“We are pleased with how we are doing here and it’s an important part of our strategy to have a ship like Quantum based in China,” said Adam Goldstein, president and COO of Royal Caribbean Cruises, in an interview with Cruise Industry News. “She is performing well from a ticket and onboard (revenue) point of view.”
Goldstein, who has been to China five times in the last 15 months, said Royal Caribbean International had differentiated itself well in the market, first bringing Voyager-class ships to China and then augmenting them with the new Quantum of the Seas, to be joined by the Ovation in 2016. He was present along with other top company executives at the tenth edition of the China Cruse Shipping conference and trade show in Shanghai.
Goldstein said that as a leader in China, the company had responsibility to develop consumer awareness, sales channels and the supply chain.
“The amount of effort we will continue to put into the development of this market is considerable,” he said. “We accept that challenge and we are quite motivated by it.”
There is also SkySea Cruise Line, the company’s joint venture with Chinese travel agency Ctrip, which Goldstein described as a unique combination of east meets west and the first significant brand with Chinese ownership. Sailing just the Golden Era, bought from Celebrity Cruises, SkySea has its own growth plan in the market.
“The board of directors for SkySea continues to discuss the future of the brand,” Goldstein said. “There aren’t any significant one ship cruise brands in the world so we would certainly like to grow the brand over time.”
Alongside Royal Caribbean International and SkySea, there is increased competition for the company in the Chinese cruise market, but Goldstein said that was expected as the region grows its capacity.
“It’s not at all surprising we would continue to compete against all our competitors and potentially indigenous Chinese cruise lines,” he said.
Goldstein said Royal Caribbean has more berths in the Chinese market than it did overall when he joined the company in 1988, and expects the region to continue to grow somewhat aggressively.
“I’m a big believer in the growth prospects for 2020 (5 million Chinese cruise passengers),” he said. “I’m not sure there is a connection between the forecasts people are making and the amount of capacity that exists to reach the forecasts. The market will continue to grow, that is obvious … I don’t think a number of 5 million (passengers) is within the realm of possibility based on the capacity that exists in the world.”
Supporting the growth will be the company’s plan to develop a strong local supply chain, planning to triple food and beverage purchasing in China in 2016, and sourcing more technical supplies. In 2017, the company has committed to drydock the Legend of the Seas in China.
Supporting the ships shoreside is Royal Caribbean’s most significant office outside of Miami.
“We have a very comprehensive Shanghai office with most of the skillsets you would expect to see from a cruise line in sales, marketing and operations,” Goldstein added.