The following is a press release issued directly by Royal Caribbean International on September 15, 2006:
MIAMI, Sept. 15, 2006 - Royal Caribbean International announces its return to Asia in December 2007, bringing the active cruising experience to the region. The Vision-class ship, featuring the line's signature rock-climbing wall and indoor glass walls providing exotic views of Asian landscapes, will offer a series of exciting cruises out of Singapore, Hong Kong and Shanghai, visiting exotic ports of call in Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Korea, Japan, and Taiwan.
"The introduction of Rhapsody of the Seas into Asia, together with our previously announced deployments of ships to South America and the Dominican Republic are all part of the company's strategy of international business development and expansion into emerging and high-growth markets," said Adam Goldstein, president of Royal Caribbean International. "We have had the pleasure of hosting thousands of satisfied Asian guests onboard our vessels over the past several years and intend to bring to Asia all of the elements and the characteristics of our style of cruising that have made our brand globally recognized as an award-winning vacation experience."
Rhapsody of the Seas will debut December 10, 2007, in Singapore offering a series of sailings that will call on Malaysia and Thailand. The ship's Asia tour continues on from Hong Kong, where she will arrive in time for the Chinese New Year holiday season, offering a series of itineraries calling at ports in Taiwan, Japan, and Sanya, Hainan Island. Then moving to Shanghai, China, Rhapsody will call on ports in Japan and Korea. Additional details of Rhapsody's itineraries will be available by mid-October 2006.
"We are confident that the Asian market and the Pan Asia regions, in general, have tremendous growth potential, and view this as a first step in a long-term plan that will define cruising in the region. In addition, there has been an increased level of awareness and interest in travel to Asia from India, Australia, New Zealand and the Middle East which we predict will become strong secondary source markets," said Goldstein. "I would like to extend my gratitude to the various governmental authorities, port authorities and tourism boards in Singapore, Hong Kong and Shanghai for their encouragement that helped us to make this exciting decision."