Carnival Corporation is undertaking a massive fleet expansion beginning in 2019. The world’s largest cruise company has signed memorandums of agreement that will add a total of nine new cruise ships to the company’s industry-leading fleet over a four-year period from 2019 – 2022. According to Carnival “the shipbuilding agreements, which include options for additional ship builds in the coming years, are subject to several conditions, including satisfactory financing. Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri S.p.A and German shipbuilder Meyer Werft will each build new ships based on Carnival Corporation’s next-generation ship designs, which will produce the most efficient ships in the company’s history. The new ships are expected to serve established cruise markets in North America and Europe, as well as newer markets, including China. Each new ship will be specifically designed and developed for the brand and guests it will serve, and support the company’s overall goal of exceeding guest expectations and further elevating every aspect of the guest experience.” (Image courtesy of Carnival Corp.)
This is a big expansion for the company, and I am anxious to see what Carnival has planned for cruise vacationers with these new ships. While it’s not totally clear which of Carnival Corporation’s 9 brands will receive the new ships, Carnival Cruise Lines will receive some, and the new order will represent a new class of ship for the line. Meyer Werft will construct four of the new vessels and Carnival’s longtime partner, Fincantieri, will construct five. With other new ships in the pipeline, and Funship 2.0 upgrades taking place fleetwide, Carnival’s business is recovering nicely. Surely, some of these new ships will be headed to the Caribbean, so competition should be heating up in the world’s largest cruise market. Further, Carnival officials indicated that some of these new ships will be headed to China. Going forward, China will be an interesting cruise market, perhaps THE cruise market to watch.
-MJ, March 28, 2015