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Hi Everyone,

I hope you are all keeping well under these awful times?

We are thinking of booking a cruise Japan to Alaska next May, (17 days) we have to book in full by the 21st of this month. Has anyone been to either or both and could throw some light before we book please.  

 

Thank you for any replies.

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We did much of what appears to be a similar  itinerary on another cruise line a year or so ago - SF to Yokohoma - via Alaska, Russia Far East and  two weeks around Japan. Pretty fabulous, but very much off the beaten path port stops.

 

They are not geared for traditional "tourism" and often limited in what can be offered, but they are very much real experiences in far away places.  Surprisingly interesting stops were both very small Dutch Harbor - Unalaska and  rather grand Vladivostok. This itinerary is more rugged, than glamorous. I would grab this opportunity, if you simply like to travel and get the sweep of this part of the planet.

 

We have been trying to see puffins in various parts of the world - Norway,  Alaska, Iceland and we keep missing them no matter how many tourist brochures they are featured in. Lo and behold, there in the Petropavlask, Russia Far East  harbor were some puffins floating by the ship - finally saw them in this unexpected locale. 

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Hi Fudge.  We did the Muse Vancouver - Tokyo route in Sept 19 with a slightly different itinerary in Japan. Our Alaska weather was gorgeous & even our time in the N Pacific, which is notoriously bumpy, was fine.  A typhoon in Japan caused us to re-arrange & we had an extra day in Tokyo  which worked out great.   You wouldn't have that problem in the spring though. Will you get  to experience the gorgeous cherry blossoms or is that late?  If you like lectures, bridge, trivia - sea day stuff, it's an excellent itinerary.  Have you looked at extending it with the follow on to Vancouver (assuming they allow the season to re-open by May 22?)  The Hubbard Glacier is gorgeous !

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We are booked on that cruise also with the extension down to Vancouver. Only drawback with that itinerary is towns on the west side of Japan. Would suggest adding a four or five day land excursion to see that part of Japan before departing Tokyo. 

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Posted (edited)

We did the crossing in 2011.It was meant to be from Tokyo to Anchorage on the Silver Shadow -our first non Expedition ship cruise.The cruise though was to depart Tokyo just 6 weeks after the Great Tsunami so was then switched to depart Incheon.most people cancelled so only 96 passengers with 32 being Australian.

We thoroughly enjoyed it and I did do a trip report.I only joined Cruise Critic at the start of this cruise but couldn't work out how to post pictures though. This is from an Australian site.A few of the pictures have disappeared and the link to the food pictures onboard no longer works.Cruise starts at Post 25.

 

Edited by drron29
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Posted (edited)

Forgot the link.

ttps://www.australianfrequentflyer.com.au/community/threads/i-can-see-russia-from-my-window.29754/

Edited by drron29
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I remember that ta, good doctor, it was instrumental in us booking the same route in 2102.

We had a great cruise BtoB  Tokyo>Vancouver ;  in spite of my fears I/we was/were  so settled that I felt quite displaced on embarkation...

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12 minutes ago, tgh said:

I remember that ta, good doctor, it was instrumental in us booking the same route in 2102.

We had a great cruise BtoB  Tokyo>Vancouver ;  in spite of my fears I/we was/were  so settled that I felt quite displaced on embarkation...

By 2102 I expect you will be able to drive from Siberia to Alaska, making a ship unnecessary.

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We did a similar trip on the Shadow a few years back. It was memorable in many ways - mainly due to the very unusual non-touristy stops. These were stops where you had to use your own ingenuity to get the most out of some small, out of the way places that lacked nothing in charm. We also experienced a wonderful excursion to a Russian volcano using WW2 ex-armed forces transport machinery to negotiate the deep snow. Unforgettable - but everyone got refunded because the excursion was judged to have been unsafe!

All that said the main thing to bear in mind - if it is not obvious - is that this is a COLD cruise. You might see some sunshine, you might have entirely smooth seas. But you might not.

On balance - if you have a sense for adventure and a wish to see less visited parts of the world due to their less hospitable climate / facilities, then go for it.

