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SLSD

Live from Kobe to Vancouver May/June 2019

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I hear that Hamish Elliott is joining Sojourn tomorrow. If that's true you have in Hamish a great Captain and in Ross a great CD for this cruise. Lucky people, I'm rather envious!

Have a wonderful time all and look forward to you reports from on board. 

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Posted (edited)

I think Galeforce accidentally posted this comment in another thread: 

"Really enjoying your reports SLSD.  Keep it up!  Seems like you’ve covered a lot of Kyoto in a short space of time, so full marks to your tour company.   We were advised by our hotel to visit Fushimi Inari shrine pre breakfast.   As I am a keen photographer and it was the sticky height of summer, we caught one of the first trains of the day. The hour had a 5 in it!! "

 

Yes! I would advise anyone visiting Fushimi Inari shrine to go at the crack of dawn.  There are no closed gates to keep you from entering and there is no admission fee.  It would be a lovely place if not so crowded.  Also, we visited after lunch and it was really humid, even though not all that hot. 

 

I want to say a few words about guides.  We were quite pleased with ours from  Chris Rowthorn Tours.  We had two different guides--one the first day and a different one the second day.  We preferred the second guide because she talked less.  While we do want to learn as much as possible, it is not necessary for a guide to be constantly talking.  Yesterday's guide was almost serene.  She limited her words, but when she spoke, it was about something important.  She also had a sense of humor and a very special way of explaining Japan's culture and beauty.  She was also able to "read us" and figure out what would interest us.  We had selected our own itineraries from the Rowthorn website.  At some point, I will go back and see how close to the itinerary the guides went. Yesterday's last minute plan to attend the festival and its parade were not the original plan.  I appreciate our guide's ability to be flexible.  She asked if we had an interest in going to the Festival and we said yes.  

 

On our first day of the guided touring, we saw a LOT!  In fact, almost too much.  And, as a result, we saw some of the temples and shrines at too quick of a pace.  At the same time, that was probably necessary to squeeze all that sightseeing into a 6 hour tour.  I remember everything we saw, but yearned at some points to slow down and enjoy small details.  We seldom shop at all on our trips, but passed through some areas with interesting shops.  My husband spotted a wind chime that he regrets not buying  (we have a farm with many porches and enjoy wind chimes there).  There was also a vendor selling lovely wooden spoons at the Fushimi Inari shrine and I usually buy a wooden spoon when I se them (I enjoy using them and remembering our trips).  I recognize that touring on your own would allow you to go at your own pace.  At the same time, I'm not a very brave traveler and feel very secure with a local guide.  Since this was a tour for just the two of us, we could have requested a slower pace.  I DID request this at some point, but did not think our guide understood my comment that well.  I think she thought I was requesting a slower pace due to tiredness, when actually I just wanted some time to smell the roses.  

IMG_5441.JPG

60423525_1128445960692595_8694476174748811264_n.jpg

Edited by SLSD

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4 hours ago, SLSD said:

I think Galeforce accidentally posted this comment in another thread: 

"Really enjoying your reports SLSD.  Keep it up!  Seems like you’ve covered a lot of Kyoto in a short space of time, so full marks to your tour company.   We were advised by our hotel to visit Fushimi Inari shrine pre breakfast.   As I am a keen photographer and it was the sticky height of summer, we caught one of the first trains of the day. The hour had a 5 in it!! "

 

Yes! I would advise anyone visiting Fushimi Inari shrine to go at the crack of dawn.  There are no closed gates to keep you from entering and there is no admission fee.  It would be a lovely place if not so crowded.  Also, we visited after lunch and it was really humid, even though not all that hot. 

 

I want to say a few words about guides.  We were quite pleased with ours from  Chris Rowthorn Tours.  We had two different guides--one the first day and a different one the second day.  We preferred the second guide because she talked less.  While we do want to learn as much as possible, it is not necessary for a guide to be constantly talking.  Yesterday's guide was almost serene.  She limited her words, but when she spoke, it was about something important.  She also had a sense of humor and a very special way of explaining Japan's culture and beauty.  She was also able to "read us" and figure out what would interest us.  We had selected our own itineraries from the Rowthorn website.  At some point, I will go back and see how close to the itinerary the guides went. Yesterday's last minute plan to attend the festival and its parade were not the original plan.  I appreciate our guide's ability to be flexible.  She asked if we had an interest in going to the Festival and we said yes.  

