NEW YORK, Dec 1 (Reuters) - Carnival Corp & Plc (CCL.N) (CCL.L), the world's largest cruise ship operator, said on Tuesday that it ordered a new ship from Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri for about $738 million.
The 3,690-passenger ship is scheduled to enter service in the spring of 2012 as part of the Carnival Cruise Lines brand, Carnival said in a release. The ship will be built at Fincantieri's Monfalcone yard.
The ship, which will be the third in Carnival's Dream class of ships, will feature an aqua park with a 300-foot water slide, a live entertainment venue and a 23,750-square foot spa.
Carnival took delivery of its first Carnival Dream cruise ship in September and a second ship, the Carnival Magic, is slated to enter service in May 2011.
Miami-based Carnival, which has not ordered a new ship since December 2007, told analysts last month that a new ship order could be announced by the end of this year, Stifel Nicolaus analyst Steven Wieczynski wrote in a note.
"Shipyards are also becoming more aggressive on pricing due to their deteriorating backlogs," Wieczynski, who has a "buy" on the stock, wrote: "We believe CCL could announce more orders in early-2010."
Shares of Carnival rose 31 cents, or about 1 percent, to $32.34 in mid-morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange.
Rival Royal Caribbean Ltd (RCL.N) RCL.OL rose 10 cents, or 0.4 percent to $24.67. Royal Caribbean recently took delivery of the world's largest cruise ship, the Oasis of the Seas. (Reporting by Deepa Seetharaman, editing by Gerald E. McCormick) ((firstname.lastname@example.org; +1 646 223-6125; Reuters Messaging: email@example.com))