A celebratory ribbon-cutting ceremony officially opened the new Carnival Japan office in Tokyo today, marking the expansion of one of the largest vacation companies in the world into this growing cruise market. Operated by Carnival Corporation & plc, Carnival Japan was created to oversee the largest deployment ever by a global cruise line in the Japanese market with the launch of Princess Cruises homeport sailings, specially developed for Japanese travelers. The inaugural season launches aboard the line's Sun Princess in April 2013.
Carnival Japan, Inc. was formed in March to sell Princess Cruises and other Carnival brands in Japan. From April to July of next year Princess will operate an 87-day program featuring a total of nine cruises on seven different itineraries sailing from both Yokohama and Kobe. The cruises are nine to 12 days in length.
Alan Buckelew, Princess' president and CEO and Jan Swartz, the line's executive vice president of sales, marketing and customer service, attended the office opening and ribbon cutting festivities. "The grand opening of Carnival Japan's new office is an important milestone in Princess' expansion into the Japanese cruise market," said Buckelew. "Having a strong, dedicated team in Tokyo underscores our commitment to Japan homeport cruising and we're excited to have such an experienced and passionate team in Tokyo supporting this new program."
Carnival Japan is overseen by Eiko Kijima, who is also a member of the board of directors of Carnival Japan. "The early response to the new Japan cruise program is enthusiastic and indications are that these itineraries have great appeal," said Kijima.
The unique homeport itineraries have been customized for Japanese vacationers, and will launch with the most significant national holiday of Golden Week, a nine-day cruise on April 27, 2013 which includes two days in Hakata during the renowned Dontaku Festival.
Approximately 18,000 passengers are expected to be carried during the first season of cruising in Japan.
This new season of cruises is currently open for sale and is sold in Japanese Yen. Pricing for these cruises starts at ¥124,000 per person, double occupancy for a nine-day sailing.
The cruise experience will be substantially the same as the Princess Cruises product offered around the world, providing an impressive array of dining and entertainment options in addition to the line's signature innovations such as its popular Movies Under the Stars poolside theater and The Sanctuary, an exclusive top-deck retreat.
However, modifications to the cruise experience will include placing Japanese-speaking crew members in key passenger-facing positions. As well, dining room menus will offer international Princess cuisine while additional offerings will cater to Japanese tastes, and an a la carte sushi bar will be opened. A specially designed enrichment program will include an expert lecture series on art, culture and history. Other amenities such as the shopping selection and spa treatments will also be tailored to Japanese preferences, and onboard collateral items and stateroom information will be translated into Japanese.
An extensive array of shore excursions will be available to complement the itineraries so that Sun Princess passengers can experience all the ports have to offer.
The 77,000-ton Sun Princess carries 2,022 passengers and features a high number of staterooms with private balconies, Lotus Spa, steakhouse, wine bar, patisserie, pizzeria, boutiques, and internet café among other amenities.
By Teijo Niemela, Cruise Business