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Monday, March 20, 2017, 10:35

Celebrities will review new cruise ship's offerings

By Xu Lin
Celebrities will review new cruise ship's offerings
Chinese families travel on a Princess Cruises ship. (Photo provided to China Daily)

Princess Cruises will carry a group of Chinese celebrities aboard its newest luxury vessel, the Majestic Princess, on its maiden voyage to Italy, at the end of March.

The celebrities will share their experiences on social media and give feedback to Princess Cruises, helping them to better cater to Chinese travelers.

"We started this Master Council Program to create the best luxury-travel experience in China. Each council member has his own expertise, and will provide professional insights on our products," says Anthony Kaufman, executive vice-president of international operations for Princess Cruises.

The new ship, tailored for the Chinese market, will formally begin operations from its Chinese home port, Shanghai, in July, carrying 3,560 guests.

On its maiden voyage in March, renowned food critic Chua Lam will review the restaurants and other culinary offerings.

On board are two Michelin-star chefs - one at the French restaurant La Mer and the other at the Chinese Harmony Specialty Restaurant.

Kaufman believes Chua's professional advice will help the restaurants enhance their service.

"We have a good reputation for our food, which is a crucial experience for Chinese guests. And our research shows that, besides authentic Chinese food, Chinese tourists like French cuisine," says Kaufman.

Fashion designer Ji Cheng will offer advice on shopping at the nearly 1,100 square meters of duty-free retail space.

Composer and singer Chang Shilei will share his insights on the entertainment activities, such as the two Las Vegas-style shows and a water-and-light show.

Princess Cruises has tailored the entertainment for Chinese guests so that it is easy for them to understand and appreciate it, Kaufman says.

The shows include both English and Mandarin. It also uses advanced technology in shows, such as 3-D graphics to enhance the visual effects.

Other celebrities on board include former Olympic champion diver Tian Liang, his wife - singer Ye Yiqian - and their son and daughter.

"Our children love the ocean. So, when they are having fun in the Youth and Teen Centers, my wife and I can take time to enjoy ourselves," says Tian.

"The Chinese are very active and want to engage in the activities on board," Kaufman says. "It is important for them to travel together as a family unit. That is why we provide activities that appeal to different generations.

"Cruising is a fantastic way not only to see the world but also be with your family and friends. If you want to enjoy a beautiful beach, but the other person wants to join the activities on board, each one could do his own thing and then have dinner together."

Kaufman is confident about the future of China's cruise business over the long term.

In January, the China Cruise & Yacht Industry Association said that the number of outbound cruise passengers reached a record 2.12 million in 2016, up 91 percent over 2015. Separately, the number of overseas cruise guests visiting China increased 8 percent to 138,700 last year.

Shanghai, Tianjin and Guangzhou were the top three ports for inbound and outbound travelers.

Beijinger Qi Ming, who took a cruise overseas with his family last summer, says: "The voyage was very relaxing, suitable for kids and the elderly. We don't have to pack and unpack or carry heavy luggage.

"And everyone can find their favorite activities on board."

If his 2-year-old daughter fell asleep, they could simply carry her to the stateroom.

"The crew was professional and loved to interact with kids," the 31-year-old says. "Also, the grandparents could take a rest whenever they were tired."

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