China Approves Major Initiative: Cruises to Nowhere

Phoenix Island

China’s Ministry of Transport has approved a landmark deal that will allow cruises to nowhere from Sanya and Haikou in Hainan Province.

After years of lobbying, new guidelines were released on May 8 that said cruises can operate from Sanya and Haikou and not visit a foreign port.

Among the requirements: the cruise line must include a majority Chinese investor and the ship has to be less than 30 years old. Gambling will not be permitted on these sailings.

Once Chinese-flagged cruise ship become available, it is expected the regulations will shift to accommodate Chinese-flagged vessels on an exclusive basis.

Under the pilot program, boarding documents and clearance will be simplified, requiring only national identification cards or entry/exit documents, and travel agents can submit documents on behalf of their groups.

There are also specific guidelines for itinerary planning, ticketing, food safety and compliance reporting.

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