China Maps Out Construction for Second Large Domestic Cruise Ship

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Chinese officials detailed the plans for the country’s second domestically-built large cruise ship as they continue to look to refine their expertise in building this unique category of ship. While highlighting the successful completion of the Adora Magic City in 2023, they note that the second cruise ship will both be larger and the design independently optimized.

China State Shipbuilding Corporation and Carnival Corporation launched their cooperation in 2018 to develop the domestic Chinese cruise market and the result is the Chinese Adora Cruises, of which Carnival Crop. is today a minority investor. Fincantieri joined the project acting as a consultant to the Chinese shipyard which took a methodical approach to develop the shipbuilding expertise.

The Adora Magic City, known by the colloquial name Ada Modu, is based on a design developed by Fincantieri for Carnival Corporation’s Costa Cruises. The ship is 136,200 gross tons with a length of 1,063 feet (324 meters). It has 15 passenger decks and 2,125 cabins accommodating a total of 5,246 passengers.

During a briefing on Wednesday, Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding reported after starting work in August 2022 on the second cruise ship, detailed design drawings, production design modeling, and model balancing work have now basically been completed for the independent design. They are mapping out stages and systems looking to make the construction process more efficient for the second cruise ship.

As part of the optimization of the design, they confirmed the second cruise ship will be increased by 6,700 gross tons to a total of 142,000 gross tons. The design is longer with an overall length of 1,118 feet (341 meters) and has one additional passenger deck. However, they are only increasing the number of passenger cabins by 19. Technical enhancements include two new sets of desulfurization towers and a Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) system.

The outfitting procurement project for the vessel began this week and they report assembly in the dry dock will begin in mid-April. The first flotation is scheduled for early May 2025 and the undocking from the building dock at the end of March 2026. Sea trials will begin in June 2026 and the naming ceremony and delivery will be before the end of 2026. While the cruise ship will be five percent larger, they are targeting a 20 percent reduction in construction time versus the Ada Modu.

Adora Cruises began its operations late in 2023 with the Mediterranea (85,600 gross tons) acquired from Carnival Corporation and the introduction of the new cruise ship on January 1, 2024. The company looks to expand into longer cruises on the Silk Road in the next phase of its growth.

Shipyard officials said they strive with the second cruise ship to achieve a new leap forward in China’s large-scale cruise ship construction. As a country, the goal is to become competitive with Fincantieri, Meyer, and Chantiers de l’Atlantique, the European companies that currently dominate large cruise ship construction. Other shipbuilders attempted but later abandoned large cruise ship construction due to the unique specializations and extensive subcontractor and supplier networks required to build the ships. Japan’s Mitsubishi Shipyard gained two contractors from Carnival Corporation but reported large financial losses before ending efforts to build large cruise ships.

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