A new cruise line has popped up in China. China’s largest shipping company, and 4th over all, China COSCO Shipping Group will be bankrolling this initiative. Called Southern Sea Cruises, it will sail the 896-pax Dream of the Southern Sea (origin unknown) on 4 night cruises between 4-6 times a month. That’s about 50-60% utilization. She’ll homeport out of the lesser known Sanya in the south part of China.
There’s a boom going on in China right now, there’s no denying that. This domestic expansion can be seen as further proof of that. However there could also be other ideas behind Southern Seas Cruises.
The destination will be the Paracel Islands. These are the groups of islands and reefs that Vietnam, China, and Taiwan all claim ownership of. The dispute is getting quite heated too with naval vessels from several nations patrolling these waters. China is also building islands in the vicinity in order to grow their presence in the region. Having regular commercial traffic there, and growing them as tourist destinations would also increase Chinese presence there and establish a permanent connection to China.