Russia & Japan Cruise ADVENTURE STARTS HERE

Shanghai (Baoshan) , China | Vladivostok , Russia | Kyoto (Maizuru) , Japan | Fukuoka , Japan | Shanghai (Baoshan) , China

Get to know your ship

DAY 1 - Departure Day

Shanghai (Baoshan), China

DEPARTS:
4:30 PM

EXPLORE SHANGHAI

When you cruise from Shanghai, check the essential items off the to-do list: See the classical architecture of the Bund neighborhood and walk among the smell of tea and incense in the fortified Old City. Then, if you have extra time, see the nearby Qibao Ancient Town — check out the pagoda-like bell tower, see Qibao Template (it dates back to the 900s) and snap pics of the photogenic bridges and buildings along the Puhui River.

View of a traditional Chinese pagoda from the street in Shanghai, China
View of historical Waibaidu bridge and skyline of Shanghai, China
Yuyuan garden in Shanghai, China

When you cruise from Shanghai, check the essential items off the to-do list: See the classical architecture of the Bund neighborhood and walk among the smell of tea and incense in the fortified Old City. Then, if you have extra time, see the nearby Qibao Ancient Town — check out the pagoda-like bell tower, see Qibao Template (it dates back to the 900s) and snap pics of the photogenic bridges and buildings along the Puhui River.

View of a traditional Chinese pagoda from the street in Shanghai, China
View of historical Waibaidu bridge and skyline of Shanghai, China
Yuyuan garden in Shanghai, China
Things To Do

in Shanghai (Baoshan)

Historical buildings at the Bund in Shanghai, China

Better in the Bund

The Bund is Shanghai's art deco heritage neighborhood, with colonial architecture from the 1920s and '40s. Walk along the riverfront promenade at the golden hour for beautiful photos — from here, you can see the futuristic skyscrapers of Pudong's skyscrapers across the river.

Shanghai Towers and cityscape of Shanghai, China

Height of Adventure

Take a river cruise to see some of Shanghai's modern architectural highlights: The 1536-foot-tall Oriental Pearl Tower looks like something straight out of the Jetsons, while the twisting Shanghai Tower, the second tallest building in the world, is meant to evoke a lucky dragon coming out of the earth. The World Finance Center Tower looks like a giant bottle opener.

Traditional pavillions in Yuyuan Gardens in Shanghai, China

Ancient Ambiance

Get a feel for old China by wandering through the Yu Garden during your Shanghai cruise vacation. The classical garden is 400 years old, with carp-filled pools and bamboo groves. See more of ancient China at the Shanghai Museum, which has 120,000 ancient relics, including bronze artifacts and sculptures.

Dumplings with dip in Shanghai, China

Local Cuisine

Eating in Shanghai is all about street food. You'll see people drinking from giant dumplings through strwas in a dish called xiao long bao — a soup dumpling. Join in, or eat them with chopsticks in a sit-down restaurant. Try cold noodles with eel, ginger and bamboo shoots, or pick up a flaky, pork-flecked scallion pancake — this comfort food is practically a way of life here.

Red Chinese lanterns at the antique market in Shanghai, China

Shopping

It's hard not to find shopping in Shanghai. Nanjing Road is the busiest, with everything from specialty food shops to modern malls. If you have time to get something tailored, try the South Bund Fabric Market. During your China cruise, pick up a distinctive Chinese red lantern at the Antique Market or at most street markets.

INSIDER TIP

China's currency is the renminbi (abbreviated as RMB) and also called the yuan. Shanghai has lots of ATMs, though not all accept foreign cards. Smaller Chinese cities don't always have ATMs, so it's wise to stock up on extra cash in Shanghai.

DAY 2 - AT SEA

CRUISING

DAY 3 - AT SEA

CRUISING

DAY 4 - DOCKED

Vladivostok, Russia

ARRIVES:
5:00 AM
DEPARTS:
8:00 PM

Eastern City

Say "privet" — Russian for "hello" — to history with a trip to Vladivostok Fortress, with its 19th-century military fortifications, and catch a traditional changing of the guard ceremony. Get up-close and personal with the dolphins of Primorsky Aquarium, or head out onto the water yourself and go for a stand-up paddleboarding adventure just off the Vladivostok Embankment.

