CSSC to Buy Two Cruise Ships Ahead of Major Newbuilding Plans

Jincheng Yang, general manager

China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC) will buy two cruise ships ahead of building a series of new ships, said Jincheng Yang, general manager, speaking at China Cruise Shipping in Shenzhen, China.

“China represents a huge market with great potential,” Yang noted.

Believed to be for a yet-to-be-named domestic cruise brand in China, he said the two ships will serve as a base for the company’s operations.

The first ship is expected to join the CSSC fleet in late 2019, followed by a second vessel in 2020.

Meanwhile, the company’s joint venture with Carnival Corporation will see the first of two Vista-class ships launch in 2023; the ships will be built new in China.

CSSC is the majority partner in the venture while Carnival will take on a minor role and help operate the vessels.

“We are already engineering our made-in-China cruise vessel,” he said. “According to our plan, the vessel will be in operation in 2023.”

A second ship is set to follow in 2024, and options extend out for an additional four vessels.

Fincantieri is also closely involved, helping oversee the construction process in China.

Yang said CSSC is aiming to have a fleet of eight cruise ships; including the two they plan to acquire followed by six 5,000-guest Vista-class newbuilds.

The secondhand vessels were not named, but a company presentation made at China Cruise Shipping said the ships would be around 85,000 tons with capacity for roughly 2,800 guests each.

Yang said the cruise business represented a good opportunity to build relationships with neighbouring countries, playing into China’s belt and road initiative.

Building ships would also boost domestic economic activity while positively contributing to a massive supply chain.

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Hong Kong Opening Up Bigger Cruise Source Markets

World Dream in Hong Kong

Major development projects will help make it easy for cruise guests to get to their ships at the Kai Tak Cruise Terminal in Hong Kong.

New rail, bridge and road links will better connect Hong Kong with mainland China.

“The high-speed rail will bring 270 million people within a four-hour ride of Hong Kong, and will also allow pre- and post-tours to major attractions like Guilin,” said Jeff Bent, managing director, Worldwide Cruise Terminals, which runs Kai Tak.

In addition, the Hong Kong – Zhuhai – Macao Bridge will open up more opportunities in conjunction with a cruise trip.

In June the port celebrated a major milestone as it marked a passenger record with 15,307 guests in a single day as the World Dream and Ovation of the Seas both docked, coinciding with the modern facility’s fifth year anniversary of being in operation.

That came just after a busy month of March, with six inaugural calls which saw the Viking Sun, Star Legend, Silver Discoverer, Columbus, Norwegian Jewel and Queen Elizabeth tie up at Kai Tak.

Traffic at Kai Tak will be slightly down year-over-year, with headwinds in North Asia, Bent said.

“South China has benefited from both a more diverse and sustainable distribution model, and increased attention to the Philippines’ newly-rediscovered port-of-call destinations for locally-based ships,” he said.

Near the terminal in Hong Kong, more land is set to be developed as road and other infrastructure improvements are expected to be conducted in the next year.

“Hong Kong has already met the government’s goals for passenger throughput in 2023,” Bent said, noting the just under one-million cruise guests the city served in 2017.

“For significant growth to happen, we need to help make the source market pie bigger. China has been the world’s largest outbound travel market for a number of years, but penetration for cruise is still only a fraction of a per cent. The better we grow the Chinese source market, the more the entire world will benefit.”

Norwegian Changes 2019-2020 Itineraries, Pulls Joy From China

Image result for norwegian joy
Norwegian Joy
Norwegian Cruise Line has announced changes to its 2019 and 2020 itineraries. Among these, the Norwegian Joy is leaving China to join the Norwegian Bliss, sailing seasonally in Alaska in the summer 2019, and will offer Mexican Riviera and Panama Canal voyages during the winter 2019-2020. The Norwegian Spirit will replace the Joy in China in 2020, leaving Norwegian out of the Chinese market for one year, and the Spirit will only sail there on a seasonal basis.

The Pearl, which is in Alaska now, will sail to Europe as the cruise line’s sixth ship in the region in summer 2019, while the Jade and Jewel will expand Norwegian’s presence in Australasia in winter the 2019-2020 winter season.

The Joy repositions to Seattle in April 2019 to offer seven-day voyages to Alaska, replacing the Pearl as Norwegian’s third ship in the region, joining the Bliss and Jewel. Prior to her arrival in Seattle, the Joy will undergo approximately $50 million in work to match her sister ship, the Bliss.

When she goes to Europe in 2019, the Pearl will be sailing from Amsterdam as well as Civitavecchia, Barcelona and Venice.

With the Joy on the West Coast, the Jewel will go to Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific, sailing from Honolulu, Papeete, Sydney, Auckland, Singapore, Hong Kong and Yokohama.

In addition, the Jade will offer sailings throughout Southeast Asia departing from Singapore and Hong Kong for the 2019-2020 season.

Norwegian Cruise Line said it remains committed to serving the Chinese cruise market. Prior to her 2020 arrival in China, the 1999-built Spirit will undergo a previously scheduled bow-to-stern revitalization as the final ship to undergo enhancements under the Norwegian Edge® fleet refurbishment program.