Experience the fascinating islands of the Philippines and Japan, including the Amami Islands on our 10-night Far East Discovery cruise. Enjoy the beauty of the Philippines, an island nation where palm-lined beaches meet magnificent dive sites. From laid-back beach vibes to spirited urban centres, the Philippines is a southeast Asian archipelago made up of 7,641 tropical islands and inhabited by some of the world’s friendliest people. In Japan’s Amami islands, we discover an archipelago that was part of the Ryukyu Kingdom for nearly 200 years, with a period of US control after World War II. The culture here is closer to the other Ryukyuan islands than that of the mainland, but really visiting here is all about the great outdoors. Japan is a captivating country where ultra-modern seamlessly blends with the ancient. Come aboard our boutique expedition ship, and enjoy unique onshore excursions in these astonishing countries that are rooted in centuries of tradition.


Highlights


• Stroll the streets of Vigan, the best-preserved example of a planned Spanish colonial town in Asia

• Meet the indigenous Ivatan people on the Batan Islands, who have developed their unique weather-resistant homes and headgear

• Sail through what was once the Ryukyu Kingdom – the Okinawa and Amami Islands

• Stand before the poignant international symbol of peace in Hiroshima, and admire the shrines of Miyajima

• Explore some of Japan’s most beautiful and whimsical garden- and castle-filled cities

