Underscoring its commitment to the growing Japanese cruise market, Carnival Corporation & plc today detailed a substantially expanded 2014 Japan cruise program for the Princess Cruises brand, which brings a second ship to the market, features sailings from three homeports and plans to significantly expand the size of the cruise market in Japan to approximately 100,000 passengers.
The Japan-built Diamond Princess will join Sun Princess for a cruise program from three homeports – Tokyo (Yokohama), Kobe, and an industry first, Otaru near Sapporo on Hokkaido. Sailing between April and October in 2014, the two ships will offer 42 departures featuring nine unique itineraries ranging from seven to nine days. The two ships will visit more than 20 ports in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Russia.
“We were the first international cruise line brand to offer a full season of cruises designed specifically for passengers from Japan, and we continue to believe there is substantial untapped demand for cruise vacations here,” said Alan Buckelew, president and CEO of Princess Cruises. “With a second, larger ship and our ground-breaking itineraries in 2014 we look forward to continuing to help develop the full potential of the cruise market in Japan.”
Diamond Princess will homeport in Tokyo (Yokohama) for an extended season of 9-day cruises that include visits to Taiwan, South Korea, Hokkaido, Russia and 15 Japanese ports, including five new itineraries created especially for the ship. During the popular holiday period of Golden Week, Diamond Princess will feature a special 10-day itinerary that includes opportunities to visit several festivals plus enjoy a special call to Nagasaki, home to Mitsubishi Heavy Industries where the ship was built, to celebrate Diamond Princess’ 10-year anniversary.
Sun Princess will debut several industry firsts for the Japanese market – including innovative 7-day cruises from the northern coastal town of Otaru, located outside of Sapporo, as well as two new 8-day itineraries from Kobe. The ship will also make maiden calls in the Japanese islands of Ishigaki, and Amami Oshima, as well as Abashiri and Hualien, Taiwan.
On these sailings, passengers will find the cruise experience substantially the same as that offered by Princess Cruises around the world, providing an impressive array of dining and entertainment options in addition to the line’s signature innovations such as its popular Movies Under the Stars poolside theater and The Sanctuary, an exclusive top-deck retreat.
However some changes and enhancements are being made to appeal to the local market such as Japanese-speaking crew members in key passenger-facing positions. Dining room menus will offer international Princess cuisine while additional offerings will cater to Japanese tastes, such as an a la carte sushi bar, Japanese breakfast, noodle bar, regional tea tastings, and special sake menu. A traditional kagamiwari ceremony will be held during the captain’s welcome. Specially designed enrichment programs will include an expert lecture series on art, culture and history. Other amenities such as the shopping selection and spa treatments will also be tailored to Japanese preferences, and onboard collateral items and stateroom information will be translated into Japanese.
An extensive array of shore excursions will be available to complement the itineraries so passengers can experience all the ports have to offer. The 2014 Japan cruise program opens for sale today.
Article and logo courtesy of Princess Cruises. Photo: Mike Faust.