We have always loved Hong Kong, again we did things on our own. Caught the bus to the theme parks shopping centers etc The buses and ferries are inexpensive way to get around. The ship terminal is quite central to everything so its easy to do things on your own.
Shanghai was our next stop. We were at least 40 min away from the city, so we were provided shuttle bus to and from the city. I was a bit disappointed as I felt we wasted a lot of time traveling to and from the terminal Shanghai is awesome. Try and get a hop on and hop off bus, it gives you a insight to the things you really wish to see, also very inexpensive way to go.
Tianjin-Korea was next this was one of the alternatives to Japan. A lot of people were disappointed in this stop. We loved it. We walked out of the terminal(5 min walk) we found banks to exchange our currency, everyone was so helpful. The main shops and markets were underground very reasonably priced. We would have loved to stay there for more than a few hours.
Bussan-Beijing was next. Definitely a organized tour. The great wall of China Tian An Men Square, The Forbidden City, Bronzy lion, The Summer Palace just awesome.