Passengers on Abercrombie & Kent's Japan cruise will visit remote islands and lesser-known sites in Japan. (c) 2013 Abercrombie & Kent
Abercrombie & Kent is reviving its popular Clipper Odyssey: Wonders of Japan cruise. The 12-night journey, departing on May 24, will explore remote islands and little-known sites in Japan and Korea in the company of A&K expedition staff, naturalist experts and cultural specialists. As a special addition to the group, Geoffrey Kent, A&K founder, chairman and CEO, has signed on as the first guest.
"I'm always on the lookout for unique ways to experience a beloved destination," said Kent. "Exploring Japan aboard the Clipper Odyssey will allow us to see out-of-the-way sites, some of which even I have never visited."
Onboard the ship, guests will enjoy an intimate atmosphere, personalized attention and attentive service made possible with a crew to guest ratio of better than 1:2. All staterooms have an ocean view, a private bathroom and a sitting area with sofa. Public areas include a lounge, library, gym, outdoor pool and masseuse. An open-seating, window-lined dining room serves international cuisine.
The small size of the 118-passenger Clipper Odyssey makes it possible to visit remote islands and ports, many of which are not accessible by land or larger cruise ships. These include the island of Miyajima, home to the Sacred Shinto Shrine whose torii gates seem to float in the water, and the Itsukushima-jinja Shrine, a UNESCO World Heritage Site dedicated to three sea goddesses. The itinerary balances historic castles and temples with Japan's natural landscapes and meticulously-tended gardens; late-May through early-June is the ideal time to see Japan's gardens in full bloom.
The program also includes Kyoto, founded in the seventh century and home to 20 percent of Japan's national treasures; and Yufuin, where passengers learn about the traditional crafts of the region during private demonstrations of glass blowing, weaving and paper-making by hand. In Hiroshima and Nagasaki, guests will visit historic World War II sites. On Sado Island, they will venture well off the beaten path to explore a landscape of rice paddies, bamboo groves and a surf-pounded coastline.
In Korea, clients can stroll through hundreds of excavated monuments, temples, tombs and pagodas from the Shilla Dynasty at Kyongju, a World Heritage Site often described as the world's finest open-air museum.
A&K experts accompanying the group share their insights on shore and back on board, conducting informative lectures and recapping the day's discoveries in informational get-togethers.