The diverse lands of Asia evoke images of exotic cultures, ancient mysteries and modern bustling cities. Whether visitors long to see the ornate gilded pavilions, ancient temples, towering skyscrapers or distinctive natural beauty, an Asia cruise offers a truly unique cruise vacation. For the Fall 2011-Spring 2012 Asia season, Princess Cruises will offer 14 itineraries that include more than 60 vibrant ports throughout Asia and beyond, plus land and sea cruisetours to visit more of mainland China. The world's largest and most populous continent, Asia encompasses a rich collection of nations, peoples, sights and sounds. From the grandeur of China's Great Wall to the jeweled palaces of Bangkok, the continent's attractions dazzle on a variety of Princess itineraries, including Southeast Asia and China routes, roundtrip voyages from Australia, and multi-continent adventures that include travel to and from Alaska, Australia, or Africa. Passengers can choose to sail on Diamond Princess, the intimate Ocean Princess, or even aboard one of the Princess ships based "Down Under."
"The unique sights, sounds, and even tastes of Asia make it one of our most sought after exotic vacation options," said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises executive vice president. "We've been taking passengers to these ancient lands for decades and passengers continue to be fascinated by the range of cultures and astounding sites they can experience in the Far East."
In China, cruisers can see the ultramodern and the ancient juxtaposed at the port of Shanghai, as the city's gleaming skyscrapers clash against its colorful temples. In bustling Hong Kong, passengers can explore the former British colony from its harbor or narrow streets. This duty-free capital of the world offers endless shopping and unique dining experiences on floating restaurants. On some itineraries, passengers can enjoy extra time in Hong Kong including an overnight stay with Princess' signature Two-Day Experience. Travelers who opt for a China cruisetour spend extra time in Beijing, where they can explore a number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the massive Forbidden City where they can wander through its 250 acres of palaces, pavilions and courtyards. Once designed to keep invaders out, The Great Wall presents an unforgettable sight, stretching more than 4,000 miles. In Xian, travelers discover one of the 20th Century's greatest archaeological finds, more than 8,000 Terra Cotta Warriors and horses. On the Yangtze River cruise, passengers sail through the region's renowned gorges, and visit the Three Gorges Dam site.
The cities of Japan and South Korea offer another look at Asia, including the juxtaposition of war and peace in Nagasaki. Once a symbol of the horrors of war, this beautiful setting today draws visitors to its Peace Park and atomic bomb museum. Busan, South Korea's second largest city, is the gateway to a fascinating land that is the second-oldest country in Asia.
Among the distinct countries of Southeast Asia, passengers can experience the rich culture of Thailand with a visit to Bangkok, home to gilded temples, monks in saffron-colored robes and a maze of canals. In Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City, the former Saigon, bustles with activity and offers fascinating sites such as the National History Museum, the Mekong Delta and Cu Chi Tunnels. Singapore, the commercial center of Southeast Asia, is a gleaming mix of cultures and a shopper's paradise. As a new itinerary feature this season, many Princess routes are now scheduled to sail in or out of Singapore, giving passengers an opportunity to spend additional time exploring this diverse cosmopolitan society.
Princess offers passengers a variety of Asia itineraries, to explore China, Southeast Asia, or even multi-continent voyages. Travelers can also choose "Aussie style" voyages sailing to Asia from the Australian ports of Sydney, Brisbane or Perth.
Southeast Asia & China Sailings: Passengers can enjoy the best of Asia as they travel between Beijing and Singapore. This 16-day voyage takes travelers to Busan, Nagasaki, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Nha Trang and Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, and Bangkok, with the option to add an overland excursion to Cambodia's Angkor Wat. Sailings depart throughout the Fall 2011-Spring 2012 season aboard Diamond Princess from Oct 2011 until April 2012.
