Category: Captains Log

Regent Seven Seas Cruises® to Debut New Serene Spa & Wellness™ Fleetwide

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A new experience in travel wellness, Regent guests will enhance their voyage with exclusive, destination-inspired spa treatments, rejuvenating fitness classes, nutritionally balanced cuisine and wellness tours as they journey around the world

Serene Spa & Wellness™, originally designed to perfect luxury on board Seven Seas Splendor™, will launch fleetwide ahead of Seven Seas Splendor’s maiden voyage

On October 1, 2019 Regent Seven Seas Cruises®, the world’s leading luxury ocean cruise line, announced they are introducing a new globally inspired spa brand that will debut across its five-ship fleet this winter. Serene Spa & Wellness™ will offer exclusive treatments integrating techniques and ingredients from destinations around the world, creating a tranquil haven of health, beauty and wellness that offers restorative treatments and services to soothe both the body and mind.

The groundbreaking menu of services reflects treatments originating from many of the 450 destinations to which the cruise line sails, and includes globally renowned ELEMIS facial therapies, body treatments, massages, manicures, pedicures, luxury Kérastase salon services, fitness classes, and personal training, plus a series of wellness tours and nutritionally mindful cuisine selections served in restaurants on board.

“Regent is deeply inspired by the peace and serenity that can be found in every region of our globe, and we are bringing the beautiful traditions and tried-and-true techniques of the world’s cultures into the exclusive experiences of Serene Spa & Wellness™ through spa treatments, cuisine and captivating shore excursions,” said Jason Montague, president and CEO of Regent Seven Seas Cruises. “We originally developed this innovative experience for Seven Seas Splendor™ in our pursuit to perfect luxury for our newest ship, and then decided to expand Serene Spa & Wellness™ for guests to embark on a global journey of relaxation on all Regent ships. Serene Spa & Wellness™ will set a new benchmark in luxury spas at sea.”

Experience the best of destination-inspired body and beauty treatments

Serene Spa & Wellness™ integrates globally sourced, natural ingredients that promote health and balance for the body, mind and spirit. In addition to traditional spa services, examples of globally inspired techniques and treatments offered exclusively at Serene Spa & Wellness™ on Regent Seven Seas Cruises include:

  • The Regent Massage. (Destination Inspiration: Sea Buckthorn from the Mediterranean coast)
    This bespoke full-body therapy features a synergy of rosemary, sea fennel and sea buckthorn from the Mediterranean coastlines worked into areas of tension to ease and soothe muscles while helping to detoxify. Warm eucalyptus-infused paraffin mitts and boots enhance this signature experience, deeply nourishing and hydrating hands and feet.
  • Around The World Massage. (Destination Inspirations: Basalt from China, Coconut Poultice from Caribbean, Bamboo from Asia)
    Fusing techniques from the corners of the world, this choreographed therapy is one of optimal wellness: the earthly scents of Indian cardamom, Egyptian coriander and eucalyptus soothe the mind; Swedish massage movements work freely throughout the body to relax; volcanic rocks release muscle tension and stagnant energy in the legs; bamboo stalks glide over muscles to deeply alleviate discomfort; warmed coconut poultices are delicately worked over the face, neck and shoulders; and argan oil from Morocco conditions the scalp.
  • Sea Lavender & Samphire Body Polish. (Destination Inspiration: Samphire from Northern Europe)
    Hydrate skin with a nourishing, exfoliation duo. Nutrient-rich extracts from sea lavender and samphire smooth parched, dry skin cells while a moisturizing milk of macadamia nut and sea salt moisturize to allow a thirsty skin to replenish. This lavish body experience includes half or full-body massage.
  • Deep Sea Heat Mask & Massage. (Destination Inspiration: Bladderwrack Seaweed from Baltic Coast)
    Recharge your body with a detoxifying treatment designed to alleviate deep-seated tension and muscular distress. Rich in minerals and trace elements, an aromatic, warm mask with potent algae from the Baltic Sea is applied on to the back to release tension and ease aches and pains while a back or full-body massage relaxes the body.
  • Calming Rose Facial. (Destination Inspiration: Hand-picked Organic English Roses from the United Kingdom)
    Comfort sensitive skin with a natural blend of delicate rose absolute to intensely hydrate the dermis. Luxuriously indulgent, precious rose extracts smooth fine lines, strengthening and protecting the skin’s barrier. A warm rose balm is massaged onto the hands and arms to induce relaxation. Skin is left feeling soothed and replenished with a petal softness.
  • Kérastase® Elixir Ultime 24-Carat Indulgent Ritual. (Destination Inspiration: Rose from Morocco)
    This indulgent hair ritual nourishes, protects and instantly restores hair. Relax with the aromatic scent of rose during a luxurious treatment in which camellia and marula oils and white tea extracts are massaged deep into the scalp. This highly concentrated experience provides a sublime transformation, leaving hair silky, weightless and beautiful.
  • Regent Manicure and Pedicure. (Destination Inspiration: Frangipani from the South Pacific)
    Hands and feet are soaked in a hydrating milk protein while a vitamin-rich oil strengthens nails and cuticles. Warmed frangipani oil is massaged to further replenish moisture. Includes filing, cuticles and polish.

