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Japan Jewels & Asian Pearls

  • Departure DateOct 2024 & Feb 2025
  • Holland America Line Noordam
  • 21 Nights Cruise & Stay
  • Prices From £3,149 per person

Itinerary

  • Stay 3 nights in Tokyo
  • Tokyo
  • Osaka
  • Naha (Okinawa Is.)
  • Ishigaki Island
  • Taipei
  • Kaohsiung
  • Manila
  • Boracay
  • Puerto Princessa, Palawan
  • Hong Kong
  • Stay 2 nights in Hong Kong

Vibrant and bustling Tokyo is the perfect way to begin; with a 3 night stay, you can explore ancient traditions and ornate palaces blend perfectly with ultra-modern living and towering neon-lit skyscrapers. You’ll then set sail on a scenic journey on board Noordam. Admire Osaka’s architecturally unique Sumiyoshi Shrine and visit the beaches and castles of Naha. Ishigaki Island is home forested mountains with great vistas. Discover a treasure trove of Chinese artefacts in the National Palace Museum in Taipe then relax in one of Kaohsiung’s many cafes that line the banks of the Love River. Explore Manila, a modern metropolis famed for creative soul. Find stunning white sand, relaxing hot springs, and palm fringed turquoise lagoons in Boracay and Puerto Princesa. Before ending this wonderful cruise holiday with a 2 night stay in the astounding city of Hong Kong, famed as a culinary capital of the world, you can discover new and marvellous foods while basking in the neon lights of its futuristic skyline. 

Highlights

  • FREE Hong Kong Stay
  • FREE Mount Fuji & Hakone Bullet Train Tour
  • Upgrade for only £60pp per day & get: Signature Beverage Package, Speciality Dining, Shore Excursion Discount, WiFi & Gratuities

What's Included?

  • Return flights from the UK (call for regional departures)
  • 2 night stay in Tokyo on room only basis
  • FREE Mount Fuji & Hakone Bullet Train Tour
  • 14 night cruise on board Noordam on full board basis
  • FREE 2 night stay in Hong Kong on room only basis 
  • Upgrade for only £60pp per day & get: Signature Beverage Package, Speciality Dining, Shore Excursion Discount, WiFi & Gratuities
  • Transfers
  • Baggage allowance

Prices From pp

Departure DateInteriorOceanviewBalconySuite
Oct 2024£3,499£4,199£4,199£4,439
Feb 2025£3,149£3,299£3,549£3,799

Price based on 23 Oct 2024 & 13 Feb 2025 flying from London. Itinerary varies depending on date & also operates in reverse. Prices are subject to availability and may change out with our control. Flight supplements from regional airports will apply. For a live price for your chosen date, airport and hotels please call our Cruise Experts.

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Noordam

Named for the Northern compass point, Noordam features museum-quality art — from 19th-century oils to contemporary photographs of music greats Dizzy Gillespie and B.

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Itinerary for Japan Jewels & Asian Pearls

Day 1 - Fly UK to Tokyo

Day 2 - Enjoy Tokyo

Day 3 - Enjoy Tokyo

Day 4 - Enjoy Tokyo

Day 5 - Embark Noordam in Tokyo

Until the mid-19th century, Japan lived in isolation, closed off from the rest of the world, and Yokohama was a mere fishing village. But in 1853, American naval officer Matthew Perry demanded the country open to foreign trade, and Yokohama was changed forever. The city quickly emerged as an international trading center, and while today it is often overshadowed by nearby Tokyo, it continues to be one of Japan’s liveliest, and most international, destinations. With its microbreweries and international restaurants, Yokohama has a decidedly different feel from many other Japanese cities. From Yokohama, it’s a quick trip to peaceful Kamakura, home to Daibutsu, Japan’s second-largest bronze Buddha, and to the important Shinto shrine Tsurugaoka Hachimangu. Head to Hakone National Park on a clear day and you’ll be rewarded with picture-postcard views of majestic Mt. Fuji. Tokyo is the largest city on earth and packed with some of the world’s best shops, museums and restaurants, big and small. While the bright neon lights and the bustle of contemporary Tokyo may be what comes to mind when you think of the city, there is another side. Tokyo's historic gardens and neighborhoods of traditional homes on narrow lanes speak to a timeless Japan that has survived into the 21st century.

