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Carnival bringing Princess Cruises to Japan

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (AP) -- Cruise operator Carnival Corp. plans to bring its Princess Cruises brand to Japan next year with an 87-day program that includes nine cruises on seven different itineraries.

The company said Tuesday that its Sun Princess vessel will offer cruises from April through July 2013 and is expected to carry more than 18,000 passengers during that time.

The cruises, which will run from nine days to 12 days, will depart from Yokohama and Kobe. The cruises will being during the national holiday of Golden Week. The cruises will start at 124,000 yen ($1,490) per person, which is for a nine-day trip with double occupancy.

Carnival is looking to capitalize on the growing Japanese cruise market with the launch of Carnival Japan Inc., which will sell the Princess Cruises brand and other Carnival brands in Japan. Carnival Japan, which will be based in Tokyo, will be led by Eiko Kijima. Carnival Corp. is based in Miami.

Earlier this month Carnival reported a wider-than-expected first-quarter loss and cut its full-year profit forecast almost in half after the January capsizing of the Costa Concordia. Just two weeks into the year, 32 people died when Carnival's Costa Concordia sank off the coast of Italy.

Shares of Carnival gained 25 cents to $32.85 in morning trading. Its shares are up 15 percent from a 52-week low of $28.52 in early October. They traded as high as $41.95 in early May 2011.