In an industry first, the Miami-based Carnival Corp. will develop a multi-ship domestic Chinese cruise brand with Chinese partners.
Carnival, the world’s largest cruise company, formed a joint venture with China State Shipbuilding Corp., the largest shipbuilder in China, and China Investment Corp., a sovereign wealth fund with $740 billion in assets.
Carnival Chief Executive Officer Arnold Donald formalized the accord Wednesday in a meeting in London with Chinese President Xi Jinping, who is on a state visit to the U.K., according to a statement released by Carnival.
All parties will collectively invest $4 billion into the venture in the first 10 years, Carnival Corp Chief Operating Officer Alan Buckelew said. The Chinese market for cruise travel could nearly double to $11.5 billion in sales by 2018 from $6.8 billion in 2013, according to research firm Euromonitor.
As the new cruise line is still in the planning stages, specific details of the new cruise line have not yet been released by Carnival Corporation.
The agreement signed today states that Carnival Corporation is to purchase and operate a number of cruise ships for a multi-ship fleet for the Chinese market. New build ships are also stated to be an option for the new cruise line.
"This cruising joint venture is a significant step forward for the cruise industry in China and a tremendous opportunity for us to work together with CSSC and CIC to grow awareness, interest and demand for cruise vacations amongst domestic Chinese travelers," said Buckelew.
"Cruising is a relatively new vacation experience in China, and we believe this collaborative approach with our partners is critical to not only developing the country's domestic cruise business, but also supporting China's goal to become one of the world's leading cruise markets in coming years. We are excited about using our scale and decades of experience as the world's largest cruise company to help launch a multi-ship domestic cruise brand that will help spread the enjoyment of cruising to millions more Chinese vacationers," he added.
In addition to expanding its industry-leading presence in China in 2016, Carnival Corporation & plc announced last week that it plans to operate two additional cruise brands in China in 2017. Carnival Cruise Line and AIDA Cruises will join Costa Cruises and Princess Cruises in the Chinese market in 2017, making Carnival Corporation & plc the first company to operate four cruise brands in China.
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd said earlier this month that it will introduce a ship in China in 2017.