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Japan & Bering Sea TPAC - experiences with it?

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I'm thinking about booking a Japan and Bering Sea transpacific eastbound itinerary, from Yokohama, for 2022. I checked for posts but those that came up seemed all to be about the westbound itinerary (from Vancouver). Some were also light on the shipboard experience, other than eating and drinking, and so I have various questions.

  • If you've taken this itinerary eastbound, what was it like?
  • What are the sea-day activities (in either direction) like, since there are 9 sea days, 6 of them in a row?
  • The cruise is at the end of May; will the weather be mostly cold and wet? This would influence whether to book an OV or a veranda stateroom.
  • What's the port call at Petropavlovsk like, and what tour did you take? (Some of the posts don't mention Petropavlovsk at all - maybe it wasn't in those itineraries?)
  • What is embarkation from Yokohama like?

 

Also a couple of questions not specific to the itinerary:

  • If I book an oceanview cabin, it may be forward facing. What is that like on the Solstice or any similar ship?
  • I usually travel alone. What are Celebrity cruises like for solo passengers?
  • I've been on cruises that had private dining rooms and lounges for suite passengers, but I'm not familiar with the different classes of service that Celebrity has. There is no chance that I would book in the Aqua class, so does this make any difference to me?

 

I'll be grateful for any and all information.

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1 hour ago, Bretty said:

I know this is the westbound itinerary but have you read this live blog from September? @chicagopaul posts all the daily’s showing onboard activities etc.

https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2693660-chicagopaul-live-15-night-bering-sea-japan-transpacific-cruise-live-blog/

 

Thank you. I had seen that thread, but was using a screen on which I couldn't read the daily pages. Now I'm at a larger monitor and will read more carefully.

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     We did the Eastbound TP from Yokohama in 2018 and really loved it.  I don't remember any issues or problems embarking in Japan. We were too late for cherry blossoms in Tokyo but saw beautiful blossoms on later port stops.  Petropovlovsk is one of my favorite ports.  Absolutely beautiful, surrounded by snow-capped mountains.  We used www.kamchatintour.ru and had a fantastic time.  There were six of us from cruise critic that were on it and I'm so glad we did it.  It was a tour of the town and museum, church, then out to dog sled breeding farm via a snowmobile.  Really fun and gorgeous scenery!  There  was no Visa needed for Petropovlovsk. 

     The weather in Japan was pleasant and warm but we did have some rain, Petropovlovsk was bright and sunny and we were fine with layers, waterproof hikers, scarf and gloves. The TP part back to Vancouver was pretty cold at times.  We had a balcony but didn't use it much for that part of the trip.  I did actually enjoy seeing the loungers around the pool covered with snow and watching a snowball fight between an officer and some passengers in the hot tub.  One of my favorite cruise pics is of a snowman someone had built of the ledge of the hot tub. 

     I did the guest choir and some trivia here and there but mostly just read and napped.  Gotta love those sea days.

We've always enjoyed the MDR, choosing a set dining time and sharing a table.  Have met and continue to keep in touch with many new friends. 

     Sorry, I can't offer any information on solo cruises or forward ocean views on S class ships. 

Hope you enjoy it as much as we did. 

 

 

 

 

'

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In May 2017, we did only half of a transpacific cruise from Hawaii to Vancouver, in a verandah cabin on Solstice. 

 

Around Hawaii Islands, weather was nice and we really enjoyed our verandah. However, we were not so fortunate for the five day crossing: weather was wet and cold, (blankets were provided to passengers to cover themselves while sitting down to watch glass blowing show and few passengers dared to attend). Furthermore, for the most part of these five days, in addition to the rain and cold, windy conditions prevailed resulting in 10 to 15 foot waves..  So, on that cruise, during the crossing, most people stayed inside.

 

Weather is hard to predict, months ahead of time. Other people likely experienced calm seas on this itinerary. Just sharing, as requested, what has been our experience. We did enjoy the cruise, regardless of the weather. 

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20 hours ago, Bretty said:

posts all the daily’s showing onboard activities etc.

 

Thank you again. I read them all and it helped. I was pleased to see the variety of sea-day activities, especially so because my next cruise is on Holland America and I've read a lot of complaints about the paucity and monotony of onboard activities there even on cruises with lots of sea days.

