America’s Carnival Corporation has signed a memorandum of agreement with Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri for the construction of two new cruise ships. The 3,600-passenger vessels are earmarked for the organisation’s Princess Cruises brand, with an expected launch date of spring 2013 and spring 2014.
At 139,000 tons each, the as-yet-unnamed ships will be the largest in the Princess Cruises fleet, with an all-in cost of approximately €155,000 (£134,000) per lower berth.
The move follows a two year acquisition hiatus by Carnival, which is seeking to maintain its position as the world’s largest cruise group.
Carnival is the presently the owner of Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, The Yachts of Seabourn, AIDA Cruises, Costa Cruises, Cunard Line, Ibero Cruises, Ocean Village, P&O Cruises and P&O Cruises Australia.
Together, these brands operate 95 ships, totalling more than 184,000 lower berths, with 11 new ships scheduled to be delivered between March 2010 and May 2012.
Commenting on the agreement Giuseppe Bono, chief executive officer of Fincantieri, said: “This important agreement is a source of pride and optimism for us.
“Proof we are increasingly a world leader even in this time of crisis, having gained the only order for a cruise ship in 2009 - also from Carnival Group - and now this agreement for two prototype vessels for Carnival’s prestige brand Princess Cruises.”
The agreement with Carnival is subject to the execution of a definitive contract, financing and other customary closing conditions, explained Carnival in a statement.
Since 1990 Fincantieri - a world leader in the sector - has built 52 cruise ships, of which 48 have been for different brands in the Carnival Group.
Without taking into consideration the present agreement, Fincantieri will build a further 11 vessels between today and 2012. Seven of these are for Carnival.