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About BruceMuzz

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About Me

  • Location
    Shanghai, PRC / Sete, France
  • Interests
    languages, Japanese woodworking
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  1. What is the best side of any ship to see Alaska? The OUTside.
  2. The French supermarket near my house in Shanghai carries the full range of spirits you would find at a good bottle shop in California. Their prices are half those in California. They also carry a vast selection of French and other European wines for about half of what I would have to pay in a California wine shop. Whenever I check out a bottle shop in any country, I look at a few benchmark labels to give me a feel for local prices. One of those is Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label Champagne. It is available nearly everywhere in the world. I pay US$22 per bottle (and no tax) in Shanghai. That is lower than that the wholesale price in most US States.
  3. You probably will not have any issues with small bottles. You need to also realise that the Chinese do not have the religious and moral challenges with alcohol that you find in your home country. They also do not have the "sin taxes"that you pay on alcohol at home. If you shop around a bit in China, you will find that most alcohol is far less costly here than at home.
  4. Ships visiting San Juan typically call at the Old San Juan Piers. Ships turning around at San Juan typically call at the PanAmerican Terminal. Puerto Rican Immigration and Harbor Officials are notorious for changing the plan without notice. The 2 locations are just across the harbor from each other. Wherever you dock, everyone can see where you are. Both locations are close to town and taxis are inexpensive.
  5. I agree with the other poster about the Russian Ports. Waste of time. Azamara also does a far better job with the cultural side of Japan. Their lecturers and other cultural programs are far better than HAL’s.
  6. You need to understand cruise line food cost to understand the answer. You also need to understand cruise line labor cost. A medium size cruise ship (2000-2500 pax) with reasonable quality food (this would not include any Carnival Corp ships) has a food cost of around US$40,000 per day. Using Sous-vide for protein items would effectively double that number. The line cooks and butchers who produce the food that sous-vide would replace are paid just a few dollars per day. $40,000 per day would pay for far more butchers and cooks any ship would ever need. Those butchers and cooks would not be needed for the meals where sous-vide is used, but they are still needed for things like BBQ, breakfast, buffets. As I stated earlier, it just doesn't make financial sense - unless you want to pay more for your cruise.
  7. The US Public Health Service generally does not allow cruise ships to cook and serve fish caught while sport-fishing. There are a few exceptions made - but only after a great deal of paperwork is done on official forms, in triplicate, and maintained in a file for several months. The argument is that if the sport fish was somehow tainted, it could contaminate the other food being served to many passengers and result in a big public health crisis. This is extremely unlikely in Alaska - but rules are rules. I am spending the summer in Tokyo - arguably one of the most expensive cities in the world. The Japanese have fresh Alaska Salmon flown in every day during the Salmon Season. Fresh air-freighted Alaska Salmon in Tokyo costs far less than fresh Alaska Salmon in Juneau. Go figure.................
  8. Grandma, You really had me going on this one. After living in Japan for the past 30 years, I was embarrassed to admit that I had never heard of Owodori Festival or hats. Now I feel better. There is no such thing. My Japanese friends were also confused - never having heard of such a thing. You may actually be referring to Obon odori. If so, yes they do sell the hats.
  9. When you exit Customs at Narita, you will find yourself in a hall with bus / train / taxi transportation ticket desks, foreign exchange shops, and luggage forwarding companies. The most common name for the luggage forwarding services is Takyuubin. These companies also store luggage. You need only tell them how long to hold the bags, and where / when to deliver them. Fill out the forms, pay the money, and you are done.
  10. Sous Vide is very nice and convenient. It is also more expensive than “regular” food preparation. Unfortunately the higher cost would translate into higher fares. Most of the people on this website (a good representation of mass market) are not too fond of higher fares.
  11. After living in Tokyo for 30 years, and sailing into and out of Tokyo for even longer, I have never heard of a cruise ship calling at that cargo pier in Yokohama. It is a bit remote, but there is a major highway running through the island. You should be OK with a taxi to get to the mainland. If you get to the Tsurimi District, just North of the Island, you can catch JR or subway into Tokyo without too much trouble.
  12. BruceMuzz

    US or Bhat

    I live in Tokyo, but will be visiting the USA next month. Should I take Japanese Yen for shopping - or get US Dollars?
  13. I fly Tokyo - USA or Tokyo - Europe nearly every month. Only Business or First Class. If only economy is available, I stay home. Life is too short. I recommend the same to you. A380s and 787s are the preferred planes. Note: Do not ever, ever, fly a US Flag airline for an overseas trip.
  14. I have lived in Japan for nearly 30 years. Every year I fly out and in about a dozen times. And every time I have carried some sort of prescription drugs out of and into Japan. Not once has anyone mentioned anything about it to me. Not in Japanese; not in English. It just is not an issue. Currently the Japanese Government is very worried about people smuggling gold into Japan. Leave your gold bars at home, and you won't have any problems.
  15. BruceMuzz

    Yokohama Pier

    Osanbashi Terminal is closest to Nihon-Odori station on the Minato-Mirai Line. Yamashita Pier is closest to the next and final stop on the same line; Motomachi-Chukagai. This is also the stop for Yokohama's Chinatown. Motomachi-Chukagai station to the Yamashita Pier is just a bit further than walking from Nihon-Odori Station to Osanbashi Terminal. There are always taxis available.
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