 

On our first day of the guided touring, we saw a LOT!  In fact, almost too much.  And, as a result, we saw some of the temples and shrines at too quick of a pace.  At the same time, that was probably necessary to squeeze all that sightseeing into a 6 hour tour.  I remember everything we saw, but yearned at some points to slow down and enjoy small details.  We seldom shop at all on our trips, but passed through some areas with interesting shops.  My husband spotted a wind chime that he regrets not buying  (we have a farm with many porches and enjoy wind chimes there).  There was also a vendor selling lovely wooden spoons at the Fushimi Inari shrine and I usually buy a wooden spoon when I se them (I enjoy using them and remembering our trips).  I recognize that touring on your own would allow you to go at your own pace.  At the same time, I'm not a very brave traveler and feel very secure with a local guide.  Since this was a tour for just the two of us, we could have requested a slower pace.  I DID request this at some point, but did not think our guide understood my comment that well.  I think she thought I was requesting a slower pace due to tiredness, when actually I just wanted some time to smell the roses.  

IMG_5441.JPG

60423525_1128445960692595_8694476174748811264_n.jpg

Was the “forced march” guide named Michiko, like the former Empress? We had a Kyoto private guide who was very insistent on covering the full agenda. We covered a lot but I confess I was tired!

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Posted (edited)

No, I don't think that was her name jozi, but it did feel a bit like a forced march at times!  But, overall, we are so grateful to have seen so much in a short number of hours.  We could never have done that on our own.  

Edited by SLSD

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Posted (edited)

Day One--May 16

 

Our driver came to our hotel early, so we left Kyoto for Kobe ahead of schedule, arriving at the pier around 11:20 am.  Check-in had not yet opened so we waited for a few minutes.  When we were checking in, I had to remind the young woman checking us in to take our photos.  She was Japanese and struggling a bit with language.  All was well though and we set foot on Sojourn at exactly 12 noon.  

 

We made our way to the Colonnade and there were a number a crew members and a couple of officers to greet us.  We chose a table for two out on the deck area of the Colonnade and ordered from the "Specials" menu.  We both ordered pan seared salmon with fresh vegetables (trying to get a very healthy start to this cruise.)  We enjoyed meeting a couple from Sydney at the next table.  Since the suites were not yet ready, we made our way to the Pool Bar, met Brenden the bartender there who is quite personable.  He told us that he would be remembering our drink orders  next time we come, but to be sure to let him know if we want to change.  

 

We popped our heads into the TK Grill, met the maitre d', confirming our reservation for this evening.  Since we have yet to meet anyone (whose name AND suite number we know) we told her that we would welcome another couple seated with us at our table for four.  Hopefully that will happen. 

 

We also stopped in at Seabourn Square and got our very expensive (and quite slow) WIFI sorted out.  The crew that work there could not have been nicer and more patient.  As I am on my laptop now, the connection appears to be working.  

 

The suites were not ready until almost 2:30pm and we heard various passengers grumbling a bit at the delay.  It may have been due to an Asian Moth inspection of the ship.  Our bags arrived in our room about 15 minutes after we did.  We've met our charming stewardess (Tracey) and chose our soaps, gave her laundry, dry cleaning and pressing to organize. Who knows how we have a bag of laundry already! 

 

We are pleased with our suite as it is quite similar to our suit on both the Encore and Ovation.  The closet IS smaller, bu other than that, it is much the same.  Wen we were on Encore and Ovation, several passengers said that their suites were narrower than on the small ships.  We cannot see a difference there.

 

I have to tell you some of my husband's comments.  He is a bit taken aback at the condition of the ship---pointing out rust here and there as well as other deferred maintenance.  He also pointed to a "tort waiting to happen"---a rubber mat with curled up edges just waiting for someone rather klutzy (could that be me?) to trip over.  He was rather disappointed by the ship, on first impression, after Ovation and Encore. 

 

The biggest disappointment is a letter we found in our suite.  It says in part that from May 21st to May 29th the pool on Deck 8 will be empty as it is worked upon.  It will take 6 days and after that, the pool on deck 5 aft will be worked on.  They anticipate some noise.  In addition, certain areas of the teak deck on Deck 8 will be repaired from May 29th until June 7th.  This sounds similar to what I read happened last year on this itinerary.  Of course parts of our cruise are very cool weather, so perhaps it will not matter?  Stay tuned for our assessment.  

 

We are happy to be onboard and are waiting now for the emergency drill.  Our muster station is The Restaurant.  

 

 

Edited by SLSD

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It's 9:15 in the evening now and we are getting ready to go to a Cello concert in the Salon.  

