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Chinese Passenger Ships

China is one of the world's leading shipbuilding countries. But the vessels that it builds are big boxes - big hollow steel vessels for carrying bulk cargo like oil, or the shipping containers that have revolutionized world trade. It is notable that China historically has not produced ships for carrying people - passenger ships or cruise ships.

Modern cruise ships can be consideredfloating resort hotels, serving as sightseeing vesselswith gourmet restaurants, food courts, nightclubs, shopping centers, entertainment complexes and recreational centers. Cruise companies have recently increased ship sizes to allow additional on-board facilities and activities and offerpassengers superior sleeping arrangements. Cruise ship is a unique tourism product because it is both a tourist destination (for all on-board activities) and a transportmode of transport (for transportation across water from port to port).

Cruise ships are one of the most difficult types of vessel to build because they have higher requirements and standards in design, craftsmanship, operation and management. Among the challenges are weight control, safe return to port, change orders, quality control and more. Design and specification requirements are very different from other shipbuilding segments. The under estimation of complexity in coordination has historically been a major contributor to cost and schedule overruns.

As more and more Chinese shipyards are successfully turning to the development of high-tech, high value-added, luxury cruise ships, passenger ships, ferries and other ships in the international market, the international market is very optimistic about the golden opportunity for China to build high-end passenger ships in the future.

Passenger Ferries

A ferry is a vessel that carries people or goods across a river or a narrow area of water. While Europe has a well-developed shipbuilding industry, companies are increasingly looking to China for new builds. Italian company Moby Lines ordered two ferries from GSI, and Germany's TT-Line ordered a ferry from China's CSC Jiangsu Jinling Shipyard in 2018.

The so-called Itacoatiara ferry boat is the third of nine ferry boats built by AFAI Southern Shipyard (Guangzhou Panyu), a company owned by the CSIC and China Shipping Groups, and purchased by the Rio de janeiro state Transport Secretariat. The Itacoatiara ferry can carry up to 2,000 passengers per trip, and is more silent, comfortable and accessible than the old vehicles operating in Rio's ferry lines.

The "Chinese Revival" ship, a large luxury ro-ro ship with a capacity of 1689 passengers / 3,000 meters lane, was delivered in November 2019 The ship was built by Huanghai Shipbuilding Co., Ltd. for Bohai Ferry Group Co., Ltd. and inspected by the China Classification Society. It is a new type, cruise-type passenger-roller ship independently designed and built by China with completely independent intellectual property rights, filling China's cruise-type luxury Ro-ro space. This ship is also Asia's largest tonnage, strongest carrying capacity and most luxurious passenger ro-ro ship. The ship has a total length of 212 meters, a profile width of 28.6 meters, a profile depth of 15.3 meters, a total of 44,403 gross tons, a passenger quota of 1,689 people, a loading lane length of 3,000 meters, a three-story vehicle cabin, two 7000 kW main engines, a speed of 20 knots, and a maximum endurance 5000 nautical miles.

Two low-emission hybrid ferries will soon transport passengers across the English Channel from the English port of Dover to Calais in France, thanks to a new 230.6-million-pound ($285 million) contract between Chinese shipbuilding company Guangzhou Shipyard International, or GSI, and United Kingdom ferry operator P&O Ferries. GSI will construct the two ferries, designed by Danish naval architects OSK-ShipTech, at a shipbuilding slipway in Guangzhou. P&O aims to have them on the water by 2023, with an option to order two further vessels the following year. Each ferry will be able to carry 1,500 people between Dover and Calais, and hybrid technology will help the environment by reducing emissions. The engines will alternate between fuel and battery power depending on energy demand, reducing fuel use by around 40 percent.

River-Going Cruise Ships

Within its winding gorges and cliffs on its 6,300km stretch from, the Yangtze is a flowing history book. As a key focus of Chinas heritage and a lifeline of its economy, taking to the Golden River has become an established attraction on the travel trail. The Yangtze River Cruise is an alternative means of travel to the train and overland routes that a local would typically take. Most travellers traverse the waters of Asias largest river just the same way on one of the 60 or so Chinese and Western vessels on the waterways. However, since only around a third of those are deemed luxury cruise liners, it is wise not to set expectations too high. The term cruise, in this instance, does not denote high comfort, unless passengers specifically pay hundreds of pounds for a more upper-class version of this route. Most cabins are basic (if somewhat a little dirty) but bearable, and the toilet in the tiny bathroom are the squat kind with the showerhead hanging above it.

