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‘Dawn Before Sunrise’ in China for Royal Caribbean

Spectrum of the Seas

In China today, Royal Caribbean executives compared the market mood to “an early dawn before sunrise,” with the brand preparing for its return to service.

According to the company, there is positive demand from both travel agents and individual passengers. The domestic travel market returned to its new normal in mid-July, when the Ministry of Culture and Tourism allowed cross-province travel. As for cruise, the immediate task is to rebuild market confidence in cruise travel and overcome the concerns and barriers created by COVID-19.

While Royal Caribbean International has postponed the deployment of its fifth Oasis-class vessel, the Wonder of the Seas, going to China until further notice, executives have said they remain hopeful to have the 5,448-passenger ship in Asia once the pandemic has been brought under control.

Meanwhile for 2021, at press time, plans call for the Spectrum of the Seas to homeport in Shanghai from January to November, in addition to sailing from Hong Kong for Christmas and New Year’s, and the Voyager of the Seas to be deployed in Tianjin from May to October.

That means one less ship in China compared to last year when the Quantum also sailed seasonally from Tianjin.

But with a longer season there will not be a big drop in passenger capacity, according to Royal Caribbean.

When service starts, it is anticipated that the first sailings will be so-called cruises to nowhere and that the ships will return to more normal itineraries after destinations are deemed safe and countries lift travel bans.

Before the pandemic, the Spectrum was scheduled to sail from four- to eight-night cruises to Japan and the Voyager four to seven nights.

Scheduled cruises from Hong Kong were four to nine nights, calling in Vietnam and Japan among other destinations.

Together, the Spectrum and Voyager are scheduled to offer a total of 111 cruises from Chinese ports in 2021, offering more than 35 different itineraries, visiting 26 Asian destinations.

Royal Caribbean’s passenger capacity in China, before the pandemic, was estimated at approximately 760,000 for 2020, up from 505,100 in 2019 and 484,100 in 2018, according to the 2020 Cruise Industry News Annual Report.

Excerpt from Cruise Industry News Quarterly Magazine: Fall 2020

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