Miami-based cruise operator Carnival Corporation signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with China Merchants Group (CMG) to explore the possibility of setting up a first domestic Chinese cruise line, as well as developing cruise ship destinations around the country.
Through one possible joint venture Carnival and CGM would create the first-ever domestic Chinese cruise line specifically targeted to the Chinese market. The joint venture would explore the possibility of sourcing new ships that are designed and built in China, along with the possibility of acquiring existing cruise ships.
Through the second possible joint venture, called the Port & Destination Development Joint Venture, CMG and Carnival Corporation would collaborate to develop turnaround and transit ports within and around China beginning with a flagship port currently being developed by CMG called Prince Bay Cruise Terminal in Shekou, which is located in Shenzhen. The partners would work to have cruise ships sail from this flagship port, while also developing other cruise ship destinations across China and Northern Asia.
Carnival Corporation recently announced its plans for immediate capacity growth in China in 2015 to meet growing demand. With Costa Cruises adding the Costa Serena in China in April of this year, Carnival Corporation will be the first global cruise company with four ships homeported in China.
Costa Serena joins Costa Atlantica, Costa Victoria and Sapphire Princess already homeported in China. Carnival Corporation has grown its market presence by 140 percent from 2013 – 2015 and expects to carry 500,000 cruise passengers in China in 2015.