The first cruise ship out of China is set to take to the high seas in 2020, as the China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC) has joined forces with cruise operator Carnival to construct five major luxury cruise vessels.
The ships will weigh more than 130,000 tons and be over 985 feet long. By comparison, the Titanic was only slightly more than 880 feet. The new ships will be able to carry 5,000 passengers.
The project will reportedly cost approximately $31 billion. The China Investment Corporation (CIC), a state sponsored fund, is the main funder of the project. The CIC and CSSC will own 60% of the project, while Carnival will own the remaining 40%. The Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding Company, a subsidiary of the CSSC, will build the ships.
While Carnival already offers cruises in China the company plans to launch two more lines in the country in 2017. Carnival says that it is offering the project assistance in terms of design and shipbuilding expertise. Meanwhile, representatives from Carnival have said that they are excited about their new project, as well as their involvement in China.
Global CEO of Carnival Alan Buckelew said, "This joint venture is a significant step forward for the cruise industry in China and a tremendous opportunity to increase awareness, interest and demand for cruise vacations among domestic Chinese travelers.”
The move will certainly be a major benefit to the tourism industry in China, which is currently thriving along with China’s rapidly expanding middle class.
Estimates show that the people of mainland China will spend nearly $11.5 million on cruise vacations in 2018. Last year, almost 740,000 cruise vacations were taken in by Chinese citizens.
Most Chinese cruises are operated out of Shanghai. Other major ports include Tianjin, Qingdao Xiamen and Zhoushan.
The new business venture has not yet been named. The upcoming project will represent the very first time that a luxury cruise liner is constructed in China.