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Nation's shipbuilders chart exciting waters

By WANG YING in Shanghai | China Daily | Updated: 2024-01-02 07:09
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Visitors to the vessel get to know each other in the lounge area. TAO RAN/FOR CHINA DAILY

Deliveries from Chinese constructors account for half the global total

China's first domestically built large cruise ship, Adora Magic City, embarked on its maiden voyage on Monday, when it left Shanghai for destinations in Northeast Asia.

The successful delivery and operation of the vessel saw China join countries such as Italy, France, Germany and Finland in designing and building their own cruise ships.

It also signified that China is the only country to have mastered the technology for building an aircraft carrier, a large liquefied natural gas carrier and a large cruise ship.

The nation's shipbuilding industry is now well positioned to develop its cruise industry chain to a level and scale to match such achievements, with experts predicting that China's cruise economy will grow to 500 billion yuan ($71 billion) by 2035.

Xing Yue, general manager at Clarksons Research in China, wrote in a report: "Just five shipyards across the world have the experience of building large cruise ships. China State Shipbuilding Corp, or CSSC, and Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding Co's development of Adora Magic City ended the dominance of three European shipyards in building large cruise vessels."

Chen Gang, general manager of Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding Co, a unit of CSSC, said constructing a cruise ship is regarded as the "crown jewel" of the shipbuilding industry. Such a gigantic engineering project directly reflects a nation's comprehensive scientific and technological levels and manufacturing strengths, Chen added.

Since China's cruise ship project began in October 2013, some 2.3 million man-hours were devoted to design and 18 million man-hours to construction before Adora Magic City became operational.

The 323.6-meter-long, 37.2-meter-wide vessel houses 55,000 sets of equipment, 25 million components and parts, 4,750 kilometers of cables, 365 km of pipelines and 120 km of air pipes.

The ship, which has a gross tonnage of 135,500 tons, can accommodate a maximum of 5,246 travelers in its 2,125 guest cabins. Equipped with a 40,000-square-meter public living and entertainment area, the vessel is known as a "modern city on the sea".

Chen, who is also chief designer of the shipyard's large cruise ship project, said, "One of our designers, who has worked on air-conditioning systems for ships for most of his life, said that all such systems he has designed comprise less than half of a single cruise ship."

Niklas Peterstam, captain of Adora Magic City, has high expectations for the vessel. He and his crew of about 1,300 from 28 countries will welcome passengers aboard trips that offer a unique maritime experience.

"I think that after many years of growth and development, people in China will love this special kind of vacation. Families will admire this ship because it has so much to offer, especially for women and children," he said.

Boasting a trendy state-of-the-art shopping center that occupies about 2,000 square meters, Adora Magic City boasts the largest duty-free retail space in Chinese waters by partnering with China Duty Free Group.

Since joining the vessel on July 7, Peterstam said he had taken part in two sea trials in July and September, along with two trial voyages with passengers last month, before the vessel's maiden voyage.

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