The Zolotoy Golden Bridge, a cable bridge crossing the Zolotoy Rog in Vladivostok, Russia
Chapel and Monument of Cyril and Methodius, Educators and creators of the Slavic alphabet Eagle Nest Mount in Vladivostok, Russia
Waterfountain on Admiral Fokin street in Vladivostok, Russia

Say "privet" — Russian for "hello" — to history with a trip to Vladivostok Fortress, with its 19th-century military fortifications, and catch a traditional changing of the guard ceremony. Get up-close and personal with the dolphins of Primorsky Aquarium, or head out onto the water yourself and go for a stand-up paddleboarding adventure just off the Vladivostok Embankment.

The Zolotoy Golden Bridge, a cable bridge crossing the Zolotoy Rog in Vladivostok, Russia
Chapel and Monument of Cyril and Methodius, Educators and creators of the Slavic alphabet Eagle Nest Mount in Vladivostok, Russia
Waterfountain on Admiral Fokin street in Vladivostok, Russia
Things To Do

in Vladivostok

An old abandoned gun battery aiming at the bay in Vladivostok, Russia

Historic Stronghold

Check out Vladivostok Fortress: Its placards tell the story of the Russo-Japanese War. Enjoy a more inspiring history of the city by visiting the museum erected to honor Vladimir Arsenyev, whose explorations led to the founding of the city.

Shell shaped oceanarium in Vladivostok, Russia

Animals Abound

Primorsky Aquarium, appropriately shaped like a half-shell, is home to a small population of extremely friendly dolphins, which greet visitors several times per day. Alternatively, head to Primorye Safari Park, where Siberian tigers are in easy range of your camera, but far enough away not to eat you.

A unique beach of smooth glass, Glass Bay in Vladivostok, Russia

The Glass is Greener

While Vladivostok has only a few weeks per year of what can be considered beach weather, you don't have to visit in summer to enjoy the sea in Siberia. During your Russia cruise, carve out some time for an ice-fishing adventure, or take a walk along nearby Glass Beach, where eroded glass deposited over years has become multicolored stones on the shoreline.

Dumplings of Pan-Asian cuisine from a restaurant in Vladivostok, Russia

Local Cuisine

With a location closer to Seoul than Moscow — by a long shot — Vladivostok's cuisine is markedly Asian-inspired. Try Korean-inflected Pian-se dumplings, where ground meat, onions, spices and cabbage come together inside soft, steamed dough. Cruise to Russia and dig into this port city's top-notch cold-water seafood: Stop by the vendors at Sportivnaya Market and have them prepare you giant crab legs, ultra-fresh sea urchin or king prawns to eat on the spot.

Closeup of traditional Gzhel style, ceramic tableware in a shop in Vladivostok, Russia

Shopping

Shopping in Vladivostok is as diverse an experience as eating there, with goods that range from traditional Russian Matryoshka dolls to avant-garde paintings by local artists or Korean-influenced blue-and-white Ghzel porcelain plates and household items. You'll also find a large selection of locally produced liqueurs, including regional favorite Ussuri Balsam, a type of bitters flavored with the lemongrass that grows wild here.

INSIDER TIP

As is the case even in Moscow and St. Petersburg, most local Russians don't speak English. Download Russian in your phone's "Translate" app, and cache it so you can use it offline.

DAY 5 - AT SEA

CRUISING

DAY 6 - DOCKED

Kyoto (Maizuru), Japan

ARRIVES:
6:00 AM
DEPARTS:
6:00 PM

BLESSED BY NATURE

After docking in Maizuru, make your way to the Goro Sky Tower for sweeping views of the green Japanese countryside joining the blue ocean — these are some of the best vistas in all Japan. Stop in nearby Amanohashidate to see Naraiji temple and its statue of Kannon, the Buddhist goddess of mercy. Head further inland to see the opulent, stunning temples of Kyoto, including iconic Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine.

The orange or red column entrance for the Tori Gates in Kyoto, Japan
Women in Japenese traditional clothing walking the streets of Kyoto, Japan
The cityscape of Kyoto at sunset

After docking in Maizuru, make your way to the Goro Sky Tower for sweeping views of the green Japanese countryside joining the blue ocean — these are some of the best vistas in all Japan. Stop in nearby Amanohashidate to see Naraiji temple and its statue of Kannon, the Buddhist goddess of mercy. Head further inland to see the opulent, stunning temples of Kyoto, including iconic Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine.

