More and more cruise ships; Seven Seas Navigator and Voyager

Recently, Carnival Corporation issued a press release pointing out that by 2016, it will have increased the capacity of its fleet by 10 percent. Considering that there are over 100 ships sailing for the various Carnival brands, this will be a considerable achievement. Meanwhile, Royal Caribbean is building a sister to Quantum of the Seas and a third Oasis class ship. Not to be left out, Norwegian Cruise Line is building a series of ships that will be a bigger version of its revolutionary Breakaway class.

Back in the last decade, many in the cruise industry thought that the boom in cruise ship construction would eventually end and the various lines would use the ships that they had built to serve the market for 20 to 40 years. However, during the boom, the public became addicted to new ships. I have heard passengers describe five year old ships as old. Passengers want new ships. Also, as new cruising concepts are conceived, there is a need to create new platforms to implement them. Thus, the industry is forced to build more ships.

The question then becomes what are you going to do with all these ships? They are built to last 40 years or longer and so this is not a case of the new ships replacing ships that are no longer fit for service.

Traditionally in the cruise industry, when a cruise ship started to become long in the tooth and no longer capable of attracting passengers in the primary cruise market (i.e. North America), it was moved to the secondary market (i.e., Europe or Australia). When it became to old to be viable in the secondary market, it became a gambling ship in Asia.

The traditional hierarchy of markets, however, no longer exists. As the popularity of cruises has developed in Europe, Australia and Asia, those parts of the globe have become primary markets. Consequently, you see more and more first tier cruise ships deployed to those markets. The deployment of the new Quantum of the Seas to China is but one example.

Thus, the industry has to count on the continued growth of cruising to absorb all of the ships. In addition, to attract guests, the ships are going places and doing things that were never envisioned when cruising was confined to the Caribbean. And speaking of the Caribbean, the change in the quality and quantity of the attractions and things to do in the popular cruise ports over the last decade has been amazing. A Caribbean cruise is not like it used to be.

Furthermore, the cruise line’s existing ships have to be continually upgraded to remain viable. For example, after Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas entered service, Royal Caribbean undertook a fleet-wide revitalization program to bring some of the popular features of those revolutionary ships to the rest of its fleet. Along the same lines, Carnival so extensively re-did Carnival Destiny to create a platform for Fun Ship 2.0 that they re-named the ship (Carnival Sunshine).

All of this new building seems to be great for consumers. You have new ships and revitalized ships with new offerings. Ships are going to new places. There is more to do in traditional cruise ports as the desire to attract cruise dollars feeds development. Also, unless the laws of economics have been suspended, increased capacity (supply) should place downward pressure on prices.

On Beyondships this week we look at two ships of luxury cruise line Regent Seven Seas Cruises. We have a new mini-profile of Seven Seas Voyager http://www.beyondships2.com/seven-seas-voyager-mini-profile.html. And we have expanded our coverage of Seven Seas Navigator with a new photo feature http://www.beyondships2.com/seven-seas-navigator-photos.html and videos showing the ship in The Bahamas http://www.beyondships2.com/seven-seas-navigator-video.html and in Canada. http://www.beyondships2.com/seven-seas-navigator-video-2.html

Seven Seas Navigator

Seven Seas Navigator

 

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