Star Cruise: Day 3 – On Shore Miyakojima, Japan
Since we slept late last night, we woke up late at around 8AM on our third day. We were not able to catch up the early riser meal at the Taverna, instead, we went straight to our breakfast at the Star Dining. We ordered an omelet and scrambled egg which is outside the buffet, but still free. When our order arrived, I found out it was more than enough for us. Tip: As long as you arrive on your table, order the eggs immediately so that it will arrive while you are still eating. The buffet spread still has two main dish, one vegetable dish, garlic rice, plus the breads, fruits, salad, congee, pastries and cereals.
After breakfast, we went back to our room and rested and got ready for our shorex in Miyakojima. Now this is very controversial and I read a lot of bad comments in FB about this shorex. The initial destination is supposed to be Naha, but due to some technical issues, it was diverted to Miyakojima.
During embarkation last March 10, at the check-in counter, we were informed thru a note that our itinerary was changed. We were offered 675HKD per cabin for food and beverage, as compensation for the change. Also, there is an option to pursue that trip or to be rebooked in another date. As I said on my other post (Day 1-What to Do and What to Expect), we were already there, so we continued with that voyage.
At 11AM, we lined up outside the Zodiac Theater where the orientation and proper disembarkation will take place. Now here, the people who have limited access (those in wheeled chairs) were in front and they were disembarked first. Reminder, you cannot bring any food products to Japan. On the other hand, when going back to the ship, you cannot also bring fresh food products, only processed ones.
Since the port of Miyakojima is small, the ship cannot dock there. Hence, from the ship, we boarded small boats (with a capacity of around 100 passengers) to the port. The travel time is approximately seven minutes. We arrived at the port and queued up for immigration. I think some, if not most people, did not like this set-up. The queue at the immigration lasted for more than an hour, if I am not mistaken. We disembarked at around 11:30 and finished immigration processes at almost 2PM. And take note, we have to be back at the ship before 6PM.
After being cleared in the immigration, we went to our corresponding bus for the tour. The bus has a capacity of 45 people. We were first brought to Painagama beach. We are there for about ten minutes and took photos.
Now, Miyakojima is on the southern part of Japan, part of the Okinawa prefecture. Though for us Filipinos, the mention of Japan would make us think of cool temperature. But in Miyakojima, in March, it is not cold, and a winter jacket is not needed. I saw some of my fellow passengers wearing thick jackets; I even saw one wearing a winter jacket! We were oriented of the weather a few days back and it helps if we wear the proper outfit to make us comfortable.
After the white beach, we were brought to a Botanical Garden. It has many flowers inside and it was nice that all are blooming at once. There is also a group who entertained us with Japanese music. And we were treated to a free food made of rice and some meat (I’m not sure of the meat, but it tasted good). I was also amazed by the presence of vending machines in the area, which is not very common in the Philippines, especially in our province.
We were then brought to the AEON shopping complex, where you can buy various Japanese products. There is also a nearby Don Quijote shop. We waited for our bus which arrived at 5PM and then we went back to the port. At the port, it is so sad to see that some fellow SSV passengers were still queuing for the immigration. We exited the port and went back to the boats, to the ship. Some passengers did not continue to enter Miyakojima and instead went back to the boat with us.
That night, there were many complaints on the delay at the immigration, limiting them to see the beautiful island. But, Star Cruises compensated each passenger with 375 HKD to be spent anywhere in the ship, or deductible to your total bill.
We had BBQ and seafood dinner at the Parthenon pool that night. After that, we watch the show “Ballroom Dancing” at the Zodiac Theater.
Again, the performance was amazing and my mother and I really enjoyed it. We slept early that night to prepare for the disembarkation at Keelung in Taiwan, the following morning.