After a fun filled 3 days in Shanghai, it was time to head to the Baoshan port and begin the second phase of our trip: Cruise! We had a boarding time of 12:30 so took a leisurely morning at the hotel prior to checking out and grabbing a taxi to the port. Overall, driving in Shanghai is its own experience as lights and divider lines seem to be viewed as optional. In fact, most major intersections also have 4 police officers at each corner to manage traffic as well. And don’t even get me started on the mopeds…complete chaos….road/sidewalk everything was on the table. Definitely not a city where the pedestrian has the right of way. So given our previous experience with taking taxis, I was surprised at just how terrifying the ride out to the port was.
The taxi driver loved driving right down the middle of the divider lines and took anyone who was in front of him as personal enemy number 1. I was actually kind of nice to realize that the passing car stare down is in fact universal. So after 30 minutes of pure terror, we arrived at the port and were quickly ushered into the terminal and checked in. However, due to some unforeseen immigration issues we were not being allowed to board the ship until 2 pm (it was supposed to start at noon). Meaning that roughly 2000, were starting to arrive at the terminal that was not equipped to handle those numbers. Therefore, Celebrity had arranged for shuttle buses to take willing passengers to the closest mall to kill time until we could board the cruise ship.
Turns out the mall was only about 10 minutes away and 5 stories to wander through. It always surprised me how many US stores there are in Chinese malls and this was no exception: Nike, Adidas, Toy R us were all found here. Most surprising however was the Roots Store:
Odder was the English signage, especially given how few people speak English, let alone read it.
We spent about an hour wandering the mall before deciding to investigate the restaurant options. We’d been disappointed in the Shanghai food to date (really bland flavouring) so decided to give a Korean BBQ restaurant a try. Again, we had fun with the waitress trying to order from pictures on a menu but in the end I think we ended up with quite a good meal.
After lunch we headed down to the basement level and came across a tea store that had a tastings so of course we had to stop in there. The clerk spoke some English so we tried 3-4 different types of tea and walked out with a significant amount of green tea – which by the way – tastes NOTHING like what we have here in North America. The clerk joked that the Chinese keep all the good green tea for themselves and only export the lower grade only fit for tea bags. Good to know.
Now it was time to head back to the port and hopefully board the ship. By this point, it was almost 3pm so luckily this meant that most of those who had stayed at the port had boarded and the immigration lines were not super long. In fact, we would have been through really quickly if the scanning machines didn’t keep breaking and having to be reset. Finally, we boarded the ship and due to the delay were able to get into our stateroom immediately. It was nicely to able to settle in and unpack for our home for the next 7 days.
We then proceeded to spend the rest of our time familiarizing ourselves with the ship before grabbing the first of many stellar meals in the main dining restaurant. Our first full day on board was a sea day as we headed to South Korea and I was very much looking to forward to a day of relaxing and reading.