Are Cruises Returning to China?

Cruises have been slow to return to many countries around the world. China is certainly among them. While the passenger cruise industry in China is not as sizable as it is in the West, it was still a big deal before COVID shut it down. We were all hoping to see it flourish before the pandemic, and it seemed like it was set to. It’s been a while since any cruise ships have sailed from China, but it seems that they may be ready to restart much like the United States has. Let’s take a look at the latest news!

Viking kicks things off

Putting an end to many months of inactivity, Viking sailed one of their ships out of China on October 2nd. The ship, previously known as Viking Sun, had been rebranded as Zhao Shang Yi Dun prior to this sailing. Interestingly enough, however, the details of the new COVID protocols have not yet been revealed by Viking. We do know of a few major changes that the ship has undergone, though. They have brought in some Chinese brands like Chow Tai Fook to enhance the shopping on the ship, and have created an authentic Chinese tea experience. Wee-Hoon Tan, the Vice President of Product Development and Marketing at Viking, said this about their return to China: “The experience that we set out to create is one built on what has made Viking a success around the world and popular with our Chinese guests. We then added locally relevant elements to complement it.” The ship is set to sail around China before returning to its homeport in Shekou.

Royal Caribbean may be next

While Viking has already found success getting back into the Chinese market, other cruise lines are still waiting. Among them is Royal Caribbean. Royal was making some serious moves to expand into China before the pandemic, so we can only imagine that they are eager to get back on track in that regard. As of right now, they have received permission to sail from Hong Kong, but they are still waiting to hear back about when they can return to mainland China. In the meantime, Spectrum of the Seas will sail a few scenic itineraries with no port stops from Hong Kong. Policy states that all eligible passengers will need to be vaccinated. They will also need to show a negative COVID test.

China’s restart appears to be slow at this point, and that’s in line with many other Asian countries. Any improvement is a good thing, though, so we’ll just patiently await a full return to normal.

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