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GVHarrier

All Viking Far Eastern Horizons 2019 (April September, October, November)

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Yes it was a challenge....the first entry into Kagoshima was quite straight forward - photocopies of passports were taken by Viking and they were sufficient for there and Nagasaki. We were told that we had to go through immigration by 9.30am whatever we were doing. It did not take too long. After Nagasaki ( no problems) we  went to Busan and on the return to Hiroshima it was very difficult. Japanese immigration came on board at Midday - they set up in Manfredi's.  We went through as soon as they opened as we were heading off independently that afternoon. We only waited 15 minutes. Those on an organised tour went through based on excursion departure time. It  was a nightmare and took some people 2 hours plus  to get off the ship. Some excursion groups were kept waiting for over two hours in the Star Theatre - they even had an impromptu concert from one of the vocalists!! 

 

There was little that Viking could do - there were about 10 immigration stations set up and they were very thorough. They also fingerprinted everyone!!  Just do the Maths - 930 people ...2 minutes per person .....10 stations equals a very long time! At every Japanese port after that there were bag searches only and passport "glances" so no problems .  

 

The afternoon tours that day were continually being rescheduled.  We were very lucky! We went on  the included tour the second morning, We took the shuttle bus that afternoon on our own to the Shukkei En garden and Hiroshima Castle. It cost us about $10!!! We knew nothing of the problems until we got back! We also had our port visit shortened because of the Golden Week celebrations and were just there for 24 hours from Midday. That also gave Viking some other rescheduling challenges. 

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1 hour ago, GVHarrier said:

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I just read a forum from another cruise line where the passenger mentioned having to repeatedly go through immigrations and how it took hours re-entering Japan from Busan. I wondered about your experience with 4 countries and entering Japan twice.

 

Our experience was quite good as we always take the earliest tour possible.  In Kagoshima immigration was in the cruise terminal where they scanned our fingerprints.  Took about 5 minutes.  Hiroshima immigration was on board the ship and with far fewer stations.  Again they had to scan fingerprints.  We were on the first or second tour to leave the ship and it was a little slower maybe 15 minutes to clear immigration.  I didn't realize that the later tours were so delayed.  I guess I would recommend taking as early a tour as possible for the 1st ports of entry into Japan (Kagoshima and Hiroshima) to minimize wait time. 

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Thank you robinhood1 and MVCACruisers for the information. I always like advance notice if possible, when there might be disruptions to plans. We will plan to leave the ship as early as possible those days.

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On 5/9/2019 at 7:49 PM, MVCACruisers said:

After boarding the ship we did the included Postcards of Hong Kong which was excellent and we got a great guide. I believe Viking has experience in Hong Kong and had a great tour and guides as a result. 

 

Great reviews. Thank you, @MVCACruisers. I am adding a link to your post to our 2021 roll call list of helpful links.

 

Viking definitely has experience in Hong Kong; it has been a pre-/post-cruise extension to their China cruisetours for at least a decade.

 

 

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