On April 7, Peace Boat embarked from its home port of Yokohama in Japan for its first cruise in three years. The voyage, Peace Boat’s 114th, will be the first around-the-world cruise to and from Japan after COVID.
Carrying 1,400 passengers on Peace Boat’s new vessel, Pacific World, the current voyage is focused on humanitarian aid for Ukrainian refugees.
The cruise will sail for 3 months with 1,400 passengers, sailing mainly around the Northern Hemisphere, visiting 23 ports in 17 countries.
Peace Boat Sails Again After Three Years
Peace Boat has been out of action for the past three years, as the Japanese organization was unable to operate due to the pandemic. The situation was so bad that the company chartered the former Celebrity Cruises cruise ship Zenith in 2020 but never used it. Instead, the non-profit organization now operates the Pacific World, also known as the former Sun Princess.
A special focus of this voyage, a Japan to Japan world cruise, will be humanitarian aid for Ukrainian refugees. Since the Russian military invasion of Ukraine in February last year, Peace Boat Disaster Relief (PBV) has raised a total of 150 million yen (over $1.1 million) to support organizations conducting humanitarian relief activities in Ukraine and neighboring countries.
During the cruise, the Peace Boat will welcome Captain Viktor Alymov from Odesa, Ukraine, as the Honorary Captain. Captain Alymov served as the captain of Peace Boat Voyages since 2009, taking more than 10,000 passengers from Japan around the world. Since the start of the war, Captain Alymov has taken refuge in the port of Constanta.
During the voyage, there will be several activities to raise funds for humanitarian aid for Ukraine. A group of passengers will also leave the ship from the port of Piraeus, Greece, and deliver the donated funds and relief supplies to aid organizations in Romania. The participants visiting Romania will hear directly from Ukrainian refugees living there during the call to Constanta.
Emotional Departure from Yokohama
The departure of the Peace Boat from Yokohama port was an emotional one. Peace Boat Founder, Yoshioka Tatsuya, spoke from the deck of the ship, thanking everyone who had supported Peace Boat through the difficult three years of the pandemic when the organization was unable to sail.
Yoshioka Tatsuya: “It’s been 40 years since we started Peace Boat, and this is our 40th Anniversary. The only reason we have been able to continue for 40 years is because of each and every one of you. Thank you so much!”.
Captain Kaspar Janson, who will serve as captain, expressed his honor and called Peace Boat voyages “special and unique, with the purpose of peace and friendship.”
Peace Boat is a non-governmental organization founded in 1983 by Yoshioka Tatsuya. The organization aims to raise awareness and build connections among groups working for peace, human rights, environmental protection, and sustainable development. The organization is based in Shinjuku, Tokyo.
Throughout its history, Peace Boat has chartered different vessels. Some of the most notable ships operated by Peace Boat are the Ocean Dream, or as many more people will know her, the former Carnival Cruise Line cruise ship MS Tropicale.
In 2020, the company chartered the Zenith, a former Celebrity Cruises ship, which never sailed due to the pandemic. The charter ended in 2021 and the ship was scrapped soon after.
Since 2020, Peace Boat has been operating the Pacific World, previously Sun Princess for Princess Cruises and the former biggest cruise ship in the world.