Royal Caribbean has officially named its newest ship, Ovation of the Seas, at a ceremony in the Chinese port city of Tianjin.
The event marked the first time a Royal Caribbean ship has been named in China, and actress Fan Bingbing became the company’s first ever Chinese “godmother”. The celebrations culminated with the maritime tradition of breaking a Champagne bottle on the hull of the ship.
“We are excited to bring our newest and most technologically advanced ship to China,” said Michael Bayley, Royal Caribbean’s president & CEO. “Chinese consumers have grown to expect the best the world has to offer, and this ship meets that standard like no other – this is a cruise from the future.”
Ovation of the Seas becomes the first Royal Caribbean ship to homeport in China immediately after its delivery. Based in Tianjin for its first season, the 4,180-passenger vessel will offers series of four- to seven-day cruises mainly to ports in Japan and South Korea. It will then sail to Singapore in 2017 for a series of Southeast Asian cruises, before returning to Tianjin.
The brand new ship offers a series of new concepts, including North Star, a glass observation capsule that extends over the side of the vessel, above the waves, and interior “Virtual Balcony” rooms with large digital screens that display live images from the outside.
China is the world’s fastest-growing cruise market. Chinese passengers took one million cruise journeys last year, up from about 700,000 in 2014, and 4.5m passengers are expected by 2020.