Our cruise started on May 11; we traveled to the ship by train, ferry and monorail. The first couple we met, Mike and Angela from UK, continued to be table mates at different times. A very fun couple.
On leaving Kobe, Japan on the ship, we had a sail away concert by the Kobe Community Fireman’s Band. They were very good and played “Anchors Away” as we moved away, very appropriate and enjoyable for Navy guy, Jim. We had 2 days at sea on our way to our first Japanese port of Aomori, where we visited an Onsen or Hot Springs baths. This was our first time to pay for a cruise ship tour, but it turned out well, with only 20 of us and a good tour guide; also included a huge lunch.
Next was Hakodate, known for squid; it was everywhere in the Marketplace. Some really cute 15 – 16 year old school girls greeted us in English. They were out of school in order to practice their English. We spoke with 3 girls for several minutes. One plays trombone and another saxophone and all plan to go to college. Later, as we sailed away, 50 of them entertained us by singing and dancing the “Squid Song.” It was really comical! As you may see, many of us have on the same Blue Coats. They were a gift from Seabourn and very welcome with all of the cold weather; in Hakodate it was also raining. We spent a little time at the Morning Marketplace and then returned to ship to warm up!!
Last port in Japan was Kushiro and we took another Seabourn excursion. Our first stop was to see the Red Crown Cranes, which we could see up close. They are quite large, but not as large as our Whooping Cranes. After that we went to the wetlands, which were too wet and foggy!! Lastly we had a nice rice bowl with Sashimi lunch in the marketplace. Our guide, Tete was very good and spoke clear English. After this port we headed across the Bering Sea for 7 days (including the International Date line and 2 Fridays).