Day 6 - Osaka

Think of Osaka, Japan (accent on the O), as a combination of Los Angeles and Chicago. It very definitely has L.A.’s second-city complex, but its attitude is pure Chicago. The only business that matters is business, and so what if the Hanshin Tigers, the local baseball team, are frequently the worst professional athletes in the world? They’re the home team. People in Osaka laugh louder, play harder and drink more than Tokyo’s most decadent dreams. Osaka even has its own dialect, one the rest of the country calls “dirty Japanese,” one entirely different than even Kobe’s—and Kobe is an Osaka suburb. Nothing is old in Osaka. The place was flattened during the war (and then again in 1962 and 1989, by Godzilla). During the reconstruction, they forgot to include much in the way of parks or green space, and the sheer amount of concrete and steel sights can get overwhelming. But Osaka has its attractions and interesting things to do. Sumo wrestlers wait for trains, reeking of chanko-nabe (traditional sumo food; pure energy and calories), just daring the official railway pushers to push them. Yakuza (Japanese gangsters) get train cars to themselves, but if you get on with them, it’s like you’re invisible. Busy markets, the visual noise of neon and nonstop action on shopping streets offer insight into the energy and ambition of Osaka. And if all that isn’t enough, Osaka is less than an hour from some of the most beautiful temples, shrines and ancient Japanese tourist attractions in the world—a thousand years of Japanese history—waiting in the old capitals of Kyoto and Nara.

Day 7 - Osaka

Think of Osaka, Japan (accent on the O), as a combination of Los Angeles and Chicago. It very definitely has L.A.’s second-city complex, but its attitude is pure Chicago. The only business that matters is business, and so what if the Hanshin Tigers, the local baseball team, are frequently the worst professional athletes in the world? They’re the home team. People in Osaka laugh louder, play harder and drink more than Tokyo’s most decadent dreams. Osaka even has its own dialect, one the rest of the country calls “dirty Japanese,” one entirely different than even Kobe’s—and Kobe is an Osaka suburb. Nothing is old in Osaka. The place was flattened during the war (and then again in 1962 and 1989, by Godzilla). During the reconstruction, they forgot to include much in the way of parks or green space, and the sheer amount of concrete and steel sights can get overwhelming. But Osaka has its attractions and interesting things to do. Sumo wrestlers wait for trains, reeking of chanko-nabe (traditional sumo food; pure energy and calories), just daring the official railway pushers to push them. Yakuza (Japanese gangsters) get train cars to themselves, but if you get on with them, it’s like you’re invisible. Busy markets, the visual noise of neon and nonstop action on shopping streets offer insight into the energy and ambition of Osaka. And if all that isn’t enough, Osaka is less than an hour from some of the most beautiful temples, shrines and ancient Japanese tourist attractions in the world—a thousand years of Japanese history—waiting in the old capitals of Kyoto and Nara.

Day 8 - At Sea

Day 9 - Naha (Okinawa Is.)

Naha, the capital of Japan’s Okinawa Prefecture and its biggest city, also serves as the region’s key political, economic and transportation hub. With a fascinating past as the capital of the Ryukyu Kingdom and a working port that dates back to the 15th century, this city of 300,000 residents manages to be both a compelling city and a laid-back one. Because it was largely destroyed during World War II, there aren’t many old buildings here; however, a few restored remains from the Ryukyu Kingdom era provide historic interest, including Shuri Castle, the royal residence, and its extraordinary gardens—both of which are included in a local group designated together as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Other legendary sites include the Royal Mausoleum (burial tombs set inside caves) and the Shurei Gate, so magnificent that its image appears on the 2,000-yen note. There are also a few contemporary hotspots, namely Kokusai Street, which offers almost two kilometers (1.25 miles) of shops, cafés and restaurants, and the nearby Makishi Public Market, which has dozens of food vendors hawking delicious treats. If you want to explore farther afield, Naha is the ideal jumping-off point for excursions to the rest of Okinawa.

Day 10 - Ishigaki Island

Talk with the Japanese a while about the Japanese and you’re going to hear the word shimagunikonjo. The breakdown is simple: shima—island; guni—nation; konjo—consciousness. In one word, it's the firm belief that people who live on islands are different from people who live on continents, and anyone who’s done both is likely to agree. American culture may be the strongest influence in Japan now, but the Japanese will understand the motivations of the Brits a whole lot better. Islands require a different mind-set than continents. Islands require manners. But what if your island was never meant to be part of another bunch of islands? That’s what’s happened with today’s Okinawa Prefecture. The people who’ve always been there are Okinawan, one of the healthiest, longest-living people on earth. But now they’re part of Japan and seriously outnumbered by the Japanese. (And they’re not at all happy that the Japanese interlopers gave so much of their land over to U.S. military bases.) Signs of Okinawan culture can be subtle but are easier to pick out in more remote islands of the chain, like Ishigaki. Traditional buildings are a mixture of Chinese and Japanese influences. In the markets, you’ll find fu chanpuru (an Okinawan stir fry dish) and whole-wheat soba, which the Japanese won't touch. The ryuso robe holds on despite crowded kimono stores. The few people left who speak Uchinaguchi are praying for a movement like the Hawaiian renaissance to bring the culture back. The tipping point is close. A trip to Ishigaki now is to witness either the beginning or the end.

