Last updated: 08:48 AM ET, Mon October 12 2015

Norwegian Cruise Line Announces Expansion into China Market

Cruise Line & Cruise Ship | Norwegian Cruise Line | Patrick Clarke | October 12, 2015

Norwegian Cruise Line Announces Expansion into China Market

Photo courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian Cruise Line confirmed it will enter the China cruise market Monday, announcing plans to launch a customized vessel to service the region beginning in 2017.

CEO Frank Del Rio made the announcement at the CruiseWorld China summit in Shanghai Monday.

The new ship, which is under construction, will feature accommodations, dining options and amenities designed to meet the preferences of Chinese guests. 

"Our new purpose-built ship for China will have characteristics that are authentic to Norwegian Cruise Line and yet distinctively Chinese in all of its sensibility," Del Rio said in a statement. "With this new ship, Norwegian will unquestionably offer our Chinese guests a superior product and introduce a new standard of innovation and excellence into the marketplace, with an unrivaled level of customization for the Chinese consumer. It will perfectly suit what modern Chinese travelers value from an upscale cruise experience."

The new Breakaway Plus Class ship, which will offer the line's signature resort-style "Freestyle Cruising," will have room for 4,200 passengers and will homeport in China following its delivery in spring 2017.

In addition to the new ship, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings has announced new sales offices in Beijing, Hong Kong and Shanghai that will support travel professionals booking clients on any one of Norwegian's three brands, including Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises.

"Our China offices house a dedicated leadership team uniquely focused on ensuring the success of our local travel agent partners, which is crucial to the success of our expansion in what will soon be the world's second largest cruise market," added Del Rio.

Norwegian said it plans to reveal the ship's name, homeport and other details regarding onboard dining and entertainment options in the coming months.

In the meantime, the cruise line is due to welcome its first Breakaway Plus Class vessel, the Norwegian Escape, on Oct. 22. The line's third and fourth ships in that class are scheduled for delivery in 2018 and 2019, respectively.

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