Chinese cruise ship begins South China Sea tour

Indo Asian News Service

Sanya (China), March 2 (IANS) A Chinese cruise ship on Thursday began its maiden voyage to the Xisha Islands in the disputed South China Sea.

The Changle Gongzhu, or Changle Princess, sailed from Sanya on Thursday afternoon, with 308 passengers on board, Xinhua news agency reported.

The new ship is capable of carrying 499 people and has a range of 3,000 nautical miles.

The sea is claimed by China and other littoral states.

The ship has 82 guest rooms and offers dining, entertainment, shopping, medical treatment and postal services aboard.

The first voyage will last four days and three nights, said an official with Hainan Strait Shipping, owner of the vessel.

It will arrive in the Xisha Islands on Friday morning. Tourists can visit the islands of Yinyu, Quanfu and Yagong.

Hainan Strait Shipping began cruises to the Xisha Islands in 2013.