The Mysterious Case Of The Satsumas At The Security Checkpoint

Discussion in 'UK Trip Reports Board' started by dolphingirl47, Jan 31, 2018.

  1. dolphingirl47

    dolphingirl47 In Search of the Tag Fairy

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    Breakfast was something special as long as you were willing to try some of the local food.

    She definitely was.

    I am still not over this.

    The solarium with my favourite hang out.

    Well, people in China seem to have a different kind of relationship to food than we have.

    I was absolutely delighted about this. With the park being so quiet, we covered a lot of ground.

    I had read about this happening, but we never saw this. We did however get stung by this in Dubai once and the hotel we were staying in on that trip tried to con us with a towncar as well. By then I had learned my lesson and pointblank refused to get in.

    That definitely made the process smoother.

    I really do not understand how somebody can behave like this. The average Chinese passenger may not understand enough English to be offended, but that does not make it right. They also have a high proportion of Chinese crew and they are all fluent in English.

    The food was absolutely amazing.

    Just in time for me posting the next update.

    Corinna
     
  2. dolphingirl47

    dolphingirl47 In Search of the Tag Fairy

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    Day 11

    We were awake bright and early at 7:00. We got up and dressed and decided to head down to the Royal Esplanade to get something to drink. Graham wanted a coffee and I decided to take my souvenir cup to get something from the Coca Cola Freestyle machine that is in Sorento’s. Unfortunately the machine was out of order. I did not fancy coffee and the selection of teas did not thrill me. Graham got his coffee and I wandered across to the patisserie where they sold Starbucks coffees and specialty teas. I noticed that they sold something called a joy card there. This cost $20 and entitled you to 15 specialty coffees, teas, non-alcoholic cocktails and soft drinks. I thought that this was really good value. I got myself a citrus-scented black tea, which still came out of a tea bag, but was delicious. I went back to where Graham was sitting and once he had finished his coffee, we went up to deck 14.

    Part of the perks of having a junior suite is that we had reserved venues for breakfast and lunch. They offered a buffet breakfast in the Solarium Bistro and an a la carte menu in Chic, which is one of the restaurants that is used as a main dining room in the evening. We had decided on the buffet that morning. On Ovation, the access to the Solarium Bistro was from the solarium. So this is where we headed. Just as we reached the entrance, there was a group coming the other direction. They advised us that the access was from the elevator lobby. When we got there, they were not quite ready for us yet, but the doors were opened about 5 minutes later. We found a table and then went to see what was on offer. Graham started with broccoli, cauliflower, grilled tomatoes, scrambled eggs, American and Taiwanese sausages and bacon. I had vegetable fried rice, American and Taiwanese sausages and a traditional fried bread. The Taiwanese sausage had a funny taste to it and the vegetable fried rice was not as delicious as I remembered it from Ovation. I enjoyed the rest though. Graham then got some yoghurt with granola as well as cold cuts, cucumber and tomatoes and a bread roll. I got in line for an omelette. I like the way they handled this. You placed your order and were given a number. Once the omelette was ready, it was delivered to your table. I had an omelette with sausage, tomato, onions, mushrooms and cheese and this was absolutely delicious. I finished off my breakfast with some tropical fruit salad, melon and mandarin segments. We both had some juice, water and coffee.

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    After breakfast, we headed down to the Schooner Bar for morning trivia. There were maybe a dozen takers from the USA, Malaysia and the UK. We did not win that session, but we had a lot of fun. After morning trivia, we went back to the cabin to get changed into swim gear. I also picked up shampoo and shower gel and my iPad. Then we went up to the spa to use the thermal suite. We settled down on the heated tile loungers and I started off reading, but ended up having a nap shortly afterwards. Graham must have fallen asleep as well. When people started to come in, I looked at my watch and realized that we had been there over two hours. It most certainly had not felt that long. Graham did the rounds of the steam room, sauna and the tropical rainforest shower. I stayed on my heated tile lounger and read a bit more. Once Graham was done, we went to the respective changing rooms. I had a shower there and then I met Graham in the relaxation room. We went back to the cabin to drop off our stuff that we no longer needed and then we decided to check out the a la cart lunch at Chic, which was another junior suite perk.

