Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE/LSE: CCL; NYSE: CUK), the world’s largest leisure travel company, has announced that it has signed a memorandum of agreement with Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri S.p.A. to build a new cruise ship for the company’s iconic Cunard brand.
The new ship for Cunard will be built at Fincantieri’s shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy, with an expected delivery date in 2022. The as-yet-unnamed ship will join Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth as the fourth member of the Cunard fleet, marking the first time since 1998 that the luxury cruise brand will have four ships in simultaneous service.
The new cruise ship will be the 249th ship to fly the Cunard flag since the company’s founding in 1839. Cunard will announce additional details about the new ship starting in 2018.
With this new ship agreement, Carnival Corporation now has 18 new ships scheduled to be delivered to its portfolio of leading global cruise brands between 2018 and 2022.
“We are very pleased to announce a fourth ship for our immensely popular Cunard brand, which is also one of the most legendary brands in the entire vacation industry,” said Arnold Donald, CEO of Carnival Corporation. “Cunard offers a fleet of unrivaled vessels and one of the most unique travel experiences in the world, which together create an enchanting and memorable vacation for our guests. While today’s news helps drive Cunard’s overall strategic growth plans, we also look forward to launching this next-generation cruise ship to help meet increasing global demand and entice even more travelers to explore the Cunard experience.”
Donald added: “Fleet enhancement is an important part of our ongoing goal to exceed guest expectations. This includes replacing less efficient ships with more efficient vessels over time as part of our managed capacity growth.”
The new ship agreement to build a fourth ship for Cunard extends the brand’s recent strength and momentum in the marketplace, including attracting crowds of more than one million people to celebrate its 175th anniversary in 2015 and investing the equivalent of $172 million U.S. dollars in the past two years to refurbish the flagship Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria. With new destinations, event voyages, bar and dining experiences and brand partners, Cunard continues to evolve its guest experiences to consistently exceed expectations.
“With this agreement we once more link our company’s name with Cunard’s, a real icon of the cruise market, confirming us as shipbuilders able to combine tradition and innovation like no one else in the world,” said Giuseppe Bono, CEO of Fincantieri. “It is a lasting journey that, besides the construction of the two authentic queens like Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth, stresses the importance of our partnership with Carnival Corporation.”
Bono concluded: “In fact, we have built 63 ships for Carnival Corporation, representing today almost two-thirds of the company’s fleet, with other nine more ships to come in the coming years. A cooperation which can be defined as historical, based on relationships of mutual respect and trust.”
Carnival Corporation & plc is the world’s largest leisure travel company and among the most profitable and financially strong in the cruise and vacation industries, with a portfolio of 10 dynamic brands that include nine of the world’s leading cruise lines. With operations in North America, Europe, Australia and Asia, its portfolio features Carnival Cruise Line, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, Seabourn, AIDA Cruises, Costa Cruises, Cunard, P&O Cruises (Australia) and P&O Cruises (UK), as well as Fathom, the corporation’s immersion and enrichment experience brand.
Together, these brands operate 103 ships with 231,000 lower berths visiting over 700 ports around the world, with 18 new ships scheduled to be delivered between 2018 and 2022. Carnival Corporation & plc also operates Holland America Princess Alaska Tours, the leading tour company in Alaska and the Canadian Yukon. Traded on both the New York and London Stock Exchanges, Carnival Corporation & plc is the only dual listed company in the world to be included in both the S&P 500 and the FTSE 100 indices.
In 2017, Fast Company recognized Carnival Corporation as being among the “Top 10 Most Innovative Companies” in both the design and travel categories. Fast Company specifically recognized Carnival Corporation for its work in developing Ocean Medallion™, a high-tech wearable device that enables the world’s first interactive guest experience platform capable of transforming vacation travel into a highly personalized and elevated level of customized service.