Carnival Corp’s China Strategy

Carnival Corp Executives in Shanghai: (L to R): Michael Thamm, Karl Sestak, Felix Eichhorn, Buhdy Bok, Arnold Donald, Alan Buckelew, Christine Duffy, Michael Ungerer, Tony Kaufman and Roger Frizzell.

Carnival subsidiary Princess recently announced that the Majestic Princess will be based full time in China and be specially tailored for that market. In addition, Carnival Corp. has doubled down on that market and will launch two more ambitious strategies in that market.
Carnival Cruise Lines announced that starting in Spring of 2017 they will base a ship year-round in China. This will not be a sub brand of Carnival, this will be a real Fun Ship for the Chinese market. No word yet on which ship goes but my bet is either a Fantasy or Spirit class vessel. They’ll utilize Costa Asia for sales, marketing, and operational assistance.

Carnival Cruise Lines will join Princess, Costa and Aida as the other Carnival Corp brands represented in Asia in 2017. According to CEO Arnold Donald, 5% of the entire corporation’s available berths will now be based in Asia.

Shortly thereafter Carnival Corp. announced a joint venture to create a domestic brand for the Chinese market. In cooperation with China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC) and China Investment Corporation the new unnamed brand will operate a multi ship fleet catering specifically to guests from China. Newbuilds are a strong probability here, otherwise why would CSSC get involved. However another option would be to transfer older tonnage into this fleet if they don’t want to wait for the new ships to be ready.

Either way, there’s no question that China is experiencing a boom in cruising popularity and Carnival is doing all they can to capitalize on it.