Carnival Adds Fourth Ship in China

Posted by Michelle Howard
Monday, May 12, 2014
Sapphire Princess

Carnival Corporation adds new ships in China to further expand its market, growing its capacity in China by 140 percent from 2013 - 2015.

Costa Serena – set to sail out of Shanghai in April 2015 – joins Costa Victoria, Costa Atlantica and Sapphire Princess to make Carnival Corporation the first global cruise company with four ships based in China

Carnival Corporation & plc announced Costa Serena will deploy year-round in China next year, making Carnival Corporation the first global cruise company with four ships based in China, the world’s fastest-growing cruise market. The move will accelerate Carnival Corporation’s leadership in China, capitalizing on growing consumer demand that is expected to make the country the second largest cruise market in the world by 2017.

Costa Cruises, one of Carnival Corporation’s 10 industry-leading brands, announced  it will debut Costa Serena in Shanghai in April 2015, where it will join Costa Victoria and Costa Atlantica, both already deployed in China. The move will increase Costa’s overall capacity in Asia by 74 percent.

The Costa Cruises expansion builds on eight years of successful operations in China and Carnival Corporation’s surging momentum as the largest operator in the country. In addition to Costa Serena, another Carnival Corporation brand, Princess Cruises, will 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’s Victoria 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.”

Michael Thamm, CEO of Costa Group, said of today’s expansion announcement: “Costa Serena’s arrival in China is a monumental occasion for our company, and we’re proud to be the first global cruise line to have three ships based in China. As we execute our strategy to accelerate growth in China, which has great market potential, we have the benefit of eight years of experience in China to not only help guide our expansion, but also to find unique ways to surprise and delight our guests as more travelers in China experience ‘Italy at Sea’ with Costa.”

Carnival is investing significantly in China as well as in Asia to take advantage of strong growth opportunities across the region. In addition to investments in China, Carnival is concentrating on growth efforts in Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Korea to maintain and expand its leadership position in Asia. Highlights of Carnival’s strong momentum and leadership in the region include:

  • Capacity: Industry-leading cruise presence in China in 2014 and 2015, including 66 percent increase in total 2014 capacity in China and 140 percent increase over a two-year period.
  • Port Calls: Industry leader with 23 ships across seven brands visiting 90 ports in Asia with an estimated 1,439 port calls planned for 2014, including 220 port calls across five brands in China.
  • Sales offices: Carnival operates 10 offices in Asia, more than any competitor, including five locations in China – Shanghai, Beijing, Tianjin, Guangzhou and Chengdu.
  • Industry firsts: Costa was the first global cruise company to sail from China in 2006; Princess was the first global cruise line to offer a full season of sailing with a homeport in Japan, starting in 2013.
  • Brand strength: Carnival Corporation has seven of its 10 brands sailing in Asia: Costa Cruises, Princess Cruises, AIDA Cruises, Cunard, Holland America Line, P&O Cruises and Seabourn.

Carnival Corporation Introducing Sapphire Princess to China
Adding further to Carnival Corporation’s commitment to China, the company’s Princess Cruises brand will officially introduce Sapphire Princess to China on May 21. Sapphire Princess will bring the brand’s premium cruise experience – Princess Class – to Shanghai for a four-month season during which it is expected to carry 65,000 passengers on roundtrip cruises.

Based on key research insights, the Princess Class premium cruise experience offers customized services and onboard features for Chinese guests to enhance and enrich their travel experience. Guests on the new China-based cruises will be treated to exceptional cultural, culinary and entertainment programs, including the World Leaders’ Dinner, English Afternoon Tea, Ultimate Balcony Dining, the only 24-hour buffet at sea in China, Tai Chi and Zumba at sea, “Princess Night” personal touches and luxury shopping. Princess Class also includes a “Touch of Class” enrichment series designed to appeal to multi-generational groups with offerings such Social Etiquette classes and a Sommelier Wine Excursion.

Additionally, itineraries will range from three to seven days, which is the ideal range of vacation days for the Chinese market, according to research.   


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