Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (RCL) has partnered with China-based travel services provider Ctrip.com International to form SkySea Cruises, a joint venture which is designed to serve the Chinese cruise market.
Royal Caribbean and Ctrip will each own 35% of the new company, with the balance being owned by SkySea management and a private equity fund. The transaction is expected to close before the end of November, while sales and marketing activities have commenced.
“We look forward to working with Ctrip, a Chinese travel leader, to build a national cruise line for China,” said Richard Fain, chairman and CEO of RCL. “SkySea Cruises represents an important strategic milestone in our expansion efforts in the Chinese market.”
SkySea Cruises will initially operate one ship, which will begin service in the middle of 2015. It is expected that more vessels will be added to the fleet over time.
“Our partnership with RCL will allow us to bring the very best cruise vacations tailor-made for Chinese travellers,” said Min Fan, chairman and CEO of SkySea Cruises. “We expect SkySea Cruises to be an integral part of China's fast growing cruise market.”
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