Join FFI President/CEO Jeremi Snook and many other friends from around the world on the 2020 Festival at Sea cruise! This transpacific voyage sets sail from Vancouver, B.C., Canada and stops at two Alaskan port cities before spending a week at sea and ending in Yokohama, Japan. Your days at sea will be filled with social gatherings, workshops, presentations, and, of course, friendship-building opportunities!
There is no home hospitality on his Journey, but your cabin will become your home for the next 15 days and you will have the opportunity to meet new friends from all over the world on your new floating neighborhood.
Live With a Local
- Attend Friendship Force workshops, social events, presentations, and friendship-building opportunities
- Try some of the freshest seafood at fishing port cities
- Experience the uniquely preserved traditional culture of Hokkaido, Japan
- Enjoy stunning parks and incredible wildlife viewing opportunities including whales, bears, and bald eagles
- Take an optional canoe ride through the wetlands of Japan's Kushiro Shitsugen National Park
- Catch a glimpse of Mt. Fuji and take in the bustling city of Tokyo
I loved getting to know my fellow Friendship Force ambassadors and leaders on this Journey. I found the ‘soul mate’ activity [in which participants had to locate their “perfect match” during the cruise and have dinner with them] and ‘small group’ ideas intriguing. - 2018 Festival at Sea ambassador
2020 Festival at Sea Cruise: Vancouver to Japan
15 Days / 14 Nights Program and Itinerary:
September 27, 2020 – October 12, 2020
Coordinator: Debbie Powell
All Friendship Force Itineraries are subject to change.
Sept. 27, 2020
Board the Holland America Noordam in Vancouver, B.C., Canada
Vancouver’s culinary and cocktail scene is on the rise—and its excellent restaurants and hopping bars have a distinctively local stamp on them. If you are looking for where to go in Vancouver for music, theater and the arts, they are thriving in the city’s many museums, galleries and performance venues. Beyond the downtown attractions in Vancouver, days of exploration and sightseeing await among the colorful suburbs, unspoiled islands and the vast, rugged wilderness. – Holland America
Sept. 28, 2020
Sail Alaska’s Inside Passage
Sailing the Inside Passage offers opportunities to spot some of Alaska’s most iconic wildlife, with humpback whales and orca plying the bountiful waters alongside the ships, bald eagles soaring overhead and brown bears lumbering on the shoreline. – Holland America
Sept. 29, 2020
Begin your journey with a scenic drive along the Tongass Narrows to Totem Bight State Park, home to one of the world’s largest stands of totems.
Stroll the Totem Bight trail under a canopy of majestic hemlock and cedar trees. At the end of the trail, you will find the totems. Through lively stories you will learn about the culture and lifestyles practiced by the Northwest Coastal Natives.
Step inside an authentic Native clan house. After a brief stop at the quaint Alaska Totem Trading Store, an entertaining city tour shows you the industries that have made Ketchikan the Salmon Capital of the World. Returning to the pier, catch a glimpse of Ketchikan’s colorful past as you drive past the Creek Street historic red light district. – Holland America
Sept. 30, 2020
Things to do in Juneau include hiking a glacier, eating fresh-caught fish on a seaside patio and touring a grand capitol building all in one day.
The city itself is pleasant, but the real highlight of a visit to Juneau is tracking down some wildlife. You can hike up Mount Roberts to chance upon wild deer and bald eagles. Most sightseeing and whale-watching tours head north to Auke Bay—bring a good pair of binoculars to get the best view of these majestic and surprisingly graceful creatures. If you prefer land mammals, catch a floatplane to a nearby wildlife reserve such as Chichagof or Admiralty Island to spy some bears lolling around. – Holland America
Oct. 1 to 8, 2020
Cruising days at sea
Attend workshops, social get-togethers, presentations, meals, and happy hours with your fellow Friendship Force travelers
Oct. 9, 2020
Japan’s largest undeveloped wetlands—Kushiro Shitsugen National Park—sprawl across some 270 square kilometers (104 square miles) just north of Kushiro. See the revered Japanese crane, also known as the red-crowned crane, enjoy an optional canoe tour through the marshlands or visit the accessible boardwalk trails at the official visitor center.
The Kushiro area is home to another natural wonder farther north at Akan National Park, where you can admire volcanoes and pristine crater lakes and dip into one of the area’s onsen, or natural hot springs. Hokkaido’s most beautiful lake, Lake Mashu—reputedly the clearest lake in the world—will make your head spin with its pure beauty. There are sulfur-spewing volcanoes to visit here as well. When you’re back in town in Kushiro, don’t miss a visit to the Washo market for fresh sushi and sashimi or the fisherman’s wharf for some souvenir shopping. – Holland America
Oct. 10, 2020
Hokkaido is the only spot among Japan’s primary islands where a non-Japanese culture manages to survive relatively intact, at least as an identity if not a lifestyle. The Ainu were here first, and are fairly easy to recognize; they have paler skin and more hair than ethnic Japanese. Cornerstones of Ainu culture remain, too: ceremonies that include sacrificing a bear (not often—bears are rare, although, this being the wild west, there are still some out there), the beautiful attush robe, a dislike of uncooked fish. And they’re not going anywhere. In 1997, the Japanese government finally recognized the Ainu’s right to their own culture. Get a taste of that unique culture in Hakodate, the capital city of this northern island. – Holland America
Oct. 11, 2020
Day at sea
Oct. 12, 2020
Yokohama (Tokyo), Japan
Yokohama is one of Japan’s liveliest, and most international, destinations. With microbreweries and international restaurants, Yokohama has a decidedly different feel from many other Japanese cities.
From Yokohama, it’s a quick trip to peaceful Kamakura, home to Daibutsu, Japan’s second-largest bronze Buddha, and to the important Shinto shrine Tsurugaoka Hachimangu. Head to Hakone National Park on a clear day and you’ll be rewarded with picture-postcard views of majestic Mt. Fuji.
Tokyo is the largest city on earth and packed with some of the world’s best shops, museums and restaurants, big and small. While the bright neon lights and the bustle of contemporary Tokyo may be what comes to mind when you think of the city, there is another side. Tokyo’s historic gardens and neighborhoods of traditional homes on narrow lanes speak to a timeless Japan that has survived into the 21st century. – Holland America
Know before you go
Friendship Force International provides opportunities to explore new countries and cultures from the inside by bringing people together at the personal level. Through the signature program of home hospitality, local hosts welcome international visitors into their culture, sharing with them meals, conversation, and the best sights and experiences of their region.