The orange or red column entrance for the Tori Gates in Kyoto, Japan
Women in Japenese traditional clothing walking the streets of Kyoto, Japan
The cityscape of Kyoto at sunset
Things To Do

in Kyoto (Maizuru)

Maizuru's World Brick Museum Exterior View

Brick and Mortar

Because Maizuru was a naval base, many buildings were built with striking red brick instead of traditional wood. Learn exactly how brick transformed this little seaside town at the Maizuru Brick Park. Don't forget to take a peek at the nearby naval ships floating casually in the bay.

A mountain view of Kyoto's cityscape

Winding to the Heavens

The road to the Goro Sky Tower is almost as beautiful as the view from the tower itself. Winding up the side of a mountain, you'll find yourself surrounded by never-ending peaks and the vast blue ocean. From the tower, things get even better with an uninterrupted 360-degree view of the sea and the mountains.

A bridge crossing the beach with temples on either side filled with trees

Sandbar Stopover

Amanohashidate, translated as "Bridge in Heaven," is a picturesque sandbar stretching across the mouth of Miyazu Bay. With temples on either side, you can walk its length and enjoy the fine white sand. At the nearby Kitahama beach, the unique sand squeaks and sings as you step on it.

Traditional shojin ryori japanese vegetables

Local Cuisine

Try a shojin ryori, a vegetarian set menu of seasonal Japanese vegetables and tofu. If vegetarian food isn't your thing, the Maizuru Port Toretore Center has the freshest fish available in the whole of Kyoto. Be sure to try whatever fish is in season during your visit to Kyoto.

A rack of colorful kimonos for sale in Kyoto, Japan

Shopping

Pick up packets of Japanese seaweed snacks or dried fish at the Maixuru Port Toretore Center. For an unforgettable fashion experience, head inland to the Nishijin Textile center. You'll be treated to an array of brightly colored kimono and cloth imprinted with traditional floral designs.

INSIDER TIP

Maizuru is quite spread out, so keep an eye on the time to make sure you make it back for departure.

DAY 7 - DOCKED

Fukuoka, Japan

ARRIVES:
12:00 PM
DEPARTS:
9:00 PM

Fukuoka's got culture

Fukuoka is a historic port city where cultural imports from the Asian mainland were introduced to Japan. Explore Japan's first Zen Buddhist temple at Shofukuji. Then, see the ruins of Fukuoka Castle amid the dazzling cherry blossoms of Maizuru Park. Or hit the sands at Momochi Seaside Park, a long artificial beach along the waterfront, with modern skyscrapers towering behind you and forest-covered mountains in the distance.

Tocho-ji temple or Fukuoka Giant Buddha temple in Fukuoka, Japan
Traditional poled boat, parked at deck in Yanagawa, Fukuoka, Japan
Cherry blossoms with views of the Himeji Castle in Fukuoka, Japan

Fukuoka is a historic port city where cultural imports from the Asian mainland were introduced to Japan. Explore Japan's first Zen Buddhist temple at Shofukuji. Then, see the ruins of Fukuoka Castle amid the dazzling cherry blossoms of Maizuru Park. Or hit the sands at Momochi Seaside Park, a long artificial beach along the waterfront, with modern skyscrapers towering behind you and forest-covered mountains in the distance.

Tocho-ji temple or Fukuoka Giant Buddha temple in Fukuoka, Japan
Traditional poled boat, parked at deck in Yanagawa, Fukuoka, Japan
Cherry blossoms with views of the Himeji Castle in Fukuoka, Japan
Things To Do

in Fukuoka

Views of the 768 foot Fukuoka Tower in Fukuoka, Japan

Towering Views

Head over to the 768-foot Fukuoka Tower for stunning views of the city and the coast. Then take a relaxing stroll on the beach right next door at Momochi Seaside Park. To cool down, get familiar with local history at the nearby Fukuoka City Museum, which houses the Gold Seal, a national treasure linked to the foundations of Japan as a country.

Shofukuji Zen Temple in Hakata, Fukuoka, Japan

Get Centered

Founded in the late 12th century by the priest Eisai, Shofukuji is Japan's first temple dedicated to Zen Buddhism. The philosophy of Zen grew to become a central teaching for Japan's samurai warriors. The tranquil grounds here are perfect for reflection or a respite from the bustle of the city.

Main hall of Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine in Dazaifu, Fukuoka, Japan

Bee-Line for Shrines

On the outskirts of Fukuoka, Dazaifu is a historic administrative center packed with temples and shrines. During your Fukuoka, Japan cruise, head to the grandest of them all, Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine, dedicated to scholar Sugawara Michizane. Some 40 kilometers south but easily reachable by train, you can find Yanagawa, an ancient castle town of gorgeous old canals overhung by willows and cherry trees.