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    On the way there, I spotted something I had never seen on any of the cruises we had been on. They actually had two backdrops set up at lunchtime. Hardly anybody was around at that time so we stopped for some photos. Then we went to Chic for some lunch. I was delighted when I saw the menu. Before we got on Ovation, I had a look at the sample menus and one thing in particular caught my eye. They had a dessert on the menu for American Icon Grill that was called Icon’s Candy Bar and consisted of peanut butter mousse, nougat brittle and caramel drizzle. I love everything peanut butter and was so excited about this. In 16 days on Ovation, it never materialized. I was therefore both surprised and delighted when I spotted it on the lunch menu that day. Normally I prefer an appetizer over dessert, but I skipped the appetizer that day as I definitely wanted dessert this time. I had Pad Thai for my main course. It was not particularly authentic, but very delicious. Graham had the Philly Cheese Steak with fries followed by rice pudding. I finally got my Icon’s Candy Bar. It was definitely worth the wait. It was quite sweet, but not overpoweringly though and the flavours worked very well together. This was definitely one of their better desserts.

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    After lunch, we went to the solarium. I found myself a round lounger and settled down with my iPad to read. Graham spent some time on one of the outside decks at the front of the solarium and then he found himself a regular lounger. He is not that keen on the round loungers. I had spotted that there would be a session of bumper cars in the Seaplex that afternoon. I had every intention to go to this. At some stage, I double-checked the timing for this on the Royal IQ app and to my delight, I realized that you could make reservations for this via the app. I was just about to do this, when I realized that they charge $5 for a 8 minute session that includes 2.5 minutes in the bumper car. I did not want to do the bumper cars that badly. I knew that the charge for the North Star observation capsule and for the iFly skydiving simulator on cruises from China, but I had never heard that the charge for bumper cars as well. So I passed. I went up to the Seaplex a little later as they have a Coca Cola Freestyle machine there. The bumper cars session was underway by then and they only had 6 cars out and only 5 were actually in use. This is only fun if there is a bit of a crowd so I am glad I did not pay.

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    After I already found the Coca Cola Freestyle machines on deck 4 out of order in the morning, I noticed that the one in the Seaplex was out of order as well. I decided to go down one deck to the Windjammer as I knew they have two machines in there. I had to wait in line to get in as people were still having a late lunch. I waited about 10 minutes and after washing my hands, I went to one of the Coca Cola Freestyle machines. This did not have an out of order sign on unless the other three I had tried, but I did not do anything either. I approached one of the bartenders close by and he initially offered to get me some Coke from the bar, which I declined. He then came with me and he could not get the machine to work either. He then called a supervisor who turned up shortly afterwards. Again I was offered a glass of regular Coke. I have to admit, at that stage I had enough. I told him that I did not want regular Coke and that I can have this every day at home. I explained that I had only got the soda package because I knew that the ship has the Coca Cola Freestyle machines and that this is a special treat for me. He went backstage to make a call and then came back to offer me a refund on the package. I asked when the machines would be fixed and he did not know, but was not optimistic that it would be during our cruise. So I gratefully accepted the refund. He took the souvenir cup and removed the sticker from my SeaPass card and by the time I got back to the cabin later that afternoon, the refund had already been processed. I was still thirsty when I got back to the solarium. I ended up getting some ice water from the dispenser on the bar.

    Around 16:15, I went back to the cabin to get changed. That evening was Royal Night, which is as close as you come to formal night on the Quantum class ships. The Captain was out for photos that evening between 16:30 and 17:15. I always like to get a photo with the Captain. Graham had one look at how busy the Royal Esplanade was and refused to go down there. Where we were standing on deck 5, we could see the front of the line. I offered that I would go down to join the line and Graham could come and join me once he saw me near the front, but he was not having this either. I was not overly happy about this turn of events, but I know when I am defeated. At that stage the decision was made to not get the photo package, but just a couple of select photos.

    We then went to the Schooner Bar for evening trivia. I got myself a strawberry lemonade and a Virgin Pina Colada for Graham with my joy card. We actually managed to win and got a couple of pens. After trivia, we went back to the solarium to enjoy the sunset before crossing the deck to Coastal Kitchen.

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    This evening we were at the opposite end of Coastal Kitchen and we were seated next to couple from California that I had bumped into a couple of times before. We chatted with them all through dinner. It turned out that they were travel agents, too. We were sitting pretty close to the back entrance that leads from Coastal Kitchen and noticed something amusing. There was a steady stream of locals heading from Coastal Kitchen to the Windjammer and came back with multiple plates piled high with food. I could not understand how they could carry all of this without dropping it. At some stage Graham mentioned that he fancied some chips. There were none on the menu. I commented that he could get some from the Windjammer as everybody else seemed to get food from there. He did get a plate. Normally the chips at the Windjammer are absolutely delicious, but those were nothing to write home about. The food that was served at Coastal Kitchen however was great. Graham started with the Snow Crab California roll, which he enjoyed. I had the roasted & stuffed zucchini with fresh ricotta, seasoned bread crumbs, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and fra diavolo sauce. The sauce could have been a little spicier, but I enjoyed all the different flavours. For our main course, we both had the roasted beef tenderloin grilled asparagus and fork crushed potatoes with a cabernet wine jus. This was washed down with a glass of Caliterra for me and a glass of White Zinfandel for Graham. Graham passed on dessert, but I went with the rather strangely named Wine & Cheese. This consisted of red wine-poached pear on a ricotta-puff pastry tart with honey mascarpone. I still cannot figure out what drew me to this as I normally detest puff pastry, but this was a great choice. It was a riot of flavours and textures and absolutely delicious.

