by Arlene Satchell of Sun Sentinel
Chinese and Asian travelers’ growing penchant for cruising is propelling at least one major U.S. cruise company to cement plans to build vessels in China, a non-traditional market for cruise ship construction.
Doral-based Carnival Corp. said this week its cruise joint venture in China — formed with the China State Shipbuilding Corp. — plans to order two new cruise ships with an option for four more.
China ranked as the world’s fastest growing major source market for cruise passengers in 2015 and 2014, according to the 2016 Asia Cruise Trends study by the Cruise Lines International Association.
The new cruise ships would be built by CSSC and Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri through a newly-formed shipbuilding partnership. The first two ships, representing an investment of about $1.5 billion, would be constructed at the Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding Co. shipyard, a CSSC subsidiary, according to Fincantieri.
The first of the two ships — designed to appeal to Chinese travelers — is slated for delivery in 2023.