Viking Sun is heading for China – the ship will sail under Chinese flag
The cruise ship Viking Sun, operated by Viking Cruises departed the Danish port of Skagen on January 23, and is currently sailing to the port of Valetta, Malta. Viking Sun finial destination is China where the company set up a joint venture with China Merchants Shekou. Viking Sun is chosen as the first ship in the new joint venture to offer exclusive itineraries focused on the Chinese source market starting from 2021, and the vessel will sail under the flag of China. The switch of the Norwegian flag to the Chinese will allow Viking Sun to sail between mainland ports which are regulated under the cabotage rules in China.
China Merchants Shekou and Viking Cruises announced the formal signing of the joint venture agreement on November 25 2020, to operate a fleet of China-flagged ships offering coastal cruises.
According to the press release, the new joint venture plans to launch a domestic cruise line with destination experience as the core which is designed to provide in-depth cultural tours for travelers who have a strong interest in nature, history and food culture. The company will transform Viking Sun logos, catering, entertainment, in order to integrate the Nordic style with Chinese culture and provide a high-end cruise experience.
Torstein Hagen, founder and chairman of Viking Cruises, said that the China Coastal Cruise Project will bring a new cruise travel experience to the Chinese market. He pointed out that the Viking cruise ships will aim to create the most comfortable travel experience with full Chinese service provided by well-trained Chinese crew.
“The launch of the first five-star red flag cruise ship of the joint venture will become an important milestone in the development of China's cruise industry. The cruise industry in China has officially entered a period of in-depth market expansion, complete industrial structure, and continuous innovation to drive development opportunities.” Mr. Hagen said.
Xu Yongjun, Chairman/Party Secretary, China Merchants Shekou said “The impact of the pandemic on the cruise industry is temporary and the fundamentals of the cruise industry long-term improvement remains unchanged. China Merchants Shekou has created a layout and business model with the joint venture to establish China-flag high-end cruise fleet which is in line with the country new development strategy.”