Excellence-class cruise ship

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AIDAnova (cropped).jpg
AIDAnova, the first ship in the class, in 2018
Class overview
Preceded by: Vista class
Built: 2017–present
In service: 2018–present
Planned: 9
Building: 5
Completed: 2
Active: 2

The Excellence class,[1][2][3] including the sub-classes Helios class[4] and XL class,[5] is a class of cruise ships ordered by Carnival Corporation & plc for its subsidiary brands AIDA Cruises, Costa Cruises, P&O Cruises and Carnival Cruise Line. The ships are being constructed by Meyer Werft at their shipyard in Papenburg, Germany, and Meyer Turku at their shipyard in Turku, Finland. The first, AIDAnova, entered service for AIDA Cruises in 2018.


In March 2015, Carnival Corporation entered into a strategic partnership with Meyer Werft to build new ships between 2019 and 2022.[6] In June 2015, four ships were ordered for delivery between 2019 and 2020.[7][8] In September 2016, three more ships were ordered for Carnival Cruise Line and P&O Cruises for delivery in 2020 and 2022.[9]

The Excellence class will be the first cruise ships in the world to be dual fueled by liquefied natural gas (LNG) and traditional fuel oil, which is intended to make them more environmentally friendly than traditional, diesel-powered ships.[8] Each ship is expected to cost $950 million.[10]

The first four ships in the class suffered delivery delays. The delays of AIDAnova, Costa Smeralda and Mardi Gras were attributed to the ships being the first to be fueled by LNG, design complexities, difficulties coordinating subcontractors, and the large size of the ships.[3] The delay of Iona was due to a temporary suspension of operations by P&O Cruises, and slower construction progress, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.[11] Mardi Gras was later delayed until 2021, also due to the pandemic.[12]


Ship Subclass Built Operator Builder Gross tonnage Flag IMO number Notes Image Newbuilding no.
AIDAnova Helios class[13] 2018 AIDA Cruises Meyer Werft 183,858[14]  Italy 9781865 World's first LNG-powered cruise ship.[15] AIDAnova (cropped).jpg S.696
Costa Smeralda 2019 Costa Cruises Meyer Turku 185,010[16]  Italy 9781889 Costa Smeralda Storebælt IV (cropped).jpg NB 1394
Iona XL class[5] 2020 P&O Cruises Meyer Werft 183,900[10]  United Kingdom 9826548 Construction started on April 25, 2018.[17] IONA (49962467851).jpg S.710
Mardi Gras XL class[18] 2021 Carnival Cruise Line Meyer Turku 183,900[10] 9837444 Originally planned for 2020.[12] Construction started on November 15, 2018.
keel laid on June 18, 2019.[19]
NB 1396
AIDAcosma Helios class[13] 2021 AIDA Cruises Meyer Werft 183,900[10] Originally planned for 2020. Construction started on August 15, 2019.
Floating engine room unit built at Neptun Werft, Rostock and left the yard in February 2020.[20]
AIDAcosma middle part.jpg S.709
Costa Toscana 2021 Costa Cruises Meyer Turku 183,900[10] 9781891 Originally planned for 2020. Construction started on July 30, 2019.
Floating engine room unit built at Neptun Werft, Rostock and left the yard in December 2019.[21]
NB 1395
TBA XL class[18] 2022 Carnival Cruise Line Meyer Turku 183,900[10] NB 1397
TBA XL class[5] 2022 P&O Cruises Meyer Werft 183,900[10] S.716
TBA Helios class[13] 2023 AIDA Cruises Meyer Werft 183,900[10] S.717[22]


  1. ^ "Carnival not occupied with building world's largest cruise ship". April 17, 2018. Retrieved January 11, 2020.
  2. ^ "Steel cut for Carnival Cruise Line's first Excellence-class ship". November 15, 2018. Retrieved May 29, 2019.
  3. ^ a b "Mardi Gras delays not surprising but still costly for Carnival". January 5, 2020. Retrieved January 6, 2020.
  4. ^ "AIDAnova". www.meyerwerft.de. Retrieved May 3, 2019.
  5. ^ a b c "P&O Cruises and Cunard make 2022 single use plastics commitment". Retrieved May 26, 2019.
  6. ^ "Carnival Corporation Enters into Strategic Partnerships to Add Nine Cruise Ships to its Fleet over a Four-Year Period Starting in 2019". March 24, 2015. Retrieved January 2, 2017.
  7. ^ "Carnival Corporation orders two cruise ships from Meyer Turku". June 15, 2015. Retrieved January 2, 2017.
  8. ^ a b "Carnival Corporation Finalizes Contract with Meyer Werft to Build Four Next-Generation Cruise Ships". June 15, 2015. Retrieved January 2, 2017.
  9. ^ "Carnival Corporation to Build Three New LNG-Powered Cruise Ships with Meyer Werft and Meyer Turku". September 6, 2016. Retrieved January 2, 2017.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h "Cruise ship ordeerbook". Retrieved February 25, 2017.
  11. ^ Spencer, Kerry (March 30, 2020). "P&O Cruises Reveals Maiden Voyage of New Ship Iona Will be Delayed". Cruise Critic. Retrieved March 31, 2020.
  12. ^ a b Limone, Jerry (July 7, 2020). "Another delay for Carnival's Mardi Gras ship". Travel Weekly. Retrieved July 7, 2020.
  13. ^ a b c "AIDA orders third Helios-class cruise ship". Retrieved May 30, 2019.
  14. ^ "AIDAnova (9781865)". Leonardo Info. Registro Italiano Navale. Retrieved January 11, 2020.
  15. ^ "AIDAnova, World's 1st LNG Cruise Ship, Delivered". World Maritime News. December 12, 2018. Retrieved September 10, 2019.
  16. ^ "Costa Smeralda (9781889)". Leonardo Info. Registro Italiano Navale. Retrieved January 11, 2020.
  17. ^ "P&O Cruises marks first construction milestone for newest ship with steel cutting ceremony in Papenburg". Meyer Werft. May 21, 2018. Retrieved May 27, 2018.
  18. ^ a b "Carnival Cruise Line Names First XL-Class Ship Mardi Gras". Retrieved May 30, 2019.
  19. ^ "Carnival Mardi Gras cruise ship hull assembly has begun at Meyer Turku shipyard". June 18, 2019. Retrieved June 18, 2019.
  20. ^ https://www.schiffe-und-kreuzfahrten.de/news/aidacosma-auf-dem-weg-von-rostock-nach-papenburg/198531/
  21. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7A3gQFPu9uU
  22. ^ https://new-ships.com/

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