Carnival will introduce its Princess Cruises brand to China for the first time next year, naming Shanghai as the homeport for its Sapphire Princess liner.
The cruise ship will operate a four-month season from the Chinese city, during which time it expects to carry approximately 70,000 passengers.
Starting next May, the 2,670-passenger Sapphire Princess will operate four different itineraries ranging from three to seven days and taking passengers to destination in Korea, including Seoul, Busan and Jeju.
“We’re excited to bring a new premium cruise travel experience to China’s shores. Though we have carried thousands of Chinese travellers on our ships over many years, we think the time is right for a new premium cruise experience that offers a new type of vacation experience for the Chinese consumer, sailing from China,” said Alan Buckelew, president & CEO of Princess Cruises.
The “premium cruise experience” referred to by Buckelew is the company’s ‘Princess Class’, which offers a range of new onboard services and features, including wine excursions, daily English high tea, tai chi and shopping experiences. The 18-deck Sapphire Princess also offers a casino, duty-free shops, a spa, sports deck, internet café, golf putting course and even a wedding chapel.
Princess Cruises has expanded rapidly in Asia recently, and now operates a range of itineraries across the region. The company’s parent, Carnival, has also opened offices in Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chengdu.