Dalian is a large and relatively young city. It's geographical location gives it a lot of Russian, Japanese and Korean influences.
Citizens of most nationalities will need a visa to visit China including American crew members. The number of entries depends on how many times your ship leaves China and enters a non-Chinese port. The Chinese consulate does not like to issue multi-entry visas so provide them with your itinerary when applying for the visa. In 2015, new 10 year visas were introduced at the same cost of short term visas.
Where You're Docked
Cruise ships dock at an old pier northeast of the city center. A free shuttle is usually provided taking you the short distance to Friendship Shopping Center on Renmin Rd beside Zhongshan Square. A new cruise terminal has been announced and is still in the planning stages.
Money and Tipping
Taxis are inexpensive in China. Most taxi drivers do not speak English so make sure you have your destination written out in Chinese. Also make sure your driver uses the meter.
Line 2 of Dalian's metro opened in 2015 with a station near the cruise pier and stations at Zhongshan Square and Qingniwan near Victory Square.
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These places are away from the center of town and not the most exciting attractions.
Shopping & Restaurants
Tianjin St is a pedestrianized mall with stalls and street food vendors. It runs from Minsheng St off of Zhongshan Square to Victory Plaza across from the Railway Station. There is a large underground shopping center below Victory Square. Across from Zhongshan Rd at Victory Square is Qingniwan shopping area with modern malls and department stores. There are also small street markets in this area as well.
On the opposite side of the train station towards the north is a large open plaza (with shops underneath) and Dalian Central Market in the building directly across.
The state-run Friendship Shopping Center has a supermarket in the basement (with lots of staff). Prices are only slightly higher.
Russian Street (northwest of Zhongshan Square along Shanghai St) has Russian style buildings and shops and stalls selling Russian themed souvenirs like Matryoshka nesting dolls.
In general, restaurants don't provide napkins and washrooms don't have soap or toilet paper and may have squat toilets. Always travel with a pack of tissues and some hand sanitizer.
Friendship Shopping Center has free wifi but nowhere to sit. Cafes and restaurants may provide free wifi for customers. Facebook is blocked in China.
There is a post office on the northwest side of Zhongshan Square.
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Dalian Weather Forecast