China Cruise Shipping was held in Shenzhen from November 25 to 27, focusing on the Chinese cruise industry restart and laying the ground work for a solid 2024 and beyond.
To learn more about the Chinese market, see the 2024 China Market Report by Cruise Industry News.
- In a video address, Torstein Hagen, chairman of Viking, said that the Chinese cruise market could reach 30 million guests by 2035. He said he expected the market to recovery to 2019 levels by 2025 on its way to becoming the largest, or at least the second largest cruise market, by 2035.
- Helen Huang, MSC Cruises China President said that the company was well-positioned to restart in China, having kept it team together over the course of the pandemic. The MSC Bellissima will drydock in Shanghai in December ahead of its Shanghai debut in April.
- At China Merchants, Wei Wu, general manager, said the company has a full China crew of 600 crew members and has built up its own local supply chain. The company currently operates the former Viking Sun in a joint venture with Viking.
- Wu also noted that there should be standards for operating cruise ships in China, meaning there should be operational and service standards for cruise companies to meet.
- Huang said that customer satisfaction levels were key to the cruise product. The shoreside and embarking/disembarking experiences at ports being welcoming and friendly are very important to the overall satisfaction of guests, she said.
- Helene Xu, vice president for Shanghai Blue Dream International Cruise, said that as a small cruise company, they could quickly adapt to market changes. She used the example of quickly moving deployment and adding Jeju back as a cruise destination once they got the green light.
- Marketing strategies and sales channels have shifted with cruise companies getting away from full-charters and large block bookings. While travel advisors continue to play a key role, Huang said that MSC had focused more on direct sales channels while building a win-win strategy with B2B distribution, and combining online and offline solutions.