Carnival Corporation has signed a memorandum of agreement for two Vista-class ships that will be the first new vessels to be built in China for the domestic market.
The two ships will be built by a new China-based shipbuilding joint venture between China State Shipbuilding Corporation and the Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri. Carnival has the option to add a further two ships as part of the deal.
Carnival wants to launch the first multiship domestic brand for the Chinese market, based on Carnival Cruise Line’s Vista ships. The first of the new vessels will come to market in 2022.
The as yet unnamed line is expected to originally launch with ships that are purchased from Carnival Corporation’s existing fleet and be homeported in China. The newbuilds will then bolster the fleet.
The partners signed the deal at a ceremony at the 11th annual China Cruise Shipping and International Cruise Expo in Tianjin, China.
“We are excited about the potential for the first new cruise ships to be built and deployed in China for the enjoyment of Chinese travelers, which will be an important milestone in the development of the Chinese cruise market,” Alan Buckelew, global chief operations officer for Carnival Corporation, said. “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.”
Buckelew added: “We see this collaboration with CSSC and Fincantieri as a potential cornerstone of a domestic cruise presence in China, serving Chinese guests with world-class cruise ships that are built in China for the first time. We are grateful to have this opportunity, and we look forward to strengthening our partnership as we continue supporting China’s goal to be one of the world’s leading cruise markets.”
The Chinese market is expected to become the biggest in the world.