Princess Cruises will return to Japan in 2024 with a spring and summer series of roundtrip cruises aboard Diamond Princess from Tokyo.
The company recently announced a new cruise itinerary that includes a North Pacific crossing from Tokyo aboard Royal Princess, making her the region’s first Royal-class ship.
Princess Cruises is set to launch its 2023 programme in Japan, with Diamond Princess deploying to Tokyo in March, but the company is already planning for next year.
Diamond Princess will be deployed to Tokyo again in 2024, with 36 voyages from 7 to 23 days between March and August. This is a slight drop from the 43 departures scheduled for this year.
Diamond Princess cruises will sail 31 different itineraries with calls in three other countries, emphasising the spring flower season and summer festivals.
“Japan has been a favourite homeport and destination experience for Princess guests for many years, and we’re happy to offer such a culturally rich season of voyages in this area for the 2024 season,” said Princess Cruises President John Padgett.
The cruise company announced in early December that it would return to Japan this year. After a more than two-year ban imposed at the onset of the COVID-19 outbreak, Japan announced last November that it would begin allowing international cruise ships to dock at its ports.
In early 2020, the Diamond Princess reported the first large virus outbreak, prompting the vessel to spend several weeks in quarantine at the Japanese port of Yokohama.
Launched in 2004, the 2,670-passenger Diamond Princess is a Grand-class ship that will begin her Japan cruise season with four 10-day Spring Flowers cruises. All four of Japan’s main islands will be visited, with stops planned to coincide with the flower-blooming season as it moves from southerly ports to the north.
Some of the ship’s summer itineraries will include local festivals, including late-night stays in port for celebrations:
- The Aomori Nebuta Festival, which takes place between 2-7 August, includes Nebuta float figures, music, and dancing.
- On 12 August, the Kochi Yosakoi Dance Festival one of the country’s major events.
- On 13 August, the Tokushima Awa Odori Dance Festival, which dates back to the 1500s.
- The Kumano Fireworks Festival, on 17 August, with a firework show visible from Diamond’s decks. Princess
Diamond Princess will also offer 9-day Southern Islands cruises to two Okinawan ports and two Taiwan ports, as well as 9- and 10-day Sea of Japan cruises to Otaru, Hakodate, and Kushiro, and a 10-day Japan Explorer cruise to Hiroshima, Shimizu, where guests can visit Mount Fuji, plus either Osaka or Kobe for places to visit in Kyoto, among other destinations.
Shore excursions will include Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto, Buddhist Monuments in the Horyu-ji District, the Hiroshima Peace Memorial, and the Jomon Prehistoric Sites, all of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
The new Japan & North Pacific Crossing itinerary, operated by the 3,560-guest Royal Princess, will sail from Tokyo and visit the northern Tohoku and Hokkaido regions during cherry blossom season.
The ship will debut in Japan before sailing across the Northern Pacific to Whittier, Alaska’s port of entry. Cruisers may disembark at Whittier or extend a 7-day cruise to Vancouver, British Columbia, for a 22-day voyage.