After cruising into Xiamen in the morning then taking a walk around Xiamen during the day we returned to our cabin aboard Diamond Princess with plenty of bags of weird and wonderful sweets and a little bit of weariness in our legs. Getting back through immigration was easy once we’d worked out how to get back into the terminal; for some reason (possibly because of the mass of people in matching yellow outfits trying to get back onto their ship which was docked at the port ahead of us) they’d closed off the doors we came out by so ended up entering through an exit and skipping under some guide ropes in search of people in Princess Cruises uniforms.

The heat of the day and spread-out nature of the Chinese city had really surprised us so we were glad to be back on the ship with about an hour before the scheduled departure and checking the Princess Patter we saw that afternoon tea was still available so decided the chance of some sandwiches, rolls, and cakes with a cup of tea or two would be a nice change from what we’d normally do (burger or pizza and a beer, as you’d possibly guessed). Afternoon tea is served in the International Dining Room on the ship and is free of charge.

We then returned to our room so that we could watch the sailaway. Princess do have sailaway parties on the top deck with the resident band usually but even though they’re a bit more relaxed and not as embarrassingly jingoistic as the ones you get on P&O, for example, they’re still not really our sort of thing. Our balcony gave us a good view of the international cruise port in Xiamen.

And we waited. And waited. And waited a bit more. A couple of coaches that had been out on excursions were late getting back due to traffic problems. The good thing about going on a ship-organised tour as opposed to doing things yourself is that the ship will wait for you in those circumstances.

We waited long enough that the moon started to make an appearance behind one of the nearby buildings.

And then without really realising it the ship was edging away from the port, making its 180 degree turn once we were sufficiently far enough way from the dock, and starting its slow run out towards the sea. With Diamond Princess now facing southwards our balcony on the starboard side of the ship gave us a pleasant view of the sunset over the Chinese mainland and spread of Xiamen there.

We passed between the pylons connecting the island of Xiamen to the mainland again.

As the sun finally vanished in the murk of the horizon we glanced back to see something we hadn’t expected: a Xiamen light show. We knew Hong Kong put on a light show as we’d seen it before (Hong Kong Harbour Light Show) and were expecting to see some of it again on this cruise but hadn’t realised Xiamen had its own version. While the buildings may not have had the grand scale of Hong Kong and there seemed to be less in the way of coordination in the lights we could see, they were, nevertheless, arguably far more impressive than Hong Kong. Some buildings had stylised, color-changing waves; others Chinese writing; others had pirate ships animated in the lighting. If you’re ever in Xiamen after the sun goes down then it looks like the light show along the waterfront of the city is something that should be seen.

All-too-soon we left the attractive lights of Xiamen behind and passed some of the industrialised areas that marked the boundary of the city before hitting the sea and starting the run south towards Vietnam.

For us, then, the evening followed pretty much the standard pattern: showered, changed, off for a pre-dinner drink or two, then dinner itself followed by a quick nose around the various lounges to see what was going on before heading up to Skywalkers nightclub to people-watch, drink some more, and dance as much as our tired bodies would allow us.


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