Carnival Cruise Line has postponed its entry into China by nearly a year, pushing the start-up of the Miracle from spring 2017 to early 2018.Carnival issued the following statement: “Following a recent review of our fleetwide deployment plans over the next few years and the best formula for balancing capacity needs, we have decided to enter the Chinese market in early 2018 and remain excited about expanding our operations to this part of the world. Carnival Miracle, which was originally scheduled to begin service in China in spring 2017, will now continue to operate Mexican Riviera and Hawaii cruises throughout 2017 and will be repositioned to China in early 2018.”
It is unknown whether AIDA is also postponing its market entry or whether Costa is pushing its newbuilds back, in light of the significant capacity increases planned for China and the reported price pressure from 2015 and going into 2016. At press time, Carnival Corporation had not yet responded to a request for comment.
According to Cruise Industry News’ estimates, passenger capacity in China will be up 70 percent in 2016, following a 60 percent increase in 2015 over 2014. A further 37.2 percent capacity increase is projected for 2017. Without the Carnival Miracle, the 2017 capacity increase is estimated at 32.8 percent.