The Yachts of Seabourn has added 40 fascinating new tours in China, Korea, Japan, Thailand and Vietnam, expanding the options for guests exploring the Far East on the company’s year-round 2010 schedule of Asia voyages aboard the intimate, all-suite Seabourn Pride.
Among Seabourn’s new offerings are a culinary excursion allowing guests to taste a variety of Japanese delicacies, an introduction to the serene Chinese discipline of tai chi, and a monk-guided visit to a mountainside Buddhist temple in South Korea.
“We have created a collection of small-group shore excursions that will immerse our guests in the local cultures while they sail with us in Asia,” said Pamela C. Conover, Seabourn’s president and CEO. “Guests will do more than simply see Asia,” she continued. “These experiences will add unforgettable chapters to their life stories.”
Highlights of Seabourn’s new shore excursions in Asia include:
• Dalian, China– Experience traditional Chinese hospitality during face-to-face meetings with local people in their homes, schools and popular squares and other social gathering sites. Or watch young female cadets train for ceremonial equestrian duties at the Dalian Mounted Policewomen Base, mounted on thoroughbred horses retired from Hong Kong’s racetrack.
• Qingdao, China – Discover the old and new faces of Qingdao, a former German colony and home to Tsingtao, China’s oldest beer brewery, built by Germans in 1903 and today popular throughout the world. See the city’s Olympic Sailing Center and taste freshly-brewed beer directly from the production line. Or learn and practice from a Tai Chi master the Chinese art of Tai Chi, the immensely popular exercise combining thought and action, and reflecting Taoist techniques of stabilizing cosmic energy.
• Shanghai, China– Stroll some of the many ancient stone and wooden bridges connecting the meandering alleyways of 1,700-year old Zhujiajiao, a venerable “water-town” set amongst lakes and mountains. Or enjoy a delicious “Moveable Feast” including cocktails, dinner, dessert and after-dinner drinks at four highly-acclaimed restaurants located at Number Three on the Bund, one of Shanghai's most outstanding architectural landmarks.
• Incheon, South Korea– Visit the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), the 155-mile long frontline of the ongoing Korean Cold War. Learn about the war at the DMZ Exhibition Hall, and see the North Korean “propaganda village” built within sight of the South inside the DMZ. Or enjoy shopping for authentic Korean products among the antique stores, art galleries, clothing, paper crafts and ceramics stores at Insadong, a center of Korean culture dating from 1392.
• Yeosu, South Korea –With a Buddhist monk as a guide, explore the tranquil setting of the mountainside Hwaeomsa Temple, one of Korea’s most famous Buddhist temples. A formal tea ceremony, a lesson in meditation, and a vegetarian lunch prepared at the temple will leave you spiritually refreshed.
• Mokpo, South Korea – Visit the amazing Bamboo Museum, home to an astonishing collection of thousands of items created from bamboo throughout Korean history. Or delight in a taste of fragrant tea made from the rare white lotus on a visit to the White Lotus Pond of Hoesan.
• Jeju, South Korea – Watch haenyeos, Korean female free divers, who swim into the depths of the ocean along Jeju’s coastline to gather shellfish and seaweed while simply holding their breath. Visit the Haenyeo Museum to learn more about these traditional “mermaids of Jeju.”
• Busan, South Korea – Explore the former Silla Kingdom capital of Gyeongju, a "museum without walls" designated by UNESCO as one of the world's ten most historically significant sites, including a visit of the 6th-century Bulguksa Temple and the treasures in the Gyeongju National Museum.
• Kagoshima, Japan – Taste some of Japan's most revered, gastronomic products including: Kurozu, a traditional rice vinegar; Karukan, a popular sweet made from yams, Satsumaage, a fried fish cake, and sweets made from bean paste. At Hombo Sake Brewery, observe traditional ways of making distilled shochu liquor, and sample matured sakes made not only from rice, but also yams, wheat and plums.
• Nagasaki, Japan – Discover the origins of beautiful Japanese ceramics in the nearby town of Arita. Or walk though the Samurai Houses of Shimabara Bukeyashiki, where high-ranking warriors lived within the castle grounds.
These and numerous other once-in-a-lifetime adventures are available during Seabourn Pride’s year-round cruises in Asia. Guests can reserve space on Seabourn’s optional shore excursions online prior to their cruise by visiting www.seabourn.com. For a limited time, Seabourn is offering two-for-one cruise fares with included round-trip air, or cruise-only fares featuring savings up to 65 percent. The promotion is valid for Seabourn voyages in Asia departing between June and August 2010. Cruises of 10 to 14 days in Asia aboard Seabourn Pride start from $3,499 cruise-only and $5,400 with air. Inclusive air is available from 40 North American gateways. Certain other restrictions apply.