Costa Cruises, the largest Italian travel group and Europe’s favorite cruise line, has inaugurated the new international cruise terminal in Tianjin with the first port call by the Costa Romantica (53,000 gross tonnage and total guest capacity of about 1700).
The opening of the new terminal is a major step forward in the growth of cruising in China, particularly for Costa Cruises, which was the first international cruise company to enter the Chinese market. With the arrival of the Costa Romantica, the Italian Company is further expanding its cruise capacity in China: the Costa Romantica is joining her sister ship Costa Classica, already deployed in the Far East.
In all, the Costa Romantica will be calling at Tianjin 10 times this year. Since its debut in China in 2006, Costa Cruises has invested around 50 million euros in the region and quintupled its cruise capacity, with a total of 93 Chinese port calls in 2010. More than 120,000 cruise guests are expected to be on a holiday onboard a Costa ship in Asia this year. Costa’s Far Eastern cruises sail from the ports of Shanghai, Tianjin, Hong Kong and Singapore and include stopovers in some of the region’s most popular resorts such as Sanya (China), Halong Bay (Vietnam), Da Nang (Vietnam), Okinawa (Japan), Kagoshima (Japan), Nagasaki (Japan), Fukuoka (Japan) and Cheju (South Korea).
“Costa Cruises is proud that the first call of the Costa Romantica, a symbol of “Italian-made” excellence and elegance worldwide, also marks the inauguration of the new Tianjin cruise terminal,” says Costa Crociere S.p.A. President Gianni Onorato. “The new terminal is a reward for our pioneering investments and work in this part of the world, and brought to fruition thanks to the invaluable support of the Chinese authorities. The ultimate aim is to popularise a new form of vacation in China, a type of holiday that was practically unheard of before in the People’s Republic: namely, cruise vacations.”
China’s third most important city in terms of commerce and industry, Tianjin is currently enjoying rapid expansion in the cruise sector. The local port, called Xingang (New Port), is the most important commercial harbour in China’s northern provinces and also serves as the port of Beijing. The new terminal is located south of the Dongjiang port area and covers some 1.2 million square metres. The area developed in the first stage of the building project comprises 700,000 square metres and can accommodate six large cruise ships at a time. The actual terminal building itself has a surface area of 59,000 square metres and can handle up to 4000 cruisers, with a total of 500,000 passengers a year.
The Italian Company’s operations in China began in July 2006 with one ship, the Costa Allegra (28,400 gross tonnage and 1000 guests), offering cruises out of the port of Shanghai. In 2008 Costa inaugurated Shanghai’s cruise terminal on the 100th cruise of Costa Allegra.
Costa was the first international cruise company to operate regular cruises in China and Asia, bringing its special brand of “Cruising Italian Style” to the Chinese market. The arrival of the Costa Allegra in Shanghai coincided with the celebration of the opening of the “Shanghai Port International Cruise Terminal”.
Encouraged by the positive performance of its cruises and believing in the potential for further development of the market, Costa Cruises positioned a second liner in China and Asia in April 2009 – namely the Costa Classica (53,000 gross tonnage and 1680 guests), deployed alongside the Costa Allegra. In April this year Costa boosted its regional capacity yet again, replacing the Costa Allegra with an even larger ship, the Costa Romantica, which joined the Costa Classica.
Almost four years on, Costa has contributed significantly to the development of the cruise industry in China, consolidating its leadership in the sector. Costa is the only international line to market cruises in China and the Far East all year round. Costa has two local offices supporting its expansion in China and the Far East – one in Shanghai and the other in Hong Kong.
In January 2010, Costa was the first international operator in China to offer regular cruises to Taiwan for customers in China. There are 15 such cruises scheduled this year, each lasting five days and four nights, with departures from Hong Kong in January, February, May and June on the Costa Classica, and port calls at some of the island’s finest resorts such as Taipei, Keelung and Taichung.
The two Costa liners currently operating in China and the Far East – the Costa Classica and Costa Romantica – offer both short cruises, from four to six days, favoured by the local clientele, and longer holidays, from 14 to 16 days, which are more popular with international customers.
In the 2010 summer season, the Costa Romantica will be offering five and six day cruises to South Korea (Cheju and Pusan) and Japan (Fukuoka) with departures from Tianjin and Shanghai. Meanwhile, in June this year the Costa Classica will resume her direct sailings from Hong Kong to Taiwan; then from July she will be operating out of Shanghai on four to six day cruises to South Korea (Cheju and Pusan) and Japan (Fukuoka, Kagoshima and Nagasaki).
In the 2010/11 winter season, while the Costa Romantica will be positioned in Mauritius on Indian Ocean cruises, the Costa Classica will be offering 14-day cruises from Hong Kong to Vietnam and Thailand, plus a new 14-day itinerary, which can be broken down into two seven day segments, sailing from Singapore to some of the loveliest destinations in Thailand and Malaysia. In February, May and June 2011 the Costa Classica will once again be deployed on regular scheduled cruises to Taiwan.
In the 2011 summer season the Costa Romantica will be back in Shanghai operating on four to six day cruises to South Korea (Cheju and Pusan) and Japan (Fukuoka, Kagoshima and Nagasaki). Meanwhile, the Costa Classica will be departing from Tianjin and Shanghai on new six to eight day itineraries to South Korea (Cheju and Pusan) and Japan (Osaka, Fukuoka, Kagoshima and Nagasaki).