Carnival adding four new ships in less than 18 months


The following is the text of a news release from PR Newswire:

(MIAMI) — Carnival Corp. and PLC, the world's largest cruise company, announced today it will increase fleet capacity by nearly 10 percent from 2014 through 2016, fueled largely by the addition of four new ships across four brands in less than 18 months.

This week, Carnival Corp. is christening two new ships in the span of three days as its Princess and Costa brands host official naming ceremonies for Regal Princess and Costa Diadema, the latest new vessels to join the company's industry-leading fleet of more than 100 ships across nine cruise brands. Additionally, in 2015, the company's P&O Cruises UK and AIDA brands will each debut a new ship, giving Carnival Corp. a total of four new ship additions by October of next year.

All told, the company has refreshed its global fleet — the largest in the world — with more than 30 new ship additions since 2007, including Regal Princess and Costa Diadema, with another seven ships scheduled to be delivered between 2015 and early 2017.

In addition, Carnival Corp. continues to expand its fleet leadership with upgrades and refurbishments to existing ships. In 2015 alone, the company plans upgrades or refurbishments on 17 ships across six of its brands.

The 2015 refurbishment plans include two former Holland America Line ships transferred to P&O Cruises Australia that will undergo complete refurbishment before sailing as Pacific Aria and Pacific Eden starting in November 2015. The renovated ships will offer a new level of comfort and style with onboard features tailored for Australian and New Zealand passengers, as Carnival Corp. boosts its industry-leading presence in the world's fastest-growing cruise market.

Yesterday, Princess Cruises officially christened the new Regal Princess in a naming ceremony featuring the original cast members of "The Love Boat" television series who are serving as godparents for the new ship. After entering service in May 2014, the newly christened Regal Princess will now begin her maiden season of Caribbean cruise vacations sailing out of Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Tomorrow, Nov. 7, Costa Cruises will host a naming ceremony for Costa Diadema in Genoa, Italy, where the brand's new flagship will be christened by the ship's godmother, Carolina Miceli, an Italian travel agent selected from over 700 candidates in 50 countries for best representing the cruise line's values. Following the christening, Diadema will begin sailing in the Mediterranean through the summer of 2015.

In addition to Costa Diadema and Regal Princess, two other Carnival Corp. brands will debut new ships in 2015. In March, P&O Cruises UK will introduce Britannia, which is the largest ship ever built for the British cruise market. In the fall of 2015, German cruise operator AIDA will christen its new flagship, AIDAprima, which is expected to be one of the most technologically advanced ships in the world.

"We're very proud to christen Regal Princess and Costa Diadema this week, and these beautiful ships signify our commitment to providing the best possible guest experience across our industry-leading brands," said Arnold Donald, CEO of Carnival Corp. "As we invest in continually refreshing our fleet, we're able to provide our passengers the best of what new ships have to offer."

"And as always, our focus is on consistently exceeding our guests' expectations and doing everything we can to make sure that our passengers have joyful vacations," Donald added. "Compared to other options, cruising is hard to beat as a great way to truly relax and enjoy a vacation and unique destinations, and a great value that is also hard to beat. Introducing new ships into our fleet is just one more way we are working to provide wonderful vacations and lifetime memories for millions of people around the world. That focus will help us grow the market for cruising, and in turn increase demand for our product. So it's a win-win for consumers, and for our company."

Carnival Corp.'s four new fleet additions in 18 months are part of the company's plan to introduce nine new ships across seven of its brands between 2014 and 2017. AIDA, Carnival Cruise Lines, Costa Cruises, Holland America Line, P&O Cruises UK, Princess Cruises and Seabourn are all expected to debut new state-of-the-art cruise ships between now and the early part of 2017.

In 2016, Carnival Cruise Lines will debut Carnival Vista, a stunning 133,500-ton ship that will be the largest ever in its fleet — with the ship being unveiled in a sneak preview in New York in January 2015. Holland America Line will launch its newest ship, the 99,500-ton Koningsdam, a new Pinnacle-class ship that can carry 2,650 passengers. Also in 2016, AIDA will introduce a new sister ship to the 2015 AIDAprima with capacity for 3,250 passengers, while Seabourn will unveil its newest luxury ship, expected to be the biggest ever built by the brand with the ability to serve 604 passengers.

Looking forward to 2017, Princess Cruises is working with Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri to build a 143,000-ton vessel featuring the highly popular design elements introduced by the brand's two newest ships, and sisters, the Royal Princess and Regal Princess.

The four new Carnival Corp. ships joining the fleet over the next year and a half represent the latest in ship design, energy efficiency, technology, amenities and activities brought together to provide guests a safe, enjoyable and memorable cruise vacation. Key features and offerings on each ship include:

Regal Princess — Official naming ceremony in November 2014:
The 3,600-passenger, 141,000-ton Regal Princess, which began service in May 2014, arrived in Fort Lauderdale earlier this week to start her maiden season of Caribbean cruise vacations. The ship has many new features for passengers including: an overwater SeaWalk — a top-deck glass-bottomed walkway extending 28 feet beyond the edge of the ship — a dramatic multi-story atrium serving as the social hub of the ship with a host of dining and entertainment options, the largest pastry shop at sea and a special Chef's Table Lumiere, a private dining experience surrounding diners in a curtain of light.

Costa Diadema — Official naming ceremony in November 2014:
Costa's newest ship, the 132,500-ton Costa Diadema, will be able to accommodate 4,947 passengers. The ship will feature 7,671 pieces of specially commissioned modern art that complement the ship's innovative interior design. The ship will also feature new shows, new venues and high-tech games designed specifically for the line's new flagship and meant to engage guests of all ages. The promenade on the Diadema will be the longest of any on the Italian cruise ship line's fleet and will feature bars and restaurants throughout the 1,500 feet of open air.

Britannia — Official delivery date expected in March 2015:
At 141,000 tons and carrying over 3,600 passengers, P&O Cruises' Britannia will be the largest cruise ship ever built for the British market. The Britannia will feature a multitude of dining options and bring together some of the world's most famous chefs as part of its "Food Heroes" team to create the ultimate dining experience at sea. The onboard culinary experience will include renowned British chef James Martin helping passengers create their own culinary masterpieces at the Cookery Club, master patissier Eric Lanlard bringing his baking experience and a new champagne afternoon tea experience to the Market Cafe, and twice Michelin-starred chef Atul Kochhar creating his signature Indian dishes for the Sindhu restaurant. The youngest chef ever to win three Michelin stars, and godfather of British cooking, Marco Pierre White, will be designing menus for gala nights, and award-winning wine expert Olly Smith will also join the all-star members of the Food Heroes team who will be traveling regularly on Britannia.

AIDAprima — Official delivery date expected in October 2015:
AIDAprima will be the newest flagship for AIDA Cruises, accommodating 3,250 passengers at 124,500 gross tons. Launching in fall of 2015, the ship will be one of the most technologically advanced vessels in the world. A new air lubrication system will pump bubbles below the waterline, reducing friction and lowering fuel consumption by allowing the ship to ride on a cushion of air. Ship features include "The Beach Club" — a transparent dome providing a place for passengers to hang out by the pool — a water slide, rock climbing walls and the new AIDA Mini Club providing child care for kids 6 months and up.

By Professional Mariner Staff