Carnival Corporation & plc announced that its Italian brand, Costa Cruises, has placed orders for two new cruise ships powered by liquefied natural gas as part of an agreement with Meyer Werft to build four next-generation cruise ships with the largest guest capacity in the world.
The announcement follows one from Carnival Corporation in June indicating that the other two ships included in this multibillion dollar contract are destined for its German brand, AIDA Cruises. The four-ship contract with Meyer Werft is part of a 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. Construction of the two new ships for AIDA Cruises will take place at Meyer Werft’s shipbuilding facility in Papenburg, Germany, while the two new ships for Costa Cruises will be built at Meyer Werft’s shipyard in Turku, Finland, with deliveries expected in 2019 and 2020.
Carnival Corporation’s four next-generation cruise ships for Costa Cruises and AIDA Cruises will be the first in the industry to be powered at sea by liquefied natural gas (LNG). These new vessels will use LNG to generate 100 percent of the ship’s power both in port and on the open sea, an industry-first innovation that will reduce exhaust emissions to help protect the environment and support the company’s sustainability goals, Carnival said.
Each new cruise ship will exceed 180,000 gross tons, offering more than 2,600 passenger cabins and 5,200 lower berths to comfortably accommodate a total capacity of 6,600 guests. According to Carnival, a major part of its new ship design involves making more efficient use of the ship's spaces, which includes multifunctional common areas and plans for more personal space.
“These new ships will be phenomenal additions to our fleet, and we’re looking forward to seeing our Costa and AIDA brands bring this groundbreaking new ship design to life for our guests in a way that is customized for each brand,” said Arnold Donald, CEO of Carnival Corporation. “As we continue enhancing our fleet, it is very important to us that every decision we make in the development of these new ships is about the guest experience, which supports our goal to exceed guest expectations and create great vacation memories for every person who boards one of our ships.”
Donald added, “Above all, these strategic investments are designed to exceed the vacation needs of our guests, but it is also important to note that these next-generation ships are an important part of our measured growth strategy, which includes replacing less efficient ships with newer, larger and more efficient vessels over a very specific period of time.”
Carnival noted that the new contract also supports its community-focused efforts to invest in Italy as a key market in which the company operates. According to forecasts from Costa Cruises, more than 750 crewmembers are expected to be hired to work on the two new ships.
“We are honored that Carnival Corporation has entrusted us with the implementation of this ambitious shipbuilding program,” said Bernard Meyer, CEO of Meyer Werft. “These ships represent the next generation of cruise ship innovation, featuring a revolutionary ‘green cruising’ design implemented to meet the specific needs of guests who sail with the Costa and AIDA brands.”