Carnival Orders $5 Billion For Mega Cruise Ship Quad at Fincantieri

Carnival Corporation, the world’s largest cruise line, is ordering four 208,000 gross ton luxury cruise ships from Italian shipbuilding giant Fincantieri. The two sides have entered the final stage of negotiations, meaning that the drought of large cruise ship orders since the new crown epidemic raged in 2020 is coming the end. If the two sides formally signed the shipbuilding contract, both the size of the cruise ships and the value of the order will be a record high in the Italian cruise ship construction field.

The total value of the four luxury cruise ships will be more than €5 billion (about RMB 39.197 billion, calculated at the current exchange rate). Some media even speculated that the value of its order will be as high as €7 billion (about RMB 54.876 billion, calculated at the current exchange rate). The new ships are expected to be delivered by the end of 2028 or early 2029, which is speculated to be able to accommodate 7,000 passengers and more than 2,500 crew members.

Italian media “Il Secolo XiX” reported that The four new ships will be the Carnival’s first 200,000 gross tons or more, making it the third cruise company to reach this size. After breaking the 100,000 gross ton mark for the first time in the cruise industry with the Carnival Destiny in 1996, Carnival has generally not focused on size. According to the information reported in the Italian news outlet Il Secolo XiX, Carnival however is set to break the 200,000 gross ton mark, becoming only the third cruise company to reach that size. Royal Caribbean has its Oasis and now Icon classes and MSC Cruises is beginning its World Class. Disney will also enter the select group when it launches the approximately 208,000 gross ton former Global Dream rechristened Disney Adventure in 2025.

Pierroberto Folgiero, Fincantieri’s chief executive, said, “The company is now actively pursuing new orders and hoping that the cruise industry, which accounts for more than half of the company’s revenues, will bring in new orders.”

While signing smaller luxury cruise orders and working to complete orders including Princess Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line and TUI’s Mein Schiff mega-ships, Folgiero has previously revealed that larger cruise orders are in the pipeline, most likely to be completed by early 2024.

Carnival Cruise has recently taken delivery of three 182,800 gross ton newbuild liquefied natural gas (LNG) dual-fuel powered luxury cruise ships: Mardi Gras, Carnival Celebration, and Carnival Juiblee. Currently, the largest cruise ship operated by Carnival Corporation is around 180,000 gross tons. The new ships will be nearly 14 % larger in size compared to other cruise ships owned by Carnival Corporation, but it has not yet been determined whether they will be fueled by LNG or other alternative fuels.

It is worth noting that the four new ships to be ordered by Carnival Group will also be nearly 20% larger than the largest cruise ships currently built by Fincantieri. Currently, MSC Seascape and MSC Seashore (170,400 gross tons) are the largest cruise ships built in Italy. Next month, Carnival Corporation’s Sun Princess for Princess Cruises will be delivered as Italy’s largest cruise ship (175,500 gross tons) and the first LNG-fueled cruise ship built by Fincantieri, making the scale of Italy’s largest cruise ship build a new record.

Il Secolo XiX points out that only Fincantieri’s Monfalcone, Italy shipyard would be able to handle ships of this size. They speculate that an order of this magnitude would also provide a boost to contractors and related businesses in the Trieste region of Italy.

Carnival Corporation admits its orderbook has fallen to a modern low following the pandemic. Having taken delivery of the Seabourn Pursuit (23,000 gross tons) and Carnival Jubilee in 2023, the company currently only has Sun Princess and her sister ship Star Princess, which just began construction and is due in 2025, and Cunard’s Queen Anne (113,000 gross tons) due in 2024, currently on order. With the strong rebound in cruise bookings in 2023, it is logical Carnival would begin placing newbuild orders.

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