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• MSC Cruises enriches its Asian itineraries with a unique nine-day Japanese cruise

• MSC Splendida will set sail August 2, 2018, visiting Japanese cities of Yokohama, Muroran, Aomori, Sendai as well as Vladivostok in Russia
• Unique opportunity to explore north, mid and south Japan

MSC Cruises, the world’s largest privately-owned cruise line, is offering travelers the opportunity to discover four Japanese cities in just nine days in a once-in-a-lifetime unique cruise itinerary – departing August this year. MSC Splendida, one of MSC Cruises’ modern and elegant ships, will sail this stunning cruise departing on August 2, 2018. Calling in Japanese cities of Yokohama, Muroran, Aomori and Sendai, guests will also be treated to a call in the oriental Russian city of Vladivostok.

The cruise has been timed to coincide with the exciting cultural event of Aomori Nebuta Matsuri. This world-renowned colorful “fire festival” is celebrated across Japan, attracting millions of visitors each year. Evenings come alive as large illuminated lanterns, constructed from colored rice-paper displaying huge images of demons, warriors, and horses, are pulled through the streets by groups of locals. Supporting them is the rhythmic beat of large Taiko drums, a cacophony of bells, flutes and hundreds of dancers that flood the lively streets. Guests can book on a dedicated shore excursion in Aomori to experience this unforgettable event.

Japan has captivated visitors for hundreds of years with its storied heritage and vibrant culture. Ever-growing in popularity as a travel destination, the Asian nation’s inbound tourism has been on a consistent rise. According to a recent report by Japan National Tourism Organization, the estimated number of international travelers to Japan in January 2018 reached a high of 2.5 million, up 9% from to last year.
Visiting Japan by sea offers guests a truly unique perspective of the ocean-bound country – without the need to even repack a suitcase. Visiting multiple cities during the day, while wining & dining, relaxing in the spa, watching Broadway-style shows with friends and sleeping in a comfortable elegant stateroom at night really showcases the benefits of a cruise.

This itinerary also represents the Company’s expanding footprint in Asia, with MSC Splendida based from Shanghai, China, representing the biggest ship the Swiss-based cruise line has ever home-ported in the region. It is also the first ship to offer the luxurious ‘ship-within-a-ship’ concept of the MSC Yacht Club and a tailored product to appeal to an Asian market.

Incredible excursions await cruisers across Japan, from the world-renowned “fire festival” of Nebuta, to invigorating mountain hikes, to sacred islands and ancient shrines. Excursions in Aomori, Muroran and Sendai include, among others:

Venturing to Mount Usu and Lake Toya, visitors will be amazed by spectacular mountain views and a chance to enjoy a traditional Japanese hot spa experience. The tour begins at Nishiyama Crater Walking Trail at Mount Usu, a stratovolcano that has erupted four times in the last century, which leads to aerial views at two viewpoints near the peak. Next, they will visit the natural hot spring waters at Lake Toya, that are said to provide relief for various ailments such as neuralgia and arthritis, and is also reputed to be a beauty therapy for naturally glowing skin.

Participants will take a scenic tour of Kinkasan Island, a small islet in the Miyagi Prefecture that is considered to be sacred. Superb views of the Pacific Ocean, Sendai City and the Kurikoma Mountains await at the highest point of the island. At the Koganeyama Jinja Shrine, visitors will explore the 8th-century structure built to honour Shinto kami of good fortune. It is said that visiting the shrine three years in a row will cure all and any financial problems of the faithful pilgrim.

MSC Splendida is one of MSC Cruises largest ships, offering guests elegance and style as they journey the seas. The ship was constructed in 2008 and boasts 1,250 staterooms and some of the most modern facilities available to guests. These include outstanding entertainment, five restaurants serving refined international cuisine and an authentic Balinese spa. Three-quarters of staterooms feature balconies offering panoramic sea views, and for those looking for a touch of added luxury, the ship offers the award-winning MSC Yacht Club experience – a ship within a ship concept offering 71 butler-serviced suites with a focus on privacy and exclusivity.