This January, Crystal Cruises is offering history buffs the fascinating opportunity to visit some of the most pivotal battlegrounds and historical sites of World War II’s Pacific Campaign, along with key experts to share insider perspectives.
On January 19, Crystal Serenity kicks off the first leg of its World Cruise with a carefully crafted Pacific Ocean Odyssey from Los Angeles to Hilo, Honolulu, Guam, Okinawa, Saipan and Tokyo's port of Yokohama.
Headlining 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.
Providing additional insights, 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.
Ashore, guests can experience new WWII-focused Crystal Adventures on almost every island of the itinerary, including:
• On Oahu, up to 14 guests can 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.
• Excursions to various 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.
• Fly 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.
• In Okinawa, tour 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.
• Okinawa’s 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 input.
“This cruise offers some of the most strategic islands that proved to be key battlefields for both sides during the Pacific Theatre,” says John Stoll, vice president of land programs.
“From the attack on Pearl Harbor which brought the US into WWII to the surrender of Emperor Hirohito and V-J Day in Tokyo Bay aboard the battleship Missouri, excursions span the entire Pacific Campaign. This fascinating collection of destinations and distinguished group of speakers is sure to invite hours of stimulating discussions.”
All-inclusive fares for the 22-day U.S. to Asia cruise start at $8,110/person, with a shorter, 16-day “Getaway” version also available from Honolulu for $5,655/person. Both options offer $900 in savings if booked by August 30.