Adrian

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22 hours ago, OlsSalt said:

We have been trying to see puffins in various parts of the world - Norway,  Alaska, Iceland and we keep missing them no matter how many tourist brochures they are featured in. Lo and behold, there in the Petropavlask, Russia Far East  harbor were some puffins floating by the ship - finally saw them in this unexpected locale. 

 

YES, puffins are so super wonderful.  Love 'em!!  Enjoyed tens of thousands of them in July 2010 up at the top of Norway while sailing on the Silver Cloud.  In late July 2019, our Silver Muse adventure took us to Sitka off of the Alaska coast.  Did we see and enjoy the puffins??  See "proof/evidence" below.  Will your cruise include a stop at Sitka?  Lovely town and area.  Lots of history and scenic sites and sights there!!

 

While we has not sailed to Japan via this routing, my concern/question would be about visiting Alaska in May.  From friends who have visited there at that time of the year, the weather can, maybe, be somewhat challenging.  Will winter have moved on and be nice with this timing?

 

THANKS!  Enjoy!  Terry in Ohio

 

Completed 2019 summer with Calgary, Jasper/Banff National Parks, Western Canada Rocky Mountaineer rail adventure, Vancouver, sailing up to Alaska on Silver Musse, post-cruise excursion to Denali, etc.  Many visuals and details from our first in these scenic areas!  Live/blog: 

https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2682584-live-terryohio-silver-muse-alaska-canadarockies-pix’s/

 

Loved at Sitka seeing these tufted puffins.  Very cute!  Plus, a couple of other examples for what be found when doing a good private tour out to a nearby wildlife island.  Plus, the whales, etc., etc.:

(Open your screen/viewer wider to see these visuals larger/better!)

CMB_5400.thumb.jpeg.2b7655ae048653d382ea11339ece1df5.jpeg

 

CMB_5521.thumb.jpeg.f973d3039d66c6c700dd424ae2e79fdd.jpeg

 

CMB_5634.thumb.jpeg.ee6824f5a9b47f5b846a984c11270d13.jpeg

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7 hours ago, Fletcher said:

By 2102 I expect you will be able to drive from Siberia to Alaska, making a ship unnecessary.

Who knows maybe no more cars by then, only flying hovercrafts or teleporting?  

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12 minutes ago, TLCOhio said:

.................

 

While we has not sailed to Japan via this routing, my concern/question would be about visiting Alaska in May.  From friends who have visited there at that time of the year, the weather can, maybe, be somewhat challenging.  Will winter have moved on and be nice with this timing?

 

THANKS!  Enjoy!  Terry in Ohio

 

 

 

Thanks for the great puffin photos - just what we wanted to see, but we were never able to get up close and personal, after our many attempts. We were ready to assume they were a tourism marketing hoax! We unfortunately learned too late they do have a very limited season on land for breeding and do spend most of their time out at sea - so plotting on the calendar is a must.

 

We even took a spacial trip to a "puffin island" off the northern shore of Iceland. After a long ride on a small boat to learn the puffins had just left, but we got to walk among hundreds of their nesting holes and enjoy some rhubarb crumble for our efforts - enjoyable anyway, because Nature stuns in Iceland as much as Alaska no matter what, where or when. Plus I have a weakness for rhubarb.

 

Have done Alaska in May and yes, weather can be brisk, but clear- but easy to dress for it. Some of the  scenic cruising inlets can still be ice-bound that early in the season, so there can be some route changes. Less rain and no mosquitos in the earlier season is a plus,  and port stops don't feel as jaded by the later high season crowds.  We learned there is almost no bad time to visit Alaska - each season has its plusses and minuses - but after several cruises up this way, we now prefer the earlier, fresher season. 

 

On our trans-pacific that also covered Alaska, we had to abort our Nome stop due to high sea swells and unsafe tender landings ---- in July. We had a perfect day in Dutch Harbor, Alaska but the locals claimed this meant they were now in for a siege of bad weather as punishment, because it rarely is as nice as that one perfect day - lots of wild flowers, blue skies and puffy white clouds.

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Posted (edited)

Proving there are no guarantees when traveling - this is the best we got to finally and unexpectedly  seeing a puffin in Petropavlosk, Russia Far East - a photo obviously put to shame compared to the prior offerings. But as they say,  while wildlife is plentiful sightings are not guaranteed!

