Princess Cruises said Friday it will begin sailing into recently reopened Japanese ports March 15.Japan had closed its ports to international cruise chips for two years as a COVID-19 pandemic control measure. The ports reopened to cruise ships in November. Photo courtesy of Princess Cruises
Dec. 2 (UPI) — Princess Cruises announced Friday it will begin sailing to and from Japanese ports following Japan’s recent decision to relax COVID-19 restrictions and reopen its ports for international cruise ships.
“The reopening of Japanese ports to the international cruise industry is 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,” said Princess Cruises President John Padgett in a statement.
On Nov. 15, Japanese Transport Minister Tetsuo Saito lifted a ban on cruise ships put in place at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic more than two years ago.
Japan decided to relax strict COVID-19 border controls and open the tourism industry again in October.
The Japanese-built Diamond Princess will return to sailing in Japan March 15 with a nine-day cruise from Tokyo.
In a statement announcing their return, Princess Cruises said the Diamond Princess is designed exclusively with the destination in mind and will operate to 38 destinations in four countries on 43 unique itineraries and 57 departures.
The cruises will highlight 16th century temples, shrines and castles and also offer tourists opportunities to visit seven Japanese festivals, including the Kyoto Gion Matsuri Festival, the most famous festival in the country.
Other cruises in Japan will focus on major cities and landscapes, including Japanese gardens and onsens, which are natural hot spring baths.