Dalian, China MAR 10 2024

After two busy days in Shanghai, we were glad to have a sea day before the next port, Dalian,

On our sea day between Shanghai and Dalian, we were surprised with the opportunity for another exclusive ship tour. This time it was a tour of the ship’s laundry facilities. A group of eight of us was taken down by special elevator to the lowest deck on the ship. There we saw tailors making uniforms for the staff. An order for uniforms had not come in so they were using tablecloths to make chef jackets.

Uniform Supply

Large washers and dryers lined the walls. They had special machines designated for clothes of anyone on the ship ill, such as with Covid or a stomach virus.

One Washing Machine For Contaminated Items

We saw how they use machines to label each item of clothing with a laundry mark. The guide told us these machines are a critical piece of equipment. Otherwise each item would have to be labeled by hand, significantly slowing down the process. Each bag of laundry turned in has a turn around time of less than 24 hours!! He said they usually process around 400 bags of laundry a day, 500 bags daily when in hot weather. 

Of course there are also sheets, towels, cloth napkins and tablecloths. This machine takes a flat sheet and folds it.

They also have dry cleaning and pressing available. They are all such hard, dedicated workers.

Folding By Hand

The process for passengers is to fill a laundry bag with dirty clothing and give it to the room steward. It is returned to us by the room steward within 24 hours. We can have the laundry hung or neatly folded and returned in a basket. There is a charge for the services. You can pay by piece, by bag or buy unlimited laundry service. Our travel agent secured free unlimited laundry for us on this cruise. A first for us and has certainly been a treat! 


China. Dalian has been owned by England, China, Japan, Russia and then given back to China by Russia in 1950. It is located on Korea Bay. North Korea is about 310 miles away. Dalian has a population of 7.5 million. Our tour guide said we are the first cruise ship to visit in five years. He said he was nervous and embarrassed because his English is rusty since he hasn’t spoken it in five years.  We thought his English was very good. During the pandemic there was no work for tour guides so he became a middle school teacher and took the day off from school to be our guide for the day. Our visit was a big deal for the city and we were told they spruced up for our visit, including repaving some sidewalks.

Once again, before leaving the ship, we had to go through two security checks where stern immigration officials checked our passports and any bags we were taking with us. Everything was done twice.

Musicians Played For Us

The day was very chilly as we boarded the bus. We rode by Zhongshan Square, the oldest square in Dalian, built by the Russians in 1899. It is a small square located in the middle of a five lane roundabout.

We rode to the top of Lushan Hill for a panoramic view of the city. It was a very steep, narrow, curvy road and I worried about the condition of the brakes on these tour buses.

Next up was People’s Square. This square was first built by the occupying Japanese in 1914. In 1949 it was changed to Stalin Square by the occupying Russians before finally being renamed People’s Square in 1999.  We had an opportunity to get off the bus and walk around. Since it was a Sunday there were many families who smiled shyly at us with curiosity.

We rode to Xinghai Square, located on the Yellow Sea, which was built in 1997 to commemorate the return of Hong Kong to China. Built entirely through land reclamation (landfill), it is the largest city square in the world (270 acres). Again, being a Sunday, it was busy with families and young people.

Finally we rode along a coastal road to Beida Bridge. Our guide had us walk across the bridge holding hands. He said the Chinese believe everyone who walks across this bridge holding hands stays together forever.

At the sail away time, once again the ship had a party on Deck 3 with appetizers, drinks and music. It was very chilly so once again the crew passed out deck blankets. Everyone lined decks and balconies, waiting to watch the ship leave the port. We waited and waited and waited. Chinese immigration officials who worked in the port came out for a group picture with the ship in the background. They turned around, smiled and waved at us. We cheered and waved back. They then quickly filed into formation and marched away.

We Believe Many Were Here For Training

We continued to wait. And wait. One of our officers came out and met with some Chinese officials on the dock who handed him paperwork. They talked, then they each got on their cell phones, talked some more, back on cell phones. Our officer finally walked back on the ship and the Chinese waited. We’ll this didn’t look good. It appeared they were not letting us go.

The Waiters Killed The Time By Dancing

By now it was getting dark and colder so we gave up and went to dinner. During dinner we finally saw the ship pulling away from the dock. At last. Two hours behind schedule which meant the captain would have to increase his speed to reach the next port on time. We never heard what the problem was, but we do know the Chinese officials are precise, rigid and unwavering with their regulations. Perhaps after not having a cruise ship in five years, they were a little rusty in processing cruise ships.

Our visit to Dalian was pleasant. Not the most exciting city, but one of those places usually not on a cruise itinerary.  I doubt we will ever return. 

We were amazed how MOST of the skyscrapers changed colors and patterns.

It was also International Women’s Day and the ship celebrated with cakes in the buffet.

Next up: Tianjin, China, the Great Wall and being detained by Chinese officials on the road


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