CSSC Undocks China’s First Large Domestically-Built Cruise Ship

Chinese cruise ship undocked
Adroa Magic City left the building for the first time as China prepares to introduce its first large, domestically-built cruise ship (Adora)

Published Jun 6, 2023 1:39 PM by The Maritime Executive

China’s CSSC Shipbuilding completed the undocking of the country’s first domestically-built large cruise ship from the building dock today, June 6. Officially known as the Adora Magic City, but widely referred to by the more colloquial name Ada Modu (a nickname for Shanghai), the 1,061-foot cruise ship which is 135,500 gross tons was pulled from the dock and repositioned to an outfitting berth at the Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipyard, which has been entrusted with this high profile construction project.

"For 17 years, we have waited for this moment," Zheng Weihang, secretary general of the China Cruise and Yacht Industry Association told the Global Times during the float out ceremony. They are highlighting that China is joining Italy, Germany, France, and Finland as the shipbuilding countries able to build these sophisticated ships. While acknowledging that they have more to learn in cruise ship construction, they also highlighted their ability to develop the networks and innovative with this first construction project. Fincantieri has also been advising CSSC during the construction.

The Chinese central government has placed a high priority on the development of the cruise ship industry and shipbuilding reports said. The state news agency estimates by 2035, the cruise ship industry will contribute $77 billion to the economy. Officials forecast that 15 percent will come from new shipbuilding and ship maintenance.


Adora Magic City backed from the building dock on June 6, 2023 (CSSC)


This project officially started in 2018 after years of planning with the formation of a partnership with Carnival Corporation, the largest cruise group, and the launch of CSSC Carnival, to develop and operate the domestic cruise industry. The company is scheduled to start operations late this year with the introduction of the Ada Modu which is due for delivery before the end of 2023, as well as with the Mediterranea, which was acquired from Costa Cruises as part of the formation of CSSC Carnival. The Mediterranea is scheduled to sail from the northern port of Tianjin and the new cruise ship will start service from Shanghai. The company has a second acquired cruise ship Atlantica from Costa for which plans have not yet been confirmed as well as a second, larger cruise ship under construction.

Work on the first cruise ship construction project began in October 2019 with the cutting of the first steel. The shipyard established a new steel facility specifically for the cruise ship. Assembly in the dry dock began in November 2020 and was completed 11 months later. The hull was initially floated on December 17, 2021.

Today’s undocking came a week after they again floated the cruise ship and after a series of tests in the dry dock. They confirmed the center of gravity and tested stability. They also tested the side ports explaining that once the cruise ship was afloat the stresses changed on the 42 port doors. They also tested the launching, release, and recapture of the 20 lifeboats.



CSSC highlights the complexity of each of the systems aboard the cruise ship such as the intricate and extensive air conditioning system, as well as the outfitting of the ship for 5G operations. There is a broad range of accommodations and entertainment spaces, which will include the largest duty-free shop at sea, a fine arts area, a comedy club, a showroom, and a children’s exploration camp, as well as bars and restaurants.

The shipyard says that the Ada Modu is overall nearly 95 percent complete with the interior spaces over 85 percent complete. In addition to the final outfitting, testing will begin on the fire protection and alarm systems and other elements at the berth.

The Adora Magic City is scheduled for two sea trials, the first in July and the second in August. The shipyard notes in addition to testing the propulsion and navigation systems, they will be measuring noise and vibration as part of the navigation and communications systems. In the future, they will announce the date for the official naming and handover ceremonies.