Ask one of our Cruise Specialists for a full menu of treatments is available

 

Focusing on holistic wellness, both on ship and on shore
Serene Spa & Wellness™ services extend beyond the physical spa venue:

  • Fitness experts at Fitness by Serene Spa & Wellness™ lead popular exercise classes, such as Pilates, yoga and meditation and are available to offer advice and demonstrate the use of fitness equipment.
    Equipment includes spinning bikes, dumbbells, treadmills, Technogym® strength machines, workout mats and step benches. One-on-one training can be arranged with a fitness instructor.
  • Savor the best of world cuisine with Serene Spa & Wellness™ Selections in many restaurants on board. Drawn from a globally inspired approach to healthy living, these culinary dishes are as flavorful as they are nutritious. An extensive array of innovative options is available in restaurants across Regent’s fleet, featuring exquisite dishes influenced by a myriad of global fares including delectable plant-based cuisine.
  • Serene Spa & Wellness™ Tours offer curated shore excursions designed to enhance wellness through immersive experiences. Soak in a restorative, mineral-rich thermal spring in Rome or experience a taiji (tai chi) class on a beautiful and serene beach on Palma de Mallorca. Guests can refresh with a Mediterranean breeze as they calm their mind and strengthen their focus through a yoga class overlooking the seaside town of Taormina.
  • Experience the healing, detoxifying and tension-releasing power of the European-inspired Serene Spa & Wellness™ Hydrothermal Suite, exclusive to Seven Seas Splendor™ and Seven Seas Explorer®. Relax before or after spa treatments and enjoy Regent’s multisensory aromatherapy steam room, chill room, infrared sauna and experiential showers.

 

Serene Spa & Wellness™ opening schedule
Serene Spa & Wellness™ will launch on each Regent ship during these voyages:

Seven Seas Explorer® – Dec. 7, 2019 voyage
Seven Seas Mariner® – Jan. 6, 2020 voyage
Seven Seas Voyager® – Jan. 7, 2020 voyage
Seven Seas Navigator® – Jan. 23, 2020 voyage
Seven Seas Splendor™ – Feb. 6, 2020 voyage

5 Reasons to Visit a UNESCO World Heritage Site

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From awe-inspiring natural wonders to unmatched feats of human engineering, UNESCO’s World Heritage List is your guidebook for the trip of a lifetime. Seabourn Cruise Lines has selected Five Reasons why you need to include a UNESCO World Heritage site to your must-see travel list.

WHAT IS UNESCO?
UNESCO stands for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. Founded in 1945, it is the arm of the United Nations dedicated to fostering peaceful communication between nations and preserving cherished heritage sites around the world. The agency promotes growth in five core areas: education, culture, natural sciences, social and human sciences, and communication and information.

WHY SHOULD TRAVELERS KNOW ABOUT UNESCO?
In 1972, UNESCO inaugurated the World Heritage List, a prestigious index of places around the world with resounding universal value. The World Heritage sites are bastions of natural beauty, cultural significance, or a combination of both, and they epitomize the values, history, and triumphs of their home countries. With over 1000 sites and counting, the World Heritage List is the ultimate traveler’s guide—a bucket list of destinations worth seeing.

