To tap into the Chinese cruise market and its estimated 83 million passengers, the world's largest cruise company has launched a new ship built specifically for Chinese vacationers.
A subsidiary of Carnival Corp., the world's biggest cruise operator, on Monday 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.
Last month, a 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.
Other cruise companies have announced plans to reassign some of the biggest and most modern ships away from U.S. ports to instead serve Chinese customers.
The U.S. remains the world's leading source of cruise passengers, with about 11 million a year. But the Hong Kong Tourism Board estimates that China — with a population of 1.4 billion — has the potential to generate as many as 83 million cruise passengers a year.
The Majestic Princess features 1,780 cabins, 19 decks, an atrium and nearly 1,100 square meters of luxury boutiques, representing the largest shopping space at sea, according to Princess Cruises, the Carnival subsidiary that will operate the Majestic Princess.
The ship also includes a private karaoke lounge, a water fountain and multimedia light show and a giant LED screen to show movies at night under the stars.
"We believe all Chinese families will appreciate the value of cruising as a new vacation option and create lifelong memories from their experiences aboard Majestic Princess," Carnival Chief Executive Arnold Donald said in a statement.