China's second domestically built cruise ship began construction on Monday, as the nation's shipbuilding industry has basically mastered core technologies in cruise design and construction, officials and industry experts said.
Work on the interior and outfitting of the first locally made cruise ship is currently underway and on schedule, they said.
A steel sheet cutting ceremony for the nation's second domestically built cruise ship was held at Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding Co on Monday, kicking off the vessel's construction.
"The start of the second cruise vessel's construction fully represents Chinese shipbuilding industry's capability and strength," said Tian Yulong, chief engineer of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.
Tian said the cruise industry chain is extremely long. The development of the cruise industry will raise the standards for the modern service industry and promote the whole marine economy.
The second vessel will not be a duplication of the first ship. said Zhou Qi, vice-general manager of Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding, a unit under China State Shipbuilding Corp (CSSC), the world's largest shipbuilder.
The 142,000-gross-ton vessel will be 341 meters long, or 17.4 meters longer than the first version, and 37.2 meters wide. It will have 2,144 passenger rooms, 19 more rooms than the first.
By meeting the latest international standards for emissions, the second cruise vessel will be a greener floating city in the future, and will hopefully provide a better experience for passengers with high-level safety and comfort, Zhou added.
CSSC signed a contract with the world's biggest cruise operator, Carnival Corp, and Italy-based Fincantieri S.p. A to construct two cruise ships, with an option for building an additional four vessels. The contract was signed in 2018 during the 1st China International Import Expo.
After the ships are built, the domestically built cruise ships will be delivered to CSSC Carnival Cruise Shipping, the joint venture between CSSC and Carnival Corp. CSSC Carnival Cruise Shipping will be responsible for providing expertise in cruise management and operations.
"Today's construction kickoff will greatly speed up our nation's independent design and construction of cruise ships," said Yang Jincheng, general manager of CSSC.
Despite the unprecedented challenges of COVID-19, cruise ship research and manufacturing remain a key direction for China's high-end equipment transition and upgrade, and the outlook of the Chinese cruise ship traveling market is promising.
"Building the second homegrown cruise ship presents for us an opportunity to deepen collaborations with all parties, strengthen technology innovation, enhance supply chain management," Yang said.