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Published in: Cruise News

“We're feeling again pretty good about the journey that we're on with the distribution in China,” said Michael Bayley, president and CEO of Royal Caribbean International, on the company’s first quarter earnings call.

The Chinese market is undergoing key distribution changes, moving from a risky full-ship charter business to more group and block bookings, as well as direct bookings.

“It was three years ago we set the course to change the model in terms of distribution, but also product and itinerary lanes,” said Bayley. “And we set ourselves internal targets to ensure that we were on the right track, and we've met or exceeded those targets each year for the past three years.

“We're bringing the Spectrum of the Seas, our newest and latest Quantum Ultra ship, into the China market. I think really supports the decisions that we've made previously,” he continued. “There is a lot of anticipation and excitement in the China market for the arrival of Spectrum and the bookings are in a really good place.”

On the itinerary front, this year will be marked by a more refined Royal Caribbean International deployment in China, including more long sailings.

The Quantum of the Seas is sailing from Shanghai until June and then will move to Tianjin as the Spectrum of the Seas arrives, according to a spokesperson.

Longer sailings are appealing to a maturing market and reaching new destinations.

The company has added more long sailings, over six nights, calling at Kobe, Osaka and Tokyo, and other ports that are beyond reach of short cruises.

New destinations on the calendar from Chinese homeports this year also include Niigata, Hakodate and the Yaeyama Islands in Japan; Vladivostok in Russia; and Irogos in the Philippines.

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