Optional tours are available from most ports for an additional charge.
Day Hong Kong, ChinaDeparts 06:00 PM Among the world's most glamorous and cosmopolitan cities, Hong Kong sits on the southern coast of China at the Pearl River estuary of the South China Sea. It comprises Hong Kong Island, where the Central Business District and most affluent areas and attractions are, and, on the mainland, Kowloon and the New Territories. Hong Kong is a regional and global hub for banking, shipping, fashion and food, boasting more than 60 Michelin-starred restaurants. Its five-star hotels are among the most elegant to be found anywhere; many are set in the towering skyscrapers that carpet Hong Kong Island's steep slopes and light up its skyline so beautifully.Officially known as Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China, Hong Kong maintains a high degree of autonomy relative to the rest of China, even after it was reunified with China in 1997 after 156 years of British rule ended.Many cruises in Southeast and East Asia start or end in Hong Kong, and it's definitely a great city in which to spend a day or two sightseeing and finding cultural things to do before or after the voyage. Smaller cruise ships can dock right in Victoria Harbour, for front-row seats of the stunning skyline. Unfortunately, pollution is a problem, and sometimes the views are obscured because of it.
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Day Manila, PhilippinesArrives 08:00 AM Departs 06:00 PM The port of Manila is the largest and most important in the archipelago. The city of Manila proper, which boasts the densest population in the world, is really only the center of a larger urban cluster called Manila Metro, housing over 12 million people. Most visitors will be attracted to the oldest section, called Intramuros, to see Spanish colonial architectural icons such as the Manila Cathedral or the ancient San Agustin church. The citys Binondo neighborhood is the oldest Chinatown on earth, predating the arrival of the Spanish in the mid-18th Century. Rizal Park, in the area called Ermita, is home to many museums, themed gardens and other notable sights. An overnight stay will enable you to enjoy the renowned Manila sunset along the Baywalk, and also leave time for a visit to the important historical site of Corregidor Island in Manila Bay, the site of an Allied surrender in World War II, and then the triumphant return of General Douglas MacArthur to the Philippines.
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Day Kaohsiung, TaiwanArrives 07:00 AM Departs 04:00 PM Kaohsiung is home to several popular visitor sites, including the Love River, Shoushan (Mt. Shou), Xiziwan Bay, Lotus Pond, Qijin, and the Old City of Zuoying. It also is an ethnic melting pot, joining Hokkien and Hakka communities, the Pingpu, Tsou, Rukai, Bunun, and Paiwan indigenous tribes, and a military community culture. Kaohsiung also offers scenic mountains, ocean views, and rivers, as well as port, cultural, and historic attractions. Visitors to the city can experience the beauty of nature and savor fine cuisine, or head to the nearby Hakka village of Meinong to experience traditional oil paper umbrella art. The Neimen Songjiang Battle Array and the Fo Guang Shan Buddhist monastery in Dashu further add to the ethnic richness of Kaohsiung. Taiwan's biggest mall and well-known night markets complete the scene for a thoroughly satisfying trip.
Day Keelung (Taipei), TaiwanArrives 08:00 AM Departs 11:00 PM Keelung is the second largest port in Taiwan, and a booming trade industry has turned it into a very prosperous city and international seaport. However, the main reason for calling here is to travel inland to visit the contemporary metropolis of Taipei. Not long ago, the scenic valley of the Tanshui River was home to rice and vegetable farmers, but today it is the site of Taiwan's bustling center of culture, commerce and government.
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Day Ishigaki Island, JapanArrives 08:00 AM Departs 05:00 PM "Talk with the Japanese a while about the Japanese and youre going to hear the word shimagunikonjo. The breakdown is simple: shimaisland; gunination; konjoconsciousness. In one word, it's the firm belief that people who live on islands are different from people who live on continents, and anyone whos 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? Thats whats happened with todays Okinawa Prefecture. The people whove always been there are Okinawan, one of the healthiest, longest-living people on earth. But now theyre part of Japan and seriously outnumbered by the Japanese. (And theyre not at all happy that the Japanese interlopers gave so much of their land over to U.S. military bases.) "
Day Naha, JapanArrives 08:00 AM Departs 06:00 PM "Naha, the capital of Japans Okinawa Prefecture and its biggest city, also serves as the regions 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 arent 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 gardensboth 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. "
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Day Nagasaki, JapanArrives 08:00 AM Departs 06:00 PM Situated in the northwest of Kyushu, the third-largest island in Japan, Nagasaki is one of the countrys most cosmopolitan port cities, with a decent tourism infrastructure, a fascinating past that stretches back to the early 7th century and a picturesque harbor thats been an active port since the 16th century. Home to around 500,000 residents, the city is a buzzy yet relaxed place with abundant services, shops and restaurants as well as several cultural and historic attractions that are easily explored on foot and via public transportation. Check out the Nagasaki Peace Park and Atomic Bomb Museum, which outline the horrific bombing of the city during World War II while making a poignant pledge for world peace. Foodies will enjoy the wide variety of tastes to be found in Chinatown and the Shianbashi Gourmet Street. If you are visiting with children, the Huis Ten Bosch theme parkmodeled on a medieval Dutch townmakes for a fun diversion. Look out, too, for popular annual events like October's Kunchi Festival and the wintertime Nagasaki Lantern Festival.
Day Busan (Pusan), South KoreaArrives 08:00 AM Departs 05:00 PM Busan is the second largest city in South Korea, and the country's seaside connection to Japan and the West. Lovely urban scenery, the Pusan International Film Festival, and near-by hot springs has made Busan a popular leisure destination. Busan has the sophistication of a major city, as well as famous beaches that lure visitors from all over the world. The city is a microcosm of South Korea, a nation whose economic success often obscures, to Westerners, one of Asia's most sophisticated and venerable cultures.
Day Sasebo, JapanArrives 08:00 AM Departs 05:00 PM With its beautiful ocean scenery, seaside promenade, and bright friendly atmosphere, romantic Sasebo has some interesting attractions and is the gateway to Nagasaki. Nagasaki is notable for the nuclear attack it suffered during WWII. A must-see there is the Atomic Bomb Museum and Peace Memorial Park, which houses a beautiful 30-foot-tall fountain symbolizing peace. Sasebo is part of the Saikai National Park, which consists of more than 400 islands and is valued for not only its lovely semi-tropical vegetation. Seishin Cathedral, a Neo-gothic church built in the 1930s is the symbol of Sasebo, which is the only Japanese city that uses a symbol of the Christian church as part of its flag.
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Day Shanghai, ChinaArrives 08:00 AM "Shanghai is one of Asias most dynamic cities, and one of juxtapositions. Its divided in two by the Huangpu Riverto the west is Puxi and to the east Pudong. Puxi is the citys downtown and its historic center; on this side of the river, much of the city was historically divided into the famous foreign concessions, and its here that much of the shopping, dining and nightlife is concentrated today. Shanghai has more than 30,000 restaurants, from humble soup dumpling spots to formal affairs helmed by Michelin-starred chefs. Its museums, particularly the Shanghai Museum with its 120,000-strong collection of antiquities, are equally impressive. Pudong is where the citys major skyscrapers stand, among them the Jin Mao and Oriental Pearl towers.
Nowhere is Shanghais rich history and bright future more evident than along the Huangpu River. Stand on the Puxi side and, with the Bundalong which curve Shanghais stately early-20th-century heritage buildingsbehind you, you can gaze across the river at some of the worlds tallest buildings, soaring skyscrapers that glow nightly, their lights reflected in the river.