 

Tonight we dined at the TK Grill and I have to say that out of the four or five times we have dined at a TK Grill, this was the very best.  I had the giant prawns as appetizer, the rib-eye steak, mac and cheese, and wilted spinach.  My husband had clam chowder, lobster, the same sides I had, and the ice cream sundae.  All were excellent.  The waiters were attentive and the service was well done.  No one pushed premium wines on us.  I had a Kir Royale as a pre dinner drink and the white Clarandell from Bordeaux (a complimentary wine) with dinner.  I have to say that the ambience of the TK Grill on Sojourn is surprisingly pleasant and intimate.  I do think it was a better experience than on the Encore and Ovation.

 

 

 

 

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22 minutes ago, SLSD said:

It's 9:15 in the evening now and we are getting ready to go to a Cello concert in the Salon.  

 

Tonight we dined at the TK Grill and I have to say that out of the four or five times we have dined at a TK Grill, this was the very best.  I had the giant prawns as appetizer, the rib-eye steak, mac and cheese, and wilted spinach.  My husband had clam chowder, lobster, the same sides I had, and the ice cream sundae.  All were excellent.  The waiters were attentive and the service was well done.  No one pushed premium wines on us.  I had a Kir Royale as a pre dinner drink and the white Clarandell from Bordeaux (a complimentary wine) with dinner.  I have to say that the ambience of the TK Grill on Sojourn is surprisingly pleasant and intimate.  I do think it was a better experience than on the Encore and Ovation.

 

 

 

 

 

Enjoy the rest of your evening! 

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Don't you miss the Bar, though? I'll be on Quest next spring, and though I'm curious about sailing on the small ships for the first time, I just love the TK bar.

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8 hours ago, SLSD said:

Day One--May 16

 

Our driver came to our hotel early, so we left Kyoto for Kobe ahead of schedule, arriving at the pier around 11:20 am.  Check-in had not yet opened so we waited for a few minutes.  When we were checking in, I had to remind the young woman checking us in to take our photos.  She was Japanese and struggling a bit with language.  All was well though and we set foot on Sojourn at exactly 12 noon.  

 

We made our way to the Colonnade and there were a number a crew members and a couple of officers to greet us.  We chose a table for two out on the deck area of the Colonnade and ordered from the "Specials" menu.  We both ordered pan seared salmon with fresh vegetables (trying to get a very healthy start to this cruise.)  We enjoyed meeting a couple from Sydney at the next table.  Since the suites were not yet ready, we made our way to the Pool Bar, met Brenden the bartender there who is quite personable.  He told us that he would be remembering our drink orders  next time we come, but to be sure to let him know if we want to change.  

 

We popped our heads into the TK Grill, met the maitre d', confirming our reservation for this evening.  Since we have yet to meet anyone (whose name AND suite number we know) we told her that we would welcome another couple seated with us at our table for four.  Hopefully that will happen. 

 

We also stopped in at Seabourn Square and got our very expensive (and quite slow) WIFI sorted out.  The crew that work there could not have been nicer and more patient.  As I am on my laptop now, the connection appears to be working.  

 

The suites were not ready until almost 2:30pm and we heard various passengers grumbling a bit at the delay.  It may have been due to an Asian Moth inspection of the ship.  Our bags arrived in our room about 15 minutes after we did.  We've met our charming stewardess (Tracey) and chose our soaps, gave her laundry, dry cleaning and pressing to organize. Who knows how we have a bag of laundry already! 

 

We are pleased with our suite as it is quite similar to our suit on both the Encore and Ovation.  The closet IS smaller, bu other than that, it is much the same.  Wen we were on Encore and Ovation, several passengers said that their suites were narrower than on the small ships.  We cannot see a difference there.

 

I have to tell you some of my husband's comments.  He is a bit taken aback at the condition of the ship---pointing out rust here and there as well as other deferred maintenance.  He also pointed to a "tort waiting to happen"---a rubber mat with curled up edges just waiting for someone rather klutzy (could that be me?) to trip over.  He was rather disappointed by the ship, on first impression, after Ovation and Encore. 

 

The biggest disappointment is a letter we found in our suite.  It says in part that from May 21st to May 29th the pool on Deck 8 will be empty as it is worked upon.  It will take 6 days and after that, the pool on deck 5 aft will be worked on.  They anticipate some noise.  In addition, certain areas of the teak deck on Deck 8 will be repaired from May 29th until June 7th.  This sounds similar to what I read happened last year on this itinerary.  Of course parts of our cruise are very cool weather, so perhaps it will not matter?  Stay tuned for our assessment.  

