December 14, 2001
Carnival Corp., which has teased the cruise industry about making a serious acquisition bid ever since Princess and Royal Caribbean announced plans to merger, has confirmed a new purchase. It's not a cruise line, however, but an order for a new ship for its Cunard line. Cunard, which currently has just two vessels -- the legendary QE2 and Caronia, which it's transferring over to the British market -- will build a brand new, 1,968-passenger ship for the line. The newbuild, as yet unnamed, will be constructed at Italy's Fincantieri at a cost of about $400 million. It will be homeported in Southampton, in England, and marketed to an international audience. Cunard fans won't have to wait until 2005 -- when this one's due for launch -- to hitch a ride on a new Cunard ship. The much hyped 2,620-passenger Queen Mary 2, currently under construction, is on target for a December 2003 premiere.