Discover imperial treasures
Unravel the mysteries of one of the most captivating corners of Asia. Mingle with merchants at Hong Kong’s famed Stanley Market. Learn the nuances of Taiwan from a local. Hear about the recovery of Nagasaki and Hiroshima from residents who connect you to their rebirths. And make sense of the dazzling cultures of Shimizu and Tokyo with the help of those who live there. Overnight stays in four ports let you delve deeply.
Hong Kong, China / Tokyo, Japan
2025 Sailings on May
* Please check with us for dates & pricing
Cruise fare from $9,999.0 per person
* Please check with us for dates & pricing
Embark your ship and settle into your stateroom. A British Overseas Territory until 1997, Hong Kong is home to long-cherished Eastern traditions amid modern Western sensibilities. This forest of glittering skyscrapers stands between soaring mountains and bustling Victoria Harbor. The entire sweeping vista is best taken in from atop Victoria Peak, lush with landscaped gardens and footpaths. Back down at sea level, Aberdeen provides a fascinating glimpse of China old and new as a skyward-reaching cluster of residential towers watches over a bustling bay where floating villages bob in the waters beside stylish pleasure boats.
Victoria Harbor keeps the heart of Hong Kong beating and it does so with grace and beauty. The natural harbor divides Hong Kong Island from Kowloon. Today, much of the harbor’s beauty lies in its location amid a dense urban area. Junks, tugs, sampans, yachts and the distinctive Star Ferry commuter boats share these teeming waters surrounded by a stunning setting. The city is famed for its nightly light show that plays off the skyline, providing an impressive view of Hong Kong’s forest of skyscrapers and Victoria Peak.
Chinese and Japanese traders traversed the East China Sea for centuries, before the British, French and Americans crossed these waters in the mid-1800s to establish territories outside the walled city of Shanghai. As you sail, take advantage of the array of delicious cuisine offered on board. You may visit Mamsen’s, our casual gourmet deli, any time from early morning to late at night for a taste of traditional Norwegian fare. Or, dine at Manfredi’s Italian Restaurant for authentic fare with options ranging from Milanese risotto to Tuscan-inspired classics.
Taipei stands proudly as one of the world’s most technologically advanced cities. Yet, the city cherishes centuries-old traditions, which have been shaped by Chinese, Japanese and Western influences. The National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall looks over Liberty Square; the ornate landmark honors the leader who led nationalists from mainland China during the 1949 Communist takeover. However, the most prominent symbol of the city’s robust development is the famed Taipei 101, the world’s tallest skyscraper from 2004 to 2009.
Chinese and Japanese traders traversed the East China Sea for centuries, before the British, French and Americans crossed these waters in the mid-1800s to establish territories outside the walled city of Shanghai. Enjoy the amenities of your ship as you sail. Perhaps take a breath of fresh air on a brisk walk around the Promenade Deck or begin your day with a workout in the well-equipped Fitness Center.
Nagasaki is one of the rare Japanese cities where East and West intermingle. The Dejima district provides a fascinating and unique glimpse of European colonialism in the heart of Japan. Portuguese traders had a strong presence here and later Dutch traders lived here for two centuries. Nagasaki changed forever on August 9, 1945, destroyed by an atomic bomb. The city’s vast Peace Park contains sculptures donated by countries and artists around the world, each dedicated to world harmony and to an unwavering optimism for a peaceful future.
Historic Kagoshima is often compared to the Italian city of Naples for its mild climate, palm-lined streets and the Sakurajima volcano that reminds so many visitors of Italy’s Mt. Vesuvius. Kagoshima experienced great power and prosperity throughout the Edo period. It has been said that the city brought the industrial revolution to Japan’s doorstep after 17 young men ignored a ban on foreign travel and set off to explore England and the United States. They returned with ideas that transformed society, using Western science and technology.
Nestled on the island of Kyushu, between Beppu Bay and a range of picturesque mountains, Beppu is renowned for its hot springs. These onsen, as they are known in Japanese, emerge from eight geothermal hot spots that together boast the second-largest volume of hot water in the world. Since Japan’s Edo period, the waters have been harnessed for curative and health benefits in soothing public baths. Outside the city, landscapes of steaming fissures and mineral-rich bubbling mud pools attract locals and visitors alike.
Hiroshima was founded in 1589 and grew to become one of Japan’s most important educational and industrial centers. Military supplies were later exported from here, an industry that would seal the city’s fate at the end of World War II, when an atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. It is hard to imagine the destruction today, so modern and forward-looking are its streets and its people. In Peace Memorial Park, the hollowed dome of the former Industrial Promotion Hall symbolizes the city’s hope that nuclear weapons will never be used again.
Hiroshima’s delta is dived into a number of islets. It was upon one of these islets that Mōri Terumoto (1553–1625), a feudal lord who ruled over much of the Chūgoku region, constructed Hiroshima Castle. This solidified the city as a jōkamachi (castle town). Although the castle had successfully survived into the 20th century, it was unable to withstand the atomic bombing of the city during World War II. In 1958, Hiroshima Castle was restored to its original splendor, complete with a main keep and moat. Today, it houses a museum providing insight into the city’s rich history.
Osaka is located at the mouth of the Yodo River and is second only to Tokyo in size and cultural landmarks. For centuries, it prospered on its mercantile economy. During the Edo period, it introduced agriculture, particularly rice, to its exports and was soon known as “the nation’s kitchen.” The city is home to some of Japan’s oldest Shinto shrines. Its Sumiyoshi Grand Shrine is the flagship of 2,000 others spread throughout Japan. Each honors the guardian deity of sailors and the deity of prosperity, but the one here is the most majestic.
Historic Shimizu and its port increased in importance after Tokugawa Ieyasu chose Sumpu Castle as his place of retirement in 1605. By the early 20th century, tea exports were the mainstay activity, while today, the port handles a wide variety of cargo. Along the waterfront, a modern shopping mall houses eateries, movie theaters and a Ferris wheel. While a little further afield, the Kashi-no-Ichi Market sells the day’s catch.
Shimizu is a scenic city set on Suruga Bay, watched over by Mt. Fuji. It has long been a thriving harbor town and prospered during the Edo period. Today, its economy stands upon a vast fishing industry and on the export of green tea, whose leaves are cultivated in nearby hills. Beyond the city limits, wide plains reach to coastal hills, and to the original burial place of the nation’s first shogun. This Shinto shrine, Kunōzan Tōshō-gū, is Japan’s oldest. With its flamboyant design, it is dedicated to Tokugawa Ieyasu, the leader who unified Japan after years of civil war.
Tokyo is a spellbinding blend of neon splendor and tranquil Shinto shrines, towering skyscrapers and meditative Zen gardens. Founded as the tiny fishing village of Edo, Tokyo’s history was shaped by emperors and shoguns. As the Edo period progressed, it grew into one of the world’s largest cities, as it remains today. Tokyoites embrace the traditional and the cosmopolitan here, both worshipping at the city’s Asakusa Kannon Temple and frequenting the high-end retail stores of the Ginza district, all while the distant symmetrical cone of Mt. Fuji watches over the city.
Tokyo as a city was officially dissolved in 1943 and 23 independent municipalities were formed, known as ku. Each neighborhood is representative of a small city yet collectively, they are still recognized as Tokyo. Exploring this vast city is easy, thanks to Tokyo’s excellent transport system. Look to the skies and admire its ever-changing skyline with towering buildings in every corner of the city. Observation platforms feature in many, including Mori Tower or the Metropolitan Government Building. After breakfast, disembark your ship and journey home.
* One shore excursion included per port; all others available at an extra charge.