Carnival Corporation & plc has assigned the newbuild slot for the previously announced 116,000-ton cruise ship to U.K.-based P&O Cruises. To be built by Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri, the vessel is scheduled to enter service in spring 2008.
The new 3,100-passenger vessel will become the largest cruise ship specifically built for British cruise service and continues Carnival’s ongoing European expansion strategy. An itinerary for this vessel has not been announced.
The new P&O Cruises ship was part of a five-ship agreement with Fincantieri announced in September 2004 that also included the new 110,000-ton Carnival Freedom for Carnival Cruise Lines, the 116,000-ton Emerald Princess for Princess Cruises, a 110,000-ton ship that still must be assigned to a particular Carnival brand, and a significant redesign of Cunard Line’s previously ordered Queen Victoria.
“The agreement with Fincantieri presented a unique opportunity to contract for a package of five ships at a very attractive price. At the time we signed the contract, we had not made a decision as to which brands would be designated for two of the ships. Given P&O Cruises’ strong performance and the excellent demand for cruising
in the UK market, the decision was made to designate one of the ships for P&O Cruises,” said Micky Arison, Carnival Corporation & plc’s chairman and CEO.
He said that the company will make a decision on which brand will receive the second vessel by the end of the month.
The new P&O Cruises ship, to be named Ventura, will feature eight restaurants, five pools and three show lounges, including the largest theater on a British cruise ship. In addition to one of the largest spas afloat, the ship will include a “family zone” featuring children’s play areas, a “family bistro” and two pools dedicated to families and children. Of the ship’s 1,550 cabins, nearly 60 percent will offer private balconies.
Commenting on the announcement, David Dingle, managing director of P&O Cruises, said, “This new order acknowledges the unprecedented demand for the P&O Cruises brand and its increasingly wide appeal. Over the last 10 years, P&O Cruises uniquely has introduced a progression of new ships purpose-built for Britain, which have created record levels of demand. Ventura, through her innovation, scale and contemporary appeal, marks the next major step forward for Britain’s leading cruise line, maintaining P&O Cruises’ position at the forefront of our industry.”
Carnival Corporation & plc is the largest cruise vacation group in the world, with a portfolio of 12 cruise brands in North America, Europe and Australia, comprised of Carnival Cruise Lines, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, Seabourn Cruise Line, Windstar Cruises, AIDA Cruises, Costa Cruises, Cunard Line, Ocean Village, P&O Cruises, Swan Hellenic, and P&O Cruises Australia.
Together, these brands operate 79 ships totaling more than 137,000 lower berths with 12 new ships scheduled for delivery between January 2006 and April 2009. Carnival Corporation & plc also operates the leading tour companies in Alaska and the Canadian Yukon, Holland America Tours and Princess Tours. Traded on both the New York and London Stock Exchanges, Carnival Corporation & plc is the only group in the world to be included in both the S&P 500 and the FTSE 100 indices.