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    When we finished our meal, I could not believe how long we had been there. We had taken the best part of 2.5 hours over dinner. Between the good food and amazing company, time had just flown. We shared an elevator with our dining companions on the way down. They went to see what was happening around the ship, but we were ready for our bed. We said goodnight when we got to our deck. Once we got to our cabin, we used our respective bathrooms to get ready for bed. I had a quick look at the Daily Compass for the following day and then we settled down for the night.

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  4. jedijill

    jedijill Chiefs fan living in Bronco country

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    Caught back up again. What a chaotic boarding process...Glad you found a fairy godmother to get you sorted!

    Too bad about the Freestyle machines being down...thankfully they quickly refunded you. That suite looks amazing!

    Jill in CO
     
  5. Pinkocto

    Pinkocto DIS Veteran

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    Lovely sea day. I can’t wait to get back onboard a ship. They do the make your own omelettes like that on DCL as well, there’s just no sign where to order, which is a bit annoying the first day.

    How disappointing about the Freestyle Coke machines, I’m sorry. Glad they were speedy about the refund.

    Strange about charging for the bumper cars, and for that small amount of time too.
     
  6. dolphingirl47

    dolphingirl47 In Search of the Tag Fairy

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    A certain level of chaos is part of life in China.

    She was definitely a blessing.

    This is something Royal Caribbean has always been great about. When something goes wrong, they issue a refund very quickly.

    We really liked it and I think the one we are getting this time will be even nicer.

    I am with you there and for me it is not even that long ago.

    Oh, that must be new. On every ship I have ever been on before this, including the Magic and the Wonder, you ordered and then waited.

    I am hoping that they will be in good working order on Ovation.

    I did not like this at all. I am hoping that this will be different on Ovation, but somehow I think it won't be.

    Corinna
     
  7. dolphingirl47

    dolphingirl47 In Search of the Tag Fairy

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    Day 12

    We woke up just before our alarm went off at 7:30 and got up and ready. This was our first port day and with this came Japanese immigration. I was a little nervous as I am still looking back in horror at the immigration debacle in Boston in 2016. However, this particular pleasure was still about three hours away and we had other things planned first. We decided to have a sit down breakfast that morning and as soon as they opened, we went down to Chic, which was reserved for guests in Junior Suites and higher. There were some people ahead of us when we checked in, but we were quickly taken to our table. Everything worked like clockwork. Pretty much as soon as we sat down, we were handed the menu and offered drinks. We both had a coffee and some orange juice. Then somebody came around with pastries. Graham had a raisin swirl, but I did not fancy anything sweet that morning. Graham has bacon, sausages and fried eggs. I had sausages, hash browns and poached eggs. The hash browns were a little unusual, but very tasty. They were really more of a potato cake. Even though we did not rush our breakfast, we still had plenty of time before the morning trivia to head back to our cabin to pick up the passport copies.

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    Once they were in our possession, we went to the Schooner Bar for morning trivia. For some reason, they had blocked off the entrance to this with chairs. I started to think that we were in wrong place. I quickly checked the activities schedule on the Royal IQ app and we were definitely in the right place. So we made our way around the chairs and sat down. More people arrived shortly afterwards. We were joined by a couple that lives just down the road from us. We had met them the previous afternoon and they seemed pleasant enough. Unfortunately it turned out that morning that they are serial complainers. We got the full blow by blow account over what was wrong with breakfast. I was utterly amazed how many things there are to be miserable about. Would you believe, they actually had to ask for milk for their tea? I think I did very well to keep a straight face and not to give them a lesson in Chinese culture. I rather suspect that this would have been wasted on them anyway. Fortunately, at this stage the member of cruise staff hosting the quiz turned up and that put an end to this conversation. I have to admit though that our knowledge complimented each other nicely and we did end up winning the quiz. We got some really neat reusable shopping bags.

