Every cruise line has its niche. Crystal Cruises is one of the few with several appealing characeristics, one of which is its attractiveness to more cerebral seafarers who prefer to expand the mind more than their tan lines and stay indoors for the luxury line’s enrichment programs and lectures. That said, the Los Angeles, California-based luxury cruise ship operator is offering a special World World II themed cruise this January that is bound to bring out the history buffs.
On January 19, 2014 the Crystal Serenity begins her first leg of Pacific Ocean Odyssey world cruise that begins in Los Angeles and continues on to Hilo, Honolulu, Guam, Okinawa, Saipan and Tokyo's port of Yokohama. To enhance the experience is best-selling author James Bradley, author of “Flags of Our Fathers”, the book-turned-Eastwood/Spielberg film about James’ father and five other soldiers who were immortalized raising the American flag on Iwo Jima in the iconic Pulitzer-winning photograph.
Offering more color, context and history, will be Don Farrell, veteran, Mariana Island historian and local official in Guam and Tinian and General Anthony Zinni, former Four-star General and Commander in Chief of U.S. Central Command. Then when going ashore passengers will be able to experience new WWII-focused Crystal Adventures on almost every island of the itinerary, including:
- A flight to the island of Tinian (from Saipan), to see the once-massive airbase from whence B-29 bombers carried the atomic bombs “Little Boy” and “Fat Man” for their fateful missions on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
- Visiting the sites from 1944’s Battle of Saipan, including the American Soldiers Landing Point, Banzai Cliff, and the American Memorial Park, which commemorates the Marianas Island campaign.
- A lunch in the Captain’s cabin of the U.S.S. Missouri, the last battleship built by the U.S. and the site of the Japanese surrender which ended the war.
- In Okinawa, a tour of the Japanese Navy’s underground headquarters, plus numerous memorials -- such as Peace Memorial Park and the Himeyuri Monument and Peace Museum -- related to the Battle of Okinawa, the largest amphibious assault of the Pacific War. Also a trip to Shuri Castle home of the Japanese military’s WWII HQ and now an UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Guam’s WWII-related memorials or battlegrounds, including Ga’an Point, Asan Beach Park, and other areas of interest within the War in the Pacific National Historical Park.
- Multiple tours explore Pearl Harbor and the Arizona Memorial, as well as Oahu’s less-famous battlefields, military bases & memorials, such as Wheeler Army Airfield, Schofield Barracks, Ft. Shafter, Punchbowl National Memorial Cemetery, and the Home of the Brave Museum.
The voyage will also feature a veterans’ get-together of guests and crew of all nations to share personal observances and stories, as well as Ocean Views-themed expert panel discussions of world affairs, with audience feedback.
All-inclusive fares (gratuities, spirits and wines) for the 22-day U.S. to Asia cruise start at $8,110 per passenger with a shorter, 16-day version available from Honolulu for $5,655 per person. Both options offer $900 in savings if booked by August 30, 2013.
True WWII buffs might like to watch the attached video.