Japan has opened the door for cruise ships to return for the first time in more than two years and Holland America is ready to start sailing.
The cruise line is planning several trips in early 2023 to take advantage of the restrictions being dropped. The Japanese government decided on November 15 that its ports could once again be open to international cruise ships, something that hadn’t happened since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Japan is now ready to start receiving international cruise ships again,” said Transport and Tourism Minister Tetsuo Saito, according to the Associated Press. “We will create an environment that allows tourists to enjoy their cruise without worry while in Japan.”
The decision was welcome news to Holland America officials.
“We’re grateful for the work that the Japanese authorities have done to allow for a return to cruising,” Gus Antorcha, president of Holland America Line, said in a release.
Holland America Gears Up
The company will be using the Westerdam, one of its largest ships that are currently sailing to locations in Australia and New Zealand. It will drydock in Singapore during January before beginning the Asian voyages in February.
The Westerdam will make roundtrip voyages between 11 and 14 days between Yokohama, Japan, and Singapore starting February 3.
Holland America is offering five different itineraries and will include stops at ports in Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines, Thailand, and Malaysia. Some of the overnight stops will include Singapore; Osaka, Japan; Kobe, Japan; and Phuket, Thailand.
“Holland America Line’s guests love longer voyages to unique parts of the world, and we’ll be sailing to some incredible locations as our season in Japan and the rest of Asia begins.”
The final sailing for the season will leave April 24 from Yokohama on a North Pacific crossing to Seattle, where the Westerdam will be based for the Alaska sailing season.
Protocols for cruising in Asia are being finalized, the company said. When completed, it will be added to the company’s website for travelers to have handy for their particular voyage.
Holland America has dozens of available itineraries for cruises around the globe. In addition to Asia and Alaska, it offers trips to Mexico, the Caribbean, Hawaii, and other destinations.