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Setting sail from Shanghai
Shanghai has long been China's most outward-looking, cosmopolitan city, as evidenced by the fascinating mixture of European and Oriental architecture. The Bund, a riverfront promenade flanked by grand colonial era buildings, is the city's most famous thoroughfare, while the Pudong financial district lights up the city skyline at night with its futuristic towers. Shanghai's restaurant scene is thriving like never before, with a number of Michelin-starred chefs setting up shop here, while Nanjing Road is the place to head for a spot of retail therapy, with its shiny shopping malls and luxury boutiques.
Take time to stroll along the Bund where the Gothic, Baroque, Romanesque, Classical and Renaissance style buildings of the west side are starkly juxtaposed with the super modern Pudong district.
Dalian is an eminently liveable city on the Yellow Sea coast, blessed with a pleasant climate, excellent beaches and a noticeable lack of pollution compared to many Chinese cities. At the centre of Dalian is the vast Xinghai Square, the biggest in the world at a mind boggling 1,760,000 square metres.
China: Beijing (Tianjin)
Home to 11 million people and an astonishing six UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Beijing is an exhilarating introduction to China’s distinctive history, society and culture. Feast your eyes on the majestic Forbidden City and the Summer Palace, along with spectacular modern architecture such as the iconic Bird's Nest Stadium.
South Korea: Incheon (Seoul)
Incheon serves as a transport hub for Seoul, South Korea's captivating capital. Seoul is a dynamic metropolis where you can still find tea shops and temples amongst the skyscrapers and neon signs, and the culinary scene is superb, from street food to world class haute cuisine.
South Korea: Busan
Busan is South Korea’s second biggest city and one of the world’s busiest container ports, but it’s an easygoing place with a discernibly different character to Seoul. Haeundae beach is a popular summer holiday destination for Koreans, while the pungent Jagalchi market sells every type of fish and sea creature imaginable.
Osaka, Japan’s third largest city, is a pulsating commercial hub, famous for its food, and the cityscape rivals Tokyo for neon-lit futurism. If you need respite from the urban sprawl seek out Osaka Castle and the surrounding Nishinomaru Garden, a particularly pretty spot during the cherry blossom season.
On 6 August 1945 the world witnessed the terrifying power of nuclear weapons for the first time, unleashed on the unsuspecting Japanese city of Hiroshima. The modern city's sobering Peace Memorial Park commemorates that fateful day, which left more than 140,000 dead.
The laid back port city of Takamatsu sits on the north coast of Shikoku, the smallest of Japan’s major islands, and is home to the beautifully designed Ritsurin Koen, one of Japan’s most famous historical gardens.
Arriving in Kobe
Small in size and cosmopolitan in its outlook, Kobe is a thoroughly pleasant city with a long and distinguished history as one of Japan's main trading ports. Kobe's past as a commercial hub is reflected in its architecture, with a number of unusually European-looking houses, as well as a charming, if slightly touristy, Chinatown. Kobe is overlooked by Mount Rokko, and you can take a cable car to the top for marvellous views. The city is also an important centre for sake production, so it's a great place to sample Japan's most famous tipple.
Kitano-cho was the centre of foreign trade in the 19th century, so here you can find the former mansions, Ijinkan, which are open to the public. A great area to just wander around.
Your home from home
Any one of Seabourn's lovely little trio of spacious and elegant sisters is the perfect choice for a combination of contemporary style and traditional expert hospitality.
What we love
When Seabourn built Odyssey, Sojourn and Quest, over a period of just three years, we were delighted. Not only because each one is beautiful, but also because their similarity means that they are interchangeable, enabling you to travel all over the world in a familiar environment.
|Crew||330 International Staff|
|Style||The contemporary décor appeals to a sophisticated and cosmopolitan crowd. With lots of outside space, you can enjoy an al fresco experience if you choose.|
|Odyssey 2009, Sojourn 2010, Quest 2011|
|Cruising Speed||19 knots|
Tailor-make your trip
Where to stay in Shanghai
So many fabulous hotels to choose from, but we would go for the Peninsula on the Bund.
Another side to Shanghai
Wander the Yuyuan Gardens with its serene fish ponds, pretty pagodas and enjoy a rest from the crowds at the Mid-Lake Pavilion Teahouse, reached by a zigzag causeway designed to stop evil spirits.
Where to stay in Kobe
We like Hotel La Suite right on the waterfront.
Go to the Sake breweries in the Nada district – much of the best sake comes from this region.