A joint cruise venture involving Carnival Corporation has signed a deal for the first two new cruise ships to be built in China for the Chinese market.
They will be built by a newly formed China-based shipbuilding collaboration between China's largest shipbuilder, China State Shipbuilding Corporation, and Italy-based Fincantieri.
An initial agreement also grants Carnival Corporation's cruise joint venture the option to order two additional China-built ships.
The first of the new ships is expected for delivery in 2022.
Based on Carnival Corporation's Vista-class platform, the design for the new ships will be tailored for the new Chinese cruise brand and the specific tastes of Chinese travellers.
The cruise joint venture – a partnership announced year with CSSC and China Investment Capital Corporation in which Carnival Corporation holds a minority interest – is expected to initially launch its new domestic Chinese cruise brand using ships purchased from the US giant’s existing fleet and homeported in China.
It would then add new China-built cruise ships starting in 2022 to further accelerate growth in the Chinese cruise sector, which is expected to eventually become the largest cruise market in the world.
Carnival Corporation and its Chinese partners also revealed that the Chinese central government has granted approval for the cruise joint venture to officially be incorporated in Hong Kong.
Alan Buckelew, global chief operations officer for Carnival Corporation, said: "We are excited about the potential for the first new cruise ships to be built and deployed in China for the enjoyment of Chinese travellers, which will be an important milestone in the development of the Chinese cruise market.
"As we work with our Chinese partners to launch the first domestic Chinese cruise brand in the next few years, being able to offer cruises on China-built cruise ships represents a new opportunity for us to generate excitement and demand for cruising amongst a broader segment of the Chinese vacation market, which is already the largest in the world and continues to see strong growth every year."
He added: "We see this collaboration with CSSC and Fincantieri as a potential cornerstone of a domestic cruise presence in China, serving Chinese guests with world-class cruise ships that are built in China for the first time.
“We are grateful to have this opportunity, and we look forward to strengthening our partnership as we continue supporting China's goal to be one of the world's leading cruise markets."
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