For centuries the enigmatic and distant empire of China traded with European rulers using India as a middleman. Few westerners dared venture so far east until the Middle Ages, when Rome gave two emissaries a very special mission.
In 522AD Rome’s Byzantine Emperor, Justinian I, sent two men disguised as monks to China to smuggle silk worms back to Europe. The expedition took two years and successfully enabled the Byzantine Empire to establish a monopoly over silk trade in Europe, breaking their reliance on Persian and Chinese trade. Fast-forward 1500 years and, in former Byzantine lands, silk production still persists today, along with western leaders’ desire for dominance over China in the global marketplace. As you probably already know, the Far East isn’t all history, politics and silk worms – it’s a breath-taking menagerie of sights, sounds, smells and sacred sites. The time it takes to get there may have diminished, but its mystique certainly hasn’t, and whether you want the vastness of the Great Wall of China, the majesty of Mount Fuji or the hustle and bustle of Seoul, we’ve found an ideal way to take your enjoyment of the Far East further – with a cruise.
Phuket, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh, Da Nang, Hong Kong, Taipei, Shanghai, Beijing, Seoul, Tokyo – Asia has a wealth of iconic cities and its natural wonders are even more prolific, but is it really worth travelling all that way just to see one city or region? The short answer to that is yes, but is it even more fulfilling to visit multiple destinations in one trip? Well, the only honest response we can give is to recommend finding out for yourself. However, if you don’t mind spoilers, then *spoiler alert*, the answer is an even bigger YES. With so many options from several world renowned cruise operators, the most difficult part of your Far East cruise will be, without a doubt, picking just one itinerary. So, to help, we’ve highlighted a couple of our favourites below.
Exotic Asia – Singapore to Tianjin – Royal Caribbean International
Royal Caribbean’s newest vessel, Ovation of the Seas, sets sail on the 12th June 2016 on an enlightening twelve night itinerary across the South and East China Seas. As the latest member of their innovative Quantum Class fleet it has a long, long list of on-board attractions, including skydiving and surfing simulators, a panoramic observation pod and even dancing robot bartenders. Yes – we actually just said that – dancing robot bartenders. This cruise liner smashes through the boundaries of nautical possibilities and sets a new standard in what you’ll come to expect from future voyaging vacations. But as dazzling and impressive as your floating holiday home may be, six of the Far East’s most colourful and dynamic cities await your call.
Starting in the city-state of Singapore, you’ll sail north to reach Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, before heading along the Chinese coast to visit Hong Kong and Xiamen. You’ll then venture across the Yellow sea to the South Korean capital of Seoul as you prepare for the final stop in Tianjin’s Bohai Bay. This is such a popular itinerary that suite accommodation has already sold out, so you’ll need to hurry if you don’t want to miss this oriental adventure aboard Ovation of the Seas, with the choice between interior, ocean view and balcony accommodation is still available to you.
Japan, Korea & China – Tokyo to Shanghai – Celebrity Cruises
The island nation of Japan has some of the most inscrutable cultural customs of any country on the planet, but in contrast to the perplexing practises of its people, Japanese is actually the easiest Far East language to learn. Including flights from the UK, Celebrity Cruises are offering a fly/cruise deal that will give you ample time to acquaint yourself with the captivating land of the rising sun. Aboard the Celebrity Millennium, you’ll spend nine days touring the Japanese cities of Tokyo, Kobe, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, along with the cherry blossom-blessed foothills of Mount Fuji. As the only two cities in human history to ever face the wrath of nuclear warfare, the Hiroshima Peace Memorial and Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museums are absolute must-visit places on this itinerary and foodies won’t want to miss out on tasting the world-famous beef of Kobe.
On your eleventh day, you’ll take the short journey across the East China Sea to the South Korean island of Jeju. Though a relatively short distance from Nagasaki, the Celebrity Millennium’s on-board entertainments and unapologetically luxurious accommodation will make the journey feel even shorter, creating the kind of atmosphere and ambiance that will always leave you longing for more. It’s then on to Seoul before reaching historically rich Shanghai, where a whopping 24 million people call home, making it the most populated city on Earth. From there, sadly, it’s back to the UK, and we predict that it won’t be long before you’re already planning your next Far East cruise.
These are just two of the dozens of enchanting itineraries penned to grace Asia’s distant shores. For more information or help in finding the right tour and vessel for you, our luxury cruise experts are just a call, email or instant message away.