Princess will expand its Asia operations in 2014. (photo: Clyde Dickens)“Going into Asian markets has been part of a strategic planning process, whereby we reviewed market opportunities for the industry and for the Princess brand,” said Jan Swartz, executive vice president, sales, marketing and customer service for Princess Cruises.

“We have studied China for a number of years and concluded there is real interest in the type of vacation product Princess can offer.

“The timing is right. We see the Princess brand as being very aligned with the market development in China. People are showing strong interest in outbound travel, and there is a growing middle class that is interested in premium consumer brands.”

Starting in May 2014, the Sapphire Princess will sail from Shanghai for four months and is expected to carry some 70,000 mostly Chinese passengers.

>> Also in this section: In-depth analysis of every major Asia-Pacific cruise operator, a look at travel agent distribution, port options in China, and port news from the entire region, along with Malaysia’s potential as a cruise destination

Excerpt from Cruise Industry News Quarterly Magazine: Fall 2013