    By the time the quiz was over, people were lining up for immigration. It was still a good half an hour until our meeting time so we stayed put. Our partners in crime however decided to get in line. There was a second quiz and this was a photo quiz about food around the world. Graham thought we would have no chance, but I was quietly optimistic. We were given a sheet with photos of various dishes and had put on the answer sheet where the dishes originate. I was in my element and we only got 3 out of 36 wrong. We won some highlighters for this. Once this was finished, we decided we may as well go to our meeting point for immigration.

    They had this really well organized. There were different meeting points for people that were part of an organized tour group, independent travellers with shore excursions booked and independent travellers that were doing their own thing. We belonged to the final group and we were supposed to meet on The Via at 10:30. They had set up lines and although there were a lot of people milling around, it looked all very organized. We got as far as the midship elevators when we were intercepted by a member of the crew. We tried to explain that we were supposed to meet at The Via, but he was not having any of it. He told us to come round and then opened the barrier for us that was separating the midship elevators from Wonderland. Just outside Wonderland, they had a table set up where members of crew checked passport copies and SeaPass cards and then put a sticker on the back of the passport copies. We then went past Izumi. There is a bit of a bottle neck in this area and they made use of this for quarantine screening. They had mobile radiation detectors and infrared cameras that are checking body temperature in this area. Once we passed through there, we were directed to the Bionic Bar where we had a very short wait to see an immigration official. When it was our turn, she checked our passport copy and then put a stamp on the back of it where the sticker was. Then we were on our way again. The whole process from getting up from our chairs in the Schooner Bar until we were in the lift back to our cabin took about 15 minutes. I wish all immigration procedures were that smooth.

    We dropped our shopping bags and highlighters off and collected our cameras and jackets and then we headed towards the gangway. We took a little detour to take some photos of the ship and then we joined the customs queue. They had a marquee with some tables set up and there were customs officials with dogs in the area. Once we got to the tables, they checked our passport copies and then we were on our way again. The port is quite a way outside town and they had complimentary shuttle buses taking people to the bus station in town. So we got in line for this. We were equipped with wristbands, maps and Wi-Fi passwords by representatives of the local tourist office. The line looked huge, but we were on the third bus and as soon as one bus was full, the next one pulled up. The drive took about 10 minutes and was quite interesting. When we researched the ports before the holiday, Kochi was the one that appealed the least, but there were still some things we wanted to see.

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    We had seen photos of a really nice bridge when researching the place and this was actually really close to the bus station. On the short way there, we came across a number of small roadside shrines that were utterly fascinating. The bridge was very nice, but it was in a very built up area and it was hard to get a decent photo. We also came across a few very unusual statues.

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  8. dolphingirl47

    dolphingirl47 In Search of the Tag Fairy

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    Kochi is a strange kind of place. It seems that its sole reason for existence is to provide shopping opportunities for Chinese cruise tourists. The majority of the town consists of endless shopping arcades. There was nothing that enticed me to spend my money though. At the end of the arcades, we found the park that is home to Kochi castle. Kochi castle is the only castle in Japan to retain both its original tenshu, or keep, and its palace, the residence of the local daimyō. In fact, it is the only castle to have all the original buildings in the honmaru, or innermost ring of defence, still standing. To get to the castle, there are seemingly countless stairs to navigate. They are quite uneven and some of them are quite steep. About halfway up is a plateau from which you can get a great view of the castle. We were also treated to some beautiful fall colours.

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    Our original plan had been to go up to the castle and take a few photos and then head back down. However, the admission was not expensive so we decided to go in. This was another experience. Before we even were allowed to the ticket office, we had to take off our shoes and put them on racks. There were some vicious pebbles in this area as well that we had to cross. I was not too impressed with this. I have toured a fair view castles in my life and I am quite used to having to wear felt slippers or shoe covers, but having to take the shoes off was a new on me. Once we had crossed the short distance across the pebbles there was then a boardwalk of sorts leading to the ticket office. We got our tickets and then headed inside. The castle is actually pretty small and the exhibits are somewhat eclectic. There were some really ornate carvings, some three dimensional wall hangings, some kimonos and some helmets and weapons. The main show piece was a model of the castle. You can also go upstairs and there is a viewing platform of sorts. However, the staircase leading up to this is made from varnished wood, the stairs are very narrow and the staircase looked very steep. Add to this that I was just wearing socks and this looked like an accident waiting to happen to me. I stayed downstairs where the model was and Graham went up by himself. There was also some information about the history of the castle in this room, which kept me occupied. It looked like I made a wise decision. Graham said that the steps were getting narrower and the staircases steeper the higher you got.

