Cruise

Carnival steamrolls more ships into China

Daisy Melwani

Carnival adds two ships to its China fleet in 2016, jumping the gun on what will become the world’s largest cruise market.

Carnival Corporation (Carnival) will become the first global cruise company to have six ships based in China in 2016.

The move will increase its total capacity in the nation by an additional 58%, accelerating the company’s leading position in the growing Chinese market.

The cruise line said the robust cruising market continually delivers double-digit annual returns and is expected to eventually become the largest cruise market in the world.

Carnival’s fleet of six China-based ships will include expanded offerings from its two brands in the market – Costa Cruises and Princess Cruises – that are each adding one new ship to meet growing demand.

Across the two brands, Carnival will have three year-round ships and three seasonal ships in the market, representing the largest cruise presence in China in 2016.

Together, the Costa and Princess brands will potentially offer about four million passenger cruise days in 2016, giving Chinese guests more choice and flexibility in both the contemporary and luxury segments, the cruiseline said.

In addition, Princess Cruises will send its Golden Princess ship to northern China in 2016, sailing out of Tianjin on a seasonal basis, with itineraries focussing on northern Asia. Golden Princess joins the brand’s first China-based ship, Sapphire Princess in Shanghai and will start sailing year-round in China in 2016.

Carnival chief operations officer, Alan Buckelew said the new ship deployments would enable the company to carry nearly one million passengers in 2016.

“As momentum accelerates in the market, we have a significant opportunity to increase cruising demand amongst China’s growing middle class and a new generation of Chinese travellers who are hungry for new vacation experiences,” Buckelew said.

“Our focus is on exceeding guest expectations on every ship and really tailoring our product for Chinese tastes, which helps create new advocates and spread the joy of cruising in China. Through our brands, our expanding operations and our potential joint ventures in China, we’re excited to play a lead role in helping China become one of the world’s leading cruise markets.”

Carnival is also exploring potential joint ventures in China to accelerate the growth of the overall cruise industry in the country, including the possibility of launching a world-class Chinese domestic cruise brand, building new ships in China, and supporting port and infrastructure development.

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