On 13th October Carnival Cruise Line announced that it will begin cruise operations in China starting in spring 2017 with one vessel based in China year-round offering cruises marketed to Chinese guests. Some aspects of the shipboard experience will be modified to cater to Asian tastes.
The operator will be partnering closely with sister company Costa Asia for sales, marketing and operational support. Costa has a well-established presence in Asia and has operated cruises in China for the past nine years. Carnival Cruise Line’s China operations will also utilize the services of the newly announced Carnival Corporation Shared Services Group based in Shanghai.
AIDA Cruises will also join Carnival, Costa and Princess Cruises to make four Carnival Group brands and is to deploy the AIDAbella in 2017. Carnival Cruise Line then announced the deployment of the Carnival Miracle (spring 2017) and Carnival Splendor (spring 2018), both ships being based in China year round. A new Carnival brand as a joint venture in China solely for that market has also been discussed with reports from Hong Kong indicating that China’s first home grown cruise ship will arrive in 2020. The China State Shipbuilding Corp (CSSC) has been linked to this £2.6 billion joint venture with the Carnival Corporation. China Investment Corp (CIC), one of the largest sovereign wealth management funds in the world, would also serve as a partner in the deal and own 60% of the venture between them with Carnival owning 40%. The un-named joint venture would order five ships if established, to be built by Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding Company, a subsidiary of CSSC.