Carnival Cruise Line and AIDA Cruises will join sister brands Costa Cruises and Princess Cruises in China in 2017, parent company Carnival Corporation said Tuesday. The move will make Carnival Corp. the first company to operate four brands with at least one cruise ship homeported in the Chinese market.
Carnival Corp. says it expects China to eventually become the is expected to eventually become the world’s largest cruise markets based on surging demand for cruise vacations by Chinese travelers.
“We are excited to introduce our Carnival Cruise Line and AIDA Cruises brands to our fleet in China, giving us a total of four global cruise brands in the market and a unique opportunity to provide a diverse lineup of brands and cruise offerings to Chinese guests who are looking for a great vacation experience,” said Carnival CEO Arnold Donald, who was in Shanghai to announce the news at the 10th Annual China Cruise Shipping and International Cruise Expo (CCS10). “As we execute our multi-brand growth strategy in China, we are emphasizing choice and variety in our offerings to match the different tastes and preferences of Chinese travelers.”
Carnival Corporation announced in July that its existing brands already sailing in China – Costa Cruises and Princess Cruises – will continue to expand in 2016 with each brand introducing a new ship to its fleet in China, making Carnival Corporation the first global cruise company with a market-leading six ships based in China.
The expansion to six ships represents a 58 percent increase in total capacity in China in 2016 to about four million passenger cruise days, with three year-round ships and three seasonal ships in the market, Carnival says.
The news follows Princess Cruises’ announcement last week that its newbuild ship, Majestic Princess, will be based year-round in China when it is introduced in summer 2017.
Carnival Corporation is also exploring potential joint ventures in China with China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC) and China Merchants Group (CMG) designed to accelerate the growth of the overall cruise industry in China, including the possibility of launching a world-class Chinese domestic cruise brand, building new ships in China, and supporting port and infrastructure development.
Further underscoring Carnival’s commitment to the region, the company recently announced Michael Ungerer as chief operations officer for Carnival Asia, a newly created position that became effective Sept. 1. Ungerer, formerly president of AIDA Cruises, will help lead the execution of Carnival Corporation’s growth plans across the region, especially in China, Carnival says.
Previously, Alan Buckelew, global chief operations officer (COO) for Carnival Corporation, relocated to China over a year ago to oversee Carnival’s growing operations in the country and capitalize on the opportunities for accelerated growth in the market.
Further details on plans for Carnival Cruise Line and AIDA Cruises entry into the Chinese market in 2017 will be announced soon by each brand, Carnival said.