Sasebo is a port city in Japan's Nagasaki Prefecture. It has population around 260,000. The city includes part of Saikai National Park. In the city's southern part is the famous Huis Ten Bosch amusement park, recreating Holland by displaying life-size copies of Dutch buildings. Current-day Sasebo City is a merger of Sasebo with Sechibaru and Yoshii (merged in 2005), Kosaza and Uku (merged in 2006) and Emukae and Shikamachi (merged in 2010). Kujukushima Islands (top-travel destination in Sasebo City) are part of the Saikai National Park, and is popular for the panoramic views from the Tenkaiho Observatory Tower.
Sasebo City was founded in 1902. On June 29, 1945, at the very end of WW2 (1939-1945), half of the city was destroyed by US bombers. Sasebo was among the 17 targets pre-selected by USA (with the UK's consent) for the dropping of the uranium gun-type atomic bomb "Little Boy".
The port was founded in 1886 and became a major Japanese navy facility heavily used in Japan's wars with China (Qing Empire, 1894-1895) and with Russia (Russian Empire, 1904-1905). The port remained a major naval base to the end of World War 2 (1939-1945). The port has an active fleet of fishing vessels. The shipbuilding yard (Sasebo Heavy Industries Co) is adjacent to the naval base.
On January 31, 2017, Sasebo was selected as one of all 6 Japanese ports to receive private funding for structural upgrades of their cruise terminal facilities.
- The project aimed to attract more cruise ships and to increase the number of visiting international passengers. The other ports in that list are Yokohama, Shimizu, Yatsushiro-Kumamoto, Motobu and Miyakojima.
- At the above-listed ports, cruise companies will build passenger terminals and other port facilities using their own funds. Other companies and lines/operators will be also allowed to use these facilities. However, the cruise ship companies that will build the new port facilities will be given priority to use the wharves.
- The companies involved in the port building project are NYK Cruises (subsidiary of the Japanese cargo shipping corporation Nippon Yusen Kaisha / NYK Line) and RCCL (Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd).
- In 2016, the number of cruise ship visitors to Japan reached 1,9 million. In comparison, 2013 season's statistics showed only 174,000 passengers.
On March 12, 2018, Carnival Corporation signed a long-term agreement with Port Sasebo, under which Carnival starts the construction of a new cruise terminal (Uragashira) on October 7 (2019), with planned completion in 2020.
Sasebo cruise terminal
Cruise ships to Sasebo dock at Miura Berth (draft 10 m / 33 ft) and Shin-minato Berth (draft 7,5 m / 25 ft). Port Sasebo is easily accessible with the city's well-developed public transportation system, including JR Station (westernmost in the Japan Railways Group / JR Group-operated passenger train system), Bus Station, Express Way (highway). Nagasaki Airport is located at just 20 ml / 30 km from Sasebo (1 hour drive distance via Express Way), which is the reason why fly-cruise deals are very popular.
The cruise terminal is located within 5-min walking distance to JR Sasebo Station, 5-min walk to Sasebo Bus Station, 30-min drive to the city's main sightseeing attractions, 2-hour train ride to Fukuoka (Hakata Station), 1,5 hour high-speed boat ride to Goto Islands.
(NEW) Uragashira Cruise Terminal (Carnival)
On March 12, 2018, world's largest passenger shipping company Carnival Corporation signed a long-term agreement with Port Sasebo, under which Carnival started the construction of a new cruise terminal with 1 berth and a 1-story building. The facility's construction started on Oct 7 (2019) and is planned for completion in 2020 - for the Tokyo Olympic Games.
The new terminal is located at Sasebo Bay and designed by the Canadian company BBA Design Consultants Inc (based in Vancouver BC). Terminal building's design features a curving roof (also serving its cooling), sawtooth skylights (facing north to maximize natural light) and steel frame with glass walls. The 50,000-ft2 (4645 m2) sized building’s interior design features mainly metal-steel constructions with wooden finishes, retail shops, passenger waiting hall, immigration and customs, offices. The roof terrace overlooks the sea. Outdoor facilities include a plaza, a designated drop-off area (for cars and buses), dedicated parking.
Terminal's design was developed by the Miami-based firm BBA-Berenblum Busch Architects.
Under the 20-year agreement, Carnival Corporation and all its cruise brands are granted berthing preference that enables Carnival-owned liners to provide their passengers with optimized port stay times and itineraries from the cruise port.
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