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A place not to be missed in Kyoto was up last - the Golden Pavilion. A sight to remember.

 

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51 minutes ago, Miaminice said:

Japan Cruise 2019 - Day 4 - Osaka/Kyoto 

 

88359714-0D92-4287-AD13-891FCD34DBF6.thumb.jpeg.7124b8451203e3689edc4d835f1021b5.jpeg

 

In the morning we were picked up at the pier by a private guide again and drove to Kyoto in a very comfortable minibus. On our last visit we had not seen the famous Fushimi Inara Shrine, best known for its tunnels of countless red Torii Gates. Wow is all I can say...

Wow is probably an understatement. Great report, great looking tour. Would you mind sharing which operator you used?

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5 hours ago, Alphen said:

Wow is probably an understatement. Great report, great looking tour. Would you mind sharing which operator you used?

 

Thank you! Toursbylocals.com and the guide was Koichi.

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We loved the Golden Temple in Kyoto - they keep the pond water murky on purpose, as it enhances the reflection of the temple in the water.  Great photos!

 

Smooth Sailing!   🙂🙂🙂

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Hi Miaminice—awesome photos!  My husband and I are looking into a Japan centered cruise.  We can hear the excitement in your voice with each daily review!  Thanks for sharing!!!

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Great photos. Looking at Westerdam Japan next spring!

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6 hours ago, jojoshumate said:

Hi Miaminice—awesome photos!  My husband and I are looking into a Japan centered cruise.  We can hear the excitement in your voice with each daily review!  Thanks for sharing!!!

 

Well, it’s why we came back to Japan... we fell in love with Japan and its people on our last cruise here. 

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OK, before I post about today, I would like to share some of our first impressions as newbies on HAL with you guys.

 

We are fully enjoying our cruise and we would book HAL again for the right itinerary, however we do notice some differences to what we are used to on Celebrity. Maybe things we took for granted on Celebrity we only get to appreciate now.

 

Westerdam is a fine ship. Clean and in good shape. About the size of a Celebrity Millennium class like the Millennium which is just across from us today. We find the interior design is a bit darker and more traditional, but nonetheless nice.

 

Celebrity is more loungy in a modern sense. We are missing the many open spaces we are used to on a Celebrity ship even of the same size. All the spaces here seem small and confined to us. The layout is not as intuitive as we found it in other ships of various cruise lines.

 

Breakfast and lunch at the Lido is good quality. However, although all we need is there, the choice is limited in comparison to Celebrity. No self servicing at the buffet, were you just help yourself on Celebrity. The seating in Lido is very comfortable and HAL beats Celebrity in regards of service at the buffet restaurant by far. An empty plate does not last a few seconds on the table. Constant offer of coffee, water or lemonade by very attentive waiters. Tables are set when you get there. Cutlery, cups and glasses are on the table. That could be done better on Celebrity.

 

We find the MDR service good and the food very tasty - so on one level with Celebrity. 

 

I can’t and won’t comment much on entertainment since we don’t care for shows on any cruise. However, we enjoy the offer of classical concerts in Lincoln Center Stage.

 

Bars are pretty empty in the evening and we were asked for our last order at around 10pm (!). That would never happen on Celebrity. We were surprised by the short opening hours in general. Even the regular buffet closes at 8pm, after that it’s just snacks. We are not used to that.

 

Westerdam features nothing like Celebrity’s Sunset Bar and there’s not much open deck space. We really miss that.

 

I am 47 and I certainly bring down the average age on this cruise... hey, here I am the young guy 😁 I don’t know if that is good or bad...

 

Ship‘s officers are much more visible and engaging on Celebrity. Not that we personally care, but it really is noticeable.

 

Again, we are enjoying our cruise and we are definitely NOT complaining! Westerdam and HAL are good and HAL will remain to be an alternative for us. Especially for the lower price and different itineraries. But for us Celebrity is the better cruise line - as in HAL being good and Celebrity very good. 

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18 hours ago, Miaminice said:

Japan Cruise 2019 - Day 4 - Osaka/Kyoto 

 

88359714-0D92-4287-AD13-891FCD34DBF6.thumb.jpeg.7124b8451203e3689edc4d835f1021b5.jpeg

 

In the morning we were picked up at the pier by a private guide again and drove to Kyoto in a very comfortable minibus. On our last visit we had not seen the famous Fushimi Inara Shrine, best known for its tunnels of countless red Torii Gates. Wow is all I can say...

