Are Huge New Carnival-Owned Cruise Ships Coming?

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Chatter is beginning to make waves at the shipyard with recent whispers that Carnival may be looking to secure a contract for a massive new build ship in the coming months. The new vessel would likely be delivered in 2027 or early 2028, and would be the largest cruise ship ever built in Italy.

New Ship to Be Ordered?

Since Carnival Jubilee officially joined Carnival Cruise Line in December 2023, cruise enthusiasts have noted that there are no new build ships confirmed for the top cruise line in the near future, after ships already in the figurative pipeline are delivered in the coming months.

Now, information has come to light that a massive new ship – actually a series of ships – may soon be on order through Fincantieri. According to Shipping Italy, the reports indicate a size estimated at 208,000 gross tons – well above the 183,000 gross tons of Carnival Cruise Line’s Excel-class ships Mardi Gras, Carnival Celebration, and Carnival Jubilee.

Such a massive ship could easily accommodate as many as 7,000 guests and 2,500 crew members – or more. The estimated price tag for each vessel could be as high as $1.6 billion or more, with a speculated four ships to be ordered together in the series for a contract worth nearly $7 billion.

Meyer Turku Shipyard
Photo Via: Meyer Turku

It should be noted, however, that Carnival has not confirmed details of any new orders and will not comment on speculation. In a statement provided to Cruise Hive, a Carnival Corporation & plc spokesperson said: “We expect to order newbuilds for delivery – probably beginning in 2027 – at a rate of one to two per year.”

No details on size, cost, guest capacity, or what cruise line such ships might be earmarked for have been confirmed by Carnival Corporation & plc. We’ll have to hold our excitement on what a new large class ship could be like for the coming months.

How a New Ship Could Compare

If a possible 208,000-gross-ton ship is correct, the new size would dwarf the largest ships of other cruise lines that are part of Carnival Corporation & plc as follows (Note: Gross tonnage varies slightly for individual vessels based on overall features and construction materials):

  • AIDA Cruises – Excel class, 184,000 gross tons – AIDAnova (2018), AIDAcosma (2021)
  • Costa Cruises – Excel class, 185,000 gross tons – Costa Smeralda (2019), Costa Toscana (2021)
  • Cunard Line – Ocean Liner, 149,000 gross tons – Queen Mary 2 (2003)
  • Holland America Line – Pinnacle Class, 100,000 gross tons – MS Koningsdam (2016), MS Nieuw Statendam (2018), MS Rotterdam (2021)
  • P&O Cruises – Excel class, 185,000 gross tons – Iona (2020), Arvia (2022)
  • P&O Cruises Australia – Grand class, 109,000 gross tons – Pacific Adventure (2001), Pacific Encounter (2002)
  • Princess Cruises – Sphere class, 175,500 gross tons – Sun Princess (delivery expected January 2024)
  • Seabourn Cruises – Encore class, 42,000 gross tons – Seabourn Encore (2016), Seabourn Ovation (2018)
Sun Princess Cruise Ship
Sun Princess Cruise Ship

By comparing across Carnival’s various fleets, it is obvious that many new ships are currently serving the various cruise lines, with a variety of sizes to meet guests’ preferences and to offer a wide range of cruise vacation experiences.

Read Also: Gross Ton of a Cruise Ship – Let’s Explain

However, even a massive 208,000-gross-ton vessel would not take the title of the world’s largest cruise ship – a record that will belong Royal Caribbean’s 250,800-gross-ton Icon of the Seas when the ship officially welcomes guests from January 27, 2024. Similarly, the second ship in the Icon class, Star of the Seas, is expected to have a size comparable to Icon of the Seas.

Three New Ships to Join Carnival Family – Without New Orders

Even without any new contracts for ship construction, three new ships are slated to join the Carnival family in the upcoming months, in addition to the delivery of the gigantic new Sun Princess for Princess Cruises, which is just days away. A second Sphere-class ship will also be joining Princess Cruises as Star Princess in summer 2025.

Two additional ships are almost ready to make their debuts as well. Carnival Cruise Line will welcome Carnival Firenze to the Fun Ship fleet after the vessel completes her last sailing for Costa Cruises and undergoes weeks of transformation and renovation. Carnival Firenze will begin sailing from Long Beach, California in April 2024.

Cunard Line will also welcome Queen Anne in May 2024, the first new ship for the iconic cruise line since Queen Elizabeth debuted in 2010. At this time, no new ships are on order for any other line of Carnival Corporation, including Carnival Cruise Line.

As it takes many months to construct a new ship from the time a shipyard order is confirmed, it is highly unlikely that any new vessels would join the company in 2025 or 2026, but timelines would depend on a ship’s size and complexity, as well as shipyard operational capacity.

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