Having done a number of Transatlantic cruises we opted for a Transpacific cruise to Tokyo, and the eight days at sea did not deter us. We flew from Toronto to Vancouver at 7:00am, arrived at 9:20am, took the Canada Line train from the airport to the port, and were ready to board the ship for the Concierge lunch in the dining room. While our cabin #8177 was not quite ready, the “touch” Seapass was on the door and we could drop off our carry-on bags. First impressions of the refurbished cabin were very positive. Fresh, clean décor, large TV screen, clear view from the balcony (with slight obstruction to the far left where the window cleaning ladder was stationed). Good number of wood hangers in the closet, soft closing drawers, ample lighting, USB ports. What we didn’t like: unable to regulate the fan speed, undersized sofabed for the available space, unable to angle the TV for viewing when sitting on the sofabed. As for the bathroom, while the shower stall has a nice door, it opens inwards, almost hitting the oversized grab bar leaving little space to maneuver. The grout on the tiled shower floor had many cracks which resulted in water leaking on to the floor. We asked to have this fixed, and we were given access to another cabin for half a day while the shower stall was re-grouted and re-caulked. Concierge Violetta Joson took charge of this case, sent us wine, strawberries and gave Future Cruise Credit for our inconvenience. This commitment to customer service in a friendly and honest manner was also demonstrated by many of the crew, including cabin steward Ronnie, assistant Maitre d’ Eric and waiter Limon to mention a few. The captain and senior officers were visible throughout and very approachable.
The Elite breakfast, which was served in the Tuscan Grill on prior cruises, was moved to the MDR. In the new design, Tuscan Grill has shrunk in size, and access blocked off from the mid-ship lobby. In the first two days the breakfast was plated menu service and very disorganized. From the third day onwards it was a buffet service. Hot items were also included, which was a welcome addition to the Elite breakfast, but the pathetic so-called bagels need a new recipe.
The Elite cocktail hour 5pm-7pm, allowed unlimited drinks in the Skylounge as well as the other bars.
Fresh, clean décor, large TV screen, clear view from the balcony (with slight obstruction to the far left where the window cleaning ladder was stationed). Good number of wood hangers in the closet, soft closing drawers, ample lighting, USB ports. What we didn’t like: unable to regulate the fan speed, undersized sofabed for the available space, unable to angle the TV for viewing when sitting on the sofabed. As for the bathroom, while the shower stall has a nice door, it opens inwards, almost hitting the oversized grab bar leaving little space to maneuver. Very quiet, no inside cabins or utility doors across the corridor. Deck 10 Oceanview Cafe overhang is not an issue blocking sky view like it does for cabins on deck 9.
It was warm and sunny. We took the free shuttle to the visitor center. Used the wifi and walked along the water to the Totem Pole Park. At the office we got sheets to explain about each pole. We walk back via shops, stopped for coffee and returned to the ship.
we arrived at 9am. Sunny and pleasant. It took 20 minutes on the free shuttle to town. We headed for morning market, helped by local school girls happy to practice some English conversation with the visitors. We got a bus/tram day pass ¥1000, but Mount Hakodate Ropeway was closed due to windy conditions. We visited the Goryokaku Tower (¥900), the citadel grounds (free) and the Magistrate Office (¥500). Free wifi was available in the area. We continued on the bus to the Red Brick warehouse area, rested at the Starbucks before heading back on the bus for more sightseeing and a ride up to the Ropeway station, which was still closed. The bus brought us back to the shuttle pick-up point returning to the ship. Never got to use the tram.
Yokohama: Partly cloudy 23c. Slight wind in in the bay. The Osanbachi terminal had free wifi, and Celebirty provided a free shuttle to JR Sakuragicho station. We walked along the waterfront, Sail Training ship, Cosmo World, Red Brick warehouse, World Porter shopping and back through Nihon-Odori station to buy PASMO cards. Back to the ship for lunch, and out again walking to Yamashita Park, Motomashi shopping street, Doll museum and Chinatown. By then it was hot and humid so we returned to the ship for afternoon cocktails. Since the ship stayed in port overnight, we returned to Chinatown after the show and met the rugby fans celebrating New Zealand win over South Africa.
Tokyo – we got off the ship at 9am, walked 12 minutes to Nihon-Odori station and boarded to train to Tokyo which took almost one hour. We stayed 3 nights at the Nippon Seinenkan hotel and took three Tokyo Localized walking tours in Meiji-Jingu shrine and Shinjuku. We also visited the observation deck at the Municipal Government building at dusk. There was a 30 minute lineup for elevator. Next day we visited the Royal palace gardens for guided walk (very large group), then it started raining. At 7:30pm we walked to Shibuya, crossing the Scramble and returned to our hotel on the Ginza Line. Next day we took the Access Narita to the airport from Ginza station