Will it be the colonial past of the Philippines, the delicate scent of cherry blossom, the UNESCO World Heritage cedars of Yakusugi Land or the startling red of the Torii Gate floating in between two mysterious worlds that will be your favourite? Colourful and indescribable, a contrast of modern bustle and ancient tradition, Japan is everything to everyone.
• Try a Filipino style “fiesta” lunch and enjoy a demonstration of how to prepare Pinakbet – a popular northern dish of mixed vegetables steamed in fish or shrimp sauce
• Explore and swim at beautiful Anguib Beach or at the Boacag Waterfalls
• Try a lavender-coloured sweet potato ice cream in Taketomi
• Drive through the famousr Iruma Ohashi Bridge
• Visit Okinawa - a typical Japanese subtropical region with a warm climate where cherry blossoms bloom in late January, and the swimming season lasts from April to October
• Discover Yakushima, Japan’s first UNESCO World Heritage site
Embark the Silver Discoverer for this delightful Expedition across the South China and Philippine Seas, “Ancient Island Nations of the Western Pacific.” This afternoon, you will attend a safety briefing before leaving Hong Kong.
At sail away watch Hong Kong’s skyline recede in our little ship’s churning wake. Later, important members of the crew will be introduced, as well as your Expedition Team. We invite you to familiarise yourself with your new home away from home, meet some of your fellow travellers and in the evening enjoy the first of many memorable meals in The Restaurant.
While Silver Discoverer sails across the South China Sea in a south-easterly direction, take this day to settle in and relax. Perhaps enjoy a leisurely breakfast and then join our lecturers for talks about the Philippines. Topics might range from the archipelago’s colonial time to the 20th century, its modern history, but above all its natural history and the attractions we intend to visit.
As we land in Salomague, on Luzon’s northwestern shore, we will be welcomed by a local band before heading south to Vigan and its historical district. We will see the Bantay Church and bell tower, Ilocos’ oldest structures dating back to 1590. A Filipino style “fiesta” lunch will be had in a beautiful garden known as the Hidden Garden. This will also include a demonstration of how to prepare Pinakbet –a popular northern dish of mixed vegetables steamed in fish or shrimp sauce. Later a pottery factory specializing in jars is visited and we will ride in horse-drawn carriages to the Syquia Mansion, a museum dedicated to the Philippines’ sixth President. A walk through the Vigan Heritage Village with its mestizo district of old colonial, Spanish-style houses and tasting of local delicacies will end the excursion.
We will depart from the pier and drive along Luzon’s northern shore to Santa Ana. There we will have several options. You might want to swim at beautiful Anguib Beach, swim and explore at the Boacag Waterfalls or might decide to take a local boat across to Palaui Island for a hike to its northern cape and a lighthouse at Cape Deception. Located south of the lighthouse is Engaño (Deception) Cove, offering the opportunity for swimming.
Returning to Aparri at sunset there will still be some time for souvenir shopping.
Arriving quite early in the Philippines’ northernmost province, we will want to make the most of our visit to Sabtang Island. After our Zodiac landing there will be a cultural presentation with traditional songs and dances. At Morong Beach there will be nice photo opportunities of the beach and arc, as well as food demonstrations and tasting. Further photo opportunities will be at Savidug Village and the Chamantad Tinyan View Point. A short nature walk and a guided tour at the “Vakul” weavers, who produce the traditional head gear for women, will conclude with a walking tour of the Chavayan Village with its characteristic Ivatan vernacular houses.
In the afternoon Silver Discoverer sails north across the Philippine Sea. Our lecturers will want to prepare you for our visit to Japan with talks or seminars.
During the morning, while Silver Discoverer approaches the Yaeyama Islands, there will be time for more lectures or a seminar.
At Ishigaki-Jima we will clear into Japan, and after lunch we hope to disembark onto Ishigaki Island. From here we board a ferry for the short ride to Taketomi Jima. Taketomi’s specialty is a village occupied by a few hundred people whose way of life has little changed from times gone by. After a short guided walk there is a chance to explore on our own.
For birders the Ijima’s and Japanese Leaf Warblers might be of interest. If you like ice cream, Japan might surprise you. Taketomi offers several flavours that not common, and mong them is a lavender-coloured sweet potato offering.
