It all started here...

It all started here...

Monday, August 31, 2015

3rd Sea Day

July 27, 2015 -- At Sea

Weather: Clear
Temperature: 28C

Another relaxing day at sea as we sailed towards Nagasaki in the south western side of the island. Again, there were many on board activities to keep the passengers occupied. It was a day of free time for everyone in our group.


After breakfast at Horizon Court, I went around the ship a little and took some pictures. Then we went to the port lecture for Nagasaki. The port lecture for Busan was in the afternoon that day.

The Atrium was always busy with music, performances, and games.

Time for the Treasure Hunt Draw at around noon. Didn't win anything though.

Always quiet here.


Photo Gallery 

Lunch at Horizon Court, again. Not easy to find a table on this day.

Some people took the tables at the back of the ship.
After lunch, I took a nap in the cabin and then got up to do laundry. I really liked the way that you just swipe your cruise card to get detergent and tokens for the washer and dryer. Very easy to operate.

Later that afternoon we went to the Captain Circle Reception which we missed on the last leg. This was held in the theater.

There were so many people there that they did not serve any drinks but gave each of us a drink coupon instead.

I wonder why I do not have pictures of the captain or the officers. Oh, now I remember, the captain did not even show up for the reception. The whole thing was handled by the cruise director and the entertainment director then the singers performed a couple of songs and that was it.

At around 6 o'clock, there was an announcement through the PA system telling us that there would be an emergency medical helicopter evacuation at 8PM. The person needing medical attention could not wait til the next port. We were suppose to stay inside, close the curtains, and not to take pictures. We would be in the dining room by then, so it really did not affect us.

It's another formal night and they were serving the Audrey Hepburn menu again. Basically they repeated the same menu from the first week. I found that the choices of food was not that great on this cruise. Not only because of the Always available Japanese menu but also the three set menus that they served and encouraged people to take. 

A plate of cookies to share.

After dinner in the MDR, we felt a trip up Horizon Court was in order. MOR was craving for some ramen.

Ramen station with the self-help toppings. We ended this day satisfied and happy. 

Yokohama Turnaround Day

July 26, 2015 -- Yokohama, Japan (6:00AM~6:00)

Weather: Clear/Hot
Temperature: 30C

Yokohama is a city that treasures its past and welcomes the future. Minato-Mirai, which means Harbor in the Future, refers to the area that is near the port with well-developed modern high rises. It is also the name of their metro system in this city. While many cruisers take this day to visit Tokyo, we decided to spend our day here to explore the parts of the city that we missed when we were here before boarding the ship. There is really a lot to see in this city. Tokyo will have to wait. Disembarkation began at 7:20AM for the express Walk-off and the process lasted til 10:00 for those with transfers to hotels.

With the "In Transit" card in hand, we walked off the gangway at 9:00 and went directly out to the pier without going through immigration or custom. Very easy.

A few pictures of the terminal for future cruisers. Taxi pick-up here.

The taxi line--there seemed to be quite a few van type taxi, but not sure how you can assure a taxi that size though.

Further down from the pier where some passengers were walking towards the main street for the metro or to their hotels.

I noticed these tiles on the street.

Painting of the old pier on the wall along the street.

The Red Brick Warehouse is also shown on this painting.

More beautiful tiles

We made a left turn on the main road towards Yamashita Park. There is a Lawson right there.

View of Diamond Princess and Osanbashi Pier from near the Happy Lawson.

Promenade along the park. It was a hot and humid day but many volunteers showed up to clean the park that Sunday.

"Little Girl with the Red Shoes On" statue

Which was based on a children's song set in the Port of Yokohama since 1921.

Colorful gardens along the way.

"Guardian of Water" fountain that was presented to the people of Yokohama by the people of San Diego.

Looks like a memorial for the composer of the song written for the Japanese navy.

NYK Hikawamaru--formerly a large cruise ship called the "Queen of the North Pacific" with Charlie Chaplin and other famous celebrities as its passengers. It's now a museum. (Admission 300Y adults; 200Y 65+)

A sculpture of friendships--between the Girls Scouts of Japan and USA.

A big rally was held at the end of the park.

