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Our First Transpacific Cruise - Follow us Live! 


Hello again Cruise Critic! We’re excited to say it is time for another live cruise blog and this time you’ll be joining us on our very first Transpacific crossing! We’re very excited to bring you along for the journey and share you with the many “firsts” this cruise will be for us.


Follow us on Instagram on my personal account if you’d like. PaulKBlackburn is my user name. If you see me in a suit on the cover and pictures of cruises and martinis you’ve hit the right profile! I will be posting on Cruise Critic at least 10 photos a day or more in addition to at least one or two photos a day on Instagram plus lots of short videos on my Instagram story as well.


For those of you who have not followed or read my blogs before please allow me to introduce myself! My name is Paul and my partner is Edward and we are from Chicago. We’re both in our 30s (I’m 32 and Edward is 37). We’ve been cruising on Celebrity since 2010 but started cruising on a more regular basis in 2014. This cruise will be our 19th cruise on Celebrity. So let us dive right in and discuss the details of the next cruise we are going on and why we booked it.


Originally we were booked on a B2B on the Equinox in November. We were excited for those two cruises, but they were to the same Caribbean ports we’ve been to. As we were booked in a Sky Suite for those cruises the pricing wasn’t cheap coming in around $9800 total for the two cruises plus airfare and hotel stay. Edward loves to check cruise prices daily when he is at work (working hard apparently!) and he ended up coming across the 15 Night Bering Sea & Japan Transpacific Cruise. We LOVE our sea days and have crossed the Atlantic 3 times on Celebrity. A Transpacific was on our bucket list and this seemed like a good way to check it off the list.


As always with my blog I will be fully up front and transparent about ALL costs involved, on board credits, airfare costs, hotel costs, transport costs, meal costs, etc. I know talking about money can be “taboo” but at the end of the day lets face it, cruises aren’t free and we’re all paying for them. It is only logical to understand the cost of everything so you at home at accurately assess the true value of the trip to yourself.


As always please ask questions and feel free to comment! The more interactive everyone is the more I enjoy writing. Let’s face it, on this cruise I will have plenty of sea days to catch up and answers questions. Let’s have some fun!


Ship: Celebrity Millennium




Day 1: Vancouver

Day 2: At Sea

Day 3: Sitka, Alaska (Our First Time Here)

Days 4 - 12: At Sea (So Many sea days!! Glorious!)

Day 13: Otaru, Japan (Our First Time Here)

Day 14: Hakodate, Japan (Our First Time Here)

Day 15: At Sea

Day 16: Tokyo - Overnight (Our First Time Here

Day 17: Tokyo - Time to head home


Now I know what some of you might be thinking…15 nights….17 days???? Don’t forget we’re crossing the dateline!


Cabin Class: Aqua


Pricing: $4,305.32 Including GO BEST promotion which includes $300 OBC, Unlimited Internet for 2, Premium Drink Package, and Prepaid Gratuities. This price is Total, NOT Per Person.


In total we have $750 OBC when we factor in the $300 from the Go Best Promotion, the booking on board promotion (we switched an on board booking to this when we booked) and OBC from our travel agent.




We are flying out a day early and we did book through Flights by Celebrity (also known as Choice Air). We’re flying Air Canada in economy non-stop from ORD to YVR. Our flight departs Chicago at 5:00pm. This Air Canada flight is on their CRJ9 which really is not a bad aircraft. Seat pitch is decent in economy and seats are in a 2 - 2 configuration so perfect if you’re traveling with another person.


Flight Costs to Vancouver


$180.58 Per Person Airfare

$110.00 for bagged (3 checked bags total)

$37.82 for seat selection ($50 Canadian)


$508.98 Total


Return Flights


We are flying home September 22nd from Tokyo. We booked American Airlines on their 787 (dreamliner) in Premium Economy to LAX and then switch planes to an A321 to ORD. On our NRT to LAX flight we were able to snag the bulkhead seats in Premium Economy.


This was not booked through Celebrity. We used Google Flights to search and ended up booking through the Japanese version of the AA website.


Cost: $1289 per person.


Hotel in Vancouver


We are staying at Hyatt Regency in Vancouver which is only a few blocks from the port. We booked this using points transferred from Chase. In total it is only costing us 12,000 points. Points from Chase to Hyatt transfer at 1 to 1 ratio. Chase points I’d say are valued around 1.6cents per point so this ended up being a pretty decent redemption.


We also have Explorist status with Hyatt (the equivalent of staying 30nights or more with Hyatt per year). We have this because of Celebrity. I know I’ve mentioned this in the past. We are Elite Plus on Celebrity which transfers to Platinum Status for MLife (MGM Casino Players program) which then has a reciprocal program with Hyatt and gets us Explorist status.


Travel Insurance


We booked this cruise with our Chase Sapphire Reserve card which gives us travel insurance for the trip itself up to $10,000. That covers any issues we might have with the cruise. We do however always purchase separate medical travel insurance. We purchased a policy through InsureMyTrip. We chose GeoBlue Voyager Choice for medical coverage. I bumped up Medical to $100k per person, with $500k per person for MedVac coverage. In total for the two of us we are paying $58 and change for medical travel insurance for this cruise.


OK Almost time to leave!


OK Now that I have all that fun stuff out of the way I can finally write like a normal person! It is just past Noon here in Chicago. I am all packed and ready to go. Edward is at work and will be home around 1:30pm. Once he gets back home we will order an Uber and head to ORD. We like to show up early, have a drink and relax.


