Carnival Cruise Lines has signed a contract with Fincantieri for the construction of a new generation ship, which the company also said will be the largest passenger ship ever built. At approximately 95,000-tons, the new ship will feature 1,300-plus cabins.

Carnival has not released construction details, but Ted Arison, founder and majority owner, who is now in charge of Carnival's newbuilding program, said last spring that he had plans for a wide-beamed vessel resembling an aircraft carrier. The superstructure would be on one side with wide open deck space.

Sources said that it was almost certain that more new ships would be ordered.

Carnival would not release the construction cost but said that the per berth price would be competitive with the line's other current new ship constructions. That would put the cost at about $400 million.

Citibank served as financial advisor to both Carnival and Fincantieri on this transaction.

Delivery is scheduled for late 1996.

Carnival also has three 70,000-ton ships under construction for the Carnival fleet at Kvaerner Masa-Yards, for delivery in late 1993, 1994 and 1995.

And, after its subsidiary Holland America Line took delivery of the 50,000-ton, 1,250-passenger Statendam from Fincantieri earlier this month, two more sister ships are under construction at the Italian yard.

Carnival 's current newbuilding program represents an investment of more than $2 billion and will increase its fleet capacity by more than 50 percent.