The world's largest cruise ship company is getting bigger.
Miami-based Carnival Corp. announced it had signed agreements with German and Italian ship builders to build nine new ships over a four-year period, starting in 2019.
Carnival is already the largest cruise ship company, with a fleet of 101 ships across nine brands, including Carnival Cruise Lines, Princess Cruises and Holland America. Carnival had previously announced plans to add two ships to its fleet this year and remove four others.
Carnival did not disclose where the ships would sail but said the new cruise ships probably would be dispatched to North America, Europe and newer markets, including China.
Fincantieri, the world's largest cruise shipbuilder, has agreed to build five ships for Carnival at its shipyards in Italy. Meyer Werft, a German shipbuilder, will construct four ships in shipyards in Germany and Finland.
The number of vacationers taking cruises this year is projected to be 23 million, a 4% increase over last year's estimated 22.1 million cruise passengers, according to the Cruise Lines International Assn., a trade group for the cruise industry.
In total, 22 new ocean, river and specialty cruise ships are scheduled for debut this year, the trade group said.