FIVE REASONS TO VISIT:

DISCOVER HIDDEN GEMS
In addition to the landmarks on every world traveler’s radar, like the Taj Mahal and Machu Picchu, the World Heritage Committee surfaces sites you’ve likely never heard of. From the wooden churches on Chile’s Chiloé Island to the Jodrell Bank Observatory in northwestern England, the list will broaden your travel horizons beyond the usual tourist destinations.

 

TRAVEL BACK IN TIME
The World Heritage List unearths some of man’s earliest creations: rock engravings in the Great Plains dating to the Contact Period; the oldest salt mine in Europe; Buddhist cave art from the 5th and 6th centuries. It’s one thing to know that we’ve been around for a long time—it’s another thing altogether to see proof of it.

 

SUPPORT PRESERVATION
Preserving the cultural and natural integrity of threatened sites is one of UNESCO’s core objectives. The World Heritage List has a special designation for properties at risk of destruction—whether by natural disasters, armed conflict, or any other forces—and reserves funds to support and protect these sites. The ongoing conservation efforts ensure that cherished cultural landmarks will thrive for generations to come.

 

MARVEL AT SUPERLATIVE SIGHTS
To make the World Heritage List, a site must pass several stages of rigorous evaluation and meet at least one of 10 selection criteria. In short, every location is unequivocally superb. From archaeological ruins and sacred monasteries to animal sanctuaries and volcanic parks, there are marvels of all kinds for travelers of all interests.

 

GAIN SPECIAL KNOWLEDGE
The World Heritage Committee works with a range of stakeholders to preserve the integrity of cherished landmarks and foster sustainable tourism. Seabourn has recently extended its partnership with UNESCO, pledging to continue supporting World Heritage sites through philanthropic donations and educational initiatives. As the official cruise partner of UNESCO, Seabourn offers more than 250 shore experiences at over 170 UNESCO designated sites and has also created special World Heritage Discovery Tours at a number of ports worldwide. Lastly, you’ll enjoy enhanced content on seabourn.com thanks to our partnership with UNESCO, aimed to increase awareness of some of the world’s most storied destinations.

 

 

Dining aboard The Paul Gauguin

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During every meal onboard The Gauguin, with every sumptuous bit you sample, and each time our attentive staff fill your glass, you’ll begin to realize that dining on the high seas with Paul Gauguin Cruises is truly something special. Embark upon a five-star culinary adventure, designed just for you by some of the world’s most talented and award-winning chefs, including Jean-Pierre Vigato. What’s more, every one of the onboard dining options is included in your cruise fare. Bon appétit!

La Veranda
Dine al fresco or enjoy wraparound ocean views from the dining room of La Veranda, where you can find an ever-changing selection of buffet breakfast and lunch items and a la carte options, many of which are inspired by the destinations visited. In the evening, La Veranda is transformed to a reservation-only dining venue serving Jean-Pierre Vigato’s gourmet cuisine.

Le Grill
When your day’s plans call for a more casual dining experience, Le Grill is where you’ll want to go, located by the pool and offering a buffet breakfast, grilled lunch favorites, salads, and fresh tropical fruit. In the afternoon, stop by for tea with finger sandwiches, fresh fruit, desserts, pastries, and petit fours. Return in the evening to sample Polynesian specialties in a relaxed atmosphere. Reservations required for dinner.

L’Etoile
The exquisite main dining room is dressed to impress with perfectly appointed décor, fine table linens, and delicate china. Join fellow cruisers every evening for dinner and sample a tantalizing array of expertly prepared dishes, perfectly paired with complimentary wines.

Wine Program
Paul Gauguin Cruises serves complimentary wines in each dining venue, lounge, and bar which are selected by wine sommeliers. Additionally, The Gauguin features a special Connoisseur Wine List with Champagnes from France and a variety of wines from California, Washington, Oregon, France, Italy, Spain, New Zealand, Australia, and Chile which can be purchased by guests by the bottle.

Wine Pairings
The Gauguin’s sommeliers also provide suggestions for food and wine pairings to enrich and enhance dining experiences. Paul Gauguin Cruises also features winemakers who provide educational lectures and wine tastings on select sailings.

