Carnival Corp. Orders Excel from Meyer as First New Ship in Five Years

Carnival cruise ship construction
Meyer developed the LNG class for Carnival and delivered Carnival Jubilee in late 2023 (Meyer Werft)

Published Feb 13, 2024 2:39 PM by The Maritime Executive


Carnival Corporation and Meyer Werft have signed an agreement to build the 10th cruise ship on the corporation’s Excel platform for LNG-fueled cruise ships and will be the fourth assigned to Carnival Cruise Line. The order is significant as the first placed by the corporation in five years. It also breaks the drought in large cruise ship orders coming as the first post-pandemic order other than MSC Cruises which exercised pre-pandemic options for large cruise ships to be built in France.

"Building on our strong performance and growing momentum around the world, we are excited to resume our newbuild program and further enhance our global fleet with yet another state-of-the-art ship that will wow Carnival Cruise Line's guests," said Josh Weinstein, CEO of Carnival Corporation. "We are following through on our measured capacity growth strategy with the addition of one to two ships per year beginning in 2027, which will be allocated to our cruise lines that most need the capacity to satisfy outsized demand.”

The agreement is for a sister ship to the recently delivered Carnival Jubilee, which Meyer Werft completed for Carnival Cruise Line after the hull was originally ordered as a third member of the class for AIDA. The German shipyard launched the class in 2018 with the AIDAnova and built two ships each for AIDA and P&O as well as the Carnival Jubilee. The other ships were built by Meyer Turku in Finland.

Each of the ships is approximately 180,000 gross tons. At a length of 1,130 feet (344 meters), they accommodate more than 6,400 passengers and were the first dual-fuel cruise ships capable of operating full-time on LNG. The new ship to be built in Papenburg, Germany is due for delivery in the spring of 2027.

"This order is a clear sign that the cruise market has recovered and that there is great demand for sea voyages," said Thomas Weigend, Chief Sales Officer of the MEYER Group. The order comes at a key time for Meyer Weft which only has four other cruise ships on order, with three already under construction. The yard highlights the order will permit management to focus on the longer term as they have two large cruise ships now as well as one research vessel and steel construction for four offshore converter platforms in addition to work underway on Silver Ray, Disney Treasure, and Asuka III.

Carnival Corporation highlights that after the pending deliveries of Sun Princess and Queen Anne both launching in the coming weeks, the corporation only has the Star Princess due in 2026 on order. The corporation and its nine brands have no new ships scheduled for 2025. It had been rumored in recent weeks that Carnival Corporation and Fincantieri are also negotiating a large order for a new class of 200,000-plus gross ton cruise ships likely for Carnival Cruise Line and possibly Costa. 

The corporation is investing in Carnival Cruise Line, its contemporary market U.S. cruise line, with the brand surpassing its pre-pandemic levels. At the beginning of February, they completed the transfer of the Costa Firenze to Carnival Cruise Line which will relaunch the ship in April 2024 in an Italian sub-brand along with the Carnival Venezia which started the Carnival Fun Italian Style offering in 2023. The brand replaced six older Fantasy class ships sold during the pandemic with the three Excel class ships Mardi Gras, Carnival Celebration, and Carnival Jubilee, and also received a transfer of the Costa Luminosa. Carnival Cruise Line’s fleet now numbers 27 cruise ships as of this spring plus the future newbuild.