On Wednesday, March 1st, the Phoenix Reisen-operated cruise ship Amadea arrived at Port Shizuoka (Shimizu, Japan) marking the first arrival of a foreign vessel in the country in the past 3 years due to the government's suspension of sailings.
Amadea carried ~500 passengers plus 300 crew and was the first of 212 cruise vessels scheduled to visit Japan this year, with some expected to make multiple calls.
The liner docked at the port of Shimizu at 8 am and was welcomed with a drumming performance by local musicians, with Mount Fuji in the background. After health checks onboard, passengers began disembarking at ~9 am.
The 29,000 GT Amadea departed from Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands on February 25th and is scheduled to depart from Shizuoka for Tokyo the same day. Before the COVID crisis, Japan had 1932 cruise ship calls in 2019, bringing ~2,15 million tourists. However, the Japanese government suspended the acceptance of foreign ships in March 2020 due to the COVID outbreak on Diamond Princess.
Image: Port of Shizuoka (Shimizu, Japan)
In November 2022, Japan's government reopened ports to cruisers following concerns that the country could lose its share of the market to other countries that had reopened ports. Industry associations crafted guidelines, while the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism also contributed to the measures. These include confirming passengers' vaccination statuses, quarantining infected travelers, and allowing ship doctors to decide whether voyages can continue.