The Victoria Jenna was the Yangtzes largest river cruise ship. Inaugurated in 2009, the Victoria Jenna (198 cabins, 396 passengers) sets the standard for fine luxury river cruising in China. The Chinese-built ship had a displacement of 10,000 tons, is 133.8 meters long with a beam of 18.8 meters. Victoria's ships are specially designed to navigate the Yangtze River, but are a fraction the size of ocean-going cruise ships.

A small and fast-moving tornado hit the area where Chinese cruise ship Dongfang zhi Xing [Eastern Star] capsized on 01 June 2015 with 456 people on board. The death toll from a Chinese cruise ship which capsized during a storm in the Yangtze River reached 406 on 07 June 2015, leaving fewer than 40 still missing, as officials and rescuers bowed in mourning towards the battered boat. Only 14 survivors, one of them the captain, have been found after the ship carrying 456 overturned in a freak tornado in Jianli in Hubei province. Most of the passengers were elderly tourists. The four-storied ship was righted and raised on 05 June 2015, allowing rescuers onto it to clear away debris, break down cabin doors and look for the remaining missing. The 76m-long, 2,200 tonne ship is owned by the Chongqing Eastern Shipping Corporation. According to state media, it was built in 1994 and was designed to carry 534 people.

Seven cruise ships on Yangtze River had been enlisted by 21 February 2020 as "water hotels" for medical staff battling against the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, in the central China city of Wuhan, the center of the epidemic outbreak. The municipal government of Yichang, Hubei Province, said on Friday that under the coordination of the Ministry of Transport, the ships serving for tourism in the Three Gorges scenic area are on the way to Wuhan via a 660-km waterway on the Yangtze River. Six of the seven cruise ships are registered in Yichang and another is registered in western China's Chongqing Municipality. The seven cruise ships offer 1,469 beds in total. Each ship is equipped with fire-fighting, water and power supply facilities.

Sea-Going Cruise Ships

Chinese passengers on sea-going cruise ships have reached millions in a few years. In 2015, they broke the 1 million passenger barrier for the first time, after a 40 percent year-on-year hike. In 2017 it was estimated that Chinese cruise ship passengers could reach 2.5 million by 2020, and 7 million by 2030. Cruise lines operating large ships can be more attractive to Chinese consumers than luxury cruise lines operating smaller vessels. Cruise operators can enhance perceived servicescape by integrating natural and built environments, such as air, sea and on-shore tours. A Chinese-built passenger ship was delivered to Myanmar in June 2001. The new vessel, which can carry 440 passengers, was ordered for the state-owned Myanmar Five Star Shipping Line at a cost of 7.75 million US dollars. The ship was built in a Shanghai shipyard by the Yunan Machinery Import and Export Company (YMC). Since 1992, Myanmar authorities had signed multi-million dollar contracts with the YMC to purchase ocean-going passenger and cargo ships as well as double and triple-deckers passenger ferries for inland river transport.

Chinas first and largest cruise ship was the MS Henna, a 27-year-old former Carnival Cruise Lines Holiday-class ship. The 223 meter long 47,680 Gross Ton ship (ex. Carnival Jubilee, Ex Pacific Sun) was built in Sweden in 1986, refurbished for the Chinese market in 2012, and scrapped in 2017. Henna faced serious price competition with the 2015 arrival of newer and bigger ships entering China cruising market.

Carnival Corporation & plc is the largest cruise vacation group in the world, with a portfolio of cruise brands in North America, Europe and Australia, comprised of Carnival Cruise Lines, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, Seabourn Cruise Line, Windstar Cruises, AIDA Cruises, Costa Cruises, Cunard Line, Ocean Village, P&O Cruises, Swan Hellenic, and P&O Cruises Australia.