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18 hours ago, mjscruffy said:

Petropovlovsk is one of my favorite ports.  Absolutely beautiful, surrounded by snow-capped mountains.  We used www.kamchatintour.ru and had a fantastic time.  There were six of us from cruise critic that were on it and I'm so glad we did it.  It was a tour of the town and museum, church, then out to dog sled breeding farm via a snowmobile.  Really fun and gorgeous scenery!  There  was no Visa needed for Petropovlovsk. 

 

Thanks! I was on a cruise this summer to St. Petersburg and the situation is the same there: no visa needed if you have signed up in advance with a tour agency and are returning to the ship each night.

 

18 hours ago, mjscruffy said:

We've always enjoyed the MDR, choosing a set dining time and sharing a table.

 

On the St. Petersburg cruise, I had requested fixed seating and hoped to share a table, but because of a group requiring a separate section in the MDR, many bookings were changed from fixed to open. It worked out OK for me.

 

18 hours ago, mjscruffy said:

Sorry, I can't offer any information on solo cruises or forward ocean views on S class ships. 

 

That's OK. I'm not looking for the extra services that NCL provides for solo passengers although I've liked them in the past. I just want to make sure that being on one's own is not a problem for Celebrity as it is on a certain other cruise line (if that cruise line even accepts a solo booking, which sometimes it won't). I will probably post separately about forward-facing oceanview rooms since many ships have some and it is not specific to Celebrity.

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15 hours ago, cachouonacruise said:

In May 2017, we did only half of a transpacific cruise from Hawaii to Vancouver, in a verandah cabin on Solstice. 

 

Around Hawaii Islands, weather was nice and we really enjoyed our verandah. However, we were not so fortunate for the five day crossing: weather was wet and cold, (blankets were provided to passengers to cover themselves while sitting down to watch glass blowing show and few passengers dared to attend). Furthermore, for the most part of these five days, in addition to the rain and cold, windy conditions prevailed resulting in 10 to 15 foot waves.

 And the itinerary I'm looking at sails farther north....

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1 hour ago, kochleffel said:

 

Thank you again. I read them all and it helped. I was pleased to see the variety of sea-day activities, especially so because my next cruise is on Holland America and I've read a lot of complaints about the paucity and monotony of onboard activities there even on cruises with lots of sea days.


My partner and I have sailed HAL twice, and we always found stuff to do on sea days. Also, their entertainment outside of the main theatre is pretty good and varied. We had a great time. 
 

With regards Japan in May it will be quite warm to hot, a good time to go since the summer months are scorching. Japan can be rainy anytime, you just have to be prepared. Just about every convenience store sells cheap umbrellas for those who get caught out!

 

It’s a beautiful country, one I love to visit (I’m something of a Japanophile), I’m sure you’d love it.

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In 2018 we boarded the Millennium in Vancouver for a B2B pair of cruises which included the trans-Pacific and the following Japan explorer cruise.  After leaving the ship in Yokohama we spent five days in Tokyo.  So we also did the reverse of what our OP is considering.  However, we enjoyed that trip so much that we have booked another Japan explorer cruise followed by the TP from Yokohama to Vancouver in April 2021.

 

In terms of the activities on sea days, even though that trans-Pacific was just in 2018 I don't remember if there was a guest speaker.  But there was certainly the usual trivia, music entertainers and so forth.  Jim_Iain was also on that crossing (and the following cruise too), and Jim did a blog.  Jim often includes scans of the Celebrity Today in his blogs so find his blog for the details.

 

We have done three of the southern trans-Pacific (ie, the ones which cross through French Polynesia).  The 2018 crossing was the first northern route for us.  Our southern crossings have been extremely smooth in most cases.  I wouldn't describe the northern crossing as particularly rough, but we did hit the remnants of a typhoon so had some motion for a period of time.  The remnants of that typhoon were somewhat of a portent of what was to come as later we were impacted not only by Typhoon Trami but also Typhoon Kong-Rei.  And the crossing was so far north that we cruised through the Aleutian Islands including close sailings by both Unalaska and Amaknak Islands.

 

The Yokohama cruise terminal is quite spacious with signage in both Japanese and English.  When we left the ship in Yokohama we had no problems finding our private driver to take us to our Tokyo hotel.  There is a parking structure below the cruise terminal, but also a line of taxis out the front entrance.

