China’s Cruise market situation [2024 update]

China released additional information on its plans for domestic cruise industry development.

The cruise market in China has been evolving rapidly, influenced by broader global trends and specific regional dynamics.

Key trends shaping the cruise industry in China from Chinesetouristagency

  1. Growing Demand for Domestic and Regional Cruises: In response to travel restrictions and changing consumer preferences, there has been a significant shift towards domestic and short-haul regional cruises. Chinese travelers are increasingly opting for cruises that visit local destinations or those within Asia, reducing the need for long-distance travel.
  2. Rise of Luxury and Themed Cruises: There is a growing appetite among Chinese consumers for luxury cruise experiences, with high demand for upscale amenities, personalized services, and exclusive experiences. Additionally, themed cruises that cater to specific interests such as culinary arts, culture, or adventure are gaining popularity, offering tailored experiences that appeal to niche markets.
  3. Integration of Digital Technology: Cruise operators are incorporating advanced digital technologies to enhance the passenger experience. This includes everything from online booking systems and mobile apps for onboard services to virtual reality (VR) tours of ships and destinations. These innovations improve convenience and engagement, attracting a tech-savvy consumer base.
  4. Expansion of Local Cruise Lines: Chinese-owned cruise lines are expanding their fleets and offerings to compete with international giants. These local operators are increasingly capable of offering services that cater specifically to Chinese cultural preferences and consumer habits, such as Mandarin-speaking staff, Chinese cuisine, and onboard activities aligned with Chinese festivals and holidays.
  5. Sustainability Initiatives: Environmental concerns are leading to greater emphasis on sustainable practices within the cruise industry. This includes efforts to reduce emissions, implement waste reduction policies, and utilize greener technologies. Cruise companies operating in China are beginning to adopt these practices to appeal to environmentally conscious consumers and comply with global and local environmental regulations.
  6. Government Support and Infrastructure Development: The Chinese government has recognized the potential of the cruise industry as a part of its broader tourism expansion strategy. There is substantial investment in port infrastructure and streamlined regulations to facilitate the growth of cruising, making it easier and more attractive for cruise ships to operate in and out of Chinese ports.
  7. Recovery and Adaptation Post-COVID-19: The industry is focusing on recovery strategies post-pandemic, which include stringent health and safety measures to reassure travelers. Flexible cancellation policies, enhanced sanitation procedures, and health screenings are becoming standard practices to boost consumer confidence.

These trends “indicate” a dynamic and growing cruise market in China, driven by an increasingly affluent and travel-enthusiastic middle class, supportive government policies, and innovative approaches by cruise operators to meet the unique needs of Chinese tourists.

Cruise firms invest in Marketing – Promotion in China

Promoting cruise vacations in China involves understanding the unique preferences of the Chinese consumer market. Here are five effective marketing strategies commonly used to promote cruises in China:

  1. Digital Marketing and Social Media Engagement: Utilizing platforms popular in China such as WeChat, Weibo, and Douyin (TikTok) for marketing is crucial. These platforms allow cruise lines to engage directly with a broad audience through rich content including videos, live streams, and interactive posts. Influencer partnerships, where cruise experiences are showcased through the lenses of popular travel bloggers and celebrities, significantly enhance reach and appeal.
  2. Collaborations with Online Travel Agencies (OTAs): Partnering with major Chinese OTAs like Ctrip, Qunar, and Fliggy can be highly effective. These platforms are where many Chinese consumers go to research and book travel. Offering exclusive deals through these OTAs can drive bookings and increase visibility among the target market.
  3. Localized Content and Offers: Tailoring content and offers to match local preferences and cultural nuances can make marketing messages more resonant. This includes celebrating Chinese holidays and festivals with special promotions, providing Chinese cuisine options on board, and ensuring that Mandarin-speaking staff are available to assist passengers.
  4. Mobile ads Strategies: Given the high penetration of mobile usage in China, creating mobile-friendly booking platforms and apps is essential. These should offer seamless, user-friendly experiences from initial advertisement to final booking, with integrated payment systems like Alipay and WeChat Pay to streamline the purchase process.
  5. Experiential Marketing: Hosting promotional events where potential customers can experience a taste of what cruises have to offer can be a powerful tool. For example, setting up mini-events in shopping malls or public spaces that simulate parts of the cruise experience, such as dining areas or entertainment options, can create buzz and attract attention.

By combining these strategies, cruise lines can effectively tap into the Chinese market, appealing to the local consumer’s preferences and technological habits, while building a strong brand presence that drives both interest and bookings.


The mega-cruise ship is moving quickly with CSSC expecting delivery before year’s end. This vessel was designed using the corporate design that Carnival Cruise Line and Costa Cruises used. The ship will have 2,125 staterooms and measure 1,060 feet in length. It is expected to weigh 135,000 tonnes.

Chinese also modified the design to create a larger cruise ship.

Since the beginning of this year, construction has been underway on the ship, which will weigh 142,000 tonnes. This cruise ship will measure 1,119 feet in length and will feature 2,144 staterooms.

