A discretionary gratuity of $15.50 per guest for suites, $14.50 per guest for mini-suites and club class, and $13.50 per guest for interior, oceanview, and balcony staterooms will be added to your onboard account (per day charge). This gratuity will be shared amongst those staff who help provide and support your cruise experience, including all waitstaff, stateroom stewards, buffet stewards, and housekeeping staff across the fleet. A 15% gratuity is added to bar charges, dining room wine accounts, and Lotus Spa® services. This is shared amongst the beverage staff, their support staff and Lotus Spa® personnel.
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Day 1: Fly UK » Kobe
Fly overnight from the UK to Kobe
Day 2-3: Kobe
On arrival a private transfer will be waiting to take you to your 4* hotel for a 3-night stay.
Kobe is the fifth-largest city in Japan and is the capital city of Hyogo Prefecture on the southern side of the main island of Honshu. Its name comes from "kanbe", an archaic title for supporters of the city's Ikuta Shrine. With a population of about 1.5 million, the city is part of the Keihanshin (Keihanshin) metropolitan area along with Osaka and Kyoto.
The earliest written records regarding the region come from the Nihon Shoki, which describes the founding of the Ikuta Shrine by Empress Jingu in AD 201. For most of its history the area was never a single political entity, even during the Tokugawa Period, when the port was controlled directly by the Tokugawa Shogunate. Kobe did not exist in its current form until its founding in 1889.
Kobe was one of the cities to open for trade with the West following the end of the policy of seclusion and has since been known as a cosmopolitan port city. While the 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake diminished much of Kobe's prominence as a port city, it remains Japan's fourth busiest container port. The city is the point of origin and namesake of Kobe beef as well as the site of one of Japan's most famous hot spring resorts, Arima Onsen. Kobe is also your gateway to Kyoto, Japan's ancient imperial capital and the nation's cultural and spiritual centre.
Day 4: Embark Diamond Princess in Kobe
A private transfer will take you to Kobe Cruise Terminal, where you'll find Diamond Princess - your home for the next 7 nights as you cruise to Japan and South Korea.
Day 5: Kochi, Japan
Kochi sits on the broad alluvial plain facing Urado Bay. This city in Shikoku takes its name from the great feudal castle that sits at its very heart. Completed in 1611, Kochi Castle was the seat of Yamauchi Kazutoyo, a noted warrior who supported Tokugawa Ieyasu in his successful quest to become Shogun. Tosa Province and Kochi Castle were Yamauchi's reward for faithful service. There is an historical irony here: 250 years later, a Kochi native son - a former low-ranked samurai and now ronin named Sakamoto Ryoma - played a pivotal role in bringing the Tokugawa Shogunate to an end and restoring the Emperor of Japan to political prominence. The prize once awarded for faithful service had become a hotbed of support for the Meiji Restoration.
Kochi is one of the wettest places in Japan - and a frequent target for cyclonic storms or typhoons. Southeast of the city, warm oceans currents washing against the Aki Mountains create a subtropical landscape of hibiscus, palm and ficus at Muroto-Anan Quasi-National Park.
Day 6: Matsuyama, Japan
Matsuyama, Japan, is a peaceful haven where you can indulge in the healing waters of hot springs, satisfy your sweet tooth with amazing Japanese confections, and discover the area's rich literary tradition. The largest city on the island of Shikoku, Matsuyama developed around its celebrated 17th-century castle. Lined with cherry trees, this extensive fortress is a museum of historic relics from weaponry to armour, calligraphy and art. It also offers phenomenal views of the city and the Seto Inland Sea from its hilltop perch. Another city hotspot is Dogo Onsen, Japan's oldest hot springs. Known throughout Japan as a popular setting in the late author Natsume Soseki's famed novel, Botchan, Dogo Onsen features an elegant and inviting public bathhouse where many a visitor renews their spirit. Matsuyama is also the birthplace of Masaoka Shiki, considered the "Father of Modern Japanese Haiku Poetry," and there are several monuments to the haiku located throughout the city. From the hospitality at the hot springs to the renowned Matsuyama tarts and botchan dango (rice dumplings in bean paste), you won't want to leave this port!
