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更新时间:2013-9-10 14:39:41 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

High Hopes for China Cruises

When the Mariner of the Seas arrived in Shanghai in June, it became the largest ocean liner with a home port in China — a 138,000-ton mega-ship that boasts an ice rink, 10 pools, a rock-climbing wall and a mini golf course.

今年6月,海洋水手号(Mariner of the Seas)邮轮抵达上海,成为在中国拥有母港的最大的远洋邮轮。这个13.8万吨位的巨型邮轮拥有一个溜冰场、10个游泳池、一个攀岩壁和一个迷你高尔夫球场。

But the 3,800 passengers it can carry don’t get long to enjoy the array of amenities. The ocean-going giant, owned by Royal Caribbean International, mostly makes three- and four-night trips to South Korea that start at about the equivalent of $500 per person.

但是它能承载的3800名乘客并没有去享受所有这些设施。这个属于皇家加勒比国际游轮公司(Royal Caribbean International)的远洋巨轮主要进行往返韩国的三晚至四晚的航行,每人最低约需500美元。

The preference for such short cruises is one of the major challenges international cruise lines face as they focus more resources on luring Chinese customers, says Zinan Liu, the Shanghai-based managing director for China and Asia for Royal Caribbean, whose parent company is the world’s second-largest operator, with slightly more than 23 percent of all cruise passengers. (Carnival Corp. is the largest, with a little more than 48 percent.)

皇家加勒比公司驻上海的中国和亚洲区管理总监刘淄楠说,对这种短途航行的偏爱是国际邮轮公司把更多资源用于吸引中国顾客时面临的主要挑战之一。它的母公司是世界第二大邮轮公司,拥有的乘客数量占全球总数的23%多一点(嘉年华公司[Carnival Corp.]是最大的邮轮公司,它占的份额略微超过48%)。

If Chinese take to cruising in the same way as North Americans and Europeans, they could provide as many as 40 million cruise guests a year, according to a 2010 market analysis by Royal Caribbean. That is twice the number of passengers expected worldwide this year.


But unless they work for international companies, most Chinese take vacations only during the public holidays clustered around traditional festivals like Chinese New Year, usually a week or less at any one time.


That rules out the 12-night and longer cruises popular among North Americans and Europeans.


“That may change as the market matures, but for now the Chinese are party cruisers rather than serious cruisers,” Mr. Liu said.


Guo Yan, a 40-year-old bank cashier from Foshan in southern China, is typical of the current guests. She recently took her 16-year-old daughter on an overnight voyage out of Hong Kong that takes in skyscraper-studded Victoria Harbor before heading to sea for an evening of dining, shopping and shows.


It was the fourth time she had taken the trip, which is operated by Star Cruises, a regional line backed by the Malaysian travel and gambling group Genting. Ms. Guo says the cruise, at 400 Hong Kong dollars, or about $52, is cheaper than a night at many of the city’s hotels and an affordable treat for a school vacation period.

这是她第四次进行这样的航游,她搭乘的是丽星邮轮(Star Cruises),这家地区邮轮公司属于马来西亚云顶(Genting)集团,该集团经营旅游和赌博业务。郭燕说这次航行的费用是400港币,约合52美元,比在香港的很多酒店住一晚还便宜,是家里负担得起的一次暑假活动。

Tickets in hand, she said she never thought about taking a longer cruise but “if I had time I might do a longer trip.”


With such opinions in mind, Crystal Cruises, a Japanese luxury cruise line with two vessels that each carry about 1,000 passengers, has begun offering short cruises and plans 34 Asia-based sailings in 2014, up from just 4 in 2012.

日本奢华的水晶邮轮公司(Crystal Cruises)共有两个邮轮,每个约能承载1000名乘客。考虑到乘客们的上述想法,该公司开始提供短途航游,计划于2014年进行34次亚洲航行,比2012年的4次增加了很多。

“Originally, we’d market the sailing as an 11-day cruise, but now we look at the opportunity for a six-day and a five-day, so we answer to a few different markets,” said Marnie Whipple, Crystal’s regional sales manager for Asia and the Pacific.

“一开始,我们在推广11日的航游,但是现在我们看到了六日和五日航游的机会,所以我们开始回应几个不同市场的需求,”水晶邮轮公司的亚太区销售经理马尼耶·惠普尔(Marnie Whipple)说。

However, creating short cruise itineraries can be challenging, particularly in northern Asia. Chinese regulations require cruises to include international ports, explained Tony Peisley, an analyst at the London-based industry consulting firm Cruise Market Watch. So, when the preference for short cruises is factored in, a ship sailing from Shanghai to the South Korean port of Busan, or even the closer island of Jeju, must travel much further each day than ships on longer cruises to popular destinations in the Mediterranean or Caribbean.

