Author: Josh Lew
China's economic boom has meant more tourists. Surprisingly, though, most of them have not come via sea. For a country with a high concentration of coastal cities, China has welcomed relatively few cruise ships over the past decade. Hong Kong has long been a major port of call, but the mainland has lagged far behind. Shanghai, whose rivalry with Hong Kong goes back more than a hundred years, wasn't about to let Hong Kong be China's cruise capital without a fight.
The aptly named Shanghai International Cruise Port Terminal, with all its modernity and glitz, hopes to bring cruisers into China's largest city in droves. Cruise lines are planning to make the new terminal a regular stop on their cruise routes. Major cruise players Carnival andare already planning to make Shanghai a centerpiece of their packages.
Can one of China's most modern cities compete with the lure of Hong Kong in the cruise game? It might take time. Hong Kong's famed skyline is probably still branded into many would-be cruisers minds. But Shanghai's new cruise ship terminal, like the city itself, is looking forward. And the future is full of load upon load of floating holiday-makers.