“There is potential everywhere. We are still at a very early stage of the development of the cruise industry in China,” said Mario Zanetti, chief commercial officer of Costa Cruises and president of Costa Group Asia.
The line’s 2021 deployment is seeing a mix up. The Costa Venezia will trade Shanghai for Tianjin, as the brand targets driving demand in the north with a new ship. The Costa Serena will move to Shanghai and the new-to-China Costa Mediterranea will sail from Shenzhen as well as other South China homeports.
“Shanghai, Tianjin and Shenzhen have the long-term opportunity,” Zanetti told Cruise Industry News. “But, we wouldn’t be forgetting the fact we are working and cooperating with the secondary homeports as well. These are also growing and represent a valid alternative.”
The 4,232-passenger Costa Firenze is set for a late 2020 delivery from Fincantieri. The sister to the 2019-built Venezia was originally scheduled to head to Shanghai and arrive prior to the New Year but appears to be staying in Europe for the 2021 season, according to sources familiar with the ship’s deployment. The plan after that is still said to include a year-round deployment in China.
According to Zanetti, cruises in China will remain in the four- to six-night range for the time being for the brand that was first to go into China in 2006.
“That is the backbone of the industry that has worked nicely over the last few years,” he said.
“The impact of COVID-19 is that the booking curve all over the world is shortening, and shorter cruises may be better in the new environment. This is an adjustment for the time-being as our long-term vision is still offering a variety of itineraries.”
With a booking curve measured in weeks and mostly short cruises in the market already, China may be poised come out of the pandemic as an even stronger cruise market.