The company said two of the ships will be manufactured for AIDA Cruises at Meyer Werft's shipyard in Papenburg, Germany. Additional information about the ships, including which new ships will be added to each brand, will be made available at a later date.
Based on Carnival Corporation's innovative new ship design, each of the four next-generation ships will have a total capacity of 6,600 guests, feature more than 5,000 lower berths, exceed 180,000 gross tons and incorporate an extensive number of guest-friendly features. A major part of the innovative design involves making much more efficient use of the ship's spaces, creating an enhanced onboard experience for guests.
Pioneering a new era in the use of sustainable fuels, the four new ships will be the first in the cruise industry to use 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, producing another industry-first innovation for Carnival Corporation and its brands. Using LNG to power the ships in port and at sea will eliminate emissions of soot particles and sulfur oxides.
In addition to the two ships being built in Germany, Meyer Werft will build the two additional ships detailed in today's announcement at its shipyard in Turku, Finland. Each new ship will be specifically designed and developed for the brand and the guests it will serve, underscoring the company's goal to consistently exceed guest expectations and provide first-time and repeat guests with the vacation experience of a lifetime on each and every cruise.
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. "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 new build teams." Arison is chairman of the board of directors for Carnival Corporation and Thamm is CEO of the Costa Group, which includes AIDA Cruises and Costa Cruises.
"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."
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 aboard 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.
Of note is that, while still really, really big, the new vessels for Carnival Corporation brands will simply carry more passengers than any other cruise ships and will not be the world's largest—Royal Caribbean will retain those bragging rights.
Image: AIDA Cruises