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Well, this is interesting. There’s a report to the effect that Carnival has ordered two new ships to an enhanced ‘Carnival Vista’ design for delivery in the early 2020s onwards. There’s also an option for a further four ships. The new ships will serve the Chinese market and the design will be tailored accordingly.

What’s interesting about this are two further pieces of information. First, the ships will be built at a shipyard in Shanghai; specifically, at the Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding Co. Fincantieri is involved in the deal, and it seems they will be providing “technical support and design work”. Secondly, it seems that the ships will be operated by a new Chinese cruise brand, which will be a joint venture between Carnival Corporation, China State Shipbuilding Corporation (presumably the owners of the shipyard company), and CIC Capital. This latter is an operating subsidiary of the China Investment Corporation (CIC) which is a sovereign wealth fund and is responsible for investing (part of) the People’s Republic of China’s foreign exchange reserves. In 2014 it apparently had $740Bn in assets under management, so basically it’s a monster.

I’m not sure how these ships map onto the list of new builds I published a couple of weeks ago but I’ll try to get clarification. I’m also not clear how this new cruise brand relates to the presence of Costa in the Chinese market. Up until now Costa had been the favoured Carnival brand for the Chinese market, although Princess is playing there as well. However, it looks as if the first of new ships won’t be available until 2023 which is still five years away. Here’s a link to a press release on the Carnival Corp site.

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