While sun-soaked Caribbean vacations certainly have their place, why not opt for the alluring Far East on your next cruise?  Journey to a land brimming with ancient traditions and epicurean adventures for a truly magical getaway. To inspire you, we’ve hand-picked the best excursions in East Asia that go beyond the beach.

Japan

Kobe: Arima Onsen

Sneak away to this hidden gem, and leave the weight of the world behind.  Located behind Mount Rokko, the hot spring bath is said to bring tranquility, even healing. A perfect spot to relax and rejuvenate, Arima Onsen offers half day, full day and spa packages.

Kyoto (Osaka): Golden Pavilion

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The Buddist Temple is nestled within the Rokuon-ji Temple Complex functions as a sheridan, housing Budda’s ashes. The top two floors of the Pavilion are covered in gold leaf, and each floor represents a distinct architectural style. You’ll be able to observe the zen typology and how elements of nature are intermingled between the Pavilion and the beautiful gardens brimming with reflection ponds.

Shimizu (Mt. Fuji)

Sitting 12,388 feet above sea level, the highest mountain in Japan is one of the countries “Three Holy Mountains.” So majestic and sacred, the active volcano not only draws artists seeking inspiration but UNESCO recognizes 25 sites of cultural interest within the Mount Fuji locality.

China

Shanghai (Baoshan): The Bund

One of the most recognizable symbols, The Bund is a great place to see historical buildings with various architectural styles. Be sure to go early and catch the sunset.

Beijing (Tianjin): Tiananmen Square and Summer Palace

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Tiananmen Square is located in the center of Beijing, is the epicenter of many important events in Chinese History. Tiananmen, meaning  “Gate of Heavenly Peace,”  can hold up to one million people. The breathtaking 700-acre garden is a short drive from Beijing and a great place to spend half of the day.

Hong Kong

A Day in Macau

An hour-long ferry ride from Hong Kong brings you to the UNESCO World Heritage site filled with ornate churches and charming cobblestone streets. Many tours offer lunch high atop the Macau tower. Enjoy panoramic views of the land or try the world’s highest bungee jump at the top of the tower.

Busan South Korea

Gyeongju

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Uncover the wonders of the UNESCO World Heritage site, the charming coastal town of Gyeongju. Step back in time to an ancient civilization dating as far back as 680 AD in what once was the ancient city of Silla. Be sure to visit the  Bulguk Temple and Seokguram while in Gyeongju.