Carnival to add another Excel-class ship in 2028

The cruise line and its parent company Carnival Corporation are pursuing an aggressive newbuild strategy

CARNIVAL Cruise Line has ordered another Excel-class ship from Meyer Werft shipyard, scheduled for delivery in 2028, which will be the company’s fifth.

The new ship follows on from last month’s order, which was Carnival’s first in five years.

The fifth Excel-class ship, which will be delivered a year after the fourth, will be built on the same platform as her sisters, and will be powered by liquefied natural gas.

She will carry more than 6,400 guests, which will make her the same size as the ship ordered last month – far larger than any of the vessel’s in Carnival’s existing fleet.

“Carnival’s Excel-class fleet will soon be a quintet of these very popular ships that provide outstanding guest amenities and tremendous operating efficiencies,” the cruise line’s President Christine Duffy said.

“Since the introduction of Mardi Gras in 2021 and the subsequent expansion with Carnival Celebration in 2022 and Carnival Jubilee in 2023, these Excel-class ships are driving excitement, demand, and strong guest satisfaction ratings.

“With the arrival of Carnival Firenze in Apr, we are completing the addition of five ships to our fleet in less than 20 months, and then we will pivot to another phase of growth.”

Carnival Corporation Chief Executive Officer Josh Weinstein said the company’s recent ship orders signal an aggressive newbuild strategy from 2027.

“This measured capacity growth strategy will result in our adding one to two ships per year beginning in 2027, and we will be identifying additional fleet plans over the coming months for our cruise lines to meet capacity demand and improve execution across all aspects of our operation, with the benefit of yielding higher return on invested capital,” he said.

“Carnival Cruise Line continues to perform at an outstanding level, and we are focused on adding capacity across the company where it aligns with demand and our position in the marketplace.

“This new order continues to balance our commitment to growth with our responsible capital approach to utilise strong free cash flow over the next several years to strategically improve our balance sheet, significantly reduce our leverage levels, and continue to transfer value from debt holders to shareholders.”

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