Responding to the growing interest for cruising in Japan, Carnival Corporation & plc is introducing the largest deployment ever by a global cruise line in the Japanese market when it brings the Australian-based Sun Princess to Japan for a spring to summer season of cruising in April 2013.
One of the world’s leading cruise line brands, the Princess Cruises brand is launching an 87-day program featuring a total of nine cruises on seven different itineraries operating April through July of next year from both Yokohama and Kobe. The cruises will be from nine to 12 days in length. Following her Japan visit, Sun Princess will return to Australia.
The unique itineraries have been customised for the Japanese vacation market, and will launch with the most significant national holiday of Golden Week, a nine-day cruise on April 27, 2013 which includes two days in Hakata during the renowned Dontaku Festival.
Underscoring the importance of Japan in the growing worldwide cruise market, Carnival Japan, Inc. has been formed to sell the Princess Cruises brand and certain other Carnival brands in Japan, with Princess Cruises being the brand to launch this largest cruise season in the Japanese market. Carnival Japan, Inc. is part of Carnival Corporation & plc, a global cruise company and one of the largest vacation companies in the world. It will be similar to two other international operations of Carnival plc - Carnival UK and Carnival Australia. Carnival Japan will be based in Tokyo and overseen by Eiko Kijima, who will be on the Board of Directors of Carnival Japan.
“Our new Japan deployment is three times larger than that of any competitive international cruise program, with superior itineraries specifically designed for the Japanese market,” Princess Cruises president and chief executive officer Alan Buckelew said.
“It’s the very first time a global cruise line is offering a full season of cruises from April to July designed specifically for passengers from Japan. We believe that our unique itineraries and onboard experience will prove extremely popular and will help to introduce cruise holidays to a growing number of Japanese vacationers.”
Approximately 18,000 passengers are expected to be carried during this first season of cruising in Japan.
Highlights of other itineraries include overnight stays at cities with popular annual festivals, destinations known for their natural hot springs, northern ports of Japan and foreign ports in Korea and Taiwan, among others.
The 2013 Japan homeport program features the following cruises:
9-day Golden Week: Departs April 27, 2013 sailing roundtrip from Yokohama with calls at Hiroshima (overnight); Nagasaki; Busan, South Korea, and Hakata (overnight).
12-day Round Japan with Festivals: Departs May 6, 2013 sailing roundtrip from Yokohama with calls at Aomori, Busan, Kanazawa (overnight), Sakaiminato, Maizuru, and Nagoya.
9-day Korea & Taiwan: Departs May 18, 2013 sailing roundtrip from Yokohama and June, 23, 2013 sailing from Yokohama to Kobe, with calls at Busan and Cheju, South Korea; and Kaohsiung and Taipei, Taiwan.
9-day Round Japan with Onsens: Departs May 27, 2013 sailing roundtrip from Yokohama with calls at Nagoya, Kobe, scenic cruising of Japan Inland Sea, Matsuyama, Busan, Kagoshima and Beppu.
9-day Kyushu & Korea: Departs June 5, 2013 sailing roundtrip from Yokohama with calls at Koshi, Kagoshima, Nagasaki, Cheju, Busan and Hiroshima.
9-day Hokkaido & Russia: Departs June 14 and July 14, 2013 sailing roundtrip from Yokohama with calls at Kushiro, scenic cruising of Shiretoko Peninsula; Korsakov, Russia, Otaru, Hakodate and Aomori.
12-day Round Japan: Departs July 2, 2013 sailing from Kobe (overnight) to Yokohama with scenic cruising of Japan Inland Sea and calls at Hiroshima (overnight), Busan, Sakaiminato, Maizuru, Kanazawa, Aomori and Sapporo.
Pricing for these cruises starts at ¥124,000 per person, double occupancy for a nine-day sailing.
The cruise experience will be substantially the same as the Princess Cruises product offered 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 theatre and The Sanctuary, an exclusive top-deck retreat.
However modifications will be made including introducing key passenger-facing positions which will be filled by Japanese-speaking crew members. Dining room menus will offer international Princess cuisine while additional offerings will cater to Japanese tastes, and an a la carte sushi bar will be opened. A specially-designed enrichment program 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 that Sun Princess passengers can experience all the ports have to offer.
The 77,000-tonne Sun Princess carries 2,022 passengers and features a high number of staterooms with private balconies, Lotus Spa, steakhouse, wine bar, patisserie, pizzeria, boutiques, and internet café among other amenities.
This new season of cruises will open for sale on April 16, 2012 and the sailings, along with all other cruises sold in the Japan market for Princess’ worldwide destinations, will be sold in Japanese Yen.
In conjunction with this new program, the Princess Cruises brand will also launch a Japanese language version of its travel agent booking tool called POLAR Online, enabling travel agents in Japan to book cruises easily and conveniently. The user-friendly 24/7 booking system, which is the number one booking tool for Princess cruises worldwide, is a real-time travel agent reservations portal featuring an easy-to-navigate program, rich with information and functionality.