Home' CruisePassenger : Cruise Passenger 59 Contents When the world’s biggest cruise line
Carnival Corporation says China
will become the next new frontier
and hot destination, the message is loud and
clear – the Middle Kingdom’s dragon has
woken up to the pleasures of cruising.
And not only that. China will grow to
become the largest cruise market globally
with 4.5 million passengers expected by 2020.
But it seems the rest of the world is
also increasingly looking to the East for
So why Asia? As the saying goes, variety
is the spice of life, and it is only in Asia
where you can soak up the serenity of Kyoto,
be amazed by Hong Kong’s mega malls and
skyscrapers, visit the fascinating Bund in
Shanghai, see families of five on a Honda
50 motorbike in Ho Chi Minh City, watch
the sunrise at Angkor Wat in Siem Reap or
simply indulge in a gastronomic feast at a
Singapore hawker centre.
The attraction of cruising in Japan,
Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam and
Indonesia is to experience exotic culture; see
unbelievable scenery, amazing architecture,
mysterious historical ruins and archaeological
treasures; and savour some wonderful cuisine
– from the more gentle “fish amok” turmeric
curry in Cambodia to the pungent, spicy,
braised eggplant in Shanghai.
The latest Cruise Lines International
Association (CLIA) research backs up the
increasing demand for Asia cruises.
CLIA has singled out the region for robust
growth this year across both ocean and
In 2015 at least 22 new ocean, river and
speciality cruise ships are scheduled to debut
in Asia and a total of 52 ships will offer
1,065 cruises with the capacity to carry more
than 2 million passengers.
But despite the launch six years ago
of the world’s largest cruise ship – Royal
Caribbean’s 6,300-passenger Oasis of the
Seas – CLIA says size does not matter.
Today the focus is more on unique
designs and amenities. Speciality cruises
are de rigueur and they range from boutique
luxury yachts and elegant ocean liners to
CLIA says savvy travellers want to
expand their horizons and are looking for
global experiences. They want to call at ports
with UNESCO World Heritage status.
As all eyes turn towards Asia,
we look at why it’s set to become
the world’s biggest cruise market.
Teresa Ooi reports.
ASIA SPECIAL REPORT INTRODUCTION
INTRODUCTION ASIA SPECIAL REPORT
Huangpu River and
They are also more demanding and expect
bow-to-stern Wi-Fi and phone connectivity.
River cruising on the Mekong and
Irrawaddy rivers has become popular with
Australians looking to explore the rarely
seen sights of Borneo, the relatively unspoilt
Myanmar or the UNESCO World Heritage
town of Luang Prabang.
While the Mediterranean still remains
the top cruise destination for Australians,
the falling dollar may make more of us think
about cruising closer to home – and Asia is
on our doorstep with a wealth of itineraries
to choose from.
Meanwhile it looks like cruise lines are
set to reap the cruising harvest in China
with escalating domestic demand from the
affluent middle classes.
In the last two years Carnival has
increased its share of Chinese cruisers by
140 per cent. The line, which by April will
have four ships homeported in China,
expects to carry more than 500,000 Chinese
passengers this year.
Royal Caribbean has scheduled its most
technologically advanced ship, Quantum of
the Seas, to be homeported in Shanghai in
May. Four other Royal Caribbean ships –
Voyager, Legend, Explorer and Mariner – will
be based in Asian waters calling at Singapore,
Hong Kong, Shanghai, Tianjin, Yokohama
and Tokyo during their seasons there.
At the same time, the race is on for
international cruise operators to form
joint venture partnerships with established
Chinese shipping and port development
companies to expand the cruise market and
develop more sophisticated infrastructure.
Carnival recently signed a memorandum
of understanding with China Merchants
Group (CMG) and China State
Shipbuilding Corporation to explore two
The first will build a local cruise ship to
cater specifically for the Chinese market,
while the second will develop transit ports
around China, kicking off with CMG’s
flagship Prince Bay Cruise Terminal in
Shekou in Shenzhen.
Royal Caribbean is also an investor in
Malaysia’s US$12 billion Melaka Gateway
project and will advise on the development
of an international cruise terminal that is
capable of docking three mega cruise ships.
The project is expected to be ready by 2023.
The dye is cast. Asian tigers and, in
particular, China’s dragon have awakened
and they like the taste of sea, salt and ships.
Asia is indeed set to become the biggest
cruise market in the world.
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