China’s 1st domestically built cruise ship sets sail on maiden voyage

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Shanghai — China’s first domestically built cruise ship set sail on its maiden voyage from Shanghai on Monday, a sign of the nation’s growing prowess in sophisticated construction as it seeks self-sufficiency in key technologies. The Adora Magic City left port on its first commercial cruise late afternoon, en route to South Korea and Japan.

Equipped with a mahjong lounge and hotpot restaurant, the luxury vessel is aimed squarely at China‘s expanding middle class and their appetite for international travel.

China First Large Cruise Ship Adora Magic City in Shanghai
China’s first large domestically built cruise ship, the “Adora Magic City,” is seen docked at Wusongkou International Cruise Port, Shanghai, China, in a Dec. 17, 2023 file photo. CFOTO/Future Publishing/Getty

State media have hailed the 16-deck behemoth as a “major milestone for the country’s shipbuilding industry” and a “crown jewel”.

Its construction was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Lloyd’s Register (LR), which provided marine services for the ship.

It is China’s first foray into a sector dominated by European shipbuilders. The country’s first homegrown passenger jet, the C919, also made its debut outside mainland China last month.

CHINA-SHANGHAI-CRUISE SHIP-TRIAL OPERATION (CN)
An exterior view of the cruise ship “Adora Magic City,” docked at the Shanghai Wusongkou International Cruise Terminal in east China’s Shanghai, Dec. 24, 2023. Ding Ting/Xinhua via Getty

The complex projects are key to Beijing’s decades-long ambitions to compete with European and U.S. rivals and cut down China’s reliance on foreign technology.

Many of Adora Magic City’s components were provided by international suppliers.

But in the future, “China has the opportunity to build its own supply chain”, Marco Scopaz, LR’s on-site project manager, said in an article on Lloyd’s website.

CHINA-SHANGHAI-CRUISE SHIP-TRIAL OPERATION (CN)
An exterior view of the cruise ship “Adora Magic City,” docked at the Shanghai Wusongkou International Cruise Terminal in east China’s Shanghai, Dec. 24, 2023. Ding Ting/Xinhua/Getty

The Adora Magic City “marks the beginning of the country’s inevitable and rapid development in cruise design and construction”, he said.

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