Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE/LSE: CCL; NYSE: CUK), announced today (May 12) via press release that it will deploy the Costa Serena year-round in China next year, making Carnival Corporation the first global cruise company with four ships based in China. The move capitalizes on growing consumer demand that is expected to make China the second largest cruise market in the world by 2017.
Costa Cruises, operator of the Costa Serena, also announced today that the ship will debut Shanghai in April 2015, where it will join Costa Victoria and Costa Atlantica and increase the cruise line’s capacity in Asia by 74 percent.
The Carnival press release pointed out that Princess Cruises will also homeport out of Shanghai starting May 21 through Sept. 3, 2014, with Sapphire Princess, providing another unique cruising experience for Chinese travelers. Adding a third ship based in China this year increases Carnival Corporation's total 2014 capacity in the country by 66 percent. In 2015, with four ships based in China for the first time, Carnival's industry-leading capacity is expected to jump 140 percent over a two-year period.
"Carnival Corporation has for years recognized that Chinese travelers would love the cruising experience, and that is why Costa Cruises was the first global cruise line to commit to sailing from China back in 2006," said Carnival Corporation CEO Arnold Donald. "We have never been more committed to China as a market of great strategic importance for our company, and with today's news we will be the only global cruise company to have four ships operating out of China. More than that, as the world's largest cruise company with a portfolio of 10 of the world's most celebrated cruise lines, we are very well positioned to continue working with government officials in China to help the country meet its goal of becoming one of the most important cruise markets in the world."
Donald added, "Today's news is another big step in that direction. Chinese travelers love sailing on Costa'sVictoria and Atlantica, and we are confident they will also love sailing on Costa Serena and Sapphire Princess. Our team is passionate about delivering a unique experience designed to exceed the expectations of every guest who boards one of our ships."
Check out the video for more about cruises in China.