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Floridiana

Back from the Quest around Japan

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Posted (edited)

Positive:

Japan was wonderful and the Quest itinerary was great. The food was excellent with a daily Japanese dish. They had a Japanese ambassador on board who gave advice and maps on independent day trips. Our ship excursions had good guides and offered a variety of activity levels. It was our third time in Japan and we were able to select some more unusual excursions. 

 

Negative:

However, I do not really like the old R ships with their RV size bathrooms with a  shower curtain. (We had a standard balcony room.) The balcony was basically full with a dining table and two chairs. It's not my idea of a relaxing balcony time. I was also unhappy with the informational speaker after I detected 3 factual errors within the first 30 minutes of his presentation on Japan. After that, I left. Not that I am a Japan expert, but any visitor to a Shinto shrine would have noticed.

 

Many passengers we spoke to had booked the cruise for the itinerary - like us. It looked fully booked. On the first cool (and only) sea day, the outdoor areas were not usable and the ship felt very crowded. The price, however, was of a luxury ship.  

 

 

Edited by Floridiana

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Really liked the itinerary Can’t wait to go back Japan ports were awesome

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On 5/26/2019 at 4:35 AM, Floridiana said:

Positive:

Japan was wonderful and the Quest itinerary was great. The food was excellent with a daily Japanese dish. They had a Japanese ambassador on board who gave advice and maps on independent day trips. Our ship excursions had good guides and offered a variety of activity levels. It was our third time in Japan and we were able to select some more unusual excursions. 

 

Negative:

However, I do not really like the old R ships with their RV size bathrooms with a  shower curtain. (We had a standard balcony room.) The balcony was basically full with a dining table and two chairs. It's not my idea of a relaxing balcony time. I was also unhappy with the informational speaker after I detected 3 factual errors within the first 30 minutes of his presentation on Japan. After that, I left. Not that I am a Japan expert, but any visitor to a Shinto shrine would have noticed.

 

Many passengers we spoke to had booked the cruise for the itinerary - like us. It looked fully booked. On the first cool (and only) sea day, the outdoor areas were not usable and the ship felt very crowded. The price, however, was of a luxury ship.  

 

 

Floridiana

Glad to hear you enjoyed the cruise. We are doing the round Japan cruise in early September. We’ve never been to Japan. If you could mention a few highlights we shouldn’t miss or give any suggestions on what to see/do it would be most helpful. 

Thanks in advance. 

Brenda 

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We were on the Azamara Quest in April 2019 for a tour around Japan.  We loved the trip and all of our stops.  I blog as we travel and wrote extensively as we moved from port to port, including numerous photos.  You can find my blog at www.travelswithcappy.com.  Go to the Adventures page and look for “Cherry Blossom time in the Land of Geishas and Samurais.”  Enjoy and let me know what you think.

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On 5/25/2019 at 7:35 PM, Floridiana said:

Positive:

Japan was wonderful and the Quest itinerary was great. The food was excellent with a daily Japanese dish. They had a Japanese ambassador on board who gave advice and maps on independent day trips. Our ship excursions had good guides and offered a variety of activity levels. It was our third time in Japan and we were able to select some more unusual excursions. 

 

Negative:

However, I do not really like the old R ships with their RV size bathrooms with a  shower curtain. (We had a standard balcony room.) The balcony was basically full with a dining table and two chairs. It's not my idea of a relaxing balcony time. I was also unhappy with the informational speaker after I detected 3 factual errors within the first 30 minutes of his presentation on Japan. After that, I left. Not that I am a Japan expert, but any visitor to a Shinto shrine would have noticed.

 

Many passengers we spoke to had booked the cruise for the itinerary - like us. It looked fully booked. On the first cool (and only) sea day, the outdoor areas were not usable and the ship felt very crowded. The price, however, was of a luxury ship.  

 

 

I don't have an issue with the cabin or balcony, but have noticed on cool weather cruises that the ship inside does feel crowded, somewhat mitigated by the introduction of The Den.   

 

Phil 

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Azamara is just not a good fit for us. It doesn't offer what we like and offers events we don't care about. It may be wonderful for many other passengers. Everybody's taste is different. 

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8 minutes ago, Floridiana said:

Azamara is just not a good fit for us. It doesn't offer what we like and offers events we don't care about. It may be wonderful for many other passengers. Everybody's taste is different. 

Absolutely!

