Chinese Market ‘Increasingly Generic’

Competition and an ongoing price war in China have led to a less diverse mix of product offerings, according to Kent Zhu, president of Genting Cruise Lines, speaking at China Cruise Shipping.

“We need to develop new itineraries to match international standards,” said Zhu, pointing to Star Cruises and its innovative eight-day itinerary from Shanghai on the SuperStar Virgo.

“Because of rising cost and price competition, cruise lines are not incentivized to open up new products or itineraries,” Zhu continued, “so the competition is increasingly generic.”

Zhu noted the current supply and demand imbalance has led to a natural price war, and with some cruise lines chartering entire ships to agents, they lose control of their inventory and pricing.

“The whole industry is engaged in a price war. Most of the itineraries in China are four to five nights, and the calls are at secondary ports,” he said.

“The international standard for a cruise is seven nights. This year we started that trend with the SuperStar Virgo, sailing eight days and calling at four primary ports in Japan. We have substainilly improved the passenger experience. This eight-day/seven-night itinerary has become a driver for market development.

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