Mega Ship Rumors: Carnival Corp. May Be Close to Deal for 208K Gross Ton Cruise Ships

Mega ship rumors are swirling that Carnival Corp. may be close to securing a deal for 208K gross ton cruise ships.

Mega Ship Rumors: Carnival Corp. May Be Close to Deal for 208K Gross Ton Cruise Ships

Mega Ship Rumors: Carnival Corp. May Be Close to Deal for 208K Gross Ton Cruise Ships

Mega ship rumors are swirling. Italian shipbuilding company Fincantieri is rumored to be finalizing its biggest cruise ship deal ever with Carnival Corporation. And according to Shipping Italy, it’s to the tune of nearly 7 billion dollars. Last year, the company’s CEO Pierroberto Folgiero teased that there are multiple new cruise ship orders “in the oven” and that they could be announced in early 2024.

Based on information from market sources, Shipping Italy speculates that Carnival Corp. is set to order four new mega ships worth at least $1.6 billion each with a gross tonnage of 208,000. They would become the largest cruise ships ever built in Italy. The current record belongs to Princess Cruises’ (one of Carnival Corp.’s brands) Sun Princess at 175,500 gross tons.

Mega Ship Rumors: Carnival Corp. May Be Close to Deal for 208K Gross Ton Cruise Ships

If these rumors are true, they would become the first Carnival Corporation ships to break the 200,000 gross ton mark. Further, they would be only the fourth cruise company in the world to have ships of this size. (The other three being Royal Caribbean with its Oasis and Icon classes, MSC Cruises with its World class, and Disney with its upcoming 208,000 gross ton ship Disney Adventure, which was formerly Global Dream for Genting).

According to Italian newspaper Il Secolo XIX, the only Fincantieri shipyard that would have the facilities and amount of employees necessary to build a ship larger than 200,000 gross tons is in Monfalcone. So it’s likely that if the order goes through, this is where the vessels will be built.

Details on Rumored Carnival Corp. Mega Ships

The rumored Carnival Corporation mega ships would have capacity for 9,500 people total. This includes 7,000 guests and over 2,500 crew members. Shipping Italy says that the expected arrival for the first vessel would be sometime between the end of 2028 and the start of 2029.

However, in a statement to Seatrade Cruise News, a Carnival Corp. spokesperson indicated that the first delivery could be as early as 2027. “While we don’t comment on speculation, [CEO] Josh Weinstein has said publicly that we are talking with shipyards and he would be surprised if we haven’t ordered a ship in the next six months,” the statement said. “We expect to order newbuilds for delivery — probably beginning in 2027 — at a rate of one to two per year.”

It’s unknown which cruise lines within the Carnival Corp. fleet would receive these ships. Though, there is speculation that the first ones would go to Carnival Cruise Line, with Costa Cruises a strong contender for one of them as well.

mega ship rumors

By gross tonnage, Carnival Corporation’s Excellence-class ships are the current largest in its global fleet. Encompassing vessels from Carnival Cruise Line, Costa Cruises, P&O Cruises, and AIDA Cruises, these ships range in size from about 182,000 to 186,000 gross tons. This includes Carnival Cruise Line’s Mardi Gras, Carnival Celebration, Carnival Jubilee, P&O’s Iona, and Costa’s Costa Toscana, among others. The newbuilds would be over 20,000 gross tons larger than the company’s current largest cruise ships.

Other Carnival Corp. New Builds

The current largest cruise ships ever completed in Italy are MSC Cruises’ Seascape and Seashore at 170,400 gross tons. This will be surpassed by Sun Princess when she is completed this year. The largest cruise ships in the world — Royal Caribbean’s Oasis and Icon class vessels — were built at the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard in France and the Meyer Turku shipyard in Finland. The Oasis-class ships are 225,000 to 236,000 GT each, while the Icon-class vessels are about 248,000 to 250,000 GT each.

Since the pandemic, Carnival Corporation has scaled back on newbuild orders. Cunard’s newest ship, Queen Anne, will debut this May, along with Sun Princess in February.

The final current vessel in Carnival Corp.’s orderbook is Star Princess, scheduled to debut next year. No Carnival Corporation deliveries are on the books for 2026.


Do you hope these mega ship rumors are true? Would you be happy if Carnival Corp. seals a deal for 208K GT cruise ships? Drop us an anchor below to share your thoughts on the increasing size of cruise ships.

Sarah has been writing about the cruise industry since 2015, and in that time has taken a dozen cruises and counting. Her favorite onboard activities include trying the casual dining options, spending time in the spa’s thermal suite, and attending the love & marriage show. You can keep up with her on Instagram at @IAmSarahJaneB.
Sarah Bretz, Contributor
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