Crystal cruise explores World War II history: USA Today - 08/29/2013
Larry Bleiberg, Special for USA TODAYPublished 10:15 a.m. ET Aug. 29, 2013 | Updated 12:15 p.m. ET Aug. 29, 2013
Cruisers accompanied by expert guides will visit key battlegrounds and sites from World War II's Pacific Theater on a 22-day Crystal Cruises Los Angeles-to-Japan sailing.
The January trip on the Crystal Serenity calls on Hilo and Honolulu, Hawaii; Guam; Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands; Okinawa and Tokyo's port of Yokohama, Japan.
Joining the trip will be an impressive team of guest lecturers providing insights, context and history. Best-selling writer James Bradley will lead the way. He's the author of Flags of Our Fathers, the book-turned-Eastwood/Spielberg film about James' father and five other soldiers who were immortalized raising the American flag on Iwo Jima.
Joining him: former four-star Gen. Anthony Zinni, who served as Commander in Chief of U.S. Central Command, and veteran Don Farrell, a Mariana Islands historian and local official in Guam and Tinian, which is part of the Northern Mariana Islands.
Shore excursions will have an historic focus. For example:
• On Oahu, up to 14 passengers can lunch in the captain's cabin of the U.S.S. Missouri, the site of the Japanese surrender which ended the war.
• Visits to sites from 1944's Battle of Saipan.
• A chance to fly to the island of Tinian (from Saipan), to see the once-massive airbase where B-29 bombers left with atomic bombs for Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
• In Okinawa, tours of the Japanese Navy's underground headquarters, plus numerous memorials.
• Visits to Guam's WWII-related memorials and battlegrounds.
• Multiple tours to Pearl Harbor and the Arizona Memorial, as well as Oahu's lesser-known military and historic sites.
Fares start at $8,110, with a shorter, 16-day itinerary also available from Honolulu for $5,655. Both options offer $900 in savings if booked by August 30. For more information visit crystalcruises.com.
This item was written by Larry Bleiberg, former travel editor of The Dallas Morning News and Coastal Living magazine. Bleiberg is serving as Guest Editor of The Cruise Log while USA TODAY Cruise Editor Gene Sloan is away.