Your luxury expedition cruise starts in Kobe on Osaka Bay. It’s famed for its beef, but there’s so much more to discover about this buoyant port city: a vibrant music scene, memorable museums, a laid- back atmosphere and, of course, an urban waterfall. The Takenaka Carpentry Tools Museum, which narrates the story of Japanese architecture and woodworking, is excellent. For an art fix, visit the Tadao Ando-designed Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art and the Yokoo Tadanori Museum of Contemporary Art. The Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake Memorial Museum is moving. And for views of, firstly, the Nunobiki Falls, and then the urban sprawl and even the Seto Inland Sea (on a good day), ride the Shin- Kobe Ropeway to the mountain-top observation deck, then wander downhill through the Nunobiki Herb Garden. Having explored if timings allow, board your ship and settle into your cabin or stateroom. Take time to explore your home from home’s luxurious facilities.
Arrive this morning in Takamatsu, the capital of Kagawa Prefecture, on the island of Shikoku. The city offers a refreshing small-city perspective on Japanese urban life. A day in Takamatsu wouldn’t be complete without a trip to Ritsurin Park, one of Japan’s most exquisite gardens. An expansive space, Ritsurin was begun by a feudal lord in the 17th century and took 100 years to establish. Dedicate several hours to these immaculately maintained gardens where shaded clearings give way to sun-dappled paths, which wind around pretty ponds and lead to bright red bridges over gentle streams. Enclosed within the garden are the Sanuki Folkcraft Museum and several lovely teahouses in which visitors can sip matcha. Another park, Tamamo-koen, contains the ruins of the city’s 16th-century castle Takamatsu-jo. Like many of Japan’s castles, it was decommissioned in 1869 following the Meiji Restoration, and nowadays only several original turrets, some walls and a moat survive.
Disembark for a poignant day of memorials and shrines. Your first port of call is the tranquil Miyajima Island, site of the iconic red floating Torii Gate of the Itsukushima Shinto shrine, and the Daisho-in Buddhist shrine. Ascend sacred Mount Misen by cable car for the island’s most beautiful walk, amidst a primaeval forest. Take a moment to admire the views of the Torii Gate and the Shinto shrine from above. Then it’s off to Hiroshima when you might like to visit Hiroshima Peace Park and Museum, a UNESCO World Heritage Site which was designed by Kenzō Tange and inaugurated in 1955. The museum is now a national and international symbol for peace. Reflect on the bombing as you gaze at the sombre cenotaph containing the names of the victims. See the iconic Genbaku Dome, the only structure left standing at the blast site, and the Flame of Peace lit in 1964. Or you might opt to discover Japan’s breath-taking architecture at the reconstruction of feudal Hiroshima Castle, also known as Carp Castle.
You can spend your day at sea enjoying the many facilities available. Head to the sauna, get in a workout in the state-of-the-art gym or relax in the jacuzzi whilst taking in incredible views along the way. If you prefer to learn a little more about your surroundings, listen to an informative talk or have a chat with one of our knowledgeable on-board experts.
With their undulating coastlines, dreamy beaches, and mangrove forests, it’s easy to become inflated with the Amami Islands. This archipelago comprises Kagoshima prefecture’s southernmost islands and today’s excursion is to the group’s largest landmass, Amami Oshima. Ringed by cerulean seas, this area was part of the Ryukyu Kingdom for nearly 200 years. There was also a brief period of American control after World War II. The culture here is closer to the other Ryukyuan islands than that of the mainland, but really visiting here is all about the great outdoors. Swaths of pristine sand and colourful marine life make Amami Oshima’s many breath-taking beaches ideal for whiling away the day above or below the glass-like surf.
Part of an archipelago nestled between the Pacific Ocean and the East China Sea, subtropical Okinawa is a group of more than 160 islands that was once part of the independent Ryukyu Kingdom. Ruled by monarchs from the 1400s, Okinawa became part of Japan in the late 1800s. The capital of the prefecture is breezy Naha, home to more than 60 per cent of the main island’s residents. This seaside city offers visitors the chance to explore the recently restored Shuri Castle, once home to Ryukyu royalty, to see the Naminouegu shrine, and to experience the Kokusai-dori, Naha’s lively shopping district. There are also numerous gardens to enjoy and one of the best museum’s in all of Japan, the Okinawa Prefectural Museum & Art Museum.
Days at sea are the perfect chance to relax, unwind and do whatever takes your fancy. So whether that is going to the gym, visiting the spa, trying to spot a whale from the deck, reading a chapter or two, or simply topping up your tan, these blue sea days are the perfect balance to the green days spent exploring on land.
The Batan (or Batanes) Islands is a chain of 14 isolated islands located in the northernmost reaches of the Philippines. Rugged and windswept, only the four largest are inhabited, northwestern Batan Island included. Here the welcome is warm, even by the legendarily friendly Filipino standard. The native inhabitants of these islands are the Ivatans, who are famed for their distinctive typhoon-resistant houses and wearing the vakul, headgear designed to protect against the weather. The island’s must-sees include its verdant pasturelands, technically still active volcano, an abandoned weather station, some World War II-era tunnels, the pretty village of Mahatao, and Ivana with its picturesque yellow church and Batan’s oldest stone house.
After docking at Salomague, the main port of Ilocos Sur province, travel about an hour south to historic Vigan City to admire its beautiful Spanish architecture. Three hundred years of Spanish rule left its mark on the built landscape as well as on the way people live – the Philippines is one of only two Christian countries in Southeast Asia. Established in the 16th century, UNESCO-listed Vigan is the best-preserved example of a planned Spanish colonial town in Asia. As UNESCO puts it, Vigan’s “architecture reflects the coming together of cultural elements from elsewhere in the Philippines, from China and Europe, resulting in a culture and townscape that have no parallel anywhere in East and South-east Asia”.
Despite their relative popularity, the beguiling Hundred Islands still feel like a place on the cusp of discovery. Part of a reserve that covers almost twenty square kilometers in the Lingayen Gulf, northwest of Manila, the Hundred Islands National Park is actually comprised of 124 islands at low tide and 123 at high tide (this doesn’t have quite the same ring though). This area was once an ancient seabed, and the lowering of the sea level and erosion have caused them to have a peculiar mushroom-like shape. Most of the activities here involve the sea: lounging on the beach, swimming, and snorkeling, but only in approved areas. Some of the coral here has been damaged by a combination of human activity as well as weather phenomenon. Still, the government is pulling out all the stops to protect what’s left and help it regenerate. Marine biologists from the University of Philippines are also active here, replanting hundreds of giant clams.
In this teeming, sprawling metropolis, Manila, the capital of the Philippines buzzes with a creative, exciting energy, which infuses everything from art to food. Spend time in the city with so much to see and do: museums, the world’s oldest Chinatown and the Chinese Cemetery are a few highlights. And make time to explore Intramuros – the old Spanish walled town at the heart of the city with Fort Santiago and San Agustin Church.
Itineraries are subject to change.

