Alan Lam reporting from Tianjin
Carnival Corporation & plc and China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC) today (Friday 23 September) signed an MOA to build two cruise ships in China, with options for two more.
The signing ceremony was conducted during the initial session of this year’s China Cruise Shipping Conference and International Cruise Expo (CCS11) in Tianjin.
Each ship will be about 133,500 gross tons, with a passenger capacity of 5,000, broadly based on Carnival Vista Class design.
Both ships will be targeting the Chinese domestic market, owned and operated by Carnival and its Chinese partners under a new cruise brand yet to be announced.
“We are very proud to be your partner here in China,” said Arnold Donald, CEO of Carnival Corp. & plc. “The best way to predict the future is to create it.”
This MOA is the latest development in a continuous dialogue process that begun three years ago; it is also the first milestone since the formalization of the partnership between Carnival and its Chinese partners in London in October last year in the presence of President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister David Cameron.
The design and building project is a drawn out one, deliberate gradual, as the first unit will not be delivered until 2021/22.
“To build a ship we need to learn from our partners,” said Wu Qiang, General Manager, China State Shipbuilding Corp. “We need to take one step at the time. We must first pay the ‘school fee’ and learn the technology. It will take 5-10 years for us to master the technology because of its complexity.”
The mindset of the Chinese leadership concerning the next stage of China’s cruise industry development is firmly on building its own ships. This is much reflected in CCS11.
Our correspondent is attending this conference and expo. An extensive article on this topic will be published in the November 2016 edition of Cruise Business Review.