China's first domestically built large cruise ship, the Adora Magic City, departs from Shanghai Wusongkou International Cruise Port on Jan. 1, 2024. (Photo/China News Service)
(ECNS)-- With more than 3,000 passengers aboard, China's first domestically built large cruise ship "Adora Magic City" set sail from the Shanghai Wusongkou International Cruise Port at 4:45 p.m. local time on Monday, commencing its 7-day, 6-night maiden commercial voyage to destinations including Jeju in South Korea, Fukuoka and Nagasaki in Japan.
From 7:30 a.m., the Wusongkou International Cruise Terminal grew bustling, with boarding passengers loading their bags and trunks.
A woman surnamed Cheng, who hailed from Huizhou, Guangdong Province, said to make the Adora Magic City’s maiden trip, she drove from Huizhou to Shenzhen the day before, then took a plane from Shenzhen to Shanghai.
"I've been looking forward to this for a long time. I'm very excited. We stayed nearby overnight and got up at 7:30 this morning, coming over early," she said.
Gu Pengcheng, director of the strategic management department at the CSSC Cruise Technology Development Co., said that the cruise ship has an art gallery themed on the "Maritime Silk Road."
"If you haven't been to Dunhuang yet, you can get a glimpse of it on the cruise ship," said Feng Yanxin, another passenger.
To create a "culinary cruise," hot pot and specialty restaurants have been included on the ship, with a total of 26 distinct culinary establishments.
The Adora Magic City will utilize Shanghai as its homeport, leading passengers to popular destinations across Northeast Asia.
Having undergone a 5-year design and construction process, the 23.6-meter-long and 37.2-meter-wide vessel boasts 20 decks and a capacity for 5,246 passengers in its 2,125 luxurious cabins and suites.
Passengers can indulge in global delicacies at different specialty restaurants, enjoy spectacular performances in a 1,000-seat theater, and shop duty-free during their trips.
A report jointly released by the Shanghai International Cruise Economy Research Center, Shanghai Engineering and Technology University, and the China Europe International Business School and Social Science Literature Publishing House indicates a robust demand in the global cruise tourism market, with the resumption of the Chinese cruise market progressing in an orderly manner.
According to industry predictions, the overall capacity of the Chinese cruise market is expected to recover to the levels of 2019 in 2024, said Qiu Ling, vice director of the Shanghai International Cruise Economy Research Center and professor at the School of Management, Shanghai University of Engineering Science.
New cruise ships and brands will undoubtedly offer consumers a fresh experience and attract market attention, Qiu said.
Simultaneously, leading international cruise companies are announcing their return to the Chinese market.
In April 2024, U.S. cruise line operator Royal Caribbean International will bring back its super luxury cruise ship, the "Spectrum of the Seas," to Shanghai.
During the May Day holiday, this vessel will embark on its cruise vacation routes to neighboring countries, covering popular tourist destinations in Northeast Asia such as Tokyo, Yokohama, Osaka, Kobe, and Fukuoka.
Tolstoy Hagen, founder of Norwegian cruise line operator Viking Cruises, revealed that in 2024, the company will deploy four river cruises to serve the Chinese market. It is anticipated that the river fleet will expand to 12 by 2028.