Australia & Asia sailings: Travelers can explore two continents aboard Diamond Princess with sailings between Sydney and Singapore or Beijing. The Australia & Asia itinerary takes passengers on a 19-day journey from Singapore to the Asian ports of Ko Samui, Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City, and Bali; plus Australian calls at Darwin, Port Douglas and Airlie Beach for the Great Barrier Reef. The 23-day Australia & China route also sails around northern Australia and adds ports such as Taipei, Nagasaki, Busan, Shanghai and Dalian. Sailings depart Nov 27, 2011 and Feb 4, 2012.
Australia & Asia Small Ship Experience: Ocean Princess offers journeys between Australia and the wonders of Asia, featuring the intimate, classic cruising atmosphere of a small ship. The 20-day Australia & Asia voyages sail to northern Australia, including the Whitsunday Islands, Great Barrier Reef and Darwin; plus call in Bali, Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam), and Bangkok and Ko Samui in Thailand. Ocean Princess sets sail on Nov 12, 2011 and March 17, 2012.
Alaska & Far East Sailings: Princess passengers can also explore the northern reaches of the Pacific with voyages between Alaska and the heart of Asia. Diamond Princess sails on 15- or 19-day itineraries between Beijing and either Anchorage or Vancouver. The ship takes passengers across the international dateline and calls at Sapporo (Muroran), Vladivostok, Busan, and Qingdao and Dailan in China. Sailings depart on Sept 24, 2011 and May 1, 2012.
Mediterranean, India & Asia: For a far-flung adventure, passengers can sail on a 28-day voyage from Rome to Singapore aboard Ocean Princess. The small ship will take cruisers to Sorrento, Athens, and Kusadasi before transiting the Suez Canal and continuing on to Sharm El Sheik, Aqaba, Safaga, Dubai, Muscat, Mumbai, Cochin, and Kuala Lumpur. Ocean Princess departs on Oct 15, 2011.
Africa, India & Southeast Asia: Ocean Princess also offers a 30-day journey from Singapore to Cape Town. Passengers can enjoy the small ship experience on an itinerary to Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Maldives, Mumbai, Muscat, Dubai, Mauritius, Reunion, Durban, and East London, plus an overnight call in Cape Town. Travelers have the option to visit the Taj Mahal in India or take a safari to Phinda Private Game Reserve in South Africa. The sailing departs on April 6, 2012.
Roundtrip Asia Sailings from Australia: Australia-based Sea Princess and Sun Princess offer a variety of sailings to Asia roundtrip from Australia. These "Aussie Experience" cruises offer activities and cuisine that reflect local tastes and use Australian dollars as the onboard currency.
•Sun Princess sets off from Perth on a roundtrip Southeast Asia Explorer itinerary that ventures to a variety of ports in a 21-day adventure. With calls at Bali, Ho Chi Minh City, Sihanoukville (Cambodia), Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, travelers will experience the rich diversity of Southeast Asia. The ship departs on Aug 11, 2011.
•The Treasures of Asia Grand Adventure encompasses voyages to and from Singapore from Perth, combined into an unforgettable 25-day roundtrip grand voyage. Sun Princess will call at Phuket, Langkawi, Penang, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Ho Chi Minh City, Sihanoukville, Bangkok, Ko Samui and Bali. The adventure begins on June 18, 2011.
•The 42-day China & Japan journey sails roundtrip from either Sydney or Brisbane. Passengers on these voyages will calls at ports such as Airlie Beach, Darwin, Kota Kinabalu, before spending two days in Hong Kong on Princess' signature Two-day Experience. Other stops include Shanghai, Busan, Nagasaki, Osaka, Tokyo, Iwo Jima scenic cruising, Guam and Rabaul (Papua New Guinea). Sailings on Sea Princess and Sun Princess depart on Sept 21, 2011 and Mar 4, 2012 respectively.
•Covering several continents, the South Africa & Indian Ocean Odyssey sails roundtrip from Perth on a 46-day adventure. Sun Princess will call at Asian ports such as Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Phuket, then move on to India with visits to Mumbai, Goa, and the Maldives. After crossing the Equator, the ship visits the Seychelles, and the South African ports of Richard's Bay, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, and Durban. The ship calls at Reunion Island and Mauritius before returning to Perth. Sun Princess departs on May 3, 2011.