I made a mention yesterday of “…the continued growth in capacity in Europe…”. This morning I’ve done a bit of quick digging and rounded up a list of actual new builds last year and the expected new builds this year. They are:
- Royal Princess (2013) and Regal Princess (2014). In 2014 both of these ships will spend the summer in Europe. They both have a capacity of about 4,000 passengers;
- Norwegian Breakaway (2013) and Norwegian Getaway (2014). These two ships are aimed at the N American market, with one based in Florida and the other in New York so their impact on European numbers will be indirect. Still, despite looking (IMHO) very ugly they have created quite a buzz and must be winning custom in N America. Could this have reduced the number of americans interested in cruising in Europe? They’re certainly very big – 4,000+ passengers each;
- Quantum of the Seas (2014) Royal Caribbean. This shill will mainly spend time in the Caribbean.
- AidaStella (2013). While reasonably-sized herself (just over 70,000 tons) she is the seventh new Aida ship in seven years, each with a capacity of just over 2000 passengers. Since 2007 Aida have gone from being a niche player with a small number of small ships to being a significant line. They sell pretty much exclusively to the German market, which to be fair has grown considerably in the same period, probably prompted by the growth of this line and Mein Schiff (see below). But I know from experience that before this growth lines such as MSC and Costa attracted a lot of German passengers, and I wonder if that’s still true. If not, then MSC and Costa must be trying to replace those missing German passengers;
- Mein Schiff 3 (2014), 99,700 tons and probably around 2500 passengers.The comments above relating to Aida would apply to this ship as well. This is Mein Schiff’s first new build – the first two ships were the former Celebrity ships Galaxy and Mercury. I think this new ship is likely to attract a lot of business.
- MSC Preziosa (2013). The fourth in MSC’s Fantasia class, holding at least 3,200 passengers.
- Costa Diadema (2014), at 132,000 tons Costa’s largest ship and presumably somewhere around the 3,500 passenger mark;
So that’s 6 new ships last year and this, several of which follow on from a fleet of new ships in recent years. Their capacity amounts to around 18,000 passengers. That’s a new 18,000, of course, on top of the tens of thousands that are required to meet the capacity of the fleets that existed before the beginning of 2013. And there are more to come beyond 2014, not least being P&O Britannia, sister ship to the Princess pair, with another 4000 passenger capacity.
That’s a lot of capacity in the market. As I said yesterday, in the next few years I can’t see any rush to book early, or even when the first offers occur – I think it’s very likely there’ll be more offers along soon.