Carnival orders more mega-ships

The Vista, the largest ship in Carnival's fleet, made its debut earlier this year.

Carnival Cruise Line has ordered two more mega-ships, providing further succor to supporters of a cruise dock for Cayman, who suggest the move toward bigger ships is bad news for destinations that still use tenders.

The cruise giant, which along with Royal Caribbean accounts for nearly 80 percent of cruise arrivals in the Cayman Islands, is scheduled to take delivery of two new 180,000 gross-registered-ton cruise ships, in 2020 and 2022.

The ships, with passenger capacity of 5,200, are unlikely to stop at ports that use tenders because of Carnival’s previously stated concerns about the logistics of moving so many people.

Supporters of a cruise port for Grand Cayman, which is still in the planning stages, say the trend toward larger ships shows that Cayman must have new piers if it wants to remain in the cruise business in a meaningful way.

“Carnival only just ordered four ships with higher capacity than the (Royal Caribbean) Oasis class just last year, so to see another order of large ships within approximately 12 months shows how fast the industry is moving toward these mega-ships,” said Chris Kirkconnell of Cayman’s Port, Cayman’s Future.

“Those against cruise berthing will keep pretending the ships aren’t getting bigger or will say we should focus on smaller ships regardless of the fact that there aren’t enough smaller ships left to keep the industry feasible.

“Anyone that works in the cruise industry knows that this has been the trend for a long time now and the cruise lines will continue to build larger ships, eventually replacing the smaller ones completely. Carnival originally said they would not build Oasis/Genesis class ships and now they keep ordering ships of similar or larger size.”

The Miami-based cruise company said Tuesday that the vessels will be powered by environmentally friendly sources.

Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line, said in a media statement, “We are thrilled to be introducing Carnival Corporation’s ‘green cruising’ design platform to North America. Both of these ships will be fully powered at sea and in port by Liquefied Natural Gas, which is the world’s cleanest burning fossil fuel. These ships are being designed for maximum energy efficiency and environmental friendliness.”

The ships announced Tuesday are in the same size class as four previous ships that were ordered last year by the parent company, which made news because Carnival said they would be able to hold a record 6,600 passengers with every berth filled. Currently, Royal Caribbean’s Oasis class ships, which carry 5,400 passengers, are the largest in the business.


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