Royal Caribbean ‘Pleased’ on Chinese Cruise Market

While cruise capacity dips in China in 2018 and 2019, Royal Caribbean International continues to be among the leading players in the market with new hardware and a long-term vision.

“We’ve been really pleased with the performance of the China market this year, and as you know, it’s a long-term strategy,” said Michael Bayley, president and CEO of Royal Caribbean International, speaking on the company’s third quarter earnings call earlier this month.

“We’ve been in the market for 10 years. So we’re excited about Spectrum coming into Shanghai in 2019,” said Bayley.

The Chinese market is expected to shed 13.5 percent of its capacity year-over-year in 2019, according to the 2019 China Market Report by Cruise Industry News, driven by the withdrawals of SkySea and Norwegian Cruise Line from the market.

The new Spectrum will debut the Quantum-ultra class for the Chinese market when she arrives in Shanghai following a 53-day transit next summer.

The company will debut the SkyPad in the market, as well as a new suite class aboard the ship, and multiple new dining options designed for the local market.

The Spectrum will take the place of the Ovation, which is heading to Alaska. In addition, the Quantum will move to Singapore for the 2019-2020 winter season, leaving the Spectrum as the company’s sole year-round Chinese vessel.

“And so our capacity overall next year in China is fundamentally flat,” said Bayley.

“We’ve had a lot of enthusiasm in terms of forward bookings for Spectrum, and we’re very pleased with where the ship sits already in terms of forward bookings,” he added.

Notoriously a very close-in booking market, the trends are positive, according to Jason Liberty, CFO.

“We also saw, similar to Q2, we saw accelerated trends from our close-in bookings,” Liberty said. “I think the only thing that was probably a little bit different is we saw some further strength in Asia Pac, specifically China and the close-in environment in Q3 versus in the second quarter.”

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