 

At  least we were finally able to take the puffin off mythical status. DH is dutifully embarrassed by this puny photo offering - but it does illustrate the varieties of the travel experience when it comes to getting those killer shots. I am reminded we did see puffins at the North Cape, Norway but they were just fluttering black dots, so we had to take the guide's word for it.  

 

TCLOhio certainly gets the Academy Award for nature photography on this thread. Bravo. Gorgeous - super close or super lens? 57Varieties - pretty darn good as well. I envy you both. 

Screen Shot 2021-03-15 at 4.42.16 PM.png

Edited by OlsSalt
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On 3/15/2021 at 7:56 PM, OlsSalt said:

TLCOhio certainly gets the Academy Award for nature photography on this thread. Bravo. Gorgeous - super close or super lens? 57Varieties - pretty darn good as well. I envy you both. 

 

Appreciate this super great comment and winning the "Academy Award".  That's my first for that golden statue.  And maybe my last?

 

As to the question of . . . super close . . . versus . . . super lens, it's a combination of factors.  We were somewhat near, but not that totally close to these various wild creatures.  The lens on my Nikon SLR D7200 is a zoom 55-300mm.  These were shot "RAW" at 300mm, allowing the maximum in visual image to be able to be cropped and tighten in for the "best of the best" from the picture.  Below is another puffin visual.  This one from the bird island at the top of Europe during our 2010 Silver Cloud adventure detailed below on the Norway coast live/blog.  Second is a whale tail view from Sitka, Alaska, July 2019.  That image was shot at ISO 640, f/11, 1/1250 speed.  

 

THANKS!  Enjoy!  Terry in Ohio

 

Norway Coast/Fjords/Arctic Circle cruise from Copenhagen, July 2010, to the top of Europe. Scenic visuals with key tips. Live/blog at 241,447 views.

www.boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1227923

 

First is another muffin sample.  This one is from the northern tip of Norway during a private boat charter at the "Top of Europe".  Second is another Sitka, Alaska, fun experience with the whales.  Both were on private charter boats we set-up when sailing with Silversea.  A smaller, private tour generally works better in getting closer to the "nature/action" than when on a larger ship arranged through the cruise line.:

(Open your screen/viewer wider to see these visuals larger/better!)

DSC_2771.thumb.jpeg.e6edab25c6099fdc11877462e5665f7f.jpeg

 

CMB_5134.thumb.jpeg.136a1671214ac14eca8184c967cee067.jpeg

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On 3/14/2021 at 7:52 PM, CruisinPashmina said:

I just booked the May 2022 trip. It has been on my wish list for years. Of course now EVERY Silversea cruise is on my wish list!

 

See you on board.... Fingers crossed.

 

Kamchatka (amongst several other places it seems) has current volcanic activity. My several visits to Sicily (with the exception of a bit of smoke) has missed seeing Etna erupt. And now I can't get there, it's almost been constantly erupting for 3 months!

 

 

 

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On 3/22/2021 at 1:22 AM, les37b said:

 

See you on board.... Fingers crossed.

 

Kamchatka (amongst several other places it seems) has current volcanic activity. My several visits to Sicily (with the exception of a bit of smoke) has missed seeing Etna erupt. And now I can't get there, it's almost been constantly erupting for 3 months!

 

 

 

 

Petropavlosk, Kamchatka - there was a 4X4 excursion on a very rough road to have a volcano cooked dinner - weather permitting. The in town Volcanarium was a very limited exhibit, intended more for school children, but the signature skyline lets you know you are in the middle of volcano country.

Screen Shot 2021-03-23 at 9.59.19 AM.png

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20 hours ago, nowornever said:

Hi Fudge...did you take the plunge & book?

I was so close to booking this cruise but (there is always a but) we backed out at the last minute. We felt uncomfortable with spending over 14,000 sterling cruise in full. We had a Seabourn credit for 13,000 sterling so booked a Barbados to Barbados cruise next February. Free WIFI, 1500 dollars OBC

we prefer SS but couldn't resist this cruise in a penthouse suite.  

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