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Princess begins first China homeporting with Sapphire Princess

Princess begins first China homeporting with Sapphire Princess
Sapphire Princess began sailing from its new summer homeport of Shanghai on Thursday, marking the first China-based program for Princess Cruises.

The line touts a premium product called 'Princess Class' with special touches for Chinese cruisers including a 'World Leaders Dinner,' tai chi classes, ballroom dancing, subtitled Hollywood movies and Chinese satellite television channels. A wide range of shopping and special lectures are other elements.

During the four-month season, which runs through August, Princess expects to carry approximately 70,000 passengers on 24 sailings ranging from three to five days.

The cruises will visit cities in South Korea and Japan, including Incheon (for Seoul), Busan, Jeju Island, Hakata (Fukuoka), Kagoshima, Okinawa and Nagasaki.

In preparation for the first season, Princess research determined Chinese travelers place a high priority on food and amenities, an exceptional shopping experience and service in their own language. That went into developing 'Princess Class.'

The line said many of the Sapphire Princess crew are Chinese speakers.

Cherry Wang, Carnival plc country director for China, said Princess is blazing trails in the Chinese market.

The 116,000gt Sapphire Princess has 2,670 lower berths.