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China Cruising Wave of Future

Good friends of ours are going to China in a little over a month. This is not something on our bucket list but if that ever happens, we’d probably do what our friends are doing.

They’re going on a cruise.

It could be our friends are ahead of their time. The way things are going in the cruise industry, when you gaze over the horizon it’s possible there will one day be more cruise ships in Asia than in North America.

Impossible?

Think again.

Unless it’s just a trend that will runs it’s course (unlikely), the mini-exodus of cruise ships to the other side of the world is likely to continue. Consider these few facts…

• Presently five Royal Caribbean ships (yes, five!) are scheduled to have home ports in QuantumChina next year — Mariner of the Seas, Voyager of the Seas, Legend of the Seas and two of the newest ships, Quantum of the Seas (leaving in May) and Ovation of the Seas (2016). The new ships will be permanently based in Shanghai and Tianjin, respectively.

• A new cruise terminal is in the planning stage for Krabi, a little-known city and the fourth most visited place in Thailand.

• South Korea this month passed two laws related to cruising, one of them to allow foreign casinos to operate on ships.

• Japan is now allowing Chinese tourists to visit without a visa, providing they are traveling on specific cruise ships (including three from Costa Cruises and Mariner of the Seas) approved by the Japanese minister of justice.

• According to a recent study, there is the potential for 83 million cruise passengers from China alone. To give this some perspective, last year the number of cruise passengers on ships world-wide — according to another study — was just over 20 million.

It seems people in China are discovering what many of us discovered long ago, that cruising is a great way to vacation, and the growth of the Chinese economy is allowing them to experience it. Since there are millions more Chinese than North Americans, get ready for the shift of ships.

And maybe a new bucket list.

Today at portsandbows.com: Disney jolly over England

Carnival Imagination
4 nights
April 26, 2015
Los Angeles (return): Catalina Island, Ensenada 
Inside: $199
Cost per day: $49
www.carnival.com

Quick disembarkation billion-dollar answer?

 

In June, two Royal Caribbean ships will be the first to dock at a $1 billion terminal (that's right, one BILLION) in Hong Kong.

The new structure is called the Kai Tak Cruise Terminal, and the ships will be Mariner of the Seas (June 12) and Voyager of the Seas (October 15). One hour after the Voyager leaves, the Diamond Princess will arrive and by the end of the year Celebrity's Millennium will also have visited Kai Tak.

But here's what is most interesting about the state-of-the-art terminal:

It can process 3,000 passengers an hour!

That means every passenger could leave most of today's cruise ships an hour after the gangplank goes down. Having recently move 25 feet in 60 minutes at the terminal in Galveston after leaving the Crown Princess, we think this is exciting news that hopefully will spread throughout the cruise terminal world.

There is one problem.

How many people an hour will be processed at customs?


Norwegian Pride of America
7 nights
May 18, 2013
Honolulu (return): Kahului, Hilo, Kona, Nawilili
Inside: $1,549
Cost per day: $221
www.ncl.com

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