3400 Chinese tourists refuse to disembark from a cruise ship
The continuing tensions between China and South Korea due to the installation of US missile Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) in South Korean have escalated. In response to the crisis, the Chinses government placed a travel ban to South Korea. Several South Korean cruise ports will be affected by the ban since most of the passengers sailing on the major cruise lines are Chinese. Costa Serena was the first cruise ship to be affected by this ban. As per the scheduled itinerary Costa Serena arrived on the South Korean island of Jeju with 3400 Chinese travelers on Saturday, however, none of them have disembarked from the cruise ship.
This decision surprised everyone from the crew, port authority, and the drivers of 80 buses that were already lined up to take tourists around the island. All passengers were on board for four hours, before leaving for the next port of call Tianjin.
Costa Asia released a statement saying “Before the arrival in the port of Jeju Costa Serena received a notification by the travel agency and the passengers representative, that they decided to cancel the sightseeing trip on the shore of Jeju. Costa Cruises respect the passenger's decision and will enable passengers to fully enjoy the pleasure of cruise travel. Costa Serena will continue to provide passengers with the facilities and services on board, and plans to extend the dock in Fukuoka, Japan”
According to reports from the Chinese news media, Costa Cruises is considering the cancellation of South Korean ports and replacing them with the ports in Japan. Other cruise lines operating in Asia, such as Princess Cruises and Royal Caribbean will probably make similar adjustments.
In an attempt to expand their share in China booming cruise market, all major cruise lines have deployed ships. Some of the cruise lines have invested billions in the construction of brand new ships specially designed for the Chinese market. However, it remains to be seen how hard the cruise industry will be affected by the travel ban.