Costa Allegra, which opened up year round cruising out of Shanghai, docked by the port's newly opened terminal, part of the recent initiative toward Asian homeporting.
Asian cruise passenger numbers are expected to top 2 million by 2015, according to U.K.-based Ocean Shipping Consultants, an independent economic consultancy company specializing in shipping economics and port development.
In the race to capture a large share of the market, Hong Kong’s government plans to pay an estimated $901 million to construct a new cruise terminal, after rejecting bids from local developers. The terminal will be located at the site of the former Kai Tak airport and it hopes to commission the first berth in 2013.
Singapore is adding a second terminal at Marina South that will be capable of accommodating the industry’s largest vessels; the current HarbourFront site has been unable to accommodate some of the larger ships like Royal Caribbean’s Rhapsody of the Seas. The new facility is expected to be complete by 2010 and to help Singapore reach its planned 1.6 million passengers by 2015.
In Shanghai, the opening of a new cruise terminal was celebrated this summer at the same time as Costa Cruises recorded its hundredth call in China, where it began operations in 2006 from Shanghai. The terminal is located on the Huangpu River in downtown Shanghai, opposite the Lujiazui financial center and close to the Bund (a major tourist area filled with historic buildings), so it is very well placed. Completed in August at a cost of $260 million, the glass bubble design drew strong praise from the industry; however, The Yangpu Bridge, with 165-foot clearance, effectively blocks quite a few of existing cruise ships and the majority of those currently being built. Shanghai has a backup facility for larger cruise vessels at the Waigaoqiao terminal, about 19 miles away from the city center.