Miami-based Carnival Corp
. said on Wednesday it plans to build a new $500 million, 110,000-ton ship in Italy for its cruise lines unit.
A Carnival spokesperson said the company has signed a letter of intent with Italian shipyard Fincantieri Cantieri Navali Italiani
S.p.A. for the construction of the new 2,974-passenger vessel.
It said it will be a longer and larger version of Carnival's highly successful "Destiny-class" series, and is due to due to enter service in 2004.
Company officials added that two other "Destiny-class" ships being built at Fincantieri are being "stretched" by some 60 ft. (18.2 m) to a total of 952 ft. (290 m) - matching the size of the new vessel. The two vessels - Carnival Conquest and Carnival Glory - are set to debut in 2002 and 2003, respectively.
Another "Destiny-class" ship, Carnival Victory, is nearing completion at Fincantieri, and its design will remain unchanged. That vessel is expected to enter service this