Chinese river lines are up and running

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River cruising reopened for domestic travelers on China's Yangtze River last month.
River cruising reopened for domestic travelers on China's Yangtze River last month.

Chinese river lines have opened their 2021 season for domestic travelers. And while it's unclear when international tourists will be able to return, Century Cruises says it is optimistic about the year ahead.

Jack Xiong, director of marketing and sales for Century, said river lines were allowed to start sailing again in mid-March, and the resumption of cruise operations on the Yangtze River is "temperate and steady."

Related: Century Cruises keeps going full speed ahead

Xiong said all Century's ships are now sailing at 75% capacity, the highest level allowed since the pandemic.

"There are a lot of charter, themed cruises in May, June and the next half of the year," he said. "Also, lots of expats have booked our cruises with their families, friends and colleagues. Bookings and inquiries for 2022 have increased a lot compared to the  records of 2019 before the pandemic. Hopefully the bright trend will extend to the worldwide cruise industry."

Xiong said the vaccine rollout in China is reaching even small communities, and airlines are preparing for international travel as more people get vaccinated.

"We are [optimistic] about the future cruise bookings from North America, Europe and the U.K. as well as other countries in the world to China," he said.

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