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Second Domestically Built Large Cruise Ship’s Keel Laying, Making New Era for China’s Cruise Industry


On April 20th, 2024, keel laying ceremony for the second domestically built large cruise ship H1509 was held in the No. 2 dry dock of SWS, a subsidiary of China State Shipbuilding Corporation Limited (CSSC). SWS has achieved its milestone since this cruise vessel marks its establishment of mass production design and construction capabilities. It signifies a new era in China's cruise industry with the promotion of high-quality development in China's shipbuilding industry.


The Keel Laying of China’s second domestically built large cruise ship in NO.2 dry dock of SWS, April 20.


As a crucial component of “Made-in-China” national brand, large cruise ship project represents China’s industrial and technological strength in this new era. It effectively promotes international cultural exchanges and showcases China’s national image. In 2023, the successful delivery of the first domestically built large cruise ship, the Adora Magic City, not only filled the gap in China’s shipbuilding industry but also propelled the transformation and upgrading of the shipbuilding industry. Furthermore, large cruise ship project enriches the national maritime strategy, and highlights China’s high-quality economic development.




To meet the latest requirements of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Tier III standards, and the second phase of the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) for ships, H1509 has undergone significant enhancements. Compared to the Adora Magic City, H1509 boasts larger dimensions and more advanced equipment. Its gross tonnage has increased by 64,000 tons to reach 141,900 tons, with a lengthened length of 17.4 meters to 341 meters, a molded breadth of 37.2 meters, a designed draft of 8.17 meters, and a maximum draft of 8.4 meters. It achieves a top speed of 22.7 knots and features 19 additional cabins, totaling 2,144 staterooms. Furthermore, it incorporates two additional desulfurization systems and five Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) system equipment, rendering the entire vessel’s navigation more environmentally friendly.

H1509 also includes a massive 16-deck superstructure area equipped with a variety of leisure and entertainment facilities, including a large performance center, restaurants, specialty dining venues, bars, cafes, shopping plaza, art galleries, children’s centers, spas, and water parks. Through optimized design layouts, the public areas and outdoor leisure areas on H1509 have increased by 735 square meters and 1,913 square meters, respectively, compared to the Adora Magic City, reaching 25,599 square meters and 14,272 square meters. These enhancements not only improve passengers’ comfort and experience but also heighten anticipation for the H1509 cruise ship.




Compared to the Adora Magic City, H1509 has seen significant improvements in ship size, cabin layout, system configuration, and regulatory standards, leading to more production and more complex management. Exploiting the experiences gained from the construction of the Adora Magic City, SWS has focused on process optimization and technological breakthroughs, supported by a series of research achievements, management experiences, and tools. Efforts have been made to streamline processes and overcome technical challenges, including accelerating the ship’s setion and region outfitting, resulting in a 20% increase in construction efficiency for the H1509 project compared to the Adora Magic City. Specifically, it has saved nearly 8 months for the construction in the dock. These endeavors are expected to continuously enhance the competitiveness of domestically built large cruise ship design and construction. As of now, the overall progress of the H1509 project stands at 20.42%, with design, construction, procurement, and logistics proceeding steadily.


In terms of design, SWS will continuously develop the combined application of the Smart 3D and CDSP a production management platform, which encompass comprehensive professional modeling, extensive drawing volumes, and vast amounts of data. This integration allows for the visualization and efficient management of various design processes. Currently, the detailed design phase is 90.14% complete, with production design at 74.02%.

In the construction aspect, gained experience from the Adora Magic City, SWS is advancing towards the establishment of a Chinese model for large cruise ship construction. The application of industrial Internet of Things (IoT) technology and automation-integrated equipment, such as laser welding and robot welding, will be further developed. It aims to cultivate digital control capabilities covering eight aspects: design, procurement, logistics, planning, outfitting, weight control, completion delivery, and quality safety management. These efforts are aimed at effectively supporting the rapid and efficient construction of H1509. Currently, out of 699 structural blocks of the entire vessel, 124 have been completed, and outfitting works have been fully initiated.


As the leading shipyard in the China, SWS constructs a supply chain at home and abroad. Currently, it has initially established a list of qualified cruise ship manufacturers and an evaluation mechanism, forming a cruise supply chain system of “1+100+1500” (namely 1 assembly shipyard + 100 contractors + 1000 suppliers).


SWS is exploring the establishment of a comprehensive map of the cruise ship industry chain. It continues to strengthen international cooperation, while continuously increasing the localization rate of supporting industries. Currently, major bulk materials used on cruise ships, such as steel plates, coating, sectional bar, and outfitting have been fully localized. For critical equipment, efforts are made to guide international suppliers to collaborate with high-quality supply chains from industries such as construction materials, transportation equipment, and electrical engineering, integrating Chinese elements into the global cruise supply chain and industry chain. Additionally, it fully integrates upstream and downstream elements of the industry chain to facilitate the coordinated development of the cruise supply chain. SWS will continue to exploit its technological and management advantages, strengthening interactions with regulatory and service departments of the government, research institutes, and universities. Currently, the procurement of the second domestically built large cruise ship project is 77.61% complete, ensuring production requirements after the keel laying.


Under the leadership of CSSC, SWS will adhere to the principles of openness, innovation in academia, industry, and research, and industry integration of new business forms. It will promote breakthroughs in core technologies of the R&D of cruise ship and China’s cruise industry, facilitate the all-round upgrade of the design, manufacturing, and support levels of China's shipbuilding industry. It is reported that after the keel laying on 20th April, construction work will revolve around hull construction and regional outfitting. Cabin module installation and interior outfitting will be basically completed by 2025. The ship will be launched by the end of March 2026, begin sea trials in June of the year, and be named and delivered before the end of 2026.