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    Once we finished our tour of the castle, we retrieved our shoes. I took a few more photos and then me made our way back down. I was struggling a little with the uneven and in places quite steep steps. Fortunately we only had to navigate the first two sets of stairs and then there was an alternate route using a gently sloping hill back to the street level. We took this option. It was a beautiful walk past trees that were still in full fall colours. When we were back on the street, we noticed some beautiful artwork. The manhole covers and even the streetlights had beautiful ornate decorations.

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    We took a different route back to the bus station. This time we walked through a market. At some stage we ended up in an arcade again, but this one was more old fashioned with a lot of dark wood. At the entrance of this arcade, I spotted a shop selling mochi. I could not resist. I got some chocolate mochi that was filled with ice cream. This was delicious and had the softer texture that I was used to prior to this trip. Graham had a cake of some description, which he enjoyed. We also came across a shop that sold sake. We ended up getting a couple of individual bottles to take back to the ship.

    Once we were back on the main road, we found some more roadside shrines. They are really everywhere in Kochi. When we got to the bus station, a bus back to the port was just pulling in. There were a lot of people there and we wondered if we have to wait for the next bus, but we managed to get on. We were split up, but that did not matter. I used my mobile data to check my emails and see what was happening on Facebook on the trip back.

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    When we got back on the ship, we had to drop our sake off to be stored until the last night. Once this was done, we quickly went to the cabin to drop off our stuff and to get our swimming gear. I also got my iPad. We then went to Cafe Two70 for a snack. Graham had a Chinese version of Pigs in Blankets, which was a Taiwanese sausage wrapped in pastry. I had a couple of mini chicken burritos and some plums. Once we had our food, I went to get some coffee, but the coffee urns were again empty. They have some coffee behind the salad counter and the member of crew there had sympathy with us and waved us over. I got some coffee for Graham and some Jasmine tea for me. When we finished our afternoon snack, we went to the thermal suite to relax on a heated tile lounger for a while and I read for a bit.

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    We left in time for the afternoon trivia, which we managed to win again. We got some more reusable shopping bags. After trivia, we went up to the solarium to relax and enjoy the sunset. Neither of us fancied a full dinner that evening. Graham suggested that we could get some pizza from Sorrento’s. I was fine with that idea. However, when we got there, there was nothing I fancied. Graham got some pepperoni pizza. I checked if they had anything I fancied at Cafe Promenade, but there was pretty slim pickings. I then went up to the Seaplex as I really fancied a hot dog, but the hot dog van was closed. I was considering a few other ideas, but did not really fancy any of them and I was not really hungry so I gave up on this idea. Once Graham had finished his pizza, we went back to the cabin. Graham watched some TV and I read for a bit and then we had an early night.

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  9. Tanzanite

    Tanzanite DIS Veteran

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    Hi Corrina loving your trip report Japan is known for its manhole covers very pretty designs in different areas. I love taking photos of them when i see them .I am visiting Nagasaki on my next trip went to Fukuoka last year but rained so didnt get to see much as a day trip cant wait to hear more you take so many wonderful pictures love it.
     
  10. franandaj

    franandaj I'm so happy, I could BOUNCE!

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    My last post on this thread I was so thrilled to be caught up, and that was two weeks ago! Well, I'm caught up on your sea day, sounded like a lovely relaxing day. I'll be back to catch up on your next day in a little bit!
     
  11. tiggrbaby

    tiggrbaby <font color=deeppink><marquee>We must work harder

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    Great pics! Ended up being a nice stop.
     
  12. jedijill

    jedijill Chiefs fan living in Bronco country

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    Really lovely port! That castle was amazing although bizarre you had to go in your socks.

    Jill in CO
     
  13. Pinkocto

    Pinkocto DIS Veteran

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    Immigration sounded quite smooth, they really have things well organized.

    The castle looks like something I’d really enjoy. Lovely that the entry fee was low and you were able to go inside.

    People like the complainers at trivia always confuse me. They must complain all the time about every little thing. We have encountered a few like that, thankfully not many.
     
  14. franandaj

    franandaj I'm so happy, I could BOUNCE!

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    I'm glad immigration was easy! What a strange port, mostly shopping? I'm glad you found the castle, it makes it something fun that isn't based on commerce.
    I love mochi, but I prefer the green tea flavor. Not sure if I've ever had chocolate.
    Sounds like a relaxing end of the day. Too bad you didn't find something for a late night nosh. I don't know how you go to sleep without food, I end up tossing and turning until I get something in my tummy!
     
