Japan and South Korea – how to sell the most popular cruise destination

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According the recent Asia Cruise Trends 2016 report, Japan and Korea are at the top of destinations that Southeast Asians are cruising to. 

In 2016, Japan had 1,526 port calls while South Korea had 850 calls.

With the cruise industry booming in the region, the Japanese government announced it would be investing more into port infrastructure to attract more cruise lines.

Funds will go into landing bridges and other infrastructure for large cruise ships and work will also take place to deepen ports.

Kelvin Wong, vice president for commercial for Costa Cruises Asia that this would benefit the cruise industry.

“This will help to ease berth congestions that we are seeing, such as at Hakata, which will, in turn, allow cruise operators to make more calls and bring in more foreign passengers,” he said. 

The Assistant General Manager at Chan Brothers Worldwide Cruise Centre, Nancy Koh said the number of people sailing to the region has doubled.

She also said Asians love affair with all things Japanese and Korean has driven the number of cruise passengers travelling to these areas.

“Korea is touted as one of the more popular cruise destinations due to its reputation as a heaven for passionate shopaholics. Shopaholics can rejoice in Korea as they kick off their style adventures and shop to their heart’s content when they get offshore in Jeju or Busan,” she said.

Ms Koh also said that television shows has driven some cruise lines like Royal Caribbean and Princess Cruises to create shore excursions at the destinations where filming took place.

“The hugely popular South Korean TV drama serial, “Descendants of the Sun” (DOTS) has also contributed to the rise in popularity of the destination as it has captured the imagination of legions of fans from all over the world with its romantic plot and unforgettable characters. Travellers can retrace the steps of the leading characters in the memorable scenes, showcasing South Korea’s many cultural and natural attractions. Most cruise itineraries featuring Korea are often paired with Japan, offering travellers the chance to experience the best of both worlds. The destinations complement each other with its close proximity and one of a kind experiences,” she said.

Currently, Royal Caribbean International offers the most extensive number of cruise programmes comprising Korea. Travellers can opt to go on the Legend of the Seas or Mariner of the Seas both itineraries offered on the cruise ships feature docking in Busan and Jeju where travellers can experience what Korea has to offer.”

Corporate Communications Manager of Singapore and Southeast Asia for Royal Caribbean, Ying Duan Chin said that five of its ships offer sailing from Shanghai, Tianjin, Hong Kong and Xiamen.

“This year Ovation of the Seas joined Quantum of the Seas, Mariner of the Seas, Voyager of the Seas and Legend of the Seas in North Asia. The five ships, offers sailings from Shanghai, Tianjin, Hong Kong, and Xiamen – and primarily sailing three- to 12-night itineraries to destinations in Japan, Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam,” she said.

“Japan and Korea has always been one of RCL’s top destinations in the region because we bring our customers to a mix of popular and lesser known destinations such as Sasebo, Miyazaki (Aburatsu), Kochi, Fukuoka and Jeju. The draw of these places is the cosmopolitan dynamism and rich culture. The stopover at for eg: Fukuoka allows you to visit the city but also explore the nearby areas of Kokura and Karatsu on our shore excursions. What’s more, with the overnight stays we have lined up in Yokohama and Okinawa, our cruisers will be able to discover and experience more of its attractions day and night.”