Typically, if a cruise line wants to expand its fleet then it needs to spend years of work and roughly a billion dollars in designing and building a new ship.
Carnival Cruise Line is taking another approach. Just over a week ago Carnival announced that it would add a ship — Costa Luminosa — from its Italian sister cruise line Costa Cruises. That ship is set to start sailing in Australia later this year.
Now, Carnival is adding another two ships from Costa, set to be delivered to the U.S. in 2023 and 2024.
“Given the slow restart of the Asian operations and the strong restart of cruises in the US, we decided to seize this opportunity to allow the many North American guests to appreciate our unique ships’ features, creating synergies within this important market.” Mario Zanetti, President Costa Cruises said in a press release.
Costa Venezia will join in spring 2023 and will sail from New York. Costa Firenze will come stateside in spring 2024 and sail from Long Beach.
The two ships are sisters of Carnival’s Vista-class vessels, which include Carnival Vista, Carnival Horizon, and Carnival Panorama. They can carry upwards of 5,000 guests each. That represents a significant reduction in Costa’s capacity, but a significant increase in Carnival’s, especially considering Carnival also has newbuilds like Celebration and Jubilee on the way.
But even though they are sister ships, don’t expect Venezia and Firenze to be exactly like the Vista ships already sailing here stateside.
In fact, Carnival is calling the new ships “COSTA by CARNIVAL” when they arrive. It appears that the cruise line is opting to have the ships be the Costa experience, but operated by Carnival.
According to a press release, “Carnival will operate the ships, which will marry the great service, food and entertainment that Carnival’s guests enjoy with Costa’s Italian design features.”
“This is an exciting opportunity for us to operate two additional beautiful Vista class ships in the U.S. and bring a unique experience to those who love the culture, food and vibe of Italy,” said Carnival Cruise Line President Christine Duffy. “There are lots of ways we plan to create an immersive fun experience for our guests who choose to sail on these ships, which have beautiful Italian-design elements, dining and retail that will deliver Carnival fun leveraging the spirit of Italy from our sister line Costa Cruises.”
There is no word on if the ships will be renamed for Carnival’s fleet. For example, Costa Luminosa, which is set to sail for Carnival from Australia in November 2022, is being renamed Carnival Luminosa.
Even so, both ships will undergo dry dock work before being deployed from New York and Long Beach.
Carnival’s fleet will number 27 ships once Venezia and Firenze arrive, assuming no more ships are sold or scrapped from the fleet before their arrivals. This count also includes the upcoming addition of Celebration and Jubilee.