Any recommendations for guides or must see areas in any of the following cities that we will be visiting as part of a cruise in Sept
Well first, you really don't need any guides at all - you can do it yourself and avoid a lot of problems by doing your research ahead of time and knowing where to go.
The Matsushima area near Ishinomaki is known as one of Japan's traditional Top 3 most beautiful places. Ishinomaki was perhaps chosen due to its port. You can get some ideas on the local sights here. The most famous place is Tashirojima which is one of Japan's cat islands. It is a rural and isolated island with few ferry departures though, so if you choose to go there, timing is very important.
Akita is both a prefecture and city, so it's hard to figure which you mean. But it is known for its bucolic beauty (and also beautiful women). I presume Akita City since there is a large cruise ship port there. It's not overflowing with great places, but a few are Kubota Castle and Senshu Park.
Kagoshima has three main sights - the elephant in the living room is the active volcano Sakurajima, and there are not many places in the world to walk beside a live volcano. Another great place is the beautiful Senganen Garden, which uses the volcano as a background. One other place is Shiroyama Park, which has some fame for being the last battlefield of feudal dead-enders resisting Japan's westernization and modernization in the 1870's. It would help if you read up on some of Japan's history before going.
If you still really want a guide, you can get a free one here. You only need to pay any entrance fee or meals.