SANYA, Hainan, Aug. 28 (Xinhua) -- The 20-hour cruise to the Xisha Islands from Hainan Island will be shortened by six hours starting Sept. 2, the operator Hainan Strait Shipping Co. said Thursday.
The operator said it will change its base port from the provincial capital of Haikou to the southern port of Sanya on Hainan in order to shorten the cruise time to Xisha in the South China Sea.
Sanya is 330 km northwest of the Xisha Islands, where Sansha City on Yongxing Island was founded in July 2012 to help manage about 2 million square km of islands, coastal areas and territorial waters in the South China Sea. The city is administered by Hainan Province.
Hainan Strait Shipping Co.'s cruise ship, the Coconut Princess, has been serving the trip between Haikou and Sansha since April of last year. It is the only operator to make the boat trip to the Xisha Islands.
By Thursday, the ship had made more than 20 trips and taken more than 3,000 tourists to watch the sunrise and swim among the reefs and sandy shoals.
The 281-berth ship offers tourists a four-day, three-night cruise on the sea and to Xisha, which boasts more than 40 islets and reefs.
Tourists must eat and sleep on the ship due to supply shortages, especially water in Sansha City, and to protect the fragile local environment.