Saipan is one of the Northern Marianas Islands and make up a Commonwealth of the United States. Located between New Guinea and Japan, Saipan is considered part of Micronesia. Although the island has a large American military base, beautiful beaches, and great shopping for (mostly Japanese) tourists, Saipan does not get many cruise ship visits each year.
The Seven Seas Voyager stopped for a day on Saipan, and many of us did a tour of the island. Because of the major World War II Battle of Saipan, many of the sites were war memorials. Suicide Cliff and Banzai Cliff are famous because thousands of Japanese soldiers and civilians jumped to their deaths rather than be captured by the American troops. The Last Command Post is an almost impenetrable rock cave set into the hillside. Three of the Japanese commanders committed hari kiri in the cave.
Although much of the island's history is sad because of the many Americans and Japanese who died or were wounded, its landscape is beautiful.
The Seven Seas Voyager docked next to a U.S. Navy ship near Garapan, Saipan in the Northern Marianas Islands, a U.S. Commonwealth country.
View from the Summit of Suicide Cliff on Saipan
This spot was so beautiful and peaceful, it was difficult to think back to the days and horror of World War II.
Bird Island off the Island of Saipan
Bird Island is off the northeast coast of Saipan and is a bird sanctuary. Isn't the island and surrounding bay lovely?
Personal Family Monument on Suicide Cliff on Saipan
At the top of Suicide Cliff, many Japanese families have memorials to the war dead.
View from Japanese World War II Command Post on Saipan
This command post was buried into a cave in one of the mountains of Saipan. No wonder the Americans had so much difficulty in capturing it!
Last World War II Command Post of the Japanese on Saipan
The Japanese commanders hid in this cave and directed the troops during the American invasion.
Banzai Cliff on the Island of Saipan
Thousands of Japanese soldiers and civilians jumped to their deaths at Banzai Cliff during World War II rather than be captured by invading American troops.
Monument at the Foot of Suicide Cliff on the Island of Saipan
From the base of Suicide Cliff, you can look upwards to where many Japanese civilians and soldiers jumped to their deaths. A Peace Memorial Park is at the base.
Banzai Cliff Monument on Saipan
This monument at Banzai Cliff overlooking the Pacific is one of many Japanese war monuments for those who died during World War II.
Sailing Away from Saipan on the Seven Seas Voyager
The full moon shines high over the island of Saipan in the Pacific Ocean.