South Korea

Royal Caribbean cancels cruise stops in South Korea due to MERS outbreak


A MERS outbreak in South Korea has prompted Royal Caribbean to cancel planned cruise ship stops until the health situation improves.

Royal Caribbean canceled stops in South Korea for Mariner of the Seas, Voyager of the Seas and Quantum of the Seas.

Royal Caribbean replaced the stops with an alternate port or a sea day.

Royal Caribbean commented on the change to TravelPulse, "We’ve been closely monitoring all developments regarding the increase in the number of cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome, also referred to as MERS in South Korea.  Health authorities from a variety of nations are investigating the situation and we remain keenly attuned to their progress."

Royal Caribbean has also taken preventative measures to screen its passengers that are sailing in the area. Anyone onboard who shows symptoms can be isolated and treated with anti-viral medications that are stocked on all ships.

Royal Caribbean is also issuing letters about MERS to its passengers that describe the symptoms and suggestions on ways to prevent the spread of MERS.  Additionally, Royal Caribbean is asking passengers to wash hands with hot water and soap.

Photo of the Day: Voyager of the Seas in South Korea


Photo by plusgreens

Voyager of the Seas becomes largest cruise ship to visit Busan


Royal Caribbean's Voyager of the Seas became the largest cruise ship to visit Busan, South Korea on July 19th after she made her maiden call.

Voyager of the Seas stopped at the second largest city in South Korea as part of her first season in the far east.

Lee Jae-Myung, Royal Caribbean's representative in South Korea, commented on the occasion, “We are proud to have added yet another popular Korean destination to Voyager of the Seas’ North Asian itineraries.”

“Busan, a cosmopolitan city with breath-taking mix of hills, mountains and the ocean, has always been one of Royal Caribbean’s top destinations in the region. With our multiple calls lined up this season, thousands of international guests will be able to enjoy the city’s scenic beauty, tourist attractions and famous seafood delights.”

Voyager of the Seas will also be calling at Fukuoka and Okinawa on the seven night cruise from Shanghai. Other itineraries in the ship’s Asian season include three and five night cruises from Singapore, along with five and seven night cruises from Shanghai and Tianjin. She will be calling at Busan six more times this year.

Voyager of the Seas visits Jeju island in South Korea


Voyager of the Seas travels in the Far East continues to attract celebrity-like coverage.  This time, Royal Caribbean's largest ship in the region docked in the port of Jeju on Saturday, which is one of Northeast Asia's leading tourist destinations.

Voyager of the Seas pulled into port in the early morning to fanfare from local authorities that included traditional performances.

Jeju prepared special garlands and plaques for the passengers who arrived on the ship.

The provincial government hopes that the arrival of the cruise ship will be followed with other visits, which could help transform the island into a international resort. At present, the island off South Korea’s southeastern coast is a favorite attraction for Chinese and Japanese tourists, although there has been a steady increase of people from other countries.

Jeju Governor Woo Keun-min, who was present to welcome the ship, said the arrival of the cruise ship opened a new chapter for the province. He said that once the naval based in the southern part of the island is completed in two years, 150,000 ton ships will be able to berth easily to disembark tourists. 

Legend of the Seas makes inaugural stop at Yeosu, South Korea


Royal Caribbean's Legend of the Seas made her maiden stop at Yeosu, South Korea yesterday to coincide with the opening week of World Expo 2012 in the city.

Yeosu is the newest South Korean destination for Royal Caribbean International, after Seoul, Busan and Jeju.

Royal Caribbean's regional director of Asia Pacific, Kelvin Tan, commented on the occasion, "Legend of the Seas’ call at Yeosu is the highlight of this cruise. We have been specially planning for this for over a year – for our ship to arrive at the Expo right in the middle of the festivities.”

The stop in Yeosu is part of an 8-night cruise out of Yokohama, Japan to Shanghai, China.  Legend of the Seas is offering a number of cruises ranging from six to ten nights to South Korea, Japan and China.  

Busan sees money in Legend of the Seas cruise stops


Royal Caribbean's Legend of the Seas makes stops in Busan, South Korea and that has meant a lot of money for the city. How much money?  Well, of the 1,800 passengers onboard the ship, all but 250 were foreign tourists and each foreign tourist represents on average $140 to $180.  That comes out to an economic impact for each ship stop of about $267,000.

Lee Gap-jun, head of Busan’s culture and tourism department talks about the value of cruise passengers, "According to research from the Korea Maritime Institute, the added value of one cruise ship passenger is equivalent to that of exporting one container box.  If there’s a constant increase in cruise ships entering the port of Busan, it will translate into economic growth for the city of Busan.”

Thanks to Busan's success, other South Korean cities are competing now to attract ships like Legend of the Seas, including Incheon, Jeju and Yeosu.

South Korea eases visa restrictions for cruise tourists


In an effort to attract more foreign tourists, the South Korean Justice Ministry proposed a measure to allow foreigners visiting on cruises to disembark without a visa for short stays.

The “tour landing permit” system will allow those on cruise ships to disembark in South Korea and stay for up to three days without a visa, if the cruise company or the ship’s captain applies for and receives the permit beforehand, officials said.

The move is good news for Royal Caribbean because they had about 55,000 tourists from China to Busan, South Korea in 2010 and have always complained about the lengthy visa problem.

Lisa Yun, Head of Royal Caribbean's marketing team in South Korea, is excited about the proposal, “Our cruise runs from China to Busan, so the majority of our customers are Chinese, but visas for entering Korea causes a lot of woes, as the application is a time-consuming and complicated process".

"It will be a huge help for us to expand in the Chinese market."

Korean port of Incheon to become a cruise hub


Royal Caribbean's Legend of the Seas is going to call the port of Incheon, South Korea not just a port of call but their home port very soon.  Incheon port authority officials are hoping to welcome even more cruise ships by expanding facilities and adding more immigration booths.

Thus far 15 cruise ships have made a call to Incheon this year and with more passengers from Europe and North America traveling to South Korea for tours, Incheon officials hope to develop more local tours to encourage tourists to stay in the area.

A ship like Legend of the Seas generates a lot of revenue for the city, as each time she pulls into port, approximately W1 billion (US$1=W1,114) in financial effect hits the city.

Legend of the Seas makes first visit to Seoul


Royal Caribbean's Legend of the Seas made her first visit ever to Seoul, South Korea, after being added as a port of call by Royal Caribbean.  Legend of the Seas will be largest ship to ever visit the the Incheon port on Tuesday.

Traditional plaque and memento exchanges to commemorate the maiden call took place at a VIP ceremony onboard the ship.
 “Seoul is a very vibrant city with many cultural, shopping and gastronomical attractions which is rising in popularity amongst tourists in recent years. We are pleased to add Seoul to our Korean destinations on top of Busan and Jeju Island, which will give our international guests more ways to discover this country,” said Kelvin Tan, Royal Caribbean’s Regional Director, Asia Pacific. “The port of Incheon has impressed us today on this occasion with its efficiency and strong support, which prompts me to say confidently that this port will be very important in Royal Caribbean’s future plans in Asia. Already, with our ship now sailing year round in the region and out of Busan, we hope to operate cruises from more Korean ports in the future and bring more of the world-renowned Royal Caribbean vacation experience to our Korean guests.”
Royal Caribbean has plans for Legend of the Seas to return to Incheon again 10 more times starting in July of next year.