The first next generation mega cruise ship for a British line was ordered today for P&O Cruises. US parent company Carnival Corp. signed an agreement for a 5,200-passenger ship.
The new cruise vessel for P&O will be built by Meyer Werft at its Papenburg shipyard in Germany, with a delivery date in 2020. The ship will be powered by LNG (liquefied natural gas), an energy source that is claimed to be more environmentally friendly compared to traditional diesel fuel through reduced exhaust emissions.
A couple of similar 180,000 GT ships will be delivered to Carnival Cruise Line in 2020 and 2022.
The still unnamed new PO Cruises ship will carry more passengers than current 3,637-guest flagship Britannia, launched in 2015 by HM the Queen.
At 180,000 GT, the new P&O ship will not be as big as 227,000 GT Harmony of the Seas, currently the largest cruise ship in the world, operated by Royal Caribbean and capable of carrying up to 6,780 passengers.
Paul Ludlow, P&O Cruises senior vice president, said:
“These are very exciting times.
“The number of British passengers taking a cruise in the past five years has significantly increased, boosted most recently by our very successful launch of Britannia last year.
“We know there is still huge potential as more and more people realise the value for money, choice and range of dining and entertainment options available on ships of all sizes.
“With an amazing range of itineraries, from two days to three months, there is a cruise to suit every budget.
“P&O Cruises is uniquely experienced in designing ships to meet the specific needs and aspirations of British passengers and the agreement by Carnival Corporation & plc to build a new ship of this size reflects all that our guests and prospective cruisers have been telling us and shows our confidence in the growth of the UK market.
“This ship will be the largest in the P&O Cruises fleet, will have a striking new exterior and interior design and will comprehensively embrace the company’s classic and iconic features. Innovative new guest experiences will be announced soon.”
In conjunction with the ship order, the delivery dates for AIDA and Costa Cruises'new builds for 2020 will shift to 2021 in order to allow the company to effectively allocate measured capacity growth across its ten global cruise brands in more markets throughout the world.
Arnold Donald, chief executive, said:
"We are proud to be at the forefront of introducing LNG-powered ships to the cruise industry, working with our partners to achieve shipbuilding breakthroughs like this that will help us produce the most efficient and sustainable ships we have ever built.
"This is also an important step in our fleet enhancement plan that enables us to execute on our long-term strategy of measured capacity growth over time, while delivering innovative new ships that further elevate our already great guest experience.
“Every time we launch a new ship, we have a new opportunity to create excitement and show consumers why cruising is a great vacation at an exceptional value, especially for those who typically consider land-based vacations."
Bernard Meyer, managing partner of Meyer Werft, said:
"We are excited to welcome P&O Cruises back to Meyer Werft in Germany and Carnival Cruise Line back to Meyer Turku in Finland.
“These new ships will be built in our most modern and environmentally friendly facilities, and we are very proud to design, build and deliver these ships that provide breakthroughs in innovation and for the environment."