September 21, 2006
Carnival assigns 116,000 ton newbuild to P&O Cruises
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE/LSE: CCL; NYSE: CUK) has assigned a newbuild slot for a previously announced 116,000-ton cruise ship to U.K.-based P&O Cruises. To be built by Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri, the vessel is scheduled to enter service in spring 2008.
The new 3,100-passenger vessel will become the largest cruise ship specifically built for British cruise service and continues Carnival's ongoing European expansion strategy. An itinerary for this vessel has not been announced.
The 116,000 vessel was part of a five-ship agreement with Fincantieri announced in September 2004 that also included the new 110,000-ton Carnival Freedom for Carnival Cruise Lines, the 116,000-ton Emerald Princess for Princess Cruises, a 110,000-ton ship that still must be assigned to a particular Carnival brand, and a significant redesign of Cunard Line's previously ordered Queen Victoria.
"The agreement with Fincantieri presented a unique opportunity to contract for a package of five ships at a very attractive price," said Micky Arison, Carnival Corporation & plc's chairman and CEO.. "At the time we signed the contract, we had not made a decision as to which brands would be designated for two of the ships. Given P&O Cruises' strong performance and the excellent demand for cruising in the U.K. market, the decision was made to designate one of the ships for P&O Cruises."
Arison said that the company will make a decision on which brand will receive the second vessel by the end of the month.
The new P&O Cruises ship, to be named Ventura, will feature eight restaurants, five pools and three show lounges, including the largest theater on a British cruise ship. In addition to one of the largest spas afloat, the ship will include a "family zone" featuring children's play areas, a "family bistro" and two pools dedicated to families and children. Of the ship's 1,550 cabins, nearly 60 percent will offer private balconies.
Commenting on the announcement, David Dingle, managing director of P&O Cruises, said, "This new order acknowledges the unprecedented demand for the P&O Cruises brand and its increasingly wide appeal. Over the last 10 years, P&O Cruises uniquely has introduced a progression of new ships purpose-built for Britain, which have created record levels of demand. Ventura, through her innovation, scale and contemporary appeal, marks the next major step forward for Britain's leading cruise line, maintaining P&O Cruises' position at the forefront of our industry."