Christine Duffy, Carnival Cruise Line president, said that Spirit had performed strongly in Australia. The decision to send the vessel to China was based on Carnival Spirit's availability and proximity to the country after the dry dock.
According to Duffy, the 2,680-passenger Spirit would be the first Carnival ship to operate sailings from China and that in the local spring of 2018 she would return to Australia.
‘It is important for the Carnival brand to establish a presence in the Asia cruise market and after evaluating many different options we decided that the seasonal deployment of Carnival Spirit in 2018 was the best opportunity for us,’ she said.
This is not the first time in 2016 Carnival has revised entry date into China: In February the line announced that Carnival Miracle would start cruising in China early 2018, not in spring 2017 as originally outlined.
However, Carnival Miracle will continue sailing from North America in 2018. Plans for Carnival Splendor to be full-time positioned in China from 2019 remain in place.
Duffy added that Carnival Legend would again join Spirit in Australia for 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 Australian summer seasons.
“The two ships have proven extremely popular and we look forward to continuing to deliver Carnival’s fun holiday experience to existing and new Australasian guests over the coming years,” she said.