 

615D7012-79B9-4232-A789-B6C61A122BF4.thumb.jpeg.e2a40bf12c0f1cad0d54d57db00f23b6.jpeg

 

ABD71E08-6000-4991-9678-0E28CC66B19B.thumb.jpeg.417a5e8754128eed773e8fd20e5eee55.jpeg

 

B6E20986-F1C3-4BC4-BC99-924DD19BA42D.thumb.jpeg.fa862b4d50641910c775ac3c3c63e40d.jpeg

 

58CCB9D9-2130-40AE-9448-18843F8A4F42.thumb.jpeg.19e5e55a4139ea742f316bd4c604637a.jpeg

 

5F8C12F8-3C81-4B5D-B5CE-039C63BF7A89.thumb.jpeg.639871c0c76cfbf84f33b06b26263c2e.jpeg

 

6081433F-3B99-4F54-9199-82F29B4976B4.thumb.jpeg.1739fb9e6b017597405e8d1e1b98e0b7.jpeg

 

CA453FC1-86FA-4721-8395-5AB21A96577C.thumb.jpeg.8ef2263b20e1ef279b2ac58727e7cb84.jpeg

 

40972630-A32B-4751-88CC-25480D041FCD.thumb.jpeg.d52e92667e4bd43bc75de88a93a823de.jpeg

 

Our next destination, Sanjyusangendo Temple, wasn’t less impressive. 1,001 buddhist statues welcomed us in the 120 m long wooden hall. 124 of them are still the originals and over 700 years old.

 

A0765C53-DA77-4138-A583-5D1CC1287DAE.thumb.jpeg.534f49275099e249789f242a48beef49.jpeg

 

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332AEF94-305C-4176-99AF-44F4EDFD1CA7.thumb.jpeg.ecb27f757293c54a53d51576e60325c5.jpeg

 

42AEFF03-C5EE-4B90-8E49-11B58C328659.thumb.jpeg.edf5679e15b4dfe60bb97854a531e24b.jpeg

 

When it was lunchtime we went to „Shigetsu“, a vegetarian Zen restaurant within the gardens of Tenryuji Temple (a World Heritage Site).

 

3D22E746-6194-438F-940A-248FF12A75B1.thumb.jpeg.bb8ee6c7895147eabf9b6d9c88f92409.jpeg

 

5024AFC8-3519-458D-B2CA-3D0E36573047.thumb.jpeg.ea1f7284088bbc04cc7c77466ad20f6d.jpeg

 

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E816B723-39AE-4781-94FC-FC7E3FC8E362.thumb.jpeg.3060b60373a7cfee6dad8e7d23aedcec.jpeg

 

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A place not to be missed in Kyoto was up last - the Golden Pavilion. A sight to remember.

 

272D5393-0DAE-4803-B37A-59187838EDFE.thumb.jpeg.2511546d79e8fdfc962629be09aaff03.jpeg

 

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Beautiful pictures.

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10 hours ago, ger_77 said:

We loved the Golden Temple in Kyoto - they keep the pond water murky on purpose, as it enhances the reflection of the temple in the water.  Great photos!

 

Smooth Sailing!   🙂🙂🙂

 

Good Information.

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Try the BB Kings lounge and Bilboard Onboard. They are open until at least midnight with live music.

 

also, in the Lido Market, we find choice and quality MUCH better than on X to be honest. Thing is though that not everything is displayed so you must read the placards at the stations and ask for the item you want. At least Sushi is still free on HAL 😉.

 

 

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My son and I spent a magical morning at Fushimi Inari shrine. Everywhere you look there's another stunning view. I also bought an antique obi in the shopping street below that I had made into a table runner...  Great photos!

 

I have to agree with most of your points on Celebrity vs. HAL. I'm also a somewhat younger cruiser for these types of itineraries on HAL (mid 50's) but I do like the great itineraries that HAL offers regularly.

 

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Japan Cruise 2019 - Day 5 - Kochi
After the touring we did in the past days, we planned Kochi to be our „go with the flow“ day. We had a relaxed breakfast and then took a free shuttle into town. 
From the bus stop the way to Kochi Castle went past the picturesque Harimaya Bridge and through the long and large central shopping arcade.

The shops were just about to open up and there wasn’t much going on. Some Japanese kids in strollers wondered about the many Gaijins and didn’t really know what to make of them.

 

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At the castle we climbed up the steep steps and up the castle‘s keep to earn our lunch.

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The Kochi Prefecture is known for its Katsuo (Bonito) and Birgit had some at the Hirome Market which filled up quickly with tourists and locals alike around noon.
On our way back we strolled through the shops, bought some nice Ramen bowls as a usable souvenir and then took the shuttle back to the ship.

 

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In Japan the arrival of a cruise ship seems to be a big thing for locals. Even though we were at an industrial port outside of town, there were still some locals with their kids watching the ship and the dance performance arranged for us. 

 

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When the ship sailed, we were reminded of why we love Japan. The dancing stopped, the visitors and the performers waved us goodbye, unrolled a banner and all shouted: „Arigatou gozaimasu, thank you for comming! Please come back to Kochi again.“ When our captain answered by blowing the horn, we just couldn‘t help it and had to wipe the tears from our eyes. We love Japan! 🇯🇵

 

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Are the cherry blossoms still evident in the places you've been?  Our cruise next year on Westerdam is at about the same time, and I am hoping to see some.

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