Carnival Corporation has announced plans to expand its Princess Cruise brand into China.
The move reflects China's potential as an emerging destination for international cruise operators, with its new terminals and a growing number of domestic travellers. Shanghai will act as the home port for Sapphire Princess, which will carry around 70,000 guests during a four-month itinerary.
Alan Buckelew, president and CEO of Princess Cruises said: "We're excited to bring a new premium cruise travel experience to China's shores. While we have carried thousands of Chinese travellers on our ships over many years, we think the time is right to launch a premium cruise experience that offers a new type of vacation experience for the Chinese consumer, sailing from China."
The vessel's first season will begin in 2014.