Viking Cruises Orders Two Ships From Vard – Other Cruise News: Fincantieri To Build Two Princess LNG Ships – Celestyal Majesty To Go To Mano Cruises?

by Kevin Griffin

Last week saw more news on several fronts. Viking Cruises has confirmed its order for two ships of a new series with Vard, while Fincantieri will built two LNG-powered vessels for Princess Cruises. In the realm of older non-balcony ships, Louis Group of Cyprus has sold its Celesytal Majesty to new owners said to be Mano Maritime of Israel.


Viking Cruises Orders Two Ships From Vard

Norwegian shipbuilder Vard will build two new cruise ships for Viking Cruises, the rapidly growing ocean and river cruise operator.
Last Tuesday Vard announced that it had finalised contracts with Viking for two ships, to be built at its shipyards in Romania and Norway. Vard said the value of the contracts was about 5 billion Norwegian Krone (about $305 million per ship).

Artist impression of the third planned Hapag-Lloyd Cruises' Hanseatic class ship

Artist impression of the third planned Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ Hanseatic class ship

Plans for the vessels have been public since April, when Vard announced it had signed a letter of intent for their design and construction.
Neither Vard nor Viking has said what kind of ships they will be. But Vard specialises in expedition ships, of which it is building two new series for Ponant and Hapag-Lloyd Cruises.

Viking has never offered expedition cruises but that sector is currently one of the fastest growing segments of the cruiise market, with more than thirty ships now on order.

Viking got its start more than two decades ago in river cruises and now operates more than fifty river ships. It then entered the ocean cruise business in 2015 with a single ship and will eventualy have a fleet of sixteen ocean ships.

The Viking Sea in Venice (Courtesy Viking Ocean Cruises)

The Viking Sea in Venice (Courtesy Viking Ocean Cruises)

In announcing the letter of intent in April, Vard said the two ships would be delivered to Viking in 2021 and 2022. Viking also has an option for two more such vessels.
Vard’s parent company is Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri, which built all five of Viking’s ocean ships so far and is building several more for the line for future delivery.


Fincantieri To Build Two Princess LNG Ships

Italy’s Fincantieri has signed a memorandum of agreement with Princess Cruises to build two next-generation 175,000-ton cruise ships that will be the largest to be built in Italy. Deliveries are scheduled from Monfalcone in late 2023 and spring 2025.
The vessels will have around 4,300 berths and will be the first Princess ships to be dual-fuelled, but primarily powered by LNG. The pair will also be the first LNG-powered cruise ships to be built by Fincantieri for Carnival Corp & plc.

The 2023 delivery makes the first vessel the first LNG cruise ship to be delivered by Fincantieri in Italy. The first of two new LNG-powered ships for TUI Cruises will be delivered in 2024.

Giuseppe Bono, ceo of Fincantieri, said: ”We are proud to further extend our long-established partnership with Princess Cruises, a brand we are indeed tied to since our comeback to the cruise ship industry in 1990.”

Bono concluded with the news that “this allows us to keep a solid partnership between our country and the Carnival group – the largest foreign investor in Italy – and at the same time to maintain know-how and increase employment.”

Celestyal Majesty

Celestyal Majesty

“Fincantieri has built eighty-five cruise ships since 1990 (sixty-two from 2002), sixty-five of which for Carnival’s different brands, while another forty-nine, including agreements, are currently being designed or built in the Group’s yards.”

Celestyal Majesty To Go To Mano Cruises?

Celestyal Cruises has sold the 1,460-berth Celestyal Majesty, which finished her charter to Thomson Cruises last year, reportedly to Mano Maritime of Israel.

Thomson Majesty

Thomson Majesty

The Celestyal Majesty is one of the last non-blacony ships to have been built, in 1992, featuring as she does instead a number of bay window cabins, probably the only ship in the world so fitted.
The ship had previously been operating as Thomson Majesty for what is now TUI’s UK-based Marella Cruises.

(Kevin Griffin is managing director of specialist cruise agency The Cruise People Ltd in London, England. For further information concerning cruises mentioned in this article readers can visit his blog)

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