On September 26, the naming and inaugural sailing ceremony of Piano Land, the first luxury cruise ship owned by Astro Ocean Cruise, was held in Xiamen. Astro Ocean Cruise is a Chinese national cruise brand jointly co-invested and operated by China National Travel Service Group Corporation (CTS Group) and COSCO SHIPPING. It marked the debut of China’s first independently operated luxury cruise ship in the Chinese market.
Piano Land will begin her maiden voyage on September 27, when a seminar on the development of China’s cruise industry and the opening ceremony for a duty-free shop will also be held on the ship.
The ceremony was attended by many distinguished guests, including Mr. Weng Jieming, Vice Chairman and Member of the Party Committee of the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council (SASAC), Mr. Hu Changsheng, member of the Standing Committee of Fujian Provincial Party Committee and Secretary of Xiamen Provincial Party Committee, Mr. Wang Xiaofeng, a member of the Leading Party Members’ Group of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Mr. Jiang Mingbao, Chief Engineer of the Ministry of Transport, Mr. Zhuang Jiahan, Mayor of Xiamen, Mr. Huang Qiang, Executive Vice Mayor of Xiamen, Ms. Ni Chao, a member of the Standing Committee of Xiamen Municipal Party Committee and Director of the Administration of Xiamen Area of China (Fujian) Pilot Free Trade Zone, Capt. Xu Lirong, Chairman of COSCO SHIPPING, Mr. Du Jiang, Director of the Board and President of CTS Group and some former ministers and vice ministers of the Ministry of Transport. Mr. Huang Xiaowen, Executive Vice President of COSCO SHIPPING, presided over the naming and inaugural sailing ceremony.
The cruise ship was named Piano Land by Ms. Ni Chao.
Mr. Weng Jieming, Mr. Hu Changsheng, Mr. Wang Xiaofeng, Mr. Jiang Mingbao, Mr. Zhuang Jiahan, Mr. Huang Qiang, Ms. Ni Chao, Capt. Xu Lirong, Mr. Du Jiang and captain of Piano Land Lars Bengtsson jointly started the sailing ceremony.
With the development of China’s economy and society and the rising consumption level in recent years, tourism has become a new growth point of household consumption in the country. CTS Group is China’s largest centrally-administered SOE in the field of tourism, while COSCO SHIPPING is the world’s largest integrated shipping service provider. As an important coastal port and a first-class open port in China, Xiamen enjoys unique advantages and a favorable business environment in the development of the cruise industry. The cooperation model, which features “two centrally-administered SOEs + local promotion” and “tourism + shipping”, has fully integrated the core competitive edge of three parties and is highly consistent with the development of China’s cruise industry.
Undertaking the mission of two centrally-administered SOEs, CTS Group and COSCO SHIPPING, to develop the national cruise industry, Piano Land will make a voice of China in the world cruise industry and actively build a national cruise brand to pay tribute to the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.
In his speech, Mr. Weng Jieming said Piano Island, the first independently operated luxury cruise ship built by CTS Group and COSCO SHIPPING, has demonstrated the initiative of centrally-administered SOEs to respond to national strategies, foster new points of economic growth, and advance supply-side structural reform and high-quality development in the industry.
According to Mr. Hu Changsheng, Xiamen has maintained sound cooperation with COSCO SHIPPING and CTS Group. Piano Land is not only the first luxury cruise ship with Xiamen as her home port in the maiden voyage, but also the first independently operated luxury cruise ship in China. That the two corporations set the cruise operation headquarters in Xiamen will become akey engine driving the high-quality development of Xiamen’s cruise industry.
Mr. Wang Xiaofeng said in his speech that the establishment of Astro Ocean International Cruise Co., Ltd. in Xiamen, a key node of the Maritime Silk Road, by CTS Group, COSCO SHIPPING and the Xiamen government, shows their commitments to meet people’s demands for a better life and to promote supply-side structural reform and high-quality development in the tourism sector.
Mr. Jiang Mingbao said that with the strong support from coastal provinces and cities represented by Fujian Province and Xiamen, and the concerted efforts of centrally-administered SOEs, including COSCO SHIPPING and CTS Group, it is important to take the maiden voyage of Piano Land as an opportunity to push forward the development of China’s cruise industry.
Capt. Xu said, the cooperation model of “two centrally-administered SOEs + local promotion” and “shipping + tourism”, which integrates the core competitive edge of the three sides, has a promising future. He believed that with the naming and maiden voyage of Piano Land, China’s national cruise industry will embark on a new journey and open a new chapter.
Noting that Piano Land is the first luxury cruise ship independently operated by China and Astro Ocean Cruise is a national cruise brand jointly built by CTS Group and COSCO SHPIPING, Mr. Du Jiang said the sailing ceremony in Xiamen today was a concrete action of the two centrally-administered SOEs and local government to implement the major decisions and arrangements of the central government and the important instructions of General Secretary Xi Jinping to boost the development of the cruise industry and cruise economy, as well as a blessing to the 70th birthday of the PRC.
With a total tonnage of about 70,000 tons, a length of 260 meters, a beam of 32.2 metes and the highest speed of 24 knots, Piano Land boasts 13 decks and 941 cabins, which can accommodate 1,880 guests. The ship adopts the classic design of teak deck and layered duck tail and is equipped with a 4-deck-high atrium with Tiffany glass ceiling, bars with 270-degree floor-ceiling windows for panoramic views and a broad seafront promenade. Her catering and entertainment facilities, such as theater, restaurants, bars, gymnasium, swimming pool, basketball court, tennis court and duty-free shop, which have well incorporated Chinese elements and the concept of national tourism, display the noble style of the West and the unique charm of the East in every detail and interpret the concept of “a cruise brand that better understands the Chinese people” with cordial and thoughtful service.
With Xiamen, Shenzhen and Shanghai as her home ports, Piano Land will serve on the Southeast and Northeast Asian cruise routes to provide Chinese tourists with distinctive products and services meeting both domestic demands and international standards.