Photo Credit: Porthole Cruise Magazine

Shanghai, China’s largest city, leads the cruise traffic in China with about 60% of the Chinese cruise market. It is also the world’s largest city by population (over 24.3 million) and is a major cruise port of call and a turnaround port for round-trip itineraries from China to South Korea and Japan. Shanghai is also a departure point for Yangtze River cruises. 

In 2014, the port handled a total of 216 ship calls and over 1 million passengers. This grew in 2015 to 284 calls and over 1.8 million passengers. By 2017, Shanghai’s cruise port handled 483 ship calls (of which 475 roundtrips) at the Shanghai Wusongkou Terminal. This growth continues as the port plans to reach 1000 cruise ship calls annually (up to 6 million passengers) by the year 2023.

Shanghai saw 512 calls across two port facilities in 2017, which made it the highest cruise traffic port in China with roughly 60 percent of the cruise market. In 2018, the Shanghai Wusongkou International Cruise Terminal inaugurated an additional berth, and as a result saw 3 large ships in port with 21,000 passengers in a single day in July.

Responding to the demand, the expanded wharf can take 3 large ships, but with that other challenges appear. Traffic issues on days when there are 3 large ships in town, can create a nightmare for everyone. Shanghai port has put new traffic procedures in place and port official say they can manage up to 6 million passengers annually.  

Shanghai International cruise terminal design features futuristic buildings covered in steel and glass with huge indoor spaces including live hanging gardens and balconies with glass floors. This design concept was also based on the idea of a crystal wave wrapping over the terminal’s buildings. In 2004, Sparch Architects won the honour to create the “Shanghai International Cruise Terminal” project. The “underground” design allows most of the area to be redeveloped as a terraced green park along the river. They have also included a 400 m (1300 ft) pedestrian street along the terminal lined up with live gardens, public events spaces, a food court, a terraced outdoor theatre, and a Media Garden which hosts festival events. This port has been built to cater to the ships, passengers and locals alike.


Access Cruise is a Miami based cruise marketing and sales consulting group, specializing in product and business development within the cruise industry.