The 3,646-passenger Carnival Dream ushered in an exciting new era in Fun Ship cruising. The 130,000-ton Carnival Dream is one of Carnival Cruise Lines' largest ships. She was officially named in November 2009. Representing a new class of vessel for the line, Carnival Dream encompasses 130,000 tons, is 306 meters [995 feet] long and 37 meters wide. On 18 December 2006 Carnival Corporation & plc announced that it had exercised an option for a new 130,000-ton ship for its Carnival Cruise Lines brand. The new vessel, which would have 3,652 lower passenger berths, will be built by Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri at its Monfalcone yard at an estimated all-in cost of 565 million euros. The ship was scheduled for delivery in summer 2010. The vessel was a sister ship to a previously announced 130,000-ton ship slated to enter service in fall 2009 that began a new class for the line. The two sister ships were the largest ever constructed for Carnival Cruise Lines to date. A sister ship to the Carnival Dream, the Carnival Magic, joined the fleet in May 2011, and a third ship in the class, the Carnival Breeze, was launched in June 2012.

In 2016, Japan's Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd abandoned its ambition to build European cruise liners and shifted to smaller ferries and other medium-sized passenger ships due to cost overruns and delays in the construction of two 100,000-ton class cruise liners for Europe's Carnival Corp. Currently, three major European shipyards - Fincantieri, Meyer Werft and Chantiers de l'Atlantique - hold 68 percent of all cruise ship orders worldwide.

To tap into the Chinese cruise market, the worlds largest cruise company has launched a new ship built specifically for Chinese vacationers. A subsidiary of Carnival Corp., the worlds biggest cruise operator, on 10 July 2017 christened the Majestic Princess in Shanghai, a 1,083-foot-long ship set to begin sailing Tuesday around China. It represents a larger effort by U.S.-based cruise companies to serve the massive Chinese market. In June 2017 Carnival competitor Norwegian Cruise Line, launched the Norwegian Joy, another cruise ship designed for the growing Chinese market. The ship includes an open-air laser tag course, a go-cart racetrack, virtual reality games and two multistory watersides. Norwegian Joy stands out for being explicitly Chinese. In addition to having all the signs in Chinese, there are also Chinese restaurants, the buffet is about half if not more Chinese food, films shown on deck during the day are subtitled in Chinese, and large screens air music videos of Chinese pop stars in the evenings. China's first independently operated luxury cruise ship has been named Piano Land during a 31 October 2019 ceremony in Xiamen. The vessel is the first luxury cruise ship owned by Astro Ocean Cruise, a Chinese national cruise brand jointly operated by China National Travel Service Group Corporation (CTS Group) and COSCO Shipping. The 70,000 ton vessel has a length of 260 meters, a beam of 32.2 metes and a maximum speed of 24 knots. She has 13 decks and 941 cabins and can accommodate 1,880 guests. She originally entered service in 1995 as Oriana for P&O Cruises and was built by Meyer Werft.

The Changle Princess sailed 03 March 2017 from Sanya on the southern Chinese island province of Hainan with 308 passengers on a four-day voyage. The new ship can carry 499 people and has 82 guest rooms with dining, entertainment, shopping, medical and postal services on board. Tourists will be able to visit the three islands in the Crescent group of the Paracels, Xinhua said. China had previously said it plans to build hotels, villas and shops on the Crescent group and has also said it wants to build Maldives-style resorts around the South China Sea.

On May 31, 2017 Fincantieri signed a letter of intent (LOI) with China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC), Chinas largest shipbuilding conglomerate, and with Shanghai Citys district of Baoshan, aimed at creating a cruise ship industrial park. The signing took place at the Baoshan District, during a workshop about the One Belt, One Road initiative, between Fabrizio Ferri, CEO of Fincantieri China, Chen Qi, Vice President of CSSC, and Su Ping, District Vice Director, and it follows the sealing which took place in February in Beijing in the presence of the Italian President, Sergio Mattarella, and the Chinese President, Xi Jinping. In that occasion Fincantieri CEO, Giuseppe Bono, signed a binding agreement with CSSC and Carnival Corporation, for the construction of two cruise ships, with an option for additional four, the first units of the kind ever built in China for the Chinese market.

