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    by mkataoka Fodor's Editor | Posted on Nov 28, 16 at 01:31 PM
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Trip Report Trip report. Our cruise on the Diamond Princess with a stay in Tokyo

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Well I am a bit late getting started as we have been home for about one month. I had a terrible flu bug after arriving, then 1.5 weeks on a federal jury, then back to work so things were a bit hectic.

Lets begin with our flight to Japan. We were to leave Chicago, connect in Toronto with a 3 hr. window and then off to NRT but due to bad weather we left Chicago nearly 3 hrs. late and missed our connection. Bummer. We did fly out the next day and were put up by AC for the night and given food vouchers so it was OK but we missed one day in Tokyo. Too bad.

I must say that the AC desk people in Chicago were rude. Not impressed at all.They seemed to be not at all interested in providing updates and seemed to just want to be left alone. They did not even make eye contact most of the time and one fellow told me our connecting had finally arrived and was taxiing. So 30 mins. later still no plane so I asked again and a gal said sometimes the taxi way is 30 mins. Really!! As it turned out the plane had not even landed! It was circling. Bad form all the way around.

Then the ground personnel in Toronto for AC were hit and miss. I got a lot of misinformation including that we had to reclaim our bags which was not true. We were given incorrect directions and one lady just seemed more interested in having me relax vs. helping me. Finally one gal who had closed her line saw how frustrating things had become and just went out of her way to get us the information we needed. She gave us new boarding passes for the next day and took care of all our needs.

We then went down to the luggage area to be sure we did not have to reclaim our bags and were well treated by another AC employee who understood what we were going through. He gave us overnight kits which actually were very nice, lots of goodies.

We took a shuttle bus to a hotel called the Sandman Signature and had a good nights sleep before our 12 hr. flight to Tokyo which was a blessing in disguise I suppose. At least we were refreshed. BTW this hotel had an independent restaurant on its premised called Moxies and I must say it rivals many of the Chicago restaurants we have been to, quite a surprise considering its locale near the airport.

So off the next day to Tokyo. We used the Maple Leaf lounge preboarding and guys this puts O'Hare's UAL lounge to utter shame. UAL charges for alcohol but at the ML you get Harp and Guiness on tap! The food and overall comfort are much better too.

There has been polarizing talk about AC biz class pod seats. Well for me its a mixed bag. First of all the service and food were just fine, no issues about that. The seats could be padded better and it would be nice if they provided a small mattress like ANA. They do fully recline and there were a lot of movies and other options from their IFE so that was fine.

I did not like two things. One, there seemed to be little storage space. ANA seats are way better. I found I had to put my mags and newspapers in the space between the seats. Two its a 1-2-1 config. and if you are sitting together in the middle there is a rather high barrier so its not like you can be together if you are a couple. For two its best to have a window and aisle seat. That way you an at least talk w/o a barrier between you.

The flight was uneventful. On the way back my seat conked out and they could not fix it but fortunately there were plenty of free seats so it was no issue.

Now we are in Narita and as usual its warm there. It seems they are very sparing on the A/C so by the time we get our bags were are pretty warm. We decided to splurge for a limo to the Shinjuku area where our hotel was. The limo bus would cost about $120.00 less but thinking that after a long flight a relaxing limo ride would be well worth the money we went in that direction and were glad we did. We were met on time and had a nice ride of over an hour to the Hyatt Regency all by ourselves and very relaxed. The limo driver was dressed in a suit, tie and hat and wore white gloves and this was a hint of how overall things would be. Our check in was quick and I noticed there were several bellmen standing around. Well as soon as we were ready they snapped to get our bags, took us up and even refused a tip! Very impressed so far. They should send their training videos to the O'Hare AC staff.

By now it was around 1900 so we grabbed some dinner in the hotel, watched a little TV and tried to sleep. hey its jet lag and thats what ambien is for.

Stay tuned. :)

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