SkySea's Min Fan

Having launched service in 2015 with the Golden Era, SkySea Cruise Line has major backers in Ctrip, China's largest online travel agency, and Royal Caribbean Cruises.

"For SkySea, we are a brand new Chinese local cruise line. We only have one ship now, the Golden Era, but we are working to enlarge the fleet," said Min Fan, chairman and CEO of SkySea.

The product is premium, focusing on east meets west, said Fan. In charge of operations for the Shanghai-based company is industry veteran Hernan Zini, chief operating officer, who has helped assemble a stout shoreside team in China.

"Single ship companies are not the target, we will try to build the most preferred cruise line in China," Fan told Cruise Industry News at China Cruise Shipping in Tianjin.

As far as a time table for expansion, Fan said "the near future" and added it would be sooner than two or three years from now.

"A few more local Chinese companies are coming soon, and that will be good for the whole market," said Fan. "I hope we become the leading local brand."

SkySea has been among the few companies publically critical of capacity issues in Shanghai. More tonnage would certainly be based in other major Chinese mainland ports.