Odyssey of the Seas

Introducing Royal Caribbean’s newest ship – Odyssey of the Seas

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It’s time to see just how far adventure can take you. Introducing the newest Royal Caribbean® gamechanger, Odyssey of the SeasSM. From bow to stern and St. Thomas to Santorini, it’s bold in every direction on the latest Quantum Ultra Class feat — debuting fall 2020 in Fort Lauderdale and sailing from Rome summer 2021.

 

HIGHLIGHTS YOU WILL FIND ONBOARD

ALL THE THRILLS
• RipCord® by iFLY® — Your clients can feel the freedom of freefall without even leaving the deck.

• Sky PadSM — Whether bouncing around a sugarcoated world, or a planet lightyears in the future, it’s gravity-defying fun in this bungee trampoline experience.

• FlowRider® — The surf’s always up as 30,000 gallons of rushing awesome heads your clients’ way.

 

ALL DECKED OUT
• Resort style pools — Island vibes are set to max with two uncovered pools, plenty of shady casitas, and hammocks primed for sweet ocean breezes.

• North Star® — It’s time to raise the bar on adventure — with 360-degree views of the world from 300 feet above sea level in our signature observation capsule.

• Solarium — Peaceful swimming pools, whirlpools with ocean views and ambience for days — and nights.

 

ALL FOR THE FAMILY
• SeaPlex® — The largest indoor activity space at sea serves up family friendly thrills like bumper cars, a trapeze school, glow-in-the-dark laser tag and PlaymakersSM Sports Bar & Arcade overlooking all the action.

• Adventure Ocean® — It’s time to play outside the lines with wide open play places and dedicated spaces for all types of activities for kids.

• Teen spaces — Teenagers don’t have to choose between game time and hanging out. Spaces like Social133 put them in the action, indoors and out.

• Splashaway BaySM — Pint-sized cruisers will find gallons of adventure onboard — at the fun-soaked Splashaway BaySM aqua park with slides, water cannons and more.

 

ALL OUT DINING AND ENTERTAINMENT
• Giovanni’sSM Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar — Pizza, pasta, wine — now there’s even more to love at this reimagined trattoria.

• Teppanyaki — Your clients have front row seats for authentic Far East flavors cooked in Japan’s traditional style right at their table.

• Two70® — By night, the lights go down in this open area panoramic living room, where windows become screens, and aerialists, robots and more take your clients on a journey like no other.

• Music Hall — This is the premier place for live music lovers where the industry’s best cover bands rock like the real thing.

 

CONNECT WITH US TODAY TO BOOK YOUR CRUISE ON ODYSSEY OF THE SEAS!

FALL 2020 — Sailing from Fort Lauderdale, Florida
6 to 8 Night Eastern/Western/Southern Caribbean

SUMMER 2021 — Sailing from Rome, Italy
7 to 12 Night Mediterranean, Greek Isles and Holy Land itineraries

Star Breeze in Portoferrario

Windstar Cruises Cuts Star Breeze in Half

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Windstar Cruises has reached a huge milestone in their $250 Million Star Plus Initiative! Star Breeze is at the Fincantieri Shipyard in Palermo, Italy, and was cut in half in preparation for the insertion of a new block! This transformation includes a new eclectic Spanish restaurant Cuadro 44 by Anthony Sasso, the new alfresco Star Grill by Steven Raichlen, an elevated pool, and a new spa and fitness center. In future voyages you’ll discover thoughtful re-imagined enhancements throughout all suites, including new bathrooms.

The slightly larger ships and new enhancements will significantly build upon the signature onboard environment Windstar is known for. The social and friendly public spaces on the ships create a welcome chemistry between guests and the crew. This is the first of three new mid-ship sections to be constructed and inserted as part of Windstar’s $250 Million Star Plus Initiative, which is committed to the expansion and transformation of the cruise line’s three Star Class vessels.

Be one of the first to experience these new features in person during the inaugural Star Breeze Caribbean cruise, Colors of Key West & Central America, departing from Miami on March 20, 2020!

 

Recipe: Traditional Hungarian Goulash

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Though many variations of Goulash exist, AmaWaterways is sharing this traditional, authentic recipe from the very heart of Hungary.

