Lifestyle / Travel

Cruise Liner Woos China Guests with Luxury Living

The Majestic Princess is designed with the affluent Chinese cruiser in mind, with fine dining options and an unending supply of shopping options.

Aug 27, 2016 | By Staff Writer

This is Princess Cruises first ship built specifically for Chinese guests. It is the latest development, just this month, as cruise services make a China pivot; MSC Cruises and Aida Cruises are both looking to capitalize from as early as next year in what is poised to become the largest cruise market in the world.

After a short European tour, the brand new Majestic Princess will drop anchor in its home port of Shanghai beginning next summer. The Princess Cruises ship will sail to destinations in Japan and Korea.

This is parent company Carnival Corporation’s latest foray into the Chinese cruise market, which has experienced skyrocketing growth over the last few years.

A recent report from the Cruise Lines International Association showed that between 2012 and 2015, passenger volume in Asia grew from 775,000 to nearly 2.1 million passengers.

This year has seen more than 1,560 ships and voyages scheduled, up from 1,095 in 2015. Recent reports suggest that prices have taken a hit, thanks a bit of oversupply but operators remain bullish. Perhaps that is because the Chinese Ministry of Tourism forecasts 4.5 million passengers by 2020.

With a guest capacity of 3,560, the Majestic Princess is hoping to steer Chinese holidaymakers away from the competition by capitalizing on its gastronomic reputation: Food and Wine magazine named the brand the best cruise line for food lovers.

At the Harmony space, for example, chef Richard Chen who helped the Wynn Las Vegas restaurant Wing Lei land a Michelin star – a first for a Chinese restaurant in North America – has reinvented classic Cantonese dishes.

At Le Bistrot, guests will be transported to Paris with a menu that serves traditional French fare like escargots, baguettes, tartines, tourtes and French pastries. Other dining options include a steakhouse, Italian eatery and all-day buffet.

The Majestic Princess is designed with the affluent Chinese cruiser in mind, with an expanded shopping and retail space anchored by luxury brands such as Cartier, Bulgari, Chopard, Burberry and Gucci, and a private karaoke space.

Princess sister brand Costa Cruises also expanded its presence in China this year, giving Carnival Corporation a leading edge over its competition with six ships based in the country as of this year. Royal Caribbean is in second place with five ships based in China this year.

Meanwhile, when the Majestic Princess, which also goes by her Chinese name “Grand World” or “Grand Spirit,” sails into Shanghai next summer, it will face off with Norwegian Joy, Norwegian Cruise Line’s first cruise ship which is also tailor-made for Chinese customers and set to debut in July 2017. You can see for yourself what the Majestic Princess brings to the table from the video below.

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