Italian shipbuilding company Fincantieri has signed a memorandum of agreement (MoA) with American-British cruise organisation Carnival for the construction of one next-generation cruise ship for the luxury brand Cunard.

The MoA is expected to come into effect once all the financial and technical conditions have been satisfied.

The 113,000t ship is scheduled to join Cunard’s fleet by 2022 and will be built at Fincantieri’s yard in Monfalcone, Italy.

It is expected to be capable of carrying 3,000 guests and will join Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth as the fourth member of the Cunard fleet.

Carnival CEO Arnold Donald said: "Cunard offers a fleet of unrivalled vessels and one of the most unique travel experiences in the world, which together create an enchanting and memorable vacation for our guests.

"While today’s news helps drive Cunard’s overall strategic growth plans, we also look forward to launching this next-generation cruise ship to help meet increasing global demand and entice even more travellers to explore the Cunard experience.

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"Fleet enhancement is an important part of our ongoing goal to exceed guest expectations. This includes replacing less efficient ships with more efficient vessels over time as part of our managed capacity growth."

Fincantieri has also delivered a new small cruise ship to Viking Ocean Cruises as part of a separate development.

"Cunard offers a fleet of unrivalled vessels and one of the most unique travel experiences in the world, which together create an enchanting and memorable vacation for our guests."

The newly delivered ‘Viking Sun’ ship was built at Fincantieri’s yard in Ancona, Italy, and is the fourth of eight cruise ships ordered by Viking Ocean Cruises from the shipbuilder.

The 47,800t vessel features 465 cabins to accommodate up to 930 passengers. It is also capable of carrying a total of over 1,400 people, including the crew.

Viking Sun was jointly designed by UK-based company SMC Design and US-based Rottet Studios, and also includes a set of all-veranda staterooms and two pools.

Additionally, it is equipped a spa designed in accordance with the Scandinavian tradition, as well as a sauna and snow grotto.

The first ship of the series, Viking Star, was built at Fincantieri’s shipyard in Marghera, Italy, and delivered to Viking Ocean Cruises in 2015.

Fincantieri subsequently delivered the second and third vessels of the same series, Viking Sea and Viking Sky, from its Ancona yard in 2016 and 2017 respectively.

The final four units are planned to be delivered by 2018, 2019, 2021 and 2022 respectively.