Carnival Corporation has placed its first order for new cruise ships to be built in China.
The company’s Chinese joint venture has signed a non-binding memorandum of agreement (MoA) for two new vessels.
These cruise ships will be built by a newly-formed China-based shipbuilding company, which features input from China’s largest shipbuilder, China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC), and the world’s largest cruise shipbuilding company, Italy’s Fincantieri. Carnival also has an option to double the order to four cruise ships.
These new vessels, which will be based on Carnival’s Vista-class ships, will be operated by the company’s brand new as-yet-unnamed Chinese domestic cruise brand. The first ship is expected to be delivered in 2022.
The 133,500-gross tonne Carnival Vista became the first Vista-class vessel when it launched earlier this year. The largest ship ever built by Fincantieri for Carnival Cruise Line, it can carry almost 4,000 passengers at double occupancy.
“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,” said Alan Buckelew, Carnival Corporation’s global chief operations officer.
“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.”
Carnival’s Chinese cruise joint venture has been created in partnership with CSSC and CIC Capital. The new Chinese domestic cruise brand will join the company’s existing portfolio of 10 global brands: Carnival Cruise Line, Fathom, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, Seabourn, AIDA Cruises, Costa Cruises, Cunard, P&O Cruises Australia and P&O Cruises UK.