Carnival Corp. will add only one new ship in 2021

A rendering of the Rotterdam VII, the latest in Holland America Line's Pinnacle class.
A rendering of the Rotterdam VII, the latest in Holland America Line's Pinnacle class. Photo Credit: Holland America Line

Carnival Corp. will only take delivery of one new ship in 2021, and it will dispose of another ship from its nine-brand fleet, bringing the number of vessels it will shed to 19. 

In reporting its fourth-quarter earnings today, Carnival said that it only expects to add one new ship to its fleet in fiscal 2021, compared with the five newbuilds that were originally scheduled for delivery this year. 

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Holland America Line's Rotterdam will debut in late July. The other Carnival Corp. brand ships that were on the books to enter service this year, the Seabourn Venture, Discovery Princess, AidaCosma and Costa Toscana, will all be delayed. Carnival did not say which ships would be delayed and until when. 

When asked during its earnings call whether Carnival will cancel any of its ship order, CFO David Bernstein said it was unlikely. 

"We did renegotiate delivery dates and we got a delay in all of the ship deliveries, but there are no cancellation clauses in our newbuilding contracts," he said. "So as a result of that, I wouldn't expect any cancellations of any of the newbuilds on order." 

Carnival said that with 14 ships on order between 2019 and 2022, combined with the 19 ships it will lose, capacity will be 5.6% higher by the end of 2022, or less than 2% capacity growth annually over the same period. 

The cruise company also did not reveal which of its current ships would be the additional one to be sold, but it said that 15 of the 19 ships that it has pledged to dispose of have already exited the fleet. Carnival last said in September that it would sell 18 of its ships, which already included the sale of four Carnival Cruise Line Fantasy-class ships, four Holland America Line vessels and two Costa Cruises ships. 

In total, the 19 ships represent approximately 13% of pre-pause capacity, Carnival said, and only 3% of operating income in 2019. Between the ship removals, the phased reentry of its fleet and delays in new ship deliveries, Carnival said it will have a more efficient fleet with a roughly 14% larger average berth size per ship and an average ship age of 12 years in 2022 versus 13 years, in each case as compared with 2019. 

When asked by a Wall Street analyst about the proceeds from its ship sales, Bernstein said that while the company does not disclose the sales proceeds of any of its ships, prior to Covid-19 its ships were selling ships for between $50 million and $70 million each and that they are currently selling for "somewhat less than historical standards post Covid-19."


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