China to overtake US as world’s main cruise liner market
China is already the second largest market for Royal Caribbean, an US luxury cruise operator which has eyes on China’s huge and expanding middle class.
China is expected to surpass the United States as the largest market for Royal Caribbean cruises in the coming years, according to its chief executive.
China is already the second largest market for Royal Caribbean, and in the latest effort to tap into the fast-growing market mainland market, the cruise liner christened its newest ship, Ovation of the Seas, in northern China’s port city of Tianjin.
The 168,666-tonne ship is 348 metres long and can carry up to 4,900 passengers and 1,500 crew. The three ships in its Oasis class are even bigger.
The Ovation of the Seas will offer four to eight-day cruises to South Korea and Japan from Tianjin. Tickets cost from 700 yuan to 1,300 yuan (HK$820 to HK$1,520) per night.
China is expected to deliver 4.5 million passengers by 2020, according to the cruise economy research institute of the Shanghai International Shipping Institute.
The US$1 billion Ovation of the Seas also comes with Chinese elements, including a pair of giant panda sculptures and works by Chinese artists.
Under an agreement with the Palace Museum, a collection of signature pieces would be on display on the ship, while paintings and artworks created by artists from the museum would be available for auction on board.
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