Princess Cruises has announced its lineup of Japan itineraries for 2017 from Tokyo and Kobe. With 39 departures, carrying 75,000 guests, the upcoming season offers a 27 percent increase over 2016.
With maiden port calls to Tsuruga, Japan, gateway to Tojinbo Cliffs and Eiheiji Temple, along with visits to South Korea, Taiwan, Russia, Hong Kong and Vietnam, the voyages are designed to offer opportunities to explore UNESCO World Heritage sites and to participate in some of Japan’s largest and most celebrated cultural festivals and special events. In addition, two Land and Sea Vacation packages will take travelers to Kyoto, Tokyo and the UNESCO creative city of Kanazawa.
A total of 39 voyages are open for sale on Japanese-built Diamond Princess, ranging from five to 17 nights, with 31 destinations in six countries. The 2017 season runs from April through November 2017. Program highlights include:
New Extended Fall Season
The new extended season includes a special nine-night Circle Japan cruise departing on October 17, 2017, visiting Northern Japan during the beautiful fall foliage time, including port calls in Aomori and Toyama (Fushiki).
Festivals and Special Events
A new Spring Floral Festivals voyage departs April 20, 2017, visiting some of the best flower festivals during the very popular cherry blossom season. This cruise includes stops in Akita for the Kakunodate Cherry Blossom Festival, Aormori for the Hirosaki Cherry Blossom Festival and Toyama (Fushiki) for the Tonami Tulip Festival.
Princess Cruises offers eight-17 night voyages visiting the Aomori Nebuta and Akita Kanto festivals, with late night stays in both cities to allow for more exploration of these events. The Aomori Nebuta Festival features Nebuta float figures, music and dancers. The Akita Kanto features a procession of 200 bamboo poles with lanterns weighing over 100 pounds all carried on palms, foreheads, shoulders or backs of the celebrants.
UNESCO World Heritage Sites
The 2017 Japan season visits 10 UNESCO World Cruise Heritage Sites. All of the cruise line’s Hokkaido Island voyages offer scenic cruising of the UNESCO World Site, Shiretoko Peninsula, named one of the "Cruise Wonders of the World" by Condé Nast Traveler magazine, including a late night stay in Hakodate, home to the Mt. Hakodate cable car with views of the city at night.
For a shorter journey, there are five-night voyages on July 21, September 13 and September 26, 2017, sailing roundtrip from Tokyo (Yokohama), visiting Busan, South Korea and either Nagasaki, Kagoshima or Shimizu, known for views of Mt. Fuji. In addition, there is a five-night cruise sailing departing June 30, between Kobe and Tokyo (Yokohama) visiting Busan, Nagasaki and a special scenic cruise of Hasmina Island (Gunkanjima) known for its stark landscape from Hollywood motion pictures.
Land and Sea Vacations
Princess Cruises also offers two multi-day land tour package options, available for add-on with most cruises, to explore Kyoto and Tokyo. The Highlights of Japan cruisetour includes the main sights in Kyoto and Tokyo. These tours includes sightseeing at Nijo Castle, the Kinkakuji Temple (Golden Pavilion), and popular Japanese gardens. Tokyo tours explore the city before heading out to UNESCO World Heritage sites Mt. Fuji, Togendai and Lake Ashi.
The new Temples & Traditions of Japan land and sea vacation package is an extended version of the Highlights of Japan with two additional nights in the UNESCO creative city of Kanazawa. Guests can experience Higashi Chaya, the Geisha district of Japan, as well as Nomura Samurai House. Travelers also have the opportunity to receive a Japanese Washi paper making demonstration as well as a sushi making experience.
Most meals and an experienced tour director are included on both Land and Sea Vacation packages.
While Diamond Princess features the cruise line’s signature amenities, including its 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:
- Traditional Izumi Japanese Bath – the largest of its kind at sea and modeled after the popular Japanese onsen experience
- Kai Sushi restaurant – serving 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
- 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 is available in both English and Japanese.