Carnival Continues to Grow Chinese Fleet

Royal Princess
The new Princess vessel will be based on design of Royal Princess pictured above.

Published May 6, 2015 2:43 PM by Kathryn Stone

A new vessel announcement by Princess Cruises Wednesday tops off a growing list of newbuilds set to operate in the booming Chinese tourism market. The 3,600 passenger - still unnamed vessel – is currently under construction by Italian shipyard Fincantieri and is set to debut summer of 2017. It will be the fifth Carnival Corporation owned vessel set to base out of Shanghai.

According to Princess, the new ship will be first full-time luxury liner designed and built from the ground up with Chinese travelers in mind. Features such as hot pot ocean-view dining, where traditional Asian dishes ingredients are place in a stew pot and cooked on the table, are aimed at this growing international market.

Overwhelmingly, cruise lines have begun to shift attention and money towards Asia. Adam M. Goldstein Global Chariman of Cruise Lines International Association stated in March that, “2015 will be a record-breaking year in Asia with more travelers cruising the region than ever before”. This added focus on Asian markets has lead major cruise lines to announce ships a growing number of ships set to base out of the region. 

The number of cruise ship passengers departing from China in particular has reached all time highs. Carnival released a profit forecast for this year showing that the company expects to hit 1 million outbound cruise passengers from China by year end.

Similarly, the country has held the market with the largest number outbound trips since 2012. And, a January World Tourism Organization release states that trips abroad from China increased by 11 million to a total of 109 million for the 2014 year. 

“Deploying our next new ship in China underscores our strong commitment to growing the China cruise market and providing discerning travelers with amazing holiday experiences at sea,” said Jan Swartz, president of Princess Cruises. 

The company also stated that the new ship will have a strong appeal to multi-generational travelers a decision likely influenced by a March Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) report, which indicated that forty percent of Asian travelers were under the age of 35.

Competitor Royal Caribbean Cruises has also been quick to get a foothold in China. In March they announced the 2016 addition of a new vessel to their Chinese fleet and when the Quantum of the Seas relocates this summer, the company will have a total of three China-based ships.