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Princess eyes bigger share of the Chinese market

Cherry Wang
Princess Cruises projects growth in passenger capacity for the Chinese market in 2016 and 2017 on the back of the company’s continual investments to faciliate developments in China, according to Cherry Wang, vp and gm of Carnival plc China.

This year, Princess anticipates a 131% year-on-year expansion in passenger capacity in China, and is expecting further growth in 2017 by 59% over 2016.

'Princess Cruises will draw support from our mother company Carnival Corp.’s supply chain system to expand our investment to China,' Wang told Seatrade Cruise News, adding that the Chinese cruise market has been growing rapidly over the past several years and still offers great potential.

Princess highlighted that it has reached a milestone in China by introducing three homeports—Shanghai, Tianjin and Xiamen—within three years since it started in China in 2014.

'In parallel with the booming consumption of the second- and third-tier cities in China, the structure of cruise travel’s source of tourists is also changing. A multi-port structure must be adapted for the future,' she believed.

In May 2014, Sapphire Princess set sail from the homeport of Shanghai, and in June 2015 Sapphire Princess began its inaugural homeport season in Tianjin. In May 2016 Sapphire Princess set sail year-around in Shanghai. Golden Princess also set sail from Tianjin for 65 days from 10 June to 13 August. There was also the 23-day (15 June to 7 July) sail from homeport Xiamen on China’s southeast coast across Taiwan.

In 2017, new ship Majestic Princess will enter the market, built for Chinese travelers with a blend of international and Chinese features.

'Majestic Princess will offer many of the same special features as Royal Princess and Regal Princess, which have been so well-received by the industry,' Wang said. Some of those includeda multi-storey atrium serving as the social hub of the ship, an over-the-ocean SeaWalk extending 28 feet beyond the edge of the ship, a special private dining experience and an interactive studio.

'Based on Chinese guests’ preferences, we have personalised our cruises’ homeport, routes and products. As the "Global Travel Master," we cater to the Chinese traveller with Mandarin-speaking staff, top Chinese entertainment and performers, and a mix of Chinese and international culinary offerings,' Wang said.

'Overall, we will keep increasing our investment in China to cultivate a more perfect cruise market and create more benefits for Chinese consumers as well as the Chinese economy,' she added.

According to Li Jinzao, head of China National Tourism Administration, the number of Chinese outbound tourists will reach 600m in the next five years. Since 2010, the average annual growth rate of global cruise tourism is 3.4% but in China the rate is 54.5%.

'No doubt that there is visible potential in the Chinese market and the increasingly evolving customer demands are both opportunities and challenges for all cruise companies,' Wang noted.

'We’re devoted to innovating our products and we have abundant experience in developing outbound cruise lines. We believe we will bring more surprises to our Chinese guests,' she said.