Southern Sea Cruises will start service out of Sanya, China, and is a joint venture including COSCO, China Travel Services Group and the China Communications Construction Company. COSCO already owns a large fleet of cargo vessels.

The 896-passenger Dream of the Southern Sea will start service in July, and has been upgraded and refurbished from its previous service life as a ro-ro ferry, according to a source familiar with the plan.

The ship will sail four to six times per month to start-up, based on demand, offering four-day itineraries.