Ramen noodles is a local cuisine in Fukuoka, Japan

Local Cuisine

Fukuoka is synonymous with noodles. While ramen originated in China, Fukuoka took the dish to new heights with its hearty tonkotsu broth — made from long-simmered pork bones — and long, thin noodles. One of the best ways to enjoy this dish is at an outdoor yatai stand, where the beer and sake flow.

Ceramic Japanese dolls known as Hakata Ningyo from the 17th century found in Japan

Shopping

In Fukuoka, you can pick up Hakata ningyo, ceramic dolls that were first made in the 17th century and gained international renown in the 19th. They're elaborately painted and can be remarkably lifelike. Shogetsudo in the Nakasu district offers a wide selection of dolls — you can even create your own.

INSIDER TIP

There's no tipping in Japan, but there is a blanket 8 percent sales tax. Look for tax-free sales promotions.

DAY 8 - AT SEA

CRUISING

DAY 9 - Arrival Day

Shanghai (Baoshan), China

ARRIVES:
7:00 AM

BACK TO THE FUTURE

Most international flights arrive at Pudong Airport. Take the bullet train into the city; it takes only 8 minutes between the airport and Longyang Road Station. From there, check out Longhua Temple: You'll recognize its two-meter-tall copper bell from Steven Spielberg's "Empire of the Sun." Then, marvel at the modern skycrapers of Pudong — head to the Oriental Pearl Tower with its three distinctive spheres and get a 360-degree view of the city from the observation deck.

View of the skyscrapers at the Pudong district
The Jade Buddha Temple with a fountain on a sunny day in Shanghai, China
Beautiful river scene of Old Chinatown in Shanghai, China

Most international flights arrive at Pudong Airport. Take the bullet train into the city; it takes only 8 minutes between the airport and Longyang Road Station. From there, check out Longhua Temple: You'll recognize its two-meter-tall copper bell from Steven Spielberg's "Empire of the Sun." Then, marvel at the modern skycrapers of Pudong — head to the Oriental Pearl Tower with its three distinctive spheres and get a 360-degree view of the city from the observation deck.

View of the skyscrapers at the Pudong district
The Jade Buddha Temple with a fountain on a sunny day in Shanghai, China
Beautiful river scene of Old Chinatown in Shanghai, China
Things To Do

in Shanghai (Baoshan)

Historical buildings at the Bund in Shanghai, China

Better in the Bund

The Bund is Shanghai's art deco heritage neighborhood, with colonial architecture from the 1920s and '40s. Walk along the riverfront promenade at the golden hour for beautiful photos — from here, you can see the futuristic skyscrapers of Pudong's skyscrapers across the river.

Shanghai Towers and cityscape of Shanghai, China

Height of Adventure

Take a river cruise to see some of Shanghai's modern architectural highlights: The 1536-foot-tall Oriental Pearl Tower looks like something straight out of the Jetsons, while the twisting Shanghai Tower, the second tallest building in the world, is meant to evoke a lucky dragon coming out of the earth. The World Finance Center Tower looks like a giant bottle opener.

Traditional pavillions in Yuyuan Gardens in Shanghai, China

Ancient Ambiance

Get a feel for old China by wandering through the Yu Garden during your Shanghai cruise vacation. The classical garden is 400 years old, with carp-filled pools and bamboo groves. See more of ancient China at the Shanghai Museum, which has 120,000 ancient relics, including bronze artifacts and sculptures.

Dumplings with dip in Shanghai, China

Local Cuisine

Eating in Shanghai is all about street food. You'll see people drinking from giant dumplings through strwas in a dish called xiao long bao — a soup dumpling. Join in, or eat them with chopsticks in a sit-down restaurant. Try cold noodles with eel, ginger and bamboo shoots, or pick up a flaky, pork-flecked scallion pancake — this comfort food is practically a way of life here.

Red Chinese lanterns at the antique market in Shanghai, China

Shopping

It's hard not to find shopping in Shanghai. Nanjing Road is the busiest, with everything from specialty food shops to modern malls. If you have time to get something tailored, try the South Bund Fabric Market. During your China cruise, pick up a distinctive Chinese red lantern at the Antique Market or at most street markets.

INSIDER TIP

Check visa rules carefully. They vary greatly depending on your nationality, length of stay, where you visit and if you re-enter the country.

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