Mario Zanetti (right), President, Carnival China

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Mario Zanetti, president of Carnival China, said that the new Costa Venezia represents the commitment the company is making to the Chinese market. The new vessel will arrive in time for the 2019 summer season, and be followed by a second sister class ship in 2020.

"The market penetration (in China) is relatively low compared to other markets," said Zanetti, at China Cruise Shipping.

He said the growing Chinese middle class and their purchasing power, along with the trend to spend more on experiences rather than physical goods, represents massive potential for the cruise industry.

"Also important is the strong support provided by the Chinese government, with cruising highlighted as a priority sector," Zanetti said.

He also has his eye on offering longer cruises and a more diverse itinerary mix, which will come as the market develops, and will also help in attracting new customers.

"Costa is beginning a new decade here in China and our focus is how to exceed guest expectations every single day," said Zanetti.