Princess expands Japan program

Underscoring its commitment to the growing Japanese cruise market, Carnival Corporation & plc has detailed a substantially expanded 2014 Japan cruise program for the Princess Cruises brand, which brings a second ship to the market, features sailings from three homeports and plans to significantly expand the size of the cruise market in Japan to approximately 100,000 passengers. The Japan-built Diamond Princess will join Sun Princess for a cruise program from three homeports – Tokyo (Yokohama), Kobe, and an industry first, Otaru near Sapporo on Hokkaido. Sailing between April and October in 2014, the two ships will offer 42 departures featuring nine unique itineraries ranging from seven to nine days. The two ships will visit more than 20 ports in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Russia. “We were the first international cruise line brand to offer a full season of cruises designed specifically for passengers from Japan, and we continue to believe there is substantial untapped demand for cruise vacations here,”said Alan Buckelew, president and CEO of Princess Cruises. “With a second, larger ship and our ground-breaking itineraries in 2014 we look forward to continuing to help develop the full potential of the cruise market in Japan.”Buckelew added that the economic impact from this deployment will be notable, with a total contribution for the 2014 season estimated to be in excess of 11 billion yen. This includes passenger and crew spending in each port, plus the port and other local costs Princess Cruises pays to bring its ships to Japan. Diamond Princess will homeport in Tokyo (Yokohama) for an extended season of nine-day cruises that include visits to Taiwan, South Korea, Hokkaido, Russia and 15 Japanese ports, including five new itineraries created especially for the ship. During the popular holiday period of Golden Week, Diamond Princess will feature a special 10-day itinerary that includes opportunities to visit several festivals plus enjoy a special call to Nagasaki, home to Mitsubishi Heavy Industries where the ship was built, to celebrate Diamond Princess’ 10-year anniversary. Sun Princess will debut several industry firsts for the Japanese market – including seven-day cruises from the northern coastal town of Otaru, located outside of Sapporo, as well as two new eight-day itineraries from Kobe. These itineraries will offer cruise options to appeal to passengers looking for a week-long cruise vacation, and the northern Hokkaido itinerary will offer a refreshing summer destination. The ship will also make maiden calls in the Japanese islands of Ishigaki, and Amami Oshima, as well as Abashiri and Hualien, Taiwan. The 2014 Japan cruise program is open for sale. (