The new company will offer short and long cruises, as well as international and domestic travel. However, no details have been revealed about its cruises. This trip will take you to countries that are important to China’s Belt and Road initiative.

China’s $81 Billion Cruise Market Rebounds as Mega Foreign Cruise Ships Return

China’s cruise market is witnessing a significant resurgence as foreign mega cruise ships make a triumphant return to Shanghai’s Wusongkou International Cruise Port. After a hiatus of four and a half years, the arrival of Royal Caribbean International’s Spectrum of the Seas on Friday marks a pivotal moment in the recovery of the industry. source

The Spectrum of the Seas, one of Asia’s largest cruise vessels capable of accommodating up to 5,200 passengers, docked with nearly 4,000 foreign tourists from countries including Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, and Australia. This event represents the largest single influx of foreign tourists to China in recent history, underscoring the global interconnectedness and appeal of China’s cruise market.

Just prior to this, on March 15, the MSC Bellissima also made its dock at Shanghai, signaling MSC Cruises’ return to China after a four-year break. These movements are highly symbolic, coinciding with China’s recent initiatives to reopen its borders and reboot cross-border tourism in 2023.

The return of these luxurious, foreign-owned cruise ships to Shanghai is not just a sign of normalcy returning after the pandemic disruptions, but also a major step towards reclaiming its position as the second-largest cruise market globally. Xie Xie, a research fellow at the China Waterborne Transport Research Institute, commented to the Global Times that the full-scale return of international cruise operations using Shanghai as a home port completes the “final missing block” in reviving the Chinese cruise industry.

As these giants of the sea anchor once again in Chinese waters, the $81 billion market is set for a promising voyage ahead, rejuvenated by global collaboration and renewed interest in maritime leisure travel. The industry’s revival is poised to boost tourism, enhance cultural exchanges, and contribute significantly to the economic landsca

What are top Cruises compagnies in China ?

  1. Carnival Corporation & PLC – The world’s largest cruise operator, Carnival has multiple brands operating in China, including Costa Cruises and Princess Cruises, both of which have targeted the Chinese market with localized discounted offerings.
  2. Royal Caribbean International – Known for its innovative ships, Royal Caribbean has been a major player in China, with ships like the Spectrum of the Seas specifically designed with Chinese travelers in mind.
  3. MSC Cruises – This Swiss-based cruise line has expanded its presence in China, focusing on tailoring experiences that cater to the preferences of Chinese guests.
  4. Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings – Operating with brands like Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises, and Regent Seven Seas Cruises, they have been increasing their market share in China by offering premium and luxury cruise experiences.
  5. Dream Cruises – Part of Genting Hong Kong, Dream Cruises targets the high-end Asian market, offering an array of amenities that are popular among Chinese passengers.
  6. Costa Cruises – A subsidiary of Carnival Corporation, Costa Cruises was one of the first international cruise lines to homeport in China, catering specifically to the Chinese market with customized onboard experiences.
  7. Astro Ocean Cruises – A joint venture between China National Travel Service (HK) Group Corporation and China COSCO Shipping Corporation Limited, Astro Ocean caters specifically to Chinese nationals with customized services.
  8. SkySea Cruise Line – A joint Chinese-American venture which was relatively small but impactful in the Chinese cruise market, offering tailored experiences before ceasing operations.
  9. SunStone Ships – Known for their innovation in expedition cruising, SunStone has found a niche market within China’s outbound tourism sector.
  10. Ponant – Specializing in luxury and expedition cruising, Ponant has been appealing to affluent Chinese travelers looking for unique and exclusive cruise experiences.

Adora is proud to be Chinese-American and claims that it will combine a national perspective with local expertise to create a cruise itinerary specifically for Chinese tourists. The company stated that it will offer “better quality onboard experiences and exclusive shore tours to address the different needs of customers.”

The detailed plans for the expansion of CSSC’s cruise industry were also described. In December 2021, the first Chinese-designed cruise ship design was approved by an international classification body. It was for a larger vessel with a gross weight of 150,000. CSSC Cruise Technology Development Co. is a wholly owned subsidiary of China State Shipbuilding Corporation. It has unveiled a new design for a cruise vessel with 80,000 gross tons.

CSSC believes that this design will be a luxurious cruise ship measuring 963 feet long. CSSC claims that the design’s high passenger space, passenger-crew ratio and public area per person significantly improve passenger comfort. This involves techniques like enhancing wind field and hydrodynamic performance, and installing energy-saving devices to lower resistance and increase energy efficiency. The result is that this ship’s balcony room ratio will exceed 69%. China Classification Society (CCS) has given the design Approval in Principle (AiP).

To finance the growth of China’s cruise industry, the Bank of China and the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China have signed a memorandum of co-operation with CSSC Finance Co. and CSSC Carnival Cruise Co. The loan pool will finance two large Chinese cruise ships as well as expanding the country’s fleet of cruise ships. This is the first long-term syndicated credit for China cruise funding.

Read more

Similar Posts

One Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *