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First Royal Caribbean cruise from Xiamen, China will sail in October


Royal Caribbean's Legend of the Seas will sail out of Xiamen, China as its homeport for the first time with its maiden voyage on Oct 19, 2011.  The cruise will feature five days and four nights itineraries.

Xiamen will become the fourth Chinese city Royal Caribbean has chosen to be a homeport once it conducts its cruises in October.  For its first cruise, Legend of the Seas will visit Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Royal Caribbean will continue to serve China with regular service in 2012 and will also add Voyager of the Seas to the mix as well later in the year.

Royal Caribbean will send Voyager of the Seas to China


Speaking at the Shanghai International Conference Center in China, Royal Caribbean executives announced that Voyager of the Seas will be going to China in June of 2012.

The 3,114-guest mega cruise ship is double the size of any other cruise ship in the Asia-Pacific region and will offer itineraries ranging in length from four to ten nights and will address the burgeoning cruise industry in the country. Voyager of the Seas will serve to also attract cruise guests from around the world to visit China as they sail around Asia.

Royal Caribbean's CEO Adam Goldstein is excited about the move, "Our brand's strategy for China is to leverage Royal Caribbean International's leading position in the market by offering innovative ships and customized services. And we look forward to working with our travel partners and helping to grow the cruise economy in China."

In addition to Voyager of the Seas, Royal Caribbean's Legend of the Seas will return to China and homeport in Shanghai in March of 2012.  Both ships will be worked on to offer products tailored to Chinese guests such as more Chinese language services, authentic Chinese food and culturally appropriate recreational activities and duty-free items.

Voyager of the Seas will depart for Sydney, Australia in October.

Interest in cruising in China on the rise


Cruising in China is expected to grow this year, with a 5% increase in domestic cruises, and the future for China looks bright.  The Shanghai Port International Cruise Terminal in downtown Hongkou District opened in 2008 and already construction of another port, the Shanghai Wusongkou Terminal, is scheduled to be completed by 2012.  Once the second terminal is complete, Shanghai will be able to handle eight cruise ships per day, with home-ported ships stopping there 66 times in this year alone, more than double the amount from last year.

At the All Asia Cruise Convention, Royal Caribbean senior vice-president  Michael Bayley sounded optimistic about the future of cruises in China, "China has a potential of around 40 million cruise guests annually if the market penetration reaches the level of the U.S. and Europe".

Royal Caribbean already has a vested interest in the growth of cruising in China, as Royal Caribbean signed a memorandum of understanding last year with Shanghai International Port Group to form a strategic partnership in cruise operation areas, such as market promotion, port, staff training and management-experience exchange.

"Such strategic partnerships are an important and valuable element of our activity to increase penetration in China," Bayley said.

Royal Caribbean opens first showroom in Beijing


Royal Caribbean and China Youth Travel Group have opened their first cruise showroom in Beijing's Asian Games Village.  In the booth, Royal Caribbean is offering visitors several packages, including an eight days and seven nights cruise to Japan and South Korea aboard Legend of the Seas.

These cruises that are being showcased depart from Tianjin, northern China's first cruise home port.  This showroom is part of the Asian Games, also called the Asiad, which is a multi-sport event held every four years among athletes from all over Asia. The Asian Games are the world's second largest multi-sport event after the Olympic Games.

Big cruise growth expected in China


The fad these days is to have ships go to Europe to appease the large demand for cruise ships there but the future may lay in China, according to a report by the Shanghai International Port Group.  In fact, double-digit growth is expected over the next few years.  

Right now, 232 passenger liners serve China, which is an 87 percent rise from last year and it looks like Royal Caribbean is paying attention.  Michael Bayley, senior vice president of Royal Caribbean Cruises, had this to say, 

"China has a potential of around 40 million cruise guests annually if the market penetration reached the level of US and Europe"