Alaska’s Kodiak Island, famed for huge Kodiak brown bears, Vancouver on Canada’s west coast and the Japanese capital of Tokyo are three destinations visited on this cruise holiday with a difference.
‘From Geishas to Glaciers’, as the holiday is named, is a 23-day fly-cruise-and-stay spectacular – complete with free upgrade and bonus credits. The holiday includes stays in Toyko and Vancouver (two nights each) and a fabulous 19-night cruise between them from Yokohama to Vancouver aboard Holland America Line’s ms Volendam, a ship known for flowers, art and fine dining.
‘From Geishas To Glaciers’, arranged by Worldwide Cruise Centres (worldwidecruisecentres.com.au) starts with a flight from Sydney to Tokyo on 13 April 2016 and ends with a flight back to Sydney from Vancouver. It costs from $6299 per person twin share, valid at that rate till 30 June 2015 or until sold out, whichever happens first.
Several major bargains make the value even better. There’s a free upgrade, deriving from the fact that a twin outside cabin (with an obstructed view) is the same price as a twin inside cabin. Holland America Line’s anniversary sale also applies, giving (per twin cabin) a free shore excursion credit of US$400, a free dine-around package (US$70 value), and reductions in deposits.
Plus, if you book a suite, you’ll receive double your shore excursion credit (up to US$800 per stateroom), 100 minutes of internet (US$55 in value) and an Anniversary Sale Beverage Card (US$100 in value).
And there’s more! A bonus US$100 per twin cabin in free onboard credit applies, a bonus Pinnacle Grill lunch for two and a bonus Caneletto dinner for two. Pinnacle and Caneletto are two specialty dining venues aboard.
‘From Geishas to Glaciers’ starts with a flight from Sydney to Tokyo. Japan’s capital is a stunning blend of ancient and modern: dazzling neon signage, traditional culture, soaring towers and venerable temples. Two nights accommodation in a four-star Narita Tokyo Airport area hotel includes free hotel-operated shuttle to/from airport.
Next, you’ll visit the most famous Japanese port city, Yokohama on Tokyo Bay, second-biggest city in Japan after Tokyo itself. This is where you’ll board ms Volendam for the 19-night cruise. An overnight here gives you the chance to visit Hakone National Park for spectacular views of Mt Fuji.
Your Japan cruise take you to Aomori in the country’s northerly Tohoku region, overlooked by the serene Hakkoda Mountains; the gaslights and stone warehouses lining Otaru canal; historic Hakodate, where the renowned Blue Moon Cruise traverses the scenic bay; and Kushiro, Japan’s most extensive wetland, a year-round home to endangered Japanese cranes, making it a popular stop for birders.
Three days at sea now includes a crossing of the International Date Line, with plenty of time to enjoy MS Volendam. Artwork in public spaces aboard runs from pre-Columbian sculptures to Renaissance-era Italian fountains. Dining can involve five-course menus or you can opt for vegetarian or low-carb choices. Whatever you choose, it comes with impeccable service and an extensive wine list. All shipboard main meals (excluding speciality restaurants) are included in the price.
Arrival in Alaskan seas takes you first to Dutch Harbor in Unalaska, Alaska. The Battle of Dutch Harbor took place in June 1942 when Japanese forces attacked. Now, ms Volendam sails to Kodiak Island, home to the enormous sub-species of grizzly known as the Kodiak brown bear.
From here, ms Volendam sails into Alaska’s Inside Passage, with its pristine mountains, fjords and forested islands, home to black and brown bears, deer and wolves. You’ll spend a day in phenomenal Glacier Bay, where 16 glaciers plunge into icy fjords. Other highlights include the historic town of Juneau, the Klondike gold-rush settlement of Skagway, and Ketchikan, with its totem poles.
Next stop, Vancouver! Your base for the next two nights is the Fairmont Waterfront Hotel Vancouver, known for its unbeatable harbourside location and gracious service. You’ll have no trouble finding it – the hotel is right next to Vancouver’s port, where you’ll disembark ms Volendam. It couldn’t be more convenient.
Time to catch the sights and atmosphere of one of Canada’s – and the world’s – great cities before flying back home to Australia.
To find your local Worldwide Cruise Centres agent go to: