China’s first domestically built cruise ship is set to begin its maiden voyage Jan. 1, offering travellers from the mainland a way of getting overseas while still not entirely leaving the comforts of home.
The Adora Magic City will depart from its homeport of Shanghai on Monday for a six-day trip that will take in South Korea’s Jeju island and the Japanese cities of Nagasaki and Fukuoka.
The ships’ operator, CSSC Carnival Cruise Shipping Ltd., is a joint venture between China’s largest shipbuilding company China State Shipbuilding Corp. and Carnival Corp. from the US.
Built by CSSC Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding Co., Adora Magic City is 323.6 meters long and can accommodate up to 5,246 passengers in 2,125 guest rooms. The 16-deck liner boasts 22 restaurants and bars — including a mahjong lounge, beer brewery and hotpot outlet, duty-free shops and theatres showing musicals with a decidedly Chinese bent, such as Marco Polo: an Untold Love Story.
Chinese media have touted the ship as a major milestone, evidence the country’s shipbuilders can handle the most challenging of projects, along with aircraft carriers and large liquefied natural gas carriers.
Bookings for Adora Magic City’s first sailing opened in September. According to the ship’s official online store on Tmall, a premium cabin for two runs to about 8,500 yuan ($1,200) for a trip in early February, when many Chinese will be heading off for the important Lunar New Year holidays. Tickets for January and most of February are sold out.
“Tickets are pretty hard to book,” Liu said, noting that sailings on Feb. 9 and Feb. 14 were particularly popular.
While Valentine’s Day isn’t typically a holiday in China, this year it falls over the Lunar New Year, meaning for many young Chinese couples it will be a double celebration.
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