Princess Cruises, the top North American cruise line in Japan, today announced its longest Japan cruise season yet with an array of voyages from Tokyo and Kobe in 2018 that circumnavigate the country, visiting top-rated cultural ports.
With Japanese maiden port calls to Ishinomaki, Iwakuni, Niigata, Sakata, Toba and Yokkaichi, along with visits to South Korea, Taiwan, China, Russia, Hong Kong and Vietnam, the voyages are designed to offer opportunities to explore the wonders of UNESCO World Heritage sites and to participate in some of Japan’s largest and most celebrated cultural festivals and special events. In addition, cruisetour itineraries will take travelers into the heart of Japanese culture in Kyoto and Tokyo, and include visits to Togendai, Lake Ashi and Mt. Fuji, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
A total of 63 voyages are open for sale on Japanese-built Diamond Princess, ranging from four to 23 nights, with 38 destinations in seven countries. The 2018 season runs from April through December 2018.
“We are honored to bring guests more departures and visits to top-rated ports in 2018 than ever before,” said Jan Swartz, president of Princess Cruises. “Through local cultural entertainment and culinary experiences to our purpose-made ship specific to Japan; our guests are sure to enjoy the most of this storied country at sea with Princess.”
2018 Japan program highlights include:
Festivals and Special Events
Three Spring Flowers voyages depart in April, providing guests access to Japan’s largest Tulip Fair and some of Japan’s top cherry blossom viewing sites, such as Kenrokuen Garden in Kanazawa.
Guests enjoy the best of summer festival time in Japan as Princess Cruises offers five 8- to 19-day voyages visiting the Aomori Nebuta and Akita Kanto festivals, with late night stays in both cities to allow for even more exploration of these incredible events. The Aomori Nebuta Festival features Nebuta float figures, music and many vibrant dancers. The Akita Kanto features a procession of 200 bamboo poles with lanterns weighing over 100 pounds all carried on the palms, foreheads, shoulders or backs of the celebrants.
Six Fall Foliage voyages depart in early October and November, bringing guests to regions of Japan that showcase the brilliant changing colors of the Japanese maple and Ginkgo trees as summer makes way for fall.
UNESCO World Heritage Sites
The 2018 Japan season features access to 12 UNESCO World Cruise Heritage Sites, including the historic temples and shrines of Kyoto and Nara, the majestic Mt. Fuji, and the Peace Memorial in Hiroshima.
In 2018 Diamond Princess itineraries will visit 12 ports with late night calls, featuring longer stays on every call to Hakodate for breath-taking views of the city at night – nationally known as one of Japan’s top three night views.
For a shorter journey, there are five-night voyages throughout the season sailing roundtrip from Tokyo, visiting Busan, South Korea and Yokkaichi, a new port of call that provides access to the Ise Grand Shrine and is just a stone’s throw away from Matsusaka, known for the exquisite Matsusaka Beef.
To further enhance the cruise line’s Japanese vacations, Princess Cruises offers two cruisetour options, available with select cruises, to explore Kyoto and Tokyo. The Highlights of Japan cruisetour includes the main sights in Kyoto and Tokyo, sightseeing at Nijo-jo Castle, the famed Kinkaku-ji Temple (Golden Pavilion) and popular Japanese gardens. After visiting central Tokyo, guests will visit Togendai, Lake Ashi and Mt. Fuji, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Temples & Traditions of Japan cruisetour is an extended version of the Highlights of Japan with two additional nights in the UNESCO Creative City of Kanazawa. This area is rich with Japanese culture and tradition where guests can roam Higashi Chaya, an iconic Geisha district, as well as Nomura Samurai House. Guests have the opportunity to participate in a Japanese Washi paper-making demonstration as well as a sushi-making experience.
An experienced tour director and most meals are included on both cruisetour options.
While Diamond Princess features the cruise line’s signature innovations, such as the popular Movies Under the Stars poolside theater and The Sanctuary, an exclusive top-deck retreat, it also offers many unique features designed to enhance the Japanese cultural experience onboard, including:
– Izumi Japanese Bath – the largest of its kind at sea and modeled after the popular Japanese onsen experience
– Kai Sushi restaurant – boasting made-to-order sushi and a full selection of Japanese sake
– Noodle stations – serving up a rotating selection of ramen, soba and udon noodles
– Tamagoyaki – a traditional Japanese omelet available daily for breakfast
– Unique Japanese entertainment offerings such as “rakugo” storytelling performances and origami classes
– Extensive luxury brand duty-free shopping
In addition, dining room menus offer a wide variety of international cuisine, including Japanese options on all menus, and onboard collateral items and stateroom information are available in both English and Japanese.
Diamond Princess was built by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in Nagasaki, Japan – the first of two Princess ships built in Japan.