Princess Cruises will return to Japan in 2024 with a spring and summer series of voyages roundtrip from Tokyo aboard Diamond Princess.
The line also unveiled a new cruise itinerary that includes a North Pacific crossing from Tokyo on Royal Princess, making her the first Royal-class ship to operate in the region.
Diamond Princess Homeporting in Tokyo
Princess Cruises is about to begin its 2023 program in Japan, as Diamond Princess deploys to Tokyo in March, but it’s already looking ahead to next year.
The cruise line’s 2024 Japan schedule will again deploy Diamond Princess to Tokyo, offering 36 departures of 7- to 23-day voyages between March and August. That’s down slightly from the 43 departures planned for this year.
Diamond Princess cruises will sail 31 unique itineraries with calls in three countries and focusing on the spring flower season and on summer festivals.
Princess Cruises President John Padgett said, ”Japan has been a popular homeport and destination experience for Princess guests for many years and we’re thrilled to offer such a culturally-rich season of cruises in this region for the 2024 season.”
The cruise line in early December revealed it would return to Japan this year. The announcement followed Japan’s decision last November to begin allowing international cruise ships to dock at its ports, after a more than two-year ban imposed at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It was Diamond Princess that recorded the first major outbreak of the virus in early 2020, requiring the ship to be quarantined for weeks at the Japanese port of Yokohama.
Flowers and Festivals
The 2,670-guest Diamond Princess, a Grand-class ship that launched in 2004, will begin her Japan cruise season with four 10-day Spring Flowers voyages. Port calls will feature all four of Japan’s main islands and track the flower blooming season as it shifts from southerly ports to the north.
Several of the ship’s summer itineraries will showcase local festivals, offering guests late-night stays in port for celebrations of these events:
- The Aomori Nebuta Festival, on August 2 and August 7, featuring Nebuta float figures, music and dancing
- The Kochi Yosakoi Dance Festival, on August 12, one of the country’s largest festivals
- The Tokushima Awa Odori Dance Festival, on August 13, a festival dating back to the 1500s
- The Kumano Fireworks Festival, on August 17, with a fireworks display that will be visible from the decks of Diamond Princess
Diamond Princess also will operate 9-day Southern Islands voyages calling at two Okinawan ports and two Taiwan ports; 9- and 10-day Sea of Japan cruises; 10-day Hokkaido sailings visiting Otaru, Hakodate and Kushiro, and a 10-day Japan Explorer cruise calling at Hiroshima, Shimizu, where guests can visit Mount Fuji, plus either Osaka or Kobe, for touring in Kyoto, along with other destinations.
Several UNESCO World Heritage Sites will be featured in shore excursions, such as Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto, Buddhist Monuments in the Horyu-ji Area, the Hiroshima Peace Memorial, and the Jomon Prehistoric Sites.
Royal Princess’ North Pacific Crossing
The new itinerary operated by the 3,560-guest Royal Princess, called Japan & North Pacific Crossing, will depart from Tokyo and visit the northern Tohoku and Hokkaido regions during cherry blossom season.
The ship, making her debut in Japan, will then cross the Northern Pacific and sail to Whittier, the port for Anchorage, Alaska. Cruisers can disembark in Whittier or add a 7-day cruise to Vancouver, B.C., to create a 22-day voyage.