excursions or on my own? Asia



Which ports should we do on our own?

For our upcoming trip to Asia which actual cities does the ship come into? In which of these cities should we participate in the excursions Princess Cruises offers and which of these cities can we do on our own:

Nagasaki Japan; Pusan Korea, Dalian China; Vladivostok Russia

Thanks for your input,


Bill B

We were in Nagasaki and Pusan on the Regal last Apri/May.

Nagasaki is easy and inexpensive to do on your own - the streetcars are great and you can get a daypass at certain hotels or any Tourist Info. Center (more than 5 rides and you save). We walked all the way to Nagasaki Station to buy ours and then only used it four times so it didn't actually 'pay' for us - I believe it was 500 yen (about $4) and individual rides were 100 yen. You get on at the back doors, and pay (or show your pass) as you exit by the front door.

We found the Dejima Warf/Museum by accident, then went to the Peace Memorial Park, the bomb hypocenter and the Atomic Bomb Museum (admission only 200 yen). We had lunch in a local noodle cafe (where you buy tickets for what you want from a machine by the door, then find a table and give the tickets to the waitress - it took a while to figure that out... but some local workmen helped us). After lunch we walked around and found the famous, one-legged Torii gate, a temple with two huge camphor trees that survived the explosion, and the International Cemetery. We went to chinatown, then explored winding streets and alleys lined with non-tourist shops in that area before ending up at Glover Gardens and having to get back to the ship. We found people to VERY helpful - businessmen would actually wait to make sure we got on the right streetcar.

The Regal docked at Matsugae Pier 'across the street' from Glover Garden. People who paid $46 for the 'Glover Garden Walking Tour' were outraged they paid that to essentially be led across the street, up the hill and given a 600 yen (about $5) admission ticket.

All Princess tours are overpriced (especially in Nagasaki)... and depending on the port, you can do much better on your own with a taxi, public transit or a private guide - research before you go because Princess' Port Guides are purposefully useless (and sometimes even eroneous).

In Pusan we explored on our own - accidentally found the free, Pusan Customs Museum and an underground mall along part of the subway not far from where the ship docks. We walked to Yongdusan Park and went up the tower (which was worthwhile), but do not buy the 'double admission' ticket that includes the aquarium - it's a rip-off! The 'upscale' shopping district is in that area, as well as Kukche Market - quite amazing with many hundreds (1000s?) of stalls/shops. Your first stop should be the Tourist Info. Center at the International Ferry Terminal about a 10 minute walk SSW (left) of where the ship docks... don't waste time looking for it at the location indicated in the Port Guide - it's not there! We didn't find the Info. Center until well after lunch when there was not enough time to do some excursions we might have had we found it earlier.