Business / Industries

First world cruise from China arrives in LA

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-05-05 10:54

LOS ANGELES - As Xiang Rong set foot in Los Angeles on Sunday, she felt more confident that she had made a wise decision to sell her apartment to pay for a world cruise for her parents.

"I am not a rich woman. I sold my apartment to pay for the trip, but I think it is worthwhile," Xiang, a woman from Guangxi, South China, told Xinhua as she walked down from Costa Atlantica.

She said her father is 80 and mother 75. They had never visited a foreign country before. As long flight is not an option for them because of their age and health conditions, she booked up for her parents when she learned of the 86-day global voyage.

"I am happy that my parents enjoyed the trip so much. They are so excited to see different countries and different people. They were so amazed to tour attractions they have learned from books before," said Xiang.

A ticket for the global voyage costs about $30,000, but 657 Chinese booked to be part of China's first around-the-world cruise.

So Qun, a 65-year old retired doctor from Beijing, carried his mini bike onboard the cruise liner and wherever he went, he always took his bike to ride around.

"When I was a student, my teacher told me the earth where we live is round. From very young, I wondered how we could live on a round globe and dreamed that some day I could explore it by myself," So Qun told Xinhua.

Costa Atlantica set off from Shanghai on March 1. The 86-day voyage will touch five continents and visit 28 destinations in 18 countries. It arrived in New York on April 14 and called at Port Miami in Florida on April 19. Los Angeles is the third stop in the United States.

Unlike other travellers, So Qun rode his bike at each city the cruise liner called.

"Bike riding gives me more freedom to go wherever I want to go and see whatever I want to see," said So Qun.

So Qun placed a Chinese national flag on his bike. "Wherever I go, people always recognize my national flag and greet me with warmth and hospitality," So Qun said.

The cruise will arrive in San Francisco on Wednesday, and the Hawaiian ports of Hilo, Kahului and Honolulu next week, before heading to the South Pacific.

Tourism from China to the United States is growing fast. According to the US Department of Commerce, the number of Chinese tourists visiting the United States will increase to 3.1 million by 2019, up from 2.3 million in 2014.

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