China is making its first steps as a newcomer in the cruise industry, as Adora Magic City, the first-ever cruise ship built entirely in China, arrives in Shanghai ahead of her maiden voyage. In the coming two weeks, the vessel will remain in Shanghai’s Wusongkou International Cruise Terminal, setting sail on her first revenue cruise on January 1, 2024.
The arrival of the cruise terminal is a significant moment for China, with the country joining a select few countries capable of building cruise ships, ushering in a new era where the country hopes to become a powerhouse in the industry.
Adora Magic City Prepares for Her Debut
A historic moment unfolded on Friday, December 15, as Adora Magic City, China’s first large cruise ship, transitioned from the Shanghai Waigaoqiao shipyard to its new home at Shanghai Wusongkou International Cruise Terminal.
The ship’s departure from the shipyard was marked by a ceremony conducted by the Waigaoqiao shipyard engineers and workers, celebrating the culmination of a project that began in October 2019.
Upon arrival at the Wusongkou cruise port, a traditional Chinese dragon dance welcomed the Vista-class 135,500 gross tons cruise ship. Adora Magic City is slated to commence guest sailings from Wusongkou on January 1, 2024, coinciding with the year of the dragon in the Chinese calendar.
Ranfeng Chen, CEO of Adora Cruises Limited, expressed his enthusiasm: “The departure of Adora Magic City from the shipyard and its successful docking at Wusongkou cruise port marks a historic moment for both our company and the cruise industry in China. We are poised to welcome our guests onboard very soon.”
The ship currently hosts approximately 1,300 crew members, who are preparing the vessel for the arrival of the first 5,246 guests on January 1. Guests will have a choice of four- and five-night northeast Asia itineraries to Japan and South Korea.
Fusion of Eastern and Western Cruise Experiences
Adora Magic City is specifically tailored for the Chinese market. The ship boasts a wide array of innovative features and amenities, including authentic Chinese and international food, high-quality production shows, and a unique shopping experience that merges Eastern and Western elements. The company has also invested significantly in connectivity onboard, introducing 5G capabilities.
Founded in March 2018, Adora Cruises Limited, formerly known as CSSC Carnival Cruise Shipping Limited, aims to establish itself as a leading Chinese cruise company and set a benchmark for the Chinese cruise industry.
Besides Adora Magic City, the company’s fleet includes Mediterranea, which has been operational in the Chinese market since September 30, 2023. Mediterranea is a former Costa Cruises cruise ship.
Adora Magic City Provides Boost to China’s Cruise Industry
Adora Magic City is a source of pride for China, and rightly so. The vessel represents a significant achievement in China’s maritime industry, filling a gap in large domestic cruise lines and positioning China as the fifth nation capable of constructing large cruise ships.
Zhou Qi, Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding: “It’s an honor to witness the birth of a ship that not only showcases China’s prowess in shipbuilding but also heralds a new era for the Chinese cruise industry,” Qi stated.
As Adora Magic City gears up for its maiden voyage, Adora Cruises has already laid out plans for international cruise routes originating from Shanghai, with plans in place to explore further afield and sail along the Maritime Silk Road. This maritime route runs from China to Southeast Asia, India, to the Middle East.
Guo Jia, director of business development at Adora Cruises: “The launch of Adora Magic City is just the beginning. We’re excited about the potential of introducing more routes, further connecting China with the global cruise network.”
Despite some skepticism surrounding the cruise market in China, Adora has strategically entered a rapidly growing sector. China is expected to equal and surpass the United States in terms of cruise revenue over time. By 2023, China aims to be the biggest cruise market in the world.
The reason for this optimistic growth is easy to understand. The Chinese middle class shows a keen interest in cruising, and the opportunity to enjoy these experiences with familiar comforts is a major advantage for them.