Carnival: Delivery of North America’s 1st LNG-fueled cruise ship further postponed due to COVID-19

Carnival Cruise Line, part of Carnival Corp., said that delivery of Mardi Gras, North America’s first LNG-powered cruise ship, will be postponed again — this time as a result of challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic.

Meyer Turku

Mardi Gras, the first LNG-powered ship to operate in the Western Hemisphere, will now enter into service from Port Canaveral, Florida, on 6 February 2021.

Itineraries out of Port Canaveral for departures from 14 November 2020 to 30 January 2021 have been cancelled, according to the cruise line.

“We continue to assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on global commerce, public health and our cruise operations. In addition to our current pause in service, there have been many other unintended consequences, including shipyard, dry dock and ship delivery delays, and related changes to our deployment plans for our fleet,” Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line, commented.

“While we had hoped to make up construction time on Mardi Gras over the summer, it’s clear we will need extra time to complete this magnificent ship… We remain committed to working with government, public health and industry officials to support the response to the pandemic and to return to operations when the time is right.”

The 180,000 GT newbuild was originally scheduled for delivery in August this year but in late 2019, Finnish shipbuilder Meyer Turku moved the delivery to October 2020. However, the delivery date has now been changed.

The 5,200-passenger ship will feature a length of 337 metres and a width of 42 metres. It will be based in Port Canaveral’s new cruise terminal.

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Carnival Radiance delivery

The cruise line also informed about the revised delivery of the transformed Carnival Radiance, resulting from the COVID-19 crisis.

The 2000-built ship, previously named Carnival Victory, has been undergoing a major refit in Spain.

“Carnival Radiance’s $200 million dry dock at the Cadiz, Spain shipyard was suspended this spring when the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a nationwide lockdown. Carnival is now evaluating shipyard options to complete the transformation, but the ship is likely not going to be completed until the spring,” Carnival Cruise Line said.

New itineraries for Carnival Breeze and Carnival Magic

As a result of the delayed arrival of Carnival Radiance, Carnival Breeze will be redeployed from Fort Lauderdale to Port Canaveral and will assume the itineraries for Carnival Radiance from 8 November 2020 to 24 April 2021. Consequently, passengers on 18 Carnival Breeze sailings from Fort Lauderdale scheduled to operate from 7 November 2020 to 7 March 2021 are being notified that their cruises have been cancelled.

Carnival Magic’s transatlantic and European itineraries from 13 March 2021 to 3 May 2021 have been cancelled as well. Seven sailings previously scheduled for Carnival Breeze from Fort Lauderdale from 13 March to 24 April 2021 will move to Miami and those guests will sail on the same itinerary, but on Carnival Magic operating from PortMiami.

Tough times for Carnival Corp. and global cruise industry

In the quarter ended 31 May 2020, Carnival Corporation & plc., the world’s largest cruise company and the owner of Carnival Cruise Line brand, suffered a multibillion-dollar loss due to the suspension of cruise operations related to COVID-19.

U.S. GAAP net loss stood at $4.4 billion for the second quarter of 2020, representing a significant drop compared to U.S. GAAP net income of $451 million seen in the corresponding period a year earlier.

In mid-March, the company suspended its guest cruise operations in the face of the impact of the coronavirus. For the majority of the second quarter, Carnival’s cruise operations have been in a pause and many of its ships in prolonged layups.

The pause in passenger operations is negatively affecting the company’s liquidity and financial position. Carnival Corp. has implemented a number of measures to reduce operating expenses, capital expenditures and improve liquidity.