Ferry from Qingdao
If you want to take the ferry to Japan from Qingdao you can buy the tickets a few days in advance from the ticket office which is near the International Finance Centre. That is about 5 miles (8km) from the port itself and the railway station, plus they add a bit extra to the prices. The ferry for South Korea has a ticket office next to the passenger terminal. We booked our ticket at the passenger port on the day of departure, around 9am. The boats seem to run with almost no passengers so don’t worry about late booking. Because we bought tickets directly from the port they were slightly cheaper and we paid 1,400 RMB for first class. At the time of boarding at 4pm it looked like tickets could still be purchased. We were due to sail at 8pm, but didn’t leave until 12:30am and between 8pm and 10pm a fair few people were still boarding.
Only Japanese Yen is accepted on board. No credit cards or other currencies! At the passenger port in Qingdao is a currency exchange counter, but be warned, they only stock ¥10,000 notes, which cost us 620 RMB. You’ll need to buy currency in multiples of ¥10,000.
Food is about ¥600 per dish and drinks can be bought for ¥150-200. There are a number of restaurants on board. Hot water is provided for free.
The restaurant opening and closing in announced on the tanoy system. All announcements are in Japanese and Chinese only, but the opening times of the restaurants are on the notice boards. The timings are very precisely enforced. You select your meal from the menu outside the restaurant and input the code into the machine just inside the main door.
Drinks can be bought from vending machines on floor 5 next to the shop and near the information desk.
We paid for first class and got a 4 person cabin with only the two of us in it. In fact only 2 first class cabins are in use on this whole deck. The cabin is reasonably large, we have a window, a table with teapot and cups, a TV and a washbasin.
A little wash bag was provided in our cabin. It contained some shampoo, a bar of soap, a shower cap and a small towel.
The toilets are down the corridor as is the onboard onsen, a Japanese style washroom. You get undressed, then wash yourself whilst sitting on a little stool. Shampoo and shower gel is provided beside each wash area. After washing you can relax in the large bath. Because we have first class almost to ourselves we have the bath to ourselves too.
There are two ping-pong tables and a gym consisting of 4 machines including a bike and treadmill. These are on level 7 along with a lounge and ‘special class’ cabins.
In the evening DVDs are shown. They are in Chinese or Japanese. The second night’s entertainment is Karaoke.
Once the ship is out to sea the doors to outside are closed. However, we did see Chinese people wandering outside. They ignored the signs saying not to go onto the deck. But there really is nothing to see and nothing to do outside