A Dish with Humble Beginnings

This classic Hungarian dish harkens back to cool fall nights in Hungarian fields. Imagine the herdsmen of Hungary’s history gathering to stir and savor Hungarian Goulash as it cooked over an open fire, the cold air nipping at their noses but a warm and tasty meal to keep them comfortable. Made with the freshest ingredients the Hungarian countryside can provide, this style goulash has been a cultural favorite for centuries. Everyone from shepherds to nobles fought off the fall chill with a bowl a goulash, but the dish owes its name to herdsmen, or “gulyás” in Hungarian, that first filled their cauldrons with the stewy combination of meat, spices, and wild vegetables.

Hungarian Culinary Culture

Hungarian Goulash is unique for its use of the spice that sets the country’s cuisine apart from the crowd – paprika. Considered the national spice by many, paprika was introduced to Hungary by the Turks around the 16th century. Since then, pinches of the rich, sweet, peppery powder have defined not just Hungarian Goulash but an entire culinary culture in which an abundance of paprika can be found in kitchens, gardens, and restaurants throughout the country.

While in Budapest, experience a true taste of Central Europe. It is a treat for the taste buds as much as the senses.

Ingredients

2 onions, sliced
½ cup¬corn oil
1 tsp. caraway seeds
1 garlic clove, minced
2 lbs. boneless chuck roast, cut into bite size pieces
2 tbsp. sweet Hungarian paprika
2 cups hot water
2 tsp. salt
3 bay leaves

OPTIONAL: Potatoes, chopped fresh parsley

Preparation Method

Heat the oil in a heavy skillet; add the onions and sauté lightly. Add the garlic and continue to sauté. Next add the meat, stir well with the other ingredients, and season with salt. Cover and let cook gently until meat browns. Add the sweet paprika, caraway seeds and bay leaves. Cover and cook on low heat for 10 to 15 minutes until meat has picked up the flavor of the seasonings. Adjust heat so that the goulash simmers very gently and let it cook for approximately one hour, or until meat is fork tender. Serve over buttered noodles or rice.

Makes 6 servings.

Crystal Endeavor Expeditions

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On August 10, 2020, Crystal Endeavor will embark on her maiden voyage from Tokyo. The groundbreaking vessel under Crystal Expedition Cruises will sail a remote and remarkable journey through the islands of Japan and the Russian Far East, Antarctica via the Ross Sea; New Zealand and Tasmania; Australia and the Great Barrier Reef; and Borneo, Indonesia and the Philippines.

We are most excited for the Crystal Endeavor’s Indonesian Immersive & the Great Barrier Reef that sails for 16 nights from Bali to Cairns on October 15, 2020.  You’ll journey through the legendary Spice Islands and Papua New Guinea, to Komodo Island where you may encounter its famous dragons. And of course the breathtaking underwater world of the Great Barrier Reef.

Throughout this voyage you’ll want to don your wet suit for fascinating deep water discoveries like Lizard Island, nestled within the spectacular Great Barrier Reef and Ribbon Reef, constituting approximately 125 miles of it. Lizard Island is an ideal spot for expedition adventures that range from snorkeling to rugged hikes through mangroves and acacia woodlands in search of the yellow-spotted monitor lizard and even taking the time to sun yourself along white sand beaches. Ribbon Reef presents opportunities to dive deep into the coves, caves and canyons that house a rainbow of sea life within an isolated haven of turquoise. In Kalabahi, Indonesia, a snorkeling adventure will take you to the coastal waters of Pura Island, where the coral reefs still thrive and tropical fish dart in and out, playing hide-and-seek with visitors. You may also meet some of the local Alor tribe, who farm and fish the land.

There are adventures and eye-opening discoveries in each of these spectacular destination, and even aboard the expedition ship itself.

Recipe: Chilean Seabass with King Crab & Red Beet Cous Cous

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The talented chefs from Crystal’s ships are a wealth of delicious expertise, and they’re sharing some of that with you today! For those seeking to relive some of the delectable meals in the Crystal Dining Room, we recommend the indulgent recipe below. Sadly, you’ll have to provide your own six-star service and perfectly paired wine… Just another reason to book your next sailing now!

