The first Chinese-built cruise ships may be inching closer to being official.

It may become official next Friday in Tianjin at China Cruise Shipping when China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC) and Carnival Corporation could announce a newbuild order for up to five cruise ships to be built in a Chinese yard for a yet-to-be-named domestic cruise brand.

According to a source familiar with the matter, the ships will be around 5,000 passengers and 130,000 tons, with deliveries to start as soon as 2020.

It has been a solid build up in China for Carnival, which started with a memorandum of understanding signed with CSSC in 2014 to explore the possibility of a joint venture.

A year later, Carnival announced it had formed a joint venture in China that intended to launch the “first world-class, multi-ship domestic cruise brand in the Chinese market” with CSSC and China Investment Corporation (CIC).

And in July, Fincantieri and CSSC signed an agreement for the development of a joint venture aimed at developing and supporting the growth of the Chinese cruise industry, according to a statement. The ships will be built at one of CSSC’s shipyard on the basis of a platform licensed to the joint venture and to the SWS shipyard by Fincantieri.

Statements have also said the new brand will not only build new ships, but will also operate ships (second-hand) in the Chinese market.

---

Learn more about the Chinese cruise market via the just released China Cruise Market Report.