Fincantieri Continues Cruise Ship Growth as Viking Signs Two Orders

cruise ship
Viking has eight more cruise ships on order with Fincantieri and two additional options (Fincantieri)

Published Jun 21, 2024 8:55 PM by The Maritime Executive


Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri is highlighting the “full recovery and strong momentum” in the cruise ship sector as it completed the contract signing with Viking Cruises for the cruise line’s 17 and 18 ships in a building program started 12 years ago. The shipbuilder continues to grow its backlog with it also citing the earlier multi-billion-dollar order signed with Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings in March 2024.

Viking had indicated to investors last month that it would be exercising two options at the Italian shipyard as it continues to expand its ocean cruise segment. The company introduced its first cruise ship, Viking Star (47,800 gross tons) in 2015 and built a total of 10 ships of the class. One of the ships was later sold to China Merchants for a joint venture.

The second generation of vessel began construction with the first ship Viking Vela (54,300 gross tons) floated in November 2023 and is scheduled to enter service late in 2024. Viking explains that it was required to increase the size of the vessels to meet new stability regulations with the length of the ships being increased from 745 feet overall (227 meters) to 784 feet overall (239 meters). The beam is increased from 94 feet (29 meters) to 101 feet (31 meters) and as a result, passenger capacity grows from 930 to 998.

The next ship of the larger series, Viking Vesta is scheduled to enter service in 2025. Viking previously ordered four additional cruise ships of the same design and has now signed the construction contract for yet two more which Fincantieri says will be delivered in 2028 and 2029. Fincantieri did not report the size of the order for the two ships but indicated the contract falls in a category between €500 and €1 billion. The cruise line has two more options for ships to be delivered in 2030.


Regent released a rendering and named its next Fincantieri newbuild Seven Seas Prestige (RSSC)


At the same time, the first details were also released on the new Regent Seven Seas Cruises ship, Seven Seas Prestige. Norwegian reported in April it would be building two ships with Fincantieri for its ultra-luxury brand due for delivery in 2026 and 2029. It is a new class following a decade after a previous class of three ships also built by Fincantieri that were introduced in 2016, 2020, and 2023. The previous class was 55,500 gross tons with accommodations for 744 passengers while the new ships will be 77,000 gross tons with accommodations for 850 passengers. Regent said the ship will feature new categories of suites as well as new dining options. Renderings also show a promenade deck lower to the sea, a design concept developed by Fincantieri.

Norwegian also ordered two cruise ships for Oceania Cruises which will be 86,000-gross-ton ships, each with a capacity of 1,450 passengers scheduled for delivery from Fincantieri in 2027 and 2029. They also reserved building slots with Fincantieri for four large 200,000 gross ton ships for Norwegian Cruise Line. Details on these classes will be announced in the future.


Explora II completed sea trials but delivered delivery for additional outfitting (Explora Journeys)


It was however also reported this week that the second luxury ship for MSC’s Explora Journeys brand will be delayed. Building at Fincantieri’s shipyard in Sestri Ponente near Genoa, Italy, the Explora II (63,900 gross tons) cruise ship recently completed sea trials ahead of its scheduled August 11 maiden voyage. Now Explora Journeys is saying that the vessel will require additional time to complete the final finishes and ensure the vessel meets the brand's standards. 

The line canceled five cruises reporting it is now scheduled to take delivery on September 12 and Explora II will sail on its maiden voyage on September 16. Explora plans four additional cruise ships, with III due in 2026 and IV in 2027. These ships will be larger and equipped to use LNG and then V is due in 2027 and VI in 2028. The last two ships will pursue the use of liquid hydrogen with fuel cells for their hotel operations while docked in ports to eliminate carbon emissions with the vessels’ engines switched off. The ships will also feature a new generation of LNG engines that will further tackle the issue of methane slip with the use of containment systems.

As of the end of 2023, Fincantieri reported a backlog for its orderbook of 23 cruise ships due for delivery between 2024 and 2028. It is approximately a quarter of the total orderbook of 85 vessels for the group. It had €23.8 billion in firm orders and an additional €11.7 billion earmarked as soft backlog projects still requiring financing.