Carnival Corporation has penned a deal for its first ever cruise ships to be built in China and designed specifically for the needs of the Chinese market.
A joint venture between the multi-brand cruise giant, Italian ship-builder Fincantieri, and China’s state-run ship-building company, CSSC, will see two brand new vessels constructed in China, with options for an additional four ships.
The memorandum of agreement was finalised at a ceremony in Beijing, attended by Chinese President Xi Jinping and Italian President Sergio Mattarella.
Carnival will operate and manage all of the cruise ships owned by the joint venture as part of its plans to launch a new Chinese cruise brand. The first of the vessels is expected to be delivered in 2023.
“Our cruise joint venture’s agreement to order the first ever cruise ships built in China and specifically designed for our cruise brand to serve Chinese guests is a tremendous opportunity to grow interest and demand for cruising as part of China’s rapidly expanding tourism market,” said Michael Thamm, group CEO of Costa Group and Carnival Asia.
“We are very committed to working closely with our partners to further develop the Chinese cruise industry and continue supporting China’s efforts to become one of the leading cruise markets in the world, which will remain a key driver for cruise growth across Asia for many years to come.”
Wu Qiang, president of CSSC, said the joint venture would help “advance the rapid, sustainable and healthy development of the Chinese cruise industry”.
“Our close partnership with Carnival Corporation and Fincantieri, with the aim to build cruises addressing the additional demand from the Chinese and Asian market, will let more people enjoy the benefits of globalisation and live a better life,” he added.
The new Chinese brand will join Carnival’s existing portfolio of 10 cruise lines, which operate a combined fleet of 102 ships. A further 19 new vessels are scheduled to be delivered to the group between 2017 and 2022.