Diamond Princess

Welllll….not sure what happened this morning but I actually didn’t wake up til 8 A.M.  Certainly a nice change and couldn’t happen to a nicer guy! 😉

This is that kind of day that is both boring and exciting.  Boring in that after breakfast, we simply pack up our bags (making sure nothing is left behind) and grab a cab to the cruise port in Yokohama.  Exciting in that our cruise is about to begin in earnest!

The cab ride (which we expected would take 1 – 1.5 hours) took just barely 45 minutes.  This is likely due to that fact that it’s almost noon on a Sunday.  However another reason HAS to be that there seems to be another type of ‘subway’ system in Tokyo.  This one is geared to vehicular traffic.  Our driver spent about 10 minutes getting out of the main part of what seemed like downtown and then we entered an underground tunnel for the next 20 minutes.  This is not simply a tunnel going through some hard-to-circumvent area (like going through a mountain) and certainly didn’t go under any kind of waterway, either river or ocean.  Speeds were constant at about 80 kph and 2 lanes one way in our tunnel.  I suspect there was another twin beside us going the other direction.  No traffic lights, no off-ramps, no trains or crosswalks.  Simply traffic moving from point A to point B.  And lots of it.  Whether there are more of these tunnels I don’t really know, but this one works very well.

Soon we are at the terminal, our cabbie paid (with no expected tip!), and our luggage loaded on to a trolley by a cruise attendant who gets us in the door.  Within the next 15 minutes we were boarding the ship.  Having cruised many times before, and not just with Princess, this was by far and away the quickest and smoothest embarkation we have ever been part of.

This Princess ship (the Diamond Princess) is very similar to others we have enjoyed so there were no major surprises.  There is one new facility that is specific to the Diamond.  That is the Onsen.  These are the Japanese style baths.  There are 2 areas (one for men, one for women) that are made for naked bathing.  Yep…you can’t be shy if you’re going to go here.  The baths themselves are, basically, very large tubs similar to what we would call hot tubs.  Before getting in (with others of your gender) it is mandatory that you scrub down in the available showers.  These baths are not about getting ‘clean’, they are more for cleansing and sharing conversation with one another.

Not sure that I’m willing to share that much of myself.  Trying death-defying Fugu, sure…getting naked with a bunch of other guys, I think I’ll pass.

Our room this time is near the aft of the ship and will possibly tend to rock us to sleep more than normal.  More on that tomorrow.

HAH!!! I’m caught up, finally.  If you don’t count the pictures I have yet to upload…

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