Carnival Corporation & plc has formed a joint venture in China to launch the first multi-ship domestic cruise brand in the Chinese market.
Working in partnership with China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC) and China Investment Corporation (CIC), Carnival Corporation aims to accelerate the development and growth of the cruise industry in China. The joint venture will also help to expand the country’s tourism market.
The agreement was formalised during a ceremony in London, UK on 21 October, which was attended by British Prime Minister David Cameron and Chinese president Xi Jinping. Representatives from the companies included Dong Qiang, chairman of CSSC; Ding Xuedong, chairman of CIC; and Carnival Corporation’s CEO Arnold Donald and global COO Alan Buckelew.
Together, the three companies plan to purchase and operate cruise ships as part of what is expected to be the first multi-ship fleet sailing for a domestic Chinese cruise brand. Specific fleet details will be announced at a later date, but potential plans could include the purchase of both new and existing cruise ships to homeport in China.
“This cruising joint venture is a significant step forward for the cruise industry in China and a tremendous opportunity for us to work together with CSSC and CIC to grow awareness, interest and demand for cruise vacations amongst domestic Chinese travellers,” said Buckelew. “Cruising is a relatively new vacation experience in China, and we believe this collaborative approach with our partners is critical to not only developing the country’s domestic cruise business, but also supporting China’s goal to become one of the world’s leading cruise markets in coming years. We are excited about using our scale and decades of experience as the world’s largest cruise company to help launch a multi-ship domestic cruise brand that will help spread the enjoyment of cruising to millions more Chinese vacationers.”
The joint venture is the latest in a series of initiatives to help boost Carnival Corporation’s position in the Chinese cruise market.
In July, Carnival Corporation revealed that Costa Cruises and Princess Cruises would continue to expand in China in 2016, with each introducing a new ship to the market. This will make Carnival Corporation the first global cruise company to have six ships in China, a 58% capacity increase. The deployment includes three year-round and three seasonal ships, enabling the two brands to potentially offer about four million passenger cruise days in 2016.
Earlier this month, Carnival Corporation announced that Carnival Cruise Line and AIDA Cruises will join Costa and Princess in China in 2017, making it the first company to operate four cruise brands in the country.
In addition, Princess has revealed that Majestic Princess, the first year-round cruise ship built specifically for Chinese guests, will be based year-round in Shanghai when she debuts in 2017.