After a 900-day gap, Xiamen, China, is now officially opened for domestic cruising, according to a local news report.
On July 2, the former Viking Sun, now operating as the Zhao Shang Yi Dun, marked the return of cruise operations to the Chinese port as part of a new itinerary in the region.
The five-night cruise departs from Shenzhen and includes a call in Xiamen, in addition to two full days at sea.
After leaving the Viking fleet last year, the Zhao Shang Yi Dun has been offering domestic cruising in China since October 2021.
At the time, the 930-passenger vessel – which is now operated by a joint-venture between Viking and China Merchants Shekou – kicked off a program of cruises to Sanya.
The ship’s new operation is hoped to revive the cruise economy and the cultural tourism industry in Xiamen, the news report added.
Previously one of the biggest homeports in the country, the Xiamen International Cruise Terminal had been out of service since the biggening of the COVID-19 pandemic.
While a new 68,000-square meter cruise terminal is set to be completed later this year, the port’s current facilities underwent a renovation before the return of the cruise passengers.
The port is also undergoing a major development project known as the Sea World. The commercial building complex is expected to open in September and was planned to, among other goals, improve the core competitiveness and influence of the region.
In 2019, before the outbreak of the pandemic, Xiamen is said to have received a total of 136 cruise ships, in addition to 413,700 passengers.
Sailing under the Chinese flag, the Zhao Shang Yi Dun is currently the only cruise ship in revenue service in China.
While international brands redeployed vessels that were previously sailing in the country, local cruise operators continue to have their entire fleets in operational pause.