Royal Caribbean is expanding its investment in the China cruise market by sending its third Quantum-class ship, Ovation of the Seas, to homeport in Tianjin. Launching in April 2016, Ovation of the Seas will be the cruise line’s fifth cruise ship based in the region.
“Cruising has become very popular for Chinese consumers and Royal Caribbean is already capturing their imaginations with our industry-leading cruise ships,” said Royal Caribbean President and CEO Michael Bayley. “We are furthering our commitment by bringing two of the world’s newest and most advanced Quantum-class cruise ships to the region. In addition, we are significantly expanding our investment in the training and employment of Chinese talent so they can join us in delivering our amazing and distinctive vacations to Chinese travelers.”
Currently under construction, Ovation of the Seas will join Quantum of the Seas, Mariner of the Seas, Voyager of the Seas and Legend of the Seas in China. The five ships will homeport in four metropolitan Chinese cities – Shanghai, Tianjin, Hong Kong and Xiamen – and primarily sail three- to 12-night itineraries to destinations in Japan, Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam. Royal Caribbean’s summer 2016 Asia itineraries will open for booking in August 2015.
Once launched, Ovation of the Seas’ maiden sailings will include a 52-night Global Odyssey from Southampton, U.K. to Tianjin. Vacationers can be among the first to experience the new ship on the 2016 Ovation Global Odyssey, which will open for sale on Thursday, March 26, 2015. There will be five itineraries available:
- A seven-night England to Barcelona cruise, departing May 3, 2016, from Southampton
- 16-night Barcelona to Dubai cruise, via the Suez Canal, departing May 10
- 14-night India and Southeast Asia cruise, departing May 26 from Dubai to Singapore
- Three-night Malaysia cruise, departing June 9 on a roundtrip sailing from Singapore
- A 12-night Exotic Asia cruise, from Singapore to Tianjin.
For its inaugural season, Ovation of the Seas will homeport in Tianjin – approximately 70 miles southeast of Beijing, while Quantum of the Seas will complete a full year of sailings from Shanghai. Mariner of the Seas will join Quantum of the Seas in Shanghai, while Voyager of the Seas will sail regularly from Hong Kong’s new Kai Tak Cruise Port. In addition to Japan and Korea itineraries, Voyager of the Seas will offer four- and five-night Taiwan and Vietnam cruises. For its part, Legend of the Seas will offer a set of sailings from Tianjin and then reposition to its new homeport of Xiamen for the remainder of the season.
“While China gets the newest Quantum Class, North America is getting the newest Oasis Class, Harmony of the Seas. There will be three Oasis-class ships sailing from two Florida ports starting in 2016, in addition to Anthem of the Seas from Cape Liberty,” said Bayley.
While Quantum of the Seas and Ovation of the Sea will sail the China seas, Anthem of the Seas will make Cape Liberty in Bayonne, N.J. its long-term home, and offer New York metropolitan vacationers a range of Bermuda, Caribbean, and Canada and New England adventures.
In addition to committing ships to China, Royal Caribbean is investing in local employees. The cruise line created a curriculum with the Tianjin Maritime College in August 2014 in order to attract, train and employ more Chinese talent. In the 13,000 sq. ft. school, students are instructed in the skills needed for a successful culinary or restaurant service career with Royal Caribbean. The cruise line has already hired more than 3,000 graduates and hopes to expand the program to accept more students and work with colleges in other Chinese cities.
The cruise line is also investigating potential Chinese drydock facilities to revitalize Legend of the Seas as early as 2018; logistics centers in China to supply its ships deployed in the region; and an inbound-tourism business model to bring thousands of North American vacationers to experience China.