Roughly 320 km southwest of the main island of Okinawa, Miyako-Jima Island is the largest of the eight islands of the Miyako Island Chain. The island bears many historical relics and beautiful white sandy beaches including Maehama, Painagama, Sunakawa, and Shigira Beach.
A scenic drive across the island will take us to the Iruma Ohashi Bridge, the longest fee toll and sea bridge in Japan. The bridge is a work of art that took nine years to complete and resembles a dragon’s tail from a distance. At our next destination we will board a small boat bound for a nearby coral reef to look for fish and turtles. Below decks the boat has large windows and seats for underwater viewing of fish cruising past the reef at close quarters. Hundreds of fish from many species can be observed along with possible sightings of green turtles – all viewed from a uniquely different perspective.
Another destination is Hennazaki Cape where there are great views of the ocean and a stately lighthouse. It is mesmerizing to stand and watch the swell while appreciating the power of the ocean.
Okinawa is a typical Japanese subtropical region with a warm climate where cherry blossoms bloom in late January, and the swimming season lasts from April to October. There are more than sixty islands between the main island of Okinawa in the North and Yonaguni Island at the south-western end.
Departing from the pier and travelling towards the southeast corner of Okinawa, the first stop will be at the former Japanese Navy Underground Headquarters. One can walk down the 101 steps into the narrow tunnels to get a unique insight into the conditions and experiences of the soldiers and officers inside the headquarters.
Shuri Castle, our next stop, is the administrative center and residence of the Ryukyu royal family for over 400 years. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the castle rests on a hill providing outstanding views of Naha and the sea. Surrounded by tall curved walls, the bright red castle is a mixture of Japanese and Chinese architectural styles. You will see the lavishly decorated Main Hall and the ornate Shurei Gate. Known as the Gate of Courtesy, it typifies Okinawan architecture and serves as a symbol of modern day Okinawa.
The final stop will be Shikina-en Garden, constructed in the end of the 18th century; it features beautiful, relatively simple, wooden palace buildings with Okinawan-style, red tile roofs and a spacious Japanese-style landscape garden. A section of the old stone pavement that ran from the Shuri Palace to Shikina-en still exists. While the garden is designed in a style seen elsewhere in Japan, the architecture and flora of Shikina-en are uniquely Okinawan. Although the original garden was destroyed during World War II, it has been beautifully restored.
Amami Oshima is an unspoilt natural paradise situated in the Amami islands and surrounded by transparent waters with brightly coloured coral reefs and tropical fish. Our day will start with a visit to Oshimatsumugi Kimono village where we can watch the process of making tsumugi and kasuri silk-cotton fabrics. This is a craft complex in a beautiful hillside setting among flowers and many of the plants used in the process of dyeing.
In Bashayama Village enjoy lunch including Keihan, one of the specialities in Amami. Keihan consists of chicken, egg and other various ingredients placed on rice and covered in chicken broth. During lunch we will also have a chance to see local people playing the Shamisen. After lunch, we can relax at the beautiful beach or stroll through Kenmunmura village with its traditional houses.
If you prefer a visit with a little more activity, then choose the canoeing tour in Amami Oshima’s Mangrove Park. Amami Oshima holds Japan’s second-largest mangrove forest and is inhabited by the Amami Rabbit, a national protected species. You will canoe for about one hour amongst the mangroves.
Yakushima, Japan’s first UNESCO World Heritage site in 1993, is famous in botanical circles for its great many garden plants, including dwarf plants which have evolved to grow smaller than their mainland cousins. We will spend time on nature walks including Yakusugi Land, a nature park populated by a number of the island’s ancient cedar trees, including the Buddhasugi (a 2500-year-old cedar), Futagosugi and Sennensugi. There are different trails for different levels of activity and while walking, we will see the very clear stream running through the forest and the unique plant life on the island. There will also be a chance to see Yaku Monkey and Yaku Deer.
After your walk in the forest you will visit the Yakusugi Museum, which tells about the vegetation of Yakusugi, as well as the history of Yakushima.
In the evening attend the Videographer’s presentation of our voyage documentary.
Following breakfast, disembark Silver Discoverer.
Expedition highlights and wildlife listed here are possible experiences only and cannot be guaranteed. Your Expedition Leader and Captain will work together to ensure opportunities for adventure and exploration are the best possible, taking into account the prevailing weather and wildlife activity. Expedition Team members scheduled for this voyage are subject to change or cancellation.
