Carnival Cruise Line has started construction of its largest cruise ship ever — a ship that will be based at Port Canaveral when it goes into service in 2020. The start of construction of the still-unnamed ship was marked Thursday by a traditional steel-cutting ceremony, held at the Meyer Turku shipyard in Turku, Finland.
The 180,000-ton "XL-class" ship will have a capacity of 5,286 passengers, based on double-occupancy of its cabins, and a maximum capacity of 6,500. It is likely to have an onboard crew of about 2,000. It also will be the first ship operating in North America to be fueled with liquefied natural gas.
In a statement issued Thursday, Carnival President Christine Duffy said: “This new ship promises to be truly special, from its groundbreaking technology and one-of-a-kind features to its distinctive livery and hull design that is both timeless and forward-thinking, while paying tribute to our nearly 50-year history of making wonderful vacation memories for our guests."
At the ceremony, the Miami-based company revealed a new red-white-and-blue hull design that Carnival said "celebrates its legacy as 'America’s cruise line' and pays homage to maritime tradition. The design builds upon the company’s iconic color scheme that has made Carnival one of the most recognizable brands in travel and is highlighted by a stately navy-blue hull inspired by officers’ uniforms, along with vibrant red-and-white accents running the entire length of the 1,130-foot-long ship."
Duffy called the start of construction "a historic day for our company, as we are laying the foundation for an unparalleled seagoing vacation experience that will be like no other and take our cruise offerings to the next level."
Carnival said the ship’s name is scheduled to be revealed in early December. Details on the ship’s inaugural season of sailings are scheduled to be announced in January. Information on the ship's restaurant, bar and entertainment options to be revealed later in 2019. Carnival said the ship will "offer a variety of never-before-seen innovations."
In a statement, Jan Meyer, chief executive officer of the Meyer Turku shipyard, said: “We are extremely pleased to work together with Carnival on this large and highly innovative ship. With the first steel cutting, our efforts in designing the hull, features and interior of the ship start to take shape. We are also very proud to build the first-ever LNG-powered cruise ship for North American market, making this state-of-the-art green technology a reality."
Carnival Cruise Line now has 26 ships in its fleet. It currently has three ships scheduled for delivery:
• The 133,500-ton Carnival Panorama, set to debut in 2019.
• The 180,000-ton ship that will enter service at Port Canaveral in 2020.
• Another 180,000-ton "XL" ship that will start construction in 2020 and be delivered in 2022 to mark the 50th anniversary of Carnival Cruise Line’s founding.
Port Canaveral is building a new $150 million cruise terminal and parking garage complex east of the Cove restaurant district on the south side of the port to accommodate the new Carnival ship. It is the largest capital project in the port's history. Carnival is contributing $50 million toward construction of what will be designated as Port canaveral's Cruise Terminal 3. Carnival currently has three ships based at Port Canaveral — the Breeze, the Liberty and the Sunshine.
By Dave Berman, Florida Today
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