 

 

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I like the Trans-Atlantic and Trans-Pacific cruises because of all the sea days.  Part of how much there is to do is how active your Cruise Critic board is.  I just did the September Trans-Pacific Cruise on the Celebrity Millennium and loved it.  The sea days were great and I was almost to busy.  We had all the ship things; trivia twice a day (music and progressive), lectures and shows in the evening.  Our Cruise Critic Group was very active and had cards every day, Slot Pulls, cabin tour and poker pub crawls.  You can see the spreadsheet we used for organization at https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1BMj9PtyTs6zqG9BYT-eK2XzGfh2DwRAufVI4_tkeAaI/edit?usp=sharing

 

Hope this helps,

Mike

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On 12/27/2019 at 1:56 AM, mjscruffy said:

     We did the Eastbound TP from Yokohama in 2018 and really loved it.  I don't remember any issues or problems embarking in Japan. We were too late for cherry blossoms in Tokyo but saw beautiful blossoms on later port stops.  Petropovlovsk is one of my favorite ports.  Absolutely beautiful, surrounded by snow-capped mountains.  We used www.kamchatintour.ru and had a fantastic time.  There were six of us from cruise critic that were on it and I'm so glad we did it.  It was a tour of the town and museum, church, then out to dog sled breeding farm via a snowmobile.  Really fun and gorgeous scenery!  There  was no Visa needed for Petropovlovsk. 

     The weather in Japan was pleasant and warm but we did have some rain, Petropovlovsk was bright and sunny and we were fine with layers, waterproof hikers, scarf and gloves. The TP part back to Vancouver was pretty cold at times.  We had a balcony but didn't use it much for that part of the trip.  I did actually enjoy seeing the loungers around the pool covered with snow and watching a snowball fight between an officer and some passengers in the hot tub.  One of my favorite cruise pics is of a snowman someone had built of the ledge of the hot tub. 

     I did the guest choir and some trivia here and there but mostly just read and napped.  Gotta love those sea days.

We've always enjoyed the MDR, choosing a set dining time and sharing a table.  Have met and continue to keep in touch with many new friends. 

     Sorry, I can't offer any information on solo cruises or forward ocean views on S class ships. 

Hope you enjoy it as much as we did. 

 

 

 

 

'

I was on the same cruise.

 

I think future cruises have less Japanese ports in the itinerary which is a pity - JMO.

 

Petropovlovsk was cold - river still frozen in the town centre and it was May! I do cold btw - I am Scots.There were tendering issues and not all the passengers made it ashore. That port is once and done.

 

The activity team and the CD did themselves proud with a very crammed schedule.

 

I travel solo and if there were solo activities, I don't recall them.  That said, it was no hardship and I and a few others formed  a very fun international group at the Martini Bar.  Great time was had and we are all still in touch. We formed our alternative choir.

 

A lady organised a table for solos through the roll call - I would not do that again. However that is possibly one route if you wish dining companions.

 

I thoroughly enjoyed my cruise which was greatly enhanced by the 'Martini Clubbers' and the 10 days land trip I spent crossing Japan prior to the cruise.  I plan to repeat the land portion next year but will not repeat the cruise - frankly there are too few Japanese ports.

 

Annie

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On 12/27/2019 at 12:25 PM, kochleffel said:

 

Thanks! I was on a cruise this summer to St. Petersburg and the situation is the same there: no visa needed if you have signed up in advance with a tour agency and are returning to the ship each night....

 

This can be a source of confusion on roll calls for cruises that stop in Petropavlovsk. The visa situation is NOT the same as in St. Petersburg. No visa needed in Petropavlovsk, whether the passenger takes a tour or travels independently. Russia applies different requirements for St. P. and Petropavlosk, perhaps due to the latter's isolation.

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10 hours ago, SFCAcruiser said:

 

This can be a source of confusion on roll calls for cruises that stop in Petropavlovsk. The visa situation is NOT the same as in St. Petersburg. No visa needed in Petropavlovsk, whether the passenger takes a tour or travels independently. Russia applies different requirements for St. P. and Petropavlosk, perhaps due to the latter's isolation.

Correct.  I did intend to post that info too but forgot.  I was an independent traveller and no visa was required.