I was thinking this morning “I can’t wait to just get on the ship!” And the more I thought about that I realized that is the wrong way to think about travel. The whole journey itself should be a trip. Now maybe taking an Uber to the airport and checking your bags and going through security is not the most glamorous part of travel but it is still part of it and a very necessary part of the journey. So why not make the best of it! So with that being said, I will no longer think “I cannot wait to…” at all during this trip. If you catch me writing that call me out! Soon enough we will be back at home from this trip and I will be hoping that I could be dealing with the aggravation of airport security and lugging luggage in anticipation of a cruise.


Like I mentioned. If you have any questions at all regarding the cruise please feel free to ask. If you want me to check on something on the ship just ask. Wondering if a certain crew member is still on board? Just ask. I will do my best to answer all questions.


Thank you again for following along and helping make our trip that much better for us!


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Thanks again Paul, I will be following along.  I love the way you think.  It always intrigues me the way people complain about lining up to get on a cruise!  I'm always so glad to be in the line up, I don't care how long it is!   Enjoy your cruise, Japan is lovely.


We have friends on this cruise and we will be down at the lighthouse by Lions Gate Bridge waving them off.

Edited by TeaBag
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I've been waiting for this review to begin...so glad today's the day.  I'm sitting at my desk in Schaumburg looking at the beautiful sun and thinking what a perfect day to fly...and begin a wonderful adventure.  I visited Tokyo for business twice and it is an amazing city!  Also love all the sea days.

Have a great trip.  Can't wait for each installment.


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Yay!  Another Paul & Edward Excellent Adventure. Hope you both have a totally superb time. We get to Vancouver on 21 September to sail to Hawaii (only 5 sea days), we’re very jealous of so many sea days (but I’m not sure my liver could handle that many sea days). Bon Voyage!  Melody

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Can't wait to hear about your journey.  I am on the Oct 3 Eclipse Hawaii-Vancouver and like the poster above we have 5 sea days.  I love sea days but have never done more than 2 in a row.  It will be interesting.  The Premium Drink Package will be getting a run for it's money!  Let us know how it works out for you.

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YEA!!!!! Finally, have been looking forward to this live review for a long time.


PS Great Martini Bar Staff, Tada, Putra and Ivan. I have given Tada the heads up you are on your way. Besides

making a killer drink, he does some magic on the side.IMG_4651.thumb.JPG.bfb5e7a5832c0c8ecfbabe6be1200a14.JPG



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Terry and I will be following this adventure daily.

Someday we will end up on the same cruise.

We are as addicted to cruising as you. (see our signature).

Hope you have a great time.

Stay Safe,

Bob (and Terry)

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We will be one year and 20 days behind you on the Eclipse as part of an 11 week trip starting in Vancouver and ending in Sydney. Well, starting and ending at home in SoCal: I suppose I need to remember to count the less exciting parts of the trip, as you are doing.


I look forward to your observations. We love sea days, too. Hubby really relaxes, which is so much better for his health than his very stressful job from which he is about to retire. 


Bon voyage, Paul and Edward!

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Cheers from ORD. We took an uBer XL to the airport. Our usual uBer Black was well over $100 today and Edward was being cheap sooo....I chose to pick my my battles accordingly. Our Uber to the airport was $64. 


Check in at Air Canada was a breeze. Our 3 bags made it just under 50lbs each. We’re bringing a bottle of wine in each bag which added to the weight so on the way back even if we buy some stuff we shouldn’t have to worry about that. I’ll explain the wine we are bringing later! 


For those of you mentioning the Hawaii to Vancouver cruise on the Eclipse, we are doing that next April! Hopefully I can steal some advice from you. 


Currently we are sitting at Bubbles Bar in T3 at ORD (T2 is where our gate is). Unfortunately there is no Amex lounge at ORD and very limited priority pass lounges. For a major hub I’ve always despised that about OHare. But the staff here is friendly and they have Ketel One so I’m happy! 


Norma - Thanks for the martini bar pictures and of course for putting a word in for us! 


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37 minutes ago, jelayne said:

I will be following closely as, like MamaFej , Greg & I will be doing this cruise next September.  I hope we meet at the Martini Bar again in the near future.  Any chance you are doing a Spring TA?




We are doing Hawaii to Vancouver in the spring on the Eclipse. 

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Bon Voyage Paul and Edward.

Just like Mamfej and Jelayne posted above, I too with a group of friends will be on this same cruise in September of 2020.  So I am very anxious to follow along with your adventures on the cruise this year. Have a fabulous time.

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I have followed your other posts and enjoy your style of review.  We have been looking at that itinerary and are interested in your experience at sea. We would want to spend some time in Japan at end of sailing.


We have done 3 TA  spring cruises the past 3 years and really enjoyed them.


Just got home from 12 days in the Baltic on Royal's Brilliance of the Seas.  Great experience.





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Are you still doing the Equinox in March? Always hoping to sail with you sometime, but doesn’t work that way 😂😂. We are doing our first TA next month so looking forward to those sea days as well. We will be on the Millennium next August so cant wait to hear what you think. Have a FABULOUS trip! Will be following closely. Cheers 🥂 

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Ah! I am missing the Millennium after our NB Alaska cruise this July. So excited you're in Aqua because you can say hello to Charllou and Proceso in Blu. We had fabulous service from them on our cruise, and requested them every night. Also loved Rodman and Gusti in Sunset Bar, where we spent A LOT of time. If you get a chance, tell them Stephanie and Thaddeus say hello! Bon Voyage!

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