China is currently preparing to launch its second domestic cruise ship operation with a newly acquired large liner. The handover of the former Sea Princess ship (of Carnival Corporation’s Princess Cruises brand) was completed this week in Manila (Luzon Island, Philippines).
Introduced in 1998, Sea Princess was built by Fincantieri. The 77500 GT vessel sailed for Princess Cruises and briefly for P&O Cruises and had been cruising mostly in Australia prior to being idled by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. In September, Princess announced they were selling the liner along with the sistership Sun Princess. Buyers for Sea Princess had not been revealed while Sun Princess will be operated for NGO Peace Boat Japan (starting in 2021) as Pacific World.
According to V.Ships Leisure, they had assisted with the handover of Sea Princess to its new Chinese shipowner (Sanya International Cruise Development Co Ltd). V.Ships had provided an electronic safety management system along with other services to aid with the vessel's handover and management.
Sanya had chosen V.Ships Leisure and sister company Oceanic Catering for ship and hotel management of the ex Sea Princess - which is being renamed "Charming". The 2222-passenger liner is expected to commence operations in 2021. V.Ships had also handled the crewing and hotel management for the first large Chinese cruise ship - Piano Land.
MS Charming's new cruise shipping operation is due to become China’s second domestic operation. In 2019, CTS Group (China National Travel Service Group Corporation) and COSCO Shipping launched China's first domestic cruise line - Astro Ocean Cruise. They purchased the 70,000 GT MS Oriana from Carnival’s subsidiary P&O Cruises UK, which had operated the vessel since 1995. The liner was then renamed "Piano Land" and is currently operating short cruises from homeport Xiamen China.