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Carnival Corp. firms order for 4 LNG cruise ships with Meyer

Carnival Corp. firms order for 4 LNG cruise ships with Meyer
In a stunning development, Carnival Corp. & plc inked a multibillion-dollar contract to build four next-generation LNG-powered cruise ships. The deal is part of the larger previously announced strategic memo of understanding with Meyer Werft and Fincantieri for nine newbuilds between 2019 and 2022.

Two of the vessels will be manufactured for AIDA Cruises at Meyer Werft's Papenburg yard in Germany for delivery in 2019 and 2020, while two will be built in Turku, Finland. Additional information about the Turku pair, including whether those ships go to AIDA or Costa Cruises, will be made available at a later date.

Each ship will have 5,000 lower berths and total capacity of 6,600 passengers—giving them the largest guest capacity in the world, outsizing even Royal Caribbean's 6,400-passenger Oasis-class ships. Tonnage will exceed 180,000gt. Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas are each just under 225,300gt, while the upcoming Harmony of the Seas will be slightly larger.

Carnival Corp. & plc said a major part of the innovative design for its newbuilds involves making much more efficient use of space, which the company added would create an enhanced on-board experience.

The four new vessels use LNG in dual-powered hybrid engines to power the ship both in port and on the open sea. LNG will be stored on board and used to generate 100% power at sea. Using LNG to power the ships in port and at sea will eliminate emissions of soot particles and sulfur oxides.

The pair of Turku ships will be designed and developed for the brand they'll serve.

Carnival Corp. & plc president and 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.

'We are looking forward to executing on the next step in our fleet enhancement plan,' Donald said. 'At a cost per berth in line with our existing order book, these new ships will enhance the return profile of our fleet. These are exceptionally efficient ships with incredible cabins and public spaces featuring a design inspired by [chairman] Micky Arison and [Costa Group ceo] Michael Thamm and developed by our newbuild teams.'

'These ships will expand our leadership position for the Costa Group, the market leader in all the major European markets,' Thamm said.

The order represents a return to building in Germany for AIDA, which has been constructing a pair of newbuilds at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. Those Japan-built ships also have dual-powered hybrid engines that can use LNG, but primarily during port calls, a Carnival Corp. & plc spokesman told Seatrade Cruise News.

'In past years, we have built seven highly successful ships for AIDA Cruises. We are honored that Carnival Corporation has entrusted us with the implementation of this ambitious shipbuilding program, and we look forward to building these four magnificent ships,' Meyer managing partner Bernard Meyer said.

The order will take AIDA's current 10-ship fleet to 14 by 2020.
For Meyer Turku, the ships secure business until 2020.
'This order is very important for us at Turku yard since it provides us and our specialized maritime subcontractors with the long sought-after stability that allows us all to develop and improve our operations,' Meyer Turku ceo Jan Meyer said. He added the facility is working to improve its processes, planning its next investments and strengthening its workforce with select recruits in preparation to 'meet the demands of these challenging projects.'