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Deaf Cruise Japan - China - Taiwan - Hong Kong

October 25 - November 8, 2015


Partial view of the Imperial Palace grounds with the
Nijubashi bridge in Tokyo, Japan

Click on the picture to watch the video,
Video Source: Joe Sapienza

Japanese Tea Ceremony

Japanese Tea Ceremony

Most guests booked our pre-cruise tour in Japan. That meant that we stayed an additional three nights in Tokyo prior to the cruise start. Our hotel was the beautiful Keio Plaza Hotel in Tokyo. Everybody took the opportunity to relax after a long flight and to be ready the next day for a full-day sightseeing tour of the Japanese capital. The coach picked us up in the morning. Our lovely tour guide provided a lot of very interesting information while we toured the city. Besides many other sights we saw the Imperial Palace with the Nijubashi Bridge and Tokyo Tower, the world's tallest self-supporting steel tower. We went to a beautiful park where we enjoyed a Japanese Tea Ceremony experience. Then, we had lunch at a local restaurant.

The afternoon was reserved for a Sumida River Cruise (from Hinode to Asakusa) - a 40 minute cruise that passes beneath 12 bridges on the Sumida River. Back on the coach, we went to Nakamise shopping arcade, a narrow paved promenade crammed with traditional food and souvenir shops. We saw the Asakusa Kannon Temple - Tokyo's oldest and most significant Buddhist temple, whose history spans more than 1300 years. We return to the hotel to refresh and get ready for dinner.

Via coach, we were transferred to the restaurant for a very special evening with a Japanese style dinner. Upon arrival, we were greeted by beautiful Geishas and guided to a private room. This was for all of us the first time to be entertained and served by a Geisha. The ladies shared a lot of insider knowledge with us and we had a marvelous time. After dinner, we had the pleasure to see the Geishas performing for our group.




Japanese style dinner served by Geishas

The next day was a very scenic tour via coach visiting the World Heritage Site of Nikko. The city is famous for its beauty with its location in the mountain area North of Tokyo. Nikko is part of Japan's Romantic Road. After going up into the mountains via a winding road, we finally arrived at the very scenic Lake Chuzenji. The lake was formed about 20,000 years ago after Mount Nantai erupted and blocked the valley below. Here, we rested for a while before we continued to the Kegon Waterfall, one of Japans 3 most beautiful falls. At almost 100 meters tall, they are the tallest in Japan and the observation platform offered a panoramic view with fall colors. Getting back out of the mountains, it was time for lunch at a local restaurant. The lunch was very delicious.

In the afternoon, we visited the Nikko Toshogu Shrine that is famous for the ornate carvings that decorate the building inside and out including the three "see no evil, speak no evil and hear no evil" monkeys. Then it was time to return to the hotel.


Lunch at a local restaurant in the Nikko area

Nikko Toshogu Shrine

Visit at the Nikko Toshogu Shrine


Each of us was dressed in a Kimono
with a different design
Click on the picture above to watch the video
Video Source: Joe Sapienza

Another exciting day with a Kimono wearing experience was prepared for us. We drove to a place in the city where Japanese are renting Kimonos for special occasions. Each of us was invited to be dressed in a Kimono with the assistance of several tailors. We could pick the colors and style. And soon, all of us were outfitted with a Kimono, the traditional clothes of the Japanese. That was a fun-filled event and many pictures were taken. After returning the Kimonos, we got back on the bus and drove to Ginza, the most famous downtown area in Japan. Here one can find well established Japanese shops and famous international brand name shops. We had lunch at a local restaurant. Time passed fast and we had to say good-by to Tokyo and head for the cruise port where we embarked our ship, the Celebrity Millennium.


After leaving the port of Yokohama, we arrived the next day in Shimizu that is located South of Tokyo. Most of the guests in our group joined a tour where we explored the picturesque beauty and landmarks of Shimizu during a full-day sightseeing excursion. The tour included the visit of a Japanese castle ruin, garden and Shrine, Nihondaira, Kunozan Toshogun Shrine, and Miho no Matsubara which were added to the World Heritage List as part of the Fujisan Cultural Site in 2013. A delicious Japanese style lunch was served in a local restaurant. Birthday

Happy Birthday

Mt. Rokko

Via funicular to Mt. Rokko

Continuing south, we stopped in Kobe for two days. Kobe has been a cosmopolitan port city for a long time. However, the earthquake in 1995 caused a lot of destruction. During a bus tour, we passed the outskirts of Kobe and visited Mount Rokko, a popular area for sightseeing and hiking. We reach the summit via a funicular. From there, we had a stunning view of Osaka Bay and the distant Awaji Island. Departing Mt. Rokko, we took a scenic drive to the Sake Brewery Museum for an inside tour. The region is home to some of the most famous brands of sake in Japan.

The second day of our stay in Kobe was scheduled with a full-day tour. We drove to the impressive city of Nara, an ancient capital with very interesting architecture. We went inside the temple of Todaiji, an iconic symbol of Nara famous for the great image of Buddha inside. From there we went to Kasuga Taisha Shrine. We passed through the Torii gate to experience the unique architectural style of the shrine including the shape of the roof and the brilliant vermilion and green halls. Finally, we marveled at the Golden Pavilion and the stunning surrounding area that is a perfect setting for this beautiful architectural masterpiece.

