Carnival Corporation & plc, the US-UK cruise shipping group, said its Chinese joint venture with China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC) would acquire two ships from Costa Crociere, a fully owned unit of the Carnival group.
“The first of these ships, the 85,861-ton, 2,210-passenger Costa Atlantica, is scheduled to be transferred to the new Chinese cruise line by the end of 2019. Costa Atlantica’s sister ship, the 2,114-passenger Costa Mediterranea, will be transferred at a date still to be announced,” Carnival said in a statement. Both ships were built early in this millennium in Finland.
Earlier, Fincantieri had said the Chinese joint venture company that would be known as CSSC Carnival Cruise Shipping Limited had signed firm orders with CSSC to build two ships.
The contracts that seal the agreements announced in February 2017 concerning the construction of two cruise ships for CSSC Carnival Cruise Shipping Limited, which will be the first units of this kind ever built in China for the Chinese market, have been signed, Fincantieri said in a statement.
The design of the ships will be tailored for the specific tastes of the Chinese travelers and for CSSC Carnival Cruise Shipping Limited, the new Chinese cruise brand of the joint venture between Carnival Corporation & plc and CSSC, which will also operate the units. The first delivery is expected in 2023.
“The project, which has a total value of about $1.5 billion, not counting the options for additional four vessels, will be achieved by Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding Co., Ltd (SWS), a subsidiary of China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC),” Fincantieri added.
The joint venture set up by Fincantieri and CSSC Cruise Technology Development Co. Ltd (CCTD) will grant a technology license of the ship model platform and provide a series of technical services to SWS, including project management activities, supply chain management and sales of fundamental systems and components of the ship.
A memorandum of understanding to build the ships was signed on 22 February 2017 and it replaced a similar document from the previous year. The project was first launched in the autumn 2015, when the Chinese president XI Jinping visited the UK, which is the domicile of Carnival plc.
Following more than four years of planning and 23 months of construction at the skilled hands of thousands of engineers, architects, artisans, designers, contractors, shipyard employees, and the newbuild and Celebrity Cruises teams, on October 31 the brand officially took delivery of Celebrity Edge.
As part of the monumental moment, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.’s Chairman and CEO Richard D. Fain and Celebrity’s President and CEO Lisa Lutoff-Perlo hosted a ceremony aboard Celebrity Edge, while docked in the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France. The Celebrity Executive Team were also in attendance along with shipyard officials, including General Manager Laurent Castaing, and 1,377 crew members from 72 different countries.
“The Celebrity team has done an outstanding job and I cannot thank the Chantiers de l’Atlantique team enough for delivering this game-changing ship and for their ongoing partnership,” said Fain. “Their work continues to transform the way our guests experience the world.”
“Today is a very special day for all of us as we have been eagerly anticipating this moment for more than four years,” said Lutoff-Perlo. “There are so many aspects of Celebrity Edge that are more groundbreaking than we could have ever imagined, and it is all a testament to the hard work, creativity and talent of everyone who helped bring this magnificent ship to life.”
“Thanks to the confidence Celebrity Cruises granted us and to the exceptional level of cooperation between our respective teams, we are proud to have designed and built one of the most innovative cruise ships ever,” added Castaing. “This achievement demonstrates once again our capacity to deliver right on time ships of the highest quality to our most demanding customers.”
Following the Celebrity Edge check-signing and delivery ceremony, attendees made their way across the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard for the ceremonial keel laying of Celebrity Apex, where a 762-ton block was lifted in the air and a lucky coin was placed on the dock before the block was lowered into position.
On November 6, 2018, Celebrity Edge will begin her transatlantic voyage to her home port at T25 at Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Her inaugural season will be spent sailing alternating 7-night eastern and western Caribbean cruise itineraries, with her Maiden Western Caribbean voyage departing on December 9, 2018, and her Maiden Eastern Caribbean voyage departing on December 16, 2018. Then, in spring of 2019, Celebrity Edge crosses the Atlantic again to offer guests stunning vistas of the Mediterranean with a range of 7- to 11-night sailings visiting iconic cities, including Barcelona and Rome.
Bookings for Celebrity Edge are now open at www.celebritycruises.com/edge or through a travel agent. Celebrity Edge will be joined by her sister ship, Celebrity Apex, in 2020, and two additional ships in the Edge Series will follow in 2021 and 2022.
Fincantieri and global travel brand Virgin Voyages, have signed a contract valued at approximately 700 million euros for the construction of a fourth cruise ship, which will be delivered at the end of 2023.
The new vessel will be a sister ship of the three ships on order with Fincantieri. Construction is underway at the Sestri Ponente shipyard (Genoa) and the first three ships will enter Virgin Voyage’s fleet respectively in 2020, 2021 and 2022.
The fourth vessel will be approximately 110,000 gross tons, 278 meters long and 38 meters wide. The ship will feature over 1,400 guest cabins designed to host more than 2,770 passengers, accompanied by 1,100 crew members on board to deliver the famed Virgin service.
The Virgin Voyages fleet will stand out for original design and craftsmanship. Highlights include highly innovative design solutions, specifically to address energy recovery and the reduction of the overall environmental impact. For example, ships will be equipped with an energy production system of approximately 1 MW, which uses the diesel engine’s waste heat. The result is a system that distinguishes Virgin Voyages as they aim to create one of the cleanest fleets at sea.
Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd (RCCL), the world’s second largest cruise shipping group, is expecting 2019 to become even better for the company than this year, which should be record breaking in terms of financial performance.
"While 2018 is proving to be another record year, 2019 is shaping up to be even better," said Richard D. Fain, chairman and CEO.
"I can't recall ever starting a new year with such an exciting blueprint. Our brands are strong; our new ships are awesome; our existing ship upgrades are powerful; our tech is exciting; our people are psyched; and our other new products are opening new horizons,” he said in a statement
The company is experiencing strong early booking trends for 2019. Booked load factors and rates are higher than same time last year across all core products while the booking window has continued to extend.
The market response to Symphony of the Seas, Azamara Pursuit and Celebrity Edge has been excellent. While these ships are being introduced this year, 2019 will see the benefit of their full year of operations in various markets as they sail in both North America and Europe.
These three vessels together with Spectrum of the Seas, which will be introduced in June 2019 in Shanghai, are supporting a solid outlook for 2019. While still early in the booking cycle, the view for 2019 is encouraging and the company expects another year of solid yield and earnings growth.
Regarding Silversea's consolidation, as mentioned above, while the bottom line impact in the near term is expected to be immaterial, we expect higher average yields for the company and higher costs per berth.