Line orders record setting LNG-powered cruise ships

Carnival Corporation, the world’s largest cruise ship owner, has finalized contracts for four next-generation ships that will set the record for highest guest capacity and be the first-ever ocean-going cruise ships to be powered by liquefied natural gas, the world’s cleanest burning fossil fuel.

The company said two of the ships will be manufactured for AIDA Cruises at Meyer Werft’s shipyard in Papenburg, Germany. The two other ships will be built at Meyer Werft’s shipyard in Turku, Finland. Carnival said specifics about the two ships to be built at Meyer Turku, including which Carnival brand they will assigned to, will be revealed at a later date.

Carnival Corp. says that the ships will built to the company’s next-generation “green cruising” design, with a total capacity for a staggering 6,600 guests in more than 5,000 lower berths. In a first for the cruise ship industry, the four new vessels will equipped with dual fuel engines that will run on clean burning LNG to generate 100 percent of power while at sea.

Carnival says the vessels will exceed 180,000 gross tons, which as of now will make them the biggest vessels in the company’s fleet.

The four new cruise ships are the first to be ordered as part of a previously announced nine-ship strategic partnership for Carnival with leading shipbuilders Meyer Werft and Fincantieri S.p.A. for delivery between 2019 and 2022.

Carnival Corporation CEO Arnold Donald said the contracts for the four vessels is consistent with the company’s 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,” said Donald. “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.

“These ships will expand our leadership position for the Costa Group, the market leader in all the major European markets,” added Thamm. “These will be spectacular ships designed specifically for our guests who sail on our Costa Group brands.”

Bernard Meyer, CEO of Meyer Werft, said: “In past years, we have built seven highly successful ships for AIDA Cruises. We are honored that Carnival Corporation has entrusted us with the implementation of this ambitious shipbuilding program, and we look forward to building these four magnificent ships.”

Carnival Corporation & plc is the world’s biggest cruise ship company with more than 100 ships sailing under 9 brands. In 2015, Carnival’s fleet totaled 219,000 lower berths with eight new ships scheduled to be delivered between 2016 and 2018, along with the four additional new ships on order between 2019 and 2022.

Royal Caribbean’s Oasis-class are currently the world’s largest cruise ships, encompassing more than 225,000 gross tons with a capacity of over 6,400 guests and almost 2,400 crew.

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