Carnival Corporation Launches Cruise Joint Venture in China

signing ceremony

Published Nov 6, 2018 5:23 PM by The Maritime Executive

Carnival Corporation has announced that its cruise joint venture with China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC) will launch this week under the name CSSC Carnival Cruise Shipping Limited. The new China-based cruise company plans to operate its own fleet to serve the Chinese market by the end of 2019.

The joint venture will purchase two existing ships from Carnival Corporation’s Costa Group: the 85,861-ton, 2,210-passenger Costa Atlantica, is scheduled to be transferred to the new Chinese cruise line by the end of 2019. Costa Atlantica’s sister ship, the 2,114-passenger Costa Mediterranea, will be transferred at a date still to be announced.

Additionally, CSSC Carnival Cruise Shipping Limited has signed a contract to finalize its previously announced agreement to order two new cruise ships that will be built by Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding in Shanghai. The first ship is expected to be delivered in 2023. The agreement also gives CSSC Carnival Cruise Shipping Limited the option to order four additional ships.

CSSC, China's largest shipbuilder, and global shipbuilder Fincantieri S.p.A. have established a separate joint venture to grant a technology license of the ship model platform and to provide technical and project service support to SWS throughout the shipbuilding process. The two new ships will be built with a design tailored for the new joint venture and the specific tastes of Chinese travelers. 

As previously announced in June 2018, Costa Group will also introduce two new cruise vessels specifically designed for the Chinese market – Costa Venezia in spring 2019 and its sister ship in fall 2020.

Earlier this week, Fincantieri officially established a cruise hub in Baoshan, China, focused on its shipbuilding activities in the region. The hub will initially be used to build the two new cruise ships for CSSC Carnival Cruise Shipping Limited.

As the world’s top outbound tourism market, China’s 142 million outbound travelers spent an estimated $258 billion traveling abroad in 2017, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization. By comparison, the Chinese cruise industry served only about 2.5 million cruise passengers last year, representing less than two percent of China’s outbound global travelers. As a large, under-penetrated cruise market with continued long-term projections for outbound tourism growth, China represents a significant opportunity for the cruise industry.  

Carnival Corporation currently has over 100 ships in its fleet and 22 ships on order through to 2025.