The 930-passenger Zhao Shang Yi Dun – formerly known as the Viking Sun sailing for Viking Ocean Cruises – has become the first cruise ship to resume commercial trips with guests to China.
The ship sailed for eight days Charming South China Sea cruise departing from Shekou Cruise Homeport, Shenzhen, navigation to Sanya then return to Shenzhen.
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“It’s very exciting to be able to launch a brand new product and the first of its kind in China. We have always aimed to explore the world in comfort, and now we are offering our Chinese clients the opportunity to rediscover their own backyard in a new way – culturally enriching, in stylish comfort and with a touch. unique Nordic hospitality ”, declared Torstein Hagen, president of Viking, in a statement, as the ship departed on October 1.
He added: “We believe that cruising is a booming industry in China, and that Chinese consumer demand for cruises will continue to grow and become more sophisticated. Our joint venture partnership with China Merchants Group will allow us to take advantage of this trend. “
After an official surrender process in April 2021, the former Viking Sun is now sailing for China Merchants Viking Cruises as Zhao Shang Yi Dun.
According to a press release, China Merchants Viking Cruises has carried out “various operational preparations in an efficient and orderly manner” with the safety and health of guests and employees as the main task for the past nine months. It was done with the strong support and guidance of the government.
On board, guests can expect a tailored experience with the Viking touch.
“The experience we set out to create is based on what has made Viking successful around the world and popular with our Chinese customers. We then added locally relevant elements to complement it, ”said Wee-Hoon Tan, vice president of products. Development & Marketing, the architect of this new product.
For example, since duty-free shopping is not possible on an inland cruise, the ship’s original cosmetics store has been redesigned to become “The Oriental Shop” – a place where customers can experience the traditional Chinese craftsmanship with innovative and modern touches.
“We have however kept the Nordic Shop, which aims to allow Chinese customers to familiarize themselves with established and niche quality brands reflecting Nordic heritage and culture. In our jewelry store, we are proud to welcome world renowned Gübelin from Switzerland and presenting its very first point of sale at China. We are also delighted to have Chow Tai Fook, a domestic brand in China, who showcases many of their jewelry collections on our ship that are not readily available ashore, ”said Tan.
Tan added that the entertainment and enrichment content of the ship, as well as the food and beverage experiences were also located.
“To complete the Chinese tea experience on our ship, we have added guqin – a very elegant classical Chinese instrument, in our live music mix. Our main restaurant originally serving western food has been transformed into a modern style Chinese restaurant, Chinese street style grilled skewers have been added to our Pool Grill originally serving only burgers, Asian flavors have been mixed with our afternoon tea in Wintergarden and featured in the menus of the Table des Chefs. Our Torshavn Armagnac bar has also been redeveloped into Bar 1872, specializing in Chinese wines and spirits and serving a selection of exclusive cocktails inspired by the history of the China Merchants Group, which began in 1872. “
To enhance the food and drink experience on board, China Merchants Viking Cruises invited Michael Rosenblum, a foreign chef who has devoted much of his life to Chinese culinary culture, to join the ship as a chef and ambassador of the culinary culture of the cruise company.
The Rosenblum team creates dishes inspired by the destinations where Zhao Shang Yi Dun sails, selects local teas and tells stories about them.
The ship combines European and Chinese elements to provide guests with “diverse cultural and artistic entertainment programs,” according to the press release.
China Merchants Viking Cruises and Shanghai Wenguang Performing Arts Group SMG Live have created unique shows for the Star Theater on board. These shows combine original classic Broadway music tracks with dramatic performances that incorporate elements such as dancing and audience interaction.
Each trip will have different guest artists who will bring “surprise performances” to the guests.
In addition, the Zhao Shang Yi Dun offers onboard lectures on culture, art, natural science and food and has 2,000 handpicked books available in the ship’s various public reading areas.