Day 7: Miyazaki (Aburatsu), Japan
Boasting the second warmest temperatures in Japan, Miyazaki offers a playground of outdoor activities that take full advantage of its balmy breezes and aquamarine waters. A resort atmosphere permeates Miyazaki, fragranced by blooms from local botanical gardens. Emerald green golf courses, some of the best surfing in Japan, and a zoo with the largest number of flamingos in captivity in all of Japan add to the festive atmosphere. A Peace Tower, built with stones from throughout Asia anchors the city and Heiwadai Park and is one of the most noted landmarks. Visit Haniwa Gardens where over 400 replica haniwa (burial statues) make for wonderful photo opportunities, and see Miyazaki's history and culture on display at The Miyazaki Prefectural Museum of Nature and History, located on the same grounds as the picturesque Miyazaki Shrine. For a change of pace, stop into the Miyazaki Science Center where an animatronics "Dr. Cosmo" welcomes you to this hands-on museum. Looking for a little adventure? Try a side trip to Aoshima, a small island just off the coast of Miyazaki City, and enjoy the charming Aoshima Shrine and over 400 species of subtropical plants. The options are endless in Miyazaki to soak up local colour…or just soak up the sun!
Day 8: Kagoshima, Japan
From the 12th century to the Meiji Restoration of 1868, Kagoshima was the chief stronghold of the mighty Shimazu clan. The city lies at the top of the Satsuma Peninsula, a mountainous, geothermal wonderland of hot springs and geysers. The area is also rich in modern Japanese history: Saigo Takamori and the Satsuma samurai were leaders of the Meiji Restoration that toppled the shogun and restored the Emperor to power in 1868. In 1877, dissatisfied with the direction of the new government, Saigo led the Satsuma Rebellion, which ended in his death and the final defeat of the samurai.
The symbol of Kagoshima is Sakura Jima - the volcanic island that sits just offshore. The volcano has erupted over 30 times in recorded history.
Day 9: Busan, South Korea
The second largest city in South Korea, Busan is your gateway to a fascinating land whose culture is a unique amalgam of old and new. Modern high-rise towers dwarf ancient Buddhist temples. The city's bustling business district offers a stark contrast to the serene grounds of Yongdusan Park. In short, Busan is a microcosm of South Korea, a nation whose startling economic success often obscures one of Asia's most sophisticated and venerable cultures.
Busan was the scene of bitter fighting during the Korean War. The United Nations Memorial Cemetery marks the final resting place for the troops from 16 nations who gave their lives during the conflict.
Day 10: Kanmon Straits, Japan
The Straits of Shimonoseki is the stretch of water separating two of Japan's four main islands.
Day 11: Kobe » Tokyo
After a hearty breakfast on board, bid farewell to Diamond Princess, and a private transfer will take you to the airport for your flight to Tokyo where a shared transfer will take you to your 4* hotel for a 3 night stay.
Day 12-13: Tokyo, Japan
Contemporary Tokyo may be the most astonishing city on earth. It's a paradoxical mix of ancient tradition and postmodern culture. The Ginza - an international shopping mecca - stands near the serene grounds of the Imperial Palace, and the hyper-speed of 21st century consumerism is mysteriously reconciled with the elegance and serenity of traditional culture. Tokyo provides the traveller with a dizzying experience.
With the Meiji Restoration of 1868, Edo was renamed Tokyo, the "Eastern Capital" to distinguish it from the old imperial capital at Kyoto, the "Western Capital".
Day 14: Fly Tokyo » the UK
A shared transfer will take you to the airport for your flight back to the UK.
Terms & Conditions: ^ Indicates overnight travel. Promotional details, fares and itineraries were correct at time of publish (11 December 2018) but can be changed/withdrawn at any time without notice. All offers are applicable to new bookings only. Please call for live fares and availability. E&OE