Chilean Seabass with King Crab & Red Beet Cous Cous
Serves 4

4 ea Chilean Seabass Filets, 6 oz each
4 tbsp clarified butter
Salt, fresh ground White Pepper
4 ea King Crab Legs
4 tbsp Lemon Oil

Red Beet Cous Cous
1 cup Pearl Cous Cous (Israeli Cous Cous)
2 tbsp. Melted Butter
2 ea Shallots, peeled and fine chopped
2 ½ cup Red Beet Juice
2 tsp. Mascarpone Cheese
2 tsp. cold butter
2 tsp. grated Parmesan
Salt, Fresh White Pepper to taste

For the fish, pat dry the Seabass filets with kitchen towels and season with salt and freshly ground white pepper on both sides.
Preheat oven to 350 F (175 C).

Heat the clarified butter in a sauté pan and sear the fish, skin side down first, for one minute on each side. Transfer to a baking sheet and cook in the oven for 4-5 minutes.

For the Cous Cous, heat the melted butter in casserole and sauté the shallots slowly until translucent, but not browned, about 2 minutes. Add the Cous Cous and sauté for one more minute. Add the Red Beet Juice and simmer until the Beet Juice is absorbed and the Cous Cous is tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the Cold Butter, Mascarpone and Parmesan Cheese, season to taste with Salt and White Pepper.

To serve, remove the Crab Leg Meat from the shells, cut into 2 inch pieces and heat in a 350 F oven for 2 minutes until hot. Divide the hot Cous Cous amongst 4 Shallow Plates, top each with a Seabass Filet and the Crab Meat. Drizzle one tbsp Lemon Oil over the Fish and around the Cous Cous and serve.

B.B. Kings onboard Holland America

Holland America Offers Music For Your Soul

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With so many irresistible options to choose from, evenings on board a Holland America ship can and should be all about live music. Memorable performances from world-class musicians fill your journey with an unforgettable rhythm all its own. Spend your time in one place or enjoy several venues over the course of the night. We asked our advisors to share some of their favourite ways to experience music onboard Holland America.

B.B. King’s Blues Club: Bringing you the best of Memphis music, from funky and fast to soulful and smooth, you’ll enjoy dancing while listening to an eight-piece band with two vocalists, rhythm and horn sections.  And don’t forget to try one of their specialty cocktails like the Lucille and Rock Me Baby.

Postmodern Jukebox on Deck: One of the world’s hottest musical groups is bringing its exciting signature show to sea, two ways. At The Rendezvous you’ll experience a day in the life of Postmodern Jukebox at a ‘20s jazz club. Or during a state-of-the-art shipboard concert – The Golden Age – you’ll hear Postmodern Jukebox’s most iconic songs. And of course each performance features unbelievable lavish costumes and arrangements.

Billboard Onboard: Sing along with two pianists while they play the music you love from fifty years of chart-topping hits. And between sets show off your trivia skills, answering questions on the digital screens.

Rolling Stone Rock Room: The newest addition to Music Walk on the Koningsdam and Nieuw Statendam you’ll feel like your stepping into the pages of Rolling Stone magazine.  The Rolling Stone Rock Room features a five-piece live band playing iconic hits by your favorite bands covering four decades of rock and roll.

These amazing venues, along with exciting performances at The Mainstage, Lincoln Center Stage and World Stage ensure you experience the Best in Live Music and entertainment.

NCL Japan Cruises

Cruising to Japan: 11 Incredible Ports to Explore

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When you journey to Japan you will experience a land of culture, history and sites beyond your imagination. To ensure you see all you are meant to, read on to discover 11 incredible ports to explore when you sail Japan with Norwegian Cruise Lines

If you’re looking through Norwegian’s Asia cruises, you’ll find no shortage of beautiful and exotic ports, many of which are in Japan. In fact, you can even book a cruise that primarily explores some of Japan’s most iconic destinations. One option is a 13-day cruise from Yokohama. If you’re planning a cruise to Japan, here’s a look at 11 incredible ports in Japan you can’t miss.

1. Shimizu (Mount Fuji)
Shimizu is a popular port because it’s the gateway to Mount Fuji (pictured above), but it’s also one of Japan’s most beautiful ports. Here, you can visit Japan’s first sushi museum, check out the archeological site of Toro that dates back to 200 BC, or wander through a 650-year-old black pine forest. If you’re interested in regional specialties, you’ll find traditional wooden handicrafts, fabrics, and local eats like a sweet jellied confection known as yokan.

