Carnival Corporation has ordered another new ship for AIDA Cruises and one more for Costa Crociere, with an option for a second. The contract value is approximately 1.2 billion euros.

AIDA, which has three 68,500-ton, 2,050- passenger sister ships under construction at Meyer Werft for deliveries in 2007, 2008 and 2009, will now have a fourth ship, slated for delivery in 2010. The cost for the fourth ship is 330 million euros.

Costa, which has two 112,000-ton, 3,000- passenger ships under construction at Fincantieri, for deliveries in 2007 and 2009, following the sister ship Costa Concordia this month, will receive two 92,700-ton, 2,260-passenger ships, the first in spring of 2009 and the second in fall of 2010. The cost is 420 million euros for each.

While AIDA has said from the outset that its relatively smaller ships are built to suit the German market, Costa Chairman and CEO Pier Luigi Foschi explained the turn to smaller ships for the brand: "We have demonstrated that the European market is seeking new itinerary alternatives and that requires a balanced mix of ships, especially for the more experienced cruiser." He added that Costa's new programs from Dubai and in the Far East have received strong market response. "The new ships will allow us to continue to diversify our cruise offerings for European vacationers," he said.

With its four new ships, AIDA will increase its passenger capacity by 45.7 percent in 2007, according to estimates by Cruise Industry News, and by 35.7 percent in 2008, 26.3 percent in 2009, and 21 percent in 2010 when the brand will be able to carry nearly 590,000 passengers a year aboard it seven-ship fleet.

Costa will increase its passenger capacity by an estimated 13.4 percent in 2007, but does not receive any new ships in 2008, before boosting capacity by 23 percent in 2009 and 9 percent in 2010.

With 15 ships, Costa's capacity is estimated at more than 1.3 million passengers a year in 2010.

With the new ships, Carnival Corporation will grow its worldwide capacity by 6.5 percent in 2009 and 5.5 percent in 2010, compared to 5 percent and 3 percent before the latest orders.

It is believed that Meyer and Fincantieri are now fully booked through 2009.