The Piano Land made her inaugural call in Hong Kong on Saturday, sailing through iconic Victoria Harbour en route to a berth at the Ocean Terminal at the southwestern edge of the Kowloon Peninsula.
The ship is on her inaugural voyage for Astro Ocean following a christening in Xiamen earlier this week marking China’s first state-owned luxury brand and opening a new chapter in the development of China’s cruise industry as it shifts towards national brands, according to officials.
The sail away from Xiamen also saw the opening of the ship’s refreshed onboard duty-free shops, as well as the introduction of a new mascot by Astro Ocean, a joint venture between CTS (China Travel Services Group) and COSCO (China Ocean Shipping Group).
The new shops span Decks 6 and 7 of the 1995-built ship, offering top international brands, leather goods, bags, clothing, sunglasses and tobacco and alcohol. Credit cards, WeChat Pay and AliPay are accepted
The Hong Kong call was not short of VIPs and key officials including Chen Maobo, Financial Secretary of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region; Qiu Hong, Deputy Director of the China United Office;, Wan Min, Chairman of China Tourism Group and Sun Jiakang, Director of China Ocean Shipping Group and others.
Of note, part of the inaugural voyage has seen key executives and officials aboard, hosting a seminar on China’s cruise industry development.