Carnival Corporation & plc., the world's largest travel and leisure company, has recently announced that it has signed a multi-billion dollar contract to build four next-generation cruise ships with the largest guest capacity in the world. The contract with Meyer Werft for four new cruise ships – part of a previously announced nine-ship strategic partnership between 2019 and 2022 – will be the largest ever built, based on guest capacity.
Two of the ships will be manufactured for AIDA Cruises at Meyer Werft's shipyard in Papenburg, Germany. In addition to the two ships being built in Germany, Meyer Werft – which had the capacity to accommodate these four ship-building orders in its production schedule ¬¬– will also build the two additional ships detailed in this announcement at its shipyard in Turku, Finland. Each new ship will be specifically designed and developed for the brand and the guests it will serve, underscoring the company's objective, to consistently exceed guest expectations and provide both first-time and repeat guests with extraordinary vacation experiences.
Based on Carnival Corporation's innovative new ship design, each of the four next-generation ships will have a total capacity of 6600 guests, feature more than 5000 lower berths, exceed 180 000 t and incorporate an extensive number of guest-friendly features. A major part of the innovative design involves making more efficient use of the ship's spaces, creating an enhanced onboard experience for their future guests.
The vessels will feature a revolutionary "green cruising" design as the first-ever cruise ships powered at sea by LNG - the world's cleanest burning fossil fuel. This represents a major environmental breakthrough. Pioneering a new era through the use of sustainable fuels, the four new ships will be the first in the cruise industry to use LNG in dual-powered hybrid engines to power the ship both in port and on the open sea. LNG will be stored onboard and used to generate 100% power at sea – producing another industry-first innovation for Carnival Corporation. Using LNG to power the ships in port and at sea will eliminate emissions of soot particles and sulfur oxides.
Comment from Carnival Corporation
CEO of Carnival Corporation, Arnold Donald said the contract is consistent with the company's measured capacity growth strategy to replace ships with less efficient capacity with newer, larger and more fuel efficient vessels over time.
"We are looking forward to executing on the next step in our fleet enhancement plan," Donald commented. "At a cost per berth in line with our existing order book, these new ships will enhance the return profile of our fleet. These are exceptionally efficient ships with incredible cabins and public spaces featuring a design inspired by Micky Arison and Michael Thamm and developed by our new build teams." Arison is chairman of the board of directors for Carnival Corporation & plc and Thamm is CEO of the Costa Group, which includes AIDA Cruises and Costa Cruises.
Donald added: "It will be exciting to see our shipbuilding team bring these new ships to life. Every step of the way, our focus is on designing state-of-the-art ships that provide a vacation experience our guests will love, and we are putting all of our creative energy and resources into making sure we achieve that goal."
Comment from Meyer Werft
Bernard Meyer, CEO of Meyer Werft, highlighted: "In past years, we have built seven highly successful ships for AIDA Cruises. We are honoured that Carnival Corporation has entrusted us with the implementation of this ambitious shipbuilding programme, and we look forward to building these four magnificent ships."
Impact of the contract
The new ship order will allow the Costa Group to continue to build on its leadership position in the European cruise market – a market in which five out of ten cruise guests in 2014 sailed onboard a Costa Group ship. The Costa Group – along with Princess Cruise Lines, also part of the Carnival Corporation family – also occupies the leading position in the rapidly growing cruise market in China.
As part of each shipbuilding company's long-term strategic partnership with Carnival Corporation, additional ship orders for the coming decade are being explored.
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