Global leisure travel company Carnival’s Chinese joint venture (JV) has entered into non-binding memorandum of agreement (MOA) to order new cruise ships to be built in China for the Chinese market.
Under the new MOA, a newly formed China-based shipbuilding joint venture between China State Shipbuilding (CSSC) and Italy-based Fincantieri will build the ships.
Subject to several conditions, as well as financing and other terms, the MOA allows the Carnival cruise JV the option to order two more China-built cruise ships. Delivery of the first of the two ships is expected by 2022.
Once delivered, Carnival’s Chinese JV will operate the new ships, which will be designed on the basis of the company’s Vista-class platform.
The new ship’s design will also be customised according to the new Chinese cruise brand and the specific tastes of the local travellers.
Carnival global chief operations officer Alan Buckelew 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."
Last year, Carnival launched its Chinese cruise JV with CSSC and China Investment Capital (CIC Capital), and holds a minority interest in it.
Initially, the JV intends to begin its new domestic Chinese cruise brand using ships, which are being purchased from Carnival’s existing fleet and homeported in China.
As part of the newly signed MOA, the JV will include new China-built cruise ships starting in 2022 to help increase growth in the Chinese cruise market.
Meanwhile, Carnival and its Chinese partners separately announced that China’s Central Government has granted approval for the cruise joint venture to officially incorporate in Hong Kong.
Image: Carnival’s Chinese joint venture (JV) representatives at the deal signing ceremony. Photo: courtesy of Carnival Corporation & plc.