(Updated 1:40 p.m. EDT) -- Princess Cruises has announced it will cancel all sailings aboard the 2,670-passenger Diamond Princess throughout Japan and Asia between October 2021 and April 2022, in favor of redeploying the ship on new itineraries to South America and Antarctica.
Announced August 18, the new itineraries mark a first for Diamond Princess, which has traditionally sailed through Asia and Alaska for much of its service career. It will also mark the first time Diamond Princess has sailed to Antarctica.
Diamond Princess will offer several "Andes and South America" itineraries departing December 1, 2021 and March 5 and March 19, 2022. It will also sail three "Cape Horn & Strait of Magellan" voyages on February 5, 19 and March 5, 2022.
Also new are Diamond Princess's Antarctica and Cape Horn itineraries, which will depart December 1 and 19, 2021; and January 4 and 20, 2022. In keeping with IAATO (International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators) regulations that govern travel in Antarctica, no shore landings will be made in Antarctica aboard Diamond Princess. Vessels over 500 passengers are limited to cruising-only while in Antarctic waters.
The ship will also offer two brand-new transpacific crossings to and from Asia in fall 2021 and spring 2022. These voyages will traverse the North Pacific Ocean and will feature ports of call in Southeast Asia and Hawaii; or Hawaii and Japan. Sailings will operate between Los Angeles and Singapore or Tokyo (Yokohama).
Diamond Princess will replace Sapphire Princess in South America for the 2021 winter season. As a result, Princess Cruises is canceling three Sapphire Princess Baja Peninsula & Sea of Cortez cruises and three Hawaiian Islands cruises in the fall 2021 and spring of 2022.
Cancelled Diamond Princess sailings in Asia run from the October 24, 2021 voyage to the April 19, 2022 Northern Japan Spring Flowers cruise.
Built in 2004 at the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries shipyard in Nagasaki, Diamond Princess was extensively refitted in 2014 for the Japanese market, to the tune of $30-million dollars. Added features included the first Japanese onsen bathing experience at sea, new food and dining venues, and contemporary Asian motifs throughout.
Diamond Princess was one of the first ships to be affected by the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic when it was quarantined off the coast of Yokohama in February.