Premium line Princess Cruises has recently announced that it intends to enter the Chinese cruise market next year, with Shanghai named as home port.
The line’s 2,670-passenger Sapphire Princess will call the bustling port home for a four-month season in which she is expected to cater for around 70,000 passengers.
Princess Cruises President and CEO Alan Buckelew said of the move: “We’re excited to bring a new premium cruise travel experience to China’s shores. Though we have carried thousands of Chinese travelers on our ships over many years, we think the time is right for a premium cruise experience that offers a new type of vacation experience for the Chinese consumer, sailing from China.”
The line’s 2014 China season will feature four itineraries, each between three and seven days, which it believes is the perfect duration range for the Chinese market. On a seven-day itinerary, passengers will visit Korea’s capital Seoul, the resort of Busan and the island of Jeju, while the five-day itinerary visits Inchon and Jeju, the four-day itinerary Busan and Jeju, while the three-day cruise calls at Jeju.
The line is eager to continue to expand its activity in the Asian region and has targeted China as a key area due to the country’s flourishing economy and the growth of an interest in premium cruising in the China. Guests can expect on-board Tai Chi, Zumba and personal enrichment classes as well as sommelier wine excursions, English high Tea and the only 24-hour buffet at sea.
Launched in 2004 and weighing in at 116,000 tons, the Sapphire Princess is one of the world’s largest cruise ships and is the sixth of the line’s Gem Class vessels. The vessel boasts 18 decks and such features as a fitness centre and spa, golf putting course, sports deck, shops and wedding chapel.
By Simon Brotherton