Royal Caribbean International announced it would deploy Ovation of the Seas to China in 2016. The cruise ship is the second newbuild to be devoted to Chinese market.
The 4,000-passenger Ovation of the Seas will be homeported in Tianjin, adding a 4th port in China to Royal’s lineup.
In May this year, Royal Caribbean will redeploy Quantum of the Seas from its current homeport (Bayonne, New Jersey) to Shanghai. Ovation of the Seas is also a Quantum-class vessel, meaning two of the Quantum trio sailing from China year-round.
No other line has put a newbuild cruise ship in China, much less two.
At a news conference in Beijing, RCI President Michael Bayley said they were furthering commitment to China by bringing two of the newest and most advanced cruise ships in the world to the region.
Ovation of the Seas is the 3rd Quantum-class ship, scheduled to enter service in 2016 spring. The 2nd Quantum vessel, Anthem of the Seas, will make her debut in Southampton on April 22 and will be departing from New Jersey after an European summer season.
Bayley said that Royal Caribbean International was taking other steps to strengthen cruise operations in China. The line has created a curriculum with Maritime College in Tianjin to train culinary and restaurant service employees. More than 3,000 students have been hired since the academy opened in August 2014.
Royal Caribbean is also investigating potential drydock facilities in China to renovate Legend of the Seas and potential logistics centers to supply its cruise ships deployed in the region. RCI is also looking at inbound-tourism business models that would bring thousands of travelers from North America to visit China.
The addition of Ovation of the Seas will bring to five the number of RCI ships sailing in China by 2016. The line has also positioned Voyager of the Seas in Hong Kong and Mariner of the Seas in Shanghai. In 2016 Legend of the Seas will be homeported in Tianjin until Ovation’s arrival, and then will be repositioned to Xiamen.
A 52-day cruise on Ovation from Southampton to Tianjin opens for sale today (March 26).