I did a post in early December commenting on the rumours that there was to be a new ship for P&O, and I suggested that while this wasn’t impossible, it wouldn’t happen before 2019. Since then Carnival Corporation have released some further details about the orders they made with Fincantieri in March this year (2015). That order – well, I think it’s actually termed a “strategic partnership” – was for five ships, but frustratingly, no details of the ships or the lines that would take them was given. However in the last 24 hours Carnival Corp has given more details of four of the ships. Here’s the summary:-
- two of the ships will be for Costa Asia, for permanent deployment to China. They’re described as being of 135,500 tons each;
- another Royal Princess class ship for Princess;
- and fourthly, a new build for P&O Australia. That one will also be of 135,500 tons.
Other than the one for Princess, there are no details of the new ships. However, the tonnage of the other three – 135,500 – is very close to the tonnage of the two Carnival Vista class ships currently building, and due for completion in 2016 and 2018. They’re listed as having a tonnage of 133,500, a little less. It’s not unusual for later ships of the same class to have a higher tonnage – in the Royal Princess class, for example, the first two ships (Royal and Regal Princesses) are listed with a tonnage of 141,000 but the next two (Britannia and Majestic Princess) are both listed as having a tonnage of about 143,000 tons. So I expect that the two Costa Asia ships, plus the P&O Australia ship, will be developed Carnival Vista class ships. As for the new Princess ship, the press release says her tonnage will be 143,700, which is exactly the same figure as for Britannia.
In that earlier post I also gazed into my crystal ball to see if I could forecast the nature of the five ships to come from Fincantieri. Well, I got some of it right: I though there might be two more Royal Princess class ships (actually announced: one), and one more Carnival Vista class ship (actually announced: two, I think), but then I wandered off into ‘Pinnacle’ class (the new HAL ship, Koningsdam, is the lead ship in that class), and there’s nothing like that class mentioned. So I’ll give myself a bare 40%; could do better.
Of course, the eagle-eyed amongst you will have noticed that in the earlier post I was talking about five ships from Fincantieri while the current press release only gives details of four (and pushes out the final delivery date to 2020 instead of 2019). Is there still a fifth ship planned, and if so could it go to P&O UK? Well, perhaps, although I think the UK cruise market needs to start increasing again before Carnival Corp will invest more in the UK. I have a feeling that it has been a bit of a disappointment to them recently: in the last couple of years the German market has overtaken it and it’s interesting that the market in China has been given to Princess and Costa. But if the UK cruise market figure for 2015 finally shows a significant increase above the 1.7m passengers where it’s been stuck for several years, then perhaps Carnival Corp will reward Carnival UK with the last of the Fincantieri Five.
Finally, congratulations must go to P&O Australia for being able to persuade Carnival Corp to make the investment in a big new build ship for their market. Here’s a link to their press release about it.