The Chinese company CSSC Carnival Cruise Shipping, a 60-40 joint venture of China State Shipbuilding Corporation and Carnival Corporation, has revealed its plans to commence cruise ship operations with its second cruise ship. This announcement comes as part of China's phased program approved by the central government to expedite the relaunch of its cruise industry.
CSSC Carnival took to social media to announce that they have entered into an agreement to initiate cruises from Port Tianjin-Beijing in 2023-Q4. This makes them the first cruise line to announce the resumption of cruises in the region, following recent reports that Shanghai will recommence its first large cruise ships sailing to international ports in June 2023. Since January 2020, cruises in China were put on hold due to the COVID crisis and never resumed internationally. Last week, CSSC Carnival's Adora Cruises brand declared that it would start ex-Shanghai voyages once it receives China's first domestically built large cruise ship. The company has named the ship Adora Magic City, affectionately referring to it as Aida Modu, which is a popular nickname for Shanghai.
In order to promote the resumption of cruises and foster the development of Tianjin's cruise market, CSSC Carnival entered into an agreement with the Tianjin Binhai New Area Culture and Tourism Bureau, as well as Tianjin International Cruise Home Port Co.
The upcoming cruises will operate on the newly renamed ship Adora Mediterranea, previously known as Costa Mediterranea. Although specific details have not been disclosed, the company has stated that the ship will sail to neighboring countries in Northeast Asia.
Established in 2019, CSSC Carnival Cruise Shipping was initially formed as a joint venture aimed at cultivating the Chinese cruise market. Carnival Corp reported in 2020 and 2021 that it sold its stake to CSSC, and it currently holds 40% in the company. In 2021, CSSC Carnival received a capital contribution of $90 million from Carnival but no further contributions were made in FY 2022.
As part of the agreement to establish the new company, CSSC Carnival agreed in 2018 to acquire two ships - Costa Atlantica (2000-built) and Costa Mediterranea (2003-built). Initially, Carnival Corp chartered these vessels back from CSSC to fulfill their scheduled cruises under the Costa brand, with the intention of handing over Costa Atlantica by late 2019. However, due to the crisis, Carnival kept possession of the ships and eventually transferred Atlantica in August 2021 and Mediterranea in October 2021. Although both ships have been registered in the Bahamas, they are currently laid up in the Mediterranean.
Each with GT 85600 tons and LOA length 959 ft, the sisterships have passenger capacity of 2680. CSSC Carnival has announced that Mediterranea will undergo drydocking for enhancements and a new exterior design before it resumes service. While no definitive plans have been disclosed for Costa Atlantica, reports from China suggest that it is anticipated to commence cruising from Shanghai, possibly as early as July.