但是,创建短途巡游航线可能具有挑战性,特别是在亚洲北部。伦敦的行业咨询公司邮轮市场观察(Cruise Market Watch)的分析师托尼·皮兹利(Tony Peisley)解释说,中国的条例要求航行必须包括国际港口。所以,考虑到游客对短途航游的偏好,与前往地中海或加勒比海热门目的地的长时间航游相比,从上海开往韩国釜山港或者更近的济州岛的邮轮每天航行的距离要远得多。

The likelihood of inclement winter weather also means that North Asia is predominantly a summer destination — for example, the Mariner of the Seas’ winter base is in Singapore.


Regional disputes also can create problems. Recently, heightened tensions between Beijing and Tokyo over a disputed island chain has prompted some Chinese to shun travel to Japan. Royal Caribbean said it had modified 30 sailings from Shanghai and Tianjin this year as a result.


In Southeast Asia, ports of call are close enough for a variety of cruises around Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia but a lack of cruise terminals, especially those able to accommodate large vessels, is constraining growth.


Even in popular destinations, like the Thai beach resort of Phuket or the Indonesian island of Bali, ships must rely on tenders to shuttle passengers ashore, a time-consuming process, says Kevin Leong, the Singapore-based general manager of the Asia Cruise Association, which is working with Asian governments to open more ports to cruise ships. “Investing in a cruise terminal is an expensive business,” he said. “For many Asian countries, the priority is containers and cruise ships have second priority.”

新加坡的亚洲邮轮协会(Asia Cruise Association)的总经理凯文·梁(Kevin Leong)说,在一些热门目的地,比如泰国海滩度假地普吉岛或者印度尼西亚的巴厘岛,邮轮必须依靠小船把乘客运上岸,这非常费时。该协会致力于促使亚洲各国政府开设更多可停靠邮轮的港口。“投资建设邮轮终点站非常昂贵,”他说,“很多亚洲国家首先考虑的是集装箱,第二个考虑的才是邮轮。”

There are signs, however, that priorities are beginning to shift.


In June, Hong Kong opened its $1.1 billion Norman Foster-designed cruise terminal at the site of the city’s old Kai Tak airport. Mainland China also is investing heavily in cruise infrastructure, says Mr. Peisley of Cruise Market Watch, with Shanghai, Dalian, Tianjin, Sanya, Xiamen and Qingdao all possessing or building terminals.

香港投入11亿美元在启德机场旧址修建了一个邮轮终点站,该站由诺曼·福斯特(Norman Foster)设计,今年6月开放。邮轮市场观察的皮兹利说,中国内地也加大了在邮轮基础设施上的投资,上海、大连、天津、三亚、厦门和青岛都拥有或在修建终点站。

Cruise lines in the region do report growth in the numbers of Chinese guests — like Royal Caribbean, which expects to carry 200,000 Chinese passengers in 2013, significantly more than the 25,000 it served in 2010.


But while Royal Caribbean views China as rich in potential, its residents account for just a fraction of the five million guests the company carried in 2012.


And projections from Cruise Market Watch show Europeans and North Americans will continue to dominate cruise statistics for some time, with the 2017 forecast showing them as 87 percent of all cruise guests.


“The problem is that it’s too easy to look at China’s middle-class population and extrapolate from that you can go in and sell them a cruise,” Mr. Peisley said. “For people who have not had money before and now have discretionary income, they buy a house and a car. A cruise is not a priority especially when most people have no idea what a cruise is.”


Nonetheless, cruise lines are busy trying to adapt to the onboard needs of Chinese customers. Ms. Whipple at Crystal Cruises said that cruise line has begun to recruit Chinese-speaking staff members and has enlarged the casino floors on its two ships — the Symphony and the Serenity — to cater to the Chinese passion for gambling.


Michael Goh, senior vice president of sales at Star Cruises, said its ships feature karaoke lounges and authentic Chinese cuisine. Last year, a 720-square-meter, or 7,750-square-foot, shopping arcade was added to the Star Pisces, which operates the one-night cruise patronized by Ms. Guo and her daughter.

丽星邮轮的销售部高级副总裁吴明发(Michael Goh)说,他们邮轮的特色是卡拉OK歌厅和真正的中餐。去年双鱼星号(Star Pisces)上新增了一个720平方米(约合7750平方英尺)的购物街。郭女士和她女儿坐的就是这个邮轮。

The Chinese enthusiasm for shopping and gambling means that they spend much more on average each day onboard than do passengers from Europe or North America, said Mr. Liu of Royal Caribbean, although he declined to give specific figures. And that, plus the fact that the Chinese tend to travel in extended family groups, rather than couples, is particularly promising, he added.


Perhaps the most talked-about move in the region’s cruise industry is an 89-day round-the-world cruise departing from Shanghai that Costa Atlantica, operated by Carnival, has scheduled in 2014. Taking in 23 destinations in 16 countries, it is billed as a new milestone in China’s cruise industry.

也许该地区邮轮业被谈论最多的举措是嘉年华邮轮公司运营的大西洋号(Costa Atlantica)计划2014年从上海出发,环绕地球89天,在16个国家的23个目的地停靠。这被认为是中国邮轮业新的里程碑。

“It’s a brave move,” said Mr. Liu, who noted that Royal Caribbean has no similar plans.