Sailing from Canada
Setting sail from Vancouver
Cosmopolitan Vancouver is a city that rewards exploration, an eminently liveable place and an easy gateway to the natural beauty of British Columbia. The culinary scene here is a particular draw, with seafood galore and some fantastic Asian restaurants, and the city has also been at the forefront of the craft beer movement. Verdant Stanley Park is a favourite of locals and visitors alike, while Kitsilano's beaches and wooden houses are wonderfully picturesque. Cultural attractions tend to be on a smaller scale than you'd expect from a city of this size, but the thrill of stumbling across one of Vancouver's quirky little galleries is all part of the city's appeal.
Canadians call their one-dollar coins “loonies” (because it bears the image of a loon) and their two-dollar coins “toonies” so sort out your vocabulary and talk like a local!
United States: Ketchikan
Ketchikan is a great introduction to Alaska’s natural attractions, situated at the foot of towering Deer Mountain and within easy reach of the Misty Fjords. The colourful wooden buildings of Creek Street, the old red light district, are a reminder of Ketchikan’s former status as a rough and ready frontier town; these days, things are rather more civilised!
United States: Sitka
Sitka was founded by Russian fur traders in 1799 as the city of New Archangel, and there is still a discernible Russian influence here, including the distinctive St Michael’s Orthodox Cathedral. The town also enjoys spectacular natural surroundings, facing the Pacific Ocean and dramatic Mount Edgecumbe.
United States: Valdez
United States: Seward
The tiny city of Seward, home to just 3,000 people, enjoys a spectacular setting on the edge of Resurrection Bay, on Alaska’s southern coast. Surrounded by the mountains and forests of the Kenai Fjords National Park, it’s a great base for exploring the Harding Ice Field and the stunning scenery of the Kenai Peninsula.
United States: Kodiak
Kodiak is known as Alaska’s ‘Emerald Isle’ thanks to the lush green countryside, a landscape crisscrossed by gushing salmon-filled streams that provides a home to around 3,000 Kodiak bears, the world’s largest. Ships dock in Kodiak city, an important fishing port with a fascinating Russian heritage.
United States: Dutch Harbor
Dutch Harbor is the port that serves the city of Unalaska, and is known for the hardy fishermen who brave the turbulent, icy seas off the Aleutian Islands. Points of interest include the remains of defensive fortifications built during the Second World War and the striking Russian Orthodox church.
The charming port town of Otaru has a notable history, playing an important role in the herring trade during the 19th century, and this is reflected in the stone warehouses alongside the picturesque canal.
In a state of constant renewal and forever looking to the future, densely populated Tokyo is a dazzling introduction to Japan and its utterly unique culture. With more neon than Las Vegas and more Michelin stars than Paris, it’s a real assault on the senses.
Shimizu is one of the most spectacular ports in Japan, a sweeping bay in the shadow of the iconic Mount Fuji. You can spend some time admiring the views and wandering through peaceful pine groves, or visit the unique Shimizu Sushi Museum at the S-Pulse Dream Plaza shopping mall.
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.
Steam rises over the spa town of Beppu, home to numerous onsen (hot springs) and the surreal red waters of the macabre-sounding ‘blood pond hell’. Beppu is also close to Mount Aso, the largest active volcano in Japan, and the ancient temples of the Kunisaki Peninsula.
The friendly southern Japanese city of Kagoshima enjoys a balmy climate, and sits just across the bay from the very active Sakurajima volcano, which erupts so regularly that an ‘ash forecast’ is included in local weather reports.
Three days after Hiroshima was flattened by an atomic bomb, Nagasaki suffered the same horrifying fate. The reconstruction of both cities has been quite extraordinary; Nagasaki today is a vibrant, cosmopolitan place, with a fascinating history that goes back a lot further than 1945.
Taiwan: Keelung (Taipei)
Keelung is a fairly unremarkable port city close to Taipei, Taiwan’s capital. Taipei draws on an interesting mix of Chinese, Japanese and Western influences, and is home to attractive temples, a burgeoning street food scene and Taipei 101, which was the world's tallest building until it was eclipsed by Dubai's Burj Khalifa in 2010.
Arriving in Hong Kong
Hong Kong is a fantastic place to begin or end a cruise, a striking mix of ancient and modern, Chinese and British, and there is a lot more to the city than just skyscrapers and high finance. On Hong Kong Island itself you'll find the bustling financial centre of Central district, the more traditionally Chinese Western district and the shops of Causeway Bay, while on the mainland Kowloon Peninsula the district of Tsim Sha Tsui is where most of Hong Kong's best hotels are located, and the atmospheric markets of Mong Kok are just to the north.
The views from Victoria Peak. Accessible by the Peak Tram, a funicular railway which claims to be one of the oldest cableways in the world, the views across the city are excellent.
Your home from home
Viking’s hugely successful river cruise operation is now expanded with contemporary 930-guest ocean ships – six lovely sisters to start with – featuring attractive inclusive pricing and interesting itineraries.
What we love
The airy contemporary style of the ships, with fresh Nordic décor, is most appealing. Add to that the huge choices in dining and other facilities, and veranda staterooms throughout, not to mention included shore excursions and an excellent spa, and you have a winner.
|Crew||602 International Staff|
On Viking it is all about the destination. Back on board, expect to socialise with like-minded travellers, in an easy, spacious and understated hotel style environment.
Tailor-make your trip
Our favourite hotel in Vancouver
If you’re not committed to the waterfront where the ships come in, we love the Rosewood Hotel Georgia.
Stay a little longer in Canada
If you’ve time, set aside a couple of days to travel to Knight Inlet Lodge for bear viewing.
Our favourite hotel in Hong Kong
The iconic Peninsula Hong Kong is, in our opinion, the city’s finest, and the Harbour View rooms offer picture postcard views of Victoria Harbour.
Explore Hong Kong
There’s more to Hong Kong than just the city, so explore Lantau Island, home to the Po Lin Monastery and its 34 metre high bronze Tian Tan Budda statue.