New: Joint venture to build more cruise ships
Atlantica’s sister ship, the Costa Mediterranea, will be transferred at a later date, according to the company.
Besides, the joint venture signed a contract to order two new cruise ships, the first China-built large cruise fleet.
The two new cruise ships will be constructed by Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding Co Ltd, a Stateowned shipyard in Shanghai. The first ship is expected to be delivered in 2023 to serve the Chinese cruise market.
The agreement also gives the joint venture the option to order four additional China-built cruise ships to serve the growing demand of Chinese consumers.
Thamm of Carnival Asia said: “As a large, dynamic and underpenetrated cruise market with continued long-term projections for outbound tourism growth, China represents a significant opportunity for the cruise industry to raise awareness, consideration and demand for cruise vacations in the coming years.”
But the cruise industry in China faces a significant hiring challenge in the face of growing demand. By 2020, the talent gap in the sector will reach 280,000, according to the Cruise Lines International Association.
MSC Cruises, one of the major cruise lines with a dominant market share in Europe, South America and South Africa, entered the China market in 2010. The company said up to 2022, it needs 32,000 new crew members, including entry-level employees and mid-level managers.
The company said it is actively looking for partnerships with educational institutions in China, and would like to build a global network of MSC training academies.
It also said its crew members will be taught languages and be made eligible to serve in ships around the world, as per the company’s staff rotation policy that covers its whole fleet.