The first of Carnival Corp.'s two new ships in 2015, Britannia of P&O Cruises UK, has officially launched.
Britannia will be joined later this year by AIDAprima, the new flagship of AIDA Cruises.
At 3,657 passengers, Britannia is the biggest ship designed exclusively for Britain, Carnival Corp. said in a release. Following the naming ceremony, the ship will embark on her maiden voyage to the Mediterranean and during her maiden season will also sail to the Norwegian Fjords, Canary Islands and the Baltic Sea, as well as offering a range of short breaks and a special "round-Britain" cruise. The ship will then transfer to the Caribbean for the winter season sailing a range of 15 night fly / cruise itineraries from Barbados.
Carnival Corporation President and CEO Arnold Donald, Carnival UK Chairman David Dingle and Carnival UK CEO David Noyes, along with distinguished guests, government officials and the ship's crew, helped welcome Britannia to the fleet at the naming ceremony.
"These amazing new ships are part of our fleet enhancement strategy that will see 10 new ships join our fleet in the next three years," said Donald. "More importantly, every one of our ships plays a key role in helping us meet our goal to consistently exceed guest expectations on every voyage, and to give our guests the vacation of a lifetime, every time they cruise with us."
The new flagship of AIDA Cruises, AIDAprima, will join its fleet in fall 2015 with a design that focuses on environmental sustainability. It will kick off its service with a 50-day journey from Yokohama, Japan, to Dubai. Following its maiden voyage, AIDAprima will offer seven-day-cruises from Dubai. In spring 2016, it will head to Hamburg, Germany, where it will have its homeport, making AIDA Cruises the first cruise line to have a ship based in Germany year-round. Starting on April 30, 2016, AIDAprima will make the first of its all-season seven-day journeys through Western Europe. The vessel will be able to accommodate 3,300 passengers.
In addition to these two ships, Carnival Corporation will welcome ships from five of its nine global brands in the next three years. The brands include AIDA Cruises, Holland America Line (two ships), Carnival Cruise Line (two ships), Seabourn (two ships) and Princess Cruises. All told, Carnival Corporation has made more than 30 new ship additions since 2007, including two ships launched in late 2014, Regal Princess and Costa Diadema.
In 2016, Carnival Cruise Line is scheduled to debut Carnival Vista, a 133,500-ton ship that will be the largest ever in its fleet, and Holland America Line will launch its newest ship, the 99,500-ton ms Koningsdam, a new Pinnacle Class ship that can carry 2,650 passengers. Also in 2016, AIDA will introduce a new sister ship to the AIDAprima with capacity for 3,300 passengers, while Seabourn will unveil its newest luxury ship, expected to be the biggest ever built by the brand with the ability to serve 604 passengers.
Looking forward to 2017, Princess Cruises is working with Fincantieri to build a 3,560 passenger vessel with the design elements introduced by the brand's two newest ships, Royal Princess and Regal Princess.
In addition to these new ships, Carnival Corporation continues to add upgrades and refurbishments to existing ships. In 2015, the company plans upgrades or refurbishments on 17 ships across six of its brands. The 2015 refurbishment plans include two former Holland America Line ships transferred to P&O Cruises Australia that will undergo complete refurbishment before sailing as Pacific Aria and Pacific Eden starting in November 2015. The renovated ships will offer onboard features tailored for Australian and New Zealand passengers.