 

We are happy to be onboard and are waiting now for the emergency drill.  Our muster station is The Restaurant.  

 

 

Wonder if Brenden the bartender at the Pool Bar is the same Brendan that was on the waitstaff in MDR on Encore who left for holiday last month. Or don't they normally change ships after their vacay?

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Posted (edited)

One other note-- my husband and I have noticed that  the median age on this cruise appears to be  at least mid 70s.  It is an older group than on our previous two SB cruises.  While we are 67 and 68, we appear to be on the younger end of the spectrum on this voyage.  I have spotted at least one couple who appeared to be in their early 40s.  

 

 

 

Edited by SLSD

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Yes, Mahogany, I do think we will miss the TK Grill Bar as we went there every single night on Encore and Ovation for a pre dinner drink.  

 

After dinner (since our dinner was early) we went to the Observation Bar for the first time on Sojourn.  While it is reminiscent of the Observation Bar on Encore/Ovation, it has a very different feel---low ceiling, smaller and actually quite cozy.  That being said, I do love the high ceiling (with the glass fish) above the bar on Encore/Ovaton.  There were very few people in the bar---one group of perhaps eight people and two other couples besides us.  I have to say that passengers have been very friendly aboard Sojourn.  There appear to be many from Australia.  We also met Markham (who posts here) quite by chance.  We were chatting with him when he asked if I was SLSD.  It was good to meet him as he is a charming man. 

 

The cello performance was quite nice.  It was a duo of cellists---two quite accomplished young women musicians from Poland.  One of them played a classic cello, while the other played an amazing transparent electrified cello.  They were backed by the Seabourn band and lots of colorful video flashing on the large screen behind the stage.  For me, such a production is a bit overproduced.  I don't need a lot of flash and would have been happy with just the two of them playing as they are extremely talented.  

 

After the performance (almost 11pm by that time), we came back to our suite to go to bed after a very busy day.  There were chocolates waiting for us as well as a Seabourn tote.  

 

It is very very early in the morning now (around 4am) but I was awakened by the movement of the ship.  I can imagine that there is quite a bit of movement on higher decks as I am really feeling it basically midship on deck 6.  

 

We are looking forward to Day 2, which will be a day at sea.  I will try to post some photos.  Because I don't like to post from my phone (prefer my laptop) it will take transferring some photos from my phone to my laptop--and as slow as the WIFI is here, that may take some doing.  

 

We are happy to be on Sojourn!

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SLSD, I hope that you're able to get a little more sleep!

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8 hours ago, SLSD said:

.  

 

I will try to post some photos.  Because I don't like to post from my phone (prefer my laptop) it will take transferring some photos from my phone to my laptop--and as slow as the WIFI is here, that may take some doing.  

 

We are happy to be on Sojourn!

 

SLSD. I am having the same problem, on Ovation at the moment  with the slow wi-fi, (between 8 & 12 Mbps) so I am selecting all the photos that I want to transfer from my iPhone and“Airdropping” to my iPad all at once, it only takes a few seconds to transfer. 

‘Do you have that facility ?

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SKP946, I think my husband knows how to airdrop, so I need to learn that.  We are having such slow reception on the WIFI on the Sojourn that I can't send photos at the moment. 

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Posted (edited)

Day Two, May 17th

 

As I said above, I was awakened around 3am by the movement of the ship.  Some passengers felt ill this morning and were unable to make it to breakfast.  For the first time ever, I felt just a touch of seasickness and tried some ginger chewing gum I had brought along.  It worked quite well and we both felt better after having breakfast.  The ship is STILL really moving!

 

We had breakfast in the MDR and I ordered a Western omelet and fresh fruit.  The omelet was excellent and much better than the same kind of omelet I had last year on the Ovation.  We enjoyed a peaceful breakfast  and then went to the "art class" being offered in the MDR at 9am.  It was a beading class.  We made bracelet with beads--a fun activity with lots of visiting with other passengers while we were busily stringing beads.  

 

At 11am, we attended a lecture by Sir Tony Brenton ( a former diplomat).  The lecture was titled  "Japan, Asia's Once and Future Power".  It was an excellent lecture and covered all of Japanese history in less than an hour---quite a feat if you ask me.  We look forward to Sir Brenton's next lecture. 

