1 Hong Kong, China
Arrive in dazzling Hong Kong today and embark your ship. Take time to settle in and explore, perhaps admiring the city’s magnificent setting, a glittering forest of skyscrapers standing between soaring mountains, a bustling harbor and offshore islands. Our overnight stay gives you ample time to experience the rich cultural tapestry and unmistakable British influence.
2 Hong Kong, China
Witness where deeply held Eastern traditions meet modern Western sensibilities during a Hong Kong city tour that takes you up to Victoria Peak for sweeping views of the metropolis. Continue to the former fishing village of Aberdeen, now a dense and fascinating cluster of residential towers. Or perhaps you’ll venture to nearby Lantau Island or visit the casino-laden port of Macau, the famous former Portuguese outpost.
3 Xiamen, China
Built on islands at the mouth of the Jiulong River, Xiamen boasts picturesque colonial architecture. The venerable Xiamen University, with perhaps the most beautiful campus in China, actually has its own beach. On a panoramic tour of the city, you will see the university campus, the Baicheng Beach boardwalk and the majestic Nanputuo Temple complex, perched on a hillside overlooking the city and central to the city’s Fujian community. If you’d like, you can immerse yourself in local culture during a bike ride, a tai chi class and a tea ceremony.
4 Xiamen, China
Continue your exploration of Xiamen, which became a center for the international tea trade during the mid-19th century, with an optional bike ride along the city’s seaside promenade. Or head to Quanzhou and explore what was China’s most important port for foreign trade through the 14th century. Situated at the start of the Maritime Silk Road, Quanzhou was visited by many notable foreigners, including Marco Polo, and became a center for numerous religions in Asia.
5 Cruise the East China Sea
Spend a relaxing day on board as you cruise the East China Sea. Perhaps you will learn about your next destination, Japan, in The Library or at an enrichment lecture. Enjoy a Norwegian-inspired lunch at Mamsen’s gourmet deli. This evening, savor wine pairings with your dinner at The Chef’s Table.
6 Ishigaki Island, Japan
Today explore the natural wonders of Ishigaki Island, the second largest island of the Yaeyama island group. The island was once home to the Ryukyu Kingdom, an important participant in the region’s maritime trade before being annexed by Japan in 1879. Thanks to the island and much of its surrounding waters being situated in the protected Iriomote-Ishigaki National Park, Ishigaki is renowned for its pristine beaches, such as the emerald-green waters of Kabira Bay and the Yonehara bleached coral beach. Or visit Yaeyama Museum and Miyara Dunchi, an early 19th-century aristocratic residence.
7 Okinawa (Naha), Japan
Today, continue learning about the Ryukyu Kingdom with a day in Naha, the capital city of Okinawa Prefecture. The island is home to nine properties comprising a UNESCO World Heritage Site described as “Gusuku Sites and Related Properties of the Kingdom of Ryukyu.” This includes Shuri Castle, the former royal palace of the Ryukyu Kingdom. The castle was used by the Japanese as a command base during World War II and was heavily damaged by shelling during the Battle of Okinawa in 1945. The island is also home to the Southeast Botanical Gardens, which houses 2,000 plant species.
8 Cruise the East China Sea
The East China Sea welcomes you today. In the mid-1800s, British, French and American ships made their way to Shanghai across these waters. In the late 19th century, American whaling ships hunted right whales here in these waters for blubber that fueled lamps and made soaps. As you cruise today, treat yourself to a massage at The Spa or relax in a deck chair by the Infinity Pool.
9 Shanghai, China
Cruise into one of the world’s most important ports this morning for an overnight stay. Shanghai is a modern metropolis and center of finance that orbits around its famous and historic Bund, the city’s elegant riverfront promenade overlooked by colonial-era banks and trading houses. Explore the excellent cultural and artistic collections at the Shanghai Museum, followed by time to explore the People’s Square and stroll the Bund. Our overnight stay allows you to attend a dazzling Chinese acrobatic show in the city this evening.
10 Shanghai, China
You have the day to discover more of Shanghai’s cultural and historic treasures. Enjoy tea in tranquil Suzhou, the nearby “Garden City” known for its historic silk production and picturesque bridges, temples and pavilions. Ride the superfast Maglev train, an engineering marvel of magnetic levitation. Gaze over Shanghai’s skyline from the Jin Mao Tower. Or learn about cooking, traditional medicine, calligraphy and more from local residents during an outing to the Caoyang community.
11 Cruise the Yellow Sea
Cruise north into the Yellow Sea today toward Shanghai. These fabled waters were named for the color created by the sediments that flow here from China’s mainland rivers. The sea’s rich mineral content draws countless fish and marine mammals. Tonight, try a regional specialty in The Restaurant, or enjoy a late-night drink in one of the ship's elegant venues.
12 Qingdao, China
Today you will uncover the surprises of Qingdao, once known as the “German Hong Kong.” Discover the half-timbered houses of this former German and Japanese colony. You can even sample a beer-brewing tradition that dates back to the days of the German Kaiser Wilhelm II. If you wish, you can delve more deeply into this unique past during a panoramic tour featuring the Eight Great Passes and Wusi Square. Alternately, enjoy a walking tour into the heart of Qingdao’s Old Town and experience some of the area’s heritage.
13 Dalian, China
This morning, arrive in Dalian, one of China’s most livable cities. Under Soviet rule for a decade after World War II, the city today enjoys a picturesque setting, numerous parks and a friendly, welcoming atmosphere. Past the Stalinist-era buildings in the center, the city exudes a decidedly relaxed atmosphere. Enjoy a city tour, featuring a stop at Labor Park, adorned with lovely gardens, modern architecture, quiet walkways and exuberant floral displays. If you wish, you may experience local life up close during a visit to a home and nursery school.
14 Beijing (Tianjin), China
Call in Tianjin today, located on the Haihe River. The city is famous for its stretch of the Grand Canal, the longest and possibly oldest existing manmade waterway on earth. But the Great Wall is the larger draw, and you will see the section that runs along the ridge of mountains north of the city in nearby Huangyaguan (Yellow Cliff Pass). The 13,000 miles of walls, towers and trenches were begun 2,200 years ago to defend the Chinese empire against nomads from the north. If you wish, you may venture to Beijing for an overnight excursion, featuring visits to the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square, and a cable car ride and optional hike along the Great Wall.
15 Beijing (Tianjin), China
Disembark your ship this morning and transfer to the airport for your flight home. Or stay on in Beijing to explore more of this historic imperial capital.