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Popular cruise ship terminal set to expand

By Qu Zhi  (Shanghai Daily)

09:40, June 04, 2013

Tourists will find themselves living la dolce vita on the cruise ship Costa Atlantica, offering an around-the-world cruise for 83 days. Each of the 11 decks is named after a Fellini film.

The big boat features an immense, sumptuous entrance hall, 1,057 cabins, three restaurants, 12 bars, four Jacuzzis, four swimming pools, a multipurpose sports pitch, outdoor jogging track and other attractions.

The vessel is decorated abundantly with Carrera marble, Italian glass and mosaics.

Fellini films will be screened during the cruise. Scenes from Puccini's opera "Madame Butterfly" will be staged. There's also a replica of the historic CaffeDlorian in Venice where passengers can sip espresso.

On board, passengers can shop for Italian designer brands and other brands at tax-free boutiques and enjoy Italian cuisine. Chinese and other international cuisine will be served.

The cruise will depart next March 22 from Wusongkou International Cruise Terminal in northern Baoshan District.

The first port of call is Vietnam, then the Costa Atlantica sails on to Thailand, Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Egypt and Europe for calls in Italy, France, Spain and Portugal. Prices start from 79,999 yuan (US$13,048) per person. Ticket sales are open.

Gianni Onorato, director-general of the Costa Cruise group, told media in Italy that Asia is the company's fastest-growing market, pushed by newly wealthy Chinese.

"It's true that the Chinese don't love the sun; tanning for them is still synonymous with manual labor out in the open, but they really love the sea and they're true romantics," says Onorato.

According to the statistics from the 2013 Shanghai Cruise Tourism Festival, Wusongkou International Cruise Terminal is the largest in Asia and received 120 cruise ships and 285,000 passengers in 2012. This year 256 international cruises are expected to berth here, with 608,000 passengers around the world visiting.

Currently, a cruise festival is underway and runs through June 18.

The Wusongkou International Cruise Terminal was developed by the Baoshan District and the Shanghai Yangtze Shipping Corp at a cost of 870 million yuan. The project began in 2008 and the first phase was completed in three years. The depot is shaped like a giant silver shell, which implies the "eye of the Yangtze River."

The international cruise terminal includes a 1.5-kilomter-long wharf, as well as an approach span and passenger terminal.

The first phase of construction includes two berths that can simultaneously handle two 100,000-ton cruise vessels.

This year, Wusongkou is home port for the MS Voyager of the Seas of Royal Caribbean International and the Costa Victoria of Costa Cruise Lines. The Voyager of the Seas, with a displacement of 137 kilotons and is the largest cruise ship whose home port is in China.

"The terminal is still under construction," says Lu Guangyuan, general manager of Shanghai Wusongkou International Cruise Terminal Development Co Ltd. "Wusongkou has a unique advantage of location and deep water. Compared with the Shanghai Port International Cruise Terminal, it saves at least six hours of an international trip."

Because of the height restriction of the Yangpu Bridge, with a net height of 50 meters, cruise vessels weighing more than 70,000 tons can only berth at Wusongkou.

Since an increasing number of super cruise ships weighing more than 100,000 tons are sailing to Shanghai, the terminal cannot handle them all. Construction will begin late this year on two more berths in the second phase, as well as a new 30,000-square-meter passenger terminal.

The development of related projects, tourism and entertainment is planned. A 900,000-square-meter yachting base is planned and will include both berths and yacht construction. Most marinas in Shanghai are private.

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