California-based Princess Cruises is set to restart Japan cruises and cruise-tours in March, with 22 voyages available on 32 departure days between March 13 and November 9.
The relaunch follows the Japanese government’s decision in mid-November to allow overseas-registered cruise ships to use Japanese ports from spring 2023 in an attempt to restart the country’s battered international cruise market after a docking ban of more than two years.
John Padgett, president of Princess Cruises, has described the reopening of Japanese ports to the international cruise industry as “an important and welcome development that not only vastly expands the vacation opportunities available to guests but also helps to significantly strengthen the Japanese tourism economy”.
Princess Cruises’ 2023 voyages will span Okinawa to Hokkaido and “offer guests the opportunity to discover the culture, history, cuisine and natural wonders of Japan”, according to the company.
The second-largest cruise line globally by net revenue in 2021 will also restart multi-country voyages.
Diamond Princess, which was quarantined for weeks at the Port of Yokohama in March 2020, will return for the summer and autumn to operate 57 voyages. The Japan-built vessel will depart from Yokohama and Kobe, calling at 38 destinations in four countries on 43 itineraries.
This season will also see the launch of Princess Cruises’ Medallion system on Diamond Princess. The small device, which can be worn or carried by passengers, offers contactless check-in, keyless stateroom entry, location-tracking of companions on board and delivery of food and drink, among other services.
Such capabilities are likely to offer even greater peace of mind to travellers with Covid-19 concerns, according to Japanese travel experts.
In addition, Japan’s industry associations have consolidated pandemic lessons to produce robust anti-infection guidelines ahead of the international cruise restart, which include the requirement for more than 95 per cent of passengers to be vaccinated at least twice.