Royal Caribbean will make a major push in the Chinese market in 2015 by having the biggest presence in China, in terms of crew size, mother ports coverage and length of season, since its 2009 market entry.
“We have an extremely positive outlook for cruise industry development in China,” its North Asia and China regional vice president Zinan Liu said. “China is now the top global cruise market thanks to its rapid economic growth and increase in travel companies offering cruises. Royal Caribbean will launch the Quantum of the Seas liner to mark its 2015 China investment plan, and our management has dubbed this year the ‘Quantum Year’.”
A rapidly growing market
The Chinese cruise market has grown in size from a few thousand passengers in 2005 to over 70,000 cruise passengers in 2014, and is expected to reach the one million passenger mark in 2015, according to the China Cruise and Yacht Industry Association.
Since establishing its first Chinese mother port in 2010, Royal Caribbean has maintained a 100% annual passenger growth rate and received 250,000 passengers in its Chinese mother ports in 2014. It had also formed partnerships with more than 150 Chinese travel companies in 18 provinces and regions.
Quantum leap in market development
“The launch of the Quantum of the Seas is such a major part of Royal Caribbean’s 2015 China investment plan because it is the first time for an all-new cruise liner to inaugurate from a Chinese mother port,” Mr. Liu said. “Quantum of the Seas not only offers all-inclusive service but will also be operate year-round on a long-term basis, reflecting Royal Caribbean’s confidence in the growth of China’s cruise market.”
Constructed at a cost of US$1 billion, the cutting-edge 167,800 ton Quantum of the Seas with capacity for 4,180 passengers is regarded as a “game changer” by industry experts. It features the North Star observation pod, an on-deck skydiving wind tunnel, international cuisine, high-speed Wi-Fi, robot bartenders and abundant recreational facilities.
“The Quantum of the Seas' 54-day maiden voyage, dubbed 'Quantum Odyssey', will set sail from New York on May 2 and is set to dock in Shanghai by the end of June. After calling at Shanghai it will also sail to Tianjin and Hong Kong ports to satisfy customer demand in these regions as well,” Mr. Liu said.
“Royal Caribbean aims to implement its “one port one liner” plan in 2015 by making China's four major mother ports - Tianjin, Xiamen, Hong Kong and Shanghai - the operational bases for its four liners - Mariner of the Seas, Legend of the Seas, Voyager of the Seas and Quantum of the Seas. We aim to lift our business in the Asia region by 66% in 2015,” Mr. Liu said.
“North America and Europe have been the world's major cruise markets and cruise services largely caters to customers from those markets, so we must make adaptions for emerging markets and especially for the Chinese market,” he emphasized. Royal Caribbean is also adding a specialist hotel management team to target Chinese customer preferences and tastes as part of their localized management implementation and to ensure its services comply with Chinese customs.(Translation by David)