Starting off 2007 with a new-building bang instead of a whimper, P&O's parent company Carnival Corporation has signed a letter of intent to build a new vessel for the U.K.-based P&O Cruises.
The 116,000-ton, 3,076-passenger vessel will be constructed by Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri at its Monfalcone yard in Trieste, Italy at an estimated price tag of 535 million euros (approximately $706 million). The ship is slotted for a spring 2010 delivery.
This brings P&O's ships-to-be-built tally to two; already Carnival has ordered Ventura, scheduled for launch in spring 2008. With today's announcement, the umbrella Carnival Corp. now has a total of 20 new ships on order.
Preliminary details indicate that the vessel's exterior will be similar to P&O Cruises' Ventura, which is scheduled to enter service in April 2008; specific features of the interior design are forthcoming.
This latest ship order will bring the total number of vessels in the P&O Cruises fleet to seven, including five existing ships, Arcadia, Artemis, Aurora, Oceana and Oriana, as well as the upcoming Ventura. P&O's expansion marks the strong continued growth of the cruise market in the U.K.
In related news, the building slot at Fincantieri being utilized for this new P&O vessel will result in a change to the delivery date of the 130,000-ton new-build Carnival announced last December. The Carnival vessel will now enter service in spring 2011 instead of summer 2010; check out our continually updated At Your Service: Future Ship Orders for the details.
--by Dan Askin, Editorial Assistant