Carnival has announced that they have ordered seven 180,000gt mega-ships from the German ship builder Meyer Werft: two for Costa, two for Carnival, two for AIDA and one for P&O to be delivered between 2019 and 2022.
So far we have seen the renderings of the ship in the Costa livery and a model of the P&O version. All versions are likely to be similar, but there are clearly some differences.
As per usual the renderings are not very clear in detail. If fact details can be deliberately withheld on early renderings. However I am not going to let a lack of facts stop me at least speculating about the ships design.
Firstly we can see that the design looks relatively conventional, with no split superstructure (like Oasis) and no unusual external features like ‘North Star’ (Anthem’s observation pod).
These ships will carry a maximum of 6,600 passengers, which is a world record. That’s up to 300 more passengers than Oasis, yet she will be 20% smaller. Therefore I don’t think we can expect Parks, Ice rinks, long Internal promenades or large indoor sports halls. These sort of features may well be too space-hungry. In addition the Costa, AIDA, P&O and to an extent Carnival brands tend to avoid such ‘gimmicks’. Their clientele do not expect them , although such big ships are likely to have extensive family/children’s facilities. They cannot ignore that sector of the market, if they want to fill their ships.
In fact the ships design looks rather like AIDA Prima, AIDA’s newbuild. Maybe some of AIDA’s design features will feature on-board the new megaships?
The new ships bow is quite distinctive and rather like the one featured on AIDAprima. In fact AIDAprima does not have the traditional bulbous-bow, as she uses the MALS system. Maybe these newbuilds will use the same system?
There are clearly no big LNG tanks on deck, like some LNG ships (see here), so the tanks have been integrated into the ships hull. However I believe they are not allowed to be low/deep within the hull like normal fuel tanks, for safety reasons. This may alter the ships engine room design/internal layout quite significantly.
I count 8 lifeboats per side (Oasis has seven per side). However given the higher passenger numbers, the lifeboats must be bigger. In fact I believe they are the new ‘Fassmer’(See here) ones carrying 414 passengers each, compared to the Oasis/Schat-Harding lifeboats at 370 passengers each.
The lifeboats appear to be served by their own promenade deck, to enable passengers to board the lifeboats. Such prom. decks are not great for giving passengers a sea views as the lifeboats often obscure much of them. However their appears to be a second promenade deck.
The stern features a low extended deck area, reminiscent of MSC’s ‘Seaside’ ships. There appears to be six cabanas against the railings. Seven decks rise from the stern offering prime real-estate: many aft facing balcony cabins. Maybe the row of windows below the stern deck could be a restaurant?
Looking at the Costa renderings: Leading from the aft deck area, are some steps to a raised promenade deck which runs along 80% of the side of the ship. This prom deck is above the lifeboats and obviously solely for public use and not for lifeboat boarding. It does not appear to wrap around the bow, unless it has an internal tunnel. The rendering is not specific, but this could feature some bars and restaurants like NCL’s ‘Waterfront’. (“A much wider, half-mile promenade deck allowing for al-fresco dining.” was recently reported by P&O)
The P&O model does NOT appear to show ‘steps’ on the prom, but seems to show a level, uninterrupted one level prom. P&O call it the ‘Lanai’ deck.
Costa: CostaThe upper superstructure (amidships) appears to have a glass skylight and a pool. Some structures run along side of ‘skylight’ and pool, on both the port and starboard sides, sloping down to the deck. Are these the tubes of a slide or maybe a track, for some sort of ride.
In front of the funnel appears to be two spirals which definitely look like slides/water chutes (flumes).
Costa: The central Skylight could suggest a central internal space like AIDA’s ‘Theatrium’ – a combined Atrium and performance space, with seating, rather than a conventional theatre at the bow. Carnival did mention the clever use of internal space with multi-function public rooms . (“An atrium with a glass wall the full height” has recently been reported by P&O)
I was not expecting a ‘tall’ atrium unless it had a duel role, as they are essentially a waste of space on such a busy ship.
