4x 180,000gt: Carnival Is Back In the ‘Big Ship’ Game


When ‘Carnival Destiny’ entered service in  1996, she was the first cruise ship to be built over 100,000 gross tonnes.   In 1998  ‘Grand Princess’ (‘Princess Cruises’ brand) at 109,000gt was the largest cruise ship afloat.  Again in 2004, the ‘Queen Mary 2’ (‘Cunard’ brand) at 148,000gt  was the world’s biggest cruise ship.

Since 2004 Carnival have dropped out of the “my ships bigger than yours” game, blaming the unfavourable US Dollar to Euro exchange rate.  Since 2004, NCL, RCI and others have built increasingly bigger vessels. However  Carnival are back in the game with plans to build the world’s second largest class of ships*, only eclipsed by RCI’s ‘Oasis’ class. (*Based on the gross tonnage, the sandard measurement to compare ship sizes.)

However if your criteria to compare ship size is ‘passenger capacity’, these newbuilds can  legitimately be called the ‘worlds biggest’ ships.


Carnival Destiny (Image courtesy of Carnival)

News – 15 June 2015

180,000gt (Images courtesy of Costa. Click to enlarge)

180,000gt (Images courtesy of Costa. Click to enlarge)

Carnival Corporation today announced it has finalized a multi-billion dollar contract to build four next-generation cruise ships with the largest guest capacity in the industry.

The contract with Meyer Werft is part of larger previously announced strategic memo of understanding with shipbuilders Meyer Werft and Fincantieri for nine new ship orders between 2019 and 2022.

The four new ships will also feature a new “green cruising” design. The ships will be the first in the cruise industry to be powered at sea by Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG).

The company said two of the ships will be manufactured for AIDA Cruises at Meyer Werft’s shipyard in Papenburg, Germany. Additional information about the ships, including which new ships will be added to each brand, will be made available at a later date.

Based on Carnival Corporation’s innovative new ship design, each of the four next-generation ships will have a total capacity of 6,600 guests, feature more than 5,000 lower berths, exceed 180,000 gross tons and incorporate an extensive number of guest-friendly features. A major part of the innovative design involves making much more efficient use of the ship’s spaces, creating an enhanced on-board experience for guests, said Carnival.

The four new ships will be the first in the cruise industry to use LNG in dual-powered hybrid engines to power the ship both in port and on the open sea. LNG will be stored on-board and used to generate 100 percent power at sea.

Using LNG to power the ships in port and at sea will eliminate emissions of soot particles and sulphur oxides.

In addition to the two ships being built in Germany, Meyer Werft – which had the capacity to accommodate these four ship-building orders in its production schedule — will also build the two additional ships detailed in today’s announcement at its shipyard in Turku, Finland.

Carnival Corporation CEO Arnold Donald said: “We are looking forward to executing on the next step in our fleet enhancement plan,” said Donald. “At a cost per berth in line with our existing order book, these new ships will enhance the return profile of our fleet. 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 chairman of the board of directors for Carnival Corporation & plc and Thamm is CEO of the Costa Group, which includes AIDA Cruises and Costa Cruises.

“These ships will expand our leadership position for the Costa Group, the market leader in all the major European markets,” said Thamm. “These will be spectacular ships designed specifically for our guests who sail on our Costa Group brands.”


Malcolm Says: This is very exciting news. The press release is a bit ambiguous, but it looks like AIDA and Costa will get two of these big ships each.

So, these will be the second biggest class of ships, just 45,000 gt smaller than the ‘Oasis’ class, yet with a bigger passenger capacity of  6,600 compared to Oasis’s 6,296, all berths. (Space ratio, Oasis = 35, Carnival Newbuild = 27). Even though Carnival say they will be “making much more efficient use of the ship’s spaces” I would still expect this to make the Carnival newbuilds feel more crowded than Oasis.

I bet that these new ship shave some sort of ‘flexible’ dining, with multiple dining rooms, like RCI have now adopted, in line with NCL

Carnival tend to retain their ship designs for many years, just making slight modifications over time. Therefore I would not be surprised if we don’t see P&O and/or Cunard and Princess, getting one of these new ships, sooner or later.

Liquefied Natural Gas: Using LNG to power ships is not a completely new idea.  However to date, LNG use has been restricted to smaller vessels operating rather short runs. This is due to the large size of fuel tanks required and the few bunkering facilities available. However it is a new idea for cruise ships and certainly a megaship design. 

The most attractive aspect of LNG to the cruise line is cost.  Under the right operating conditions LNG can reduce fuel costs.

Here is an interesting example: VIKING GRACE is a European passenger ferry (2013, 57,000gt, STX, Finland) powered by LNG. Large tanks for the gas are located on deck, to save space in the hull (See image below). Will the Carnival newbuilds mimic this feature, somehow?

Viking Grace, LNG Ferry

Viking Grace, LNG Ferry

More information about LNG: HERE


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3 Responses to “4x 180,000gt: Carnival Is Back In the ‘Big Ship’ Game”

  1. Edwin Todd Says:

    Not for us thanks!

  2. Jo Walker Says:

    I reckon one will be a Carnival ship, made for the Med, and then there will be a P&O/Cunard ship.

  3. philsuarez Says:

    Whilst I love a large ship the thought of 6000 plus passengers on a ship smaller than Oasis class fills me with dread. I love the Celebrity Solstice Class which present mega ship dimensions but with only 2800 passengers. Of course the new design looks like it may free up greater internal space so that could be the deal breaker. Interesting times ahead.

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