Construction has officially started at the Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding Co. in Shanghai, China, for the second large cruise ship to be constructed entirely in China. The ship is based on the successful Vista-class ships, and will be fully tailored to the emerging Chinese cruise market.
The vessel is being built under the ownership of CSBC Carnival Cruises, a joint venture company established in China in 2018 by China Shipbuilding Group, the world’s largest shipbuilder, and Carnival Corporation, the world’s largest cruise company.
Construction of Second Vista-Class Vessel For Chinese Market Underway
CSBC Carnival Cruises, a joint venture of the China Shipbuilding Group and Carnival Corporation, the world’s largest cruise company, has officially started the construction of the second large cruise ship to be fully built in China.
The ship is being built at the Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding Co., with the company behind the original Vista-class ships, Fincantieri, acting as advisers.
Chen Ranfeng, CEO of CSBC Carnival Cruises, said: “The official start of the second domestic large cruise ship is another important milestone in China’s ambitious journey in large cruise ship construction and a sign of CSBC Carnival Cruises’ confidence in the Chinese cruise market. CSBC Carnival Cruises and Carnival Group will continue to work closely with Waigaoqiao Shipyard, Fincantini Group of Italy and various partners to ensure the successful completion of the domestic mega cruise ship project.”
At 142,000 gross tons, with an overall length of 341 meters, the second Chinese-built cruise ship will be slightly larger than her 135,000 gross tons sistership and the Vista-class cruise ships operational for Carnival Cruise Line and Costa Cruises in Europe and the United States.
The 5,232-passenger cruise ship is the second vessel to be built by the joint partnership. Late last year, CSBC Carnival Cruises celebrated the float-out ceremony for the first ship, which is currently undergoing internal fitting and is due to enter service in 2023. The second vessel will be entering service in 2024.
Developing a new cruise-market
The development of a cruise market in China is high on the list of all major cruise companies. China is widely seen as one of the markets with the most significant growth potential, and if successful, it could mean a substantial financial boost for Carnival Corporation.
That is why Carnival Corporation is not just aiding in developing new cruise ships. The ultimate aim is to create a program that encompasses full operational capabilities such as marketing and commercial operations, maritime operations, hotel and product management, and new building management.
Yang Guobing, Chairman of CSBC Carnival Cruises, said: “Cruise ships are not only an important carrier of a strong country in science and technology, manufacturing, marine and transportation, but also an important carrier of people’s good life. We will not forget our original intention to build the localization capacity of China’s cruise whole industry chain one step at a time and create a sustainable cruise ecosystem.”
Further focus will be on developing a “Crew Trainee Recruitment Program” that aims to establish a Chinese management and operation staff base.
Breaking Open The Chinese Cruise Market
In the United States, roughly 14 million people sailed onboard a cruise ship in 2017, onboard one of the 100+ cruise ships that homeport each year in the country. In 2017, 3.6 million Chinese people sailed onboard one of the few cruise ships sailing from ports such as Hong Kong and Shanghai.
By 2030, this number is expected to grow to nearly 10 million people cruising. With the demise of Star Cruises and Dream Cruises, the cruise industry has an open track to break open the biggest market in the world.
That is precisely what CSBC Carnival Cruises is aiming for. Besides the two Vista-class vessels, the company also owns Costa Atlantica and Costa Mediterranea and expects many more ships to be built in record time once China re-opens.
And that is the only thing that is holding growth back currently. With lockdowns still part of daily life in many Chinese cities, the question is when the billions of dollars in investments that Carnival, but also Royal Caribbean, are making will be paying off.