Southern Japan Cruise

Checking in for the cruise at Yokohama was quick and efficient. As expected the cabin was not available until 1:00 pm which gave ample time for a quick exploration of the ship, the Celebrity Millennium. With only two days at sea and shore excursions booked for the other days it was a pretty full on experience.
The on board entertainment provided by the ship’s entertainers I feel was better than that from those entertainers brought on board.
For the first four days the shore excursions were very much the same, Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples. The commentary was pretty standard with each tour guide throwing in their own anecdotes. Hindsight is a wonderful thing and knowing what I do now I would not have booked so many shore excursions. The title of a tour “Highlights of …." can be very misleading as the highlights are shrines and temples.
One shore excursion included a trip on the Shinkansen, bullet train, from Kobe to Kyoto. I was not the only person on this excursion who thought this particular activity to be a non-event.
It is widely acknowledged that getting photos of Mt Fuji is very much dependent on the weather and cloud conditions. One shore excursion took us to a place where one is able to get the “million dollar photo" of Mt Fuji. After a fairly long walk to the spot disappointment. Could not see Mt Fuji at all. Luckily, when the ship docked at Shimizu there were some amazing photo opportunities.
The Tori Gates at Miyajima are spectacular when the tide is in, not so much at low tide. I fell that the excursion which included Miyajima and Hiroshima in the same day could have been done in reverse, in my case, so that travellers would get the best experience of seeing the Tori Gates.
A shore excursion to Nagaski and Arita did not include lunch. Nor was there anywhere to purchase lunch at Arita. Anyone taking this particular excursion should be prepared with there own snacks.
On Jeju Isalnd the “Jungman Full Day" was the excursion of choice. This was by far the best the Shore Excursion experience. Even though it included a Buddhist Temple, this temple has to be seen. It is quite spectacular.
Shuttle buses from the each port visited to the downtown area were provided free of charge, apparently by the local authorities. These were free of charge which I have found not to be the case in other ports visited on European cruises.
The only downside to this cruise was the seven hour delay arriving in Shanghai. The port had been closed by the authorities and the Captain was forbidden to take the ship into port.
Travellers should also be aware that passing through immigration in Shanghai can be very, very slow.

Leave a Comment