The Guangzhou yard is now offering a modular cabin system aimed at cruise ship orders and has acquired a number of smaller suppliers to help reinforce its capabilities in China. Guangzhou had been largely involved with building tankers, container ships, bulk carriers and heavy lift ships in the past and is capable of delivering fifty ships a year of these types. But Chinese yard is also in the course of gaining experience in building passenger ships, with a 1,650-passenger LNG-powered ropax ferry under way for 2018 delivery to Rederi AB Gotland of Sweden as well as a similar 1,800-passenger vessel for Algerian Ferries.

SunStone Ships Greg Mortimer set a precedent by being the first cruise ship delivered from China. Manufactured by China Merchants Industry Holdings, the ship had a total capacity of 8,035 tons. SunStone Ships built a European ship assembled in China. Launched on 07 March 2019, it is European designed, European managed and uses European equipment. Accommodating up to 120 passengers on polar expeditions, the 104-meter long Infinity-class expedition cruise ship was the first of the SunStone Infinity series of what is expected to be ten ships.

SunStone Ships Greg Mortimer set a precedent by being the first cruise ship delivered from China. SunStone Ships president Niels-Erik Lund says, What we say is we built a European ship assembled in China. It is European designed, European managed and uses European equipment.

China's first independently operated luxury cruise ship has been named Piano Land during a ceremony in Xiamen in October 2019. The vessel is the first luxury cruise ship owned by Astro Ocean Cruise, a Chinese national cruise brand jointly operated by China National Travel Service Group Corporation (CTS Group) and COSCO Shipping. The 70,000 ton vessel has a length of 260 meters, a beam of 32.2 metes and a maximum speed of 24 knots. She has 13 decks and 941 cabins and can accommodate 1,880 guests. She originally entered service in 1995 as Oriana for P&O Cruises and was built by Meyer Werft.

China's first domestically built large luxury cruise liner - designed to be more than twice the size of the Titanic - will launch in 2020, mainland media reported 25 October 2015. The China State Shipbuilding Corp (CSSC), the nation's largest shipbuilder, would sign a 2.6 billion (HK$31 billion) joint venture with Britain's Carnival Corp, the world's largest cruise ship operator. The ships' displacement of 130,000 tonnes will be more than twice that of the Titanic. The ships will measure more than 300m long - the Titanic was 269.1m long - and have the capacity to hold 5,000 passengers. Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding in Shanghai was expected to start building the first ship in 2016 and that the vessel would be launched in 2020.

China State Shipbuilding Corp. will deliver the first Chinese-made cruise ship in 2023, Nikkei reported 10 November 2018. The ship, along with a second due the following year, will be designed and built by CSSC, US cruise giant Carnival and Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri. The $770 million vessels will have a passenger capacity of 5,246 across 2,125 cabins in its 323.6-meter-long, 37.2-meter-wide and 72.2-meter high body. The 135,500-ton vessels would be built by Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding Co Ltd, a company controlled by the China State Shipbuilding Corp. As a complex mega system project, it is completely different from the vessels Chinese shipyards have built.

With this project, China is making great strides in cruise ship building, said Gang Chen, general manager of Shanghai Waogaoqiao Shipbuilding Co. We believe the key to success is in working closely with experienced stakeholders and our selection of ABB is based on its unparalleled know-how of the cruise market, as well as capabilities and understanding of running projects locally in China".

The first of the global class ships, Global Dream, was scheduled to make its maiden voyage in 2021. With space for 9500 passengers and 2200 crewmembers and a price tag of more than one billion euros, these ships are 342 meters long and 46 meters wide . Those are the dimensions of the luxury ocean liner Global 2 series, with which the Chinese company Genting Hong Kong wants to service the growing Asian demand for cruise vacations. To produce such vessels of such enormous size, Genting bought failing shipyards in the northeastern German cities of Wismar, Stralsund and Rostock-Warnemnde and formed a subsidiary called MV-Werften. The Chinese parent company says it has spent 230 million euros in modernizing these facilities and has already invested 840 million in the region.

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Page last modified: 24-02-2020 18:15:39 ZULU