• The deal hopes to launch a cruise brand using Carnival Cruise Line ships.

The deal hopes to launch a cruise brand using Carnival Cruise Line ships. (Photo : Twitter)

Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri and China State Shipbuilding Corp (CSSC) have agreed to a $1.5 billion deal with Carnival Corporation to build the first China-made cruise ships for the fast-growing Chinese cruise market.

The binding memorandum of agreement (MOA) updates the terms of an initial shipbuilding MOA announced in Sept. 2016, which laid out plans to construct 133,500gt ships at CSCC's Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding yard, according to a report from Cruise & Ferry, an industry blog.

Like Us on Facebook

Under the new MOA, the China-based joint venture between CSSC and Fincantieri will build two new ships for Carnival Corporation's cruise joint venture in the country as well as an option for four additional China-built Carnival cruise ships.

"We are proud to order the first China-built cruise ships and play a meaningful role in developing cruise shipbuilding capabilities for the first time in China," said Arnold Donald, president and CEO of Carnival Corporation.

"This represents another important milestone in building a sustainable and prosperous cruise industry, and demonstrates our commitment to contributing to China become a leading cruise market as part of its five-year economic development plan."

CSSC's shipyard will be responsible for constructing the ships, which will feature interior designs and onboard features "tailored to Chinese travelers, while Carnival will provide onsite supervision and support during the construction process, the Cruise & Ferry reported.

The first ship is expected to be delivered in 2023 and will be operated by a joint venture formed by CSSC, CIC Capital and Carnival. The joint venture plans to launch a cruise brand in China using ships purchased from Carnival's current fleet.

"Following the five concepts of innovative, coordinated, green, open and shared development, CSSC is working closely with international partners like Carnival Corporation and Fincantieri to build the first cruise ships in China, which will significantly advance the rapid, sustainable and healthy development of the Chinese cruise industry," said CSSC President Wu Qiang,

"Our close partnership with Carnival Corporation and Fincantieri, with the aim to build cruises addressing the additional demand from the Chinese and Asian market, will let more people enjoy the benefits of globalization and live a better life."

"We believe that today's agreement is an example of industrial partnership that not only reaffirms our leadership in the cruise industry but also creates a virtuous system among the two countries," said Giuseppe Bono, CEO of Fincantieri, said.