This was the first cruise when Star Cruise's SuperStar Virgo was home-ported in Shanghai for the first time, which will last till November. And here they offer a standard 7-night cruise to Japan, by standard I mean the world norm, when in China the cruises are shorter. And because of the fast cruising speed of this older ship (funny that all competing state-of-art new ships simply cannot do a similar itinerary as they are slower), the visit calls to ports no less interesting than Osaka, Yokohama (Tokyo), Mount Fuji area, and Kagoshima. Thus they aptly call it the 'Golden Itinerary' with a good reason, and the ship sailed virtually full.
Embarkation in Shanghai was a bit chaotic but I presume this will settle down soon, as my trip was the inaugural cruise. After a sea day where one can enjoy the multiple offering of restaurants, and entertainment Star is famous for, including Michelin-starred restaurant offers, we arrive the third day at Osaka. There is plenty of time to be ashore, as ship arrive midday and sails almost midnight. The port is easily and conveniently connected by rail to centre of Osaka in 30 minutes.
The next arrival was Yokohama, in the afternoon, and again the sail away was near midnight. The Terminal is convenient and has free shuttle to connect with the train, from where Tokyo is only half an hour away. But Yokohama itself is a big port far more than enough for one's exploration for a day.
Next call was a small town in the Mount Fuji area. A shuttle bus took more than an hour to reach a big Outlet Mall in the shadow of Mount Fuji. The outlet sells international brand-named products, and for me it is less interesting than the small vendor stalls at the pier.
Final call was Kagoshima, where a free shuttle landed us near town centre for shopping again, which suits the Chinese passengers. Or there is plenty of things to do as we had long hours in port. Japanese passengers also come on and off each port. It makes a one week cruise of really interesting ports.
Few Westerners are onboard and announcements are in Chinese and Japanese, but English is well-understood. The ship's strong point is food and some spectacular shows, and for a reasonable price it makes an itinerary-rich family holiday..
Adequate cabin, not too spacious but has water kettle with coffee and tea. Good housekeeping.