Nippon Maru

Nippon Maru last position

Nippon Maru last location was at East Asia (coordinates 35.74725 N / 135.32973 E) cruising at speed of 11.7 kn (22 kph/ 13 mph) en route to Maizuru. The AIS position was reported 6 hours ago.

Current Position

Specifications of Nippon Maru

Year built1990  /  Age: 32
Flag state Japan
BuilderMitsubishi Heavy Industries (Kobe, Japan)
Ferry route / homeportsKobe (Japan)
Speed18 kn / 33 kph / 21 mph
Length (LOA)167 m / 548 ft
Beam (width)24 m / 79 ft
Gross Tonnage22472 gt
Passengers398 - 607
Last Refurbishment2020
OwnerMitsui OSK Lines Ltd (MOL) via Nippon Maru Co Ltd
OperatorMitsui OSK Passenger Line Ltd (MOPAS)

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The 1990-built MS Nippon Maru cruise ship was constructed in Japan (by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in Kobe) and delivered to Mitsui OSK in September 1990. Besides Nippon Maru (registered in Tokyo, MMSI number 431302000), Japan-flagged cruise ships are also Asuka 2 (NYK Line) and Pacific Venus (Venus Cruise Line).

History - construction and ownership

The vessel's keel-laying ceremony was held in October 1989 at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) shipyard in Kobe-Osaka, Japan. Construction was started as hull number 1188. The liner was launched on March 8, 1990, and delivered to the Tokyo-based Mitsui OSK on September 22. The inaugural cruise started on September 27 from Kobe to Keelung-Taipei (Taiwan) and Hong Kong (China).

MS Nippon Maru cruise ship (MOL-Mitsui OSK)

The vessel is operated by Mitsui OSK Passenger Line, which is subsidiary of MOL (Mitsui OSK Lines) - one of world's largest container shipping companies. The shipowner MOL (founded 1884) is a Japanese transportation company headquartered in Tokyo. MOL itself is part of Mitsui Group (interlocking companies in Japan). MOL's fleet includes box ships, general cargo ships (bulk carriers, LNG carriers, tankers), ro-ro ships (also ferries) and the cruise ship Nippon Maru.

MS Nippon Maru cruise ship (MOL-Mitsui OSK)

During the ship's 2008 drydock refurbishment, the hull was painted black. Mitsui OSK's other liner - Fuji Maru (1988-built) was decommissioned in December 2013.

Shipboard dining and entertainment options

Shipboard facilities include Main Dining Room Restaurant (complimentary), Sushi Bar (a la carte restaurant for fresh fish supplied from local markets), Horizon Bar Lounge, Cafe and Library, Mermaid Theater (show lounge for live performances), Lido Terrace (indoor lounge on Lido Deck), Sun Deck with Swimming Pool, Wellness complex (Spa, Hair Salon, Gym, Sauna, treatment rooms for massages, indoor bath with sea views). The ship has Card Room and no Casino (forbidden by Japanese law).

Mitsui OSK cruise ticket prices range between USD 400-500 per person per night. Deals are in the luxury travel category and all-Inclusive (excluding only alcohol). Almost all MOL cruise customers are Japanese. Onboard cuisine is traditional Japanese plus Western specialties.



Previously operated only in East Asia, in 2001, the ship offered its first around-the-world cruise. Nippon Maru itinerary program ranges from casual short-breaks (overnight roundtrips) to cruises around Japan and Southeast Asia. Mitsui OSK's "One Night Cruise" program is based on three themes, all of which are elaborately planned, offering a relaxed travel atmosphere and greatly expanding Japan's homeport cruising market.

In 2017 was introduced the "Tonde" fly-cruise around Kyushu Island (Japan's 3rd largest). The itinerary visited all Kyushu Island prefectures (Fukuoka, Kumamoto, Nagasaki, Oita, Saga, Kagoshima, Miyazaki, Okinawa) in a single voyage. The roundtrip from Hakata-Fukuoka City visited Beppu, Miyazaki City, Kagoshima, Tokunoshima, Misumi, Karatsu. The themed cruise became highly popular as it combines cruising with traveling on trains and airplanes. Shipboard dining options included food specialties from each of Kyushu's prefectures.

MS Nippon Maru cruise ship (MOL-Mitsui OSK)

In 2018, Nippon Maru offered 1- to 8-day cruises in Japan exclusively. During spring, the ship sailed to Okinawa Islands and Taiwan. The fly-cruise program included domestic and international flights to and from major cities. MOL Cruises plans itineraries combining international and domestic voyages, themed local events and festivities. Longer itineraries will also visit the USA's overseas territories Saipan Island Marianas and Guam Island (Micronesia). Mitsui OSK also considers adding one or two Southeast Asian cities as alternative homeports.

