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The Cruise Lines Set Eyes on China
By: Cindy Wendland
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International expansion is an important aspect of branding. The huge potential with the Chinese market is alluring, but the difficulty with gaining access to that market makes it challenging. Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines has a $935 million ship that will be sailing out of Shanghai next year. Carnival Cruise Lines will have four ships based out of Shanghai next year, which illustrates their emphasis on that market. Even with the slowing economy in China, travel by ship is expected to see huge growth.

As cruise lines compete for Chinese customers, they are looking to differentiate themselves. The new Royal Caribbean ship has unusual attractions such as bumper cars, a skydiving simulator, and a glass observation capsule on a mechanical arm that lifts its passengers high into the air. It seems the cruise lines are looking to one-up each other on the activities available for customers.

Cultural tailoring is important to success. Royal Caribbean will be offering a mix of Chinese and western foods, as well as Chinese and western programming. They also stated that the Chinese expect the biggest and the best and like things grand. Their new ship accommodates that well.

The cruise lines have also done their research and found that the Chinese market likes to learn. To appeal to this desire, some of the cruise lines will be offering educational components with classes in silver service and how to host Western guests.

It seems the cruise lines have covered their bases and found what the market is looking for. Their new ships are designed to deliver a great experience. The final piece that will strengthen or weaken their brands is the delivery of the customer experience. In the end, it is the people who make the trip meaningful and memorable and most impact the brand.

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About the Author
Cindy Wendland has a background in marketing and finance. She is the creative director for an online men's health magazine, BrainBrawnBody.com, and she gets to write their leisure/travel blog. She is also a web designer helping her clients with online community engagement, websitesbywendland.com. Prior to her web years, she worked in pharmacy consulting.
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