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Carnival and AIDA brands to join Carnival Corp.'s China lineup

Four of Carnival Corp.'s 10 brands will have at least one homeported ship in China in 2017. Arnold Donald, center, is pictured in Shanghai with chief operations officer Alan Buckelew and leaders from Costa, AIDA, Carnival Cruise Line, Princess and Carnival Asia
With Carnival Cruise Line and AIDA Cruises to join Costa Cruises and Princess Cruises in China in 2017, Carnival Corp. & plc will have four brands in this booming market—offering more variety than any other company.

This means four of Carnival's 10 brands will have at least one homeported ship in China in two years.

'As we execute our multi-brand growth strategy in China, we are emphasizing choice and variety in our offerings to match the different tastes and preferences of Chinese travelers,' said corporate ceo Arnold Donald, who announced the Carnival Cruise Line and AIDA Cruises news Tuesday in Shanghai.

'As more and more Chinese are discovering why cruising is the best vacation experience, they are having a great time on our Costa and Princess brands, and we look forward to even more Chinese travelers enjoying vacations on our AIDA and Carnival brands,' Donald said in connection with the 10th Annual China Cruise Shipping and International Cruise Expo.

Further details on the plans for Carnival Cruise Line and AIDA Cruises are to be announced soon by each operator.

For now Carnival Cruise Line president Christine Duffy said her line looks forward to introducing Chinese travelers to the 'exceptional vacation experience that has made Carnival the world's most popular cruise line with more than 4.5 million guests a year.' She added that with demand for cruises increasing rapidly in China and the ability to work with other Carnival Corp. brands to leverage their collective experience and scale, this provides an outstanding opportunity to enter the market.

For his part, president Felix Eichhorn said AIDA Cruises looks forward to offering Chinese travelers 'our authentic AIDA experience of German style on the seas,' and this is a 'significant opportunity to grow cruising demand for our brand, Carnival Corporation and the industry at large.'

AIDA's sister brand, Costa, began sailing from the country in 2006.

Three months ago Carnival Corp. announced Costa and Princess would continue to expand in 2016, with each introducing a new ship to the market. This will bring the group's vessel count to six in China next year, a 58% capacity increase. The deployment includes three year-round ships and three seasonal ships.

Just days ago Princess revealed its newbuild tailored for Chinese travelers will be called Majestic Princess. The ship will sail year-round from Shanghai starting in 2017.

Carnival Corp. is also exploring potential joint ventures with China State Shipbuilding Corp. and China Merchants Group designed to accelerate the growth of China's overall cruise industry, including the possibility of launching a domestic cruise brand, building ships in China and supporting port and infrastructure development.

The Carnival Cruise Line and AIDA news follows by a day Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings' announcement that it will enter the market with a tailored 2017 newbuild and has opened a third office in China to support its three brands.

Not long ago MSC Cruises confirmed it will base MSC Lirica in Shanghai year-round starting in May 2016.

Royal Caribbean International and Star Cruises are seriously committed to China, as well.