Nagasaki-Shanghai Ferry Service Launched
Japanese theme park operator HUIS TEN BOSCH launched a direct ferry service between southwestern Japanese city of Nagasaki and Chinese business city of Shanghai on Feb. 29.
The service is operated by HTB Cruise Corporation, a subsidiary of the Dutch-themed resort park operator, with the aim to boost Chinese visitors to the local theme park in Sasebo, Nagasaki Prefecture in Japan's Kyushu Island,
Prior to the evening departure, more than 100 people participated in a ceremony held in Nagasaki International Cruise Ship Terminal.
Houdou Nakamura, Governor of Nagasaki Prefecture stressed that the people living in Nagasaki naturally see Shanghai as one of its neighboring cities because of the history and geographic location and it is honorable for the people in Nagasaki to newly open the route in the year of the 40th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic relations between Japan and China.
"The ship will be a bridge first between the two cities, second between the two countries, and then grow into such a stage that the younger people can keep daily communication each other in the future," Nakamura said.
Li Wenliang, consul general of the Chinese Consulate-General in Nagasaki said in his speech that the Shanghai-Nagasaki route would remind people the long history that people in former times, especially around in the 8th or the 9th century, made efforts to continue crossing the sea under the difficult sailing conditions.
So long as people in the both countries can keep "a belief" in their mind, the ship will become a larger friendship bridge between the neighboring countries, carrying "hope" and " expectation" to the future," Li said.
HTB Cruise Corporation said it would operate one round-trip per week until mid-March, and increase the service frequency to twice a week thereafter through the end of May.
It said the number of passengers would be limited to around 300 to 400 before renovation of guest rooms on the vessel in June to accommodate about 1,000.
On Feb. 29, the first cruise carrying more than 200 passengers and 70 crew members set sail at 6:00 p.m. local time from Nagasaki International Cruise Ship Terminal. According to the latest timetable, it takes about 26 hours for the vessel to sail about 850 km, crossing the sea between Nagasaki and Shanghai. The ferry "OCEAN ROSE" has restaurants, a theater, some facilities for relaxation and entertainments such as body massage corner and table tennis room, as well as a duty free shop. The company offers one-way normal ticket for the route starting from 15,200 yen (,about 190 U.S. dollars) for passengers using comfort-seats. The service had been planned to commence last year but was delayed due to the earthquake-tsunami disaster and the ensuing nuclear crisis in northeastern Japan, causing a sharp drop in the number of Chinese visitors to Japan.