After months of negotiation, Carnival Corporation has signed a Memorandum of Understanding to build two new 3,600-passenger capacity vessels with the Italian State-owned shipbuilder, Fincantieri, for their Princess Cruises brand.

At 139,000 GRT, the new vessels will be the largest in the Princess fleet. Delivery is scheduled for 2013 and 2014. Neither of the ships is expected to come to Alaska.

As with most of the world’s ship builders, there is concern at Fincantieri that beyond 2012 the current huge order book would be exhausted so any sign of life by way of new orders is significant.

The new Princess ships are prototypes that are likely to be followed by a number of sister ships. Princess currently operates a fleet of 17 cruise ships on worldwide itineraries.

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