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Carnival and AIDA Expand into China

Carnival ship

Published Oct 14, 2015 5:04 PM by The Maritime Executive

Carnival Corporation has announced plans to further expand its operations in China with the deployment of two additional cruise brands in China in 2017. Carnival Cruise Line and AIDA Cruises will join Costa Cruises and Princess Cruises in the Chinese market, making Carnival Corporation the first company to operate four brands in China – which is expected to eventually become the world's largest cruise market based on surging demand for cruise vacations by Chinese travelers.

As a result of Carnival Corporation's expansion in China in 2017, four of its 10 brands will have at least one homeported cruise ship in China. The plan to deploy two additional ships – one new ship each for both its Carnival and AIDA brands – and operate four total brands in China in 2017 embodies Carnival Corporation's long-term, multi-brand strategy to provide Chinese travelers with a variety of vacation options and experiences to meet growing demand across all segments of the Chinese market.

Carnival Corporation announced in July that its existing brands already sailing in China – Costa Cruises and Princess Cruises – will continue to expand in 2016 with each brand introducing a new ship to its fleet in China in 2016.

The expansion of Carnival Corporation's China fleet to six ships will represent a 58 percent increase in total capacity in China in 2016, including three year-round ships and three seasonal ships in the market. Together, the Costa and Princess brands will potentially offer about four million passenger cruise days in 2016.

Princess Debut

Last week, Princess Cruises announced the name of its new ship that will be based year-round in China when it is introduced in summer 2017. Based in Shanghai, the Majestic Princess will be the first year-round cruise ship built specifically for Chinese guests.

Carnival Corporation is also exploring potential joint ventures in China with China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC) and China Merchants Group (CMG) designed to accelerate the growth of the overall cruise industry in China, including the possibility of launching a world-class Chinese domestic cruise brand, building new ships in China, and supporting port and infrastructure development. 

New Appointments

Carnival Corporation recently announced Michael Ungerer as chief operations officer for Carnival Asia, a newly created position for the company that became effective September 1. Ungerer, formerly president of AIDA Cruises, will help lead the execution of Carnival Corporation's growth plans across the region, especially in China.

Alan Buckelew, global chief operations officer (COO) for Carnival Corporation, relocated to China over a year ago to more closely oversee Carnival's growing operations in the country and capitalize on the significant opportunities to accelerate growth in the market. Buckelew, who has extensive experience in Asia from nearly four decades in the cruise industry, leads all the company's initiatives in China in this expanded role, while retaining his overall global responsibilities for the corporation, including oversight of all maritime and port operations around the world.