For the 15th anniversary of the Pacific Venus in January, Japan Cruise Line (also marketed as Venus Cruise) will sail a 42-day Asia and Indian Ocean cruise, a reproduction of the original voyage the vessel sailed on its debut in 1998, said company President Yasuo Iritani.
The one-ship line is owned by a consortium of Japanese ferry operators, and the 1998-built Pacific Venus is the newest tonnage in the Japanese domestic market. The 26,518-ton vessel can carry up to 720 passengers and was built in Tokyo at Ishikawajima (now IHI Corporation).
The one-ship operator plans to carry around 25,000 passengers on 80 sailings in 2013 on a variety of itineraries sailing from a selection of Japanese homeports, starting at one-night preview cruises.
“We are constantly working on and perfecting the onboard element so passengers can be as comfortable as possible,” Iritani said. “We call this ‘The Venus Way.’ It is import to keep our customers happy; we need to be careful about pricing and our onboard service.
“When the passengers come onboard, the motto is to be ‘friendly and exciting,’” he added.
There are no plans for new ship construction on the table, said Iritani, in an exclusive interview with Cruise Industry News.
The company has 56 land-based employees in its Osaka offices with 75 dedicated maritime employees. The company was launched in 1989 and started cruise service in 1990 with the Orient Venus, which has since been sold.
“There is potential for the market to grow in Japan. There are many Japanese people that consider a cruise vacation to be a major, special vacation. First, we need to get people onboard, however, and leave them with a good impression. Our motto here is ‘step by step’.”
See the full Asian market report in Cruise Industry News' special Asia issue for the Cruise Shipping Asia-Pacific conference in Singapore Sept. 17 to 18.