Far East Asia Discovery: Philippines, Amami Islands & Japan 11 Day Discovery Cruise

M0923050911
Dates
05/09/23 to 05/19/23
Ship
SH Minerva
Duration
11 Days
Guests
2 Guest
Price From
$ 7,839
Per Person
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Trip Details

Experience the fascinating islands of the Philippines and Japan, including the Amami Islands on our 10-night Far East Discovery cruise. Enjoy the beauty of the Philippines, an island nation where palm-lined beaches meet magnificent dive sites. From laid-back beach vibes to spirited urban centres, the Philippines is a southeast Asian archipelago made up of 7,641 tropical islands and inhabited by some of the world’s friendliest people. In Japan’s Amami islands, we discover an archipelago that was part of the Ryukyu Kingdom for nearly 200 years, with a period of US control after World War II. The culture here is closer to the other Ryukyuan islands than that of the mainland, but really visiting here is all about the great outdoors. Japan is a captivating country where ultra-modern seamlessly blends with the ancient. Come aboard our boutique expedition ship, and enjoy unique onshore excursions in these astonishing countries that are rooted in centuries of tradition.

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Trip Highlights
Stroll the streets of Vigan, the best-preserved example of a planned Spanish colonial town in Asia
Meet the indigenous Ivatan people on the Batan Islands, who have developed their unique weather-resistant homes and headgear
Sail through what was once the Ryukyu Kingdom – the Okinawa and Amami Islands
Stand before the poignant international symbol of peace in Hiroshima, and admire the shrines of Miyajima
Explore some of Japan’s most beautiful and whimsical garden- and castle-filled cities
Itinerary Map
Itinerary
Manila Day 1

In this teeming, sprawling metropolis, Manila, the capital of the Philippines buzzes with a creative, exciting energy, which infuses everything from art to food. Spend time in the city with so much to see and do: museums, the world’s oldest Chinatown and the Chinese Cemetery are a few highlights. And make time to explore Intramuros – the old Spanish walled town at the heart of the city with Fort Santiago and San Agustin Church.

Hundred Islands (Sual) Day 2

Despite their relative popularity, the beguiling Hundred Islands still feel like a place on the cusp of discovery. Part of a reserve that covers almost twenty square kilometers in the Lingayen Gulf, northwest of Manila, the Hundred Islands National Park is actually comprised of 124 islands at low tide and 123 at high tide (this doesn’t have quite the same ring though). This area was once an ancient seabed, and the lowering of the sea level and erosion have caused them to have a peculiar mushroom-like shape. Most of the activities here involve the sea: lounging on the beach, swimming, and snorkeling, but only in approved areas. Some of the coral here has been damaged by a combination of human activity as well as weather phenomenon. Still, the government is pulling out all the stops to protect what’s left and help it regenerate. Marine biologists from the University of Philippines are also active here, replanting hundreds of giant clams.

Vigan Day 3

After docking at Salomague, the main port of Ilocos Sur province, travel about an hour south to historic Vigan City to admire its beautiful Spanish architecture. Three hundred years of Spanish rule left its mark on the built landscape as well as on the way people live – the Philippines is one of only two Christian countries in Southeast Asia. Established in the 16th century, UNESCO-listed Vigan is the best-preserved example of a planned Spanish colonial town in Asia. As UNESCO puts it, Vigan’s “architecture reflects the coming together of cultural elements from elsewhere in the Philippines, from China and Europe, resulting in a culture and townscape that have no parallel anywhere in East and South-east Asia”.

