South Korea to Take Advantage of Culture to Attract More Ships

In Seong Hwang

South Korea is aiming to take advantage of its internationally popular culture to grow its position in the cruise industry, said In Seong Hwang, Deputy Director of the country’s Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries.

“In 2024, we expect around 450 cruise ship visits to Korea, starting from regular cruise products to high-end luxury cruise lines,” he told Cruise Industry News in an exclusive interview earlier this month.

For the future, the country plans to continue attracting more cruise ships, building on its current position as a “global cultural phenomenon,” Hwang explained.

The local culture and history are unique to the country, Hwang added.

“Along with our historical sites and natural beauty, our popular culture will help us advance in the cruise industry,” he continued, noting that the country is also modern and trendy.

“In the next five years, the number of cruise ships making port calls in Korea will certainly increase, since we have the whole world paying attention to K-culture and all these K-contents,” Hwang added, mentioning K-POP, K-drama and K-food.

“We will introduce more products and itineraries to the market that put all of these things together in a cruise trip.”

The country is also planning to diversify its cruise portfolio, adding more homeporting operations and different market niches.

“So far, Korea has mostly been a transit it. Now, starting this year with Norwegian Cruise Line, we have developed a fly-cruise product that we plan to expand going forward,” he noted.

Spending the year in the Far East, the Norwegian Spirit is scheduled to make four turnarounds in South Korea between October and November 2024.

The ten- and 11-night itineraries sail between the Port of Incheon and Yokohama, Japan, and are set to be repeated in March 2025.

According to Hwang, the product will mainly target international market, with discussions to increase the number of local tourists onboard currently underway.

Another of South Korea’s goals is to attract more luxury brands to the country’s destinations, he said.

Current port infrastructure across the nation is state-of-the-art, Hwang highlighted, with cruise terminals capable of receiving some of the world’s largest vessels.

“Most of the Korean ports of call have berths that can accommodate cruise ships of up to 220,000 gross tons. All of our terminals are also super modern and up to date,” he detailed.

South Korea is also considering the addition of shore power facilities to its ports as well, with the project currently in the planning phase. The country is also preparing two new deep-water cruise ports in Pohang and Daesan.

The upgrades are part of South Korea’s plans to increase not only transit calls but also to have more cruise lines take advantage of its infrastructure for fly-cruise and homeporting operations.

Cruise Industry News Email Alerts

Cruise Industry News Email Alerts



Get the latest breaking cruise newsSign up.


54 Ships | 122,002 Berths | $36 Billion | View

New 2024 Drydock REPORT


  • Mkt. Overview
  • Record Year
  • Refit Schedule
  • 120 Pages
  • PDF Download
  • Order Today
New 2024 Annual Report


  • 2033 Industry Outlook 
  • All Operators
  • Easy to Use
  • Pre-Order Offer
  • Order Today