First Chinese-Built Cruise Ship Ordered
A China State Shipbuillding Corporation (CSSC) yard has announced that it will cut steel for the nation's first domestically built cruise ship in just a few years' time.
The ship will be the first in a $4 billion joint venture between Carnival, China Investment Corporation, and CSSC. Its planned $1 billion vessels will be designed with Chinese preferences in mind, and will have a capacity of 3,000 to 4,000 passengers each.
“If everything goes smoothly, design work on the ship will start soon, building will kick off in 2017, and it will be delivered by 2020," said Chen Jun, the vice president of Shanghai's Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding. CSSC’s Waigaoqiao is on the “white list” of government-favored Chinese yards.
Carnival has discussed other projects to boost the Chinese cruise industry, including the possibility of a domestic brand and improvements to shoreside facilities.
China's total cruise ship market is forecast to grow to 4.5 million passengers by 2020, for about a fifth of the global total. It is the fastest growing segment in the world and is forecast to become the largest. While orderbooks at China's commercial yards took a 60% hit this year, the victims of oversupplied dry bulk and container markets, global cruise ship demand has outstripped supply in recent years – meaning, potentially, a new opportunity for Chinese shipbuilders.
But analysts caution that cruise ship building – dominated by European yards – requires a much different skillset and a much higher degree of quality control than the construction of other vessel classes.
The new ship will join a growing host of offerings in China by foreign cruise companies, including six vessels operated or planned by Carnival, one newbuilding commissioned by Norwegian for 2017, and four ships owned by Royal Carribean.