Princess Cruises to base two ships in Japan next year

Continuing its strategic expansion in Asia, Miami-based Carnival Corp. said Wednesday it will station two of its Princess Cruises ships in Japan in 2014.

The cruise giant had previously said that the 2,022-passenger Sun Princess would sail in Japan. That ship will sail from Otaru, a northern coastal town, as well as Kobe

Diamond Princess, with room for 2,670 passengers, will be based in Tokyo for a series of nine-day cruises that include stops in Japan, Taiwan, South Korea and Russia.

The two ships will sail between April and October. Princess Cruises said some changes will be made for the deployment, including having Japanese-speaking crew members in key positions; adding cuisine that will appeal to the local market such as an a la carte sushi bar and noodle bar; offering regional tea tastings and a special sake menu and creating enrichment programs and events for the local market.

Parent company Carnival Corp. said in a statement that the plan is to grow the market in Japan to 100,000 passengers.

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