Carnival sending new cruise ship to China

Carnival Corporation announced Wednesday that it will be sending a state-of-the-art newbuild cruise ship to China for year-round operations.

The new 3,600-guest ship is being built at Fincantieri shipyard in Italy for Princess Cruises, one of Carnival Corp.’s nine cruise ship brands. The newbuild will be based on the design of the company’s new Royal Princess and Regal Princess, part of the Royal-class and the flagship’s of Princess’s fleet, but tailored to Chinese travelers.

The ship will be based in Shanghai, China year-round when introduced in summer 2017, Carnival said Wednesday.

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

Princess began its Shanghai-based operations in 2014 with the introduction of the Sapphire Princess. This ship returns for a second China season which begins on June 4 and runs through October 2015.

Princess ordered the 143,000-ton newbuild in July 2014 at all-in cost of 600 million euros. Specific iteneraries will be announced at a later date, Carnival said.

Carnival currently has four ships homeported in China – including three Costa ships and the Sapphire Princess mentioned above.

The Asia cruise industry is in the midst of dramatic double-digit growth in the number of cruise ships, passengers and ports in the region, according to a recent study by the Cruise Lines International Association. Since 2013, the introduction of new and larger ships in the Asia has helped boost passenger capacity at a 20 percent compound annual growth rate. Capacity in 2015 expected to reach almost 2.2 million, which will make Asia the world’s fourth largest market.

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