Oceanview D4

$18,140 NZD pp
Oceanview D4
19 m2 Sleeps 2 Oceanview cabins features 2 single beds, bedroom and living room and a luxurious ensuite bathroom.

Oceanview M4

$18,939 NZD pp
Oceanview M4
19 m2 Sleeps 2 Oceanview staterooms features 2 single beds, bedroom and living room and a luxurious ensuite bathroom.

Balcony D5

$20,716 NZD pp
Balcony D5
28 m2 Sleeps 2 Located at the forward and aft of the ship, these balcony staterooms feature 2 single beds or double bed bedroom with living room area, a luxurious bathroom and your own private 6m2 balcony

Balcony M5

$21,651 NZD pp
Balcony M5
28 m2 Sleeps 2 Located at the centre of the ship, these balcony staterooms feature 2 single beds or double bed bedroom with living room area, a luxurious bathroom and your own private 6m2 balcony

Balcony D6

$23,728 NZD pp
Balcony D6
28 m2 Sleeps 2 Located on deck six, these balcony staterooms feature 2 single beds or double bed bedroom with living room area, a luxurious bathroom and your own private 6m2 balcony

Suite

$27,394 NZD pp
Suite
44 m2 Sleeps 2 Our Suites features a superking bed and separate living room with and a soothing flame-effect fireplace a luxurious ensuite bathroom and a 12 sq.m. private balcony.

Premium Suite

$31,708 NZD pp
Premium Suite
49 m2 Sleeps 2 Our grandest suites features a superking bed and separate living room with and a soothing flame-effect fireplace a luxurious ensuite bathroom, spacious walk in wardrobe and a 12 sq.m private balcony.

Oceanview D4

$18,140 NZD pp
Oceanview D4
19 m2 Sleeps 2 Oceanview cabins features 2 single beds, bedroom and living room and a luxurious ensuite bathroom.

Oceanview M4

$18,939 NZD pp
Oceanview M4
19 m2 Sleeps 2 Oceanview staterooms features 2 single beds, bedroom and living room and a luxurious ensuite bathroom.

Balcony D5

$20,716 NZD pp
Balcony D5
28 m2 Sleeps 2 Located at the forward and aft of the ship, these balcony staterooms feature 2 single beds or double bed bedroom with living room area, a luxurious bathroom and your own private 6m2 balcony

Balcony M5

$21,651 NZD pp
Balcony M5
28 m2 Sleeps 2 Located at the centre of the ship, these balcony staterooms feature 2 single beds or double bed bedroom with living room area, a luxurious bathroom and your own private 6m2 balcony

Balcony D6

$23,728 NZD pp
Balcony D6
28 m2 Sleeps 2 Located on deck six, these balcony staterooms feature 2 single beds or double bed bedroom with living room area, a luxurious bathroom and your own private 6m2 balcony

Suite

$27,394 NZD pp
Suite
44 m2 Sleeps 2 Our Suites features a superking bed and separate living room with and a soothing flame-effect fireplace a luxurious ensuite bathroom and a 12 sq.m. private balcony.

Premium Suite

$31,708 NZD pp
Premium Suite
49 m2 Sleeps 2 Our grandest suites features a superking bed and separate living room with and a soothing flame-effect fireplace a luxurious ensuite bathroom, spacious walk in wardrobe and a 12 sq.m private balcony.