Sabtang Isalnd & Batan Island Day 4

The Batan (or Batanes) Islands is a chain of 14 isolated islands whose native inhabitants, the Ivatans, are famed for their distinctive typhoon-resistant houses and wearing the vakul, headgear designed to protect against the weather. A small island with a rustic vibe, Sabtang is one of four main inhabited islands of Batanes and features peaceful sandy beaches backed by verdant cliffs. Browse traditional products like woven baskets and the local berry wine. For a moderate hike, wind your way up occasionally steep, grassy ridges to breathtaking seascapes at the Chamantad-Tinyan Viewpoint. On Morong Beach, photogenic Mahayao Arch is a massive natural rock formation. Rugged and windswept, Batan Island’s welcome is warm, even by the legendarily friendly Filipino standard. The island’s must-sees include its verdant pasturelands, technically still active volcano, an abandoned weather station, some World War II-era tunnels, the pretty village of Mahatao, and Ivana with a picturesque yellow church and Batan’s oldest stone house.

At Sea Day 5

You can spend your day at sea enjoying the many facilities available. Head to the sauna, get in a workout in the state-of-the-art gym or relax in the jacuzzi whilst taking in incredible views along the way. If you prefer to learn a little more about your surroundings, listen to an informative talk or have a chat with one of our knowledgeable on-board experts.

Naha Day 6

Part of an archipelago nestled between the Pacific Ocean and the East China Sea, subtropical Okinawa is a group of more than 160 islands that was once part of the independent Ryukyu Kingdom. Ruled by monarchs from the 1400s, Okinawa became part of Japan in the late 1800s. The capital of the prefecture is breezy Naha, home to more than 60 per cent of the main island’s residents. This seaside city offers visitors the chance to explore the recently restored Shuri Castle, once home to Ryukyu royalty, to see the Naminouegu shrine, and to experience the Kokusai-dori, Naha’s lively shopping district. There are also numerous gardens to enjoy and one of the best museum’s in all of Japan, the Okinawa Prefectural Museum & Art Museum.

Amami Oshima Day 7

With their undulating coastlines, dreamy beaches, and mangrove forests, it’s easy to become inflated with the Amami Islands. This archipelago comprises Kagoshima prefecture’s southernmost islands and today’s excursion is to the group’s largest landmass, Amami Oshima. Ringed by cerulean seas, this area was part of the Ryukyu Kingdom for nearly 200 years. There was also a brief period of American control after World War II. The culture here is closer to the other Ryukyuan islands than that of the mainland, but really visiting here is all about the great outdoors. Swaths of pristine sand and colourful marine life make Amami Oshima’s many breath-taking beaches ideal for whiling away the day above or below the glass-like surf.

At Sea Day 8

Sea days are rarely dull. Take the time to sit back and let the world go by. The ship’s observation decks provide stunning views of the passing ocean. A day at sea gives you the opportunity to mingle with other passengers and share your experiences of this incredible trip or head to our library which is stocked full of reference books. Get an expert’s view in one of our on-board lectures or perhaps perfect your photography skills with invaluable advice from our onboard professional photographers.

Miyajima & Hiroshima Day 9

Disembark for a poignant day of memorials and shrines. Your first port of call is the tranquil Miyajima Island, site of the iconic red floating Torii Gate of the Itsukushima Shinto shrine, and the Daisho-in Buddhist shrine. Ascend sacred Mount Misen by cable car for the island’s most beautiful walk, amidst a primaeval forest. Take a moment to admire the views of the Torii Gate and the Shinto shrine from above. Then it’s off to Hiroshima when you might like to visit Hiroshima Peace Park and Museum, a UNESCO World Heritage Site which was designed by Kenzō Tange and inaugurated in 1955. The museum is now a national and international symbol for peace. Reflect on the bombing as you gaze at the sombre cenotaph containing the names of the victims. See the iconic Genbaku Dome, the only structure left standing at the blast site, and the Flame of Peace lit in 1964. Or you might opt to discover Japan’s breath-taking architecture at the reconstruction of feudal Hiroshima Castle, also known as Carp Castle.

