Chinese shipping firm Bohai Ferry has purchased the “Costa Voyager”.
Yu Xinjian, GM of Bohai Ferry, said the ship will be renamed “China Taishan”, when it is put into use in the second half of 2014.
The company plans to launch a summer itinerary stopping off at ports in China, the Republic of Korea and Japan, and a winter itinerary to southeast Asian countries.
At 24,500 gross tonnes, the ship is the smallest in the Costa fleet. The German-built ship is 180 meters long and capable of carrying 1,000 passengers.
The main business of Bohai Ferry, which is based in Yantai City in east China’s Shandong, is operating passenger ferries from Yantai port.
The Shanghai-listed company set up a subsidiary in Hong Kong last year, with the aim of tapping into the international cruise market. It also has a tourist agency in Shandong’s Qingdao City.
Yu said the company plans to buy more cruise ships and eventually build a fleet, once it gains more experience in the field.
China’s cruise travel market is forecast to become the largest in Asia by 2020, when it will see 4.5 million passenger journeys a year, up 33 percent from 2013, according to a report on the cruise liner shipping market published earlier this month.