Carnival Corporation & plc has announced the 2015 Japan cruise program for Princess Cruises which features Diamond Princess returning for the line’s third season, and introduces new cruises as short as three nights to appeal for those local travelers seeking a quick getaway.
Beginning next April, the Japanese-built Diamond Princess will once again offer an exciting season sailing from the two home ports of Tokyo (Yokohama) and Kobe. During the four-month summer season the ship will offer 20 departures on a mix of itineraries visiting more than 20 destinations in Japan, Korea, Taiwan and Russia. The mix of itineraries is designed to have broad appeal, with cruises as short as three nights and up to 17 nights for guests seeking a more in-depth experience in Japan.
“We are very pleased to bring Diamond Princess back to Japan again next summer, this time with a broader variety of itineraries and cruise lengths offering guests a diverse choice of experiences and destinations,” said Jan Swartz, president of Princess Cruises. “In addition to offering local consumers a shorter cruise experience, our longer sailings will offer an enriching and convenient way to explore many of Japan’s most fascinating port cities.”
Swartz added that Sun Princess will not be returning to Japan next summer as it will instead be deployed to Australia where it has long been a popular ship based in the region. “Moving Sun Princess to Australia in 2015 doesn’t diminish our enthusiasm for the Japan cruise market. As demand for cruising grows further in Japan, we will review the opportunity to add additional capacity in the future.”
Diamond Princess will begin the 2015 season on April 29 in Yokohama with an eight-night Golden Week itinerary and a nine-night Taiwan & Korea sailing. The ship will then position to Kobe for a series of three cruises of Princess’ popular eight-night Ryukyu Islands & Taiwan voyages that include calls to Okinawa, Hualien, Kaohsiung and Taipei (Keelung). New for 2015 from Kobe is a 10-night Hokkaido cruise that includes appealing northern destinations of Aomori, Hakodate, Otaru and Abashiri.
Diamond Princess will return to Yokohama to spend the balance of the summer sailing north to the island of Hokkaido or around Japan, visiting culturally rich destinations such as Maizuru (for Kyoto), Nagasaki and Aomori. A special feature of the Hokkaido voyages is the late evening departure from Hakodate, which is famous for the nighttime view from the top of Mt. Hakodate, as well as the morning fish market.
Also new for the 2015 season, which runs through mid-September, are three-, four-, five- and seven-night itineraries designed to appeal to those with limited vacation time. Throughout the summer Diamond Princess will sail on a four-night Korea Getaway roundtrip from Kobe, plus a five-night Korea & Japan Getaway roundtrip from Tokyo (Yokohama) and a five-night Korea & Japan Getaway that positions between the two homeports. In August, the ship will sail on a week-long itinerary roundtrip from Yokohama which can be segmented into a three-night Korea Getaway disembarking in Hakata, or a four-night Korea & Japan itinerary embarking in Hakata.
The experience onboard Diamond Princess in Japan will substantially be 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 as done during the first two Japan seasons, some changes and enhancements will be made to appeal to the local market. The just-completed refurbishment of Diamond Princess added Izumi Japanese bath – the largest of its kind at sea – as well as a Kai Sushi restaurant.
The 2015 Japan cruise program opens for sale April 30.