The former Viking Sun became the first cruise ship to perform homeport operations in Shanghai following the restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Marking the end of a 1,156-day hiatus, the luxury vessel, which currently sails for China Merchants Viking Cruises as the Zhao Shang Yi Dun, arrived at the Chinese port on March 26.
Offering short cruises in China’s domestic market, the 930-guest ship set sail on a three-night round-trip itinerary to Zhoushan.
Starting in May, the vessel kicks off a series of week-long itineraries that sail between Shanghai and Shenzhen. Named “Southeast Coast Cultural Tour,” the one-way cruises feature visits to Zhoushan and Xiamen.
According to local reports in China, the Shanghai Cruise Terminal underwent a complete refurbishment and upgrade during the COVID-19 operational pause.
One of the major cruise homeports in the country, the facility used to serve as starting point of itineraries for several cruise lines, including Royal Caribbean International, Costa Cruises and Princess Cruises.
Designed to offer luxury cruising, the Zhao Shang Yi Dun remains the only ocean-going cruise ship currently in service in China.
Formerly operated by Viking Ocean Cruises, the 47,000-ton vessel originally entered service in 2017 before being acquired by China Merchants Viking Cruises in 2021.
Following a refurbishment, the ship entered service under the Chinese flag in July 2022, offering a series of cruises departing from the Chinese port of Xiamen.
Before kicking off its new duty in the Asian country, the Zhao Shang Yi Dun was also adapted to offer an adjusted experience focused on the local guests.
According to China Merchants Viking Cruises, the ship’s entertainment and enrichment content, as well as its food and beverage experiences were customized to better cater to the local audience.