(5:45 p.m. EST) — After reviewing the deployment of its fleet, Carnival Cruise Line has decided to push back its entry into the Chinese cruise market by a year.
Originally, Carnival Miracle was scheduled to relocate to China in spring 2017, followed by fleetmate Carnival Splendor in spring 2018. Instead, Carnival Miracle will continue to sail Hawaii and Mexican Riviera voyages from Los Angeles through early 2018, according to a statement from the cruise line.
Carnival spokesman Vance Gulliksen tells Cruise Critic that, because the line wants to move only one ship to China initially, Carnival Splendor’s planned redeployment will also be pushed back by one year — until 2019.
Carnival says the decision was made after it considered the "best formula for balancing capacity needs."
Some members on the Cruise Critic message boards are speculating that the China market is already losing steam.
"It is extremely interesting that things must be slowing down over there," says jimbo5544.
Others think the line is merely being cautious.
"I think it may be prudence, thinking that a quick buildup of capacity might lead to lower fares, so a slower approach is better," says chengkp75.
Carnival’s decision has also caused some to consider the bigger picture: "I wonder what happened to their proposed deal with a Chinese ship yard to build ships intended for the Chinese market," says loubetti, referring to an agreement between China Investment Corporation, China State Shipbuilding Corporation and Carnival Corp., Carnival Cruise Line’s parent company.
Carnival Corp. also plans to relocate ships to China from some of the corporation’s other brands, including Princess and Costa.