Today Carnival Corporation & plc announced it is introducing its Princess Cruises brand to China in 2014, naming Shanghai as home port for Sapphire Princess during a four-month season expected to carry 70,000 passengers.
The new roundtrip cruises, which begin next May, will bring a brand-new premium cruise experience to the rapidly growing China vacation market. Princess will offer the quality and comfort sought by discerning Chinese travelers, delivered by the largest premium cruise line in the world.
Quickly expanding throughout the Asia region, Princess has placed China foremost in the company’s deployment plans due to the market’s burgeoning economy and increasingly discerning travelers seeking a premium cruise vacation. Demonstrating the importance of the market, Carnival Corporation & plc, parent group of Princess Cruises, has opened offices in Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Chengdu.
“We’re excited to bring a new premium cruise travel experience to China’s shores,” said Alan Buckelew, Princess Cruises president and CEO. “Though we have carried thousands of Chinese travelers on our ships over many years, we think the time is right for a premium cruise experience that offers a new type of vacation experience for the Chinese consumer, sailing from China.”
The 2014 China season will feature four different itineraries ranging from three to seven days which – according to Princess research – is the ideal number of vacation days for the Chinese market.
The seven-day Sapphire Princess itinerary will take passengers to the vibrant Korean capital of Seoul, on to the culturally rich beach resort of Busan and finishing at the magical Island of Jeju, before returning to Shanghai. The five-day cruise will call at Jeju and Inchon; the four-day itinerary will call at Busan and Jeju, while the three-day cruise calls at Jeju.
In addition to the international cruise experience offered by Princess around the world, passengers on the new China-based cruises will be treated to unique cultural, culinary, entertaining, and inspiring programs including world leader dinners, sommelier wine excursions, daily English high tea, the only 24-hour buffet at sea, Tai Chi and Zumba at sea, a “Princess Night” bedtime experience, and an unparalleled shopping experience. Designed to appeal to multigenerational groups, “Touch of Class” personal enrichment courses will also be offered for adults and children.
The 116,000-ton Sapphire Princess carries 2,670 passengers and, at 952 feet long, has 18 decks and 28 premium suites with private balconies. The ship also includes a casino, duty-free shops, fitness center and spa, sports deck, children’s and teen’s centers, library, internet café, wedding chapel, art gallery and a golf putting course, among other features.
Princess’ new 2014 season of cruises will go on sale to the public on November 1.