 

We chose to have lunch in the MDR. We both ordered Moussaka and found it to be outstanding.  So---so far---we have loved the meals we have had.  I don't know about the experiences of others.  Maybe we have just chosen well.  

 

I was finally able to upload a photo of the delicious Moussaka from the MDR lunch menu today.  

image1-13.jpeg

Edited by SLSD

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BasandSyb---we would love to meet you two.  We will be in the Observation Bar for tea at 4pm if you are anywhere around.  I'm wearing a cream colored top with wide black stripes--my husband is in a solid blue shirt.  

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Posted (edited)
48 minutes ago, SLSD said:

SKP946, I think my husband knows how to airdrop, so I need to learn that.  We are having such slow reception on the WIFI on the Sojourn that I can't send photos at the moment. 

 

 I recall we had slow slow wifi in Japanese waters and it got better once we were further away.

 

 Glad that you liked TK in its smaller version. We liked it a lot on the Encore but didn’t especially like the old R2 (too structured a menu;  though they did try to make adjustments for us it really wasn’t set up to be flexible) so happy to see the replacement with more variety. 

Enjoy!

 

Edited by jozi
Typo

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Posted (edited)

jozi, I sm hoping that our internet speed improves. 

 

Meanwhile, we enjoyed tea time at 4pm this afternoon.  I especially like the Mandarin Rose tea, while my husband prefers green tea.  I indulged in one of the cucumber/cream cheese  tea sandwiches while my husband loved the scones. 

 

This evening, my husband was struck by some sea sickness as our ship is still rocking and rolling. Our waiter at tea time said that many of his friends (crew members) and passengers were struggling with queasiness.  I felt this way early this morning, but recovered after breakfast and with the use of some ginger chewing gum.  I finally persuaded my husband to try the gum and he felt a bit better.  He insisted on going with me to dinner in the MDR.  We kept it simple--I had shrimp cocktail and bell pepper soup (really good!) while he had chicken brother a a piece of bread.  We came back to our cozy suite and he took a dramamine and went to bed.  The ship's movement is even more pronounced now.  

 

It was a very good day!  We were busy all day, met new passengers (some that read here, but perhaps don't post).    

 

Edited by SLSD

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, SLSD said:

 

This evening, my husband was struck by some sea sickness as our ship is still rocking and rolling. Our waiter at tea time said that many of his friends (crew members) and passengers were struggling with queasiness.  I felt this way early this morning, but recovered after breakfast and with the use of some ginger chewing gum.  I finally persuaded my husband to try the gum and he felt a bit better. ).    

 

 

Phone Room Service and ask for a small bowl of crystalized ginger, works a treat👍😀 (I’m on my second bowl as i suffer quite a bit with motion dizziness, it makes me feel crosseyed and as if I’ve had far too much to drink)

No rude comments please😀

Edited by SKP946

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Posted (edited)
28 minutes ago, SKP946 said:

 

Phone Room Service and ask for a small bowl of crystalized ginger, works a treat👍😀 (I’m on my second bowl as i suffer quite a bit with motion dizziness, it makes me feel crosseyed and as if I’ve had far too much to drink)

No rude comments please😀

 

This is very good advice. Also worth a mention is that it's usually also available at the entrance to MDR and Colonnade, although some may have concerns about hygiene picking it up here. I've seen other guests dive into it with their hands. 

Edited by Isklaar

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SKP946 - NOT directed at you, only relaying what I consider sage advise my wife and I received on our first cruise in 1989.  If you are one to partake in adult beverages, an older couple told us "youngsters" to combat the effects of sea sickness, skip the patches, etc. and maintain a constant "low" level of adult beverage in you system at all times.

 

 

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You can pick up seasick pills at Seabourn Square. We've found even in the roughest seas if you take them before you feel ill, you never feel ill. 

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Earlier in the day, we found ourselves weaving around a bit as we walked down the hall---and no alcohol was involved at all.  At tea time, we observed a woman who almost lurched into someone's lap.  

 

Good advice about the crystalized ginger.  We'll make sure to get some of it today if needed.  My husband is the stoic type who resisted taking anything for his queasiness.  I'll be sure to tell him today that he needs to stay ahead of it---and I will do the same.  The ship is fairly calm at this moment, but still moving a bit more than on our previous cruises.  

 

 

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I just want to mention that service (with one exception and that being laundry) has been excellent so far  We have met so many truly gracious crew members.  I'll tell the laundry story once we get it sorted out---and I will tell the short form of the story.  I'm not one to dwell on the negative, but there may be something to learn here.  

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