It seems as though nary a week passed this year without a major cruise line signalling their intention to get involved in the rapidly-growing Chinese cruise market. In July, Norwegian Cruise Line became the latest to throw a furtive glance towards Chinese waters without actually explaining their plans.
However, the cruise giant has today revealed that an upcoming ship is currently being built primarily for Chinese cruise fans and will be based in the region. The ship will join the Norwegian Escape as the line’s largest vessels when she first takes to the seas in 2017.
With construction currently underway, many aspects of the design and delivery will be catered towards the Chinese market. Features such as Mandarin and Cantonese dining options will ensure the ship appeals to the target audience. The line is working with experts in Chinese culture and tourism to ensure the cruise experiences perfectly caters for the passengers.
The name Norwegian Bliss had previously been planned for the new vessel, however the name could be revised to better appeal to the Chinese cruise market.
Frank Del Rio, Norwegian Cruise Line president and CEO, enthused: “Our new purpose-built ship for China will have characteristics that are authentic to Norwegian Cruise Line and yet distinctively Chinese in all of its sensibility. With this new ship, Norwegian will unquestionably offer our Chinese guests a superior product and introduce a new standard of innovation and excellence into the marketplace, with an unrivalled level of customization for the Chinese consumer. It will perfectly suit what modern Chinese travellers value from an upscale cruise experience.”
The as-yet-unnamed ship will be the second member of Norwegian Cruise Line’s Breakaway Plus Class – with additional vessels set to launch in 2018 and 2019. It remains to be seen whether the third and fourth members of the class, or any other members of the NCL fleet, will be relocated to China.
The cruise line has recently opened up offices in Shanghai, Hong Kong and Beijing to provide better support for all Norwegian Cruise Line operations in China – demonstrating the line’s dedication to this part of the world.
Del Rio continued: “Our China offices house a dedicated leadership team uniquely focused on ensuring the success of our local travel agent partners, which is crucial to the success of our expansion in what will soon be the world’s second largest cruise market. These offices will provide sales and marketing support to our travel partners whose customers not only wish to sail on our new China-based ship, but also on any of the incredible voyages around the world offered across our portfolio of brands.”
Images sourced via Norwegian Cruise Line Media Centre and Wikipedia Creative Commons