By the time the vessel arrives in 2022, it will have been a dozen years since Cunard added capacity.
Kruse—who took on responsibility for Carnival UK last summer—championed the newbuild in discussions with Carnival Corp. & plc chairman Micky Arison and president and CEO Arnold Donald. They built a business case for the board that led to the memorandum of agreement with Fincantieri three months ago.
'Adding a fourth ship to Cunard builds on the tremendous legacy of this global brand,' Donald said. 'It will retain the feel of the Cunard experience. For those who want that classic cruise experience, they imagine the black tie and the high tea. This resonates with people around the world. It's classic cruising with all the modern touches, like going to an older hotel, but it's a modern experience. Yet it feels classic like the time when royalty and celebrities sailed.'
Kruse added: Cunard has 'established itself in the key markets and is such an aspirational brand. We have opportunity in both existing and new markets. The brand is performing well and the brand can grow. Not at 10 ships but with very measured capacity growth.'
New markets include Asia, however Kruse said the new ship isn't being built for Asia though that is an aspirational market, one that's well-suited to Cunard.
The newbuild isn't an ocean liner.
'I don't foresee another Queen Mary 2 being built,' Kruse said. 'But this will be something really special.'
Nor will it be a carbon copy of 2010's Queen Elizabeth, at 91,000gt, a tad larger than 2007's Queen Victoria at 90,000gt. Each of those has fewer than 2,100 lower berths, compared to the 113,000gt newbuild's 3,000. Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria were heavily modified versions of Holland America Line's Vista class.
Kruse said the newbuild has a different design, although it will have a look and style consistent with the rest of the fleet.
No details have been disclosed, yet one striking change in the profile—according to the rendering released with the order's announcement—is the additional stack of decks forward, above the bridge. On Queen Elizabeth, there are three levels atop Deck 9, all housing public rooms and outdoor spaces in the forward sections. The newbuild appears to have five forward decks above the bridge.