Carnival brand Princess Cruises has signed an MOU with Fincantieri for two LNG-fueled cruise ships for delivery in 2023 and 2025.
The two newbuilds will be the first LNG dual-fuel ships in Princess' fleet, and LNG bunkering will allow them to comply with IMO's upcoming sulfur rules and regional ECA restrictions on health-related emissions. They will also be the biggest ships in Princess' fleet, and will be the 10th and 11th LNG dual-fuel vessels ordered by Carnival brands.
The two ships will each be 175,000 gt and will accommodate about 4,300 passengers. Specifications for the ships' design, features and amenities have not yet been released.
Guiseppe Bono, CEO of Fincantieri, described the project as a milestone in the market-leading cruiseship builder's development. "This builds upon the solid partnership between our country and Carnival Corporation - the largest foreign investor in Italy - while at the same time building upon our technological strength and increasing employment," he said.
The deal adds to Fincantieri's ever-growing list of contracts for some of the world's most sophisticated and costly vessels. While most commercial shipbuilders' orderbooks have contracted due to the 2015-16 market downturn in merchant shipping, cruise shipbuilders - including market leader Fincantieri - have seen a boom due to rapid growth in cruising. According to the latest figures, Fincantieri has 42 ships on order through 2027, and its subsidiary STX France (now Chantiers de l'Atlantique) has an additional 14. Each hull is worth hundreds of millions of dollars, and some exceptionally large vessels exceed a price of $1 billion.
Princess already has three other hulls on order at Fincantieri, with deliveries slated for 2019, 2020 and 2022.