  15. dolphingirl47

    dolphingirl47 In Search of the Tag Fairy

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    It's a sad state of affairs when you don't get notifications for your own threads, I was totally unaware of all the replies on here.

    Oh, I did not know this. Now I wished that I had paid more attention in Tokyo and Nagasaki.

    I loved Nagasaki. I will post this update after dinner. We never made it off the ship in Fukuoka.

    Thanks.

    Well, to my horror, it has been three weeks ago since I was last on here. I had not realised it had been that long.

    It was a really nice day.

    Thanks.

    It was an interesting stop with a certain amount of charm.

    I found it quite strange, but there were elements I really loved.

    I thought so, too.

    I was very impressed with this.

    The castle was definitely a gem.

    That is one thing I noticed in both China and Japan: if you stay away from the theme parks, admission is really low for everything else.

    I do not get this either. I mean the cruise was a bit of a bargain, but it still was not a cheap trip especially if you add flights, visa, etc. We have always taken the approach when travelling to really appreciate the positives and not dwell on the negatives. Every now and again there is something that needs fixing, but again, once it is fixed, it is case closed for us. I do not understand why people want to come all this way and probably pay a significant chunk of money to be miserable.

    That was exactly my take on this.

    I love green tea mochi as well (or most things green tea for that matter), but they did not have any in that shop.

    It is really nice. Sue introduced me to mochi and the first one I ever had was chocolate.

    I think part of the issue was that I was not that hungry and nothing really appealed to me.

    I am not going as far as saying it happens all the time, but on average it happens probably once a month that dinner does not happen for one reason or the other. I sleep just fine.

    Corinna
     
  16. dolphingirl47

    dolphingirl47 In Search of the Tag Fairy

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    Day 13

    We had a leisurely morning as we were not due into Nagasaki until 14:00. We got up and ready. Graham checked out the map of where we were. Then we went downstairs. Even though we had not eaten much the previous evening, neither of us felt like a proper breakfast. We went to Cafe Promenade to get some donuts and Graham got a cheese Danish. Graham had some filter coffee and I got a hazelnut mocha with my joy card. Once we had finished our breakfast, we went up to the Schooner Bar for morning trivia.

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    While we were sitting there, Shrek came walking by. Fortunately I had my iPhone with me as I was going to see Puss in Boots after trivia. So I followed him down to The Via. I got some photos with him and then I went back to re-join Graham. We managed to win morning trivia again. After trivia had finished, we went back to the cabin. I put my swimsuit on underneath my clothes and switched my iPhone for my iPad. Graham picked up his swimming trunks and went upstairs to the thermal suite. I read for a bit and then went downstairs to meet Puss in Boots. Then I went to join Graham. We had a good hour in the thermal suite and then Graham wanted to go up to the solarium. I stayed in the thermal suite a little longer and then got showered. I took my swimsuit back to the cabin and then went up to the solarium to join Graham. This was the only time I ever saw the solarium relatively full on this cruise. I had to wait a little while until I got a lounger near Graham. We chilled out for a while. Graham watched the world go by and I read. Then we went downstairs to Cafe Two70 for some lunch. We both had a roast beef roll. Graham also had a salad and this looked good. So I went back for some salad as well. I also brought back a peanut butter cupcake.

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    After lunch, we went back up to the solarium. This had emptied out quite a bit. We watched the sail in into Nagasaki. Once the ship was docked, we went to the cabin to get our coats, cameras and passport copies. Then we went down to the gangway. We were off the ship quite quickly. Near the gangway, we got into a line, which was moving pretty steadily. There was a group of Americans in their late 20s or early 30s right behind us and one of them was continuously complaining how terrible the immigration procedures are on this cruise and that they should be more welcoming to foreigners. I had to bite my tongue. What she was so bitterly complaining about was really a non-event. Essentially the best part of 4000 people had left the ship all at once leading to minimal delays while we went through security and had our passport copies checked. It took about 15 minutes from when we had our SeaPass card swiped on the ship until we were outside the terminal building. That did not really feel like a hardship.

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    Last edited: May 20, 2018
  17. dolphingirl47

    dolphingirl47 In Search of the Tag Fairy

    Joined:
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    There were two things on our to do list that afternoon. The first one was just a hop, skip and a jump from the port. Glover Garden is an open air museum on a hill overlooking the port of Nagasaki that exhibits mansions of several of the city's former foreign residents. The main attraction of the garden is the former Glover House, the oldest Western-style wooden building in Japan. Thomas Glover (1838-1911) was a Scottish merchant who moved to Nagasaki after the opening of its port to foreign trade in 1859. Glover came to Japan at age 21 and never left. Glover worked in shipbuilding, coal, arms dealing and brewing. The Glover House was built right there, but a number of other houses were moved there from other locations in order to preserve them.