  • MS Nippon Maru currently visits ~150 different Japanese seaports.
  • The annual "Grand Cruise" is around Japan.
  • "Island Cruise" itineraries visit two UNESCO sites - Ogasawara/Bonin Islands and Yakushima Island.
  • "Fly and Cruise" itineraries also visit Hokkaido Island (Shiretoko Peninsula, Otaru, Rebun Island), Okinawa Island, Taiwan (Keelung).
  • Asian-themed voyages include "Taiwan Grand Cruise" (visiting Keelung-Taipei City, Kaohsiung, Hualien) and "Gourmet Cruise" (to Hong Kong, Keelung, Kaohsiung).
  • "South Pacific Islands Cruise" itineraries from Kobe visit Yokohama, Guam Island (USA), Tahiti Island (French Polynesia), Hawaii (USA).

Due to the Coronavirus crisis, in 2020 the Nippon Maru ship suspended all Mitsui OSK Line cruises scheduled for the period March-November. The revised program (mainly Japanese coastal voyages) between November 2020 and August 2021 included a total of 37 departures. The vessel's passenger capacity (398 lower berths) was limited to 40-60%. A total of 20 cabins were allocated for onboard quarantine purposes.

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Ship's powerplant is based on two Mitsubishi marine diesel engines (model 8UEC52LA) with combined power output 15,7 MW. The propulsion system (hybrid contra-rotating) includes bow thruster and two controllable pitch propellers (1x forward CPC plus 1x aft propeller / Kamome rudder). The propulsion employs one conventional CPC (fore-located, driven by the main engine) with a motor-driven "rudder propeller" (aft-located).

MS Nippon Maru cruise ship (MOL-Mitsui OSK)

In addition to its Japanese officers and key service staff, 130 Filipino crew also work on the ship. The shipowner MOL was founded in 1884. MOL's passenger shipping services started in 1908, with Transpacific crossings between Japan and Central-South America. In 1939 were launched two newbuild ocean liners - Argentina Maru and Brazil Maru. Mitsui OSK Passenger Line was founded in 1970.

On December 13, 2018, in an official ceremony, Mitsui OSK Passenger Line was awarded for its "Nippon Maru One Night Cruise". This program offered 3 themed voyages in 2018:

  • (September 21-22) "Yokohama-Kobe Bread Festival Cruise" with various fresh-baked bread
  • (October 22-23) "Autumn Setonaikai Inland Sea" with food specialties from 9 prefectures in the Seto Inland Sea (Setonaikai) and special breakfasts showcasing local delicacies from each prefecture
  • (December 25-26) "Kobe-Yokohama C to Sea Cruise" with various themed onboard events

"The Cruise of the Year" award recognized MOL Group for its contribution to Japan's cruising industry by developing new products and enhancing services. The annual award is issued by "Japan Oceangoing Passenger Ship Association" and "Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism", and sponsored by "Japan Tourism Agency" and "Japan Association of Travel Agents".

On July 12, 2019, the shipowner announced a scheduled drydock refurbishment of Nippon Maru. The February-April 2020 drydocking project resulted in the following deckplan changes:

  • New large-window staterooms (with non-opening, floor-ceiling windows) were added forward on decks 4 and 5. Most of these bow-located staterooms (Ocean View Suites) are Triple (max capacity 3 passengers) and some are for families and groups (max 6 passengers).
  • Neptune Bar was relocated to Horizon Lounge (forward on Deck 7).
  • The Wi-Fi coverage was upgraded to shipwide - excepting only Dolphin Hall.
  • Some of the ship's interior spaces and some cabins received new carpeting.
  • The vessel's main machinery equipment was upgraded - including the old engines running on HDDDEO (Heavy Duty Diesel Engine Oil) were replaced with new engines running on LSD (lower sulfur diesel).

Liner's last major refit was in 2010 when additional staterooms were added to Deck 6, along with the venues Horizon Lounge (fore-located Bar Lounge on Deck 7/bow) and "Spa and Salon". During drydock 2010, the vessel's hull was also repainted with company's new royal blue colour and round-shaped porthole windows were installed.

By drydock 2020 project will be added new bow-located family cabins (forward on decks 4 and 5) with large slanted windows and max capacity 6 passengers. Neptune Bar will be relocated to Horizon Lounge. Other upgrades include installing shipwide Wi-Fi coverage (paid service, excluding only Dolphin Hall), new carpeting  (in some public spaces and all cabins), main diesel engines replaced with new ones (running on low-sulfur marine fuel oil), hull cleaning and repainting.

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