The gains for the three operating companies in Carnival Corp. & plc spring from the quartet of Fincantieri newbuilds that are part of a €2.5bn deal.
The Costa Asia ships, for delivery in 2019 and 2020, are 135,500gt and carry 4,200 passengers each. The order means the Costa Group has eight vessels in the pipeline with a total 45,000 berths. This would lift its fleet capacity to 110,000 berths.
Michael Thamm, ceo of the Costa Group, said that as with Costa Diadema, the last Costa Cruises ship built by Fincantieri, the Costa Asia ships will feature an innovative Italian-style design.
'In addition this new agreement will allow us to continue to significantly build the Chinese cruise market, which will become the second largest in the world at the end of the decade,' Thamm continued.
In the past nine years, Costa Asia helped drive the development of this fast-growing market. These will be the first newbuilds Costa has designated for China.
In 2019, the 135,500gt P&O Cruises Australia ship will join the fleet that was recently expanded with the addition of Pacific Aria and Pacific Eden (formerly Holland America Line's Ryndam and Statendam) in November and will reach six total with the introduction of Pacific Explorer (Dawn Princess) in 2017.
Australia is one of the world's top performing cruise markets, with an average annual passenger growth rate of 20% over the past decade. The new 4,200-passenger ship will have the greatest capacity for the P&O brand, with the next largest ship, Pacific Explorer, carrying 2,250 passengers.
Carnival Australia executive chairman Ann Sherry and P&O Cruises Australia president Sture Myrmell hailed the first newbuild for the market.
Sherry called it 'a huge vote of confidence in the Australian cruise market with much of the 20% year-on-year passenger growth over the past decade driven by P&O Cruises’ dynamic industry leadership.'
Myrmell said details and features will be revealed later but the ship will build on the continued evolution of the P&O Cruises brand and will reflect the tastes of modern Australia.
The 143,700gt Princess vessel, meanwhile, is the fourth of the Royal Princess class that began in 2013. It will follow 2017's Majestic Princess that is being customized for Chinese travelers.
It will have capacity for 3,560 passengers in 80% balcony staterooms. Signature Princess elements include a soaring central atrium hub with multiple dining, entertainment and retail venues, and a Movies Under the Stars outdoor cinema.
The ship also will add some innovations, to be announced.