China Update: Here Are the Restart Plans for the Local Brands

Adora Magic City

While 2023 marked the return of several domestic brands in China, 2024 will see international cruise lines – and even international guests – returning to China for the first time since 2020.

Cruise Industry News looks at the status and the restart plans for the brands that historically have a presence in the region.

For more information, see the 2024 China Market Report by Cruise Industry News.

China Merchants Viking Cruises
Ship: Zhao Shang Yi Dun (former Viking Sun)
Status: In service
Service Resumption:
October 2021

China Merchants Viking Cruises was the first cruise line to resume revenue service in China. The recently launched brand welcomed guests for a series of domestic cruises in October 2021, using the former Viking Sun.

Now flying the Chinese flag, the vessel continues to sail different itineraries from China and is also set to welcome international guests starting in September 2024.

Blue Dream Cruises
Ship: Blue Dream Star (former Olympia Explorer, Glory Sea)
Status: In service
Service Resumption:
May 2023

In service since mid-2023, Blue Dream Cruises became one of the first cruise lines to resume cruise service in China. After acquiring the former Glory Sea – now named Blue Dream Star – during the pandemic, the local-based company launched service from Shanghai last May.

Blue Dream also became one of the first cruise lines to resume international sailing, offering short cruises to Japan and also South Korea.

Costa Cruises
Ship: Costa Serena
Status: Seasonal operations in Taiwan
Service Resumption:
July 2023

While a return to mainland China remains out of Costa Cruises plans, the Italy-based company has resumed operations in Taiwan in 2023.

Cruising in Asia on a year-round basis, the Costa Serena offered itineraries departing from Keelung during the past summer. The 2007-built vessel is scheduled to return to Taiwan this year to offer a series of charter cruises starting in March.

Tianjin Orient International Cruise Line
Ship: Dream (former Sea Princess, Charming)
Status: In service
Service Resumption:
August 2023

After acquiring the former Sea Princess, Tianjin Orient International Cruise Line launched service in August 2023. The homegrown cruise line is offering a series of cruises to Japan and South Korea.

Now named Dream, the 1,950-guest ship also underwent a major refit before welcoming its first guests before kicking off its year-round program in Tianjin.

Adora Cruises
Ships: Adora Magic City and Mediterranea (former Costa Mediterranea)
Status: In service
Service Resumption:
September 2023

Adora Cruises launched service in September 2023. After years in the making, the  cruise line first kicked off a series of cruises from Tianjin onboard the Mediterranea.

After taking delivery of the Adora Magic City, the brand expanded its operations to Shanghai in 2024, with a series of short cruises onboard the 5,000-guest, China-built vessel.

Royal Caribbean International
Ship: Spectrum of the Seas
Status: Restart planned
Service Resumption:
April 2024

Royal Caribbean International is returning to China in 2024 with the Spectrum of the Seas. Currently sailing in Southeast Asia, the 2019-built is set to reposition to Shanghai in April.

Through early December, the Spectrum offers a series of four- to seven-night cruises to Japan and South Korea that feature visits to Naha, Fukuoka, Nagasaki, Cheju, and more.

MSC Cruises
Ships: MSC Bellissima and MSC Splendida
Status: Restart planned
Service Resumption:
March 2024

MSC Cruises is bringing two ships to mainland China in 2024. Currently sailing between Taiwan and Japan, the 2019-built ship is set to reposition to Shanghai in mid-March.

Arriving in China for the 2024-25 winter season, the MSC Splendida is set to offer itineraries departing from Shekou starting in late November.

Lion Travel/Norwegian Cruise Line
Ship: Norwegian Spirit
Status: To operate in Taiwan
Service Resumption:
June 2024

After being chartered to Taiwan-based Lion Travel, the Norwegian Spirit is set to kick off a series of local cruises in Taiwan starting in June 2024.

The program features departures from both Keelung and Kaohsiung, with 26 voyages to Hong Kong, Japan and South Korea voyages set to be offered through September.

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