    From the port we just had to cross the road and walk up the hill on a short stretch of pedestrianised road. Just before the entrance to Glover Garden was a beautiful church and I figured that this may worth a look on the way back, but we left via a different route. I thought we would end up getting quite a bit of exercise that afternoon as everything seemed to be a long way up. However, we only had to navigate stairs until we got to the ticket office. Once we were inside the garden itself, there were escalators linking the various levels. We started off with the Glover House. There were some furnishings still there, but most of the house was pretty bare. As we came out, we had a nice view over the harbour and our ship.

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    We then had look at a couple of the other houses. Some of them had exhibitions in them. One showcased the history of Nagasaki and another concentrated on the opera Madame Butterfly showcasing photos, newspaper articles and costumes. All the houses were built in European stiles, which seemed a little strange. What really amused me was that the bins all had a tartan design celebrating the heritage of the people who by the looks of things were not all that bothered about the heritage of their adopted home country. Even in December, the garden is absolutely stunning and I cannot even begin to imagine what it would be like in spring and summer when everything is in full bloom. We were definitely glad that we had come. At the top of the garden was an old school house and a koi pond. There were machines where you could buy food for the koi, but we passed. Next to the koi pond was another ticket office and an exit. We decided to leave via this rather than backtrack back to the bottom.

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    Last edited: May 20, 2018
  18. dolphingirl47

    dolphingirl47 In Search of the Tag Fairy

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    Dec 25, 2007
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    31,169
    We had a short walk along a raised walkway and then we came to a lift. Once we got off this, there was another short walk to a funicular, which took us back to street level. We cut through a traditional alley and as soon as we came out, we spotted the tramlines. The closest tram stop was not far away either. They still run historical trams in Nagasaki so that was an experience in itself. We had to change trams after a couple of stops, but the tram that we connected to arrived within a couple of minutes of us getting off the first tram. Our second destination that day was Nagasaki Peace Park. Once we got off the tram, we only had a short walk to the entrance of Nagasaki Peace Park.

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    They definitely like their escalators in Nagasaki. Again there was a series of escalators leading from the street to the entrance of the park. As soon as we entered the park itself, we saw the Peace Fountain, which is one of the two centre pieces. Either side of the fountain there is a path that leads to the other centre piece, the Peace Statue. Along those paths are various statues and plagues that were donated from countries all around the world. From the photos I had seen before the trip, I thought this was a lot bigger than it really was, but it is a beautiful and serene space and I am glad that I got to visit this. Near the Statue of Peace were various displays explaining the background of the bombing and its effect. I had not appreciated that Nagasaki was not supposed to be the target. The planned target was actually the town of Kokura, which is located about 80 miles northeast of Nagasaki. However, heavy cloud cover and smoke from earlier bombing raids meant that there was zero visibility. After three aborted attempts, the planes turned off towards Nagasaki where the bomb was dropped while there was a temporary break in cloud cover.

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    We walked back taking the other path and looked at the statues there. Then we took the escalators back down. One the way, down Graham made quick pitstop at what must be the most beautiful public restroom that I have ever seen. The building looked more like a chapel than a public convenience. While we were walking back towards the tram stop when something caught our eyes. It was a part of the wall of Urakami Cathedral. Most of the building was destroyed, but this piece of wall curved and was moved to the hypocentre as a memorial. By then the sun was going down, but we decided to have a quick look. The precise point above which the bomb exploded is marked by a black marble monolith inside concentric circles. There are also a couple of other statues in this area. At the edge of the park, stairs lead down towards the river. A window has been inserted into the riverbank through which you can see the effects of the explosion.

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    After we had seen this, we headed back to the tram stop. We decided to walk back to the ship from the transfer stop rather than waiting for the other tram. This turned out to be a tactical error. It was further than we thought and it was now bitterly cold. We were both chilled to the bone. Once we were back on the ship, we dropped off our coats and cameras in the cabin and got changed into our swim stuff. We then headed up to the thermal suite to warm up. This was the only time I used the infrared sauna. Once I felt like I was starting to defrost, I went to relax on a heated tile lounger for a bit while Graham made use of the steam room. I stayed for a bit longer while Graham got showered. We then met up in the relaxation room and went back down to the cabin.