Costa: Towards the front of the upper deck there is a cut-out which appears to be the location for a pool. The structure above it, looks like a sliding roof.
Costa: Behind the funnel there appears to be a glass-canopy, probably covering a pool and maybe forming a ‘Solarium’. That makes three pools on the upper deck. (It is now reported by P&O that there are three outside pools and one inside).
It has since been reported by P&O : “The dome at the top of the new ship will be an entertainment space, with a pool and retractable stage, water feature and whirlpools, that can act as an all-weather venue for entertainment and dining during the day”. The Costa renderings do NOT show a Dome. It appears that the P&O’s Dome replaces a water-chute/flume on the Costa ship. This would seem to shrink the space available on the P&O sun deck.
Costa: There appears to be a giant outdoor video screen at the very stern (image below), with tiered seating facing it. There appears to be a ‘scenic’ (Princess ‘Skywalkers’ type) walkway above the screen. I’m not sure if a fourth pool is hidden down there in the space.
Costa: Amidships, but nearer the hull, there are three lines of windows on a curved section of the hull. This may be part of a possible ‘Theatrium’ a lounge or a dining room?
Internal Décor: I wonder if the now elderly, Mr. Joe farkus, will be creating more mind blowing interior décor as he has done for Carnival and Costa? P&O will obviously have a more conservative approach to her décor.
One main dining room and one main theatre each holding half the ships compliment of passengers at two sittings, with two matching show-times, is the most efficient use of space (apart from when they are empty). However it is not very flexible.
Carnival ships have often had this traditional feature. However I would expect multiple dining rooms – like NCL’s Freestyle/RCI Dynamic Dining. This may be Carnivals first real shot at a ‘flexible dining’ system like NCL’s ‘Freestyle’ or RCI’s ‘Dynamic Dining’. Although RCI have struggled to make their new system work well, so scapped it.
Four entertainment spaces have sine been reported by P&O, the Dome being one. A Theatrium could be a second, a conventional theatre could be a third, the screen with seating, at the stern, could be the fourth.
P&O have reported that there will be:
• 17 places to eat to suit all appetites and occasions
• Seven speciality restaurants
• 12 places to enjoy a drink and take in sea views
• 16 whirlpools
• Four swimming pools (three outside and one inside)
• 13 entertainment venues from the theatre to venues for adults only, including three pop-up entertainment spaces
• Nine places to have breakfast
• Five places to take afternoon tea
• Seven places to enjoy fresh coffee
In conclusion, the above text is a mixture of observation and guess work.
I do wonder if this new ship design will be a little more like existing AIDA ships in design, than existing Costa, Carnival or P&O ones.
Interestingly I understand AIDA (aimed at the German market) are more relaxed in style, with a younger, more active demographic whose passengers favour buffet food. The entertainment is not the big Broadway type productions. Whereas Costa (Italian) are more traditional in style, with more formal dining and more lavish production shows.
It’s hard to imagine that one design of ship can entirely satisfies all camps.
I don’t think these ships will be very exciting, in terms of innovative spaces; Carnival tend to ‘play it safe’. They will probably be pretty conventional mass-market ships with thousands of cabins and many bars, dining rooms and shops. I believe that will be designed for maximum income generation and not spaciousness or unique facilities. Carnival have always focused on functionality and profit and leaves the innovation to the likes of RCI and NCL.
The most exciting aspects about these ships design will probably be their ‘scale’ and the LNG propulsion. However, the propulsion of course will have little impact on the passenger experience. (Apart from a soot free deck?)
Even with a half-mile promenade deck, given the passenger numbers, the pool deck is likely to be very crowded at anytime the sun shines.
I’m not suggesting that they will be bad ships. I just don’t think they will have room for generously sized public spaces or too much design-innovation. However the aspects of the design to manage the high passenger numbers, could be classed as an innovation in itself.
However the passenger density and ‘economies of scale’ offered by this ship design should enable Carnival to sell the cabins at very competitive rates.
Of course aspects of my speculation are likely to completely wrong. All comments welcome.
So what is an LNG powered Ship? See Here
Is LNG safe? See Here