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New Princess ship to be based in Shanghai year-round

Princess newbuild - to be customized for Chinese cruisers
The new ship under construction for Princess Cruises will be based year-round in Shanghai, Carnival Corp. & plc announced late Tuesday. The 143,000gt vessel, to be introduced in summer 2017, will be customized for Chinese travelers.

The Princess deployment ups the ante in China, where rival Royal Caribbean International has dedicated two new Quantum-class ships to the market.

Princess sister brand Costa Cruises is also present there.

UBS Investment called the news further evidence that 2015 is 'the tipping point for China to become a game-changing force for the cruise lines.'

The unnamed 3,600-berth ship is being built by Fincantieri, based on the design of Regal Princess and Royal Princess, but will have innovations for Chinese cruisers, to be outlined later.

Like the earlier vessels, features will include a multi-deck atrium serving as the social hub of the ship, an over-the-ocean SeaWalk, the Princess Live! interactive studio, a large pastry shop, the Chef’s Table Lumiere, the pool deck fountain and music show 'Princess Watercolor Fantasy,' a large Movies Under the Stars screen and balconies on all outside staterooms.

Princess said accommodations will be configured for families and multigenerational travelers.

'Deploying our next new ship in China underscores our strong commitment to growing the China cruise market and providing discerning travelers with amazing vacation experiences at sea,' Princess president Jan Swartz said.

The vessel will operate varied itineraries, to be announced.

Princess ships began homeporting in China just last year, with a successful inaugural season of Shanghai-based cruises aboard Sapphire Princess. This ship returns for a second China season that begins June 4 and runs through October.

The service style of the newbuild will include the 'Princess Class' experience the company introduced during its 2014 China homeport season.

This encompasses cultural, culinary, entertaining and inspiring programs including the World Leaders Dinner, traditional English afternoon tea, a Lobster Grill, Ultimate Balcony Dining, an ocean-view hot pot dinner option, ballroom dancing and abundant duty-free shopping.