Continued from Page 20
In China, the former Radisson Diamond
is being refurbished by China Cruise Ltd.
for voyages as the China Star from the city
Malaysia-based Star Cruises, with five
ships, has nearly two decades of experience
catering to Asian passengers. It sails from
six homeports in China, Malaysia, Taiwan
In recent years, Star’s parent company
has focused most of its expansion efforts
on Norwegian Cruise Line, in which it
owns a half interest.
In Southeast China, Xiamen has a comprehensive plan that started with a new terminal, which it hopes to surround with an
entertainment and luxury shopping complex called “Cruise City.” Construction has
also started on a 100,000-ton ship to sail
from Xiamen. Budgeted at $488 million, it
would be the first large cruise ship built in
“It will be interesting to see how it comes
out,” said McLeod, who noted that China
has both an active shipbuilding industry
and a cost advantage in many types of industrial production.
McLeod said the type of onboard rev-
enue generated has a big impact on ship
design and that ships built for a Chinese or
Asian passenger may eventually look quite
different from the U.S. model, in the same
way that ships built for German lines are
Although cruise is in its infancy, about
70 million Chinese went abroad in 2011,
and that is projected to rise to 80 million
this year. The appetite for growth in cruising is evident, said Bauer, who talked to
Chinese officials about their plans on her
such as jugglers and acrobats, as well as Royal Caribbean’s standard production
“Mass tourism in Asia is still a new thing, so
it’s challenging to work with tour operators and
to get good guides,” said the
Voyager’s shore excursion
manager, Srgan Jovanov,
adding that the ports and
the infrastructure are not
up to par yet in many cases.
On our cruise, most of the
docking facilities were in
unattractive container ports
(this goes for the smaller
Legend, as well).
Photo taking was another
popular form of entertainment for the Chinese passengers, and they loved the
Dream Works character sessions, where Shrek and crew
would mingle and pose with
PHO TO B Y HEIDI SARNA
A balcony view of the port in Hong Kong.
Other subjects were favored, as well. “I was like a
rock star,” Whatman told me
with a big grin. His picture
was taken so many times he lost count.
Jovanov said that some
tourist attractions can’t
handle thousands of passengers at once. For instance, for the popular Cu
Chi Tunnels near Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City,
only a limited number of bus tours were offered
on our cruise, so we wound up having to take a
taxi. It worked out fine in the end, and it was
Gambling, dancing, photography
To accommodate the Chinese’s well-known
love of gambling, two new gaming areas geared to
high rollers were added to the Voyager: one in the
former Cigar Bar and another carved out of the
main Casino Royale.
While live music acts are popular with all na-tionalities, Cruise Director Gordon Whatman told
me that the Chinese especially love dancing, from
watching street parties on the Royal Promenade
to joining dance classes.
The professional ice skating shows were a big
hit with the Chinese too, and they were a highlight
for my family, as well.
While we enjoyed acts like Jonathan Clark,
who mixed stand-up comedy with impersonations
of famous singers, the Chinese guests over the
summer were more entertained by visual acts,
Continued from Page 16
She said the biggest challenge might be
to keep the growth expectations realistic.
“They want to get to the same place in
three or four years that it took us 30 or 40
years to get to,” she said.