Princess Cruises has announced their longest Japan cruising season to date for 2017. They will be doing a variety of sailings from Kobe and Tokyo that go around the island nation, visiting top-rated cultural ports. There will be 39 departures, carrying approximately 75,000 guests. This season will offer a 27% increase over the current 2016 season.
The Japan cruises will include maiden port calls to Tsuruga, Japan, gateway to Tojinbo Cliffs and Eiheiji Temple, as well as visits to South Korea, Taiwan, Russia, Hong Kong, and Vietnam. The voyages are designed to offer a chance to explore UNESCO World Heritage sites, and for guests to be able to take part in some of the country’s biggest festivals and events. In addition, there will be two Land and Sea Vacation packages, which will take travelers into Kyoto, Tokyo, and the city of Kanazawa.
39 voyages are open for sale on the Japanese purpose-built Diamond Princess, ranging from 5-17 nights, with 31 destinations in 6 countries. The 2017 season will run from April to November.
Highlights of the 2017 Japanese season will include:
- Extended Fall Season – There will be a special 9-night Circle Japan cruise departing October 17. It will visit northern Japan during fall foliage time, and include calls in Aomori and Toyama.
- Festivals and Special Events – a new Spring Floral Festivals sailing departs April 20, and will visit some of the best spring festivals. It will include stops in Akita for the Kakunodate Cherry Blossom Festival, Aormori for the Hirosaki Cherry Blossom Festival, and Toyama for the Tonami Tulip Festival. Princess will offer eight 17-night cruises visiting the Aomori Nebuta and Akita Kanto festivals, with late night stays in both cities.
- UNESCO World Heritage Sites – All of the Hokkaido Island sailings will feature scenic cruising of the Shiretoko Peninsula, one of the richest integrated ecosystems in the world. They will also include a late night stay in Hakodate, home to the Mt. Hakodate cable car with amazing city views at night.
- Getaway Cruises – there are 3 five-night voyages that sail roundtrip from Tokyo, visiting Busan, South Korea, and either Nagasaki, or Shimizu, known for incredible views of Mt. Fuji. In addition, there’s another five-night cruise between Kobe and Tokyo visiting Busan, Nagasaki, and a special scenic cruise of Hasmina Island, known for its stark landscape from Hollywood movies.
- Land and Sea Vacations – Princess Cruises offers two land tour package options in Japan, to explore Kyoto and Tokyo. The Highlights of Japan tour includes sightseeing at Nijo Castle, the Kinkakuji Temple (Golden Pavilion), and popular Japanese gardens. The Tokyo tours explore the city before heading to Mt. Fuji, Togendai, and Lake Ashi. The new Temples & Traditions of Japan tour is an extended version of Highlights of Japan with two more nights in Kanazawa.
Since Diamond Princess was purpose-built, it does include some unique features to enhance the Japanese cultural experience, in addition to the usual Princess staples like Movies Under the Stars and The Sanctuary. These include:
- Traditional Izumi Japanese Bath – the largest of its kind at sea and modeled after the Japanese onsen experience
- Kai Sushi Restaurant – features made-to-order sushi and a wide selection of Japanese sake
- Noodle stations – serving up a rotating selection of soba, ramen, and udon noodles
- Tamagoyaki – a traditional Japanese omelet available for breakfast daily
- Japanese entertainment offerings such as “rakugo” storytelling performances and origami classes
All menus and stateroom information is available in both Japanese and English. Diamond Princess was built in Japan – the first of two Princess ships to be built there.