Minerva

Vessel Type: Expedition Ship

Length: 115 meters

Passenger Capacity: 152

Built: 2020-2021

Arriving in November 2021, our 5 star elegant Scandi-design boutique ship offers you an intimate setting from which you will be fully immersed in all the sights and scenery of your voyage.

Introducing SH Minerva

Our brand new ship has been designed to journey to off the beaten path destinations and remote polar regions in style and comfort. The ship incorporates a PC5 ice-strengthened hull combined with extra-large stabilisers to make your journey as smooth as possible.

Sophisticated Elegance

We know how important outdoor space is, so our spacious, relaxing public spaces provide wide open, unobstructed views throughout the ship. The destination will always be in view.

Your Wellbeing 

The safety & happiness of our guests is paramount to our 120-strong crew on board as well as our passionate expedition team who'll be serving up thrilling shore excursions and lasting memories.

Cabin Types

Our 76 cabins including 6 suites have all the amenities you will need to feel comfortable including dressing gowns, hairdryers, personal safes and minibars. Our stylish cabins all have desks, a dressing area and comfy seating. En suite bathrooms all feature glass-enclosed rain showers.

Cabin layout for Minerva

Inclusions


INCLUSIONS FOR ARCTIC & RUSSIA FAR EAST CRUISES
• One night pre-cruise hotel accommodation with breakfast
• Transfer from the airport to the hotel on the day prior to embarkation
• Transfer from the hotel to the port for embarkation
• Transfer from the port to the airport on return
• Onboard accommodation
• All meals onboard including room service 24 hours a day
• Coffee, tea, soft drinks & select alcoholic beverages 24 hours a day
• Lecture programmes by our experienced expedition team and guest speakers
• Shore excursion programme led by our expert expedition team
• Branded Swan Hellenic expedition parka
• Use of rubber boots for shore landings
• Basic WIFI inclusion (Premium WIFI available)
• Onboard gratuities & port taxes

INCLUSIONS FOR ANTARCTICA CRUISES
• Return flights: Buenos Aires to Ushuaia or Santiago to Ushuaia
• One night pre-cruise hotel accommodation with breakfast
• Transfer from the airport to the hotel on the day prior to embarkation
• Transfer from the hotel to the port for embarkation
• Transfer from the port to the airport on return
• Onboard accommodation
• All meals onboard including room service 24 hours a day
• Coffee, tea, soft drinks & select alcoholic beverages 24 hours a day
• Lecture programmes by our experienced expedition team and guest speakers
• Shore excursion programme led by our expert expedition team
• Branded Swan Hellenic expedition parka
• Use of rubber boots for shore landings
• Basic WIFI (Premium WIFI available)
• Onboard gratuities & port taxes

INCLUSIONS FOR REST OF WORLD CRUISES
• One night pre-cruise hotel accommodation with breakfast
• Transfer from the airport to the hotel on the day prior to embarkation
• Transfer from the hotel to the port for embarkation
• Transfer from the port to the airport on return
• Onboard accommodation
• All meals onboard including room service 24 hours a day
• Coffee, tea, soft drinks & select alcoholic beverages 24 hours a day
• Lecture programmes by our experienced expedition team and guest speakers
• On shore transfer per port of call
• Basic WIFI inclusion (Premium WIFI available)
• Onboard gratuities & port taxes

Exclusions


• Additional activities such as kayaking, private tours, special arrangements, private Zodiac tours
• Laundry
• Premium wines and spirits
• Purchases in the ship's boutique
• Any spa treatments
• Upgraded WiFi data packages
• Visas where required
• Travel Insurance
• Flights
• Domestic transfers
• Hotel requirements (pre/post cruise) unless otherwise stated in the itinerary description
Minerva
Japan Small Ship CruiseSmall Ship Cruise
11 Days from
$18,140 NZD pp

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0800 945 3327

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1800 107 715

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