    We got changed and then went for dinner. I had made a reservation for quite late that evening to keep our options open as we were not due to leave Nagasaki until 22:00. However, we decided to check if they could fit us in early. That was no problem. When we got there, Coastal Kitchen was pretty empty. That day, they switched to the second menu. Although I had liked the original menu, I liked this even better. The bread service remained the same. For my starter, I went with the smoked tomato soup, which came with garlic focaccia croutons and Parmesan. When this was served, there were just the garlic focaccia croutons and the Parmesan in the bowl and the soup was poured over them table side. The soup was absolutely delicious. Graham had the cured salmon with pumpernickel, horseradish crème fraiche and caviar. He also enjoyed this. For our main course, we both had the grilled filet mignon with truffle potato purée, asparagus and bordelaise sauce. This was amazingly tender and full of flavour. For dessert, I went with the hazelnut cake, which was absolutely amazing. Graham had a deconstructed apple tart with mascarpone ice cream, which he seemed to like well enough.

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    After dinner, we went back to our cabin. We still had not completely warmed up and getting comfy under the quilt sounded like a good plan. We had a look at the Daily Compass for the next day. I read for a bit and then I settled down for an early night.
     
  19. Pinkocto

    Pinkocto DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2011
    Messages:
    9,427
    I’m sorry I have not checked in on the Dis for probably three weeks. What a lovely update. The pink shimmery chandelier on the ship is so pretty!

    Sounds like a great day at Nagasaki, very interesting and humbling history. The Peace Park looks is quite beautiful.

    Dinner looks delicious. Glad you found some good desserts as well.
     
  20. dolphingirl47

    dolphingirl47 In Search of the Tag Fairy

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    I think until I resurfaced last week, it had been about that long for me. I know everybody is really busy at the moment.

    I really like this, too.

    Nagasaki was one of the highlights of this trip. It just is a very special place and I am glad that I had the chance to visit. I had kind of expected that it would be a little depressing, but I found it very uplifting.

    It was. Unfortunately I did not have room for the rest of the trip to have this dessert again.

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  21. dolphingirl47

    dolphingirl47 In Search of the Tag Fairy

    Joined:
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    Day 14

    When we were making plans for this cruise, this was the only port that had really inspired us. I was really looking forward to visiting Fukuoka. However, by this time of the trip, we were utterly exhausted. It did not look particularly nice outside and after getting so cold the previous day, neither of us fancied a repeat of this. Add to this that we were not actually docked in Fukuoka, but at a multi-purpose port that is a way out. There was no information available if there are shuttle buses or how else to get into the town. So, in the end we decided to just stay on the ship. We did not regret this either.

    We had an early arrival in port that day at 8:00 in the morning. When we are up at 7:30, we figured that it would probably be safe to venture up to the Windjammer as the Chinese tour groups like to be off the ship as soon as they are able to do so, and they meet up before. The Windjammer was still busy, but we managed to get a table. Graham had some fruit and yoghurt and then a cooked breakfast with bacon, eggs, sausages, mushrooms and baked beans. I went Chinese that morning. I was considering the congee, but the toppings looked a little suspect to me, so I went with soup noodles with chicken. The soup noodles were very nice, but the chicken may have died of natural causes as it was as tough as old boots. The second part of breakfast was an absolute delight though. I had some steamed pork buns that were absolutely delicious and went back for seconds.

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    After breakfast, we went to the Schooner Bar for morning trivia. Unfortunately for us, we were already expected. The couple that live near us were saving us some seats. They had plenty to say that day. Apparently, they were having the worst cruise by a long shot. I could not believe what I was hearing. This may not have been the best cruise we ever had, but it was right up there. We were having an amazing time. I think they were struggling with the cultural differences whereas for us, this added to the experience. I could appreciate this. What I had trouble understanding is that they were very upset that some of the breakfast venues had closed quite early that morning. It is not like you are ever going hungry on a cruise ship. I was glad when our quiz host arrived, and we won again. This time we got key rings.

    After morning trivia, we decided to get some coffee. We went down to the Royal Esplanade. Graham got some filter coffee from Cafe Promenade and I used my joy card to get a hazelnut mocha. We decided to just chill out until the ship had emptied out. We then headed to guest services to book our tour for the last day. Our plan had been to get off the ship as early as possible, take the luggage to the airport and then take the Maglev train back into Shanghai to do some sightseeing. Unfortunately, we were now not due to arrive back in Shanghai until 9:30, putting paid to this plan. So, we decided to book a tour that included some sightseeing in Shanghai and would then drop us off at the airport afterwards. With this sorted out, we quickly went back to the cabin to pick up our cameras and then we went around the ship to take some photos.

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