A cruise ship sets out for a journey in Zhoushan, Zhejiang province, in 2017. [Photo by Yao Feng/For China Daily] Cruise firms from China are optimistic on long-term prospects, sustainability of the industry and are confident about continued investments in the sector, according to a senior executive of China State Shipbuilding Corp's cruise unit. Signs that the industry is getting back on track became evident after the Nanhai Dream, a domestic cruise ship, started services from Sanya, Hainan province, in December, the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council said in a notice on its official website. "The past year was unprecedented for the global cruise industry because the whole sector was battered due to the COVID-19. But we are confident about the outlook for the cruise business in the coming years," said Wang Yanguo, vice-president of CSSC Cruise Technology Development Co Ltd, who is in charge of cruise operations as the director of CSSC Carnival Cruise Shipping Ltd. "CSSC Carnival Cruise Shipping is well prepared for the upcoming resumption when the government will likely give the green light. We have set up a new team to handle operations and new cruise ships are being built in an orderly manner," said Wang. Founded in March 2018, CSSC Carnival Cruises is a joint venture company between China State Shipbuilding Corp, the world's largest shipbuilding company, and Carnival Corp, the world's largest leisure travel company, to own, operate and build cruise ships. "By setting up its key management team in advance, CSSC Carnival Cruise Shipping Ltd has signaled its presence in one of the world's fastest cruise markets," said Wang. According to Wang, surveys have been conducted for understanding customer preferences and acceptance of cruises despite the pandemic. The company has developed emergency procedures and contagion prevention plans ahead of the cruise resumptions, he said. Currently, the joint venture operated two ships: the Costa Atlantica and the Costa Mediterranea in its fleet. The third vessel, which is also the first domestically-made large cruise ship, is on track for its scheduled delivery in 2023. For the moment, China's homegrown cruise ship is being built by Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding Co Ltd, a CSSC unit. Since cutting its first steel sheet on Oct 18, 2019, the Vista-class vessel held its coin ceremony and started hull erection and is projected to enter its most critical phase in construction in the fourth quarter of this year. "(By then) the hull structure of the cruise ship will be completed. Later, its interior decoration will kick off, which would be the most challenging part throughout the cruise shipbuilding for us," said Wang. Between 3,000 and 4,000 people would work at the same time at every corner of the vessel, equipping the ship with 40,000 square meters of public space for various functions like dining areas, bars, cinemas, and entertainment venues. Equally important, the company plans to make the guest rooms as perfect as they are designed. "The 323.6-meter-long, 37.2-meter-wide, and 72.2-meter-high vessel will have 2,125 passenger rooms for accommodating a maximum of 5,246 passengers as well as 700 crew, which is equivalent to a small floating city," said Wang. Cruise ships are among the most sophisticated vessels to build due to the high requirements and standards in design, craftsmanship, operation and management. Having its roots set in the China market, along with its experiences in cruise operations and cruise ship-building, CSSC Carnival Cruise Shipping is planning to create an ecosystem for the Chinese cruise industry, to promote the sustainable development of the cruise economy in China, and help develop the nation into the world's largest cruise market in the future, said Yang Guobing, chairman of CSSC Carnival Cruise Shipping and CSSC Cruise Technology Development Co Ltd.