Fincantieri Receives Order for New Luxury Cruise Ship
In a new sign of renewed confidence in the cruise ship sector, Fincantieri received a new cruise ship order which the Italian shipbuilder is valuing at approximately euro 1.2 billion ($1.2 billion). In addition to being one of only a small number of cruise ship orders placed since 2019, speculation is focusing on a new entrant into the cruise industry.
Fincantieri reported in a brief announcement today that it has signed a new contract with an “international customer,” without providing additional details on the company placing the order. The shipyard announced the order was for “a new ultra-luxury cruise ship.” The vessel is due for delivery at the end of 2025 and the shipyard highlighted that the contract also includes options for two additional vessels. Finalizing the contract is subject to access to financing, which is typically how orders are placed in the industry.
The price of the new cruise ship is also seen as a clue to the order. At $1.2 billion it is significantly higher than the recent order from MSC for two luxury cruise ships for their new Explora brand. It is also higher than the price Virgin Voyages is believed to be paying for each of its four cruise ships being built by Fincantieri.
With the identity of the shipowner not revealed speculation is focusing on possibly one of the hotel brands ordering the ships as their entry into luxury cruising. Ritz Carlton, for example, agreed to use its brand to launch yacht-style luxury cruise ships and after numerous delays is finally due to start sailing in the coming weeks with the first of two cruise ships being built in Spain. The group working with Ritz to launch the cruise line also recently ordered two additional cruise ships from Chantiers de l’Atlantique.
Since 2019, there have only been a few new cruise ships ordered with the focus being on smaller, luxury vessels. Japan’s NYK made the first new order with Meyer Werft for a single, smaller ship for its Japanese cruise operations. Beyond MSC’s two additional ships for its Explora brand and Ritz Carlton’s ships, there has been speculation of possible activity but so far, the large brands with their brands focused on the contemporary market segment are instead proceeding only with their existing orders.
Fincantieri has been ramping up its cruise ship construction activity after agreeing in 2020 to reschedule deliveries for many of the brands. The Italian shipbuilder before today’s announcement had 30 cruise ships on order after delivering one cruise ship in the first three months of 2022. They also recently delivered a cruise ship to Viking while two other Viking newbuilds have been floated out so far in 2022. They also recently floated the first of two new luxury cruise ships for Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings’ Oceania brand and a few weeks ago began construction on the first LNG-powered cruise ships for the company being built for Germany’s TUI Cruises.
Currently, they are scheduled to deliver a total of seven cruise ships in all 2022, and then six per year for the next three years. The cruise ship orderbook begins to decline with currently four ships scheduled for delivery in 2026 and only two beyond those deliveries.
In the spring there were rumored talks between Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings and Fincantieri for large new cruise ships and there is also speculation that Royal Caribbean is planning new orders as work has now begun on its current large cruise ships on order. MSC is preparing for the launch of its new larger cruise ships while Carnival Corporation has taken a more measured approach with fewer large cruise ships currently on order, especially for its largest brands in the contemporary market segments.