Pusan, Korea. Established  by the United Nations Command in 1951, this sacred site is the home of 2,300 heroic dead fallen  during the Korean War.

An agreement between the United Nations and the Republic of Korea officially designated this holy ground as a unique Memorial Cemetery of the United Nations in 1959 to pay tribute to those who died fighting for peace and freedom

(Australian deaths 281)

The Cherry Blossom season;

Japan

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When the sun appeared once more the ship changed course to cross the equator and set course for Singapore. A quick visit to Arab Street and Little India for purchases then a visit to one of the icons of Singapore; Raffles and the Long Bar.

The painting of Tiger Lily, reclining on a tiger skin behind the bar reminded some visitors from Australia of Chloe, in the Young and Jacksons Hotel, Melbourne. The famous Singapore Slings have changed and were untasted. No longer are the shells of provided peanuts dropped onto the bar room floor; there are containers for disposal.

A day in Singapore ended, Passengers rejoined the ship and that evening and she headed into the South China Sea; destination Thailand and Ko Samui after a day at sea.  Two ships tenders rapidly ferried passengers from the ships anchorage to Ko Samui. The city abounds with Buddhist temple’s and sculptures..

Next day and Sea Princess docked in Phu My, Vietnam. Two Tiger beers and a broth at a Local Restaurant and a taxi tour of My Phu followed.

After another a day at sea, the ships destination was Shanghai. That morning passengers awoke to a screeching of metal, the ship turned through 180 degree’s and stopped. For several hours, Captain Enda Caldwell was a busy man. Mechanical trouble with a reverse thrust shaft meant the ship was banned from entering the busy waterways to Shanghai until the shaft was repaired.

When repaired, the Sea Princess was cleared to enter the shipping channels and this brought the busy waterway into focus. Outbound Ships; cargo, containers, refrigeration and many more had right of way as they steamed past in line astern in the outward channel. They were too numerous to count. When  the line finally ended, the Sea Princess was cleared to move slowly forward and past the huge expanse of docklands where cranes dotted the shore. It was obvious to all that this was undoubtedly one of the busiest shipping channels and ports in the world and the city was thriving.

Docking in Pusan, South Korea was without incident. A taxi whose driver spoke no English provided transport and a scenic tour of city, visiting some tunnel sites, the the guests did not enter. The Mermaid on the Rocks Was undergoing a spring clean of the surrounds. The next stop was the United Nations Memorial Cemetery in Korea (UNMCIK). The gates were guarded by a soldier. The driver escorted his passengers through the memorial Hall that invited an in depth exploration had time permitted. The next visit was within the cemetery itself and to the Australian Section where the view extended across the many graves to the city.

Returning his passengers to the city the destination was the huge fish market district. A restaurant displaying live fish in tanks provided a huge fresh meal. Eventually, boarding the shuttle bus  the return to the ship was through a pleasant and attractive city in which a visitor would feel comfortable.

The next stop would be Japan and guests were placed on notice to expect a thorough face to face immigration check. Meanwhile, life on board progressed, medical staff were called to a stimulate emergency in the Rigolleto dining room. One of the favorite bartenders at Patisserie Bar and the Wheelhouse Bar was moved to the open air Seaview Bar.  In the departure terminal passengers worked through the check  to be finally be cleared to enter Japan.

It was a cold day when the Sea Princess berthed in Maizura, only 7 degrees  The present of the Japanese Coast Guard ships obvious. A group of visitors boarded the ship, two girls in traditional dress, one Miss Kanazwa and the Kimona Ambassador brought colour and beauty to the already colorful decks.

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