Carnival Corp. Orders Second Large Cruise Ship from Meyer in a Month

Carnival cruise ship construction
Meyer received a second order from Carnival in 2024 to build two sister ships to the Carnival Jubilee delivered in 2023 (Meyer Werft)

Published Mar 26, 2024 12:47 PM by The Maritime Executive


In another example of the full resurgence in the cruise industry, Carnival Corporation placed an order with Meyer Werft in Germany for another large cruise ship as it works to rebuild capacity after the pandemic. In mid-February, Carnival Corporation announced the first newbuild order placed by the corporation in five years and the industry’s first large post-pandemic order which is now being followed by a sister ship.

The new ship will be the fifth for Carnival Cruise Line on the Excel platform first introduced in 2018 with the AIDAnova as the first cruise ship to operate fully on LNG-fueled propulsion. The corporation has used the platform for its Aida, Costa, and P&O brands as well as Carnival Cruise Line. The new ship with be the 11th cruise ship built on the platform between Meyer’s yards in Germany and Finland.

"Carnival Cruise Line continues to perform at an outstanding level, and we are focused on adding capacity across the company where it aligns with demand and our position in the marketplace," said Josh Weinstein, CEO of Carnival Corporation & plc. “This measured capacity growth strategy will result in our adding one to two ships per year beginning in 2027, and we will be identifying additional fleet plans over the coming months for our cruise lines to meet capacity demand and improve execution across all aspects of our operation, with the benefit of yielding higher return on invested capital."

The latest order will be built in Papenburg, Germany where the Carnival Jubilee was built and delivered in late 2023. The previous order placed last month will also be built in Germany while Carnival’s first two ships of the class, Mardi Gras (2021) and Carnival Celebration (2022) were built in Turku, Finland. Each of the ships is approximately 182,000 gross tons and is designed to carry over 6,400 passengers and 1,800 crew.


The second Carnival ship of the class Celebration was introduced in 2022 marking the line's 50th anniversary (Carnival Cruise Line)


During the pandemic, Carnival Corporation accelerated the disposal of older ships from all its major brands. The corporation continued its existing newbuild orders but before these latest orders was down to just three ships being built with two due for delivery in 2024 and one in 2026. The corporation also realigned capacity within its brands transferring three ships from Costa to Carnival Cruise Line.

"Carnival's Excel-class fleet will soon be a quintet of these very popular ships that provide outstanding guest amenities and tremendous operating efficiencies," said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. "With the arrival of Carnival Firenze in April, we are completing the addition of five ships to our fleet in less than 20 months, and then we will pivot to another phase of growth with these two Excel ships."

The brand took delivery of the former Costa Firenze from its sister brand at the beginning of February which is being converted into the Carnival Firenze for the Carnival Fun Italian Style sub-brand offering. It was launched last year with the sister ship Carnival Venezia (formerly Costa Venezia). The second ship just completed its overhaul and departed Span for a delivery run to California where it will enter service in April. In a usual move, the ship is making the voyage around South America due to the current transit restrictions at the Panama Canal.

When the Carnival Firenze starts commercial service next month it will be the 27th cruise ship operating for Carnival Cruise Line. The new constructions are scheduled for delivery in 2027 and 2028. 

Meyer is also highlighting the significance of the order extending its relationship with Carnival Corp. and giving the German shipyard work for the next four years. The actual order is still contingent on financing, but with it Meyer Werft's orderbook includes six cruise ships, one research vessel, and steel construction for four offshore converter platforms. The Silver Ray for Royal Caribbean Group's Silversea cruises will be delivered this summer and the Disney Treasure for Disney Cruise Line is scheduled for delivery later in 2024. The keel was laid last week in Germany for the Disney Destiny which was the shipyard's last pre-pandemic order. Work is also underway on Asuka III for NYK.