 

Annie

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Well, I've finally booked this cruise. I hesitated a lot. Three things got me to book: only one stateroom remaining of the type I wanted, lower fare, and a refundable deposit.

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On 6/11/2020 at 7:56 PM, kochleffel said:

Well, I've finally booked this cruise. I hesitated a lot. Three things got me to book: only one stateroom remaining of the type I wanted, lower fare, and a refundable deposit.

We enjoyed the cruise and LOVED seeing the Cherry Blossoms.  The weather was absolutely perfect in Japan and chilly in Russia.  It snowed during the crossing and I had fun building a little snowman on our balcony table, LOL!  Then we experienced nice weather in the Honolulu.  

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Wonderful photos, thanks for sharing.  I love the little snowman on your balcony table.

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Posted (edited)
On 12/26/2019 at 12:56 PM, kochleffel said:
  • If you've taken this itinerary eastbound, what was it like

We were on the Millenium from Yokohama to Vancouver in Apr/May 2018.  We really enjoyed this cruise since we like sea days.  Made friends on the cruise with a couple from Montreal.  Made plans and cruised with them again last year on a different itinerary.

  • What are the sea-day activities (in either direction) like, since there are 9 sea days, 6 of them in a row?

There is a lot to do on sea days, in fact too much to do, always busy.  We enjoyed trivia, guest lecturers, and movies in the theater most of all.

  • The cruise is at the end of May; will the weather be mostly cold and wet? This would influence whether to book an OV or a veranda stateroom.

Please understand we are from Southern California and we didn't dress warm enough.  We were always cold whether in Japan, Russia or at sea.  Inside the ship was nice and warm.  It snowed two nights on sea days (as the pictures above show).  We were in a Sky Suite so we had a veranda but never used it.

  • What's the port call at Petropavlovsk like, and what tour did you take? (Some of the posts don't mention Petropavlovsk at all - maybe it wasn't in those itineraries?)

Ptown had 3 feet of snow on the ground.  We did not have proper clothes and just stayed aboard that day.  Had a jacuzzi all to ourselves in the Solarium, sat in the warm water and looked out on the snow covered peaks.  Ptown is in a beautiful setting, just stunning.  However, realize that Ptown is the home base of the Russian nuclear submarine fleet.  Security is very tight.  No, you don't need a visa but there were Russian officials aboard who gave everyone going ashore a thorough check and lots of paperwork.  There was a looooooooong line to go through Russian immigration on the ship.  Ptown is a tendered port so after immigration you get on a shore boat for a choppy ride into the dock.  We had friends who went ashore and they said they were disappointed, not worth the time and hassle.  We are glad we stayed aboard.

  • What is embarkation from Yokohama like?

Yokohama is a typical embarkation venue.  Nothing particularly good or bad about it.  Since we were booked into a suite, we got priority boarding.  It was quick and easy.

A couple of other things about the eastbound Transpacific.  You lose an hour each day on sea days.  We were burning the candle at both ends, so constantly exhausted.  BUT we enjoyed the cruise so much we booked again for September 2021.  This time it will be westbound so we gain an hour each sea day.  More to our liking.

 

On the leg between Ptown and Vancouver, the sea was very rough on our planned routing so they diverted to the south for calmer seas.  This resulted in eliminating one stop at Dutch Harbor in Alaska.  However, they added an unplanned cruise through the Inland Passage from Alaska down to Vancouver to make up for it.  This turned out to be the highlight of our cruise in terms of scenery.  And actually we did use our balcony for this leg, Orcas and dolphins in the water right below us.  Close enough to cottages on the shore we could exchange greetings!  We lucked out!

 

All Celebrity ships have private dining rooms for Aqua called BLU and suites called Luminae.  We have eaten in both.  Although the food is really good in the MDR, in our opinion the food in BLU and Luminae is superior.  If you budget allows, we recommend either Aqua class or a suite, in our opinion, well worth the extra cost.

 

Edited by El Crucero

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We have considered this cruise (east bound), but decided that the cold weather that far north was not as appealing.

 

We did do a wonderful TP from Sydney to Seattle on Royal C. in 2018.

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I have taken this cruise on the Millie prior to revolution.  I just wanted to add a few comments to the wealth of info already shared here.  We like the M class but be aware that regular balconies are smaller than Aqua and Conj balconies by a bit.