 

Phil 

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Thanks for reporting your impressions of the Japan cruise. It is one itinerary that we are interested on. Unfortunately the prices for this cruise have been quite expensive imho. I am afraid that as long as other cruisers are willing to pay those prices, it will remain so. Sorry to hear that you have found Azamara is not for you, but it is good to have other options.

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22 hours ago, travelberlin said:

Thanks for reporting your impressions of the Japan cruise. It is one itinerary that we are interested on. Unfortunately the prices for this cruise have been quite expensive imho. I am afraid that as long as other cruisers are willing to pay those prices, it will remain so. Sorry to hear that you have found Azamara is not for you, but it is good to have other options.

 

Maybe try X....in the "family" but less expensive...but it is...a much larger ship. 

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23 hours ago, Floridiana said:

Azamara is just not a good fit for us. It doesn't offer what we like and offers events we don't care about. It may be wonderful for many other passengers. Everybody's taste is different. 

Be very interested to know which line fits the bill for you. Agree completely re shower/bathrooms and balcony setup. But love everything else so accept the compromise. 

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2 hours ago, LuAnn said:

 

Maybe try X....in the "family" but less expensive...but it is...a much larger ship. 

Yes Celebrity is a good option. We were in Japan with the Celebrity Millenium some years ago and it was very nice. But it was not a Japan intensive cruise. Only some ports in Japan.

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2 hours ago, woodards said:

Be very interested to know which line fits the bill for you. Agree completely re shower/bathrooms and balcony setup. But love everything else so accept the compromise.

 

There is not one line. We always select the itinerary first, then look for ships that go there. The more often we take a cruise, the more selective we have become, now excluding uncomfortable balconies and shower curtains. :-)

 

 

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On 5/25/2019 at 2:35 PM, Floridiana said:

Positive:

Japan was wonderful and the Quest itinerary was great. The food was excellent with a daily Japanese dish. They had a Japanese ambassador on board who gave advice and maps on independent day trips. Our ship excursions had good guides and offered a variety of activity levels. It was our third time in Japan and we were able to select some more unusual excursions. 

 

Negative:

However, I do not really like the old R ships with their RV size bathrooms with a  shower curtain. (We had a standard balcony room.) The balcony was basically full with a dining table and two chairs. It's not my idea of a relaxing balcony time. I was also unhappy with the informational speaker after I detected 3 factual errors within the first 30 minutes of his presentation on Japan. After that, I left. Not that I am a Japan expert, but any visitor to a Shinto shrine would have noticed.

 

Many passengers we spoke to had booked the cruise for the itinerary - like us. It looked fully booked. On the first cool (and only) sea day, the outdoor areas were not usable and the ship felt very crowded. The price, however, was of a luxury ship.  

 

 

 

Were your other visits to Japan also cruise-based?  I am interested in those itineraries as a great way to see different places but then I start thinking maybe Japan is a place that’s good to visit on a land-based itinerary to get more of an immersive feel

 

I was wondering what you’d say are the advantages of each and which you’d recommend for first-time visitor? 

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 Both are good. The first time, we arrived by ship (Ponant) and added a land tour with Unique Japan (14 participants).  The second time was cruise only with 7 Japanese ports (HAL), all different from the first time. After the Azamara cruise, we also added a land tour with Unique Japan (just the two of us).

 

The small ports make a real effort for visitors with their dance and music groups. We didn't get this on the land tours, but I wouldn't want to miss them because we went into the mountains and to places with no foreign visitors. Unique Japan is a small agency based in Ireland. The owner speaks Japanese and has a Japanese husband.

 

 

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CruisingAussies, 

Sorry I did not see your question about highlights. Since we had land based trips going to the usual highlights like Kyoto, Nara, Tokyo, Hiroshima, I will concentrate on the ports:

 

Kanazawa is a great castle town, went there three times, land and port (Azamara)

Sakaiminato is a big surprise, small port with unusual statues and a great hinterland (Azamara and land)

Kochi, small town with downtown castle and old-fashioned trams (HAL)

Hakodate, best cherry blossom viewing after it's over on the main island. (Azamara)

 

Best Japanese castle imho: Himeji. Take train. The town is on a main line south of Osaka.

Best thing about Japan: the Japanese. Helpful, polite, honest, will not bump into you. Also good: no street crime, no pick pockets.

Not so good: Lots of people in almost all places, especially in cherry blossom parks and famous temples and shrines. Not many Japanese speak English although all of them learn it in school.

 

 

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