Star Cruise: Day 4 – On Shore Keelung,Taiwan
We woke up early on March 13 as we will be disembarking at Keelung at 8:30 AM. We had our breakfast at the Star Dining again but this time we got only one order of egg.
We assembled at the Zodiac Theater. The other night, the photocopies of our passport, which we submitted together with our original passport on the first day in the check in counter in Manila, were sent to our room, already stamped by Taiwan immigration. This should be brought with you when disembarking and to be showed to immigration officers when asked. Do not forget to also bring with you your access cards.
The port in Keelung is large and we could see the tour buses lining up outside. When you book the tour, you are given a sticker with your bus number on it and you should stick it to a visible portion of your shirt. We chose the Taipei Highlight Tour in which we will be visiting Taipei 101, including the observatory, National Museum and Keelung Night Market. This package also came with lunch at a local restaurant.
We went inside our bus which has a capacity of 40 passengers and one local tour guide plus an assistant which is from the ship. We traveled about 30 minutes to our first stop which is Taipei 101. We were guided through the elevator and I was amazed at how fast it reached the 89th floor.
Since you are in a group tour, you have to remember to always be aware of your guide and follow instructions on the meeting place and how many minutes you are allowed to roam. This is also a sign respect to your fellow travelers. There are several times that we lost the same participants, as apparently they did not follow the meeting place and meeting time. Now if one of you do not follow instructions, it will disrupt the time frame and might affect the whole tour. That is the disadvantage of a group tour, though it is cheaper than a private tour.
After Taipei 101, we did a quick stop at Vigor Kobo, this is a pastry factory which sells the famous pineapple cake of Taiwan and other specialty foods and pastries. The cakes are beautifully packaged, in my opinion that is what makes it a little expensive. There is a free tastes of all pastries and they all tasted so good, I bought many.
We then had our lunch at a local restaurant and we were served so many foods! I was so amazed. We were seated ten persons per table and the food served is more than enough! And it tasted good too.
After which, we went to the National Museum and spent a good two hours there. Taiwan’s history was discussed and we saw several materials that are part of Taiwan’s history. It is a good thing that they allow tourist to go inside, and even take photos. But just make sure to turn off the flash of your camera. Foods including water, are not allowed inside.
We went back to Keelung and spent our remaining hours at the Keelung Night Market. But since it is still not dark when we arrived, we only saw some of the vendors at the market. But there were so many foods to try, though I did not try any (as my stomach is not cooperating), I hear from fellow passengers that indeed street food in Taiwan is one of the bests.
At 5PM, we were brought back to the ship and the transfer was smooth. Here, Taiwan immigration will check again the passport photocopy. No fresh foods are allowed inside the ship, only those processed ones. There are also some who embarked the cruise in Keelung. Later that night, they did their safety drill.
We had our dinner at Lido that night and decided to checked our total bill.
The queue at the reception was really long. So I decided to do express check out the next day where you will just pay using your credit card. That night, we consumed the 675HKD compensation by buying the Malaysian coffee powder (3in1 coffee in different flavors) on-board. We bought ten dozens just enough to consume the amount. The coffee tastes good too.
Some bought the wines but I opted not to since the price is really high. I remember seeing the same Martini we bought at S&R for 400+ PHP, being sold at over 200 HKD.
We slept early that night since we were so tired walking around in Taiwan during the tour. We did not anymore watch the Magic Show Spirits by Vincent Vignaud.