2. Kobe
Kobe, Japan, is famous for its iconic beef, but it’s also the gateway to the popular city of Osaka. Here you can visit Ikuta Shrine, one of Japan’s oldest shrines, and spend the rest of the day eating and drinking your way through one of Japan’s most beloved food destinations. Enjoy an endless amount of street foods, and don’t miss Kobe’s Nada District, which is the top sake-producing region in the county.

3. Kanazawa
Travelers who want to learn more about Japan’s Edo period, which lasted from 1603 to 1886, should book a cruise that stops in Kanazawa. This is the second-largest city to survive World War II intact. You can explore the old castle town, the Nagamachi samurai district, and teahouses in the geisha district. You’ll find no shortage of temples and museums, plus a historic market that dates back to 1721.

4. Sapporo
Sapporo is one of Japan’s youngest cities and was the host city for the 1972 Winter Olympics. World class skiing and the annual ice festival are two reasons people flock to Sapporo, especially in the winter months. From Sapporo, you can also visit other iconic destinations, such as Hokkaido, or mineral-rich hot springs like Noboribetsu.

5. Beppu
Beppu is famous for its countless hot springs. The most famous of these is Jigoku, or Hell Circuit, but you won’t be taking a dip here, as it’s only for admiring. Depending on the time of year you visit, you may be able to view thousands of cherry blossoms in the spring or the stunning leaves of autumn. For local food specialties, don’t miss stopping by the historic Tomonaga Panya. This bakery dates back to 1916, and its signature specialty is the wanchan (doggie) bun.

6. Sasebo
Sasebo was once an old fishing village, but it transitioned into a large naval port in the 19th century. Nature enthusiasts will appreciate the wide range of outdoor activities here. Visit the zoological and tropical botanical gardens with over 1,200 plant species and 80 animal species. Love Dutch tulips? Huis Ten Bosch is a recreation of a 17th-century Dutch village, complete with its own tulip fields. For traditional Japanese fare, explore the Yorozu-cho District where you can find a fun market with fresh seafood, produce, and plenty of handmade pottery and clothing.

7. Hakodate
The best views in Hakodate are seen from atop Hakodate Mountain. You can take a scenic ride up the gondola to the observation deck and marvel at the views below. Don’t miss interesting Hakodate attractions like Fort Goryokaku, built in the shape of a star, or the Hakodate market. Be sure to eat local specialties like kaisen-don, a seafood rice bowl.

8. Sakaiminato
The western part of Japan is seafood heaven, and Sakaiminato is the main fishing port for this part of the country. If you’ve eaten succulent snow crab in Japan, it comes from the Sakai Port. Beautiful sculptures from local artist Shigeru Mizuki line Kitaro Road, and the city is famed for its “Yokai” bronze sculptures of Japanese folklore spirit monsters.

9. Kochi
Kochi is another fun Japanese port, especially if you want to experience a Japanese beach. Katsurahama Beach is beautiful and is home to the Sakamoto Ryoma Memorial that honors the famous Japanese peace negotiator. Settlement in this area started in 1601, and you can visit the area surrounding the historic Kochi Castle. Don’t miss trying Katsuo no tataki, which is a type of tuna tataki.

10. Miyako-Jima
Okinawa is renowned for its natural beauty, and Miyako-Jima is a beautiful port in the Okinawa Prefecture. Visitors are blown away by the turquoise water and world-class snorkeling. After you’ve worked up an appetite in the water, be sure to try Okinawa soba, a local specialty.

11. Hiroshima
Hiroshima is an emotional port for many travelers. It’s a historically rich region, but also a solemn reminder of World War II. Visit the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and Museum, where you’ll find numerous monuments to honor those who perished during the war. Outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy a myriad of outdoor activities like hiking and biking. Hiroshima is renowned for its local cuisine, including okonomiyaki, a crepe-like dish that some people refer to as Japanese pizza. It has vegetables, cabbage, and usually seafood. If you like oysters, don’t miss trying grilled oysters in Hiroshima either.

If your budget and vacation time allows, consider an East Asia cruise that primarily explores some of these ports in Japan. Many itineraries start or end in Tokyo, so you can add extra days to explore one of the world’s most dynamic cities on your own.

 

 

 

 

Original Blog Post can be found here