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Shanghai greets eager visitors from luxury cruise liner

By Wang Ying in Shanghai | China Daily | Updated: 2024-04-27 07:29

Overseas passengers arrive at Shanghai Wusongkou International Cruise Terminal. CHINA DAILY

Shanghai welcomed the largest number of travelers on a single cruise trip, as Royal Caribbean's Spectrum of the Seas arrived at Shanghai Wusongkou International Cruise Terminal on Friday morning, according to official data.

Nearly 4,000 international travelers from countries including Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and Australia are on the cruise liner, the largest inbound tour group visiting the city ahead of the upcoming May Day holiday, according to information from the Shanghai Municipal Bureau of Culture and Tourism.

They were greeted with effusive dragon and lion dances, which are part of China's intangible cultural heritage.

Banking and financial organizations including UnionPay International have set up booths at the arrival area to introduce payment choices for passengers during their stay in Shanghai.

David Rosier, from Scotland, is on his very first trip to the city.

"We've got three days in Shanghai, and we are doing some tours. It's quite exciting," Rosier, who is trying to explore as many facets of the city as possible, said.

A visitor from Austria, David Franz, said he intends to rediscover China. "I love China, the Chinese culture, Chinese food, everything." Franz said he is planning to go on a city tour, shop and visit the neighboring water town this time along with his mother.

Built at a cost of $1.25 billion, the 168,000-gross-tonnage luxury cruise liner was tailor-made for the China market in 2019, and can accommodate a maximum of 5,064 guests.

Starting April 27, Spectrum of the Seas will set sail from Shanghai, its home port. The vessel will start its maiden voyage from Shanghai with more than 3,700 passengers on board, and head to Fukuoka in Japan.

According to Royal Caribbean, the ship will offer more than 120 sailings until May 2026, and its itinerary ranges from four to seven nights, taking guests to an array of destinations including Tokyo, Osaka, Kobe, Fukuoka, Kumamoto, Nagasaki, Kagoshima, and Okinawa.

"We are fully prepared to offer a premium onboard travel experience," said Liu Zinan, senior vice-president of Royal Caribbean Group during the welcoming ceremony held on Friday at the cruise terminal.

According to Liu, Royal Caribbean has been constantly bringing the latest and largest cruise ships to the China market.

"For long, Shanghai has been the first choice for inbound tourists. Since launching an inbound tourism promotion campaign 'Visit Shanghai' in December 2023, the city has seen a rapid recovery in visitors coming from outside China," Yang Jing, an official from the Shanghai Municipal Bureau of Culture and Tourism, was quoted as saying by local news portal ThePaper.cn.

Among all inbound trips, travel by cruise ships has been extremely popular, said Yang.

From January to March, 10 cruise vessels visited Shanghai and passenger trips to the city amounted to 22,379. The Shanghai Municipal Bureau of Culture and Tourism expects this to reach 18 cruise ships and 40,306 passenger trips, respectively, through the year.



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