First made-in-China cruise ship on its way

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China's first large, domestically made cruise ship is scheduled to be delivered to its user around the end of this year, according to a project manager at China State Shipbuilding Corp, the construction contractor.

"So far, we have completed 90 percent of the cruise ship's construction. Engineers have begun to install inner equipment and decoration and fine-tune devices already mounted. We plan to move the vessel out of the dry dock in June to continue the outfitting process," Chen Gang, general manager of Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding and chief designer of the cruise ship, said on Monday.

After the construction finishes, there will be at least two sea trials in the summer to test the vessel's overall capability and its subsystems, and also to check whether the rooms and entertainment facilities are comfortable, according to Chen.

"Upon its completion, there will be about 25 million components on the ship, five times that of China's domestically designed C919 jetliner and 13 times that on the country's Fuxing-series bullet train. The combined length of the electric cables on the vessel is more than 4,200 kilometers," the manager said, noting that his shipyard has used a host of advanced techniques and machinery to build the ship.

CSSC, a State-owned conglomerate and the world's largest shipbuilder, signed a cooperation agreement on the design and construction of two 135,500-metric-ton Vista-class cruise ships with Carnival Corp and Fincantieri in November 2018.

Carnival, a British-American cruise operator, is the world's largest leisure travel company, while Fincantieri, an Italian company, is one of the world's largest cruise ship makers.

According to the agreement, CSSC will work with Fincantieri to design the ships, which will be built based on the Chinese market's requirements and Chinese tourists' needs. The three parties also agreed to an option for another four vessels of the same type.

Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding, a CSSC subsidiary, will construct the ships and then deliver them to a joint venture between CSSC and Carnival that will be tasked with operating the vessels to serve the Chinese tourism market.

The project marks the first time China has built a large, advanced cruise ship on its own. It is a new milestone for the country's shipbuilding industry because it marks an end to China's inability to design and construct large cruise ships, shipbuilding industry experts said.

The first of the colossal cruise liners will be 323.6 meters long, 37.2 meters wide and 72 meters tall, roughly the height of a 25-story residential building. It will be powered by five diesel generators and driven by two electric thrusters.

The gigantic craft will have a cruising speed of 33 kilometers per hour and a maximum speed of about 42 km/h.

There will be 16 stories of living, shopping and entertainment space that will offer musical performances, art shows and a wide variety of food options.

The vessel will have 2,125 passenger rooms capable of accommodating 5,246 tourists. There will also be nearly 700 rooms for the crew. Construction of the first cruise ship, which has yet to be named, started at the shipyard in October 2019.

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