(9:45 a.m. EST) -- Is the dry spell for new ship orders finally over? This morning, Carnival Corporation announced that it has signed a memorandum of agreement with Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri to construct two ships for its Princess Cruises brand.
According to a press statement from Carnival Corp., the ships will measure 139,000 tons and carry 3,600 passengers, making them the largest in the Princess fleet.
What exactly is a memorandum of agreement? We checked out a few legal Web sites and discovered it is a document written for parties working cooperatively on an agreed-upon project; it can be, but is not necessarily, a legally binding contract.
Once contracted, the ships are scheduled to enter service in spring 2013 and spring 2014, and carry a price tag of approximately 155,000 euros per lower berth. That works out to $558 million euros, or $762,565,341, per ship, as calculated on exchange rate Web site xe.com.
A spokeswoman for Carnival Corp. in the U.K. tells us that Princess will be issuing a press release with more details about the ships -- when the official contract is signed. At this point, we do not know when that will be.
Until recently, major, mainstream cruise lines have been hesitant to commit to building new ships. Carnival Cruise Lines ordered a third Dream-class ship in December, breaking what was a bit of a drought.
Stay tuned for more information.
--by Melissa Paloti, Managing Editor
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Is a Carnival Corp. Cruise Line Getting New Ships?
February 17, 2010