The 106 meters tall Yokohama Marine Tower with two-floor observation deck. (Adults 750Y)

local bus

From Yamashita Park we continued our walk towards the Motomachi area. Wish that we had more time and that the weather wasn't that hot and humid so we could visit all the sights in this area. 

We found the Mega Store, which is one of the many Don Quijote stores all over Japan. This one has two floors full of inexpensive merchandise. A good place for souvenirs. They even have a second-hand section selling name-brand goods like LV bags, etc. We spent about an hour in there.

Then we walked down Motomachi Street which was quite an interesting shopping street. We went into a few stores but did not buy anything.

From Motomachi Shopping Street we made a right turn, crossed the Nakamuragawa River to...

Yokohama Chinatown is the biggest Chinatown in the world, as I understand.

Yokohama Masobyo (Ma Zhu Maio Temple)

Ma Zhu is the goddess of the sea.

Yokohama Daisekai, an eight-story entertainment facility in Chinatown. It includes a souvenir floor, Artrick Museum, fortune-telling, and massage facilities.

Passage to Kanteibyo (Kuan Ti Miao Temple) which we did not go to.

Since this was a Sunday, there were many tourists and visitors in Chinatown.

Food stall on the ground floor of Daisekai. I regret not trying some of the food here. My thought was why would you want to eat Chinese food in Japan?

But ChC bought a huge pork bun from this place and he said it was really good.

Frozen panda buns in the freezer inside the store.

Hot! Hot! Hot!

Souvenir store

Leaving Chinatown

Saw this Yokohama Chinese Christian Church on our way to the metro station. 
We then took the Minato Mirai from Motomachi-Chukagai Station to Bashamichi Station. From there we walked up to the World Porters mall to have another great lunch at the sushi restaurant where we visited a week ago. We had no problem getting seated right away because it was still early.

Well, yeah, we just love sushi and sashimi. Where else would you get better and fresher sushi and sashimi than Japan?
By the time we were leaving, there was a long line of people waiting to be seated.

The busy Cold Stone inside the mall, which is across from the Starbucks (where I was standing.)


Cosmo World right outside this exit. 

Across the street is the Cupnoodles Museum. I wanted to see this place, but the weather was really getting to me. By then I just didn't feel like fighting the crowds and decided to skip it this time.

As we walked back to the pier, we stopped by the Red Brick Warehouse. It was good to get away from the heat into the cool air inside but it was so crowded that I totally lost interests in looking at the stores.

Hmm...going back to the comfort of our stateroom on the Diamond sound like such a good idea!

That was exactly what we did! Followed along the Yamashita Rinko Line Promenade and on the Shinkobashi Bridge under the hot, hot sun we came back to the beautiful Diamond Princess. What a relief! We went up to the Horizon Court and got some cold lemonade and fresh fruits to take back to our cabin. We just sat on our balcony enjoying our snacks with the view of this amazing city, Yokohama. I got this bag of Summer limited edition of plum flavor potato chips at the Mega Store and it was really good! I wanted to try the many different potato chips available in Japan but still missing the KFC flavor ones.

Very different from our previous day here which was rainy and empty. There were a lot of people here at the pier on this particular day. Probably because it was a Sunday in good weather.

This gentleman was so cute. He was walking up and down the pier along the ship holding this British flag, bidding us farewell and wishing us a good trip. 

There was a medical emergency which delayed our departure at 6:00PM that day. We saw the ambulance and then heard the announcement. We did not leave port until around 6:45PM that evening.

Tourist spot round-trip bus--Akai Kutsu. I believe there are two different routes on this bus that go around the city. It's not a HOHO bus though and I think it cost 100Y each time for the ride.

It always feel good to see people waving goodbye as we leave ports.

This time we did not go up on deck. Instead just watched the sail away from our balcony.

The gorgeous Osanbashi Pier

Minato Mirai area

Going under the bridge one more time.

Looking down at the big, uncovered balconies beneath us.

We missed our waiter Ketut but fortunately we still had the assistant waitress, a sweet Japanese girl Megumi. Her parents came to visit her that day and when I asked her about the visit at dinner, she got a little choked up. Our new waiter was Leo from Romania. We were a little worried about the new waiter but it turned out that we had a great time with Leo in the next eight days.
We also had a new captain on this leg, Captain Fabrizio Maresca from Italy.
Ready for our second leg of this wonderful cruise!