Taking an unprecedented leap forward in technology and design, Carnival Corporation is to build four vessels powered by liquefied natural gas, which it claims will be have the biggest passenger capacity in the world
The ships, carrying up to 6,600 passengers each, will measure more than 180,000 tons. Two, to be built at the Meyer-Werft yard in Germany, have been designated for Carnival’s Aida brand. No announcement has yet been made about who will operate the other two, which will be built in Turku, Finland.
The multi-billion dollar deal is part of a contract already signed for the delivery of a total of nine new ships between 2019 and 2022.
Carnival say that as well as being the world’s first LNG-powered cruise ships, using the cleanest fossil fuel available, their innovative design will make more efficient use of space.
Although more than 180,000 tons each, they fall considerably short of Royal Caribbean’s 225,000-ton Oasis class, which carries 5,400 passengers at dual occupancy, and with a maximum of 6,360 with all berths occupied.
The Carnival ships are designed with 5,000 lower berths and a maximum passenger capacity of 6,600.
The engines will be hybrids capable of burning regular bunker fuel and eco-friendly LNG, which will generate 100 per cent of the power requirement at sea, reducing carbon and sulphur emissions.
Carnival Corporation CEO Arnold Donald said the contract is “consistent with the company’s measured capacity growth strategy to replace less efficient ships with newer, larger and more fuel-efficient ships.
“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 the chairman of Carnival Corporation, while Thamm is CEO of Costa, which has Aida under its wing. Among Carnival’s other brands are Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, and the UK’s Cunard and P&O Cruises brands.
While Carnival, founded in the 1970s by Micky Arison’s father, Ted, can take credit for making cruise holidays what they are today, the company has in recent years been better known for following trends in shipbuilding rather than setting them. It has sat back and let Royal Caribbean build the biggest cruise ships in the world – Oasis of the Seas, Allure, and next year, Harmony – and it has played catch-up in terms of passenger facilities like speciality restaurants and splashy water parks four children.
Now, in the space of less than two weeks, with the announcement of the new green ships and its voluntourism cruise brand, fathom, Carnival has shown it is capable of leading the way.