Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE/LSE: CCL; NYSE:  CUK) today announced that it has exercised its option for a new 86,000-ton vessel for its Holland America Line brand.

The new 2,100-passenger ship will be built by Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri at its Marghera shipyard at an estimated all-in cost of €425 million. Delivery is scheduled for fall 2010.

Micky Arison, Carnival Corporation & plc chairman and CEO, said, “Holland America Line is performing very well and its growth is consistent with our business strategy for the premium segment of our business which seeks to capitalize on the increasing affluence of the baby boomer generation.  The exercise of this option is another opportunity to strengthen Holland America’s position as the leading premium cruise brand in the world.”

Stein Kruse, Holland America Line’s president and CEO, noted that the new vessel will be a sister to the Eurodam which is already under construction at Fincantieri and due to debut in summer of 2008.  Eurodam’s size has been increased slightly since originally announced and both ships will have a lower-bed capacity of 2,100. “These two elegant vessels will embody the many on-board amenities that  Holland America Line first introduced to cruising as part of our very successful ‘Signature of Excellence’ initiative.Those amenities have uniquely positioned the Holland America vacation experience while building upon our distinction as a leader in premium cruising,” Kruse said.

Kruse added that the two ships, to be the largest in Holland America’s fleet, will maintain the brand’s commitment to mid-sized vessels, larger staterooms, and richly appointed dining areas, lounges and other public rooms. “The addition of these two ships represent a 23 percent increase in our capacity over the 2008 through 2010 time period and will allow us to continue our premium leadership position and achieve a greater share of the growing cruise market,” he said.

The new vessel will continue the evolution of the Holland America Line brand with features that will include a topside 144-seat specialty restaurant, a diversity of live music and entertainment facilities, outside-view glass elevators at mid-ship, and an expanded Greenhouse Spa and Salon with thermal suites and hydro-pool.

Of the new ship’s 1,050 staterooms, 85 percent will offer an ocean view and 67 percent will feature private verandahs. All staterooms will offer plush Mariner's Dream beds, flat panel TVs and DVD players.
The vessel will feature such popular Holland America Line facilities as the Crow’s Nest Lounge, Explorations Café, Pinnacle Grill and the innovative Culinary Arts Center presented by Food & Wine Magazine, offering cooking demonstrations and classes in state-of-the-art show kitchens.

With today’s announcement, Carnival Corporation & plc has 17 new ships on order, 12 of which are being constructed by Fincantieri.

Carnival Corporation & plc is the largest cruise vacation group in the world, with a portfolio of cruise brands in North America, Europe and Australia, comprised of Carnival Cruise Lines, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, Seabourn Cruise Line, AIDA Cruises, Costa Cruises, Cunard Line, Ocean Village, P&O Cruises and P&O Cruises Australia.

Together, these brands operate 82 ships totaling 155,000 lower berths with 17 new ships scheduled to enter service between December 2007 and June 2011. Carnival Corporation & plc also operates Holland America Tours and Princess Tours, the leading tour companies in Alaska and the Canadian Yukon. Traded on both the New York and London Stock Exchanges, Carnival Corporation & plc is the only group in the world to be included in both the S&P 500 and the FTSE 100 indices.