Day 11 - Taipei

Keelung City’s sheltered harbor and its location on Taiwan’s north coast have meant that, over the centuries, it has been ruled by the Spanish, Dutch and Chinese. While there are plenty of good coffee shops, markets and museums in the compact downtown and you can enjoy delicious seafood dishes at the Night Market, the city is today principally a gateway to Taipei for many travelers. Taiwan’s capital is just a half hour away by car or around 45 minutes by train. Long a small outpost of the Chinese empire, the city began to grow in the 19th century, when settlement from the mainland was encouraged. Then, from 1895 to 1945, the city (and all of Taiwan) was occupied by the Japanese. At the end of World War II, Taipei was handed over to the Republic of China, led by Chiang Kai-shek. In the decades since, it has seen an explosion of growth, but traditional temples and world-class museums still sit amid the skyscrapers. The modern metropolis also has top restaurants, food markets and upscale shopping. The Taipei Metro makes it easy to explore the city, or you can take an excursion to the countryside: A national park and a protected forest make for excellent day trips from both Taipei and Keelung.

Day 12 - Kaohsiung

Kaohsiung is a massive port city in southern Taiwan. It's home to many skyscrapers, such as the 248m-tall Tuntex Sky Tower, and is known for its diversity of parks. Its focal point is the Love River, with walking paths and cafes along its banks, and cruise boats navigating its waters. Shopping options range from high-end malls to the Liuhe and Ruifeng night

Day 13 - At Sea

Day 14 - Manila

Called the Island of Gold during the latter half of the Ming Dynasty, the area that is now Manila has known Burneian, Spanish, British, American and Japanese rule. This long and diverse history is reflected in Manila's architecture and neighborhoods. Explore Binondo, Manila’s Chinatown dating back to 1594, Intramuros, Asia's only medieval, European-style walled city, and the posh neighborhood of Malate. Sample shore excursion: Modern Manila.

Day 15 - Boracay

Little more than a dot off the northwestern tip of Panay, Boracay is the Philippines' trophy beach. It offers an intoxicating mix of sun, sand and fun with hotels, restaurants and shops dotted along the beach. If you wish, you can visit popular White Beach or drive to Bulabog Beach as it is wilder and windier and a favorite windsurfing spot. Yet another option: relax on the serene and quiet beach of Puka in the north.

Day 16 - Puerto Princessa, Palawan

Puerto Princesa, the capital of Palawan in the Philippines, is home to 250,000 people and offers a vastly different experience from Manila’s often overwhelming big-city dynamism. For many travelers, it’s simply a gateway to the resorts of El Nido, also on Palawan Island. Those who spend some time here, however, will discover a city that combines a laid-back vibe with beautiful sandy beaches and a wealth of marine life. Nearby, there are also lush mountains, rain forests, waterfalls and dramatic limestone cliffs. Among the most popular sights are the Immaculate Conception Cathedral, where visitors are welcome to celebrate Mass accompanied by choral singing; the Palawan Heritage Center, which displays local artworks and crafts; and the peaceful Palawan Butterfly Ecological Garden and Tribal Village. The city's biggest draws, however, are a boat trip through the limestone caves of the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, and the beaches and islands scattered around scenic Honda Bay—perfect for snorkeling, sunbathing and picnics. Speaking of food, a visit to the most famous restaurant in the city, Kalui, is guaranteed to be a memorable experience for seafood fans; adventurous foodies can order crocodile sisig, a traditional—and delicious—stir-fry dish.

Day 17 - At Sea

Day 18 - At Sea

Day 19 - Hong Kong, disembark & transfer to hotel / Enjoy Hong Kong

Can any city in the world top Hong Kong's phenomenal energy? Judge for yourself as you ride the tram to the top of Victoria Peak, join the surge into countless markets and watch the hardworking world of Aberdeen's fishing junks. Sample shore excursions: Morning Tai Chi & Cooking Tour; Hong Kong Island City Sightseeing; Explore Lantau Island & Monastery.

Day 20 - Enjoy Hong Kong

Day 21 - Fly Hong Kong to UK

Arrive UK

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