After being in lay-up off the coast of Cyprus for nearly three years, the cruise ship formerly known as Costa Mediterranea and now rebranded as Mediterranea is set to undergo a significant transformation.
The cruise ship arrived at dry dock at a shipyard in Singapore on August 14, 2023, where preparations for the ship’s debut in China for the new Chinese cruise line Adora Cruises are in full swing.
Built in 2003 for Costa Cruises, the Spirit-class cruise ship Mediterranea, formerly the Costa Mediterranea, has arrived in Singapore for a dry dock.
The 85,619-gross tons cruise ship is scheduled to undergo extensive modifications to cater to the rapidly growing Chinese cruise-holiday market.
The ship’s exterior will be adorned with a new livery, while its interiors are set to reflect the grandeur of Italian palaces from the 15th to 17th centuries.
With a capacity for 2,680 guests across 1,057 rooms and suites, the revamped Mediterranea will blend elements of Mediterranean elegance with nuances of Chinese culture.
Adora Cruises, a brand that operated under the name CSSC Carnival Cruise Shipping Limited previously, will be operating Mediterranea. While it is currently unknown how long the dry dock period will take, Mediterranea is scheduled to commence operations in Tianjin, China, in the fourth quarter of this year.
The aim is to create a vessel that personifies the Mediterranean’s artistic spirit while ensuring the ship is suitable and ready for the Chinese market. This requires a very different setup than what Western cruisers are accustomed to.
Chinese guests will require a vastly different approach than Western guests, meaning more buffet options, seafood options, traditional Chinese food options such as Hot-Pot and 24-hour Congee availability, and dining times adjusted to conventional Chinese meal times.
For entertainment, there will be a heavy focus on the Casino, acrobatic shows, Karaoke, and Chinese opera, but also the Broadway-style shows that feature on most Western cruise ships.
Waiting for the Chinese Cruise Market Boom
Introducing Mediterranea to Tianjin is just one aspect of Adora Cruises’ expansive strategy for the Chinese market.
Alongside Mediterranea, Adora Cruises is also gearing up to launch Adora Magic City—a 135,500-gross-tons cruise ship with a guest capacity of 5,246 guests based on Carnival Cruise Line’s Vista-class cruise ships.
A second Vista-class cruise ship is also under construction, and Costa Atlantica will be the next cruise ship to be transformed for the Chinese market.
The cruise industry in China witnessed a meteoric rise before the global pause in operations and the lockdown, fueled by China’s expanding middle class and its growing appetite for diverse travel experiences. For years, cruise lines have tried to tailor their offerings to cater to the unique preferences of Chinese travelers.
Luxurious onboard amenities, entertainment tailored to Chinese tastes, and itineraries featuring popular Asian destinations have become commonplace.
However, like all markets, the Chinese cruise sector faces challenges, from navigating regulatory waters to adapting to rapidly changing consumer demands.
Nevertheless, the potential for growth remains vast, and the industry’s trajectory in China is keenly watched by cruise operators and stakeholders worldwide. It is, after all, a market that could match or even outpace the US cruise market over time.