JUNE 15, 2015 — Carnival Corporation & plc has signed a multi-billion dollar contract with Meyer Werft for four next-generation cruise ships that will not only have the largest guest capacity in the world but will also be the first cruise ships to be powered at sea by LNG.
The contract with Meyer Werft is part of larger previously announced strategic memo of understanding with shipbuilders Meyer Werft and Fincantieri S.p.A for nine new ship orders between 2019 and 2022.
The four new ships will exceed 180,000 gt each and will have a total capacity of 6,600 guests, with more than 5,000 lower berths. Carnival says the ships will be built to an innovative new design, a major part of which involves making much more efficient use of the ship's spaces, creating an enhanced onboard experience for guests.
The "green cruising" aspects of the design include burning 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 percent power at sea – an industry-first innovation.
Two of the ships will be manufactured for AIDA Cruises at Meyer Werft's shipyard in Papenburg, Germany.
Carnival has not yet disclosed which cruise brands will be assigned the two other ships, which will be built at Meyer's Turku shipyard in Finland. Each will be specifically designed and developed for the brand and the guests it will serve.
Carnival Corporation CEO 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," said Mr. 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 newbuild teams."
Mr. Arison is chairman of the board of directors for Carnival Corporation & plc and Mr. Thamm is CEO of the Costa Group, which includes AIDA Cruises and Costa Cruises.
Added Mr. Donald: "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."
"These ships will expand our leadership position for the Costa Group, the market leader in all the major European markets," said 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 says 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 10 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 new ship orders are being explored over the coming decade.