Takamatsu Day 10

Arrive this morning in Takamatsu, the capital of Kagawa Prefecture, on the island of Shikoku. The city offers a refreshing small-city perspective on Japanese urban life. A day in Takamatsu wouldn’t be complete without a trip to Ritsurin Park, one of Japan’s most exquisite gardens. An expansive space, Ritsurin was begun by a feudal lord in the 17th century and took 100 years to establish. Dedicate several hours to these immaculately maintained gardens where shaded clearings give way to sun-dappled paths, which wind around pretty ponds and lead to bright red bridges over gentle streams. Enclosed within the garden are the Sanuki Folkcraft Museum and several lovely teahouses in which visitors can sip matcha. Another park, Tamamo-koen, contains the ruins of the city’s 16th-century castle Takamatsu-jo. Like many of Japan’s castles, it was decommissioned in 1869 following the Meiji Restoration, and nowadays only several original turrets, some walls and a moat survive.

Kobe Day 11

Last day of your luxury expedition cruise from the Philippines to the Amami Islands and Japan. Disembark your ship after breakfast and transfer to the airport. Or if time allows before you begin your journey home, explore this buoyant port city. There’s more to Kobe than just beef, including a vibrant music scene, memorable museums, a laid-back atmosphere and, of course, an urban waterfall. The Takenaka Carpentry Tools Museum, which narrates the story of Japanese architecture and woodworking, is excellent. For an art fix, visit the Tadao Ando-designed Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art and the Yokoo Tadanori Museum of Contemporary Art. The Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake Memorial Museum is moving. And for views of, firstly, the Nunobiki Falls, and then the urban sprawl and even the Seto Inland Sea (on a good day), ride the Shin-Kobe Ropeway to the mountain-top observation deck, then wander downhill through the Nunobiki Herb Gardens.

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Rates Include
Return regional flights to the port of embarkation and/or disembarkation (where specified)
Group return transfers from the airport to the cruise port (via our included accommodation where applicable)
One night pre-cruise accommodation with breakfast in a 4/5-star hotel or onboard
All meals onboard
Onboard accommodation in a stateroom selected category
24-hour room service
Coffee, tea, soft drinks and selected alcoholic beverages available 24-hours per day
Lecture programmes by our experienced expedition team and guest speakers
One selected shore excursion/expedition activities per port of call
Branded Swan Hellenic expedition parka and use of rubber boots in Polar Regions
Standard WiFi
Onboard gratuities & port taxes
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Itinerary Map

09:00 AM – 05:30 PM (EST)

+1 (800) 537 6777
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Stateroom
Number of Guests
Oceanview D4
19 m2 Sleeps 2
Oceanview staterooms features 2 single beds, bedroom and living room and a luxurious ensuite bathroom.
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Oceanview M4
19 m2 Sleeps 2
Oceanview staterooms features 2 single beds, bedroom and living room and a luxurious ensuite bathroom.
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$ 0
Balcony D5
28 m2 Sleeps 2
Located at the forward and aft of the ship, these balcony staterooms feature 2 single beds or double bed bedroom with living room area, a luxurious bathroom and your own private 6m2 balcony
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Balcony M5
28 m2 Sleeps 2
Located at the centre of the ship, these balcony staterooms feature 2 single beds or double bed bedroom with living room area, a luxurious bathroom and your own private 6m2 balcony
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Balcony D6
28 m2 Sleeps 2
Located on deck six, these balcony staterooms feature 2 single beds or double bed bedroom with living room area, a luxurious bathroom and your own private 6m2 balcony
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Suite
44 m2 Sleeps 2
Our Suites features a superking bed and separate living room with and a soothing flame-effect fireplace a luxurious ensuite bathroom and a 12 sq.m. private balcony.
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Premium Suite
49 m2 Sleeps 2
Our grandest suites features a superking bed and separate living room with and a soothing flame-effect fireplace a luxurious ensuite bathroom, spacious walk in wardrobe and a 12 sq.m private balcony.
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$ 0

09:00 AM – 05:30 PM (EST)

+1 (800) 537 6777
ARRANGE A CALLBACK