If there are two ships in town it feels overrun
Be sure to be on deck for the arrival into Nagasaki. The huge shipyards are your signal to get the camera ready as you sail into one of the most beautiful ports in the world.Nagasaki is set around an amazing harbor...a perfect refuge from the typhoons that come out of the China Sea. You'll pass under a suspension bridge and through the narrow channel to dock right smack dab in the center of town. The dock is right on the front street and the famous Glover Mansion (think Madam Butterfly) is right above you.The town is thrilled to have you visit and usually rolls out the red carpet for visitors. The hillside park with the Glover Mansion, museums and gardens is easily accessed with escalators and elevators. Be sure to start at the top and work your way down. This is a great place to take a shot of your ship if you haven't done so.The town is famous for a rich pound cake that the Portugese brought to Japan. You can buy slices all over town. The streets leading up to the gardens are lined with shops. Nagasaki is also famous for Chinese food and there's a famous restaurant with a pagoda roof right at the bottom of the slope. The most famous dish is Nagasaki-style mixed noodles.You can also visit the Nagasaki atomic bomb memorial. This is an extremely moving memorial, partially underground.Right in the center of town, a short taxi or bus ride away, is a reproduction of the old Dutch quarter. More interesting historically and intellectually than visually.If you're going shopping for Japanese porcelain there are shops with plenty to choose from since some of the most famous kilns are near by.
The atomic bomb site is thoughtfully preserved
The town offers little else except Miyajima
The ships dock way out of town. You can walk over and catch a streetcar or bus. Most passengers will have an included city tour. If you don't, there is really only one thing to see:
The Peace Park.If you catch a streetcar or bus it will take you to Hiroshima station. From there you can either walk or catch another streetcar or bus to Peace Park. The park is located on an island in the river. It is a big park so you can start at one end and work your way to the other. At one end is the famous bombed out building. You'll be suprised how small it really is. At the other end is the museum. The exhibits are in English and very well done.There is really nothing else special about Hiroshima. Some companies might arrange a tour through the automobile factory.The cruising before and after Hiroshima is absolutely world class.The other great stop is at Miyajima. Some smaller cruise companies stop here. Others have a day excursion to the island. This is the site of the famous red "torii." Behind the torii set at the base of a beautiful pine tree clad mountain is a magical Shinto shrine that appears to float on the water at high tide.The small touristic town is actually rather charming. If you have a chance, take one of the mountain trails back to the ferry building. There's also a gondola that goes up to the top of the mountain. The views are terrific, and the gangs of rather grumpy Japanese monkeys are fun. Oh, and I should mention the deer that infest the whole town. They sell deer food, so the deer pester anyone, beware they will eat anything; maps, money, anything they can get ahold of.
Pusan is Korea's biggest port. The harbor is lovely and full of ships with TV's and computers.Most visitors won't spend much time in town. There is a nice museum of Korean history with English explanations. The morning fish market is amazing, but don't you dare take pictures of the ladies selling the fish. The subway makes getting around town easy and fast, but it's not that easy to understand.The docks are commercial. You might have a ways to walk to the street and when you get there it's time to play dodge 'em with the trucks with containers. However, there is the subway close by. Make sure you have Korean currency before you go very far. The other docks are nicer but way out of town and you must take a transfer into town.Most passengers will take the day excursion to Kyongyu. This is a complex of tombs and temples in a lovely part of Korea.
A very popular cruise port. Especially for short cruises and first-timers this is a "beginner" port.The downtown has the usual assortment of "duty free" merchants selling the usual stuff. The "Straw Market" is full of cheap tropical souveniers. Although, if you didn't bring a hat or need a straw handbag this probably would be a must stop.The huge Atlantis hotel has a day pass rate. You can use their beaches, pools, waterslides, etc. There are also sightseeing tours, scuba tours, culinary tours, etc.The harbor area is clean and neat and it is really easy to walk right into town.
Depending on the cruise line, either you dock right downtown, or closer to the new downtown and hotel district.The downtown has a free trolley that goes around all the most important sites. The historical forts are impressive. There are plenty of galleries and souvenir shops for every wallet and taste. The cobblestone streets and colonial architecture are well preserved.The Bacardi rum factory tour is slightly informative, if you get a good guide. There's a free drink, but maybe not worth the time if you've only got one day.The best tour is to go out to the El Yunque rain forest. It's about an hour outside of town. The center in the park is an impressive piece of architecture. The jungle is green and wet, it is a rain forest after all. Plan on a low key nature day.The airport is out at the far end of the strip of hotels. From the cruise port it is only about 15 minutes to the airport. From old San Juan, assume about 30 minutes.