It might be worthwhile to look for bargains on C class which can be a much better price than Aqua.  There are a few extra perks with the C class.

 

That said we sailed in a cat 4 OV at the front which it looks like you are considering.  This was a very big cabin far forward.  There was a large window that lined up with the seating area so that you could watch the ocean.  Avoid the cat 4 cabins on the 6th floor because of noise from the theater during practices and shows.  The front view Cat 4 look out over the front and our cabin on 9th floor looked out to the side.  The square feet usually in the balcony was inside the room.  You can look at the M class "sticky" at the top of this board to get cabin reviews by number.  We were also able to find photos on line of the various cat 4 cabins which are similar on all M class ships. Since this is a colder weather cruise we did not miss having a balcony at all. 

 

In Russia, we explored on our own.  It was a Sunday Mothers Day in Russia.  Weather was unseasonably good and all the local families were out at the rocky beach.  We like to DIY walked forever  to a  plan posted in the port board on CC.  We stopped at a local basement bar for beers setting at the bar.  Since it was early in the day, it was just us and the young bartender and he wanted to practice his English so we had a good cross cultural exchange about living in Russia and in the USA. It was a high light of this stop  There was a long tender line to go back to the ship but we were among the last to leave.  As to other island stops in Japan, we used "free walking tours by locals" in Murano and totally enjoyed her tour with lunch in addition to a later bus on our own to the star fort.

 

I totally agree with the poster that said the time changes were tough.  We did the progressive golf putting competition  every sea day which kicked off about 10:00-11:00 AM and we struggled to get a cup of coffee and make it to the event. No golf experience required for this activity and a great way to meet people.   At home we are always up 6:30ish so we are not usually late sleepers but on this cruise we could not seem to get to sleep until late and missed many morning activities.  There was a very well attended Water Color class that was a big hit with both men and women. There was usually a afternoon shows in the in the theater by cast members or "fly in" entertainers that were an encore to their main shows.  There were lectures but mostly in the mornings so we only made a few of them.  Look for fun promotions (free slot play etc.) each evening after the show in the non-smoking casino in the daily planner.

 

I think that the cruise critic roll call is one of the best ways to get together with other singles and couples that are not traveling with groups.  People seem to want to mix more on the long cruises and we have enjoyed meeting many single travelers on our long crossing cruises.

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I'm booked on the TP from Yokohama to Vancouver in 4/21 on the Eclipse.  I really hope we go...I love sea days and this trip sounds amazing.  

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1 hour ago, nyc2pdx said:

I'm booked on the TP from Yokohama to Vancouver in 4/21 on the Eclipse.  I really hope we go...I love sea days and this trip sounds amazing.  

 I've done this trip in both directions. It is "amazing" as long as you like the sea days and are not planning to lie around the pool basking in the sun. You should look into this itinerary for next April.

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6 minutes ago, SFCAcruiser said:

 I've done this trip in both directions. It is "amazing" as long as you like the sea days and are not planning to lie around the pool basking in the sun. You should look into this itinerary for next April.

Yep, I am booked on it for April next year.  I love cooler weather and while this will be only my second cruise, on my first I could have done without any port days and just floated in the Pacific for days on end.  It was the first time in my life where I could actually feel the stress washing away as we sailed.  I was hooked.  I can't wait!

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We are booked on the Millennium TransPacific April 25, 2021...as part of a back-to-back with the April 11 Japan cruise--so, it's 29 nights at sea...and, yes, the last week or so are consecutive at sea days...

But we are really looking forward to those as the first 14 night cruise is VERY port intensive (just 3 sea days on a 14 night cruise) and we assume we'll be spending long days touring in Japan...so, that last week will be "rest and recuperation" time...

 

We booked a nice 1A balcony with an oversized balcony and got the same cabin for both legs...If the weather's nice, we'll use it more...but, we're okay either way...We figure we'll find enough to do on those sea days...and, besides, we have the drinks package!!

 

We originally just booked the Japan cruise, then thought, hey, we've got the time, so why hurry back with a long flight home...better to take that extra 15 nights and cruise home...The cost of the TransPacific leg was really sort of inexpensive...and we save the cost of the flight home (We'll rent a car in Vancouver and drive down to Portland to visit our daughters, then maybe a quick flight home to SoCal,,,

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