Afloat, Chinese style

Updated: 2016-05-18 07:41

By Xu Lin(China Daily)

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Afloat, Chinese style

The company's global parent, Carnival, is eyeing the growing Chinese market for a joint venture of a domestically owned cruise brand in China.

Zheng Weihang, executive vice-president of the China Cruise and Yacht Industry Association, says it's a win-win situation because they all bring their own expertise and experiences to the table.

According to him, the domestic cruise industry is developing quickly, and more private and State-owned corporations will join in.

"Cruise is a capital and technology intense industry. The challenges are to have proper operations and train cruise talents."

Zheng also emphasizes the importance of attracting more inbound cruise tourists to China. He suggests Asian countries cooperate with each other to promote their cruises together in Western countries.

According to an online survey by China's iResearch Consulting Group in July 2015, 45.9 percent of the Chinese tourists on outbound cruises preferred onshore experiences in the daytime and a rest on board at night; 25.6 percent hoped to spend about one day onshore; and 11.9 percent wanted to stay on board all time.

Cruises to Japan, South Korea and Southeast Asia are popular. About 51 percent liked an itinerary of four to seven days and 32 percent chose eight to 14 days.

By age, 62.2 percent of passengers were between 26 and 35, while 22.8 percent were between 36 and 45. That's an attractive long-term demographic for cruise operators compared with Western travelers, who are more likely to be retirement age.

The top reasons for Chinese to cruise included entertainment on board, relaxing on a ship instead of going to a crowded scenic spot, no need for train or flight transfers, and good itineraries.

"It's good to be with families in a different place for a holiday. Besides the vast ocean view, we have plenty of time to communicate with each other," says Zhang Lei, 42, an office worker from Sanya, Hainan province. In January, she and eight family members, including her mother, took a three-day cruise to Vietnam.

"Cruising is a slow paced lifestyle. You'll never be bored because there are colorful activities on board."

They enjoyed themselves in the gym, karaoke room and coffeehouses on board. The staff organized interactive programs such as group bodybuilding and lessons in how to cook Vietnamese dishes.

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