The cruise ship Joy of the US-based Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL), one of the world's three largest cruise brands, made its penultimate trip from Shanghai on Monday as it headed to Naha, Japan.
After its last cruise, which will began on Thursday, the ship will pull out of the Chinese market and head to Alaska, a staff member at the China Travel Service Shanghai branch, which is responsible for NCL's cruise reservations, told the Global Times on Monday, adding that approximately 5,000 seats on the trip had been booked by companies as opposed to individual travelers.
NCL celebrated the launch of its first China-based ship in 2017, but made the decision to change course to the more lucrative Alaska in April, the company announced in July 2018.
2018 witnessed the first time in 13 years that both the numbers of cruises and inbound and outbound cruise passengers in China have seen a decline. Last year, the number of cruises that stopped at China's 13 ports dropped by 19.03% on a year-on-year basis, according to statistics from the China Cruise & Yacht Industry Association.
Industry insiders said it makes sense for some international cruise companies to leave the Chinese market for now, based on their poor performance over the past one or two years.
Even though some international cruise ships have decided to sail away from China, some are still enticed by the huge market.
Costa Cruise is placing its bets on the huge potential of the Chinese market in the coming years, as it recently designed and built a ship specifically for this market.
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