Carnival Corp. continues its Eastward expansion, basing six ships in China in the 2016 season, the company announced Tuesday at a trade show in Shanghai.
The move increases Carnival’s capacity in China by 58 percent, to a total 4 million passenger cruise days, accounting for nearly half the Chinese market share, the company said.
Currently, Carnival’s Chinese-based ships are in the Costa and Princess brands. In 2017, it will add two more ships, from Carnival and its German AIDA brand.
In addition, Carnival has signed an MOU with Chinese enterprises to form potential Joint Ventures for shipbuilding and port development, and is exploring launching the first domestic Chinese cruise brand, the company said. It has appointed Michael Ungerer, formerly president of AIDA Cruises, to the newly created role of chief operations officer for Carnival Asia.
The three major global cruise companies — all based in Miami — are racing into the world’s most populous nation as wealth there grows into the middle and upper classes. Early this year, Royal Caribbean positioned its groundbreaking Quantum of the Seas in China after a brief stint in the U.S.
Monday, Norwegian Cruise Line announced it will bring a new ship built for the Chinese market into service in Spring 2017. Carnival said Tuesday it also is building a Princess ship specifically for China; the Majestic Princess will come on line in 2017.