Overall size of 186 SQ.FT. / 17.3 M2. Enjoy a sitting area to watch brilliant scenery through a view window. With preferred midship location, Deck 4 Explorer Suites accommodate three guests. As on Deck 4, the Explorer Suites on Deck 3 offer an ample view window and relaxing sitting area, with enough room for three guests. An enchanting retreat suitable for three guests, Deck 2 suites exude cozy opulence, with porthole window views and a cushy sitting area. Features: View window or portholes, Sitting area, Twin beds or queen-sized bed, Marbled bathroom, Writing desk, Personal safe, Hair dryer, Flat screen television
Overall size of 181 SQ. FT. / 16.8 M2. Welcoming and comfortable, the View Suite provides a relaxing haven for even the utmost adventure-seeking guests. Complete a day spent exploring onshore with an evening unwinding in the comfort of your sitting area. Capture passing ocean scenes through your view window. Freshen up in your beautiful marbled bathroom before enjoying an elegant onboard dinner. Or cozy up under fine bed linens to watch an on-demand movie on the flat-screen television. Fall asleep easily, dreaming of the incredible experiences that await you the following day. Features: View window, Sitting area, Twin beds or queen-sized bed, Marbled bathroom, Choice of bathroom amenities, Writing desk, Hair dryer, Personal safe, Flat screen television with DVD and satellite reception, Wifi available (fees apply)
Overall size of 269 SQ. FT. / 25 M2. A quiet sanctuary. The suite’s sitting area has plenty of room to relax while on your cruise. Large picture windows frame panoramic ocean views. The perfect backdrop for breakfast in bed. Some Vista Suites accommodate three guests. Features: Large view window(s), Sitting area, Twin beds or queen-sized bed, Marbled bathroom, Choice of bathroom amenities, Personal safe, Hair dryer, Writing desk, Flat screen television with DVD and satellite reception, Wifi available (fees apply)
Overall size of 280 SQ. FT. / 26 M2 (including a private balcony 35.5 SQ. FT. / 3.2 M2 ). Veranda Suites 601, 602, 603 and 604 can accommodate three guests. A Silversea signature, complete with floor-to-ceiling glass doors that open onto a private balcony with patio furniture. Veranda Suites lavishly accommodate three guests. Features: Veranda or balcony with floor-to-ceiling glass doors, Sitting area, Twin beds or queen-sized bed, Marbled bathroom, Personal safe, Hair dryer, Writing desk, Flat screen television
Overall size of 408 SQ. FT. / 38 M2 (including a private balcony 27 SQ. FT. / 2.5 M2). A mark of distinction. Sumptuous. Spacious. Rich textures and panoramic views surround you with distinguished luxury. The perfect summary of The Medallion Suite offered by the world’s best cruise line. Features: Large teak veranda with patio furniture and floor-to-ceiling glass doors, Sitting area, Twin beds or queen-sized bed, Marbled bathroom with shower, Personal safe, Hair dryer,Writing desk, Flat screen television(s) with DVD and satellite reception
Vessel Type: Luxury Expedition
Length: 338 Feet/102.9 Metres
Passenger Capacity: 120 passengers
Her small size and shallow draft allow close-up access to rugged coasts well beyond the reach of ordinary vessels. And she has been newly refurbished to help guests maximize their experience and build a genuine connection with the regions they visit.
Spacious decks and panoramic public rooms mean the drama of the unexpected is never far from view. A fleet of Zodiacs allows exploration from the water or remote landings anywhere nature or curiosity dictate. Since many of our expeditions sail to some of the world's most pristine coral reef systems, there's a glass-bottom boat for underwater viewing along with a full complement of snorkelling equipment and a dive programme for advanced divers.
We've also taken great care to assemble a truly outstanding Expedition Team, composed of experts in the culture, history and wild life of the destinations, to present informal talks, guide Zodiac outings and lead small-group explorations ashore. While back on board, every creature comfort awaits: an ocean-view suite, in-suite bar and the head-to-toe pampering of a butler; elegant lounges and open bar where fellow travellers gather to swap tales about their day's adventures; and cuisine that meets Silversea's standards of culinary excellence — which are lofty, indeed. Imaginative menus in The Restaurant feature both regional offerings and dishes inspired by Relais & Châteaux. Additional amenities include a sun-catching pool deck, an internet cafe, a fitness centre, and a beauty and massage centre — particularly alluring after an adventurous day ashore.