Carnival Corp. unveiled more information about some of its previously announced new ships on order Monday — including one giant detail: Four of those ships will hold more guests than any other vessel in the world.
The world’s largest cruise ship company said it had finalized a “multi-billion dollar” with German ship builder Meyer Werft for four new ships that will accommodate 6,600 travelers when all available berths are filled.
That's a few hundred more than Royal Caribbean International's Oasis and Allure of the Seas, which can hold a maximum of 6,318 passengers. The total capacity of the slightly larger Harmony of the Seas has not yet been announced.
At double occupancy, which is a more traditional measure of capacity, the Carnival-owned vessels will hold more than 5,000. Harmony of the Seas, by comparison, will accommodate 5,479.
Carnival's new ships won’t be the largest by size, however. The vessels will “exceed 180,000 gross tons,” the company said in a news release. By comparison, Oasis-class ships encompass more than 225,000 gross registered tons.
Carnival Corp. chairman Micky Arison, who has been involved with the design process, said in a statement that the space ratio on the new vessels is the same as most of the ships in the AIDA and Carnival Cruise Line fleets.
“Normally we wouldn't discuss total capacity but because it was largest in the world, we did,” he said in the statement. “The cabins will be same or larger than existing ships and public space per lower berth is more than ample.”
Two of the new megaships will join the fleet of AIDA Cruises, which serves the German market, in 2019 and 2020. The other two will go to either AIDA or Costa Cruises, the Italian line.
When Doral-based Carnival Corp. first announced it planned to order nine new ships for delivery between 2019 and 2022 in March, executives said the vessels would be the most efficient ever for the company. To that end, Monday’s announcement said the design of the new vessels would involve “making much more efficient use of the ship’s spaces.”
Carnival also announced that the ships will be powered at sea by liquefied natural gas, or LNG, a more environmentally friendly option than the cheaper, dirtier fuel that is used today. The company said its new vessels will be the first cruise ships to sail under LNG power and will exceed clean-air requirements.
The engines needed to be developed with LNG power in mind, a spokesman said, and the ships have to be able to store the gas on board. Cruise fares are not expected to be affected by the cost of the fuel.
“It will be exciting to see our shipbuilding team bring these new ships to life,” Carnival Corp. CEO Arnold Donald said in a statement. “Every step of the way, our focus is on designing state-of-the-art ships that provide a vacation experience our guests will love, and we are putting all of our creative energy and resources into making sure we achieve that goal.”