Golden Pavilion

Golden Pavilion

Formal Night on board the Celebrity Millennium


Our group in front of the Nagasaki Memorial fountain
and Peace Statue

Nagasaki offered an interesting tour into modern history. We saw Nagasaki's most famous historic landmarks, including the Atomic Bomb Museum, Peace Memorial Park, Dejima Museum, and the Glover Garden. We stopped at the beautiful memorial fountain and Peace Statue, constructed by donations from around the world in order to promote universal peace. Also, we enjoyed a visit to Dejima, a fan shaped artificial island built in the bay of Nagasaki by local merchants and home to the East India Company.

Today's stop was in Shanghai, China. Shanghai is the country's most cosmopolitan city. During the tour, we explored historic landmarks and modern marvels. Yuyuan Garden, surrounded by five acres of beautiful scenery and exquisite architecture was the highlight of the tour. Also, a visit of the Shanghai Museum was included in the tour. The museum has a marvelous collection of Chinese paintings, sculptures, and furniture from the Ming and Qing dynasties.

During the tour, we enjoyed a nice lunch. Then, we explored the incredible Jade Buddha Temple, Shanghai's most famous Buddhist temple, featuring a six foot tall jade Buddha sculpture inlaid with diamonds and agates.

New Shanghai

New Shanghai

New Shanghai

Walking tour in the historic quarters of Old Shanghai


Visit of the Ryukyu Folk Village

For the next stop on our voyage, we returned to Japan. Our port of call was Okinawa. A scenic drive through Okinawa took us to the island's most important cultural sites: Naha and the Ryukyu Folk Village. Naha is Okinawa's capital. Okinawa's culture has been influenced by its trading partners from areas like China and the Austronesian regions. Karate originated in Okinawa. Okinawans are known for their longevity. A daily diet includes fish, seaweed and tofu. The visit of the Ryukyu Folk Village was like a trip back in time into Okinawa's past. By walking through the reconstructed village we could watch the staff in traditional clothes weaving fabrics, carving wood, making pottery, and much more.

Our Deaf Game Nights are always fun

The next two days, we stayed in Taipei. The first day in Taipei was reserved for a trip to the Chiufen Village. Our drive followed the scenic Northeast Coast, Taiwan's version of California's famous Pacific Coastal Highway. For millions of years, the work of wind, sea, and time has carved spectacular capes, sheer cliffs, deep caves, and romantic bays. After climbing 400 steps, we reached Chiufen, a village with old homes that are clinging to steep mountainsides. Old, narrow cobblestone streets are lined with stores. The atmosphere feels like walking through a village several hundred years ago.

Chiufen Village

Chiufen Village


City Tour Taipei

The second day, we joined a scenic tour starting with a stop at the Paoan Temple that is decorated with fanciful woodwork and spectacular wooden dragons. Afterwards, we visited the Confucius Temple which honors simplicity, a core teaching of Confucianism. Then, we went to the Lin An-Tai Old Homestead famous for being one of the last traditional homes in Taiwan. At the end of the tour, we relax at the hyper-modern Taipei 101 skyscraper and mall.

Always something to celebrate: a birthday, an anniversary, ...

Our last stop was the vibrant city of Hong Kong. Before we disembarked the ship, we spent one full day in port. During a bus tour, we saw the city's shops, restaurants and most famous attractions. We took a tram ride to Victoria Peak where we had a view of the city and surrounding islands. Then, there was time for some shopping at Stanley Market. Afterwards, we visited the fishing village of Aberdeen for a leisurely sampan cruise past the marinas fishing boats and multimillion dollar yachts. The next day, most of us headed to the airport for the homebound flights. Others stayed in Hong Kong for a few more days longer on their own.

Hong Kong

Sightseeing tour in Hong Kong

Group Picture

Group Picture

Thank you note

Thank you note

Thank you note

Thank you note

What our clients said after the tour:

We wanted to say how grateful we are to you for being our wonderful guide and " BEST" travel agent. Spending time in Asia was a so pleasure and a lot of learning experience! Many thanks for sending us home with wonderful memories! Thank you, Kerstin! Hugs, Marge and Jack


Hello Kerstin,
We really enjoyed traveling all the three countries and we learned about the good food, about religion and cultures. Thank you for your good trip planning! Also, many thanks for the nice gift for my birthday. Best Regards Francis and Denise

Thank you for the great experience it was a fun trip! Jerzy

Hi Kerstin,
As always, we have enjoyed going on your trips. Thank you for your excellent service. Lance

Hi Kerstin,
We praise you for your wonderful job for all of us. Dot & Steve

Hi Kerstin,
I enjoyed every moment seeing many of the tourist attractions and sightseeing many places. The culture is so beautiful. We had a marvelous time on the Asia tour. Kathy

Hello Kerstin,
Thank you so much for your terrific job of planning my trip which turned out to be a very fabulous time for me. You are indeed amazing at planning all such travel details. Pauline

Fundraising Poster

We would like to thank the following people for their donation:
  • Elmer & Margie Ewan
  • Rosy Mikos & Marie Dyes
  • Carolyn Thompson
  • Camille Ellerhorst
  • Thomas & Nancy Gallagher
  • Phil & Myrna Aiello
  • Richard Drake
  • Joel Pollick & Lynn Sien
  • Jerzy & Alina Orlowski
  • Darryl & Vickie Justice
  • Ken & Joan Klein
  • Hubert & Elizabeth Ruessman
  • Johnny & Judith Maynard
  • Jay & Susan Winegard
  • Joe Black
  • Francis & Denise Ercolino
  • Wieslow Baginski
  • Janice Lemanski
  • Paul Simonich
  • Clifford & Kathleen Feldman
  • Lance & Kitty Fischer
  • Linda Tom
  • Pamela Gatto

Contact Kerstin's Deaf Travel to book your next cruise by sending an e-mail to kerstin@kerstinstravel.com

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