Rise of an Empire
Princess Cruises is making its way into China with five new offices in an effort to support the line's growing Chinese market. The offices -- located in Shanghai, Beijing, Tianjin, Guangzhou and Chengdu -- are currently up and running, according to Princess Cruises' spokesperson Karen Candy. "The cruise vacation market is in its infancy in China, and therefore we see this region as one with exciting growth potential," said Alan Buckelew, President and CEO of Princess Cruises, in a recent press release.
Speaking of Asia ...
Luxury line Crystal Cruises will also be expanding its Asia presence when it adds several new itineraries -- each offering at least two overnight port stays -- in 2014. The sailings, which range from five to 29 nights, will include a mix of ports in China, Japan, Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Burma (Myanmar) and Brunei. The line will also make maiden calls on Malacca, Malaysia; Lombok, Makassar/Ujung Pandang; and Surabaya, Indonesia, according to a statement from the line. Crystal is currently offering discounted pricing and two-for-one airfare on select itineraries for bookings through August 30.
Around the World in 180 Days
Oceania Cruises announced its first-ever world cruise on Monday, which will depart from Miami on January 10, 2015, for a six-month voyage onboard Insignia. The ship will travel to five continents, 44 countries and 89 ports of call, with 15 overnight calls of one or two nights. Of the 89 ports of call, 13 are new to Oceania, including El Guamache (Isla Margarita), Venezuela, and Xiamen, China, among others. Insignia will sail to multiple ports in the Caribbean before heading to South America, east to Africa, then on to India, Asia, Australia and New Zealand, the South Pacific and Hawaii before returning via the Panama Canal to Miami on July 8, 2015. Passengers onboard the world cruise will cross the equator four times, sail through all 24 time zones, traverse three oceans and 10 seas and call on 45 islands. Unlimited Internet and laundry service are among the onboard inclusions, along with free onboard medical service -- a first for the industry. Bookings open on July 17, 2013, at 8 a.m. and must be booked by 9 p.m. EST on September 17, 2013, to qualify for early booking fares, which begin at $39,999 per person.
Belize Denies Norwegian Port Proposal
Belize government officials last month rejected a proposal from Norwegian Cruise Line to develop a port facility at Crawl Caye, a 47-acre private island that lies off of Belize's coast. Development of a cruise terminal on the island, which is currently for sale, would provide large ships with an alternative to calling on Belize City when visiting the country. Opponents of the proposal cited Crawl Caye's location in a UNESCO World Heritage Site area and claimed that the addition of cruise ships to that area of the coastline could harm local reefs and other sea life. Although the request was turned down, Vanessa Lane, spokeswoman for the line, says Norwegian "will continue to look for development options both in Belize as well as other areas in the Caribbean."
--by Ashley Kosciolek, Associate Editor; Gina Kramer, Associate Editor; and Brittany Chrusciel, Editorial Assistant