Another new Chinese cruise line is set to start up this year: Diamond Cruise, sailing the Glory of the Seas. With the exit of HNA at the end of 2015, Diamond joins Bohai as the only other true domestic Chinese cruise line.
Legally, Diamond was established in the Bahamas last summer, with headquarters in Shanghai, and is a subsidiary of the Tai Hu Cruise Management Company (THCM), which is expected to be listed on China’s new OTC stock exchange later this year.
THCM is owned by Suzhou Tai Hu Travel (THT), a Chinese travel agency established in 1993.
The start-up acquired the 2001-built Explorer, which sailed for Celestyal Cruises in 2015 and previously operated for Semester at Sea, having started her life in high-speed service for Royal Olympic.
The ship, which was undergoing an extensive refit in Shanghai’s Huarun Dadong Shipyard at press time, will launch service from Shanghai in April.
Re-named Glory of the Seas will sail short cruises to Japan and South Korea.
“The deployment is based on the Chinese outbound tourism as South Korea and Japan have become the hottest overseas travel destinations for the Chinese,” said Jian Liu, CEO of THT and Diamond Cruise, in an interview with Cruise Industry News.
THT brings an interesting background to the table with their own ships, having helped sales for Costa’s start-up in China in 2006.
In addition, they were part vessel management and consultant for Bohai’s start-up operation in 2014 and 2015.
According to Liu, Bohai contracted THT to manage itinerary planning, port operations and ticket sales.
In the big picture, Liu plans to make Diamond China’s number one cruise line, but for 2016 it is about starting up and establishing a sound system of, operations and marketing as a foundation for future development and expansion.
“In the next few years, the company will purchase three to five more ships to provide Chinese consumers with more localized high end cruise products,” she said.